Ah yes, the Eve of Wrestlemania. After tomorrow, it will be 17 special shows to remember, spanning over 3 decades. That's quite impressive. Today, I will take a look into one of the greatest Wrestlemanias of all time, Wrestlemania 10. It was the first year the WWF went without headlining Hulk Hogan on a show, and it could have been a strong transition show. Notice the *could* have been part.

Also today, I'll give a very quick and brief recap to why WCW was in such bad shape to be sold to the WWF. Many readers have been asking for it lately, so I'll give those readers what they want! I'll start from the fallout during WCW's successful run in 1996-1997, and how certain egos swelled. It will be brief, though, because the main focus is on the great Wrestlemania 10, which has the great HBK vs. Razor Ramon and Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart to talk about.

So let's get on to the PDC, because time is money.

Brief Recap on Why WCW Went Downhill

The NWO was a very successful idea of WCW's, and with the rising undercard, WCW flourished in 1996 and 1997. 1998 was where it all went downhill, but the spark that I always point out about WCW's downfall was Starrcade 1997. Hollywood Hogan's creative power screwed up the ending to a much wanted clean finish by the fans, and lazy Kevin Nash no showed for his match against the Giant. This big disappointment fueled fans to look for other options, like the growing WWF at the time. Hogan's ego, also, helped to hold down on-the-rise superstars from getting near him, as well, for he had Eric Bischoff in his pocket. Hogan booked himself to defeat Macho Man just after Macho defeated Sting for the World Title, and Hogan never lost it until July. During this time, the WWF gained heavy ground.

Hogan was in too much control, and the fans just didn't care to see him there again. WCW was flopping, badly, on the 2 NWO idea, with the Hollywood and Wolfpack versions. Wrestling fans were just sick of seeing the NWO, since it was overexposed on WCW television. The Goldberg win over Hogan was a big event, but a lot of damage by Hogan was done up until the match. After Goldberg won the title, Eric Bischoff put Kevin Nash in charge of booking WCW shows. There, WCW really went downhill, and fast! Nash catered to his friends, and depushed anybody who looked like a rising star. A good example of this would be Chris Jericho, who Nash personally buried. That kind of bullshit allowed Jericho to sit out his contract and eventually join the WWF.

Nash would then book himself to win the WCW World Title at Starrcade 1998 in a lousy finish to end Goldberg's streak, the only interesting thing in WCW at the time. Nash would then reform the NWO in early 1999, and lay down for Hulk Hogan in one of the most ridiculous moments in wrestling history. Hogan as champ didn't draw ratings, nor did the "new" NWO. Eric Bischoff would be eventually fired before the summer of 1999, and that's when the horrible ages begin. Bill Busch is put in charge, and doesn't do much to spark WCW back to the top. Sid Vicious returned to WCW during this time, and the focus was always around the Kevin Nash vs. Macho Man feud. Sid gained ground, at least in the booker's minds (I believe it was Sullivan and a few others booking), and he feuded with the returning Hulk Hogan. Yes, Yellow and Red returned, but only to a slight ratings spark, which went down quickly. This era also had the No Limit Soldiers vs. the West Texas Rednecks, a totally embarrassing feud as well.

The mess that the Summer of 1999 created for WCW made Bill Busch go out and buy Vince Russo, Ed Ferarra, Bill Banks, and Terry Taylor from the WWF creative team just to help WCW's horrible favortism booking style of the main eventers. I believe Busch saw the problem of weak storylines for the midcarders, so he hoped this new team would change the federation around. Team Russo sure did better than any other WCW creative team in 1999, but Russo had many internal conflicts which his raunchy booking style began to drive him mad. Also add to the fact that Russo was NOT a booker, but just a storyline writer. Russo had no idea on how to book wrestlers into a good feud, which the fans would like. That was a big factor in why Russo wasn't a large success.

