|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WWF Byte This! show for Friday, 21 September 2001, and I'm E.C.
On today's show, Kevin Kelly gets a bad case of Granger's Revenge, courtesy of Howard Finkel. Droz give his predictions about Unforgiven, Tazz discusses current events, and The Rock talks about being an new father, his handicap match at Unforgiven against Booker T and Shane McMahon, and the importance of a wink.
We get a thirty second commercial for Trojan Condoms prior to the
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Howard Finkel.
Kelly kicks things off by discussing the upcoming Unforgiven PPV, specifically the main event between Steve Austin and Kurt Angle, plus the previously mentioned Rock v. Booker T/Shane-O-Mac handicap match.
Fink says that it's important for the WWF fans in the Tri-State area to all be at the Mets/Braves game tonight at Shea Stadium. Important because it means that they can do as President Bush asked, and move on with their lives after the terrible tragedy of last week. Fink says that the WWF people had difficulty getting flights back to the New York area from Nashville. The flight he was on was okay until they got to the New York area. No one expected the big gap in the Manhattan skyline where the World Trade Center Towers once stood.
"It was very eerie and surreal," says Fink, "but we all have to pick ourselves up and move on, and do what needs to be done."
Kelly says that today's show will feature The Rock, and here's where today's fun starts, because we get three examples on the graphics screen of Kelly's famous interviews with The Rock. There's one of The Rock making Kelly blacken out one of his teeth. And one of the Rock making Kevin Kelly pick his own nose. Finally, the interview where The Rock calls Kelly a hermaphrodite!
Kelly, as you might imagine, goes ballistic at all this, and ends up calling Fink, Byte This! producer "Big Country," the entire Byte This! crew, and anybody else within the sound of his voice a buncha sonsabitches.
Then Fink springs the piece de resistance, that being that he preceding three video clips will be the subject of this week's viewers' poll, where the fans choose which one of them is their favorite!
"Howard, I'm gonna get you for this," growls Kelly, but there's a laugh in there somewhere.
Fink says that Granger (the Byte This! crewman whom Kelly's making get a haircut on the show, remember?) had a hand in setting things up this week, prompting more sounds of outrage and rupture from Kelly.
At this point, Droz joins the show for his weekly "Two Cents." Droz wants to know from Kelly what all the fuss is about, since he oughta be used to being called a hermaphrodite by now.
"At home, at home," says Kelly, "not at work!"
Things take a serious turn when Kelly asks Droz his thoughts about the events of the past week Droz, after a short pause, says that the one thing that has really stuck with him is how quickly Americans have unified. "They may have tried to tear us down," says Droz, "but they can't tear down our spirit. We are unified behind President Bush to fight terrorism. It's going to be a scary time, but we will prevail.'
Kelly and Fink discuss the tributes the WWF Superstars did on the Houston Smackdown. Fink says that the Superstars went into the taping room and just let their emotions do the talking. "What was so amazing," says Kelly, "was that everybody who did a tribute sort of said the same thing, but that nobody said the same thing twice. What else is going to be interesting is the reception that Kurt Angle gets when he comes down the ramp at Unforgiven in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh had a part in the past week's tragedy, what with the airliner crash just outside nearby Somerset, so what will Kurt be feeling? Droz says more than that, what will the fans in Pittsburgh be feeling, especially after Steve Austin giving him a piledriver onto concrete on last night's Smackdown.
"It was tough for me to watch what happened to Kurt last night," says Droz.
"What about using Angle in that way as a storytelling device," asks Kelly.
"Many fans emailed me after it happened," says Droz, "and some of them said they wouldn't watch any more WWF shows because of what happened. What got me was the silence of the crowd after that happened. I've heard that silence myself, and in my case, it was the real deal. It still scares me when I hear it."
Fink asks Droz how he's handling the emails on the past weeks events. Droz says that it's helpful to him to read the emails, and some of them are very touching. One from a fan in Boston affected him in particular. Seems the fan had a friend who was on one of the flights out of Boston. The fan talked about the tribute the WWF Superstars did on Smackdown, and how he felt they were saluting his friend, who was also a big wrestling fan.
"It pretty much brought tears to my eyes," says Droz, with a catch in his voice.
Kelly says he's been amazed about how much we've taken our freedom for granted. "It used to be," says Kelly, "you'd arrive at the airport, E-ticket in hand, zip right through the baggage check, and so onto the plane. And if there was somebody delaying things, we'd get angry about it. Now, it's whether or not they have ENOUGH security at the airport that's important.
Droz agrees, and says "we cannot let this bring us down. We are waking up, and, with our friends overseas, we will make it through this."
