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Issue # 414

Date:  Sunday November 28th, 1999  10:11 am

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

WWF battles lobby, may lose two stars
By Mike Mooneyham
Sunday, November 28, 1999

When it rains, it pours.

The WWF, which has maintained a sizable lead over rival WCW in the
ratings war, has taken a number of major hits in recent weeks that
threaten to close the gap.

Several major sponsors of WWF programming, including
Coca-Cola, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, have withdrawn their
sponsorships on WWF telecasts as a result of an intense lobbying
campaign by the Parents Television Council. Brent Bozell, chairman of
the ultra-conservative group, has objected to the armed services'
purchase of advertising time on WWF shows that, in his view, "glorify
wanton and cruel violence." The group also claims recent WWF
programming has featured attempted rape, simulated sex, and obscene
language and gestures.

The WWF, fearing a domino effect, has countered with a letter-writing
campaign and has asked its fans to write to various major sponsors,
including the U.S. Navy. The Coast Guard has stated that it will not
pull its ads on WWF Smackdown telecasts. The WWF changed its rating
designation on last week's Smackdown from TV14 to TVMA.

In a related development, former Connecticut Gov. Lowell P. Weicker
Jr., 68, was appointed last week to the board of directors of
Stamford-based World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, the parent
company of the WWF. The position pays more than $25,000 a year and
includes options to buy 25,000 shares of the newly issued WWFE stock.

The WWF also faces the possible end of the in-ring careers of two of
its major stars.

The wrestling future of the industry's biggest money-maker, "Stone
Cold" Steve Austin, remains a question mark. Austin underwent tests on
Nov. 19 and again last Wednesday in Philadelphia to determine the scope
of his neck injury, but WWF official Jim Ross said it's too early to
"They're still doing tests," Ross told The Post and Courier.

"They're still doing a bunch more tests to give us a clearer picture of
his condition. We should know something more conclusively in the next
weeks. In the meantime obviously, as a precautionary thing, he's not
going to be doing any physical stuff because his health is the most
important resource that he has, and his health is our foremost concern."

Ross said that Austin is expected to return to television soon, but
there's no timetable beyond that.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed that we're going to get good news.
Only time will tell. There are no answers until those tests are
completed and all that data is thoroughly examined. And then a decision
will be made about what he can or can't do from a physical standpoint."

Austin visited noted sports medicine physician Dr. Joe Torg in
Philadelphia last week.

According to the WWF Web site, Torg diagnosed that Austin had a bone
spur touching his spinal cord that had caused him to experience
numbness in his hands, legs and arms. Torg, who also worked with Austin
when he suffered a neck injury in the summer of 1997, encouraged Austin
to stay active and continue training, according to Ross, who
accompanied Austin on his medical visit.

Torg referred Austin to Cleveland physician Dr. Henry Bahman for
further testing. According to Torg, Bahman is the "best doctor in the
galaxy for this kind of injury."

Bahman will determine if Austin will require surgery and will perform
the operation if it is deemed necessary. If so, Austin will undergo
four to six weeks of rehabilitation, after which he would be
re-evaluated. Bahman recently performed a similar surgery on Baltimore
Orioles star Cal Ripken Jr.
Austin, who has been offered a number of spots on network television
shows as well as a starring role in a "Nash Bridges" spinoff, is
engaged to Debra Marshall, the former Debra McMichael and ex-wife of
Steve "Mongo" McMichael.

It also appears that Mick Foley (Mankind), who over the past several
years has become one of the industry's most marketable stars, is at the
end of his legendary hard-core career.

Foley, who discussed retirement on an "Off the Record" show last
weekend, had been scheduled to make a major announcement at last week's
Raw in Buffalo, N.Y., but that announcement is now expected to be made
on this week's program. Foley will remain with the WWF and could assume
the position of figurehead commissioner.

