|WWF Byte This! by E.C. Ostermeyer
This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 28 April 2002, and I'm E.C.
get under way, we get a video from of Hulk Hogan defeating HHH and becoming the Undisputed Champion on the Backlash PPV.
With a little, ummm, "help" from the Undertaker.
Your hosts are Jonathan Coachman and Howard Finkel, "the Fink-a-Dink-a-Dink" as Coach says.
Large applause from the Byte This! "Studio Audience."
Coach asks Fink what it was like to be at Backlash and see Hulk Hogan climb to the top of the mountain one more time?
"Deja vu," says Fink, "it was fated. It was meant to be."
Time for "Droz's Two Cents," Darren Drozdov's weekly review of all things WWF.
Coach asks Droz's thoughts about Backlash.
Droz says that he and a lot of people wrote Hogan off are now eating their words.
"Congratulations to Hogan for doing what he did."
Fink says that it looks like the Big Show took Droz's advice last week by joining the NWO.
"There's gonna be a serious power turn in the NWO now," says Droz. "In one stroke, they just became a major factor on the Raw brand."
Fink comments on Ric Flair's being contrite about what happened to Steve Austin, and trying to make up for it by teaming Austin with the Big Show against the NWO. A plan that unfortunately backfired when the Big Show joined the Scott Hall and X-Pac mid-match.
"With the Big Show joining the NWO," says Droz, "Austin's gotta believe he's been set up by Ric Flair one more time. Austin has no trust in Flair anymore. None at all."
Coach discusses Brock Lesnar's debut match, comparing his debut to that of Bill Goldberg.
Droz says that Paul Heyman being Lesnar's slime-ball manager is a major factor in Lesnar's success. Fink agrees, saying that Heyman slick character and managerial expertise combined with Lesnar's power should make an unstoppable combination.
Fink asks Droz's take on the Undertaker's ass-whupping of HHH last night on Smackdown.
"HHH is this close to a breakdown because of the Undertaker's actions," says Droz. "Taker's got him right where he wants him, and is pushing all of his buttons. HHH is teetering on the brink right now. One more push, and..."
Coach comments on the brand extension, especially on how the fans now have to wait a whole week to see what will happen on Raw and on Smackdown. Droz says that the separation builds anticipation, and that builds fan interest.
Topic shifts to Albert's new look.
"He's more intimidating," says Droz, "the new look makes him into a monster. The fans are getting one heckuva wrestler, and they know it."
Droz leaves and we go to the phones.
Regular caller Dan from Chicago is excited that Hogan has won the Title.
"I remember when Hogan won the Title from Andre the Giant," says Dan, " and I can't think of a better way to have Hulk Hogan finish his career than with this huge revival of Hulkamania."
Fink agrees, saying that the ovation Hulkamania has gotten is not a fluke.
"At first, I thought it was just the fans taking a trip down 'Nostalgia Lane'," says Fink, "But, boy was I wrong! This is the real thing!"
Time for Tazz and his "Tales from the Hook."
Tazz says that the fans' pop for Hulk Hogan is more of an "I-Can't-Believe- We-Are-Hulkamaniacs-Again" type of pop than anything else.
Fink asks if Tazz ever was a fan of Hulkamania at New York's Madison Square Garden?
Tazz says no, that his first time at MSG was as a wrestler, when he was actually performing in the ring.
"As you may remember, I was beating up Kurt Angle pretty badly that night!" says Tazz with a laugh.
More talk on wrestling icons. Tazz says that his wrestling icon was Don Muraco, but that he knew all about Hulk Hogan.
Tazz also says that Hogan is handling the whole Hulkamania bit remarkably well.
"Hulk is humble as hell about all this," says Tazz. "I don't think even he knew how much feeling the fans had for him."
Topic shifts to "Tough Enough 2," and especially Bob Holly whaling the tar out of the contestants by doing the infamous "Slap Demonstration."
Tazz says that the "Tough Enough" fans want to see more of the technical stuff, the in-ring work and application more this year than they did last time.
"They want to know what it takes to be a pro wrestler!" says Tazz.
"That having Maven and Nidia come back to talk about how it was when they went through the program was just great," says Tazz, " What a motivating experience! You could see the kids connecting with them."
Tazz says that one of today's guests on Byte This, Randy Orton, is another up-and-comer.
"Good looking, plenty of talent..." says Tazz, "hey, if I was a chick, I'd want to date him!"
This segues nicely to Tazz's thoughts on Brock Lesnar.
"(Paul) Heyman is there to help Lesnar get ready for the top card," says Tazz, "the managers of old like Lou Albano, Freddie Blassie, are reborn with Paul E.
"And Rico can learn something from Heyman so he doesn't just stand there like some mook at ringside. There are times the manager acts, and times that you do nothing at all, so as not to distract from the action in the ring."
All of a sudden, Tazz is beset with some "family discipline" problems once more, and has to leave in a hurry. This leaves Coach and Fink well and truly in the lurch.
Not to worry, they recover nicely by talking about the "Scorpion King's" debut, earning as it did a whopping $36 million dollars, the highest opening week for any film, making it the number one movie in America.
