|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer||
This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 29 March 2002, and I'm Unca Ed.
We get a video replay of the APA's last backstage poker, beer, and mayhem party.
The battered and bloody, yet still sneering carcass of William Regal is, of course, a courtesy feature supplied by the APA to all their customers.
The spotlighted "Sorry, We're Closed" sign on the APA's front door actually brought a tear to my eye.
Your hosts are Howard Finkel and the ever popular Kevin Kelly.
"Boy, it's a whole new era, huh, Fink?" says Kelly, speaking of the events of the past week.
"You know it," says Fink.
He goes on to say that, with the advent of the new era, we will see new talents developing new angles and gimmicks, "but it's still hard to say goodbye."
Kelly says that today's Byte This! will be a heavily caller-driven show, which means they haven't got a clue as to what they're going to do.
Sweet Gawd Awmighty, they brought back Ronnie from Rogersville, TN and his goober-grabber, flannel-mouthed, front-porch-from-"Deliverance" accent. Looks like this'll be an ongoing segment until Kelly and Fink run it into the ground.
Fink asks Ronnie his thoughts about the WWF Draft, and Ronnie says that he didn't like splitting up the Dudley Boyz.
Some inconsequential banter, and Fink gets a bit short with Ronnie, who's having trouble stringing two thoughts together.
Kelly's off in a corner, giggling like he's cuddling up with a can of nitrous.
"Getting hot, Fink?" asks Kelly with a sneer.
Kelly has some fun at Ronnie's expense, while Ronnie puts over Jimmy Valiant and Dr. Tom Prichard, whom he saw at the WWF House Show in Bristol, TN recently.
Big Country abruptly cuts Ronnie off.
"Why'dja do that, Country," asks Kelly.
"I think it's pretty obvious, Kev," retorts BC.
Fink wonders if Ronnie got his own segment because he "has a funny voice?"
Some wise guy in the Byte This! ChatRoom speculates that Ronnie and Big Country's Mom got together in Bristol, and, well, the rest is history.
"Naw, I don't think so," says BC, "Ronnie's younger than me."
(Obviously, BC hasn't heard of "I'm My Own Grandpa." It's the Tennessee National Anthem.)
There follows several coarse and blatantly simplistic jokes at Ronnie and Big Country's expense.
Simplistic to anybody except Kevin Kelly, that is.
"The funny part about this," says Fink," is that the screener says that Ronnie went to the dentist today.
"It obviously it didn't do any good," retorts Fink.
Chris from New York thinks that the draft was great and will help spark the careers of younger wrestlers like Brock Lesnar, as well as those who need a second chance, like D'Lo Brown.
Kelly says that Lesnar's a "Champion of the future."
Chris says that Raw needs some additional talent development, because they don't have the really big name talent.
Kelly says that things should work out because, with the two owners picking, it made the draft really deep, and each pick became more important as the draft wore on.
"HHH being the Undisputed Champ resembles the old territories days," says Kelly, "where a Champ like Ric Flair would move from territory to territory defending the Title belt."
Fink says that HHH will have to be on his toes, because there will be any number of contenders in both brands vying for the Title.
Nick from Antioch, California asks if the Dudley Boyz and the APA could trade one for one to bring those two tag teams back together?
"Anything's possible," says Kelly, "I'm looking forward to seeing what the Dudleys, Farrooq and Bradshaw can do on their own, though."
Fink says that the APA were both competent singles before they formed the APA, so they should both do well.
Dan from Chicago is heartbroken that Stephanie got booted off the WWF, and is pissed that HHH booted her off, after he mistreated her all that time.
(Chyron shows the very unflattering Stephanie pic from Raw as she's being dragged back up the ramp by WWF Security. Boy, talk about cups runneth-ing over!)
Dan wants Byte This! to do a poll on WWF.com asking the fans if they want to see Stephanie back?
"There's a poll up in the WWF News/Headlines section of our website," says BC, "and it's running over 80 percent against."
Kelly and Fink address the problem markets like St. Louis are having about not being able to see Smackdown owing to not having a UPN affiliate to carry the show..
