AS I SEE IT - 3/21/2002:
Wrestlemania Thoughts, Austin, and an
Upcoming Remembrance of Eddie Gilbert

by: Bob Magee

So... for all the horrible buildup over the last month... which included storyline abuse of bulldog puppies, lotion making Stephanie's skin breakout, yet one more one on-air "arrest" of a wrestler, and wrestling serving as bumpers between 20 minute skits and promos...

Wrestlemania was actually a pretty damned good pay-per-view.

The most notable was the crowd's reaction to Hulk Hogan, which was simply amazing.

Whether it was a Canadian crowd being contrary, or just a crowd reliving some happy moments from back when wrestling seemed simpler... without dirt sheets, the Internet, and seemed almost like a Bizarro world moment with Hogan getting cheered no matter what he did (and trying to work heel throughout it as the match was presumably booked), and "The Rock" getting booed.

RVD-Regal had the blow off of their feud finally with Van Dam getting what is perhaps the push to the next level, which crowds have been ready for for a long time, and which Vince McMahon seemed to be avoiding.

Undertaker-Ric Flair had far and away the best buildup of any match on the show. The match was well-done...and I'm always happy to see Arn Anderson anytime...especially with the markout moment of the night for me...seeing Arn hit the spinebuster again.

Triple H and Chris Jericho's match, though well-worked, seemed overshadowed by Hogan-Rock. While I do agree as a old school tenet that the Championship match should almost always come on last...the real main event was Hogan-Rock, and had been marketed as such for 2 weeks. Even though the crowd popped for HHH winning the "Undisputed" Title, it wasn't 20% of the reaction for Hogan at the end of his match.

Even with all that was good with Wrestlemania, the event that ought to concern the WWF the most is the apparent rift with Steve Austin, who is reported to have gone home after Wrestlemania, and did not appear on what is traditionally the biggest RAW of the year, nor on the Smackdown taping. Austin is rumored to be upset about the direction of his character, and has had recent disagreements with Vince McMahon about it. One could also assume that he wasn't thrilled about being bumped down to fourth from the top on Wrestlemania, largely because of Hulk Hogan coming in and working The Rock.

With the "split" coming up, Austin's presence will be needed as much if not more than before, to keep up the appearance of major star power on both shows. With all that's been going on (and will yet be going on with the split in coming weeks), it seems senseless to allow Steve Austin to get lost in the shuffle.

One additional note from Monday's RAW that no one else online seems to have picked up on...

It was hilarious to see Vince McMahon having to visibly motion to Ric Flair to hurry up and talk during their "Split" promo when a second or two of dead air resulted in the ringside Montreal crowd (and others) again chanting audibly "You screwed Bret".

Guess Vince McMahon hasn't learned that Canadians, especially in Montreal, haven't forgotten or forgiven: and that his inability to quit responding to each and every Bret Hart comment (when he suggested that Hart was a "crybaby") just encourages vocal fan response, especially the very response he can't seem to stand.

To conclude with this column's usual support of independent wrestling...

For those of you who are looking for an enjoyable weekend, to see some independent wrestling Southern style, and to relive some old times and wrestling history, here's some news...

Southeastern Championship Wrestling will present the Wrestlefest Convention/Eddie Gilbert Memorial Show from May 24th to May 26th, 2002 at the Holiday Inn/Lexington North, 1950 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY (located at Exit 115 of I-64).

Event schedule:

Friday, May 24th

Wrestler's Roast 7:00-10:00 pm (Formal dress required)
Some of the best road stories and old times relived...

Saturday, May 25th

Wrestlefest Convention 11:00 am-5:00 pm

Eddie Gilbert Memorial Show 7:30-10:30 pm

Aftershow Party 11:00 pm-1:00 am
Meet and party with SECW stars and legends of the wrestling world.

Sunday, May 26th

Q&A Brunch

Ticket prices:

Wrestler's Roast $10.00
Wrestlefest Convention $15.00
Eddie Gilbert Memorial Show $15.00/$10.00
Eddie Gilbert Memorial Show After Show Party $5.00

If you pre-register for the Wrestlefest Convention/Eddie Gilbert Memorial Show, you will get a Wrestler's Roast ticket free.

Hotel accommodations

Hotel rates for the Convention are $74.95/night (you must tell the Hotel that you are attending the Convention/Show for the rate, a 30% discount over normal rates).

For reservations, call the Holiday Inn/Lexington North at (859) 233-0512.

Vendor Information-Wrestlefest Convention/Eddie Gilbert Memorial Show

Vendor tables:
$150 first table/$50 each additional table. All vendors get two free tickets to Eddie Gilbert Memorial Show.

To reserve tables, contact Kathy Fitzpatrick at (856) 627-5123 or by e-mail at

For information, contact the following:

Vendor Information
Kathy Fitzpatrick (856) 627-5123/

General Information
Sherri Russell (859) 269-5043
Donnie Prater (859) 266-5969
Kathy Fitzpatrick (856) 627-5123/

Until next time...


(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at