|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 4 January 2002, I'm E.C. and you're, well ... not!
(With apologies to Chevy Chase.)
On today's show, Kelly gets a bellyful of bad programming. Kelly, Dr. Tom and Droz go hammer and tongs about the possibly imminent return of Kevin Nash. Jonathan Coachman stops by for some shameless self-promotion. Announcer - in - training, Seth Mates gets shown by Kelly just where his job description puts him on the WWF totem pole. Howard Finkel, in a rare guest shot from the Canadian Maritimes, scrapes up yet another Cavalcade of Interviews. Val Venis saves the show with some spot-on insight into the latest developments in the Heartland Wrestling Association, and his own career.
Yes, I will partake of the Byte This! chat room this week, but no, I don't think I'll participate.
Better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.
I think Mark Twain once said that.
Or it could have been James Carville.
Your hosts are Slim Fast's poster boy and good old Dr. Tom Prichard, who's clearly enjoying himself.
Howard "Fink" Finkel is off doing a house show in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Kevin "Slim Fast" Kelly says that everybody's getting ready for the return of HHH this coming Monday,
(and not a moment too soon, coming as it does on the heels of Raw's appalling 2.4 rating this past Monday night. And don't give me any guff about it being New Year's Eve! ! I'm a by-God wrestling fan, and Dick freakin' Clark can freeze his wrinkled old butt off before I'll change the channel! "New Year's Rockin' Eve," indeed! Old Man Clark hasn't rocked since Buddy Holly died. And what's with his freakin' hair?)
Kelly continues, saying that HHH was one of the top heels in the company before he left. Dr. Tom says that HHH is due back in the ring tonight, and he'll be all set to tear-ass his way back to the top of the roster once more. The real test will be his return to TV this Monday night in New York's Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of pro-wrestling.
Kelly says that, in honor of HHH's upcoming return, today's Byte This! will close with a clip from the two out of three falls match between HHH and Steve Austin.
Droz and Coach are here, and today's special guest is Val Venis, who's been busy in the developmentals climbing back up to his spot in the WWF.
Dr. Tom changes the subject to that of famous six man tag-teams, mentioning the Fabulous Freebirds, and adding that this should be a good topic for the chat roomers to mull over.
Kelly's still peeved that his monitor shows nothing whatever in regard to the chat room.
Droz shows up at this point, and asks if Kelly's got the durn thing plugged in?
This gets Dr. Tom tickled, who then asks Droz how his New Year's was? Droz says it was okay, that they had their traditional cheeseburgers and shakes, and had a good time as well. Kelly asked if Droz watched Dick Clark?
(Jeez Lou-weez! What did I tell you?)
Droz, slightly miffed, says no, and leaves it at that. Dr. Tom then chimes in, saying he's a big Dick Clark fan, which lowers his stature about four notches on my esteem meter.
Fortunately the topic shifts to Monday's "Best Of..." Raw show. Kelly liked the "What?" segment, effusively praising the WWF Creative Team for coming up with the idea, but stopping just short of killing a goat and putting in up on a rock to invoke their blessing.
Kelly announces that the Best Match of the Year will be shown at the end of today's show. Droz says his vote for best match would have to be TLC II. Kelly's was Smackdown's Kane v. Kurt Angle, though he admits that it wasn't sold properly, which is why it didn't get voted on.
Back to the topic of HHH's return, and Droz says that he's bound to do something huge to get back the stature he once had. Dr. Tom presses Droz to explain himself, and Droz says that we may be looking at a huge character turn by HHH, and that he may spend some time clearing up old storylines he had left hanging. His angle with Kane, for instance.
Caller One asks Droz to comment on the rumored return of Kevin Nash to the WWF? Droz would rather see some of the other guys, Benoit, Val Venis, Bull Buchanan get their chance to return first, but, with the surplus of talent now available to the WWF, the addition of one more won't hurt anything.
Kelly asks Droz what kind of impact Nash would have on the WWF locker room?
"He's more mature now than when he left for WCW," says Droz, " and the WWF locker room now has changed greatly from what it was back then. You've got people like the Rock, Austin, and the Undertaker in charge back there. How Nash will fit in remains to be seen."
