|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer||
This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 6 July 2001, and...
(quick look in the mirror)
...yep, I'm still ol' E.C.
On today's show, the Official Party-Line Spin on the WCW Re-Launch debacle is so overwhelming it threatens to knock the world off its axis.
Droz comments on the new IC Champ.
Tazz is gonna do something just AWFUL to contestant Darryl on "Tough Enough!"
But not just yet.
And Edge celebrates the fact that of all the WWF top-carders, he's one of the few not sporting some major injury.
At least for now.
Ol' Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon enjoy a couple of cold ones.
Vince uses a glass.
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Howard Finkel.
Well, let's get the postmortem on the "WCW Re-Launch" done first, shall we?
Kelly says that having WCW matches on Raw and Smackdown has received "mixed reviews," with some fans liking it, and some not.
"Everybody is entitled to their own opinion," says Kelly.
"And that's great," says Fink, "let 'em think how they think. If you didn't like it, then we have to improve. If you did like it, well, we're gonna improve on it anyway!"
Kelly liked the fact that they got to see some new and very different talent, in a different environment.
"The question now becomes, "says Kelly, "does the WCW roster compare with that of the WWF? After one week, and yes, that's too soon to tell, I'd say the answer is 'NO!'"
"But," he continues, "that doesn't mean that it won't improve in the near-future."
"Time takes its toll," says Fink, "I was in Tacoma on Monday and Tuesday, and the Tacoma fans had an ambience that WCW seemed to be The Enemy, per se."
"And that's because it's the way they've been portrayed for so long!" declares Kelly, "the war goes back so long, that thew fans are going to have their opinion. If they don't like WCW, then they boo."
To Kelly's question about whether there was WCW ring rust present on Monday night, Fink answers "absolutely, plus the ring they were working in was a WWF-regulation size of 20' x 20', rather than the WCW size of 18' x 18' that the WCW wrestlers were used to.
"That," says Kelly, "plus they've been off since March."
"In some cases," he continues, "a WCW wrestler could have been off as much as six or seven months due to WCW not doing any house shows there at the end."
Time for "Droz's Two Cents," where Darren Drozdov joins the show with his review of the week's events, and he jumps right into the discussion of the WCW Re-Launch.
Droz says it's true about the ring rust, and agrees that the change in ring size "is like night and day," having run into the same thing wrestling in ECW and WWF.
Despite the poor initial showing, Droz is mightily impressed with the WCW talent, and expects big things from them, though it may take some time.
Droz was especially impressed with Billy Kidman. Fink says that Kidman was bundle of nerves before his match with Gregory Helms, but that he's always like that because he wants to put on a good show for the fans.
Droz says that Kidman is tops in the very talented WCW Cruiserweight Division. Fink agrees, saying that WCW let the Cruiserweights pull the load, which emphasized the strength and depth of that Division.
Droz speaks of Kidman's training under Afa the Samoan, how he learned his craft, honed his skills, and paid his dues the "Old School" way, and it turned him into a superstar.
Droz says that the Kidman/Helms match (on Smackdown) had the workrate, but WCW lost it during the Booker T/DDP Main Event.
Kelly segues this nicely into the aftermath of that Main Event, where Shane McMahon and DDP got into it. Kelly announces that the two of them will meet in a "Street Fight" on Raw, and then questions whether or not this is such a good idea, given that the all-important "Invasion" PPV is less than two weeks away.
Droz says that Shane has top be the one in charge, and DDP clobbering him like that is a direct challenge to Shane's authority. "Shane's got to come right back and say "I Run This Place!" says Droz, " and he can't afford to have guys like DDP who work for him pulling a stunt like this!"
"DDP may be a big name in the industry," Droz continues, " but Shane's known as the 'Giant Killer'. DDP may just wind up getting his ass whupped!"
Kelly shifts discussion to Droz's boy Albert winning the WWF IC Title, and being this week's guest host on WWF Sunday Night Heat.
Droz says he couldn't be prouder of what Albert has accomplished.
"I saw him last week," says Droz, "after he won the IC Title, and you could see it in his eyes that he was proud of what he had done. He's taken on Kane, the Undertaker, and now Edge. All were great matches, and made Albert a force to be reckoned with! The only place he can go is higher." Fink says that Albert looks to be a fighting champion.
"At six eight, three fifty, he'll be a real fighting champ," says Droz.
