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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bNr3144GDI

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

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.  

Flair in the WWF 91-93

When Flair came in in 1991, was it always assumed at some point Herd would be out and he would go back to WCW?  When he came in, was he making the kind of money that guys like Hulk, Macho Man and Warrior were?  What was his relationship like with Vince, and
did he have any say in his creative during his time there?  Do you think WWF ever regretted letting him go back to WCW with the run he had after he came back?

​It was pretty much assumed that it wasn't going to be a long-term thing, mostly because WCW went completely into the toilet when he left and fans were revolting against Luger as the top guy.  Flair had almost no creative control and was basically just doing as he was told, and he certainly wasn't making anywhere near the money that the Hogans and Warriors were.  I don't think Vince ever regretted letting him go, because clearly it wasn't working for either side while he was there.  ​

Sean Oliver Interview

Hey Scott,

Sean Oliver of Kayfabe Commentaries stopped by The Wrestling Estate podcast to promote his new book, share some Iron Sheik stories, play "The Dick Bag" and more. 

I figured since you guys post previews of KC's new videos, your readers may be interested in checking out his new book. It's exactly what you'd hope for and a sleeper pick for best wrestling book of the year (in a year with J.R.'s, AJ Lee's, Jericho's, I know). 

The full interview can be found here: 

Thanks as always,


​.."the Dick Bag"?​

Bad bad BAADD chemistry

Who do you believe had the worst chemistry inside the ring? I nominate DOA (including Chainz, who got his release in June iirc) vs LOD2000 (including green-as-hell Droz), their 98 matches lack any kind of timing, heat and good communication

​I dunno, they were boring but I wouldn't call them outright BAD most of the time.  Goldust in his "the artist" phase seemingly couldn't have a good match if his life depended on it, outside of the one mixed tag match.  Furnas & Lafon were a style clash with literally everyone besides Bulldog & Owen and had some of the worst matches with guys like LOD who were otherwise decent.  ​

WCW 2000 questions

Hi Scott,

Been torturing myself watching the last year of WCW and a few questions so far.

1. Why isn't thunder on the network?  it seems they really tried to make that show important to follow story lines stating in 99

2. What was the deal with Savage returning form a long hiatus to interfere in a battle royal and never heard from again?

3. Whats up with the sporadic appearances of Bret Hart getting involved? was their a chance of him returning to the ring or was it a case of using up contract dates?

I'm only in May so i've got a little less than a year to go, but i'm sue i'll have more questions

​1.  It was supposed to be dropping a couple of months ago, and then it just never materialized.  
2.  That was just "because WCW" weirdness, where they hired him for the one date and then never called him again.  Something with money, I'd assume.  
3.  ​There was no chance of him returning, doctors told him to retire in no uncertain terms.  

“Listening to the fans”

Wade Barrett said in an interview that he was explicitly told to stop using his "Got some bad news" catchphrase because it was getting over and they wanted him heel. At his peak popularity, Cesaro suddenly stopped doing the swing, the most over move on the roster at that point.
What on earth is the business sense here?!  Shouldn't a "businessman" like Vince try to monetize everything the crowd clearly likes. The two biggest stars of the past 25 years are Austin and Rock. Both were heels whose charisma and catchphrases blurred heel/face lines and they got so over it couldn't be ignored. Why not let organically over talent get a push?  If only for money reasons

​Yeah, that one was really weird, especially since they spent YEARS repackaging and repackaging him trying to find something to get him over, and then they did, and they killed the push deliberately.  But hey, it's a different business now.  ​

Most HHH thing ever?


So we had to sit through that six month title reign full of ** matches that ruined Shinsuke Nakamura just so he could headline this tour in India, which turned out to just be one show. And HHH goes over anyway. 
But Mahal got the respect handshake, so he’s a made man
Don't forget that Mahal got to bow to him as well. 


Sooo Aroluxe (incl. neonazi twins Ron&Don Harris) founded a new company called Aroluxe, which will be a "family-friendly lucha libre promotion", holding their first live event Sunday night in Nashville, booked by Konnan and Vince Russo. Chances it will succeed? Chances you will do a smark rant on it (they are going to tape it)?

