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Ward from West Virginia has never liked WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan so when he turned on WCW last year, he didn’t care. He says that Hogan not defending the title in thirty days does bother him. Perhaps Hogan can’t get the job done by himself and needs help from his NWO friends. He suggests that WCW strip Hogan of the championship because it’s disrespectful not to properly defend the championship in thirty days. Steve from Texas, who they play it off as being Steve Austin, responds to claims made by Brian Pillman saying he had become soft. Austin says he’s never cared about how the fans responded to him and he doesn’t care how many Hart’s are watching Pillman’s back because he’ll get his hands on him soon.
Diana from Indiana believes it is time for Terry Funk to give Tommy Dreamer a ECW World Championship match since Dreamer stepped aside and allowed Funk to defeat Raven for the championship in the first place. If Dreamer were to win he would be elevated up the ranks and if he lost he would know where he stands. She doesn’t think Funk has anything to lose in giving Dreamer a championship match. Joel from Connecticut is dreading the idea of Roddy Piper and Ric Flair feuding again. He thinks they should learn to respect each other because if they were to fight again they’d lose a lot of respect amongst wrestling fans.
RINGSIDE: written by: Bill Apter
On June 9th in Hartford, there was a real life fight between rivals Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. The brawl led to Michaels refusing to perform that night and is considered to be in breach of his contract. The WWF released a statement saying that Michaels had four years remaining on a five year contract and would be welcome back under the terms of the contract. Bret told Apter over the phone that Michaels had turned their issue into a personal feud with his comments regarding Bret’s family recently. Apter believes that Hart was most upset with Michaels suggesting that Bret, a married man, had an affair with WWF performer, Sunny.
Jerry Lawler recently appeared at the ECW Arena and loved the moment because the fans were shocked to see him there. Lawler was part of an attack on Tommy Dreamer with Sabu and Rob Van Dam after Dreamer had been victorious against Raven. Following the attack, Dreamer accepted teh invite to challenge Lawler in Memphis.
Lex Luger thought he had won the WCW World Championship from Hulk Hogan on June 9th, but JJ Dillion clarified that a proper contract hadn’t been signed for such a match. However, Luger should be proud of his accomplishment on national television in front of millions of fans.
Lance Diamond and Inferno Kid, two top independent wrestlers, are both out with injuries that could keep them out three months to a year. Jason Jarrett, the son of Jerry Jarrett and Jeff Jarrett’s brother, is making his debut in wrestling soon feuding with Doug Gilbert. Gilbert confronted Jason saying he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Eventually, Gilbert decked Jason with a punch and officials signed a match for the two to place soon.
FROM THE DESK OF…: written by: Stu Saks
Stu starts off by saying if someone asked him 20-years ago how to describe professional wrestling he’d use good vs. evil in his sentence. Because, professional wrestling was simple back then. Rocky Maivia was raised on the good, but when his grandfather Peter Maivia turned evil towards the end of his career, it impacted Rocky. Rocky knew that would upset his father and he’d never want to upset his dad. Rocky was confident that he’d be a good guy for life. Now, in 1997, Rocky is getting booed while someone like Mankind is getting cheered loudly. Twenty years ago Rocky would have been in the Most Popular rankings. Stu notes that the Most Popular and Most Hated rankings aren’t included in this magazine because they are irrelevant. Stu is uncomfortable with the changes that pro wrestling has encountered because everyone is seen as being evil, or they are considered a sap.
Saks is downright scared took look at the world as it is today. OJ Simpson getting cheered while during a slow car chase with police, Howard Stern is the number one radio personality. Stu thinks that his former colleague Dan Shocket, who routinely supported heels, would feel so overcrowded that he’d be the only guy to support Rocky.