Droz leaves the show, at which point Kelly and Fink decide to take some phone calls.
Shae on Line Two wants to know the status of HHH. Kelly says that HHH played a big part on "Tough Enough," though last night's show was taped long before he tore his quadriceps. HHH is still "rehabbing full-time down in Birmingham, AL, and still looks to be out for 4-6 more months, though Kelly wouldn't be surprised if it's closer to four than six.
Shae also asks what the status of Shawn Michaels is, to which Kelly all but gives her a "No Comment" by saying that he has no updates on HBK's status.
Kelly and Fink discuss the upcoming Raw and Smackdown from the Philips Center in Atlanta, GA. Kelly thinks that this week's shows from WCW's old stomping ground should be better received than the Tacoma, WA shows. Fink says that though it may be home turf for WCW, the WWF had some outstanding shows in the Georgia Dome.
Still, he wouldn't be surprised top see WCW get the home field advantage this week.
Which brings us to this week's "Outthink the Fink":
"Back in the early 1980's," says Fink, "an NWA superstar met a WWF superstar at an arena in the Northeast. Who were they?"
The winner gets an Edge & Christian T-shirt that reeks of awesomeness.
It's time for Tales from the Hook with Tazz, or, as he's known by the "Tough Enough" contestants, "Tazz, the Shatterer of Dreams."
Kelly is ticked off because the guy he picked to go all the way, Jason, punked out and left the show because of what HHH said to the group about how hard life on the road was.
Tazz was pleased that HHH set the tone, and got things straight in the heads of the contestants. He also called Jason a "big buffed-up kid with no heart, All dressed up and no place to go! He missed his girlfriend! Waaaah! Big crybaby!"
This brings on the weekly "Darryl" question, always a favorite topic of discussion with Tazz.
Kelly says that a lot of fans are waiting for the house to fall on Darryl. Tazz, playing coy, says well, maybe not the house, but Darryl is DEFINITELY gonna get it!
Fink asks Tazz' reaction to Darryl fooling around after HHH's talk to the group.
Tazz, bristling, says he wasn't aware of this. "I'm sittin' in my living room last night," says Tazz, "punching holes in the walls, 'cause I'm getting' hot over this. Al Snow and I weren't there, and... lemme say this, Darryl is real easy to hate!"
"So I'm not alone?" asks Kelly.
"Hey," says Tazz, "my MOTHER hates Darryl!"
Kelly says that the viewer response to Darryl's whining is building up to something like volcanic intensity; they want him gone, and now! Tazz thinks the fans will be entertained by Darryl's role in "being the biggest puss on the show!"
Kelly thinks that we will see the whiners eliminated, and they can get down to some real competition for the WWF contracts. Tazz says that he can't comment on that, but for the fans to stay tuned.
He goes on to say that he hopes people watching at home will see that this is a show about what people like him do every day of the week, and it isn't an easy life at all. "You are on the road, and away from your family for long stretches at a time," says Tazz, "it wears on you physically and mentally, and we haven't even gotten to the mental game with them yet!"
Kelly says that he (and a lot of other fans) hopes to see a lot more of the "One-'Z' " Taz on "Tough Enough." Tazz chuckles and says he may oblige
Kelly says that he got real excited when the white Hummer showed up, thinking it was Tazz come to ruin all the Tough Enough contestants' lives that day. Tazz says that he wouldn't drive a Hummer. "Ever been in one of those things?" he says, "they SUCK! I felt like I was driving a Coca-Cola truck again."
(Yikes! There's an image for you! Tazz as a route salesman for Coca-Cola. I bet his customers were scared to death when he pulled up, and started unloading the order he already KNEW they wanted!)
"Hey, Country," says Kelly to Byte This! Producer "Big Country," "There goes our Hummer sponsorship deal!"
Everybody cracks up at this.
Fink sets up Tazz with the weekly obligatory put-over for "Tales From the Hook," and what we can expect for next week? Tazz says he's got something planned. Something big. He just has to think of it first. Tazz leaves as Kelly shills the "Tough Enough" show one more time.
Our "Pulp Fiction" footage this week looks at the post-Smackdown "smackdown" on Undertaker by the WCW locker room, and jeez, wouldja look at the freakin' SIZE of Mike Awesome?! He gets in one solid left that looks to be a shoot, because it staggers the Undertaker. DDP clouts Shane-O-Mac, causing a concussion and separated shoulder. Booker T comes out to save the day, and gets swarm-stomped just like the Undertaker.
