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Wrestling Today's Date:

Falls Count Anywhere


It's Chris Garcia Day...
in my mind...
Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere! My name is Chris and Johnny Carson is still funnier than Leno.

Well, we started off smart, with Edge, Christian and Tyson Tomko taking on The Chrises (Benoit and Jericho) and Shawn Michaels. Great double team spot where The Chris Connection tossed Christian over the top onto Tomko and Edge. Edge and Michaels did a nice running bit where Edge would only tag in against Michaels when Edge had the advantage and whenever Shawn would fight back, Edge would tag out. Benoit got his suplexes following a hot tag from Michaels, Jericho hit his springboard drop kick and Michaels used the Superkick to allow Benoit to get the pin.

They did a nice tribute to Johnny Carson by showing him with Hogan. Carson is the only Tonight Show host with no ties to wrestling. Steve Allen appeared at a WrestleMania for a bit with the Bolsheviks and announced wrestling back in the radio days. Jack Paar also announced wrestling for radio, while Leno did one match with WCW.

Stacey Kiebler announced the it was officially Jim Ross day across Oklahoma. She then introduced legendary Jr. Heavyweight Champion Danny Hodge, who at seventy-something still leaped over the top rope into the ring. Wowwy-Wow-Wow!!!

It really was Jim Ross Day in Oklahoma.
Our man Ross came to the ring and started a speech when HHH interfered. This was good, as Flair and H made it hell for Ross before Ross got the crotch shot from Trips which put him down. Hodge, who is a legendary tough guy, decked HHH and Flair jumper Hodge from behind. HHH then wanted a kiss from Stacey, but remembered that if Steph divorced him, he’d have to start doing clean jobs, and decided on a Pedigree. This was a great segment, especially with Hodge involved.

HHH was going wild on the women backstage and then ran into Batista. He bragged about what they done, but Batista, slowly letting the face sink in, seemed like he was troubled by all this. He then said that he wanted to have a Rumble Qualifier. Bischoff was then approached by Regal for a Qualifier, but instead he gave it to Coachman. Bischoff also said that La Resistance would face Batista in a two on one. Batista calmly said that he would beat them. Turn the Big Man NOW! You can already sense the crowd getting twitchy for it.

Viscera qualified for the Rumble in an Over-The-Top Match against Tajiri. No, this does not mean that he arm wrestled the Japanese Buzzsaw for custody of his child. Viz won even after being sprayed with the mist. After the match, Regal took Tajiri by the arm for a discussion that must have lasted a long time, because they never came back to the two of them.

Batista beat La Rez in a match that showed that Batista as a face is over, all they have to do is turn him. They briefly had the advantage, but Batista hit a Powerslam and a Spinebuster to get the pin on them both.

The new look Val Venis (who should probably be called Stone Cold Val Venis) lost to Muhammad Hassan. Daivari kept talking into the mic and yelling in Arabic (or maybe it was Farsi) as the match went on. It was a nice touch. Hassan didn’t get as much reaction as he has the last few weeks. Venis went for the Moneyshot, but Hassan moved and got the Downward Spiral for the pin. After, Hassan put Venis in the Camel Clutch.

HHH said that he convinced Bischoff to give a Rumble shot to Ric Flair. This is likely going to be for Flair to either screw Batista out of winning the match, or for Batista to eliminate him and secure his faceness.

Maven came out and challenged anyone with a spot in the Rumble. Kane came out, which caused Maven to flip his melon. He said he didn’t mean Kane, but anyone else with a spot. This brought out Snitsky. They were both selling their injuries from the previous week. Kane and Snitsky fought one another a bit, then turned and did some lame offense on Maven before Kane pinned him following a chokeslam.

Randy Orton beat Ric Flair. HHH tripped Orton, which the ref thought was Batista, so he got sent away. HHH kept interfering. Orton was busted open early, which added something to a match that was pretty typical. Flair got the Figure Four Leglock, but Orton reversed. The ref was KOed, and HHH came in the ring and started working Orton’s leg. HHH took out another ref and did more attacking, including bringing the title into the ring to use on Orton’s leg. Orton knocked HHH out of the ring and managed an RKO on Flair for the pin. After the match, Orton stood with the balt, taunting HHH to come back into the ring.

Solid episode and everything rests on them being able to convince us that we love Batista. We’ll see Sunday.

Don't get too comfortable, Victoria...
There is a lot of heat on Victoria about her comments to Alex Marvez about the new girls, and in particular Christy. She said she’s seriously jealous because she’s making so much money and not wrestling while Victoria’s been having great matches on a bum knee and she’s not making nearly that much. I’d tend to agree with her on this, but if there’re another round of cuts, I’m betting she’s gone.

Oddly, I understand that Mark Henry is still with the company. He signed a ten year contract in 1996, right before the Olympics, and he’s been frequently hurt and seldom over with the audience, though he’s a very funny guy and one or two of his skits with Mae Young were classic (the one with the Clapper in San Jose was my All-time Fave). He’s survived five different rounds of cuts. I doubt they’ll renew his contract.

I thought I’d talk about Danny Hodge. He is a legend on the College Wrestling circuit, having never lost a match (and I believe never lost a point) in his college career and then followed that up with an Olympic Silver medal. He was also an outstanding boxer and Golden Gloves champ. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which I believe he is one of only three wrestlers to ever do (the other two being Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant).

One of the toughest wrestlers ever.
When Danny went pro, he got the NWA Jr. Heavyweight championship pretty quick. From 1960 to 1976, he dominated the belt, I believe holding it eight times. He was a guy who’d force everyone to work. He was one of the toughest men alive and there are stories of him keeping the peace through superior firepower. He was in Leroy McGuirk’s office out of Tulsa, OK, a tough territory to be sure. He was a big draw for McGuirk, who built his house on the backs of lighter weight wrestlers.

Perhaps the proof of Hodge’s toughness comes in the accident that forced him to retire. While driving between matches, Hogde fell asleep and went off a bridge down into the rocks.

“My car was on its rooftop going along the rock banisters and every time it hit one I could feel my teeth and neck break,” Hodge said to Slam! Sports.

The broken neck wasn’t all. He ended up in the water and had to make his way through the windshield, even though it had been seriously compacted. He had to swim to shore and walk to get help…and he did all this while holding his head since his neck was seriously broken. That is the sign of a tough man. The only other person I know of who did something like that was Akira Hokuto, who broke her neck in a match and then did another five minutes of high spots to the planned finish while she had to hold her head up.

Hodge retired. McGuirk was about to be supplanted by Bill Watt’s run at the territory and Jr. Heavyweight’s weren’t really a big sell anywhere else until Tiger Mask and Dynamite Kid came along in the early 1980s. Hodge is now retired and I believe that he still works for the WWE doing scouting of talent. He’s also working with his grandsons as they wrestle at the same high school that both their father and Danny himself wrestled at!

That’s all for today. I’ll have more on Friday!

Talk about today's column in the forums!

Chris Garcia

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