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Issue # 447

Date:  Sunday December 26th, 1999  10:19 am

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

Jericho caught in middle of power struggle
By Mike Mooneyham
Sunday, December 26, 1999

Chris Jericho made the biggest decision of his professional career
earlier this year when he turned down a lucrative offer from WCW in
favor of a chance to display his considerable skills in the WWF.

Jericho, however, now finds himself embroiled in controversy and the
target of what many consider to be a behind-the-scenes power struggle.

A number of WWF performers have complained about Jericho's in-ring
shortcomings, although the 28-year-old phenom has been dubbed one of
the industry's "can't-miss" superstars. Some, pointing to injuries
suffered by Stevie Richards and Chyna, have accused Jericho of working
overly stiff.

WWF sources say Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who "went ballistic" when
Jericho accidentally gave Triple H's real-life girlfriend Chyna a
swollen black eye, has been behind the push to derail Jericho. It has
been speculated that Jericho's problems with Helmsley stem from heat
with Helmsley's former Clique buddy Kevin Nash in WCW. Sources point to
Nash as having been Bill Goldberg's decision to veto a proposed angle
with Jericho because of Jericho's size.

Jericho told The Post and Courier earlier this year that he had his
theory on why that angle was nixed, but in hindsight said it was a
blessing in disguise.

"It was a bad business decision not to do it," said Jericho. "I don't
want to point any fingers. I just knew at that point that it was time
to move on. One thing I've learned after nine years in the business is
that whenever the time comes to move on from a territory or company,
you know it. It was time to move on."

Jericho received a major build-up upon his arrival in the WWF, but his
stint so far in the organization has been less than smooth. The
situation came to a head with a recent meeting between Jericho and WWF
owner Vince McMahon. Jim Ross denied widespread reports that there was
a heated confrontation between the two, claiming no voices were raised
and no ultimatums were given, but Jericho reportedly was ordered to
fall in line.

Jericho, though, has downplayed reports of unrest.

"I have the utmost respect for Vince McMahon and I'm looking forward
to having a long and successful business relationship with him and the
WWF ... my company!" Jericho recently posted on his Web site.

"As far as DX goes, I've had some great matches with all of them in
the past (except for HHH whom I haven't wrestled yet) and I can't wait
to work with all of them and the rest of the WWF roster in the future."

Jericho, who is being turned babyface despite a tremendous heel
response, reportedly has agreed to let Degeneration X member X-Pac
(Sean Waltman) "coach" him.

"No matter what has been said, Y2J has become a better wrestler in the
past four months and with further help and guidance from everyone in
the company, I expect to get better and more polished than ever," said

Jericho told The Post and Courier earlier this year that he "gained
tenfold" by leaving WCW for the WWF.

"In the long run it'll be much better for me here," said Jericho,
whose WWF contract is heavily incentive-based with a lower downside
guarantee than WCW was offering. "And even if it was (a pay cut), I
wouldn't care. Money was never the most important thing anyway. I was
much happier making 50 grand a year in Japan and ECW than I was making
the money in WCW. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. "They (the WWF)
have been very responsive to me. They put together a deal I was very
happy with. I didn't lose anything by coming here."

Jericho said in the interview that he tried to maintain a balance
between his life in the business and his life outside it.

"A lot of things have changed since I entered the business in 1990,"
said Jericho. "It's not even so much the crazy party lifestyle that was
glorified and personified in the past. There's definitely some guys who
enjoy that, but there's also a good percentage who don't. Most of the
guys are pretty faithful to their significant others, and there's not
really that much partying going on. The guys have a few beers once in a
while, but everybody does.

"It's not like what it used to be. It's a lot easier to be a
straight-living guy nowadays because it's not just a regional thing
anymore. It's a national television thing, and we have to perform every
night. When you're younger, it's more fun to do all those things. But
when you get a little older, it's no fun getting up every morning and
putting on a happy smile and saying 'Hi guys, I'm here to perform,'
when you really feel like crap. The novelty wears off after a while.
It's not as difficult as people think. We have the bad apples, but it's
like that in any business. We're much more attuned to what we do and
it's much more of physical sport that you have to take of yourself to
perform. It's a personal decision. It depends on the individual, but
for myself, I've never really been that way, and I'm not going to start
now because I'm in the WWF."

Jericho said he took the WWF's hard-core direction into account while
he was making his decision.

