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- WWF: The 4/30 Backlash PPV from the MCI Center in Washington, DC at this point has eight matches booked. The main event is HHH vs. Rock for the title with Vince in HHH's corner, Austin in Rock's corner and Shane as referee. Also it'll be Benoit vs. Jericho for the IC title, Edge & Christian vs. Road Dogg & X-Pac for the tag titles, Show vs. Angle, Dudleys vs. T&A, a four-way elimination match for the hardcore title with Saturn, Tazz, Bob and Crash, Guerrero vs. Rios for the European title, Malenko vs. 2 Hotty for the light heavy title and Acolytes vs. Buchanan & Bossman. On paper, it's one of the strongest line-ups to date. . . The main event for the 5/6 WWF Insurrextion (that's how it's being spelled) PPV from Earls Court in London, England (U.K. only PPV) is being advertised as a three-way with HHH, Rock and Shane McMahon for the title. Keep in mind that as TV changes storylines, this line-up will probably change as well as the previous U.K. PPV line-up was changing on a weekly basis. Benoit wants to bring Dynamite Kid to this show. Rest of the show is Benoit vs. Angle for the IC, Guerrero vs. Jericho for the European, Edge & Christian vs. Dudleys vs. Hardys for the tag titles, Malenko vs. Crash Holly for the light heavyweight, Kat vs. Terri in an arm wrestling match, Rikishi vs. Show, Acolytes vs. X-Pac & Dogg, Saturn vs. 2 Hotty and Kane vs. Bossman. . . There has been no officially announced figure for Wrestlemania's PPV. The latest estimates are more than 800,000 buys. There is no solid estimate on the percentage of whom bought $34.95 or $49.95 other than the company's pre-show estimate of 20 percent buying the 12-hour more expensive version is going to be surpassed. . . Raw on 4/17 at Penn State University's Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA drew a sellout 11,611 paying $298,364 for an excellent show. The show opened with a tremendous TV match with Jericho pinning HHH after a quebrada and a fast count by Earl Hebner, who was mad at HHH, in 8:37 to apparently win the WWF title which drew a tremendous pop for what can be described as the Dusty finish 2000. The Acolytes came out early as Jericho's protectors from a run-in. Jericho bled from the mouth. Ref Mike Kiota was bumped and Hebner ran in to take his place. Shane interfered but the Acolytes chased him away. After the match HHH and Shane grabbed Hebner and Kiota and brought them to the ring. HHH asked Kiota after watching the replay if it was a fair count and Kiota told Earl he screwed HHH. HHH told Hebner to reverse his decision but Hebner refused. Shane & HHH threatened to beat up Hebner, who agreed to reverse his decision but only if they agreed that as long as he worked in the WWF, they would never touch him. HHH then told Hebner to bring him the belt from the sawed off midget, cleverly burying Jericho the first time after putting him over in a segment clearly more designed at putting over HHH as a heel than getting Jericho over as a title contender. Jericho gave back the belt, and HHH told Hebner to put the belt around his waist. HHH then told Hebner he was fired, and since he no longer worked for the WWF, he and Shane destroyed Hebner and laid him out with a pedigree. This whole first hour was tremendous. Guerrero was studying with Chyna for his GED. Guerrero was so totally overplaying the stereotypical Mexican high school dropout low rider gimmick it was pretty racist, particularly his exaggerated speech pattern. Hardys beat Guerrero & Rios in 4:41 in a great match. Lita accidentally hit Guerrero with a moonsault block and Guerrero's positioning was perfect to take it. Matt then pinned him with the twist of fate. Chyna blamed Rios and she and Guerrero put the boots to him after the match. Crash won a three-way for the hardcore title over Tazz and Saturn which turned into a four-way with Bob. Very stiff as they were killing each other with a cookie sheet. Not much heat but the work was good. Crash pinned Saturn after Bob used his formerly known as the Holly-caust but now simply his whattamaneuver in 3:25. Linda came out for the interview to announce Austin in Rock's corner. HHH, Shane and Stephanie came out. The announcement of Austin's name tore the roof off the place. But between Linda and Stephanie, there was some major bad acting in the segment. Stephanie was about to hit Linda, but she blocked her blow and counterpunched and Stephanie went down. Linda freaked out about slapping her daughter. HHH went to Pedigree Linda but Shane saved her. Stephanie got between HHH and Shane and ended up slapping both of them. Maybe we'll end up with a three-way dance with those three. Rock came out and cut a promo, which, surprisingly, was his only appearance of the show. Snow & Blackman beat Dudleys in 1:30 when after Snow got the 3-D, Test & Albert interfered and Test came off the top with an elbow on D-Von and Snow pinned him. Buh Buh snatched Trish Stratus, but before he could molest her, she kissed him. He was smitten and went into his trance and she was saved. I'm not sure what message the WWF is sending to the new audience it is bragging about being strong in, the teenage girls, with that message. Crowd booed this heavily because they wanted to see Stratus go through the table. Angle did several vignettes on the Penn State campus throughout the show preaching abstinence. The segments were very funny, but they should put someone like Snow, who doesn't have the upward potential Angle has, to play this Bob Backlund role. Backlund was hilarious and a heat getting machine when he was in the early days of his heel role, but because of the gimmick, was a total failure as a draw when put on top years ago. The final segment ended with Show spoiling Angle's advice by throwing condoms everywhere. 