|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WWF "Byte This!" report for Friday, 27 April 2001, and I'm your recapper, ol' E.C. hisself!
I logged onto the wwf.com site about fifteen minutes early, and got treated to show producer "Big Country" doing microphone checks while outtakes of the new "WWF Divas at Hedonism II" tape played on the screen. Man, they may be using Trish Stratus to sell this tape, but it's Jackie who's the real knockout! Zowie!
Opening Credits. Edge & Christian get a Newtonian physics lesson from the Dudley Boyz. The lab practical includes a hands-non demonstration of the effects that gravity and solid objects have on a body in motion.
On our show today, Droz comments on Backlash, "Out-Think the Fink's" got a real brain-buster, and HHH extols the values of being "old school."
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Dr. Tom Prichard.
Today's show sounds like it's being broadcast via sonar, with a lot of audio "tubing" background noise. Kelly and Prichard are oblivious to all this, as Kelly compliments Prichard on wearing his "APA" shirt this week. Kelly is nattily attired in a bright red polo shirt which shows up real well on the screen, with only minimal "blooming' and smearing of the video image.
Kelly and Prichard discuss the upcoming Backlash PPV, and give further info regarding the Main Event between HHH/Austin and Undertaker/Kane. Some fans had questioned the disqualification possibility, with no Titles changing hands. Kelly says that won't happen, that the bout will continue until there is a clear winner.
Prichard congratulates Matt Hardy for winning the WWF European Championship Title from Eddie Guerrero on Smackdown. Kelly says that Matt is going to have a very busy Sunday, defending his new-won Title on Backlash.
"Out-Think the Fink" returns with Howard Finkel, who's apparently "struck with tongues". He appears to be asking the question, "Who broke Andre the Giant's ankle in the 1980's?" Dr. Tom Prichard thinks it wasn't anybody named The Killer Bees.
Kelly and Prichard promo the heck out of the upcoming Backlash PPV. Speaking about the Main Event, Prichard says it "will be a knock-down, drag-out event!"
Darren Drozdov's up next with his pick of who gonna win Backlash. Droz is of the belief that Vince McMahon will play a very active part in the outcome of the Main Event. "HHH & Austin are going to try every little trick in the book to keep their Titles and win the Tag Titles," says Droz. "I'm looking forward to seeing 'Taker and Kane take it all."
Slight topic shift to the impending break-up of Right To Censor. Kelly asks Droz if he foresees the break-up happening, to which Droz answers that it's not a case of "if," but "when!"
The Benoit Angle Submission match is next up. Droz says that conditioning is going to be the factor that determines the winner. "Submission matches, well, anyone can get hurt and real badly. Benoit hold the advantage in the experience, but Angle's got the background in amateur wrestling."
Kelly sees this as a must-win for Chris Benoit, if only to disprove the comments that "Chris Benoit can't win the Big One. He has to win this one on Sunday for the good of his career!"
Moving on to the William Regal/Chris Jericho "Dutchess of Queensbury Rules" match, Droz answers Kelly's question, "Just what are the Dutchess of Queensbury Rules?" by saying "they are whatever William Regal says they are, at any moment and any time."
Matt Hardy's defense of the European Title in a Three Way Dance with Eddie Guerrero, and Christian has Droz saying that Matt's got his work cut out for him, and to watch out for Edge and the Radicalz.
Rhyno's Hardcore Title match with Raven gets a nod from Droz, as does the X-Factor/Dudley Boyz Six-Man bout. "Knock-down, drag-out" is the way Droz describes the bout.
Prichard asks Droz what he thinks Shane McMahon's chances are against The Big Show in their "Last Man Standing" match. Shane needs to use his quickness and speed says Droz, because otherwise, TBS is gonna squash him like a bug. "And you can bet Mr. McMahon's gonna interfere in this match, too," says Droz. "Things don't look to good for Shane this week."
This segues to footage from Smackdown where Shane McMahon does a hilarious bedtime story with The Big Show as the witless central character.
