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Issue # 262

Date:  Sunday June 27th, 1999  7:34 pm

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

In our last issue (#261), I made a comment about the wrestling business being sleazy. While many of you feel the same way (although for many different
reasons), some of you felt it was unfair to generalize the business so harshly. Below we have a well reasoned response from reader Josh Hewitt, which
will be followed by my own thoughts…

Written by reader: Josh Hewitt (San316born)
Dear Steve,
While I share your sentiments about the death of Owen Hart, I must confess
that I do believe that your labeling of Pro Wrestling as a "Sleazy" business
was harsh, and really too broad of a stroke. First of all, I don't proclaim to be a person who "gets" the WWF's Attitude (some of the things that they
manage to do on television offends me quite often), but to simply label them as "sleazy" is, I believe, a huge misnomer.

The face of wrestling didn't change with Stone Cold Steve Austin, it changed well before that with Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, the then Deisel Kevin Nash, and many others. I remember back when
Austin was the "Ringmaster" warring with Savio Vega, when Kevin Nash flipped off the Undertaker on National Television. Rick Rude's hip wiggling and sexual innuendo was constantly present in wrestling. Ric
Flair's "dirtiest player in the game" attitude was around way, way back. Did we utter names like "sleaze" and/or "filth" then??? Simply determining that Pro Wrestling has suddenly gone bad, or has been bad since the beginning
of the 80's is not a fair and practical approach. Simply put, wrestling changed with the times.

America becomes more comfortable with "Taboo" subjects, like sexuality, wrestling was there to pick up on it. We hear tales of nudity going unfettered on Italian television, do we merely call them "Trashy"?? Of course not,
we realize that they have a different culture. Is Pro Wrestling wrong because it show people getting beat up? Well, as Kevin Nash stated on his webpage, "I'd gladly like to return to a time when kids used fists instead of guns". Pro Wrestling doesn't cross a line that hasn't been crossed before, with programs like NYPD Blue or Homicide. Did we call Homicide "sleazy" for its violence? No, we gave it numerous Emmy awards.

Is the language of pro wrestling bad? Well, maybe. But, we have seen maturity in movies, where a movie can still get a "PG" rating with words like damn, bitch, and hell. And we have seen this going on in TV as well. Did we call "The Simpson's" evil cause Bart stated "I'm Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?"? No, we made it one of the most popular programs on television.

To make a long letter short, and I apologize for the length of this letter,
Pro Wrestling is not doing anything that hasn't been done before. And what right do we have to proclaim anything as being "wrong"? According to a legal standpoint, the only thing that is "wrong" is something that infringes on
someone else's rights. Morally, wrong is a gray area, so I won't deal with
that. So, where does that all leave us?

Is Owen Hart's death to blame on Pro Wrestling? Not necessarily. Owen knew the dangers, and chose to do it. He knew what he was getting into. Blaming the WWF for Owen's death is like blaming
Florida for the death of a visitor who got skin cancer from not wearing sunscreen.

Great to see the newsletter is back, and I hope that I have made my point sufficiently.
Josh Hewitt

By Steve Appy
Although the circumstances of Owen Hart's death has already been examined in detail (Dave Meltzer's coverage springs to mind) I'll share my thoughts as well. The behavior of Titan Sports since the tragedy has cast a shadow over their organization, a shadow that leaves me feeling uneasy.

First of all, the lack of safety measures CAUSED OWEN'S DEATH. Owen was hooked into the harness where he would be released by disconnecting
ONE cable, which is not the standard practice when dealing with non-professional stunt men. When Sting made all of his jumps from the rafters, you may have noticed some clumsy exchanges upon landing. Sometimes he would have trouble disconnecting the harness and the heels (Hogan, Nash, Hall) would look silly when they had to stand around and take abuse from the "hung up" invading babyface (Sting).

While these snafus hurt the intended angles, they were necessary. Sting's safety was the priority, and WCW ensured this by hooking Sting up with THREE safety releases, all of which had to be disconnected for Sting to leave the harness. If one of the releases were accidentally disconnected with Sting 90 feet in the air, he would not come crashing into the ring. He would still be connected in two places, and would safely make the descent to the ring.  Using three releases is difficult, and can visually hurt the angle. At the same time, it would prevent a tragedy.

