|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 11 January 2002.
On today's show, Droz shows how some Wrestling Legends could actually shape the outcome of the Royal Rumble. Tazz cuts a dynamite promo on being one half of the new WWF Tag Champs. Charlie Haas faces the future, and HHH shows why he is The Game.
Oh, and Kevin Kelly calls the WWF fans in the New York area a "bunch of wise asses."
Ever the diplomat, huh, Kev?
Opening credits have been shelved for this week, as we start the show with a video of HHH's return on last Monday night's Raw, with Motorhead's Lemmy screeching away in the background.
Man, Kurt Angle sold that HHH Pedigree like a pro. That extra little bounce off the mat was a nice touch.
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Howard "Fink" Finkel, newly returned from the wilds of the Canadian Maritimes.
Fink is affecting the "Ron Howard" ball cap-look this week.
Kelly exults over HHH's return to the ring this past Monday night. Fink agrees, saying that HHH couldn't have picked a better place to do it than Madison Square Garden. The crowd's reaction was like nothing he'd ever seen before, and that includes Hulk Hogan winning the Title.
The Royal Rumble is nine days away, and looks to be shaping up as a Cavalcade of Wrestling Legends, rather than as a genuine chance for a deserving midcarder to get a shot at the Big Time.
Speaking of Wrestling Legends, today's Classic Clip serves up a big heaping platter of Curt Hennig this time. It includes my personal favorite, Curt Hennig wrestling really hurt against Bret Hart at 1991's Summer Slam, and finishing the match.
The other choices are:
Summer Slam 1993: Hennig v. Shawn Michaels
King of the Ring, 1993: Hennig v. Bret Hart again, and
Survivor Series 1992: the tag match between Hennig/Randy Savage and Ric Flair/Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall.
More hype for the Royal Rumble as Droz joins the show with his "Two Cents," a weekly review of all things WWF.
Droz was impressed with HHH's return. Kelly says that HHH needs to put in some more gym time; he's looking sloppy, ho ho.
(Uh, Kev, pot to kettle, your black!)
Droz is also pleased that so many of the wrestling legends have plan to attend the Royal Rumble,
(and Val Venis must be wondering what the heck happened to his career? After the collapse of the RTC angle, he gets sent down to the minors for some re-tooling on his gimmick, and, oh yeah, help in training the rookies. Being a veteran, Venis did what they told him, and was happy to do it, because he knew he'd get another chance at the majors. Suddenly, he's being "honored" by two halfwits calling him a "Wrestling Legend." When what they really mean is "Has Been." If I was Val Venis, I'd be hollering loud and long about this!)
Droz goes on to say that Hennig was a force to be reckoned with in the WWF. About ten years ago. Now, Hennig's being given a chance to retire in a WWF ring. Kelly says that that Hennig could be a factor this year, as he's in phenomenal shape. Kelly's played golf with Hennig, so he knows whereof he speaks. Droz opines that maybe it's not a one-shot deal for guys like Hennig and Venis this time around. "There could be a surprise this year," he says.
From this, the topic shifts to talk of the sudden activity in the WWF Women's Division. The question is, will Trish be able to hang onto her Title despite the challenge from Jazz. Droz feels Jazz will own the Title soon enough, but not to discount the experience that Trish has gathered ever since she became champion. Fink thinks Jazz hasn't been tested enough to make a bonafide run at the Title, and needs more seasoning before doing so. Kelly says that Jazz's roots in Memphis, in women's sports make her a great athlete, but she shouldn't discount opponents like Trish or the soon to be returning Lita. Fink says that Trish especially has the potential to be the top women's competitor of 2002. "No matter what kind of match they've thrown at her, even one's featuring Gravy and EggNog, she hasn't backed down," says Fink.
Almost overshadowed by the "HHH Return" media event was Tazz and Spike Dudley winning the WWF Tag Titles from the Dudley Boyz. Droz thinks it's probably the best tag match he's seen in years, and he's really pleased with Tazz and Spike. "Yeah," says Fink, "and how about winning the Titles in Madison Square Garden? Think of the history that arena has, and what an honor it is to be a part of it?"
