|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer||
This is the WWE Byte This! report for Friday, 2 August 2002, and I'm still here.
We get new
Opening credits, including Brock Lesnar, Rob Van Dam, Hulkamania, and lots of others.
Your hosts, Kevin Kelly and Dr. Tom Prichard, are giggling like two old ladies with a tank of Nitrous over the debut of the "Matt Duda Era" in the production of the Byte This! show.
1) the return of the Byte This! studio audience.
2) Different camera angles, and
3) Intermittent trouble with the audio feed.
Kelly tells Dr. Tom how happy he felt seeing former Byte This! employees Big Country and Seth Mates out in front of the building carrying signs that say "Will Produce a Crappy Internet Show For Food."
The "studio audience" cheers, on cue.
Kelly opens the show by saying that he likes the direction that Raw and Smackdown are taking these days, and that a big part of that direction is today's guest, Booker T.
Dr. Tom says he wants to ask Booker T what he was thinking when, after his backstage interview with WWE's Jonathan Coachman, the first person he sees is Eric Bischoff?
Time for "Droz's Two Cents", Darren Drozdov's weekly review of all things WWE Raw.
Kelly remarks that it doesn't look like Shawn Michaels has a lot of friends on Raw, and who does Droz think sent HBK to the hospital with a concussion?
Without batting an eye, Droz says that his money is on The Big Show.
"What he said earlier in the night about Michaels getting his," says Droz, "and how everybody seems to be blaming HHH; I think it's a case of payback for what Michaels and HHH did to Big Show when all three were in the NWO."
Kelly says that there was a "roomful of suspects backstage, what with the Un-Americans there and all."
"I always like it when, there they are, "the usual suspects" at the crime scene," says Dr. Tom, "in my book, HBK's comments earlier in the show about slapping Bret Hart around were motive enough for the Un-Americans to take some kind of retaliation. But I can't point the finger at them or anyone else just yet."
Kelly asks Droz what the return of "Raw...Is...Jericho!" will have on the Raw roster?
Droz says Chris Jericho's return along with the defection of the Un-Americans from Smackdown means that the Raw show is going to get real interesting, and we saw the first part of that last Monday night in Greensboro, NC.
"Ric Flair," says Droz, "was getting ready to make his big announcement after losing to the Rock in Raw's Main Event in front of the Greensboro fans. He didn't get more than half a dozen words out, and suddenly Y2J's there, stealing all of Flair's thunder and ruining the moment. Jericho on Raw means "Raw Is Jericho" once more. He's made his presence felt, and that's going to mean a lot of bad news for some people over there."
Kelly changes topic to Chris Benoit winning the Intercontinental Title on Raw, and then defecting to Smackdown with it along with Eddie Guerrero. He wants to know what kind of impact this will have on Raw?
Droz says he doesn't think it will be too bad.
"The way things are swinging around between the two shows," he says, "someone else could win it and then bring it back to Raw in the near future."
Kelly turns to the subject of the squashing of Mae Young and the Fabulous Moolah by the Island Boys.
Droz chuckles, and says that when he "heard (Eric Bischoff do) 'the three minutes," speech, I said "Oh God, NO!" Then the crowd jumped up, and I said "This is going to be bad! Man, but those two old ladies can take a serious ass-whuppin'! The Dudley's took 'em through a table, but I thought Moolah's head was going to snap off!"
Dr. Tom says he was in shock.
"I've seen Mae go through tables," he says, "but I thought she wasn't going to get up from that Giant Splash. I was surprised they took her out on a stretcher."
"I thought they popped her melon!' says Droz, which gets a laugh.
Kelly wants to relive the moment, and asks Matt Duda to find the clip and put it up on the chyron, (which happens almost as though Duda knew what Kelly was thinking before he asked for it. Scary!)
Dr. Tom says it brought him out of his chair going "What?!"
"I got in so much trouble with my wife over this," says Kelly, "she was sitting there getting madder and madder watching this, and I'm laughing hysterically, just cackling with glee. I'm sorry, I guess I got a mean streak in me."
"I always knew that mean streak was there, Kev," says Dr. Tom.
"Julie, (Droz's wife) was working at the show while I was taping it," say Droz. "She came home and was dying to see it. Every time I see it, I say "Oh, those poor old ladies!" But you know what? They love that!"
Dr. Tom says that, when he took a splash from a wrestler that size, he could barely walk for a week, and how must Mae Young feel right now?
"They are both, what? Ninety to a hundred years old?" asks Droz, "that's just amazing!"