2 Hotty won the light heavyweight strap from Malenko in 4:41 when Malenko did a superplex off the top and 2 Hotty caught him in a surprise inside cradle (the Dynamite Kid vs. Randy Savage Wrestling Classic PPV finish). Another really good match. Show beat Benoit in the IC title match via DQ in 2:21 for a low blow. On a night where there were about 2,000 low blows between the two shows, that was a lame finish. After the match, Angle ran in and gave Show another low blow. Edge & Christian kept the tag titles beating Buchanan & Bossman via DQ in 4:43. Not much heat. The heels were DQ'd for no apparent reason other than shoving Teddy Long, and considering refs are knocked unconscious with impunity, that was the second straight weak finish. Didn't Edge & Christian turn heels like three weeks ago? Kane came out with a cast on his hand and choke slammed Buchanan. Main event saw HHH & Dogg & X-Pac over Acolytes & Jericho in 7:36. Another good match. Everyone except Jericho and HHH brawled to the back. Bossman & Buchanan attacked the Acolytes. With just HHH and Jericho in the ring, HHH hit the pedigree for a clean pin. I defy anyone to give me a logical business explanation for that finish. Actually the reason was immediately obvious and that's that Hunter is the third smartest man in wrestling. If they wanted to give HHH a pin because he sort of lost earlier and after all, the champ should be kept strong, they should have taken the pin on Bradshaw or Faarooq rather than cut the legs off a guy who had seemingly just taken a big step and up until getting pinned seemed to have elevated himself into a position to being a viable challenger. . . 4/18 tapings from a sold out Core States Center in Philadelphia. They opened the show pushing the Gary Albright tribute show in Allentown the next night. Venis beat Henry with a money shot in a dark match. A try-out match saw Jimmy Snuka Jr. beat Elvis Elliot in what was described as not being good. Scott Vick beat Pete Gas with a jumping DDT. For Heat, Hardys beat Snow & Blackman when Jeff pinned Blackman with the swanton. After the match Snow brought out Harvey Cottontail (Harvey Wippleman in a bunny outfit) and he said, "Have an Egg-cellent Easter Steve." Blackman then attacked Snow seemingly breaking up the team. Bob Holly DDQ Saturn when both knocked down the ref. 2 Hotty beat Malenko & Michinoku in a three-way for the title when he pinned Michinoku with a bulldog off the top. Malenko put Scotty in the cloverleaf after the match. Benoit cut a promo on Jericho. Jericho came back and said Benoit would have been a superstar in the 60s but not in the year 2000 and they got in a brawl, ending in the back with Jericho applying the walls and Benoit tapping to set up their PPV title match. Faarooq beat Buchanan via DQ when Bossman interfered. Bradshaw tried to make the save but they beat on him until Kane choke slammed Bossman and ran off Buchanan to end the show. For Smackdown, Road Dogg pinned Edge by reversing a roll-up. They showed Mike Tyson in attendance at the show and a clip of his angle with Austin from 1998. HHH & Stephanie cut a promo. HHH said he was never going to pedigree Linda, just trying to scare her, but that Shane was a hothead and a mama's boy since they are building to a three-way in May, but he forgave Shane and ripped on bringing Austin back. Every mention of Austin got a huge pop. Tazz came out wearing the ECW belt and there was a loud ECW chant. HHH acknowledged the ECW belt saying he was going to show everyone why ECW sucks and WWF is great. Guerrero passed his GED test. Dudleys NC Guerrero & Rios (Guerrero said he was giving Rios another shot at being his partner). Lita accidentally hit Guerrero again. There was no finish but Chyna basically left Lita to be power bombed through a table by the Dudleys and she did a stretcher job. Rikishi DCOR Show. Fans booed the bad finish. Rikishi then invited Show to dance with him which the crowd loved. After the dancing, Rikishi kicked Show and took the glasses off him. HHH beat Tazz here. T&A beat Godfather & Brown when they had miscommunication and Godfather was pinned. Brown beat up Godfather after the match. X-Pac pinned Christian with the X-factor, but Edge & Christian laid out Dogg & X-Pac after the match. Benoit beat Angle via DQ in an IC title match when Show shoved Benoit off the top rope. Show then chased Angle to the back. Benoit, starting a face turn, was mad because he didn't win the match cleanly. Insane Clown Posse was back, in clown suits, attacking Crash at the Ringling Brothers Circus which was taking place next door at the Spectrum. Crash had elephant shit thrown at him in the brawl, but he escaped. Main