Droz has some entertaining stories in his "Two Cents" column this week, so be sure to check it out.
Ad for Lugz Boots 'n' Shoes. The I-X-L is extolled as THE footwear only THE most "electrified" and "down" humans are capable of wearing.
Well, I've got two more words for you, gentle readers:
And this brings me to:
The first three emails I get with the correct answer as to the correlation between Lugz I-X-L's and Douglas Adams wins some stuff out of my pile of wrestling goodies. The three earliest email postmarks with the correct answers wins. I get to choose the prizes, just like last time. No whining. Just like last time.
Video footage from Smackdown shows Steve Austin and Hunter Hearst Helmsley getting the "Pulp Fiction" treatment, complete with annoying play-by-play by Michael Cole and Tazz.
I'm beginning to understand why Tazz keeps getting shot at back in the "Hook."
"The Two Man Power Trip" get "Kaientai-ed" ("...E-E-E-VILl! INNN-DE-E-E-D!")
HHH/Austin grin at the idea of squashing these two like bugs.
Whoops, Kaientai brought some friends along to play, namely Undertaker and Kane. Massive beat-down of the heels ensues. Match ends with Kaientai sipping Mai-Tais with the Spanish Announcers.
'Taker and Kane hold aloft all four Title belts as HHH/Austin reel groggily back up the ramp, holding variously injured portions of their respective anatomies. Cole nearly "drops a log," he's so excited.
Live via cell phone, it's HHH, who's just finished doing the "Howard Stern Show."
Kelly asks HHH for his comments about the Backlash Main Event.
HHH says that he's looking forward to proving once and for all that the "Two Man Power Trip" isn't just a fluke.
Kelly asks what it's been like working with Steve Austin since his complete metamorphosis at Wrestlemania. HHH says that he and Austin used to push each other to improve when they were adversaries, but now, they push each other that much harder. "We're the best, because we've got the best to offer."
Prichard gushes for a bit, then Kelly asks HHH what it was like being at Wrestlemania in front of all those cheering fans? HHH almost seemed to get a bit self-conscious as he said that he was proud to have been a part of it.
Talks shifts to the new opening theme music HHH is using, to which HHH replies that it was great having Lemmy and Motorhead doing his theme music live at WM X-7, and that he thought it was excellent exposure for the bands involved.
Kelly asks HHH about his role backstage in the WWF locker room, "the professional side of HHH. Where do you see yourself fitting in, developing young talent, like you did recently in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with Memphis Championship Wrestling.
HHH's cell phone disconnects at this point, so, while Byte This! producer "Big Country" tries to re-establish connection, Kelly and Prichard talk amongst themselves for a bit. Prichard says that HHH came back from the Jonesboro show with praise for a lot of what he saw, which can only help the young talent involved. "If you are just starting out in this business, and somebody with the stature of HHH, or Steve Austin, or the Undertaker takes an interest in what you do, that's what you are working for, you are working toward that point.
"Why would any of these top guys, who make millions, care about what somebody just starting out in the business does?" asks Kelly.
"Because HHH has a strong foundation, " says Prichard. "He comes from the roots of this business; he didn't come in and start out on top. He knows what it takes to be a top guy. He paid his dues, and he knows what it's like to pay his dues, same as these kids in Memphis who are paying THEIR dues. HHH appreciates that. If you build a house, and it doesn't have a strong foundation, that house is going to
crumble. Every top guy in the WWF from HHH on down has a basic foundation, has a love for the business, and knows what it's like to pay dues. HHH takes an interest in the guys in Memphis because he knows that they are the future of this business."
HHH is back on at this point, and Kelly repeats the question he just asked Prichard.
HHH says that it's all about desire and passion for the business. It's about giving back, not taking from the business. "Some guys just take what they need," says HHH, "and when the spotlight is off them, they go home and they're done. To me, it's about continuing this business, to see it prosper and get better, and to teach somebody else how to get there. I'll continue to do that until I can't do it anymore."
Kelly asks HHH if the WWF acquiring WCW is a good thing?