Kelly plugs Moolah's new book, coming out August 6th, saying it is a "must read."
Topic shifts to the Un-Americans appearance on Raw, and the very strong reaction the fans have to their anti-American skits and speeches.
Droz says that the upside-down American flag and Lance Storm's inflammatory comments aren't making these guys any friends here in the USA.
"Still, I was entertained," says Droz, " and hearing the fans' "U-S-A" chants once more brought back memories. We can look for bigger and badder things from the Un-Americans, especially now that they have the WWE Tag Titles."
Kelly asks Droz to rate the performance of the respective General Managers, Raw's Eric Bischoff, and Smackdown's Stephanie McMahon.
Droz says that Bischoff is the winner so far.
"He's brought over so many top flyers from Smackdown," say Droz, "I've been thoroughly impressed with what Bischoff has done to revitalize the Raw show."
Kelly says that you really get a sense of team from the two locker rooms now. "It's coming across as an "Us vs.Them," says Droz, "and I think it's making for some great television."
Kelly shills for "Droz's Two Cents" column over at wwe.com.
Droz says that the column talks about Brock Lesnar, and his effect on the WWE, what he's doing, (there's a pic of Lesnar on the chyron as Droz says this,)
"...and, " says Droz, "oh yeah, my heartfelt sympathies for Mae and Moolah!"
"Yeah," says Kelly, sarcastically, "I can hear the concern in your voice!"
Droz checks out, as Kelly thanks him for being on the show.
We go to the phones, (and a new phone screener apparently,) as the first caller is Barat (sp?) from Albany, NY, who says that, when the Rock tapped out, it definitely made him want to order SummerSlam.
Kelly asks Barat why he thinks that the TV has been so good of late?
Barat says that it's because of the roster split.
"The fans are seeing different talent on different shows," he says, "I like the fact that Smackdown has a big Title now. Originally, all they had was the Tag Team and Cruiserweight Titles, while the heavy stuff was over on Raw. I like the IC Title on Smackdown, but I miss the European Title.
Kelly says that the European Title was melted down for scrap last week.
Dr. Tom asks Barat what he thinks of Eric Bischoff arriving on the scene?
"Personally, I'd rather it was Mick Foley," says Barat, "I didn't like WCW when it was on. I thought they copied a lot of WWF story lines and called them their own. I'd watch WCW, and see story lines first done a couple years ago on Raw! I just got sick of it."
Barat leaves, as Kelly takes the opportunity to push Jamie Noble's performance on this week's Smackdown.
We get a "Smackdown Moment" video clip at this point.
Jamie Noble puts Smackdown announcer Michael Cole on the spot by "havin' mah woman Nidia give yew sum lovin' jus' lahk yew dew t' me, hunny!"
Tazz is cracking up big time as Nidia gives the unwilling Cole a REAL good going over!
"She's gotcha hooked up there, Michael!" crows fellow Smackdown announcer Tazz.
(Jeez, this looks like "Redneck Lapdancin' Wun-Oh-Wun!" I'd make sure I got a shot of gamma globulin ASAP, Mike!)
Back to the studio, where Kelly and Dr. Tom are cracking up about the clip.
Dr. Tom asks Kelly if he remembers the old days on Raw, when Kelly was on the three-man team; well, he would be the one that Nidia would be working over now.
Back to the phones, where regular caller Kyle from Toronto has thoughts that it was the Un-Americans that gaslighted Shawn Michaels. Kyle says that he also thinks that Bret Hart is involved.
Kelly says that Hart's in no shape to do that much damage on HBK, then asks Kyle if the Un-Americans are a viable gimmick, and are Americans really portrayed as bad as the Un-Americans are portraying them?
Kyle says no, and since September 11th, Canadians feel closer than ever to Americans, but the gimmick the Un-Americans are working with is entertaining, despite the fact that it's been done before.
Kelly ducks talking about WWE stealing the old "Team Canada" gimmick from WCW by winding things up with Kyle because Booker T is on the phone.
Kelly asks Booker to give a brief rundown on the "Booker's Crib" segment on this week's "WWE Confidential."
Booker says that the house took over a year to plan and get in order before he even broke ground, then it took a year to build.
Dr. Tom says that the Booker T/Goldust segments are the best part of Raw.
Booker says that he enjoys those segments because it helps his character grow a lot more, and that the fans are enthusiastic about it, too.
Kelly asks where Booker got his comedic streak?
Booker says the more he did it, the more he felt comfortable with it.
