What the World Was Watching: WrestleMania XI

A video package quickly highlights the various WrestleMania’s.  It is notable that celebrities are emphasized in this package instead of wrestlers, partly due to the fact that Hulk Hogan, competing in WCW, was in the main event of most of them.

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Hartford, Connecticut.  The Hartford Civic Center is probably the worst WrestleMania venue in history since it lacks the history and size of its predecessors and successors.  Its selection is an illustration of the problems that the company was experiencing the mid-1990s.

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What the World Was Watching: Sunday Night Slam – March 26, 1995

Sunday Night Slam was a show that the company aired a couple of times in 1994 and one time in 1995.  It served as a lead-in for big pay-per-view events like SummerSlam and Survivor Series and tried to entice fans to buy the shows by showcasing the major feuds and angles in various matches.  It was not quite a Clash of the Champions concept that WCW was using but it did provide the company with additional exposure on USA Network outside of its usual timeslots for Monday Night RAW, WWF Mania, and The Action Zone.  Later on, the name of the show would be used to hype other pay-per-view events before the Free for All was created in January 1996, but it never again featured original matches.

Vince McMahon and Jim Ross are doing commentary for the event.  The matches were taped along with several episodes of Monday Night RAW on March 13 in Stockton, California.

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What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – March 26, 1995

Todd Pettengill narrates a video package to hype today’s Shawn Michaels-Adam Bomb main event.  The package makes no mention of their encounter a month ago on Superstars.

Jim Ross and Pettengill are in the booth and they are concluding the tapings in North Charleston, West Virginia.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – March 20, 1995

The review hackers didn’t want you to see….

Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette are in the booth and they are taped from Stockton, California.

Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear Jim Ross’s commentary on Lawrence Taylor’s “secret” training session in preparation from WrestleMania!

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – March 11, 1995

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are calling the action and they are now doing tapings in Augusta, Georgia.  These tapings were held on February 21.

Before the next bout, Jim Cornette tells the crowd that Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett has informed him that he has signed a contract to defend his title against Razor Ramon at WrestleMania.  However, Cornette says that Ramon will not make it there because he is facing Mantaur in the next bout.  Although many did not know it at the time (and as revealed in James Dixon’s book Titan Sinking:  The Decline of the WWF in 1995), the booking of Jarrett and Ramon was a big blow for Ramon, who had filmed some vignettes to turn heel and face the Undertaker.  Turning Ramon heel would have done wonders for his character and strengthened the heel side of the roster.

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What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – February 19, 1995

Todd Pettengill narrates a video package hyping today’s feature match between the British Bulldog and Bob Backlund.

Jim Ross and Pettengill are doing commentary and they are at a new taping location in Fort Myers, Florida.  These tapings were held on January 25.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – February 18, 1995

We get more developments in the Bam Bam Bigelow-Lawrence Taylor feud as Taylor’s attorney, Anthony J. Giampapa, announces that he is advising his client to take legal action against Bigelow and the World Wrestling Federation because he believes they are trying to goad Taylor into a match.  He demands that both Bigelow and the WWF “cease and desist” from further activities concerning Taylor.

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are doing commentary and the site of our tapings has changed to West Palm Beach, Florida.  The tapings were done on January 24.  McMahon says that in response to Mr. Giampapa, the WWF will cease promoting the idea of a future Bigelow-Taylor match.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – February 6, 1995

Vince McMahon gives a recap of last week’s show where King Kong Bundy needed interference from the Million Dollar Corporation to beat Mabel in a “mini Royal Rumble” match.  Tonight Mabel looks to settle the score in a six man tag.

Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are still taped from Palmetto, Florida.

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What the World Was Watching: Royal Rumble 1995

A limousine pulls into the backstage area and Pamela Anderson walks out.  She goes to her locker room as WWF wrestlers, led by Dink of all people, hoot and holler.  What?  You expected respectful manners out of a group of wrestlers?

As a side note, when you have been watching tons of television tapings from Liberty, New York in a high school gym for weeks on end it really makes you appreciate the bigger venue that this show is in and it makes everything seem more important.

