|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 17 August 2001, and I'm E.C.
On today's show, Kevin Kelly needs a co-pilot, Droz needs some manners, Tazz needs a break, and Diamond Dallas Page needs a hug.
Opening cred-er, no, we get about five minutes of appropriately loud and raucous music, including the Rock's hilarious "Pie' cut.
Now we get the "Pulp Fiction" film clip montage on the principals in Sunday's PPV steel cage Tag Title match. Undertaker/Kane keep the WCW Tag Titles, despite interference from Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon.
Your hosts are...
All by his lonesome.
No Dr. Tom Prichard, and no Howard Finkel. Kelly is apparently flying the plane solo this week, as the Fink is apparently in Temple. WWF Byte This! producer and utility on-air personality "Big Country' is also apparently on vacation, or in protective custody this week, so we've got a crew from "Labor Ready" running things behind the scenes. Appropriately, Kelly tries to go to the phones, and not only gets a screwy hook-up, but the caller (Matt?) is as screwy as the phone system is today. End result: the show does a crash and burn right off the bat. Kelly tries to get the attention of whoever's running the show, but is unsuccessful.
Whichever gnome it is that is running the phone system manages to get Droz on the line, and the first topic is (God help us!) the ol' "Mecca of Manhood" himself, Shawn Stasiak. Droz is pleased with Stasiak's progress this week, that being an unfortunate collision with WWF Commissioner William Regal's suit of armor, (jammed shoulder, possible concussion), and the Rock, ("Rock Bottom," additional assorted injuries.) Still, some heat is better than no heat at all, I guess, says Droz. "Stasiak's a good kid. He's just a little mental, is all."
(A little mental?)
Discussion shifts to the new Smackdown set, and the fact that the show was live for the first time. Droz is very impressed with the new set's design, that it really typified what Smackdown was all about. The "live-ness" gave the show an extra "edge," something that Smackdown will need if the show's ratings are going to climb.
Booker T's copping the Rock's act gets the once-over from Kelly and Droz. "He's talked the talk," says Droz, "now Booker T has to walk the walk. I don't think Booker T knows just what he's gotten himself into, but at SummersSlam, the Rock'll be demanding payback."
Kelly asks if it's a foregone conclusion that the Rock will be the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion after SummerSlam. Droz says no, not with Shane McMahon in Booker T's corner, it's not. Anything can happen when Shane's involved, say Droz.
Kelly moves on to Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, and how busy she will be at SummerSlam. Droz laughs, and says yeah, her and her twins will be real busy, all right. Chris Jericho may have to eat that promo he did on SMH's "new look" last Monday. "Everybody noticed the change in Stephanie, but nobody wanted to be the first to say anything about it, since dissing Stephanie usually resulted in lightning bolts shooting out of the ceiling."
Kelly says that Stephanie was a good sport about the whole thing. Droz and Kelly do several more minutes on Stephanie's "new look," and great is the hilarity among the "Labor Ready" crew.
Next up is the ladder match between Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy with the WWF Hardcore Title suspended above the ring. Droz says that every time these two guys get in the rig, they push the outside of the envelope as far as spectacular, high spot moves are concerned, and SummerSlam should be no exception. "This should be the match of the night," says Droz.
Topic shifts to the bump referee Mike Chioda took at the hands of Shane McMahon. Droz says he once took a bump like that playing football, and got to see his feet over his head. Kelly shills for Droz's "Two Cents" over on wwf.com, and then thanks Droz for stopping by.
To the phones we go, and the caller on Line 5 says that he liked the way the new Smackdown set looked, although it didn't hold a candle to the old set for awesome looks. "What really needed revamping was the "Raw is War" set," says the caller, "it's beginning to show it's age."
Kelly asks if the caller liked the "live" aspect of the show. The caller said that it was a good idea, although it must be very strenuous on the wrestlers. As tough a show as they put on Thursday night, says Kelly, the wrestlers will be dragging by the time they get to SummerSlam. Kelly says he's talked with some of the WCW wrestlers about when they were doing both Nitro and Thunder live, and some of the horror stories that came out of that series. Kelly also remarked that the overnight ratings showed no improvement, but that was expected; you needed to have the show run live for several weeks before any change in the ratings would show up.
Topic shifts to the "Lights Out" match on Smackdown between booker T and the Rock. The caller wasn't sure what was meant by a "Lights Out" match. Kelly says that where he came from, (Florida) they were common enough. Basically, "Lights Out" means no Titles change hand, and that there are no rules, no sanctioned match y any promotion. In effect, the promotion is turning a blind eye to the match, and the wrestlers can have at it.
The caller asks isn't that the same as a "No DQ" match? To which Kelly replies, yes, but it's named different.