After various injuries to stars (Goldberg, Hart, Jarrett), pressure from the ass kissing Kevin Sullivan, and just the constant tension between Russo and Busch over the storylines led Vince Russo to get fired on the Friday before Souled Out 2000. Kevin Sullivan was placed as head booker, and guys like Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Shane Douglas, Billy Kidman, and Konnan were ready to walk out. Chris Benoit was given the World Title at Souled Out as a sign of "good faith", but he didn't see it that way. All 6 wrestlers walked out of Nitro, and they wanted full releases. Bill Busch was going to give them their wishes too. Billy Kidman got convinced to stay, while Konnan and Shane Douglas backed out of the walk out, and they never returned to WCW until Vince Russo returned.

The Sullivan era, here, caused the ratings to drop badly. Attendance really started to become what you've been seeing recently here, since Sullivan only pushed his NOT over friends (ex: The Artist), and featured storylines that were too 1980s. Time Warner stepped in, and cleaned house. They put Eric Bischoff back in charge, who had other ideas about WCW. Bischoff saw the future financial crisis the company could be in soon, so he undermined them to eventually make a charge to buy WCW! Bischoff bought Russo back to cover up this fact, and Russo started off well with his first Nitro back.

Things dropped when he put the World Title on David Arquette, period. Russo wasn't able to ever gain momentum after that fiasco. Russo would try to spark interest in screwing Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach 2000, but too much damage was done. Russo, who promised to stop being on television, became a regular character and the WCW fans never caught on. After several shots to the head, some say Russo's judgement was really affected. Russo booked himself to win the World Title, too, which angered fans everywhere like the Arquette move. His post concussion syndrome would catch up to him, and he would be forced to never set foot in WCW again. Johnny Ace, Ed Ferarra, and Terry Taylor had the task of running WCW. By then, the sale rumors were getting heavy. First it was Mandalay with Eric Bischoff, then the WWF, and then Fusient with Eric Bischoff. The new booking team wasn't able to make any big changes to the storylines due because of the sale negotiations, which hurt the product too.

Bischoff and Fusient finally struck an agreement with Time Warner about the purchase of WCW, and Mr. Bischoff took charge of WCW again. He put Johnny Ace in charge as head booker, who just loved to push Rick Steiner, the man who disappeared during the 2nd Russo era. Ace was a bad booker, and the ratings dropped to new lows. Fusient and Time Warner couldn't reach a final agreement, and to put leverage on Fusient, Time Warner announced that Nitro and Thunder would be cancelled! Fusient just gave up on the deal, and the WWF stepped in and bought WCW for a much cheaper price than Fusient was negotiating for. That's where we are today.

Suggested Readings

The History of the New World Order

The First Vince Russo Era

The Kevin Sullivan Era

The Second Vince Russo Era

I hope that clears up any reasoning to why WCW has fallen on hard times before the WWF picked them up last weekend.

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The History of Wrestlemania 10

The first Wrestlemania without Hulk Hogan. At the time, there were worries about how successful a Wrestlemania could be without Hulkamania. Actually, Hulk Hogan was there... but in the body of All American Lex Luger, who Vince McMahon was pushing heavily as the next superstar. Wrestlemania was supposed to be his crowning, but things can indeed change. Like what? Try nobody giving two shits about the Lex Express or his new American attitude. Wrestling was about to head into a new era of wrestlers with total attitude and toughness. Luger was still wrestling as an 1980s wrestler.

Let's go match by match for this unbelieveable event, which I believe is the BEST Wrestlemania of all time. Just my opinion.....

Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart

This is probably the best opening bout for any Pay Per View, ever, and it helped to put the late Owen Hart's foot in the WWF's door for the first time. This match happened due to the 2 fight set up system because Bret Hart and Lex Luger went over the ropes at the same time at Royal Rumble 1994 (to which eyewitness fans say Hart landed first). The way the system was set up was that one wrestler, Lex Luger, would fight the World Champion Yokozuna, with the winner of that bout facing the second wrestler, Bret Hart.

