End of the First Hogan Era

Hey, Scott:

Now that we’ve reached the post-WM8 period in the recaps, I have two Hogan questions:

1.) During Hogan’s 1984-1992 run, he famously made zillions of dollar for Vince during his feud with Paul Orndorff. Other than Andre at WM in 1987, did Hogan ever draw those kind of dollars against anyone else? Did the 1989 run vs. Savage compare?

The 89 run did very well, but the business was changing and Hogan didn’t work as many dates in general. But yeah, Savage was REALLY hot as a heel. They burned it out quickly, but still went from WM to SummerSlam with it. Otherwise, Hogan’s program with Kamala did shockingly well and that’s about as close as anyone came to Orndorff numbers.

2.) This has been touched on in the newsletters, somewhat, but, during that 1984-92 stretch, how long did Hogan work a full-time schedule? I know he had extended breaks in 1988 & 1990, but it seems Hogan only worked big markets and weekends as far back as 1987?

Yeah, Hogan was pretty limited early on in his big run, because he could be. Plus that way you didn’t burn out the markets right away.

Revitalized Brand Split

Hey Scott,


Long-time reader here. I wanted to know your opinion on this idea I’ve had going way back to the original brand split in 2002.

I believe the brand split is something that’s definitely needed and is beneficial, however, I’ve always wondered why they couldn’t do something that would achieve the same benefits but from a different approach.

Instead of superstars being exclusive to a show, why couldn’t they go about it so the championships and the top contenders be exclusive to that show?

For instance, take the WWE World Championship that’s exclusive to Smackdown. The champion, Bray Wyatt, would be on Smackdown as well as the top 3 contenders for the title. You would know exactly where everyone stands in the title picture with a simple rankings system.

Bray(C)

1. Orton
2. AJ
3. Cena

So let’s say Cena has a match with Corbin and loses, Corbin is now #3 and exclusive to Smackdown while Cena can then appear on either show and work his way up to the top 3 again. They could not only do this for the main event championships (World and Universal) but also for each brand’s midcard, tag, and women’s.

Then basically at any given time you would the foundation of a brand split with 8 men, 4 women, and 4 tag teams being exclusive to a show but the huge benefit of being able to reshuffle guys around frequently to freshen things up as opposed to only the once a year draft.

​I gotta say, that sounds a bit too complicated and requires more thinking and paying attention than either WWE fans or creative can usually handle.

Some random 1996 WWF stuff

Working my way through some 1996 WWF.

1. So at the end of the Iron Man match at WM12 Bret walks off pouting after Shawn wins. Was this simply kaybabe in that Bret was frustrated by the loss after the match having to continue after essentially being a 60 minute draw? Was it a shoot reaction due to the heat between he and Shawn (had it really even started yet by that point)? Or was it the seeds being sowed for Bret’s heel turn when he came back (obviously delayed by a few months due to the Austin program first)?

2. So in 1993 when WCW lost how many millions of dollars its workers included Big Van Vader, Davey Boy Smith, Sid Vicious, Stunning Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, Dustin Rhodes, Cactus Jack, Ron Simmons, Johnny B Badd, and the cerebral assassin Terra Ryzing. All these guys were pushed at some point by WWF in 1996. Any coincidence why WWF sucked so bad in 1996?

​1. That was just Bret working himself into a shoot, I think. The bad blood hadn’t started between them yet, but Shawn won the title and then famously told Hebner to "get him the fuck out of my ring" so he could celebrate, leaving Bret without the chance to get some heat back after the loss.

2. Among the many problems WCW had in 1993, the quality of worker was very, very far down the list. Ditto for the WWF in 1996.

Randy Savage’s Left Knee – 1992


Scott,

One thing, I think, that gets glossed over about Savage’s 1992 run is his masterful selling of the beating his left knee took at the hands of Ric Flair at WM VIII. I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that knee injury played into almost every match he had from when he won the title at WM VIII to when he eventually dropped it to Flair on Prime Time. Some guys have a hard enough time selling an injury to a body part through to the end of a match, but Savage sold that knee injury for about FIVE MONTHS or so.

