|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 28 September 2001, and I'm ol' E.C.
On today's show, Kevin Kelly talks about Tough Enough, and seeks revenge from Mr. Granger. Fink talks about Tough Enough, and has a doozy of an "Outthink the Fink" question this week. Droz reviews the top match of Unforgiven, and talks about the Tough Enough champs. Tazz talks about Tough Enough and Stacy Keibler, and Kurt Angle speaks on being the WWF Champ, and, uh, talks about Tough Enough.
We get a 30 second WWF ShopZone blurb on Lita and her T-shirt, just prior to the
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Howard Finkel.
Kelly plugs "It's True, It's True!", Kurt Angle's new book, and asks Fink what it was like announcing Kurt's match at Unforgiven. Fink says that it was highly emotional, given it was happening in Kurt's hometown, with Kurt's family at ringside. When Kurt won, says Fink, nothing in the world could have kept his family from celebrating in the ring with him. Austin/Angle at Unforgiven was classic "Old School" in every sense of the word. The follow-ups on Raw and Smackdown spun the storyline up even higher.
Time for Droz's "Two Cents", Darren Drozdov's weekly recap of all things WWF. Droz follows on to the Kurt Angle topic by saying that he's watched Angle's career since before he (Droz) got hurt. Even back then, says Droz, you could tell Angle had what it took to be a champion. "He has the total package," says Droz, (with what I hope isn't an unintentional calling down of the "Luger Curse.")
Kelly shifts the topic to another top match from Unforgiven, that of Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho. Droz says that Pittsburgh is a big ECW town, and the "RVD! RVD!" chants shook the building. Kelly says that he heard the crowd doing two competing chants, "RVD!" and "Y2J!" At times, it sounded like "RVJ!"
Droz says that both of them were way over at Unforgiven and again in the rematch on Smackdown this past week. Kelly says that Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley had a hand in things on Smackdown, but that it sure didn't turn out the way she planned, did it? Droz snorts, and sneers "What a shame!"
Fink comments on the intensity and bloodshed at Unforgiven, saying that the WWF locker room looked like a MASH, with the medics stitching up wrestlers left and right. Droz agrees, saying that the show was one stiff shot after another, with blood in every match. Take the Edge/Christian match, for instance; the intensity and the fury was there; you could tell by the blood. Kelly gives kudos to all concerned with Unforgiven for making it a great PPV.
Topic shifts to Thursday's Tough enough finale, with crewmembers Maven and Nidia grabbing the contracts, both of who were Droz's picks. "You could see how far each of them had come in just two months, especially when they cut the promos," says Droz.
"It was a shame to see any of them lose," says Kelly.
Droz says that he knew Harvard Chris had a problem, not making friends with the other wrestlers because "they weren't his kind of people."(!) "That bothered me," says Droz, "and it probably bothered Vince McMahon, since the WWF is like a big family. You need to get along with everybody, just like in a family. Personal problems between members of OUR family can end up in the ring. And in the ring, nobody holds back!"
Kelly says that the Instant Messenger bin's full up with fans clamoring for a new tag team, that being Raven and Maven.
Talk moves on to where Stone Cold Steve Austin is hiding out since losing the WWF World Title to Kurt Angle. "Everybody better look out," says Droz, "Austin's been through a lot, what with nearly getting tossed off a bridge and all. With the Title gone, it's gonna give Austin fire in the belly to go get it back from Kurt Angle."
Droz then says that he was surprised and pleased by the new tag team of Kurt Angle and the Rock. Kelly agrees and remarks that there has been a resurgence of interest in the Tag division as shown on this week's Smackdown. "The show opened with a the WCW Tag Titles changing hands," he continues, "and closed with that brutal gang fight for the WWF Tag straps."
Kelly continues in a similar vein by postulating Rob Van Dam's move on the top spot in the Alliance, and what a great storyline that it's turning out to be. Droz agrees, saying that RVD's got the whole of the Alliance behind him, and that Austin's going to find things changed when he gets back from wherever he's hiding out. And lord only knows what this will do to the Alliance.
Kelly thanks Droz for coming by, and time for the classic match poll.