• Last week's column on the Jim Ross parody drew a heavy batch of mixed
response from readers, with some justifying the spoof on grounds that
"it's only wrestling" and urging me to "lighten up," while others
agreed that the segment was tasteless and mean-spirited.

Some pointed to equally lowbrow WWF angles, such as the depiction of
Ted Turner and his late father and, more recently, the Paul Wight (Big
Show) cancer storyline.
There's no argument there. Two wrongs, however, don't make a right.

WCW scriptwriter and Ross impersonator Ed Ferrara apparently plans to
make "Oklahoma" a regular character, although the Ross spoof hasn't
been nearly as entertaining in subsequent attempts.

And, just for the record, Ross wasn't thrilled with Ferrara's parody in
the WWF either. It simply boiled down to being a team player.

"I've never seen that either," said Ross. "I never watched the replays
of any of that when I was disgruntled, deranged, mentally disturbed,
unbalanced - whatever the heck it was they wanted me to be. (Vince)
Russo wanted to turn me heel because he doesn't believe that people
with a Southern accent have any intelligence and people don't respect
individuals with a Southern accent.

"They laid out this plan that I didn't want to do at the time. But you
try to be a team player and practice what you preach, so you go along
with what management wants to do. If I had not wanted to try to support
Russo and Ferrara, I would have gone to Vince (McMahon) and told him
that I wasn't going to do this. And then he would have said, 'OK, J.R.,
I understand why you don't want to do it.'"

Ross said that there were a number of things that Russo and Ferrara
wrote that he wouldn't have written or he wasn't comfortable doing, but
that he "worked hard for those guys," noting that "as long as I'm going
to take Vince's (McMahon) money, I'm going to do what the owner wants
me to do to the best of my ability."

"It was only about a week ago that I watched the Wrestlemania match
with Austin and The Rock, which is the first time I came back to work,
and wasn't ready to come back to work," said Ross. "I didn't like the
way I looked, didn't like the way I sounded. I remember that day very
vividly, holding my face up so I could at least get words out. I had to
manually try to hold part of my face up to talk. It was a very
challenging experience. I only watched that about a week or two ago.
But the stuff that I did with Bart Gunn and Michael Cole, and the
announce table thing, which was their (Russo and Ferrara's) concept, I
tried to execute it as best I could. However, had I had my druthers, I
wouldn't have done it. You try to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Maybe my gut instinct was wrong. But I was uncomfortable enough doing
it that I subsequently never watched it again, nor do I plan to."

Ross said that the past year has been one of his most challenging, and
in light of the adversity, he could have just packed it all in and done
something else.

"It's been challenging. I could have just said the business and the
people who are in it and the fans who support it are not worth me
trying to come back. I could have come back as a producer or done
something behind he scenes. But that was a function of not quitting.
The sad part is what they don't realize, and honestly neither did I
until I got it, is how many people are affected by Bell's palsy. I had
the opportunity to reach out to a lot of people who have written me
letters and have helped with remedies and potential cures. It affects
more people adversely than just me and my family, and they didn't take
that into consideration. I guess they think that my family is immune to
all this and they are disassociated with it. It affects more than just
The Thanksgiving holiday isn't lost on Ross.

"There's too many things to be thankful for. I'm back at work. My
family's healthy. My daughter's graduating from college next month,
which is a great accomplishment for her. Business has been pretty good,
and the ratings are solid. So there's a whole lot more good things
happening in my life than bad things. There's too many folks out there
who have a whole lot worse-off life than I have, so the last thing I'm
going to say is 'Woe is me.' "

• Dusty Rhodes, who was recently released by WCW, has been sending
feelers to the WWF looking for work.

• Road Warrior Hawk (Mike Hegstrand) and Randy Savage (Randy Poffo),
who have a history of bitter feelings dating back to an incident in
Japan several years ago, reportedly had another altercation backstage
at a Kid Rock concert in Tampa. Hawk said on a Tampa radio show that he
offered his hand to Savage as a goodwill gesture, but Savage responded
with a sucker punch.

