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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Stone Cold's hot in ratings


By GLENN COLE -- Toronto Sun
  The results have been phenomenal.

Stone Cold Steve Austin's reign as World Wrestling Federation champion and his angle involving owner Vince McMahon have driven the WWF's TV popularity to new heights: A 5.7 rating this past Monday night in the U.S., a unprecedented number for televised wrestling.

Now, there was no direct competition from Monday Nitro because TNT was carrying the NBA playoffs.

But had this situation happened about a year ago, the WWF would have been struggling to get a decent number.

Austin, the people's champion, doesn't preach about vitamins and prayers. He's just a regular guy, who drinks beer, uses words which we could never reprint in this family newspaper and pounds on his boss.

Tomorrow night, Austin will be part of a card at Hamilton's Copps Coliseum, which gets under way at 7:30 p.m.

Austin will team with the Undertaker and Ken Shamrock to battle Road Dog, Billy Gunn and Kane.

Austin will be appearing on TSN's Off The Record on Tuesday to hype the May 23 WWF show at the SkyDome, where he will battle Hunter Hearst Helmsley. No doubt, HHH's pals as well as WWF owner Vince McMahon will be on hand.

Austin won't lose -- the WWF can't afford to let him lose.

HERE AND THERE: Austin, Sunny, Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho were on hand for the Brian Pillman memorial card in Cincinnati earlier this week. Benoit made Jericho submit to the cross-face chicken wing in the feature match. Al Snow and Chris Candido, Sunny's husband, were also on the show ... Steve Regal has been given clearance to compete in the WWF. He has to get in shape ... Shawn Michaels is still having back pain and may need surgery ... Word is that Hollywood Hogan wanted Sting to turn heel and join him as a partner to battle Randy (Macho Man) Savage and Kevin Nash. Sting refused ... Dr. Death Steve Williams was involved in a WWF card earlier this week. There was talk last summer that he was going to join the WWF and he may still ... Dean Malenko's deal with the WCW expires next month. He's not expected to return ... WCW is going ahead with its $2-million lawsuit against Ric Flair.

BODY SLAMS: The Renegade Wrestling Alliance returns to the Mainway Sports and Game Centre, 3141 Mainway Drive in Burlington, next Saturday at 7 p.m. RWA tag team champs Cassanova Cliq take on the Canadian Patriots and Major Punishment takes on Stunning Sean in the main bouts. In a triple-threat match, Dan Garris, Danger Boy Derek Wild and Gord Rease are featured. For more information call 905-335-8520 ... Former WWFers Tony Atlas and S.D. Jones teamed up recently in New England, where both are working independent cards ... Former Stampede Wrestling star Mike Shaw (Makhan Singh) is operating a wrestling school in Michigan.