Randy Orton is next, and talks about his debut match.
Oh yeah, and about Stacy Keibler's attentions backstage.
Randy is 22 years old, and got started in Jim Cornett's OVW promotion in Louisville, KY.
Fink asks if Orton wanted to follow in his dad's and granddad's footsteps?
Orton says he wanted to do this ever since he was a kid.
"I travelled around to the matches with my dad (Bob Orton Jr.)," says Orton, "and when I graduated High School, I decided that pro wrestling was what I wanted to do."
Danni from New York is on the phone and asks what goals Orton has set for himself each week?
"I plan to step it up each week," says Orton, "I want to do more, because I can't get enough of this business."
Fink asks if Randy got a chance to talk with his dad about his win on Smackdown?
Orton says that his dad was grinning really big over the win, then sat down and started critiquing him on how to make the moves and workrate better.
"I am in the best place I can be right now," says Orton, " and I'm learning lots from superstars like Bob Holly and getting guidance from veterans like Jim Cornett. I have a lot of confidence in myself, but I am gonna take it one day at a time, and one match at a time."
Coach wants to know how the women like him?
"Women like me? Where are they?! I can't wait of them to start coming around!" say Orton, which gets a laugh from everybody.
Orton winds things up by saying that he is gonna give the WWF his absolute best.
Fink says that Mr. McMahon gave Orton the opportunity last night, and Orton did such a great job with Bob Holly that he is gonna get noticed and fast.
Orton thanks Coach and Fink, and then leaves the show.
Coach and Fink talk about the brand extension once more, and the opportunities that it presents for the rookie wrestlers.
"What's it like to watch these kids grow up before your eyes, Fink?" asks Coach.
"I tip my hat to the developmental programs at OVW and HWA," says Fink, "They are the ones who are doing the good work bringing the new superstars along. When the rookies are ready, man, that's when the excitement starts."
On the phone is Kevin Kelly, who is down in Cincinnati again as part of the WWF's scouting program and wrestling tryouts.
Coach asks if the current group of prospects have a tough time getting into the program?
Kelly says that they are getting a lot of conditioning, a lot of running the ropes and learning the ropes as well, learning to take care of yourself and your opponent. When they learn to do promos, that's where I help out. Then they do matches to go with the promos, singles, tags, triple threats, followed by discussion on how to make things better.
Coach asks Kelly how he can get better comments in the Chat Room?
"If it has to do with Big Country's Mom," says Kelly, "It's usually pure gold."
Coach asks Kelly what the other wrestlers think about Hogan winning the Title?
Kelly says that Hogan may have captured lightning in a bottle one more time. However:
"there are other wrestlers out there, all wondering if he has enough gas left to defend it. A lot of hungry sharks are circling Hogan right now, any one of whom could be the next Undisputed Champ. It all depends on what happens between now and the Judgment Day PPV."
With that, Kelly shoves off, after promising Coach that "he'd say hello to Victoria for him," which gets a hoot from the Byte This! studio audience.
Time for Outthink the Fink!
For a Hulkamania T-shirt, Fink wants to know what ring name the Golden Greek, John Tolis (sp?) managed under, and which tag team he managed?
We take a break, and watch a video from last night's Smackdown, wherein Preacher D'Vonn Dudley, being filled with the lust of holy slaughter, did smite with great anger some thieving fan who dared lay hands upon the "Building Fund" collection plate.
As a for instance:
"The Bible says, 'Thou (wham!), Shalt (wallop!), Not (Ka-blam!), Steal! (whack!")
Coach wants to know where all that "Building Fund" money is going?
(He's not the only one!)
BlackRaven on the Chatroom wants to know what the Undertaker is planning, and where he can be seen? Coach says that only the Undertaker knows what his plans are, but coach knows he will be in Nashville, TN this Saturday.
Dan, a regular caller from New Jersey (but formerly of New York) follows up on the topic started with Randy Orton and the developmental territories, and then describes being in a New Jersey bar when Hogan won the Title on Backlash, and how big a pop the bar patrons made.
"What was really great," Dan says, is that, at the end of the Angle/Edge match, that bar crowd popped even louder for how well they both did in that match!"
Coach and Fink both say that the fans should applaud at the end of every match just to show their appreciation, and not because whomever they booed or cheered through the match wound up winning the match.
Fink goes back and talks for a bit about the Big Show's turn to the Dark Side in his joining the NWO, and how it should be beneficial for all concerned.
And here is Mr. McMahon's new spiritual advisor, D'Vonn Dudley, live on the phone.
Coach remarks how the fans have gotten behind D'Vonn's new persona.
Then, Coach tosses out the fishhook, wanting to know where all that "Building Fund" money is going?
D'Vonn's not biting today, and says that all of it is earmarked for the construction of a building, the D'Vonn Building, to help him bring the fans to Mr. McMahon.
Fink asks about D'Vonn's encounter with Bubba Ray Dudley last week.
"At one time, you were part of the WWF's premier tag team," says Fink, "but now you have gone your separate ways. Are you happy for Bubba Ray's success?"