To make things fair, Bret Hart decided to fight a considerable opponent before his Championship match, which ended up being Owen Hart. Owen and Bret had an interesting feud, where Bret Hart decided to hog tag team time during a match for the Titles with an injured leg, instead of tagging Owen for help. That's when Owen turned on his brother, and it eventually led to this match... and what a match it was!

After a long bout that had the crowd screaming, Owen Hart pulled one of the biggest upsets in wrestling history. People began to take notice of Owen, and he'd eventually win the King of the Ring and become one of the most hated heels by the fans. This match also would provide Bret Hart for a big win later, since Owen "injured" Bret's leg during the match. Bret would be seen as overcoming adversity to win the World Title, later on.

Doink/Dink vs. Bam Bam Bigelow/Luna

Why does Bam Bam have to do stupid matches for Wrestlemania? I don't know, but the main reason why the Doink the Clown gimmick failed was the face turn. Seriously. As a heel, Doink was one evil motherfucker as he'd play tricks on the faces, and he had some crazy music. As a face, he had lots of midgets running around him, and he acted like a goofball 24/7.

Anyway, Bam Bam and Luna would get the win in this bad spot of the show. Hey, each Wrestlemania has to have something corny in it, right?

"Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Crush

This match was booked after Macho Man's friend Crush took some time off, and returned only to turn on Savage. Macho Man was sooo under-utilized at this point, as I feel he could have been used to help out wrestlers such as Bret Hart or Lex Luger. Instead, the WWF made him an announcer most of the time.

Randy Savage would get the win in this best 2 out of 3 falls match, which had some "hardcore" elements to it. When I say that, I mean when two wrestlers run to the backstage to fight. After this, Savage would eventually take the money of Ted Turner to become a full time wrestler again; something Vince McMahon never considered.

Alundra Blayze vs. Leilani Kai

Ha, and you guys think the WWF will pick up Madusa these days. Oops! Blayze is Madusa, for those of you who didn't know already. WWF pushed her to the moon as the next Rockin' Robyn, to no avail. Blayze won this match easily.

Over a year later, Blayze would show up on Nitro, with the WWF title in hand, and dump it in the trash in one of the truly incredible moments in early Nitro history. Madusa would then be back, and the WWF took no legal action, oddly enough.

Quebecers vs. Men on a Mission

If you ever want to see Raven in his earlier days, then this video is worth the rent already. The Quebecers carried Mo and Mable to probably their BEST tag team match during their WWF run as a team. MOM would win, but only on a stupid count out.

Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger

Up until this show, the WWF had Lex Luger booked to win this match, and then possibly beat Bret Hart in a battle of the faces. Why? Well, Vince still had high hopes for Luger, and it would have made sense to have Hart and Luger fight at the end since they had the controversy at Royal Rumble 1994.

However, Vince McMahon and the WWF couldn't deny the fans. They were cheering Bret Hart as their top face, and NOT Lex Luger, despite having him shoved down their throats! So with that respect, Vince McMahon listened to the fans and he wanted Bret Hart to be the final champion when the night was said and done.

Luger dug his own grave, however, in the first match with Yokozuna. The story goes that on the night before Wrestlemania 10, Luger had a few drinks, possibly at some bar, and revealed to a reporter in New York that he was going to win the WWF World Title at Wrestlemania the next night. Well, the next day, it was all over the newspaper about who would win the World Title that day. It pissed Vince McMahon off, badly, as they say and he rebooked the match to a lame DQ finish. So instead of Luger vs. Hart, we would have Yokozuna vs. Hart. And you know what, it wasn't a bad idea, either, because they did wrestle in Wrestlemania 9's main event, you know.

Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb

Earthquake would become John Tenta/Shark/Avalanche or whatever else the WCW creative team gave him, and then later, Golga as part of the oddities. Adam Bomb would become Wrath in WCW, and then later use his real name to be a part of Kronik as Brian Clarke. Earthquake will be returning to Wrestlemania this weekend, for the funny Gimmick Battle Royal.

