Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label DX. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DX. Show all posts

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Magazine Review: Inside Wrestling - November 1998

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Contents
Inside Wrestling was a magazine that promised to "rip the lid off pro wrestling." Yet rather than revealing any major insider secrets or backstage gossip, what it really did was reported on the world of pro wrestling as if it were a legitimate sport, reporting on kayfabe stories with genuine seriousness.

Sure, that may sound a little corny to some, but I used to love this kind of stuff and, to be honest, still do. 

There's something quite nice about getting sucked into kayfabe again and just enjoying pro wrestling as it's presented without getting sucked into things like workrate and five-star matches.

Besides, magazines like Insider Wrestling often did a great job at enhancing and explaining what we were seeing on our televisions each week, sometimes even better than the actual promotions the magazine was covering.

Don't believe me? Let's dive into this magazine review of Insider Wrestling from November 1998 and take a closer look.

Into the Apter Mags 

You'll notice from the image above that my copy of this magazine doesn't have a front cover. I've had this magazine in my collection literally since it first came out and I honestly don't now whatever happened to the cover.

The rest of the magazine is in good condition though, so we can easily browse through the contents and note all of the features, including Names Makin' News by the one and only Bill Apter, whose name -and frequent work on these type of kayfabe-keeping 'zines'- gave them the name Apter Mags.

You'll also notice that this is the November 1998 edition with the next edition due on September 29th, 1998 which, let's be honest, is a bit weird.

Anyway,  that pre-amble over, let's turn the page and see what's inside:

Sincerely Yours 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Sincerely Yours letters (1)

A lot of magazines -wrestling or otherwise- would start off readers' letters, and Inside Wrestling was no different.

One of the main topic in this month's letters was the Best of Seven series between Booker T and Chris Benoit which culminated in their match at WCW The Great American Bash 1998.

One reader, a Maurizio Cassani of Milan, Italy felt that it was a waste for the two to battle so hard with only the lowly TV title at stake, while Michelle Johnson of Scranton, PA hoped -much as we all probably did at the time- that WCW would see their epic series as a wake up call and focus more on the two of them than the never-ending saga of the nWo.

Elsewhere, there was praise for Savio Vega for kicking Brakus' (remember him?) ass in Brawl for All from Gerald Hookings in Houston Texas, while elsewhere, there was a lot more hate for the New World Order, though again this was more of the "we're tired of seeing them" variety than the "boo these are the baddies" variety.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Sincerely Yours letters (2)

Reporter's Notebook

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Stu Saks Reporter's Notebook

Over the page, Inside Wrestling publisher Stuart M. Saks opened his Reporter's Notebook to tell us about the opening of the International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Newton, Iowa. 

Saks was excited about the opening of the museum, which focussed mostly on amateur wrestling with a bit of a nod to the pro stuff, and about the fact that all-time legends Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne and Dan Dodge were all going to be there.

From what little research I've done, I gather that museum has since moved to Waterloo and is now called the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum

Over the page, you could save a whole bunch of money by subscribing to all of the Apter Mags - including Inside Wrestling, The Wrestler, and Pro Wrestling Illustrated in one bundle.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Combine and Save When You Subscribe to Pro Wrestling Illustrated

Names Makin' the News 

Oh man, there's all kinds of good stuff in this two-page section where the one and only Bill Apter himself tell us all the juicy gossip about our favourite superstars. 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Names Makin' the News with Bill Apter

Some of the highlights include:

  • Diamond Dallas Page insisting that he and Karl Malone were at least partly responsible for Goldberg beating Hulk Hogan for the title and thus believing himself  to be deserving of a title shot.
  • Jerry 'The King' Lawler feuding with Giant Silva of all people in Memphis and also staring in Man on the Moon.
  • Sunny getting a viral infection in Mexico (I bet she did) and thus not being on TV with LOD 2,000
  • Tully Blanchard coming out of retirement to feud with Buddy Landel on the indies (and later to compete at the awful Heroes of Wrestling 1999 PPV)
  • Scott Steiner telling Apter that he regretted not getting into movies but insisting that we'd see him on a movie screen near us in the future. Seriously, could you imagine that? 

On The Road With Dave Lenker

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - On the Road with Dave Lenker talks about The Road Warriors

Honestly, doesn't On The Road sound like it should be match reports from house shows or something? 

Nope, instead, it's a spot in which Dave Lenker recalls a great conversation he had with Paul Ellering about how Hawk and Animal had ignored his advice not to hire Sunny, leading to him siding with the Disciples of Apocalypse.

"They called me one day a few weeks before Wrestlemania XIV," Ellering started, "and Hawk says 'we're thinking of taking Sunny as our manager.' I said 'who?' and Animal says "You know, Sunny. One of the smartest young minds in this business. She knows what she's doing."

How can you not love that?

Lenker's report was accompanied by an add for the weekly Pro Wrestling Illustrated Weekly newsletter that you could get either in print or via email, all for the low cost of $19.99 for 17 issues. 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Pro Wrestling Illustrated Weekly Email Ad

Behind the Dressing Room Door 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Dave Rosenbaum writes about Paul Bearer being Kane's dad

This has got to be one of my favourite pieces in the whole magazine. In it, Dave Rosenbaum takes an entertaining look at the whole "Paul Bearer is Kane's Father" angle, questioning who in their right minds would ever even date Bearer, let alone conceive a child.
"Truth: As of press time, I had not been able to find a single woman who would admit to having ever dated Bearer. In fact, the general reaction when I asked 'Have you ever dated Paul Bearer?' was 'Do I look that desperate'?"
That's just one of the gems in this brilliantly-written piece, but it gets even better, and the next few paragraphs are even better:
"Some of them looked pretty desperate, but obviously not desperate enough to have dated Bearer. Or, perhish the thought, to have kissed him.
"But Undertaker's mother? A woman who owned a funeral parlor? Seducing the hired help? I can believe that. Let's face it, funeral parlor workers are not reputed to among the best looking women in the world."