Next caller asks if there will be more WCW wrestlers moved into the storylines? Kelly starts the whole "who's taken the buy-out" routine again, and that everybody not seen on the show is still under contract to Time Warner. Booker T wanted to negotiate the buy-out of his contract, and that's why he's wrestling in the WWF. Bill Goldberg, on the other hand, might not want to turn his back on millions of dollars for doing essentially nothing, although, if he were to join the WWF, he could make that much and more. What WCW wrestlers that the fans are looking at now, are the same ones that will be with the WWF for a long time to come.
The next caller asks if Vampiro will be showing up in the WWF any time soon. Kelly says that there's not a lot of interest in Vampiro at present. Caller responds that Vampiro seems to be very marketable, to which Kelly replies that anybody can be marketed if they're promoted the right way. There's a lot that goes into proper promotion of a WWF superstar.
Speaking of which, it's time for Tazz, and this week's "Tales from the Hook." Kelly remarks that Tazz must be all worn out after the week he's put in. Tazz replies that t was hectic, but ultimately rewarding. Kelly asks Tazz about being whipped by Steve Austin on Raw this past week. Tazz says that it wasn't something he'd want to go through every day. Kelly asks Tazz his reaction when he first realized that Austin not only intended to make and example of Tazz, but to humiliate him as well. Tazz responds by saying that he took it as a sort of backhanded compliment, being singled out for "special attention" by Austin.
And though his job at the moment Shane McMahon was Rock-Bottomed through the announce table was announcing, he's since realized that his loyalty lies with the Alliance 24-7. As for the whipping, he wasn't happy at all with that, but he respects Austin as the Alliance leader. So far, Tazz is the only Alliance member who's had the guts to stand up to Austin, and if he got beat up by a bunch of guys for his actions, well, he's been beat up by a bunch of guys before, and it won't be the last time, either.
Tazz's swerve on Kurt Angle gets a mention, with Kelly saying that it was a great story line to kick off on the final show before SummerSlam. Tazz is proud of what he's done, setting himself up in not one, but two angles before the PPV, one with Austin, and the other with Kurt Angle. Tazz felt that, though his character had wrestled an opponent as over as Kurt Angle was, he felt himself to be a step behind where Angle was, and he wasn't crazy about how he wrestled the bout against Angle, either. Tazz needed to recapture some of the old Tazz persona, which he did by reviving the Towel and his signature "Beat Me...If You Can..." war cry. "I haven't said those words in over two years," says Tazz.
Kelly asks if the Towel is back to stay, to which Tazz replies that it may crop up from time to time.
Topic shifts to this week's "Tough Enough," and Greg's departure due to injury, specifically the three herniated discs in his back. Tazz says that what Greg did was the honorable thing. For him to stay in could have risked serious injury, not only to himself, but also to his opponent. Training with that kind of injury, and keeping up with the rest of the group as he did, Tazz has nothing but respect for Greg. "He's got the drive and ability to go far in our industry," says Tazz, "I hope his career continues, and that he won't quit."
Tazz will be at SummerSlam, though his role isn't clear as of yet. Tazz says that SummerSlam will be great for the fans.
Where else could you see Booker T facing the Rock, or DDP squaring off against the Undertaker? Kelly agrees, and adds that the ECW fans will also get to see their favorite wrestlers perform as well.
Kelly thanks Tazz, then shows a film clip from the movie, "Bubble Boy." The clip cracks Kelly and some of the crew.
Kelly shills for the Steel Cage Tag Title match at SummerSlam, and Diamond Dallas Page joins the show.
Kelly asks DDP if he's beginning to have second thoughts about the match.
DDP says that he and Kanyon are ready for whatever the Undertaker and Kane can dish out. "When I found out we were facing the Undertaker and Kane," says DDP, "it jacked me right up. What we will do in that cage will be spectacular!"
Kelly remarks briefly on how DDP's career could be boiled down to one word; "Survivor!"
Evolving from an announcer, to a manager, and finally to a wrestler, DDP has climbed to the top of the wrestling business.
DDP says that he gives thanks every day for his family, his wife, and his health. He's been blessed so many times, where other wrestlers have been injured and had to retire. Many people have told him to give it up, he's going to get hurt, and badly, but DDP just keeps coming back and proving them wrong.
"I would say to myself every day, 'Do you really want this?' and a second or two later, my answer would be "Yes!"
DDP also thinks that not waiting and joining up with the WWF as he did actually helped motivate him to recover from his injuries faster. "You can't believe the work ethic, and the concern for your career that the WWF has," says DDP, "it's learning the WWF style that will enable my career to grow faster and better. When I came to the WWF, I was a step and a half slow. My work with the Undertaker improved me to a half step slow, but the quick bumping put me behind again. I'm still in the learning curve, but give me a month more, and I'll have the WWF style down pat."
