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Happy 17th Anniversary Hulk Hogan WCW Heel Turn

July 07, 2013 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seventeen years ago today history was made and a revolution was started. Hulk Hogan dropped the leg on WCW and joined Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to form the New World Order beginning what some would call the greatest angle in the history of pro wrestling.

It is easy for a lot of us to sit back and criticize the many mistakes WCW made but on one night they got it right. July 7 1996 at the WCW Bash at the Beach 96 one angle revitalized a legendary career, gave new life to a struggling company, created icons, and pumped new blood into an entire business that some had left for dead months earlier. The night Hulk Hogan turned heel is something that those of us that were fans in 1996 will never forget.

To fully appreciate the impact of this angle I have to give you a little background. WCW had been a place up to that point that was more appreciated by hardcore and longtime wrestling fans for legends like Ric Flair and young athletic stars like Brian Pillman and Steve Austin. It had a nice following but it was more southern than national. Eric Bischoff was determined to change that and made a stunning move by signing Hulk Hogan in 1994. Bischoff put his job on the line and offered Hogan a deal which the WWE opted not to match.

The deal was a huge gamble for WCW. Hogan had been on the downside of his WWE career. It was generally believed that Hogan would have been used as a guy to hand the torch off to the next generation of stars rather than be the face of the company had he stayed in the WWE. Hogan was also the poster boy of everything WCW fans hated about the WWE. Could Bischoff level the playing field bringing over new fans to outnumber the fans who would be tuning out of WCW?

It was a nice start for Hogan and WCW. Hogan feuded with Vader and Ric Flair early on and did fairly well on pay per view. The awareness of WCW was certainly higher with Hogan on top. Unfortunately the honeymoon would end faster than anyone expected. Hogan had run through everyone on top without returning the favor, no-sold finishers, and ate up every top heel in the company in a little over a year. Hogan without the oversight of Vince McMahon was becoming a real problem in WCW.

Fans started tuning out thanks to Hogan’s ridiculously cartoonish angles and just got tired of seeing the Hulk beat all of his repackaged foes. In addition to their own self inflicted damage, a little company called Extreme Championship Wrestling started making some noise. A big part of that noise was to expose the faults of WCW to their fans. ECW fans heard every week how lame WCW was and more people began laughing at the joke that was WCW.

Eric Bischoff played his ace card and developed a Monday night program to not only counter WWE programming, but steal some of their audience. In addition to the Monday night move, Bischoff slowly started poaching familiar names like Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage. Even with great talents like Heenan and Savage on board, WCW continued to come off as a company out of touch with the teenage audience and stale on ideas.

This all changed on May 27. Scott Hall clad in denim, walked out on WCW Monday Nitro and caused the biggest stir in the history of the program. Hall laid out a challenge to face three WCW wrestlers and said he would have two friends to join him in the match. A couple of weeks later Kevin Nash joined Scott Hall on Nitro. It was implied that Hall and Nash, seen on WWE TV for years as Razor Ramon and Diesel respectively, had invaded WCW. Nash and Hall were known as the Outsiders to play off of this. For fans that didn’t know any better, this was must-see television because anyone from the WWE could show up next.

WCW was starting to turn things around. Nitro had regularly done ratings in the low-mid twos yet were now pulling in ratings between 3.3-3.5. It may not sound impressive but to increase your ratings that fast and maintain them was a big deal. But even bigger than the ratings and the buyrates was the perception of WCW. WCW was cool again (well most of it).

The angle really kicked into second gear at the Great American Bash 96. Eric Bischoff accepted Hall’s challenge and said his three WCW wrestlers would meet them at Bash at the Beach. Bischoff refused to reveal the names to Hall and Nash. For that, he was powerbombed off the stage through a table by Nash. Today, this is something you probably see every week in wrestling. In 1996 the only place you were seeing anything like this was ECW. It was a very powerful angle and a historic moment in the angle.

To show you how big this angle was the Nitro rating that week shot up from a 2.7 to a 3.4. Nitro would only do one more rating below a 3.0 all year. A “random” drawing was held on Nitro the following week to determine who from WCW would wrestle Hall and Nash. Randy Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger were chosen to represent WCW. Hall and Nash refused to reveal their partner. For the weeks up to the pay per view all of the talk on Nitro was, “who is the third man?” For fans at home not knowing any better, it could have been anyone from the WWE.

The week before Bash at the Beach, Hall and Nash invaded Nitro as usual. The Outsiders walked through the crowd in the middle of a segment with Bischoff and Heenan. The crowd was all over this and just eating it up. Hall and Nash wound up taking front row seats with popcorn in hand. Nash eventually grabbed the microphone and said, “It looks like we’re taking over a little early.” Hall and Nash proceeded to walk up the broadcast area where Bischoff and Heenan were sitting. Heenan left. Security stopped them and Sting, Luger, and Savage all madeup like Sting came out to confront them. Nash yelled, “look at the clowns!” The entire WCW locker room emptied out to support their company. Everyone had to be separated by security. It was an unreal moment and only added more excitement for Bash at the Beach.

Keep in mind the Internet was in its infancy so most of the scoops during this time period came from either the wrestling newsletters or hotlines. Most of the reputable sources reported that Hulk Hogan would be the third man for the Outsiders in the weeks leading to the show. Dave Meltzer on the other hand reported a week or so before the show that Hogan didn’t want to turn heel. Lex Luger was reported to be the backup plan with more sources leaning towards Luger in the days leading up to the show.

I remember watching Bash at the Beach 96 and thinking, “just get on with it.” It was torture sitting through two hours of undercard matches with so much anticipation for the main-event. All in all it was a pretty lousy undercard that night which certainly didn’t help matters. Finally though it was time for the main-event and you could cut the tension with a knife in the living room amongst friends and live on pay per view in the arena.

The Oustiders come out first with no third man. Gene Okerlund walks down the entrance way and looks confused. Dusty Rhodes says on commentary, “This is bogus!” Okerlund then enters the ring to confront Hall and Nash and says, “I don’t see three men here tonight. Where is your partner?

Hall answers and calls him “Scheme Gene.” Hall then tells Gene, “All you need to know little man is that he’s here, and he’s ready.” Okerlund then asks Nash, “Is your partner telling me your third man is in the building?” Nash says, “He’s here alright Gene. We’ve got enough to handle it right now, right here.” The WCW announcers are upset.

Before I talk about the match let me just say that Bobby Heenan is awesome here. He is selling this whole mystery like it is the biggest thing he has ever seen. Considering where he’s been, that said a lot. Heenan is mostly known as a witty commentator but when he had to get an angle over, he was a genius and highly underrated in that regard. We all talk about Heenan’s performance at the 1992 Royal Rumble but this may have been just as good.

Savage, Luger, and Sting all come out with war paint on. It’s your typical match early on, although very heated thanks to the audience. Lex takes a fall early on and is out on the floor. Luger is knocked unconscious on the floor. Heenan than tells the crowd that it’s now two against two, or three against two if the other guy is really in the building. Heenan tells Dusty, “Something’s up.” This was brilliant as it played into the whole drama surrounding the reports of Luger joining the Outsiders. Luger gets stretchered out and at this point just about everyone watching is thinking that Lex is coming back and turning on his friends.

The guys actually have a pretty decent match at this point. The crowd is red hot and everyone appears to be working their butts off. Savage was fantastic here. Savage wrestled with such aggression against Hall and Nash that he really got the whole idea over of how WCW hated these guys for invading their company.

Savage drops Hall with a double axe handle from the top rope. Nash and Hall are both down. Nash gives Savage a low blow. All four guys are out (Sting from earlier). Referee Pee Wee Anderson starts to count them out. The attention is turned to the ramp as Hulk Hogan walks out with the red and yellow and pointing fingers. The fans start screaming, yes screaming for Hulk. Once again this isn’t 2011 and most of the crowd had no idea at all about the Hogan rumors. God love that gullible WCW crowd.

Dusty and Tony Schiavone start screaming about Hulk Hogan being there to save the day for WCW. Dusty sounded a little phony but Schiavone was really believable. Dusty, “Hulk Hogan is in the building.” Schiavone, “You’re damned right he is!” Bobby Heenan asks the million dollar question, “Yeah but who’s side is he on?” Dusty won’t even hear of it.

