|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 16 November 2001 and I'm E.C.
On today's show, Fink frets, Droz regrets, Kevin quivers, Ace delivers, Tazz expels, Heyman excels, and Kane is, well, Kane.
It's thirty-six hours to either the WWF or the Alliance getting canned for good, and your hosts, Kevin Kelly and Howard Finkel are in a state of "nervous anticipation."
Fink, especially, is "really, really worried" that he "might not be employed next Monday."
(Wonder what his resume would look like over at HotJobsdotcom? "Balding fortysomething lackey, 22 yr. experience as Boss's Doormat, seeks position where I can get some pride back. Salary negotiable..." Oh yes. He's employable.)
Kelly promos the upcoming PPV by attempting to stampede the viewers into buying it, saying that tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 17th) at 5 PM would be their last chance to order the event. However, he fumbles the sequencing, and Fink has to bail him out by explaining the whole procedure.
Topic One on today's is the "shoot" Mick Foley pulled on Raw, and Paul Heyman's brilliant tirade to Vince's face on Smackdown.
Next is Fink's declaration that there are too many Title belts floating around, and that the so-called "unification" bouts will go a long way towards remedying that situation.
Which leads into this week's edition of "Droz's Two Cents," Darren Drozdov's weekly review of all things WWF. Droz says it's all on the line now, that Smackdown's ending gave us some idea of what the Survivor Series PPV will be like from start to finish. "Somebody's going away for good after Sunday," says Droz, "so every wrestler is going to be giving it his all, fighting for his life and livelihood."
Droz was impressed with the crowd response to the Rock/Austin segment that closed Monday's Raw show. Kelly remarked that the "What?" chant is really over right now. "Its amazing how one word has caught on with the fans."
(Next month: whole sentences!)
Someone from the chat room wants Droz to settle a bet; did he play football in Montreal?
Droz says yes, in 1996, just before he signed with the WWF.
Topic shifts to Paul Heyman's in-ring tirade against Vince McMahon. Droz says that, like it or not, wrestling is a business, and Vince did what he had to do to get the WWF to where it is today.
Fink opines that Heyman's whole spiel was nothing but sour grapes. "Wrestling's upswing over the past two years can be attributed to one man," says Droz, "Vince McMahon."
Kelly says that we didn't get to hear Vince's rebuttal to Heyman's screed because Vince wouldn't dignify Heyman with a response.
"Tazz provided the response," says Kelly, "and maybe that was Heyman's last chance to take a shot at Vince McMahon."
Back to the subject of the abundance of Title belts, Droz opines that Mick Foley's setting of the unification bouts should go a long way towards restoring meaning to the Titles. "It'll give more justification towards winning a Title belt," says Droz. "whoever wins the unification matches is guaranteed employment, so that's another big plus."
Kelly says that that may be the thread that will running through every match of the PPV; whoever loses might not have a job after the show is over.
"It'll sure be a balls-out show," agrees Droz.
Kelly asks if Droz thinks Austin's about to join the WWF? Droz thinks Vince is selling the possibility too much, so Austin's not making the jump.
Another comment from the chat room calls the hairstyle Paul Heyman hides under that hat of his a "Skullet." This cracks everybody up.
Fink wants to know where wrestling will be come Monday? Droz says we'll just have to wait. "They (the WWF) have to win this; they have to keep the tradition alive."
Since next week's show is pre-empted by Thanksgiving, Droz wishes everybody a happy one, and leaves the show.
Caller One is from the United Kingdom, and wants to know if Kaientai has been released?
Kelly says Taka Michinoku is over in Japan tending to family matters and having his injured shoulder seen to. Funaki is doing singles matches. Caller One asks if there's a push in the offing? Kelly says once Michinoku returns, possibly.
"What about the outcome of the PPV? What do you think will happen?" asks Kelly.
"The Alliance will kick the WWF's ass!" says the Caller One.
"Outthink the Fink's" question this week concerns the very first Survivor Series PPV back in 1987. Name the surviving contestants in the show's ladies bout?
No breaking news from OVW and HWA this week, but Kelly says that many of their up-and-coming stars who've appeared at the WWF House Shows are making a name for themselves. Fink says that, on one of the House Shows, his announcing of Brock Lesnar brought little reaction from the crowd at first, but they all ooh-ed and aah-ed when Lesnar entered the ring.
Kelly likes Rico Constantino, as does Fink, who compares him to Rick Martel. "He gets the crowd riled by telling them to shut up, says Kelly, "just a classic old-school heel work."
Fink asks which wrestlers will be making the move? "Hopefully? All of them," says Kelly, "they all deserve a chance to succeed. Some will, and some won't."
This week's Classic Clip Moments honor Kane, and the fans can choose from:
1998's Unforgiven: the Kane/Undertaker "Inferno" match.