HHH answers in the affirmative, saying, "there is room for more than one major promotion in this business. If there's just one company, there's no place for the new wrestlers to develop their talents.
Kelly comments that Prichard came up through the smaller feds. "You paid your dues, going from place to place," says Prichard, "but these days, there really isn't any place the young guys can go to pay their dues like it was when HHH and I were coming along. properly. "Some guys that came out of the Power Plant were put straight onto TV," says HHH, "and weren't allowed to develop their talent properly. They weren't ready at all; they haven't had that chance to learn the ring savvy, and become seasoned. They were done an injustice by not being given the opportunity to develop through the smaller feds. To have to work at developing your talent with the TV cameras on you all the time, no wonder some of these guys had bad attitudes.
"With no passion for the business, " HHH continues, "when they are finally asked to put some extra effort in, well, why should they do that, if they've been given everything throughout their career?"
Kelly remarks how the managers running the Memphis and Louisville territories came from the era of "paying your dues", guys like Jim Cornette. "One of the big issues is that the Independent scene is dying off," says Kelly, "and (their wrestlers) can't afford to make a living unless they have a supplemental income. It's a difficult position to put these guys in!"
HHH agrees, saying that he had to struggle financially. "I had a job where I worked my ass off all week, and then I wrestled my ass off all weekend." HHH then says that some of the people who get into the business don't have the burning desire to be in the business.
"One day they're watching TV, and go "Hey, that looks like it might be me!" Well, he makes a phone call, and somebody looks at him and says, "Oh, this kid's pretty big, let's pay him and see if he's got anything." That guy's got a job, you see, but there's no burning desire. There's no sacrifice involved. It's up to me to see if that guy's got a passion for this business. To see, once he's on the road full-time, if he has the stamina to continue, or just wants to quit. Guys from my era are much more passionate about what they do. They would do anything just to be honored to be in this business. Contrast this to the athlete who's just coming out of college, played football, was in line for a try-out with the pros, but gets injured and loses his chance. This guy is looking around, saying, "well, why don't I give professional wrestling a try?" That guy may get into the business, but it's a safe bet he won't stay in for the long haul."
We go to the phones.
First caller (name is garbled), asks if HHH feels he's been demoted by being the WWF Intercontinental Champion. "I think it's a step up for the Intercontinental Title," says HHH. "It's all about the desire to be on top. I don't think that I've taken a step back, nor do I see it as a demotion. It's a promotion for the IC Title."
Kelly then asked about the push Matt & Jeff Hardy are getting, along with that of Edge & Christian, "Young guys that are stepping up, " says Kelly, "and getting a taste for that Main Event flavor."
HHH says that because of the fluid situation on the top card, with the Titles changing almost on a weekly basis, there's a lot of opportunity for guys like the Hardys and E&C.
"The word from the locker room, " says HHH, "is that there'll never be a better time for both teams to elevate themselves, so make it happen while you can!"
Caller Josh asks about how HHH feels being the biggest wrestler in all of wrestling, after being saddled with so many bad gimmicks. HHH says that, when he was with WCW, he came in just at the last of the era where you HAD to have a gimmick. "I enjoyed that, thought it was a lot of fun." HHH then mentions that a fan once showed him a picture of when he was wrestling for Killer Kowalski, way back when, and HHH was wearing black boot, black trunks, and black knee and elbow pads.
"I haven't really changed my look all that much," says HHH, "though I have changed my style of wrestling, and improved upon it."
Prichard says that HHH's style allows him to work with any wrestler, from Jeff Hardy to the Undertaker, and put on a good show.
HHH compared himself to one of his idols, Ric Flair, who could do the same thing. "I want to be able to work any kind of match, adapt to any different style with any wrestler, whether it's Mick Foley or Jeff Hardy," says HHH. "Ric Flair could do that with anyone he wrestled."
Kelly agrees, and comments that, even the WWF crew, who see wrestling all the time, will stop and watch a match with HHH in it. "They know they are going to see a different kind of match each time out." says Kelly.
