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1/25:  Why too Kayfabe?
January 28, 2002

by EC Ostermeyer


This is the WWF Byte This! report for Friday, 25 January 2002, and I'm E.C.

On today's show, Kevin Kelly and Howard Finkel bewail the approach of the Apocalypse. Droz is busy building a fallout shelter with wheelchair access. Tazz has some family problems, and settles them the "Red Hook Way," then gives us a "how-to" lesson on "Working the Card." Curt Hennig shows why he's known as "Mr. Perfect," and Chris Jericho wins the "Undisputed-Longest-Maintaining-of-Kayfabe-In-An-Interview" award.

LL Cool J does his "Rollerball" movie promo, which has "Direct to Video" written all over it.
Vince McMahon reprises his soliloquy from Smackdown, and we see that somebody in WWF Props remembered to paint "oWn" on the back of his two thousand dollar office chair so it would read the right way round in the mirror.

Opening credits include the "Nuns and Austin" scene. A classic. The lead nun's a dead ringer for the very scary Sister Mary Agnes from St. Thomas Parochial School in Irondequoit, New York. Mary Agnes has probably gone to her Higher Reward by now. Bet she's just kicking ass all over Heaven. Even the archangels are afraid of her.

Your hosts have been introduced already. Fink's wearing a set of "cool-bloo" shades, and looks like Tazz's nastier little brother, with gangsta "self-hug" in evidence.

Kelly and Fink wail and worry about the possible appearance of the N.W.O. in the WWF and why Vince has decided to "inject the WWF with a lethal dose of cancer?"
(I thought Vince said it was Flair that gave the WWF cancer, and Vince was just gonna poison it quickly because it was his creation, blah blah...)

Fink remarks that the N.W.O. gimmick is/was five-six years old, (which would make it's members five-six years older, right? The ring rust must be a foot deep by now.)

Both agree that we are in for some interesting events in the WWF if Vince is true to his word.

At this point Darren Drozdov joins the show with "Droz's Two Cents," his weekly column of all things WWF.
Droz is uneasy about this whole N.W.O. thing. Seeing it painted on the back of Vince's office chair gave him flashbacks. Things are definitely going to get churned up good if Vince goes through with this.
Droz asks Fink, who has known Vince for 25 years, what is going on inside Vince's head?
"I dunno," says Fink, "It's like he's been losing it here lately. Like it's all getting away from him."

Droz says that if Kevin Nash is part of what Vince has in store for the WWF, then the cancer is real. The N.W.O. can tear up a promotion, just like they did with WCW.

Kelly says that the N.W.O. presence should make for great TV, but quite possibly destroy the WWF locker room in the process.

Fink and Droz talk about how this will affect the younger wrestlers just coming into the WWF, when you get superstars as big as Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan competing with the likes of Steve Austin, HHH, and the Rock for air time. The way the WWF is now, Vince was at least trying to let the mid-carders get some airtime, even if it was in skits and multi-man matches. With the N.W.O. coming in, it'll be like it was in WCW, with the mega-stars getting all the TV time, and the mid-carders scrambling for what's left. Which won't be much. Long-term, the disruption caused by this action could have serious repercussions.

Speaking of repercussions, the subject of Maven punking out the Undertaker at the Royal Rumble came up.
Kelly thinks Maven's still in Atlanta waiting for the rest of the thirty entrants to come down, ho ho.
Droz had a problem with Maven eliminating 'Taker, saying that he saw it as a slap in 'Taker's face, despite all the years he's put into the company.
"He did get to take out his frustrations on Maven," says Droz, "but he's gotta feel let down about this."

Droz also touches on Spike Dudley and Tazz retaining their WWF Tag Titles this week, saying that he sees big things in store for the two of them.

First caller says that the WWF locker room had better watch their back if the N.W.O. are really coming back. "They like to injure people," he says," and would think nothing of working over guys like Droz

(A possible story angle set-up here? The WWF Creative Team is on another fishing trip, I see.)

Kelly thinks it odd that McMahon says it's all Ric Flair's fault, when the N.W.O. used to badger Ric Flair every chance they could. He mentions their hilarious "Four Horsemen" skit in WCW.
(The one I remember was Eric Bischoff and the N.W.O. taking Flair into the desert and beating the hell out of him, one of the more disturbing skits that WCW pulled.)