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are on the mic and they are live from Tampa, Florida.  What is hilarious about the opening is that Vince tries to introduce the Spanish announce team and Hugo Savinovich just stays seated with his back to the camera.

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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – January 9, 1995

Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are live from Houston, Texas.  This is the second anniversary episode of Monday Night Raw.

William Shatner, who is here to hype his new show TekWar, says that he is not scared of appearing on Jerry Lawler’s King’s Court segment and that if Lawler messes with him “he will be out of here at warp speed.”  He even admits that he is simply here to do the hard sell for his show and is not going to wrestle.

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What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – January 8, 1995

Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill are in the booth and they are from various locations since the Action Zone broadcast a collection of matches from different TV tapings.  I always fondly remember this syndicated show because it was my go-to viewing after church on Sundays or what I would run to see if going to see my aunt for a family gathering on a Sunday afternoon.

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The SmarK DVD Rant for The Kliq Rules (Blu Ray edition)

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Kliq Rules (Blu Ray)

This feels like we’re really scraping the barrel now, but at least there’s a couple of matches on here that I’ve been anxiously awaiting to be released. And hey, someone bought it for me, so what the hell. Let’s celebrate the 1996-ness of the Kliq, in keeping with the theme of the past few months on the blog. The cynical part of me, small as it is, would suggest that this was thrown onto the market to screw with the Young Bucks by creating a trademark claim on the hand signal.

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What the World Was Reading: RAW Magazine – May/June 1996

by Logan Scisco

After having covered an alternative to WWF Magazine last week, we continue that
idea in this week’s column, reviewing the very first issue of RAW Magazine from May/June 1996 (I
wonder if this is worth anything to collectors today).  RAW
Magazine
was the brainchild of Vince Russo, who wished to have a magazine
that would cater to more mature and knowledgeable fans.  This followed Russo’s failed attempt to
launch a newsletter under his magazine personality Vic Venom.  RAW
Magazine
was bi-monthly in its circulation until 1998 and when the WWF
launched its brand split, RAW Magazine
became exclusive to the RAW brand in 2004. 
That was an incredibly stupid decision and was one of the reasons I
finally cancelled WWF Magazine.  Why should you have to buy two magazines to
keep up with one company?  RAW Magazine continued until the summer
of 2006, when it and the newly christened Smackdown!
Magazine merged into a new WWE Magazine that ceased publication in
the fall of last year.

