|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer||
This is the WWE Byte This! report for Friday, 18 October 2002, and I'm ol' "Extra Crispy."
Prior to the
we get a montage from the last act of yesterday's Smackdown, where the Undertaker saves Stephanie McMahon from being mashed to a fine slush by WWE Champ Brock Lesnar.
We get a tour-de-force performance from Paul Heyman.
Jeez, this guy can act.
HE can also take a bump. That's one mean-looking blade job he's got there, with a crimson mask that would make Ric Flair envious.
By the way, say what you want, Tazz and Michael Cole are now the First Team commentators now. JR and Jerry are most definitely the second string.
We join hosts Kevin Kelly and Dr. Tom Prichard live in the Byte This! studios in Stamford, CT.
More audio trouble as Byte This! Audio Techie Chris Vallo is still busy plugging things in. Dr. Tom comments on the Internet's comments last week about the show's near continuous "Usual Technical Difficulties," and laughing them off as "an integral part of our show."
Yes, Mr. Prichard, with that kind of an outlook on the product you are presenting to the fans each week, I can see why they took the word "professional" out of "professional wrestling."
Spend the money and fix the problem, please.
Off we go, as Kelly wants to know Dr. Tom's take on the Tough Enough 3 opener?
Dr. Tom says that TE3 contestant Wendell "had WAY too much unnecessary drama in his life, and that it was time for him to get a clue. Al Snow sure did the correct thing by giving Wendell the boot right off the bat."
Kelly says we can check out toughenough.com for the latest poop on the new season.
Next topic is about next week's show, because they are taking Byte This! back to WWE's "The World" on Times Square in Manhattan, and that the guests will include Raw GM Eric Bischoff, Steve O from MTV's "Jackass," and (wonder of wonders!) Mick freakin' FOLEY!
Time for Droz's Two Cents, Darren Drozdov's weekly take on all things Raw.
Kelly asks if Droz survived the Nor'easter this past week?
Droz says yes, they got an inch of badly needed rain out of it.
Kelly moves right on to Droz's predictions for No Mercy.
Droz says that Undertaker's got his work cut out for him against Brock Lesnar. As for 'Taker wearing the cast in the ring, Droz says that Lesnar was the one who put 'Taker's hand in the cast, and that Stephanie McMahon made the right decision in allowing 'Taker to wear the cast into Hell In a Cell. Also, that Paul Heyman was responsible for Stephanie making the decision as she did when he was ranting and raving about 'Taker wearing the cast in the ring.
"I get the feeling that Stephanie may have been leaning towards banning the cast, just as Heyman wanted," says Droz, "but Heyman had to open his big fat mouth and ruin everything!"
Dr. Tom thinks that 'Taker wearing a cast, and walking into a "Hell In A Cell" match may not be such a good idea.
"The cast becomes a focal point for Lesnar's attack," says Dr. Tom, "I don't see it being used as a weapon so much as being a target."
Kelly asks Droz about his football days, when an opposing lineman wore a cast.
"Didn't you feel that the cast was a huge club the guy could use to beat you into the ground?" asks Kelly.
"In football, when the trainers wrap up a cast," says Droz, "they wrap it in layer after protective layer of gauze and padding. What they are doing is making your forearm into a club to whack people with! And let me tell you, if you get hit with that thing, you feel it for days afterwards!"
(Chyron shows ol' "Deadman Inc." a-perpetratin' a cell phone call.)
At this point, Kelly breaks continuity of this segment to tell some Chatroom knucklehead to "stop ranting on about my shirt! If you don't like it, you can leave, and if you do like it, well, you can leave, too!"
"Yeah," crows Dr. Tom, "THAT'S the right attitude. That's the way to deal with these people!"
"I'm getting' sick of this," says Kelly, "it's Friday, 'Casual Friday,' see, and I want to sit here, be comfortable, and enjoy myself talking about wrestling!"
Kelly returns to Droz's Two Cents by asking Droz who he thinks will win the "Winner Take All" bout between Kane and HHH?
