Character rip-offs




Carrying on from the question about the Renegade, what’s the best example of a wrestler / character that started as a clear rip-off but went on to massive success of their own?


Demolition (from the Road Warriors)?  Ric Flair (from Buddy Rogers)?  Someone else?

Ironically, Flair started as a Dusty Rhodes tipoff and only swiped from Rogers later on.
I’m gonna go with Hollywood Hogan rebooting Superstar Graham, though.


Before Renegade debuted, they were hyping Hogan and Savages partner as if it was gonna be The Ultimate Warrior. Was that ever in the cards or was it always supposed to be Renegade?

​They had talked to Warrior off and on for years, but in this case it was always Renegade.​

Who Won Strike Force?

Given the Strike Force's full run before Rick Martel's hiatus was way less than a year, and that in the final analysis the team basically seemed to function to sustain Martel's Can-Am Connection babyface spot and also serve as thrown-together transitional tag champions from the Harts to Demolition, they seem to draw a lot of nostalgia, which I think stems from 1) both were good in the ring, 2) it was the best time for WWF tag teams in the Hulkamania Era, and 3) the post-split rivalry blow-off never felt fully resolved even though Martel scored a couple of wins here and there.

So is it worth settling who was ultimately the better Strike Forcer? Both were pretty enduring and loyal mid-carders; but here's some key areas where I think it can be asked "Who Did it Better?":

-Singles Work: Santana's most important happened pre-Strike Force, with the IC Championship rivalry with Greg Valentine as a peak, while Martel came into his own in WWF as a singles star after when he became "The Model" and had his epic 52-minute Royal Rumble showing.

-Both got used in 1992 to help make Shawn Michaels as a singles competitor. Santana doing it first, and at Wrestlemania, was probably the bigger lift, but Martel's "No One Gets Hit In the Face" match with him at Summerslam was way more entertaining.

-Both were the final opponent for crowning a new long-serving IC Champion – Santana with Mr. Perfect, Martel with Razor Ramon. Pretty tough call – neither match was a classic, really; but each helped put the new champ over convincingly.

Since Martel did win head-to-head I'm tempted to give him the overall win, but Santana never did a "Stumble Around with Bag on Head" match at a Wrestlemania, so…what's your judgment?

And P.S. I'd never known there was a music video for their entrance theme "Girls in Cars". It may represent Peak Terrible 80's:

​Santana wore the same tights for 4 years after the team broke up, so he loses by default.

Payoffs from Wrestlemania and other shows

In the Summerslam 91 recap, it's explained that Warrior and Hogan each made $550,000 for their performances at Wrestlemania 7 and $75,000 at Summerslam. Was the buyrate and ticket prices between the two shows as dramatically different as the main eventers' pay?

​Considering Wrestlemania grossed a little over a million total with live gate and closed circuit, I find it highly dubious that Warrior was paid $550,000.  ​The Summerslam payoff is a matter of public record now, but no, the money and PPV for the two shows was not actually that different, and in fact Summerslam nearly outdrew Wrestlemania that year on PPV.  

Hogan in ’92-’93

After WM 8 and before he came back in Feb'93 was there any attempt by Vince to get Hogan back earlier?  When he returned did he get a new deal or was he under the same deal from when he left after WM 8?  Also after he
left again in July'93 after a European tour vs Yokozuna, were there any conversations about Hulk coming back either later in '93 or early '94 before he signed with WCW?

​Vince wanted Hogan out of the picture for a while because of all the drug stuff and the feeling was that Hogan was his own worst enemy anyway with his inability to shut up about it.  However, once Summerslam bombed without Hulk on top, they were absolutely trying to get him to return again, and even once he left in 93 the feeling was that he was coming back again after Summerslam and they'd work things out.  Notably Randy Savage was doing all kinds of grandstand challenges to Hogan, trying to get something going for Wrestlemania X, which of course never panned out.  Some people thought that Hogan was going to broker a big deal from WCW and then use it as leverage and get Vince to match, but that never happened.  ​

Modern day pipebomb

Do you think it's time for another pipebomb style promo?  It's been 6-years since Punk's and I'm looking at a guy like Finn Balor who is massively over with live crowds, and who the WWE obviously had faith in last summer before his injury. He has legitimate arguments to be #1 contender (never lost, beat AJ at TLC) but for "reasons" Vince lost faith in him and now 67 year old Kane is closer to main eventing against Brock. You think giving Finn a live mic to air grievances on Raw would help get his stock back up. Punk was a floundering upper midcard heel before the pipebomb. Finn has already been "snarky" on twitter about his perceived role. If anyone has "it" and needs something to breakout of a midcard hell, it's Finn

I think perhaps actually being booked to win matches against meaningful competition would serve him better.  

Brock Drago?

From today's news update on the Observer site…
  • ​T​

    here was a story going around that Brock Lesnar was in line to play Drago's son in the movie Creed 2. The storyline is that Creed, the son of Apollo Creed, faces the son of the man who killed his father, with Dolph Lundgren back as Ivan Drago. The tease was Brock Lesnar playing Lundgren's son. I was told right now that is more a publicity stunt for the movie and no deal is in play at this point.

bought off wrestling commissions


Reading through the Observers from Vince's "Do No Harm" rise in the mid 80's did anyone besides Crockett running the Clash against Mania IV ever try to use Vince's tactics against him?  Vince would get Jerry Blackwell blocked for medical reasons, afoot the Illinois commission  of the Kerry Von Erich situation, yet no one thought to pay off the Michigan/Indiana commissions on Andre the Giant's health before the Hogan matches in '87-88?  Did they not think as underhanded as Vince, or another example of too cheap to truly fight?

As Jay Z once said…
"Pray for 'em, cause some fools just love to perform
You know the type, loud as a motorbike
But wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight"

Best Year for pre-Bischoff NWA/WCW

Hi Scott, I'm reading stuff from all sorts of years (your recap today from 86, the Observer recaps that up to 1994, some of Nick Temple's year-by-year recap books). I know we all like to say "because WCW" and I was a WWF-only kid, but I get the sense that were times when 80's/90's NWA/WCW was really firing on all cylinders. If I wanted to go back and see the best year, what year would you pick?
My personal favorite was 1989, but Dusty was actually knocking it out of the park in 86 for a while there.