Short of a gimmick like Bob Orton’s cast or DDP’s taped ribs, are there any other examples of a wrestler selling an injury that well for that long? Was Savage dealing with legit knee issues at the time?

Thanks.

​Oh yeah, Savage had been forced out of baseball due to bad knees, and then years of dropping the big elbow and taking all the impact on his knees pretty much destroyed them. By the time he got to his reinvention in WCW in 1999 guys were terrified of it because he’d have to put the impact on his elbow and it was just killing people left and right. ​So it wasn’t even really selling, although it DID give him a built-in storyline for pretty much every match from then on, with the heel working on the knee for the whole match before he made the comeback with the big elbow.

Good Matches from Bad Wrestlers


Hey, Scott:

Your recent revisiting of "Tuesday in Texas" included surprisingly favorable ratings for matches involving Virgil and Warlord.

I know we’re not talking six-star classics (and omitting the miracles that, say, Ric Flair worked with El Gigante), but what are some other surprisingly good matches involving notoriously mediocre (or worse) wrestlers? Thanks!

​I think the Wrestlemania match between Undertaker and Batista, which was looking to be a total trainwreck, was kind of the gold standard for an unexpected classic.

Also, every time the Miz breaks **. ​

A Trade Between Raw And Smackdown

Hi Scott,

If you could make 1 trade in the WWE between Raw and Smackdown, who would you deal? Thanks.

​I’d send Roman and the New Day and the entire 205 crew to Smackdown in exchange for ​future considerations. RAW doesn’t need any more talent to squander and Smackdown desperately needs depth in the midcard and a top level babyface. Orton’s not it and Cena’s leaving.

Wrestling Observer Flashback–04.13.92

Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/02/24/wrestling-observer-flashback-04-06-92/

Once again, we’ve rolled around to another Wrestlemania in these.  Dave doesn’t seem too thrilled about it, but then it was pretty hard to muster much enthusiasm for the WWF at that point.  Unfortunately it would only get worse from there.

Read more…

Fan injuries


Hey Scott.

Just curious, are you aware of any fans getting injured at a major wrestling show? I thought about it when the shark cage got shoved of the stage on RAW recently, and also when Charlotte kicked Sasha’s crutch away (and it went FLYING). With all the chairs and ladders that get thrown around on the outside of the ring, it seems like there must be instances of fans getting hit, right?

And what about ECW? Did Sabu landing on fans ever hurt anyone?

-Robby

​I’m not specifically aware of any incidents that came to light, but normally if something DOES happen then the person is immediately whisked to the back and signs a waiver in exchange for a metric shit-ton of WWE merchandise. ​However, that being said, there’s standard legal language on tickets and such that basically says "Shit happens, not the fault of the arena, so there" so really unless a wrestler specifically punches out a fan themselves, legally there’s not much you can do.

Also, Sabu probably tried to hit fans and blew the spot.

Cena Future Appearances


You’ve implied The Rock and Austin know how to protect their brands, and are happy to tell Vince where to stick it if their own image were to suffer from a special appearance. Do you think Cena Is wise enough to do the same? Or do you see him making repeated appearances to diminishing returns down the road because he’s a company man first and foremost?

​I think Cena is wise enough, but Vince protects him so fiercely that I doubt it would ever be an issue. He’ll keep coming back as long as Vince calls him. ​

Why was Mabel/Viscera given so many runs?

Hi Scott, Blog poster Jabroniville here again.


I was curious about the relative longevity of the WWF/E career of Nelson "Mabel/Viscera/Big Daddy V" Frazier, who seems to have stuck around for years, despite never being what anyone would call "great", or what most people would call "good".

Now, I have an unapologetic love of Big Fan Monster wrestlers, and I was a HUGE Mabel fan as a kid- to an embarrassing degree. But I was clearly in the minority. Men on a Mission were a pretty lame team (and only held the Tag Titles for a few days), "King Mabel" was a disaster of a push (who goes from Main Eventing SummerSlam to fired in six months?), and he was never that over in any persona.