event, ordered by HHH earlier in the show, was Rock vs. Jericho with all heel lumberjacks. The heels kept breaking up both men's pins. Rock used two rock bottoms and went for the people's elbow, but HHH hit Rock with the title belt and Jericho scored the pin. . . New York Daily News, the Times Square restaurant that hasn't been talked about is in the midst of being revamped. The story, quoting a WWF insider, blamed the problems on Parkview Restaurant Group that the WWF hired to run the place, saying they could be out of the picture within a week. WWF has stopped hyping the place, which has been empty except during major WWF events. The insider said that Parkview managed it like it was a theme restaurant while the WWF's idea was for it to be an entertainment complex (sounds sort of like that statement they're in the rasslin' business and we're in the entertainment business which in reality is a semantic way of saying nothing). The WWF is attempting to buy Parkview out of the current deal according to the item. Of late, the WWF has basically stopped all promotion for the place. The WCW Nitro Grill in Las Vegas, which is a much less ambitious project, is suffering the same fate. They've laid off part of their staff and now have eliminated lunch service. Except on Monday nights during Nitro and during PPV shows or when wrestlers make special appearances, there is rarely any business to speak of at the place. . . The entire item reported on a 6/3 show in Ontario regarding advertising the Rock wouldn't be there in last week's issue is totally incorrect. There isn't even a WWF show in that part of the country on that date. . . SummerSlam this year will be in Raleigh, NC. . . Grand Master Sexay (Brian Lawler) is already walking without a limp so he should be in the ring very soon. . . Some notes on the 4/13 Smackdown. Benoit & Malenko vs. Hardys was a real good TV match. Kat must be a genetic freak because nobody has ever grown so much hair in just one day. Moolah nearly killed Mae Young twice doing monkey flips since Mae really couldn't get all the way over. Kat's spear on Moolah, as bad as it was, was 1,000 times better than the one they did in San Jose the previous week, which was just about move-for-move the exact same match except Mae dropped an elbow instead of doing the lowest big splash ever for the win. They announced a WWF TV special on UPN on 4/28. The interplay between Rock and Shane is just awesome. . . WWF Armageddon fell to No. 20 on the charts this week with 62,179 units sold. Unlike most records which in its early weeks have a bullet (which indicates sales increasing from the previous week), the WWF sales for this record are similar to many in the rap genre which open very strong and fade fast. By contrast, the previous CD, which wasn't rap, had much stronger legs and at this point has topped one million in sales directly to consumers (1,015,965 as of last week's tally). . . Depositions began in the Martha Hart wrongful death lawsuit against WWFE and several other plaintiffs in Kansas City over the past week. . . TSN's "Off the Record" should be having a one-on-one interview with the Rock taped in May. . . TSN is also petitioning the CRTC to relax its standards on violence toward women. Because of the current standards, TSN is forced to edit all the women taking power bombs through tables off Raw and in the future, Nitro as well, which results in complaints from wrestling fans every Tuesday morning. . . Tom Howard, who had worked numerous dark matches at tapings over the past year, was released from his developmental deal. . . We need to make a ratings correction. Last year, when Raw and Nitro opposed the NCAA basketball finals, it was the Raw the day after Wrestlemania and not the week after as we reported. The gist of the story is correct in that both the basketball and pro wrestling audience was far larger on that Monday one year ago than it was this season. . . Saturn on his web site apologized to Hogan because Hogan did the angle with Kidman. . . The Team Extreme who worked the dark match at the 4/4 tapings in San Jose was not Kit Carson & Khris Germany from Texas as many thought, but a tag team based in Southern California. The two were Justin McCulley, who has worked a shootfighter gimmick in New Japan and also done some legitimate shootfights in Japan for RINGS, and Aaron Aguilera (Southern California indie wrestler who goes by the ring name of Hard Kore Kid), whose father is their ringside manager El Jefe. . . WWF is scoring good ratings in New Zealand as the 4/8 show drew 126,200 viewers, making it the highest rated show on TV4, which is New Zealand's lowest rated free TV channel. . . Gangrel is out of action for at least one month due to a separated shoulder. . . Mick Foley will be taping an episode of "Now and Again" on CBS later this month. . . Rock's appearance for IWA in Puerto Rico on 4/28 at Juan Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon will be in a tag match teaming with Kane against the Dudleys. . . WWF.com had an article on the Court TV special, basically saying that Court TV asked for an interview to talk about a different subject and not about the deaths of children that have been tied in to copying pro wrestling moves. Because