An Instant Message asks Kelly how he feels about flying now? Kelly says that he'd feel safer because of the heightened security. Additionally, everybody seems to be getting along, and why is it that it takes a tragedy to bring us all together?
Back to Unforgiven's Main Event, Kelly says that it will be an emotional time for Kurt Angle, what with his family and friends all being there, as well as being the embodied spirit of American patriotism.
Droz says that Kurt has set goals for himself and accomplished them. "Kurt has a lot of anticipation," says Droz, "but he is also fired up about taking the World Title from Steve Austin, and becoming the WWF World Champion."
Fink moves on to the Rock's handicap match against Booker T and Shane McMahon. Droz says that it was great seeing Booker T slither out of the ring after the match Thursday night. The Rock's got to be feeling more confident because it looks like he may be facing only one opponent in the handicap match instead of two. Still, that leaves him facing Shane-O-Mac, who's still full of tricks, so anything can still happen in that match.
Kelly thanks Droz for stopping by, and it's time for "Outthink the Fink." This week's killer question relates to the Bob Backlund-Sgt. Slaughter rivalry in the early 80's. Their first confrontation occurred when Slaughter interrupted Backlund during an athletic activity of his. What was that athletic activity?
Discussion shifts to the upcoming final "Tough Enough" show. Fink says he stopped by the Trax Plant while the contestants were working out. Fink was tickled when Steve Austin got in contestant Chris Hayward's face about wrestling not being a job. All in all, Fink says, the "Tough Enough" show was good because it helped the contestants see what went into the making of a WWF Superstar. Fink also hopes the two winners don't ever forget what they learned.
Over to Tazz for some more "Tales From the Hook." Tazz is stuck in traffic, so he's calling in on his not-too-dependable cell phone. (You'd think with his connections with the Sopranos, he could afford come decent communications equipment, hah?) Tazz is getting pretty salty with the traffic and all, so he's not in the best of moods. An Instant Message asks if he's gonna get revenge on Austin, and what his standing in the Alliance is?
Tazz gets cranky and says that he's an Alliance member, and that's it. Austin joining the Alliance had a great impact, though Tazz still thinks that he himself had a greater impact at the Alliance's beginning. More emails about Tazz becoming the "Old Tazz." Tazz gets cranky again and wants to know who this "Old Tazz" is that everybody keeps ragging him with? Kelly postulates that "Old Tazz" is more of a mindset than anything else. Tazz says that he's been with the WWF for two years before the Alliance came along, and that maybe the "Old Tazz" everybody talks about wasn't getting the job done. Fink asks if Tazz still considers himself a free spirit, in spite of his affiliation with the Alliance. Tazz says yes, he does. "I say what I want to say, when I want to say it," says Tazz. "These other robots all kiss up to Stone Cold, but not me. He gets the truth right in his face from me. I may get beat down for it, but I am still gonna do what I have to do."
Kelly winds up the segment by asking Tazz about the Tough Enough show. Tazz says that he is doing the pairings this week, in preparation for the finals in Stamford, putting on the extra polish to their moves and such. He doesn't care who wins, though he feels that everybody involved should still continue to have some affiliation with wrestling. They all still have something to share.
Fink moves the topic back to the events of the past two weeks, and his flight back to New York. Tazz was on the flight also, and they sat across from each other, and chilled out.
A gentleman sat down near them, and both Fink and Tazz noticed that he didn't have any luggage, just a newspaper. As Tazz was looking at him, (and jeez, how scary would THAT be on an airliner?!) a flight attendant came by and spoke with the man. Tazz then realized that his was one of the air marshals from the FBI, "riding shotgun" on his flight. "Nobody flies around the country more than the WWF does," says Tazz, " and it was great seeing the new security presence.
Kelly asks Tazz's thoughts on flying out to the Nashville show. Tazz says that he flew out on a 757, and when saw the New York Skyline with all this smoke and a big hole where the towers were, it just about broke his heart. He'd taken school trips to the World Trade Center, and now they are gone forever.
"We should be mad," says Tazz, "All of us. It's time for President Bush to do what he said he was going to do, and get moving on it!"
Fink asks Tazz what he has planned for next week's show, to which Tazz laughs and says it'll be something nobody'll ever forget, and leaves the show.
The Rock shows up for his segment almost immediately, and says that he's got a deal for Kevin Kelly as regards calling him a hermaphrodite. Kelly laughs, as does most of the crew, and asks how the Rock is doing, and what a thrill it was having him come back to the WWF at SummerSlam.
"Are you satisfied with the way things have turned out since your return, Rock?" asks Kelly.
