|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer||
This is the WWF Byte This! Report for Friday, 1 June 2001, and I'm your reporter, ol' E.C. himself.
On today's show, Big Country and Jimmy (Corderas?) do some "sittin' in", Droz, Tazz, and everybody give their picks for who'll be the King of the Ring, and Kurt Angle smacks down your vote, and smacks up Shane McMahon.
Opening credits have Linda McMahon booting Vince right in the "Genetic Jackhammer" again. Boy, talk about getting your chimes rung!
Usual hosts Kevin Kelly and Dr. Tom Prichard are not in evidence. Instead, Byte This! Producer, Big Country (BC) is in the left seat, and some guy named Jimmy (Corderas?) is sittin' in for Dr. Tom.
(This makes two weeks in a row that Prichard's tanked the show. Hope he's doing all right.)
Big Country still thinks that the WWF has a "Casual Fridays" dress code, or maybe it's "Hawaiian Shirt Fridays."
Jimmy looks like he just walked in off the 18th green.
Caddying for Larry Zbyszko, I guess.
Speaking of which, BC informs us that Kevin Kelly's down in Florida, swinging his mashie niblick in the Sgt. Slaughter Invitational Celebrity Golf Tournament.
"That's a TOUGH gig!" says Jimmy. " I don't think Kevin would be a hard guy to beat at golf. The way he moves, it would probably take him six hours to get around the course!"
"Break out the cart, huh?" rejoins BC.
"And he'd probably be eating the golf balls..." says Jimmy.
"Hey, this sounds like you've played a round or two with him?" says BC.
Stifled, off-camera laughter can be heard.
Discussion shifts to Kurt Angle being inducted into the National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame tomorrow. "Kurt'll be out in Stillwater, Oklahoma for that," says BC, "then he'll be guest-hosting Heat on Sunday, plus he's had a string if matches with Chris Benoit, and now he's getting involved with Spike Dudley! Kurt Angle is very involved in WWF storylines right now."
"He's also involved with your boy, Shane-O-Mac, right now," says Jimmy, "it's always good to see Shane, and his big rivalry with Kurt Angle's being talked around the office right now."
This segues nicely into a segment where BC and Jimmy talk up the rumored re-launch of WCW, which now appears to be a lot sooner than later.
Whoops, live from Florida, Kevin Kelly calls the show.
BC says, if the Tournament's an Invitational, how'd Kelly wangle an invitation?
"How do you think I got an invitation, you creep?" replies Kelly, somewhat miffed.
"Hey Kevin," says Jimmy, "Country says you can't even get around the golf course!"
"Not me," says BC, "that was (Monty?) who said that."
"I went ALL around the golf course, and then some," says Kelly, "at four under today, so kiss my ass, Country!"
"Four under?" BC and Jimmy are impressed.
Kelly then goes on to plug the Sgt. Slaughter Youth Foundation, in whose honor the Tournament is being held. "It's a cool thing, says Kelly, "If you want to come play golf with myself or any WWF superstar, you or your corporation can come down to Doral, plunk down your money and play golf for a couple of days here in Miami. All the money goes to the kids."
Kelly then said that Jonathan Coachman's team was tearing up the course, posting a 16 under par for the day's round.
"Coach is playing with a celebrity on his team, David Naughton."
"David Naughton," says Kelly, "He's had one hit with that Dr. Pepper jingle, way back when. I think he's been playing golf ever since, because he's real good!"
While BC and Jimmy are conversing with Kevin Kelly, the Byte This! technicians are showing a still shot of Kelly from an old Raw.
He's standing outside the Rock's dressing room.
Picking his nose.
BC asked if there was going to be footage of the event? Kelly said that Bradshaw had one of the WWF's camera crews in tow today. "They had no trouble following his trail of empty beer cans," says Kelly.
BC commented on Bradshaw's drinking prowess as compared with, say, Michael PS Hayes.
"Hayes wins, no contest," laughed Kelly.
"What else you doing down in Florida besides playing golf, Kevin?" asks Jimmy.
"I'm sweating my rear end off, that's what I'm doing!" says Kelly. "It's about 3000 degrees down here..."
"Well, it's obvious that I caught you lounging on your bed in your air-conditioned hotel room..." says Jimmy.