Something about that really tickles me. It really never occurred to me that women who work in funeral parlors might have a reputation for being ugly, and I'm really sure that's not the case! 

Still, this was fun. 

Over the page, they really, really want you to subscribe to Pro Wrestling Illustrated. So much so, in fact, that this time they'll give you a free copy of the PWI Almanac. 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Get The PWI Almanac With Your Subscription to Pro Wrestling Illustrated

Get yours now, wrestling fans!

The Insider, by Brandi Mankiewicz

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - The Insider by Brandi Mankiewicz bemoaned Nash turning face

It's been a long time since I read this magazine, but I get the impression that Brandi Mankiewicz was the resident heel, as she dedicated her Insider column to ragging on Kevin Nash for turning babyface and forming the nWo Wolfpac.

Though I was only a wee 14 year-old at the time and loved the Wolfpac, I do have to agree with Ms. Mankiewicz's assessment that Sting donning an nWo shirt of any kind after his hellish war with the group throughout 1997 was baffling, as was the whole idea of a babyface New World Order in the first place.

Over the page, we got an ad for the WBC Welterweight Championship pitting Julio César Chávez against Oscar De La Hoya in an "ultimate revenge" rematch.

This was personal! 

On Assignment, by Liz Hunter 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Liz Hunter went on assignment to talk about Bret Hart's crap WCW run

Moving on, Liz Hunter went on assignment to say what we were all thinking at the time:

Bret Hart's run in WCW was a bit crap. 

Like many fans have done since, Hunter argued that The Hitman was underutilized -and often completely ignored- during his run with the Turner outfit.

"Heck, even Waldo was easier to find in a group than Bret in the sea of WCW talent," she writes, and wasn't wrong at all.

On the opposite page, an ad suggests that there might be something mentally wrong with us if we didn't subscribe to The Wrestling Analysist, a new publication promising...well...let me show you the description:
"In each issue, eight of wrestling's biggest stars are thoroughly evaluated. For each wrestler, you get an in-depth analysis covering 20 different categories, including offense, defense, experience, conditioning, stamina, power, ability to absorb punishment and much, much more."

I don't know about you, but I'd buy that. 

Inside Wrestling Profile - Sable  

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - The profile on Sable claimed she and Mero were "close friends"

What I love about this profile on Sable is that it suggests that she and Marc Mero were only ever "the closest of friends"  and not, you know, an actual couple.

There's nothing especially new here. It's essentially a cliff-notes outline of her career so far, from the day she debuted alongside Triple H at Wrestlemania 12 to her siding -and ultimately falling out- with her "close friend" Mero, being forced to leave the WWF after losing a match to him and eventually returning just a few weeks later after a nice little vacation.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Sable

The first piece not to be accompanied by an advertisement, this one instead featured a nice, full-page picture of Sable in all her catsuit-clad glory. 

Where Are They Now?

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Where Are They Now?

If you were enjoying the Monday Night Wars back in 1998 but couldn't help wonder where Dirty White Boy Tony Anthony, 'White Lightning' Tim Horner, Bill Dromo, and Paul DeMarco were at, The Wrestling Insider had you covered. 

Anthony and Horner had, of course, both spent time in Smoky Mountain Wrestling and were still plying their trade in the indies, though Horner was also working on a silk-screening business in Tennesee. Meanwhile, Dromo and DeMarco had both retired, the former running a Polish delicatessen in Smyrna, Georgia, and the latter running a wrestling school near Sacramento. 

Over the page, there's yet another advert offering to give you a free copy of the 1998 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Almanac if you subscribe to The Wrestler. 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Subscribe to The Wrestler

Man, these guys were relentless with the subscriptions, weren't they?

News From the Wrestling Capitals 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Match reports in News from the Wrestling Capitals

Dave Lenker's On the Road piece may not have had anything to do with house shows, but this one does.

Here, we get match reports from the three major promotions that were around at the time (ECW, WCW, and WWF), as well as an indie show in Memphis.

The Mempis card, naturally featured Jerry 'The King' Lawler taking on Tracey Smothers. 

Elsewhere, the WWF gave us Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart and The Undertaker vs. Kane, the WCW match reports featured Goldberg vs. Konnan and Sting vs. The Giant while an ECW show in York, PA featured Mikey Whipwreck vs. Sabu.

There's nothing much of interest to note about any of these other than the fact that they happened and that a lot of the house show cards looked awful around this time.
Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Match reports in News from the Wrestling Capitals (2)

If you went to the same show that The Undertaker faced Kane on, for example, you could see exciting matches like Bradshaw vs. Savio Vega, while WCW were genuinely charging people money to watch Chris Adams vs. Barry Darsow and Marty Jannetty vs. Scotty Riggs

Matt Brock's Plain Speaking 

Harder than nails, veteran wrestlign reporter Matt Brock has logged more miles covering wrestling than any other jouranlist. Every month, Matt will travel to the sport's hotbeds, reporting on everything  he sees without fear or favor.

