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The Lovable Losers: Top 10 Memorable 1980s WWF Jobbers

July 15, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

One of the most fun memories I have of being a pro wrestling fan were the jobbers. I spent many Saturdays watching WWE (WWF) stars squash preliminary wrestlers in one-sided affairs. Today I pay tribute to these unsung warriors and look back at the most memorable WWF jobbers of the 80s.

Please don’t misunderstand this blog. I am not here to make fun of these lovable losers. I am here to pay tribute and honor the brave who stood up to Big John Studd in the face of a bear hug, were clawed to unconsciousness by Blackjack Mulligan, and were showered by the spit of Captain Lou Albano. Yes, pro wrestling would not be the same for an hour every Saturday if not for these forgotten warriors.

Keep in mind a few things when reading the list. One, I am only looking at the WWE (WWF) era of the early-mid 1980s when preliminary wrestlers played a more prominent role on the television show. Two, I am ranking these guys based on their WWF tenure, regardless if they were star in another territory. Three, I am basing this list on the most memorable and memorable only. Years of conversations with other pro wrestling fans my age and a lot of, “Remember…” conversations went into creating this list. So without any further a due, I present the Most Memorable WWE Jobbers of the 80s.

Frankie Williams - I am sorry but to me, Frankie Williams was the most memorable of all the enhancement talent that I watched on Saturday mornings. Of course Williams shoots right to the top of the list based on his legendary appearance on Roddy Piper‘s Piper’s Pit. Other than winning a few matches on local independent shows, Williams was a chronic loser. Frank from Columbus Ohio, today I salute you!

S.D. Jones - Who doesn’t remember S.D. shooting off his air gun during ring introductions? S.D. was one of the few jobbers who got the chance to muster offense into his matches. The fans would get real excited when S.D. would get his heat by shaking his head and fists, yet the outcome was always the same. S.D. would randomly be rewarded for his strong showings by being paired with a main-event WWF wrestler in tag team matches. Heck, even Andre the Giant tagged with S.D. once. Unfortunately the match ended with Andre getting his hair cut and that was the end of the great S.D. and Andre pairing. We miss you S.D. whether you hailed from Antigua in the West Indies or Philadelphia.

Barry Horowitz - Barry came into the WWF towards the end of the 1980s. Horowitz was never able to repeat the success he had in the territories in the WWF. Horowitz is probably more known as the jobber that actually won a match against Chris Candido in 1995. Yet in the 80s, all Barry did was look up at the lights.

Tony Garea - Tony was like the Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz of the old WWF. Tony was a successful tag team champion on multiple occasions, yet one day went from champion to jobber. Like Chuck and Tito, the new influx of WWF wrestlers was just too much for old Tony to handle. Like S.D., Tony would get a win every once in awhile, specifically on house shows. Tony was a master of the sunset flip, surprising many fellow enhancement talents with the crafty move for a three count. I met Tony once and he was a bit of jerk, but in the interest of objectivity the jobber from Aukland, New Zealand lands on the list.

Johnny Rodz - Johnny was a memorable heel during the early half of the 1980s on WWF television. Johnny wrestled everyone on television from Peter Maivia to Hulk Hogan, and even wrestled Bob Backlund in Madison Square Garden. Johnny rarely won, but generally held his own thanks to questionable tactics like raking the eyes or pulling the hair. Ironically Johnny went on to train a lot of successful pro wrestlers years later.

Barry O - Barry O, the uncle of Randy Orton and brother of Cowboy Bob was a regular fixture of WWF television with his long glitter cape and long locks of blonde hair. Barry came into the WWF with a small push but was quickly relegated to jobber status. Barry would gain fame later as a whistle blower (no pun intended) during the WWF ring boy scandal. Barry’s biggest in-ring WWF moment would probably be as the final opponent of Jesse “The Body” Ventura in M.S.G.

Rudy Diamond – I’ll never forget the morning Rudy Diamond squared off with WWF intercontinental champion the Magnificent Muraco on Saturday morning television. Muraco’s “feisty” manager Captain Lou Albano spent the entire match yelling about Rudy’s feet. “He’s got white feet,” Albano yelled for five minutes as if it was some kind of conspiracy that this African American youngster had “white feet.” I’ll never forget that match and for those memories, I honor Rudy Diamond.

Iron Mike Sharpe - Inexplicably Iron Mike Sharpe went from challenging Bob Backlund for the WWF championship at the Spectrum to opening match jobber in about a month. Sharpe remained a jobber for the rest of his tenure with the WWF. However, it was Sharpe’s strong showing early on that allowed him to make his enhancement matches competitive. Oh yeah, the loaded arm pad didn’t help either. Who can forget Sharpe howling “No, no, no” as his opponent put the squeeze on the big Canadian? I can’t and if you watched Saturday morning WWF wrestling you probably can’t either.

Salvatore Bellomo - Like many of our jobbers, Bellomo came into the WWF with a nice sized push. Bellomo got some early wins at the house shows, including beating former WWWF champion Superstar Billy Graham by count out at the Philadelphia Spectrum (my first live pro wrestling show). Yet big Sal with his trademark mule kick became a consistent jobber on WWF television losing to the likes of Mr. Fuju, Killer Khan, and Tiger Chung Lee. It got so bad for Bellomo that he was even pinned clean by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan in New York. Big Sal would eventually find later success in ECW, but in the WWF he was the guy who brought Roddy Piper his pizza.

Curt Hennig - Yes the former WWE Hall of Fame wrestler wasn’t always so perfect in the squared circle. From 1982-84, Hennig worked as an opening match wrestler and went toe to toe with the WWF’s nastiest villains. Hennig received a moderate push as a tag team partner to fellow jobber Eddie Gilbert, but the two didn’t do anything significant. Even back then the most casual observer could see greatness in this young second generation star. As a kid, I always loved watching Curt wrestle on Saturday mornings. Hennig always got in a signature drop kick and had great babyface fire in his comebacks. To me, whether he went on to greatness or not he was one of the best and most memorable WWF jobbers of the 1980s.

Honorable Mention….
Jose Luis Rivera - If I was doing the top 11, he’d be there. I don’t know what it was about Jose, but I always liked watching him work opening matches at the Spectrum. He had a lot of talent, yet the WWF rarely gave him a chance to show it on television.

Terry Gibbs - He wasn’t flashy but he was certainly memorable. Like Johnny Rodz and Iron Mike, Gibbs was another guy with territorial success that never had a chance to repeat it in the WWF.

Butcher Paul Vachon - He had a personality, a look, and stood out from the rest of the typical enhancement talent. The Butcher is probably most memorable for the chaos that ensued at his wedding on Tuesday Night Titans.

Moondog Spot - One of the few jobbers who had an actual gimmick during that time period. Like Tony Garea, a former WWF tag team champion demoted to jobber status. Spot was also an opening round victim to the Junkyard Dog on the first ever WWF pay per view, The Wrestling Classic.

Jim Powers and Paul Roma - Powers and Roma were two guys with million dollar bodies and twenty-five cent win/loss records.

Swede Hansen - Big Swede like a lot of the above named jobbers had some success in the WWF and then was demoted to enhancement status for reasons unknown. Even then, Swede was always competitive in his matches and would squeeze out a win from time to time. Swede is an answer to the WWF trivia question, “Who was Bob Backlund wrestling when Superstar Graham smashed up the WWWF title?” Ironically even while a preliminary wrestler, Swede would get spots as a special guest referee from time to time due to his size. I always liked the big guy.

Brooklyn Brawler - If I was doing the 1990s, he’d be right at the top. Steve Lombardi didn’t morph into the Brawler until 1989 which takes him out of the top ten.

Tiger Chung Lee - From headliner in New Japan Pro Wrestling to opening match jobber in the WWF. Lee had a brief push in a tag team with Mr. Fuji, but even those two wound up becoming a weekly stepping stone to bigger stars. Tiger was a man ahead of his time with his Singapore cane, yet was never smart enough to use it like the Sandman. It went all downhill after he couldn’t break the bricks.

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The 25 Greatest Moments From WWE Saturday Night’s Main Event History – The Classic Years

July 07, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

With WWE adding Saturday Night’s Main Event to its Network archives this week, fans of that age are no doubt thrilled. I speak for myself as well when I think of the joys as a kid of staying up late on the weekends to catch headline wrestlers in marquee matches on free television.