"The Rock is never 100% satisfied," says the Rock. "I made it a point, after I had that Cage Match with Steve Austin at Wrestlemania, and then left, that when I got back I would be better than he was before he left. I wanted to be quicker, faster, better in every respect. Whether or not that has been accomplished, he doesn't know, but he is his own worst critic."
Kelly asks how much weight the Rock lost filming "The Scorpion King?" Rock says that he thinks he lost fifteen pounds, though it wasn't a conscious effort at weight loss, but rather his getting a grip on what he was eating. "It is so important knowing what types of foods I was putting into my body," he says, "I made the effort to better understand what I was eating, and what changes I had to make to my training regimen. I didn't want to be the biggest or the strongest man in the WWF, just the best. The new regimen has made me faster and better, performance-wise."
Kelly asks if he might have sweated those fifteen pounds off when they were filming in Morocco?"
The Rock says, with some irritation, that they filmed "The Mummy Returns" in Morocco, and not "The Scorpion King." Fink sneaks in a did on Kelly by saying that Kelly's getting Morocco mixed up with Don "The Rock" Muraco, since he and The Rock have the same names.
(Okay, it's a stretch, but Rock seems to like it, in inverse proportion to Kelly liking being made fun of by Fink.)
Fink asks The Rock what a typical day shooting "The Scorpion King" was like?
"Up by 4AM, makeup chair by 5AM, shooting by 7AM," says Rock, "and sometimes we'd continue shooting until 11PM that night. In the WWF you are live. Though you are able to tell a two-hour story in a movie, you can also cover a lot of different facets to that story. With the WWF being live, we work all week for that one two-hour show, and we only get one chance at it, not many different takes and camera angles."
Kelly asks how long it took for him to get adjusted to the schedule?
"Not long," says Rock, "because I was still building up to Wrestlemania with Steve Austin. I'd finish Smackdown, fly out to the West Coast, and be in the makeup chair at five the next morning. Once I'd finished with Wrestlemania, I only had one job to do, and that was to make the movie."
Kelly asks bout the training he did to get ready for his return to the WWF. Rock says that there was a gym down there, and some great guys who were willing to take some bumps with him to help him work out. "They helped me come back, not just stronger, but quicker, and a better all-around athlete than when I left. I knew the fans and others would be watching me when I came back," Rock continues, "and I trained every day for three to four weeks before my return."
Kelly remarks on the Rock being WCW World Champ, and not only that, but being a new father as well.
"Everything is just great," says Rock, with obvious pride in his voice, "the baby is fantastic, and my wife, Dani, is doing great. If anything, it's made me more determined and focused, made me want to go out and conquer the world!"
Kelly shifts the discussion, and poses the following:
"You can make millions of dollars doing movies, and never risk serious injury. Yet, you still want to be a WWF superstar. What is your motivation to continue in the WWF, when you could take a road much easier than the one you are currently on?"
The Rock ponders a bit, then says that he could take the easy road, and will at some point, because he plans to do another film. What keeps him in the WWF is passion. The passion and incentive he gets from the fans. When he gets into the ring, the fans go crazy. If he's getting his butt kicked, that's okay, because the fans can always count on The Rock to fight back, and everybody can relate to a guy who will not stay down. "I feed off the fans' energy," says Rock, "every time they chant my name, that's one more right hand I'm gonna throw!"
Kelly says that the greatest move in wrestling is the comeback, and that all the great superstars from Hulk Hogan to Dusty Rhodes have used it.
"The comeback is what it's all about," says Rock, "I am not a high-flyer or a top-rope artist. I'll probably NEVER go to the top rope. But I know ring psychology, and a good comeback can wow the fans better than any other high spot move out there!"
Fink gets in another quick did at Kelly by asking The Rock what his favorite Rock/Kevin Kelly interview was? He also mentions this week's poll. Kelly gives him a dirty look.
The Rock says that Kelly blackened his own tooth for starters. Kelly picking his own nose was good, but then Rock more or less MADE him pick his own nose. That leaves the hermaphrodite incident, which The Rock considers to be his favorite.
"Kevin," says The Rock, "You are missed, badly missed, on television. Why not come back? You need to come back and interview The Rock again!"
Luckily for Kelly, we go to the phones, and Caller One from somewhere in New Jersey. Kelly questions as to where (Sicklerville?) and he and Fink just crack up because that's where ring announcer Tony Chimel lives. Anyway, Caller One is the biggest fan The Rock has, and asks what it's like being a dad, husband, and superstar all in one? The Rock says that he balances the priorities in his life every day, and hopes that God will give him the strength to continue on. "I will always make room for new projects," says Rock, "the more the better!"
