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The Figure Four - ALL Things ECW-WWF-NJPW-TNA-ROH-AEW

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http://www.rspwfaq.net/2014/12/what-world-was-watching-monday-night_30.html

 

This was a recap I read today about a Raw at the height of the Attitude Era. It seems to be the distallation of Russo's booking.

 

First match - 25 seconds. Ends when Kane hits XPac with a fireball by mistake.

 

Second match - 3 minutes. Ends when Terri hits the porn star in the balls for no good reason.

 

Third match - An overly dangerous and complicated 3-way tag match ends on a pinfall

 

Fourth match - 4 minutes. Ends with a guitar shot after an uncomfortable kiss between a cross-dresser.....and a freaky guy in gold paint. (See what I did there?)

 

Fifth match - A longish, apparently pretty good Mankind-Shamrock hardcore match. I think I remember this actually. And I think this is the key to "Attitude Era." You could have all kinds of stupid illogical stuff....and then have three Mick Foley interview segments followed by a ten minute Foley match and everything seems awesome. Because Mick Foley was awesome. And Foley wasn't even the real star of the show.

 

Sixth match - A three minute Head Era Al Snow match. Snow loses (of course), because Debra rubbed Head into her boobs for some reason. I remember how weirdly cool Head was in ECW and how stupid it seemed in WWF.

 

Seventh match - Kane squashes a green Edge via DQ for some reason. But the whole point of the match is the Brood (who I barely remember) running in and Kane attempting to set everyone on fire via Kerosene and a blowtorch.

 

Eighth match - And the Rock does his thing for ten minutes with Mark Henry and then hits the people's elbow.

 

There's also an Austin interview segment and a bunch of vignettes involving the Rock and a sneak attack and an ambulance.

 

This show - on paper - seems really really stupid. But there was a bunch of Rock, Austin, McMahon, and Foley interspersed through all the stupidity and a bunch of boobies. I get that "everyone had an angle" but all the angles seem supremely stupid and most of them involving Debra McMichael's tits. So, remember this when you yearn for The Attitude Era.

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Man, I've been watching so the Monday Night Wars. It's obvious that without NWO, they would have been done. Ironically, I think the WWF/E wouldn't have lasted as long at the rate it is right now.

 

 

That is perfect WWE revisionist history. WCW was beating WWF fairly regularly in the ratings before the NWO. They were fairly directionless however.

 

The big problem they had was that Hogan was simply not over as a babyface any longer - especially in the big NWA cities that were WCW's base. Hogan was getting booed out of the building in the Carolinas. It was obvious they had to turn him heel, but there was no real good way of doing it until the NWO came into being.

 

By the way, I defy you to watch any Raw from 1994 and 1995 and not be bored out of your mind. The WWF was absolutely terrible when Nitro came on the air.

C'mon LKB, the Brood was awesome

 

Was that Gangrel's thing? I honestly thought he was in WCW. Was he in both feds?

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That is perfect WWE revisionist history. WCW was beating WWF fairly regularly in the ratings before the NWO. They were fairly directionless however.

The big problem they had was that Hogan was simply not over as a babyface any longer - especially in the big NWA cities that were WCW's base. Hogan was getting booed out of the building in the Carolinas. It was obvious they had to turn him heel, but there was no real good way of doing it until the NWO came into being.

By the way, I defy you to watch any Raw from 1994 and 1995 and not be bored out of your mind. The WWF was absolutely terrible when Nitro came on the air.

Was that Gangrel's thing? I honestly thought he was in WCW. Was he in both feds?

You may be thinking of Vampiro, who formed that weird stable with ICP during WCWs twilight Russo years Edited by Mr. Sinister

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Did you ever hear the Wee Willie Wilkins story?

 

Crockett's show on TBS was 1) completely awesome and 2) filled with the worst jobbers in the history of the universe. Cornette explained that there was some terrible wrestling school in Tennessee or Macon or some placed and they used to send their students down to Atlanta for "exposure," which meant getting turfed by Jimmy Garvin or Tully Blancard in two minutes. It was always ridiciculous pale guys in cheap tights. Though sometimes, they found dudes like Ray Traylor who showed up for a paycheck, took a slingshot suplex from Tully Blanchard, and caused Dusty Rhodes to see dollar signs and immediately pull him aside and begin the repackaging as Big Bubba. He main evented with Dusty a year after that match and eventually went to the WWF as Big Bossman when Crockett stiffed him on a Starrcade payoff. 