Sure, Monday Night Raw’s diluted the allure of that by running through matches with name wrestlers week after week until there’s nothing special about anyone, but things were different in 1980s. The weekends were filled with jobber matches, while the top guys were held apart from each other. Pay-per-view encounters were one thing, but the five or six times you got Saturday Night’s Main Event, you were provided with 90 minutes of must-see television, with Vince McMahon’s carnie drawl, Jesse Ventura’s cartoonish gravitas, Mean Gene’s hype-filled inquisitions, and the best of the 1980s WWE roster playing it all out.

Paring down a list to just 25 awesome moments excises much of the good-natured, smile-lame bits, like the 1985 Halloween party, 1990′s Oktoberfest episode, and McMahon and Ventura riding horseback. It also excluded my favorite bit of silliness that was Mr. Fuji singing a country song to prove that he was more of a redneck than Dick Slater. Really, you have to see it.

Listed below are 25 of the moments that made the show the spectacle that is still fondly remembered today, and provides a bit of an itinerary for the younger fans to see what’s worth scoping out from the bountiful archive.

NOTE 1: This list does not include anything from The Main Event, the five Friday night specials that aired between 1988 and 1991. Otherwise, “twin referees” and Savage walloping Hogan would clog the top of the list (in a good way). This is all Saturday, all the time.

NOTE 2: By ‘classic years’, that means only the SNMEs from 1985-92. Nothing from the forgettable 2006-08  run makes it – not that anything outside of Mickie “Single White Female” James betraying Trish Stratus merits consideration.

NOTE 3: I’ve chosen to list the airdates of each show, rather than the day they were taped. Since there’s OCD-historian types out there reading this (my favorite demographic), and those folks may ask why I chose airdates, it’s strictly for the magic of the Saturday connotation. For the rest of you with little time to worry about this sort of silly thing, please disregard.

25. DEATH OF THE SUPER NINJA (November 26, 1988)

Rip Oliver looked like your typical 1980s territory heel: bleach-blonde hair, non-ironic beard, and sleepy eyes that complimented a slop-eating grin. In many ways, Oliver looked like fellow Portland fixture Matt Borne, and appearance wasn’t all they had in common. Turns out, both men’s most famous runs in WWE came as mysteriously cloaked villains.

While Borne gained notoriety as the heinous Doink the Clown, Oliver’s stake was a one-night run as The Super Ninja, a masked fiend imported by Mr Fuji to try and thwart The Ultimate Warrior, and win the Intercontinental Championship. Like most generic masked baddies of the time, Ninja was dispatched in about two minutes, quick work for a rampaging Warrior.

24. THE MOVIE COMES TO LIFE (July 29, 1989)

In the Oscar-winning masterpiece that is No Holds Barred, Hulk Hogan (er, “Rip”) finally fights the menacing Zeus after “The Human Wrecking Machine” nearly kills Hogan’s brother, played by Jacob from LOST. Sadly, Jacob wasn’t imported into the WWE-world storyline along with Zeus, but another actor of similar renown would fill his shoes: Brutus Beefcake.

During a forgotten classic of a match between “The Barber” and Randy Savage, Sensational Sherri fetched Zeus on The Macho Man’s behalf, and Zeus helped Savage beat down Beefcake. Naturally, Hogan made the save, most notably whacking Zeus with a chair, only for the eventual Dark Knight actor to no-sell it. Hogan selling bug-eyed fear is always a hoot.

23. SNAKE HANDLED (May 2, 1987)

WrestleMania III remains memorable, largely for four reasons: Hogan vs. Andre, Savage vs. Steamboat, the crowd, and Piper’s farewell before leaving for Hollywood. The Honky Tonk Man and Jake Roberts had a decent match a ways down the card, which was amazing, given that it had to follow the Savage-Steamboat all-timer. Honky won, but the feud didn’t end there.

Roberts was squaring off with Kamala, who had Mr. Fuji and the masked Kim Chee (Kamala’s “handler”) in his corner. Late in the abbreviated bout, Kim Chee struck “The Snake” behind the referee’s back, and enabled Kamala to win with his patented splash. Kim Chee revealed himself to be Honky in disguise right after, but the feud fizzled, due to a Roberts injury.

22. SID WALKS OUT (February 8, 1992)

WWE’s sound-doctoring of 1992 Royal Rumble footage has always been laughable, even when I was 8 years old. The crowd clearly cheered when Sid Justice dumped an unsuspecting Hulk Hogan, although WWE added heat-machine effects (and re-did Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan’s commentary to call Sid a cheater, for some reason) to repaint history.

Hogan and Justice were slated to face The Undertaker and new champion Ric Flair on the first FOX edition of SNME, and it resulted in a decent formula match, with Hogan being imperiled instead of his partner. There’d be no heroic comeback, as Justice walked out on an ailing Hogan, and threatened to strike an injured Brutus Beefcake, which Heenan delighted in.

21. ANDRE’S LAST GOOD MATCH (November 25, 1989)

Through rose-colored lens, the Hulk-Andre WrestleMania III epic comes closer and closer to a five star rating with each passing year. His matches since don’t get the same consideration, as an aging, creaking Andre the Giant was sad to watch, with all due respect. It’s rare to find a truly enjoyable match in his WWE homestretch, with this bout as the rare exception.

Andre clashed with Heenan Family nemesis Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental gold, and what ensued was a shockingly quick-paced eight minute match, ending with a DQ win for the Warrior. Warrior’s 2014 DVD collection includes this match, and hindsight has been much kinder to not just Warrior’s workrate in general, but especially this gem among the dust.

20. FIRST STRIKE (March 14, 1987)

The road to WrestleMania III was paved by the lure of Hulk/Andre, and this Saturday edition was recorded from Detroit five weeks before the PPV (airing just two weeks before the big money showdown). To sweeten the pot, Hogan and Andre were entered in a 20 man battle royal, all but guaranteeing that the icons would lock horns before the championship bout.

Earlier in the battle, Andre bloodied “Leaping” Lanny Poffo to the point where the eventual Genius was gurney’d out of ringside. After Hogan eliminated turncoat Paul Orndorff, Andre landed his mammoth headbutt on the champion, and astonished fearful children nationwide by easily dumping their hero over the top rope. A simple twist to fuel the big match.

19. MACHO MAN AND THE HITMAN GUT IT OUT (November 28, 1987)

Bret Hart was merely a tag team wrestler, and Honky Tonk Man-flunkie, when “The Hitman” was programmed against the penthouse-level Macho Man Randy Savage. The two were given an impressive duration of time for 1987 (12 minutes) to work a story centered on Hart attacking Macho’s leg. This would be Hart’s biggest litmus test in WWE to that point.

The match was tremendously executed, but with a caveat: both men were injured during the bout. Hart cracked his heel on a bump to the outside, and in return (though obviously not intentionally), Hart slammed Savage’s bare foot/ankle into the ringpost as the story called for, and badly hurt Savage as well. Both consummate pros carried on to a great showing.

18. HARDCORE HARLEY (March 12, 1988)

Perhaps it’s a bit inappropriate to list an eventual career-ending injury among great moments, but the spectacle deserves mention. Harley Race’s status of one of the toughest individuals in wrestling history often goes unquestioned, and is playfully referenced, often to Chuck Norris and Bill Brasky levels. Race proved said toughness against Hulk Hogan.

The story was that Hogan was beyond irate after the screwjob that cost him the WWE Title, and engaged in a frenzied brawl with Race. As the battle wore on, Hogan lay prone on a table, and Race leapt at him, but the Hulkster moved, and “The King” took the bump with his abdomen, sustaining a severe hernia. Still, Race finished the match, with none the wiser.

17. HOBBLED HOT ROD (October 4, 1986)

By 1986, Rowdy Roddy Piper had shed his image as the most reviled bad guy of WWE’s mainstream rise, and was now a revered icon, about on the level of old rival Hogan. Even with the change of alignment, it was still a weird image to see Piper make the save for Hogan, when The Hulkster was being assaulted by Paul Orndorff and “Adorable” Adrian Adonis.

Adonis was Piper’s new target, following an assault by Adonis, Cowboy Bob Orton, and Don Muraco on the set of Adonis’ “Flower Shop” talk segment, and Piper sustained a leg injury. Despite being hobbled with the injury, a now-galvanized Piper was made to not only save Hogan, but also defeat Iron Sheik in under a minute the same night, all on just one good leg.