"I try to approach each match fresh and different," says HHH. "Each match is not about a spot or a particular bump. It's about telling a story, and that's what I do, I tell a story. I'm a different guy for the components of each story."
Line Three has caller Michelle, who "loves HHH so much", and wants to know if they put HHH in the story arc with Vince McMahon and Steve Austin to "spice it up" because the Rock wasn't there?
HHH says that, just like with people, things change in the WWF, and you have to adapt to those changes if you want to be a success. "(The angle with Austin)...was an idea that had been brewing for a long time. We just didn't say one day, "Hey, the Rock's gone, we've got to do something." No, it was planned out in advance. But anything CAN happen in the World Wrestling Federation, and often does, so we just go with the flow on a lot of things."
Kelly says that, because HHH is the top heel, it puts a lot of pressure on him. "Within the span of four days, you lost the top two faces: Austin turned and Rock left. And the villains have got to have the good guys to fight. That goes back to the question of elevation, and Undertaker and Kane were there."
"And that wasn't without criticism, either," says HHH.
Prichard agrees, and says that though Austin and HHH as faces might have been good, as heels they are great. "You've gotten some people really hot at you, and managed to generate some good, old-fashioned crowd heat. People throwing cups, spitting at you. That's got to make you feel good!"
"That's a tribute to us, and we're gonna do it the right way, the whole way," says HHH. "I'm not trying to be the cool heel that everybody liked. I'm trying to do whatever it takes to simply get me the most heat."
After a brief check as to the location of all the parties in the conversation, (HHH has apparently arrived back at Titan Towers), the topic shifts to the pop that HHH got in the cage with Rock and Austin the Raw after Wrestlemania. "The fans were all hollering for the face-turn," says Kelly, "They were begging for it!"
"Yeah," snickers HHH, "some people asked me if I would ever turn because I like being a heel so much. I am not resistant to a turn, but I will do it whenever the time is right, both for me and for the business in general. It might be tomorrow, it might be never, you never know."
Kelly says that the talk on the Internet is that HHH uses undue influence to get what he wants out of the WWF, while others say that HHH is justified in his actions. "That criticism is out there!"
HHH ponders a bit, then says that the people responsible for the criticism on the 'Net are talking about a subject they really know nothing about. "None of these people know what goes on backstage, they are just watching a TV show," says HHH. "And then they go, 'well, he's doing this behind the scenes!' Oh, no. Nobody really knows. And don't need to defend myself or my actions against what is, basically, sheer speculation. I do fight for what I believe in, if I believe it's right, and sometimes I believe something that somebody gives me a different view of, and I go, 'Y'know, maybe I'm wrong!' I am not above being wrong, that's for damn sure. The bottom line is that this company is owned by one guy. Vince McMahon. If anybody sees a situation and thinks that I, through my 'influence', can change the mind of Vince McMahon, well, (chuckles) he's not been paying attention."
Topic shifts to HHH refereeing some scuffle on the "Howard Stern Show" today. HHH says that he was impressed with their effort. "That was one heckuva fight for two guys who'd never boxed before. I was surprised either of them was still able to come out for the second round! They went all five rounds, and it wasn't a pretty battle, but it was effective. It was all fun, and everybody had a good time."
Kelly wrapped up the interview by thanking HHH for his time, and plugging the Backlash PPV one more time.
HHH promised that Backlash would be "something different," and for the fans to tune in!
"Out-Think the Fink" answer was won by Joe Dragone from Bayonne, NJ,(?) who guessed that it was Killer Khan who broke Andre the Giant's ankle in Philadelphia. Mr. Dragone won a HHH T-shirt.
Kelly bemoans the fact that he himself has not gotten one right answer playing "Out-Think the Fink."
Kelly and Prichard shill for Backlash, especially for fans in the New York area who want to see the show from WWF New York, some few VIP tickets are still left.
For next week's guest on Byte This! they've tentatively scheduled the Ninth Wonder of the World, and WWF Women's Champion, Chyna.
See you next week
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