"Early on in my career," says Booker, " I didn't want fans laughing at me because I thought I was being disrespected. Now, I know the fans are laughing with me than at me, and it's helped me to develop a whole new side to my character."
Dr. Tom says that Booker stood out in WCW because of his physical ability, and to be the last real WCW champion coming into the WWE, and does how does it feel to be a bridge between the old and the new?
Booker says that it's great, and that he's bringing back some of his old moves in new packaging to help that connection.
"I'm pushing myself a little bit farther each week, " says Booker, "we've got these new guys coming up, and if I can bring back some of the old magic to help me stay current, I'm gonna do it."
"Speaking of old being new," says Dr. Tom, "what were your thoughts when you had just finished your interview with Jonathan Coachman, and then saw Eric Bischoff walking backstage on Raw? That look of yours said it all!"
"Well," says Booker with a chuckle, "in this business, nothing ever shocks me. Surprises me, yes, but never shocks me. The history between Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon, none of it has been good. To see those two together, well, it was surprising, not shocking. As for myself, I've got no complaints. Eric has always been good to me."
Kelly says that this week's cover story on "WWE Confidential" has some comments from various former WCW wrestlers who think that Bischoff was in large part responsible for the demise of WCW.
He then asks Booker if he feels that there is an increased sense of purpose and togetherness within the two locker rooms?
"Oh, yes, " says Booker, there's a feeling that we are all in this together. A guy told me a long time ago, "One monkey don't stop no show." It'll take all of us pulling together to make this show a success."
Dr. Tom asks Booker about brother and former WCW tag partner, Stevie Ray.
Booker says he's raising his little girl, and enjoying life and sometime semi-retirement.
Kelly, sniggering a little, asks Booker what he thought of the Island Boys' squashing of Moolah and Mae Young?
Booker laughs, and says it was frightening.
"I don't know how old Moolah is," says Booker, "but to take a wallop like that at her age...that's two tough old broads, all right. It was 'Shock TV,' that's for sure."
Kelly asks Booker's opinion of Shawn Michaels possible return to the ring, and if Booker could put himself in HBK's place, how confident would he feel about wrestling after being away almost four years?
"I can tell you from being out for only four months," say Booker, "the toll on your body to be able to work at the level required is very hard. I can only imagine what HBK's going through after being off four years, plus going through back surgery. I wouldn't want to be out there if I couldn't compete at the level I do now."
Dr. Tom recalls Booker's Howard Stern interview where he said he was going to retire in two years, and asks how Booker feels about that now?
"I've been revitalized since I got to WWE," say Booker, "but, yes, I do want to retire soon. I don't want to be an old horse that keeps trying to pull the load and can't. I want to be able to go on to something else while I am still healthy."
Kelly asks about Booker's clothing store in Houston, "The Jam Zone."
Booker says that he started the store to give something back to the people of Houston for supporting him all these years.
"So far," he says, in the three months it's been open, I haven't made one dime. We've been sponsoring neighborhood and high school teams, and just helping people out."
Kelly asks how Booker's golf game is?
Booker says it's picking up, improving a lot. He also says that he got involved with it by playing the golf-based video games.
Kelly tries to get up a foursome with himself, Dr. Tom, Booker T and Bradshaw.
Dr. Tom says he can see Bradshaw, Booker and himself, but not Kelly, "unless it was Putt-Putt!"
Kelly asks Booker to assess his role with WWE since Steve Austin.
Booker says it was hard at first coming to the WWF from WCW, his first year here was one of on-the-job training. Now, he feels more secure in his role. As for Austin, he doesn't feel that WWE really feels the loss what with all the other talent that is available.
Dr. Tom asks Booker about his relationship with Sharmell (Sullivan.)
"She is someone who I can go to," says Booker, "I'm a human being just like everybody else. She's that one person who I can count on."
Kelly asks how Booker's son, a highly touted basketball player, is doing?
"He's at camp right now," say Booker, "he still hasn't made a decision yet. He's got scholarships and money put aside, and I just want him to make the right decision about where to go. He doesn't have to concentrate on sports; whatever he decides will be fine with me. When he gets to the college level, he will find other kids that are just as hungry and just as talented as he is, so he needs to give it his all, whatever he does, accept the consequences, and go on from there."
Kelly asks what it was like for Booker to travel the same road his son is now on?
Booker says that on that road, the odds are totally against you ever becoming successful.
"If I didn't have my brother with me," he says, "maybe I wouldn't have made it."
Kelly recalls Booker T's "Best of Seven" series in WCW with Chris Benoit, and asks Booker how he felt getting back into the ring with Benoit a couple weeks back?