of that, they claimed Linda McMahon hadn't had time to prepare answers for the questions they were asking, as an apparent excuse for her not coming off well on the show. All I can tell you is that with zero exceptions, in every media interview I've ever done and they number well into the hundreds and maybe the thousands, not once have I had stipulations placed on what I would be asked and not once was I ever given more than a broad outline of what would be asked and usually not even that. The article insinuated Court TV was unethical by asking her questions she wasn't ready for. They also have the unedited version of the Catherine Crier interview with Linda McMahon. She actually came across far worse in the WWF unedited version than in the very edited version the show aired. Crier, who is a well known trial lawyer, so is very good at this sort of thing, aggressively interviewed her for more than 20 minutes. Even though it was clear Crier herself barely knew the subject, she had her looking very bad in many instances. McMahon avoided answering many questions and kept trying to divert the subject in others. While McMahon made valid points that in every one of the deaths, the parents deserve blame for having children too young supervising, or not being there or not responding to noises, and I'd agree they deserve primary blame in all cases well above whatever very minor blame if any pro wrestling deserves which is probably different in every case, that still doesn't change that kids were killed through imitation of moves they learned watching pro wrestling. McMahon at one point brought up that the kids could have died imitating tackling as goes on in the NFL or violence from Walker: Texas Ranger, which is true, except they didn't. Neither show she mentioned appeals to as young a demographic which makes their programming responsibility different, just as a comparison to afternoon soap operas (which she also brought up) or all-night porn on cable (which she smartly didn't) is ridiculous because for the same reasons. Kids didn't die from imitation of moves from those shows just like one could argue that double juice matches because of spreading of AIDS are more lethal than overdoing steroids, cocaine or pain pills, except that people have died in wrestling from the latter and nobody has died from double juice matches so I'd worry more about the problems that have caused deaths as opposed to the ones that could on paper but never have. She did bring up injuries from high school football, which is a valid point if you are trying to argue that there are dangerous things for children other than pro wrestling which hopefully nobody is ever trying to argue because that would be a stupid point. Far more media stories have been done about football injuries than have ever been done on wrestling until maybe this year. That's the same as when the steroid stories were written on wrestling in the early 90s and the people trying to defend wrestling against media stories by saying there are steroids in the Olympics and in football so why write about wrestling, when there was 50 times as many media stories on steroids in those sports than ever in wrestling to begin with. Kids could die from imitating moves in a war movie, and when kids die from imitating a movie (there was a scene in a football movie years ago of players laying on a freeway which kids imitated and were run over which caused a huge controversy regarding that movie at the time), that movie came under a ton of media scrutiny as well. McMahon claimed that the WWF doesn't spend a dime marketing to children, and when all the toys were brought up, claimed they were mainly as she called them, "adult collectibles" which is why they are sold at Toys R Us I'd suppose. She stated more than once that the WWF doesn't market to kids. Crier made her look bad even on the subject where it appeared Crier was going to look bad because she didn't know what she was talking about, the Al Snow head controversy. When Crier pointed out a female head with "help me" being written on the forehead, McMahon explained the Snow storyline. Crier came back asking if an eight year old buying the toy would know the storyline and McMahon said they would. Crier than said if they don't market toward eight year olds and if they think they shouldn't be watching the show, how would the eight year old understand that storyline that explains the character. Crier used numerous Vince Russo quotes about how when they write the show it is meant to be taken seriously (when McMahon tried to pass off some violent scenarios as comedy slapstick like on Saturday Night Live and not meant to be taken seriously); talking about booking hangings (Bossman on the PPV) which McMahon, who said the WWF was never done anything she believes is crossing the line but did say there does exist a line that shouldn't be crossed and she defended by saying he wasn't hung for very long (actually he was); and Russo saying that when he wrote Raw, their proviso was to do as much as they could get away with. McMahon responded by saying Russo no longer works for the company, intimating he was fired for having that attitude as opposed to quitting for whatever reason he really left for. McMahon kept using