So more stuff from the road, basically. 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Matt Brock's Plain Speaking

In this piece, we first went to Memphis, where Power Pro Wrestling promoter Randy Hales was trying to rid the territory of Jerry Lawler and even appointed Paul 'Giant' Silva as the new "King of Memphis."
Obviously, Lawler was having none of it and refused to be usurped.

In Cleveland, Steve Austin regained his title from Kane after losing it to him at King of The Ring 1998, while Elmhurst, New York played host to an ECW card that Brock didn't like too much because it was too violent and didn't seem to have much going on that interested him. 

Finally, Atlanta was, of course, the home of WCW, and it was here were Brock saw Goldberg "fight like a man" to beat Hulk Hogan for the WCW title. Seriously, this piece really wants us to know just how manly Big Bill is. 

HHH vs. Shawn! The Inevitable War Nobody Wants to Talk About 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  HHH vs. Shawn Micahels - The Inevitable War Nobody Wants to Talk About (1)

As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, you can be sure of this fact: If shawn Michaels returns to the WWF, Hunter Hearst Helmsley will be his first target.

Yes, this was a piece written after Michaels had dropped the title to Austin at Wrestlemania 14,  leaving Triple H to pick up the slack as the new leader of D-Generation-X. 

As you've probably gathered, this report by Dan Murphy looks at how HBK wouldn't have taken kindly to the Hs suggesting that he'd "dropped the ball," and would no doubt go after his one time friend as soon as he returned to action.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  HHH vs. Shawn Micahels - The Inevitable War Nobody Wants to Talk About (2)

Sure enough, four years after this magazine was published, Shawn did return to action and, yes, his first opponent really was Triple H.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  HHH vs. Shawn Micahels - The Inevitable War Nobody Wants to Talk About (3)

You have to imagine that, on that night somewhere in America, Dan Murphy was sat there beaming "I told you so."

Bret Hart's Startling Revelation: "Hollywood Hogan's Obsessions Will Be His Downfall"

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Bret Hart's Startling Revelation: Hulk Hogan's Obsessions Will Be His Downfall

In another feature article, Andy Rodriguez talks about Bret Hart's short-lived partnership with Hollywood Hogan. 

A compelling piece that actually added a level of depth to WCW's storylines that even WCW themselves didn't bother to do, this one sees The Hitman questioning whether it was wise for Hogan to focus so intently on arch-rivals Randy Savage and Roddy Piper when there was "the rest of WCW" to contend with.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Bret Hart's Startling Revelation: Hulk Hogan's Obsessions Will Be His Downfall (2)

According to Hart (or at least the writer pretending like he'd spoken to Hart), Hogan's obsession with his long-time adversaries was sure to be his demise.

Despite all that, Bret wanted to stay in the NWO Hollywood camp.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Bret Hart's Startling Revelation: Hulk Hogan's Obsessions Will Be His Downfall (3)

"Have no doubt that NWO Hollywood is the place to be," he apparently said. "I still have more options and choices here than I'd have in WCW, and definitely more than in The Wolfpac. I'll be with Hollywood for a long time."

No, Bret, you won't.

Expert Analysis: Austin vs. Goldberg! Who Would Win - And Why?

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Steve Austin vs. Bill Goldberg - Who Would Win and Why?

They were the two biggest stars of their respective organisations around this time, so it makes sense that Inside Wrestling would do a bit of fantasy booking to try and work out who would win.

Of course, had Austin's retirement in 2003 not happened roughly around the same time that Goldberg joined WWE, we might have actually seen this match. 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Steve Austin vs. Bill Goldberg - Who Would Win and Why? (2)

Alas, it was never to be, so we'll have to settle for what the Inside Wrestling editorial staff thought about how such a match might go.

Dave Lenker, Bill Apter, and Harry Burkett all gave the nod to Austin, while Stu Saks and Frank Krewda were both adamant that The Texas Rattlesnake would eventually succumb to the Jackhammer. 

Is Stevie Ray Trying to Sabotage Booker T's Career?

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Steve Austin vs. Bill Goldberg - Is Stevie Ray Trying to Sabotage Booker T's Career? (1)

Up next, Steve Anderson wonders f Stevie Ray might be jealous and resentful of Booker T becoming a five time..five time...five time... Dubyaseedubya Television champion  and was threatened by his success.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Steve Austin vs. Bill Goldberg - Is Stevie Ray Trying to Sabotage Booker T's Career? (2)

Would the two brothers end up battling it out in the ring?

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 - Steve Austin vs. Bill Goldberg - Is Stevie Ray Trying to Sabotage Booker T's Career? (3)

Of course they would, this is pro wrestling after all. 

Hotseat: Dude Love - "Vinnie Mac Ruined the WWF!

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Dude Love Interview: "Vince McMahon Ruined the WWF"

Oh yeah, now this is the good stuff. The magazine's reporter had scheduled an interview with Mankind only to get a mixed-up Mick Foley in his Dude Love attire instead.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Dude Love Interview: "Vince McMahon Ruined the WWF" (2)

As such, we got a great, back-and-forth Q&A with plenty of gems like:

Q: Wait! I thought I scheduled Mankind for an interview! What's this?
A: (Mick Foley, adorned in his typical "Dude Love" attire, pulls up a chair) Hey, don't look so glum, chum "His royal Dudeness" is ready to create some malice in the palace!