Droz exits, by the way.

Topic shifts back to Tazz, and we get a three-plus minute video of his new entrance music by Cypress Hill.
Tazz joins the show at this point, remarking that they had a great time producing his new entrance music and that video, giving props to Kevin Dunn and Jim Johnston for their great job.

Tazz is home in the Hook, because we can hear his 2-year-old singing at the top of his/her lungs in the background.

Tazz takes a personal moment, and we hear him off-mic tell the kid to "Shaddap!" which cracks the whole studio up.

Fink avers that he preferred Tazz's old entrance music.
Tazz says that Fink is a goof.
"Change is good, Fink," says Tazz, "you know that! When it's time to change, you don't just hang around. You leave on a high note! Look at Mariah Carey. She didn't keep her image fresh, gained ten pounds, and lost her record contract. Good thing the pounds she gained went right into her breasts! Didja see those things? Boy, no silicone needed here, please!"

"No silicone? You're kidding!" says Kelly.
"Nah, she's all natural," says Tazz.

Changing the subject, Tazz and Kelly talk about Tazz and Spike hanging onto the Tag Titles.
Tazz says that he and Spike are gonna ride this thing for as long as they can, because the time will come, sooner or later, when they'll have to give them up.

The "Fink Factoid" this week says that Tazz and Spike are the only Tag Team Champs whose combined weight is under 400 lbs.
Tazz is dumbfounded.
"I better call Spike about this..." he says, "we gotta do something."

Tazz, Kelly, and Fink then expound on some wrestling strategy, specifically how much effort do you put into a match as regards the position of the match on the card.

Tazz says that the opening match, or "curtain jerker," has to be full of action to set the stage for the rest of the show.
 "We crank it up a notch," he says. "This is why the WWF has been using the Dudley Boyz of late to open their shows; they put on such a dynamite opener.
On the other hand, if you do the match between two big name matches, the so-called "popcorn match," the crowd's gone to get popcorn and take a leak, so there's no call to go out there and kill yourself. So you'll see more chain wrestling, and a steadier-paced bout, with less emphasis on high spots. It gives the crowd time to get ready for (or recover from) the Big One."

Lionel is Caller Two, who wants to know how Tazz feels about the N.W.O. and Vince McMahon?
Kelly says for Lionel to hang up, and oh, yeah, "My best to George and Weezie!"

Tazz says that he was a big fan of the N.W.O. but they have to set a good tone for the gimmick to be effective.
"If you're a wrestling fan," says Tazz, "this is the cool time to be one."
Tazz goes on to praise the Invasion angle, and the Alliance angle where WCW and ECW banded together to take out the WWF, and then the Unified Title match.

Kelly asks about Vince's comment that he was going to "inject the WWF with a poison."
"Hey," says Tazz, "it's his company. If he wants to do that, well, it's been a great run. I just got finished paying for the new house, though the addition still has to be done..."
"You could go back to driving railroad spikes for a living," says Kelly with a laugh.
"Yeah," says Tazz, "THAT'S my fallback job!"

Kelly indulges us with some blather about Jonathan "Coach" Coachman doing the "Charleston" on Smackdown.
Tazz says Coach is an idiot. He hates him.

 Kelly wraps things up with Tazz by asking him about how many different types of suplexes he does?
Tazz says that, of the 35 in his repertoire, only 10 won't kill his opponent, and only 6 won't leave him limping permanently.
He's working on a new suplex, but needs a partner to try it our on to see if it works without injuring somebody.

Lots of laughs and Tazz leaves the show.

Classic Clip choices this week feature Chris Jericho:

SummerSlam 2000 - Jericho v. Chris Benoit
Royal Rumble 2001 - Jericho v. Benoit (Ladder Match)
Unforgiven 2001 - Jericho v. Rob Van Dam (My choice)
No Mercy 2001 - Jericho v. The Rock

"Outthink the" Fink is a doozy this week:

In 1985, the WWF made a video called "Land of a Thousand Dances." Who was the drummer?
Kelly knows already, but isn't saying.
Winner gets "something" from WWF ShopZone."

A WWF chat-roomer wants to know if Maven is still at the Royal Rumble?
Kelly's answer gets interrupted by Curt Hennig's music, as "Mr. Perfect" joins the show, to thunderous studio applause.