Kelly says that Nash had always been a problem, but for the front office rather than the wrestlers. "The whole "Clique" angle gave them nothing but headaches, and bringing him back would just rake up a whole bunch of new problems."
"Look," says Dr. Tom, "it's been, what, five years since that happened? The WWF has changed, and Nash has changed, too. He realizes that he's now forty years old, that his career's just about over, and that he would like nothing better than to end it on a high note. The only place he's going to do that is in the WWF.
"His return to the WWF," Dr. Tom continues, "would bring a presence the caliber of Steve Austin and the Rock. You can just bet that Nash would not lack for opponents, either. I'll just bet there would be plenty of wrestlers who'd jump at the chance to wrestle Big Sexy."
Kelly agrees, but asks Droz if Nash would have the stamina to withstand the faster pace of today's WWF?
Droz says that a lot of the old WCW wrestlers were pushing forty years old when that company died. "The matches in today's WWF are faster-paced," says Droz, "and a lot more athletic. Could Nash keep up? I don't know. We'll have to wait and see. As for hiring Nash back, that's up to the brass, not me. Ultimately, it's the fans who'll decide if Nash goes or stays."
Dr. Tom brings up the bad blood between Kevin Nash and Chris Jericho that started when Jericho was in WCW, and Nash and his cronies were running the booking over there.
"Would Nash go back to keeping Jericho under his thumb?" asks Kelly.
"I'm not at all sure how Jericho would react to the arrival of Kevin Nash in the WWF," says Dr. Tom. "Jericho's the Unified Champ right now, with all the clout that goes with it, and he's one of Mr. McMahon's favorites, with all the clout that goes with THAT, too."
"Old wounds heal slowly," says Droz, "and I wouldn't be surprised to see Jericho using some of that new-found clout of his to make things difficult for Nash. Limiting his TV exposure, forcing him to do the popcorn matches at house shows, that sort of thing.
"It would be a shame if Nash's return brought nothing but problems," Droz continues, "but I don't see that happening. He's grown up, the WWF's grown up, heck, even HHH has grown up. The ones who didn't, X-Pac, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, well, look where they are. When do you make the choice to stop clowning around like a kid, and become a man? With those guys, the answer was, "never!""
Kelly concurs, saying that of the five former members of "The Clique", only HHH was the one who grew up, and that's why he's the top talent that he is today.
"Yeah, I agree," says Dr. Tom, "but, though Nash may still have a lot of the kid left in him, he's smart enough to know that this may very well be his last shot at the big time. It's either finish up his career here, or end it working the bingo hall and state fair circuit."
At this point, Kelly remembers that the fans might need some pertinent info, stating that Kevin Nash has been the talk of the WWF locker room for the past month, so the WWF decided to air it out on Byte This! and see what the fans think.
Dr. Tom says that, with the expiration of his WCW contract, Nash is due another chance, and that if they didn't give guys a second, or third, or in some cases a fourth chance, they'd have a much smaller talent pool to work with.
"The WWF provides the opportunity," says Kelly, "Nash will decide what to make of it. If he doesn't measure up, he's gone."
Caller Two wants to know the latest on the Hardy Boys' suspension.
Droz isn't sure if it is a suspension or not.
Kelly agrees, saying that it's just time off, so the brothers can get their act together.
"It'll give them time to recharge their batteries," says Droz, "get the creative juices flowing once again. The fans get a break, too, so that, when the Hardys do return, the fans will be there to welcome them back."
"The brother against brother angle didn't work, either," says a surprisingly candid Kelly.
"It was supposed to slow everything down for them," says Dr. Tom, "but telling Jeff Hardy to slow down is like talking to a brick wall. There's just so much punishment a human body can take, and it seems Jeff's finally realized that he just can't fall off a ladder and bounce back like before. The Hardys give 110% wherever they are, house shows, appearances, everywhere. They are due a vacation, and I hope they take it."
Speaking of wrestlers being over forty, Caller Three asks about the Vince vs. Ric Flair match on the upcoming Royal Rumble. Since both are over fifty (!) what kind of match can we expect?
(With mucho wrinkles in abundance, I'm thinking it'll look like a demonstration of how plate tectonics works!)
