|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer||
This is the WWE Byte This! report for Friday, 16 August 2002, and I'm E.C.
Prior to the
We get an "In Memoriam" on the chyron for Ronnie Lamons, aka "Ronnie from Tennessee," who passed away August 1st.
Ronnie was the butt of a lot of pranks and snide, nasty comments on this show. Hosts Kevin Kelly and Dr. Tom Prichard look appropriately downcast.
(Uh huh, Kevin. It's always a lot of fun. Until somebody DIES!)
However, the show must go on, so...
...there follows a video from last Monday's Raw featuring the Un-Americans' beat-down on The Undertaker. Good ol' Jim Ross just about screeches himself into an episode.
"Oh my God," hollers Good Ol' JR, "what a SummerSlam! What a SummerSlam!"
Dr. Tom says he's impressed with the diversity between Raw and Smackdown, especially in the run up to SummerSlam.
Kelly says he's impressed with the dirty tricks being perpetrated by Eric Bischoff, who always seems to be "upping the ante" on Smackdown's GM, Stephanie McMahon.
This week's chicanery: a "product placement" scam on Smackdown involving Bischoff pitching for Subway sandwiches.
Live on the phone is Darren Drozdov with his weekly review of all things WWE Raw.
Droz says his air conditioner is sweating, it's so hot. He also refers to today's guests, the Un-Americans, as "those dirty bastards."
Droz says that the Un-Americans may have the right to say whatever they want to say, but they're up against the backlash from our fellow American citizens.
Kelly says that he was gratified when he found that the Aussies at the Melbourne show booed the Un-Americans out of the building.
Droz and Kelly discuss the Booker T/Goldust angle; Droz says that Booker T will eventually go his own separate way, to which Dr. Tom says that Booker T needs that extra push.
The Chatroom wants Kelly to do the "Kev-a-roonie" in honor of the "'Taker-roonie" that was almost a reality on the Raw post show.
On to Rock/Lesnar, where Droz is backing Rocky to retain the belt, "although he'd better watch out for Paul E."
Kelly says that we may see a more nervous Lesnar than before.
Droz says that this will be the biggest match of Lesnar's career; any jitters to be had will be the Rock's rather than Lesnar's.
"He's like a first round draft pick in football," say Droz, "the promoters expect big things from him right out of the chute. It's been only five months since his debut in WWE, remember?"
Droz & Dr. Tom discuss the heel turn of Matt Hardy and his defection to Smackdown.
Droz says that Matt's got a long way to go before the fans will get behind him, after what he did to brother Jeff Hardy on Raw.
Droz shills for his column, "Droz's Two Cents," and then leaves the show.
Dr. Tom shills for Kelly's review of the movie "Rollerball" over at wwedotcom.
"I don't just have a physical resemblance to Roger Ebert," says Kelly loftily, "I also have his love of the film."
The Chatroom gets cut off when Dr. Tom kicks out the network cable from the Byte This! laptop.
Kelly's laughing his ass off at Dr. Tom's techie skills. Or lack thereof.
Jason, a regular caller from Florida, wants the update on Hogan, and where he's been?
Kelly says for Jason to not expect to see Hogan on TV for a while, due to the beating Brock Lesnar gave him.
The Shawn Michaels/HHH street fight gets a once-over.
Dr. Tom says that Michaels will be running mostly on adrenaline than anything else, because Michaels has something to prove to his kid and his family.
Kelly says that his sister was kind enough to buy him some tickets to the Raw show, and wonders if Kelly and Dr. Tom will be able to get him backstage?
"Yeah, right!" says Kelly.
We take a break with the Smackdown backstage video setting up the Kurt Angle/ Rey Mysterio bout at SummerSlam.
Time for "Tales from the Hook" with Tazz
"...who's out in Red Bank..." says Kelly.
"It AIN'T Red Bank," hollers Tazz, "it's RED HOOK! Red Bank's in God awful New Jersey!"
Kelly is appropriately humbled.
Tazz gets interrupted by two tremendous lightning strikes, then says he's glad to see Chris Benoit back to his old form, especially with him executing the flying headbutt after all those German suplexes.
"I got loads of respect for Benoit," says Tazz, " I- hold on, I gotta deal with this!"
"What, Tazz?" asks Kelly.
