QOTD #7: Terrible Wrestlers You Love

Friday’s here! Hopefully this means you’re gearing down for
the weekend, and ready to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.
Today’s Question:
Who is the absolute worst
wrestler you can think of … that you secretly love?
We’ll get to your answers tomorrow. If you want to jump
straight to the discussion, please scroll through to the end.

Yesterday, I asked you what your favorite episode of RAW of
all time was. With 1100 episodes to choose from, you had a wide variety of
choices. Here are your answers:
Garth Holmberg, C.C.:
Tough to choose, what with there being so
many episodes and the memory not being the best. I’m going to go old school,
and say… the January 25th, 1993 episode. Random, I know, but it was the first
episode of Raw I got to watch (and it was only the 3rd), and first time I was
actually allowed to watch a late-night primetime show on a school night.
Perfect vs. Flair was a nail-biter, even to me being 7 years old, and I liked
the opener with Savage against Repo Man. It’s an episode that still stands out
to me more than many other popular options.
This was the first “major” RAW happening, seeing Ric Flair
turfed back to WCW on the wrong end of a Loser Leaves Town match.
Andy PG: Best Raw for me? One of the very early ones.
It has Marty entering through the crowd, challenging Shawn, and winning the I-C
title, plus the famous Kid/Ramon upset. Basically, the night Raw became RAW.
This is certainly the first episode of RAW that made it
truly stand out from the other shows the WWF was running at the time; and it
was clear from that moment onwards that this was THE show to watch. As long as
it wasn’t taped.
Tom Dawkings: I’ll go the unconventional route and say
that there was a Raw in 96 which I believe was the first PPV-lite Raw they did.
It featured Kid v Hakushi, Dudes With Attitide v Bulldog/Yoko and Bret v Taker.
Kid/Hakushi was the only good match, but I still remember it because it was a
pretty surprising watching a tv show without any jobber matches for the time
period.
This is probably long forgotten because it was on the back
end of a taping cycle, so fans who were smartened up to the Internet were well in
the know of the results ahead of time. Still, this stood out in the gloomy
early part of 1996; and things weren’t about to get any better with Bret Hart’s
hiatus, and half the midcard departing for WCW by the end of the year.
jobber123: The one where Pillman pulls the gun on
Austin really stands out to me, only because I remember seeing that as a kid
and being blown away by what happened.
Local police must have been sick to death of pro wrestling
by this point, as this happened just months after the Rey Mysterio lawn dart
incident; with both that show and the Pillman 9mm episode drawing 911 calls
from fans who couldn’t tell what was real anymore, and what wasn’t.
Extant1979: As far as an episode I didn’t see in person,
I would have to say Bret Hart’s tirade against Vince McMahon after he was
screwed out of the WWF Title against Sid in the lead-up to WM13. That, in my
opinion, is the true kick-off of the Attitude Era. Can’t wait to see how they
treat that on the Network.
Granted, it’s the swearing here that people remember, but
Bret’s promo came across as one of the most genuine things I’ve ever seen in
wrestling. Whereas most promos sound tight and scripted, Bret was just ripping
into everyone and everything, but in a way that felt like it was coming
straight from the heart (likely, because he DID feel that way in light of the
lost smile).
LScisco: I’d say the RAW where Austin and Bret led
off with a street fight and Bret was attacked in an ambulance. THAT show, even
to the mark in me at the time who had endured the abuse of friends who thought
WCW was superior, proved to me that the company was becoming different and
would once again regain its position as the #1 wrestling company in North
America.
Owen and Bulldog plotting to kill Steve Austin became one of
my favorite running gags in the subsequent weeks.
Biscuit!: 4/28/97, the ‘Pillman Prays’ episode.
Absolute anarchy culminating with Jim Neidhart’s surprise return, leading to a
wheelchair-bound Bret Hart whacking Austin off the ramp with a crutch.
This episode was all about the Harts; Owen capturing the IC
title was classic. “LOOK AT ALL THE GOLD! WE’RE RICH!” Pillman’s prayer
sessions were incredible, but then just about everything he did from late 95
until his death were brilliantly crazy and people bought in.
PrimeTimeTen: 7/21/97 in Halifax, NS.
