|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 27 July 2001, and I'm E.C. Accept no substitutes, please.
On today's show, Droz pulls some plays out of Lou Thesz's playbook for Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler, Tazz hammers "Tough Enough's" Shadrick, and Rob Van Dam shows why he's "The Whole F'n Show!"
Host Kevin Kelly shills today's special guest, plus a special announcement.
Man, that ring looks like "Ladder Sale Weekend" at Home Depot.
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Howard Finkel. Kelly's modeling his WWFE golf shirt. Finkel looks like one of those thirtysomething ads for "Levi's Loose-Fitting Jeans."
Kelly opens with the major announcement that's been promo-ed since Kurt Angle took the WCW World Heavyweight Championship from Booker T on last night's Smackdown. Well, the WCW/ECW Alliance got a rematch between Angle and Booker T scheduled for the upcoming Monday Night Raw, live from the First Union Center in Philadelphia. Additionally, The Rock is scheduled to be on the Philly show as well, though there is still some question as to which side he will ally himself with. Fink says that just the mention of the Rock being on the show makes it a magical moment, and yet another must-see edition of Raw.
This segues nicely into "Droz's Two Cents" where Darren Drozdov gleans news of great import from the weekly happenings in the WWF.
("Droz's Two Cents" is up every week over at WWF.com.)
Droz says that the Rock's loyalties normally would be beyond question. However, it was Vince McMahon who suspended the Rock after Wrestlemania, and who also lifted the suspension. Droz says that Shane McMahon's little speech to The Rock on Smackdown was well crafted, and would make ANYBODY else stop and think. Though Droz thinks that The Rock will remain with the WWF, although, as we saw with Stone Cold Steve Austin, anything can happen.
Kelly says that Austin is in the unique position of being the first WWF Champion who holds the Title, but doesn't represent the WWF!
(The same could be said for Kurt Angle, Kelly, and even more so, because the WCW Heavyweight Title's pedigree is a LOT longer!)
About Kurt Angle, Droz says that Angle's got a whole new attitude on right now. "He's not going to be the 'nice guy,'" says Droz, who was impressed with Angle's performance in winning the WCW World Heavyweight Title. "Lot's of swerves and drama, there," says Droz, "and I am impressed with Angle taking the Title from Booker T. Maybe this will start the WWF taking their Title belts back!"
Fink was impressed with how over Angle was in his hometown Pittsburgh, PA, despite being nominally the heel!
"It was an emotional time for Kurt," says Fink, "he was home, in front of his people, and he fed off that emotion by taking the Title from Booker T."
Kelly segues nicely into the meteoric rise of Rob Van Dam in the WWF. Droz says that RVD will take any risk to remain a fan favorite. Kelly responds by recounting the attitude of the studio employees who had never seen RVD before he cam to the WWF. "All of a sudden," says Kelly, "these guys are asking 'Who's this RVD? Man, the guy is incredible!"
Droz says that RVD is going to have to change his style some, in order to accommodate the shorter matches that the WWF puts on. "He's used to going twenty minutes and more," says Droz, "so it may be hard on him at first. The time period he and Jeff Hardy had for their Hardcore Title match at "Invasion," was dead-on perfect, and was easily the high-point match of the whole PPV!"
Speaking of high points, Kelly moves the discussion to the first-ever "Bra and Panties Tag-team Match," where the WWF's Lita & Trish Stratus squared off against WCW's Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler. Kelly asks if Droz felt he should have been there, making them study old tapes, and giving pointers out of Lou Thesz's PlayBook?
This cracks everybody up, especially Droz, and Kelly also gets in a plug for this week's Sunday Night Heat, where WCW/ECW Alliance Girls Torrie and Stacy will be the guest hosts.
"Who knows WHAT they'll be wearing!" laughs Kelly.
Kelly then switches discussion to the Referees Match at "Invasion."
Droz says it was exactly what it should have been: a brawl, pure and simple.
"We've seen (Senior WWF Referee) Earl Hebner take a lot of bumps for the McMahons over the years," says Droz, "and to see him go out there and just beat the hell out of WCW's Nick Patrick, THAT'S entertaining!"