Next caller wants to know if the Rock will ever be WWF Commissioner? Rock says maybe in the future, but he thinks you have to have no dress sense at all, like Mick Foley. (He must not think much of Steven Regal as a consequence, huh?)
Fink touches on Rock's "Killer" promotion on Smackdown, with Jerry Lee Lewis in the audience. Rock says that was the best promo he's ever done, (until the next one, that is.) Even at house shows, Rock rides the fine line of being funny and intense, as every fan knows that the Brahma Bull can be. Kelly asks about Rock's ability to zing his opponents. Rock says that he's made several of them really mad at him, but it wasn't intentional. "I've learned a lot from doing it," he says, "and I've tried to capitalize on it. Zing 'em good, and you've got a strong opponent. I always have regard for the opponents I am facing. There's a way to zing them, and make it entertaining, but also have the intensity about you that honors their abilities, and doing that for your opponent makes it a better match all around. I can ask Lilian (Garcia) if she likes strudel. Heck, I can ask MICHAEL COLE if HE likes strudel. But the important thing is that, in every one of my promos, I'll wink at the audience to show them that I'm doing this solely for their entertainment."
Kelly shifts discussion to Rock's handicap match this Sunday against Booker T and Shane McMahon. Rock says that Booker T's stock has been rising steadily ever since SummerSlam, and a lot of that is due to the opponents that he has had. As for Shane, Shane is just nuts. The match his Sunday should be very entertaining, especially with Booker T in the ring. He was a solid talent in WCW, and a great athlete as well. The Rock says he enjoys the various angles that they have been working.
"He's a hell of an athlete," says Rock, "and can do anything in the ring. And then, there's Shane. He's more than willing to put his body on the line anytime, not just at the PPVs. When Shane is involved in a match, everybody wants to see him get his butt kicked. It just adds an extra something to an already great match. It'll be one helluva match, I guarantee it. Then, there's the match between Kurt Angle and Steve Austin. Lots of emotion in that match, all right. Angle's very lucky working with a guy like Austin. It should be a great match, and the Rock can't wait!"
Kelly thanks The Rock for being on today's show, and being a great guest, too. The Rock thanks Kelly and Fink, and leaves.
Kelly puts over the Rock/Booker T/Shane match at "Unforgiven' once more, then praises Rock's adding luster and prestige to the WCW World Title, bringing it back to it's former prominence, making it a Title to fight for once again.
(Obviously a dig at the way the old WCW under Vince Russo were devaluing the importance of the World Title by putting it on just about anybody. Remember David Arquette's reign as WCW World Champ? Sheesh!)
As Kelly and Fink prepare to wind up this week's show, Kelly relates how much the events of the past two weeks have affected the world in general, and the WWF in particular.
"Never have we Americans ever been in a situation like this before," says Kelly, " and if the WWF may not make the right decisions, at least we listen to the feedback and try to improve."
(I guess this is the closest the WWF will come to making an apology of sorts for running Smackdown from Houston a week ago Thursday. At least it's better than nothing.)
"Unforgiven" is going to be a very entertaining show, and Kelly hopes that all wrestling fans in the Tri-State area will come on down to WWF New York and watch "Unforgiven" there. "We are going to make WWF New York a celebration of what makes Midtown Manhattan great. You'll get the show, the drinks, and the meal all for the one admission price, plus you may get your face on TV! It's all about putting money back in to help re-build New York. As for getting there, take the mass transit. Fink adds that there will be a Superstar there at WWF New York for the PPV. (Billy Gunn? Disqo Inferno? Who could it be? Everybody else will be in Pittsburgh, right?)
Answer to this week's "Outthink the Fink" is "Harvard Step Test."
(I'd have thought Bob Backlund would have welcomed any interruption from that particular torment.) Some lucky fan gets a poster.
Results of poll indicate that the fans think the best Rock/Kevin Kelly interview was where Rock make Kelly pick his own nose.
Next week's guest is Kurt Angle, and Fink says we'll know by then whether or not Angle will be wearing the WWF World Title. Fink gives a brief run-down on this week's various shows:
9/22 Reading, PA (house show)
9/23 Pittsburgh, PA (Unforgiven PPV)
9/24 Columbus, OH (WWF Monday Night Raw)
9/25 Dayton, OH (Smackdown taping)
Kelly shifts the discussion to employee Granger's impending haircut. This brings employee Granger onto the set, and yea, verily, Samson himself would be green with envy at Granger's abundant locks. What's with his freakin' head?!
Kelly, laughing, calls upon all licensed hairstylists to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and says that Granger's haircut will be on an upcoming edition of Byte This!
Granger gets the last laugh, as we get a Smackdown film clip of the Rock making Kevin Kelly pick his own nose!
Ooooog! See you next week!
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