 

Anyway...Wee Willie.

 

Apparently, anyone could show up to Centerstage in Atlanta and ask to wrestle on national tv. This scrawny dude showed up one day and demanded (apparently yelled at Dusty) for his shot. He also brought two jacked up bodybuilder friends with him. Dusty was apparently in a playful mood and agreed to let the guy wrestle in a tag match. Again on national tv. Against the Midnight Express who knew from abusing jobbers. And this dude actually got in the Midnights faces backstage and told them how good he was.

 

The guy apparently had his own cool wrestling name, but Dusty looked at him and said, "You're Wee Willie Wilkins."

 

Wilkins and has partner have their "match" against the Midnights and I believe it's on youtube somewhere. It's amazing. Condrey starts out with Wilkins and falls to his knees so they are eye to eye. Which is amazing because Condrey is only like 5'9 or 5'10 to begin with. Condrey and Eaton abuse the guy for like seven minutes while Cornette does this insane running commentary on how pathetic Wilkins is. Keep in mind: Most Midnight squashes were about 3 minutes so this is an eternity. You can tell that Condrey and Eaton are laying the shots in for real, and at one point Wilkins actually no sells it. That's a bad move as they call for The Rocket Launcher and apparently hit it for real before taking him in the back and kicking the **** out of him. Dusty apparently broke up the backstage fight by physically throwing Wilkins out of the building. Find it if you can.

 

A worst name discussion is going to be become a worst gimmick discussion. And that's not as much fun.

That's a great story. They did have some bad jobbers back then, but that was one of the charms of oldschool NWA. Wrestling in the little studio seeing guys get destroyed made Saturday night memorable.

And that jobber getting beat up wasn't isolated. I had read a story some years ago where another jobber ran his mouth off backstage and got beat up in the NWA.

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That's a great story. They did have some bad jobbers back then, but that was one of the charms of oldschool NWA. Wrestling in the little studio seeing guys get destroyed made Saturday night memorable.

And that jobber getting beat up wasn't isolated. I had read a story some years ago where another jobber ran his mouth off backstage and got beat up in the NWA.

 

I think that happened fairly regularly.

 

The WWF had pretty good jobbers. SD Jones. Iron Mike Sharpe. Jose Louis Rivera. Johnny Rodz. Those guys could work a little bit.

 

The NWA jobbers were ridiculous. The Mulkeys, of course, stand out.

 

Jim Cornette tells a story about selling out a spot show in the Mulkeys home town that had a Mulkeys-Midnights main event. I think the match went 15 minutes and both Mulkeys were totally blown up after two. But the crowd was going crazy for them anyway.

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That is perfect WWE revisionist history. WCW was beating WWF fairly regularly in the ratings before the NWO. They were fairly directionless however.

The big problem they had was that Hogan was simply not over as a babyface any longer - especially in the big NWA cities that were WCW's base. Hogan was getting booed out of the building in the Carolinas. It was obvious they had to turn him heel, but there was no real good way of doing it until the NWO came into being.

I don't think you understood what I was saying. I saw that the WCW were beating WWE in wrestling. I remember not caring about WWF until 97. I didn't even know Diesel was a WWF champion until like a couple of years ago lol...

But what I was saying was that it seemed that NWO was all that WCW had. They couldn't evolve. It's the same thing I see with the WWE right now. Unfortunately, unlike WWE doesn't have any competition right now.

No I don't want the Attitude Era back. I would like more of NXT actually. Some old school type wrestling.

Two people beefing, they don't like each other, they cut some promos, they fight, it's over.

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Oh. The problem WCW ran into is that the NWO became bigger than the promotion, and that was largely intended by Bischoff. It got so big, they had no way to blow it off except by splits and reunions and it just became diminishing returns.

 

The other problem they had is somewhat similar to what we have now - if maybe flipped. They had too many main eventers. Hogan by contract had to main event. But Nash wanted to main event. And the fans still wanted Flair to main event. And Goldberg became a main eventer as did Scott Steiner to some degree. And Sting was always a main eventer. Same with Luger. And then they brough in Hart who had been a main eventer forever. And Piper made appearances and was always going to main event when he did. You can't have the entire card be the top of the card.