Dr. Tom, ever the gentleman, says that Ric Flair always takes pride in his work, and that the fans won't be disappointed. Ditto from Vince.
"Plus," says Droz, "Ric Flair's waited his whole lifetime to get Vince in the ring. What he'll do to Vince, paying him back, being able to finally do what he wants to Vince, it'll be just unbelievable. And don't sell Vince short, either. Vince is one tough customer in the ring. He knows Flair's gonna open up a can of whoop-ass, and he's gotta be thinking of ways to open one up on Flair!"
Kelly says that, because this is a one-time match, and it's being played at the Royal Rumble, both men are going to go flat out. "They both know they may never get another chance like this," says Kelly, "so I look for it to be a five star brawl from start to finish."
Caller Four says he saw Hulk Hogan on "Unscripted," and wants to know if the Hulkster will be coming to the WWF anytime soon?
"Not that I'm aware of, " says Kelly, "but you never know in this business."
Dr. Tom reiterates his earlier opinion that any wrestler would want to finish his career in the WWF, whether his name was Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, or Hulk Hogan.
Kelly drops a rumor to the effect that the reason Hogan wants back in the WWF is to do a match with Vince McMahon. "He needs the rub from Vince," says Kelly, "because Vince is the biggest man in the industry."
(Would somebody adjust Kelly's medication, please?)
Droz can be heard snickering at this "revelation" of Kelly's which is so blatantly silly, then gets himself under control enough to say that, yes, it is wise to never say never in this business, because you never know what might happen. The fans have their input, but the final decision is up to the brass.
(Which is the company's way of saying not no, but hell no to that whole "Hulk Hogan Returns" idea.)allHaHa
After some further comments about family matters, Droz leaves the show.
Kelly brings up Jonathan Coachman's backstage antics with the Rock on last night's Smackdown, where the Rock made Coach sing like Barry Manilow. Coach joins the show live on the set, and says that yes, he really does like Barry Manilow.
Kelly suggests that Coach stole the bit from Carlton on "Fresh Prince." Coach says that he didn't appreciate the Rock embarrassing him that way.
"So you are saying you won't allow the Rock to punk you out like that again?" baits Kelly.
"Not again. Bet on it," says Coach.
Next is a long and rather pointless story about Coach having to separate Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn on a flight to wherever. Kelly thinks that Coach might just have embellished that story a tiny bit, no?
"I don't need to embellish any of my stories," retorts Coach.
"It just seems to me that you stories somehow get a bit, well, "larger than life," when you tell them," says Kelly, "it makes them hard to believe."
Dead silence from Coach.
Sensing that the show is taking a decidedly ominous tone, Kelly asks about Jazz, and remarks in passing that Lilian (Garcia?) must have slept her way to the top. Coach tries to give a cogent answer about Jazz's debut, but Kelly's more interested in Lilian, it seems.
Coach pulls the conversation over to tomorrow's Excess show, where Ric Flair will be the guest, and how much Ric Flair's social life is like the Coach's. This, not surprisingly, evokes barely suppressed mirth from Kelly and Dr. Tom, and what sounds like most of the Byte This! crew as well.
Miffed, Coach leaves the show, saying he's got to go to the gym.
Once he's gone, Kelly and Dr. Tom spend the next two minutes dissing Coach to the max.
Next up is a clip from the seventh most memorable WWF moment, that being the match where HHH tears his quadriceps clean off. They show it in slow motion too, which, if anything, is even more horrifying.
Kelly puts HHH over for continuing the match and enduring so much pain for the fans.
And here's announcer-in-training Seth Mates on the phone, bringing the sad news that there are no WWF superstars in the arena yet.
Mates has apparently been detailed to find some WWF superstars for the Byte This! show to interview. He has not been successful so far.
Dr. Tom says he could traipse on over to the local gym and nab some of them during workouts.
Kelly, obviously enjoying his role of being a real prick to somebody lower on the corporate ladder than himself, sneers that Mates promised them wrestlers to interview, and that he'd better by-God deliver some, and pronto.
"How about Tony Chimel and Mike Chioda?" offers Mates.
"Or how about you interview the Janitor of the arena?!" sneers Kelly, "why not just go out front and interview the unemployed mooks who've come down to watch the wrestlers arrive? You promised us superstars, Mates, and you didn't deliver them!"
