Saturday, March 5, 2011

Canon Magazine Review: Pro Wrestling Illustrated, August 2000

Here is a review of a magazine I, or somebody else, purchased for my reading enjoyment some 10 years ago, the August 2000 issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. This issue is apparently a Special Collector's Issue, whatever that means, and covers 'Y2K's Greatest Cards'. Those cards being Wrestlemania 2000, WCW Uncensored 2000, and ECW Living Dangerously 2000. If those were 2000's greatest cards, then 2000 must have been a lot worse than I remembered. Anyway, here's the cover of the issue, courtesy of the PWI website:

The magazine starts with publisher Stu Saks offering his opinion about the return of Eric Bischoff to a power position of WCW, just two months after Bischoff told a reporter that it would take 'more than an act of congress and less than an act of God' for WCW to reinstall him as head booker. In hindsight, they either should have just given Bischoff full power or find somebody else instead of going with the failed Bischoff-Russo regime. Up next is the letters section, and a common theme in the letters is how much WCW sucks. Other letters praised Jerry Lawler for his commentary, Balls Mahoney for his hardcore wrestling skills, and another letter called for the NWA Title to be recognized as an official world title. At the time, the NWA Title was held by Naoya Ogawa, not exactly a household name today. Although he did beat Gary Goodridge at Pride 6, so at least he had shoot fighting credibility.  Following the letters, we get more columns, including ringside with Will Welsh, in which he writes about Bischoff, the surprising track record of ECW's Judge Jeff Jones, and Chris Jericho's call for Hulk Hogan to retire on his website. Dave Lenker follows with his column, where he implores Bret Hart to retire for good (which he would) and talks about Jake Roberts's 'performance' in Beyond the Mat. It's been a while since I've seen that film, but Jake the Snake doesn't come off too well,

More columns follow, as Brandi Mankiewicz berates readers and slams Hulk Hogan just like everyone else was around this time for not stepping back and letting the young stars shine. Meanwhile, Frank Krewda gets all nostalgic and wishes wrestling would turn back the clock some, bringing back such concepts as monthly title defenses, a clear line between good vs. evil where pimps are not celebrated, and referees who actually withold the rules instead of looking like clueless putzes, much like the referees in ECW.

The magazine's cover story is next, about the greatest cards of 2000 or something like that. Up first is a recap of WCW Uncensored 2000, which the article damns with faint praise by saying it was at least better than Uncensored 1995. I'd disagree with that, but then that would probably mean that I'd have to go back and watch both shows to compare them, and I'd rather not. The main event of Uncensored 2000 was the same as Uncensored 1999, a mess of a match between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, this one being a strap match. Even the recaper seemed bored by this show, and it's their job over at PWI to overhype everything. According to the article, the best moment was a move similar to one seen in ECW years before, in which the Wall chokeslammed Crowbar off a scaffold.

Up next is Wrestlemania 2000, which only cost $34.95 on PPV. Now a days, it cost 40 dollars to buy WWE Coal Miner's Glove or whatever gimmick match they push there PPVs around these days, but I digress. Wrestlemania 2000 was built around the main event in which a McMahon was in every corner, with Vince McMahon representing The Rock, Stephanie in Triple-H's corner, Shane with the Big Show, and Linda in Mick Foley's corner. The match ended in a shocking development when Linda McMahon somehow landed on top of Triple-H and the ref counted to three, making her the first female WWE World Champion. Actually, Vince turned on The Rock, then after the match The Rock destroyed everybody and gave Stephanie a People's Elbow. Also on the card, Kurt Angle lost two titles without being pinned (the Intercontental and European to Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho, respectively), Pete Rose took a stinkface from Rikishi, and the three way ladder match between the Hardys, the Dudleys, and Edge and Christian stole the show. Here are highlights from that match, set to Chris Benoit's WCW theme for some reason:

The last of the big three supercards to be profiled was ECW's Living Dangerously 2000, which I remember for two reasons. One was the Dusty Rhodes vs. Steve Corino match that was an entertaining brawl full of blood, and the other was New Jack and Grimes' fall off a scaffold in which Grimes nearly killed New Jack by landing on his head. Other than that, the main event was Super Crazy vs. Rhino for the television title, which drew high praise from the magazine despite the lack of star power in the match, and a three team tag match was featured in which the Impact Players won the tag titles from Mike Awesome and Raven and Masato Tanaka and Tommy Dreamer. Plus, Joey Styles and Cyrus played some Hardcore Revolution on the air, which I'm sure sucked.