IN FOCUS: written by: Dave Lenker
Dave wants to get in the head of Eric Bischoff. He wants to know if Bischoff has ever truly thought that the NWO would overtake WCW, what Bischoff thinks of Vince McMahon and if he ever regrets joining the NWO. Dave believes that Eric does regret joining the NWO and the proof starts at Spring Stampede. Bischoff argued with Randy Savage when Savage was going to attack Kimberly Page. Bischoff wasn’t happy with Savage for decking JJ Dillon on June 2nd. Bischoff must wonder how committed Hogan is to the organization seeing as he doesn’t appear on a regular basis. Bischoff must wonder what he’ll do when the NWO ceases to exist in a year or two. The NWO will die eventually and Bischoff will need a job. Hopefully, Ted Turner doesn’t entertain the thought. Dave thinks that Bischoff has a conscious but wishes he had one a year ago.
He recently talked to Terry Funk who said that he wishes nobody tries to be like him. Funk is aware that he is a little crazy to still be wrestling at the age of fifty-three. Dave wonders if George Steele has been watching Funk career lately because he’s coming back to wrestling. Steels is scheduled to compete on independent shows in the Northeast. Steele could have a lot left in the tank considering guys like Funk, Bill Dundee and Abdullah the Butcher have been successful.
OFF THE TOP ROPE: written by: Brandi Mankiewicz
Len from Alberta wants to give congratulations to Bret Hart for his success in the WWF. Brandi isn’t overly impressed by Bret in his rule breaker role because Bret looks like someone who is a jilted lover who wishes to return to the past. Justin from New Hampshire thinks Dean Malenko is the greatest wrestler in the world and should get a shot at WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan. Brandi says that Malenko may be great, but he lacks charisma, which is the main point of the wrestling business. Hogan can draw people. Malenko would never get the chance, but Brandi does think that Malenko would beat Hogan. Stephen from Ontario wants to know why Rick Rude is back after retiring for four years. Brandi suggests that it could be because of the travel, fame or nagging injuries. Brandi is happy to have Rude back commentating in ECW and wonders if a Rude Awakening could be in store for Kevin Nash.
Robert from Oregon wants to know what Brandi thinks about Raven. Brandi doesn’t think much of Raven because he follows the trend to get attention. He was Johnny Polo when it was cool to be preppie and then turned grunge. Brandi doesn’t really have much of an opinion on Raven. TJ from Massachusetts thinks that Shawn Michaels isn’t a crybaby anymore now that his legs were wrapped around the ring post when he had a knee injury thanks to Bret Hart. Brandi doesn’t buy into Shawn Michaels and his crocodile tears. Brandi may not be a Hitman fan, but Michaels deserved what happened to him.
THE DEBRA – JARRETT RELATIONSHIP: ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
What is going on between Debra McMichael and Jeff Jarrett? Are they just friends or are they more than that? Why is Debra always so quick to help Jarrett when she is married to Steve McMichael? The writers at PWI interviewed Debra and Jarrett to figure it out. Debra wouldn’t consider Steve McMichael to be jealous but maybe a little overprotective. Debra notes that herself and Jarrett are just friends and people aren’t use to a man and woman being just friends. She provided help for a fellow Horsemen member when McMichael wasn’t around. Jarrett assures everyone that nothing is going on and says that Steve McMichael is a jealous person. He understands why Steve would be jealous when his wife is hanging out around a man like himself. They admit they’ve gone to dinner a few times and shopping.
Jarrett thinks that McMichael would like to know his wife isn’t eating alone. Jarrett says they alway get separate checks when they go out to eat. Debra and Jarrett don’t care what people think. PWI mentions that Debra was the only other person aside from Ric Flair that wanted Jarrett in the Four Horsemen. Debra assures everyone that she is loyal to Steve and Jarrett notes that he respects their marriage.
PRESS CONFERENCE: “PSYCHO” SID VICIOUS
Sid promises that he was ready to fight the Undertaker on RAW despite not having wrestled since WrestleMania. Even though he lost, Sid is confident there will be more chances. Sid admits that getting distracted by Bret Hart at WrestleMania was his mistake and Taker took advantage of that. However, Sid will learn from that and soon enough he’ll beat both the Undertaker and Bret Hart. Sid admits that he isn’t the same guy from the past and that the old Sid didn’t win the WWF World Championship on two occasions. He is confident that he’ll wrestle Taker again and defeat him. Sid dismisses the thought that he hid from challenges with his back injury and says nobody knew what he was going through. Sid has a lot of respect for Taker and considers Paul Bearer is a weasel.