1998's King of the Ring: Kane/Austin
Wrestlemania XV: Kane nails Pete Rose with a Tombstone Piledriver
(My favorite, because Rose sold the move like a pro.)
Judgement Day 2001: Kane beats HHH.
Normally, it would be time for Tazz and "Tales from the Hook," but Byte This! producer "Big Country" says he's been talking to Tazz, who can't be bothered this week, but that he'd be back the week after Thanksgiving.
Kelly says Tazz must still be feeling the effects of his actions against Paul Heyman on Smackdown, where he dropped his announcer's headset, climbed in the ring, and Tazzmissioned Heyman in front of Vince McMahon.
Speaking of which, Kelly and Fink then replay the brilliant Heyman tour-de-force tirade from Smackdown in its entirety.
(I recommend that you now watch Heyman's performance over at wwf.com's Byte This! site. Just load the 16 Nov 01 show, and fast forward to time marker 31:00. It is the hottest five minute promo ever done, just pure Heyman from start to finish. Go there, now. I'll be here when you get back.)
Really something, wasn't it?
Without further ado, here's the Ace himself, wrestling legend and used car salesman extraordinaire, Cowboy Bob Orton Jr.
Kelly, falling all over himself in the presence of such greatness, remarks that it must have been a long strange ride for Orton as a second generation wrestler. "Was it hard following in the steps of your father?"
Orton laughs, saying that there was, and that his son, Randy Orton feels it too, but that you have to deal with situations like that, and just go for it. He's very proud of his son and what he's doing.
Fink asks Orton how he would compare the WWF when he knew it to the WWF of today?
"When I watch the shows," says Orton, "I get homesick, so I watch it in bits and pieces. I'm impressed by the moves today's wrestlers make, considering their size and all. What they are doing nowadays I wouldn't have even attempted."
Kelly, under control again, asks Orton how he came up with the idea of the superplex move?
Orton says it wasn't his idea, it was Mr. Fuji's. "He suggested I do a suplex off the top rope, so I tried it out, and man, how everybody's bones felt being rearranged like that! Fink, awed, says that the superplex is one of the most dangerous moves you can use in the ring.
Switching gears, Orton says that both he and his son are naturals for the business they are in. "Both of us started when we were nine years old, and you get a feel of what you can and can't do in the ring starting that early."
A chat roomer wants to know Orton's opinion of backyard wrestling. Orton is vehement in his dismissal of it, saying that if you want to learn how to wrestle, do it in a wrestling club or dojo.
"Doing it in a backyard will only get somebody hurt. Using a club's facilities lessens the risk," says Orton, "plus you've got all those experienced wrestlers there to make sure you do the moves the right way. I still go to the gym, though I don't wrestle anymore."
Kelly asks about Orton's recent appearance in Louisville.
"I had a great time," says Orton, "though I didn't think I'd miss the fans and the crowd. I felt so good out there in front of all the fans, especially when they gave me a standing ovation; it felt real good."
Speaking of his son, Orton says that he's improved remarkably during his time in OVW, and that he's earned his opportunity to advance into the WWF by working with the best.
Kelly asks Orton's opinion of son Randy's tattoos.
Orton laughs, saying that Randy got them when Orton and Miz Orton were on vacation in Cancun. "He showed then to his mother first, long before he showed me," says Orton, " so what can you do?"
Fink says that Orton's teaming with Don Muraco was inspired, and what was it like on the road with him?
"Don was fantastic," says Orton, "I met him in 1977 when I was just getting started. I had to start eating, because Muraco was so big, I'd disappear if he stood in front of me. Don mumbled a lot, and it was hard to understand him unless you listened real close. He was impossible to understand on the plane.
Fink asks Orton about being part of Wrestlemania I's Main Event, and did you ever think it would get to where it is now.
"Well, it sure started out slow," says Orton thoughtfully, "but then it caught fire and spread right across the country. All of a sudden, we were playing to packed arenas, and when Wrestlemania rolled around, it just had to get bigger. Man, how much bigger!"
Fink asks if the territories got resentful of the sudden growth the WWF went through, and did Orton ever get any heat because of it?
"No, never did," says Orton, "though I was in New York by then, so it didn't matter."
How did you get started with the WWF, Bob?" asks Fink.
"Bill Watts saw me working a match in Louisiana," says Orton, " and he introduced me to Vince McMahon. They brought me up, and from there on, it was just great. I was part of the team. We really worked our buts off, too. Now, the wrestlers work three, four days in a row, and then get a few days off. Back then, we worked two to three weeks in a row, on the road the whole time. You had to work two or three large shows a week, too."
Fink asks about Orton's association with Roddy Piper, and his becoming "Ace," with the arm in a cast and all.
"Oh, by the way, Bob," says Fink with a sly grin, "how's the arm doing?"