"I got a bunch of Mexicans wandering around my house," says Tazz, "I get twelve of them for a hundred fifty dollars down at the docks, then I wrap 'em up in bubble wrap. Then we whack them with sticks like a pinata! Except for this guy IU think is El Gigante. The shrink wrap busted on him, so I keep him out in the shed!"
Kelly, recovering from a laughing fit, asks Tazz about what happened with Kurt Angle bleeding during his Smackdown match with Rey Mysterio?
"He mis-timed the move," says Tazz, "and caught his head on the canvas. He had 10 stitches, I'm told, but still made the Main Event, all patched up. What dedication!"
Tazz also gives props to the tag match featuring Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero squaring off against Edge & Rey Mysterio.
"Old School rules!" says Tazz. "Eddie and Chavo were outstanding, Edge great as always, and Rey was off the chart!"
In answer to a feedback question, Tazz says that Brock Lesnar will not choke, because he's used to being a pressure player.
"He may be a little nervous when he goes out there, but as a collegiate athlete and champion," say Tazz, "'choke' isn't in Brock Lesnar's vocabulary."
Kelly shills for the Tazz segment on this Saturday's "WWE Confidential."
Tazz leaves the show "because the Mexicans are starting something outside" that he has to go take care of.
Caller Mike from New Jersey says that he is impressed with the popularity Goldust is getting lately.
"The pop he got after Raw's heat tapings for international TV was awesome," says Mike, who goes on to detail the maturation of the Goldust character and angle since Wrestlemania.
Kelly wants to know if Goldust will survive if and when Booker T gets his push into the top card.
Mike says that Goldust has nothing to worry about; his gimmick is as fresh as ever.
Mike then asks what Dr. Tom is a doctor of?
"Uh," says Dr. Tom, "I have a doctorate in life."
"Yeah, sure," says Mike, and hangs up.
Lance Storm is on the phone, still suffering from jet-lag from the Australian tour.
"It was great over there," says Storm, "but getting there and back was horrendous. I am so jet-lagged right now."
Kelly asks if this has been a bad year for Storm, travel-wise?
"I think so," says Storm, "maybe the airlines check out my commentaries, and just decided to get something back for all the things I've said about them on my website."
Christian joins the conference call, and we hear about the Un-Americans having a "Close Encounter of the Wacky Kind" with a denizen of an Australian city park.
"This guy had on yellow boots," says Christian, "he hadn't bathed, either. Lance and I were learning to throw a boomerang, when this guy comes up and starts talking to us in a REAL LOUD VOICE."
"He thought Jimi Hendrix was still alive," snickers Storm.
"So," asks Kelly, 'what did you learn from your encounter with this person?"
"Never talk to strangers," says Storm.
"Especially crazy ones with yellow boots and no hygiene!' finishes Christian, with a laugh.
(Chyron shows the encounter in progress, with a grinning Kurt Angle as the unnamed fourth party to the incident.)
"Kurt Angle liked the guy," says Christian.
"He wanted to keep him, too," says Storm.
"Man," says Kelly, "Angle looks almost aborigine there."
"I was hoping Angle would trade his shoes for those boots," says Storm, "and wear them around for the rest of the day."
Christian says that the best time they had was at Fan Frenzy and the show itself.
The Chatroom wants to know if everybody behaved themselves on the flight coming back?
"Of course we did," snorts Storm, " we're the Smackdown crew!"
"Ah, I should have remembered..." says Kelly.
"We are gentlemen, after all!" adds Storm.
Kelly asks about the Un-American angle, the chord it has struck with the US fans, and where Christian and Storm think it's going to go?
Storm likes the angle, saying that every good angle has some basis in truth. "Being Canadian," says Storm, "I get a different perspective than the US fan. Well, I take that difference and push it to the "nth" degree, make it as wild and out there as I can to really push the buttons of the fans. Obviously, the foundation of truth is there to build on, and the fans know it and react to it. They've always got a sneaking suspicion, and that starts them thinking, 'What if he's right?'"
Christian says that the angle has given him a chance to show a more serious side of his character.
"Patriotism in the USA is higher than it's ever been," says Christian, "and maybe that's why the angle is working so well; their reaction to the angle, good or bad, means that the fans are interested and involved in what we are doing."
Dr. Tom asks if the Un-Americans have had problems at the border getting back into the country?
"Does Customs stop you guys," asks Dr. Tom, "and maybe put you through the whole cavity search routine?"