Hennig says that the WWF is like his second home, and he's glad to be back.
The WWF has an elite class of athletes, like the Rock, HHH, and Chris Jericho are in great shape and putting on a great show.

Kelly asks if it's a little like jumping into the frying pan?
"Yeah," says Hennig," but I wouldn't expect anything less of these guys, the way they work. I'm just happy to be a part of the program again."

Fink wants Hennig's thoughts on the supposed re-birth of the N.W.O.?
Hennig says that there is a lot of uncertainty about just how Vince's announcement will disrupt the WWF locker room. Nobody knows what to expect. "There will be some different faces," he says, "and things are going to be different!"

Kelly asks if the N.W.O. was the reason for his leaving wrestling in 1996?
Hennig says no, he left because he wanted to spend time with his family. Good feelings and handshakes all around when he left.

"What about that chair shot Steve Austin gave you?" asks Kelly.
"I owe him one," says Hennig with a sheepish laugh, "and I intend to pay him back!"

Fink reminds us that Hennig is a second-generation wrestle, being the son of Larry "The Ax" Hennig.
"Boy, you talk about  "learning the ropes," says Hennig with a laugh, "when you grow up in a wrestling family, you have an edge that nobody else has. The Rock has it; he's third generation. Dad will be 66 this next week, and I'm not going to challenge him, no sir! I wrestled Randy Orton not long ago, and I love to pass it on, the experience, I mean. Orton's a big, raw-boned second-generation kid. I told him so, and said that was what made him an Orton.
"There's lots of talent in the developmental territories," he continues, "guys like Orton and Brock Lesnar. I helped train Lesnar as a pro after he won the NCAA Wrestling Championship in Minnesota, and this guy is just huge, huge and agile. He'll be big in the WWF."

Kelly asks Hennig about those classic Hennig videos, where he's shown doing all kinds of sports, and doing them well.  Hennig says that's why they started calling him Mr. Perfect.
"I plan to do more videos," he says, "maybe skiing, hockey, or bobsledding. Something to do with the Olympics..."

(Is this another story line developing? Remember Kurt Angle's comments about getting involved in Olympic bobsledding last week? A possible Angle/Hennig "Olympic Champion" feud? Hmmmm.)

In response to the inevitable question about his goals in life, Hennig says that he wants to be the World Champ, nothing less.
"Everybody is going to learn something from me," say Hennig, "I'm in the best shape of my career, and everybody will know that I am going for it all. That's what I'm saying to the other wrestling superstars. And I am gonna have fun doing it."

"What about that match you had with Bret Hart back in '91?" asks Fink.
"Maybe I shouldn't have done it," say Hennig, but the match was signed, so I did it. I think Somebody was looking out for me, because here I am eleven years later, with no surgery, and I am back. If I can take a chair shot from Stone Cold, I am back!"

Caller Three, Fernando, asks Hennig if there is a difference between his popularity then and now?
Hennig replies that, then or now, the popularity is the same. You work hard at what you do, and the popularity comes of its own accord.
"And there's no such thing as "Old School" or "New School," adds Hennig, "I'm a professional because I've been "schooled" in what I do. Period."

Kelly asks Hennig's thoughts about Chris Jericho.
"He's in the game, big time," says Hennig, "I talked with him when he was thinking about jumping from WCW to the WWF. Maybe I helped him make the right decision, because he's got both Title belts now. Plus all that stuff he's doing outside the ring, rock music, hockey, the Internet, like that."  

Caller Four, John, wants to know what Hennig thinks of the veteran superstars like Goldust returning to the ring?
"The way I see it," says Hennig, "they have an obligation to pass on what they've learned. If they don't want to pass it on, well, they'll be FORCED to pass it on. It's part of being in the business."

Fink remarks that Hennig spent some time in other promotions, such as the XWF.
Hennig says that his real home is the WWF, and he's home for good.
"I haven't felt comfortable since I left here," he says.

The next caller wants to know whom Hennig would team with, and who he would fight?
"I'd team up with Randy Orton or Brock Lesnar," says Hennig, "There the up and comers, so I'd like to be there when it happens. Opponents? Steve Austin. I still owe him for that chair shot, remember?"

