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Pillman Memorial


Guest columnist: Britain W.


or, The Smash Brothers Mark Out

Your hosts:
Pedro (driver, "Detroit Bad Boys" bootleg basketball t-shirt, nWo cap, and cheapo "SPORTS" blue-blocker sunglasses)

Sledge (perfesser, DX "SUCK IT" shirt from Value Village)

Bee La-Rock (money mark, $2.00 black and gold-sparkle Ultimate Warrior t-shirt from the "T HIRT SHOP" in Southland Mall, Taylor, MI)

11:30am, home: departed for Cincinnati, OH.
Anticipating 4.5 hour drive and some breaks.
Not anticipating torrential downpours in northern Ohio. Yeesh!

12:15pm, Speedway truckstop, Blissfield, MI
Cashier: "I like your t-shirt. Haven't seen that guy in a while."

3:06pm, I-75 north of Sidney, OH:
Local pop station 96.7's drivetime jockey starts his show with WELL IT'S THE BIG SHOW

3:45pm, Dollar Tree, Sidney, OH:
Purchase 3 sheets of poster board & a blue bingo marker, $2.00.

4:30pm, I-75 coming out of Dayton:
We call the HWA hotline for last-minute update. It proclaims MECW dead before it even begins, per Tracy Smothers. They also promise "Booking on the Fly" for tonight's show, as injuries (Booker T, X-Pac, Stretching Crew) cancel some matches and force last-minute revamps of others. Damn, Brock Lesnar is out! I was looking forward to finally witnessing this 300-pound man who can land a moonsault! I mean, besides Hugh Morrus.

5:10 pm: merging onto I-275 W to a great oldschool hiphop dj mix on 92.1. Ugh, rush hour...
Pedro: "What if we're late and there's a horrible accident and I never get a chance to see the Surfer Boy Cody Hawk?!"
B: "Then we go to the Cody Hawk Memorial Show next year. Remain calm."

5:45ish: We arrive at Oak Hills High School. Upon entry, we see the Hardy Boys & Lita, Edge & Christian, and DDP doing photo ops. Sign says "$10.00 -- your ticket entitles you to one photo with our camera or yours."
We pick Edge & Christian. Only when we get to the head of the line do we discover they mean you have to buy a ticket for the photo op itself from somebody... who is gone by now, because the matches are underway.

The whole time, William Regal has been standing outside the makeshift photo-op barricade, posing for stern-faced photos and signing whatever is thrust at him, gratis. He's the real people's champion. If I'd bought that Raw magazine during our driving break at the Flying J Truck Stop in Beaver Dam, OH, I'd have just gone after him.

We enter the arena just in time to catch the end of the J.R. RYDER (ECWA) vs. "THE PRINCIPAL" RICHARD POUND (Stampede Wrestling) match.
J.R. pins Pound immediately following one wag's shout of "Principal needs a rest hold!"

Collyer with a german suplex to pin... after kicking out of a pin immediately following a painful-looking double underhook piledriver.

LANCE CADE & "THE SURFER" CODY HAWK (HWA, entrance music: "Walking on the Sun" by Smashmouth) vs. THE ISLAND BOYS (O.G. Ekmo & Kimo, HWA)
Cade and Hawk: Pale White Guys In Dark Black Trunks.
"Hey, it's Hugh Morrus!" -- no, just Ekmo, who indeed bears a vague resemblance to the Laughin' Man when Morrus lets his hair down. "Kimo's Sexy," or so the chant goes. Ekmo missed a top-rope splash, setting him up for a double team clothesline to pin, but they got their heat back after the bell -- Ekmo knocked down Cade and splashed him, and the crowd went nuts. "ONE MORE TIME" chant leads to Cody Hawk taking the top-rope splash, and a "HIT THE REF" chant gets a Rikishidriver on the ref.
Ekmo is Rikishi's brother, right?