"I told him how happy I was for him," says D'Vonn, "no jealousy here. But, sadly, Bubba has to get in touch with Bubba. Mr. McMahon told me to seek him out, and lay the Word upon him. Bubba was not listening. He felt disappointed in me, as I am disappointed in him."
"Aren't you just going with the flow here?" asks Fink, "just doing whatever Mr. McMahon tells you to?"
"Mr. McMahon gives me guidance. Yes, Mr. McMahon was a sinner," says D'Vonn, "but ye who are without sin..."
Melanie from WVA calls in, and wants to know about whether or not there will be reconciliation between all three Dudleys?
"Anything can happen," say D'Vonn.
A Chatroomer wants to know if D'Vonn misses doing the 'Dudley 3D'?
D'Vonn says yes, just like he misses working with Bubba Ray.
Joe from Rochester, NY wants to know why D'Vonn came back as Mr. McMahon's preacher, after the way he got tossed out of Mr. McMahon's office?
"Some people go their whole life trying to find themselves," says D'Vonn, "I found myself at that moment. That one moment defined what I am doing right now. I am scouting for my ministry, 'spying out the land.' When I'm ready, you'll see me in the ring. I will be ready for a Title shot the day the WWF presents me with the opportunity."
A Chatroomer wants to know if D'Vonn would re-form the Dudley Boyz?
"Absolutely," says D'Vonn, "but Bubba has to believe first. He has to see things my way."
Fink draws a (to me, at least) unfair comparison between this persona of D'Vonn's, and another, smarmier TV evangelist, one Brother Love.
Fink asks D'Vonn to comment on the similarities.
"Brother Love had too much fluff, too much smooth, in his character," says D'Vonn, "you get the straight, unvarnished stuff from me."
John, a caller from Florida says D'Vonn should go to Rome and help the Pope straighten things out, which gets a big belly laugh.
"I am here to do things the right way," says D'Vonn, " and to make sure that YOU do things the right way! If he calls me, I am there for him! How could I not go help the Pope to help you all to do things the right way?!"
An emailer reminds D'Vonn that Mr. McMahon was the one that split up the Dudleys?
"Who made the first pick in the Draft?" asks D'Vonn, getting hot. "Ric Flair, that's who! Don't try to turn me against the man who picked me to be his spiritual adviser!"
D'Vonn winds things up by saying that he's working every day to improve and guide D'Vonn.
"That's where the 'Building Fund' money is going!" he says, "and not into my pocket, like some unbelievers are saying."
Fink says that Coach wants to become one of D'Vonn's disciples.
Coach gives Fink the stink-eye.
This prompts D'Vonn to launch into Samuel L. Jackson's "Ezekiel screed" from "Pulp Fiction."
You know, that "...and I will strike down with great vengeance..." thing.
Upon its completion, D'Vonn gets a polite round of applause from the Byte This "Studio Audience," and leaves the show.
Another Chatroomer wants to know when Scott Steiner will be in the WWF?
Coach and Fink don't know, because there's no agreement between Steiner and the WWF as of yet.
Neil Jones from Sandwich, MA wins "Outthink the Fink' with the answer that "Golden Greek" John Tolis' character was named "Coach" and he managed "The Beverly Brothers."
Fink shills the Upcoming Events:
4/28 Smackdown - Baltimore, MD
4/29 Smackdown - Syracuse, NY
4/29 Smackdown - Erie. PA
4/29 Raw - Buffalo, NY (Live TV)
4/30 Smackdown - Pittsburgh, PA (TV taping)
5/1 Smackdown - Wheeling, WVA
5/1 Raw - Cologne, Germany (Insurrextion Tour)
5/2 Raw - Glasgow, Scotland (Insurrextion Tour)
5/3 Raw - Birmingham, England (Insurrextion Tour)
5/4 Raw - Wembley Stadium, London, (Insurrextion Tour PPV)
Coach and Fink shill for the new WWF cups you can get at 7-11.
(Chyron shows the Raw show from Phoenix, where Big Show poured his Slurpee all over Coach's head.)
Coach comments on how much the "Bruisin' Berry" flavor sucks.
"You ain't kidding!" says Fink.
"And it was COLD, too," says Coach, with a slight shiver at the memory of it.
Mr. Mark Coranno, the Byte This! phone techie, gets dragged on screen for some abuse by Fink, as Coach promos the "Scorpion King"movie one more time.
Kevin Kelly and Dr. Tom Prichard should be back to hosting the show next week.
We close the show with a clip from 1984 as Hulk Hogan wins the WWF World Championship Title from the Iron Sheik in front of 25,000 fans in Madison Square Garden.
Fink is the in-ring announcer. He has hair, (well, more than he has now, at any rate) and is in great voice.
The incomparable Gorilla Monsoon is doing play-by-play.
As Fink introduces The Iron Sheik, the hot crowd's booing is deafening, along with a thunderous demonstration of Hulkamania.
Man, there ain't nothing like The Good Old Days, is there?
See you next week.
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