Q: Are you still angry at Vince McMahon for firing you?
A: Sure, I might be a hippy-dippy, FM-type longhair, but I've got feelings, too. I really thought Vince was my Mc-main-ma, you know what I'm saying? Over the Edge was the place were dreams were supposed to come true....Yeah, Steve Austin beat me, I  was too busy thinking about the chicks by my dressing room, that Three Dog Night eight-track I just bought, and those fancy finger sandwiches I had at The McMahon's pad the day before.
Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Dude Love Interview: "Vince McMahon Ruined the WWF" (3)

To sum up:

Yes, Dude Love was pissed at McMahon for firing him.

No, he couldn't comment on Mankind now teaming with Kane and Paul Bearer in a feud against Austin and Undertaker because he wasn't Mankind.

And yes, he thought "The Big Mc-Mac" (brilliant) was showing signs of early Alzheimers and might possibly destroy the very foundation of the World Wrestling Federation.

How can you not love things like this?

Junkyard Dog: A Tribute to a Unique Breed  

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Junkyard Dog Tribute 1

On June 2nd, 1988, Sylvester Ritter -better known to the world as the Junkyard Dog- sadly passed away after getting into a car accident. 

Here, Dan Murphy pays a fitting tribute to JYD, tracing his journey from a childhood in North Carolina up to his last in-ring appearance at ECW Wrestlepalooza '98 via stints in Stammpede, Mid-South, and yes, the WWF.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Junkyard Dog Tribute 2

This is a nice tribute to one of wrestling's most enduring personalities.

One on One: Sting vs. The Giant  

On a lighter note, next, we were apparently being treated to an unedited transcript of a telephone conversation between Sting and The Giant. 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  One on One: Sting vs. The Giant

The two had beaten The Outsiders for the tag team titles at WCW Slamboree '98 when Scott Hall had betrayed Kevin Nash to join nWo Hollywood. Shortly after, The Giant had followed Hall, leading to a Sting vs. Giant match at The Great American Bash '98 in which Sting beat Giant for the right to chose a new tag team champion partner.

However, that wasn't to be the end of the war, and here, the two mouthed off against each other over the phone lines for our reading pleasure.

Sting hoped that Inside Wrestling had all their recording equipment in working order because otherwise it would be hard to understand The Giant, what with him having his lips permanently attached to Hulk Hogan's butt and all.

Meanwhile, The Giant called Sting a "pretty boy" and reminded him that The Giant had beaten Sting more than Sting had beaten The Giant.

This was fun, and the sort of thing I wish WWF and WCW magazines had done more of back in te day. 

Find Out How to Get into Pro Wrestling! 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Wrestling Book ad

The next couple of pages are given over to finishing off the regular features we started at the beginning of the magazine, so we won't cover those here except to say that on two of these pages, I'm drawn to these two ads for books on how to get into the professional wrestling business.

Whether you wanted to be a wrestler, a manager, a commentator or work behind the scenes, these books promised to tell you how to do that.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Ad for Hittin' The Mat by King Kong Bundy and Larry Sharpe

Honestly, I'd love to get my hands on one of those books for a review here on Retro Pro Wrestling.

Back Issues of Inside Wrestling 

To some, this list of all the back issues that you could order (with the obligatory order form) may not be all that interesting, but personally I find it fascinating the amount of pro wrestling history documented by this magazine over the years.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Inside Wrestling back issues

You could order the very first issue from February 1976 which looked at the night Andre The Giant had to be saved from Ernie Ladd, or yu could order the most recent issue featuring a mid-year report on the state of WCW.

In between, there were magazines that documented the rise of Hulkamania and The Four Horsemen, the Montreal Screwjob, the birth of the New World Order and everything in between.


We Sent Hulk Hogan to Cover Bockwinkel vs. Wahoo....AND ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! 

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Hulk Hogan covers Nick Bockwinkel vs. Wahoo McDaniel

Speaking of excellent, this next piece is fantastic.

Back in 1983, Hulk Hogan had left the American Wrestling Association but had returned for one night only to cover a championship match between AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel and Wahoo McDaniel and send a report into Inside Wrestling.

Instead, The Hulkster had gotten involved in the show after getting fed up with Bockwinkel and manager Bobby Heenan's relentless cheating. 

The match ended in a DQ thanks to Heenan's interference, meaning Bockwinkel kept his title but ended up getting his ass kicked by Hogan.

This gripping report tells us exactly what went down and is written by Joe Bua, the magazine's assistant editor who was there on the night.

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Hulk Hogan covers Nick Bockwinkel vs. Wahoo McDaniel 2

Official Rankings and Roll-Call of Champions 

As we reach the end of the magazine, we got our roll-call of the current champions as well as "Official Rankings" which were determined by...well..let me repeat what Inside Wrestling says:
These ratings are compiled by the editors with the assistance of promoters, wrestlers, and reporters around the country, and are based on won-lost records for the past month, quality of opposition, and the inherent skill of each wrestler. 
Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Pro Wrestling rankings

The most interesting thing about this is that the magazine still refers to The Rock as Rocky Maivia despite him not using that name for the better part of a year.

Anyway, this is pretty much what you'd expect it to be: 

Austin and Goldberg were number one in their respective companies. Rock and Sting were number two and so on. 

In the Top 15 Tag Teams, Kane and Mankind were the top-ranked tag team by virtue of being the WWF tag champions and having more experience as a team than Nash and Sting. 

And, finally...