 

The WWE right now has everyone as an upper mid-carder, except Cena and Lesner. Everyone is good, but not great and that doesn't work either, because you just do round robin booking where X beats Y who beats Z who beats X and who gets over at that point?


WCW had more than just the NWO. Their cruiserweight division was phenomenal.

 

They had pretty much killed that off by the the time Russo got involved.

 

They also had the tendency to throw guys like Jericho into the cruiserweight ghetto and put them on a never-ending treadmill to nowhere.

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WCW had so much more talent than WWE it was laughable. like LKB said, they had too many guys jockeying for the top spot, and they had questionable booking.

Those cruiserweight matches were the highlight of the night. I used to live for those.

But I also get where ML is coming from. Once the nWo angle got out of control, WCW started spinning their wheels a little bit. I think that was around the time of that awful Road Wild ppv

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I suspect having that much talent also made them lazy in writing. 

 

WCW wasn't written. It was still "booked." It started being written when Russo showed up.

 

Kevin Sullivan was the booker through most of the early NWO stuff. I actually generally agree with Sullivan's philosophies, but he had a few weaknesses personally, and he had some intractable corporate problems he could not overcome.

 

Personal issues:

 

1. He still booked like he was running a territory and not a national company. What I mean by that is he booked the chase and not the resolution. WCW would chase and chase and chase the NWO and the NWO would survive and then we would restart. You could do that in a territory where a guy would chase another guy until he caught him and the other guy would then leave for Houston or whatever. You couldn't book a chase in a national company without giving the audience a never-ending case of blueballs. The Sting angle is the best example. 18 months of a near perfect build....and no payoff.

 

2. He tended to see guys at a level and never let them move from that. Cruisereights were for the opening segment. Big guys were for the main event. Garbage wrestlers were for the third to last match on the guard. Raven was stuck in his ghetto. Jericho was stuck in his. And neither guy was allowed to move into Hogan or Flair's area. It fossilized the card - especially as the main eventers literally became fossils.

 

On the corporate side, his big problem was contracts and relationships.

 

1. No one really seems to understand what Hogan's contract said, but it seemed that in order to make the full amount, he had to headline PPVs. And he had creative control. So, if you wanted to push Hogan out of the Main Event picture for a while, you were taking money from his pocket and he had the power to veto you.

 

2. Nash and Hall had most favored nation clauses in their contracts. So, everytime someone got a raise, they got a raise to make more than them. In a corporate world, you can't have your highest paid employees not be the highest profile player. So, again, they always had to be in the Main Event scene. A main event scene is not very large, and he had three guys locked into it in perpetuity.

 

3. Bischoff was his boss and Bischoff tended to be too buddy-buddy with the wrestlers and would let them over-ride Sullivan, no show practically at will, and get pushes out of nowhere. I like Earnest Miller, but that dude got on tv beacuse he was Bischoff's karate teacher. DDP eventually got great, but he hung around for years, because he was Biscoff's neighbor and Hall's friend. It seemed like much of WCW's booking took place at 3 in the morning in Marriott bars.

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I do agree with both Bischoff and Sullivan - Thunder killed them. Absolutely killed them.

 

When they started Nitro, they were doing one live hour a week. It did so well, they got two live hours a week. That was probably the limit of WCW's abilities.

 

But then Nitro went to three hours and then suddenly a live two hour Thunder emerged. That was not a company with the infrastructure to create 5 live hours a week. The strain began showing almost immediately.

 

The other thing that I find fascinating is how WCW was really just this weird little corner of Turner. They didn't have their own camera crews. They didn't have their own merchandise people. WWF has been a machine on the technical side ever since the first Saturday Night's Main Event when NBC pretty much gave them all the high tech gear and training they would ever need. McMahon has always had better production teams than some of the networks.

 

Meanwhile, WCW was using moonlighting Braves and NBA camera crews who didn't know how to shoot wrestling and certainly didn't know how to handle promo videos and such.

 

I think Nash mentioned in a shoot that when he got to WCW, he went to check on his tshirts and figured out that WCW had one merchandise person. And every tshirt for every wrestler was basically the same. He said that he and Hall came in as The Outsiders but their tshirts were going to look just like Sting's, which would make the fans say, "Oh...it's all BS....." No one coordinated these issues where WWF was practically militarized.