"Not as yet," says Storm, "although there is a former US Marine working Customs here in Calgary. I haven't crossed his path. At least, not yet! He may not like the upside down flag gimmick."
Kelly says that maybe the fans don't know what the upside down flag means?
Christian says that the upside down flag is a symbol of distress. We use it to represent the backwards beliefs current in the USA.
Kelly says that some people believe that the USA is in some distress right now, what with the continuing War on Terrorism, the scandals in corporate America, the accounting dilemmas...
Christian says that, bringing that concept to the wrestling angle, he believes that WWE is in distress, because the Un-Americans are there, holding the Tag Team Titles, and are taking over.
Kelly asks if the critics and fans are reading too much into this whole angle, and perhaps taking it too seriously?
"Perhaps," says Storm," I would remind the fans that this is a SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT show, rather than the news, and you can gather from that bit of information what you will. It's not necessarily 100% reality-based."
Dr. Tom says that, good or bad, the Un-Americans angle has helped all their careers.
Storm agrees, saying that it has provided him with more credibility from the fans by getting them hot over the angle.
Kelly asks Christian if he's worried about the venue of SummerSlam being at the Nassau Coliseum, literally in the shadow of "9-11?"
Christian says that it will be a touchy subject with the fans, all right.
"They probably will react to whatever we do or say," says Christian, "but the heat we get, good or bad, is what we are looking for."
Kelly discusses Storm's website, specifically the bi-monthly "Recommended Reading" section.
Storm laughs, saying that "Marks for Books" is doing well.
"We recommend a book," say Storm, "the fans read it, and send in reviews on what they've read. I also read the book and review it. We get the authors involved, too. Matter of fact, if I can't get the author involved, I don't review the book. So far, the readers enjoy the feedback a lot."
Dr. Tom says that maybe Kevin Kelly ought to do the same thing with his movie reviews.
Kelly, affronted, says he's doing a great job already, thank you.
"I know all about the movies," says Kelly, "I watched 'Rollerball,' y'know."
"Yes," says Dr. Tom, "but how about branching out into other films?"
"That Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is HOT!" exclaims Kelly, caught up in the mood.
Kelly wants to know if the Un-Americans have had any trouble from fans when they appear in public?
"No," says Christian, " everybody's been really cool about it. Oh, there have been a few hot-headed comments here and there, but nothing too drastic. The fans come up and say hello, and leave it at that."
"Where we really get it hard is at the arenas," says Storm, "the last one we were at, we were cutting promos in the ring, and all of a sudden we get these fans hollering at us to "Get the f*ck out!" and just getting really hot about it! Now, during the day, out on the town, say, at a mall, the fans can separate the in-ring persona from the real one, and we don't have any problem at all. Only at the ring is it the other way around."
Christian says that they get hollered at coming to and then leaving from the arena, but other than that, it's pretty laid back.
Kelly says that it's great that the fans are able to separate the angle from the real world.
"It's great for the fans to be able to fuss and jeer at you like that," says Kelly, "but then, they leave you alone when you are out at a restaurant, eating supper. It shows they get the connection."
"'Love the product, hate the heel,'" says Storm, "it's a saying we have that is the basis for our business. It shows the fans are into their role as fans like we are into ours as wrestlers and sports entertainers. They also know that they can act crazy in that role of fan inside the arena, but to put it away after the show is over. So later on, out at the mall, they see us, and say 'Wow, here's a WWE superstar! Let me get an autograph!'"
Kelly asks Christian what it was like being a part of that huge Eight-Man Tag match on Raw?
"Incredible," says Christian, "I was so honored to be a part of it and to be in the same ring with all those other WWE superstars. With all those bodies in that ring at one time, something could have gone wrong. Someone could have mis-timed a move, and gotten themselves or another wrestler injured badly. I'm just glad we were able to pull it off as well as we did! I had six or seven messages on my answering machine saying how much they enjoyed it.
Kelly remarks on how hot the Seattle crowd was.
Storm agrees, saying that when they sell out the arena like they did in Seattle, it adds an extra level of electricity to what happens on the show.
"Everybody in that crowd," says Storm, "was there to have a good time. That gets transferred to the ring, and makes us work all the harder to give the fans what they want."
To the question, "How cool was it winning the WWE Tag Championship Titles from Hulk Hogan and Edge?" Christian says that it was a real joy; any match with Hogan is just great, and his last three matches on Smackdown were with Hulk Hogan.
