|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer||
This is the WWF Byte This! Report for Friday, 2 November 2001, and I'm still E.C.
On today's show, Dr. Tom is replaced by The World's Youngest Living Legend, Droz can't seem to find the words, Tazz says its not the fault of the WWF Creative Team, it's all those Internet Pinheads causing trouble, and Billy Kidman tells us what it's like "being an item" with Torrie Wilson.
Is that Linkun Park doing the "Pulp Fiction" honors this week?
Your hosts are the jolly and rotund Kevin Kelly, and the bewhiskered, (semi-schnockered?) Howard Finkel.
Of course, we lead off with the "Big News" of Kurt Angle's defection to the Alliance this past week.
Kelly's still in shock. Or maybe it's just the onset of a PopTart-induced sugar rush.
Fink was totally fooled by Shane McMahon's mind games, and says that Angle's defection is a major coup for the Alliance, with nothing going the other way.
Kelly says the feud between The Rock and Chris Jericho is on again after they lost the WWF Tag Titles this past week. Rock's got his sights set on taking back the WCW Heavyweight strap on this Monday's Raw. Speaking of Raw Main Events, last Monday's dysfunctional family spat between Vince McMahon and son Shane-O-Mac gets the once-over.
This, of course, segues nicely into "Droz's Two cents," Darren Drozdov's weekly review of all things WWF.
But not this week. Droz is still too pissed that his Maryland Terrapins got their clocks cleaned by fat Bobby Bowden's boys.
Kelly gets Droz calmed down, and moves on to Kurt Angle's defection, and what this may mean for the WWF's chances.
Droz says that, just like the Terps, the wheels are coming off the WWF. "They must know that they are going into a PPV where they could all wind up unemployed afterwards," says Droz. "As for Kurt, I didn't see it coming either. It shocked the hell out of me."
Kelly remarks that Angle says it was a "business decision' on his part, and what's Droz's take on that?
Droz says that, bottom line, this is how we make our money, so yes, from that standpoint, it was the right decision for Angle. "It sucks, but it happens," says Droz.
Fink says that the defections are all going to the Alliance, with nothing coming the other way. "Is it fear that's motivating this exodus, Droz?"
"I don't think so," says Droz, "I think that it's the younger leadership the Alliance has, and that maybe those that are making the move see this as a chance to get a little more freedom in doing things. Austin may be a nut case, but there is something about Vince McMahon that these guys see as fundamentally wrong."
"What if you were competing today, Droz," asks Kelly, "and the Alliance made their offer to you? Would you take it?"
"I'd definitely take a look at it," says Droz, "It's all it what's best for your own interest. That may sound bad, but that's the way it is in this business. You want the organization that can help you build your career, and right now, it looks like the Alliance is the place to be."
Droz shills his "Two Cents" column over at WWFdotcom once more, and leaves the show.
Kelly gets in a shill for his own column, saying that it's chock full o' goodies.
This week's Classic Clips segment is in honor of next week's "Legends" segment debut, which will star the Iron Sheik. We've got:
Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff take the WWF Tag Titles,
Sheik/Volkoff defeat the Killer Bees at WM III
WMX-7: the "Gimmick Battle Royal."
Cast your vote over at email@example.com.
Time for "Tales From the Hook," and Tazz, who's pissed because he's been on hold for the past fifteen minutes.
Kelly tries to soft-pedal the issue, until Fink points out the "Tazz on 1" graphic.
It's autumn in Red Hook, because the leaf has fallen off the one tree.
Tazz, however, has been too busy to notice, since he's been helping Tommy Ticket out with all this New York Yankees/World Series action.
"I even been in the basement of Yankee Stadium," says Tazz with some pride.
"What's down there, Tazz?" asks Kelly.
"Oh, duct work, compressors, that sort of thing," says Tazz, "I was looking for a way to sneak into the Yankee's dugout."
"How's Tommy Ticket doing with all this?" asks Kelly.
"He's making a killing," says Tazz.
"Bootleg T-shirt business should be pretty good after the championship, huh, Tazz?" asks Kelly.
Tazz agrees, then gets in a crow about the shellacking the Oklahoma Sooners took at the hands of Nebraska.
