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Vandy! (September 1996)


Beer!  (February 2006)

Issue # 430

Date:  Sunday December 12th, 1999  9:42 am

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

Michaels may soon be making ringside appearances for ECW
By Mike Mooneyham
Sunday, December 12, 1999

Shawn Michaels, one of pro wrestling's
top stars of the past decade, hopes to
be making appearances for ECW as early
as January. Michaels, however, must
first get permission from his current

Michaels, whose in-ring career was cut
short by serious back injuries, is
expected to take a non-wrestling,
managerial role similar to his WWF
stint as leader of Degeneration X.
Michaels likely would join longtime
friend Justin Credible (Pete Polaco)
and fellow Impact Player Lance Storm
(Lance Evers) in ECW for a high-profile
feud with Raven (Scott Levy) and Tommy
Dreamer (Tom Laughlin).

Michaels, whose on-air appearances have
been limited in recent months, recently
worked as a special referee on an FMW
show in Japan that included ECW
performers Raven and Dreamer.

"I was actually the guy who started
talking to him about it," Dreamer said
on last week's edition of Ringside
Wrestling Talk. "Shawn's very interested
and I think he basically just has to get
the OK from Vince McMahon."

Michaels, who is still under a $750,000
contract with the WWF, reportedly sees
the potential ECW gig as an opportunity
for select trainees from his Texas
wrestling school to get experience and
national exposure in ECW. The WWF and
ECW have a working relationship and no
problems between the two companies are
anticipated, since ECW has helped
facilitate the jump of several of its
performers to the WWF, the most recent
being Taz (Pete Senerca) and The Dudleys
(Mark Lomonica and Devon Hughes).

Dreamer said he didn't think Michaels
would jeopardize his lucrative WWF deal
if obstacles were put in his way.

"He's under contract making more money
than anyone could possibly fathom," said
Dreamer. "He's got a great deal. I wish
I had it. No matter what an asset he would
be to this company, I would never want to
see that jeopardized. He's going to have
a child soon, and that's a whole lot of

Michaels and wife Rebecca, formerly Nitro
Girl Whisper, are expecting their first
child in January. The two, who wed March
30 in Las Vegas, were introduced by Kevin

Dreamer said Michaels has expressed
interest in bringing some of his wrestling
students from Texas to ECW.

"I met two of them, and they seem to be
very, very eager," said Dreamer. "Actually
they're in the dojo right now. To train in
the Japanese dojo, you have to have a lot
of talent. But when you think about it,
Shawn Michaels was and probably still is
one of the premier athletes of his day.
He was amazing in the ring before his
injury. He was also a gentleman and a
heck of a nice guy. It was the first time
I ever met him. I heard a lot of things
about him, but he was nothing but cool."

Dreamer said he is optimistic that things
will work out and Michaels will get the
chance to appear in ECW.

"If he comes here, it will be great. If
the WWF won't let him, he's still making
$750,000. So God bless him."

Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom), 34, is
regarded not only as one of the greatest
workers ever in the WWF, but one of the
most controversial as well. Michaels, who
was an integral figure in the infamous
1997 Summer Slam match with longtime
nemesis Bret Hart, stirred controversy
earlier this year over remarks he made
concerning Steve Austin on a WWF Web
site audio interview.

"Summer Slam should have been Triple H
against Steve Austin, and Triple H should
have come out the winner," said Michaels.
"It's unfortunate. All I know is that
Steve was hurt, but I guess felt it
necessary to put another guy in there.
Hey, I would have loved to have that
luxury at Wrestlemania XIV ... Anybody
who knows me in the wrestling business
knows that if it was Shawn Michaels in
that match at Summer Slam, that
(expletive) wouldn't have happened. It
would've gone down the way it was
supposed to go down."

Michaels, who operates a wrestling school
and independent promotion in his hometown
of San Antonio, several months ago turned
down a WWF request to renegotiate his
$750,000 yearly deal, claiming that his
back problems stemmed from bumps taken in
WWF rings. Michaels, the self-proclaimed
"show-stopper" who took great pride in
consistently having the best match on
high-profile events, had his fourth and
fifth vertebrae fused in January. Doctors
recommended that Michaels never wrestle
again, saying that the pounding he took
during his career virtually destroyed
two disks in his lower back, and that
further pressure could cause permanent

Michaels, who has had well-documented
problems with painkillers, made local
news several months ago when he was
the subject of a "road rage" incident
after pulling a gun on a driver near
his home.