"Yeah, it was a concern. One thing I understand, this is not your
wrestling of the '80s anymore. This is more of a television drama with
wrestling as a backdrop. If I were an actor on 'NYPD Blue' and there's
a junkie on there who rapes his sister, it's just part of the show.
Wrestling has kind of gone that way. For my character I never really
strayed in that direction. My character is more a psychological
manipulator. It's pretty easy to go out there and cuss and do those
types of things. I'd rather go in the other direction and be creative
about it.

"If there was one (angle) like that, I would just tell them and
basically not do it. They can tell you what they want you to do, but if
you don't want to do it then it's your choice. Some people just don't
mind. Other people don't have the same kind of feelings I would have.
And some don't have the same talents. They don't know how to entertain
the fans except for doing it that way."

• Bill Goldberg suffered a severe laceration to his forearm during an
angle Tuesday night at Thunder tapings in Salisbury, Md.

Goldberg was injured during a show-closing angle in which he punched
out the windshields of a limousine carrying Vince Russo. Goldberg was
rushed to the hospital for surgery and numerous stitches, but no
significant nerve damage was reported. Goldberg will be out of action
for several weeks, placing his scheduled appearance for New Japan Jan.
4 at the Tokyo Dome in jeopardy.

• Hunter Hearst Helmsley suffered a hyperextended knee during a
run-through the day of his Armageddon pay-per-view match with Vince
McMahon. Triple H is expected to win the WWF title from Big Show Monday
night on Raw in Greensboro to set up a showdown with Mick Foley at the
Royal Rumble.

• Matt Hardy suffered a broken nose and cheekbone Monday night on Raw.

• WCW's Starrcade PPV failed to give Nitro a significant bump last
week in the Monday night ratings. Raw bested Nitro, 5.83-3.20, and won
head-to-head by a 5.83-2.74 margin.

The Bret Hart-Bill Goldberg title match drew a 3.59, although most of
those points came during the 11-minute overrun in which six of those
minutes went unopposed. The Kane-Big Show bout drew a 6.08 for Raw's
five-minute overrun period.

• WCW issued an apology in the wake of strong language used on last
week's edition of Nitro. The statement said the network's delay booth
operator did not report to work Monday evening and that the network has
taken corrective measures to ensure a similar incident does not happen

Both Kevin Nash and Bret Hart used colorful language in their
interviews, although a delay operator reportedly was present during
Hart's promo.

The WWF issued a similar apology the previous week when Miss Kitty
(Stacey Carter), the real-life girlfriend of Jerry Lawler, bared her
breasts on the Armageddon pay-per-view.

The WWF statement read: "During the World Wrestling Federation's TV-14
rated pay-per-view, titled Armageddon, on Sunday, Dec. 12, 1999, an
overzealous Miss Kitty flashed her breasts for less than one second in
the Four Corner Evening Gown Pool Match for the WWF Women's Title. The
WWF censors immediately placed a towel on her chest. The WWF apologizes
for the unauthorized exposure."

It might be noted that Sgt. Slaughter was conveniently standing right
next to her when the incident happened, and covered her up immediately
with a towel. The "inadvertent" action also set up the next segment
with Mae Young stripping down to her bra and panties.

The WWF placed a black bar across Kitty's naked breasts on the
pay-per-view replay.

• The "Powers That Be" gimmick (the angle used by new WCW bookers
Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara) may be phased out, although there
reportedly is a behind-the-scenes "Powers That Would Like To Be"
consisting of J.J. Dillon, Kevin Sullivan, Craig Leathers and Annette
Yothers. The latter two production chiefs were reprimanded by Russo
upon his arrival and have been in the WCW doghouse ever since. Dillon
and Sullivan, however, have a close working relationship with new
executive vice president Bill Busch.

• Bruno Sammartino, the top draw for the old WWWF during the '60s and
'70s, has expressed interest in an offer to join WCW.

• Ron and Don Harris have dropped their Creative Control gimmick and
are now portraying bikers similar to their WWF role as DOA.

• New WCW character Crobar, who has formed an alliance with David
Flair and Daphney Unger, is really Devon Storm. Flair and Daphney's
characters are based on the characters from the movie "Natural Born

• The Republican Party in North Carolina has expressed a strong
interest in having Ric Flair run for that state's gubernatorial post in
four years.