"I think Hebner was getting payback for that debt (Jim) Crockett owed him from back in the day," says Kelly, which gets a big laugh.
As the "Droz's Two Cents" segment finishes up, the topic shifts back to yet another promo for the WCW World Heavyweight Title rematch on Raw, and that we will also see where the Rock's allegiance really lies.
Droz says that he is going to be at the Philly show; he wouldn't miss it. Kelly and Fink both agree, say they are looking forward to seeing Droz at Raw, and thank him for stopping by.
Time for this week's "Outthink The Fink" question.
Since last week's question was so hard, and last week's special guest Vince McMahon "suggested" that they double up on the prize this week, Fink asks what the name of the two Main Event tag teams were at the first SummerSlam? The winner gets a "Greetings From Dudleyville" T-shirt, ("off Mr. McMahon's budget," says Kelly) and another prize from shopzone.com.
Tazz joins the show, taking time off from his barbecuing this week with yet another "Tales from the Hook."
Kelly congratulates Tazz on his effort at Invasion in his match with Tajiri.
"Sure your aren't telling me 'good JOB!' like last week, hah, Kev?" sneers Tazz.
"Noooooo," says Kelly, "I caught all kinds of hell for that!"
Kelly asks Tazz to comment on Shadrick's being cut on "Tough Enough.'
"Just another victim..." laughs Tazz.
"What do you think his weaknesses were?"
"He wasn't an athlete!" says Tazz.
"But his physique!" says Kelly, "The kid was cut!"
"He didn't have the coordination, or the balance," says Tazz, "he had the conditioning, because he trains hard, but he didn't have the coordination or the balance. You need that when you stomp a guy into the mat!"
Kelly remarks that Tori was complaining about Shadrick's hip-tosses, to which Tazz rejoins slyly that Tori's an expert on hip-tosses, which cracks everybody up.
Kelly asks what's with Jackie crying over Shadrick like she did?
Tazz has no idea what that was about, whether it was her time of the month or what (Ouch!), but, at the time, he didn't know about the incident, ad it surprised him when he found out.
"Some of the others (the trainers) got emotionally attached to the kids," says Tazz, "but NOT ME!"
Fink says that "Tough Enough" changed in a big way from last week, when Darryl got cut.
Tazz snorts, and says that Darryl was a sloth.
Kelly asks if Tazz ever got sad about the guys that he cut over in the (ECW) "House of Hardcore?
"Nah," says Tazz with an audible smirk, "It was just me and Perry (Saturn) wiping the blood off our knuckles...)
Kelly shifts to how the WCW/ECW Alliance is allocating airtime so they can get the maximum number of their wrestlers on TV.
"Wow, Kev, this is a first for us," chortles Tazz.
"What do you mean, Tazz?" asks Kelly.
"The show is actually covering something important for a change," says Tazz, "you are breaking with tradition...!"
"Now, now..." begins Kelly, (as Fink cracks up), "don't you think they are 'raising the bar,' as it were? I mean, they've got a lot of guys in the Alliance, but there are only so many TV spots available. There are some members of the Alliance whom we haven't seen as yet because of that very reason. What are you doing, Tazz, to make sure you don't get lost in the shuffle?"
"I just go out there and wrestle each match as if it were my last," says Tazz. "I've gotten plenty of TV time doing Smackdown, Heat and Tough Enough, but when I'm in a match, I get in a zone, you know? I get in a zone and I bust my ass. I can't say other guys don't do that, but, with the level I achieved in (old) ECW, it would be hard NOT to keep me in the mix!"
Tazz comments on Rob Van Dam as another wrestler who really busts his ass every time he gets in the ring. "He's a big part of it (The Alliance,)" says Tazz, " because of the intensity he achieved in ECW."
"Do you like having RVD here, Tazz?" asks Kelly.
"How could you not?" replies Tazz. "I told him years ago that he was the best pure athlete in wrestling. Period! I've wrestled him many times in ECW, and he can do things ordinary humans can't do! He's an amazing athlete!"