After a color section featuring pictures from the three previously mentioned supercards, there's a quick article about the 2000 Super 8 Tournament hosted by ECWA. Christopher Daniels won the eight man tournament by defeating the 'Black Nature Boy' Scoot Andrews in the finals. I always thought Andrews would make it further in wrestling, but he just never got his big break and retired in 2005. An interview with Rob Van Dam follows, and Van Dam talks at length about his injury suffered before his feud with Mike Awesome over the ECW Title, as well as his experiences in WCW and the WWF and he discusses what ECW must do in order to take the next step. It seems hard to believe now, but around this time ECW was being talked about as a company that could one day challenge the WWF and surpass WCW by the end of 2000. Of course, ECW ran out of money and closed up shop in 2001, but at the time the future looked bright. Anyway, Van Dam also talks about training with The Sheik and his endorsement of marijuana. Unlike most PWI interviews, this one actually seems legit and is still an interesting read today, as RVD is quite outspoken on a variety of topics.

The last major article is a list of the top 12 Supercard matches in Wrestling history according to PWI. Want to know the list? Well here it is:

1. Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat, Wrestlemania 3
2. Bruno Sammartino vs. Pedro Morales, Shea Stadium, 9/30/72
3. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania 10
4. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, Wrestlemania 3
5. Ric Flair vs. Harley Race, Starrcade 83
6. Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn, Living Dangerously 99
7. Kerry Von Erich vs. Ric Flair, David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, 05/06/84
8. Antonio Inoki vs. Ric Flair, Collision in Korea, 4/29/95
9. Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko, Showdown at Shea, 8/9/80
10. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, Summerslam 1994
11. Undertaker vs. Mankind, King of the Ring 1998
12. Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair, Chi-Town Rumble 1989

I've seen every match on this list except for number 2, and of those 12, only numbers 1, 3, 10, and 12 would probably make my list, while 5, 6, 7, and 11 were decent matches and the rest weren't very good. Anyway, this seems like a topic that I might revisit in the near future. The magazine finishes with a few columns. Media watch reveals that the WWF will soon be moving Monday Night Raw to TNN and also discusses Beyond the Mat. Meanwhile, Dave Rosenbaum wonders just what WCW can do to dig themselves out of their hole and also wonders if WCW is going the way of exctinction. As it turns out, Rosenbaum was right on that point. Harry Burkett writes about the Impact Players and wonders why they must antagonize everybody they come across. Well, it's because Lance Storm is a jerk, I guess. The Japan and Mexico reports follow. In Japan, the Super J Cup 2000 is about to take place while in All-Japan, Jun Akiyama finally pinned Mitsuharu Misawa in a singles match. Meanwhile in Mexico, Abismo Negro won the fourth annual AAA Rey de Reyes tournament by disqualification, and Perro Aguayo is in the midst of wrapping up his career, although like any good wrestler, Aguayo would eventually come back to the ring. Finally, the monthly rankings follow, with The Rock ranked at number one this month while the Dudleys top the tag ranks, and there's an advertisement for ECW Hardcore Revolution on the back cover, which just serves to remind me how bad that game is.

Overall, this wasn't too bad of an issue, thanks in large part to the RVD interview. I do have to question the decision to cover WCW Uncensored at such length, but then again I don't think they had any other choice, as Super Brawl was even worse that year. Overall, I'd give it a 5.85 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading a review of me reading, and if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future reviews, than share them either by leaving a comment or by e-mail at

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