Hogan enters the ring, Hall and Nash take a powder, and Savage is still laid out in the center of the ring from the low blow (he’s selling this low blow like he’s Josh Koscheck). Hogan leans back in the turnbuckle, looks around, and then drops the leg heard around the world across the neck of his old foe Randy Savage. Heenan announces that Hogan is the third man. Hogan drops another leg while Hall and Nash join the party and give each other high-fives. Heenan calls it, “the lowest shot ever given to professional wrestling.” Keep in mind this was before Dixie Carter’s state of the company address on TNA Impact.

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I hate to keep gloating about Heenan but I will. What made Heenan so great in this situation in addition to everything else was his credibility. Heenan tells the fans that he told them so and he was right about Hogan all of these years. Another heel announcer like Michael Cole would have suddenly started talking about his love for Hogan where Heenan actually turned himself babyface here.

Of course we all know what followed next. Fans started throwing trash into the ring at Hall, Hogan, and Nash. Gene Okerlund immediately entered the ring to ask Hogan what the hell this was all about. One thing to note here is that if this was present day wrestling, you would have turned into RAW or Impact to get this interview. At Bash at the Beach, you were certainly rewarded for the money you paid to watch this great moment.

Hogan cut what would become a historic promo in the center of the ring to explain the turn. Here is the entire transcript of the Hogan promo thanks to IMDB.com.

Gene Okerlund: Hulk Hogan, excuse me. Excuse me. What in the world are you thinking?

Hulk Hogan: Mean Gene the first thing you gotta do is to tell these people to shut up if they want to hear what I’ve gotta say.

Gene Okerlund: I have been with you for so many years for you to join up with the likes of these two men absoulutely makes me SICK to my stomach! And I think that these people here and a lot of people around the whole wrestling world have had just about enough of this man and this man and you want to put yourself in this group? You’ve gotta be…kidding me!

Hulk Hogan: Well the first thing you’ve gotta realize brother is that this right here is the future of wrestling. You can call this the New World Order of wrestling brother. These two men came from a great big organization up north and everybody was wondering about who the third man was. Well who knows more about that organization than me brother?

Gene Okerlund: I’ve been there and done that. You have made the wrong decision in my opinion.

Hulk Hogan: Well let me tell you something, I made that organization brother! I made the people rich up there. I made the people that ran that organization rich up there. And when it all came to pass, the name Hulk Hogan, the man Hulk Hogan got bigger than the entire organization brother! And then Billionaire Ted amigo, he wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan. Well Billionaire Ted promised me movies brother. Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars. And Billionaire Ted promised me world caliber matches. And as far as Billionaire Ted, Eric Bischoff and entire WCW goes, I’m bored brother. That’s why I want these two guys here, these so called Outsiders, these are the men I want as my friends. They are the new blood of professional wrestling and not only are we going to take over the whole wrestling business, with Hulk Hogan, the new blood and the monsters with me. We will destroy everything in our path Mean Gene.

Gene Okerlund: Look at all of this crap in this ring! This is what’s in the future for you if you want to hang around the likes of this man Hall, and this man Nash.

Hulk Hogan: As far as I’m concerned, all this crap in this ring represents these fans out here. For two years brother! For two years, I held my head high. I did everything for the charities. I did everything for the kids. And the reception I got when came out here, you fans can stick it brother. Because if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, you people wouldn’t be here. If it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would still be selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis. And if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, all of these “Johnny come latelys” that you see out here wrestling wouldn’t be here. I was selling the world out brother while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school. So the way it is now brother, with Hulk Hogan and the New World Organization of wrestling brother, me and the new blood by my side. Whatcha gonna do when the New World Order runs wild on you? Whatcha gonna do?

Hulk Hogan: What are you gonna do?

Gene Okerlund: Hey, don’t touch me! Don’t touch me, I’m going to see the lawyers! Tony, Dusty, Bobby, Dammit let’s get back to you!

Tony Schiavone: “All right. We have seen the end of Hulkamania. For Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, for Dusty Rhodes, For “Mean” Gene Okerlund, I don’t know…I’m Tony Schiavone. Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell! We’re outta here. Straight to hell.”

What made this equally memorable was the scene of Hogan talking as endless amounts of trash rained down on him in the ring. I never saw anything like that and man did it give this angle some extra punch. Seeing how much the fans hated this made it even that much more powerful to the fans at home watching on television. It was a moment that I and many others will certainly never forget.

Jeff Peck and I break this down on an upcoming edition of the Still Real to Us podcast. We debated whether this was the greatest angle ever. I argued that next to Hogan dropping the leg on the Iron Sheik and beginning Hulkamania that it was. It pumped new life into the wrestling business which was struggling across the board. It saved what looked like was the end of the career of Hulk Hogan. It turned Scott Hall and Kevin Nash into icons. Was Stone Cold Steve Austin’s confrontation with Mike Tyson more successful? Maybe, but I don’t know if we would have ever even seen Stone Cold if it weren’t for the N.W.O.

The angle also ended a lot differently than it started. The same angle that revitalized the business and shot WCW to the moon was also badly mismanaged and would end up hurting WCW in the end more than it helped it. It had nothing to do with the Bash at the Beach angle but more to do with the incompetent booking of Eric Bischoff, Hall, Nash, and Hogan.

I could also make an argument that this was the greatest heel turn ever in the business. Bruno Sammartino, Steve Austin, The Rock, and Hulk Hogan were probably the biggest money makers in pro wrestling. All made money as blockbuster babyfaces but only Hogan did it as a blockbuster heel. While I am sure that someone will argue differently, I can’t think of a bigger heel that drew more money than Hogan did during his N.W.O. run.

Happy 17th anniversary Hollywood Hulk Hogan, the N.W.O., and Bash at the Beach 1996.

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Top 10 Greatest Pro Wrestling Promo Men Of All Time

May 29, 2013 By: Category: lists, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

My favorite part of the pro wrestling business has always been a great promo. Growing up as a fan in the 1980s you were inundated with them. That is why today I celebrate the pro wrestling promo and look back at the best mic men of all time.

WWE.com put out a list of great promos last year. It got me to thinking about my memories of watching pro wrestling as a fan and tape trader in the 1980s. So without even taking one look at the WWE list I thought it would be fun to sit back and put a list together of my own…WWE politic-free!

It is hard for fans today to understand how important the art of the promo used to be. There were no such things as scripts or script writers. These great talkers came out, grabbed the microphone, and delivered a cacophony of threats, jokes, and promises, and talked thousands of people into paying their hard earned money to either watch them get revenge or watch them get the beating they deserve. It was what made or broke you as a top draw in pro wrestling. That was the difference between these guys and what fans may consider a great promo today.

This list is in no particular order or rank. The list comes after watching endless hours of pro wrestling as a kid through local TV and tape trading. Thanks to You Tube fans can now appreciate these great promo men, decades after their words helped plenty of butts into the local arenas. So without any further a due let’s take a look back at the greatest mic men in pro wrestling history.

Austin Idol - He probably isn’t the first guy you think of when you think of the greatest pro wrestling promo men of all time but that is only because you probably haven’t seen him…Jack! Idol is one of my favorite promo men of all time. His promos in Memphis, TN as a babyface or a heel are still some of the best in the history of the business.Hopefully the WWE buys the Memphis Wrestling library someday so everyone can see the greatness of the Universal Heartthrob.

Jerry Lawler - Before the King became a corny WWE character he ruled the Memphis territory with his two fists. During that time, the King was able to draw 10,000 fans per weekend (at the height of the territory) to see him get revenge on whomever the unlucky villain was that laid out Lawler the week before. The one thing I always loved about Lawler’s promos in Memphis is that he came across as genuine and not just some loud pro wrestler yelling about what he was going to do to his opponents.The money this man’s mouth drew makes him one of the greatest of all time in my opinion.

Roddy Piper - There are two different Roddy Pipers. The one before Piper turned babyface in 1986 and the legendary Piper who delivered some of the greatest promos in pro wrestling history on a weekly basis from 1975-1986. Piper’s promos in San Francisco, Portland, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic, and his heel WWF stint were genius. I could sit back and watch hours of Piper promos on You Tube and find myself wanting more when they are over. I also dare anyone to watch a few hours of Piper as a color commentator in Georgia Championship Wrestling and not come away thinking Piper was the greatest heel/color commentator in pro wrestling history…but that is for a different top ten.

Ric Flair - Wooo! The Nature Boy! It is impossible to put this kind of list together without including the great Ric Flair. I think what stands out about Flair over anyone on this list is longevity when it comes to promos. Most of these guys had a point in their career where they peaked and their promos were never as good as their early days. For Flair, he continues to deliver some of the best promos in the business. I grew up watching Flair cut promos on TBS every week and thought he was a legend. Even as a babyface Flair could knock them out of the park, yet his heel promos are where he was in his wheel house.