The ironic part is that Owen's entrance was intended to be anything but graceful; the plan was that he would be lowered to five feet above the ring, and then dropped face first as a mockery of the clean living babyface The Blue Blazer claimed to be. If Owen had trouble disconnecting himself from the harness, wouldn't this have helped humiliate The Blazer? Either way, the sub-standard precautions caused a tragedy.

McMahon deliberately ignoring Martha Hart's request not to show footage from the service was shocking; the decision to continue the PPV scary. Major League Baseball and NASCAR have shown us that the Carney phrase "The Show Must Go On" doesn't apply in these days of million dollar Sports Entertainment, highlighting just how heartless Titan Sports really can be (many longtime fans learned this lesson in the Mid-80's).

When I connect wrestling and the word sleazy I'm not even talking about the WWF television product, though there are very valid arguments in that direction. Instead I'm referring to the soul of the organization (as much as a business entity has a soul), the ethical makeup of those in power. When Vince McMahon bragged to the
Calgary Sun that he paid for the grooming of the WWF stars before Owen's funeral, didn't he realize what a silly point that was to try to make? We should applaud him because he wanted his employees to look glamorous to the television cameras? This brief quip told a whole story.

Not that WCW is much better. The ethical makeup of those in power has already been endlessly examined (Hogan, Bischoff, Nash, Piper, Rhodes). Neither side has adequately addressed their drug problems, and HGH (Human Growth Hormone), steroids dangerous little brother, is more and more common. Do other industries have drug and safety problems? Yes. What they don't have is the staggering body count.

I've been a "hardcore" wrestling fan since January of 1987 and its a hobby that I've spent
ALOT of time involved with. I want this industry to succeed, I want it to be successful. At the same time, I would like to see it clean up its act. I don't want to be embarrassed by the corporate behavior of the industry leaders, and I don't want to grimace the next time another wrestler dies young.

Not everybody associated with the business is sleazy (Mick Foley and Terry Funk are two obvious examples of gentleman). I want to be able to enjoy a Ric Flair interview and a Chris Benoit classic without feeling regrets about the recent death of someone far too young; my hope is that the wrestling business will one day learn to police itself. While the odds are against it, we can hope…
The CWZ Wrestling Times is a superb wrestling newsletter. It covers everything you could possibly want to know about the sport of wrestling every single day, and it is free! For your free subscription send a blank e-mail to cwz-subscribe

A new fantasy federation is about to debut and the President is in need of some experienced, hard working and devoted Vice Presidents to help with the overall running of the federation. Please email Nate if you wish to fill the positions...
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The Good, Bad, and the Ugly......
By: Mark George (attkdonkey)

First things first, it is GREAT to have the Wrestling Booking Sheet back in action. Not to discredited any of the other heavy hitters in the world of online wrestling newsletters, but I missed the clear and candid style the Booking Sheet provides. Hopefully the upcoming changes in store for the Booking Sheet take it to a new level of excellence.

Due to the absence of the Wrestling Booking Sheet the past few weeks, I have been unable to find a forum to express my takes on recent events in the world of wrestling. Topics ranging from the tragic death of Owen Hart to recent lawsuits being lobbed at Vince McMahon have outdated themselves and therefore, seem like old news.

Instead of laying out the good, bad, and ugly of wrestling current events, I decided to write a personal commentary on the state of wrestling. This is strictly my opinion and nothing more.

Basically wrestling sucks right now. I am a HUGE fan and hate to say that. I know ratings are high, especially for WWF, but everything seems stale and unimaginative.

WCW has become a generic version of MTV with Master P, DJ Ran, and a pathetic attempt to pump new life into its shows by altering the set and Nitro logo. its bad enough that week after week I have to see a bunch of fossils in their forties prance around the ring like they were the Backstreet Boys while guys like Kidman, Benoit and the Luchadors job or engage in brutal hardcore matches only to have that tub of goo Tony FAT ASS Schiavonie make half assed comments. When I heard Sid had signed a deal with WCW all I did was YAWN. Sid is garbage and is just another lackey smothering the exposure of young and far more talented wrestlers.