Michaels' mentor, former mat star Jose
Lothario, also is no longer affiliated
with Michaels' wrestling academy and
promotion after severing their business
relationship several months ago. Lothario
cited Michaels' attitude and lack of
respect as reasons for leaving. Lothario
added that Michaels treated talent sent
in by the WWF for their local shows
"very rudely."

"You don't do that," said Lothario. "They
weren't even charging anything. You need
to take care of these guys like a king.
But he blew it."

"You treat people the way you want to be
treated," added Lothario. "I just didn't
want to be mistreated. That's not the way
it goes. Some people appreciate it, some
don't. I let him go his way, and I went

Another source confirmed that WWF
performers imported for Michaels' Texas
shows were poorly treated. The WWF
eventually quit supplying talent.

"Shawn was told to treat these guys right,
knowing what it was like being on the road
in a strange town, out of courtesy. Have
someone drive them around, pick up their
food tabs, pay their hotels. Treat them
well. He wouldn't do it. And they complained
to Vince (McMahon), and he wouldn't send them
anymore. You treat people the way you want to
be treated. But Shawn believes his own

"Shawn rarely shows up at the academy," said
the source. "Everybody who started with him
has quit. He goes in kicking chairs around,
screaming at people and putting them down.
And they quit."

Crowds also are reportedly down at Michaels'
Texas Wrestling Association shows. Michaels
received more bad news when one of his
students suffered a broken neck last week.

Michaels, who last appeared in the WWF in
the role of figurehead commissioner. is
one of the few performers to have held the
WWF world strap, the Intercontinental title
and the WWF tag-team belts. Others in that
elite category are The Rock, Steve Austin,
Bret Hart, Kevin Nash and Pedro Morales.

Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at
(843) 937-5517 or by e-mail at
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
By Mark George (attkdonkey)

This past Friday, WCW made an appearance
on network television by appearing on
ABC's roundtable talk show Politically
Incorrect, hosted by Bill Maher. WCW's
representatives, Sting, Roddy Piper,
Madusa, and Bobby Heenan, were presented
questions ranging form the business'
legitimacy, their target audience, and
stardom. Before I critique this
foursomes appearance, I want to state
that I am not a big fan of Bill Maher,
but I enjoy the show and the opportunity
to hear differences in opinions from
celebrities alike.

With that said, Bill Maher was involved
in a discussion of a forum he doesn't
"get," which is not his fault. You either
like wrestling or you don't. Attempting
to watch RAW or Nitro two or three times
to understand the wrestling phenomenon
is impossible. To Maher's credit, he
tried to understand this current push into
the mainstream media by opening with the
question, " Wrestling fans are in on the
joke aren't they?" Unfortunately, this
question was misunderstood by the panel
and led to an uncomfortable thirty-minute

Of the four, Piper was the one most
emotional about the comment. He stood up
and dropped his pants to show bruises, his
replaced hip, and made a comment regarding
Owen Hart's death and how it wasn't fake.
Both Madusa and Sting were easily the most
cerebral and tried to make their points
without getting emotional. Bobby Heenan
made a few jokes that were very over the
top and funny throughout the show, but he
really was more of an ornament with very
little to say.

Piper's appearance on the show was a
surprise. He is a great talker and is
comedic at times, but he seemed to be in
character, while everyone else was
themselves. He was volatile the whole
show and defended his profession like a dying
soldier. Was Piper the best representative
for WCW? Although I understood his plight,
getting emotional was not in his best
interest. Those who don't watch wrestling
instantly call it fake. Why, because they
are not fans. They don't understand the high
risks they take, the punishment to their
bodies, or the passion for what they believe.
In the future, wrestling needs to be more
cautious with their representatives and the
forum they use to discuss their product.
Written by reader: Tim Callaway (Kane0027)
Hey Steve, do you want to tell me exactly
how Vince McMahon is guilty in doing what
he did to Bret back at SS 97? I've known
Vince since about 3 months before that
whole 'screwjob' fiasco at SS 97 and trust
me, he was given no choice.

There were probably more better ways to
go about getting the title away from him,
but we must all put ourselves in Vince
McMahon's shoes. If that were our company,
we'd have done the same thing, not wanting
our belt to show up on the opposing
organization's show and then to the trash.

I think many people have only a one-sided
view of that whole fiasco because of one
showed how Vince begged Bret to compromise
with him. It never showed how Bret was as
stubborn as a mule when it came to that.
And to this day, every time I talk to Bret,
he still insists he was screwed. Sure he may
have been, but when you consider the
predicament VKM was put in, was there really
another choice?
-Tim Callaway Buffalo NY
Steve Appy responds:
I'm hesitant to rehash Survivor Series 97'
at this point (Dave Meltzer has already
reported on the story so well).

