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8/23: HHH and HBK,
The Calm Before the Storm
August 26, 2002

by EC Ostermeyer


This is the WWE Byte This! report for Friday, 23 August 2002, and I am E.C.

Prior to the

Opening credits

we open todayís show with a video clip from last Thursdayís Smackdown show, featuring Shawn Michaels doing one alarming "Tope Con Hilo" from the top rope to ringside, slipping (accidentally on purpose?) on the same rope, but still landing on HHH and a bunch of security guys.

Your guest host this week is Jonathan "Coach" Coachman sitting in with the affable Dr. Tom Prichard.

Kevin Kelly is off having his guts stuffed back in his tummy, and Coach says that maybe we will be blessed with a progress report if Kellyís not too messed up on painkillers.

Right on cue, Dr. Tom chimes in with the first Kevin Kelly update, saying that Kelly is sleeping, having undergone an unanticipated "semi-elective" (meaning "Too groggy to remember giving the surgeon permission) hysterectomy along with his hernia repair.

Time for "Drozís Two Cents," Darren Drozdovís weekly review of all things WWE Raw. Droz is impressed with the training tapes that Brock Lesnar and The Rock have been doing in the lead-up to their climactic match for the Undisputed Championship Title at SummerSlam.

Droz is also impressed with Shawn Michaelsí "Giant Leap of Faith" on Smackdown, not to mention the Rey Mysterio/Kurt Angle bout. Droz characterizes it as "David v. Goliath."

Dr. Tom comments on that nasty head injury of Angleís that Rey caused, stitches and all. Droz says that Angle should be concentrating on putting Rey down and quickly. The Flair v. Jericho match has Droz saying that WWE should get the blood plasma bags ready.

In response to a Byte This! Chatroom question about the HHH/ Shawn Michaels "Street Fight," Droz says that HBK should pace himself to protect that niggling back injury of his.

Everybody shills for the SummerSlam PPV at Uniondale, NY, then give props to the follow-up Raw show at Madison Square Garden. Coach says that WWE plans to make it a good, hot show in honor of New Yorkís September 11th festivities.

Droz leaves, but not before he chides Dr. Tom for not saving him a piece of his birthday cake.

Coach is happy about all the "Coach we are glad to see you" and "Welcome back Coach!" comments in the Chatroom.

We take a break, and watch that great post-Smackdown bit that the Rock had with an eight-year-old "Make a Wish" kid named Mitchell.

"Do you likeÖpie, kid?"

(This gets a HUGE crowd laugh!)

"Hey, hey, hey, I mean APPLE PIE, all you sick-ass mothers!"

Mitchell REALLY likes pie.

So does Mitchellís mom.

Mitchell gets Tazzís glasses, puts Ďem on, and looks WAY COOL!

Mitchell gets the mic, does an outstanding "If Ya Sa-mel-l-l-l-l-l-lÖ"

Mitchell then does The Peopleís Eyebrow, and brings down the house.

Rock is just laughing fit to bust.

Caller Ryan from Vancouver wants to know why the 24/7 Rule got taken away from the WWE Hardcore Title?

Dr. Tom says that Eric Bischoff wanted to put the Hardcore Title matches on a time limit in order to make them a tighter, edgier bout.

Ryan says that it took away a lot of the unpredictability of the HC matches. He then asks if this means we may see more HC specialty bouts, like Singapore Cane matches?

Coach says thatís a reason to watch the show, isnít it?

In a similar vein, Dr. Tom comments on the new "Entertain Me For Three Minutes" rule that Bischoff initiated, and says that Bischoff is using it to help speed the in-ring action along.

Caller Matt from New Jersey wants to know when Kaneís coming back.

Coach says it should be soon, and Dr. Tom says he doesnít know if it will be on Smackdown or Raw, that Matt should watch both shows.

Another break, and another video clip, this time from Raw with the Rock doing a backstage promo with Coach.

Brock Lesnar is the Next Big Bitch?!

Naw, that surely couldnít be considered fightiní words, now could it?

Coach says the Rock is focused, and says hello to a fan who used to watch him do the sports on Channel Ten in Wichita, KS.

"Do they still have that horse?" asks Dr. Tom with a grin.

Tazz is in the sauna, (in the sauna?) but should be here later.

Coach & Dr. Tom shill for the Booker T/Goldust v. Un-Americans for a bit.

Then he gets word that Tazz is not really "in the sauna," and wonít be on the show this week. Heís involved in some "family business" with Joey Numbers.

The Edge v. Eddie Guerrero match gets promo-ed, and we go back to the phones.