Droz is backing Kane, because Kane is "fired up" (pardon the unintentional pun) over the comments that HHH said regarding Kane's past life.
"Kane's lived his own life," says Droz, "so he already knows what he's done, if anything. For HHH to start spouting this innuendo about Kane murdering this woman will definitely play against HHH. Well, look what happened. Kane came into the ring Monday night and just cleaned house on everybody, so I can expect we may see Kane walk out of that ring Sunday as the new Heavyweight Champ."
Kelly says that HHH overplayed his hand at the wrong time in this scenario with Kane.
Dr. Tom agrees, saying that it is time for all the "Kane-inites" out there to get behind the Big Red Machine on this and show their support.
"I gotta believe that this may be one of those matches where both Kane and HHH are gonna leave it battered and bruised," he says.
Some bright member of the Chatroom asks how Undertaker got cleared to wrestle medically, if he's got a broken hand?
"I can answer that," says Kelly, "In a word, MONEY. There's too much money invested in this match for the doctors to sideline 'Taker and maybe cancel the Main Event of a PPV. No way in hell the Undertaker is pulled from a Main Event with this much money invested. What happens is, you suck it up and go out there and give your all. This is the business we are in."
Note to 'Tough Enough' contestants, " say Dr. Tom, "please remember this as regards your choice of career."
Speaking of TE 3, Droz says that he missed the show because his Maryland "Terps" were on. He says he will catch the repeat this Sunday prior to the PPV.
Kelly says not to worry, because you can bet MTV will show that clip over and over and over again.
Dr. Tom says he still can't believe Wendell actually tried to work, of all people, Al Snow!
"Who is this guy trying to kid?" asks Dr. Tom, "certainly not Al Snow. Al is the wrong guy to be trying this sort of nonsense out on! There's time for boot camp, and there's time for working on people. You gotta see this show, Droz!"
Droz says he will, and leaves the show.
Kelly spends the next five minutes shilling for "Droz's Two Cents" column over at WWEdotcom, along with the latest Ross Report. He also says that next week's Byte This! show starts at 5 PM, rather than 4 PM like usual. Maybe the later start time means The World will be packed with cheery, boozed up fans. My kind of place.
We take a break while Tazz is located, and Kelly wonders what it would be like to be on the "Jackass" show as a performer.
Dr. Tom wants to know if Kelly wants to duplicate Steve-O's trick of being the "human urinal?"
Kelly is less than enthused about that prospect.
Whoops, Tazz appears to be on his way to Arkansas, so he won't be on today's show.
On the phone is Rich from Ontario, Canada, a regular caller, who is looking forward to WWE showing up in Hamilton.
Rich said that the Bret Hart anthology rubbed him the wrong way, in that it showed that Vince & Co. screwed Bret Hart in front of the Canadian fans.
Rich then predicts that Lesnar will win Hell In A Cell, but only because Undertaker has so much emotional baggage that he's bringing to the bout.
As Rich leaves, Dr.Tom wonders who will be refereeing Hell In A Cell, since Tim White got his shoulder separated and worse the last time this bout was presented.
Dr. Tom also says that Lesnar has no idea what he's getting into in this brutal type of a match.
A Chatroomer asks if there is truth to the rumor currently making the rounds on the 'Net that less that 4000 tickets have been sold for "No Mercy?"
Kelly says it's not true that there's such a thing as "comps," and other types of sales, which confuses me since I thought the word "comp" meant "complimentary," i.e. "not paid for." He also says that Little Rock is known for a good "walk-up gate" before showtime, so there won't be any trouble filling the arena, no sir. Dr. Tom and Kelly do a bit involving the Clintons (who?) as we take a quick break with footage from Monday's Raw, where Eric Bischoff got to "honor" former IC Title Champion Pat Patterson.
(I bet Chris Hyatte had a party in his heart when Patterson climbed into the ring.)
Can you say "Three Minute Rule?"
But Rosey & Jamal did.
So did Jerry Brisco.
Pat did, too, and got a shoulder separation out of this skit as an unlooked-for bonus.