Kelly interjects a question from the Internet about RVD's conceited attitude.
Tazz snorts and says that RVD is a professional athlete at the top of his game. "To get somewhere in wrestling," he says, "you have to have an ego. If you don't, then you are NOT a star! Rob is a quality guy, and a good guy, and we were very fortunate to sign him. It'll take him some time to adapt to our way of doing things, but once he does, look out!"
Fink asks Tazz what we can expect from next week's "Tales from the Hook?"
"I don't know, Howie," says Tazz, " maybe Tough Enough, or my match, if I have one next week. Anyway, you just use me to fill time before the real guest comes on...!"
"(Byte This! producer) 'Big Country' just leapt out of his chair, and hollered 'THAT'S NOT TRUE!'" says Kelly with a laugh.
"Well, I gotta get back to my barbecue," says Tazz.
"Remember to turn the rats, they burn easy!' says Kelly.
"Nah, we got PIGEONS this week!" says Tazz triumphantly.
"Oooo, white wine with that, please," says Kelly, audibly smacking his lips.
"White WINE?! We call that 'milk' in the Hook..." sneers Tazz.
Everybody laughs, and Tazz leaves thew show.
Rob Van Dam's winning the WWF Hardcore Title from Jeff Hardy at the "Invasion" PPV gets the "Pulp Fiction" treatment.
Heavens above, did Good Ol' JR just say that he considers that to be one of the finest wrestling matches he's ever seen?
High praise, indeed!
The ECW theme music cranks up ("This...is EXTRE-E-E-E-ME!") and RVD joins the show.
Kelly congratulates RVD on a sensational debut at "Invasion," then ask him what it means?
RVD pauses to reflect, then says that it means that he was able to stick to his guns, and wrestle the way HE wanted to wrestle. "I've been told by so many people that my "Style" of wrestling didn't fit anywhere," say RVD, "I heard it from Stan Hansen back in 1994, when he told me that, with all the flips I do, I'd be lucky to last two years at most. Well, I got better two years later, and I've been getting better ever since. I've made my own niche, and I'm the Hardcore Champion. Where better to display my talents?"
Kelly says that RVD's match with Jeff Hardy was a fan's dream to see them square off for a second time; the first being back in 1997, when hardy was just 19 years old! RVD says that Jeff has grown into a great wrestler, and a great opponent. "He and I appreciate the same things out of our matches," says RVD. "We both go out of our way to give the fans their money's worth."
RVD also comments on his encounters with Matt Hardy, and how much he has improved.
Kelly asks what brought about this maturity on RVD's part?
RVD says it was the places he's been to, wrestling in Japan, and the Indy circuit, all the while trying to have the best matches he could.
"I've wrestled all over the world," he says, "Germany, England, ECW, the WWF before. It takes doing just that to realize what style of wrestling is going to work in any given match. As the match is different every time, so must the style of wrestling be different. That and listening to the crowd. That's something I learned in ECW. Back then, I used to smile and clap my hands to get over with the (ECW) Viking Hall crowd. Nowadays, I'd get booed out of the ring if I did that!"
Fink asks if RVD is excited about Raw being in Philadelphia this next week?
"You bet I am!" says RVD, "and I'm personally going to blow the roof off that place! Those Philadelphia fans are ECW through and through, and are proud of what ECW has become. As for the WWF fans, well, there'll be some excitement!"
Our first dive into the Email bag asks RVD how wrestling has changed, from Ricky Steamboat through to The Rock, SCSA, and RVD.
After pondering a bit, RVD says that back in the '80's, the different styles of wrestling weren't as well known as they are today. But, since all you saw on TV back then was the WWF, that was all you got. It took him years to realize that there was such a thing as an Indy promotion. Because the WWF is now bringing it all to the fans, the fans are getting exposed to all different types of wrestling. And things are way different now than they were then. You can see it in the opening of Monday Night Raw.
"It's all about the action," says RVD, "that's my niche, and, though I'm comfortable in it, I want to keep raising the bar! The WWF makes a different kind of demand on you, and holds you to a higher standard."
