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Vandy! (September 1996)


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Issue # 182

Date:  Saturday March 13th, 1999  10:01 am

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

WCW Chaos
In the 3/15 issue of The Wrestling Observer, Dave Meltzer presented his thoughts
regarding upcoming WCW storylines. While reading it firsthand is preferred,
here are some of the highlights:

When Hogan turns babyface, Kevin Nash will be turning with him. its felt that
Hogan has no chance of being cheered without Nash; the original plan was for
Scott Hall to join them, but he will be out of action for an extended period of
time. Hall is talking of sitting out for a while and suing WCW, since it was a
WCW employee that ran over his ankle in
Oakland. By aligning himself with
Hogan, Nash runs the risk of killing his own appeal, and will likely kill his
own appeal more than he enhances Hogan's.

The final stage of the Hogan/Flair double turn is scheduled for Uncensored,
where in a First Blood Cage Match, Flair will bleed first but the referee won't
see it, allowing Hogan to lose without jobbing to Flair. These plans are liable
to be changed several times before Sunday.

Plans are for the Horseman to disappear; Benoit, Malenko & McMichael will fade
from any association with Flair. Arn Anderson, possibly after being turned on,
will be phased off television. Flair will be aligned with Scott Steiner, Buff
Bagwell, Torrie Wilson and Lex Luger. Where this leaves the nWo is unknown.
With Anderson & Benoits potential, this defies reasoning.

The ultimate burial of Bret Hart is already complete, finishing off with plans
of his purgatory being put into a mid-card trio with Curt Hennig & Barry Windham
as traditional second generation wrestlers, angry about the current wrestling
Being affiliated with Windham & Hennig, who are stale beyond words, will surely
help WCW recoup their $3 Million dollar a year investment in Hart.

Meltzer speculates about Nash & Hogan's intentions; are they purposely
sabotaging WCW? My less paranoid side tells me that its impossible; my more
cynical side feels differently. Is Eric Bischoff planning on securing a
different position within Time Warner? The questions lead to more questions...

When I became a wrestling fan in 1987, the Four Horseman were my immediate
favorites. I grew up a fan of
JCP and the old NWA, and I prefer their style to
this day. Unfortuantly, WCW has warped their product to the point that its
more frustrating than anything else. With their incredible talent roster, there
is no excuse for the garbage WCW produces. I fear that we will see darker days
before it gets any better.

Many of you already subscribe to The Wrestling Observer, and I recommend that
all serious wrestling fans check it out. Dave Meltzer's insight into the
business is fascinating; and it is anxiously devoured every Thursday when it
reaches my mailbox. To subscribe to The Wrestling Observer, send $11 for 4
issues to:
The Wrestling Observer
P.O. Box 1228
Campbell CA 95009-1228
WCW vows to maintain image
By Mike Mooneyham
Sunday, March 7, 1999
There's an old saying that goes, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. WCW, however,
says that won't be the case in its increasingly high-stakes ratings war with the
WWF. Most WCW officials agree that its time for a change. But don't expect WCW
to follow the WWF's lead and take on a new hard-core image.

Pro wrestling - the WWF's Raw show in particular - has been the target of
considerable mainstream criticism in recent weeks. Child development experts are
starting to question its impact on a growing force of young fans. Administrators
report students are parrotting not only wrestling moves, but the sexual gestures
and profanities they see on TV.

Both major wrestling companies, though, are enjoying phenomenal success - via
the box office, television ratings, pay-per-view buyrates, merchandising and
other cross-promotional ventures. WCW and the WWF's Monday night shows took a
bite out of ABC's Monday Night Football, which finished its 1998 season with the
lowest ratings in its 29-year history despite an earlier start time and a
revamped on-air announcing team, with Raw's ratings increasing by a staggering
63 percent in 1998. WCW reports advertising rates have increased by more than 70
percent over the past two years.

Nitro, which for more than 80 straight weeks captured ratings victories over
Raw, saw that domination gradually erode last year as the WWF moved toward a new
hard-core direction. WCW officials say their company hopes to regain its spot
as the top wrestling organization in the country by delivering a better and more
entertaining product, but by going in a different direction than the WWF and
concentrating on its strengths.

WCW president Eric Bischoff told his crew prior to last Monday's Nitro that WCW
would continue to promote its product as family-friendly and emphasized that
sponsors - not ratings - were the key, predicting that advertisers eventually
would abandon the WWF due to the product's racy content. Several WCW performers
were specifically asked not to say certain objectionable words during their
interviews, with one wrestler even being urged to refrain from using the term

So far the plan isn't working, as the publicity apparently helped boost WWF Raw
ratings to a new high last week with a phenomenal 6.32 rating (6.38, 6.27 for
its two hours) and 9.6 share. Raw obliterated Nitro, which posted a 4.32 rating
(5.15, 3.73, 3.99), and even more convincingly won the head-to-head competition
by a 6.32-3.87 margin. The overrun featuring Steve Austin vs. Kane drew a record
7.54 rating. Nitro's first head-to-head hour (3.7) drew no better than that
weekend's Sunday Night Heat program which was a replay of the previous week's
show (the live show did not air due to satellite transmission problems).