Does this mean the "Stooge Torch" was passed from Brisco & Patterson to Rosey & Jamal, on Monday's Raw?
"Bastards!" says Kelly.
Live on the phone is WWE Diva #1 Contender for the WWE Women's Title, Victoria, and, sure enough, the Guy From Syracuse calls into the Chatroom to ask if Victoria's "shaved... down under?"
"I don't know if she's ever been to Australia," says Kelly.
Victoria's excited about being on her first WWE PPV, and thanks Kelly and Dr. Tom for their help.
Kelly wants to know what the one thing Victoria wants to take away from no Mercy, besides the Women's Title?
"That the fans appreciate the strides the Women's Division has made recently, "she says, "and how hard we have worked to get it there. It is becoming so intense, so brutal, and it has been showing in our matches. We really are trying to beat each other silly."
Kelly remarks that the match between Victoria and Women's champ Trish Stratus on last Monday's Raw show was as realistic a fight as he's ever seen.
"No cat-fighting, no HLA," says Kelly, "just a solid wrestling match with great intensity. It transcends the work that we usually see out of the Women's Division."
Dr. Tom wants to know how cool it would be for Victoria to win the Women's Championship?
"If I get the belt from Trish," says Victoria, "I'd be so honored. It means that much to me. You are right about the intensity going through the roof, too."
Kelly compares Victoria's ring style to that of Chyna, and mentions that it was a conversation with Chyna that got Victoria started in the business.
Victoria confirms this, saying that Chyna and she met at the gym, and that Chyna and Ivory have been great influences on her career.
Dr. Tom remarks that Victoria's first appearance in WWE was not as a wrestler, but as one of the Godfather's "Ho's."
Victoria laughs, and says yes, she was in wrestling school in UPW on the West Coast. WWE had a casting call for the Godfather's entourage, and she tried out and got the part. She even got to take a bump by being put through a table by Stevie Richards.
Kelly says he still winces every time he thinks about it, the bump she took was that stiff.
"I thought you were dead," says Kelly.
Kelly then wants to know more about how catty the world of fitness modeling is?
Victoria says that the fitness model business is very cutthroat, and that, when she got her "professional card" in her very first fitness competition, a lot of her competitors got very catty about her supposed "good luck."
Kelly says, " you had the camaraderie as long as you weren't a threat, huh?"
"I think I'm too trusting," says Victoria, "but, that was my last fitness competition. I got my card, and that was that."
Kelly wonders if there is the same level of catty-ness in the WWE locker room that Victoria experienced in the fitness wars?
"You are really looking to get my butt kicked the next time I walk in that locker room, aren't you, Kevin?" laughs Victoria. "At first, when I was one of the Godfather's Ho's, the respect factor I got from the Women's locker room wasn't very high. But, after I went through the developmental program, and started honing my skills and building a style, then I started getting the respect. The locker room has changed from what it was just six months ago. It's just awesome. It's like a slumber party with friends in there..."
"What!?" hollers Kelly, dropping his clipboard
"Hoo-hah!" crows Dr. Tom, sitting up straight for once.
"Okay, let's let THAT thought work on your imaginations, okay?" laughs Victoria.
The Chatroom congratulates Victoria, saying that, being both strong and feminine, she is the one who will make more women fans tune in to watch the Women's Division.
The Chatroom also wants to know if Victoria's up for doing a Playboy shoot?
"You never know," says Victoria, "If WWE wants me to do that, well, I am very open-minded, and proud of my physique. It's nothing out of my future. But only after the "WWE Divas in Arizona" magazine comes out."
Dr. Tom adds that the photo shoot for that issue was just brutal, "all that sun and fun..."
"There, there, Dr. Tom," laughs Victoria.
"Gee," says Kelly, " and we had all this great cold, wet weather up here in the Northeast while all that was going on, too."
"Hey, it's tough trying not to sweat and keep your makeup from running," says Victoria.
Kelly remarks that Victoria is the first female graduate from the WWE Developmental program.