Orton cracks up at this, and says that the arm gets sore when it's cold out. "I loved working with Piper," says Orton, "Flamboyant? You betcha, and nobody cuts a promo like he could. Dusty Rhodes might be close, but nobody matched Hot Rod!"
Caller Two wants to know what Orton's been doing since he retired? Orton replies that he's been selling used cars, and goes to the gym once in a while.
"Do you see yourself getting back in the business, maybe with the XWF or some other promotion?" asks Caller Two.
"Sure," says Orton, "why not?"
"You in shape if they call you?"
"Yeah, I stay in shape. It wouldn't take me too long to get back."
Kelly asks Orton's opinion of Steve Austin.
"I told Randy to watch Austin," says Orton, "to emulate everything he does. When Austin works, he doesn't waste any motion. When he does something, you can't hold him back."
Caller Three wants to know Orton's greatest experiences in the ring.
"Wrestling Andre the Giant was one," says Orton, "you grab him, and he doesn't move. Wrestling Hulk Hogan, the crowd goes nuts every time. That makes for a great match. Still, though there were lots of great wrestlers back then, there are some great ones today."
Fink asks Orton's thoughts on children following in their father's footsteps, like the Rock did with Rocky Johnson, or Orton's son Randy was doing now?
"As long as the child wants to improve upon what the father did, I've got no problem with that," says Orton. "But if the son wants to ride on the back of dad's horse, then I've got a problem with that."
Kelly asks what about when the father pushes the sons to be something he could never be, like with the Von Erichs for instance? Did you ever push Randy too hard?
"Randy quit wrestling for a couple of years to play basketball," says Orton, "and then later on, he decided he wanted to wrestle again. There have been times that, in hindsight, I've realized that what I've done has affected Randy in some way, for the good, mostly. Now, I give advice, and try to be helpful, though I don't demand anymore. Randy's a young man with his own career ahead of him, and he's going to do things on his own."
Kelly and Fink thank Orton for being on the Legends segment, and Ace leaves the show.
Classic Clips Poll shows that the 1998 KotR clip leading at present.
We also have a winner in "Outthink the Fink." Congrats to Matt Aaron of Port Dover Ontario, who guessed that the surviving ladies in the first Survivor Series were the Jumping Bomb Women.
Matt gets a 2001 Survivor Series T-shirt, and well-deserved it is, too.
Kelly and Fink welcome Kane to the show, his first appearance ever on Byte This!
Kelly asks Kane's thoughts on being part of potentially the most important match ever in the history of the WWF.
Kane says that, like everybody else who's involved in the match, he's pumped up. "It's a battle to the death for either the WWF or the Alliance," says Kane, "people's careers are on the line here. Personally, I'm glad to be on Team WWF, representing the whole organization."
Kelly wants to know Kane's thoughts on how much he's progressed since his debut in 1997?
"You get to a certain level," says Kane, "and you realize that there is still so much to learn. Each time you make an improvement, it opens up other ways to better yourself. Stepping up a level opens a whole new dimension."
Kelly remarks that Kane's career seems so entwined with that of the Undertaker, and the special bond between the two of them.
"I owe the Undertaker a debt that I can never repay," says Kane, "he has done more for me on a personal and professional level that anyone else in the business. He's been called the conscience of the WWF, and he is that and more. He sets the standard for the whole locker room to follow. Working with him as a tag team, we've become very close. It's been a privilege and an honor to work with him."
An email asks how Kane's elbow is doing, and will he be 100% for the Survivor Series? Kane says his arm is fine now; he had a staph infection after the San Jose PPV. Since he healed up, every time he bangs his elbow it swells up with fluid and gets sore. "I wear an elbow pad on it. Don't worry, though. I'll be 100% at Survivor Series."
"Did the infection catch you by surprise, Kane?" asks Kevin.
"I got cut on my elbow, nothing worth noticing, or so I thought," says Kane, "then, three days later, I had to go to the hospital. IV antibiotics knocked it out. That's all there was to it."
"What about your training regimen now?" asks Kelly.
"Five days a week," says Kane, "every body part gets a workout in turn. I train extra on a specific body part each week, too. It's a heavy regimen, but that's what my body responds to, it seems. I also do a lot of cardio, because I want to be able to move and have extra stamina, no matter how big I get. Stamina is all important when you are in the ring."
Caller Four asks if Kane enjoyed doing the Chef Boyardee commercials?
"I had fun doing all the commercials I was in," says Kane, "I got to show the lighter side of my character, something I can't do in the ring."
Kelly horns in with a comment about how it's just that you have to deal with those people in the New York sales office.
"Uh, Kevin," says Big Country, "the call's coming from the New York sales office."
Caller Five (who gets on really quick) wants to know how the rest of Team WWF are getting along, since it seems only he and the Undertaker seem to be on the same page.
