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Hulk Hogan Gunning For WWE WrestleMania 32 Match

May 04, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WrestleMania 32 is just under a year away and WWE legend Hulk Hogan is already campaigning for a match. Hulk is ready to lace up the boots for one more Mania match and according to him, he has the support of the CEO.

Hulk Hogan has been petitioning for another WrestleMania match ever since he returned to the company last year. Hogan worked hard to rehabilitate his back and pass physicals but in the end he was left off of the 31 card. That isn’t stopping Hogan. Hogan is working even harder to get back in the ring and told reporters at a recent press conference that he is down for whatever opportunities await him in Dallas Texas.

”Next year, WrestleMania is going to be where the Dallas Cowboys play at the AT&T stadium and next year they’re going to try to break my indoor attendance record. So, I stopped Vince McMahon in the hallway and said, ‘Let me tell you something brother, there’s no way you’re running WrestleMania next year without Hulk Hogan on the card. Whether it’s for my last hurrah and it’s my retirement match, whether it’s for my next run or whether it’s to just beat whoever’s got the WWE title and become the champion again. If you guys are in that stadium next year, I’m going to be there.’ And Vince McMahon shook my hand and said, ‘I look forward to it.’ ”

There are a few takeaways from this. First and foremost, you can never believe everything you hear from Hogan. Hogan is his best promoter and he’ll tell you just about anything to make some news. That said, if Hogan does have the support of Vince McMahon, there is a pretty good chance he’ll be back in the ring. Now do I think he is challenging for the WWE title? No, but there are plenty of other things he can do on the card to fill a spot and achieve his goal.

Why would Vince McMahon allow Hogan to get back into the ring? Well, he has a very large stadium to fill. UFC president Dana White has made it clear that Ronda Rousey will not be on the card. That could certainly change but she is nothing that the WWE can count on today. One idea that could resonate with casual fans is to bring Hogan back with a similar storyline that Ric Flair had when he retired at WrestleMania 24. Now I couldn’t imagine Hogan wrestling as many matches as Flair did, but the same idea could work here. I think the idea of a Hulk Hogan Retirement Match on Mania could be big business if presented correctly.

Hogan’s physical limitations are always the big question mark. Hogan claims that his back is in better shape than it has been in years and he has been working hard to get in ring shape. I don’t recall seeing any public medical records to verify Hogan’s claims, however Hogan has looked much better walking around on WWE television than he ever did in TNA. His improvements are obvious, even to doubters, but walking and wrestling are two different things. Hulk will need to pass a physical before he steps through the ropes and that may be his biggest obstacle.

Looking ahead to 2015 if you put a Hogan retirement story on a card with Sting vs. Undertaker, a Rock match, Brock Lesnar, and another special attraction you could have something really special for Mania. Ronda Rousey would be the icing on the cake. I could certainly see why Vince would be intrigued and for one more night, I can’t imagine anyone having a big problem with it.

WWE: It’s good to be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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Top 50 Moments of the WWE Attitude Era

April 14, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s still unclear what Monday’s addition of Attitude Era content to WWE Network exactly entails. Hopefully, it’s enough to satiate the subscribers that have been holding their breath for 1997 episodes of Nitro for close to a year. The uploading schedule has the regularity of asthma attacks, and it seems once the Network is on a kick (ECW week! 16 months of Nitro! A new classic Raw every Wednesday!), the idea is quickly left in a roadside ditch in favor of some other hastily-concocted idea.

Whatever Attitude programming makes its way to the Network on Monday, I thought it’d be nice to put the actual era in perspective and sift through the top moments with the benefit of hindsight. I do enjoy my listmaking; you may have noticed.

In picking the 50 most memorable moments of wrestling’s most unpredictable and fun era ever, I adhered to a few guidelines.

1. The time frame for the Attitude Era isn’t exactly etched in stone, so I went with the timeline used on WWE2K13 for their Attitude Era mode: the moment Shawn Michaels hit Undertaker with a steel chair at SummerSlam 1997 through Steve Austin and Vince McMahon’s handshake at WrestleMania X7. Some say the era didn’t begin until Austin beat Michaels for the title; others will say it was when Austin broke into Brian Pillman’s house in 1996. Mileage varies; I think my choice of dates is fairly acceptable.

2. Wrestler deaths (Pillman, Owen) and serious injuries (Droz) are omitted completely. Each entry on the list plays into the realm of fiction to some degree, and it’s not fair to say that one man’s death was more memorable than another, even if Owen’s was the public relations nightmare from hell, based on the circumstances. The Attitude Era had its share of dark moments from the bowels (perhaps literally) of creation, and this list only honors those birthed by the writer’s pen.

Off we go.

50. Michaels Smashes Undertaker with a Steel Chair (August 3, 1997)

Hey, we were just talking about this, weren’t we? Michaels shed his put-on company charm for good with the errant strike, weaving the overwhelming dislike against him with the ‘blame’ he received for the incident. Cutesy, praise-singing Michaels of 1996 had to go away, and as far as catalysts go, this was perfect.

49. Austin Throws the Intercontinental Title into a River (December 9, 1997)

And you thought the belt was disrespected today. Austin lost the belt via voluntary forfeit to The Rock, then beat him up anyway, absconded with the title, and chucked the strap into a freezing New Hampshire stream out of spite.

48. Double People’s Elbow (September 27, 1998)

The Rock had just freshly turned face, and was pitted with fellow fan favorites Ken Shamrock and Mankind in a blue-barred cage match in Hamilton, ON. The Canadian crowd solidified Rock as a true superstar when he ripped off both elbow pads, dropped his signature elbow in duplicate, and receiving his biggest cheer to date in doing so.

47. Halftime Heat (January 31, 1999)

A novel concept to be sure, Rock defended the WWF Title against Mankind in an empty arena match, and it aired at halftime of John Elway’s final game. The camera angles showing the finish were hokey, but Mankind winning trumps sitting through Gloria Estefan’s warbling.

46. Linda’s Off Her Meds (April 1, 2001)

Since Vince demanded a divorce in December, Linda McMahon fell into a near-vegetative state (which wasn’t an acting stretch), and Vince, via power-of-attorney, kept her doped up while he cavorted with Trish Stratus. At WrestleMania X7, Linda emerged from a now put-on comatose state and kicked Vince in the balls to a massive cheer.

45. Austin Gets Run Down (November 14, 1999)

It was the beginning of an intriguing whodunnit. Austin chases Triple H through a Detroit parking lot at Survivor Series and gets run over by an unknown assailant. Austin was written out for almost ten months (he needed spinal surgery), and speculation ran rampant as to the driver.

44. Triple H Revealed as Mastermind of Austin’s Accident (November 6, 2000)

The initial payoff of the rundown was Rikishi, who ‘dih dit for da Rock’, and that seemed less than satisfactory. A month after the reveal, Triple H struck Austin after a tag team match on Raw, and worked in tandem with Rikishi to bust Austin up. The payoff for the rewrite was Austin dropping Triple H out of a crane at Survivor Series. Ahh, simpler times.

43. Triple H vs. T-800 Model 101 (November 9, 1999)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, pre-Gubernatorial run, appeared on Smackdown to promote the insipid End of Days movie, and ended up waylaying Triple H at the commentary desk. This was pretty well-received from the optimistic Attitude-era fanbase, and it beats the hell out of the “Rise of the Torn Quadriceps” entrance at WrestleMania 31.

42. Nuclear in Dallas (February 7, 2000)

Triple H, X-Pac, and The Radicals took on The Rock, Mick Foley, Too Cool, and Rikishi in an excellent ten man tag with one of the wildest, hottest crowds you’ll ever hear. The heels won, but Kane made the big save afterward with a returning Paul Bearer, spurring an even louder crowd response. Rivals a post-WrestleMania Raw crowd in volume.

41. Ventura Has the Power (August 22, 1999)

After leaving WWF acrimoniously nine years earlier, now-Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura officiated the main event at SummerSlam in Minneapolis, and even graced Raw with some commentary 13 days prior. Ventura even got to beat up Shane McMahon on a lark.

40. Finally, Austin vs. McMahon, with a Debut (February 14, 1999)

McMahon took a spill off the side of a steel cage at the hands of Austin, and Stone Cold spent an extended time-frame busting him up to the crowd’s delight. That’s when Big Show made his debut, billowing through the canvas, and assaulted Austin before inadvertently giving him the win by throwing him into the cage. The structure came apart, allowing escape.

39. Big Red Machine vs. Big Red Monster (March 29, 1998)

Nobody realized at the time that a running gag was being born. Pete Rose appeared at WrestleMania XIV to insult the then-suffering Boston fans, prompting Kane to dismantle Rose upon arrival. This tradition continued for several ‘Manias following.

38. Love Her or Leave Her (August 22, 1999)

The storyline was Shakespeare with the aggro-rock twist; Shane McMahon forbade his sister Stephanie from dating blue-collar Test. To settle the issue, Shane and Test competed in a startling show-stealer at SummerSlam with Test winning, but not before Shane busted out his first ever Leap of Faith elbow through the Spanish announce table.

37. Garden Street Fight (January 23, 2000)

Cactus Jack reared his ugly head into WWF Champion Triple H’s life, and the two warred in a street fight for the title at the Royal Rumble. A barbed-wire 2X4 found employment for the first time in WWF history, and Helmsley bled more than he ever had before. Cactus taking a Pedigree face-first onto a pile of thumbtacks cinches the match’s place in insanity’s lore.

36. The Highway to Hell (August 30, 1998)

The Crash-TV elements of the era killed off slow-burns and meaningful build in a lot of instances. However, the three-month story of miscommunication and alpha-male posturing between Austin and Undertaker en route to their SummerSlam title bout, complete with AC/DC’s iconic tune in music video form, was a well-rounded, well-received saga.