"Call your cable operator," says Fink, and Kelly says that, until then the Byte This! show is going to be even more important in getting the word out to those fans who can't get Smackdown.
Fink applauds the presence of a studio audience," the first one for the Byte This! show.
(Sounds like the show's broadcast crew to me.)
We get more time-wasting blather about the smartass comments in the Byte This! ChatRoom.
Fink speaks about the House Show in East Rutherford, NJ last night, which saw the return of Hulk Hogan to the New York area, as well as the last tag match between the Dudley Boyz and the APA.
(Chyron shows the APA in their office backstage, playing poker, as usual.)
"One of the greatest matches I've ever seen. The match was fought tooth and nail," says Fink, "Stacy Keibler showed up as a guest of the APA. Afterwards there was a touching scene in the ring, as the APA and Dudleys praised each other's run, presented gifts, and ended with beers all around. Arn Anderson came out, followed by the Hardys, and they had good things to say about the Dudleys and the APA. Just a great moment of wrestling history."
This week's "Outthink the Fink" prize is a new HHH T-shirt, if you can answer a two-part question: What year did the WWWF change to WWF, and who was the champion at the time?
Some goof in the "studio audience" hollers "Harvey Whippleman!"
Monday will also debut the new announce teams for Raw and Smackdown.
Fink will be on the road with the Raw crew, Fridays through Sundays, as well as the PPV's, so his future appearances on Byte This! will be sharply curtailed.
(Chyron shows Fink announcing Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik from way back when.)
"I'm going out to do...My...THING!"
"Let's hear it for Fink's Thing!" says Kelly.
Caller Ryan from Vancouver, wants to know why Rhyno, Mike Awesome, Kanyon, ("Who better than Kanyon?") and Kaientai didn't get picked?
"Their status is still up in the air," says Kelly, "but they will be picked."
Ryan wants to see a feud between Chris Benoit and Rhyno, and really liked the way that the younger guys will get a chance now that the rosters have opened up.
Topic shifts to Kane's tour-de-force performance on Smackdown, wherein Kane cuts one heckuva a promo on both the Rock's and Hulk Hogan's styles.
"Who knew this guy was such a talent?" asks Kelly, "everybody was laughing fit to bust at his performance."
Kelly says that we won't be hearing from Droz and Tazz this week, since Droz is returning from Smackdown in Philadelphia, while Tazz is doing some business with Tony Soprano in Canarsie this week.
Justin from Ohio ain't there, so we get Darren from New York, who was at the show in East Rutherford.
"It was one of the greatest moments ever," says Darren, "I've been a fan for thirty years, and I've never seen anything like what the WWF put on last night. I almost had tears in my eyes about the APA and the Dudleys. I also am concerned that the split may cause a slide in the ratings."
Kelly says that the company was built on risks, and that they are trying to keep things fresh and vital.
Darren says that Fink was right, last night WAS history, and Fink agrees with him.
Darren wants to know if the WWF was taking video off the show last night, and if so, he wants a copy.
Fink and Kelly drags Announcer Trainee Seth Mates on screen to ask him if he took any video. Seth can't speak on camera, so he shakes his head, "No."
Fink apologizes to Darren, but says that sometimes, the only way you have is to capture the moment in your memory, so you can tell your kids later, "I was there..."
Darren thanks the WWF for the great job they are doing, and how much the fans appreciate the shoots.
BC relates that Byte This! Phone Guy Matt Duda says Ronnie from Tennessee called back, but he's eating dinner, and will call back later on. Kelly and fink are less than thrilled.
Next caller wants the WWF to hire Mikey Whipwreck, Tajiri's old ECW tag partner.
Joseph from Kentucky wants to know how Vince McMahon feels now that Ric Flair stole the NWO from him, but has problems with the phone and gets cut off by Mike Duda.
Ricky from West Virginia wants to know why Big Valbowski hasn't been given a chance?
Fink says that the split should give him the opportunity.
"The wrestlers get the opportunity," says Kelly, "they are the ones who have to make something of it when it's given to them."