"Hey, Mates, " adds Dr. Tom, with an evil glint in his eye, "you always get the best interview if you interrupt Bradshaw during one of his workout sets!"
Mates apologies for not having superstars to interview.
Kelly tells him to holler "Tony sucks!" real loud to Tony Chimel.
"I can't," says Mates abashedly, "he's gone to eat with the rest of the crew."
Seems like a good time for good ol' Howard Finkel to show up, live on the phone from the Canadian Maritimes. More problems with the bush league communication system that Byte This! is famous for, as Fink relates that the special phone number they gave him didn't work. Mates, still on the phone, chimes in, saying that his didn't work either.
Kelly says that it's the production staff's fault, not his. Fink agrees, remarking that it's 2002, not 1972, and that the production staff should get with the program.
"Y'know," says Kelly, theatrically, "the unemployment rate might just be going up again real soon...!"
"No," says Fink, "you're blaming the wrong people. It's not the techs, it's the machinery." This gets a chorus of off-stage agreement. "They do the best they can with what they've got to work with."
Kelly retorts that it's a poor craftsman who blames his tools, then rags Mates some more for not bringing any guests to interview.
"You want guests?" asks Fink, "no problem. Let me see if I can round some up for you."
Meantime, here's this week's "Outthink the Fink" question.
Oops, maybe not, because Kelly wants to know if they've done the one about Butcher Vachon's bride?
Fink says you know we did, and here's my first star, one Dino, who is an usher at the arena in Moncton.
Kelly asked if Dino's related to Dean Martin?
"I don't think so," says Dino.
"What about Dino from "The Flintstones?" asks Dr. Tom.
"Well, yeah, I get that a lot," says Dino with a laugh.
Fink goes to look for more stars while Dino's in Kelly's clutches
Kelly manages to blather on, and waste about three minutes doing it, before he suddenly realizes that Dino and Fink both ushered at a wrestling arena!
(I wonder what Matt Drudge is doing over at drudgereport.com right now?)
Fink arrives back with one James Korderas, WWF referee extraordinaire, and a Byte This! interview-ee for the second week running.
Korderas wishes all the fans out there a "Happy Canadian" (?)
Kelly's hearing problem acts up again, because he calls him Jimmy Baldaris, ho ho.
Kelly asks Korderas if he thinks Canadian beer is stronger that American beer? Korderas thinks so.
"What about tonight's show in Moncton?" asks Kelly.
"Gonna be one heckuva show!" says Korderas.
"Tell me something," asks Kelly, "are all you referees visually challenged, and deaf as well?"
"What?" asks Korderas.
"I mean you guys seem to miss a LOT of the action," says Kelly.
"Kevin, are you still there?" asks Korderas, "I'm losing you. Here's Howard Finkel again, with more of the Cavalcade of Stars."
We finally get this week's "Outthink the Fink" question, and it has to do with a show called All Star Wrestling back in 1983-85. One of the color commentators was Jesse "The Body" Ventura, but Fink wants to know who the play-by-play announcer was, and, what's more, who his first color commentator was?
Winner gets something, we aren't told what.
Probably a punch in the head.
Kelly's getting disgusted with the level of "Suck-itude" this week's Byte This! show seems to be emanating.
We get another five minutes of Kelly bitching about no Tazz, but yes, we had Coach on, big freakin' deal, where's Val Venis, the chat room's down, at least on his monitor, whine, whine, gripe, gripe, gripe!
Thank God for Caller Five, who breaks up Kelly's little tiff by asking if HHH will be scheduled on TV regularly from Monday's Raw, or will he be off, and only reappear at the Royal Rumble?
"Tune in Monday and find out," says Kelly.
"What about Shawn Michaels' return?" asks Caller Five. "Is he retired? Is he a spokesman? What?"
Kelly replies that Michaels showed up on Excess recently, and let it go at that.
Dr. Tom tries to head the conversation back to the "Greatest Six Man Tag Teams" topic that opened the show, and asked of the Freebirds could be brought back one more time?
"Well, uh, no, I don't think so, Tom," says Kelly, "Terry Gordon's dead, remember?"