Blast From The Past: This Month In Wrestling History - Paul Ellering vs. Jerry Lawler, November 1981

Inside Wrestling  - November 1998 -  Paul Ellering vs. Jerry Lawler

Yep, our final page is a glorious shot of Paul Ellering dropping an elbow on Jerry Lawler during their feud back in 1981. 

Apparently, the reason why Lawler never criticised Ellering on Raw commentary during the latter's run as D.O.A's manager is that he remembered how much Ellering had battered him back in the 1980s!

And that's your lot.

If you want a closer look at the magazine scans in this post, I just uploaded them all to into this album on Facebook for you. 

Reviewing the November 1998 edition of Inside Wrestling really was a 'blast from the past' in the best possible sense.

As long as magazines like this were around, it's fair to say that rumors of kayfabe's death had been greatly exaguarted. 

Sure, most of us knew what was really going on back then, but magazines like Inside Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Illustrated were doing their best to keep kayfabe alive, and this fan for one appreciates that.

This was a fun read that brought back some great memories.

Til next time, 

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 12 March 2020

PPV REVIEW: King of the Ring 2000

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Event poster
June 25, 2000
Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts

The World Wrestling Federation as a habit of promoting the King of the Ring tournament as one that could make a man's career.

Win the annual knock-out competition and, if the advertising hyperbole was anything to go by, you were essentially guaranteed an instantaneous main event career, world titles, and ever-lasting superstardom.

But let's be honest:

That simply wasn't true, was it?

Yes, previous King of the Ring winners Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin had all been WWF Champion, but The Hitman had already main evented Wrestlemania and was essentially the company's top, full-time babyface when he won the competition.

Years later, Stone Cold had followed his iconic 'Austin 3:16' victory speech by wrestling mid-card bouts against Marc Mero and waiting for The Hitman to return to the company and give him a leg-up into the main event. It wasn't until two years later, at Wrestlemania 14, that Austin finally cemented his mega-star status.

Likewise, Hunter Hearst Helmsley would win the 1997 version of the competition and take almost two years before he was a fully certified main eventer.

That's to say nothing of former winners Billy Gunn, Ken Shamrock, who never moved past their current station, nor of Owen Hart and King Mabel, both of whom did challenge for the title at Summerslam the year they won the competition but then swiftly moved back down the pecking order.

So, no, the King of the Ring was not the one-way-ticket to superstardom that the WWF wanted us to believe it was, but may be for tonight's winner, it would give him a welcome boost on his already inevitable rise to the top of the card.

Here's what went down when King of the Ring 2000 came live from Boston, Massachusetts.

A Royal Occasion

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross called the show
As with every WWF PPV, this one started with a compelling and well-produced video package. Tonight's into began by reminding us about the prestige of the King of the Ring tournament but quickly segued to putting all the focus on tonight's main event:

A six-man tag pitting The Rock, The Undertaker, and Kane against WWF Champion Triple H, Vince McMahon, and Shane McMahon. If either of the babyfaces could pin either of the heels, they would become our new WWF Champion.

Out in the arena, pyro exploded, cameras panned across the enthusiastic, sold-out crowd, and Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the proceedings.

As Ross was giving us the usual intro, Too Cool's music hit, and this one was officially on.

King of the Ring Quarter Final: Match 1
WWF Intercontinental Champion Rikishi vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Chris Benoit struggles to put RIkishi in the Crippler Crossface
Last Thursday, on Smackdown, Rikishi Banzai Dropped his way to an Intercontinental Championship victory over Chris Benoit. Afterwards, The Crippler had proved himself to be a sore loser by whacking Big Kish over the head with a chair a couple of times.

Tonight, the two looked to take their rivalry to the next level in a short, explosive contest.

This was an enjoyable match while it lasted, especially when Benoit lifted Rikishi over his head for an awesome belly-to-belly suplex.

It's just a shame it didn't last long.

Unable to control his temper, Benoit got a chair from the outside and destroyed his opponent with it.

Mike Chioda called for the bell, and that was that.
Your Winner by Disqualification: Rikishi

Post-match, Benoit kept up his attack, even going so far as to lock Rikishi in the Crippler Crossface and blast him with a top rope headbutt while Sgt. Slaughter, Tony Garea and a gaggle of officials tried to stop him.

Vince McMahon is Joe Cool

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 -  Vince McMahon promises his family that he will keep his cool
Earlier, on Heat, the ever-stoic Linda McMahon told Michael Cole that she had come to the show tonight in order to confront her husband.

Back live in the dressing room, HHH, Shane, and Stephanie McMahon all expressed their concerns, knowing how much Vince ‘lost his cool’ whenever he was confronted by the McMahon matriarch.

Laughing it off, Vince boasted that he was always able to put Linda back in her place and that tonight, he was so cool he might as well be Joe Cool.

Vince swaggered off, leaving Hunter and Shane to look at each other and, in a somewhat funny moment, agree that Vince was not going to keep his cool before chasing after him.

The Crippler Does What He Wants

After a brief flashback to the finish of our opening contest, we went backstage to Michael Cole, who was standing by with Chris Benoit.

In an effort to explain his actions, The Crippler explained that he was already the greatest technical wrestler in the world and thus didn’t need to win King of the Ring.

What’s more, said Benoit in his usual menacing fashion, he did what he wanted, when he wanted, and now Rikishi and all of us knew it.

King of the Ring Quarter Final: Match 2
WWF European Champion Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chyna) vs. Val Venis (w/ Trish Stratus)

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 -  Eddie Guerrero and Chyna
This was Val Venis’ first involvement in any kind of PPV match since he took part in the 30-man battle royal at Royal Rumble 2000.