Kelly asks Hennig if "Rap is Crap?" alluding to a stupid WCW-era angle that featured, among others, Virgil in a cowboy hat and chaps.
"Of course," says Hennig, "nothing has changed. It's still ruining the youth of America!"

Kelly thanks Hennig for being on the show.
"What's the name of this show again," asks Hennig.
"Byte This!" says Kelly.
"Exactly!" says Hennig, and leaves the show.

Kelly and Fink take a gander at the Classic Clip poll.
The "No Mercy" clip is in the lead, darn it!
Still no winner in "Outthink the Fink," though.
Kelly tries to get some feuding started between Byte This! producer Big Country and Randy Vallo, video techie, who everyone blames for last week's crummy show, and the lousy opening of this week's show.

BC and Vallo aren't "byting" however, and Kelly is saved from another on-air gaffe by the timely arrival of Chris Jericho, live on the phone.
Applause for the champ, but no standing "O."

(Readers are advised that Mr. Jericho is in "strident heel mode" throughout the rest of the show.)

In the opening segment, we learn that:

1) Jericho is pleased that he will face HHH at Wrestlemania X-8 for the Undisputed Title.
2) Jericho proved that he had what it took to be a true Undisputed Champ, no matter what anyone else says, and
3) The highlight of his career was his defeat of the Rock for the WCW Championship at No Mercy, 2001, although
4) The fans proved themselves to be the usual bunch of ignorant inbred yahoos by not voting it "Best Match of 2001!"

Fink asks Jericho why he carries both Title belts around with him?
"It signifies that I am the Undisputed Champ," says Jericho, "something that no one has ever done before, and I am the first to do it! Like me or not, you have to respect what I have done!"

Kelly says the Champ has callers lined up waiting to talk to him.

The first caller wants to know if he will join the N.W.O.?
"I am a lone wolf," says Jericho, "and the last thing I need is for the N.W.O. to come along and ride my coat-tails after all I've done for this company. That won't happen. As for the N.W.O. joining the WWF, it doesn't bother me. Just don't expect to align with me, is all."

The next caller asks how his back is doing?
Jericho gives a progress report, stating that it's healed about as well as it could, under the circumstances.

Fink wants to know if he will face Steve Austin or Kurt Angle at the "No Way Out" PPV?
Jericho says it matters not, they are both beneath him athletically. "I've beaten
Austin before," he says, "so I can do it again, anytime. Angle's never made me tap out, so I can take care of him, too."

Kelly wants to know how he will feel defending the Unified Title at Wrestlemania in Toronto, Canada?
"It'll be quite a homecoming for all my fellow countrymen," says Jericho, "a Canadian coming home to heroically defend the WWF Undisputed Championship in his home country!"

Another caller, asking Jericho's thoughts on fellow countryman Lance Storm?
"A great athlete and Canadian," says Jericho, "him and Christian cheering me on was what helped me beat the Rock fair and square (ha!) at the Royal Rumble."

The next caller, Amanda from New York City, asks if Y2J has any sympathy for what Stephanie McMahon - Helmsley is going through?"

(This woman sounds like the Creative Team's "tout" that's been used several times on this show to plant dis-information; "tweak the 'Net," as it were.)

Jericho laughs nastily, saying that HHH is only now finding out about what he, Jericho, had been saying all along.
"I'd been calling Steph a pain for years," says Jericho, "and nobody would listen to me. HHH is a moron for not listening to me."

This segues nicely into Jericho's thoughts on the return of HHH, and great is the sarcasm inveighed thereof.
"Let's all play that stupid "New Day" song for HHH, shall we?" sneers Jericho, "he's been gone for eight months, sponging money off this company. The same money that I have been pouring into the company by working four or five days a week, killing myself with great matches every time. I could have recovered from that kind of injury in a little over a month! A torn quad? Bah! But HHH returns the "Hero," after being off sitting on his butt for eight months, while I have been churning out great matches for those same eight months! But I don't expect cheers for what I do!"

(The studio attendees all clap politely. Sounds like a golf match.)

This gets Jericho off onto another tirade, this one about Chris Benoit.
"'My neck hurts! Waaah! Waah!'" sneers Jericho. "He's home by the pool, sponging off the company just like HHH was, while I'm out here busting my hump, and eating in a Waffle House in Illinois at 1 in the morning!"

("What about ME? What about...!" Oops, wrong gimmick!)