There are few signs that the WWF is letting up. Phil Muschnick of the
New York
Post reported that the WWF floated an idea to M&M Mars, which is doling out $1
million to sponsor Wrestlemania, about "accidental" nudity at Wrestlemania, a
proposal that was rejected. The WWF has been teasing that Debra McMichael,
ex-wife of Steve "Mongo" McMichael, will strip if her team of Owen Hart and Jeff
Jarrett loses.

WCW officials privately admit the company could have done things better during
the period in which the WWF changed its direction and gained new fans. The
danger, according to WCW, is that the WWF will continue to push the envelope
until that fateful day when it crosses the line and spurs a major backlash
against the business in general. Many feel that backlash already has begun.

"They'll continue to do their gratuitous slime," said a WCW official. "There are
two very different products. And its good that they're different. If the WWF
keeps going at this rate, there is bound to be some type of backlash. If
something goes too far, some parents group speaks out, that's all it will take.
They're being totally irresponsible. They're going to self-destruct and destroy
the business."

Linda McMahon, wife of WWF owner Vince McMahon and CEO of the company, recently
told USA Today: "We push the envelope, and then we pull back. But we're not
killing anyone. We're not maiming anyone. Do we slug each other with steel
chairs? Yes. Do we think it should be copied? I don't advocate anyone picking up
a chair and slugging anyone. I don't advocate anyone picking up an M-16 like
Arnold Schwarzenegger does in his movies, either."

"People are seeing the difference, but it could ultimately affect both of us,"
said a WCW source. "They're going to continue to push the envelope, but its
going to catch up to them at some point. They've drunk people's blood, they've
crucified somebody, they've reenacted about every sex act possible, they've put
guns to people's heads, shot bow-and-arrows, cut people's skin, chopped off a
guy's body part. The list goes on and on.

"That's not to say we're angels. But what we do totally pales in comparison to
what they're doing. I think we're being a little bit smarter on tying up the
loose ends and making things make sense. We're not booking on the fly anymore.
We're planning things out. And its showing."

• The onslaught of the negative mainstream publicity surrounding pro wrestling
hasn't been lost on Kevin Nash. Nash, who also serves as chief WCW booker,
issued strong comments on his website last week in response to that criticism
and questioned the credibility of some of those involved.

"There's Ricky Morton, who was in the business for 20 years, on top for 10 of
them, and now doesn't have a dime to his name," said Nash. "And he decides he's
going to tell about what happened in pro wrestling. The guy hasn't been in the
business for the last 10 years. Anything he did was back in the '80s, so I guess
that's what those guys did back then. I guess that's why they don't have any
money. For the guys in the business today, we have mutual funds, retirement
plans, etc. We don't put every dime we make up our nose or down our throat. But
then again, what do I know, I'm only a pro wrestler.

"Does the World Wrestling Federation take it too far? Yeah, they sure do, but
don't lump WCW in with them. Our guidelines are so much more stringent. We don't
have any sex acts. People may assume some things, but if you knew where we were
going in our storylines, we're either old enough or awfully mature to get it
laid out in black and white. But then again, what do I know, I'm only a pro

"Pro wrestling is entertainment. I think Vince McMahon said it best with the WWF
Super Bowl commercial. The whole message was: pro wrestling is a joke.
Wrestling's a joke. Get it? Everything we do is a joke. its like vaudeville.
C'mon people, give me a break, its just pro wrestling. But then again, what do
I know, I'm only a pro wrestler.

"Then you've got the kids in their back yards with their extreme wrestling
federations. What's the difference between that and when I was a kid? We'd watch
a football game on Sunday, then go out in the back yard and tackle each other.
What's the difference? People are going to emulate things they find fascinating.
Is the lives of pro wrestlers fascinating to most of these kids? I'm sure it is,
but they're not pro wrestlers. They don't know the drudgery of what we do day-in
and day-out. They don't know what its like to be on the road 10 days in a row,
to get thrown around 10 days in a row. Yeah, it may look glamorous to a
13-year-old, but to a 39-year-old man, its like going to a coal mine every day.
The only difference is, I don't get black lung, I just get a couple more
degenerative disk problems. But then again, what do I know, I'm only a pro

"If people would take care of their kids, maybe they wouldn't be looking so hard
at us to be their kids' role models. These people should realize, after their
kids have been watching pro wrestling for two years, that they're being
influenced by the sport. The only reason that parents don't realize the kids are
being influenced is because they're bouncing off walls, drinking a couple of
highballs, trying to make it through the day. What happened to the socialization
process? Where is the church? Where is the family? Pro wrestling definitely is
not what's bringing this country down. My God, we have a president who has sex
with an intern, and that's OK? Look around you, people, our society has decayed.
It certainly isn't because of a bunch of fake wrestlers with shows airing on a
couple of cable networks to give viewers an outlet to release and laugh. But
then again, what do I know, I'm only a pro wrestler."