In the time since we’d last seen him, Val had seemingly adopted a more serious approach, taken on Trish Stratus as his manager, and dumped his memorable theme in favour of a generic dance music number.

The only way Eddie Guerrero has changed since we saw him at last month’s Judgement Day 2000 was that he’d cut off his signature mullet.

That aside, this was a great effort from both men, and probably one of the best matches Venis would have on a major stage.

Though it may not have stolen the show, it was still a compelling watch that came to an end courtesy of a Val Venis fisherman suplex.

Having never seen this event before, I’m surprised by the outcomes here.

Let’s not give people a Benoit/Guerrero stormer in the semi-finals but a Rikishi/Venis match instead.

Still, I’m not complaining. Two matches in and this has been a good show despite the questionable booking decisions.
Your Winner: Val Venis

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 -  Pat Patterson confronts the wardrobe lady about his outfit for the upcoming Evening Gown hardcore match
Out in the back, a flustered Pat Patterson was seen going through the potential outfits WWF’s wardrobe department had picked out for his regrettable Evening Gown match with Gerald Briscoe.

Dismissing all of the available options, Patterson demanded something that made him look slim and sexy.

‘Pat, I’m good,’ said the wardrobe department lady stood with him. ‘But I’m no miracle worker.’

How’s that for a burn?

Rikishi is Ready for Val

Across the arena, Michael Cole interviewed Rikishi.

No-selling the effects of Chris Benoit’s attack, the Intercontinental Champion said that what The Crippler did to him was nothing compared to what he was going to do to Val Venis in the semi-final.

After a brief shot of the outside of the arena and a word from our sponsors, it was back to the action.

King of the Ring Quarter Final: Match 3
Crash Holly vs. Bull Buchanan

This wasn’t the best match we’d seen so far, but it was still kinda fun for what it was.

As Crash Holly made his way to the ring, the announcers showed us how the WWF’s answer to Elroy Jetson has fluked his way into the quarter-finals, first by surprising Albert with a roll-up, then by beating cousin Hardcore Holly by DQ after Gerald Briscoe whacked him with a 2x4.

This was pretty much the same thing.

Crash got his backside handed to him by Bull Buchanan, only to steal victory from the jaws of defeat courtesy of a roll-up.

A shame, really, because I always enjoy a bit of Bull Buchanan.
Your Winner: Crash Holly

Backstage, Vince McMahon finally came face-to-face with his wife, Linda.

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 -  Vince McMahon confronts Linda McMahon
Vince wanted to know whether she’d come to undermine his authority again such as she’d done by putting Mick Foley in the main event of Wrestlemania 2000, reinstating Stone Cold Steve Austin and Dave Hebner (I think he meant Earl), and making Shawn Michaels the spokesperson of the WWF.

Ever the bundle of charisma and effervescence, Linda replied that she wasn’t here to do any of that. No, she’d flown all the way from Connecticut to Boston just to question her husband’s manhood and ask whether he, Shane, and Hunter were capable of getting the job done in tonight’s main event, or whether they needed a host of outside interference.

Naturally, Vince was unhappy at having his intestinal fortitude questioned and insisted that yes, he and his men would get the job done tonight.

This was great stuff from Vince. Linda, not so much.

King of the Ring Quarter Final: Match 4
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho

And now, the match you’ve all been waiting for...

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Kurt Angle pins Chris Jericho in their quarter-final match
Yep, this was about as good as you probably thought it would be.

Things started with Kurt Angle getting the cheap heel heat by insulting the local sports teams. Eventually, Chris Jericho arrived on the scene with a few insults of his own for ‘Kirk Angel.’

Y2J told the Olympic Gold Medalist not to worry about tonight as he was already a king:

A king of goofy-looking ring attire, a king of nerds, and a king of 30-year-old virgins.

With all the trash-talking aside, the two locked up and gave us the best match of the night so far, a solid effort in which both men were given ample opportunity to shine.

The finish saw WWF Women’s Champion Stephanie McMahon get involved in a continuation of her recent storyline with the two men.

Referee Teddy Long got in the way of an Irish whip, was tapped lightly on the nose and collapsed to the mat like he’d just been shot.

Steph ran in to hit Jericho with her women’s title, but Y2J moved. Instead, she waved the title about 30ft away from Angle’s head, and he too went down hard.

Seizing the opportunity, Jericho grabbed Steph and gave her a good snog without once bothering to ask her for consent.

That gave Angle the chance to get up, hit the Angle Slam, and win the contest.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Out in the back, Shane McMahon scolded his dad for losing his cool earlier with Linda.

Vince brushed it off and told Shane to remember his confidence.

‘It’s not my confidence I’m worried about,’ replied Shane. ‘It’s Triple H’s.’

‘Good point,’ confirmed Vince, ending the segment on an ominous note.

Live From WWF New York

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Mick Foley completely ignored Ivory at WWF New York
At the WWF’s Times Square entertainment complex, Mick Foley and his new short hair cut were hosting a viewing party.

Ivory was working the bar and kept trying to get his attention, even going so far as to pour him a beer, but mean old Mick completely ignored her the whole time.

I can only assume poor Ivory was talking to the side of Foley’s head that only had half an ear. Either way, I felt pretty bad for her.