Caller Josh from Ohio wants to know Coachís thoughts about Jeff and Matt Hardy breaking up?

Coach sees it as a good thing, as Matt Hardy will make a name for himself over on Smackdown, while Jeff continues to get respect over on Raw.

Dr. Tom says Matt wants respect too, and will get it over on Smackdown.

By the way, there has been a Lita sighting; Lita will be doing commentary over on this Saturdayís "WWE Velocity" show.

Live on the phone is the showís first guest today, HHH.

Coach asks how HHH is doing?

"Doing all right, actually," says HHH.

Coach asks how he feels facing his former best friend in a non-sanctioned Street Fight?

"Shawn Michaels has to finally come to the realization that he is not the showstopper he once was," says HHH, "I am The Game, and after Sunday, HBK may not be able to take another step, ever again. I was around Shawn Michaels for a long time. At 50% effectiveness, heís better than the entire WWE locker room, but I will still put him back on the shelf!"

Dr. Tom asks if HHH has bitten off more than he can chew?

"To beat Shawn Michaels," says HHH, "you have to cripple Shawn Michaels. Thatís what I intend to do."

Coach switches topic to X-Pac and WWE parting ways.

HHH says this is the first time heís heard about it, but if X-Pac has some issues to deal with, letís let him resolve them before passing judgment. We should see him back on TV later on."

Dr. Tom asks how HHHís leg is holding up?

"It was stiff at first," says HHH, "but itís back to 100%. The bone chips I had removed from my elbow helped with the rehab on my knee."

Coach recounts how brutal an appearance schedule HHH has had, having to fly to the United Kingdom, and then to Australia, in addition to all the regular dates in the USA.

"Going to Australia and performing in front of 50,000 fans is a rush you come down off real slowly," says HHH, "then there are the step-aerobics and the Tai Chi I do..." which gets a big laugh.

Dr. Tom asks if HHHís complete heel turn is more comfortable a role for him to work with?. HHH says he was looking for the first opportunity to be a heel once he got back in the ring. "I make a terrible babyface," laughs HHH.

Caller Rebecca from Long Island asks HHH what he expects from Shawn Michaels?

"I expect him to be the Heartbreak Kid,í says HHH, "and for me to prepare any other way for this particular opponent, would be a mistake on my part."

Coach asks HHH to comment on the Rock & Brock match.

"Brock Lesnar finds himself in an unenviable position of being a young guy in the Main Event facing a powerful, immensely seasoned veteran performer. I gotta lean towards Rock in this match. Heís a proís pro. After all, Rock learned all he knows from the best. ME!"

On Rey Mysterio v. Kurt Angle, HHH says that "Angle better watch himself, because Rey can hang with the big guys. If Kurt falls asleep, Reyís gonna catch him."

HHH has to leave, but says that SummerSlam is shaping up to be the greatest, most anticipated PPV in a long time.

"All these incredible matches," he says, "take my match with HBK; it has been seven years in the making. Iím not only looking forward to competing in SummerSlam, Iím looking forward to watching it, too!"

HHH leaves, but not before teasing Coach about hitting the gym a little more regularly.

"Those leg machines youíre always standing on when I see you in the gym?" asks HHH, "well, they DO move, yíknow. Try Ďem out sometime, okay?"

Big laughs all around, and HHH departs.

We take another break, with a video promo on SummerSlam, giving a brief rundown of the card.

The promo has no sound, though, so the whole deal is pretty much visual.

Live in the studio is the "Heartbreak Kid" himself, Shawn Michaels.

HBK says that heís excited, and as ready as he will ever be for the match with HHH on Sunday.

"I did a work-out in the ring yesterday," he says, "30-45 minutes, ten, fifteen different sets and moves. And it was like the four years away from the ring never happened. Iím not intimidated any more. Iím excited, and at peace with whatís going to happen Sunday, as are my family and friends. Even Vince McMahon told me to go out there, have fun and enjoy the ride. The Lord and the people are what make the difference in this match for me. Even though I expect this to be my last singles match, depending upon how I feel, Iím not ruling out a tag match down the road."

Coach asks HBK about the anticipatory buzz building for the SummerSlam PPV, that he thinks itís because the fans donít know what they are gonna see.

HBK says itís gratifying to be a part of such a great PPV show.

"Whatís great about it," says HBK, "is because the fans donít know whatís going to happen. Itís exciting for them."

Dr. Tom asks HBK if heís nervous?

"Yeah, I am, " says HBK, "thatís one of my concerns. Iím in good shape cardiovascular-wise, but nerves can blow you up quicker than anything. I havenít been in front of a crowd this big in a long time. I had forgotten how huge a crowd pop is."