Then there's the WWF. I watch RAW and I am amazed the ratings are strong despite the lack of talent. Week in and week out
Austin, The Rock, Mankind, etc., go out and beat the crap out of each other. If one of these stars goes down due to major injury, say good-bye to the WWF. I love the WWF and feel the over the top attitude it portrays is entertaining to an adult audience, not kids. Sex, violence, disrespect, drinking, you name it you got it in the WWF. But how many times can Austin feud with Vince? How many evening gown matches can take place before the crowds get restless and demand T & A. Honestly, not too much longer.

Instead of relying on catchy logos or shock television, I would like to see a good old fashioned wrestling match where the win is clean and the wrestlers work hard. I don't think that is asking for too much. I miss the days of HBK bouncing around the ring like a human pinball or Ricky Steamboat busting his ass at all costs. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy some of the adult oriented material and more modern approach to wrestling, but only in moderation.  I do not want to be force fed the same BS week after week and have 1 out of every 10 PPV's actually be worth seeing. Maybe someday, the two wresting companies will shake themselves and actually revert to wrestlers wrestling. What a concept!!!!
Visit my Home Page:

Item: This past Monday on NITRO, Franchise Boy, AKA Sting, "thinking" NITRO had gone off the air did the unthinkable. He used one of Degeneration X's most famous "adult" type interactions with the crowd: He asked them a question that elicited a response of "Suck It." The world is in shock that the fair haired golden boy of WCW would do something other than a super sterile routine. His response that he thought they were off the air is an insult to our intelligence. If that's the case, then WCW's so called "G Rated" programming is only for those watching at home and its OK to say/do whatever you want in the arena. That's better than having your cake and eating it to. That's having everyone else's cake and selling yours at a profit. Either you are "G Rated" or you're not. Of course anyone watching NITRO regularly knows its a crock. Consider The Buffed Macho Man's repetitive use of the word "B*stard" when his limo was used as a commode for raw sewage (come to think of it, is dumping a honey truck load of s*it "G Rated?"); said Buffed One's Bimbo's coming out a few weeks ago in outfits that would make Debra's Puppies blush and having it explained away by Big S*xy as an attempt to garner ratings that failed (meaning that the "G" Rating doesn't apply in that case either); Slick Rick's stripping down to his Fruit Of The Loom's (if that didn't scare every female under 75, then nothing will), etc. For shame Sting, you were our
last bastion of integrity. If we can't count on you, who are we to put our trust in? Are Superman, Popeye and Batman next?

Item: WCW has gone into the Sports Entertainment business: Well not quite. What it looks like they are doing is converting themselves into a new outlet for rap music. This past week we saw Master P and his No Limit Soldiers take over a good portion of the first hour of NITRO. He swore he would deliver WCW to the Promised Land (Of Neilsen). It looks like he may have to wander the dessert for another 40 years before he finds it. Eager to cash in on his "ratings bonanza," it is reported that Good King Eric (GKE) is said to be bringing in Snoop Doggy Dogg and Naughty By Nature to join the caravan to The Promised Land. I'm not a big fan of rap, but I am of wrestling and I fail to see how this is going to help. There are also words that Willie Nelson will be mounting a camel to join the search, albeit on the side of country music.


With Dennis Rodman due for another ride, Kevin Greene warming up in the camel pen and Jay Leno available as Designated Camel Jockey, WCW's wrestlers will be lucky to get a shot at cleaning up after the camels. Of course, it will solve the problem of how to fill three hours every week. At the rate they are going, it will be 2 1/4 hours of "Everything But Wrestling," 1/2 hour of "The Wonderful World Of Hollywood Hogan," 10 minutes of PPV commercials and 10 minutes (counting the overrun to Fat Tony's weekly "We are desperately running out of time" spiel) of wrestling.

Item: The Beaver is dead: While everybody need a little "Head," it looks like no one really wants any "Beaver." Citing a poor response to the Beaver Cleavage and his Mommy angle, the WWF has decided against the angle and buried the Beaver. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm going to miss "Mommy" Cleavage. However, she is rumored to be one of the WWF's female wrestlers being brought in, in anticipation of Smackdown. I will be happy to see more of this Beaver.