16. NINE WILD MINUTES (March 11, 1989)

Talk about a match made in heaven. Take The Rockers, wrestling’s most spectacular aerial combo of the day, and pit them with Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, the epitome of brawn, science, and ring psychology in one nifty package. Tell them to pack their best material in about nine minutes of time, and watch as they blow everyone away.

It’s possibly the greatest match from a star-rating standpoint in the show’s history, with false-finishes, relentless action, and the expected creativity (a pinfall reversal sequence that would become standard in eras future). The bout ended with a double count-out, and the feud wouldn’t be blown off until November when the Busters left, but this was its pinnacle.

15. MURDEROUS ANDRE (January 2, 1988)

When booking someone to be a giant, it’s imperative to make him look as infallible as possible. Building to the Hogan-Andre rematch on The Main Event, Andre stood ringside for fellow Bobby Heenan-heavy King Kong Bundy in a match with the champ. Hogan won with the ‘Atomic Leg’ after sustaining two Avalanches, a mere prelude to the real fun.

With “Real American” blaring, Andre stormed the ring and began assaulting Hogan, applying his vicious chokehold. The British Bulldogs, Strike Force, Jake Roberts, and Junkyard Dog attempted to rescue Hogan, all unable to free Hulk. Jim Duggan struck Andre with a 2X4, allowing the faces to pull Hogan to safety, but it made Andre look like a true killer.

14. THE DRAGON LIVES (January 3, 1987)

The fuse of the Randy Savage-Ricky Steamboat Intercontinental Title feud was lit when Savage wounded Steamboat’s larynx, via usage of the metal guardrail, as well as the ring bell. Steamboat was put out of commission, and the caustic Savage whooped it up that he’d apparently ended the career of the biggest threat to his title. Or so he thought!

During a title defense against George “The Animal” Steele, Savage was as astonished as anyone when Steamboat made an unannounced appearance, making clear his intent to exact revenge. Steamboat also prevented Savage from injuring Steele with the bell, and the confrontation set the stage for WWE’s match of the decade at WrestleMania III.

13. BEGINNING OF A SHORT-LIVED FRIENDSHIP (May 11, 1985)

And you thought Kane and The Undertaker had a complex relationship. Take away the ghoulish and macabre elements of their on-again/off-again bond, and it’s fairly similar to Hulk Hogan’s connection to “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in the 1980s. After Orndorff was blamed for losing the WrestleMania main event, Hogan reached out sympathetically.

On SNME’s maiden episode, Hogan retained the WWE Championship by DQ over Bob Orton when Roddy Piper interfered. Mr. T tried for the save, but the heels beat him down as well. That left Orndorff to hit the ring, clearing it of his former friends. The sight of “Mr. Wonderful” posing with Hogan and Mr. T remains an unusual image thirty years later.

12. ACCIDENTAL CLOTHESLINE (January 27, 1990)

Days after Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, the company’s singles champions, had a time-stopping confrontation in the Royal Rumble match, the two were teamed against Mr. Perfect and The Genius. Hogan scored the pin on Genius, and that seemed to be that, but the post-match activity would set the stage for what was termed “The Ultimate Challenge”.

While the good guys celebrated before their fans, Perfect and Genius attacked them. Hogan went down, but Warrior went on a rampage, clotheslining everyone in sight, including Hogan by accident as Hulk stood back up. The miscue led to a confrontation between heroes 1A and 1B, with WrestleMania VI in Toronto tabbed as the site of their winner-take-all match.

11. REIGN-BUSTERS (July 29, 1989)

On the NBC version of the show, spanning 34 episodes, this was the only title change. Demolition had reigned as World Tag Team Champions for nearly 16 months, a record that remains unsurpassed. Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, the Brain Busters, were granted a shot in a two-out-of-three falls match, after a DQ win on the May 27 edition of the show.

The Demos won the first fall after Ax pinned Anderson, but they were then disqualified in the second fall for excessive double teaming (the DQ ruling didn’t nullify the title change). With fellow Heenan Family charge Andre the Giant now looming at ringside, the Busters took the third fall after Blanchard struck Smash with a chair thrown in by the Giant.

10. SAVAGE LETS HOGAN TWIST (January 7, 1989)

As the Hogan/Savage “WrestleMania Rewind” episode on WWE Network demonstrates, Savage’s subtle facial tics and manic gestures on the road to turning on Hogan were a thing of beauty. All of the hints of paranoid reaction were there, and a viewer could sense that the WWE Champion didn’t really like Hogan, or his proximity to the lovely Miss Elizabeth.

Hogan was wrestling Akeem with Elizabeth ringside, when Big Bossman intervened after a ref bump, and the Twin Towers pummeled Hulk. Mean Gene Okerlund implored Savage to save his friend, but an oddly-calm Savage insisted Hulk would be alright. When Bossman grabbed Liz, only then did Savage spring into action, saving her, and not so much The Hulkster.

9. WHO HIT FIRST? (January 3, 1987)

Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff finally settled their acrimony inside the Blue Bar Cage, with the WWE Championship contested. Standard for WWE fare, the winner would be the one who escaped the structure, as opposed to pinfall or submission. While the NWA-nostalgiaphiles would call this the sissy way of winning, here it produced a pretty creative moment.

Hogan began an ascent early in the match, but a refreshed Orndorff took to climbing the other side of the cage. It turned into a foot-race, with both men jumping off the cage wall simultaneously. One official declared Hogan the winner, while the other claimed Orndorff was the new champion. The match restarted and, yeah, Hogan ended up retaining.

8. THE ULTIMATE DUO (November 2, 1985)

One month earlier, Andre the Giant teamed with the incomprehensibly-fascinating Tony Atlas in a DQ victory over King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd. The massive duo double-teamed Andre after the bell, prompting Hulk Hogan to make the save. Teddy Long wasn’t there to institute a tag team match, but the dots connected themselves, and a match was made.

Hogan and Andre are arguably (nearly inarguably) the most imposing tag team in wrestling history, and it was a treat to see two stars of their magnitude take on Bundy and Studd in a Halloween-themed edition of SNME. The match ended in another disqualification via double-teaming, but Hogan and Andre would clear the ring in standard babyface fashion.

7. THE HARDCORE TITLE IS BORN (November 25, 1989)

Hulk Hogan was in the midst of an oddly-entertaining title defense against perma-midcarder The Genius. The bout consisted of Hogan mock-prancing around the ring in a manner that would draw angry diatribes from those clean-conscience souls at Gawker today. While it seemed that another Hogan victory was in order, a swerve finish came to pass.

Mr. Perfect struck Hogan with the championship belt outside the ring, and the Genius would win via countout. Perfect then absconded with the title and was filmed destroying the center plate with a hammer, his message to Hogan to give him a shot, or else. That fractured strap would be taped together, and fashioned as the Hardcore Championship in 1998.

6. HBK GETS THE GOLD (November 14, 1992)

SNME only ran on the FOX Network twice, but it featured one very significant title change. Mirroring the push of Bret Hart as a tag wrestler-turned-singles stud, Shawn Michaels took to his preening pretty boy role with ease, fusing much of heel-Ric Flair into his own unmatched athletic style. It was Michaels’ destiny to be pushed up the card, and it wouldn’t take long.

Already slated to wrestle Hart for the WWE Title at Survivor Series, Michaels was booked against soon-to-be-axed Intercontinental Champion Davey Boy Smith. The angle was that Michaels spent the match working on the British Bulldog’s back, and got him to strike an exposed turnbuckle. Michaels countered a superplex into a crossbody to get the title.

5. DRAGON FEELS THE BITE (May 3, 1986)

The injury angle that Ricky Steamboat worked with Randy Savage wasn’t even the most devastating-looking incident involving “The Dragon” in 1986. Jake “The Snake” Roberts jumped Steamboat before their scheduled bout on the show’s near-anniversary edition, and doled out one of the more devastating blows yet seen on WWE television.

Roberts jumped Steamboat at ringside, and proceeded to plant him with a DDT onto the bare concrete floor, which purportedly cracked the skull of the Dragon legitimately. Either way, Steamboat was definitely dead weight when Roberts threw his limp carcass into the ring, and allowed a freed Damian to writhe all over him, while Bonnie Steamboat watched in horror.