35. Birmingham: The Original Montreal (September 20, 1997)

Bret Hart wasn’t the only non-American beaten for gold in their own country by Shawn Michaels in dubious fashion. Michaels won the European Title from Davey Boy Smith in England at the ‘One Night Only’ PPV, while Michaels heeled it up to the hilt. The controversial match was witnessed by Smith’s dying sister Tracy, seated ringside with Diana Hart-Smith.

34. DX Invasion (April 27, 1998)

Not the end-all/be-all moment that WWE likes to claim, a fatigue-clad D-Generation X drove an Army Jeep to the Norfolk Scope, where WCW was running Monday Nitro, and the group was filmed interviewing fans with comped tickets, and demanding the release of ‘hostages’ Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Not that WCW needed help in looking uncool.

33. Triple H’s Most Important Turn (March 28, 1999)

Other than Austin regaining the WWF Title, this was the most important part of an awful WrestleMania. Triple H Pedigreed X-Pac in his European title bout with Shane McMahon, going corporate in the process. From this turn spawned wrestling’s most unkillable character.

32. Rikishi Goes Superfly (July 23, 2000)

It surely hurt Don Muraco enough getting pancaked by Jimmy Snuka’s steel cage leap in 1983, but imagine poor Val Venis’ plight. Venis was absolutely squashed by Rikishi, all 400 pounds with an anchoring ass, horrifically recreating the plummet at Fully Loaded 2000

31. “I Need to Beat You” (March 22, 2001)

The build to Austin and Rock’s WrestleMania X7 title match was enhanced in video form with Limp Bizkit’s melancholy “My Way” as the soundtrack. Giving the face-vs-face clash that extra push was Austin’s statement during a sitdown interview with Jim Ross, telling Rock he needed to beat him, with chilling matter-of-factness. Nobody had a clue what lay ahead.

30. This is Your Life, Rock (September 27, 1999)

The 8.4 Nielsen rating, still a Raw record, warrants the inclusion on this list, even if the segment doesn’t exactly hold up comedically. So Mankind hosts a dorky love-in for Rock, complete with cameos from Rock’s past. Highlight is Rock’s high coach pricelessly entering to Lex Luger’s “I’ll Be Your Hero” 1993 hype theme, before getting dressed down.

29. Austin Evens the Odds (April 30, 2000)

You’ll never believe this, but the Corporation stacked the odds against a babyface challenger. The Rock was down and out against Triple H after tons of interference, when Stone Cold hit the ring with a chair, putting down the champ, along with Vince, Shane, Patterson, and Brisco. The crowd response to the signature glass-shatter is some electric energy.

28. Judgment Day is Now (May 21, 2000)

For 58 minutes, Rock and Triple H executed one of the most well-thought out and dramatic Iron Man matches in wrestling history. With the score tied, The Undertaker made his grand return, reverting to real-life motorcycle man roots, assaulting Triple H in the waning seconds to give Helmsley the gold on a fall-ending DQ. Cheap ending aside, everything else ruled.

27. Ladder to Success (August 30, 1998)

While the previous two entries occurred at the culmination of Rock and Triple H’s success, one match revealed their respective potential: a ladder match for the Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam. It was each man’s greatest match to date, and the MSG faithful approved of their valiant effort. There was little doubt in each of their bright futures.

26. Austin’s Four Weeks of Destruction (September 28-October 19, 1998)

Lumping four moments of Stone Cold-brand mayhem in one entry: the Zamboni ride to the ring, rectally assaulting Vince with an enema, filling Vince’s Corvette with wet cement, and finally holding him hostage with a flag-loaded prop gun after Austin had been fired. All silly and over-the-top, yes, but it’s hard to remember Austin without these incidents.

25. The Year of Angle (October 22, 2000)

Exuberant Angle was really the first star since The Rock to begin essentially as a WWF pet project and blossom into a no-doubt-about-it main event superstar. In less than one year, Angle was made European and Intercontinental Champions, as well as King of the Ring, before going over on Rock to become WWF Champion at No Mercy. It’s true.

24. Vegas Wedding (November 29, 1999)

Test and Stephanie McMahon were in the midst of what seemed like a touching wedding ceremony, when Triple H appeared, producing footage of himself marrying a drugged, unconscious Stephanie at a drive-thru chapel in Vegas that weekend. Stephanie was proven to be in on the ruse at Armageddon, but the Raw payoff made for good shock TV.

23. Bang Bang! (September 22, 1997)

A nice little surprise for the ‘home crowd’ at the Garden. Triple H thinks he’s getting Dude Love in a falls count anywhere match, but is instead treated to a video of Dude Love and Mankind both passing on the bout. In comes Cactus Jack, his WWF ‘debut’, to accept, and Foley lives out his dream of shining brutally in his favorite arena.

22. Double Screwjob (November 15, 1998)

The Survivor Series ‘Deadly Game’ tournament for the WWF Championship played out with a pair of well-booked swerves. In one, Shane McMahon, estranged from his father, screwed over Austin in a semi-final match with Mankind. Mankind was then screwed over, via Sharpshooter, to The Rock, who captured his first World Title as a corporate centerpiece.

21. Chair After Chair (January 24, 1999)

The I Quit Match at the 1999 Royal Rumble became infamous, thanks in large part due to Barry Blaustein’s “Beyond the Mat” documentary. The Rock pelted a handcuffed Mankind with an endless barrage of unprotected chair shots while Colette Foley and children Dewey and Noelle, both extremely young, cried in horror from the crowd.

20. Star-Crossed Lovers (September 24, 2000)

One of the biggest draws for female fans in the year 2000 was the love triangle that played out between Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and a seemingly platonic Kurt Angle. The story ended hastily at Unforgiven with a Triple H win, but the layers of deceit and miscommunication (namely Triple H’s misgivings with Trish Stratus) were wholly new to WWF television.

19. DX Version 2.0 (March 30, 1998)

Shawn Michaels’ back injury led to Triple H stepping out of the shadow and commandeering the group following WrestleMania XIV. Joining Triple H and Chyna were X-Pac (returning that night following being let go by WCW, which was addressed by Sean Waltman in a vitriolic promo) and The New Age Outlaws, all in the span of one evening.

18. Four New Stars in One (October 17, 1999)

The Terri Invitational Tournament with a sack of money at stake was hardly relevant. Edge, Christian, and The Hardy Boyz stole the night with a ladder match for the ages, elevating each other from midcard driftwood to crowd favorites through intricate stunts, and a violent disregard that didn’t require a gruesome blade job.

17. Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (April 2, 2000, August 27, 2000, April 1, 2001)

On the foundation of that No Mercy ladder match came three epic battles with the aforementioned teams, plus The Dudley Boyz, each upping the ante of showmanship and high-risk suspense. Edge and Christian won all three matches, but the teams would all ride the momentum of the matches to extensive success in their careers.

16. “By My Hand Only” (May 31, 1998)

If you have the Network, just watch Over the Edge 1998 from Vince’s backstage promo, through Pat Patterson’s hysterical ring intros, through the entire Steve Austin-Dude Love WWF Championship brawl, all the way to the satisfying finish. It is the greatest overbooked match in wrestling history, and you’re nuts if you don’t give it five stars.

15. Evacuees of a Falling Empire (January 31, 2000)

After Vince Russo’s WCW reassignment, many concerned parties in the midcard decided they wanted out if Kevin Sullivan got the book. Four of those individuals, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Perry Saturn, immediately jumped to WWF and became known as The Radicals. Benoit even handed back his newly won WCW Championship just to leave.

14. End of an Era (April 1, 2001)

Is there any better physical representation of Attitude’s disintegration than Steve Austin having Vince McMahon help him beat The Rock to become WWF Champion, and then shaking hands with him afterward? It was a helluva match to close WrestleMania X7, and the unthinkable alliance was as palpable a page-turner as any.

13. Heartbreaking Farewell (February 27, 2000)

Yes, Mick Foley’s wrestled matches since his loss to Triple H at No Way Out inside Hell in a Cell, but the moment itself was gutting for the many fans that willed him to the top of the wrestling world. In an era where title changes and alignment-turns were so frequent as to mean nothing, seeing Foley exit meant entirely everything.

12. A Hellish Debut (October 5, 1997)

Hell in a Cell lived up to its hype, with The Undertaker bloodying Shawn Michaels in an oddly cathartic fashion. The payoff to the two-month feud looked to be nigh when the lights suddenly dimmed. Kane had arrived, led by Paul Bearer, to avenge childhood scores with Undertaker. A Tombstone later, and Michaels went over in the epic melee.

11. Taking Over Thursdays (August 26, 1999)

Although the original Smackdown broadcast was a standalone pilot four months earlier, WWF was greenlighted a Thursday showcase to double the output of a red-hot product. WCW was was already in its tailspin, but Smackdown’s high profile on second-tier UPN led to the moving of the abysmal Thunder to Wednesday nights.

10. Raw is Jericho (August 9, 1999)

This entry is somewhat maligned for Jericho looking like a colossal dork by the end, thanks to his decision on how to sell Rock’s putdowns. However, the build with the countdown clock, and the anxious, exultant Chicago crowd, made the initial debut an unforgettable scene, with Jericho striking his now standard T-pose on the Raw is War stage.

9. Birth of a D-Generation (August 18, 1997)

It was wacky, mismatched partner night as The Undertaker and Mankind would be teaming up to battle Shawn Michaels and Triple H. The deal with the latter duo became a regular gig, with the Kliq buddies forming D-Generation X, the breath of fresh air needed to counter a stale, overcrowded nWo, and give WWF some necessary controversy in its programming.

8. Putting Butts in Seats (December 29, 1998)

Airing six days after the listed date, Mankind winning the WWF Championship from The Rock was an underdog triumph which any fan could, and did, relate to. Over on the other channel, Foley’s taped title win was mocked by Tony Schiavone (under duress), shortly before Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash’s infamous ‘fingerpoke’ swerve. Guess what fans liked better?