Kelly drags Tazz back to the subject at hand, that being Kurt Angle's defection to the Alliance.
"If you were a fan, Tazz, would you be satisfied with Kurt's explanation of why he did what he did?" asks Kelly.
"Not a chance," says Tazz, "but that's because the WWF fans have been given so much, that they are never satisfied. This started way back when there was competition between the WWF and the old WCW, with the competition for ratings every week, and ECW going their own way. The Internet fans are the ones that are causing this entire stink about Angle's defection, and how wrong it was. They'll never be satisfied. The 'Net is good for our business, but the Internet flacks driving it are the ones who bring everything down in a negative way. You can't keep 'em happy, no matter what you do. So, forget 'em. The (WWF Creative) team is gonna get crap from these people no matter what happens because you can't compare what they are doing with anything else on TV. I'm glad I'm not on the creative Team. They work long hours, and trying to keep up with Vince, Shane and Stephanie is a full-time job in itself. As for Angle, well, if his explanation isn't what they Internet flacks wanted to hear, tough! Heels lie; it's in their nature to lie. They piss you off.
Kelly liked Angle's spelling out why he didn't want to be with certain members of the WWF.
Tazz responds that the whole thing was done for the shock value. "I know how much heat Kurt got doing the turn on Monday. I ride with Kurt, and he got a tremendous amount of fan heat when we left the building that night."
Kelly says that he and his wife were watching the show, and never even imagined that Angle would turn like he did.
Fink adds that nobody saw it coming, and that's why it was such a well-timed swerve on Angle's part.
Kelly shifts the conversation to today's guest, Billy Kidman, who's coming off rehab for his knee injury.
"How's Kidman handle the pain when he gets in the ring, Tazz? What's it like to be sore, and to have to work through the pain?"
"You feel the pain all day," says Tazz, "and you try to loosen up, to get it rubbed out. What you really need is time off and rest, but in this business, time off and rest means losing money, your spot in the lineup, and maybe losing a TV opportunity. Once you are in the ring, you don't even realize the pain is there, unless it gets really bad. And then you start to worry. I tore my biceps in a match a while back, and it still hurts me sometimes when I wrestle. Once you feel that pain during a match, you get scared. But you can't act scared during the match. You gotta act tough."
"What about the trainers we have in the WWF, how have they changed things?" asks Kelly.
"In ECW, we had no trainers," laughs Tazz, "I had to buy my own tape over there. I've saved a bundle just on not having to buy tape by joining the WWF!"
Fink gets back on topic by asking Tazz's thoughts on Kanyon's torn ACL injury?
"He tore it again?" asks Tazz.
"Kanyon, not Kidman, Tazz," corrects Fink.
"I saw part of the match, and it looked like it was an Atomic Drop that did it," says Tazz, "it's a bad thing to have happen, especially to a funny guy like Kanyon."
Fink says that Kanyon's injury is bad enough it could keep him sidelined six months or longer.
"Man. That's bad news," says Tazz, "but I'm sure he will be back better and funnier than ever."
Fink talks about the other injured WWF superstars, Taka Michinoku in particular.
Kelly says that injuries are part of the reality that every wrestler has to deal with. Tazz agrees, and says that you don't go into a match thinking you are going to get hurt. "You go in there hoping your opponent doesn't get hurt. You don't think about getting hurt yourself. It's sad, but that's just part of the game. When I was with ECW, we were all very physical. But here in the WWF, we get even more physical because of the higher work load.
(Higher work load?)
Fink winds up "Tales from the Hook" by saying that next week, Tazz will regale us with his trip to Maine.
Time for "Outthink the Fink." His week's question: In the 1990's, at the height of the Gulf War, a character named General Adan managed Sgt. Slaughter. But he made his appearance some twenty years earlier in the WWWF under what name? Answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Classic Clips poll results has the WM X-7 "Gimmick Match" just running away from the competition.
Lo and behold, it's Jim Cornette, Wrestling's Youngest Living Legend.
He's subbing for the again absent Dr. Tom Prichard, with news from Ohio Valley Wrestling and Heartland Wrestling Association. Cornette thanks Kelly and Fink for having him on the show, saying that he's not on enough.