The fight was quickly broken up, said Hawk, but not before Savage's
girlfriend, Gorgeous George, and a friend of George attacked and
bloodied Hawk's wife.

Gorgeous George, whose real name is Stephanie Bellars, was featured in
a story earlier this year in her hometown paper in Rockford, Ill. The
article revealed that she had a criminal record and had spent time in
jail as a teen-ager for burglarizing a home and slashing a girl's face
with a broken beer bottle.

The article also mentioned her past as a stripper at a local club. The
owner of the club where she worked noted that she was a good dancer but
didn't have the personality to be a stripper.

Bellars met Savage when she moved to Florida in 1997. She said in that
article that she considered herself to be a positive role model for
young girls and that she would never wear anything in the ring that
would be inappropriate to wear in front of her 6-year-old son.

• Tony Rumble, president and owner of Northeastern-based Century
Wrestling Alliance independent promotion, passed away Nov. 13 at the
age of 43 of a massive heart attack at his home in Revere, Mass.

Rumble had been recently featured on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" special
on pro wrestling.

• Gordon Solie, the dean of pro wrestling announcers, is recovering
from an operation to remove his larynx.
Solie soon will be fitted with an artificial voice box.

• WCW has released former tag-team champs Barry and Kendall Windham.

• Hector Garza, who also was released by WCW, reportedly is considering
suing a doctor the company referred him to handle his knee surgery. The
doctor reportedly is the same one accused of botching elbow surgery
last year on Ultimo Dragon. Dragon (Yoshihiro Asai), widely regarded as
one of the top workers in the business, recently announced his
retirement. Dragon, who was fired by WCW on Sept. 7, is expected to sue
the company over the surgery that left him with limited use of his hand
and ended his in-ring career.

• Vince Russo, who recently warned Juventud Guerrera that his status in
WCW was in jeopardy unless he learned to cut a good, English-speaking
promo, may use Guerrera in an envelope-pushing angle involving Kevin
Nash that should test the censors at WCW.

• WCW released longtime Eric Bischoff ally Sonny Oono.

• Wrath (Bryan Clark) has been released by WCW. Clark, who was earning
$325,000 per year, had spent most of the past year sidelined with an
ACL injury.

• WCW reportedly is unhappy with the performance of Stevie Ray and is
looking to restructure his $725,000-per-year contract.

• Kristina Loun, who played the role of Kimona Wanalaya in ECW a couple
of years back, was interviewed by the WWF about coming in, but WCW also
is interested.

• Test (Andrew Martin) suffered a broken nose on the Nov. 11 Smackdown
when his nose accidentally hit the bottom rope.

• Stevie Richards suffered a broken leg during his recent match with
Chris Jericho on Raw. Jericho, who is getting a reputation of working
overly stiff, also gave Chyna a black eye during a recent pull-apart

• Doug Gilbert, brother of the late Eddie Gilbert, was suspended by
Power Pro Wrestling for recent remarks he made during a shoot promo on
Memphis television.
What initially began as an angle between Gilbert and Brian Christopher
(Lawler), son of Jerry "The King" Lawler, turned into an ugly situation
resulting in Gilbert's firing and legal action being considered by

Gilbert was given permission to cut a strong promo on Christopher in
response to an interview in which Christopher criticized Gilbert and
his parents. Gilbert, however, retaliated with scathing comments about
Lawler, claiming he had raped a 13-year-old girl and that the only
reason Christopher got a push was because his father owned half the
company. Gilbert also ran down Power Pro booker Randy Hales, claiming
that he had a crack problem.
Lawler, who wasn't at the taping at the time of the interview,
reportedly drove to the studio and demanded a copy of the tape.

Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at (843) 937-5517 or by e-mail
at mooneyham. 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.
Are you ready for the new wave of wrestling on the net? Do you want to
fight in a wrestling match for your own pride, or do you just want to
kick some ass? Join the SSW Super Star Wrestling. You will be added
to results for Monday Madness and other PPV'S. Contact
ChrisD5105 if you want in. Come on, add some kick ass to your
e-mail box. You can even write e-mail to the whole crew of SSW and send
challenges, or just tell them how cool they are or how much they suck.
Written by reader: Big Willie (bigwillie48)
I just thought that people would be interested in knowing that I work
at Toys R Us (where Al Snow stuff is supposed to be banned) and they
don't give a damn about it, Al is still on the shelves
Written by reader: Brendan Bowes (Bowzie69)
Why can't we just enjoy the show?

Why is it that we have to pick and pull each and every angle/ storyline
professional wrestling has to offer? Granted, most of the storylines
are a little far-fetched and borderline tasteless but it still gives
no reason to complain after each show.

I was once in the shoes of most of you. When I didn't like an angle or
a storyline, I'd complain like a madman too. But then I found something
that would change MY life forever, for now when I watch wrestling, it
is the one thing I hold close. And that is a remote control. You see,
it holds a power so great, not even the PTC (is that what their
called?) can control it. It's pretty easy to use too, you see
something objectionable to you, you simply aim the little contraption
at the TV and press a few buttons and WOWEE, you have changed channels.

What's my point? If you spend all your time complaining about the
show, you're not taking the time to sit and watch it. Instead of
planning on sitting down on Monday Night and getting ready to complain
about everything, just sit back grab a beer (or soda if you are under
the age), AND ENJOY THE DAMN SHOW!!!! If you find it hard to enjoy it,
then use the remote and put it on Ally McBeal and watch Ally promote
her anorexic self.

Or even better, try to put all the political stuff in the back of your
mind and try to realize that these guys are here to entertain, not to
piss you off. That's what I do and it's so much better. To me, it's
better to be a so-called "mark" then a guy "who is a big shot because
he has the Internet and has access to all this backstage wrestling
stuff, which influences who he likes and what promotions are good and
which promotions suck.

Also the fact that just because Japanese wrestlers are good workers,
they should set an example for what we should be watching in America,
and Misawa and Kobashi are gods!" Do me a favor, the next RAW or Nitro
you watch and you have an urge to complain, take a roll of Duct tape
out and wrap it around your head, because believe it or not, there are
some people who watch it because they like it.
Brendan Bowes
Written by reader: JOBSquad12
To see a picture of Trish Stratus, now signed with the WWF, go to:
Yep, I'd say she is quite good looking.
Written by reader: Cory Jones (zambooka)
Just wanted to drop a line to say that I think that Trish Stratus is a
very sexy woman and to see for yourself, go to http://www.trishstratus.
com and I'm sure you'll agree.
November 30th edition of WR Rope Opera Digest read about one of the
hottest up and coming stars in WCW today, Lash LeRoux. In addition to
this exclusive interview, this issue will be jam packed with all the
latest news and views in the world of professional wrestling. If that's
not enough, we are going to give away $200 to one lucky WR Rope Opera
Digest subscriber on 2/22/2000. Why on 2/22/2000? Because great things
come in 2's. We give and give until it hurts, so why not give some
more. What do you have to do to get in on the action? Go to:
...and Subscribe. It's FREE!
I, The Python, am running a 64 Champ Tournament of the best champs,
whether it be IC, US, Tag, World or WCW, NWA, ECW, WWF Champs. This
will include past and present champions. Can The Franchise hold against
the Original Horseman? Goldberg, Austin, and The Rock have already
been eliminated from your votes! E-Mail TheRock80 and vote
only once please!

Round 1, Bracket 4
[Tully Blanchard] vs. [Shane Douglas]
[Mitsuharu Misawa] vs. [Scott Hall]
[Tito Santana] vs. [Tony Atlas]
[Jim Duggan] vs. [Jimmy Snuka]
Summaries will be made of the matches, that's why only four. If you
want to know the results, please subscribe to The Python's Byte by
sending a blank message to:
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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All Rights Reserved.

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