Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by sirmikael, Apr 28, 2011.
One thing I miss about the modern product (most of the time) is the ability to suspend disbelief. While nowhere near as crazy as the scene described above, my grandmother once smacked Ole Anderson on the back ringside at a Mid-Atlantic house show. No brawls ensued, but she got a stinkeye from Ole and a talking-to from security.
Edit: I reckon it’s modern society/technology as well, not just the product.
For those of us old enough to have experienced it, there was nothing like seeing a show with a crowd of true believers. At my first house show at MSG in the middle 80s, the Hispanic contingent rooting for Tito Santino were hanging on his every move, and livid as the heel cheated repeatedly. Beats the heck out of smarks smiling, using their phones, and chanting “one more time” as a babyface gets a beat down outside the ring in 2019. But that genie is out of the bottle forever.
Yeah. I grew up with the Sheik. Craziness was almost normal.
Bruiser vs Sheik had people going nuts.
Agree with Daniel ... the Harley Race-Jim Duggan feud is an all-time classic as you'll see in this excellent quality recap!
I don't watch wrestling anymore, but I did listen to the Austin/Hogan podcast from last week. Anyone else catch it?
While I think Hogan is full of it when he talks about how he made up with both Randy Savage and Warrior before they died, it is cool to hear details of what he did to make his character work, and Austin obviously has mad respect for him. I loved how Austin correctly pointed out how great Hogan was at selling and putting his opponents over. A lot of people think you have to lose a match to put someone over, but that is untrue. Hogan would often "Hulk Up" and win the match, but only after taking a beating and making his opponent look like a million bucks. He is the GOAT for a reason.
Hogan GOAT? Lmao
Why is that funny?
I am not saying he is the best actual wrestler, I am saying he is the biggest star in pro wrestling history on the strength on what they all did in pro wrestling alone (otherwise The Rock would be the biggest). Austin and The Rock are a close 2nd and 3rd, but Hogan (with a big helping hand from Vince) turned wrestling from a regional "sport" into a massively popular thing. It's ridiculous how over he was with fans from the mid 80's through the early 90's. Austin was just as over with fans during his run, but unfortunately he didn't have longevity due to injuries.
For whatever it’s worth, Austin sold more tickets, moved tons more merchandise, and generated more PPV buys than Hogan did, by far. Arguing that he saved the company is not unreasonable. So in those terms, Austin was the GOAT, which is why he closed the Raw Reunion and Hogan did not.
Hogan did sell for his heel opponents (unlike Goldberg), but his matches were painfully predictable. He gets beat down, he hulks up, big boot, leg drop, pose time.
This is not a criticism of Austin by any means, but do the main event guys get all of the credit for PPV buys? I think it's important to remember that during Austin's prime, those PPV's almost always had big draw guys like The Rock and The Undertaker, not to mention other all-timers like Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart (at the start of Austin's prime), plus the Mr. McMahon character. Aside from Randy Savage and Andre the Giant, who was there on the WWF roster from 1984-1990 who will go down as big a star as any of those guys during Austin's prime? I don't think you can say The Ultimate Warrior who was such a flop as a champ that they had him drop it to Sgt. Slaughter.
What I am saying is that those PPV's were selling in the 80's mainly on the strength alone of the Hulk Hogan name, WM3 notwithstanding which sold sell well because of it being Hogan vs. Andre. Would those PPV's during Austin's run have sold as well with The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H, Mr. McMahon, etc. not doing a lot of the heavy lifting as well? Obviously, we will never know. Austin simply had the benefit of a deeper top tier array of talent during his prime than Hogan did, plus an existing large fan base that Hogan had gotten the company. Heck, look at all of those PPV's during Austin's run and he didn't even main event a lot of them because they had so many big stars who could main event a PPV and still have it sell well.
And like I said earlier, Austin is a close 2nd along with The Rock behind Hogan in my book, so this is picking really small nits.
As for the Raw Reunion, I didn't see it, but I am guessing Austin was used as the closer in large part because a) current fans are more familiar with him, and b) the backlash over Hogan's slur that came out a few years ago.
I think you raise many points that are very worthy of discussion.
I have certainly never worked in the wresting industry, and maybe those who have could shed better light than I can. But the impression I get from watching interviews with any promoters or WWF/E "brain trust" is that there is a perception that the guy (or lady) on top of the card is the one who is (or isn't) selling the tickets. Yes, some tickets will be sold no matter what, but there is a big difference when the wrestler on the top of the card will literally make people buy a ticket (or PPV, or Network subscription) they otherwise would not have. This may be less true today, but I think (right or wrong) Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey are both perceived this way by the people who sign the checks.