I'll keep my argument short: McMahon knowingly
violated Bret Hart's trust and a legal document
(in which McMahon had granted Hart "reasonable
creative control" over his character in his
last thirty days in the WWF).

Hart agreed to several alternate scenarios for
dropping the championship and McMahon verbally
agreed to Hart's suggestion. He lied to his talent
in one of the more deceitful ways a promotion can;
he violated Hart's trust.

Is Bret Hart a mark for himself (or his character)?
Maybe. Should he have dropped the belt to Michaels
in Canada? Yes. Did Vince McMahon have the right
to lie to Hart? No.

Was there any chance that Hart would show up on NITRO
with the WWF World Title? No, Hart was under WWF
contract until December and would have been in
violation of that contract if he did so. Vince
McMahon showed us an ugly side of himself that left
a lasting impact with me.
Written by reader: Jamie (JKASMULDER)
I will agree that Test is not selling his angle very well at all.
Still, you are missing the fact that it is an incredibly stupid angle
(one which even the Rock couldn't sell). Test, however, is doing the
best any wrestler could do in a silly situation like that. He's riding
it out until the wave loses its momentum, and dies out.

I will say that the WWF managed to pull this kind of story off fairly
well before (I am referring to the Macho Man's marriage to Elizabeth),
but that, in my opinion, could be attributed to the fact that the two
principles in the angle really were married at the time. Test and
Stephanie are not even dating.

None of these guys could win an Emmy for their acting abilities. It's
easy for all of them to do "mad" however, and this is one completely
unexplored emotion in Tests's performance in this storyline. Now,
having said that, one would have to decide if that deficiency could be
blamed on the wrestler - as you have suggested - or in the overall
quality of the writing in the angle.

I think that if I were a man whose wedding was interrupted by someone
like HHH committing such a vile act against my future bride and I,
there would be nothing that I would fail to do to rectify the situation
in my favor.

Test did not behave that way, and that was a flaw in the "script," as
it were. By virtue of that flaw, I think it could be argued fairly
effectively that this angle was designed to push the McMahons, not
Test, which is another critical flaw in your argument. Test isn't
being pushed at all. There is nothing flattering to the Test character
in any of this.

If he wins a match at all against any member of DX (and that is a big
"if"), it is so because the McMahons have crafted the match in such a
way as to guarantee Test the victory. Frankly, the latter portion of
this angle seems intent in flushing the Test character right down the

That last point is really a tragedy. Test is one of the best talents
the WWF possesses, and Vince seems to be pushing himself at Test's
expense. Now, we have Vince wrestling in another main event match at a
PPV? I wouldn't have any problems with it if Vince could wrestle. But
he can't, and so I begin to wonder why Vince couldn't have accomplished
the same goal he set out with this match with HHH if he had chosen Test
to champion Stephanie's cause. I don't have an answer to that one, but
I am beginning too see a lot of the same manner of nonsense we all saw
in WCW when Bischoff pushed his own character at the expense of his
wrestlers. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Written by reader: Jim Fitzgerald (HartAttack628)
I am in total agreement on your stance of the state of WCW under Russo
& Ferrara. While I applauded them coming to WCW, I was a bit skeptical
on how it would change WCW overall. Some points are good, others bad.
The fact is, Russo is the main man where ever he goes. Yet, he needs to
be careful, I seriously doubt Vince McMahon would hire the man back
again. But like Good Ol' Oklahoma says, or at least his "Mirror" would
say, never say never in this business. This is how I would fix WCW:

*Less Run Ins. Yes, everyone wants to see their favorite, but let them
shine in their own matches. I understand the need for a few run-ins per
show, but it seems there is a dirty ending to each match on Nitro. What
happened to clean finishes?

*Less title changes. The World title changes hands WAY too many times
in each of the big two, but the WWF is less guilty. The WCW strap, on
average, changes hands at each PPV, unless Hogan is the champ.
Remember when Hogan held the belt for four years? Backlund for six?
I'm not saying these need to be the norm again, but hell, I wouldn't
mind seeing Hart defeat Goldberg and hold the belt for a good 6 months.

I think the undercard belts are good for tossing around. BTW, Sting
made Hall submit on Nitro....was the US title not on the line?