Item: Insane Clown Posse (ICP) has changed their mind about signing with WCW and instead will sign with the WWF. This has to be a secret plot hatched by GKE to undermine the WWF and if it is, it is a stroke of genius. These clowns were a joke last time they were in the WWF and nothing they have done since leads me to believe they will be anything else this time. It could also be that Master P is the "Higher Power" in WCW and kicked their butts to the curb. As they say, "That's Show Business." Ooops, I almost forgot, WCW is not in the "Sports Entertainment" business, it is where wrestling purists can go to be satisfied.

Item: Kane may join DX: The Big Red Machine turned into The Jolly Green Giant? The ultimate loner becoming a joiner? What the hell is McMahon thinking?

He has turned the once "immovable object" into a jobber and now he wants to make him a part of a group. If this be true, it also be stupid. Kane's whole persona was built upon his invincibility and his "me against the world" outlook. In the words of the immortal Cat In The Hat, "Leave me be." Since Kane is one of their few genuine title contenders, the WWF shouldn't screw him up worse than they already have.
Although a controversial figure, Konnan is known to be extremely outspoken in media interviews. Konnan spent extended time in the WWF in the early 90's, although his role generally involved wrestling dark matches on TV tapings. In a 1994 interview with Wade Keller of The Pro Wrestling Torch, Konnan shared his thoughts on Bret Hart:

Keller: "What do you think of Bret Hart?"

Konnan: "This is a funny story. You can ask Bret Hart and he'll even admit
it. That's why I like the guy so much. People are funny because sometimes
people can be nice in front of you, but you never know how they are when you leave. But I thought Bret was authentic. Bret Hart, when I got in there, said, "Hey, say hi to Babyface" who was a Mexican wrestler he had met in
Japan. He was really nice and really cool. He didn't look at me as a threat. I have the utmost respect for Bret Hart. I think he's great, incredible. It was about time they gave him that spot. You will not believe this. You know that Sharpshooter he does? He didn't know how to do this. He just said in the locker room out loud, "Hey, does anybody know how to do that thing where you cross your the legs and turn around like in Japan?" I said, "oh, you mean the thing that Sting does?" He said, "Yeah." So I showed it to him, The next thing I know that was his finishing move. I've always felt proud about that.

When I came back to the WWF, listen to this-this is why I love this guy so much. I had forgotten that I had showed him the move. He goes, "Hey, you're the guy who showed me the Sharpshooter." He's beyond reproach."

Torch Talk, conducted on August 21, 1994
To subscribe to The Pro Wrestling Torch, send $36 for 20 issues to:
The Pro Wrestling Torch
P.O. Box 201844
Minneapolis, MN 55420
Ratings for June 21st, 1999
RAW Nitro
1st Hour n/a 3.6
2nd Hour 5.9 2.6
3rd Hour 6.1 3.1
Composite 6.0 3.1
Other weekend numbers saw Heat do a 4.2 (off of quarter hours of 3.7, 4.1, =
4.4, and 4.6), Live Wire did a 1.8 and Superstars did a 2.0. Thunder from 6=
/17 did a 3.0 off of hours of 2.5 and 3.4.
(Reported by Dave Scherer at:
Written by reader: KFITZPATI
Steve- its good to see the Booking Sheet back in action. And I have to agree with Mooneyham's points in this newsletter, too. I'll be straight up- I've followed Flair for over a decade and a half, and I have to give him all of the credit in the world right now for him putting in a heck of a lot of time and doing something I never thought I'd see- him doing the job EVERY NIGHT.

Whether its the pay-per-views or the house shows, he has gone out and continually been a constant professional. its been that way for a long time in WCW- when Flair is around and not getting in these court room problems, he's out on the road constantly. And he is working as hard as a 50 year old man can be working under all of these circumstances. What is unfortunate is that I am of the opinion that McMahon could use him and treat him with a hell of a lot more respect then what Bischoff has. And to me the handling of Flair tells me all I need to know about WCW, too: like many fans out there, I have given that organization several chances. But the NITROS seem to get worse, Randy Savage is now the cross between Hugh Hefner and Steven Seagal (women everywhere, being a badass and beating up everyone in sight) and the angles get more distorted each week. All I know is that I have taken heat for telling what I think of WCW angles- well, I can be truthful and just say that it doesn't look like "Good King Eric" will get his throne back anytime soon if VAN HAMMER is getting a push.............
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
Columnist: 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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