that parents need to monitor what their kids are watching and some of what they do isn't appropriate even for some 14-year-olds and parents should switch the channel if they don't like it. Crier then brought up shows that air on Saturday mornings when everyone knows kids watch TV while parents are still in bed, and McMahon blamed the parents again, saying they need to wake up earlier. She said she felt no sense of responsibility to children watching the shows. . . In some comparisons for what the XFL is getting into, the NBA game on 4/15 on NBC in prime time (Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs) drew a 3.2 rating. CBS had an Ice Wars special with figure skating that drew a 6.2. . . The country of Liberia is releasing a nine set stamp package of The Rock. These are the first postage stamps anywhere in the world of a WWF personality. . . In this week's Billboard listings of top selling rec sports videos, WWF occupied the top five spots ahead of the Super Bowl. The Rock's video remained No. 1, followed by Austin vs. McMahon, Best of Raw, Austin, and WWF Most Memorable moments of 1999. WWF also occupied spots No. 6 through No. 14 and had 16 of the top 20 spots. WCW had one, Sting at No. 18. The only non-wrestling videos in the top 20 were the Super Bowl, a Motocross video at No. 15 and a Michael Jordan video at No. 17. . . A special main event on 4/23 in Greensboro will have Rock & Hardys (from near Greensboro) against DX. . . The Raw show on 5/29 in Vancouver, BC sold out the G.M. Place in about 20 minutes. . . Smackdown tapings on 4/11 in Tampa at the Ice Palace drew a sellout 13,966 paying $354,003. House show on 4/15 at Madison Square Garden drew a sellout 16,925 paying $509,499. Total in the building was 19,588. It was the largest non-PPV gate in the history of wrestling at Madison Square Garden (which basically only means that the ticket prices are higher now than at any time in the past) and it was the tenth consecutive MSG sellout which I have a feeling may be an all-time record, although there were periods before accurate records were kept such as in the 70s when Pedro Morales and Bruno Sammartino were on top that MSG sold out most of the time as well. House show 4/16 in Pittsburgh drew 11,640 paying $352,801. Merchandise at the two tapings and two arena shows over the past week totalled $457,893 which is $8.46 per head. . . From MSG, Malenko kept the light heavy title beating 2 Hotty with one of those double pin finishes but Malenko raising his shoulder. Guerrero beat Tazz in the European title match when Chyna DDT'd Tazz. Bossman & Buchanan beat Head Bangers when Buchanan pinned Thrasher after a legdrop off the top. Kane then came out with Paul Bearer and choke slammed Buchanan and
- destroyed the Bangers as well. Crash Holly beat Saturn in the hardcore match. Tazz came out with a second ref and while this was going on Crash got the pin. Crash then ran away while Tazz and Saturn fought. Edge & Christian won a three-way over Dudleys and Hardys. Crowd was heavily into the Dudleys, particularly the 3-D and table spots. T&A beat Snow & Blackman. Angle pinned Venis. Benoit pinned Jericho in the IC title match. Jericho got a great reaction. Good match. Rikishi DCOR Show. They did a dance contest before the match which the crowd got into. After the match the two danced together and left the ring together. HHH & X-Pac & Dogg beat Rock & Acolytes in the main event. It was like a TV match as X & Dog and Acolytes all brawled to the back. Shane & Vince were at ringside. Earl Hebner was bumped so Shane took over as ref and refused to count as Rock had HHH pinned. Finally Rock had HHH pinned and Hebner recovered but Vince pulled him out of the ring and decked him. Vince tried to attack Rock with a chair but Rock got the chair, but before he could use it he got ambushed by HHH and was given a pedigree and Shane counted the pin. One would suspect based on Rock getting pinned in a "send the fans home happy" match that he's getting the title on the PPV. He almost has to at this point after the WM finish or they're in danger of having the fans think he can't win the big one. The only other possible finish is Austin turning on Rock, but it seems several months early for that one because there is no point in the two of them wrestling each other until Wrestlemania next year. . . At this point, Benoit seems to be the leading candidate for King of the Ring, perhaps by that point as a face. . . The WWFE stock at press time on 4/18 closed at $13.75 per share. . . The skit being shot with Angle at Penn State about abstinence was almost stopped by local Penn State police giving the WWF a hard time about shooting in the HUB without a permit. The first skit took at least ten takes because the producers had a hard time trying to organize the onlookers to where it looked like a normal day at class. The second skit with the couple making out took a long time because the crowd watching kept laughing when Angle delivered his punch line and Angle also forgot his lines. The final segment had to be changed when one of the balloons on Show's head popped and ruined his hat,so they cut out the visual of his face after that point.
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