Having started with UPW on the West Coast, she moved first to Memphis as Jim Ross' request, and then to OVW in Louisville, then to HWA in Cincinnati, then back to OVW once more.
Victoria says that when she first got to OVW, she went straight into a twelve-minute match, her very first. She got looped into an angle called the "Revolution" that included Doug Basham among others. From there, she got called up to WWE as a heel, and the rest is history.
Kelly wants to know Victoria's feelings on where the Women's Division is headed?
Victoria says that the level of intensity in the Division is climbing, and that it is going to get a lot more physical, and not just in the hair-pulling, rolling around on the mat kind of physical.
"We want the bouts to look more like the men's bouts, that level of physicality and intensity," she says. "'Tomboys in High Heels' is what we are looking for."
Kelly thanks Victoria for being on the show, and wishes her luck at No Mercy.
As Victoria leaves, Kelly and Dr. Tom get just too ecstatic over the Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie "Winner Gets Al Wilson" match at No Mercy.
Kelly wants to know what kind of fashion statement Torrie's dad was making, showering with a (lusciously) "naked" Dawn Marie while still wearing his street clothes?
"We-e-e-ll, I've never showered with a naked woman in MY street clothes, ever," say Dr. Tom, "so maybe ol' Les Thatcher there needs a little advice!"
"That was NOT Les Thatcher and you know it!" says Kelly, "and then, just who do you think Al Wilson will be cheering for? His daughter Torrie, or the woman he's..."
Fortunately for us all, live on the phone at this time is the Big Red Machine himself, Kane.
Kelly asks how Kane is preparing for No Mercy?
Kane says that every opportunity he gets for a run at a Title is a reason to crank things up another notch, and that's what he's doing for No Mercy.
Kelly recounts Kane's short-lived World Title run in 1998 after winning King of the Ring, and other incidents from his career.
"What does it mean that you will walk in for the final time as the Intercontinental Champion?" asks Kelly.
"A lot of talented performers have won that IC Title belt," says Kane, "I just hope I can do them all possible honor in retiring it when I get into the ring Sunday."
Kelly asks about the whole "Katie Vick" incident, and how hard it was for Kane to explain things when the Montreal crowd was giving him no help at all?
Kane says that the whole thing is just an attempt by HHH to get inside his head before their bout at No Mercy. As for the fans, well, they heard what they wanted to hear. Or not, as the case may be.
Dr. Tom says the Chatroom wants to know if there is going to be more between Kane and Terri?
Kane says that he hasn't had much luck with women, so he doesn't know.
(Jeez, the poor guy must be awfully, ummm, "uncomfortable" of late. Just when was it that Tori left the WWE? Wow, that long ago? Ouch!))
Kelly gets into the whole "Kane as a Murderer" angle itself, saying that some fans out there want to see wrestling, pure and simple, without the back story, while others want the background story line as well, that it humanizes the stars.
Kane says that he's somewhere in the middle on this. He wants the wrestling, but that he realizes that the sport draws people through both the wrestling and the storylines.
"We are a hybrid sport," says Kane, "that's why its called 'sports entertainment'."
"What about changes in character styling?" asks Dr. Tom, "such as you being able to talk clearly instead of using a voice box?"
"Being able to speak really added new dimension to my character," says Kane, "I think it fleshes out my character, making it seem more human, more expressive. In a way, it also makes it scarier, because the fans see the human and the monster inhabit the same body."
(Chyron shows action from Kane's Tag Title match on last Monday's Raw.)
In response to a question from Kelly, Kane says that he loves going out in the ring, and that his career of just five years has been a great ride.
"Take that show in Montreal we just did," says Kane, "waiting backstage and then going through the curtains, and getting that huge roar from the fans, it's a real rush."
Dr. Tom observes that Kane's former partner Paul Bearer had just left WWE.
Kane says that he learned a lot from Paul Bearer, that he was somewhat of a father figure to Kane.
Kelly observes the parallels between the lives of Kane and the Undertaker seem to be intertwined, with skeletons from the past being dragged up by their respective opponents.