Vader is the cover man of the first issue of RAW Magazine, but the big selling point
was lots of photographs of Sunny, which you can see in the insert in the top
right corner of the page.  The picture of
Vader is taken from his assault on WWF President Gorilla Monsoon the night
after the Royal Rumble, which caused Vader to be indefinitely suspended until In
Your House 6.
You can purchase some Coliseum Video releases of WrestleMania
for $19.95 each, but if you want the greatest WrestleMania of the them all –
WrestleMania XII – it will run you $39.95. 
If you want to buy WrestleMania III or WrestleMania IV, though, you are
out of luck.  That is not the first time
that I remember those tapes not being for sale either so I am not sure what was
going on there.  You can also purchase
“Spring Explosion ’96,” which are the matches from In Your House 6.  I never understood why the WWF felt the need
to brand those shows after the fact
for tapes.  “Spring Explosion” is such a
generic name anyway, but the company has gone back to it with “Fast Lane.”  Parallels to the Dark Ages continue!
Vince Russo’s “From the Editor” piece discusses how he is
happy to launch RAW Magazine so that
he can “can the fluff and get down to the stuff!”  In what could be written about the product
today, he rips the company for catering too much to kids because of
demographics, although he admits that catering WWF Magazine to kids in the mid-1990s paid dividends with improved
sales.  He says that hardcore fans ripped
him for doing so, though, which is why he has launched this new product.
And what will a subscription to RAW Magazine set you back in 1996? 
If you wanted two years you had to pay $19.97.  One year cost $11.97.  What really irked me, though, is that they
make the cutout portion to get your subscription run into the column on the
next page.  That is a bad layout
decision.
Our first piece of RAW
Magazine
is an extended “Informer” column, which is loaded with new rumors.
The Smoking Gunns are unhappy that they were stripped of
the tag team titles in February. 
Evidently, they see nothing wrong with not having defended the titles in
thirty days due to Billy’s neck injury. 
Unfortunately, they did not have the precedent of Brock Lesnar to fall
back on.  The Informer proceeds to rip
the Gunns for dominating a weak tag team division, but it says that they can
earn more respect if they listen to Ted DiBiase, who is looking for a new
team.  It suggests they could be called
the “Hired Gunns,” which would not have been the worse idea in the world I
suppose, but the Gunns would not have saved the awful Corporation stable, which
was going bankrupt by early 1996.
The Informer also lets us know that Hunter
Hearst-Helmsley has eyes for Marlena, laying the foundation for an eventual
feud with Goldust that would kick off in the fall of 1996.  Similarly, we get another piece of
foreshadowing as the piece says Owen Hart and the British Bulldog will team up
more, thereby adding “some life back into the tag team division,” although they
never coined themselves as “The New British Bulldogs,” as the piece suggests.  We also hear that all those “parental
discretion” spots Sunny filmed for RAW made her seven figures.  Like Vince had that money to throw around in
1996!  The Informer says that Sunny is
making overtures toward Shawn Michaels, but if that fails she might buy Vader’s
contract from Jim Cornette.  A
Vader-Sunny pairing would have been such a train wreck and Vince may have been
tempted to make Vader a new Bodydonna, providing us with lots of workout
vignettes from the Mastodon!
Vic Venom then pens an extended “Venom RAW” column, where
he talks openly about World Championship Wrestling.  Of course, since the WWF cannot use WCW
photographs, we get the Huckster and the Nacho Man:
Venom says that WCW is an embarrassment to wrestling, but
he does take some digs at the WWF for insulting his intelligence with the Red
Rooster and Outback Jack.  He rips the
company for having nostalgia for the 1980s by employing old WWF talent,
although he exempts Sting and Ric Flair from that list.  This is probably the first time that Sting
was actually mentioned in a WWF publication. 
For fans watching both companies, there is some fun humor here, with
Venom saying Elizabeth has a “shoe fetish” – a dig at WCW running lots of finishes
involving women’s shoes at this time – and that WCW never told us how “that
Giant [fell] off the roof of the Cobo Arena and [came] back to wrestle 15
minutes later.”  Some of the humor is