Sid has a lot of respect for Shawn Michaels, too. He doesn’t blame Michaels for using the camera at him at the Royal Rumble since he used it at Survivor Series and took out Jose Lothario. Sid doesn’t have a relationship with Michaels and attacked Bret Hart because he’s tired of hearing him talk. Sid’s main focus is on the Undertaker and he just has to beat him once. He’s confident he’ll be champion again.
LEX-CLUDED! WILL THE GIANT-PAGE TEAM BE PERMANENT?: written by: Steve Anderson
Diamond Dallas Page left managing for a reason, but he finds himself in a situation where he could go back to managing and it is partly Lex Luger’s fault. Luger suffered a back injury in Japan thanks to the NWO and the Giant quickly went to DDP to fulfill his tag team obligations. Giant and DDP quickly connected and DDP taught Giant some new ways to go about training. Giant puts over the mind that DDP has and says that DDP can get it done in the ring as well. DDP is flattered that Giant would consider him a partner and mentor. Luger says that he isn’t going to turn his back on Giant especially considering Giant stepped to the side to allow Luger to get a WCW World Championship opportunity. Luger knows that Giant can’t team with himself and DDP. He’d rather team with Giant because he knows they could dominate. However, the choice isn’t up to Luger. That choice belongs to Giant.
THE WWF-WCW DEATH MATCH: PWI’S PLAN TO PREVENT ARMAGEDDON: written by: Dave Rosenbaum
Dave thinks the Monday Night Wars has reached a boiling point and if things don’t change, then either the WWF or WCW may cease to exist at the end of war. Recently, the WWF has been holding shows on the same day of WCW pay per views. It happened in March when they had a MSG house show the same day as UnCensored and then again in April to combat Spring Stampede. While WCW wins the TV ratings, Dave thinks that the fans are the losers in all of this. Dave thinks it’s a little ridiculous that Nitro now starts at 7:55ET to get a two minute advantage on RAW, which starts at 7:57ET. RAW is planning to change their show time to 9 to 11 giving them an hour of unopposed television. Apparently, WCW won’t let that happen and are considering adding a third hour to Nitro and moving it to TBS.
Liz Janneman, who works for Turner, is quoted as saying that in order for there to be a war then there must be competition. Considering WCW has been dominating the ratings, WWF hasn’t been putting up much of a fight. According to a story in Variety, both WWF and WCW have lost money since Nitro expanded to a two hour program on Monday’s. They both had shows scheduled to take place in Northern California but instead of switching days they are concerned more about destroying the other company. Dave thinks it is time for a WCW vs. WWF card with the winning organization getting Monday nights.
At the very least, one of them needs to change the night they are on TV. It hurts both companies and fans want to watch as much good wrestling as they possibly can. They also need to stop promoting shows in the same area at the same time. Fans will go to wrestling shows on back to back nights. They need to both start focusing on themselves because wrestling fans want good wrestling for many years to come.
OWEN HART: HE’S EARNED THE RIGHT TO BE SELFISH: written by: Bryan Ethier
WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart has been whipped numerous times and continues to come back for more. Many still consider Owen to be the better wrestler compared to his tag team partner Davey Boy Smith. No matter how successful Owen is in his career, he can’t fully win. When Owen and Smith lost the tag titles, it was Smith who was pinned. Their former manager Jim Cornette commented that they still argue and perhaps they realized it was time to move on. Owen has continued to be selfless but Bret gets all the attention. Some people think that Owen would be better off competing on his own because he’s a terrific wrestler. Right now, Owen is a politician fighting battles for other politicians. A mentor of Owen’s hopes that losing the tag titles would be a wakeup call for Owen to realize what he is capable of doing on his own. Owen is the future of the Hart legacy and it is time that he realizes that.
