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Guest Booker with Mike Graham


MikeCampbell
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Rovert made a little post about this over in comments that don't warrant a thread, but after finally seeing this (I got it during KC's buy 2 get 1 sale, so i didn't have to pay for it :) ) I think it is something that's worthy of it's own discussion thread. This really shouldn't have been an entry in the GB series, because his "booking" amounts to a JCP/CWF merger and which wrestlers he'd have used from each company. That's it.

 

The bulk is Graham talking about growing up in the business, his father running FL, and his time in WCW. And, just like his time on the Rise and Fall DVD the bulk of what comes out of his mouth is complete bullshit. Here's just a small sampling of some of what he has to say.

 

- Magnum's car crash was karma for jumping to JCP from Florida after Mike discovered him in TX. He seems to have forgotten Magnum becoming a big star in Mid South.

 

- He told Vince in 1988 that Vince needed to invest in a developmental program. 15 years later "75%" of the Raw roster came up through FCW after learning under Steve Keirn.

 

- Bill Watts was fired for taking a piss off of the balcony in his office.

 

- The Brody/Luger thing was total over exaggeration by Lex. Luger got tired out and Brody tried to give him time to rest, and Lex freaked out and ran off.

 

- Before the Radicals left WCW Graham (50 at this point) threatened to kick Benoit (33 at this time)'s ass, and Benoit got scared and complained to WCW's HR dept.

 

- Not only did he tell Bischoff to get Hogan, but he also approached Hogan in the gym and convinced him to join WCW.

 

Plus this absolute gem during the "booking" He says that he thinks Ron Simmons and The Barbarian could draw big money with each other, just like their 1992 run in WCW.

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- Bill Watts was fired for taking a piss off of the balcony in his office.

Not that he was fired over it, but the Watts urinating in public story seems to be accepted wrestling folklore. Hank Aaron finding out about his outspoken Torch Talk interview thanks to Mark Madden was the straw that broke the camel's back, but it's generally accepted that his brash, uncouth nature was about to get him fired anyway.

 

- The Brody/Luger thing was total over exaggeration by Lex. Luger got tired out and Brody tried to give him time to rest, and Lex freaked out and ran off.

Brody sounds so kind and cooperative in this account! :)

 

- Before the Radicals left WCW Graham (50 at this point) threatened to kick Benoit (33 at this time)'s ass, and Benoit got scared and complained to WCW's HR dept.

Well, this is true apart from the fact Graham forgot to mention that he had a knife at the time. :) Which was a boneheaded move, as that's what forced WCW hands into giving Benoit and the rest of the Radicals their unconditional contract releases.

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Not that he was fired over it, but the Watts urinating in public story seems to be accepted wrestling folklore. Hank Aaron finding out about his outspoken Torch Talk interview thanks to Mark Madden was the straw that broke the camel's back, but it's generally accepted that his brash, uncouth nature was about to get him fired anyway.

I'd heard that he'd pissed in a trash can before, but hadn't heard the balcony story. I brought it up because that's why Graham says he was fired. The Torch Talk and Hank Aaron issues are both extremely well known as being the last straw.

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Not to defend Watts at all, but people really tend to ignore that Madden's behavior there was absolutely ridiculous and is probably why Ryder and Scherer thought they could convince people that the Torch wasn't above playing shit disturber to be part of a big story with regards to ECW & Request TV. I should really post the Shenanumake Post letter "from Madden" because it sums up the situation well and is probably the funniest thing that the Atlanta boys wrote during their run.

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Wasn't Madden just butthurt that he didn't get a job working for the WCW hotline? I seem to remember him unconvincingly denying so in an old Torch column.

 

FAKE EDIT: I found it.

 

SHILL THE ONE: And no, I'm not spewing forth such venom just because I didn't get the WCW 900 number job. To lose any position to a man as forthright and creative as Larry Zbyszko is an honor, although I could have used the money.

 

And yes, had I gotten the job, I wouldn't have written for the Torch. You wouldn't have Mark Madden to kick around any more.

 

Oddly, I had some pretty good recommendations from within WCW. They apparently went unheeded, as a conversation with 900 number whiz Scott Sergeant led me to believe I was never seriously considered. Have I burned bridges?

 

Anyway, I'm still for sale. Apply within.

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Bonus Madden content: The Mark in '93 telling Ole Anderson to KNUCK IF YA BUCK SON

 

"You want to antagonize me, you m-----f-----?"

Get in the ring m------f----!

And I'll kick your bitchy little ass, punk!"

 

-American poet W. Axl Rose challenging Spin Magazine publisher Bob Guccione Jr. to a fight in the Guns 'n' Roses song, "Get in the Ring."