"Yes, we've had battles in the past," says Kane, "but the Undertaker and I have gotten closer together because each of us has laid it on the line; given all we've got. Rivalries earn respect for each other from the rivals."
A chat room question asks if Kane was the tallest kid in school?
"I was always tall growing up," says Kane, "until I met The Big Show."
"What about Kurt Angle?" asks Kelly.
"Don't let Kurt Angle fool you," says Kane, "though he may play the fool, he's a tough son of a gun. I think Kurt does that on purpose to fool his opponents. Booker T is another. You can give him your best shot, and he just keeps coming. Then there's Shane McMahon; he's just nuts."
Fink asks if Kane prefers singles competition to tag team work?
"I enjoy tag work," says Kane, "especially if I'm teamed with the Undertaker. I like both equally well, though."
"What about Paul Bearer?" asks Fink, "what influence has he had on your career?"
"Paul taught me what life on the road was like," says Kane, "he was a positive influence on me."
Caller Five asks how Kane felt getting his mask ripped off by the Undertaker at SummerSlam?
""I tried to get out of the arena as quick as I could," says Kane, "it's the only time I've ever run from anything."
Kelly asks if Kane's proud of his accomplishments, and the range he's developed?
"I am proud of what I've done," says Kane, "especially having to deal with the mask and all. Sometimes, the mask is a handicap. It limits your performance because people read so much emotion from facial expression, and the mask eliminates that altogether. Because of this, I have to use my body more. I've gotten good at it, too."
Caller Six asks if Kane remembers him; he met Kane once and drew a picture of him, and what was Kane's favorite match of all time?
Kane does remember the caller.
"I've got that picture in a box somewhere. My favorite match? Last year's Royal Rumble, when I got to stay in the ring for over an hour with all that top-notch competition. The Inferno Match against the Undertaker was another one, because we'd never done anything like that before. Then there's the first time the Undertaker and I faced each other at Wrestlemania. Those are the three that stick out."
"What about King of the Ring '98 where you became the WWF Champion?" reminds Kelly. "What did it mean to you to be the WWF Champ, even though you only held it for one night?"
"It means a lot, even though I only held it for one night," says Kane, "not many people can say they've been the WWF Champion, can they? I was facing Steve Austin at the height of his career, too, so that meant a lot to me. It's the high point of my career so far."
The chat room asks if Kane's ever scared when he's in an especially brutal match?
"I'm scared, all right," says Kane, "but for the other guy, not myself."
Caller Seven asks if Kane will get another Title shot, and how long he plans to be in the WWF?
"I don't know when I'll get another crack at the Title," says Kane, "hopefully, sooner rather than later. As far as my staying with the WWF, I plan to be here for a good, long time. Team WWF will prevail this Sunday, and I'll be part of a great future, the WWF's future."
"What about tombstoning Pete Rose?" asks Kelly, "it doesn't get any better than that?"
"Yeah," says Kane with a laugh, "two icons in one night must be a record." (Kane tombstoned the San Diego Chicken on the same program.) "I missed Pete this year."
Fink asks about the changes made to Kane's entrance, and is he pleased with the new entrance theme and pyro?
"They worked out a new musical intro so the pyro comes on a lot sooner than before, without that long music buildup," says Kane, "I think it works better. It startles the fans more, and they don't have time to react before the pyro hits them. One entrance I'd like to try is the elevator up through the stage, through a ring of fire. Definitely spectacular."
(Gangrel's old schtick? Nah. Seen it!)
Kelly asks if Kane's got butterflies being in what could be the biggest match in wrestling history?
"You always get butterflies before a big match," says Kane, "mine start backstage, and get worse when I'm walking down the ramp. Once I get to the ring, though, I'm fine. Anticipation is a part of the show. A big part. And this Sunday is really going to be something to look forward to."
Kelly and Fink thank Kane for coming on the show, and wish him good luck at Survivor Series.
As Kane leaves, Fink remarks that this could be the last WWF Byte This! show ever, if things don't go the WWF's way at Survivor Series.
"I don't know what you are worried about," says Kelly, "I'll be back after the Thanksgiving holiday. I don't know about you though, Fink."
Fink ignores Kelly witty bon mot, and plugs some upcoming WWF Live Events (aka House Shows.)
When Fink mentions the Charlotte Coliseum date, Kelly lets out an ear-splitting "Whooooo!"
"What's THAT all about?" asks Fink.
"I'm answering some inquiries I've had from the Internet," replies the smug Kelly. "HE...is going to be there."
"I'll believe it when I see it," says Fink.
As Fink slips into a reverie about who he will have on the Legends segment in two weeks, Big Country rolls today's Classic Clip winner, that being Kane wining the WWF World Title at King of the Ring, 1998.
No show next week, so I'll see you in two weeks.
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