RANDY ORTON (OVW, entrance: "Breathe" by the Prodigy) vs. PROTOTYPE (OVW, entrance: Limp Bizkit's "Mission: Impossible" theme)
Prototype has bleached-blond hair and a good heel persona -- during his ring entrance, he wiped sweat off his brow and shook his hand off on a front-row couple in matching "SURF STYLE" windbreakers (his mom and dad?). Proto offered Orton a handshake early on, then slapped Orton when he went in for the shake. He got slapped back... Prototype despised the crowd, and vice versa. Near the end of the match, Orton called out "FULL-NELSON!" His immediate attempt was blocked, but the second time was a charm -- full-nelson slam to pin Prototype.

THE A SQUAD (Chet & Dean Jablonski, with Brock Guffman; HWA tag champs) vs. MIKE THUG LIFE & DAMAJA

Chet and Dean look like amateur ("respectable") wrestlers. Brock Guffman, their manager, looks like a junior-high soccer coach. He cut a promo on the "uneducated" audience, singing the praises of the GED and demanding "some respect -- I may be your father." Guffman ran down scheduled opponents the Minnesota Stretching Crew for not even showing up despite injuries and was interrupted by Mike Thug Life & Damaja. The crowd poked fun at the Squad the entire match, chanting "Dean Douglas" and telling Chet "hey, your face is all red." My personal highlight was when Thug Life had Chet in a headlock on the floor -- Dean turned to the crowd, pointed, and shouted "he's CHOKING him!" to little sympathy. Thug Life did this tumbling thing and came out of the roll with Dean pinned for the 1-2-3. New champions... I think.

HAAS BROTHERS (Charlie & Russ, HWA, entrance: "TNT" by AC/DC) vs. STEVE BRADLEY (HWA) & ROLE MODEL RICO CONSTANTINO (with Kenny "the King" Bolin, OVW, entrance: "Last Resort" by Papa Roach)
Bolin identifies himself as president of "Bolin Services" (points to "BS" on his jacket and briefcase) and identifies Rico Constantino as a former champion on American Gladiators. Rico wears red and blue tights and a curly brown Billy Ray Cyrus mullet, which is the focal point of the crowd's taunting. The Haas Brothers finished off Steve Bradley with a Wassup-styled flying-elbow to the crotch. There was a briefcase shot in there somewhere too, big surprise.

After about a ten-minute intermission...

Ring Announcer Steven DeAngelis (ex-ECW) introduces Ring Announcer Dave Penzer (ex-WCW). Penzer introduces HWA head honcho Les Thatcher.

Thatcher gives props to WWF staff, local media, volunteers, wrestlers, donors, and announces Chris Benoit's rehab schedule prevented him from appearing at tonight's event after all. :(
Thatcher introduces Mark Curtis' widow (escorted by Dean Malenko).
Thatcher assures her that Curtis will always be the head referee of the Pillman Shows. Thatcher then introduces William Regal and presents him with a "Match of the Year" plaque for last year's Pillman main event -- Benoit will receive one too.
Regal says that once Benoit couldn't make it, he bowed out of this year's main event in respect to Benoit and presents Thatcher with a plaque of his own. He also offers a gift that he and Malenko chipped in on -- "a time-share in Beirut."

Thatcher introduces Special Guest Referee Ricky Steamboat, who says a few words -- Steamboat's hair is greying but he's still in great shape. Very cool. Thatcher introduces Melanie Pillman and family, then calls all the participants to surround the ring area for a 10-bell salute to Brian and all other departed wrestlers, and a moment of silence.

Miss Sarah Douglas sings the Star Spangled Banner -- sadly, the flag on the arena wall is not illuminated, but I feel like a jerk for pointing that out and keep my mouth shut.