4. BUNDY MAKES HIS MARK (March 1, 1986)

King Kong Bundy dispatched of lower-level opponent Steve Gatorwolf (nice name, though) in under one minute, and then declared that he wanted Hogan’s championship. Immediately after the squash, Hogan defended the title against Don Muraco, managed by Bobby Heenan instead of a purportedly-ill Mr. Fuji. Heenan, of course, was primarily Bundy’s manager.

Heenan caused the disqualification, and then Bundy ran in, unleashing an assault on Hogan that consisted of three Avalanches, and two splashes on the prone champion. To build the lure of WrestleMania II, Hogan sold injured ribs as a result of the incident, and for the first time in his two-plus year World Title reign, it seemed as though Hulk was vulnerable.

3. HEEL VS. HEEL (November 29, 1986)

Macho Man Randy Savage was the company’s most interesting villain, and his Intercontinental Title reign reflected his higher card status. Jake “The Snake” Roberts just concluded a violent feud with Ricky Steamboat, and established himself among a swelling WWE pack. The two were pitted against each other for the title, with a surprising result.

Vince McMahon declared that fans would probably cheer the flamboyant Savage over the icy Roberts, but he and Jesse Ventura expressed surprise as the Los Angeles crowd cheered loudly for Jake. The two worked to out-heel and out-cheat one another before this slice of something different ended in a double-DQ, and a face turn for Roberts was drawing close.

2. HULKA-PLEX (May 27, 1989)

And they say Hogan didn’t bump. While your favorite springboardin’, rope-clearing daredevils put it all on the line with without any regard, there’s Hogan mechanically running through his safe moveset, while making the big bucks. Not such a bad thing, is it? In fact, when Hogan *did* take a risk, I’d argue it meant that much more. Like this particular cage match stunt.

Hogan was defending his regained WWE Championship against the Big Bossman within that Blue Bar Cage, and it seemed the hefty prison guard was safely on his way to escaping. Hulk climbed the cage, dragged Bossman to the apex and then (off the top rope, not the cage itself) superplexed Bossman back into the ring in a visual that’s still impressive today.

1. THE MANIA MEETS THE MADNESS (October 3, 1987)

Macho Man Randy Savage was centimeters away from regaining his Intercontinental Title from the Honky Tonk Man when the Hart Foundaton broke up the pin for the DQ. Afterward, the trio engaged a beatdown of Savage, but Miss Elizabeth intervened as Honky went for a crowning guitar shot. Honky then threw her down, drawing shocked gasps from everyone.

Elizabeth fled to the back as Honky landed the six-stringed smash, but wrestling’s first lady returned with a somewhat perplexed Hulk Hogan. Hogan saw the three-on-one, and then hit the ring, helping clear Jimmy Hart’s clients from the fray. Savage was reluctant to express gratitude, but finally did to Hulk, kicking off the Mega Powers with the famous handshake.

Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.

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Top 10 WWE Saturday Night’s Main Event Matches

July 07, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Saturday Night’s Main Event is expected to land on the WWE Network today. With 36 shows and over 3000 minutes of matches where do you even start? You would start with the ten best SNME matches as determined by a blogger who has seen them all!

I loved Saturday Night’s Main Event. It brought not only the expected feuds but even a few dream matches to free television for wrestling fans. The matches were always fast paced as the WWE generally would try to squeeze 4-5 in an hour which made for some excellent matches. The WWE Network is getting them all today so I thought it would be a great time to dig deep into the archives and create a must-see list for first-time viewers.

WWE championship: Hulk Hogan vs. Terry Funk (SNME #4) – This match rarely gets the love it so rightly deserves. Terry Funk was on his game here and believe it or not he and Hogan had tremendous chemistry. In another shocker it is Vince McMahon’s commentary that really puts this one over as he is disgusted with Funk. Funk chokes Hogan at one point with his wrist tape (something I am surprised more heels don’t do) and Vince loses it. As usual with a Terry Funk match you may find yourself laughing at some points at his shtick. I liked this one a lot and while not as technically sound as others on this list, it is hard to find a match as entertaining as Hogan and Funk.

Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase (SNME #15) – Bret was starting to break out here as he was on the upswing while DiBiase was on his way down. DiBiase is now managed by Sensational Sherri. These two had tremendous chemistry here and it was obvious immediately that they enjoyed working with each other. This was a real solid match, psychologically as sound as you will find for the time period. Roddy Piper gets into the mix as Bret’s advocate and the match winds up going to a double-count out with everyone fighting on the floor.

WWE Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs – 2/3 Falls (SNME #11) – I remember watching these matches at the time as a kid convinced they were real. These two teams fought so hard and stiff that even after 20/20 I was still questioning whether it was dare I say fake or not. These two teams are the epitome of this as you had four guys that brought their own styles to the WWE as opposed to today where you have guys adjusting to the style of the WWE. Jesse predicts a classic and he is right. The Rock and Roll Express vs. Midnight Express is generally regarded as the greatest tag team series of the 1980s but I’d put this match right up there with them. The Bulldogs take this one in two straight falls to win the WWE tag team titles. I’d highly recommend checking this match out as one of the first SNME bouts on the WWE Network.

WWE championship: Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff Steel Cage Match (SNME #9) – You will see why this is regarded as one of the best steel cage matches in WWE history. It may not be as brutal as some of the classics from the 70s and early 80s, but it is a lot of fun. Both guys work hard throughout the match to reach the floor only for both to touch the ground at the same time. Hogan wins the match after a restart. The crowd ate this one up from start to finish. There is a reason these two sold out arenas around North America and you’ll see exactly why in this match.

WWE IC Championship: Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts (SNME #8) – What a fantastic match! This was probably my favorite all-time SNME match. I will tell you what. The more I watch these matches the more I am reminded about how awesome Savage was in his prime. He was truly a pioneer. This was a unique match as both guys were technically heels at the time yet Jake was slowly turning. Vince even remarks how the fans are behind Jake towards the end of the match. What I really liked about this is that Jake wrestled like a heel even though he was clearly positioned as the babyface. This match took place well before their famous feud several years later. The match had the sound psychology here as you would expect. Savage was great here as the heel champion coming close to getting pinned on several occasions. Jake goes for the DDT constantly only to have Savage weasel out of it. Both guys are disqualified as you’d expect in a match with two heels. If you want to see an old-school match telling a great story then go out of your way to watch this one on the Network.

The Brain Busters vs. The Rockers – 2/3 Falls (SNME #24) – It’s a shame that these two teams didn’t wrestle more because this rivalry had the potential to be one of the best ever between tag teams. The Brain Busters and Bobby Heenan have a heated talk before the match, teasing dissection. Vince and Jesse tease that the Busters seem out of sync. Jannetty scores the first pin on Tully with a sunset flip over the top rope only after a few minutes of action. Heenan yells at the Busters after they lose the fall. He pushes Tully and is then backed out of the ring by the Busters. The Rockers take advantage of this and go quickly into the second fall. Heenan walks out on the Busters. The Brain Busters take the second fall with a real weak finish as Arn clotheslines Michaels across the top rope for the pin. The third fall is the best of the three as the action really picks up. Jannetty blocks a piledriver attempt by Anderson and Michaels hits the flying bodypress off of the top rope for the pin. This was great but I think the drama with Heenan and the Busters actually hurt this one as it took the emphasis away from the action.

WWE championship: Hulk Hogan vs. Big Boss Man Steel Cage Match (SNME #21) – This was an interesting match as it was the end of the feud and more or less a promotion for Hogan’s movie. Nonetheless it is a great match as Bossman and Hogan really gelled in the ring during this time. The match is contested In an unbelievable moment Hogan catches Bossman after he has climbed over the top and is a few feet from the floor, pulls him back up and suplexes him off of the top of the cage! Hogan winds up ramming Bossman into the cage three times and dropping a leg for the pin in a fun cage match from SNME.