Caller Jeremy from Iowa wants to know if HBKís style has changed to face HHH, whether HHH will have to accommodate and sell a lot of his moves?

HBK says that, since itís a street fight, heís not so worried about showing his classic wrestling moves due to the faster pace of this type of bout. Itís closer to what my current style is. Remember four years means I AM older, right?"

Dr. Tom reassures HBK saying that once he gets in the ring, itís like riding a bicycle, heíll just slide right back into the old groove.

HBK says he felt that old groove on Mondayís Raw show.

"You can be flattered by it," he says. "Or you can be intimidated by it."

Rob from Florida asks HBKís opinion of the new crop of wrestlers, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Bautista and others?

"There are certain aspects of the business that force constant change," says HBK, "thatís something these new guys have to learn. Their ability may be off the chart, but they have to learn self-control and how to read the business, to look for ways to make their opportunities happen."

Dr. Tom comments on how, back in the Degeneration-X days, HHH and Michaels had planned to take over the business. Now, it looks like they really have taken it over!

HBK laughs, and says the goal may still be there, but heís going after it in a different way than before.

"A lot of this is due to the change the Lord has made in my life," he says, "The best witness I can make to that change is to live my life as a witness to what the change has done for me."

Expanding on his earlier theme, HBK says that a lot of the new kids coming in already have their heads on straight.

"When I came up in this business, you could only aspire to greatness," he says, "now, the greatness is there waiting for you once you become a superstar. You realize that this is the Big League. Thatís just how the business is now. And we need to get that message across to more of the new kids coming along. They have the passion, but need to control it to succeed. In time, we all get smarter."

Coach asks if itís difficult for HBK to leave his family for the road?

"The weeks were brutal," says HBK, "and I can still remember traveling weeks on end. These days, Iíve been with my son for two years and more, and Iíve built a foundation with him that will be there for a long time."

Dr. Tom asks HBKís thoughts on the departure of X-Pac and Scott Hall.

"We all make choices," says HBK, "we are still friends. The door is always open in this company, and if they can straighten up their lives, Iím sure they can come back to work here. Look at Kevin Nash. When I got back with Kevin (Nash) it was like six years never happened."

Rob, a divinity student from Missouri, asks HBK about his Christian witness and salvation, and where he gets the cool Christian T-shirts he wears?

HBK says that heís always on for a witness.

"If some folks donít want to hear it," says HBK, "I back off and give them time to come to terms with their own salvation.

"What started me on the road to salvation was that I had a beautiful wife, a beautiful son, but I felt that something was missing in my life."

"When something goes wrong in a guyís life," says HBK, "he always hollers ĎOh God!í Iíd heard all this stuff before, and laughed about it, but I never understood it. The Bible is a guide for how you should lead your life. Those people back there in those days may have worn different clothes than us, but they had the same problems we do. I give praise to the Lord Jesus Christ for the power heís given me to change my life, and I hope, help others."

Coach says his Dadís a United Methodist minister, and his Dad helping him in "getting the change" to work in Coachís life was really tough.

Celia from Dallas wants to know how HBK wants to be remembered?

"The people in this company," says HBK, "and the fans should remember me as a guy who did all he could to improve himself and the lives of others around him, and had a great time doing it!"

HBK leaves, as we get the Rockís SummerSlam training video.

"All I care about is being the absolute, very best," says The Rock.

Time for Point/Counterpoint.

This week, who wins the Undisputed Champ Title at SummerSlam?

Coach says The Rock wins because of his experience in PPV matches and getting himself psyched up for just such a match.

Dr. Tom says that Lesnar has the intangible, Paul Heyman, by his side. "Heyman is a genius when it comes to reading the big picture, and that savvy of Heymanís coupled with Lesnarís awesome power and ability will mean that Brock Lesnar will be the new WWE Undisputed Champion."

Coach and Dr, Tom run down the SummerSlam card once more, and thatís the show.

We close the show with a video clip showing Shawn Michaels and Big Van Vader just beating the hell out of each other.

Vince McMahon and Jim Ross are calling the action, but are just about drowned out by Hector Quinones over at the Spanish Announcerís Table, who is calling the action so fast and furious he sounds like heís about to spontaneously combust. Jim Cornette is also on hand as Vaderís manager, and in rare form screeching for the match to continue, which is confirmed by ring announcer Howard Finkel.

They re-start the match about three times due to prodding from Cornette, which comes a cropper when Shawn Michaels finally gets a clean pin-fall..

See you next week.


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