Caller Jackie on Line 3 saw an episode of "Spy TV" that featured RVD, and was wondering how he got on the show, and were there other appearances planned?
RVD laughs, and says that it was his agent out where he lives (Los Angeles) who did that. "The only other thing I've done is a movie called "Black Mask II" that I shot in Thailand last November," says RVD, "but I'm not sure when it's due out! I believe it'll air after the first of the year."
Kelly asks when RVD would consider hanging it all up, and retiring?
RVD says not yet, that it's still the action that gets him. "I've done three martial arts movies," says RVD, "and I did it for the action. As a kid, I used to watch "Kung fu Theater" a lot, and I get the same energy out of both. In the movies I've done, the fight crew wanted to pad me up, protect me. I told them to get rid of the padding and just kick me! I've been told I'm crazy because of that, but it's what I enjoy. Maybe, down the road, I'd like to do some behind-the-scenes work in wrestling or the movies, like directing the fight scenes."
Kelly asks how RVD got started in martial Arts?
"When I was thirteen, back in Battle Creek, Michigan, " says RVD, "there were three guys who each ran a school, and I got to be friends with all of the instructors, who let me come and work out. I got into kickboxing because there was another guy who had a ring in his yard. My friends and I went to check him out, and, to use the ring; he made us take his kickboxing class. Sometimes they'd put on shows, and I would be a spare fighter, or part of the ring crew, setting up in bars, and places like that. I loved kickboxing, even won a T-shirt at a Tough Man contest when I was eighteen by kicking the target the hardest. I got into the Tough Man contest because I was enjoying the competition of fighting a lot."
Kelly asks if RVD spends a lot of time stretching?
"Yes, I do," says RVD, "It is the secret of my skill. I do stretching exercises before my workouts, and before each and every match. If I don't do a full, 100% stretch routine, I am not prepared for the match, and that means a body shock for me."
Fink remarks that there are few wrestlers who can claim, as RVD can, to have made their debut match in the WWF, and won a Title as a result.
Fink also asks what RVD thinks of today's wrestling?
"I'm not surprised at the interest in wrestling today, " says RVD, "because, for the first time, one organization has brought all of professional wrestling in the United States together. Years ago, it was the "Big Two." Then, when ECW came along, the "Big Three."
We had ratings wars back then. Now, we've got all three groups on one television program, each with their own fans. It's phenomenal what's happening right now, and I'm glad to be a part of it. Back in ECW, Tommy Dreamer and I added to, and made ECW a more effective organization. Well, if you give me the ball, I will run with it. That's why the ratings are up. I am doing what I like to do. I like the pain, and since the fans have seen what I can do, anything that happens to me will be seen by the fans as an attempt to "tone me down."
Kelly gulps at RVD's last remark, then asks if there will be an adjustment to his style, as Tazz had mentioned earlier in the show?
"You can get a PPV match running at fifteen minutes," says Kelly, "but a Raw match will only last six minutes, and it's the same type of match!"
"I'm adjusting as I go," says RVD, "It's a day-to-day thing. I knew it would be challenging when I started, but I plan to stick to my guns, like I said. Although it is a little confusing being cheered when I'm supposed to be the heel. I guess I'm the kind of heel the fans respect."
Kelly says that, in the past, the companies used to pipe in the cheers and boos, but now, "if they want to cheer you, heck, let 'em cheer you. There'll come a time when defections may occur, and those same WWF fans are going to want you on their side."
RVD agrees, and says that the adjustments he's made so far will have a big effect on his persona. " Back in ECW, " says RVD, "I used to walk the ring perimeter, and high-five all the fans. One time it took me almost a minute and a half before I was able to lock up. That's something I can't do now."
Kelly asks about how it feels to be working with Paul Heyman again?
"It is a VERY good thing!" says RVD enthusiastically, "Out of all the professionals I've worked with since my start in 1989, Paul knows me better than anyone else. Because of this, Paul is able to use my talents to the fullest, and that's the best thing about our working together. Not only that, he's a friend of mine.