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I still want to hear the full story on that "other" rumor as to how DDP was allowed to hang around

 

I don't know that rumor. I've never really heard any ugly rumors associated with DDP. Everything I've read and heard just sounds like a dude who got into wrestling late and wouldn't let things like age, looks, or an uttery lack of ability stand in his way.

 

You can see it with his Yoga. They guy is a relentless BSer, and people are charmed by his BS. And he also seems to be a tireless worker.

 

I remember DDP as a chubby manager who - as Mark Madden so beautifully wrote - didn't know what to do so he just used every annoying manager gimmick at once - cigars, gum, hats, chains, whatever.

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It had something to do with Bischoff being allowed to take certain "liberties" with his wife, in exchange for certain "career advancement opportunities."

Sounds ridiculous, but wrestling has always been kind of a weird place

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The rumor is that Bischoff & DDP were into wife swapping, which led to Page's push.

 

Oh, that sounds vaguely familiar. Considering Bischoff was in the middle of the Gold Club scandal, I can buy that.

 

In all honesty, there have been worse reasons to give someone a push.

 

Two things are amazing to me about DDP:

 

1. Everyone in wrestling LOVES him. Steve Austin raves about him, and by my timeline, I can't figure out when the dudes would have really crossed paths. I guess they spent some time together in WCW, but at really different levels.

 

Nash loves him. Hall loves him. Raven loves him. Bischoff loves him. Vince seems to love him. This is a guy who came in in his late 30s as a C-show manager. How did he make all these connections?

 

2. He got really good and really over. Granted, he got help from his friends, but the pop he got when he turfed Hall and Nash would make Cena envious today. I actually thought he deserved the World Title run he got. He kind of ruined it by DDPing it up with the belt being reversed and the "Scum" catchphrase, but he deserved it.

 

So, if he got a leg up by letting Bischoff nail his hot wife, more power to him. Hell, give a guy that ugly credit for scoring a wife that looked like that.

 

Seriously, how good must his line of bull**** be? I'm an ugly rock club owner. You are hot enough to be in mainstream Hollywood movies as "the hot girl" even as a 40 year old. You should marry me and then bang my ugly friends. Cool with that?

 

Sure.

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Every time I hear the old school rumors, I think back to that epic wrestling article that was talking about all the behind the scene stories. I think it was the one where JBL was bullying a lot of people. It had a whole bunch of other stories too. lol

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By the way, everyone has heard the rumors of how Tommy Rich got his short NWA world title reign, right?

There are only, like, 15 of them.

Hmmm, never heard this one.

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Hmmm, never heard this one.

 

There are a few stories of how Rich ended up with the title. In fairness, Rich was probably the hottest babyface in the country at the time thanks to Georgia Wrestling going all over the world on TBS. Georgia "went national" in a limited way behind Rich - going on tour in the dead territories of Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia and apparently making all kinds of money and pissing off everyone in the NWA. Vince McMahon was still working for his dad at this point, it should be noted.

 

Anyway, Rich beat Harley Race for the title in Augusta, Georgia on April 27, 1981. He droppe it back four days later in Marietta. Why the hottest babyface in the country got a four-day reign that started in a secondary Georgia market and ended in a secondary Georgia market with no cameras or wrestling press in the crowd is still debated to this day. I'm fairly certain that Rich never even went on TBS with the belt as he won and dropped it between tapings.

 

Story 1: Race claims it was to allow Jim Barnett to win a power struggle in the Georgia territory.

Story 2: Race simply forget to raise his shoulders on a pin attempt and the ref counted three. Jim Cornette claims that all refs back then were trained to count what they saw, even if it didn't match what the outcome was supposed to be.

Story 3: There is a rumor that Race showed up drunk to Augusta and Barnett - who booked the title - made him job as punishment.

Story 4: The is a rumor Rich performed certain favors for Barnett who was widely known to be gay. (Similar to Pat Patterson - an open secret in the industry).

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Im gonna go with 4, because what the hell.

You read a lot of these stories about wrestling behind the scenes and its just a bunch of sado masochism, sexual abuse, and ****ting in peoples crowns

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