Rock Star Gary reflects on Saturday Night’s Main Event XXII

Taped from Worcester, MA

Airdate:  July 29, 1989 (taped 7/18)

Attendance:  unknown

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

How will the road to Summerslam be paved this year? Let’s read on…

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 2, 1995

“Double J” Jeff Jarrett lets us know how great he is going to be in his signing debut on tonight’s RAW.

Gorilla Monsoon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are taped from Liberty, New York.  This episode was taped on December 12, 1994.

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What the World Was Watching: Wrestling Challenge – January 1, 1995

Although I have reviewed some of the early Attitude Era action on the Blog, I am going to embark on a new project:  reviewing all of the major televised action for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1995.  Readers are likely aware that 1995 was a terrible financial year for the company, with James Dixon writing in Titan Sinking that Vince McMahon and Titan Sports lost $6 million.  The wrestling industry was in the doldrums in the mid-1990s, reeling from declining ratings; the end of the Hulkamania boom; and lingering suspicions from sponsors about steroid and drug use, which caused the federal government to put McMahon on trial in the summer of 1994.

On a personal note, 1995 was the year that I got into wrestling.  Being exposed to the business during one of its worst times did not phase me since I had nothing else to compare it to.  I knew nothing of workrate or star ratings and accepted Diesel as the WWF champion.  However, it was painfully obvious to me that Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were clearly the best and I enjoyed their televised matches throughout the year.  Little did I know at the time that both men had a significant rivalry behind the scenes and when it exploded in Montreal two years later it would help the WWF regain its position as the supreme brand of professional wrestling in North America.

These reviews will chronicle major WWF programming in 1995.  We will go through Wrestling Challenge, Monday Night Raw, Superstars, and The Action Zone.  Pay-per-views will also be covered, as will the occasional Sunday Night Slam where warranted.  Win-loss records will be provided for talent throughout the year and matches will be recapped, with reflections on the purpose of those matches and how they fit into existing storylines.  I will also compile other statistics – house show attendance, drawing power for champions – that I will share periodically.  Furthermore, for each week of action I will try to provide a brief calendar of notable events so readers can see the context that all of this booking is fitting into.  The reviews will be posted to the Blog on Tuesdays and Fridays going forward.

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The 2016 Doomie Awards

Last week the blog cast its votes for the top (and worst) wrestlers and moments of 2016.  The voting deadline has passed and all of the votes have been counted.  Remember, a first place vote was worth five points, a second place vote was worth three points, and a third place vote was worth one point.  In case of a tie, number of first place votes was used to break it.

I included the top three finishers for each category below, but if you wish to see the entire spreadsheet and how many first place, second place, and/or third place a choice received, go to this link:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IPo8DD2ovDENl3FlkY0-RXqy8iHL1EfsMFG3SQ1rpao/edit?usp=sharing

Keep in mind that not all voters cast a ballot with three choices for each category and some voters did not vote for certain categories.  In all, though, we had a higher rate of participation this year, with fifty-three people casting ballots (versus thirty-two last year). Winners can be found below.

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XXI

Taped from Des Moines, IA

Airdate:  May 27, 1989 (taped 4/25)

Attendance:  unknown

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Can Hogan successfully defend the WWF title in a cage against the Big Boss Man? Let’s find out!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on SNME XX

Taped from Hershey, PA

Airdate:  March 11, 1989 (taped 2/16)

Attendance:  9,000 (sold out)

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

As if the dissolution of the MegaPowers isn’t enough, what else can cause separation between Hogan and Savage? Let’s find out!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on…WWF Royal Rumble ’89

WWF Royal Rumble ‘89

Live from Houston, TX

Airdate: January 15, 1988

Attendance:  19,000

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Question to the masses: If a baseball game lasts until 3am on a work night, can we still blame Vince McMahon? Ponder on that while enjoying the show.

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Rock Star Gary reflects on…WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XIX

Taped from Tampa, FL

Airdate:  January 7, 1989 (taped 12/7)

Attendance:  9,176

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

To open the program, the Ultimate Warrior centers his promo on victory. In spite of the promo’s theme, I hope the US military didn’t use this as a motivational tool for the troops.

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Smackdown – May 2, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 2, 2002
Location: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 10,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’ve got a big match scheduled for tonight as WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan is defending against Chris Jericho. I’m sure we’ll get an explanation for why Smackdown can have a #1 contender when it’s been established that the shows trade possession of that status. Maybe Jericho can carry Hogan to passable tonight too but I wouldn’t bet on either. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 29, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 29, 2002
Location: HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York
Attendance: 8,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

The question at this point is how bad can things get. The wrestling has been horrible but the stories have been some of the worst of all time with uninspired main eventers who look like they’re about to collapse from old age. Maybe things can start to pick up soon because it can’t get much worse. Let’s get to it.

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WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: March 1, 1997

We are joined in progress (on a TAPED show?!?), with THE LEGION OF DOOM standing in the crowd, shrieking about Wrestlemania and Chicago. They intend to be at the Granddaddy of them All, but they’ve got some stiff competition to crack to break into that lineup; what with the New Blackjacks, Flash Funk, The Sultan, and The Headbangers all vying for spots of their own. The star power has never been stronger headed into Wrestlemania!