Here's Edge's music firing up, along with a still-shot photomontage of the 2001 "King of the Ring," and here's Edge live on Byte This!
Kelly asks if Christian has let Edge hold the KoTR Trophy, to which Edge replies yes, but he's got it off somewhere being polished right now.
"I haven't done anything crazy with it," says Edge, "like drinking wine out of it or anything."
To Kelly's question about what winning the KoTR has meant to him, Edge replies that he's watched the KoTR tournament every year since it's beginning, and that it is something special. "It's like the company putting its faith in you," says Edge, "giving you a chance, and a boost to your career. It's a cool thing."
Kelly asks about Edge's sarcastic comments to Billy Gunn, himself a former WWF King of The Ring winner, and what it was like to put Gunn in his place? Edge replied that what he said was all true, though it did make him feel bad at one point. "But," says Edge, "I talked to Billy before the show, and told him what I planned to say to him, just laid it all out for his approval. Billy was okay with it.
Kelly comments on Edge's use of sarcasm in his interviews. Edge says that it's a necessary part of his persona, and is important to what he's doing.
As for showing up at WWF NY instead of the KoTR arena two years from now, Edge says that he won't put himself in that position if he can help it.
"I go to sleep thinking about wrestling," says Edge, "and I wake up thinking about wrestling. I dream of matches with HHH and Steve Austin, and I am not going to stop until I reach the top!"
Fink recalls the early days of Edge's career, the "Man of Mystery" character that he was portraying, the "loner", the silent power. Edge says that he was unsure what was expected of his character in the early days, but that changed when he teamed up with Christian.
"It was a natural fit," says Edge, "we worked together in Canada, and grew up together before that."
Edge goes on to say that winning thew WWF Tag Titles seven times in two years has been just great, especially when you couple it to their getting their characters over with the fans both in the arena and on TV. "I have no regrets," says Edge.
Kelly takes a dive into the Email Bag, and grabs one that asks Edge what his next goal in the WWF is, now that he's the King of The Ring?
Edge wants the Intercontinental Title next. "I've always followed the careers of the IC Champs," says Edge, "they were the ones I watched and studied. Guys like Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage."
Other than the IC Title, he'd also like to win the European Title as well.
"And let's not forget the Tag Titles," says Edge, "the Dudleys and the Hardys appear to be getting too close. But whatever comes my way, I'm just going to have fun with it."
Fink recalls Edge's first IC Title win at the Toronto SkyDome, where Edge subbed for a missing Ken Shamrock against Jeff Jarrett, and Jack Lanza decided on the fly that Edge would win the IC Title.
Edge laughs, and says that he was numb when Fink announced him as the new WWF IC Champion, especially since it was in Canada, and in front of his family and friends.
The next caller is Shevaun, whom Fink remembers calling in some three years ago and even remembers that she lives in New York!
Kelly and Edge are mightily impressed. Shevaun says that Edge is her favorite wrestler since Shawn Michaels, and hopes he will try for the World Title some day. She then asks Edge who had the biggest influence in his decision to follow a career as a wrestler?
"Chris Benoit, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, and Shawn Michaels," says Edge without hesitation. "They were the guys I would study, and pick apart their moves to see how and why they did what they did." Edge also mentions Curt Hennig and Barry Windham.
Kelly grabs another email that wants to know if Edge felt the Hardys helped him in his rise to WWF superstardom?
"I think the Hardys would agree that it was Edge & Christian who helped them get over, rather than the other way around. After the first ladder match," says Edge, "the Hardys walked away as babyfaces, going for the high road, while E&C stayed on the low road as heels."
Kelly asks if E&C's antics have played any part in what Steve Austin is now doing to his persona?
Edge says that it's tough to be both funny AND a heel, because the fans will start cheering you and liking you, "which forces you to do dastardly stuff in the ring just to get them to hate you all over again."
Edge goes on to say that he and Christian have had to watch tapes of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard (YEAH! There you go!) to learn the classic heel persona.
Kelly moves on to Edge's vocabulary, specifically his remarkable word crafting, and the way some of E&C expressions have entered the language. Edge laughs, and says that he doesn't know where the expressions come from, they just have an idea that they want to try, and just throw it out there to see what happens.
Kelly says that there's a new item on the WWF NY menu, "Dork chops," and asks if it came from E&C's pet name for the hardy boys?