This is a time killer spot, because one of the best matches in history was on deck. Easy win for the Quake.

Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon in the Ladder Match

This match became an innovative model for many great matches of today, and it came across as a major shocker back then. Nobody in their right mind expected this match to be that good. NOBODY.

The story goes as follows... Shawn Michaels began to have contract disputes with the WWF, to which he kept making threats to jump to WCW if he wasn't satisfied in late 1993. Vince McMahon called him bluff, and never budged on giving Shawn Michaels a new deal, and wanted to let his original deal run out since it would in the summer of 1994. HBK was the Intercontinental Champion at the time, and he was set to defend the belt at a Monday Night RAW thereafter. Because of the disputes, Michaels no-showed the RAW, and Vince McMahon wanted to teach HBK a lesson. So Vince held a battle royal on that RAW, to which the last two finalists would wrestle for the belt. Razor Ramon and Rick Martel would be those finalists, and Ramon won the match to become champion.

HBK, as he always does when it appears somebody is taking his heat, decided to come back and honor the remaining of his current WWF deal. While he was gone, he kept the Intercontinental Title, which led to the WWF creating two belts. The smart booking team decided to play off that idea, and have HBK call Razor a fake champion, while still wearing the older title belt. It was a good angle, and the plan was to have this as the last HBK match ever in the WWF, since they were going to let his contract run out so that Michaels could join WCW.

The match itself is so incredible. Razor and Shawn Michaels worked their asses off that night, took some good bumps, and did some stuff that was lightyears ahead of their time. In fact, it inspired a lot of up and coming risk taking wrestlers to take notice. Guys like Edge, Christian, and the Hardys were just in awe of that match while they were becoming wrestlers. Razor Ramon won the match, so HBK was off to WCW, right?

Wrong. Many believe that the signing of Hulk Hogan by WCW scared Shawn Michaels off to beg for a deal in the WWF again, only for less money than he was asking for. Michaels would take some time off from the ring, too, with his Heartbreak Hotel segments in the summer of 1994. Razor would go on to being one of the top midcarders, and he was on his way up to the top... but drugs and alcohol ruined his chances.

*It should be noted that a big 10 man match was cancelled due to time restrictions, and held the next night on RAW.

Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna

This is probably the best Yokozuna vs. Bret Hart match, despite both wrestlers already wrestling once before. Especially Bret Hart, who fought a hard match against his brother, Owen, earlier in the night. Hart still sells the leg injury from the earlier match, and Yokozuna basically dominates the match. I'd say that Bret Hart works with Yoko the best out of any wrestler out there.

Bret Hart would win the match, and become the World Champion, which is what the fans wanted at the time. So did he carry the federation? Well, not exactly. ....

After Wrestlemania 10: After the Summer of 1994, the Clique was beginning to gain power. Razor, Diesel, and especially Shawn Michaels, began to have Vince's ear on decisions regarding their pushes. Bret Hart would have a great feud with the returning Bob Backlund, but the Clique got the last laugh on that one. After Backlund won the World Title in a classic technical war at Survivor Series against Hart, Diesel would win the title from Backlund in under 10 seconds from Backlund. Diesel as champion brought no interest to the WWF, which brought the WWF to becoming an equal to the now rising WCW, who was going to debut Nitro in September of 1995. Now that's history.

  • More PDC Histories
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    TODAY'S GAMES

    Orlando Rage vs. Birmingham Thunderbolts

    NY/NJ Hitmen vs. Chicago Enforcers

    *I can't say for sure which game will be the focus, but my guess is that it will be Chicago vs. NY/NJ. Expect VERY low ratings for this game, since it's up against the great Maryland vs. Duke Final Four game for the NCAA tournaments.

    With Vince McMahon's decision to challenge Saturday Night Live with the new WCW show, you can expect that NBC won't pick up the XFL for television coverage next season. Lorne Michaels, SNL executive producer, has a lot of pull within NBC, insomuch as he made NBC enforce rule changes for the XFL games!

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