Magnificent Muraco - If I was ranking this list Muraco would be way at the top. For me, Don Muraco was the greatest promo man of all-time. I grew up watching Muraco cut promos every week on WWF television on everyone from Pedro Morales, to Chief Jay Strongbow, to Bob Backlund, to Jimmy Snuka and they were all the most entertaining promos I ever heard. His promos always had somewhat of a “shooty” aspect to them and he always gave fans a great reason to pay $15 to watch him get his butt kicked. The Rock has credited Muraco for influencing his promos. It is a shame more pro wrestlers didn’t learn promos from this legend.

Dusty Rhodes - Like the majority of wrestlers on this list, there are two different versions of Dusty Rhodes. There is the Dusty Rhodes who was booked as the top star of a territory (by himself most of the time) and the Dusty who was a bit player in his later years. I can’t think of many babyfaces that were able to envoke as much passion and intensity from pro wrestling fans as Dusty Rhodes. There was just something about Dusty Rhodes that made you relate to him and made you want to see him get his revenge. I know that “Hard Times” is a classic but as a kid I was watching promos like that almost every week from the American Dream.

Captain Lou Albano - For me, Muraco and Captain Lou are neck and neck as far as the greatest promo men in the history of the business. I would almost give the nod to Albano for the fact that he was able to draw so much money as a heel manager for Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund’s challengers. Like Muraco, there is a real funny comedic side to Albano’s promos that even as a kid I appreciated. Go back and watch them now on You Tube and while the great Captain probably couldn’t say half of what he said in this current politically correct environment, you can certainly see the humorous side that Lou had to his promos. That was probably because he delivered more than half of his promos intoxicated.

Superstar Billy Graham - Thanks to You Tube I have really grown to appreciate the great Superstar. If you look at the big picture and take note of all of the great promo men that Billy Graham influenced, there is no way you can walk away from this list without recognizing his ability to talk fans into the seats. He influenced the greats like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Dusty Rhodes by bringing his Muhammad Ali-ish brand of rhyme and arrogance to the microphone. The WWE DVD on the Superstar was a great reminder of how talented this man was for his time period.

The Rock - I went back and forth on this one. I grew up watching pro wrestling in the 1980s and I saw a lot of great promo men. But there is something that still gets me every time The Rock is on television with a microphone. Beleieve me, he went through a period in my opinion in which his promos got stale. However, his rebirth as “Hollywood” Rock during his last full time run produced some of the greatest promos in WWE history. Let’s face it. He didn’t become one of the biggest WWE stars of all time on his wrestling. His mouth did the talking and his promos turned him into a megastar.

Steve Austin - If you really look at the guys mentioned on this list other than The Rock, Austin had a real small period where he delivered those great promos. However, those promos revolutionized the pro wrestling business and helped shoot it to heights that I don’t think will ever be achieved again. Austin’s critics will say that it is easy for anyone to get over using curse words. I disagree. There was an intensity and a realism that Austin brought to his promos which has never been matched since he left the WWE as a full-time performer. His stint as the head honcho on Tough Enough and those final moments at the end of every show were a great reminder as to how great Stone Cold was and still is as a mic man.

Honorable Mention: Paul Heyman, Hulk Hogan, Bobby Heenan, Tully Blanchard, Harley Race, Nick Bockwinkel, Randy Savage, Sgt. Slaughter, Bill Watts, Jake Roberts, J.J. Dillon, Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes, CM Punk, Raven, and Curt Hennig


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Bruno Sammartino WWE Matches Video Playlist

February 06, 2013 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Bruno Sammartino is not only heading into the WWE Hall of Fame, but he is being introduced to a brand new audience. The WWE Universe will learn about the greatness of the Living Legend starting with a fantastic series of videos posted on You Tube by the WWE.

The legend of Bruno Sammartino is a fascinating thing. For fans that either grew up watching Bruno or learned about pro wrestling history, there is a great appreciation for Bruno’s legacy. The man not only sold out Madison Square Garden more than any other WWE champion, but fought a laundry list of just about every legendary name of that era. Now that Bruno and the WWE have mended fences, today’s fans will get to see exactly how great this legend truly was.

WWE Fan Nation quickly assembled a fantastic assortment of videos spotlighting the former WWWF champion at various periods of his career. Of course a great majority of videos come from Bruno’s last run in the mid 1980s which Bruno will readily admit was not his best. My hunch is that the WWE will hold on to the deeper videos for an upcoming DVD release.

The Bruno playlist is…
Take a special look at the legendary career of 2013 Hall of Famer, Bruno Sammartino
Bruno Sammartino vs. Ivan Koloff – WWE Championship Match: Madison Square Garden November 17, 1975
Bruno and David Sammartino vs. Bobby Heenan and Paul Orndorff: Prime Time Wrestling, March 26, 1985
Bruno Sammartino vs. Spiros Arion – Greek Death Match: Madison Square Garden, April 14, 1975
Bruno and David Sammartino vs. Brutus Beefcake and Johnny V: Madison Square Garden, May 20, 1985
Bruno Sammartino returns to WWE: Championship Wrestling, September 22, 1984
Bruno Sammartino vs. Stan Hansen – WWE Championship Cage Match: Madison Square Garden, August 7, 1977
Special interview with Bruno Sammartino and Larry Zbyszko: Championship Wrestling, January 26, 1980
Bruno Sammartino vs. Hercules: Houston Live Event, August 28, 1987
Bruno Sammartino and Paul Orndorff vs. Roddy Piper and Bob Orton: Prime Time Wrestling, February 24, 1986
Piper’s Pit with Bruno Sammartino: Madison Square Garden, October 21, 1985
Bruno Sammartino announces his retirement: Championship Wrestling, August 12, 1981

Again a lot of the matches come from Bruno’s last run which is a slight disappointment but at the same time it also features WWE legends that most of the current Universe are familiar with. I hope we get a chance to see some of the MSG, Boston Garden, and Philadelphia Spectrum classics in upcoming video releases. As an FYI you can do a search on You Tube for some of those classics although some aren’t the best quality.

Enjoy and learn the legend of Bruno Sammartino!

Bruno Sammartino: An Autobiography Of Wrestling’s Living Legend

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Flashback: WWE Survivor Series 1989 Review

March 09, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWF Survivor Series1989Opening with the World Wrestling Federation Superstars telling us what they’re thankful for. Obviously they’re in character, and it’s something I miss, Survivor Series being on either Thanksgiving Eve or on Thanksgiving Day itself. Also Vinnie Mac is running down the matches-a walk down memory lane.

Gorilla open us up with Jesse “the Pilgrim” Ventura. We get corrected by Ventura that he is Jesse “the Body” Ventura. I miss having a heel color guy at the announcer’s booth.

The Enforcers versus the Dream Team

It’s the Enforcers versus the Dream Team for the first match. The Enforcers come out first, then the Dream Team. With this, I miss having most of the PPV, if not the whole thing, as 5-on-5, or this PPV, 4-on-4, Elimination Tag Team Matches

Tito and the Honky Tonk Man start the match out. Jimmy Hart is on his megaphone, what a third man on the booth for the match. Dusty gets huge pops from the crowd-his yellow polka dots and all. I’m happy there isn’t any wrestlers that has tights like Brutus “the Barber”-wait, there is (Zack Ryder).

It seems that the crowd back in 1989 was hotter than a crowd in 2010. Also there were clear babyfaces and clear heels.

Dusty even hit “the Model” with a dropkick.

It came down to the Boss Man against the Rooster, Dusty, and the Barber, and the Rooster gets pinned after the Sidewalk Slam. Dusty hit the running high cross and pinned the Boss Man and won for his team, being Sole Survivors for their team. Dusty is barely bleeding and Gorilla said he was “busted wide open.” Really?

Sole Survivors: Rhodes and the Barber

The Kings Court versus the 4 x 4’s

Pomp and Circumstance plays and massive boos, and the King’s Court comes out for the Macho King Randy Savage, and they faced the 4 x 4’s. Jimmy Hart is out for the King’s Court, it’s great that Jimmy is out for this match as well. The 4 x 4’s didn’t come out to a theme song. I’m happy that guys have theme songs nowadays, because that would of bothered me back then when guys came out without theme songs.

Hercules got eliminated by Earthquake doing his finisher, running the ropes and sitting on him. That would be a bad way to spend a Thanksgiving night. Later in the match, Hacksaw defeated the Hammer by a 3-Point Stance. Finishers in the late ‘80’s were awesomely simply. I miss those days. Jimmy Garvin showed us his Garvin stomp. I wonder where Randy Orton got his “stomp” from. Makes me wonder.