Kane laughs and says that Brock Lesnar is going to be dragged to places he never knew existed. Dark, evil places. Places where the Undertaker has been many times before. "That's 'Taker's REAL yard, that Hell In A Cell match," says Kane, "Both our matches should be a warning to people that maybe things shouldn't be dredged up from our past. Let the past remain buried, so to speak."
"Any chance of you getting a Christmas card from Pete Rose this year, Kane?" laughs Kelly.
"I don't know," laughs Kane, "but what I said before still holds. Pete Rose will get into the Wrestling Hall of Fame before he gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame."
This cracks everybody up.
"How ya liking that new mask of yours?" asks Dr. Tom.
"Just great," says Kane, "I can breathe a lot better. I can also have more facial expressions, and be more emotional."
The Chatroom wants to know if Kane ever plans to take off the mask for good?
"No," says Kane, "the mask is an integral part of the character. Losing it means the character would have to be changed drastically in order to maintain the same impact with the fans."
Kelly wants to know what Kane was thinking and feeling during the recent TLC match?
Kane says he was more concerned for the other wrestlers' safety, like when Chris Jericho too the header off the ladder, and went flying over the top rope and landed head-first on the steel steps.
"I thought he'd killed himself," says Kane, "I really did. When I saw him moving afterwards, I was relieved he wasn't hurt badly. As of myself, what stands out in my mind are the number of "Oohs" and "Aahs" we got from the crowd. I thought, man, we must be really wowing them tonight. After the match, there is relief and elation. Just a lot of the people in the back coming up and saying how great the match was. The next day, well, there's not a lot of action, because you can't move at all, you are that sore. Jericho wasn't on Raw this week. Bubba Ray had a Grade Three concussion so bad he didn't know where he was. Jeff Hardy...Jeff doesn't care, because he does that sort of thing every week. Spike Dudley amazes me with the amount of punishment he can withstand,
Rob Van Dam's like a rubber band, he just snaps right back. But we were all pretty sore nonetheless."
Dr. Tom wants to know how Kane's biceps injury held up to the TLC match?
Kane says that the biceps hasn't bothered him since his return, that it is as strong as his other arm.
Kelly asks if Kane's cardio work has him prepared for going the possible twenty minutes or more that one usually sees in World Title Championship matches?
"Oh yeah," says Kane, "I'm ready, all right. I have no illusions about how tough the match will be."
Dr. Tom observes that some fans were saying that the Kane that returned from the biceps injury wasn't the same Kane as before, that maybe this Kane was an impostor.
"I have joined the ranks of those select few wrestlers," laughs Kane, "Ultimate Warrior being one, who the fans have sworn were impostors. I take it as a compliment that I have managed to change my physique so well that fans see me as a different person."
"One thing that I had a problem with the old Kane costume was that it covered nearly all my body. I'd lose weight, but the fans couldn't see it, because the size of the suit wouldn't change. Because of this, the suit would make me look taller. So I tried various other types of costume to prove that I'd lost the body fat but maintained the same muscularity. The new costume makes me look lighter, more athletic."
Kelly interrupts by asking if that's the same thing as the "Dr. Tom Prichard Hair Look," and all the changes and permutations that it has gone through?
Which, of course, brings us a two-minute chyron retrospective on just that subject.
(Yow, there's pics of Vince McMahon in a cowboy hat, one of the Bushwhackers, and Everybody's Favorite Manager, Sunny!)
Onward to topics of lighter faire.
Kane is, of course, The True Cyber Athlete of WWE, and has been trying out his new X-Box. He's currently doing the "Max Payne" game to death. He's also competing with Stevie Richards in "Madden NFL 2K3.'
"Booker T fancies himself a bit of a cyber athlete, too, Kane," says Kelly.
"Ah, he's not in MY league," laughs Kane.
Kelly asks what the mindset of the Raw athletes is, seeing as how Smackdown seems to be to more successful of the two brands?
"No, there's no bad morale on Raw," says Kane, "just look a the matches we've had. The TLC match, the Title changes, the Women's Division, and last week's show is really tremendous. We've turned a corner on Raw, and the Smackdown boys had better look out."