During Hogan's run, there were a number of guys who were very over. Obviously Savage, since they put the belt on him for a full year so Hogan could make a movie. Piper was also crazy over after they turned him babyface. The Junkyard Dog was over and could certainly "sell tickets" in some markets. And I don't know that they "sold tickets", but the tag team division in Hogan's day was loaded with over teams - the Bulldogs, the Hart Foundation, the Rockers, Demolition. And say what you want about his flopped title run, the Warrior was insanely over during his IC title reign leading up to WM6 and was getting much bigger pops than Hogan (hence the short-lived "passing of the torch").
Austin benefited from a deep top tier roster to work with, agreed. He also benefited from a highly-rated national weekly TV show, compared to Hogan whose primary weekly vehicle was a syndicated show made up mostly of squash matches. Hogan was in the middle of things when wrestling exploded, Austin was in the middle of things when it got red hot.
I'll admit to being biased. I never liked Hogan during his WWF babyface run. He was boring as could be, and his matches made no sense ("Have you not seen what happens when he hulks up? Get outside the ring for a count of 9, gouge his eyes ... do SOMETHING!') But one thing that always sticks in my mind in this GOAT argument is that Vince brought Bruno out of retirement during Hulkamania because the box office was "soft" in a certain market or two (Boston for one, if my memory is any good). The box office was never "soft" when Austin was on top of the card, quite the opposite.
Regarding the Raw Reunion, I don't believe the current audience knows Austin any better than Hogan - Hogan was the WCW champ and in the most famous faction on the planet while Austin was a big star. I do think the audience sees Austin less often so that contributes to his bigger pop. But mostly I think he gets a bigger pop because he is the most over.
I submit that Hogan was the first truly nationally recognized wrestling star since Gorgeous George. That had more to do with the WWF monopolization of the national stage than Hogans natural charisma. Hogan was also in many ways a holdover from VKMs dad's style of booking and was the last truly long term babyface champ.
Many fair points.
Regarding the Warrior, I think we could easily argue that it was Vince's fault that his reign was a flop. He became the champ and then was put in a recycled feud with Rick Rude, who was great and deserved a program with the world champ, but it had a "been there, done that" feel to it. Plus, in the first Saturday's Night Main Event after Warrior became champ, his match was the 4th of 5, when the main match on SNME was usually the 2nd match (sometimes the 1st), so putting Warrior on that late was already putting him behind the eight ball. Ultimately though, the Warrior to be was like Sting: much better as the champ of the secondary title (I-C belt/US Champ) and fighting to be the world champ than actually being the world champ (Sting mostly flopped as a world champ as well nearly every time he was given the strap in the 90's).
The tag team divisions in the late 80's and into the early 90's was awesome in both the WWF and WCW. That was great stuff.
Back to Austin, I think most would agree that his run as the top guy was 1998-early 2003 (right after Bret left through his retirement following WM19). Not counting the Royal Rumble, Austin main event'd 34 of 66 PPVs's during that time span (barely over half). From 1985 through 1992 (when Hogan's run as the top babyface came to an end thanks to the steroid thing), he main event'd 14 of 19 PPV's (nearly 75%). On a sidenote, it's crazy to think of how few PPV's there used to be. I can only imagine the great matches we would have gotten back then had they been running PPV's at even half of the clip that they do nowadays.
I do think Austin also benefited a lot from the Monday Night Wars, which made everyone up their game. The NWA was more regional in the 80's and not really prime competition once the WWF broke into the mainstream. That is why I cannot put Ric Flair up there with Hogan, Rock and Austin since his prime was basically spent being a big fish in a mid-sized pond. Yes, the NWA was where you went for great matches, but you'd see Flair wrestle a great match in front of 3,000 people in Atlanta, and the same night, Hogan would be wrestling in front of a sold out crowd at MSG.
But what do they all have in common: great talkers. Austin, Hogan, Rock and Flair are arguably the four best talkers in pro wrestling history, and I don't think it's a coincidence that they are probably the four most well known wrestlers ever (John Cena is probably up there now as well, but I doubt most consider him anything more than an average talker on the mic).
I think Cena is above average on the mic at this point in his career however nowhere near the four others mentioned.