We take a break and enjoy a video of Billy & Chuck winning the WWF Tag Titles from Tazz and Spike Dudley.
We come back, and Kelly and Fink shill for Flair's Raw roster, then discuss Billy & Chuck.
Mike from Arkansas says that Steve Austin would make a better addition to the Raw roster than to Smackdown. Also, could Rock & Hogan challenge Billy & Chuck for the Tag Titles?
Kelly says he doesn't see why, and that both rosters present one heck of an opportunity for new angles and story line development.
"Anything can happen, right?" asks Mike, who then gives a shout out to his buddy Moe in Perryville, and hopes he's enjoying Good Friday.
Jeremy from Hopedale, Massachusetts, a regular caller, is next, and says that the WWF roster changes are the best thing that's happened to the WWF in a long time.
Crystal ball time, as Fink asks Jeremy which superstar will be the breakout Champion for each roster in five years?
Jeremy says he would pick Jeff Hardy.
Kelly mentions Rob Van Dam, Brock Lesnar, and Rhyno.
Fink puts in a good word for D'Lo Brown, Justin Credible, Bradshaw, and
On Smackdown, Jeremy picks Chris Benoit, and Mark Henry.
Fink picks Hardcore Holly.
Finally, (after much tinkering and swearing on the part of Big Country and Mike Duda,) live on the phone is one-half of the WWF Tag Team Champions, Billy Gunn.
Kelly says that this is Billy's third Tag championship, the first being "Smoking Gunn" with Bart Gunn, and the "New Age Outlaws" with RoadDogg Jesse James, and Fink asks him to compare all three.
"Bart Gunn was a good, sound wrestler, but lacked personality," says Billy, "then I met Road Dogg, who had personality for days. I can't thank him enough for the fun I had just trying to keep up with him. Then there's Chuck, who's big and strong and is coming along, and doing a good job."
Kelly says that the team of Billy & Chuck was formed much like the New Age Outlaws were, as a result of a singles match between the two principals.
"Anybody can be a tag team," says Billy, "but it takes a special something to be a tag team champion."
Fink asks Billy, as a veteran, which he enjoys more, wrestling as a single or in a tag match?
"I enjoy tag matches more," says Billy, "because it's way more exciting than singles matches. You can get the people involved with what you're doing, surprise them, make them guess about what you are gonna do next, just like our current angle, and that keeps the fans are watching us, just to see what we are gonna do next."
Joining his partner on the phone is the other half of the WWF Tag Team Champions, Chuck Palumbo.
Chuck just got in from the airport.
Kelly says that Billy's been saying that he carried Bart, then Road Dogg, and now him.
Chuck says that who better for him to learn from than a veteran of Billy Gunn's caliber?
Kelly talks about the stereotyping that goes along with their current ambiguously gay angle.
Chuck says that Billy and he are confident in themselves, and in their ability to carry off the angle, which gets a round of applause from the studio audience.
Billy says that the roster split had to happen, and now they've got two hours on two shows to showcase more people than the regular four or five that the fans have been used to seeing.
Some Byte This! ChatRoomer wants to know who's the better "ball handler,' Billy or Chuck, which gets a laugh, of sorts.
Kelly wants to know what happened to Chuck's pigtail?
Chuck says that, because of excessive bleaching, the pigtail was breaking apart on its own, so he had it cut off. Chuck likes the look he's got now way better than the one he had before.
Kelly asks about the last match Billy & Chuck had with the Dudley Boyz on Smackdown?
"Tough," says Billy, "really tough and brutal. They were wrestling flat-out because they knew it was their last time on TV as a tag team. We were having trouble just keeping up with them. The Dudley Boyz will always be the greatest in my book. The last time I went through a table, about a year and a half ago, I tore my shoulder. When I saw Chuck going
up for that, I just cringed!"
Talk shifts to Rico, Billy & Chuck's new "stylist" and entrepreneur, who will be there to try out some new styles.
"Rico's got some great in-ring skills," says Kelly, "and that Rico's real excited about being brought up to the WWF."