So why was he around for so long? Sure, Monsters always get pushes here and there in wrestling, but most guys would be gone quickly if they weren’t that successful. Yet this guy got a WWF job almost as soon as he debuted (1993 was his first year in wrestling, and he was in the WWF already), got a push as King Mabel, and had a three-year run overall. Then he returned only two years later, having another two year run as a Jobber To The Stars. Then he all of a sudden returns AGAIN, getting a four year run out of his "World’s Largest Love Machine/Big Daddy V" thing. On top of that, I’ve heard he was reckless and often hurt his opponents (an issue in his run as King Mabel). That’s about a nine year run, all things considered! And much of that was him past his prime!

So why was he brought back so often, and kept around for so long each time? Surely better wrestlers didn’t enjoy runs nearly as long. Granted, he had some value as a huge guy who was nonetheless perfectly happy jobbing for years (thus making guys look good, especially as he could go up for suplexes), and I’ve heard he was a nice guy… but STILL.

​I think you pretty much nailed it. He was a nice guy who tried to make guys look good and did whatever stupid stuff was asked. ​

Abdullah the Butcher


Did Vince ever show interest in Abdullah the Butcher? You would think he would see him as a good opponent for the Undertaker? Or either feuding or teaming with Mick Foley or Kane?

​I think he MIGHT have, but Abby needed to have a deal so unrestrictive that he could work wherever and whenever he wanted to maintain all his indy and Japan dates, and there’s no way that Vince was going to allow that kind of thing. Plus the whole "blood and guts" aspect would never fly in the WWF. ​

Heeeeeeeeeeey we don’t want no Bayley

Scott,

How is Naomi, who’s a better heel than face, able to feel more like a face than Bayley? I personally think she sucks as a character, whatever it is it’s suppose to be. Add the fact that she’s bad period, whether its cutting a promo or simply throwing punches. In ring wise, she’s only good working from underneath. I marked for Bayley at one point, maybe I should see what Smackdown writers can do for her before I judge.

​I’m confused…what’s wrong with Bayley?​

Sorry, guys…

I’ve deactivated the fancy new Google mobile site I’ve been using, because the site was taking HOURS to update and the speed boost just wasn’t worth it. If they can address it for me, l’ll change back, but until then it’s back to the old WordPress mobile site.

Two Diverse points


Know you’re on vacation but

1. I’m bummed there was no portal sequence on Flash this time. Then again, Flash is fighting a telepathic albino gorilla in a giant arena as I’m typing this so I might be ungrateful.

2. How weird are these retro observers from 2000 that Dave’s putting up? Beyond the obvious WCW implosion, there’s all these guys – Scott Vick, Ron Reis – that WWF was looking to sign but didnt, presumably because they added the Radicals.

Gods I missed evil Wells. Even if it’s Grodd.

​Cheap effects budget for this week aside, Tom Cavanaugh playing Harry Wells as possessed by Grodd was ACES. I’m continually blown away that JD’s goofy brother from Scrubs could be such a fantastic actor when given material to work with. Also, Julian was pretty funny this episode, even if he’s clearly dead meat any day now. "You’re going to the planet of the apes!" was killer. And of COURSE Grodd played Barry like a sucker because even the normal, non-telepathic gorilla is smarter than Barry, so he had no chance.

The only really weak part of the episode for me was the stuff with Kid Flash, as the writers appear to be trying to channel the show-off stuff from the "classic" Wally West and stapling it onto a character who doesn’t really fit that attitude. But hey, I’ve got Titans to read for the real Wally, at least.

Haven’t had a chance to watch Supergirl yet, but if she’s not battling telepathic gorillas, Flash is the clear winner of the week. I’m sure it’ll be back to "Woe is me, we have alter the timeline to save Iris and fix everything by running faster somehow" by next week, of course.