By Mike Mooneyham
Sept. 30, 2001
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. But could that possibly apply to Hulk Hogan and the World Wrestling Federation?
With prospects for Hogan’s involvement in the much talked about (mostly by Hogan) Universal Studios promotion all but dead, there has been an increasing amount of speculation that Vince McMahon might be willing to give the Hulkster a final run in the WWF. This time around, though, the 48-year-old Hogan would be subject to a new set of rules and regulations, and most likely would find himself jobbing to the likes of The Rock, Steve Austin, Triple H and Kurt Angle. Obviously the match-up holding the greatest interest would be Hogan against none other than McMahon, an irony in itself since the two have been bitter rivals since Hogan left the WWF in 1993 after helping McMahon transform the promotion into a national juggernaut during the mid- ’80s. Never say never in wrestling, though, and the chance that the two have to make major money together would surely override any past hostilities.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]The Universal promotion that Hogan has been hyping the past several months reportedly has been picked up by longtime associate Jimmy Hart and former Nasty Boy Brian Knobs. The group is tentatively being called the XWF, and TV tapings are planned at Universal in Orlando from Oct. 9-11. Kevin Sullivan will be involved with booking.
_ It didn’t take long for the team of Kronik (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark) to self-destruct in the WWF. Just two weeks after showing up on the scene, Kronik appears to be on the way out, making an even quicker exit from the federation than their former WCW colleague Buff Bagwell. The two, in the wake of a poor performance at last weekend’s Unforgiven pay- per-view, were pulled aside prior to last week’s Raw and were informed that they were being reassigned to the WWF’s developmental system to work on their skills. Insulted by the suggestion that they weren’t ready for the WWF but not pleased with the terms of a proposed contract buyout, the two most likely will finish up their WWF stint languishing in Ohio Valley Wrestling. The Undertaker, who is a longtime friend of Adams, was instrumental in bringing the two in and acknowledged the poor match quality at the pay-per-view.
_ Last week’s Raw drew a 4.5 rating. The number was the lowest the show had drawn since the June 18 edition posted a 4.2.
_ Terri Boatwright (the former Mrs. Dustin Runnels) is engaged to Florida-based motivational speaker, health expert, lifestyle coach and nationally syndicated radio talk show host David Essel. The two met when she signed up for his lifestyle classes, and reportedly revealed their feelings for one another after only four counseling sessions. The pair plan to wed in November in Longboat Key, Fla., and will honeymoon in the Caribbean. “Big Bossman” Ray Traylor is slated to give away the bride.
_ Sara Calaway, wife of The Undertaker (Mark Calaway), was backstage at Raw last Monday sporting her natural dark brown hair color. She said her natural color made her face look softer and that she had no intention of going blonde again anytime soon.
_ North Carolina native Larry Weaver has released a new comedy CD entitled “Looking for Fun.” The collection of funny songs and commercial parodies has several wrestling references including an ECW-inspired spoof called “The Hardcore Weather Channel” that features a cameo by Rob Van Dam. The CD can be ordered online at amazon.com and larryweaver.com or call toll-free 877-692-7999. U.S. residents can also send a check payable to Larry Weaver for $12.50 at P.O. Box 16723, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516.
_ The latest WWF profile video, “Undertaker: This is My Yard,” has hit stores. Retail prices are $24.95 for the DVD and $14.95 for the video. The DVD contains bonus matches shown in their entirety that includes the classic first Hell in a Cell match between Taker and Shawn Michaels at the 1997 Badd Blood pay-per-view.
_ The WWF canceled a house show scheduled Oct. 7 in Fairfax, Va., due to a poor advance.
_ All Japan Triple Crown champion Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta) retained his title against Scott Hall in front of a sellout crowd of 5,000 fans on Sept. 23 at the Osaka Namihaya Dome.
_ Dustin Runnels called former WCW creative chief Vince Russo “a snake in the grass” during a radio interview last week and said he respected Eric Bischoff for giving him a second chance in WCW. Runnels also called the five years he didn’t speak to his dad (Dusty Rhodes) the hardest period of his life and urged anyone who has a falling out with their parents to make up. He listed Ric Flair, Harley Race and Dick Murdoch among performers he looked up to while growing up.[ad#MikeMooneyham-468×15]
_ The WWF has announced two programming changes due to the recent tragedy. Raw is War will now simply be called Raw, and the December Armageddon PPV will be given a new name.
_ Torri (Terri Poch) reportedly has been released by the WWF.
_ Credit former NWA world champ Dory Funk Jr. for recognizing a good referee when he sees one. Funk, in a recent essay on refereeing, recalled the words of an athletic director teaching an Officiating 101 class during his days at West Texas State. “A good referee will have a flair for the dramatic,” taught the AD, who also stressed that the referee was the communicator between the action and the fans and the authority who controlled the level of intensity of the contest. In the case of a good referee, “timing is of the essence.” In pro wrestling, a good referee should not carry heat, leaving that to the heels.
Funk then notes that he has worked with a few great referees, and lists Tommy Young, Ron West and Charles Robinson. Not bad choices.
_ Former ECW backer Tod Gordon has taken over as Director of Operations for Main Event Championship Wrestling. John Collins stepped down from the position but retains a minority interest in the company.
_ Vince Russo is helping book a tour of Australia later this month and has already scheduled a “clothes ripping match” that would include Leah Meow (formerly ECW’s Kimona Wanalaya). Advertised names for the tour include Sid Vicious, Buff Bagwell, Jeff Jarrett, Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis and Stevie Ray.