The fans get to vote on Kurt Angle's classic moments, those being Kurt's hosing down of the Alliance with moo-juice, Kurt's first World Championship Title win, the infamous SMH smooch, (gamma globulin shots, anyone?), the hilarious in-ring Medals Ceremony, and, last but not least, his first match in the WWF.
Howard Finkel and Kevin Kelly get Tough Enough, with Fink saying that the right choices were made. Nidia deserved winning says Fink, because she wanted it more. And Maven could really cut a promo, always a plus in this business.
Time for Tazz and "Tales from the Hook." Tazz says that the Tough Enough finale was "tremendous! Al Snow and I were with the five of them all night, from 5 PM until after the show ended. They were all nervous and strung out, so I gave them a speech, and told them not to get nervous."
Kelly asks about the decision between Taylor and Nidia for the women's contract. Tazz backed Taylor, saying that she's not finished with wrestling by a long shot. As for Harvard Chris, Tazz says that it's not that the guy is a pain to get along with. "He's just not as hard a worker as the rest of them, " says Tazz, nailing Chris with the worst insult imaginable for a professional wrestler. "He wasn't up to the standards set by guys like Josh and Maven," Tazz continues. "All he had was size going for him, and he's not even that big compared to the rest of the WF locker room. He had a chip on his shoulder, a "world owes me a living" attitude, because he went to a good college." The sneer is evident in Tazz's voice, as he says "I don't give a rat's ass where he went to college. I was just tickled to stand next to him, smile at him and ask, 'How come you didn't make it, you big bastard?'"
Kelly asks Tazz about Josh. Tazz thinks Josh had a good chance of beating out Maven for the contract, but for Maven's superb skill on the stick. "He's like a politician," says Tazz, "he's comfortable with the camera and the crowd, and that's a big plus in this business. Josh had two things going for him. One, he's a stone fanatic for the game, and two, he's a tremendous athlete in the ring. Where Josh fell down was his ability to cut promos. He doesn't have 'the look' or the charisma that Maven has. It's not a size thing. Who am I to say that a guy is too small? If Josh had won, it would have been the ultimate underdog victory."
Fink says that he asked all the contestants if they were still going to pursue their goal, and none of them said they were giving up on it. "What about now, Tazz," asks fink, "after having time to sleep on it, who do you think won't give up?"
"Josh, for one," says Tazz, "he'll be out looking for matches, or trying to get into another wrestling school, do a tape and send it to the WWF. He will keep hammering at it until he gets a job. Taylor? She may quit, though I hope she doesn't. Harvard Chris will be on an Indy show this weekend, capitalizing on his being on Tough Enough, going for heel status. This guy thinks he was ready six months ago. He will be great for the Indies, and they will be great for him. The Indy promoters are going to squeeze every drop of anti-WWF publicity out of Chris that they can."
Kelly asks how tough things are going to be for Nidia and Maven, now that they've won their contracts?
Tazz responds by saying that he talked to Maven after the show Thursday, asking him if he was having a good time? "Maven said 'yeah,' and I said good, because it ends now! They are both in for a hard time in the coming months, because they are going to have to prove themselves, not only to the WWF locker room, but to the fans as well. And I don't know if they can do that. Though I didn't get to talk to Nidia that much, Maven knows he's behind the eight ball from now on.
Kelly agrees, saying that Maven knows all about the uphill climb he's facing. "Earning the respect of the locker room isn't easy."
"Ah, he'll do fine," says Tazz, "I'll be lookin' out for him."
Fink wants to know if Tazz, as their former trainer, will be there for Maven and Nidia if they need it?
"I've already got a son," growls Tazz. "When I'm at work, that's business, and I'll be watching out for them. If they screw up, the talent will be coming to Jackie, Al Snow, and myself. If they screw up, I'll pull them to one side and let them know about it. I got it cleared with (Jim) Ross, and he has no problem with it. I like them both, especially Maven. I don't want the locker room giving him a hard time when they don't know him yet. He's hungry for this, and wants the chance to prove himself."
Fink asks about "Tough Enough 2."
"Another big hit, just like the last one," says Tazz, "though I'm no sure if I'm gonna be a part of it. Whatever, it'll be a big time hit, and I'm happy to be a part of it.