7. Austin Stuns McMahon (September 22, 1997)

Oh sure, Austin’s beaten up McMahon a million times, but there had to be a first time. McMahon tried to reason with an ornery Austin when Stone Cold was confronted by a group of arresting officers, but the stubborn Austin shook off the well-wishes and gave McMahon, still merely an announcer, a Stone Cold Stunner that would become the first of many.

6. Tyson-Austin, Tyson-Austin! (January 19, 1998)

An important keystone to WWF’s pulling past a near-idling WCW was mainstream acceptance. Getting Mike Tyson to play a part at WrestleMania XIV was a deft move. The masterstroke was instituting a confrontation between Tyson and Austin the night after the Royal Rumble. The spirited skirmish made headline news on ESPN and other major media outlets.

5. The Simulcast (March 26, 2001)

Three days earlier, it was announced that WWF was acquiring WCW for under three million dollars. The final episode of Nitro opened with a surreal image: Vince informing us that the fate of the company was now in his hands. That was before the real-life major story became cartoon-world storyline, as son Shane buys WCW from under his father’s nose.

4. “Will Somebody Stop the Damn Match?!” (June 28, 1998)

Words don’t accurately paint the picture of watching Mick Foley take two unexpected falls off of Hell in a Cell: one planned, the other a heart-stopping accident when the cage roof caved in. Mankind vs. Undertaker became one of those bouts where the loser was remembered much more, and it endures as the defining moment of a wrestler’s relentless spirit.

3. Austin Conquers the World (March 29, 1998)

It was as inevitable as the sunrise that Steve Austin would be WWF Champion at WrestleMania XIV, once the match with Shawn Michaels was set. Michaels’ gutsy performance on a ravaged back remains secondary to the rise of the Attitude Era’s biggest star, kicking off the Austin Era on the fast count of an excited Mike Tyson.

2. Montreal (November 9, 1997)

It’s been rehashed more times than anyone could count – it’s professional wrestling’s Kennedy Assassination. Bret Hart falls victim to Vince McMahon’s deception on the way out of WWF, and the aftermath, unseen by public eye, becomes just as much part of the fabled moment. Most important: it gave WWF the villain it so direly needed: Vince himself.

1. 4.6 to 4.3 (April 13, 1998)

For the first time in nearly two years, WWF Raw beat WCW Nitro in the ratings, surging ahead on Austin’s challenge to a bewildered McMahon for a title match that night. This was so unheard of in 1998, and slack-jawed fans almost refused to change the channel for fear of missing this unprecedented event. From it came the era’s most defining feud.

The Attitude Era: Volume 2 [Blu-ray]

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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WWE Hall Of Fame 2015 Ceremony Videos and Ring Presentation

March 29, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Hall of Fame 2015The 2015 WWE Hall of Fame will go down was one of the most emotional ceremonies in recent memory. Tributes to the late Randy Savage and Connor “The Crusher” left plenty of tears while Kevin Nash and Madusa provided the laughs and entertainment.

The entire ceremony was streamed live on the WWE Network. You really can’t beat the bargain of getting the entire ceremony and WrestleMania 31 for less than ten bucks. If you decided to pass on the Network, the WWE You Tube channel provided a compilation of speeches and moments including Vince McMahon presenting the class with their Hall of Fame rings.

The 2015 WWE Hall of Fame class….

  • Kevin Nash
  • “Macho Man” Randy Savage
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Rikishi
  • Tatsumi Fujinami
  • The Bushwhackers
  • Alundra Blayze
  • Larry Zbyszko
  • Connor “The Crusher” Michalek

Check out the playlist of videos below along with the entire ceremony on the WWE Network…for just $9.99. It’s a great way to kill four hours today as you count down to Mania!

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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31 WrestleMania Backstage Stories and Urban Legends

March 17, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Some of the best WrestleMania stories weren’t necessarily told inside of the ring. Disagreements, controversies, and changes in plans behind classic WWE matches were kept behind the scenes and kept in the locker room…until now.

31 years of WrestleMania events have produced plenty of headaches for Vince McMahon. It isn’t always easy trying to get WWE stars to do business and it’s even more difficult when you throw in the component of WrestleMania. How Vince McMahon still has a full head of hair is remarkable when you look back at the fires he had to put out.

I thought it would be fun to look back at the stories that never made it to the ring. I have heard plenty over the years through shoot interviews, books, podcasts, and locker room talk. In no particular order of importance here are 31 of what I found to be most the fascinating. Some of these are urban legend, some of these are alleged, most of these true and all are fascinating.

The Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather WrestleMania 24 – This classic has a few interesting backstage stories behind it. First and maybe the most interesting, the original match was booked to be a mixed tag team match. The original plans had Big Show and Floyd Mayweather penciled in as a team  to wrestle Rey Mysterio and Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya turned them down and the match was changed to Rey Mysterio and Floyd vs. Shane McMahon and either Big Show or MVP. Finally the match was changed again when Rey got hurt to the Show vs. Floyd singles match. One more interesting anecdote is that Mike Tyson was furious that Show lost, feeling  that a boxer should not have beaten a wrestler in a wrestling match.

Triple H vs. Sting WrestleMania 31 – The original plans for Triple H were for a WrestleMania rematch with Batista. Batista was supposed to leave in the summer and return for a big Mania program with Triple H. Batista wound up getting a part in an upcoming James Bond movie and pulled out of the match, thus setting up Sting for the spot.

Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan WrestleMania 30 – At one point the WWE had penciled in a match featuring Steve Austin vs. Triple H. The idea would be that Austin was representing Vince in a match to win control of the company. Austin wound up kiboshing the idea when he told the company he wasn’t interested in wrestling. Hunter was then scheduled to wrestle CM Punk while Bryan was penciled in to wrestle Sheamus. Punk walked and thus one of the greatest WrestleMania matches was booked.

Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice WrestleMania 8 – As most know this was originally booked to be Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair in the ultimate dream match. The match was even announced at a mock television press conference. Vince wound up changing his mind after the Hogan-Flair match did disappointing house show business.

Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin WrestleMania 14 – The WWE Network just did a whole documentary on this so the problems here aren’t exactly a secret. What some may not know is that The Undertaker reportedly had a conversation with Shawn in the locker room regarding rumors about Michaels not wanting to put Austin over. Taker reportedly taped up his fists and made it clear to Shawn that Michaels do what is best for business and put over Austin.

Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart WrestleMania 10 – Arguably the greatest opener in WrestleMania history never would have happened if Bret didn’t go to bat for Owen. The original plan was scripted to program Bret vs. Bruce Hart in the brother vs. brother series. Bret went to management and fought hard for Owen thus sacrificing one brother for another in the spot.

Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan WrestleMania 3 – There was a serious fear that Andre’s health would prevent him from doing the match. Andre’s health was deteriorating badly at the time and the WWE needed a backup plan. Paul Orndorff was plan B. This is why Orndorff turned on Hogan at the time. Orndorff wasn’t booked in anything on the card just in case he needed to be a last minute sub for the giant.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage WrestleMania 3 – I don’t know if this goes down as controversial but Steamboat once told me in an interview that Savage had the match scripted out move for move by the time they got to Pontiac. Steamboat said that Savage laid the match out over several pages which was something Steamboat was unfamiliar with as he preferred to call it in the ring.

Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper & Bob Orton WrestleMania 1 – There was fear that Mr. T would not show up for the match. He was getting cold feet before the match coming out of a confrontation he had with David Schultz at a Los Angeles house show. Piper claims to have cinched up a front facelock which almost passed T out. Piper also flat out refused to put T over. Most speculate Jimmy Snuka was not booked in a match just in case he needed to step into T’s spot if T didn’t show up.

Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart WrestleMania 13 – There are a couple of interesting stories behind this match. The first is that neither Austin nor Bret knew in advance it was going to be a submissions match. Austin said he was red hot when he heard the stipulation announced on television and was worried about having a great match. The other interesting tidbit is that the match was never supposed to happen. Bret was originally booked to wrestle Shawn Michaels in a WM XII rematch. Michaels of course lost his smile and went home thus making himself unavailable for the match. I think things worked out well for everyone in the end.

Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T WrestleMania 2 – Piper took off several weeks to go train with Lou Duva and get in condition for the boxing match. Mr. T obviously did not. Piper’s hands were taped in a fist underneath his gloves. Piper alleges that he was made to tape up his wrists because T didn’t trust him. This was a problem as Piper was supposed to grab the ropes as he went to the floor. Go back and watch the match and you’ll notice Piper awkwardly falling to the floor through the ropes and that was why. His fists were taped in a clench and thus he couldn’t grab the ropes.

The Rock vs. John Cena WrestleMania 29 – What many casual fans don’t know is that The Rock suffered a serious injury in the match. He tore one of his abdomen & adductor muscles off the bone in the middle of the match. Mick Foley remarked in an interview that this was one of the most painful injuries a wrestler could suffer.

Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio WrestleMania 22 – Randy Orton was originally booked to win this match and the WWE world heavyweight championship. He did not and that was because he was allegedly caught blatantly smoking a substance that was banned on the wellness policy backstage. He was suspended for unprofessional conduct right after the match.

Roddy Piper vs. Goldust WrestleMania 12 – This legendary match was never in the cards for WrestleMania 12. Goldust was feuding with Razor Ramon at the time. Godlie defeated Ramon for the intercontinental title at the Royal Rumble with the idea of putting a rematch on Mania. Razor wound up unavailable as he was suspended for a Wellness Policy violation before the show and thus the switch was made to Piper.

Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga WrestleMania 23 – The Battle of the Billionaires allegedly almost featured two different wrestlers than Umaga and Lashley. At one point the plan was to pit Booker T vs. Shawn Michaels in the match. Michaels would represent Trump and Booker would represent McMahon. I can only speculate that plans changed when Hunter got hurt and they needed HBK for the main-event against John Cena.

