Continuity nerds, this one is for you.
The Robert Zone is back.
[adinserter block=”1″]The Robert Zone, before it became the drunken lovechild of The Nostalgia Critic and Red Letter Merdia’s Mr. Plinkett (Gotta rep the Miwaukee boys), was more of a look at the weird nature of the wrestling scene when I was growing up. I didn’t get into wrestling really hard until 1993, so I was smack dab in the post-Hulkamania, pre-New Generation period. The first piece was about Lex Luger and the Lex Express angle, more so why the angle had a fast start and saw Luger get rather over before crashing hard in over a year. Most notably, it was the fact that Vince refused to strike while the iron was hot and put the belt on Luger at Summerslam 1993. After that, the fans lost interest and eventually Vince had to go back to Bret Hart in-order to salvage everything. Hart did, winning the belt at WrestleMania X and house show attendance stabilized thanks to a hot Bret/Owen feud.
Luger on the other hand, flopped around the mid to upper level for a while before being entered into a feud with Tatanka. The basis of said feud was that Ted DiBiase claiming that he bought Lex Luger’s services and Tatanka being angry about it. They had a match, it was revealed that Tatanka had sold out and they launched a feud that nobody would really care about. The feud would be blown off in a steel cage match that actually wasn’t aired on Raw or any other television shows according to The History of the WWE site. Yeah, that’s how little the company cared about the feud that had gone on for eight months.
The angle was a career killer for both men. For Luger, it was a chance to turn him heel and add some much needed depth to a depleted heel scene. It also portrayed Luger as a giant idiot for not realizing that he was being turned on, adding to the whole choke artist stigma thanks to Ric Flair. Tatanka on the other hand, he had a decent gig going as a mid-level babyface. He was still rather over with the fans and could be slotted into an upper level role when needed and was believable in the role. As a heel, even with DiBiase backing him, he was pretty much DOA the moment it happened. Even though people could buy him in the upper level role, nobody thought of him as a main event. The Million Dollar Corporation was never a top level stable despite the WWE trying to make it happen by matching them up against Diesel, Michaels, and Undertaker down the line. It probably didn’t help that the group had a main event level heel until Sid arrived and that arrived about a year into the group’s formation.
So, what does this have to do with Lex Luger? Well, this is the angle that salvages Lex Luger’s WWE run. I know, most people don’t like Luger as a worker, but I always thought that he gets a bad rap. Was he the greatest? No, but he wasn’t that bad of a worker and the whole “he only had good matches with Flair and Steamboat” trope is bull. He actually had a great run of PPV matches against Hayes, Muta, Windham, Spivey, Hansen Mean Mark, Simmons and Pillman. The guy had fifteen matches rated three stars or higher by Meltzer from 1988-1991 and he had a pretty good Clash match with Tommy Rich that you should check out. Not the greatest worker, but not the worst like some people go on about.
The Luger turn makes the most sense since it would freshen up the Luger character by aligning the patriot with a guy like DiBiase. Plus, the idea of Luger being a bitter patriot that’s been forgotten by his country going to the dark side has some potential. Much more, you can set up a Luger vs Hart feud sometime down the line, with Luger being angry that his country has embraced a Canadian over Mr. Made in The USA. Is it cheap heat for a heel to go after Canada? Yes, but at the same time Luger is a much better heel option than anybody on the roster at that point.
Backlund: His Mr. Bob Backlund character was gaining some momentum, but I think they were building to a Savage/Backlund feud for a bit. Sure, the matches would have probably stunk but the promos would have been gold.
Diesel: Not really ready for a big heel run, but he’s getting there. We would see what would happen when they pushed him hard as a face champion.
Shawn Michaels: The best worker of the bunch, but was in a really weird role post Mania X ladder match. Talk show host, occasional tag wrestler and would become an announcer at the end of the year for some reason.
Owen Hart: Short shelf like as a main event heel since Owen only drew against Bret.
Yokozuna: Was being prepped to be killed off by The Undertaker at the end of 1994, main event run not happening.
[adinserter block=”2″]There was also Jarrett and Bigelow but neither of them were being seriously considered for a main event run. In-fact, the company would try and push Jarrett as a main event heel against Diesel in 1995 and well, it just didn’t work. An MSG main event between the two drew a little over 5,000 fans the lowest attendance for an MSG card in the 1990s. Bigelow, with some time and proper build could be a main event caliber monster but the WWE never had patience with the guy. Would Luger as a heel be the angle that would salvage the WWE’s growing financial woes at the time? Probably not, but Luger as a heel would be an interesting concept all around. It gives the company a fresh, new heel for a company that dreadfully low on heels. Which is why Diesel’s run frigging sucked.
In fact, that’s the next Robert Zone. I’m the Robert Irvine of fixing the booking woes of the WWE in the mid-90’s.
Now excuse me, I have to go yell at Kevin Dunn.
Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.
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