“The Macho King” was a mighty heel back in November 1989. With being a former Intercontinental and WWF Champion, I’m surprised he’s in the second match of the card, but I think it brings credibility to the third annual Survivor Series. Shoulder Breaker by Bravo and a Flying Elbow Drop from the Macho King to “the Hitman,” Duggan is along against Earthquake, Bravo, and Savage. Duggan got counted out.

Sole Survivors: Bravo, Earthquake, and Savage

THE GENIUS WITH A SPECIAL THANKSGIVING POEM! HALLIUEHIA! WE NEED MORE POEMS AND MORE GENIUS!

Million Dollar Team versus the Hulkamanics

The Million Dollar Team didn’t get an entrance! What a rip-off! The World Wrestling Federation Champion and the WWF Tag Team Champions are on the same team? The WWF Champion being the third match on the card? The crowd goes wild for the Hulkster! With all these years that Roberts carried the snake, I’m surprised the snake never tried to squeeze someone and try to eat them for supper.

Hogan and Zeus start the match. The shoving match and the crowd chant “Hogan!” Both men tease starting the match and the crowd eats it up. I love it! Zeus gets disqualified!

Demolition and Hogan triple team the Million Dollar Man. Ventura goes off about the ref letting it happen over Zeus getting disqualified and putting his hands on the ref.

Another shoulder breaker by the Barbarian to Axe! I’m surprised to see two shoulder breakers by the third match on the card.

Roberts and Hogan against the Powers of Pain and the Million Dollar Man. I’m really enjoying these Survivor Series matches. The Million Dollar Man gives us the Million Dollar Piledriver on Jake Roberts! Another move I miss seeing! The Powers of Pain gives Hogan a Spike Piledriver and the Powers of Pain got double disqualified. Poor DiBiase, being outnumbered.

The Million Dollar Dream on the WWF Champion! Roberts breaks up the sleeper because Hogan’s arm went down for the second drop. Virgil gets DDT’ed and the Million Dollar Man nailed Roberts in the face and eliminated him. It’s down to Hogan and DiBiase at the end.

Double clothesline by both men and the ref counts them out. After a couple of minutes, Hogan hits DiBiase with the Big Boot and the Leg Drop and get’s the three count.

Sole Survivor: WWF Champion Hulk Hogan

Macho King and Zeus interview to promote the No Holds Barred Tag Team Steel Cage match with Savage and Zeus against Hogan and the Barber. Hogan and Beefcake also did an interview to hype out their match as well. Sheri threw salt in their eyes and Zeus and Savage attacked them.

Interview with the Rude Brood and Roddy’s Rowdies. Nice build up for their match, which is next.

The Rude Brood versus Roddy’s Rowdies

Rougeau Brothers-Snunka-Bushwhackers

Jimmy Hart’s back for his third match with the Rougeau Brothers! The Genius comes out with Mr. Perfect! Bobby “the Brain” didn’t come out with “the Ravishing” Rick Rude. Rude has awesome tights, and awesome mustache. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka comes out for the next team. The Bushwhackers comes out next with their whackerish walk. “The Hot Rod” Roddy Piper comes out with the bag pipes being played in the arena.

Quick tags with the Bushwhakers, Piper, and Snuka, and they all are biting Perfect. That isn’t perfect, it’s quiet rude. Wait a second, wasn’t one of the Rougeau brothers the Mountie in a couple of years? Another thing, half of the Rude Brood was from Minnesota, and sadly enough, aren’t with us anymore.

Both Rougeau bothers got eliminated right away, first the Mountie, then the other brother. At least the two guys from Minnesota are left on the Rude Brood, right? The Rude Awakening and Luke is eliminated and it’s down to Rude and Perfect against Snuka and Piper!

Piper and Rude got a double count-out. What bums. After numerous near falls, Mr. Perfect wins with the Perfect Plex! I couldn’t be happier!

Sole Survivor: Mr. Perfect!

The Rude Brood was interviewed, and then the Ultimate Warriors were interviewed for the main event match for this Survivor Series. I have no clue what the Ultimate Warrior just said in his part of the interview.

The Heenan Family versus the Utlimate Warriors

Another team that doesn’t get an introduction, and that’s the Heenan Family. That bothers me.

Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart and the Rockers already start the match before the WWF Intercontinental Champion came out, and the Warrior finally came out and started the match, running out Mountain Dew, because he sprinted down to the ring with the IC Belt on.

Andre the Giant got counted out because the Warrior clotheslined him out of the ring and wasn’t able to get up and into the ring before the ref counted to ten. How sad. It’s nice to see Arn Anderson in a main event spot on a WWE pay-per-view.

Bobby Heenen get’s a “Weasel” chant, and Haku eliminated Neidhart. Bobby gets tagged in when Marty was hurt and then tagged right out again. Bobby even pinned Marty after the damage was done.

It came down to the Warrior against Anderson and Heenen. Warrior pinned Anderson, and Heenen got beaten by the Warrior. Heenen got running shoulder hit and splashed and was defeated.

Sole Survivor: The Ultimate Warrior.

Philosopher’s Perspective:

First and second match, it came down to one-on-three. I find it odd that the endings were similar. Even though the babyfaces won the first one and the heels won the second match, I still find it odd that they looked at similar endings.

I find it weird that the WWF Champion was put in the middle of the card when the Intercontinental Champion was put in the main event slot. I’m assuming that this is happening because they wanted the WWF Champ to have more time than any other match, which makes sense. But the WWF Champion was Hulk Hogan; we all know he normally doesn’t have matches longer than 15 minutes.

I’m not a fan of the end of the pay-per-view we saw the Intercontinental Champion face a manager for a couple of minutes. How fair is that? I agree with Jesse Ventura at the announcer’s table and that shouldn’t have happened.

Besides those notes, I enjoyed the the ’89 Survivor Series. I enjoyed hearing Gorilla and Ventura at the announcer’s table and enjoyed the wrestlers that got me into watching the WWF around this period. Finishers were simpler and fans bought everything that was done inside the ring. That’s something that I don’t feel like happens anymore. Also, at least the announcers build-up and tear down the guys that they’re suppose to, unlike Michael Cole these days. At least in two Survivor Series time, the beginning of the end of Hulkamania starts. This is Eric Darsie from Minnesota, until next time; do what you do, and stay classy.

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/, and on Twitter @IAmDarsie.

WWE: Survivor Series Anthology, Vol. 1 – 1987-1991

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Flashback: WWE Survivor Series 1987 Review

March 01, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWF Surivor Series 1987Thursday, November 26th, 1987 – Richfield Coliseum – Richfield, Ohio – Jesse “the Body” Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon are our color commentators for the very first Survivor Series event that the World Wrestling Federation had put on every year since!

This blog also marks the first of my Survivor Series blog series for CamelClutchBlog[dot]Com! I’m excited to visit (for most of these events) and revisit (a few) Survivor Series memories! I’ll be giving the highlights of each match instead of trying to list off each blow.

Let’s take a history lesson before we jump into the review of the first Survivor Series. The National Wrestling Alliance (JCP) was putting on their version of WrestleMania, called Starrcade, on Thanksgiving night for several years by 1987. So Vince McMahon, in all his wisdom, thought he’ll take a stab at the Jim Crockett and offer a television special that was built around teams of five and the goal of the match was to eliminate every member of the opposing team. Birthed the Survivor Series and the blog series!

Monsoon and Ventura get introduced to the crowd and they walk down to their position to call the pay-per-view and they were booed, to my surprised. They told us to have a Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks men! I wish this event was still held on Thanksgiving Day. Oh American Football, why did you have to take over its position?

Ventura and Monsoon go over the card and the rules of the matches. For the first time since WrestleMania III earlier this year, Andre the Giant and World Wrestling Federation Champion Hulk Hogan will lock up for the very first time!

Craig DeGeorge interviews the Honky Tonk Man and his team. Honky talks about how his team is the greatest put together and there’s a video played showing when Honky nailed the Macho Man with his guitar.

The Fink announces the first match!

“The King” Harley Race, Hercules, Danny Davis, “Outlaw” Ron Bass, and the WWF Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man versus Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat, Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and Randy “Macho Man” Savage

When the heel team was introduced, the face team was interviewed by Mean Gene. They all said that the heel team will be defeated and there will be survivors in this match. I surely hope there are winners in this match.