Triple H vs. The Undertaker WrestleMania 27 – This was never the plan going in which is why the storyline came out of nowhere. Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker was actually on the books for WM 27 when Brock was still in the UFC. Vince McMahon was confident Brock could get permission from the UFC to wrestle at Mania. The idea was to put the streak up against the UFC champion. Unfortunately not only did Brock lose his UFC title but UFC president Dana White made it clear that he had no intentions of letting his top draw lose a fake wrestling match at WrestleMania.

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango WrestleMania 29 – Jericho came back at the Royal Rumble as a surprise in what was supposed to lead to a heel turn. The turn would transition him into a high profile match with Ryback at WrestleMania. Vince McMahon allegedly fell in love with the Fandango character and changed plans on Jericho. Jericho was very upset but wound up turning it into a positive and used it as motivation to try and get a great match with Fandango.

Triple H vs. Mick Foley vs. The Rock vs. The Big Show WrestleMania 2000 – Remember how odd it was to see Mick Foley come back for this match just a few months after announcing his retirement? Well that was because it wasn’t necessarily the plan. The original match had booked Chris Jericho in the spot. Vince and company got cold feet about putting Jericho in such a big spot at the time and wound up luring Foley out of retirement for the spot instead.

The Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy WrestleMania 11 – The streak may have ended here if Vince McMahon had his way. Vince was very high on Bundy at the time and was hesitant on beating Bundy here. The original idea was for Bundy to win with interference. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and Undertaker won but the streak was reportedly in jeopardy here.

Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall/The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan WrestleMania 18 – The original plans here were to book Austin vs. Hogan in a battle of generation icons. Austin wasn’t interested and refused to do the match. Austin worried that the match wouldn’t be good due to Hogan slowing down in the ring. Austin was also concerned with who would do the job. The Rock stepped up and offered to work with Hogan, thus bumping Austin down the card to a forgettable match with Hall.

The Undertaker vs. The Big Show and A-Train WrestleMania 19 – This match changed plans several times thanks to Nathan Jones. Some on the WWE creative end were enamored with Jones’ size while others were scared to death of his inept abilities inside of the ring. The match was changed several times from Jones teaming to not teaming with Taker. Eventually Jones was held out but did make an appearance where he looked every bit as clumsy as some had feared.

Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle WrestleMania 19 – Both of these guys paid a heavy price for this WrestleMania classic. A botched shooting star press reportedly left Brock unconscious for a short portion of the match. But it was Angle who would suffer most as he wrestled with an injured neck throughout the match. Angle was in so much pain that he reportedly collapsed by the time he got to the locker room after the match.

Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena WrestleMania 23 – I remember at the time thinking how odd this match seemed. It didn’t appear to have that genuine organic build that most Mania championship main-events received during this period. That is probably because this wasn’t the original idea. The original idea here was reportedly a rematch between Triple H and John Cena. That was scrapped when Hunter tore his quad in January. It should also be pointed out that the plan the following year was to do the rematch but the company was worried about putting Cena in such a physical match coming off the torn pec so they went with a Triple Threat Match instead.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H WrestleMania 24 – According to Hulk Hogan, he was scheduled to wrestle Cena that year at WrestleMania. Take it with a grain of salt because it is Hogan but he claims that he was negotiating a 25-year deal with the WWE that would have included this match. Hogan says that his back went out as he was negotiating and the match fell apart at that point. Hogan has used this story as part of a lawsuit against the surgeons who operated on his back.

Diesel vs. The Undertaker WrestleMania 12 – One urban legend behind this match claims that Nash was supposed to win the match when it was originally booked. The booking was changed of course when Nash told Vince that he was going to WCW. If Nash would have stayed there is a very good chance that the streak would have ended at WrestleMania 12.

Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase WrestleMania 4 – Savage defeated DiBiase in the tournament to win the WWE championship which also started one of the greatest builds in WWE history towards a Mania 5 headliner with Savage and Hogan. Was that always in the plans? According to Ted DiBiase it wasn’t. DiBiase claims that he was supposed to win the WM 4 tournament and the title. Savage was supposed to win the intercontinental belt months earlier but the Honkytonk Man refused to put Savage over. Savage wound up going over at 4 as a consolation prize of sorts with DiBiase getting the Million Dollar title to makeup for the change in plans. Ironically DiBiase was also promised the NWA world title at one point and got screwed as well.

Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter WrestleMania 7 – Hogan headlined a memorable WrestleMania match against Slaughter but that wasn’t in the original plans. The original plan was to give the Ultimate Warrior a full year with the WWE championship and rematch Hogan and Warrior at WM 7. Warrior unfortunately did not get over as Vince had expected as champion and called an audible somewhere along the way. This is why Slaughter’s win at the Royal Rumble seemed so sudden.

Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior WrestleMania 6 – I am not sure I buy this one but one urban legend says that this match was not in the original plans. The original booking would have had Hogan vs. Zeus in the Mania 6 headliner. Tiny Lister who played Zeus in No Holds Barred was the first to drop this bomb and has even given interviews telling reporters how much he was supposed to be paid for the match. Imagine how different wrestling history would have been if this plan came to fruition?

Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 14 – According to one urban legend it would have been Bret Hart, not Shawn Michaels doing the favor for Steve Austin if Hart had stayed. The original plan would have had Austin not only getting his win back but getting the WWE championship in the process. In retrospect there is no doubt that things worked out for the better between Mike Tyson and the heel Vince McMahon character coming out of the Montreal Screwjob.

Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage WrestleMania 8 – There is one very important person that wasn’t a fan of this great match and that was Vince McMahon. Blading was not allowed at the time in the WWE and if you remember, Flair bled buckets in this match. Vince reportedly went ballistic on Flair for blading when the Nature Boy got back to the locker room. McMahon was so irate that he came very close to firing Flair on the spot.

Kurt Angle vs. Kane WrestleMania 18 – According to a former WWE writer this was not the original plan for Kurt Angle. The original plan was to book Sting vs. Kurt Angle for WM 18. Sting was negotiating with the WWE and a deal was so close that the writers were told to write him in to the show. Sting was booked to wrestle Kurt Angle who wound up wrestling Kane instead once negotiations fell apart between the Stinger and Vince McMahon. This story explains the quick setup for Angle vs. Kane going into Mania.

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Victory in Defeat: 10 Wrestlers Who Won By Losing at WrestleMania

March 12, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

There’s nobility in victory through defeat. The fans don’t dismiss the loser of a wrestling match as merely the lesser man, but a new side of that wrestler is seen. Something about their performance, or the circumstance of the loss, captivates fans of all ages and walks, giving that wrestler the kind of cemented credibility that cannot erode.

Over three decades worth of WrestleMania have had many instances where the scripted loser has become a made man in one form or another. Above all else, the names below came out ultimate winners when all was said and done.

Ultimate Warrior (WrestleMania V)

From the time a young Jim Hellwig bulldozed the treacherous Honky Tonk Man in under 30 seconds to win the Intercontinental Title, it seemed that WWE had a true star on their hands. The victory over Honky came after nobody, not even Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, or Brutus Beefcake, could wrest the gold from the Elvis impersonator for fifteen months, a record that holds today. Warrior being booked to forego caution, instead plowing through the bandy-armed Honky as though he were a tackling dummy in near-record time, played a big part in establishing him as a main-eventer waiting in the wings.

The only question regarding Warrior as a potential brand leader had to do with the shortness of his matches. Warrior’s act in 1988-89 was considered all pomp and skyrockets, with little substance should he end up exposed. The match with Rick Rude at the fifth WrestleMania went just under ten minutes, and is something of a forgotten classic, overshadowed by the Hogan/Savage main event. In that ten minute frame, Warrior sold for Rude, showing a humanity he would need to succeed in longer matches with deeper stories than “Grrr, clothesline, rowr, splash.”

Warrior lost the title, getting an out via Bobby Heenan’s interference, but the experiment was a success. Warrior proved he could hang in a match of respectable length; in fact, the two had a match that was seven minutes longer at SummerSlam (with Warrior regaining the belt), and the two bouts are comparable in quality. By the time Warrior won the “Ultimate Challenge” over Hogan the following year, he’d proven that with the right opponent, he could deliver dependably in the main event.

Macho King Randy Savage (WrestleMania VII)

Speaking of Warrior epics, while the win over Hogan is an indisputable all-timer, this bout, with both men’s careers on the line, rates a little closer to perfection. There are two reasons nobody ever complains about the ending, in which Warrior sent Savage into retirement with three standard shoulder tackles. Such a quizzical finish gets a free pass because 1) the match itself was an awesome overture of psychology and head games, and 2) the aftermath made you forget that you witnessed a near five-star classic. In the good way, that is.

It’s the closest wrestling’s come to mixing Shakespearean tragedy with fairy tale romance. Savage was two years removed from pushing away virtuous Miss Elizabeth for whorish harlequin Sensational Sherri, and with Macho’s career at stake, Elizabeth inconspicuously sat ringside by the aisleway to watch the proceedings. When Savage lost, she subtly sold heartbreak, as deep down, she still loved him in spite of his bombast and insecurity. When an irate Sherri, having lost her lone wrestling client, attacked a pained Savage, the usually low-key and pacifistic Elizabeth jumped the rail and sent Sherri careening to the floor with one empowered throw. Kind of like Marge Simpson aggressively steering Ruth Powers’ car away from the state police, complete with immediate resumption of their prior meekness.

Savage was initially bewildered by Elizabeth’s presence, but we all know how the fairy tale ends: the two embraced, and the crowd in Los Angeles wildly cheered, some actually wiping away tears. Savage meant to settle into retirement for real, but Warrior’s real-life firing that August led to Vince McMahon coaxing the Macho Man back. For a time, Savage was accompanied by Elizabeth, who he now treated chivalrously, instead of with his oblivious misogyny at one time. The face turn led to a few more good years of Savage magic, hailed as an honorable hero. Though cheered as a heel in the past by hipper-to-the-room fans, Savage’s restoration as babyface won over the entire audience.