juvenile, with Venom calling Eric Bischoff “Eric Ripoff.”  The highlight of the article is that it criticizes
WCW booking, citing how they squandered Razor Ramon and Diesel.  However, by the time that this issue hit
newsstands Ramon and Diesel were on their way to WCW and would help it overtake
the WWF in the ratings by forming the New World Order.
Keith Elliot Greenberg, who typically did the
pay-per-view recaps for WWF Magazine,
handles a cool column in this issue entitled “The Night the Belt Changed
Hands,” that talks about an important title change in WWF history.  The subject for this month is the Ultimate
Warrior-Rick Rude Intercontinental title match at WrestleMania V.  As you can tell by the picture, albeit
obscured by the crease in the middle of the pages, Donald Trump was a fan of
the match.
The article provides a blow-by-blow summary of the match,
as well as its context, which includes the Warrior beating the Honky Tonk Man
at SummerSlam 1988 and Rude picking a fight with the Warrior at the Royal
Rumble.  For such a “smart” magazine, the
recap still portrays wrestling as a real competition, with the Warrior’s loss
pegged to him being too “preoccupied with memories of the attack [at the
Rumble] to concentrate on protecting his championship.”  As a history buff, I did enjoy this feature,
which would reappear in subsequent issues as it provided the context for the
match, what happened, and then summarized what happened after, namely the
Warrior going on to win the WWF title at the next WrestleMania.
Speaking of the Ultimate Warrior, we get a full page ad
about all of the items you can get from him. 
It hypes Warrior University, Warrior’s World, Warrior Workout #1, and
Warrior…The Comic Book.  I remember that WWF Magazine sent subscribers a copy of
the comic book with an issue of the magazine. 
As a kid, who dabbled a little into older comics, I was excited to get
something free, but had no idea what I was looking at when I opened the
pages.  I should have known the quality
would be poor, after all, the ad lets me know that “It’s B…A…D…D.”
A career retrospective piece is provided about the
Dynamite Kid, who it says most fans have probably forgotten.
The article chronicles Dynamite’s British origins, his
Canadian battles with Bret Hart, and his run with Davey Boy Smith in the
WWF.  It is a sanitized view of his
career and his reputation has taken a hit over the years due to revelations in
Bret Hart’s book about his family life and other shoot interviews that talk
about how he was a locker room bully. 
Matthew Randazzo’s Ring of Hell even
blamed him for the Chris Benoit murders, as Benoit emulated Dynamite’s
style.  On a happier note, though, I
still cannot get over how young Davey Boy looks in this picture
Vince Russo then provides his top ten list of best WWF
champions.  If there were any marks
reading this magazine, they had to weep when they saw #10, who Russo says did
not have the “whole package” because they were not a “complete wrestler.”  Not mentioned is the fact that he is working
for the rival company
And Pedro Morales? 
He may not be able to beat the Mountie in the Scott Keith Blog of Doom
Intercontinental title tournament, but he did enough with the WWF title to rank
#4 on this list.  Rankings for the others
were as follows:  9-Ric Flair, 8-Randy
Savage, 7-Ultimate Warrior, 6-Yokozuna, 5-Diesel, 4-Pedro, 3-Bob Backlund, and
2-Bruno Sammartino.  Sorry, but any list
that puts Diesel’s title run, which sank the company’s financials, over Randy
Savage, Hulk Hogan, and the Ultimate Warrior loses all credibility.  Is there any surprise over who #1 happened to
be?  This person probably made sure to
shed a tear.
Our main story is about “A Man Called Vader” or in Vince
McMahon’s case “A Man Called the Mastodon.” 
Thank god Jim Cornette talked McMahon out of that idea.
The article, written by Greenberg, says Vader has never
achieved his full potential because he is out of control, wrecking promotions
and hotel rooms along the way.  It says
that one of the reasons Vader attacked Gorilla Monsoon is that Vader looked up
to Monsoon as a kid, but did not react well when Monsoon told him that he ran a
“law and order administration” and that he would be fired if he got out of
line.  Vader also did not appreciate
Monsoon getting into the ring after he blew a gasket following his elimination
from the Rumble match.  It warns that
Vader will plunge the WWF into a state of lawlessness, but really, all of the
momentum came out of Vader’s push when he failed to win the WWF title at
SummerSlam.
And then we get the real reason people bought this
magazine:

You can pay to see even more today on Skype, but you
cannot invent a time machine and get these types of “Sunny days” back.  Leave the memories alone!
A brief recap piece follows all of that to document Razor
Ramon’s attack on Goldust on a January RAW episode before the Royal Rumble.
A similar feature comes next and it gives play-by-play of
the Bret Hart-Diesel cage match at In Your House 6.  The booking of that match did little to help
Bret, as Diesel was primed to win the title before the Undertaker interfered.
The only real highlight of the article is the last
line:  “While the Hit Man experienced a
victory as his boots hit the arena floor, Big Daddy Cool was experiencing a
much different place…a place that he would never forget…a place some people
would call…HELL.”  Or in the case of
D-Generation X in the 2000s, Little People’s Court.
Keith Elliot Greenberg then questions the WWF’s decision
to install “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as the interim WWF President following the
injuries Vader inflicted on Gorilla Monsoon.
You see, Piper is out of control.  He gave Vince McMahon an airplane spin upon
being introduced as commissioner and, in a nice tribute to the past, it brings
up that “the last time Piper was given a special forum, he transformed into his
personal asylum,” using it to attack WWF superstars such as Jimmy “Superfly”
Snuka.
There is yet another recap of a Bret Hart title match,
this time his In Your House 5 title defense against the British Bulldog.  This was Bret’s only clean victory on
pay-per-view during this title run and it is an underrated bout.  The blade job is one of Bret’s best.
The last time we saw a “Fantasy Warfare” article, it
concerned the 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly. 
On this occasion, we get two WWF superstars that the fans would really
like to see matched up:
There were rumors in 1996 that the company wanted to run
Shawn Michaels-Ultimate Warrior for the title, but all we got was the Warrior
feuding with Goldust and Jerry “the King” Lawler.  Talk about disappointing.  The match is framed as Warrior’s power versus
Michaels’ speed.  Both men’s egos are
deemed to be their biggest detriment for a possible encounter.  Unlike Vince Russo, Greenberg refuses to
commit to a winner, saying that it is “too close to call.”  There was nowhere to write my own winner, so
there will be no analysis given from ten-year-old me on this issue, but as a
fan I would have cheered for Michaels.
We the get some exclusive photographs of Ahmed Johnson
being taken to a hospital after wrestling Jeff Jarrett at the Royal
Rumble.  Ahmed received a severe
concussion from the match, but he only missed two days of television tapings,
so he was okay!
And are you SURE you do not want any Warrior gear?