WWF VS. WCW
WCW continues to dominate the ratings for the month of June in 1997. Paul from Ohio has grown bored of Nitro, but doesn’t think RAW has been any better. Neither show puts on their best possible show each week. Paul thinks there’s too much talking and not enough exciting action from both companies. Jeff from Kentucky doesn’t understand why WWF RAW is split into two hours one known as RAW IS WAR and the other hour being The War Zone. He thinks that the second introduction video hurts the flow of the show. Ryan from Minnesota has decided to only watch RAW now that the Hart Foundation is back. Terry from Texas prefers Nitro because the crowds are always making a lot of noise while some weeks the RAW crowds don’t sound all that interested in what they are watching.
THE STEEL CAGE: written by: Dave Rosenbaum
It has been brought to Dave’s attention that he’s been anti-WWF in his last two columns. The first one was about WrestleMania XIII and the second was how he found it unfair that the Hart Foundation managed to purchase five front row seats right before In Your House XIV began. Dave admits he prefers WWF over WCW because WWF knows that wrestling is a form of entertainment and has a sense of humor. He thinks that WCW sometimes goes over the top a few times when it pertains to violence, but nowhere near ECW levels. Dave has a hard time understanding Dusty Rhodes on commentary and thinks that’s a major problem for WCW’s programming.
As much as WCW hates the NWO, they don’t want the NWO to disappear because the NWO is great for ratings and makes them a lot of money. Dave thinks that Ted Turner is the biggest problem with WCW. He hasn’t forgiven Turner for colorizing old black and white movies. He also doesn’t understand why Sherri Martel dresses the way she does. He wants to know the truth behind her relationship with Harlem Heat, too. Dave suggests that ECW will be next for his rants.
WIN, LOSE, DRAW: written by: Andy Rodriguez
Rey Mistero was once regarded as a top athlete in WCW, but recently his career has appeared to go downhill, according to Andy. Rey tends to agree saying that he has had better days. A fan named Mark Green enjoys Rey’s offense, but admits that Rey is feeling a little played out and isn’t fresh anymore. Everyone is focused on ending the NWO instead of promoting a guy like Mistero. Dean Malenko agrees with Mistero that the lighter guys tend to get ignored. Rey suggests some Cruiserweights could jump to the NWO because they are stick of being overlooked. Rey was quick to say that he wouldn’t join the NWO. However, Andy points out that Alex Wright said similar things and he’s a rule breaker now. Rey hasn’t thought about leaving WCW and suggested he could go back to Mexico. However, Mistero thinks WCW is the place to be. Rey thinks it’s crazy that he’d be open to being attacked to get some attention back on him, but he’s got to take care of himself. JJ Dillon made it clear that he appreciates Mistero, but Rey said he doesn’t know how long he can wait and maybe doing something bad would change his situation.
PWI DREAM TAG TEAM TOURNAMENT
Faarooq has disbanded the Nation of Domination since nobody helped Faarooq in a six man tag match where Faarooq was pinned. Faarooq has believed that Clarence Mason had alternative motives. Crush, Savio Vega and Clarence Mason have talked about forming a group to go after Faarooq.
Buffalo Bills quarterback recently helped Diamond Dallas Page defeat Randy Savage at a WCW live event. Kelly delivered a few elbow drops leading to DDP getting the pin fall.
The New Razor Ramon and New Diesel have started to feud in USWA. Diesel came out to confront Ramon after a victory on TV and threatened Ramon to go back to Stamford. Ramon ended up brawling with his former partner. Ramon is quoted as saying that Diesel didn’t do much for their team and he should have wrestled in handicap matches.
NWO Sting has formed a successful tag team with Masa Chono in Japan. The Bushwhackers have returned to their hardcore wrestling roots since they have traveled to WWC where they have had a blood feud with Ricky Santana and La Ley. Rob Van Dam and Sabu may be breaking up as they were arguing often during a tour in Japan and actually wrestled once. RVD may find himself without an ally in ECW when he really needs one.
What are your memories of this magazine or what was going on in wrestling at the time?
Thanks for reading.