WWE IC Championship: Mr. Perfect vs. Tito Santana (SNME #27) – Many regard this match as the greatest match in Saturday Night’s Main Event history. I don’t know if I’d go that far but it is certainly top 10, maybe even top 5. I have always regarded Santana as one of the most underrated workers of the 80s/early 90s. Put Tito in there with another workhorse like Mr. Perfect and you have magic. These two extract the best from one another, starting out at an incredibly fast pace. At what point McMahon notes that this match can’t keep up for much longer in regards to the pace. Hennig slows it down after a few minutes. The crowd goes crazy for Tito’s comebacks which really add to the intensity. Hennig is his usual bump machine throughout the match. Bobby Heenan’s facial reactions are also priceless. Hennig wins surprisingly with a clean cradle in a thriller.

Randy Savage vs. Bret Hart (SNME #13) – I would dare say that this was probably Bret Hart’s first major singles match on WWE television. This match lived up to all expectations. The pace was solid, much faster than most WWE matches at the time. One odd spot in the match saw Bret get a 2-count on a piledriver, odd since the piledriver was an established finisher at the time. Savage was extremely generous here as the ascending star as he gave Bret about 50/50. Savage was an animal taking bumps all over the place including a backdrop to the floor. The only thing preventing this match from going down as an all-time classic was the short time they were given. Savage catches him out of nowhere with a small package for the win and the crowd goes ballistic. Ten more minutes and this match had potential to be a classic.

The Brain Busters vs. The Rockers (SNME #20) – Believe it or not this one is actually better than their two out of three falls match. The action starts off red hot in this match. It’s more like a Texas Tornado match early on. The match finally turns in the Buster’s favor after Heenan pulls down the top rope and Michaels hits the floor. The match breaks down outside of the ring and ends in a double-count out. This one is a little slower than the two out of three falls match which actually turned out to be a positive for these four.

 WWE The Paul Heyman Story

WWE: The Best of Saturday Night’s Main Event DVD

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America’s Most Patriotic Pro Wrestlers

July 04, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Nothing says red, white, and blue like good ol’ professional rasslin! World leaders would search far and wide for the biggest, creepiest, and most sadistic men to invade America and challenge wrestling’s biggest heroes. In celebration of July 4, I present America’s Most Patriotic Wrestlers.

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, let me remind you that this is all for fun. While wrestling has always thrived on feuds, the feuds in wrestling used to be much different. Taking pages out of current foreign disputes, promoters would generally book heels from the world’s axis of evil to take on the current top star. Wrestlers “from” Iran, Russia, Germany, France, Vietnam, Japan, China, Mongolia, and others would come to America to destroy wrestling’s hero.

The following wrestlers wore their love for America on their sleeves. Some of these wrestlers would make their careers fighting a foreign villain or villains. For some on the list, it would be a multitude of challenges from the outside world that would challenge their patriotism. Some wrestlers made their reputations as America’s hero with one war. Without further a due, I present the American warriors of professional wrestling.

Sgt. Slaughter – There isn’t another pro wrestler in the history of the business that represents America the way that Sgt. Slaughter did. As a former drill sergeant in the marine corps, Slaughter brought that same tenacity with him into the ring. One man, one country, and one war turned Slaughter from evil to good in one night. Slaughter’s challenge would come from Tehran, Iran’s the Iron Sheik.

Slaughter truly made his reputation with this one feud against the Iron Sheik. Over twenty-years later, the feud is still remembered as one of the all time greats. The timing, just a few years away from the Iran hostage crisis was crucial. Slaughter would go from being showered with boos to leading 15,000 people in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Slaughter would later make the move from wrestling to popular culture. Slaughter became a fictional part of the G.I. Joe series. Slaughter would appear in the cartoon, as well as have his figure included in the popular set. Kids who never heard of the Iron Sheik were now playing with Sgt. Slaughter figures. Everyone knew Sgt. Slaughter in 1986.

Even Sgt. Slaughter’s brief turn in the early 1990s couldn’t tarnish his legacy. Most fans forgive Slaughter’s allegiance to Iraq during the Gulf War. Sgt. Slaughter reigns today as wrestling’s most patriotic wrestler and will hold on to that legacy for decades to come.

Check out Slaughter and Sheik’s 5/21/84 match from Madison Square Garden as part of the WWE Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80s DVD

Hulk Hogan He may be accused of domestic violence today by his ex-wife, but that wasn’t the Hogan I grew up in the 1980s. Hulkamania was real and swept the world in the mid-1980s. In the 1980s, Hogan would make the song, “Real American” his trademark theme song. Hogan would live up to that song with some fierce battles against some of the world’s toughest villains.

It wasn’t uncommon for Hogan to walk to the ring swinging a big American flag. Hogan never had one monumental feud with a foreign athlete. However, it was Hogan that ended the short title reign of the evil Iron Sheik. Hogan would later go on to battle numerous foreign villains including; Nikolai Volkoff, Kamala, Killer Khan, Mr. Fuji, Andre the Giant, Zeus, Roddy Piper (Hey, he was from Scotland), Yokozuna, and countless others. Hogan was truly Mr. America in the 1980s and deserves a top spot on the list.

Hulk Hogan: The Ultimate Anthology DVD

Hacksaw Duggan – Before he was turned into a cartoon character on WWF television, Duggan was one tough cookie. Duggan made his reputation as one of America’s soldiers was actually made on a smaller scale. America’s hero was born in the mid-south of all areas for Cowboy Bill Watts.

Duggan’s wars in Mid-South Wrestling with the nasty foreigners put him on the cover of several national wrestling magazines. The pictures of Hacksaw Duggan slugging it out with Russian villains, earned his reputation amongst readers from all over the country.

Like Slaughter, one man would change boos to cheers from fans all over the country. Duggan’s termination of his association with Arab Skandor Akbar that turned things around for him and the fans. Duggan would go on to face foreign and turncoat villains managed by Akbar. Duggan began wearing American bandanas and bringing flags with him long before Hogan did.

Duggan brought his patriotic love with him to the WWF when he left Bill Watts’ promotion. Duggan immediately jumped into a war with the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. Duggan would also wage battles with Kamala, Andre the Giant, Boris Zhukov, and other foreign villains in the WWF.

Old Hacksaw was also inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.

See Duggan wage war with Nikolai Volkoff in Bill Watt’s Mid-South Wrestling on the Giants, Midgets, Heroes and Villains II DVD

The Patriot - Finally after a couple of years of updating this blog I have given in to reader pressure. Yes The Patriot finally makes the list of America’s Most Patriotic Wrestlers. He didn’t have a long career fighting for freedom in the WWE but he certainly left a memorable impression.

The Patriot debuted in Global Championship Wrestling and represented America against…The Dark Patriot! The Patriot also waived our flag overseas for All Japan Pro Wrestling teaming with Eagle. Next he went to WCW and teamed with Marcus Bagwell to form Stars & Stripes. I am still not sure exactly who was the star and who was the stripe.

However, most pro wrestling fans remember The Patriot for his shortest run of all which was in the WWE. The Patriot stood tall for the red, white, and blue against those evil Canadian the Hart Foundation. He even got a win over the leader of the Harts, Bret Hart on RAW thanks to Shawn Michaels (and you thought the Hart vs. Michaels rivalry was over the Montreal Screwjob?).  Unfortunately The Patriot would suffer a torn tricep and never return to action in the WWE.

Jack Swagger -  The Real American Jack Swagger is about as patriotic as you are going to get in 2014. Swagger and manager Uncle Zeb Coulter recently stood up for our country against the menacing Alexander Rusev. Swagger never had the same kind of passion about our country that the others had but you can’t deny his patriotism.

Dusty Rhodes – Dusty Rhodes was the son of a plumber and represented the “American Dream” of the country every time he stepped into the ring. There weren’t many fans in the audience who couldn’t relate with the blue collar persona of Dusty Rhodes.

It wasn’t one war with a villain that prompted to Dusty Rhodes to patriotic greatness. Rhodes, like all of the other wrestlers on the list was a former villain. On a Florida night in May 1974, Dusty finally had enough and turned on his partner Pak Song. That turn has been called one of the greatest angles in wrestling history.

Dusty would defend the honor of America against numerous foreign villains for decades. Dusty would travel throughout the country waging wars against the likes of the Koloffs, the Iron Sheik, Kamala, Krusher Khruschev, The Sheik, Abdullah the Butcher, and countless others. Dusty was always successful and would bleed and crawl his way to victory. For this, Dusty Rhodes is one of America’s most patriotic pro wrestlers.

