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.
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.
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.
Let's go match by match for this unbelieveable event, which I believe is the BEST Wrestlemania of all time. Just my opinion.....
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
This is a time killer spot, because one of the best matches in history was on deck. Easy win for the Quake.
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 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.
NEWS ORGY: Bill Clinton to get his own Quarter? Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake's relationship in Trouble? More intriguing stories like this and more, so Click Here to join the Orgy!
Make sure you check out the latest CLICK HERE to listen to the latest show, discussing news and spoilers. Sunday's show will be a HUGE Wrestlemania Themed show to catch. Keep in mind that the Audio Show is giving away a Wrestlemania care package, which you could win by listening to the show and answering Wrestlemania Trivia. Click Here if you want to see the questions to possibly win the contest! Also Note that former WCW and ECW star, Scotty Anton, will be a guest on the show sometime in April. I'll keep you posted.
LoP T-Shirts: NEW STUFF IN STOCK! Mouse Pads, Sweat Shirts, Coffee Mugs, more T-Shirts, Baby Doll shirts, and more! Also, you can now order via Credit Card!
Backyard BBQ: The Best in Backyard Wrestling!
@That's all for today. I'll be back tomorrow with Wrestlemania predictions, and by request, I'll rank each Wrestlemania... again! So until then, stay out of trouble!! ("Stay Out of Trouble" phrase coined and © by Bill Edgar of the Wrestle Palooza Audio Show)
News Orgy: Parents trying to ban Dodge Ball in schools?!?
Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.
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!