"We spoke just once before the match," says Booker, "and then, when we climbed into the ring, it was just like old times. He's the best I've ever been in the ring with."
"Did you notice any drop-off?" asks Kelly.
"We didn't really have time in the match to test everything," say Booker, "he may need some improvement in the stamina department, but otherwise, Benoit's as ready as he will ever be."
Dr. Tom asks what Booker's next goal is?
Booker says that his next goal is the Undisputed Championship, and headlining Wrestlemania, plus being a champion in the ring as well as out."
Kelly asks Booker how offended he was with his treatment at the hands of the staff of the Howard Stern show?
"Everything is a business," says Booker, "it was the way I handled that guy at "The World" that got me asked onto Howard Stern. I went on there to prove a point; that nobody was going to push me around and get away with it."
Kelly asks if Booker thinks it was racially-based?
"I don't think it was racially motivated," say Booker with a laugh, "not at all!"
"What is your philosophy that you follow?" asks Kelly.
"Try your best not to get caught in that whirlwind. Because if you are in that whirlwind, you never know where or when it is going to stop," says Booker T, "keep your eyes open, keep your ears open, and keep your mind and heart open."
Kelly asks Booker who will win the Undisputed Title at SummerSlam?
Booker says that Brock Lesnar will win it, because the Rock has been eating too many candy bars and making too many movies.
Kelly reminds us that Booker T will be on Raw this Monday, and maybe Shawn Michaels...
"Hey man," says Booker, "I didn't see nuthin', I didn't hear nuthin'..."
Dr. Tom says he will help Booker get his alibi together later on, which cracks everybody up.
Kelly thanks Booker T for being on the show, shills Booker's appearance on "WWE Confidential", and segues it nicely into the Eric Bischoff story on "Confidential," where former WCW wrestlers say that a lot of what went wrong with WCW happened on Bischoff's watch as head of the company.
Dr. Tom says he's had a chance to talk with Bischoff personally, as he has with some other wrestlers involved first hand in the demise of WCW, and he's formulated a different opinion about who might be responsible.
"What Bischoff had to go through to get anything done in that company," says Dr. Tom, "the bureaucracy was layers thick. So while he may bear some of the responsibility for what happened to WCW, there are others who deserve the blame more than he does."
Kelly asks Byte This! poobah Matt Duda to get on the air for a moment.
Dr. Tom asks if Duda's gotten any gay emails about his bare-chested push-up performance last week?
Duda says that, yes, he got a couple emails on the subject from fans of "ambiguous gender."
"Has your life changed since winning the push-up contest?" asks Kelly.
"When I walk through the WWE commissary, I don't get a lot of eye contact now," laughs Duda.
"How's that Freddie Mercury record collection coming?" asks Kelly, "I hear you are a big fan of Queen?"
Duda says that there will be a festival this weekend, and he looks to pick up a few things.
Dr. Tom asks the Byte This! studio audience if they approved of Duda's winning the push-up contest last week, and gets Duda a round of applause.
Kelly comments on the three lovely young ladies in the Byte This! studio audience, and what a lovely addition to the show they make!
"The whole 'Duda Era' is a breath of fresh air," says Kelly.
With a little bit of time to fill, Duda says that they could shill for some products on WWE ShopZone.
Kelly says that it is sad how the mighty have fallen what with the way Big Country used to "phone it in" each week.
Kelly asks for Dr. Tom's Body Donna pic, along with the "Kelly as Santa" pic and, of course, the Skullet.
Kelly asks if they can leave early, since they burned through a ninety-minute show in sixty-five minutes?
Duda asks if new Phone Guy (Pumpkin Ben?) has anybody on the phone?
They get caller Jim from Missouri, who asks what they think of Bischoff coming back? Kelly says he didn't like it at first, but now he does, and Dr. Tom agrees with Kelly.
Kelly tells Pumpkin Ben to keep an eye out for Ronnie from Tennessee, who seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth.
Duda says that the fans will decide which WWE Diva they want to see on the show, and for them to write in their votes to email@example.com.
"That's how we got Booker T this week," say Duda, and Kelly is very enthusiastic about that.
The Chatroom says for everybody to close the show with a match.
Kelly, Duda, and Dr. Tom comply, and we get a video clip from 2001 SummerSlam, Booker T vs. The Rock closing the show.
Or maybe not, as we only get to see the last thirty seconds of the clip.
Yikes, is former Byte This! producer Big Country sabotaging the show?
No, Da New Poobah Matt Duda just forgot to rewind the tape.
See you next week.
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