Van Hammer

How did a guy like Van Hammer get so many opportunities in WCW without getting a big push?  I get when they brought him in in 1991, he had a good look and they thought that fans would like him with his Rock n Roll Gimmick, but after a while he just wasn't
any good.

But then WCW brought him back as a member of the Flock, and gave him a Hippie gimmick in the late 90's.  He was probably in WCW for like 5 or 6 years total, maybe more.  Did someone really like him in the office?  Did he ever have any interest from the
WWF?  Seems like a guy Vince would like.

I never heard of anyone in WWE wanting to bring him in.  WCW in general was always looking for their Hulk Hogan or Ultimate Warrior and Hammer was a guy with vague traces of both.  

Best Clash of the Champions


Reading your Superstars reviews got me thinking about the good old days and specifically reminiscing about WCW. I was wondering which Clash of the Champions you consider the best?

My vote has to go for Clash 17 in November of 91 that had the awesome Sting/Rude angle and the epic Enforcers vs. Rhodes/Steamboat tag match. What do you consider the best Clash?

I'm gonna be that way and say everything after the first one was diminishing returns.  

Marriages That Should Have Been

Hey Scott—

In one of your recent Superstars reviews, you mentioned it would have made more sense to marry Undertaker with Papa Shango for all the occult nonsense, and Warrior/Beserker since they were both bonkers.

That got me thinking: what other pairings should we have seen? Any era, disregard how good the workrate would have been. What wrestlers should have been put together based on gimmicks/personalities that we never saw?

For me, I would have loved Hogan/Rude. I know we’ve heard rumors about heat between the two, or that Hogan thought Rude was too small and nixed a potential program, but I think they could have had a nifty little house show feud in the winter of ‘87-‘88 before the DiBiasie/Andre/Megapowers fandango.    
As I've championed many times before, Hulk Hogan v. Nikita Koloff in 1986 would have enabled WWE to go public 15 years early because of all the money it would have drawn.  Probably would have let Koloff retire and found his own church.  Even if they had convinced Koloff to come in for Wrestlemania VII, it still would have been pretty huge, I think.  
Also, the mythical Hogan v. Jake the Snake feud from 86 as well.  Would have been a perfect pairing, although Hulking up after the DDT would have killed the move, so maybe it's for the best.  But damn that would have been awesome.  I would have cheered so hard for Jake hitting him with the DDT on the concrete!

Ciampa/Gargano and other feuds

The Gargano vs. Ciampa storyline was maybe the best example of modern long form wrestling storytelling. The feud stretched from TakeOver Chicago in 2017, and was written to blowoff in a World Title match over WrestleMania weekend, 2019. Of course, Ciampa’s injury costs us the blowoff. 

Are there any other feuds this long running and good, that failed to have a proper blowoff whether due to injury or someone leaving a company??? 

Brutus Beefcake v. Mr. Perfect in 1990 was clearly leading to Brutus winning the belt, although that wasn't like a classic build or anything.  But there was definitely a long term story being told there.  
Obviously Rick Rude v. Big Bossman is another one where the departure of one guy wrecked the whole program.  
There's tons of more but those two are off the top of my head. 

Forgive me for another Invasion question

Why in the blue world would Shane and Stephanie be the heads of the Alliance, respectively, or in any way?? You could have had WCW or/and ECW as threats with heads Heyman or/and Bischoff or whoever else. Keep it at least halfway believable and real, build on real animosities/heat/rivalry built up for many years during the federation wars plus some dream matches. Who would believe that Vince's kids would spearhead two organizations they had no connection to, just to kayfabe one-up pops?

Vince would.  Next silly question?

Alternate Timeline – PPV

Hey Scott,

So in an alternate timeline where the Network doesn't exist, what kind of PPV buys are the WWE doing with the ratings in the toilet like they are? Or in this alternate timeline are fans being listened to and crap like Baron Corbin isn't being forced on us?

PPV was in a death spiral for WWE even before the Network anyway, so the trend would likely have continued.  For example, in 2013 (which is the last year before the Network and the last one where they still reported buyrates to any degree) the only 3 shows to break 200,000 buys were the obvious ones.  Everything else topped out at about 180-200, which is like UFC's drop dead baseline number these days.  It likely would have continued going down, although people still buy PPV today because not everywhere can access the Network easily.  I believe that a normal show now does something like 5000 – 10000 buys, which sounds like TNA numbers but it's free money for WWE, and the last few Wrestlemanias have done about 40K traditional buys.  It's just such a drop in the bucket that they don't even bother reporting it as separate income anyway.  Basically the Network saved their ass in that regard and it was a brilliant move.  

Original plans for Hall/Nash in WCW

Is it true that the whole nWo/Invasion storyline with Hall and Nash arriving in WCW in 1996 was actually a contingency plan, and they were originally going to give both of them those stupid occupational gimmicks instead?  

I wouldn't say it was a contingency plan, but there were a lot of ideas being thrown around before Bischoff and the committee came up with the winning one, sure.  Most people just assumed they'd be Vinnie Vegas and Diamond Studd because WCW still owned the intellectual property and it was known that they were becoming gun-shy about testing WWE's legal team after the Madusa fiasco.  

Favorite Cereal

Scott, spring boarding off of today's Hidden Gems:What's everyone's

favorite breakfast cereal either as a kid or today? Mine would

probably be Corn Pops.

Hard hitting discussion this morning.  As a kid it was typically Captain Crunch, but these days I'm more likely to have something along the lines of Cheerios or Rice Krispies.  

Hall Of Fame Struggles

With WWE clearly struggling for inductees as the years pass, why don't they induct more Lucha/Japanese guys? Like Great Muta or Hayabusa, Heavy Metal or Hector Guerrero? 

Because it has to be someone that;

1)  Vince is aware of,
2)  Is on good enough terms with WWE to sign a Legends contract,
3)  Vince thinks will sell tickets.  

If the answer to any of those is "No", you're probably not getting into the Hall of Fame.  

Wrestlemania venues

How come big traditional wrestling cities like St. Louis, Memphis or Cleveland (not that big, but still frequently used for TV/PPV in the past decade, also for some reason a lot of the main roster workers are from Ohio) never had a Wrestlemania? Also Philly only once?

You really have to ask why they never had a Wrestlemania in CLEVELAND?  Nothing against the city but I can't imagine Vince hyping that.  
As for the rest, it has to do with logistics, because they need a city with a stadium where they can have ownership of it for about a week beforehand to set up their mammoth sets, and not everyone is willing to provide that.  Plus I'm pretty sure that Vince only knows 6 cities in the country at this point due to dementia.  

Where to start

Need some feedback from the blog:

So I’ve got 2-3 hours tops per week to watch old wrestling. What’s a good place to start to get the most “bang for the buck” so to speak?

I started watching wrestling in the early 80s…stopped for awhile in the early/mid 90s and then have watched pretty consistently since the Attitude Era. Unfortunately I was in college in the late 90s so most of that is a little fuzzy or blends together.  

Personally I'd go with the Hidden Gems.  Truly something for everyone covering a range of stuff from the 50s-present and you can get everything from single matches to full shows.  It's by far my favorite thing about the Network.  

Rock’s Fancy New Catchphrase Phase

Hey Scott,

You noted in the Rumble 2000 redo that "tall glass of shut up juice" was one of the rare times where Rock couldn't make a catchphrase happen.  My question to you, then, is: Could Rock have made fetch happen?  Have a terrific day.

I feel like I can say without reasonable fear of contradiction that Rock could make Fetch happen while beating up Chuck Norris and Vin Diesel at the same time.