HE then shills for OVW and HWA, saying that they are the perfect place to begin a career in the wrestling industry. Currently, there's about 22-24 WWF stars under contract that are working in OVW and HWA, learning the wrestling business from the ground up. In addition, they have a number of wrestlers who are not under contract, but who are there trying to make an impression on a weekly basis, all hoping for that one big break that will get them noticed.
Fink says that he was honored to attend an OVW match recently, and even got to be the ring announcer for the Southern Tag Team Championship. "It gave me a chance to watch Brock Lesnar, Sheldon Benjamin, The Prototype, and Rico all in action at once."
Fink continues by asking Cornette who he thinks will be the next up-and-comers to knock on the WWF's big door?
Cornette says that Randy Orton, the 6'5" 250 lbs. son of Bob Orton Jr. is impressive, and could be a superstar in the WWF for as log as he wants it.
Then there's Leviathan, a tremendous athlete with the looks and physique of a Greek god, who's only a year into his career. He put on a great match with Val Venis, and looks to be ready to move up to the next level.
Nick Dinsmore also merits a look because of his great match with Chris Benoit, and he beat Kanyon on TV this past summer. There's also a guy named Flash, OVW's answer to the Hardys. He'll do anything he can to steal the show. Bull Buchanan's been re-tooling himself since the RTC angle folded. Mark Henry is ready to go, as is Ron Waterman. David Flair, who, in Cornette's opinion, got the short end of the development stick over in the old WCW, has come on strong with the training he's received, and even put on 20 lbs. of muscle. D'Lo Brown's doing well, as are Damien and Pain. Short-term, there's Mark Jindrak and Sean O'Haire, who'll be knocking on the door real soon.
Kelly wants to know about the ladies.
Cornette hypes Victoria, who's looking good, and is the "Queen of Machine's Revolution."
Cornette is also enthusiastic about (former ECW star) Jazz, whose four years' experience has become polished in OVW. Sharmelle "Paisley" Sullivan is now wrestling under her own name, Sharmelle, and has a pedigree a mile long.
"Wasn't she a backup singer and dancer for James Brown?" asks Kelly.
"She's gonna make some noise here," says Cornette.
Fink wants to know how the Tough Enough Women's Champ Nidia is making out?
"Now she knows that she's in the real situation," says Cornette, "she may have won that WWF contract, but she's going to have to work hard to keep it."
Kelly adds that anyone interested in what's going on in the developmental territories should read the Ross Report, because good Ol' JR's got all the latest on the new talent.
Kelly says it looks like Orton, Lesnar, Benjamin, and Leviathan might be the first group to promote onto TV real soon.
Cornette says that he never denies any wrestler his chance to get on television. Some may make it, and some won't. Who knows, there might be others who will make the jump ahead of them?
Cornette plugs his site, ovwrestling.com, where the fans can get all the information and profiles of the newest batch of WWF superstars.
"This place is like a wrestling amusement park down here," says Cornette with some pride, "we got a ton of rides!"
Fink wants to know if there will be any inter-promotional matches between the WWF, OVW and HWA?
Cornette says yes, especially since they got their own TV show. And that they are trying to get their talent over with their fans. "OVW and HWA trade talent back and forth," says Cornette, "after all, we are only a hundred miles apart. This gives the fans more of a choice, and offers a greater talent pool for more opponents.
Fink says that a lot of the fans think the WWF is the only promotion left, and that OVW and HWA, while being talent feeders to the WWF, also hearken back to the old days of the wrestling territories.
Cornette says that it's good for the wrestlers to see what it was like in the old days, and it teaches them respect for what's been accomplished since then. As for WWF, the relationship is nothing but beneficial. They had a sell-out at the Louisville Gardens recently that showed how beneficial the relationship was.
The fans got to see DDP and Leviathan take on the Undertaker and Kane, and a great match between Flash and Chris Jericho.
"It's one big learning experience for the guys to get a taste of what it will be like once they get to the big time," says Cornette.
Fink says that they have their winners for today's "Outthink the Fink" segment, and asks Jim Cornette if he knows the answer.
Cornette says sure, it was Billy Whitewolf, who partnered with Chief Jay Strongbow.
Kelly asks if there's a lack of knowledge about the history among today's wrestlers? Cornette says yes, and he can't understand why.