*Follow a story. I'm not sure of the exact definition of Crash TV, but
I don't think I care for it too much. Instead of 10 mini stories end to
end, they should go with certain events leading up to the main event,
such as they did with DX and such. All the little vignettes tied
together and came to a climax in the last 10 minutes of the show. That
will help them hold audiences.

I'm not sure if my formula would work, but I would love to see them
give it a shot.
Thanks for your time,
Jim Fitzgerald (HartAttack628)
Written by reader: RobSammy
I am seeing all the different things spoken about the WWF and their
marketing of their toys and have to throw a quick two cents in.

I own a collectibles shop--I sell WWF and WCW toys (although the WWF
out sells WCW by quite a large margin here in CT). I think in the year
and a half I have been carrying the toys--only ONE toy I have sold in
that time was to anyone under 15 years of age. My collector base is
older, and actually stretches into the 40's.

While I do understand that the WWF does aggressively market their toys
towards kids (which is fine by me--I'd have KILLED for a Chief Jay
Strongbow, Bruno Sammartino, Mil Mascaras, Pedro Morales, or Killer
Kowalski toy as a kid), I also see the play value these toys have, as
well as their

I have a 14 year old customer who bought the WWF ring (with the
catapults that shoot the wrestlers through the air), and the Spanish
announcer table playset--this kid got HOURS of fun out of playing with
those things--and never once did he want to go cut off any woman's
head, DDT a classmate on the floor, or hit a female classmate in the
thumb with a hammer.

The bottom line with the WWF (and the crappy WCW for that matter), is
that it ALL comes down to parenting. My buddy has a 5 year old, the kid
LOVES the WWF. They have a rule--he can watch it, but never COPY it--as
soon as he does--NO MORE WWF! Seems like a solution all parents should
adopt--alas, not many good parents out there these days are there? (can
you say Columbine?)
Written by reader: poreresu@xxxxs...
I agree with Steve Appy when I say that WCW has come under
complete control by Vince Russo. That statement is true and sad. But, I
don't know why so many Internet marks, who blasted WCW before when it
was WRESTLING, and bolstered Vince Russo's Television Entertainment on
WWF, now claim that WCW is crap.

You got what you want. Eric Bischoff is now gone, you got WWF running
WCW but you still aren't happy? What's it going to take for marks to
finally give WCW credit, Sable? It makes me sick to hear bitching about
WCW. Don't ever come and say that WCW is bad, because truth be known,
they have the best wrestlers in the world working for and with them.
Hell, they even have the notorious alliance with New Japan Pro
Wrestling that holds some of the greatest as well.

If anyone is to blame for horrid Monday night programming, blame the
fool with the pen, not the men that come to the ring nightly just so
you marks can go and bitch. Chris Benoit, all he does is try to
entertain, it's not his fault that you got stuck with mud wrestling on
Nitro. But then again, don't come complementing him when he and Hall
have a five star match at the pay-per-view either. Just say the WCW
sucks and stick your thumb back in your ass and turn one channel over
and watch Triple H and DX rape Stephanie McMahon one more time.
Written by reader: UltraViruz
I am always hearing Chris Benoit is the hardest worker, he needs the
World belt, blah blah blah! I am sick and tired of hearing this crap
about Chris Benoit! What makes him so special? He is not the only
wrestler to wrestle good and why people like him so much is beyond me.

Does nobody else work hard except Chris Benoit? Super Calo works hard,
but should he be the WCW World Champion? Benoit is not that special.
And no, he doesn't deserve the WCW World title. He looks lost on the
microphone, not to mention his angle right now is pathetic.

Chris deserves this, Chris deserves that....SPARE ME! He deserves
United States title, and that's it. Wrestling is not just about
wrestling anymore. He is not electrifying, and he wouldn't look good on
the cover of TV Guide. His name wouldn't draw much attention on the
opening guests of Jay Leno's Tonight Show. "Chris Benoit" isn't good
enough to be a household name. Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, The Rock, Stone
Cold, Andre "The Giant", are all household names. Ask just anybody "Do
you know who Chris Benoit is?" and I'm sure they'll say "huh?!?".

Why people post this stuff about Benoit not getting his push, and not
getting his title is beyond me. There is nothing electrifying about him
like The Rock or like Triple H. Benoit sure won't be on the cover of
the next WCW game. Goldberg probably will. With Nash and Bret Hart
probably. And let's just say "Crippler Crossface" is not as cool as
Sweet Chin Music, The Rockbottom, Nash's Powerbomb, he needs a new
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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