Storm says that Hogan is incredible/ "Some internet critics may deride his workrate," says Storm, "but the energy he brings to the ring is amazing, with the crowd topping out at just a whole different level. I mean, you are in the ring with HOGAN, and it's different from any other match you will ever have."
Kelly asks, no fooling around, what did Storm and Christian think of Funaki's interview skills?
"Amazing," says a deadpan Storm, as Christian can be heard laughing fit to bust in the background.
"If they do that every week," says Storm, "I'm tuning in for sure."
Kelly asks if the transition from Smackdown to Raw, and then having to do the Australian Tour has been too hectic a schedule for the Un-Americans?
"It's great!' says Storm, "I prefer working in front of a live audience. The atmosphere is great too, and I am looking forward to facing Booker T and Goldust at SummerSlam."
On the subject of SummerSlam, Kelly asks if Storm's got any thoughts on the upcoming match at the PPV?
"You just go out there and give it everything you can," says Storm, "whether it's at Raw, or at the PPV. Maybe at the PPV, you can get that little something extra that makes turns the crowd on and makes the effort worthwhile. Physically, we give everything we got every time we go through that curtain."
The Chatroom's hammering Kelly & Dr. Tom, saying that they both talk trash about the Un-Americans when they aren't there, and here they are kissing their ass!
"What a cowardly display for our country!" says one Chatroomer, "You both should be ashamed!"
Well, this sets Dr. Tom off big-time, and he brings up the "Point/Counterpoint " segment he did with Kelly two weeks ago, where he said that the Un-Americans skated right up to the line, but didn't cross it.
"This is the kind of heat you guys are willing to take," says Dr. Tom, "even though there are those who say that it's too heavy an angle for the times right now, I say, look, it's SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT! We are World Wrestling ENTERTAINMENT. That's what we do."
Christian agrees, saying that they always get right to the line, but never over it.
Kelly compares the Un-Americans angle to the trouble Sgt. Slaughter got into back prior to the Gulf War in 1991, siding with Iraq.
"He almost broke up his marriage over that," says Kelly, "has what you are doing caused you all any problems?"
"Keep the character broad enough," says Storm, "and you have no problem. Sgt. Slaughter pigeon-holed himself by being pro-Iraq. Once Iraq was gone, where was his angle? Where was he? We are the Un-Americans. America isn't going anyplace. We are also pro-Canadian, too, so we can take this in any direction we want to."
Kelly asks Christian if the Un-American T-shirts will be hot sellers over at WWE ShopZonedotcom?
Christian isn't sure, but "Let's wait and see."
"If enough people want them," laughs Storm, " they'll make them."
Kelly gets enthused, and says he wants to start a write-in campaign to get the Un-Americans T-shirts into ShopZonedotcom.
Storm says that the overseas sales would be good, but the local sales won't be so hot.
Kelly asks how test has made out as the third member of the Un-Americans?
Storm says Test has a lot of ability, and is a lot more agile than he looks. Also, his upcoming match with the Undertaker should be a good one, a lot better than most people would expect. "A good physical contest between the two," says Storm.
Christian says Test borrowed old tapes from him dealing with big guys like himself, sat down and learned from them, "becoming a sort of student of the game," he concludes, "he should have a great match with the Undertaker."
Kelly asks each of them their most embarrassing moment?
"The Power Ranger underwear on Raw," says Storm without batting an eye.
"Uh, having to see Lance Storm in his underwear," chuckles Christian, recalling that it was just a year ago that he helped Edge beat Lance Storm by using that very maneuver.
Kelly asks their thoughts on Steve Austin?
Storm says that he didn't see it (Austin's departure) coming, but he'd love to see Stone Cold back at some point, although the incident proved that no one is irreplaceable in WWE.
Christian says that he can't give an opinion, in that he never got any indication that there was anything wrong between Austin and the company.
"I don't know where he stands or how he's feeling right now," says Christian.
The Chatroom wants Power Ranger underwear to be available as a set with the Un-American T-shirt over at ShopZone, which gets a laugh from everybody.
"What a combo!" says Kelly.
"I think they will be available at Wal-Mart," says Christian.
Kelly winds things up by asking what they see as the future of Sports Entertainment, good or bad, or both?
"It's an exciting time to be in the business," says Christian," The fans now know where they can expect to see their favorite superstars, and with the rosters in flux like they are, they get to see a lot of the other superstars as well."