• American Classic Wrestling will hold a seven-match show March 20 at
Charleston Southern University. Main event will feature "Sweet"
Stan Lane
against the original Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie). Tickets are $8 ringside, $6
general admission, $5 for students. Children under 5 (with a paying adult) are
free. For more ticket information, call (843) 863-7523 or (843) 863-7591.
Proceeds will help support the
CSU baseball team.
Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at (803) 937-5517 or by e-mail at
mooneyham@xxxxc.... More wrestling news with Mike Mooneyham is
available every Monday on The Wrestling Observer Hotline. The number is
1-900-903-9030. Calls are 99 cents per minute, and children under 18 must get
parental permission before dialing.
Reported by The Ross Report, found on:
The Future of Sting
Where forth art thou, Sting?
Probably at home, in
Southern California, if you really want to know.

The mega-popular superstar has been a man of mystery in recent months -- much
more by his absence, believe it or not, than during his doom and gloom days in
black & white face-paint. So many questions, so few answers.

Where are you, Sting? When are you coming back? Are you coming back with the Red
& Black nWo or WCW?

Since last fall, Sting has, quite simply, been gone from the wrestling scene.
He's appeared at only a few house-shows, such as
Los Angeles in late-January and
San Francisco in mid-February. No Nitros. No Thunders. No pay-per-views. He's
signed autographs in select markets to help promote ticket sales. And not much
more WCW-related. No interviews. No TV Time. No nothing.

Why? Family matters, literally.

"All the years pounding the pavement took its toll on me mentally, physically,
spiritually ... in every way possible. It took its toll on my family," Sting
said earlier this month in a rare, sit-down interview. "I had a real big
eye-opener last year; that's when it was time for me to stop and smell the
roses. I think a lot of people in my position go through those hard times, where
you've got to stop and smell the roses. And I did."

Sting's life "changed dramatically" last September: he gave his life to Jesus
Sting became a born-again Christian.

"I'm walking a different walk now and now I'm trying to figure out how to
integrate that walk into wrestling without being Father Sting because that's the
last thing I want to do. But at the same time, I want to give a good message to
the fans, especially the kids," he said. "I now want to think about each and
every move I make, knowing that I'm not just a husband and a father, but I'm
also a personality on TV. The fans watch me; they identify with me; they take
examples from me, as they do from all the wrestlers. That's why I now want to
really think clearly on everything I do, especially on TV. I want to make sure I
say and do the right things, so parents are able to say, 'Yeah, I don't mind if
my kids watch Sting on TV.'

"Some of the raunch that airs on our competitor, I wouldn't let my kids watch it
and I can't imagine any parent letting their kids watch it. That's crap; that's
exactly what it is."

Sting today is "clear-headed." He's focused mentally and in better physical
condition than at any point in his pro career. And he plans to stay that way.

"How will (my new personal thinking) effect my wrestling? I don't know. I still
want to be able to deliver for the fans; that's my thing. But I'm trying to
figure out how. I know I'll figure out a way, eventually. There's always been
something that the fans have been able to connect with, them with me and me with

"My life is more reserved now, but wrestling is always, has always been and
always will be high-octane." Sting must find the medium ground, where personal
and professional can mesh into one happy family, literally.

Sting moved from
Atlanta to Southern California. He lives about an hour north of
Los Angeles International Airport. "I'm a different guy, a different person,"
Sting began. "I hid (my family and non-wrestling life) for so many years for a
lot of different reasons. Probably most of them, not good reasons, (though). But
the fans now want to see more straight-up wrestlers; they want to hear something
that's more straight-up. They don't want to be insulted, so I don't want to
insult anyone anymore. Why lie about it? People don't understand, unless they
are in the position that we are in (as public figures) that there are people out
there who, well, are weirdos. I've got kids and I want to protect them."

So what's ahead for Sting? "Somehow I want to find a way to rise above it all
and keep my ahead above water and keep the fans' interest, and maintain a level
that I always have," he said. "I don't know if I can survive in this business
unless I'm at a certain level or status. After all the years of hard-work, I
can't imagine not being (a main-event wrestler.)"

When asked, Sting said he was not sure of his return-date for full-time
wrestling. Perhaps as early as next month. "I miss the fans; I really do," Sting
said. "I know the fans have been asking about me, where I've been, what I've
been doing, when I'm coming back, etc. I'm looking forward to coming back. I
took a little break because I needed one. Now I'm ready to turn on that
light-switch once more ... but it never again will be at the same pace that it
once was at. It can't be.