"In baseball and football," says Cornette, "the players all know the big names and big hits from the past. Why it's different in professional wrestling, I don't know. If you don't know about what people did, how they succeeded or failed, how are you going to keep from making the same mistakes they did all over again?"
As Cornette leaves the show, Kelly says that any fans interested in the history should check out wwftitlehistory.com, and Fink adds that if any fans have an idea about who they should have on the Legends segment of Byte This! to be sure and email him at email@example.com.
Off-stage, Byte This! producer "Big Country" says that, if Fink can give him ten names, he can have them put in a poll and have the fans vote on it.
Kelly doesn't like that idea, saying that it would mean that some legends of wrestling would be losers in the poll. He then segues abruptly to a promo for the WWF-UK PPV this weekend, "Rebellion." Fink adds that UK fans can see the show on Sky Box Office, and USA fans exclusively at WWF New York.
Billy Kidman joins the show, live via phone. Kelly asks about his knee, and Kidman replies that it's doing all right, he's got a brace on it for support.
Kelly asks Kidman to compare working for the old WCW versus the WWF.
Kidman says there's no comparison. "The fans don't realize how different it is. I knew things were bad over there, but I didn't realize just how bad they'd gotten 'til I got to the WWF. A bunch of the office people, who all worked for Turner, didn't have the faintest idea about wrestling. What's more, they didn't want to be involved with wrestling, either. They were just clock-watchers, there from nine to five and no longer. I had my first meeting at Titan Towers at 8PM on a Wednesday, and the place was still fully staffed. Nobody had gone home, because they all wanted to be there, doing what they were doing."
Fink asks Kidman how he got started in the business, who he followed, and what got him motivated to give it a try?
Kidman replies that, "All I knew about was the WWF. My cable company didn't carry TBS, so I knew nothing about the NWA. At sixteen I joined Afa, the "Wild Samoan's" wrestling school. I was too young to train, but they let me sit in on the sessions because they knew I was serious. Then I started training when I was nineteen. I'd always been sort of athletic, and I'd imitate the moves I'd seen on TV."
Kidman gives a brief sports history of himself, and that, although he ran track through the week his senior year, he disappeared on Saturday to watch wrestling all day.
Kelly remarks that there must have been some hesitance about hiring Kidman, because he's small in comparison to the majority of the other wrestlers.
"When I started," says Kidman, "the age of the "jacked-up-big-man" wrestler was on the wane, but I didn't let the other guy's size bother me. I was there to do a show. When I was training, I tried to hide what I was doing, until I came home bruised from running the ropes and turnbuckles, and then I couldn't hide it anymore. My parents were initially against the idea of me being a wrestler, but they became supportive after they saw that this is what I wanted to do."
Fink wants to know whom Kidman would like to have wrestled, coming along when he did?
"Shawn Michaels," says Kidman without hesitation, "he redefined what being a wrestler means, and showed that size doesn't matter so long as you work your ass off!"
Kelly mentions that Byte This! has the Iron Sheik scheduled next week, and Kidman is very enthusiastic about that.
"Speaking of legends," says Fink, "when you were in WCW, you worked with Hulk Hogan. What was that like?"
"Unbelievable," says Kidman, "although, career-wise, I guess I didn't get as much out of it as I should have. I grew up watching Hogan, and here I was, doing a PPV with him, and it was just unbelievable. Hogan tried really hard in that match, and when Hogan had me give him a hurancanrana, it was the best thing he'd asked me to do."
"Were you ever intimidated being in the ring with Hogan?" asks Kelly.
"Well, yes, at first," says Kidman, "I mean, it IS Hulk Hogan and all. You don't want to be the one responsible for injuring The Legend, do you? But Hogan went real easy, loose and normal, and put me way over. And that's the way it went. I was relaxed, and the matches got easy."
Kelly asks how things were in the WCW Cruiserweight Division?
Kidman says that he got his first real on-TV time when he was in Raven's Flock. Working with Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko, he learned about when and where to put his high-spot moves in the routine. Then he'd translate it over to working with Rey Mysterio Jr. or Juventude Guerrera, adapting to the Lucha Libre style, where the action's non-stop. "Even though the fans like the car-crash stuff," says Kidman, "they also like a plot and a storyline to go with it."