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Smackdown – April 25, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 25, 2002
Location: Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois
Attendance: 8,350
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re in a new era now as HHH is a full time Smackdown wrestler, which I’m sure will last for at least a few weeks. After all you can’t expect the biggest star in the company to be on the B show for very long. Other than that we’re going to get more of the Hulk Hogan nostalgia tour, which wasn’t the most interesting thing in the world earlier this week. Let’s get to it.

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WWF RAW: February 24, 1997

It’s incredible how quickly the entire direction of a company can change in the blink of an eye. Just two months ago, we were being prepped for a second kick at the can of Shawn Michaels as a main eventer, this time being ordered to cheer for him because he’s sick and hasn’t even had the strength to shave, and is deeply in love with Jose Lothario and Vince McMahon but not necessarily in that order. He appeared to be headed into a collision course with a whiny Bret Hart for a Wrestlemania Rematch that would hopefully top the previous years’ battle (in quality, and not, heaven forbid, time). Meanwhile, Steve Austin was being a pesky little shit, Mankind just wanted to be wanted, Sunny was having sex with Elmo (bringing a whole new light to the line “Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away” from my childhood), and Faarooq refused to stand for the National Anthem. Everything was status quo.

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Monday Night Raw – April 22, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 22, 2002
Location: Savvis Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the night after Backlash and due to reasons of pure nostalgia, Hulk Hogan is the Undisputed WWF World Champion. That means he’s gearing up for a title defense against Undertaker at the next pay per view, which leaves Steve Austin to feud with Ric Flair because Austin feuds with authority figures. Let’s get to it.

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Backlash 2002

Backlash 2002
Date: April 21, 2002
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Attendance: 12,489
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the first pay per view after the Brand Split and it really is a tale of two shows at this point. Raw is absolutely horrendous at the moment with an unmotivated Undertaker vs. Steve Austin as the main feud (and the Raw main event here) for the next WWF World Title match. That would be your Smackdown main event here as HHH is defending against Hulk Hogan for reasons of pure nostalgia. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 18, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 18, 2002
Location: Compaq Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Tazz, Michael Cole

It’s the go home show for Backlash and since this is Smackdown, we have a tag team main event which doesn’t have a lot to do with the pay per view. In this case it’s HHH/Hulk Hogan vs. Chris Jericho/Kurt Angle as Jericho doesn’t actually have a match on Sunday. Then again I’m not sure who he could fight save for Rock, who wasn’t around last week and probably won’t be again this week. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 15, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 15, 2002
Location: Reed Arena, College Station, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the final show before Backlash and the big Raw main event is the fresh matchup of Undertaker vs. Steve Austin for a title shot at the next pay per view. Raw has been dying in its first few shows and I don’t see that getting any better for a long time. They really need to figure out something with this Brand Split in a hurry because it’s getting bad quickly. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 11, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 11, 2002
Location: Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

This has to be better than Raw right? I’m almost convinced that it has to be just based on the law of nearly anything would be better than the mess that I sat through earlier this week. The big story continues to be the build towards Hulk Hogan vs. HHH for reasons of pure nostalgia. Let’s get to it.

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Hidden Gems: Flair vs. Windham, January 20, 1987

Today’s “Hidden Gems” review showcases a classic matchup for the NWA World Title between champion Ric Flair against Barry Windham. It takes place in Fayetteville, North Carolina on January 20, 1987. A little unknown history about this match: It wasn’t advertised locally. This was a TV taping for Crockett Promotions’ two syndicated programs, NWA Pro and WorldWide Wrestling. The only advertised match for the card was Ric Flair vs. Brad Armstrong! Yes, really…

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Monday Night Raw – April 8, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 8, 2002
Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Attendance: 13,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Hopefully things pick up a little bit after last week’s mess of a debut for the solo red show. Backlash is in thirteen days and it’s really not clear what we should be expecting from either brand, save for some of the top matches. Steve Austin is officially on Raw though and you know he’s going to do something big. Let’s get to it.

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Rock Star Gary reflects on SNME XVIII

Taped from Sacramento, CA

Airdate:  November 26, 1988 (taped 11/16)

Attendance:  15,900

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Warrior scares the dickens out of everyone by opening the program. Hey! This isn’t the Halloween episode! Regardless, he wants to spoil Super Ninja’s Thanksgiving weekend. I believe salmonella enterocolitis would be less painful.

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Smackdown – April 4, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 4, 2002
Location: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, New York
Attendance: 8,500
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

After Monday’s less than amazing debut for Raw, it’s time to see if Smackdown can save the opening week of the Brand Split. This show has its share of stars including The Rock, Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan and Kurt Angle. Those names alone should be enough to help carry this past Raw but this company has managed to disappoint me with less. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 1, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 1, 2002
Location: Pepsi Arena, Albany, New York
Attendance: 9,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s time for the first show of a new generation as Ric Flair is officially in charge of Raw with a roster all its own. I’m really not sure what to expect here as almost all of the stories are restarting, save for Kane vs. the NWO for reasons that I don’t want to understand. Oh and Raven won the Hardcore Title to bring that “division” to Raw. Let’s get to it.

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