I liked the Warrior even less than I liked Hogan. He was the Goldberg of his day - repetitive squash matches, which can only take you so far. His incoherent promos were entertaining in a so-bad-they’re-good way, but that’s not going to work when you’re the face of the company. I was quite happy to see the era of the Warrior end oh so prematurely - the Sarge’s traitorous heel run was classic stuff.
I’ll agree that Hogan had the company “on his back” much more than Austin, or anyone else since, had. On some of the SNMEs it seemed like Hogan was in 50% or more of the segments. This created the monster who managed to walk away from a PPV with Bret Hart’s belt even though he was only scheduled for a tag match. I almost threw up in my mouth on that one.
Goldberg-Ziggler @SS: 1 minute 46, 4 moves (2 each). Good work if you can get it. 2 more spears after the bell to really earn his money.
Eh, Cena had a nasty habit of burying gimmicks during the build-up of feuds, to where it was hard to take them seriously. Part of being great is putting your opponent over in both the ring and on the mic, and Cena often failed at that on the mic.
Ending WM9 like that was was odd, but that was back when Vince still had that 'Wrestlemania has to end with a good guy winning' mentality, and I think he wanted to throw Hogan one last bone before he exited the company for the foreseeable future later that year.
I was not a Warrior fan because he had way too matches where he didn't sell much of his opponent's offense even when his opponent was on the offensive for several minutes (think of it as the middle part of a 7-8 match where the face starts off strong, the heel then dominates for several minutes, and then the face makes the comeback). It's like he was constantly trying to get up even when his opponent was hitting him repeatedly. There were very few matches where he actually made you think that he might lose.
My favorite part of the Warrior’s matches was Jesse Ventura making fun of him, calling him “The Ultimate Lunatic”. Other than that they routinely were one-sided bores.
Years ago I saw this hilarious "translation" video of the Ultimate Warrior. Funny stuff with him talking about "Ho Kogan". Just searched for it and didn't find it but I found a similar one with Andre:
Grilling JR podcast, a GREAT story about Harley. This would've been awesome to see:
On Race delivering a vertical suplex to Andre the Giant: “Yeah, that was in Greensboro. And that’s when Naitch went back in the locker room after it was over, and he said, ‘You tell Andre what you’re gonna do?’ [Race said], ‘I told him, suplex. And watch the body slam.’ So Andre — you know, big eyes, bushy hair. So Harley vertical suplexed Andre.”
On Race’s strength: “Andre [was] way over 400 pounds. He was in leaner years, you know, high three [hundred], low fours. And Harley held him in that post position. And a lot of people don’t realize how strong he was. The guy that you’re suplexing will help you a little bit. But bottom line, man, you got one arm around that big bastard, you gotta figure out how you’re gonna hold him up there a while. So notwithstanding the fact that then he got bodyslammed.”
On the dynamic between Race and Andre: “But Harley didn’t ask for permission from the giant. Harley was the Godfather, Andre was the capo. Andre wasn’t the boss, even though everybody called him the boss. When Andre was around Harley, Harley Race was the boss. That’s the respect he had with the boys to the journey he was on, the pioneering man, the dues he paid.”
Eddie Marlin, who was a legend in the Memphis Wrestling scene, has passed away. Randy Hales, a former Memphis wrestling personality who had been helping care for the former promoter and wrestler, took to Twitter to announce that Marlin passed away this morning at 5 AM. Marlin had been moved to hospice care yesterday due to multiple organ failure.
It’s the greatest news in the history of our sport. PWInsider reports that Tony Schiavone has signed a new del with All Elite Wrestling and will appear on the upcoming AEW show on TNT. It’s unknown how he will be involved on the program, but this will be his first appearance on TNT since WCW Monday Nitro ended in 2001.
The website notes that AEW actually beat WWE to the punch in this case, as WWE was attempting to sign Schiavone as late as this past Wednesday. Schiavone is currently signed to an MLW conract as well, and will continue to work with them. He’s previously made appearances on AEW’s ‘Road To’ shows previewing upcoming events.
Actually, I would've liked to see Tony in WWE as I have always liked his announcing. Either way I am hoping he will be back at the announce table at some point, not sure how this will go down with him being signed to MLW.
umm isn't tony not liked by a lot of guys?
I thought the same thing but there are a lot who like him as well. I find it interesting that WWE was trying to get him as he talks bad about them from time to time but he seems to be gracious about his time there. I remember seeing him in the late 80's for his short time there and I liked what he did. I think mainly he worked with Titan Video but he used to do those little segments on Prime Time Wrestling.
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