Sounds like to me, WWE dubbed over a different theme song when the faces came out after their interview. I find this to be sad because it takes away the feel of the original broadcast. When Savage came out, the crowd pops. I find it strange that the future WWF Champion in a few short months opens this show.

Hercules and the Barber start off the first match on the first card. One thing I noticed with the quick tags at the start of the match was how into the fans were into the match. Seems like the fans nowadays aren’t as in as the fans of 1987 were.

One point Race and Steamboat were in the ring together. Isn’t it ironic that former NWA guys were in the ring together on a night where WWF put on a show to go against the biggest show in NWA history?

The first elimination saw both Duggan and Race getting double-count-out.

Beefcake has the oddest wrestling trunks that I’ve seen. The one he’s wearing this night was yellow zebra print and the sides were cut out and mesh was sown back in.

Talking about Beefcake, he got eliminated after being hit by Honky Tonk Man’s finisher, a swinging neck breaker called “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.”

A cool thing about Jake Roberts as a face was whenever he gets into the ring; the fans chant “DDT.” A finish that I absolutely love was when Jake “the Snake” hits the DDT. The fans popped and jumped to their feet once he nailed Danny Davis with it and covered him for the elimination.

I also find it odd that Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage are team mates when at WrestleMania III they fought each other in a show-stealing Intercontinental Championship match.

Honky Tonk was faced by himself against Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, and Ricky Steamboat. Reversal of what usually gets booked. Usually the heels gains the advantage.

Honky Tonk Man got himself counted out (great heel move), giving Savage, Steamboat, and Roberts the victory.

Sole Survivors: Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, and Ricky Steamboat

Craig DeGeroge is back and interviewed Andre the Giant and his team. One thing about this team is how huge each member is. Wow, I wonder what happened to McMahon being okay with big men back then and not so much these days. One line I enjoyed was from Bobby Heenen and he called Hogan a 300-pound turkey.

The lades match never got an ring introduction until they were already in the ring.

The Glamour Girls, Dawn Marie, Donna Christannelo, and Sensational Sherri versus Velvet McIntyre, Rockin’ Robin, Jumping Bomb Angels, and the Fabulous Moolah

Sherri is the Women’s World Champion at this time. To the Sherri I grew up knowing, she looks amazing in 1987! Wow! And Fabulous Moolah look old even back then. I find that to be sad.

Another sad fact is, I don’t know who most of these women are. While on the sad facts, I wish the WWE had this big talent pool of women wrestlers. These women are amazing compared to the women these days. This match is more enjoyable, even not knowing who most of these women are. I find most women matches these days to be too much, even for a few minutes.

Moolah seems not to act much since 1987. I wonder how she does it. She moves pretty well compared to how well she moved at the end of her life.

I actually talked to Captain Obvious while watching this match and we started to discuss on how much professional wrestling was different 25 years ago. Watching through these Survivor Series brings back why I fell in love with this business to begin with.

Sole Survivors: Jumpin’ Bomb Angels

Craig DeGeorge is back to interview the Hart Foundation and their Survivor Series team. Watching this interview makes me miss how great the tag team division was. I also noticed it seems like this pay-per-view card has showcased the WWF’s mid-cards, the women, the tag teams, and the last match, the main eventers. This interview was simply crazy. I was unable to get anything worthy of note to take down.

The Bolsheviks, Demolition, the Dream Team, the Islanders, and the Hart Foundation versus the British Bulldogs, the Young Stallions, the Rougeau Brothers, the Killer Bees, and Strike Force

After the heel team enters, Mean Gene interviews the babyface team in this match. I spot the Mountie! I spot the Model Rick Martel!

Monsoon and Ventura explain the Tag Team Survivor Series rules, where if one of the Killer Bees gets eliminated, both men go. So if one man gets eliminated, both are eliminated! This match proves that Vince McMahon decided to have the tag division die. Heck, the main event of WrestleMania I was even a tag match! I find it to be sad that back in 1987 there were at least ten good tag teams that the WWF had and now the WWE has a couple actual tag teams.

Sole Survivors: the Young Stallions and the Killer Bees (by the Bees outsmarting the Islanders with the masks)

We see how the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase celebrates Thanksgiving. I find this video package to be absolutely great. Only if video packages were put together like this these days, the superstars would be seen as main event wrestlers.

Craig DeGeorge is back again to interview the Honky Tonk Man, the WWF Intercontinental Champion, who walked out at the first match and got himself eliminated. Honky puts himself over and will accept the challenge of anyone. Honky said that he’ll even face Hulk Hogan and will defend his title against the Hulkster. Even Macho Man can’t defeat the Honky Tonk Man.

“Ravishing” Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy, “the Natural” Butch Reed, One Man Gang, and Andre the Giant versus Bam Bam Bigelow, Ken Patera, the Magnificent Don Muraco, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, and World Wrestling Federation Champion Hulk Hogan

Mean Gene is backstage with the World Wrestling Federation Champion Hulk Hogan and his team mates and everyone’s crazy. Hogan is walking back and forth in front of the camera and comes and pushes Bam Bam. Hogan says that his team mates are hungry and are ready to kick butt and take names.

The faces then enter the arena. I guess Don Muraco is filling in for “Superstar” Billy Graham. Poor Billy Graham, you’re always being the true “Superstar.” Giving it a second thought, it was a good thing you couldn’t make it to the first Survivor Series because Hollywood Hogan would outshine you, how he stole your gimmick and turned it into what he did, brother.

The Rock and “Ravishing” Rick Rude start out the main event.

Butch Reed’s the first one eliminated when Hogan dropped the leg drop and got the pin fall victory. Hogan was celebrating with his team when Andre came in and Hogan was shocked when he turned around. The ref made Hogan go out and Patera cause Hogan “made a tag.” I surely didn’t see the tag.

An obvious observation I noticed in this match was how Hogan’s team was a set of four body builders and Bam Bam and Andre’s team had four overweight dudes and Rick Rude.

I might be losing it but it sounded like One Man Gang was calling a few spots when he had Patera in a front face lock. It looked like it but I swore I heard him call a few things. Opps.

Orndorff wasn’t so wonderful on this night; when he was calling to put Rude in the piledriver, Bundy came in and nailed him from behind and Rude school boyed him and eliminated him.

Ventura asked Monsoon if we’ll see Andre and Hogan. Ventura really wanted to see those two men do battle at Survivor Series. I’m with you Governor! I wanna see the WrestleMania III main event go at it here at Survivor Series 1987!

Hulk Hogan got eliminated when he got counted out when he was brawling with King Kong Bundy. Smart thinking Bundy, let’s get the World Champ out of the match. So it’s Bam Bam taking on King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang, and Andre the Giant – the total reverse of the first match. This is smart booking.

Lucky for Bigelow, he eliminated Bundy after scoring a pinfall. A few minutes later he scored a pinfall victory over One Man Gang. Come on Bigelow! Make yourself famous! Grab the main event ring and show that you belong in the main event picture!

After a double underhook suplex, Andre wins.

Sole Survivor: Andre the Giant

Hulk Hogan ran down and hit Andre with the belt, continuing their feud, and taking in the attention at the end of the pay-per-view. No surprise out of Hogan, what an

attention jerk! Vintage Hogan, posing to all the fans.

Mean Gene got a word from Andre the Giant and Bobby Hennen backstage. Bobby said that if he truly wants Andre, he’ll face him inside the ring, but has to sign on the dotted line. Hogan has to put the title up on the line if he wants Andre again in the ring. Smart thinking by Bobby and Andre.

We go back to Hogan posing. Come on Hulkster!

All-in-all, I consider this pay-per-view a success. I really enjoyed this pay-per-view, even though it was four matches in total. But the first few Survivor Series I love because each match got a good length of time to showcase some of the talent that this era of the WWE had. To be honest, I wish WWE had talent like this today to bring back the classic Survivor Series concept back and give the whole PPV the Survivor Series match treatment. If not, let the World Heavyweight Champion defend his title, or the WWE Champion defend his title.

Heck, it would draw big ratings (hopefully, at least in my old-school wrestling opinion) if the main event Survivor Series match was World Heavyweight Champion captained a team against the WWE Champion’s team. Then the Intercontinental Champion would captain a team against the United States Champion. I would love to see this happen, or the idea I had at the beginning of the blog where there’s a tournament and the winner faces both the World and WWE Champion in a triple threat match and the winner walks out as Champ. To conclude, a great PPV.

Check out an awesome podcast on this very PPV: http://www.flairchop.com/archives/36

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/, and on Twitter @IAmDarsie.