We are the first tag team to have a personal stylist," says Chuck.
"Either of you interested in inter-gender matches?" asks Fink.
"Uhhhhhhhh, no!" says Chuck.
Billy hates their new entrance music.
"Boy Band crap," he growls, "how about we bring back "I'm An Ass-Man?"
"C'mon, 'Boy Band' music'll grow on you, Billy," says Kelly.
"Just like fungus," says Fink
"Y'know, Billy, these homo-erotic references in your recent angles are getting just a bit ...disturbing," says Kelly.
"Y'mean, that "I'm an Ass-Man" bit?" asks Billy.
"I was thinking "Smoking Gunns," myself," snickers Fink.
"Don't say "Rock-A-Billy," laughs Chuck.
Kelly asks Billy's thoughts about Wrestlemania, seeing as how he's been in at least three of them.
"There is nothing like it," says Billy, "it is great for us and the fans to get together, and enjoy this sport we are in. Where else can you get together with the fans and have that much fun with a whole lot of people."
Billy says that they wanted to become the Tag Champs before working on their personas. "The Titles are helping develop Chuck's persona," says Billy. "Chuck's a superstar now, something I don't think he ever expected when he first got here."
Chuck says that it was cool to meet Hulk Hogan. "Who wouldn't think it's cool to meet Hulk Hogan. I'd love to work with him; it would be an honor."
Kelly asks Chuck about the NWO's arrival in the WWF, and what it was like working with them in WCW?
"Nash was the one helping the younger guys in WCW when I arrived there," says Chuck, "I never met Hall or Hogan until I got here."
(Chyron has been showing various in-ring action shots from Billy & Chuck matches.)
Fink compliments Billy on his great story on the new "Before They Were WWF Superstars" video.
Billy says he's glad he did what he did to go into wrestling.
"Where else can you get paid to see the world. The trip to the Orient was outstanding; they really got how our style of wrestling was played, and the fans were just as happy and noisy as can be."
Kelly tells Billy that Shane McMahon is sending him a Fedex package, Saturday Delivery.
Billy is puzzled about what it could be.
Kelly says he's just delivering the message for Shane.
Chuck talks about his becoming a wrestler, saying that he hadn't followed professional wrestling until just six months before he tried out at the WCW Power Plant.
His background was college basketball, same as Billy Gunn.
Kelly asks Billy about his possible retirement.
Billy says that he has no plans to retire anytime soon.
"If this gets boring, and I don't think it will, I'll put the boots and trunks in the attic, and that'll be that. But I think I'm gonna hang around for a while. I'm still having fun!"
Kelly and Fink thank the Tag Champs for coming on the show, and Billy & Chuck leave.
"Outthink the Fink's" answers are "1979" was when the "WWWF" became the "WWF" and "Bob Backlund" was the Champ, and Nick Tavey from New York City wins the HHH T-shirt.
Fink shills away on the WWF Upcoming Events Calendar:
4/1 Albany, NY(Raw TV live)
4/2 Rochester, NY (Smackdown TV taping)
4/2 Reading PA (Raw roster house show)
4/6 Salt Lake City, UT (Raw roster house show)
4/6 Davis, CA (Smackdown roster house show)
4/7 Fresno, CA (Raw roster house show)
4/7 Denver, CO (Smackdown roster house show)
Fink wants to get Big Country on camera.
Big Country's not having any part of that.
Kelly sends a shout-out to "Fat Anne" Dyall (sp?) on the 'Net, and gets a puzzled look from Fink, as well as a "Whoo Hoo!" from the "studio audience."
Fink says that Byte This! will be the one place for fans to come and get the latest information on the WWF, and that he's glad Kevin Kelly will still be here to make sure that all that info gets out to the fans.
"What's that supposed to mean?" asks Kelly warily.
"Nothing," says Fink, "nothing at all."
The "studio audience" starts up the "Nah Nah Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" chant for Fink.
Fink says that he's not leaving for another month yet.
Kelly closes the show with a video of the Dudley Boyz match from Smackdown, their last as a tag team.
See you next week.E.C. Ostermeyer
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