Lots of laughter from everybody.
Kelly then asks if Edge is planning to stay with the WWF, or make the move to WCW?
Edge says that he's quite content to stay in the WWF, but if they asked him to move, he'd do it because of the faith that the company has in him, and would consider it a compliment.
Speaking of WCW, Kelly asks Edge how he saw the WCW Re-Launch?
Edge felt real bad for them "because, no matter what they did, the crowd was against them. That WWF crowd is not a WCW fan base," says Edge, "plus the other stuff you mentioned earlier about the size of the ring, and the style of match. I talked with (Chris) Jericho about when he moved over from WCW, and he said it took him the better part of a year to get used to the difference. But they WILL get used to it."
Edge goes on to say that he really liked the match that Billy Kidman and Gregory Helms put on. Edge likes Kidman, who's his neighbor in Tampa, FL.
About Booker T, Edge praises his attitude. "He just wants to work," says Edge, "and you can feel the intensity surrounding him."
Kelly shifts the discussion to the new WWF IC Champ, Albert. Edge is impressed with Albert workrate, which is phenomenal for a man of his size. "He got a lot of help from Kane and the Undertaker on how to improve his game and match psychology," says Edge, "and you can't imagine how big he is until you meet him in person."
Fink comments on the WWF's good fortune in finding big-size talent in Canada, like Edge, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, and Christian. Test in particular has been most impressive of late.
Edge says that Test is ready for a major breakout into the ranks of the superstars. "Most people forget he's only been wrestling for two years," says Edge, "and for a big guy, he moves so well, you forget how big he is! Give him five years, and you'll see big things from Test. When you watch him wrestle Rhyno, you are seeing the future of the WWF. "
To the phones again, where caller Bob wants to know if Edge would be willing to put his KoTR Title on the line in a match?
"I've never seen it done," says Edge, a bit tentatively. "It would certainly be different, all right. He doesn't plan to come out with the Cup the whole year, though it would be interesting if it was written that way.
Kelly interjects; saying that the reason it hasn't been done is that it would take away the importance of winning it in the first place. "A lot of guys are going to take their shot at Edge," says Kelly, " just because he's the King of The Ring. The Title itself moves you higher in the ranks. What you do is, of course, up to you."
Edge says that, being at the next level as a singles wrestler, would a defense of the KoTR Title degrade the rub he's gotten from the win?
"Wouldn't it make the whole KoTR Tournament null and void?" asks Edge.
Kelly suggests Edge defend the Title against Fink. General hilarity ensues.
No winner yet in "Outthink the Fink," as Kelly gets an E&C T-shirt tossed at him from off-camera.
Discussion shifts to the origin of the E&C "five second pose."
Edge laughs, and says that Bryan Gewirtz thought it up, after a brainstorm about doing a poster/photo shoot, and he asked them to pose like the old-time wrestlers, "thumbs-in, like the old-fashioned 'Lou Thesz' pose."
Kelly brings up the Tables, Ladders, & Chairs matches that Edge & Christian have been through. "To come through one," says Kelly, "is amazing. Two, a miracle. Three, I can't even describe! TLC will surely go down as one of the greatest matches of all time. What did you feel after the last match?"
"Relief!" says Edge. " I was glad that we all were able to put on such a spectacular match without being seriously injured, and that hopefully we don't have to do another one for a very long time.
"You can be as creative as you want to, but at some point, you have to ask yourself, 'what more can we DO?!' So, you count your blessings, and say that we had a good run there with three, and be real thankful, and say let's hold off for a little while."
"They are fun to take part in," he continues, "but they are pretty stressful, because you have six, and in the last one, EIGHT guys in the ring. You have to know where each and every one of those guys is at all times so that you don't land on them, or worse, have them land on you! Plus, there's the debris. When you go through a table, there are screws in the ring. So you have to get the screws out of the ring. There are all kinds of things that can go wrong, but, thankfully, haven't. It's one of those things where you just tip your hat and say thanks, and then you move on."
The next caller, Mike, asks if Edge which of the WCW wrestlers he would want to face in the ring?
Edge says that he would love to have a match Lance Storm, and Chris Kanyon. Palumbo & O'Haire vs. Edge & Christian would be a good match, too. Billy Kidman goes without saying, of course.
Caller Nicki, a young female human, wants to know how long Edge has known Christian?
"Since Grade Five," says Edge, "some sixteen or seventeen years ago. We grew up together."