"We just had Mr. Perfect on earlier ..." begins Kelly.
"And that's ANOTHER thing!" rants Jericho, in genuine full-bore asshole mode now, "you had Hennig on the show BEFORE ME! I had to wait, ON HOLD, mind you, while Mr. La-di-da Perfect was on the show. You DON'T keep the Undisputed Champion WAITING! Understand? Hennig? Hennig will be lucky if he gets a shot at the WWF European Title, but only after he works for half a year to get it!"

"Well, Curt had some nice things to say about y-" says Kelly.
"Uh huh! Just as I thought!" says Jericho, "he's riding my coat-tails, too! Trying to cash in on what I worked so hard to achieve! Somebody else who never believed in me, just like all the callers out there!"

"Fink wants to know if Jericho's looking forward to seeing the Rock in "The Scorpion King?"
Jericho laughs nastily, and says that the Rock's doing movies because "he's all washed up as a wrestler!"

Shawn, the next caller, (who sounds about thirteen) asks if Jericho faces Steve Austin, will he be the one to end the "What?" gimmick?
"Austin's finished," says Jericho, "the day of beer-swilling and middle finger-flipping is over, and so is that Neanderthal catch-phrase of his! You notice that the fans don't chant "What?" when I'M out there, do you?"

Kelly wraps up this segment by apologizing for Big Country leaving Jericho on hold for so long.
Jericho asks what is it with this guy deliberately naming himself after a doofus 80's Euro-Trash band? 
Kelly gulps, and thanks Jericho for being on the show.
Jericho says that the pleasure was all theirs, and leaves in a pompous huff.

Big sigh of relief all around, as Big Country can be heard off camera, kicking a wall in frustration.

Jordan from "No Town Listed" wins this week's "Outthink the Fink" with the correct answer: Meatloaf.

(I thought he was the guy who said that he'd do anything for love... but he won't do THAT! Wonder what "THAT!" was? Scrub Rikishi's back?)

Kelly wants to know what prize Jordan has won from the WWF ShopZone?
Big Country says he doesn't know; how about a Rock or HHH T-shirt?
Kelly gets snappish.
Big Country says fine, Kevin can be the one who has to go begging to the ShopZone guys, the Byte This! budget is small enough as it is.
Kelly backs off like he stepped on a rattlesnake, and meekly says, no, uh, you are doing a fine job, BC, just fine.

Fink runs the Upcoming Events calendar for next week:

26 Jan - Pittsburgh. PA
26 Jan - Johnstown, PA
or "Slap Shot City" as Kelly calls it, because it was where the movie "Slap Shot"  was filmed. We get a three-minute impromptu "Jeopardy" game between Kelly and Fink about who the Hansens were. "Ole and Gene?" says Fink. "Naw, the 'Mmm-Bop!' kids," says Kelly. Boy, talk about obscure movie trivia!

27 Jan - Hershey, PA
("At the end of the Hershey Highway!" says Kelly. Groans all around.)
27 Jan - U.Va. at Charlottesville

28 Jan - Richmond, VA (Raw)
29 Jan - Norfolk, VA (Smackdown taping)
Fink says that the Norfolk show is sold out, but Kelly adds that latecomers should check the ticket office the day of the show to see if there are any production tickets left, something that I'd never heard anybody in the WWF do before.

We get the obligatory five minutes of filler taken up with all assembled ragging on Big Country's mom.
Kelly passes along a note from "ByteThis15" in the chat room, who says that Big Country's mom left her pantyhose at his place last night...
"HEY," hollers Big Country, "That IS ENOUGH!"

Right on cue, Vallo the techie shows the pic of Joanie "My Name is NOT Chyna" Laurer in her cast iron and leather lounging apparel, with BC's mom's face pasted on hers. Kelly goes falsetto imitating BC's mom bawling about how small her boobs are in this picture. More sounds of rupture from Big Country.

Kelly tries to stir up more trouble between BC and Vallo the techie, but BC says they've patched up their differences for now.

Fink, in his own little world, is busy trying to develop a steely gaze behind those sunglasses of his.

Next week's tentatively scheduled guest will be Arn Anderson.

We close with today's Classic Clips winner, Jericho v. The Rock ,  "No Mercy" 2001.

See you next week.


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RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
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RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
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PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
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RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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