"We played on the Greg Norman-designed "Great White" course today," continues Kelly. "It's in the middle of south Florida. They got rid of all the native trees and brought in four million tons of coquina sand. There's not an ounce of cover anywhere on the course. Tomorrow, we play on the fabled "Blue Monster" where they hold the Doral Invitational every year. I will lose, probably, three dozen balls, because if you hit into the rough, your ball disappears into the six inch high sawgrass, and you'll never get it back."
"Who's not doing so well on the course?" asked Jimmy.
"I think it's safe to say that Jeff Hardy won't be playing again anytime soon," says Kelly. By the way, Coach holed out with an eagle from 80 yards out. Very impressive, indeed.
BC winds things up by telling Kelly that his co-host next week will be Paul Heyman.
It gets real quiet on the other end of the line for a moment.
"I gotta go," says Kelly, and hangs up.
BC and Jimmy break up, as does Mr. Cameraman, because you can see the camera jiggling.
Time for Droz, and his weekly "Two Cents" spot, which gets prefaced by BC talking about the Hart Family showing up on last Monday's Raw, live from Calgary, Alberta, CN.
BC touches on how the show was influenced by the Harts, from Austin using the Sharpshooter, to Vince pulling a "Survivor '97" style finish at the end of the show.
Chris Benoit's efforts over the past two weeks are discussed, with Jimmy saying that both Benoit and Chris Jericho have proved that they are Main Event caliber. "They are picking up the ball," says Jimmy, "and running with it."
Droz comes on the show, and is asked how Kevin Kelly would do in any kind of athletic event?
"He does real well behind the mike," says Droz, which gets a laugh from everybody.
Droz touches on the presence of the Hart family at the Calgary show.
"I was shocked, but very happy to see it," says Droz, "The Harts are an integral part of wrestling history, and it was definitely a high point seeing them there."
As Droz is talking, the graphic on the screen is showing Stu Hart at ringside last Monday night.
Discussion shifts to the infamous "Slammy Awards" tape showing Vince McMahon getting down with the Solid Gold Dancers, and how that tape fell into Chris Jericho's hands. Droz says that it just proves that Vince is willing to do anything for the company, even to the extent of embarrassing himself on national TV.
Shane McMahon's beginning of the WCW Invasion is next up, with emphasis on Lance Storm's run-in appearance at Raw. Droz says that he was real happy with the two shows this week because of the fan enthusiasm evident in both Calgary and Edmonton. "Those people raised the roof in both arenas," he says. "Besides, Lance Storm showing up has 'opened the door.' We don't know who is going to show up next, or when, or what is going to happen in the future. It was just a great time for Lance Storm to come in."
Droz goes on to say that Shane and everybody are involved in a complete re-work of the WCW promotion, and that this, of necessity, is going to take some time.
"They appear to be targeting a younger, hipper, audience." Says BC.
"The old WCW had a lot of young talent, but it was unused young talent," says Droz, "and Shane's a young guy who is definitely going to go for it, both inside and outside of the ring. Everybody's now looking forward to seeing what's going to happen with WCW."
The possible breakup of the Two Man Power Trip is next, with
Jimmy saying that watching HHH's response to Steve Austin's claims that he (HHH) was the one whose injury cost them the Tag Titles, you got the feeling that there's trouble brewing between Austin and HHH.
"Putting a guy down for his injuries," says Droz, "Austin knows what that's like. It's part of the game, and you just have to deal with it. Bottom line, though, was that, after HHH tore his quad, and then frostily responded to Austin's criticism, he was still helping Austin out, still supporting his partner. Yeah, he made a mistake, but he was able to play through it."
BC wants to know what Droz's take on the Spike Dudley/Molly Holly storyline is?
"I'm happy for them," says Droz, "but it's not a good situation, their being from two different groups. They're both in a bad position, and it'll be interesting to see how things work themselves out for these two."
Graphic on the screen shows footage of Molly and Spike being slammed through a table by Bubba Ray Dudley.
"Romeo and Juliet?" asks BC.
"Yeah, but with tables," laughs Droz.
Droz then comments on how much Chris Benoit has stepped up of late, especially in his performance in his hometown of Edmonton.
"On Monday night, Benoit and Jericho got screwed, but at least they got a chance after the bout for some revenge. And then, at Edmonton...ten German suplexes, all that, and to have Vince interfere. I was sad that he lost again, but Benoit more than made up for it by getting to whack Vince five or six times REAL HARD with a chair."
BC wants to know who Droz thinks is going to win this year's King of the Ring PPV?