Prompted by a chatroom question about the Royal Rumble, Fink is of the opinion that the more outsiders who enter the tournament, the better, even though the chances of their winning are virtually nil. Kelly agrees, saying that, though wrestling legends like Val Venis may be in the tournament, nobody's expecting them to win, though that's not to say that they couldn't influence who would be staying in and who wouldn't.
Droz says that if you are one of the first five wrestlers called to the ring, your chances of surviving are virtually nil. (Tell that to Ric Flair and Steve Austin, Droz!)
"So they act as spoilers," he continues, "in that they could toss somebody out that the fans thought might have a chance.
Kelly & Co. take this opportunity to give the WWF's take on the MSG fans hollering "What?" over and over during Lilian Garcia's rendition of the National Anthem, and all the ruckus that followed.
" So what if they are wise asses? Get over it," says Kelly to the public, "the WWF fans are who they are."
Droz leaves the show after some inconsequential football talk, and Kelly takes the resulting hiatus to announce that there will be a live WWF pre-game show next Sunday, from 5 PM to 7 PM, just prior to the Royal Rumble being aired.
Speaking of the new WWF Tag Title holders, here's Tazz with this week's "Tales From the Hook." We first get a video of Tazz's reminisces of past Royal Rumbles, then Tazz arrives, and he is actually smiling for once as he talks about how his most memorable show was the night he gave Kurt Angle's career an atomic wedgie, ending his winning streak.
As for winning the Tag Titles with Spike, Tazz says that the shock of their winning didn't sink in until the next day. (Meanwhile, the chyron has a big picture of Tazz and Spike holding their Title belts aloft in victory.)
"It's great to be able to finish a story line for once," says Tazz, "I'm just glad that my two greatest moments came in the Garden, in front of my hometown buds. Not many athletes can say they've won a Championship in Madison Square Garden, but now, I'm one of them who can!"
Tazz goes on to praise the return of the Wrestling Legends like Goldust. ("Did they bring him back for Billy and Chuck?" asks Tazz with an evil laugh) and says that both Val Venis and the Godfather are still in their prime, and it was about time for them to come back up.
Tazz's New Year's resolution is to hang onto the Tag Titles for as long as he and Spike can.
Kelly's doing a lot of "stage-snoring, really loud at this declaration.
Tazz was also pleasantly surprised that the fans remembered his signature ECW war cry, "Beat me... if you can! Survive...if I let you!"
"Paul and I were doing the promo backstage," says Tazz, "and we came up with that as a closer. I wasn't sure if the fans would remember my old ECW days, but Paul was all hot for using it, saying the fans would eat it up, and it turned out he was right."
"The fans remember the cool stuff," says Kelly, "and that phrase just rolls off the tongue.
As Tazz leaves the show, he says that he might have a special guest on next week, maybe Joey Numbers.
(I'm hoping it's Tony Sirico from "The Sopranos.")
The Classic Clips Poll has the 1991 Summer Slam match leading with Flair/Hall v Hennig/Savage a close second.
The "Outthink the Fink" question this week has to do with HHH being in a "Hog-Pen Match" when he first joined the WWF in the early 90's. Fink wants to know who his opponent was (That's easy. "Hog-pen" equals one of the Godwins, probably Henry,) and where the match took place? Email answers to email@example.com. The winner gets one of the new-design HHH T-shirts.
Next up is the new Heartland Wrestling Association Champion, Charlie Haas. Charlie's going through some tough times, as he recently lost his tag partner, little brother Russ, to a heart attack. Since then, Charlie's become the HWA Champ.
"Russ and I thought we'd had all our dreams fulfilled when we signed our contracts with the WWF," says Charlie, "but God had other plans for Russ. Well, Russ may be gone, but when I'm in the ring, I'm not alone. There are two Haas brothers still in that ring."
Kelly says that he has some old tapes the Haas Brothers sent him when they were just getting started. "Though the tape was terrible, just really awful," says Kelly, "you could see they both had the heart and the fire to make it in the business."
"We'd never been apart as brothers," says Haas, "we got to live our dreams and wrestle together as a team. I would give anything to be able to measure up to the man that Russ was. Russ was a good man, a good brother, and a good brother. With Russ gone, it's painful during the Holidays, but that will pass. As for wrestling, sure, it's hard being a singles competitor after tagging for six years, but I can do it."
Kelly asks about Haas changing his ring name.