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1989 WWE Royal Rumble Review – Couch Groove Wrestling

January 23, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Hulk Hogan eliminated Randy Savage in the WWE Royal Rumble 1989 which featured Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, and Hulk HoganYou know, I’d be the first to admit that my 1988 Royal Rumble rant was a bit lacking.

Looking over it, I see where I was the most bored and disinterested, and it showed in my writing. I don’t apologize often, but I’ll do so by writing a better rant for this show, the 1989 Royal Rumble.

There’s an underlying message in here. The 1988 show had a lot of kinks to be worked out, as did my accompanying rant. The 1989 show was a vast improvement and my rant, well….let’s cross our fingers. I hope it’s less boring than Dino Bravo’s weight lifting challenge from ’88 at least.

-January 15, 1989, from the Summit in Houston, TX. It’s the home of non-playoff football, as well as pitchers who have played or WILL play for the Phillies. Thanks, Ed Wade!

-And yes, this would be the first Rumble on PPV. It’s also got a better logo than the 1988 version, which featured fancy handwriting fit for some historical document, and is replaced through 1995 with the famed block lettering. It’s the block lettering I grew up with.

-The A-Team of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura is on duty here, and I’m pleased. As much as I love the duo of Monsoon and Bobby Heenan for sheer laughs, Monsoon and Ventura could make any match seem like an important event. They were like John Madden and Pat Summerall in that regard. How many NFL games did Madden and Summerall make seem like life-and-death battles with their natural cadence? Same with Monsoon and Ventura. Would Hogan-Andre at Wrestlemania 3 been as good if Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were on commentary? What about Hogan-Warrior? My thoughts exactly.

-As with the 1988 rant, I’ll be using the “what would I pay?” system to determine what I feel the value of the event at hand is. The system is kind of moot if you already own the show, but you can see if it feels like something you SHOULD have paid for. But if you watched it and hated it, you’d already know that…well…let’s move on.

OPENER: THE HART FOUNDATION AND HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN VS. THE FABULOUS ROUGEAU BROTHERS AND DINO BRAVO (TWO OUT OF THREE FALLS)

-Oh, thank God they’re getting Bravo out of the way now. Say, what’s up with these 2 out of 3 falls matches? This is the third one in the first five matches in Rumble history, and then they never had another one at the Rumble ever. What gives?

-All three heels take a battering ram in the corner, and the crowd is happy. Which three are the heels, you ask? Lemme counter by asking: has there ever been three French Canadians on the roster at the same time that were all faces? Ever? Maybe a slew of man-rats, er, jobbers that Pat Patterson would have tag along, but nobody major.

-Le Bad Guyex win the first fall via Le Bombe de Rougeau on Bret. It’s amazing when you look back and realize how many tag team matches from 1987-1990 ended with either Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels taking the fall. Hate to say it, but maybe that’s why not many fans stuck around during the “New Generation” (“HE’S the champ? The guy that once got pinned by the Warlord? No thanks…”)

-This is a great warm-up match, as all of the participants at least have well defined characters. The Harts are the well oiled tag team machine, Duggan’s the patriotic Buford Pusser type, and all three heels are openly foreign. It’s like paint by numbers on how to get fans 20 years ago to cheer and boo.

-Anywho, the good guys take the second fall after a horde of moves on Raymond, ending with an elbow drop by Duggan. Getting pinned by an elbow drop is only acceptable if it’s Survivor Series, or you’re laying down for The Rock. There’s no other exceptions.

-Finally, the faces win the third fall when Duggan hits Bravo with the 2X4 (Bravo was so boring last year that it tainted the thrill of Duggan’s Rumble win….well that’s MY theory) and Bret pins Bravo.

RATING: $4.50. Good, solid stuff, and I wasn’t bored by Bravo. We’ve already topped 1988! Now as long as Paul Roma’s not headlining, we’re in decent shape.

-Meanwhile, there’s chicanery afoot, as Ted Dibiase (the dad, not the boring sponge of a son) isn’t happy with the number he drew, so he has an offer for Slick, who’s shady on the basis that he’s a pimp. You know, how come they didn’t stereotype against Flash Funk in 1997? He dressed like a pimp, but was a good guy due to being “funky”. If you’re going to stereotype, at least be consistent.

-Also, the Bushwhackers swap their numbers for some reason. For those who complain about goofy characters now like Hornswoggle, Santino Marella, and the guest hosts, I give you: Luke and Butch. Now stop complaining.

MATCH 2: ROCKIN’ ROBIN VS. JUDY MARTIN (WWF WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP)

-Judy Martin would not be allowed on the current WWE TV product looking the way she does here, unless she somehow convinced McMahon that she was Greg Valentine.

-Sensational Sherri shows up and challenges the winner, looking like Shia LeBouf going to a rave. I know Sherri’s dead and all, but geez, 80′s fashion was crap.

-The crowd could really care less about the match, even though Robin is portrayed as a local hero. The most notable thing is Sherri on commentary, as her and Jesse taunt Monsoon. Otherwise, it’s your typical modern divas match without the fitness model physiques. I wonder if this is why so many guys my age came out of the closet (no, not me).

-Robin wins after faking a cross body, and then hitting a real one. See, Robin was so good at faking things, she even had another woman fooled! Err, let’s move on.

RATING: $1.25. I was gonna go two bucks, but I decided to dock it 75 cents for having to listen to Robin sing “America the Beautiful” at Wrestlemania V. Look, it’s my convoluted ratings sytem; I’ll do what I want with it.

-Sean Mooney confronts Slick over the possible tampering with Dibiase, but Slick insists he hasn’t seen Dibiase in over a month. Well, given the travel schedule back then, it’s possible. Wouldn’t surprise me if half of these guys said to each other “You still work here?!?” Actually, I’ll bet they said that to Terry Taylor a lot.

SUPER POSEDOWN: ULTIMATE WARRIOR VS. RICK RUDE

-So instead of having a match, the Intercontinental Champion and one of the top heels will be engaged in a posing contest. Can you imagine if they did this now? Wait, they actually DID do this in 2003 with Triple H and Scott Steiner! And it was horrible! They even had an arm wrestling match, just to empty the tray of embarrassing 1980′s non-match clichés. I’m surprised there wasn’t a dual interview between the two on a revamped Brother Love Show.

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-The story is that Rude is seriously trying to win on technical merit, whereas Ultimate Warrior just aggressively recreates Rude’s poses, and the crowd cheers louder for him. It’s also notable for Rude using one of those flexi-bars that Chuck Palumbo helped (not) make famous during his WCW run.

-After Warrior wins hands down, Bobby Heenan blinds Warrior with lotion (….not like that) and Rude beats the hell out of him with the flexi-bar. Then Warrior goes nuts and beats up the officials who aid him, including Nick Bockwinkel. Take THAT, AWA.

RATING: $2.00. Lame as it was, it created a fresh upper card angle, and the crowd was into it. Let’s just keep Tyler Reks and Chris Masters from trying their own version. In fact, let’s just keep both of them off TV.

-Mean Gene asks Elizabeth who she would pick between Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan in the Rumble. Ah, yes, the “jealous eyes” storyline. I dare say it was the first angle in WWF history that felt like it could have played out on Raw in the last decade and not felt ancient.

MATCH 3: KING HAKU VS. HARLEY RACE (FOR THE CROWN)

-If your mother attended this event, there’s a chance that she became pregnant if she was in the first two or three rows. Race and Haku have enough testosterone to fill the Roman Coliseum, and there’s plenty of manliness wafting through when these two go at it!*

(*Written by Pat Patterson)

-Haku comes to the ring on the throne-sedan, carried by a group of jobbers, so Race just knocks it over for fun. Wow, 1980′s WWF was hardcore! When do they break out the razor wire?

-Match is quite brutal, with Race taking huge bumps in his late forties, and he even managed to piledrive Haku on the concrete. If this match happened on Raw now, the internet would briefly faint out of ecstasy.

-Haku plants Race with a thrust kick to retain the crown and, effectively, send Race packing from WWF. Of note was Bobby Heenan playing cornerman to both, as they were both in his employ. Wait, I’m writing this on the day that Heenan’s new DVD came out and I haven’t bought it yet! What is wrong with me?!

RATING: $5.50. Surprisingly good stuff, given that it was a throwaway match. We could use more matches like this on modern undercards. Just brutal brawls without trademark moves.

-Intermission, plus promos. Remember the intermissions? They got rid of them in favor of matches involving Alicia Fox. Nothing says “take five minutes, stretch your legs, and get some beer” like Alicia Fox matches.