"I think Test will go a long way in this tournament," says Droz, "I'd love to see Albert do it, but I think Test will really pull through."
As Droz leaves, he says for BC to tell Kurt Angle that he won his medals five years ago, "So tell him to get over it!"
While waiting for Tazz to join the show, BC and Jimmy spar a bit about how they'd ask a girl as pretty as Molly to go out with them. My judgment is that their chances of success would be slim to none.
Tazz joins the show, and says that Kevin Kelly probably just got done eating something, that's why he was so irritable. "That's okay, he'll eat something in about another half-hour and be just fine then," says Tazz.
Tazz then remarks that the appearance of the Hart family was a big plus for the business.
BC asks Tazz about the Smackdown Main Event, how Benoit has stepped up, and the match's outcome.
"A phenomenal match for both guys," says Tazz, "Austin showed why he's deserving of the reputation he has. Benoit showed that he could hang in there and go toe-to-toe with the best in the business, and he pushed the WWF Champion to the limit. Those two guys just tore it up. No one's worked harder than these two. Ever."
Jimmy says that he noticed that Austin not only elevated Benoit, but Benoit helped elevate Austin.
"That's a good point," says Tazz, "When I was with ECW, as their Champion, there comes a time when you get cocky, and along with it comes this complacence. Then, new guys would come into the federation, and I'd start picking my game up again, to try and match what they were bringing. That's what I see Benoit doing for Austin here."
BC tells Tazz that Kurt Angle is being inducted into the National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame out in Stillwater, Oklahoma. "It's a shame it's out in Oklahoma," says Tazz, which gets a laugh. "That's an awesome achievement for Kurt, or any wrestler. He deserves it because he's the gold medal winner."
BC says that Kurt's going to be co-hosting Sunday Night Heat with Tazz this week, and that he's sure to bring along his Hall of Fame trophy, and wants Tazz's thoughts as to what the show was going to be like.
"HE should do okay," says Tazz, going kayfabe, "so long as he remembers that he was just another senseless victim of mine when he first got into the WWF!" This gets a laugh from everybody.
"Feel free to bring that up during his interview on today's show," laughs Tazz.
"I'll make a point of it," says BC.
"Seriously," says Tazz, " Kurt Angle is phenomenal, to have gone as far as he has, with as little background in pro wrestling, I'm really impressed, both with his skills, and his work ethic."
"And I hope he does bring his trophy along to the show Sunday night," continues Tazz, " I'd like to take a, errrr, "look", at it!"
BC then asks Tazz who his pick for King of the Ring would be?
Tazz thinks it'll be either Test or Albert.
"Droz had a similar pick, " says BC, "but he finally decided that Test was going to win the match."
Tazz likens Test's and Albert's rise to cream rising to the top, while BC says that they've got a big, physical battle facing either one of them, just by going through the WWF locker room. "This could be the match that one or both of them bursts up into the next level."
"No doubt about it," says Tazz, "although I'd have a hard time choosing which one would actually win."
BC wants to know what Tazz thinks of the talented novices in the "Tough Enough" program, and what about the program itself?"
Tazz thinks the show's going to be off the charts, just kick-ass good, and that the last few remaining all have a lot of potential and heart. "Whoever wins is going to make an impact on the WWF. The show's going to be great, I guarantee that."
Tazz leaves the show, and we get the last few minutes of the Jericho/Kurt Angle match from last Thursday's Smackdown, complete with an entertaining Tazz, and an annoyingly loud Michael Cole at ringside calling the action.
Kurt Angle joins the show, with both BC and Jimmy being very congratulatory about Kurt's big day Saturday. Angle thanked them, saying that being inducted into the National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame was about on a par with his winning the Olympic gold medals in Atlanta.
"You have to be retired from amateur wrestling five years before they will even consider you for induction," says Angle. "I had just passed my five years retirement mark, and the committee approved my induction the first time it was proposed. That's something that's almost unheard of."
Discussion shifts to Angle's heading up this year's "Smackdown Your Vote" campaign. Angle says that he learned that voting was part of being a good citizen, and how important it was to vote.
"We registered over 150,000 new voters last year, just in time for the national election," says Angle, " That's way more than the margin was between Gore and Bush. Our goal for this year is to double last year's numbers, and to get many more registered for their local and state elections as well."
Angle's take on Chris Benoit's is basically positive. He does say that Benoit is the WWF's best talent right now. "Even though he's not been at 100%, he still stepped up and put on a phenomenal match with Steve Austin," says Angle.
