Daily News from New York, New York on August 4, 1999 · 770
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Daily News from New York, New York · 770

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New York, New York
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 4, 1999
Page:
770
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si(EOI(g!s Wrestlers to rumble By JUDITH SCHOOLMAN DAMY NEWS BUSINESS WRITER Holy headlock! Pro wrestlers Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker are taking on Wall Street. The World Wrestling Federation a money machine that is the hottest show on cable TV and is branching out to restaurants and other enterprises by combining outrageous showmanship and athletics wants to move into the world of stocks and bonds. Vince McMahon, chairman of the WWF, wants to cash in to the tune of $172.5 million by selling World Wrestling Federation stock to the public. While legions of entrepreneurs and even some entertainers have scored huge paydays in the bull market fever of the 1990s, it's not clear if The Rock, D'Lo Down and Chyna, the Ninth Wonder of the World, will get a cut of this deal. The papers the WWF filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission mention wrestlers as key to the company's success and said they are paid based on a portion of revenues but doesn't mention any stock options. How will investors react? "Wrestling is all about fans' devotion, and it will make the fans more devoted to the product and more loyal if they buy stock," said Dave Meltzer, who publishes the Wrestling Observer newsletter. McMahon and his family will keep control of the Stamford, Conn.-based company, which includes magazine publishing, TV programming, a Web site and pay-per-view and arena events, including Wrestlema-nia. Company officials couldn't comment because government By BUI HUTCHINSON DAkY NEWS STAFF WRfTER Photos of rowdy Woodstock rabblers are drawing thousands of potential tipsters to a New York State Police Web site, making detectives confident they'll turn the snapshots into mug shots. As of yesterday, 4,200 visits had been paid to www.troopers.state.ny.uswstockwstockind ex. html. At least 40 E-mail messages have are ready on Wall St. regulations require that they keep mum, but the documents filed with the SEC said the money would be used for new types of TV programming and upgrading TV and production facilities. WWF took in $251.5 million in revenues in the year ended April 30, up from $126.2 million a year before. Net profits soared to $56 million, from $8.5 million the previous year. The company hopes to profit later this year from a huge theme restaurant set to open at 1501 Broadway at 43rd St. in Times Square. In addition to sales of licensed WWF products, the company's TV success is a major contributor to the bottom line. Aside from its dominance on cable, a spokeswoman for WWOR-TV, Channel 9, said that beginning this month, the network will broadcast a two-hour weekly "WWF Smack-down" Thursday nights at 8. "An April special set records" for the network, said Channel 9UPN spokeswoman Patti Mc-Teague, prompting UPN to add the weekly WWF show, the first on broadcast TV But not all has been rosy lately for WWF, which faced two high-profile lawsuits this year. The family of Owen Hart, aka the Blue Blazer who plunged to his death in a May performance after falling from a cable high above the ring is suing the company. The WWF also recently settled a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions by the blond bombshell wrestler formerly known as Sable, aka Rena Me-ra She was the WWF women's wrestling champion, as well as a Playboy centerfold. (illstiDJcCi doraiginieft SMgs Hops poured in with cyberspace tips on the investigation. "It's certainly drawing a lot of attention from the public," Lt. Jamie Mills said yesterday. State police are seeking the public's help in identifying people in the 14 freeze-frames that went online Friday. The photos capture concertgoers vandalizing and looting trucks, pay phones and an automated teller machine. But the gotcha gallery was still embroiled .... kmJ S ta. n-yycH At I Steve Austin battles The Rock. WWF boss Vince McMahon (below, I.) is counting on appeal of wrestlers like ex-champ Sable to spur interest in public offering. -r. r i' t " . ' !: it, -c! ( P JM K I Lin-- ruj j-' in controversy yesterday. Editors from The Associated Press are miffed that 10 of their photos are being used in the Internet dragnet without permission. "They have told us that they don't believe they're doing anything wrong with it, and therefore they're going to leave it up there," said Vin Alabiso, vice president and executive photo editor for the news service. He was vague, however, on what action the service would take. "We're looking at other areas to force our point of view," he said. SmoCie forces jet down at JH By MIKE CLAFFEX MARTM MBUGUA and CORKY SEMASZKO DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS The flight lasted only 14 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity to the passengers aboard' a smoky Delta Air Lines jet forced to make an emergency landing at Kennedy Airport yesterday shortly after taking off from ;La-Guardia. ' C ' ' When the jet's wheels finally touched the tarmac at Kennedy, the 132 relieved passengers, who had been holding hands and praying silently for deliverance as thick, black , smoke seeped into the cabin, began cheering wildly. 1 1 1 ' "It seemed like forever;" said Bill Brooks, 24, a Manhattan advertising executive. - j Though police at Kennedy reported seeing a flame shooting from one engine of the Boeing 757, a preliminary investigation pointed to a faulty air conditioner as the source of the smoke, officials said. Several passengers were treated for minor injuries they suffered while evacuating the plane on emergency chutes. The drama began when Delta Flight 305, bound for Atlanta, took off from LaGuardia Airport at 8:33 a.m. The passengers were reading newspapers and opening laptop computers when the plane was suddenly rocked by a "loud bang," said advertising executive Steve Sanders, 29, of. Man hattan. i As smoke started hillowing, the shouts and cries from the passengers in economy class began filtering forward to business class, where Sanders was! Sitting, t i ; 8 8 i "People were just shouting, 'Smoke! Fire!' " he said. "We didn't see any flames, but we saw smoke." ' j Shaken flight attendants took to the intercoms to prevent passengers from panicking, witnesses said. "Their voices were tinged With a combination of fear and authority," Sanders said. "They announced we were going to make an emergency landing." Alan Trench, 50, of Manhattan, said many passengers were paralyzed by fear. "I don't know about others, but I was praying," Trench said. "People who were traveling together were clutching each other." The pilot, whose name Delta officials did not release, radioed the control tower at Kennedy at 8:45 a.m. and reported smoke in his cockpit, said Port Authority spokesman Greg Trevor. Two minutes later, the plane landed safely at Kennedy. "When we finally touched the ground, we came to a sudden stop," said jay Sharfstein, 32, of Manhattan "People were pressing against each other, but they were orderly. I went out the chute like they tell you to, and I kept running and running away from: the plane. I didn't know if the plane would blow up. I was just glad to be on the ground." With Austin Fenner

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