"I'm a bit unclear about what is gonna come my way in wrestling in the future
... I just know its gonna be an interesting year in 1999." Any fears?

"No matter what any wrestler might say, its always a wrestler's fear that the
fans are going to lose interest. Whether they love you or hate you, its emotion
that you want, one extreme or the other. Nothing in between. Luckily for me,
there's been nothing in between ... and trust me, I don't want to move into that
in-between territory," he said.

Want more about Sting? Like the scoop on what major movie role he auditioned for
years ago and what upcoming acting role he's involved in? Also, what are Sting's
true feelings about the Sting-"
Hollywood" Hogan matches from just over a year
ago? Be sure to check out the May issue of WCW/nWo Magazine for an exclusive
cover story on Sting.
Submitted by reader: Jeff Westfall (DOGG16)
On March 6th in Tokyo, Japan, ex-WWF wrestler and ex-WCW World Champion, Big Van
Vader accomplished something very few American born and based pro wrestlers
do...he won the All Japan Pro Wrestling Triple Crown Championship. The Triple
Crown is, in many wrestling purists mind, the most honored championship to win.
For an American to do it, it’s all the more special. While you may be thinking
that you don’t know or care about the accomplishment because you don’t follow
the promotion or their workers, you must realize that the All Japan company
brings to you more talented WORLD CLASS workers then any other promotion in the
history of the business. They may not be well known but just because you or I
may not know them doesn’t mean their not some of the best wrestlers in the

In a few months WCW or the WWF will probably be in a bidding war to get the big
man back to the states. They’ll be saying to themselves that they now KNOW how
to make Vader over with the American fans. What’s funny is the story never
changes with the fans, or the promoters. They just want it to. I’ll explain,
the WWF didn’t want to make him invincible, thinking that it insults the fans.
WCW didn’t want him to be invincible because they just bought Hulk Hogan,
thusly, he has to lose! They try and try to find new and exciting things to get
him over, but what really works has been there all along. Andre The Giant
defeated everybody for 15 years. Crushing everyone. Big John Studd had the
similiar dominance. Earthquake, Sid Vicious, The Undertaker, Giant Baba, even
Bam Bam Bigelow in his prime all had the push that said clearly, “I’m BIG, THUS,

Don’t feel bad though...
Vader, Leon, whatever you want to call him, has had a
great run in the wrestling business with World Championship Wrestling and All
Japan, New Japan and even part of the WWF. He’s a smart man who’s very into the
real estate business, and has accomplished more in the wrestling business and
the real life with football victories and family victories then most. Where this
article goes to is the guy who’s out there with a name, a gimmick and ability to
one way or another get a crowd to react, but can’t get one control freak
colleague or one over bearing boss to take a chance.

The line says, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man!” For a long time I
always thought this to be true, as it was once said by a great World Champion.
Though now I realize, that all you really have to do be champion here in the
States, is kiss the right ass, or suck up to the right guy. In
Japan on March
6th, the guy who won, did it because the character Big Van Vader was the right
guy for the strap. To me, that’s the way it always should be. No ratings war,
or who should wear my title to bring ratings...just wrestling. So while we’re
all stuck in this television world, I think I’ll take my thirty bucks for the
next pay per view I’m thinking of buying and instead get me a All Japan tape
mailed to my house! This devoted fan of
ALL wrestling wishes only the best, for
a man who was wrongly treated in the US, but now for being the current champion
of the world, the only one that means anything now, and that’s Big Van
Vader...the monster from America!!
The staff of The Wrestling Booking Sheet
Editor: Steve Appy
Columnist: Mark George
Columnist: SamJerry
Columnist: Fritz Capp
Columnist: Rick Phelps
Columnist: Cindy Barnes
Columnist: Josh Hewitt
Columnist: Swami
Columnist: Tom Misnik
Columnist: Nate Pelley
Columnist: Robert Troy (Osiris)
Tom Kirkbride
Columnist: Ryan S. Oaks
Darren Kramer

Any submissions sent in by readers or columnists become the property of The Wrestling Booking Sheet, and are subject to editing due to grammar, spelling, or content. Any information taken from The Wrestling Booking Sheet must be credited properly, with our E-Mail address listed. We have no problem if you want to use our stuff; just credit it properly.

Copyright- Steve Appy of The Wrestling Booking Sheet ©1998, 1999, 2000

"When you're young and you pick up a guitar, it feels so powerful. It feels like you pulled the sword from the stone. I used to believe that it could save the world. But I don't really believe that anymore." - Bruce Springsteen

"The greatest challenge of adulthood is holding on to your idealism
after you lose your innocence and believing in the power of the human
spirit after you come crashing into the limits of the real adult
world." - Bruce Springsteen


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