BC beings up Angle's troubles with Shane McMahon, and that there's been rumors of a match between he and McMahon set for King of the Ring, although nothing's been confirmed by WWF Commissioner William Regal as of yet.
Angle says that Shane's getting things ready for the WCW re-launch, and you're going to see a lot more of Shane in the hear future. "As for me," says Angle, going kayfabe all of a sudden. " King of the Ring, Shane's time is going to come. He's not a wrestler. I'm a wrestler. And he's going to have prove to me that he belongs in the ring with me, which I don't think he does. If he's booked, then come King of the Ring, I'll be showing him why I'm the best wrestler of the WWF, and he does not belong in the ring with me."
"He's gonna need a bigger scaffold this time around..." says Jimmy, and Angle gets a laugh out of it.
First dive into the Email Bag comes up with a question from Stewart, who asks if Angle thought the WWF fans were ready for the amount of true mat-style wrestling like he and Benoit did during their match at Wrestlemania.
Angle says that, going in, he and Benoit didn't know how the fans would react to a straight wrestling match, but that they were pleasantly surprised and gratified by the crowd's positive reception. "I'll wrestle Chris Benoit anytime, anywhere," says Angle.
Caller Jackie on Line One asks Angle about his being featured in Mick Foley's new book, "Foley is Good," something having to do with Kurt Angle and a roller coaster.
Angle said that he hadn't had time to read Foley's latest, but he was looking forward to it. "Mick's proven himself to be a talented guy every time he puts pen to paper," says Angle, " Ands I was very honored when he approached me to say that his next children's book is going to be based on my life and career. That's quite an honor, coming from Mick."
BC changes gears, and asks Angle his thoughts on HHH's injury. Angle says that HHH is the best that the WWF has, both in and out of the ring, and though he may be gone from TV for a while, HHH will still continue to be active behind the scenes. "The first thing I did after I heard about his injury, is that I called HHH to get some insight as to which direction I should be going for King of the Ring. Hunter is very valuable for me because I've learned so much from him. He's been like my mentor. I'm always looking to him for new ideas, trying to better myself, both as a wrestler, and as a sports entertainer."
Angle goes on to say that he called HHH today, (1 June 2001) and "it's amazing; the injury happened on a stupid little lunge, it just blows my mind that that's the way it usually happens, that injuries usually occur on the smallest, most insignificant moves. HHH had worked himself so hard, and so much, that he was just beat down for that moment. You watch him, and after he got hurt, he finished the match. Not many guys could do that, but he could. As I said, I talked to him this morning, and it's amazing, he's had that surgery, and he's already rehabbing. The doctors are trying to tell him to hold back some, not put too much strain on the repair, but he told me that his whole leg shut down, even the hip flexors. He wants to get back, not for himself, but because the fans demand him."
Line Six has Noah who wants to know if Angle's going to focus on the WWF World Title ever again? Angle says that he's not in the running at the moment, but that he expects to be before the year is out. "It'll be my time to shine again," he says.
Back to the Email Bag, where Jeremy wants to know if Angle remembers working a house show on 25 (September?) 1999 at the Milford, MA National Guard Armory?
Angle laughs, and says that that was only his third match ever as a professional wrestler. "I had just signed my contract early in September, I did the show in Milford, although I didn't know a whole lot about what I was doing that night."
Angle goes on to say that he owed a lot of his early success to the training he received at the Funkin' Dojo, at the hands of Dory Funk and Dr. Tom Prichard. "I was wrestling matches within three days of camp, thanks to their training." Angle also says that he was training with Edge, Christian, Test, Droz, Albert, Val Venis, and the up-and- coming Steve Bradley, of whom the fans might see later this year.
"I just kept my eyes open, and learned a lot from these guys," says Angle.
Yet another email, this one from Joey, asks if Angle is familiar with other amateur wrestlers who have become pros, wrestlers like Sylvester Terkay, and Brock Lesnar?
"You are talking about two studs, each over 300 lbs.," says Angle, "and both of them are lightning quick! I wrestled Terkay in the NCAA finals in 1992. I won, but the following year, he did win the National Title. These are two National Champions coming up through the ranks of the NCAA, and both have promising futures. I've wrestled Terkay down in MCW, and thought he was improving rapidly. The more amateur wrestlers that come to the table, the better the chance that you're going to see more wrestling in the future. Additionally, these guys are high flyers, doing acrobatics, and the WWF has a lot to offer for a future for these young prospects."