– The Bret/McMahon
hockey fight
– Shawn turning the
heel up to ten with “And I… will BE… the SPECIAL… referEE!”
– A molten hot crowd,
cheering the hell out of the Hart Foundation, and not buying Brian Walsh’s
sucking up by carrying a mini Canadian flag.
– The flag match main
event with Brian Pillman’s run-in.
The run of shows in Canada were great that year, because
Bret’s nuclear heat had caused the first real instances of “Bizarro World”. Shawn
Michaels drawing “faggot” chants without offending all of North America (was
this really acceptable that recently?). The McMahon/Hart fight was the usual heel
Bret goodness, who despite HATING the role played it like a champ. When he
jumped the announce table to pound McMahon for naming Shawn the special referee
at SummerSlam, the place exploded. How the Survivor Series WASN’T a total work
is beyond me, because they set that whole story up for an entire year.
AverageJoeEveryman:
First Raw I went to December 8 1997. Had
the DX strip poker game, Sable in the potato sack (later an incredibly small
bikini), Mero outing Sal Sincere as a jobber, and Stone Cold forfeiting the
belt to The Rock.
A lot of posters mentioned being nostalgic for shows they
attended. Sadly, I’ve only been to 1 episode of RAW, which aired in 2001. If
you asked me, gun to my head, what the main event was, I don’t think I’d be able
to come up with an answer.
BeardMoney: The post-Wrestlemania 14 Raw was pretty
amazing. Dan Severn and Kaientai debuted. The Rock turned on Farooq and claimed
leadership of the NOD. X-Pac returned and later the Outlaws joined DX
solidifying the new line-up, and sewing the seeds for Foley’s heel turn. Austin
Stunned McMahon. The show genuinely established a new direction for the
company, and kicked off what was arguably the greatest era in the history of
the WWF/E. Sadly, today’s post-‘Mania Raws just let us know which rematches we
get to look forward to.
Absolutely spot on, this took us into the Attitude era at
100 miles an hour. Within weeks the stupid NWA titles would be phased out, we’d
have a wrestling porn star, NoD turning up our racist meters to full blown, and
DX making a mockery out of everyone and everything. Oh, and some guy named
Steve Austin swearing up a storm and getting drunk at every corner
turnbuckle.
riraho: The RAW where Austin and McMahon were going
to wrestle. From the start where they said they would–through Vince’s training
with the stooges–to the hand behind the back deal–to them brilliantly not
giving it away on free tv. That was prime.
Not to mention they continued to hold this off for another
year, without it ever feeling dragged out. Very little can come close to this
feud. This is also the RAW that ended WCW’s hold of the ratings lead.
Jeremy Rinehart: The night after Breakdown.
– Zamboni 3:16
– Vince gets his ankle
broken
– Rock pins Undertaker
This was pretty much the moment that Rock fans knew he was
on the fast track to the World Title. He had just turned face, and having him
pin the Undertaker was a sign the company was fully invested.
BooBoo1782: The only Raw I really remember as a whole
show after watching on TV is “Raw is Owen.” It’s obviously in a very
different category than everything else, but I remember X-Pac and one of the
Hardys working the enziguiri into their movesets that night as a tribute, Mick
going over Billy Gunn with a nice tribute after, Rock dedicating the People’s
Elbow to Owen in his match with Val Venis, and the Austin beer tribute closing
the show. I wouldn’t call it a favorite, but it’s really the only Raw I
remember as a full show.
I have tried to watch this one a few times, but I’m still
not able to. Definitely a lot of raw, real emotion here, and memorable top to
bottom under the most unfortunate and tragic of circumstances.
Night81: I really liked the Radicals/DX vs.
Rock/Sock/Too Cool RAW. It told a great story throughout the show from the
Radicalz betrayal to Rock stepping up with a great promo to Too Cool running in
to join the fray to nuclear heat throughout the whole match for everyone’s
spots and feuds to Kane’s big return with Paul Bearer. Just an awesome RAW.
Prior to the Radicalz betrayal, we also got Foley’s HIAC
retirement match booked against Triple H. This was also the legendary “Viscera
slips” show. But yes, the true meat was that main event, which basically served
as a “Fuck You, WCW” – putting over the quartet of newcomers as hard as they
possibly could, against an absolutely loaded opposition.