MAIN EVENT: THE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH

-Ah good: no Paul Roma this year to screw things up. The real main eventers get to main event! Except for Warrior. And Rude. And the Harts. And Duggan. Crap.

-So we’re finally up to 30 participants, and the winner gets….nothing. Except the opportunity to referee a midcard match at Wrestlemania V. My money’s on Joey Marella, going in.

-Just to show how COMPLETELY RANDOM AND UNSCRIPTED this show is, Ax and Smash of Demolition are 1 and 2. Monsoon and Ventura are more surprised than the fans are. Oddly enough, Ax and Smash go right at it instead of conserving energy and beating up the next entrant. I know they’re trying to keep it exciting, but for logic’s sake, couldn’t Ax and Smash just stand there and tell dirty jokes to each other? Seems sensible.

-Perhaps they should save their strength, because here comes Andre the Giant at #3! Ugh, this was the year they had the awkward camera angle every time someone came in. It looks like Zapruder footage, except slightly less grainy. And I do emphasize “slightly”.

-Mr. Perfect (sans singlet) is #4, but Andre can’t be contained, and he sends Smash flying. Poor Smash. At least he got to dress like a cat burglar in his next life. Ronnie Garvin is #5, and we actually have three former World Champions in the ring. Yes, I’m counting Garvin, though I don’t WANT to.

-Greg Valentine is 6 and Andre chucks Garvin. Good riddance. Jake Roberts is #7 and he has beef with Andre. Andre just simply chokes him while Ron Bass is #8, in what may have been his last appearance with the company. Andre tosses Roberts. Finally, Shawn Michaels is #9, just so Perfect isn’t the only athlete in the ring. Perfect backdrops Ax out to keep the pace going. To complete the first third, Bushwhacker Butch is #10. Shouldn’t have switched, matey. Then to top off the frantic pace thus far, Roberts returns with Damain, his python, and scares Andre into taking the final bump of his career, over the top for a self elimination. Jesse says it’s unfair; I say at least the pace is a good one.

-Honky Tonk Man is in at 11 while Perfect and Shawn just take bumps like superballs in there. Tito Santana is 12, and he and Valentine soon rekindle their old feud. Bad News Brown is 13, and Santana and Butch toss Honky. Man, after he lost the IC Title, Honky became everyone’s submissive, didn’t he?

-Marty Jannetty is 14, and we get some Rockers double teams going. WWF Champion Randy Savage is 15 to a NUCLEAR reaction, and he goes right for Bad News. The Rockers get rid of Bass, just to make me happy. Shawn would later steal Bass’ finisher and give it to Triple H (Well, not really, but since I’m writing this….)

-Arn Anderson (yes, he worked there) is 16 as Savage dumps Valentine, his future Survivor Series partner. Savage and Arn then team up and dump Shawn, as Tully Blanchard comes in at 17. Jannetty goes next via both Brain Busters. And then….

-#18: Hulk Hogan. Get ready to count the bodies! So long, Perfect. Bye bye, Santana. Bushwhacker Luke is #19 just as Bad News tosses out Butch. See, shouldn’t have switched! Koko B Ware is not only #20, but he’s also eliminated by Hogan in short order. Hogan clotheslines both Busters out. Warlord is #21 and is gone even faster (2 seconds!) at the hands of Hogan. Then Hogan eliminates Bad News and Savage at the same time and….uh oh, Savage isn’t happy. He jumps back in and gets into it with Hogan, with Miss Elizabeth coming in to try and talk sense into both men. They make up and Savage leaves as Big Bossman is in at 22.

-Hogan and Bossman continue their feud, brawling until Akeem comes in at 23. And there’s the payoff for the Slick and Dibiase business deal. Hogan gets eliminated shortly thereafter. Hogan won’t go away like a good sport, so he attacks Bossman for fun. And they wonder why so many kids my age grew up to be sore losers. Brutus Beefcake is 24, and Hogan illegally eliminates Bossman, much to Ventura’s chagrin. Hogan even busts Bossman even with some kind of suitcase.

(sound of record scratch)

-And now, the fun stuff is over. The match slows down to the point of tedium, as all the fast paced fun has died out. From here, it’s Red Rooster at 25, Barbarian at 26, Big John Studd at 27, Hercules at 28, Rick Martel at 29, and Ted Dibiase at 30 (the other half of the payoff). Is it as auspicious a finish as last year? I think they’re tied for dead last, myself.

-Dibiase dumps Rooster. Dibiase and Barbarian then team up and dump Beefcake and Hercules together. Martel then surprises the world by dropkicking Barbarian out.

-FINAL FOUR: Dibiase, Studd, Akeem, and Martel. No, really. Martel gets caught by Akeem and thrown out. Then, because I don’t feel like wasting my fingers any more, a double team on Studd fails which sees the future Hall of Famer throw out Akeem. Then Studd toys with Dibiase for about 40 years before throwing him out, and then he beats up Virgil for fun. So, yeah, Studd wins. He would leave WWF within five months.

RATING: $9.25. The first 2/3 was great stuff, but it dragged once Hogan and Bossman finished their little angle. Nonetheless, an upgrade over last year

TOTAL: $22.50. That’s almost how much a PPV was in 1989, so I guess that’s somewhat reasonable. Just wish the Rumble had a better outcome, and that Warrior/Rude was, you know, an actual match.

CYNIC SAYS: An upgrade over last year’s TV version, but there was still work to be done. It would take many years for WWE to figure out to add more innovative eliminations and creative double teams, but at least they’d mastered the art of mixing existing feuds with new ones beginning (especially Hogan and Savage).

For a great early effort, it’s a thumbs up.

Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.

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Recap Of Gene Okerlund Interview On Aftermath With Ocal & Korderas

January 17, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

"Mean Gene" OkerlundAftermath hosts Arda Ocal and Jimmy Korderas interviewed “Mean Gene Okerlund on the Score on January 16, 2012. They start the show by putting over Wrestle Reunion which is happening in Toronto in mid April. Ocal lists guests for the event such as Bruno Sammartino, Tommy Dreamer, and then introduces Gene Okerlund.

Mean Gene says he is looking forward to discussing wrestling, and then discussed his calling basketball, baseball, and hockey games. However, he said it always came back to wrestling. One you start, you don’t turn back.

Ocal asked Gene why should fans attend Wrestle Reunion, and Gene said he was at a Wrestle Reunion event last year in LA, and said there was a lot of talent. Okerlund added that it was a great production, and said Wrestle Reunion is a can’t miss event for people with heart and soul in pro wrestling.

Ocal asked about his moving to work for WWE, and Gene joked that he did it because of greed but then he said he liked Vince’s vision . Gene said the springboard for WWE was MTV and Wrestlemania. When asked about being recognized, and being noticed, Gene said there was notoriety and said he got stopped in airports, and hotels. He said it was like a Gold rush stage. He added that it was pretty tough to miss Hogan and Macho Man in an airport.

Korderas asked about Chemistry with Bobby Heenan, and Gene said he loved to work with Heenan. Gene mentioned that he had just spoken to Heenan and mentioned Heenan’s health problems. Okerlund said he loved Bob’s quick wit. Ocal then asked if he had the desire to be a play by play man, and, Gene said no. He said doing that and backstage interviews also gets too busy. He said he has done play by play and ring announcing in AWA. He said that a man can’t wear two pairs of shoes so to speak.

As an employee of WWE, Gene said he does a lot of classics for their classics series. He did a Hall of Fame show about Mad Dog Vachon for WWE. He said he is doing a lot of voice work for syndicated programs. WWE cranks out a lot of product. Gene said that a lot of the syndicated programs don’t air in the US. Gene said he used to do Madison Square Garden Classics. He then said he shows up for Wrestlemania, and the Hall of Fame. He did a backstage interview with the Rock last Mania. He said he never worked with the Rock, and he told the Rock later that they would have made a lot of money together.

Gene was asked about Cena/Rock being announced a year in advance. He thought it was money in the bank. Gene said he thought it was something both Rock and Cena wanted to do. He said that the Rock wants to make a statement. Gene put over Fan Axxess, and the Hall of Fame. He mentioned Edge’s hall of fame induction. He said Edge still had the fire in the belly, and if it were his choice, he would be out in the ring rather than in the Hall, but his career was cut short due to injury. Ocal mentioned that he just interviewed Edge, and how Edge said he felt “old” but was very honored by being selected for induction

Orca said some inductees are jealous that Flair is going to get a second ring since he is going to be inducted again as a member of the Four Horsemen. Gene didn’t think it was a big deal and said Flair was a great talent and put over the Horsemen..

