AS I SEE IT - 2/07/2002:
Thoughts on Haas Memorial and Classic Wrestling Footage
Thoughts on two different subjects...
First, Jim Ross in his 2/1/2002 Ross Report:
"...Does anyone else feel there is a market for classic tapes from the Federation and WCW? We have some mat gold in our 'vaults' in Stamford."
Does anyone else think so?!? Is he kidding?!?
Hell, the WWF already airs a WWF Classics program in the UK.
The WWF is sitting on a revenue source just waiting to be tapped...and they are just wondering if they should do something about it?!?! Along with footage going back to at least the 1970s...the WWF now owns WCW footage as well. Imagine what wrestling fans could see on television or via PPV.
Who'd like to see matches and moments like this again? (Mind you, these are a handful that immediately snapped to memory... there are hundreds more)?
From the 1970s...
Toru Tanaka & Mr. Fuji taking the WWWF Tag Team Titles from Sonny King & Chief Jay Strongbow on May 22, 1972 at Madison Square Garden
The night in 1976 when Gorilla Monsoon took Muhammad Ali up in an airplane spin at a Hamburg TV taping, featured later that night on sports TV shows around the country.
Superstar Billy Graham taking the WWWF Title from Bruno Sammartino on April 30, 1977 at the Baltimore Civic Center in Baltimore, MD.
From the 1980s...
Jimmy Snuka jumping off the top of the cage at Madison Square Garden
Randy Savage-Ricky Steamboat in what some viewed as one of the greatest WWF matches ever, and on the same night...
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant from Wrestlemania on March 29, 1987
at the Pontiac Silverdome in front of over 78,000 paid (historically cited as 93,173), the largest crowd ever to see a wrestling event in North America.
From the 1990s...
Ric Flair taking the WWF Title for the second time in Hershey, PA from Randy Savage on September 1, 1992.
Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels in the original WWF Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania X on March 20, 1994.
The infamous Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels night in Montreal in 1997.
Mankind against Undertaker in the legendary Hell in a Cell Match at King of the Ring on June 28, 1998.
The first confrontation between Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin from Philadelphia's First Union Center.
Who'd like to see these matches from WCW?
Jack and Jerry Brisco against Jay Youngblood and Ricky Steamboat at Starrcade 1983.
Ric Flair and Sting in their 45 minute match at the original Clash of the Champions.
"Night of the Skywalkers" from Starrcade 1986 with The Road Warriors and The Midnight Express.
Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat at Music City Showdown on May 7, 1989 from Nashville.
Any one of the matches from Starrcade 1989 The Iron Man/Iron Teams tournaments on December 13, 1989 in Atlanta, GA.
Any of the classic stuff from The Four Horsemen.
Any one of a dozen Rock 'n' Roll Express-Russians (Ivan/Nikita Koloff/Krusher Krushchev) matches from the mid-1980s.
Nearly any Rock 'n' Roll Express-Midnight Express match.
Ric Flair-Vader from Starrcade 1993 on December 27, 1993 in Charlotte, NC.
Jim Ross put out the challenge, rhetorically speaking... so let's tell the WWF know how we feel.
The WWF has established a new "feedback system" to solicit ideas and comments from fans, which can be accessed at http://www.wwf.com/news/headlines/1109373. The system does require a brief registration, with some basic personal information.
Tell them you are a wrestling fan from as far back as the 1960s or 1970s or 1980s... or that you're a relatively new fan that wants to see some of the legends of the WWF and WWWF in some format; whether that is the WWF Classics aired in the UK, or a PPV format, or a substitute for the current Excess format.
Let them know that you do want to see this kind of footage.
Next, thoughts on this past weekend's Russ Haas Memorial....
Congratulations to Frank Iadevia, Jeff Shapiro, Pierre Pilger,
Ray Sager and the 85 wrestlers from 14 states; including Ghost Shadow, Jay Lethal, Deranged, Rainchild, Jacey North, Chino Martinez, JT Jobber, Katerina Heiss, IPW Hardcore/Florida's Seijin Akki, The Shane Brothers and Ron Niemi, Crazy Ivan, Shaolin Wrecking Crew, Christopher Street Connection, Suba, Magic, Dave Greco, Orphan, Lowlife Louie Ramos, Laithon, Kory K, Slyk Wagner Brown, April Hunter, Stryker, The Big Unit, Don Montoya, Mike Quackenbush, The Boogie Knights, Elax, Ric Blade, Donnie B., Kid Kruel, Allison Danger, Low-Ki, Charlie Haas, Devon Storm, Simon Diamond, Dawn Marie, The Hit Squad, Dixie, Insane Dragon, and Homicide.
All came to Bayonne, New Jersey to honor Russ Haas on Saturday night at Charity Hall in Bayonne, NJ in front of an turnaway crowd of 400. 60 more were turned away by the Bayonne Fire Marshall.
The event raised $5,000 for the Haas family.
The show began with JAPW promoter Frank Iadevia and the JAPW locker room emptying to an loud emotionally charged crowd there to pay tribute. Iadevia gave his thoughts on the meaning of the night, choking back tears.
A great video featuring action from Russ and Charlie Haas's careers was then played for the crowd, to the tune of Sarah McLaughlin's "I Will Remember You" and the Haas Brothers theme song AC-DC's "TNT".
Watching huge, street-tough guys like Homicide and the Hit Squad openly crying along with many within the crowd made for a moving beginning to the evening.
Charlie Haas, with Russ Haas's wife Deidre spoke to the crowds, thanking them for coming. He told the crowd of how he'll carry out his brother's dream for him.
For those of you who weren't able to attend the show and would like to make a contribution to the Haas family, you can be aware that ModTrom Productions will be selling the entire video from the Russ Haas Memorial Show which will include the opening tribute video.
While the tape is being sold via other sources, fans can be aware that this version of the tape will provide a portion of the proceeds to the Haas family. The tape will be ready in about 2 weeks.
ModTrom will also be working with JAPW promoter Frank Iadevia in the establishment of some sort of donation fund, for those who would like to donate directly. I'll post information here regarding the Russ Haas memorial fund as soon as it becomes available.
Moments like Saturday night's show show the best in the wrestling business. It's a pity that there aren't more of them.... for happier reasons.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com)