The American Dream: The Dusty Rhodes Story DVD

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Steve Austin Talks Goldberg, WWE Stars, and One More Match

June 13, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Stone Cold Steve Austin has had some of the biggest matches in WWE history. Unfortunately there was still plenty of money left on the table due to a variety of circumstances, some of which Austin revealed in a recent media interview.

Anytime Stone Cold is going to talk to the media I am going to listen. Austin has turned into one of the more outspoken former WWE stars in recent months. The best Austin interviews are the ones he does with the wrestling media and a recent stop at Ring Rust Radio was no exception.

Austin covered a variety of topics on the interview. One of the more fascinating topics was when Austin was asked about guys he is disappointed he didn’t get to do a match or program with. Austin dropped some names, some obvious, and some not so obvious.

Well, I wasn’t in the right place, mentally, when they wanted to do Hogan. As far as what would draw money, hell that would do a ****pile of money, but I didn’t figure the match would be what it could have been if it had happened sooner. That would have been one that would have been cool if it happened. The Goldberg match, which was a no-brainer, but Bill decided to take the guaranteed money from Turner rather than jump into the WWE window and that didn’t really work out because he didn’t exactly peak out in WWE like he was in WCW. So that never really happened, but it would’ve been a great match. And I’m not putting Bill down for taking that money, I’m just saying that’s the way he played those cards and I can appreciate that. Just as far as key big guys off of the top, a match with Brock would’ve been bad ass, me and Punk would’ve been bad ass, and John Cena would’ve been a bad ass match. I think I could’ve gotten more out of Cena than anyone he’s ever worked with. I’m someone he can go out there with and have a come to Jesus meeting and get his ass fired up. I’ve got nothing but respect for that guy and a program with Steve Austin would’ve put him on another level that he has not been yet. He’s a top guy, and going to go into the WWE Hall of Fame, so when I say all that I mean it in a positive regard.

It’s funny because when everyone was talking about an Austin vs. CM Punk match two years ago I was beating the drum for Austin vs. Cena. Would the match be better? I don’t think so, however the dynamic of Austin and Cena in a feud together has the potential to be one of the biggest draws in WWE history. You can’t find two wrestling characters more polar opposite and while Punk vs. Austin also had some interesting dynamics, I think Austin vs. Cena was and still could be huge, huge money.

His point on Bill Goldberg is interesting. Goldberg likes to fancy himself a great businessman. In the end he not only got his guaranteed deal from WCW but also got a WWE deal. However, you have to guess that he left more money on the table by not coming over in 2001 and doing the match with Austin than what he made with his guaranteed deal. That match would have been a blockbuster and unfortunately Goldberg made the wrong play in my and it appears Austin’s opinion.

Austin also had some interesting thoughts about who in the WWE today can break through and become the next big star. Austin sees a few glimpses of stardom but isn’t convinced that anyone is a lock.

Man, I think it could be any one of a pool of people. I can’t sit here and drop names because I haven’t paid that much attention to the roster. I’ve been trying to DVR the shows. I am several months behind. I just subscribed to the WWE Network and I watched half of the pay-per view so far. Just from guys on the radar right now, I think all of the guys from The Shield have got big futures ahead of them. I don’t think they’re all carved in stone yet and there are still some missing pieces within each individual part of The Shield. Antonio Cesaro still has a hole somewhere in his game, but he’s certainly there. I predict a lot of success for that guy. I think Bray Wyatt is starting to kick ass and do a lot of great things. When they put Cesaro with Heyman, that was an interesting move because there were a lot of people starting to get off on Cesaro, and so they put him with Heyman, which put him back as a heel. The rest of the roster, I don’t know enough about. Here’s one thing that I will say; I remember watching some of my matches from Dallas on my email, and I was watching them back and I see an athletic body and a guy that’s stable, but the look was just not that great. So there are some guys down there that, as they go through the process and they’re not afraid to embrace making some changes and making some alterations to their gear, to their look to find the right gimmick and package to bring it all together. Man, there’s probably two or three diamonds in the rough down there because they’re not close to an appearance that is going to be the final thing that actually helps them get over and be received by the crowd as a heel or a babyface.

Austin has made similar comments about Cesaro on his podcast. He likes him in the ring but he has said several times that he thinks he is missing something. He isn’t a fan of his ring attire, I know that from listening to his podcast. His thoughts on the Shield were also quite interesting, although I am not sure how many holes that need to be filled at this point.

Finally, the million dollar question any good interview has to ask Austin is about a potential comeback. Austin was asked and while he was non-committal, no doors were closed.

I’d consider anything if the perfect situation or opportunity arose and it would be more than a million dollar question. I don’t want to sit here and promote a match, sell a match, or talk about making a comeback. The dirtsheets, or whatever you call them, and I talk to Dave Meltzer and Wade Keller all the time and they’re nice guys and I would consider them friends, I see Dave at almost every MMA fight, but I don’t want to stir any pots or hint or tease anything. People get their panties in a wad and say, ‘Stone Cold, either do it or not’. So, anything can happen, but I’m not going to endorse, promote, sell, or tease anything in regards to a match.

Austin typically gives this answer on his show and what is interesting is that he never says no. It is almost at this point as if he is sending some kind of an S.O.S. to the WWE and trying to let them know he is ready to talk.

Maybe we’ll get that Cena vs. Austin match after all?

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

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Hulkmanaia Goes Down South Part 6: The Turn

June 10, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Hulk Hogan really wasn’t in a position to negotiate in 1996, while he had legitimized WCW as an organization; he hadn’t changed their fortunes overnight. The company did finally make a profit in 1995, but Eric Bischoff summed it up best in his book, Controversy Creates Cash. Here is the excerpt, credit goes to the fantastic WCW Worldwide Tumblr whom I shamelessly copy and pasted from:

“[T]he truth is, Hulk Hogan didn’t boost our viewership very much that year. Except for the first Pay-Per-View match between him and Ric Flair, where the buy rate was 1.3 percent, he did not have the impact on ratings we’d hoped. His shows didn’t really move the needle.

There were a number of reasons. Hogan’s character had gotten a little stale. And the whole red-and-yellow, say-your-prayers, eat-your-vitamins thing clashed with the [WWF] steroids controversy. His credibility had been damaged.”

“Hogan also didn’t play that well with the audience WCW already had. Viewers who had watched WCW when it was NWA and Georgia Championship Wrestling, going way back, looked at Hogan kind of like an unwelcome guest. Hogan coming to WCW was like Roger Clemens coming to the New York Yankees. Yankee fans thought of him as a member of the hated Boston Red Sox, and didn’t warm up to him right away. To bring in Hulk Hogan appeared to be a version of wrestling blasphemy. The hard-core fan just didn’t understand why we would bring him in, and many peripheral mainstream viewers just didn’t care.”

Source: http://wcwworldwide.com/post/67433013877/hulk-hogan-wcw-contract-signing-event-at-the

Hulk had a strategy, he would take a sabbatical at the start of the NBA playoffs, the playoffs would the ratings of Nitro and Hulk would return and save the day. Well, the plan worked for a while. The NBA playoffs began on April 25th, with the first Nitro to be affected taking place on the 29th of April. For three weeks, the WWE won including a 4.1-1.9 drubbing on May 6th. Hulk looked like a genius for pulling this off, the company would continue to get beaten in the ratings and Bischoff would convince Turner to draw up a bigger contract than before. That was before Nitro won three in a row and I presume that Hulk was getting a bit uncomfortable. Raw won the June 10th 1996 date and then WCW proceeded to run off their winning streak after the playoffs ended. House show business, once a joke in WCW was on the rise thanks to the Randy Savage/Ric Flair feud.

Hulk’s contract was coming up and he knew that he didn’t have much for bargaining power. There was no way with Vince playing it safe with his money in this period (Signing mid-level names like Foley, Mero, Austin, Rock Hunter, etc) or he only broke the bank for Vader. Plus, WCW might not have much interest in bringing Hogan back financially. The company had just signed Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to large deals, plus they both had a favored nation clauses. A favored nation clause is a guarantee that both men will be the highest paid workers in the company, so if somebody signed a bigger deal, their salaries would be bumped up to that level. Nash had already signed a three year deal worth 1.2 million dollars a year and Bret Hart’s deal was expiring that year. Why keep Hogan around when you could sign three of the biggest stars from the WWE, who has were also a bit younger than Hogan? Taking away Bret, Hall, and Nash from the WWE might have been a potential death blow to McMahon.