• The actor playing Tony Marinera's dad is Hulk Hogan crony and "Oz"
star Chuck Zito.

• Steve Austin's surgery has been moved up to Jan. 11, and the WWF is
holding out some hope that he could be ready for Wrestlemania if
surgery goes well and the prognosis is favorable. The scheduled main
event at this point remains Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. The Rock.

• Roddy Piper suffered a torn bicep on a recent edition of Nitro, but
will continue to make appearances for WCW.

• Scott Hall is expected to be out a couple of months due to knee

• Sting is working an injury angle as he takes time off from WCW.

• Juventud Guerrera underwent surgery on his shoulder last week.

• Chris Candido and longtime companion Tammy Sytch, the subject of
considerable controversy during the past year, have both been fired by
ECW. Also released was Axl Rotten.

• Shawn Stasiak (Sean Stepich) was fired by the WWF for company
violations, including secretly recording other wrestlers' conversations
backstage and on the road.

Stasiak, who appeared in the WWF as Meat, is the son of the late former
WWWF champ Stan Stasiak.

• Shawn Michaels, who has expressed interest in making some ECW
appearances, is not expected to be on ECW's pay-per-view Jan. 9. His
wife, Rebecca, is expecting their first child any day.

• A number of media sources are now taking notice of Mick Foley's
best-selling "Have a Nice Day" book.

A recent issue of Variety acknowledges "the Mankind phenomenon shatters
the preconception of tweedy lit types who view wrestling audiences as
attention-deficit juveniles who would never consider plunking down $26
for a hardcover book."

• "Dynamite Kid" Tom Billington details his life as a wrestler in the
recently released "Pure Dynamite."

Billington, who is now wheelchair-bound, discusses his drug
experimentation that could have led to his premature exit from the

"My shoulder started to give me some real pain, so I started using
cortisone, injecting it myself, straight into my shoulder just before a
match," he wrote. "The effects lasted about half an hour, but when they
wore off after the match, oh, I felt it. Years later I found out you
weren't supposed to take cortisone more than a few times a year because
it causes deterioration of your tendons and ligaments and bones."

Billington also wrote that the late Junkyard Dog (Sylvester Ritter) was
the first person to give him drugs of any kind (steroids) and said he
injected former partner Davey Boy Smith in his butt with milk as a rib.

"Cocaine became a habit," wrote Billington. "I can still remember the
first time I tried it. We were sitting in a hotel room right next to
the airport in Miami, Fla. - me, my brother-in-law Bret Hart and
Junkyard Dog. Junkyard Dog said, 'Hey, man, try this.' And he got a
pipe and a block of coke and gave it to me. I had a smoke, and
straight-away - bump - I was high. That was it. We spent all night
smoking crack."

• "Dr. Death" Steve Williams addressed his split with Jim Ross and the
WWF on a recent edition of Ringside Wrestling Talk radio show.

"Jim Ross tells everybody that he was a good friend of mine," said
Williams. "I've worked in Japan for the last 10 years. I had a lifetime
job. Jim Ross called me and asked me to come to the WWF. I came down
and worked out a great deal. But I tore my hamstring in the Brawl for
All. Jim Ross got a lot of beef out of that deal. All of the boys said,
'Your boy got knocked out by Bart Gunn.' It was a lucky punch. With a
torn hamstring I was beating the guy, but we're not going to cry over
spilled milk. But it happened, I rehabbed it and came back, and was
feeling real good."

The WWF, however, had different plans for Williams following the Brawl
for All embarrassment.

"All of a sudden they had me walking out with Jim Ross, rubbing his
shoulders and looking like a masseuse," said Williams. "It wasn't the
real 'Dr. Death.' Here I am at home, and they told me I was going to be
on the UPN channel, and it sounded like another break. Time passes, and
all of a sudden I was asked to go to Japan for a lower company, FMW,
and I didn't choose to go there. Next day I got a fax saying I had
breached my contract because I said I wouldn't like to go. But I've got
a nice lawsuit here with these guys. I had two years with them, and I
plainly got screwed where the sun don't shine."

Williams, a longtime star with All Japan, said appearing for another
Japanese promotion would have damaged his standing with All Japan.