Here's Val Venis, live on the phone from beautiful downtown Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Venis is complaining about how cold it is.
"Is it colder than Missy Hyatt's book?" asks Dr. Tom.
"Not THAT cold!" says Venis.
Kelly sneaks in a comment about how much Missy put Dr. Tom over in the book. "She really loved him! A lot!" says Kelly.
Dr. Tom, pointedly ignoring Kelly's last intemperate outburst, grimly steers the conversation back to "Tag Teams comma Six Man comma Greatest."
You gotta admire the man's tenacity.
Kelly's favorite is Killer Bees and Koko B. Ware.
Venis doesn't have a favorite, wanting instead to talk about how HHH got this great big send-up for his return, while he got nothing.
"Where's MY "Big Return" push?" asks Venis.
"Right here on Byte This!" says Kelly brightly.
"You...you mean... This ... is IT?" says an incredulous Val Venis.
"Yep, and here's a special song written for this festive occasion," says Kelly, who then plays Coach doing Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" from Smackdown.
Everybody gets a big laugh out of this, and Venis remarks that he's really enjoyed himself in the Heartland Wrestling Association.
"They've got great talent down there," says Venis, "Jamie Knoble is just phenomenal."
Kelly remarks that Knoble's gotten polished to a high gloss in the HWA. His stick skills have improved tremendously, too.
"He's just about ready to make the move up," says Venis, "when he does, he'll set that WWF Lightweight Division on fire!"
Kelly asks Venis about his stint in the HWA.
"They brought me back to basics," says Venis, "improved my ring savvy. Instead of flying around the ring, I'm concentrating on exploiting my opponent's week spot. When these young guys ask me questions about technique and style, it makes me concentrate on my game more, so I can tell them the right answer."
Dr. Tom asks how David Flair's doing?
Venis says the change in Flair is like night and day. He's fitter, and has a great attitude now.
Kelly asks about Steve Bradley and the Island Boys?
Venis says that Bradley's ready right now, as is Lance Cade. Shannon Moore is phenomenal, and the Island Boys are, well, Samoan, which says it all, don't you think?
Kelly asks how Charlie Haas is handling the loss of his brother Russ?
"Russ Haas was one of a kind," says Venis. "a real talent that pro wrestling could not afford to lose. Charlie, well, life is tough, and losing Russ took a big chunk of his life away, something he'll never get back. Does Charlie have the desire to be a WWF superstar? I think so, and I think the passing of Russ will only strengthen his resolve to make it so. It's like Russ is looking down, telling Charlie he'd better make it for the both of them. That's one heckuva powerful motivation."
Kelly thanks Venis for everything he's done to make the HWA locker room better, and all the work he's done in the WWF. Venis thanks him and leaves the show.
The answer to this week's "Outthink the Fink" is "Jack Reynolds (p-b-p) and Angelo Mosca (color)."
Kelly wants (Byte This! producer) Big Country to get Mates back on the phone for some more abuse, but BC says Mates is gone, the call went right to voice mail.
"This week's show sucked!" says Kelly, "who we got for next week?"
"We're trying for Arn Anderson, Kev, " says Big Country.
"Hey, Kev," says Dr. Tom, "why not ask Arn Anderson who his favorite Six Man Tag Team is?"
Caller Six calls up to bitch about not getting any snow.
Kelly asks him if he has any favorite Six Man Tag Teams?
Caller Six responds with the Samoans, Afa, Sika, and Captain Lou Albano.
Dr. Tom's still backing the Fabulous Freebirds.
Kelly now thinks the Hollywood Blondes have a chance.
Caller Seven, who has apparently not been following along, asks the now-nonexistent Val Venis what his character will be when he comes back to the WWF?
Kelly and Dr. Tom have a high old time dissing Val Venis some more, saying that his new persona will be a Barry Manilow-type singer, and a heel as well! Great is the mirth from this amongst those assembled.
Dr. Tom thanks Kelly for inviting him to co-host this week's show. Kelly says the show sucked, but they're bound to do better next week.
"Come back anytime, Tom" says Kelly.
"Can I barge in like Coach did?"
We end the show with the HHH/Steve Austin two out of three falls match, the number one WWF match of 2001.
See you next week.
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