August 2002: News and Notes
August 28th, 2002
I picked up my phone with a smile and placed a call to Stamford. This was going to be fun.
"What do you want, Bret?" came a gruff voice on the other line.
"You sound angry, Vince. Get some bad news?"
"Very funny," he grumbled. "You're a real comedian, pal. Almost as funny as the jokers who wrote that rag sheet."
"'You sound awfully upset about this so-called 'rag sheet'," I teased.
"I know it's garbage, and you do too," he insisted. "But there are people in the business world, investors and advertisers and such, who give it more weight than it deserves. THAT'S why I'm upset."
"It's only the most respected wrestling publication in the world. Clearly people should just ignore it," I said derisively. "Still, it's a pretty big story, huh? You're demoted from International to National, AND New Japan rises from Cult to National on the same day? Looks like that monopoly you've always wanted might be slipping through your fingers."
"In your dreams. New Japan is a tiny little insect compared to us, and I'll squash them beneath my boot soon enough. We'll do the same to you as well, if you ever even make it to 'National' status in that worthless dirt sheet."
"Oh, we'll make it there," I said confidently. "I have every confidence that we'll be there before the year is out. And you can try and pretend you're not worried about New Japan, or us, but I don't buy it for a second. You're in for a fight, old man."
He cut the connection rather than replying, but it didn't affect my good mood at all. Vince likes to think that he's some creative genius that's operating on a different level from everyone else in this business, but stories like this are a much-needed wound to his pride. WWE is still the unquestioned number one, but there are chinks in the armor.
He thought the war was over last year. He's dead wrong.
The 'biggest event of the summer' was held on August 25th in a sold-out Madison Square Garden. It was a decent show, though below the level of most of their recent PPVs (clearly better than WrestleMania though.) Hogan lost to Eddie Guerrero in the WWE title match...but retained the title because the match ended via count out. That match was only third from the top though, as after a buffer IC title match between Rikishi and Rhyno, Kurt Angle retained the ECW title against reigning King of the Ring Undertaker in the main event. That was one of the better matches of the night, but Jericho and Michaels stole the show in a midcard match won by Chris. The show also featured three title changes: Juvi won the Light Heavyweight title in a 4-way against Funaki, Jerry Lynn and X-Pac, Lita took the Women's title in a 3-way with Jacqueline and Chyna, and the Dudleys won the tag belts for the fourth time in a 3-way against Edge & Christian and Steve Blackman and Brian Christopher. Scott Hall looked like he was seriously messed up on something during his match with Kane; I wonder how long he'll stick around there? It was also obvious that WWE's decision to try and get younger at the commentary position hasn't been the brighest. Tazz is just not fit to be the color guy for the biggest company in the world.
Chyna is apparently dating Billy Gunn now. I wonder how Hunter feels about that.
My God, Vince is such a child. He had his lackeys write up some goofy article on the company website mocking Michinoku Pro as a second-rate joke promotion. The company has rightly received some backlash for it, with the hardcore Internet fanbase coming down on them hard for this ridiculous stunt against a company that's a tiny fraction of WWE's size.
In a pre-show match, Daffney and LuFisto seemed to work really well together as a tag team. With Akira Hokuto in rehab, maybe this gives me a new direction to go with Daffney.
Alexis Laree suffered some damage to her rotator cuff in that same dark match. It thankfully won't require surgery and the doctors tell me she could work through it if need be, but I'd rather keep her out of the ring until she's fully healed. I've given her a month off for now, but she likely won't be 100% by then.
NJPW finally took their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles off of Tenzan and Kojima. The over two-year reign ended with a bang, as Kensuke Sasaki and Manabu Nakanishi dethroned the longtime champions in the main event of New Japan's weekly TV show in a fantastic match. This is Nakanishi's third reign with the titles, as he previously won them with Kojima and Yuji Nagata. It's the eighth reign for Sasaki, who has held the belts with numerous different partners.
NOAh held their Vengeance of Pride PPV on August 25th. It was a very good show, one of their stronger PPV efforts so far this year. Misawa continues to be the unquestioned top performer in the company even after dropping the belt, as his win over Yoshihiro Takayama in the third-to-last match was clearly the best thing on the show. The main event was pretty good as well, with Akira Taue retaining the GHC Heavyweight title against Yoshinari Ogawa.
Magnum Tokyo, a talented junior heavyweight trainee of Ultimo Dragon who has been splitting time between Toryumon and Big Japan, suffered a torn rotator cuff during a match with Ricky Marvin on a recent Toryumon show. It'll apparently keep him out for about a year, which is bad news for him as well as the promotions he works for.
Both of the Buschwackers have retired. Good guys. Kind of funny that Vince turned them into comedy figures after they spent most of their careers playing bloodthirsty heels.
Originally Posted by K-Nection
See what happens when you take so long to post Nitro!
I'm joking btw.
I'm truly pumped for WAR GAMES!!!
Originally Posted by michgcs
It wouldn't have gone that long if you hadn't taken your sweet time posting the next batch of shows, buddy!
(and I feel like this is partly my fault LOL)
I can see Booker joining Flair's Faction for some reason, just so he can say he made it to the main event. I still expect The Empire to win at this point, though. AmDrag vs. Daniels sounds like fun, too.
You act like I went months without posting. There were only eight days between the Supershow and this batch of TV shows.
Last edited by The Final Countdown : 07-21-2017 at 01:50 PM.