This was a decent first issue.  It had some good content at the beginning,
but after the Sunny photos we just got a lot of mark-type pieces that you would
expect to find in WWF Magazine.  Next week, we will go back to the pages of WWF Magazine and look at its August 2000
issue, which promises to discuss “Chyna’s secret.”

What the World Was Reading: WWF Magazine – June 1995

by Logan Scisco


We return this week to cover my first-ever purchase of a
wrestling magazine:  the June 1995 issue
of WWF Magazine.  I remember getting it at Kroger when I went
with my dad on a grocery trip on a Sunday. 
We passed the magazine section and I wanted it, so he bought it for
me.  I clearly read this issue a lot as a
kid because the cover no longer exists. 
For example, this is what the cover looked like:

And what my copy looks like today:
I am sort of afraid to turn the pages because it might
disintegrate in my hands, but the demands of the Blog persist, so here we go.
The first page in shows that we are definitely in the
Dark Ages as there is a “Can You Guess the Secret Superstar” feature.  This shows a childhood picture of a wrestling
star and you have to guess who it is. 
With so many youngsters depicted, it is a shame they did not get Gorilla
Monsoon to lend his stamp of approval to it. 
This month’s superstar is clearly The Roadie, with such hints as “This
Secret Superstar sincerely believes that Willie Nelson recorded the hit song
‘On the Road Again’ in his honor!” and “This Secret Superstar claims to have
been affiliated at one time or another with such legends as Reba McEntire,
Vince Gill, Wynonna Judd, and Garth Brooks!” 
So, our picture of the future Road Dogg:
The next quick feature is “Federation FANatics,” which
shows some pictures of WWF fans talking about what they like and dislike.  Normally, you would think this feature would
be for younger fans, but oh no, we have a pretty old dude by the name of Louie
Payan that wants to share his thoughts!
While telling us that he loves working on his yard (and presumably keeping young heathens off of it) when
not watching the WWF, Mr. Payan, seventy-five years young, lets us know that he
loves the excitement of the WWF (in 1995?) and that if he were WWF President he
would suspend those who interfere in other people’s matches!  Unfortunately, he does not gripe about not
seeing Lou Thesz lace up the boots for one last WrestleMania because if 1995 WWF
was like today, that might just happen!
This month’s letters to the editor features a small gem
from a quasi-smart fan from Israel by the name of Ilan Zilbershtein.  He demands to know why Shawn Michaels, and
not Diesel, was named number one contender after Survivor Series and got to
wrestle Bob Backlund in the Garden for the WWF title.  The response given seems to come straight
from Vince McMahon’s mouth, saying that Diesel is a worthy competitor because
he is “7 feet tall and weighs well over 300 pounds!”  There is also something thrown in there about
how Diesel shows better sportsmanship, but I think that is a distractor.  Another fan gives us ten reasons why the
Undertaker is called the Undertaker:
We are then treated to a few music and video reviews by
Man Mountain Rock and Jerry “The King” Lawler for the “That’s Entertain MAT”
feature.  Rock highly recommends Bush’s Sixteen Stone album, while Lawler bashes
The Brady Bunch Movie by likening it
to the Hart family.  This was during
Lawler’s feud with Bret Hart, which had been ongoing for two years, so that was
to be expected.
This month’s “Rookies to Legends” column actually does
talk about a future WWF legend: 
Sid. 
Speaking of Sid, why isn’t this guy in the Hall of
Fame?  Does the induction not coincide
with softball season?  The piece
predictably glosses over Sid’s popularity in the 1992 Rumble, saying that he
became a full-fledged rule breaker after SummerSlam 1991.  Any mention of him wrestling down South, even
in a tongue-in-cheek manner, is disappointingly not used.  The article just recaps how Sid came in as
Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard before WrestleMania, how he has turned on him, and
warns us that the WWF will never be the same again!
In sadder news, this month’s magazine provides a small
obituary for Big John Studd, who had recently passed away from Hodgkin’s
disease.  It gives a few facts about his
battles with Andrew the Giant and highlights his 1989 Rumble win.  I remember being shocked that this guy won a Rumble because that was during a phase of
my fandom when I thought that Hulk Hogan would win everything, so the fact that
this guy I had barely heard of won the Rumble was pretty shocking.
These magazines also go really well with our discussions
on the Blog.  Scott was recently asked
about the WWF’s move to the In Your House format and this magazine reminds the
fans that starting in May the WWF will have pay-per-views every month.  You see, the WWF HAD to do this in order to
“meet the demand of our millions of loyal fans.”  The magazine promises that In Your House will
provide “seven action-packed, bodyslammin’, sharpshootin’ pay-per-view events
to air in those months between the BIG FIVE.” 
Yes, those of us who had the privilege of watching In Your House IV can
attest to this!
The magazine keeps giving us lots of lists, this time