Steven DeAngelis introduces our Special Guest Ring Announcer, "Spamboy," from WEBN. Spamboy reminds us all about the WEBN fireworks on Sunday night, 9:05, at... somewhere, then introduces our participants for the next match:

HWA CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE FOUR CORNERS MATCH: SHARK BOY(w/ fantastic perma-grin mask) vs. CHAD COLLYER (in black-and-white trunks now) vs. MATT STRYKER (w/Helena Heavenly, he looks like a pumped Carson Daly) vs. defending champ PEPPER PARKS (w/ Brock Guffman)

Pepper Parks -- poor bastard. He's got pigtails, daisy-yellow "CHEER SPIRIT" tights, and he does that cheerleader raise-your-hands-up-and- twiddle-your-fingers thing. As if that wasn't bad enough, Guffman takes a minute on the mike to defend Pepper's masculinity, which causes the Kwee Wee Effect X 10. The match -- filled full of highspots. Sharkboy gets a ten-punch in the corner: punches nine times, and headbutts with his "shark mouth" for the ten. A chain reaction of painful-looking highspots & Guffman interference led to Stryker hitting a jawbreaker kind of thing on Parks for the pin... and the belt!

HWA HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: NICK DINSMORE (OVW) vs. RACE STEELE (defending champ) Race Steele is a hated heel, as evidenced by the frequent "RACE STEELE SUCKS" chant, and by the "wow, great first two minutes, let's shake hands" ploy. Of course it works again! After some horseplay in one corner, THE REFEREE HAS BEEN KNOCKED OUT! Steele seizes the opportunity to clock Dinsmore with the title belt and then wakes up the ref. The ref gets to a two-count, then sees the belt lying next to Dinsmore, stops, and questions Steele. Dinsmore sneaks up behind Steele and hits a German suplex to pin. New champ!

Intermission -- Auction goods are hawked and my brother gets a photo with David Penzer and his "SUCK IT PENZER" sign. Wow, Penzer's a sport!

PILLMAN '01 LEGENDS MATCH: TERRY TAYLOR (the Red Rooster's theme is "Blue Monday" -- the Orgy version) VS. "BEAUTIFUL" BOBBY EATON (w/ Jim Cornette)
Cornette runs down the crowd, congratulates Eaton on his "29th birthday," and threatens to "get physical" with referee Ricky Steamboat. Terry Taylor enters and acknowledges the "Rooster" chant with some quick neck action. The finish: Cornette tries to hit Steamboat from ringside, but Steamboat ducks, grabs the racket, and "accidentally" clocks Eaton with it. Steamboat elbows Cornette off the apron and counts Taylor's pin. Post-match, Cornette slaps Eaton for "losing in front of all these people," but begs for a hug and makes up with him.

NWA HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: STEVE "OLD SCHOOL" CORINO (C) VS. DAVID FLAIR (in actual trunks and pads, with brown hair and actual muscles, entrance: "When Worlds Collide" by Powerman 5K)
Corino teases Flair about "stinking up Nitro approximately 52,000 times," and trumpets his possesion of the NWA title, "the thing your dad cared about most in the world, even more than the 200 kids he made." David finally snaps and the match is on! David actually does moves now! Suplexes and stuff! He tends to favor the knife-edge chops and the accompanying "WHOO!" from the audience (I can almost hear Ric watching this and saying "thash my boy"), but busts out a moonsault from the first turnbuckle, which naturally misses. A male heckler tells Corino to try lifting weights -- Corino stops to tell him to "siddown, bitch," then comes back soon after to add "You could never beat ME." After the third or so give-and-take-chest-chop-a-thon, a series of rollup reversals ends with Corino scoring the pin on Flair.

WOMEN'S MATCH: LITA (WWF) vs. VICTORIA (OVW, entrance: Bjork's "Army of Me")
Damn, Victoria is pumped! She's in black trunks, pads, and sports bra and doesn't look like the "Save Me" ho from last summer's Godfather turn. She knocks Lita's doorag off her head and throws it to the crowd. Tide turns when Victoria misses a moonsault -- Lita hits the Twist of Fate for the pin.

EVAN KARAGIAS (w/Missy Hyatt) vs. CHRIS CANDIDO (w/Tammy, wearing Terry Funk Tights)
This was originally X-Pac vs. Kidman, then X-Pac vs. Kidman vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Candido. Missy is wearing very little under her transparent dressing gown and is the target of sleazy chants from guys in our section. She was a good sport about all the "TUNA" shouts.
Highlights: Candido gets EK in a suplex and walks in a circle before bringing him down, Tammy jumps off the third turnbuckle onto Karagias on ring floor ("SHE'S HARDCORE!" chant). Match is over when Karagias hits a 450 splash onto a fallen Candido, who makes like Old Faithful with the spit and is "knocked out." Evan gets the pin! Post-bell, Tammy & Missy revive Candido, who makes all loopy.
Missy and Tammy tease a chest flash to the loudest side of the arena, but ultimately flash their thongs instead. Still "recovering," Candido moons the crowd alongside them. They exit together.