The presence of Hall and Nash as rogue invaders from the WWE had greatly improved the ratings of Nitro, along with the introduction of the second hour. In-fact, the debut of Monday Nitro’s second hour was punctuated by the debut of Scott Hall making his declaration of war. Nash debuted a week or so later, and the rest we know is history. Bischoff could have easily left Hogan on the sidelines and let his deal run out. Yet, Bischoff had an idea that seemed insane but slightly smart enough not to be declared a complete moron.

He wanted Hulk Hogan to become a bad guy and join up with Nash and Hall

We all know that Hogan had been a bad guy before, but Hulk had been the good guy to end good guys for the last decade or so. While most of the older fans had been turned off by Hogan, there was still the younger fan base that liked Hogan. There was also the fact that Hogan was one of the top Make-a-Wish personalities, filling over 200 wishes. So, for Hulk to turn heel it could damage all that and potentially do away with the Make-a-Wish appearances and the adoration of those fans. In the end, Hulk would make the decision to turn heel and it seemed like a down to the wire moment if he was going to go through with it. Sting was on standby if Hulk finally got cold feet and I unfortunately foresee Hulk squashing all three of them when he returns.

On July 7th, 1996 the third man would arrive. Hulk Hogan would drop the leg on the wrestling world and salvage his WCW run. Cue the credits!

After Credits Scene: In Defense of Heenan

“Yeah, but whose side is he on?”

Many people have claimed that Bobby Heenan spoiled the big surprise and this was his attempt to get himself over. I disagree, first most of the blame should go on the fact that nobody was probably clued into what was happening. This was the usual way that WCW did things by most accounts; they didn’t let the announcers in on stuff like this. So, Heenan probably didn’t know and was just ad-libbing. Plus, Heenan had always hated Hogan and the way he did things, so it made sense for Heenan to question why Hogan was showing up just then. Where was he when Luger went down? Or when The Outsiders were absolutely beating the crap out of Sting and Savage? In the end, I think it added to the tense atmosphere of the match. I also liked that Heenan initially was gleeful and happy that he was right, but slowly became downtrodden about what he was witnessing. Great work from The Brain.

Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

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Hulkamania Goes Down South Part 5: And the Crowd Turns

June 09, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

By the beginning of 1996, the crowds had finally had enough of Hulk Hogan. The company had resorted to piping in cheers in case of booing or putting him with popular sports stars (Kevin Greene) to get the fans cheering. Hulk was being booed by fans everywhere, no longer the south. Hogan hit the point of oversaturation, a point that he was hitting in 1991 when the crowd was 50/50 for him against Undertaker at Survivor Series.

That’s why Vince wanted to make him the Babe Ruth of wrestling as he coined, trot Hogan out for the special appearance every now and then, keep him fresh. It wasn’t like the rest of the Amazing Friends were being booed by the fans, Sting was still massively over and Savage despite being a WWE guy endeared himself to the fans by working hard and having a great feud with Flair. The Hogan and Giant feud was continuing and hatred for Hulkamania, and his ridiculousness of his creative control was reaching its zenith at Superbrawl.

First, Hogan and Giant were the main event, not the continuing grudge feud between Flair and Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. It should also be noted that the most deadly weapon in the company at the time was a high heeled shoe as it both did significant damage to Hulk and Savage. Hulk and the Giant went through another bad match as the crowd showed no mercy on Hogan. Hulk was booed throughout the entire match and you have to remember this wasn’t the south. This was the Cow Palace in California; Hulk should have been a hero in this territory. Instead, you’d think that Hogan came out in a Cowboys jersey or something.

Hulk won and then The Dungeon came out to try and attack Hogan. I do mean they try as the entire Dungeon of Doom gets a beating from Hogan as he delivers pitiful chair shots to seven men. They introduced Hulk’s new big enemy, Loch Ness Monster who really wanted to fight Hogan. For those of you that don’t know, The Loch Ness Monster was British wrestler and occasional Stampede regular, Giant Haystacks. By the time he was lined up to be Hogan’s new enemy he had been wrestling for 29 years and was 50 years old. Yep, they were trotting out a fifty year old man to face Hogan, who was turning 43 that year. Sadly, Haystacks was diagnosed with cancer after joining WCW and presumably a big money run never happened.

Sorry to be a downer on that last part.

You’d think that after the less than stellar reaction that Hogan received in California that the company would rethink their plans for Hogan. Hulk was already scheduled to take off after Uncensored, make it a gift to give him an extra month off. Instead, the company would unleash its newest concept: The Doomsday Cage match. What was the Doomsday Cage match you may ask? Well, it was a takeoff the old Tower of Doom match that happened at the 1988 Great American Bash. It was a precursor to the Triple Decker cage that WCW would trot out in 2000, the company was hoping that the Tower of Doom would be the next big gimmick match after WarGames. It wasn’t. The match was tough for the fans to see, the cage was clunky and difficult to operate and I’m honestly surprised that it didn’t fall apart with ten two hundred pound plus men fighting throughout it. The match also sucked.

The storyline going into the match was that The Four Horsemen and The Dungeon of Doom formed an alliance….The Alliance to End Hulkamania. Sullivan issued the challenge for Hogan to face the entire group in The Doomsday Cage match. At some point, I presume that the idea of Hogan going over the entire group on the table and I also presume that Flair was going to do the job. I’m just guessing that Hogan and Bischoff had a running tally on how many times they could make Flair cry in a year. The winner would get Turner’s credit card for two nights of debauchery.

You’d think that cooler heads would prevail and they would add Savage, Sting, Road Warriors and I can’t believe I’m saying this but the Booty Man to the match. Instead, they went with Hogan and Savage. Interestingly enough, Brian Pillman was a part of the group and it was rumored that Hogan campaigned heavily to do something with Pillman during the match, so that he could squash him and kill off The Loose Cannon character. Pillman smartened up and requested his release before such a thing could happen. To counter this, the company dragged Zeus out of obscurity (Now Z-Gangsta) and Robert “Bane from that Batman move you wish you could forget” Swanson and added them to the match. Yes, they brought Zeus back to revive a feud that died almost a decade ago. Swanson hadn’t been on the national wrestling stage in almost a decade and was named The Final Solution. Are we sure that Mel Gibson wasn’t secretly booking WCW at the time?

That was cheap, but worth it.

You remember about what I said about the original Tower of Doom match and how it was tough for the fans to see and it was a mostly poor effort since you’re putting cage-on-cage without any solid footing for the wrestlers. It was also tough for the fans to see since the actual match took place in a set-up near the entrance. I’m just going to presume that fans didn’t see it on the jumbotron at the arena, so there be a lot of gawking of the necks to see it. If somebody offers you a chance to watch it, don’t since it is a beyond awful match. It managed to have a negative three star rating and snagged the worst match of the year award from the Observer. Observe that, Hogan. Oh yeah, Flair jobs in the end.

Because why the hell not.

Hogan would take his hiatus, not before defeated Sullivan and Anderson (Whom defeated Hogan twice on television) in a handicap match in around four minutes.

Because why the hell not.

Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.

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Hulkamania Goes Down South Part 4: A WCW Fan’s Descent into Insanity

June 06, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

If you’ve noticed by now, this is no longer a four part series.

In our last article, we talked about the Hogan and Vader feud and while this was happening, did you wonder what happened to The Three Faces of Fear? Oh, you didn’t? Well, guess what I didn’t want to cover this part. I just wanted to gloss over this part but my boss demanded that I cover this. Well, the Avalanche went on to feud with Sting and Savage and Sullivan beat The Butcher so bad that the Butcher got amnesia. The Butcher had a new name, The Man with No Name and would feud with Sullivan. They had a match, Sullivan won and that was it.

OR IS IT?

Until Sullivan got messages from The Master (Curtis Iaukea caked in powdered sugar it seemed like) saying that he needed form the Dungeon of Doom and destroy Hulkamania. He also became The Taskmaster, an upgrade from Gamesmaster I guess. It should be noted that around this time, Sullivan began painting some weird as heck symbols on his head and their dungeon looked like a rejected Haunted Mansion add on. It probably was actually. Sullivan assembled his army of freaks to face Hulkamania: The Zodiac (Formerly the Butcher, don’t ask), The Shark (Formerly the Avalanche, don’t ask), Meng (Former bodyguard to wearing a giant dragon’s head, don’t ask) and Kamala (Because….he faced Hogan in the 80’s).