The next caller wants to know whether RVD plans to have a match with Jerry Lynn anytime soon, and what was thee whole story that happened at (the ECW PPV) "Guilty As Charged"?
RVD says a match between himself and Jerry Lynn is a given, no question about it. He watched an old match from the pre-ECW days, when he and Lynn put on a show that RVD would stack against any PPV-quality show he's seen, it was that good. "Certain people just seem to bring out the best in each other, and Lynn does that to me. And, I suspect I do the same to him. As for "Guilty as Charged," I don't remember what it was about. Sorry."
The next caller wants to know if RVD is planning a jump from the Alliance to the WWF anytime soon?
"I suspect that any move I will make will be in response to what you fans decide. After all, you are the ones who are getting me over. Besides, why would I want to wrestle for the WWF, when I can wrestle under "ECW Rules,' as I've always liked to do?"
Caller Sam on Line 3 says that "Guilty as Charged" was the last ECW PPV, then asks if RVD will ever be able to use the Van Terminator again, since Shane McMahon had appropriated it? RVD laughs, and asks Fink for the "Official WWF Rulebook" he was supposed to get when he signed up. "I suppose," says RVD, "that if I wanted to use it, I could, though the fans won't be as surprised as they were when Shane pulled it off! Only the future will tell."
Kelly remarks that RVD is making some friends among the non-wrestling fan members of the studio crew. "As spectacular as your moves are," says Kelly, "the real deal is that you put drama into every moment of the match."
"Because of my kick-boxing, and the bouts I had as a youngster," says RVD, "I consider myself a fighter first, and an entertainer second. You have to have been punched in the nose, to know what it feels like; in order to sell being punched in the nose. That gives me a huge edge, because I've had my head bounce off the cement, and spit up blood. I can do that because I've been through it! I'm trying to out-show my opponents, whether I'm getting my ass beat or not. Whatever will happen, it is still competition, and I am going to do my best. If you clothesline another wrestler, you may have to sell him running into it to prepare him for the fall. If you clothesline me, you've already hit my neck!"
Kelly asks RVD his thoughts about "Tough Enough," and the training the contestants are going through. RVD loves the show, "although the contestants are having to go through some routines that are not part of a normal training camp. They are doing them to get into the same condition as the others are in. "Once you are in that condition," says RVD, "you can do anything! It's a shortcut, pure and simple, though the odds are heavily against them."
Kelly says that they only have a few minutes left, then says that RVD has worked for every major wrestling federation. He's held gold, and done just about whatever he's wanted to.
"This Monday on Raw," says Kelly, shilling like a madman, " we've got the Rock returning, and Kurt Angle defending his WCW World Heavyweight Title in a rematch against Booker T. And every RVD fan will be waiting for Rob...Van...Dam!"
As Kelly thanks him for stopping by, and Rob Van Dam leaves the show.
Kelly says that he saw RVD ten years ago, doing moves that no one had ever seen before.
"The veterans all said he would never make it," says Kelly, "but here it is ten years later, and he HAS made it, and in a big way!"
Fink agrees, and says that because the WWF goes through cycles of doing and promoting different things, it is constantly evolving, and it is only going to get better.
Kelly says that it's the best time ever to be a wrestling fan.
This week's winner of the "Outthink The Fink" contest (over Kelly's protest that the question was WAY too easy!) is Joe Morrison of Wellesley, MA. He correctly guessed that the two SummerSlam Tag Team names were "The Mega Powers" (Hulk Hogan/Randy Savage) and "The Mega Bucks," (Andre the Giant/Ted DiBiase.) Joe wins the "Dudleyville" T-shirt mentioned earlier, and another prize from the WWF Shopzone.
Next week's guest is The Rock, but that's only tentative.
The strict "Party Line" information on "SummerSlam" can be found over at the "WWFSummerSlam.com" site.
Kelly and Fink also get in a good word for the latest "WWF Raw" magazine and in particular a nice article on
The Spanish Announce Team!
Mutual hugs and compliments all around, and the show ends.
See you next week.
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