Another dive into the Email Bag, and a fan wants to know what Edge considers his best-ever match?
Edge ponders a bit, and says that, although TLC -1 was good, it's hard to judge your in-ring psychology from a match like that. TLC-2 built slowly to the finish, so there was more enjoyment, while the match with Benoit & Jericho was flat-out tremendous, because they all went out there and just beat the hell out of each other. In the end, Edge isn't sure if he can decide which match he considers his best.
Fink's got dirt on Edge, and reveals Edge's love for pro-hockey. As played by the New Jersey Devils!
(I will pause while you all re-compose yourselves.)
When asked "Why the Devils?", Edge laughs and says that it was their jersey design with the horns and all that made him a Devils fan.
Another email (from "Gina") wants to know if Edge was married recently?
Nope, " he says, "that was Christian, who got married in Tampa. I was the best man..."
(And wouldn't you fans have loved to attend THAT service?)
In answer to Kelly pressing him on his own nuptials, Edge says that he hasn't set a date yet, but it will probably be next summer, and in Toronto, not Tampa.
Kelly recalls the last time Edge and his fiancée were on the show, the fiancée got to talk with the "Resident Lesbian" caller for a bit, which thrilled Edge no end!
Caller Todd asks Edge if he remembers his first WWF match?
"I wrestled Jose Estrada in Austin, Texas," says Edge, "and I beat him. My first non-televised match was against Bob "Hardcore" Holly, who rolled his eyes when I told him I'd only been wrestling for three years! He still went out and gave me a good match, though I lost!"
Fink asks how Edge got signed with the WWF?
"I was finishing my tour in Manitoba, when Jim Ross contacted me," Says Edge. "And that night, I was sick, so when I got in the ring, I blew up! But JR still went ahead and signed me. He told me to keep doing the Indy shows to keep the ring rust off."
Edge goes on to recall a number of wrestlers who were with him during this time, like Kurrgan, Val Venis, Marc Mero, Droz, and Albert. "We all busted our asses to be sure we got the TV exposure we needed to get noticed," says Edge, "and it must have worked, because we all made it."
Kelly shifts the discussion to "Tough Enough," and asks Edge's opinion of the show.
"The show's great, " says Edge, "but it's too damned short. I just start to get into it, and BOOM! It's over! I can see who wants the contract and who doesn't. It pisses me off because these people are getting a chance handed to them, and some of them don't realize just how good a chance it is. Jason didn't realize what life on the road would be like? How could you NOT know that?! If you don't know that much going in, then what the hell are you doing there, anyway? They (Tazz & Co.) are weeding out the weak from the strong at this point. It looks like there'll be a whole lot more weak yet to go before they get through!"
Kelly asks Edge what he thinks the outcome of "Tough Enough" will be, long-term?
Edge says that it will be helpful, if only to give the fans and viewers a new respect for what it must be like to be a professional wrestler.
"We make things look easy on TV," says Edge, " but it's never easy. We get injured, and we work through the pain, and we still go out there, and put on a match. I don't want to get off on a rant here..."
"Thanks, Dennis," says Kelly with a smirk.
"...But I feel very passionately about what I do, and what great respect I have for the others who give their all in the ring."
Kelly winds things up by putting Edge over one more time, and thanking him for appearing on Byte This!
The answer to this week's "Outthink the Fink" question is, in 1980, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the WWF superstar Bob Backlund (yeah, the politician!) faced NWA superstar Harley Race in a combined WWF/NWA Championship Title match.
Ah, those were the days...
Before we sign off, Fink makes fun of Kelly's attempts to grow a "jazz-beard" goatee. Kelly likes it, but Fink isn't so sure, and asks us fans to email email@example.com. If we like it, Kelly keeps it. If not, Kelly shaves it off.
Kelly snorts, and says that, no matter what anybody says, he's keeping the goatee.
One more plug for the upcoming Monday Night Raw, live from the Philips Center in Atlanta, GA, WCW's old stomping' ground, and we will see if that storied Georgia hospitality will do the trick for WCW? The curtain-jerker match is the Shane McMahon/DDP Street Fight, and a wild one it should be!
Fink also helps plug the upcoming WWF house shows, and WCW will be invading at each of them as well!
Next week's guest is HHH, and we will get a complete run-down on his rehabilitation progress, and a prognosis on when he expects to be back in the ring.
See you then.
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