Oh, and Vader joined the group since they were filming the Baywatch episode and Sullivan worked his way into the episode. So basically the group was Kevin Sullivan and Hogan Punching Bags 1-5. I have to give credit to Sullivan for this; he knew what Hogan wanted after going through the Vader and Flair feuds. Hulk wanted to recreate the glory days of him running through monsters and Sullivan pitched him something like that. It resulted in Sullivan getting in the inner circle of Hogan and getting the booker job.

Around this time, a large young man by the name of Paul Wight was trying to break into the wrestling industry. A former basketball player, Wight was 7’2 and possessed agility not seen from a big man since the early days of Andre the Giant. Wight tried to get in contact with the WWE, but was promptly told to get experience. He presented a tape of him running the ropes (He did not have much training) to Mike Chioda, but Pat Patterson thought it was The Kurrigan. Yeah, Vince wasn’t happy once he realized that they had a chance to get this guy, but didn’t. Instead, Wight with the help of Danny Bonaduce of all people was put into contact with Hogan and Hulk saw dollar signs in his eyes and thus the rest of history. The Giant was pushed right to the top and the controversy wouldn’t come from said push, but how he debuted.

Instead of just having the Giant show up and destroy Hogan out of the blue, he showed up on the Bash at the Beach pre show and threw a white shirt at Hogan. Hulk stammered that the shirt belonged to Andre and yes, we’re going to talk about this. There were actual talks about billing him as Andre the Giant Jr. at one point and I’m not kidding. Even worse, they had Hogan give an awful interview saying that he remembered seeing this young man watching him at the Silverdome. Do you think it could get any worse? If you said yes, then YOU WON A FREE MILKSHAKE*. Hulk would later say in the buildup that he would bury The Giant just like how he buried his father…uh yeah. It should be noted that Andre had only been dead for two years at this point and his family was rather pissed at this. It should be noted that this was dropped and then brought up by Scott Hall a year later.

In order to hype this up, you’d think that the company would go old school, have The Giant just absolutely wreck via Hogan in the ring. A whole bunch of chokes slams, the Hulk quiver sell, take him out via ambulance. Heck, have Hulk cough up some blood to sell the effect; it got Lesnar some massive heat. Instead, Hulk entered the Dungeon of Doom twice and the first one would be legendary in all the wrong ways. Overacting worse than Nic Cage in Wicker Man with such immortal lines as:

“WHERE AM I?”

“THERE’S NO HULKAMANIACS HERE!”

“AHHH! IT’S NOT HOT!”

Hulk would be beaten by The Giant and would then renter and take another beating after more horrible acting. Even with the presence of The Amazing Friends, Hulk would take another beating from the Dungeon until MOTHERFRIGGING VADER saved the day. As a kid, the thought of Vader and this monster fighting were awesome, what can I say I’m a mark for a good hoss fight! Vader was added to Hogan’s team to face The Dungeon (Kamala/Zodiac/Meng/Shark) and would get five minutes with Sullivan if he won. Until Vader got fired for losing a fight to Orndorff and was replaced by Lex Luger at the last minute…but that’s for a different article for a different time. This would also set in stone Sting looking like a complete idiot for insisting that the amazing friends could trust Luger and for trusting Ric Flair the next month.

Earlier in the show, The Giant ran over Hulk’s prized motorcycle with a monster truck surely setting the most unintentionally funny moment of 1995, a year full of them. Hulk’s team wins and you can actually see fans leave during Hulk’s beatdown of Sullivan. The only redeemable part in all this is The Giant using the cage to jump over the ropes and then jumping the ropes like it’s nothing. You seriously forget that Show was insanely agile at this point in his career. Giant beats up Hogan, doing what they should have done in the beginning and fake snaps his neck.

After this, the Amazing Friends would sort of splinter off. Sting went off to get swerved by a heel for the 45,677th time, Savage and Luger would feud over who the better wrestler is and we’d get…well I can’t do this. The build-up to Hogan/Giant is like a special Robert Zone from hell…but since I like you the reader, I’ll do my best. First, Hogan gets attacked by Sullivan who is dressed like a woman, gets his neck fake snapped by Giant again and has his mustache shaved. Hulk came back the next week wearing all black, claiming that he was playing on Taskmasters level now.

He then compared his mustache to Mount Rushmore and it being shaved to desecrating the American flag. The stupidity would continue when it was announced that The Giant would meet Hogan twice in one night with the first being a monster sumo match. Hulk’s turn to the darkness more or less consisted of him wearing black and cutting wildly stupid promos. How worse could it get? The Master introduced an “Insurance Policy” for the main event, the Yeti. The company kept the character under wraps, underneath a block of ice until the ending of Nitro when it flashed a whole bunch of colors and blew up. Nitro quickly ended before we really got a good look at him.

Yes, they were actually spending money on monster trucks and to have them film something with the trucks on-top of Cobo Hall. You probably could have shot it on a green screen and save some money. If you’re thinking that hey, they wouldn’t actually spend the money to AIRLIFT the cars on-top of the place, you’re wrong. Or to spend money on a helicopter to get the various overhead shots that they used during the show. Hogan won the “match”, Giant attacked and Hogan accidentally knocked him off the roof of the building. We can probably add the stunt company hired to coordinate the stunt to the rather large budget.

The announcers played it off as completely serious with an over dramatic “NO” from Eric Bischoff and Heenan salvaging the entire thing by acting like his child had gone missing. The main event would arrive and Hulk would come out first and try sympathetic and actually apologized for KILLING A MAN. The Giant would actually arrive and they would never explain how the Giant came back to life, just that he was seemingly superhuman. The match was on and it wasn’t the best, but hey I’m not surprised. Hulk wasn’t the type to do a carry job and this was on the first handful a matches that The Giant was having. Jimmy Hart would knock the ref out and while it came out of nowhere, it was very well done and would benefit Hart since he just awful as a face manager. Luger and Savage ran out to save the day, and then the insurance policy arrived. A yeti is a rather large and furry creature that is a myth. What the yeti isn’t, is a mummy covered in what appears to be poop stained toilet paper. Somebody forgot to tell WCW that, and that while staying on the Poop Mummy (Or as Skeevonie called it: YEH-TAI), they would completely miss Luger turning on Savage.

The Poop Mummy would then partake in a dry humping of Hulk Hogan, the worse pain Hulk has dealt with…..you know the joke already. I have to praise them, the ending was really good besides the humping, Savage and Hulk are completely beaten down and there are no good guys to save the day. It was one dark ending for a wrestling card which usually had the good guys win to send the fans home happy. It could have been much much worse as the Yeti was supposed to be El Gigante and another monster would be introduced, The Super Ninja played by Ron Reis who played The Yeti. It was all supposed to set-up World War III with Hogan in one ring, Giant in another and the Yeti in the other one. By the time we actually reached the card, Reis had become a ninja, nobody cared and he was the first one eliminated.

The belt was vacated because of the debauchery and we got more Hogan insane and embraced the darkness. And by embrace, we mean they taped more incoherent promos with him and Savage wearing all black and wanting the head of Meng. This would all be revealed to be mind games as he would embrace the darkness in a pre-show promo. Hulk also revealed that Savage’s arm injury was fake (It wasn’t) and then took out a copy of the Wrestling Observer that proclaimed that the Giant will win it all. He then screamed “OBSERVE THIS”, burned it and claimed that the real spoilers were on the internet. Here’s the thing about the Observer, companies never acknowledged the Observer since they didn’t want the fans finding out about it.

Honestly, I think that Memphis acknowledged the Observer once when they said that Lance Russell won TV Announcer of the year four times in a row from a prestigious newsletter. Well, Savage won the battle royal, Hulk was pulled under the ring and it set-up an angle so that Hogan could take off for Starrcade. Hulk went crazy, hit the Giant with a chair a whole bunch of times and it would be the last we’d see Hulk.

It should be noted that Starrcade 1995 was an excellent show, almost an apology by the company for subjecting us to this crap.

*Do not ask me for a free milkshake.

Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

WWE: United We Slam – Best of Great American Bash

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com