Fink winds things up for "Tales from the Hook," saying that they'll have to talk about something new next week, what with Tough Enough finishing up. Tazz says fine, we can talk about the same stuff, just like we were doing before Tough Enough came along. "By the way," asks Tazz, "who's today's guest on Byte This!?"
"Kurt Angle," says Kelly.
"Wanna talk about first matches, Tazz?" asks Fink, and everybody has a laugh.
Tazz remarks that Angle's had some great matches the past two weeks, including the tag match with The Rock against the Dudleys on Smackdown.
Kelly says that Tazz has a great match coming up on Sunday Night Heat. Tazz agrees, saying that he and Stacy Keibler face Torrie Wilson and Tajiri.
More banter between Kelly and Tazz ensues, and Tazz leaves the show.
"Outthink the Fink" this week has to do with WWF Champions who were Olympic Champions. Kurt Angle is one, but there are three more. Three fans with the correct guess gets a copy of Kurt Angle's new book, "It's True, It's True!"
After a brief introduction by Kelly, Kurt Angle joins the show.
Kelly recaps Angle's match at Unforgiven with Steve Austin, to which Angle responds by saying that it was his best match to date. "We went out there and told a story," says Angle, "it was a brutal brawl, to boot."
Kelly asks about having to face Booker T the next night on Raw, and if it took some of the wind out of Angle's celebration?
"Not in the least," says Angle, "though I didn't know I was going to wrestle Booker T beforehand. I was still nursing an injured knee from the match with Austin, plus that neck injury from Smackdown, so I was concerned if I'd make it through the match, yes. But I did win, and keep the WWF Title! That felt as good as winning the title back on Sunday!"
Kelly asks if Angle has changed his mindset in the wake of the 11 September tragedy? "It's taught me to appreciate my country more," says Angle, "I want to give the fans a reason to cheer every time they watch the WWF. I'm not what you'd call an American Hero, but I want the fans to know that when I wear the red, white and blue, they have an athlete that represented their country at the Olympic Games, and that I consider myself to be a true American. The fans took a liking to me right off, and maybe see what will become of America. America will prevail, just like Kurt Angle did! The fans wanted to see me win the World Title. I did, and it felt good when I did."
Pandemonium erupts on Angle's end of the phone at this point, lots of barking dogs and such. Kelly jokes that Kurt kidnapped Paul Heyman's dog. Angle says no, his dogs are going nuts because his wife just came home.
Kelly shifts the topic to Angle's having been both a heel and a face. Angle liked being a heel, though he's discovering that being a babyface can be just as much fun. "The fans are behind me, and not just because I'm an Olympic medallist. They like what I do, and it's a great feeling.
Kelly touches on how Pittsburgh has affected Angle's career; WWF Title won there, WCW Title won there, debut match in Pittsburgh...
"First official loss in Pittsburgh," interjects Angle, shutting Kelly off in mid-gush.
Fink comes to Kelly's rescue by asking if Angle had followed the career of another Pittsburgh native and WWWF Champ, Bruno Sammartino?
Angle, in a rather sheepish voice, says that no, that coming along, he never really followed wrestling, "though I knew who Bruno was. That guy had a huge name in Pittsburgh. Growing up, I never followed wrestling, though I knew who all the big names were. Bruno had a big name because he represented everyone. The immigrant population especially took Bruno as one of their own, and he represented them very well. That's why he's the household name, one of the most famous in the business."
First caller recaps Kurt's initial turn-down on a contract offer from the WWF, and asks if his current passion for the sport will continue to carry him through, and can the fans count on him to be there for years to come? "I definitely have a passion for the business," says Angle, "I enjoy it even more than the Olympic Games! My passion is similar to that of HHH, but will I ever be like HHH? I don't know. There's not many like HHH. Stone Cold is one. I'm going to be here for years to come, even if I'm not part of the talent; I'll be active in some capacity for the WWF."
Kelly asks if Angle sees himself as a sort of goodwill ambassador around the world? "Definitely," says Angle, "I enjoy doing corporate appearances, and representing the WWF. As for being an ambassador, I do charity events, and am active in the Smackdown! Your Vote campaign.
Kelly remarks in an aside about Unforgiven that he thought it was funny when Angle's wife traded "flippin' da bird" with Steve Austin. "It really looked like they both meant it, too!" says Angle with a laugh.