giving us five reasons why King Kong Bundy is bald.  I bet Vince loved this stuff.  In fact, I can see John Cena using this material if he had to feud with Bundy today:
And Lex Luger wants your letters so that he can tell you
how to improve your “Body, Mind, and Spirit.”  Lex is all about educating the youth of America about fitness,
health, and drugs!  With such an awful
gimmick like this at the time, no wonder Lex headed for the greener pastures of
WCW.
One of the really cool columns of the magazine is
“Fantasy Warfare,” which breaks down the attributes of two WWF superstars that
have yet to face off in the ring.  This
month talks about the 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly, who had a one-day reign as tag
team champions in January 1995.  Bob
Holly in 1995 was a big superstar in WWF
Magazine
as they ran several pieces prior to this hyping how all the big
managers in the WWF were wanting to take Holly under their wing.  What is humorous about the piece is that it
tries to make Holly look like less of a jobber, saying that he lacks many key
wins, but that is “due to the lack of competitive matches he has received.”  Of course, in the next paragraph under “Key
Losses” it tells us that he recently lost to Bam Bam Bigelow.  Despite the evidence moving in the Kid’s
favor, the Editor (Vince Russo) predicts that Holly would win because of his
weight advantage.  I actually included my
own handwriting in the “What’s Your Prediction” part of this piece which
embarrassingly reads “Holly would win because he is quick and more heavy.”  Yes, sound analysis from nine-year-old me.
It is monthly interview time and our subject this month
is Razor Ramon, cruising the streets of Miami. 
He hopes to win the next King of the Ring and says that
he would not mind facing Diesel for the WWF title.  There is a heel vibe to this interview, as
Ramon continually makes fun of the interviewer and says he would not care if he
was booed by the fans, thereby feeding into the idea that the WWF was flirting
with a Ramon heel turn in 1995.  That
would have been the ideal booking strategy since the roster was too heavily
loaded with faces.
Since Russo is the editor of the magazine, one is not
surprised to see a lengthy piece about Jeff Jarrett because everyone knows the
country music gimmick he was sporting in 1995 screamed “next big thing.”
In this five page article, Russo discusses how Jarrett
made him wake up at two in the morning and immediately fly out to the West
Coast so he could hear about the shooting of “Ain’t I Great:  The Motion Picture!”  Everything about this Jarrett gimmick
screamed small time Memphis because let’s face it:  how much credibility is a heel going to have
if we are told he is doing all these big projects and yet we see none of
them?  At least the Miz has that lousy
direct-to-video WWE film.  Anyway, we
find out that Hollywood threw a big parade in Jarrett’s honor and they proceed
to deface a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Jarrett:
And you think the magazine’s writings about the Hollywood
aspirations of superstars are over?  Well
think again as the next piece talks about Bret Hart fielding offers as
well!  Seems funny that the WWF was all
about getting their wrestler’s side projects in 1995 but is scared of them
doing anything outside of the company today. 
We are told that Hollywood is facing “an endangered species” of leading
male action stars and we are reminded that “women sometimes refer to them
as…HUNKS” and that Bret might be able to fill that role.  Russo’s writing in this magazine can be
entertaining, but he clearly has very slanted views about women.  Well, the purpose of this piece is to breakdown
Bret’s venture into TV drama by serving a role on Lonesome Dove:  The Series.  Bret played the character of Luther, who was a wandering trapper.  We
are told that Bret’s performance was as flawless as “Arnold transposed into the
Terminator and Stallone became Rambo.” 
This is a picture of Bret in the role:
Bret wrote in his autobiography that he hoped his role on
Lonesome Dove would let him get out
of wrestling, but the series was short-lived and he had to return.  He did get an appearance on the Simpson and
did have an entertaining angle on Mad TV with Will Sasso, but that was really
it for the Hitman, despite the article promising that he was getting lots of
offers in 1995 and was just waiting for the right project!
We are treated to a breakdown of the results of
WrestleMania XI.  Now compare this write
up and detail with last week’s magazine:
It just does not compare. 
One of the nice touches was that you got quotations from the
participants in the matches.  Ted DiBiase
rips Bam Bam Bigelow, bordering near burial, by saying that he is embarrassed
that Bigelow just lost to a football player. 
I remember going to a Thunder taping where Bigelow wrestled in 1999 and
he was STILL getting LT chants.  We even
get some delusional responses, as Bob Backlund proclaims that “We won!  The chicken-wing prevailed!” following his
disappointing “I Quit” match with Bret Hart. 
And of course, we have to be reminded of all he celebrities that
attended to try to disguise a lackluster show. 
Jonathan Taylor Thomas, remember that guy?  And Salt-N-Pepa needs to return to a WWE
booking meeting, if only to tell them to “push it” regarding Daniel Bryan:
A recap is provided for the night after WrestleMania show