Bret Hart (WrestleMania IX)

If you believe “The Hitman”, the day that McMahon decided to put the World Title on him in 1992, Vince told his star wrestler he intended to keep him champion for a year, though he noted that plans weren’t set in stone. Good thing for that last disclaimer; Hart’s reign ended a week shy of six months, losing to the massive Yokozuna, who’d debuted around the same time Hart’s long road to the top culminated. Yoko, of course, immediately dropped the belt to Hogan in a farce of an impromptu match, and Hulk disappeared for two months, taking time during a New Japan guest spot to call the WWE Championship a ‘toy’.

Putting the championship around Hogan’s waist was a desperate move by McMahon, one that didn’t pay off in the least. Hogan fled after a European tour that summer, barely moving ratings or drawing houses in his abbreviated return. McMahon attempted to have Lex Luger pick up Hogan’s fumbled ball, painting him in streaks of Americana, while Hart toiled in the upper midcard, putting out acclaimed feuds with Jerry Lawler and brother Owen.

Despite McMahon’s desire to have chiseled strongman Luger be his new lunchbox-and-poster hero, the fans wildly cheered the authentic Hart instead. Every McMahon vehicle after Hart’s loss at WrestleMania IX blew up in the boss’ face, with Hogan and Luger both underachieving. Truth be told, it was dark times for the company no matter what, and houses would stay diminished for more than a spell. Still, McMahon turned back to his Canadian workhorse by having him win the title back from Yoko at WrestleMania X. The reign would be Hart’s longest at eight months.

Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania X)

Two prior reigns as Intercontinental Champion already had the dynamic Michaels fast-tracked toward certain stardom. An ever-thinned roster, especially one jettisoning the weight of suspiciously-muscled wrestlers, made it easier for Michaels to ascend company ranks. The career ascension would take on something of an interpretive play in the first ever pay-per-view ladder match, with Michaels battling Razor Ramon for the IC strap (two straps, actually; Michaels wagered a bogus IC Title he carried around in dispute of Razor’s reign), where literally ascending steel was in the name of victory.

Blow by blow isn’t necessary here; it’s the greatest ladder match (without cumbersome frills like tables or chairs) in wrestling history, equaled only by their 1995 sequel, and Michaels’ war with Chris Jericho at No Mercy 2008 (a forgotten five-star epic). What should be emphasized is that this match was the match where Michaels indisputably arrived. The bumps he took off of Razor’s hellacious offense, and from his own daring attacks, are especially impressive when you remember the time-frame. Even today, despite what the ADD-spotfest crowd might mutter, Michaels’ performance here remains historically scintillating.

Shortly after WrestleMania, Michaels took a bit of a sabbatical, serving mostly as segment host (“Heartbreak Hotel”) and as second for Diesel. Much of 1994’s summer carried on with Michaels deactivated, which worked to his advantage. The dearth of true talents outside of Ramon, 123 Kid, and the Harts was a gaping hole that could swallow a continent. When Michaels, his ladder match performance still fresh in mind, took up a heavier schedule again, it coincided with a main event push that saw him win the 1995 Royal Rumble from the starting spot. Michaels received thunderous cheers along the way, despite being a heel, and out-popped mild hero Davey Boy Smith when Smith was first thought to have won. Fans know star quality when they see it.

Stone Cold Steve Austin (WrestleMania XIII)

If I were ranking the entries and not doing them chronologically, Austin would be number one for certain. In fact, I’d expand the list into a top twelve, and leave spots two and three blank, because that’s the disparity between Austin in this aftermath, and whatever the second most important example is. Not only did the spotlight over Austin shine astronomically brighter, but the fog separating WWE and a then-winning WCW dissipated. McMahon’s company now had the visibility and the momentum to chase Eric Bischoff’s decadent empire and seize the lead (which took another year, in fairness), with proud Austin standing defiantly on the warship’s bow.

In one sense, Austin’s submission match with Bret Hart had potential for disaster – either man losing by definitive submission could be damaging. Hart says he suggested the now-famous ending, inspired by Jack Nicholson’s struggle to pick up a therapy sink and hurl it through an asylum window in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The premise would be the same: Austin would be faced with insurmountable odds in trying to break Hart’s air-tight Sharpshooter, all the while gushing blood like a busted faucet. Austin, per the story, nearly muscled Hart off, but virtually passed out after the mighty push, with Hart quickly resetting the hold.

When special referee Ken Shamrock stopped the match, Hart finished off his bubbling heel turn by attacking the unconscious Austin, and backing off of a fired-up Shamrock when the two were toe to toe. Austin, for his part, cemented one of the greatest face turns ever by, ironically, attacking referee Mike Chioda for trying to help him. The Chicago crowd chanted Austin’s name as he hobbled on a bad leg, skull drenched in blood, up the aisleway. McMahon’s solemn, awed narration, testifying to Austin’s pride and grit, was the icing on the cake, and Austin was soon on his way to becoming the Attitude Era’s unblinking avatar.

Kurt Angle (WrestleMania 2000)

Caveat: this one’s quite the underwhelming entry after Austin’s foray into greatness. In fact, this entry is all too subtle, literally the tenth entry I came up with for the list. Still, it’s a notable way of booking a relatively new character, one with enough faith behind him to hold two championship belts simultaneously. Angle was Intercontinental and European (or simply, Eurocontinental) Champion headed into WrestleMania 2000, where he would defend both belts against Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho.

The trick to this match was that it was actually two matches: one fall for the IC gold, and one for the European belt immediately after. Such complexities were the bane of the card, a head-scratching misfire during one of WWE’s most scorching periods. The booking here, however, was certainly clever: Angle lost both belts without actually losing: Benoit landed a diving headbutt on Jericho to capture the Intercontinental title, while Jericho pinned Benoit with a Lionsault to win the European title. Angle pitched a disgusted fit afterward, emphasizing how the stipulation came to bite him.

In reality, bigger things were ahead for Angle. Throughout 2000, his already surprising mic skills would improve even more, exponentially improving with his wrestling acumen, a world-class hybrid of WWE main event style and and his unique blend of uber-grappling. By year’s end, Angle was reigning King of the Ring, as well as WWE World Champion, going over on The Rock at No Mercy. While losing either of the falls wouldn’t have killed Angle off, giving him frequent outs such as this, in blend with his standout character and his top-notch wrestling talent, made his run to the top believable, and more than acceptable.

The Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz (WrestleMania 2000/X7)

From the time Matt and Jeff Hardy concluded their No Mercy 1999 ladder match with Edge and Christian, nobody cared that the Hardyz won both the managerial services of Terri Runnels, and a bank robbers’ sack of cash. What mattered is that four new stars had arrived with literal crashes and bangs, previously existing in a one-dimensional midcard void. A 1999 that lacked truly great matches from a crash-TV preoccupied WWE suddenly had its match of the year. The Hardyz’ table match with Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley at the 2000 Royal Rumble continued this resurgence of tag team excitement within a burgeoning undercard.

All three teams would meet at consecutive WrestleManias, not to mention the 2000 SummerSlam, in three matches of a kind: a ‘Triple Ladder’ match, followed by the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match (which the ‘Mania 2000 contest is incorrectly labeled, not that it matters much). Edge and Christian would win all three matches, capturing the Tag Team Titles in both WrestleMania encounters. The win and the gold didn’t do much to elevate them above the other two duos, however.

All six men became synonymous with the wild stuntshows, a hallmark of early-2000s WWE, long before the match types became watered down and overdone. All six men could stake their careers to these matches, with four of them (Edge, Christian, Jeff, and Bubba) winning WWE, World Heavyweight, or TNA Championships eventually. All but Edge wound up in TNA down the road, and those five were given some form of rock star treatment by the inferior brand. Perhaps in no other case can you say a gimmick match made midcard wrestlers as virtually indispensable as these ladder matches did, no matter who won and lost.

Hollywood Hogan (WrestleMania X8)

When it was announced that the New World Order would be invading WWE in 2002, reaction was somewhat split. Some fans were eager to see if WWE could capture the magic of the nWo’s 1996 attempted coup d’etat of WCW, while the cynics pointed to the failed WCW Invasion, as well as the ages of the nWo trio, as reasons for their dismay. The WWE locker room wasn’t thrilled, given the trouble the group had caused politically in WCW. The younger, fresher, hipper WWE didn’t need the same old geezers they’d once thwarted, and had since surpassed. But McMahon felt WWE needed a shot in the arm, and injected the ‘poison’.

In early 2002, WWE was still focused on the present, and not the past as is the case today. That changed when the Chicago crowd at the February 18 Raw expressed reverence for the iconic Hogan, just before The Rock challenged him i a battle of the generations at WrestleMania. The Toronto crowd trumped anything Chicago or any other crowd could done, treating Hogan as if he were a conquering hero returning from nine years in some unknown war zone halfway across the globe. Rock became de facto heel that night, even conceding his poise to sell horror and fear at Hogan’s Hulk-Up routine late in the match, and 68,000 fans turned back the clock to 1987.

The implications of that night, you could argue, have hurt WWE creatively. The reaction Hogan received gave WWE carte blanche to reach into the past and push some part-timer on name, as opposed to a modern star on current merit, a trick that would become more common as time shunted forward. Hogan would become WWE Champion a month after the match, striking while the iron was hot, and boosted Raw and Smackdown with a bit of good-natured nostalgia. The run was short-lived, but it did make for another positive: the “Hulk Still Rules” DVD released that August, kicking off a run of WWE filling video releases with loads of rare matches and moments among the special features, a product line that still thrives today.

Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania XXIII)

Speaking of good-natured nostalgia, that brings us to Michaels, who made his big comeback just months following Hogan in 2002. Including his WrestleMania 23 match, a tense bloodbath with WWE Champion John Cena, on this list may seem funny to some, given that Michaels’ wrestling ability and big-match deliverance was never in question during the previous five years. If you listed the top five WWE matches of each year from 2003 to 2006, chances are that Michaels is in at least two or three of them, if not more. The 2002-07 stretch for Michaels was an interesting one, which saw him shift once and for all into a certified legend, cemented by this match.