We take a break, and holy smokes, we got three winners already in the "Outthink the Fink" contest. The answer to the question previously posed is Mark Henry, Ken Patera, and the Iron Sheik. Fink says that Bad News Brown was another Olympic medallist, though he never held a WWF Championship, and didn't count.
A quick update on the "Best Kurt Angle Moment' shows the Alliance Milk Bath is in the lead, followed closely by Angle's Debut Match. Angle takes the opportunity to ask his wife what she thinks the best Kurt Angle moment is. Karen Angle says his Debut, but changes her mind and says the Milk Bath, of course.
Caller Two wants to know if Angle is thinking about bringing his wife into the business. Angle is flattered, but says that it's not going to happen, at least for the moment. "If there was an angle where I could use her, then yes, I would," says Angle, "with her smarts, beauty and charisma, she should do at least as well as Sara did."
On to the Tough Enough winners, and Angle's thoughts about them.
Angle is pleased with who won, "though I think that josh would have been a better choice. Despite his size, he deserved it because he had more talent than the other guys. His technique is better, and he's got good mic skills. If he sticks with it, he's got a good future. Josh was my pick, but Maven got the nod."
Kelly asks if Maven will be accepted by the locker room. "That's up to the boys," says Angle with a laugh, "the ribbing is going to be up, especially with Bradshaw and the APA. Bradshaw? Look out, Maven! But we've all been through this kind of stuff; it's a rough business. The boys are going to see how you react to stuff like that. If you can't respect everybody, you won't last. Sorry, but it's just going to take time for them to be accepted. Once they are, they'll be family. But it will be up to them as to how they react.'
Kelly touches briefly on the ribbing that Angle took, as per his new book, "It's True, It's True!" Kurt says that he's had a LOT of ribs played on him.
Caller Three asks Angle what his favorite backstage moment was?
Angle laughs, and says that, though he can't remember it, it had to be the last SummerSlam, where he got the concussion. When they wheeled him backstage, Briscoe, Patterson, Stephanie, and the EMT's all told him not to go back out and finish the match, he was hurt that bad. "They had a brief live spot where I was supposed to say, 'Only for you, Steph!' Well, they told me what I had to say, but I kept asking them what I had to say! Vice kept getting madder and madder because I kept asking what I was supposed to say, and he didn't want me going back out there. Well, I talked Vince into letting me go back out and finish the match. Concussion and all, I had one of the best matches of my career. Not that I want a concussion every time, but the backstage stuff was just hilarious. I still get a laugh every time I watch!"
Fink asks Angle about teaming up with The Rock?
"It's a dream team," says Angle. "we have the best chemistry, not just as adversaries, but as allies. Last night was our first team-up, and we got one tremendous match out of it. I am looking forward to teaming with The Rock gain, though I don't know just when that will be.'
After fumbling twice regarding Angle's official start date with the WWF, Kelly says that Angle may be the first WWF wrestler to have held every singles title in his career. Angle hadn't realized this, and says that it's a great feeling to have accomplished that. "I'm pleased that the company has such faith in me to have let me hold every singles title in my short career. I just need to keep getting better, because there are others out there who are even better than I am.
Kelly wraps things up by thanking Angle for appearing on Byte This! Angle responds, and gets in a quick shill for his new book, "It's True, It's True!" and, "I'll be in a number of cities for special book and autograph signings."
Fink adds his effort to the shill push by saying that Angle's book can be purchased over at WWFShopZonedotcom.
As Angle leaves, Fink and Kelly plug this weekend's house shows, and get in yet another plug for Angle's book.
(Where's Mick Foley when you need a shameless plug, hah?)
As the show ends, Kelly wants to know the updated story on WWF Byte This! Crewman Granger and the haircut to be inflicted upon said person. Fink hems and haws a bit, not wanting to commit himself to any one particular point of view. Kelly suspects trickery and gigantic amounts of slackness.
He opines that God may be taking care of Mr. Granger's haircut.
From the inside.
Like He did with Howard Finkel.
As Fink rises up to smite Kelly hip and thigh, we go to this week's poll-winning Kurt Angle Moment.
Not surprisingly, the Alliance gets a milk bath.
Next time, it's WWF Intercontinental Champion Christian. I wonder if he will bring along his entrance music?
See you next week.
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