as well, which featured Sid turning on Shawn Michaels, Diesel making the save,
Alundra Blayze regaining the WWF Women’s title from Bull Nakano, and the debut
of Bertha Faye.  Well, at least three of
those things were significant.  The
facial expression of Vince in this action shot is priceless:
And remember the WWF Superstar Line?  Well, these were all the cool features in the
summer of 1995!  I wonder what the
valuable prize was on the WWF trivia, and I have a hard time believing people
would call to hear Stephanie Wiand’s thoughts on the company.
“The Supreme Fighting Machine” Kama gets the
most over the top feature in this month’s magazine as Russo talks about how he
would fare against TJ Combo, a character in the video game Killer Instinct.  In fact,
seeing these two side-by-side sort of screams “gimmick infringement,” no?:
There are a few gems in this piece.  One talks of how Killer Instinct will be released as the first game for Nintendo’s
64-bit game system due out in the fall of 1995 called “Project Reality.”  Of course, it would take until the fall of
1996 for the eventual Nintendo 64 to hit U.S. stores.  We are also treated to a Kama promo about TJ
Combo, with Kama saying that “Not even this…cartoon character” could withstand
his arsenal and he is insulted that Combo would be any match for him!  Kama promises to bring some kick boxing, judo
karate, and good ol’ fashioned wrestling to a future bout, but he did not say
jiu-jitsu, so I am not sure how good his chances are.  Russo says that he figured out who would win
by feeding all the statistics for both men into the “World Wrestling
Federation’s Cray Computer” and although Combo beat the tar out of Kama in the
fight, Kama knocked him out with an uppercut to win.  What else did the WWF run on this Cray
Computer in 1995?
The back of the magazine features our usual “smart fan”
features, this time from the “Informer.” 
It teases the return of Barry Windham, who it says had a previous
alliance with “Irwin R. Schyster.”  It
says that they may team together again and it is amusing to think of the U.S.
Express 2.0 coming back under a tax gimmick. 
I guess that could work, a pair of heels who are patriotic but couch
their patriotism in paying taxes to the state, thereby making them the heels of
every man, woman, and child in the good ol’ U.S. of A.  Of course, Windham would not return for
another year so that point is moot.  We
are also informed that Sid is looking for a manager and may turn back to Harvey
Wippleman.  The most hilarious comment is
that “Jean Pierre Lafitte got into the face of Tatanka and accused him of being
just as responsible for the neglect of his grandfather Jean Lafitte as the
white man” thereby prompting a locker room scuffle between the two.
Another “smart” feature was Vic Venom’s “The Bite,” this
time written by him and not a guest writer, which is what the column turned
into by 1999. 
He rips Roddy Piper for calling for the bell at
WrestleMania XI because Backlund never quit. 
He alleges that Bret “Drip Man” Hart got his “bagpipe-wielding,
skirt-wearing friend” to rig the match in his favor.  Aldo Montoya’s upset of Intercontinental
Champion Jeff Jarrett is also blown off because clearly the referee missed one
of Jarrett’s shoulders from coming off the canvas!  It also fawns over the sexiness of Bertha
Faye and lets us know that “she is definitely Vic Venom’s kind of woman!”
This month’s “Private Eye” piece showcases the
Headshrinkers going to get a haircut. 
You see, it is all part of Captain Lou Albano adapting them to American
culture.  The WWF ran this angle so many
times during the 1990s with this, Barry Horowitz and Hakushi, Bradshaw and Taka
Michinoku, etc. and it met with failure EACH TIME.  It was like if you saw someone involved in an
angle like this it was immediate death. 
I mean, who is going to root for guys that are afraid of getting their
hair cut and holding stuffed animals?:
In our letters to the superstars segment, Alundra Blayze
tells a fan that if she had to date a superstar it would be Diesel or Bret
Hart, but you see, she cannot because they are married!  Well, we know that was not something that
stopped Bret on the road.  Bob Backlund
blasts a fan for not picking up a dictionary when the young man questions where
Backlund gets his big words from.  Shawn
Michaels tells a fan that if he had to do it over again he might have chosen
Bret Hart as a bodyguard because he “could have done a much better job.”  Oh, I am sure he could have!
Lastly, we get our Scoop Sullivan cartoon, about a young
fan who can morph into a federation superstar. 
This time, Mantaur keeps cheating against Doink, prompting Sullivan to
go underneath the ring and make a run-in. 
This feature would not last much longer in the magazine and the cartoon
did a good job showing how few people were attending WWF events in 1995 as NO
fans can be seen!  Some of the rhetoric
in this magazine, such as Sullivan’s character telling Mantaur “Back off
Furball!” is also eerily reminiscent of the awful language we get in promos
today.  Coincidence?  I think not. 
Unfortunately, my magazine is in such bad shape that it is hard to see
the full cartoon:
Next week we will look at the December 1999 issue of WWF Magazine, allowing us to look at all
of the great merchandise WWF fans were able to purchase at that time and how
Chris Jericho wants to square off with Steve Austin!