Staying on topic, Kelly asks how feasible it would be to re-start the WCW Cruiserweight Division in the WWF?
"The cruiserweights can all add money to the show," says Kidman, "because the fans want to see them in action. If the WWF is serious about it, they should book them separately, and maybe get a little action going on the side. Putting a cruiserweight in the ring with a bigger guy will just get him beat up and pinned, and neither wrestler benefits from it. No, just have separate storylines for the cruiserweights, and you'll have a great addition to the show."
"What about you and Shane Helms getting in the ring after the Bagwell/Booker T match," asks Kelly, "were you nervous?"
"You bet," says Kidman, "it was like it was up to us to prove ourselves al over again to the fans, to show them that we could put on a solid, professional show. Shane and I worked real hard blocking out the moves for the match, and we had a great time putting it on. Hopefully, the fans realized this and appreciated what we were trying to do."
"Who have you enjoyed working with since you joined the Alliance?" asks Fink.
"I really love working with X-Pac," says Kidman, "he's got a totally different style than anyone else in the WWF. Then there's Tajiri, who is also outstanding, but I dinged my knee early in a match with him, so I wasn't pleased with the work I did. I want to work with everyone in the WWF one time, just so I could say that I had done it.
Fink puts this week's Jakked bout featuring Kidman and Matt Hardy as potential "Match of the Week" material. Kidman agrees, and says that he really likes working with Matt Hardy, and looks forward to doing just that in the future.
Kelly asks if being injured has made Kidman more conscious of the potential danger he faces?
"Yes, it does cross your mind," says Kidman, "when I was in WCW for six years, the only serious injury I had was a fractured larynx that kept me out for thirty days. Then, I make the move over here to the WWF, and I'm out with a knee injury right off the bat. Sitting at home is terrible, though you do get to be a fan once again. But then, to come back, and think everything is healed up and okay, and the pain comes back again, it's scary, all right. You think you could be out again, this time for longer, or for good. So you favor the injured leg, but doing THAT messes up the good leg. What can you do?"
Kelly remarks that Kidman's "look" has changed over the years.
Kidman says that he does more cardio now. "I do it in the morning right after I wake up. I'm also hitting the weights more. Nothing special."
Kelly wants to know about the Survivor Series.
"If the Alliance wins," says Kidman, "there are going to be a lot of guys out of work and looking for a place to go. Either way, I'll be a part of whatever results.
Kelly remarks that his article about the Survivor Series posits the question of what the losers will do to try to reclaim their position? Kidman says that he doesn't know, because so much has been going on with the Invasion.
Kelly then asks Kidman which of the WWF Divas is the hottest?
(Well, duh! Kev...)
"Torrie Wilson," says Kidman, "out of all the girls, she's the one who's most down to earth, even as beautiful as she is. Torrie's just like a normal girl, unlike some of the others."
"Well, we're all pulling for you, Bill," says Kelly with a laugh, and thanks Kidman for being on the show.
Next week's guests will be Alliance Commissioner William Regal, and wrestling legend, the Iron Sheik!
Kelly and Fink spend the next little bit cleaning up some odds and ends, (like Christian winning the WWF European Title on Smackdown, but that they neglected to air the match! Sheesh!)
Kelly's bent out of shape about some doofus in the Chat Room using his name. "Time to weed out the troublemakers," says Kelly, "the chat room isn't getting it done for me!" Big Country remarks (from off-stage once more) that they'll be getting a moderator soon, which should clear up the problem, and oh, yeah, AOL crashed the computer because "there were too many windows operating at once!"
(No surprise there, guys. Consider who you are dealing with!)
This week's hands down Classic clip is the Gimmick Battle Royal from Wrestlemania X-7, which gets Fink's drawers in a wad because it was too recent!
In answer to Kelly's question about how sure Fink is that the Iron Sheik will show up next week, Fink replies that he'd make book on it, but just to be on the safe side, he's after Nikolai Volkoff as well.
"Or we could get just about anybody if that doesn't work out!" says Fink.
A clearly perturbed Big Country tells Fink not to drag the show out again like they did last week, and we get this week's Classic Clip winner.
See you next week.
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