Orda and Gene put over the Legends House on the upcoming WWE Network. Gene said there will be a script to get from point A to point B so there is some sort of plot.

Gene was asked the difference between WWE back then and now: Gene said there is no organization like WWE and put over Vince McMahon, and Vince’s vision. He talked about watching wrestling in the 50s where wrestlers had potbellies to now where wrestlers are in shape and more athletic. He also went into detail about how the writers are very involved in the product .

Near the end of the interview, Gene Orkerlund confirmed a story about a city called Calluett in Canada with a restaurant called Mean Gene Burgers.

Finally, Gene said he will be at WrestleMania and WrestleReunion. He put over Jack Tunney. He said he has no Twitter or Facebook account.

Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead

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WWE Website Ranks The Top 25 WWE Managers

June 14, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Did Captain Lou Albano come in first on the WWE.com list of top managers?WWE.com has put out a brand new Top 25 list on my favorite subject, pro wrestling managers. The list ranks the Top 25 WWE Managers that like most lists compiled by the WWE, will leave you scratching your head.

Now I am not going to get all crazy and start ranting and raving like some fans who take these lists very seriously. I don’t. It is always important to keep in mind who compiled this list and of course, the WWE will always try and revise wrestling history. Also keep in mind that this is a list of WWE managers and not pro wrestling managers.

One of my all time favorite pro wrestling managers tops the list. WWE Hall of Fame manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan comes in at number one. In terms of storylines and success in the WWE, I can’t a whole lot of other managers that had as much impact over their tenure. The only other manager I could see making a case for number one is the guy that actually came in at number four.

My favorite all-time manager, Captain Lou Albano comes in at a disappointing fourth behind Jimmy Hart and “Classy” Freddie Blassie. Now if I were going to take this list seriously I would write a four page blog on why this is a huge travesty and Albano is better than Blassie, Hart, and arguably Heenan. But I won’t. I will say this. Albano managed more champions than any other manager in the history of the WWE if you combine intercontinental, world, and tag team. Not too mention, I don’t think there was a manager who drew more money for the WWE thanks to his promos than the old Captain.

Sensational Sherri Martel comes in at number five. I don’t mean any disrespect to Sherri, but five? I may be missing something but she only managed two guys during her tenure, and only had one title under tutelage. I think the pairing of her and Randy Savage was one of the best ever, but I wouldn’t put her above the Grand Wizard, Paul Bearer, and even Slick.

One of my all time favorite characters, the Grand Wizard comes in at number 6. He managed world, tag team, and intercontinental champions so I don’t have a problem with the ranking. Paul Bearer and Arnold Skaaland follow him. I don’t know if I would put Bearer in the top ten since he only managed three wrestlers in his entire tenure, but his guys did win a lot of gold.

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Old friends to the WWE Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman appear on the list. Both guys have world championships to brag about and certainly belong on a WWE list. Cornette comes in at 9 while Heyman comes in at a distant 12. The only injustice there is seeing Mr. Fuji and Sunny ranked between them. Miss Elizabeth comes in at 13 which is something debatable if you really take this list seriously.

The bottom of the list is fun because at this point the WWE is really reaching. The late Sir Oliver Humperdink comes in at number 20 which may be a little generous considering the Kahuna’s short WWE tenure. Michael Hayes comes in at 23, followed by Marlena at 24, and the Genius Lanny Poffo at 25. What about the Coach?

Two interesting names left off this list are Johnny V and Roddy Piper. Johnny Valiant was a big part of my childhood as a manager to the Dream Team and certainly deserved to be on the list ahead of people like Michael Hayes, Armando Estrada, and even the late Oliver Humperdink. Piper came into the WWE as a manager to David Schultz and Paul Orndorff. None of his “charges” won belts, but I would have expected to see the WWE throw him a bone.

Once again keep in mind this is a WWE list. Past lists have included former greats like Gary Hart and J.J. Dillon but they never managed in the WWE. If the list included managers outside of the WWE, I’d be shocked to see them off the list.

The list is a reminder of how much fun wrestling managers were when I was a kid. They had big mouths, big personalities, and were the focal points of some of the biggest feuds in WWE history. If there is one complaint I’ll make after reading the list it is that we don’t have managers in the WWE today (at least like the ones I grew up with). Bring back the managers!

The complete list of Top 25 WWE Managers according to WWE.com.

25. The Genius
24. Marlena
23. Michael Hayes
22. Armando Estrada
21. Teddy Long
20. Sir Oliver Humperdink
19. Stephanie McMahon
18. Harvey Whippleman
17. The Million Dollar Man
16. Slick
15. Vickie Guerrero
14. Paul Ellering
13. Miss Elizabeth
12. Paul Heyman
11. Sunny
10. Mr. Fuji
9. Jim Cornette
8. Arnold Skaaland
7. Paul Bearer
6. The Grand Wizard
5. Sensational Sherri
4. Capt. Lou Albano
3. “Classy” Freddie Blassie
2. Jimmy Hart
1. Bobby Heenan

Do you agree with the list? Where does your favorite manager rank? Leave a comment and let us know.

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The Best I Ever Saw – Pro Wrestling Commentator

December 24, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Bobby the Brain Heenan was the greatest pro wrestling commentator of all time.Hello loyal readers and welcome back to my personal stroll down memory lane. As always, this is not scientific in any way, there are no correct answers here. This is just my own personal opinion from my own experiences as a nearly thirty year wrestling fan. This week I have chosen to reflect on one of my favorite aspects of professional wrestling, the television commentator.

A good pro wrestling commentator can really enhance the experience of watching a match. Being there live is great, but an entertaining commentator adds a whole new dimension. And the truly great commentators can make even a bad match sound good. I always loved Joey Styles’ over the top style of calling a match. His outrage at every injustice was priceless. And I have yet to find a more enjoyably delivered catch phrase then “Oh My God”.

Jerry Lawler is now more recognizable to an entire generation of wrestling fans as an announcer then as a wrestler. And of course there is Jim Ross. I was very tempted to go with Ross, as I have been a fan of his since back in the old NWA days. And he certainly is my number two choice. But I went a little different when I was thinking up my favorite. I had someone in mind who was entertaining, who was funny, and who made me laugh. And by those criteria, the only name I could go with was the one and only Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.

I grew up watching the WWF in the early to mid 80′s. When I outgrew the “cartoon” style of the WWF I identified more with the more realistic NWA style of wrestling. But I still watched WWF programming, and Bobby Heenan was a big part of the reason why. I absolutely loved the way he and Gorilla Monsoon called a match together. Many people consider Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler to be the best announce team, but I will always go with Monsoon and Heenan.

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The chemistry between the two was just amazing. When Heenan would make an outrageous statement I really believed that Monsoon was disgusted with him. Watching Michael Cole try to create tension with Lawler or Josh Mathews just makes me laugh, and not in a good way. Heenan played the bad guy role perfectly. No matter what the situation was, he was right and everyone else was wrong. It was that clueless confidence that endeared him to me. Quite simply, Bobby Heenan was the most entertaining voice in wrestling back then. The sounds of him making some over the top statement, like saying that Tito Santana signed an autograph with a can of spray paint followed by Monsoon’s exasperated shout of “Will You Stop?” brings a smile to my face even now as I write the words.

When he moved to WCW in the 90′s, the voice was the same but the mood was different. As I later found out first hand on an episode of Pro Wrestling Radio (ding ding), Heenan disliked working with Tony Schiavone personally and within WCW’s dysfunctional organization in general. The contempt came through during the broadcasts and some of that old magic was lost. But I still found Heenan entertaining even to the bitter end. One strong memory I have from those broadcasts was the tribute Heenan gave after Gorilla Monsoon passed away. I defy you to watch the video and not start to get choked up yourself when you see the genuine emotion expressed by Heenan for his former friend. That is one of the reasons why I will always refer to him as “The Brain” and never as “The Weasel”.

So there you have it. This was my completely unscientific determination of the best pro wrestling commentator ever. Do you have a different choice for the top spot? Do you a favorite Bobby Heenan memory? How do today’s announcers match up to those of the past? Leave me a comment. I would love to know what you think. And keep on the lookout for the next edition of “The Best I Ever Saw”.

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Vince DeHoratus lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two kids. He has been a life long wrestling fan and he has passed that love onto his son. Though not quite yet “middle aged and crazy”, he is fast approaching it.

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