"If I had gone over there to FMW, I would have lost my honor and
respect with All Japan," said Williams. "If anybody knows anything
about the Japanese history, I am the Hulk Hogan, the Goldberg, the
'Stone Cold' Steve Austin in Japan. I am a competitor, a world
heavyweight champion, if a company wants to get behind me. And Japan is
totally behind me."

Ross, who is senior vice president of talent relations in the WWF, said
in a recent interview that he believed Williams probably still had heat
with him over his release.

"Unfortunately in my role, not only do you hire people, but you have to
be the point person of letting people go. In this business sometimes
you're not forgiven because you tell the truth and you have to deliver
less than positive news. I was the one who had to deliver the news to
Doc that there were no creative plans for him here, and there was
nothing here for him at that point. Doc's not a bad person, he's a good
man. I think he was very frustrated about the situation he was in, and
I'm sure he holds some animosity toward me because of the way the
situation played out."

"Jim Ross isn't even the one who contacted me," said Williams. "He
didn't even call or contact me to let me know that I, as they claimed,
breached my contract. I got a fax from their lawyer saying I had
breached the contract. I tried to call Jim, but the boys in the office
said he couldn't be bothered. I tried to call him at his house, and I
was put on the answering machine, or his wife would say he's not there.
I've contacted my lawyers, and they've been on top of this thing. Now
we're playing letter games until it gets to court.

"What's really sad is when your best friend tells you that he wants to
take you out the environment you've been in the last 10 years so you
can see your son grow up. I've got a 7-year-old boy, my pride and joy,
and Jim told me I could watch my son grow up. That hit a home run and I
said, `OK, Jim, 'here's my money deal, this is great, this is what I
want.' They came up with it, and I was set to watch my kid grow up,
only having to work 12 to 15 days a month. All of a sudden they want a
shoot match, and here we are. But I'm going to get it either way, I've
made money in this business and saved a lot of money. You won't see me
at 50 years old in this business. (One day) I'm going to have my own
fishing show."

• Trish Stratus reportedly turned down a lucrative offer from WCW to
sign a deal with the WWF.

• The Varsity Club has been reformed in WCW and consists of former
members Kevin Sullivan, Rick Steiner and Mike Rotundo. The original
group consisted of Kevin Sullivan, Steiner, Williams and Rotundo.
Steiner was replaced by Danny Spivey after being booted from the group.

• The orange and white symbol on Raw signifies the impending arrival
of Taz (Pete Senerca) to the WWF. Taz' contract with ECW officially
expires at the end of December.

• Former wrestler "Playboy" Buddy Rose (Paul Perschmann) was arrested
by Vancouver, Wash., police and charged with second-degree assault,
domestic violence and unlawful imprisonment.

• Paul Bearer (Bill Moody) has dropped 50 pounds since his last
appearance on WWF television.

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.
Written by reader: XoreoXguyX
I hear a lot of people complain about how much The Big Show sucks and
how wrong it is that he has the belt. Well, to put it in easy terms,
all you people are right. Rewind to that fateful WWF Valentine's Day
PPV when Big Show first showed up. I saw him pop out from under that
ring and I was cheering for him! Why? I will cheer for almost any top
mid-carder that jumped ship from WCW to WWF (except Goldberg and
Mysterio, those guys suck).

It's just rad to see that the guys that WCW could have done a lot with
leave to the promise land. Well, I felt The Big Show was over with the
fans and then when he turned face and was with the Union, he got pretty
good pops. That time was a better time to give Big Show the belt, the
fans would have actually cheered for him, all of them would have

When everything was going great for Show they stick him with the
Undertaker!?!? I understand they needed heels but they had a star that
could have been on the heels of the Rock, but all of a sudden there was
just no reaction from the crowd. Why? Because him and Takers angle (I
am the master teaching you) wasn't working. Taker goes out and then
next thing you know Big Show's dad has cancer. Yeah, that angle worked
really well, and then they give him the belt!? It just didn't work
out, they should have given Jericho the belt; I mean if you want to
give it to someone you wouldn't expect, Triple H wins at Survivor
Series, comes out the next night and claims it was too easy destroying
those two and he lays out an open challenge for later that night.

Later that night he hits the ring, and then the countdown begins. I
guarantee Jericho could have gotten more cheers. Hell, Godfather could
have, Steve Blackman could have. What I'm saying is he needs to lose
the belt quick and then take a break and help Vince think of a new
angle for him.
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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