Kelly asks about DDP's fierce training regimen, how he never stops. DDP says the unstoppable guy in the WWF is HHH. "I trained with him at the Power Plant, and never lost touch when HHH went to the WWF. HHH is "Mr. WWF," the man who gives his all for the product.
DDP also appreciates the honesty that people like Shane McMahon have in telling him when he's right and when he's wrong.
"Don't tell me that I've been doing a good job when I haven't," says DDP, "that doesn't help me at all."
DDP remarks that he's glad he's in the WWF to put the finish on his career. "I can work with anybody," says DDP, "and make it a great match."
Kelly says that DDP had a great match with Edge & Christian, just to prove DDP's last statement.
DDP says that Edge & Christian are "students of the game," and are helping him reach the level he needs to be at.
Kelly shifts the discussion to how DDP got started in professional wrestling.
DDP recounts his days in the night club industry, running a "Norma Jean's," the hottest bar from Sarasota to Cuba! DDP started out as the emcee and announcer for the acts. DDP wanted to start wrestling for Vince McMahon Sr. in the old WWWF, and wound up working once a week, driving two hours to get to the matches.
"I really didn't learn anything about the business," says DDP, "except how to get hurt. A car hit me when I was 12, and banged up my knee pretty bad. It was a chronic injury, and those early wrestling matches I was in just hurt it even more. I'd been a wrestling fan all my life. I started working at the bar, and the wrestlers used to hang out there, smoking cigars. I hung out with them, and the Diamond Dallas Page character was born. I kept bangin' on doors, trying to get into the business, and had a lot of them slammed in my face. That didn't bother me, because I just kicked them down and kept going.
"It's all about mind set, and not believing people who say you can't do it. Some people see my book "Positively Page" as a motivational program, and I've gotten lots of compliments on it."
Kelly asks DDP about his meeting with Vince and Shane McMahon.
"I told Kimberly two years ago that I was going to meet with the McMahons. She said it might not happen, but I said it was going to happen."
Kelly asks whether Kimberly will be a part of the WWF? DDP says never say "never." "When I left Turner, I took 80 cents on the dollar," says DDP, "those people would rather pay you 100% of your contract just so you wouldn't go to the WWF. It was crazy what they were doing. They still owe me money. But I gave it up to become part of the biggest thing ever in professional wrestling; the "Invasion" angle. Did I make the right choice? Damn right, I did! I believed that what I was doing was the best thing for my career. I wasn't walking away from WCW, from the past. I was walking towards the WWF, towards the future. I wanted to be a part of the whole WWF, and I am happy that I am able to be just that."
Kelly asks if the criticism leveled at his current heel turn and the "Stalker" angle have hurt his career opportunities?
"I never take anything said about me to heart," says DDP, "what shows up in the magazines and on the Internet is like scrawling something on the high school bathroom walls. Hiding behind something or somebody, they can say whatever they like. When I say something bad about somebody, I say it to his or her face. If you've got something to say to DDP, say it to my face. If you don't like the angle, that's okay. When I was at my peak in WCW back in 1997 and '98 as a babyface, there were still 20% of the fans that hated my guts! If the fans don't like the current stalking angle, it's because I'm not like that in real life. But I've had a lot of fun with the role, especially with Paul Heyman helping me with it. He's helping me bring out the "dark side" to the character."
"We're both having a heckuva time with it," concludes DDP, "even though we both know that the character is headed for a serious ass-kicking. But I'm going out there to put on the best show I can, and give the people what they want."
Kelly relates that DDP has been doing a cardio workout during the whole interview. "Through having all the doors slammed in your face, you've survived to become one of the hottest stars in WCW. At SummerSlam, you're facing the Undertaker and Kane in a steel cage match. You know the Undertaker's reputation in steel cage matches. How can you hope to survive, much less win the match?"
"By doing what I've always done," says DDP, "I just keep coming. I'll be digging down deep to survive the match, and I will survive! I am really excited about it!"
Kelly asks about Kimberly once more. DDP says that she's taking the Time Warner money until 1 February 2002. After that, it's anybody's guess as to what will happen.
Kelly hopes that, if the time is right, Kimberly will be in the WWF.
Kelly thanks DDP for being on the show, and says that, love him or hate him, you still have to respect DDP. "This guy should have never even contemplated getting into the wrestling business in the first place, but he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer!"
Kelly shills for SummerSlam once more, touching on all the matches, and says that it's much better for all concerned if you fans order the show on PPV, and not have to get the results second hand from your friends or the Internet. C'mon, stick a crowbar in that wallet of yours...
Lance Storm is scheduled for next week's show.
I hope he does his "Sam the Eagle from the Muppets" impression.
See you then.
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