Peyton_Drinking: Buying WCW comes to mind because I had been
working a lot that weekend and didn’t know about the purchase in advance.
If you didn’t know about this in advance, I can see this
entire show being the most ground-breaking “WTF IS HAPPENING HERE” show in
history. Even then, seeing McMahon talk openly about WCW talent, fire Jeff
Jarrett on national television, and the Shane McMahon “purchase” made for a
strong finish to the Monday Night Wars.
The Bragg Man: I loved the RAW that was Main Evented by
Jericho/Benoit vs HHH/Austin for the Tag Titles. I remember being a little down
on the product at that point after WM X7, and that match brought me back.
Triple H hadn’t looked bad in two years at that point;
having him submit clean as a whistle gave the Canadian lads all they needed to
make a run at the main event.
CruelConnectionNumber2:
RVD and Dreamer hop the rail and ECW
returns to punk out Jericho and the coffee-fearing monster Kane in 2001.
That slow burn when you realized the “WWF” was being
represented by the likes of Tazz, Raven, and the Dudleys, with Lance Storm and
Mike Awesome already in the ring was an absolute goosebump moment in time.
YankeesHoganTripleHFan:
I am such a Hogan mark for this one but I
have to go with Raw the nights after WM 18. First off I was pretty baked so
every cool moment was increased tenfold. Second Hogan’s ovation and the Rock
encouraging him to rip off the NWO t-shirt was fucking awesome and then later
Brock debuted and I just remember being like “what the fuck was that?”
Plus I think the stooges did something wacky which caused me to giggle on my
bed for like ten minutes. Did I mention the pot was hydro?
I was watching this with a friend, and I remember we both
thought initially that Brock’s run-in was Sid Vicious for some reason, until
the camera got a better look and the announcers clarified who it was. One of
the strongest rookie debuts ever.
Brent Garrison: June 2005 in St. Louis. Cena debuts on RAW,
ECW invades to wrap up the show, and on a personal note-The best dark main
event I’ve seen in all of the 86 T.V. tapings I’ve been too-Triple H and
Batista in a 20-minute bloodbath.
That’s a lot of TV tapings.
ABeyAnce1: Since they were a week within each other, I
have to choose the 2008 WWE Draft mainly because it was the one draft with the
real shocker factors. By that I mean the guys that switched brands. Hardy, HHH,
Umaga, and Kennedy all going to Smackdown, and then how Rey, Batista, and Punk
went to Raw. It also then lead to later in the night when Vince got
“injured”, causing the next week, and the rest of the summer, to
become total anarchy.
Jim Ross’ reaction to being sent to SmackDown was fabulous; 100%
pissed off curmudgeon, and it was all real. This was also CM Punk’s ascension
to the main roster, as he was drafted over to RAW as a major player holding the
MITB briefcase, from the dying ECW brand. Good forgotten pick!
Stuart_Chartock: I don’t know if I’d rank it #1, but the
episode the night after “WrestleMania 28” was friggin’ fantastic. The
non-stop “Yes!” chants, Rock declaring that he’ll be back for more,
and BROCK FUCKING LESNAR!
The fans turning Del Rio face with the “SI SI SI” chants was
a lot of fun as well. In fact, the only time they shut up all night was during
Albert’s return.
When it comes down to my own choice, I’m going to have to go
with the first ECW invasion … in 1997. This was the type of show that simply
isn’t going to happen in the corporate world of 2014, but anything was possible
with the ratings in the toilet back then. With only a skeleton crew of
wrestlers on hand because the main roster was in Europe, the show was used as
both a selling point for ECW’s Barely Legal, but more importantly for McMahon,
a chance to make some noise and grab some audience share.
Lawler had been antagonizing the ECW base for ages; and ECW
finally grew tired of it and took over Monday Night RAW. We got complete
anarchy. Even as someone who’s not an ECW fan, the idea of another promotion
walking into enemy turf and literally holding the show as one of their own is
just unfathomable. Vince couldn’t even allow this to happen when he OWNED WCW.
The wrestling itself wasn’t great, but this painted the idea that anything and
everything could (and was going to happen). Jerry Lawler was at his absolute
best on this night, and everyone was on their games trying to stand out to the
national crowd. Competition truly does bring out the best in everyone.
See you tomorrow!