"I'm calling myself 'R.C.' Haas, now," says Haas, "the 'R' being in honor of Russ."
This segues nicely to having Haas recount how he won the HWA Championship.
"I came down to the ring," says Haas, "because I had to tell the fans about what had happened, and how I was dealing with it. The Main Event that night was D'Lo Brown and the Island Boys v. Val Venis, Easy Money, and Steve Bradley, with the winner becoming Champion. Well, D'Lo came down from the locker room, said I was in his prayers, and that he wanted to do something to help me out. So he gave up his place in the match for me. I accepted, and what a match I had! The Island Boys were just great, and when I got Val Venis to submit, well, I just broke down and cried, I was so thankful. The Island Boys hoisted me up on their shoulders, the locker room emptied, and they played Creed's "My Sacrifice." That got me going again, it was so appropriate to what happened. It was like having our own PPV, it was so unbelievable."
Haas takes the opportunity to thank everyone in the WWF for their support and help, then leaves the show. Kelly says that Russ will always be with Charlie, in spirit, and that Charlie's in for one good ride.
Here's The Game himself, as HHH joins the show.
"How'd you feel when you stepped through the curtain Monday night?" asks Kelly.
"When you are a performer, it's what you live for," says HHH, "the lead-in, trhe hype, the videos, and then walking out in front of that MSG crowd, well, it was indescribable!"
The subject of respect is brought up, as Kelly asks how it feels to have the respect of the fans.
"I've spent 90% of my career being the most hated man in pro wrestling," says HHH, "and despite that, the fans recognize the work and the accomplishments I've made, and are still willing to give me the respect."
"What about your return in MSG," asks Fink, "did you ever expect it to be that big?"
"I knew the hype was pushing the stratosphere," says HHH, "but I never expected the reaction I got. It just blew my mind! I was a heel when I left, but I'm a face now, due to all this fan support. I haven't changed anything; I'm still The Game."
In answer to a question about HHH setting his sights on winning the Unified Title, HHH says that it's the one big prize. Chris Jericho's the Undisputed Champ right now, and he deserves it. For a long time, everybody doubted Y2J's ability to win the Big One. That's all over and done with, because Jericho's kicked his career into high gear. He's stood his ground against the toughest in the business, and held onto the Unified Title, and he deserves to hold that Title.
HHH's immediate goal is to win the Royal Rumble, He doesn't expect to get anything just handed to him, nor does he want anything to be handed to him. He'll win the Royal Rumble, and then face the Undisputed Champ at Wrestlemania, Jericho, The Rock, Stone Cold, whoever.
Kelly asks if the buzz is back in the WWF?
"I sure feel it now," says HHH, "It's a lot stronger since I returned, too. Increased competition means a big boost for the business. Putting another big name in the mix raises the bar, and makes everybody step it up. The fans like it when that happens."
Caller (One?) wants to know what it's like working with Ric Flair, after HHH had tried to pattern his own career on that of Flair's?
"I'm getting an opportunity to work with one of my heroes," says HHH, "Flair's one of the all-time greats, so anything that happens with Ric is going to be just outstanding."
Caller Two asks If HHH regrets not participating in the whole "Invasion" angle?
"It was difficult just sitting on the sidelines, not being able to do anything," says HHH, "I was trying to decide which side I was going to join when I returned. Well, by the time I did return, the whole deal was over and done with. Still, I got to watch it as a fan.
"Speaking of which," HHH continues, "by watching the WWF shows as a fan, I began to realize that maybe it wasn't such a good idea for people inside the company to leak information to the fans as had been done in the past. You have to maintain the mystery."
On the subject of imminent returns, what about Chris Benoit?
HHH says that he's looking forward to Benoit's return. "Benoit's been gone a long time," says HHH, "and when you are Chris Benoit, you are champing at the bit to get back into the ring the whole time. Rhyno's got the same kind of injury, and when HE gets back, expect the intensity level to get jacked up yet another notch."
Caller Three asks if HHH considers the past eight months to be the toughest part of his career?
"If you look at it as eight months to a year," says HHH, "you wouldn't want to attempt it. What happens is that you learn to take it a day at a time. Some days are better than others, and some aren't. You can't let yourself get down. You take it a step at a time, and keep your head above water. The therapists and trainers all helped me to keep a positive attitude, because that's the way to face what I was up against."