Joey has a follow-up email, wanting to know how Angle's brother Eric is doing, and will we ever see him on Raw or Smackdown.
Angle says that Eric had quite a developmental career so far in the WWF. "He got on a weight loss program, slimmed down from 260 lbs. to 233. He looks great, with superior conditioning, and he's been training twice a day. He just wants to learn and learn and learn. Only problem is that he suffered an elbow injury that required surgery. They actually had to sew a tendon back on his elbow. It then got a staph. infection, and they had to go back in and clean that up, so he's on the shelf for about three months. I told him, even if you can't wrestle, go to the matches and observe, watch, study films, see how the other wrestlers work their moves and combinations. See how they are putting the stories together, and learn the psychology of wrestling as well. Moves are easy, but learning what the ideas are behind the moves, and how to entertain the fans. That's what my brother Eric is trying to do while he's recovering from his injury."
Line one has Shannon, who wants to know who designs Angle's wrestling gear, and also giggles furiously as she tells Angle that he's very good looking. "You're the hottest guy in the WWF," she gushes.
Angle's surprised at this, and thanks Shannon for the compliment. "It's usually the Rock who gets these!" Shannon giggles some more, as Angle says that there's a woman named Yolanda with the WWF who makes all his singlets, and she always makes them a size or two too tight and as small as possible. "And always red, white, and blue," says Angle, "I didn't want to wear the black, and what better way than to use my Olympic gold medals, and the old Red, White, and Blue, which you haven't seen in a while. It's worked tremendously for me, and helped to make me one of the top wrestlers in the WWF."
BC asks if hosting Sunday Night Heat is something he looks forward to? "Always," says Angle, "especially with talented people like Michael Cole and Tazz. Obviously, Tazz is the guy that ended my undefeated streak," (much giggling in the background), "and I was kind of bitter at first..."
"Tazz was on earlier," says BC with a grin, " and said for us to remind you about that."
"It WAS an illegal choke hold...!" says Angle.
"He said you'd say THAT, too," laughs Jimmy.
"Tazz is a great wrestler," says Angle, "But, even more so, he's become an even better commentator, something he never thought he'd ever be doing in his career. He's so talented on that microphone, that they decided to make him one of the top commentators in sports entertainment. I'm real excited about doing that with those guys, because I don't get much time to do anything like that. I enjoy sitting down, and talking about wrestling. And I WILL be talking dearly about my induction into the National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame, too."
Angle's picks for King of the Ring include Chris Benoit, Rhyno, Edge, Christian, Raven, Bradshaw, and (who else?) Test. Though Benoit's his choice if he enters this year.
Along similar lines, Angle wasn't happy at being given a first round pairing with Bret Hart over at kingofthering.com in the "King of Kings" poll.
"That is NOT a fair first round match, guys! For either of us."
BC says that some of the other matches were unfortunate, with HHH facing Steve Austin, and Mabel squaring off against Ken Shamrock. "Somebody is favoring SOME one!" says Angle.
Back to the Email Bag, where Becky wants to know who has helped Angle the most backstage?
"Without a doubt, HHH," says Angle. "The guy's a genius with the wisdom of Vince McMahon. Vince, Shane, ands Stephanie have also been very helpful to me. The Rock taught me quite a bit. I didn't get a chance to learn a lot from Steve Austin, because he came in late. We had a little angle there at the end of the year that didn't go any place, but I'm looking forward to working with him this year and in the future. Undertaker is a guy who understands the business, knows what you need to do in and out of the ring. Above all, I'd say those three guys; The Rock, HHH, and the Undertaker have taught me so much. I'll continue to learn from them because they are the best!"
BC and Jimmy thanked Kurt Angle for appearing on the show. Angle left, saying that, though he's only been in the business two years, he's tried to pass along what he's learned from those who have taught him to the new wrestlers who are on their way up in the business like he was two years ago.
BC plugs wwfkurtangle.com, along with the King of the Ring poll over at kingofthering.com.
"You are just sitting here, plugging away, aren't you?" says Jimmy.
"It's my job, Jimmy," says BC.
Next week, Kevin Kelly will be back, "telling us how bad he sucked at golf," says BC; "along with co-host Paul Heyman, so it should be quite a show."
See you next week.
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