​I doubt that it'll even make TV or that it would air on a channel I have any access to, even if they did.  ​

Most Cringe-Worthy Segment?

 What was the most cringe-worthy segment you have ever seen on a pro wrestling show?  Here are my "top" 2;  1.)  Paige accuses Charlotte of causing her brother to die from a drug overdose on Raw a few years back.  2.)  Vince reminding Steph on Smackdown that he used to pimp her out to business clients to "close the deal" when she was 17 years old.  Your pick(s)?

​Katie Vick.  I don't see how anything could be even close.​

Tuesday Night Taker

Is there any reason over the course of the brand split that The Undertaker was almost always on the SmackDown roster?  Even during his brief stint on Raw, he was usually on both shows since he was Undisputed Champion.

Was being Team Blue 4 Life ultimately the Deadman's choice?  Wouldn't Vince have preferred that one of his most established stars spend more time on the A Show?

Maybe but…I mean…are YOU gonna tell him that?

Crazy Like A Fox: The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later: Liam O’Rourke: 9781976541247: Amazon.com: Books


There’s a new book out about Brian Pillman. No idea if it’s any good or not but wanted to let you know. 

I was not aware of it before, but Dave was raving about it on Observer radio yesterday, so it might be worth a look.  All kinds of backstage political stuff exposed, apparently.

Evil Hillbilly Jim

Hey Scott

Do you know if the WWF ever thought about turning Hillbilly Jim into a heel? A lot has been said about Paul Orndorff being a backup opponent for Hogan at WMIII if Andre couldn't go; but what about Hillbilly? Consider
the following: it was preestablished that he had been trained by Hogan. Supposedly he had gotten his first pair of wrestling boots from Hogan. So if he turns on Hogan on SNME, you've got the same dynamic as Hogan/Andre, but you've got a heel with better mic
skills and better wrestling ability than the Giant. Furthermore, you could bring back Uncle Elmer, Cousin Luke, and Cousin Junior and get a Four Horsemen like thing going on, perhaps culminating with the Megapowers versus the Megahillbillies at Summerslam
and Survivor Series. Is this just crazy fanboy booking, or did the WWF miss the boat?

​In what universe did Hillbilly Jim have either better wrestling skills or better mic skills than Andre?​

Woken up Bray Wyatt

Scott- the L.A. crowd got behind that ridiculous Bray/Matt segment more than anything else…couple questions:

-Obviously WWE is going to monetize the hell out of it (making Matt more cash) but doesn't it have a shelf life about as long as the Hardy's initial push?

-As long as it's a midcard act, does the E just let Matt run with it (Senor Benjamin, Vanguard 1, etc) or will it be reined in like everything else

-Does this do squat for Bray or is it just a minor blip (it doesn't fix the long term issues with Bray for sure)

Hey, as long as it keeps Bray away from the real stars, it's fine with me. They can cut gobbledy gook promos on each other and have pretaped House of Horror matches all year.  Matt can retire off the t shirt sales.

Asuka big match

Hi Scott,

Who should eventually have the big main event match with Asuka? Build Baszler in NXT and bring her to RAW? Have Rousey up on the main roster as a special attraction, stay separate for a time, Rousey on Smackdown until eventually they cross? Someone else? Also, would you have Asuka’s big match main event a PPV?

I think Rousey would be the money match, but she's earmarked for the Four Horsewomen feud at Wrestlemania.  They've gotta build up Asuka even stronger, though, if they don't want her to become just another girl.  

205 Live Tour

Whats up Scott,

Im sure you've heard but WWE announced 205 Live will begin touring in january in smaller venues. Good for those guys but this has the potential to be a huge disaster. I dont see how they'll be any interest in it from fans by gauging reactions on Raw and 205 Live. Thoughts?

​I don't really see how it can be a "disaster".  They're running small buildings in small cities as an experiment and it's not like they're sinking any money into it.  If it draws, great.  If it doesn't, lesson learned, back to the drawing board.  I actually like that they're willing to experiment with stuff like that.  I wish they'd do crazy stuff like an all-women's show sometime to see how THAT would draw, for example.  ​