 

"Uh, never mind. I was only kidding."

 

-Rose, when Guccione accepted.

 

 

And so it goes.

 

Axl, meet Ole Anderson. Ole, meet Axl. Or perhaps you've met. You seem to share the same gimmick.

 

Those who turn and run away will live to fight another day. Or at least avoid being a corporate liability at Turner Broadcasting.

 

The story so far:

 

On the WCW 900 line back on July 24, Ole Anderson decided to launch a rambling, almost moronic attack on us rag writers. He offered $10,000 to any of us who had the guts to get in the ring with him.

 

Well, I'm short on money, but not guts. So what the heck. After all, it's not often that a gentleman of wrestling's old school like Ole Anderson offers to confront someone like me anywhere but in a men's locker room with my back turned. So I faxed - yes, faxed, he said, laughing evilly - my acceptance of Ole's offer to World Championship Wrestling P.R. flunky Mike Weber on Aug. 4.

 

After all, who can't use $10,000? I know WCW could, after drawing only 1,100 people to an Omni show, but that happened after my acceptance.

 

And, after all, who doesn't like to show up a bully?

 

And that's what Ole Anderson is, a bully. Always has been, always will be. On the 900 number, Ole referred to us "rag writers" as being skinny-armed and skinny-assed. I'm neither, not by a long shot. I'm over 6-foot, over 300 pounds. And I can take a punch. I've taken many. In fact, I've gotten my butt waxed for free many times. I'd do it for 10 grand in a heartbeat.

 

I'm not scared of Ole Anderson, especially not with $10,000 on the table. I'd even get in the ring with him at a WCW house show where there'd be no witnesses.

 

Some of you have speculated that the result of a match between Ole Anderson and me would be obvious.

 

I, er, I'm not totally sure. Neither is he, I don't think.

 

Ole does have a rep for being legitimately tough. He did wrestle for a long time.

 

But he's 50 years old. He's had a myriad of knee operations. And, as one WCW wrestler gleefully pointed out to me, the last time Ole wrestled was in 1989 in a tag match against the Steiners in Toledo, and he blew up in under a minute. (Note to Ole: Does it strike you as funny that several of your wrestlers have offered me advice as to how to hang with you in a fight? I think it's hilarious.) And, when Ole had his brief stint as a troubleshooting ref more recently, he severely jammed a shoulder during the pedestrian act of going to the mat to make a count.

 

So, if I couldn't take him, I guess Bronco Lubich could.

 

Anyway, I'd still have to bet on Ole against me.

 

That's irrelevant, though, as I'll mention again later.

 

My fax was greeted with much consternation at WCW, much like my last fax to WCW. Weber, after being assured in a follow-up call that I wasn't kidding, refused to return my calls for two weeks. As did Bill Shaw. As did Bob Dhue. As did Sharon Sidello. As did the great Al Rogowski (Ole's real name) his own self.

 

Response finally came my way Tuesday, in the form of a fax from TBS senior counsel Michael Shapiro. Shapiro basically said my claim that Ole's offer constituted a verbal contract was balderdash, that any reputable counsel I might retain would say the same, and to shut up and sit down.

 

I disagree. Whether I pursue this matter further will, frankly, be dictated by my own economics.

 

By the way, isn't it ironic that Ole Anderson, that self-proclaimed real-life tough guy, would hide behind a lawyer after screwing up? I mean, a lawyer. That wasn't how we did it in my day, Ole.

 

So, what was my aim in all this?

 

Not to get $10,000. That was unrealistic.

 

Not to actually fight Ole Anderson. That, too, was unrealistic.

 

Not to get Ole Anderson fired, as cynics have suggested. If TBS won't fire him for running their wrestling company into the ground, they sure won't fire him for making an asinine challenge on a 900 number no one calls.

 

Not to aggravate Ron Lemieux. He and that brutal little piece of crap rag "Chairshots" aren't worth the time of day to me, although I do resent his newsletter and people like him for giving Ole Anderson fuel to criticize the rag writers, because people like him are. (And Ron, if Dave Meltzer had accepted Ole's challenge, you'd be hailing him as a hero. Even a "journalist" like you must know what a double standard is.)

 

Not for kicks. Yeah, well, for kicks, too.

 

The reason I did it was to show Ole Anderson up as a coward.

 

Which he is.

 

Not in the physical sense, although there certainly is evidence to that point now, n'est ce-pas?

 

But Ole Anderson is a coward in the sense that he just refuses to admit that the job he's doing running WCW could be, should be, open to criticism. Hell, the rag writers don't even have to say that anymore. The ratings speak for themselves. The pay-per-view buyrates speak for themselves. The crowd of 1,100 at the last Omni event speaks for itself.