Pre-match, Henry gets the mike: "You'll never do what I've done, you'll never have what I have, but there's one thing you'll always be: my trick." After a couple of stiff minutes, Morrus exits the ring, grabs the stick, and says "You keep it up, this is liable to turn into another kind of event." Hmm! Morrus goes up top for No Laughing Matter -- nobody home. He gets up and eats a Chocolate superkick. Henry gets the pin! Post-match: the two shake hands. Awww. Hugh parts the ropes, Henry takes a victory lap, and Les Thatcher enters and encourages a hand for Morrus.

Some guy won a Pillman memorial champion belt signed by everyone, another guy won a Warhol-esque Pillman portrait art print signed by everyone.
A record crowd means a record total: $41,000 for the Pillman family. Penzer thanks fans for coming tonight, cracks that this is a higher attendance than the final Cinci-area Nitro taping, and turns the mike over to Steven DeAngelis for the final two matches.

DeAngelis introduces the next match's Special Ref:
Bill Alphonso, entering the ring area to "Walk" by Pantera and receiving "Fonzie" chants.

INVASION MATCH: PERRY SATURN & DEAN MALENKO (with no Moppy -- did something happen on Smackdown? -- and the Pillman kids taking a victory lap) vs. RAVEN & JUSTIN CREDIBLE
Fun match -- several amusing double-team spots, as well as a group headlock. Raven endured "JOHNNY POLO" and "SCOTTY FLAMINGO" chants, and Justin Credible weathered "WHERE'S MY JOCKSTRAP?" Dean almost gets Raven into the Texas Cloverleaf. Justin Credible interferes, but Dean manages to lock it onto Credible! Credible taps!

Post bell, Malenko gets the mike. "This is a bit off-the-cuff..." but he's going to be retiring from in-ring action soon. He's not leaving the business, but this is one of his last, if not his last, match, and he wanted to say thank you. The crowd gets up and chants "DEAN! DEAN! DEAN!" and "PLEASE DON'T GO!" Thatcher comes in, registering shock, and thanks him for his years of good work or something to that effect.

EDGE AND CHRISTIAN VS. THE HARDY BOYS (w/Lita) VS. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE & CHRIS KANYON (with the WWF tag belts? huh? better watch the Smackdown tape, I guess)

Hardyz enter first. Edge and Christian enter to "FIVE SECOND POSE" chant. Chant continues as DDP and Kanyon enter. When Kanyon gets the stick, we start an "MVP" chant (well, several groups throughout the arena -- we led our section though). DDP promises there ain't gonna be any five second pose, which is when we start our chant for "TEN SECOND POSE." They threaten to leave if the chant continues... it does... they turn to walk out, and Edge is on the mike: "As much as you all want to see a totally terrific five-second pose, we really want to kick their WCW asses."

Kanyon and DDP refuse to enter the ring at first, leading the Hardy Boyz to suggest a two-on-two with Edge and Christian to give the audience some entertainment. DDP and Kanyon grab chairs to watch from the ring floor as the two teams lock up, but soon grow bored and start harassing the ringside fans, setting them up for attack from behind by Jeff and Edge. Mission accomplished, Jeff punks out Edge as he re-enters the ring ("JEFF'S A TOOL" chant). Several highspots and a clusterschmuck later, Kanyon gets laid out by Edge's Buzzkill DDT, followed immediately by a Swanton Bomb, for the pin and much rejoicing throughout the land.

Post-match, Edge and Christian encourage Team Extreme to come into the ring for an unprecedented FIVE PERSON POSE. Matt Hardy thanks somebody (Edge & Christian? Thatcher? Pillman?) for helping them get into the business to begin with, and everyone goes home happy.

Britain W.

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