All of this was more interesting than anything Mick himself had to say, which was basically ‘tonight is a good show and yes, I got thrown off the cell at King of the Ring 1998.’

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship Four-Way Elimination Match
WWF Tag Team Champions Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay & Scotty 2 Hotty) vs. Edge & Christian vs. T&A (Test & Albert w/ Trish Stratus) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy w/ Lita)

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Edge (and Christian) riled up the crowd by mocking the local sports team
Though it may have its detractors, I say this four-team elimination match was a lot of fun.

The Hardy Boyz worked their butts off in the first half of the match, having a decent exchange with Test and Albert, eliminating them, then having an even better one with Edge and Christian.

The latter duo, who had started the match with a Five-Second Pose which ripped off the local sports team, got rid of the Hardyz to finish things up with a terrific second half against Too Cool.

The reigning and defending tag team champions were super over as they duked it out with E&C with a red hot crowd cheering on their every move.

Alas, it wasn’t to be Grandmaster Sexay or Scotty 2 Hotty’s day. After the duo hit Edge with their finisher, we got one of the screwiest finishes we’d seen in a long time.

Sexay made the cover, but numbnuts Mike Chioda was more concerned with getting Scotty out of the ring than counting the fall.

That allowed Christian to waffle Brian Christopher with the title belt, a finish which was frustrating but also increasingly common in the year 2000.
Your Winners and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian

I should also point out that the previous match saw Lita’s first PPV interactions with BFF Trish Stratus and future boyfriend Edge, the latter of whom she gave a top rope hurricanrana too.

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Michael Cole interviews Crash Holly Kurt Angle is in Big Trouble, Mister

A commercial followed for the following month’s Fully Loaded PPV, subtitled ‘The Crap Shoot.’

I’m almost hoping that show is no good so that I can make a couple of very obvious jokes.

This led us to a backstage interview with Crash Holly.

Holly was infuriated that Michael Cole found it so surprising that he should have made it this far in the completion, and promised that when he met Kurt Angle in the semi-final, the Olympic Hero was in big, big trouble, mister.

King of the Ring Semi-Final: Match 1
WWF Intercontinental Champion Rikishi vs. Val Venis (w/ Trish Stratus)

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Rikishi beat Val Venis in the semi-final
One of the few matches I remember from this time period was a cage match between Rikishi and Val Venis that I think was for the IC belt.

This match wasn’t as good as I remember that cage match being, but it was still fairly decent for a five-or-so minute outing.

Venis and Kishi had already had a couple of violent battles on Smackdown and this was the continuation of that; a short but hard-hitting contest that came to an end when the champion caught his opponent coming off the top rope and advanced to the finals courtesy of a big ass belly-to-belly.
Your Winner: Rikishi

Post-match, Trish Stratus jumped on the Intercontinental Champion’s back, prompting JR to tell ‘Trish Stratus has mounted Rikishi!’


The big man threw Stratus off him and was going to Banzai Drop her until Val Venis attacked, destroying his rival with ring steps and a steel chair.

You Think That’s Funny, Coach?

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Jonathan Coachman interviewed Gerald Brisco about his hardcore evening gown match with Pat Patterson
Backstage, Jonathan Coachman found it hilarious that Gerald Briscoe had to face Pat Patterson in a hardcore evening gown match, but Briscoe was in no laughing mood.

‘You think that’s funny, Coach? The only emotion I have right now is revenge.’ snapped Briscoe with all the seriousness of a main event world title contender.

‘Well, technically revenge isn’t an emotion,’ replied Coachman, ever the pedant.

Undeterred, Briscoe cut a convincing promo in which he promised to win back his title tonight. Eventually, he was interrupted by a stagehand who had his evening gown ready and asked, rather sheepishly, whether Gerry wanted ‘regular panties or the crotchless kind.’

The line itself wasn’t so funny, but the way Briscoe remained super serious trough the whole thing made it hysterical.

Briscoe’s skit was followed by a commercial in which a guy was fired out of a cannon, crashed through a window and landed face-first in a fat woman’s lap as she watched TV.

Somehow, this was a relevant way of telling us that would be relaunched the following day.

King of the Ring Semi-Final: Match 2
Crash Holly vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Kurt Angle beat Crash Holly in the semi-final
Looking to keep his lucky winning streak alive, Crash wasted no time going after Kurt in what turned out to be a short, sweet, no-frills kinda contest.

The action was good but not great, and came to ahead with a predictable win for the man whose entrance graphic wonderfully described him as ‘Kurt Angle, American Hero.’
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

The previous evening, the superstars of the World Wrestling Federation had performed at Madison Square Garden with future United States President Donald Trump in attendance.

The highlight video from this event showed us one shot of Too Cool dancing, one shot of The Rock making his entrance, and about twenty shots of Trump gurning in the front row.

Jerry Lawler interviewed Donald, who said that he was there mostly because he was good friends with Vince McMahon and that The Rock was his favourite wrestler.

I’m actually surprised Trump wasn’t attending WCW shows at this time. After all, we all know how much he loved The Wall.

Back in the arena, Lawler told King:

‘Donald Trump shouldn’t run for President, he should run for King of New York.’

Who Wants it More

Out in the back, Kane spoke to Michael Cole and The Undertaker, both of whom promised to be our next champion.

This led us to a recap of the Patterson/Briscoe feud. That atrocity was next.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Evening Gown Match
WWF Hardcore Champion Pat Patterson vs. Gerald Briscoe

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Pat Patterson faced Gerald Brisco in a hardcore title evening gown match
Briscoe came down to Real American because of course he did.