Caller Melanie asks a question that gets drowned out by feedback, but Kane understands at least part of it, saying that he hasn't been disappointed in his partnering with Hurricane.
Kelly asks if Kane does a lot of mental preparation before each match?
"Absolutely," says Kane, "Ninety percent is mental preparation, which guides the physical preparation you do all week for that match."
Kelly asks if we will be learning more of Kane's relationship with Katie Vick?
There's along silence, after which Kane says that the gave his side of the story, and that he expects HHH will put his spin on the tale.
Kelly says that, despite a lot of the fans saying they didn't like the soap opera stuff, the "Kane Explanation" segment on Monday's Raw was the highest rated segment of the whole show.
"So SOME-body must have liked it," says Kelly.
Dr. Tom says that No Mercy may see Kane as the new World Heavyweight Champ, and that HHH may learn a lesson about stooging something like that off on somebody's life, that maybe he better not try that again.
Kelly asks what memories Kane takes from past Champions?
"Ric Flair, Harley Race, the great matches they've had," says Kane, "knowing that the World Champ was coming to town, and that the Champ was Ric Flair, that dominated my thinking back then."
Kelly thanks Kane for being on the show, and Kane leaves.
Kelly then asks Dr. Tom if the "Katie Vick" angle will have any bad effect on Kane's career and legacy?
Dr. Tom says that Kane's career spans from his first days as Undertaker's horribly disfigured brother, discovered and managed by Paul Bearer, to today, and that his legacy is built on that. As for the effect the Katie Vick accusations have on it long-term, well, that remains to be seen.
"When this whole Katie Vick thing showed up," says Dr. Tom, "Mentally, I just cringed, and wondered where this angle was going end up. It's three weeks later now, and the angle seems to be taking on a life of it's own. Sunday's match is the crucial piece of the puzzle."
"Yes," agrees Kelly, "winning the match and becoming the Heavyweight Champion is something that Kane will have the rest of his life, no matter what happens with this "Katie Vick" thing. The fans remember his 24-hour reign as WWE Champion after becoming King of the Ring in 1998. When all is said and done, Kane beat Stone Cold Steve Austin, and became the Champ. It goes back to writing and wrestling. If the writing is no good, people will poop on it. If the wrestling is no good, people will poop on that, too! When both are done well, you hit it right on the money. Name one other sport where that is the expected norm week in and week out!"
Today's trivia question is, who did the Undertaker throw off the top of the Hell In A Cell in 1998?
Send your answer in to email@example.com. The prize is two tickets to Lilian Garcia's concert at The World next week.
Uh, I think I'll let one of you fans win this time.
Kelly and Dr. Tom shill for next week's show once more, emphasizing that tickets for this year's Survivor Series at Madison Square Garden will be offered for the first time on next week's show.
Live on the phone is Jonathan Coachman, who is down in Texas at Bradshaw's golf tournament.
Or not, as Byte This! Phone guy Chris Vallo is still having trouble with the phones.
Whoops, here he is.
Coach is in the middle of a downpour which is jeopardizing the tournament, but not the party later on tonight.
Coach says they are raising a ton of cash in this tournament, all of it going to "Make-A-Wish Foundation." Vince McMahon has offered to match, dollar for dollar, the cash that Bradshaw raises with the tourney.
Kelly asks if Texas is in mourning over the loss to Oklahoma?
Coach says that there isn't a whole lot of the usual Texas god ol' boy stuff.
Kelly asks if Coach is going to catch any flak for the notorious "Forklift Incident" on Raw?
Coach laughs, and says that the production truck makes an awfully comfortable hideout.
With that, Coach leaves the show.
No guesses yet in the trivia contest, though somebody must know the answer.
One more time through the Shill Mill for next week's Byte This!, Sunday's No Mercy PPV, and Maxim Hair Color, (Matt Duda's favorite.)
The chyron shows some pics from "Tough Enough 3" as we close the show.
See you next week.
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