A chat roomer wants to know how HHH does the "water thing" that he does during his entrance?
"I just spit," says HHH with a laugh.
Caller Four wants to know which Unified Champ he would like to face, should he win the Royal Rumble?
"Whoever's got the belt," says HHH, "anybody wearing the Unified Title is the guy I want to be facing across that ring. Whoever it is, they better get ready, because I will win the Royal Rumble, and then, Wrestlemania."
Caller Five wants to know who HHH would like to work with?
"Rob Van Dam, for one, " says HHH, "and Test, who's going to be just huge in this business. Edge, no question about it. But I'd really like to work with Spike Dudley."
This last is said in all seriousness, which surprises everybody on the show.
After some nice words about the HHH "Beautiful Day" video Fink wants to know what HHH's goals are?
"My return to the ring was my biggest goal," says HHH, "now that that's been reached, the next goal is to be Unified Champion, and that will just be the start of the new story of HHH, not the end. The Unified Champion means you are Number One in this business, and I have to be Number One!"
Caller Six wants to know if HHH has had to adjust his wrestling style now that he's returned from being injured. Also, could HHH enlighten us on a possible reforming of "The Clique?"
"I've got one speed when I'm in the ring," says HHH, "what you've seen in the ring so far is nothing to what I am capable of. I always give 100% in the ring. Always. If I can't give 100%, well, then I can't give it, and then I'll decide how to change and adapt.
"As for the 'Clique" reforming," he continues, "yes, I've heard about that. I didn't get to see Shawn (Michaels) on Excess, but I hope to see him soon. I've heard rumors of Hall and Nash returning, and if they do, that'll be great. Plenty of room for them here in the WWF. X-Pac's figured in there somewhere, too. Will the "Clique" be reformed? I don't know. The business is more competitive today than the old days, and everybody wants to be the best. Too bad there's only room for one!"
That's all for HHH this week, and he departs, with Kelly and Fink just falling all over themselves thanking The Game for appearing on their little Internet webcast.
As the show begins to wind down, we get the answer to today's Outthink the Fink question, "Who and where did HHH have the Hog-Pen Match?" Well, his opponent was Henry Godwin, (big ol' duh!) and the match was held in Hershey, PA.
Cory Clayton, who lives in Lancaster, PA, is the winner of the new HHH T-shirt.
And it's fortunate that Fink gets Clayton's name and city out, because the studio system falls to the ground. Kelly and Fink can be heard by us, but not by themselves. Byte This! producer Big Country can be heard cussing up a storm in the background, as Fink says that Arn Anderson will be on in three weeks, with Kurt Angle scheduled next week, and Chris Jericho the next.
Fink runs the WWF Upcoming Events promo:
1/12/02 - Lubbock, TX and Beaumont, TX
1/13/02 - Waco, TX, and Houston, TX
1/14/02 - Dallas, TX (Raw)
1/15/02 - Bossier City, LA (that's outside Shreveport, folks) (Smackdown taping)
Kelly's all wound up about seeing the ladies of Bossier City. "Charmers, every one of 'em," he laughs.
Fink wants next week's Outthink the Fink prize to be a photo of Big Country's fiercely erotic Mom.
The techs running the chyron put up a paste-up of Chyna's body with BC's face on it, just to tease us.
Big Country's getting mightily p-o'ed about the ongoing snide comments about his mom, as who wouldn't be?
Kelly says that BC's mom ought to be one of the Godfather's "Ho's" at the Royal Rumble.
BC's about ready to smite Kevin Kelly hip and thigh.
While all this has been going on in the studio, the chat room gets back online. Some of the chats want BC and the Audio Guy to be fired. Other chats want more stuff on Dino, the usher from Moncton, NB, featured on last week's Byte This! show.
The show ends with Kelly and Fink bouncing Royal Rumble Wrestling Legend names off each other. Sam Bass and Johnny Rodz mentioned among others.
We get the Classic Clip of 1991's Summer Slam, where Curt Hennig gives a tour de force match while hurt against Bret Hart.
The real show is Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura, and Bobby Heenan showing how far today's wrestling play-by-play and color commentators have fallen. Jeez, I could listen to these guys all day long!
See you next week.
Mail the Author
Comment about this article in Wienerville