Lance Storm says that, right now, they have more guys in the company than ever, and that they are working more shows than ever.
"There are those who look for things that they can say shows that wrestling is on its way out,' says Storm, "what's happening is that it is getting harder and harder for them to find those things to nit-pick over. We are still drawing a lot of people every week.
"Once," he continues, "Vince (McMahon) lost Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart in one week, and I remember thinking 'Oh my God, he's dead! Vince will never recover from losing his two biggest superstars like that!'
"Well, he lost two, but he MADE ten superstars, and the business got bigger than ever. Today, with the roster split, it has opened up the opportunity for other superstars to step up and show they have what it takes to be a champion.
"It has really helped guys like Christian and myself. Just look at Edge, Rey Mysterio, or Brock Lesnar. 'Wrestling is dying?' I don't think so!"
Kelly winds things up by thanking Lance Storm and Christian, wishing them the best of luck at SummerSlam in their Tag Title defense.
Dr. Tom pushes the news about Ohio Valley Wrestling's new facility, the new, improved Davis Arena.
The new facility has risers, water, heat, and everything!
The question is:
Does Eric Bischoff's brand of cross-promotion work, or does it detract from the two brands?
Kelly says that it is okay to promote the opposite show, much in the same manner as is done on Byte This!
Kelly likes the edginess of Raw, and the outstanding wrestling and athleticism on Smackdown.
Dr. Tom says that, though it might be cool to advertise on the opposing show, they can wind up crossing the line at some point.
"Let each show speak for itself," says Dr. Tom, "let's let the wrestlers have the spotlight, and not the General Managers' squabbles over their respective turf. I'd rather see wrestling than no wrestling."
Holy smoke, Sunday is Dr. Tom Prichard's 43rd birthday!
Right on cue, Byte This! producer Matt Duda brings in Dr. Tom's birthday cake, which is decorated with a photo of Dr. Tom from his Body Donna days.
"Could you please lose that picture?" asks Dr. Tom, "I'm beggin' ya,Matt!"
We get a montage of celebrity guests (including Paul Heyman and Stacy Keibler) on the chyron, each one decked out in festive party hat.
Dr. Tom will spend his birthday eve at a "soccer gimmick" in New Jersey with Scotty Too Hotty, and then his birthday at home.
Ah, such selflessness!
Kelly asks if Tazz could bring over some Mexicans to "liven things up?"
Dr. Tom says that Kelly should come over and bring a movie so that everybody can help him review it.
Kelly says thanks, but he does all his best work alone.
Next week should be a treat, as Kelly says we will get to see some of the after-Raw footage from last Monday night, featuring the 'Taker-Roonie! Or not, as it seems the Undertaker escaped before performing said high spot. Kelly asks if they should cut it down, or just let it run, unedited, even though it's some forty minutes in length?
Dr. Tom says why not let it run?
Kelly says he's noticed that a lot of the house shows end with some sort of post-show antics now, and why is that?
Dr. Tom says that it's all part of giving the fans what they want, and having some fun along with it.
He then goes into a LONG reminiscence about his days on the circuit, andf how some of their shows, well, didn't end, even though the audience had got up and gone home.
"Sometimes," he says, "we just kept it all going on the ride back to the hotel, and even into the hotel. A few drinks, ordering food, somebody gets tossed into a shower, then the fire alarm goes off..."
Kelly says that Howard Finkel is now "persona non grata" at Byte This!, at least until he makes a full and abject apology for what he did tossing Lilian Garcia to Island Boys Rosie and Jamal.
"Maybe we can get him on the show next week," says Dr. Tom, "and drag it out of him?"
"Good idea," says Kelly.
The "Outwit the Twit" segment is on hold as well, as the Twit has "gone to Cambridge, Massachusetts."
"The Twit will be back next week," says Kelly, "rested and ready to go, after immersing himself in learning."
However, Kevin Kelly himself will be gone next week.
He's having his hernia repaired.
Jonathan Coachman will be sitting in for him.
We close the show with a video from 1991's (?) SummerSlam featuring Sgt. Slaughter and the Iron Sheik in tag action against Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior.
Hey, is that Sid Vicious as the referee?
Aw, who cares?
Just listen to Gorilla Monsoon and the incomparable Bobby "The Brain" Heenan call the play-by-play.
Now, THAT'S showmanship!
Next week's guests on Byte This! are scheduled to be Shawn Michaels and HHH.
I'll see you then.
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