It’s somewhat hard to believe in hindsight, but Michaels was hastily booed in two straight WrestleManias as a face: the triple threat at XX (New York pulled with all its might for Benoit) and against Angle at XXI, for reasons not entirely clear. Both were hard-stamped five-star classics, so it’s not as though Michaels had lost his fastball in the least. Yet it feels like there was a disconnect between Michaels and the audience, despite his body of work. Even in feuds with Chris Jericho and Edge during the stretch, there were instances where the crowd sided with the villains. That’s not to mention Michaels’ appearances in Montreal, in which he was most assuredly booed.

He needed Cena to ‘turn him face’ in a sense. Promising for weeks to double-cross Cena at just the right time (everyone forgets the two were Raw’s Tag Team Champions for some reason), Michaels kept teasing a superkick to the delight of the first wave of fans that had tired of Cena’s act. Michaels pulled the trigger six days before WrestleMania, and then carried Cena to what was the best match of the champ’s career for all of three weeks (Michaels and Cena topped it with a wrestling classic in London), most notable for a piledriver on the ring-steps that gorily split the back of Cena’s head open. Michaels lost via submission, but I would go so far as to say this as the feud where Michaels’ icon status became indelible.

Daniel Bryan (WrestleMania XXVIII)
The list ends with this resounding thud. It’s also a disturbing indicator, as with the exception of my iffy Michaels entry from 2007, there hasn’t really been a WrestleMania match in years that has captured the hearts of fans to the extent in which the loser gained as much nobility, if not more, than the winner. Comparing 2012 Daniel Bryan to 1997 Steve Austin is fair when you wanna talk popularity (it’s at least arguable, since neither had reached their zenith), but comparing the way in which each went down at WrestleMania is no comparison whatsoever.

Eighteen seconds, you know the story. Sheamus runs out and Brogue Kicks a posturing Bryan, fresh off of kissing then-flame AJ Lee, and pins him to win the World Heavyweight Title in the opening match. The fans reacted with confusion and incredulity, and McMahon may have been surprised that Sheamus wasn’t made into the big babyface star he was hoping. If the plan was to make Bryan look stupid and have fans give up on him (hey, it worked against Zack Ryder), it backfired in the worst of ways against the company.

Resolve for Bryan became stronger, even as creative called for Bryan to scream “NO!” at the fans who chanted his infectious “YES!” his way. For the next two years, the groundswell only continued, Bryan lionized by the fans to a begrudging acknowledgement from the office. The 2014 Royal Rumble was the tipping point for fans who demanded Bryan get a push in proportion to their outpouring of support, and they would get their wish at WrestleMania XXX. As for Sheamus, the Irishman is living proof of what happens when McMahon and the modern mode of creative puts all of their resources behind you: you get watered down and hackneyed faster than an eighteen-second atrocity.

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Lessons To Be Learned From WWE WrestleMania 1

March 05, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It has been almost 30 years since we packed arenas around the country to watch Hulk Hogan and Mr. T battle Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff in the inaugural WrestleMania, breaking the record for the most watched closed circuit event in the U.S. at the time.

It is amazing to think that this event is over 30 years old. I feel like it was yesterday that I watched a slow build for the main-event from Roddy Piper and Captain Lou Albano making accusations against Cyndi Lauper, to Lauper and Wendi Richter’s “Moolah’s Going Down” promos, to Piper and Orndorff cracking an egg over a toilet seat on a WrestleMania poster. We practically had a full year of promotion before history was made in New York City.

The formula was brilliant, yet not original. McMahon took a page out of Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett’s playbook and snagged one of the biggest celebrities in the world. The way this played out is incredibly ironic since Vince’s father passed on a similar angle only a few years prior. Before Andy Kaufman stepped into the Mid South Coliseum, he approached Vince McMahon Sr. about doing an angle. Vince Sr. rejected the idea yet for all I know the whole scenario planted a seed in Vince Jr. Keep in mind Vince Sr. also fired Piper and Hogan at separate times, banning Hogan for life only two years earlier.

The master plan played out beautifully. Vince Jr. took over for his father and slowly and deliberately transitioned the WWWF to the WWF. Roddy Piper was signed and his masterful promos were exploited immediately. Hulk Hogan was signed and immediately given the world title and a list of new and old challengers. The entire transition took about two years to get to WrestleMania.

It is impossible to look back at Mania 1 and not compare it to today’s pro wrestling. While Vince still plans out Mania far in advance, the road map looks much different today. Think about this for a second. How big would Hogan and Piper have been if they both lost matches on the way to Mania? Would Piper have still been red hot as a heel if he was losing matches on television during the months leading up to Mania? Would Hogan have been as popular if he were reading scripted promos, losing matches, and showing vulnerabilities leading up to Mania? Would Mania have drawn if Piper or Hogan lost clean at the War to Settle the Score? How about building up a show with matches we have already seen before, some dozens of times? I think we all know the answers.

The irony here is that you would expect a genius like Vince McMahon to evolve over time. Instead if you look back over the last 32 years, Vince has actually regressed as a promoter. Ironic as it sounds, Vince was more edgy and innovative in 1985 than he is in 2015. I can’t think of many or any other CEOs or organizations run considerably better 31 years ago that are thriving today.

The WrestleMania event has become a much bigger extravaganza. The marketing has far surpassed the efforts of the company in 1985. The revenue generated from the event has greatly increased, yet inflation has played a big part in that. The shows from top to bottom are better or worse depending upon your tastes. It is all subjective. Take a look back at the card from March 31, 1985 and I will easily admit that the cards have gotten much stronger since then. Could you imagine WrestleMania headlined in 2015 by a tag team match?

Yet no matter how much money is spent on marketing and how much more time on television the WWE has to promote WrestleMania, the excitement was far bigger in 1985. I can remember watching the 11 PM news and seeing a report about WrestleMania. Heck, that was the only way a kid like me found out what happened in 1985. While the WWE does get coverage in many mediums today for WrestleMania, I don’t recall seeing many evening news reports on the event.

I think we can all agree that there are still lessons that can be learned from WrestleMania 1. Some of these lessons are lessons on failing and some are lessons on how to successfully promote your biggest event of the year. Most of those positive lessons have been ignored or blown off by an ignorant owner who thinks they are archaic. Yet I wonder how much different things would be if that same owner’s house and fortune were all at stake as they were on March 31, 1985. I bet things would be much different and for the better at that.

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Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night Ceremony At Madison Square Garden – Video

February 28, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE and Madison Square Garden paid tribute on Friday night to the legendary Hulk Hogan. Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Jimmy Hart, and Triple H rolled out the red carpet for Hulk and while WWE cameras were not in attendance, plenty of smartphones were.

Thanks to all of the great fans who attended the big event on Friday night, there are plenty of videos floating around YouTube of the ceremony. The ceremony is awesome and the only disappointment in the video is that it didn’t capture what was reported to be a fantastic video tribute of Hogan that played during the ceremony.

It amazes me that the WWE didn’t capture any of this footage for the WWE Network. One of the ideas I proposed a year ago was the Network showing WWE house shows. I think in this case the WWE missed a golden opportunity to either simulcast the event or air it post-produced later on the Network. I think original, special content like that would really help in marketing the network.

Regardless, check out the entire ceremony here below. It’s long overdue and a real classy tribute to a man that sold out many Garden shows in his prime.

WWE: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions DVD Review

February 18, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Despite always being given away on free TV, there was a time when Clash of the Champions was considered one of the biggest wrestling events in the world, on par with big shows like Wrestlemania. The shows featured a little bit of everything, from title matches, to great undercard bouts, to main events that were pay-per-view quality.

In existence for thirteen years, the show was seen twice a year or more, clocking in at thirty-five total installments. Currently, it has more installments than any other major wrestling show in U.S. history, a record WrestleMania won’t break for another eight years. The first show went head-to-head with WrestleMania IV in 1988, and was a huge success, main evented by Ric Flair defending the NWA World title against Sting in a classic 45-minute draw, considered by many one of the greatest matches of all time.

From there, the show continued to put on major events several times a year, often featuring World title matches, or at the very least a main event starring the World Champion. Even as it got on in years and WCW’s quality began to dwindle at the end of the company’s existence, you could still count on Clash to be a fun, big time show that would cost you absolutely zero to watch. Even the worst editions of the event still featured one or two excellent matches, matches you could easily see yourself paying for.

This DVD set claims to be the “Best of” and it’s hard to argue with the claim. While some of your favorites may not have made the cut, it’s overall a very good collection of 24 matches spanning the show’s history. Hosting the set is WWE Hall of Famer “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, which adds a nice touch to the set. However, for some reason, his appearances on the set are very, very limited. Despite the number of matches, Dusty only appears on the set seven times, and the appearances are very short at that. It would have been nice to maybe have him introduce each match, as the WWE has done in previous sets, as Dusty is still very entertaining to listen to, and about as good of a WCW expert as you could hope for.

Nevertheless, the collection has some really great moments on it. We get the aforementioned Sting/Flair classic from the first show, and also from that show, a great tag team match pitting the NWA World Tag Team Champions, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, against Lex Luger and Barry Windham. It’s matches like this that make you realize how good Luger really could be in the early years of his career.

Luger gets a second chance to shine later in the set, as he defends the NWA United States Championship against Ric Flair in another great one. The ending, which saw Stan Hansen interfere and cause a DQ win for Luger, takes the match down a little bit, but it’s still very good overall, and Luger more than held his own against “The Nature Boy”. There’s also some rare gems like Ricky Morton vs. Ivan Koloff in a Russian Chain Match, and an NWA U.S. Tag Team Title Match between the legendary teams of The Midnight Express (the Lane/Eaton version) and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express.