 

But how does Ole Anderson respond to criticism?

 

With an argument as to why he's doing a good job? As to how he's going to turn this company around?

 

Noooooo.

 

He just says, oh, you guys suck, you're skinny weaklings, and I could kick your asses.

 

Wow, way to go, tough guy. I am SO impressed.

 

I mean, what a nitwit. This is an executive vice president of Turner Broadcasting, one of the nation's most prestigious corporations. When people disagree with him, he wants to fight? Did Francis Ford Coppola ever challenge Siskel & Ebert when they gave him a bad review? Hell, no.

 

And please, Ole, don't play it off as a joke. It wasn't.

 

I know one thing: I am a lot better, perhaps immeasurably better, at my job than Ole Anderson is at his.

 

I know another thing, too: When Ole Anderson was out of wrestling, in between bankrupting companies, he wasn't above calling a rag writer to suck up to him, to try to get him to lay favorable groundwork with an eye towards Ole getting another job in wrestling. Much to his credit, the rag writer in question didn't bite. Unfortunately and inexplicably, WCW did.

 

So, Ole, you're a coward. You challenged us rag writers to get in the ring with you. When I accepted, YOU backed down. Not me. YOU. You should pronounce your name O-lay, like the Spanish bullfighting cheer, because you just jumped out of the way when trouble approached. Are you scared, or broke, or both?

 

Ole Anderson, you're a yellow stinkin' coward.

 

And you owe me $10,000.

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Not even analysing what he says, in general he comes across as an extremely dislikeable little troll of a man here.

 

He comes off that way everywhere, I've never seen a guy with such an overinflated sense of his importance to the business. Even the Von Erichs seemed to realize they got where they were largely because of their father owning the company, Mike seems to think he was a legit superstar who's dad just happened to be the boss.

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And that's what Ole Anderson is, a bully. Always has been, always will be. On the 900 number, Ole referred to us "rag writers" as being skinny-armed and skinny-assed. I'm neither, not by a long shot. I'm over 6-foot, over 300 pounds.

I love how that is presented in such a way as to be induistinguishable from athletic credentials. Of course he was over 300 pounds, but not in a positive way. One of my obese friends says "when I was a 300-pounder", as though it's a positive, because he's used to mammoth-men presented as such courtesy of Titan from when he was a child.
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Plus this absolute gem during the "booking" He says that he thinks Ron Simmons and The Barbarian could draw big money with each other, just like their 1992 run in WCW.

In fairness, that PPV actually did make quite a bit of money.

 

Too bad it's because Sting vs. Jake Roberts was the main event.

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I absolutely love the part of Dave's Jack Brisco obit where he's quoted going off on the sons of territory owners getting all pissy that he and Jerry sold their Georgia stock to Vince. It was basically "fuck all these guys who's daddies gave them everything".

 

 

Here it is:

 

 

"A lot of people hated my guts for what I did," said Jack Brisco in an interview with the newsletter Wrestling Perspective. "Mostly people who owned the territories. Like Mike Graham, for instance, and the Von Erich boys, and the young guy from Minnesota, Greg Gagne. I always wondered where it was written in the law that Mike Graham owns fucking wrestling. It was handed to all of them. If it wasn't for their daddies, they couldn't have made a dime. I always thought to myself, where is it written that these fucking guys own this business? Who is the hell do they think they are? It belongs to the wrestlers. It doesn't belong to the guys who get it handed to them on a silver platter. I always had kind of a chip on my shoulder about this stuff."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not to defend Watts at all, but people really tend to ignore that Madden's behavior there was absolutely ridiculous and is probably why Ryder and Scherer thought they could convince people that the Torch wasn't above playing shit disturber to be part of a big story with regards to ECW & Request TV.

I wonder if by 1996 the Ryder and Scherer even remembered what Madden did with regards to Watts a few years earlier. I don't know if Ryder ever read it back in those days. Scherer did, no doubt. But I don't think he ever would have projected onto Wade something that Madden did. Mark was his own personal jackass back when writing for the Torch.

 

I don't think a whole lot of other people in 1996/97 gave a shit about Madden's time with the Torch either. To the online world, it just wasn't relevant at the time. Madden had been gone for a while, and there was a flood of new people online at the time who barely even knew what the WON and Torch were.

 

What drove Ryder and Scherer was their love of ECW, and the fact that they were attached to it as a gravytrain at the time. What convinced people to believe them was similar myopic love of ECW. My recollection is that most of the folks who didn't give two shits for ECW saw through the bullshit quickly.

 

John

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