Patterson came down pushing a shopping cart full of plunder and wresting a dress that I’m fairly sure he pulled from the ‘Sensational Sherri’ box at the WWF Warehouse.

Patterson was in his element here, even offering to lay down and let Briscoe pin him.

The two hugged but it was all a rouse. Briscoe hit his former friend, then attacked him with a banana and a dirty maxi-pad.

Yep. I just had to write that.

This was WCW-levels of garbage, but at least it was fairly short.

Crash Holly ran in, destroyed the two old men and pinned Patterson to win the Hardcore belt.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Hardcore Champion: Crash Holly

Afterwards, Briscoe chased Patterson up the aisle and continued to attack him.

Meanwhile, backstage, The Dudleyz revealed that they had a table with Tori’s name on it ready for their upcoming match with DX.

Handicap Tables/Dumpster Match
DX (X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Tori) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley)

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - The Dudley Boyz had a table prepared with Tori's name on it
For DX to win, they had to put Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley in a dumpster in the same fashion as  New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie at Wrestlemania 14.

For The Dudleyz to win, they had to put all three members of DX through a table.

The company had apparently learned nothing from the last Dudleyz/DX encounter at Judgement Day and once again started things off with traditional tag team rules when a Tornado-style match would have made much more sense.

As a result, while the action itself wasn't actually bad, nobody cared about it because the crowd were all just waiting for the inevitable moment when The Dudleyz got the wood out.

Things picked up when DX put their opponents into the dumpster, only for referee Jimmy Korderas to be distracted by checking on a fallen Tori. The Dudleyz snuck out, crawled under the ring and snuck up behind X-Pac and Road Dogg, smashing both men with chairs and eventually putting them through tables.

When they went to do the same with Tori, however, she dove into the dumpster. Pac and Dogg pushed Bubba and D-Von in after her and won the match, but not necessarily the war.
Your Winners: DX

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Tori made her last major appearance at this show
Afterward, X-Pac was confused about where his girlfriend had actually gone, not realising she was still in the dumpster. When he realised, he stood around doing nothing for six years before finally running to her aid, only to eat a 3D. Road Dogg suffered the same fate and Tori finally went through the wood after weeks, if not months, of build-up.

That was pretty much that for Tori's WWF career. Having suffered a shoulder injury the previous evening, she would take time off to have surgery and reemerge only once to give X-Pac a slapping later on that year.

A final, brief run with Raven in 2001 would follow, but all of that was mostly an after-thought to her main run.

It was a shame, really. Sure, she often looked awkward during DX's pre-match routines, but I always enjoyed seeing her around all the same.

A Word With The Finalists

Out in the back, Angle and Rikishi gave us their thoughts ahead of tonight's King of the Ring final.

Angle called this the most important tournament in the world and promised to win it. Rikishi insisted that despite the attacks by Benoit and Val Venis, he would win it too.

King of the Ring Final
Kurt Angle vs. Rikishi

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - Kurt Angle beat Rikishi in the final
As this one got underway, King and Lawler mentioned Bret Hart's 1993 King of the Ring win for about the tenth time on this show, an interesting move considering their history with the Hitman and especially considering Bret was technically still a WCW star at this stage.

The actual action here was about as good as you were going to get from Angle and Rikishi if you only gave them six minutes to play with, but that short window of opportunity meant that the two were unable to produce anything special.

Despite a couple of dramatic near falls, this came off as underwhelming and anti-climatic, ending with a predictable win for our Olympic Hero.
Your Winner and 2000 King of the Ring: Kurt Angle

Backstage, the McMahon-Helmsley Faction appeared not to be quite on the same page ahead of our main event.

World Wrestling Federation Championship Six-Man Tag Team Match
WWF Champion Triple H, Shane McMahon, and Vince McMahon (w/ WWF Women's Champion Stephanie McMahon) vs. The Rock, The Undertaker, and Kane

Whoever gets the fall becomes the champion

WWE / WWF King of the Ring 2000 - The Rock teamed with Kane and The Undertaker to face Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Triple H
If you want a good example of a quality WWF main event, go back and watch the excellent Rock/HHH match from Judgement Day the month prior. If you want an example of a fairly lacklustre main event that still had a few redeeming qualities to it, this is the one to watch.

The stipulation that if any of the babyfaces pinned any of the heels, the man making the cover would get the title meant that we had an inevitable point in which Rock, Taker and Kane all fell apart, with Kane and Taker, in particular, going at it hard.

Still, there were some good moments, such as Undertaker chokeslamming Shane off the top rope through the announce table on the outside. Yet even that couldn't make up for what was otherwise a disappointing end to one of the World Wrestling Federation's most disappointing shows of the year.

The end came when Rock hit Vince with a Rock Bottom to recapture the title.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: The Rock

Post-match, the new champion stood over a fallen McMahon, holding his title aloft.

I've seen people on the Internet referring to King of the Ring 2000 as 'a steaming pile of crap' and a show that was so bad that it might as well have been a WCW PPV. 

It really wasn't that bad.

The early part of the show, in particular, had some good wrestling on it and, from an in-ring standpoint at least, there was nothing that was necessarily terrible. However, dumb booking decisions certainly meant that King of the Ring 2000 failed to live up to the high standards set by some of the company's far superior shows from that year.

Not great then, but certainly not the worst thing you'll ever see.

For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WWF King of the Ring reviews:
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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.