A Clash set wouldn’t be complete without some great heavyweight championship matches, and this set delivers. We get Sting/Flair from 1988, an awesome “I Quit” Match between Flair and Terry Funk in 1989, and a title unification bout from 1994 as Flair and Sting went at it once more. Aside from those, there are numerous undercard title matches, including a pair of great Cruiserweight title matches and a surprisingly good TV title match between Dustin Rhodes and Lord Steven Regal. You also get one of Ricky Steamboat’s last matches as he took on WCW United States Champion “Stunning” Steve Austin in an excellent title bout that ended the outstanding series those two had.

Of course, even great sets like this are going to feature some duds, and this one’s got a few. For starters, we get a match between Cactus Jack Manson (Mick Foley) and Mil Mascaras that is beyond suck. Foley has stated in the past that Mascaras was very unprofessional to work with and that he absolutely hated this match, and it shows. It lasts a little over five minutes, and I am not kidding when I say that Manson got absolutely zero offense in.

The only highlight (if you can call it that) was seeing Foley take a horrendous back bump on the concrete outside of the ring, resulting in just a cringe-worthy “thud”. There’s also a really boring 15-man “Georgia Brawl” battle royal featuring mostly mid-carders no one cared about, and a quick and pointless six-man between the Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes and Brad Armstrong as horrible gimmick #1,372, “Badstreet”) vs. Tom “Z-Man” Zenk and the Young Pistols (Steve Armstrong and Tracy Smothers).

Capping off the major duds is a match between DDP and Eddy Guerrero. While the match itself is pretty decent, the idea behind the match was completely ridiculous. These two were fighting over DDP’s “Battle Bowl” ring. Yes, a ring. The ring was originally supposed to represent the top contender to the belt, but it became worthless in short order as A) it was a standard ring, so you could barely even see it, and B) DDP, as “Champion”, often defended it against scrubs like Marcus Bagwell and Jim Powers.

Still, the good far outweighs the bad here, and is a great representation of how awesome Clash of the Champions could be. I would have liked to have seen maybe at least a match from each installment of the show, but that might have made the set too long. Oh, well. This is still a great set overall. While some improvements could be made, they don’t take away from the overall quality, which is pretty excellent.

Watching this set, I can give it a pretty high recommendation, especially to old school fans and DVD collectors. The amount of legends featured on this set is incredible, and shows you why they were some of the best of all time. Newer fans may not get into as much if they don’t recognize a lot of the names and faces, but I still encourage them to check out some of the all-time greats that helped pave the way for a lot of today’s current wrestlers. Definitely a thumb’s up on this one.

DISC 1

The Real Story

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Sting
Clash of the Champions – 27th March, 1988

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Lex Luger & Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions – 27th March, 1988

Why Wait a Whole Year?

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes
Clash of the Champions II – 8th June, 1988

Russian Chain Match
Ricky Morton vs. Ivan Koloff
Clash of the Champions III – 7th September, 1988

“I Quit” Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk
Clash of the Champions IX – 15th November, 1989

Mil Mascaras vs. Cactus Jack Manson
Clash of the Champions X – 6th February, 1990

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Midnight Express vs. Rock & Roll Express
Clash of the Champions XI – 13th June, 1990

DISC 2

To Be The Man, You Gotta Beat The Man

NWA United States Championship Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
Clash of the Champions XII – 5th September, 1990

The Young Pistols & Z-Man vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
Clash of the Champions XV – 12th June, 1991

15-Man Battle Royal
Clash of the Champions XVI – 5th September, 1991

WCW United States Championship Match
Sting vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude
Clash of the Champions XVII – 19th November, 1991

Other Stars On The Rise

2 out of 3 Falls Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs. The Hollywood Blonds
Clash of the Champions XXIII – 17th June, 1993

Brian Pillman vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XXV – 10th November, 1993

WCW Television Title Match
Lord Steven Regal vs. Dustin Rhodes
Clash of the Champions XXVI – 27th January, 1994

Elimination Tag Team Match
Sting & `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude & Vader
Clash of the Champions XXVI – 27th January, 1994

DISC 3

Here we are Again

Championship Unification Match
Sting vs. `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Clash of the Champions XXVII – 23rd June, 1994

WCW United States Championship Match
“Stunning” Steve Austin vs. Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat
Clash of the Champions XXVIII – 24th August, 1994

Hulk Hogan & `Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs. `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & The Giant
Clash of the Champions XXXII – 23rd January, 1996

Medusa vs. Bull Nakano
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

Match for the BattleBowl Ring
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eddie Guerrero
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

I’m gonna watch this

WCW World Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
Harlem Heat vs. The Steiner Brothers vs. Sting & Lex Luger
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Ultimo Dragon vs. Dean Malenko
Clash of the Champions XXXIV – 21st January, 1997

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero
Clash of the Champions XXXV – 21st August, 1997

Diamond Dallas Page & Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall & `Macho Man’ Randy Savage
Clash of the Champions XXXV – 21st August, 1997

35th and Final Clash

BLU-RAY EXTRAS

`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair and Barry Windham vs. Midnight Express
Clash of the Champions IV – 7th December, 1988

Sting and Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude and Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XVIII – 21st January, 1992

Thunder Cage Match
Dustin Rhodes & Sting vs. Big Van Vader, Paul Orndorff and Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions XXII – 13th January, 1993
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Listing March 5, 2012
By A. Pierre
Format:Blu-ray
The Real Story

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Sting
Clash of the Champions – 27th March, 1988

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Lex Luger & Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions – 27th March, 1988

Why Wait a Whole Year?

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes
Clash of the Champions II – 8th June, 1988

Russian Chain Match
Ricky Morton vs. Ivan Koloff
Clash of the Champions III – 7th September, 1988

“I Quit” Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk
Clash of the Champions IX – 15th November, 1989

Mil Mascaras vs. Cactus Jack Manson
Clash of the Champions X – 6th February, 1990

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Midnight Express vs. Rock & Roll Express
Clash of the Champions XI – 13th June, 1990

To Be The Man, You Gotta Beat The Man

NWA United States Championship Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
Clash of the Champions XII – 5th September, 1990

The Young Pistols & Z-Man vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
Clash of the Champions XV – 12th June, 1991

15-Man Battle Royal
Clash of the Champions XVI – 5th September, 1991

WCW United States Championship Match
Sting vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude
Clash of the Champions XVII – 19th November, 1991

Other Stars On The Rise

2 out of 3 Falls Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs. The Hollywood Blonds
Clash of the Champions XXIII – 17th June, 1993

Brian Pillman vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XXV – 10th November, 1993

WCW Television Title Match
Lord Steven Regal vs. Dustin Rhodes
Clash of the Champions XXVI – 27th January, 1994

Elimination Tag Team Match
Sting & `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude & Vader
Clash of the Champions XXVI – 27th January, 1994

Here we are Again

Championship Unification Match
Sting vs. `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Clash of the Champions XXVII – 23rd June, 1994

WCW United States Championship Match
“Stunning” Steve Austin vs. Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat
Clash of the Champions XXVIII – 24th August, 1994

Hulk Hogan & `Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs. `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & The Giant
Clash of the Champions XXXII – 23rd January, 1996

Madusa vs. Bull Nakano
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

Match for the BattleBowl Ring
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eddie Guerrero
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

I’m gonna watch this

WCW World Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
Harlem Heat vs. The Steiner Brothers vs. Sting & Lex Luger
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Ultimo Dragon vs. Dean Malenko
Clash of the Champions XXXIV – 21st January, 1997

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero
Clash of the Champions XXXV – 21st August, 1997

Diamond Dallas Page & Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall & `Macho Man’ Randy Savage
Clash of the Champions XXXV – 21st August, 1997

35th and Final Clash

Blu-ray Exclusive Content

‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair and Barry Windham vs. Midnight Express
Clash of the Champions IV – 7th December, 1988

Sting and Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude and Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XVIII – 21st January, 1992

Thunder Cage Match
Dustin Rhodes & Sting vs. Big Van Vader, Paul Orndorff and Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions XXII – 13th January, 1993

BLU-RAY EXTRAS

`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair and Barry Windham vs. Midnight Express
Clash of the Champions IV – 7th December, 1988

Sting and Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude and Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XVIII – 21st January, 1992

Thunder Cage Match
Dustin Rhodes & Sting vs. Big Van Vader, Paul Orndorff and Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions XXII – 13th January, 1993

As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XDustinEFLX, and if you like Married…With Children, you can follow my Al Bundy parody account at http://www.twitter.com/bundyisms. Also follow my personal blog at http://nerdslikeme.blogspot.com (feedback is welcome). Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out my mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

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-Dustin

WWE: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions (DVD)

WWE: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions [Blu-ray]

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WWE: Macho Madness – The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection DVD Review

February 17, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Randy Savage may be gone, but his legacy will live forever thanks to the World Wrestling Entertainment. The WWE 3-disc DVD tribute to the former WWE and WCW wrestling world champion, the WWE: Macho Madness – The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection certainly does the job.

The words legend and pioneer are used loosely in pro wrestling. However, both words apply when speaking about Randy Savage. This is why I got so excited when I received the WWE 3-disc DVD Macho Madness: The Randy Savage Collection.

I can’t say enough great things about this DVD. I was a big Randy Savage fan growing up. I noticed something different about Savage the second he debuted in the WWF. Savage was quick, charismatic, athletic, and often had the best matches on the cards. Savage was definitely a notch above his peers, playing second only to Hulk Hogan.

This DVD captures all of Savage’s great moments in his WWF career. The DVD chronicles some of Savage’s greatest rivalries and legendary matches from the 80s and 90s. Savage’s WCW career is also covered as well to close out the video. This DVD is a must for anyone that grew up on the Macho Man or heard the legendary tales of WrestleMania III, the crazy angles, and Savage’s legendary promos.

The DVD is hosted by Matt Stryker and Maria. Stryker and Maria get a little corny at times, but overall do a tremendous job. Stryker used to do a Macho Man imitation on the indys pre-WWE and is a noted big Savage fan. Neither says anything embarrassing or as some like to say, pull a Todd Grisham on the DVD.

Stryker and Maria transition the DVD like a documentary. Both discuss angles and history behind the matches and feuds. Viewers are treated to clips of those angles and moments as Stryker and Maria voice them over. The DVD does as great a job as possible at telling Savage’s story without comments from Savage himself.

All in all, the DVD is fantastic. They do a great job of covering just about everything in Savage’s WWE run. The WWE also did a great job of mixing the well-known matches with some gems. My only criticism would be the selection of Savage’s WCW matches. Only four matches are selected, two being matches with Ric Flair. Ironically it came off a bit lazy to me as only one of the four is something that I would consider worthy of this collection.

The third disc features a ton of classic Savage promos and some great rarities. Only two WCW promos are featured in the collection. There is a segment from T.N.T. shown here which is just absolutely hilarious. The segment features on a couch getting evaluated from a psychologist. A great house show promo from Madison Square Garden is also included from the Macho King era.

Some notes about the matches: My favorite of the 3-discs by far is the first DVD. The first DVD features Savage’s run from 1985 to just shortly after he won his first WWE title in 1988. I just want to make a couple of quick notes about some things that stuck out to me during these matches.

WWE Prime Time Wrestling Debut July 9, 1985
Randy Savage vs. Rick McGraw
– This match was also Savage’s Madison Square Garden debut. I noticed right away the tremendous amount of charisma that Savage had. Remember, this was his debut. Savage had the fans going crazy within the first few minutes of the match. Proof of this was Savage getting doused with a soda by a fan. I also thought it was interesting that the replay featured Savage’s patented double-axe to the outside rather than the finishing move itself.

Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
Boston Garden December 7, 1985
– This is one of the gems of the collection. This match is over two years before their WrestleMania III classic, and before Savage won the WWF Intercontinental title. The match doesn’t feature the crazy false-finishes like their WrestleMania III match. It was different, but a great match nonetheless. The finish of the match is what stuck out to me. The finish was the exact same finish Savage used to win the Intercontinental title from Tito Santana in the same building with the brass knux. I don’t know if this was done purposely or if someone referenced this when looking for a finish in the Savage-Santana match. The Santana match is featured later in the DVD. When going for the brass knux, the Steamboat match isn’t referenced. Nonetheless, a great match to add to your Savage-Steamboat collection.

WWE Championship Match Madison Square Garden December 30, 1985
Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
– Immediately you can’t help but notice the buzz among the crowd for this match. There is a brief moment before the wrestlers enter when it is announced that the next match is for the title. The fans go nuts before either one of the guys enter the ring area. The buzz continues and the fan atmosphere is just awesome for this one throughout the match. This one also had a very unique finish with Savage winning on a count out.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match Boston Garden January 3, 1987
Randy Savage vs. Bruno Sammartino
– There are a lot of matches from the old Boston Garden on this collection. What stood out to me here was how incredibly over Bruno was in 1987. Bruno had a lot of great matches in the Garden during his previous runs. The crowd chanted “Bruno” like crazy several times during the match. A fun match, but more of a brawl than most of Savage’s other matches on the DVD.

WWE Championship Match WrestleMania VIII April 5, 1992
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
– In my opinion, one of the most underrated WrestleMania matches of all-time. It is interesting to note that Savage was coming back from a long layoff here. I thought the match was great, and one of Flair’s best in his early WWF run. The match is just non-stop action with lots of blood for the hardcore fans.

WWE Championship Match European Rampage April 19, 1992
Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels
– This one has been a favorite among tape traders for years. A rare match between these two as HBK was just starting to hit he main-events as a singles wrestler. The match is a little slower than you’d expect throughout the match. However, the speed picks up big-time towards the end of the match. The final minutes of the match are fantastic. Elizabeth and Sherri Martel both get involved. I think these two would have had killer matches if they had gotten more time in the States to develop a feud.

Worcester, MA July 22, 1992
Randy Savage & Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels
– This is probably the rarest match of the collection on the set. This was a dark match main-event at a set of television tapings. I was a bit disappointed quite honestly. The finish of the match comes quick, which prevents the guys from taking it up a notch. This was a good match for the collectors, but disappointing nonetheless.

Falls Count Anywhere Match Great American Bash June 15, 1997
Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page
– This is one of the most underrated matches in WCW history. This was just a phenomenal match that featured the best of both men and get ready for this…great WCW booking. The match features a ton of false finishes that have the fans going crazy by the end of the contest. Savage is just a maniac, going crazy and attacking everyone from referees to photographers. I think this one is going to surprise anyone who hasn’t seen the match.

The entire match listing is as follows:

Disc 1

WWE Debut
Randy Savage vs. Rick McGraw
Prime Time Wrestling July 9, 1985

Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
Boston Garden December 7, 1985

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
Madison Square Garden December 30, 1985

WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship
Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana
Boston Garden February 8, 1986

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Bruno Sammartino
Boston Garden January 3, 1987

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
WrestleMania III March 29, 1987

Randy Savage vs. Honky Tonk Man
The Main Event February 5, 1988

WWE Championship Tournament Final
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
WrestleMania IV March 27, 1988

Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
Madison Square Garden June 25, 1988

Disc 2

Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant & Ted DiBiase
SummerSlam August 29, 1988

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
WrestleMania V April 2, 1989

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
The Main Event March 22, 1990

Randy Savage / Sherri vs. Dusty Rhodes / Sapphire
WrestleMania VI April 1, 1990

Retirement Match
Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior
WrestleMania VII March 24, 1991

Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts
This Tuesday in Texas December 3, 1991

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
WrestleMania VIII April 5, 1992

Disc 3

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels
European Rampage April 19, 1992

Randy Savage & Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels
Worcester, MA July 22, 1992

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Yokozuna
RAW February 28, 1994

Lifeguard Match
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
Bash at the Beach July 16, 1995

WCW Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
Nitro January 22, 1996

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Great American Bash June 15, 1997

WCW Championship Match
Randy Savage & Sid Vicious vs. Kevin Nash & Sting
Bash at the Beach July 11, 1999

WWE: Macho Madness – The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection

WWE All-Stars Video Game for Xbox 360 and PS3

See some of Randy Savage’s classic Memphis matches on the Classic Memphis Wrestling – All Roads Lead to Memphis DVD

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Bret Hart Talks Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon, and John Cena

February 12, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Bret Hart is not one to mince words. While the Hit Man may have forgiven some of his former enemies for past indiscretions, he remains willing to talk about those issues, continuing to deliver sound bites bloggers like me love to write about.

Bret Hart is a fascinating man. Hart has buried several hatchets in recent years yet he is not shy to remind fans and media of the past. You have to give him credit in a sense in that Hart remains consistent with his opinions and commentary, regardless of the political ramifications. Even if it means taking shots at the head of the WWE, Vince McMahon.

Hart was recently interviewed by Sports Vision and discussed a variety of topics, offering interesting insight and a little controversy with various questions. It may be almost twenty-years, but Hart still takes solace in delivering a punch to the Chairman of the Board. Asked about his proudest moment, it wasn’t winning a title or headlining a WrestleMania, it was about the Montreal punch.

“When I stood up for myself in Montreal, and knocked out Vince McMahon for cheating me in that match. I think it’s still defines me as a wrestler, and as an artist, and a talent, and somebody that was betrayed. I’ve always been really proud of how I reacted, and how I carried myself that day. And in the end, I think I proved I was right.”

I will say this. Vince gets a lot of criticism for continuously bringing up the Montreal Screw Job in promos and angles over the last seventeen years. So I have no problem with Bret talking so openly about it. That said, I also have no problem with Vince’s periodic references because if the topic is on the table for one, it should be on the table for two.

Bret was also asked about Hulk Hogan. Bret and Hulk have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. Generally it is Bret who continues to be critical of Hulk and take shots while Hulk seems to give more politically correct answers.

“There’s a lot of wrestlers I worked with in those days that still stop me and tell me that the greatest match they ever had was with me… I take pride in that… I wish guys like Hulk Hogan might’ve had the courage to get in the ring with me, because I maybe could’ve given him his best match that he ever had, also.

“I just think that as wrestling moves into the future, everyday it goes further and further from my day, I look at the wrestlers today and I realize that they’re carrying the torch of my style. It’s not about strongman spots and Hulk Hogan, and putting one hand behind your ear and working the crowd, and stuff like that. It’s about guys that are out there suplexing each other, and doing a lot of complex wrestling moves, and a lot of action. That’s the kind of wrestling that I brought to the game.”

Well maybe I shouldn’t bring this up but Hulk did have the “courage” to get in the ring with Bret several times in WCW and guess what? The matches weren’t that good. Now both guys were in different places in their careers but that answer is a little disingenuous considering that they have wrestled.

I will also say this. Hulk Hogan has drawn a lot more money in his career than Bret and if you look at the biggest draws in wrestling history, there aren’t many Bret Harts on that list. It is a list of guys comprised with a few move sets and not a full arsenal. Also, as someone that grew up watching Bret I think he needs a little more self-awareness. I remember many fans saying during his big WWE run, “You’ve seen one Bret Hart match you’ve seen them all.” Now his matches with Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin are some of the best I have ever seen, but generally Bret delivered a fairly predictable match during his big run. And speaking of guys with limited move sets…

“I have nothing but respect for John Cena and his work rate. He’s one of the hardest working wrestlers there ever was. He’s been a great champion, an inspiring role model. It’s not easy being John Cena and carrying all the weight of the company on your back all the time. What he’s done with Make-A-Wish kids, and kids in general, kids in general around the world. People don’t understand sometimes what it’s like to be John Cena, to understand how much pressure is on him everyday to do the right things and to always be the class champion that he’s been. He’s a tireless champion that gives 100% every night… He could do a little bit better with some of his technical moves sometimes, but I think in the long and short of it, I think John Cena’s established himself to be maybe one of the greatest wrestlers that ever lived. I think he’s an amazing wrestler.”

All in all it is a great interview and I’d recommend checking the whole thing out.

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The Randy Savage Story DVD

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