“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice” – Rush, “Free Will”
The 1994 Royal Rumble felt like change was in the air. Say goodbye to Hogan, Flair, Mr. Perfect and many other legends. Say hello to the New Generation, the term that would be shoved down the audience’s throat as Vince McMahon had a photo finish with a federal jury. With his trial looming, the whole company was in flux: Bret Hart was still very popular but mostly feuding with Jerry Lawler, Lex Luger was de-pushed after the Lex Express failure, and the world champion was a 500+ lb Samoan posing as a Japanese guy. We said goodbye to Gorilla and Bobby, and hello to Vince on the call for the first time since 1988 alongside recently retired Ted DiBiase. The Rumble was a choice of who would face Yokozuna at Wrestlemania 10 at Madison Square Garden. Continue reading 1994 Royal Rumble Match – The Referendum
If you asked a wrestling fan on December 31, 1989 what the 1990s would look like, odds are they would tell you that two guys with painted faces would be at the top of the two major U.S. promotions. Sting and the Ultimate Warrior are forever linked by more than teaming together in 1986 Mid-South. Both would win the world title in 1990 from their promotion’s defining star, both would have trouble maintaining attendance numbers on house shows, and both would drop the title back in January 1991. As we’ve learned over time, the Warrior was a very independent and erratic guy, while Sting was a consummate team player, going along with what was given to him. By the end of 1990, that would be a detriment. Continue reading Model Year Wrestler #4 – 1990 Sting
The 1993 Royal Rumble match can be explained in much the same way as the dreaded Sports Illustrated cover curse: When something reaches the peak of the mountain there is nowhere to go but down. An athlete or team makes the cover of SI for accomplishing something really great in the prior week, thus the next week will likely not be as good. The ’93 Rumble suffers from the shadow of perfection thrown by the prior year’s effort. The business of wrestling had taken a huge hit in the prior year for a number of reasons including steroid and sex scandals. The match has an odd assortment of legends that adds something in retrospect that may not have been there at the time, and this is the final Rumble with Bobby the Brain Heenan on color. Continue reading 1993 Royal Rumble Match
It’s hard to imagine a time when Lorne Michaels lacked clout at NBC since he now controls the entire late night landscape of the network. In late 1985, he returned to oversee Saturday Night Live after a five year hiatus and was rebuilding the show with an entirely new cast that included some names that would be much bigger in the future like Joan Cusack and Robert Downey Jr. The only survivors of the disastrous season were Dennis Miller, Jon Lovitz, and Nora Dunn. Their season premiere was pushed back until after this show and they would be preempted by Saturday Night’s Main Event somewhat regularly in 1986, angering Lorne since he was trying to rebuild his great institution. Anyway, onto to the wrestling show which was taped on Halloween in Hershey, PA. Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #3 – 11/02/1985
The 1992 Royal Rumble match is my favorite match of all time for a lot of reasons but the main one is the concept that it was a partial history of the wrestling business crammed into an hour. There are 15 WWE Hall of Famers out of 30 and that number will be higher when the Undertaker is inducted and if deserving guys like Rick Martel and Demolition Smash (Repo Man here) get their due. Back in the 1950s, there was a documentary reality show called This Is Your Life where a guest would be taken through their entire life with appearances by people from their past. This was an episode of “Ric Flair: This Is Your Wrestling Life” that took place in Albany, NY on that January night.
Some quick picks for week 15 as my eyes try to recover from the Ketchup vs Mustard matchup between the Buccaneers and Rams on Thursday Night Football:
Jacksonville (-3) vs Atlanta: Around week 8, I thought I was such a smart guy having Atlanta in a NFL wins pool. At 6-1, they looked like a challenger to the Panthers but since have been one of the three worst teams in the league. Lotta pissed off people down in the Peach State and I can’t say I blame them. Matt Ryan is what he is now. But Blake Bortles? He’s actually good! Continue reading NFL Picks for Week 15
Going to jump the gun on Flair Friday, since Bill Simmons put his Friday podcast out on Thursday and threw me for a loop. By mid-1987, Ric Flair had held the NWA World title for the vast majority of the prior six years so there were no limits to what he might attempt. In this case, he is wooing Precious, the valet and real-life wife of Jimmy Garvin. This time the Nature Boy is forcibly rejected but he refuses to give up hope. I think Slick Ric might be into rough trade.
As mentioned in the last entry, I’ll be reviewing more Mid-South shows since there are plenty to work through on the WWE Network. This episode aired on 08/04/1984 smack dab in the middle of the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. Our hosts are Jim Ross and Joel Watts, son of Bill. Joel did the video packages for Mid-South which are generally excellent and much better than his tepid commentary work. The main event will be Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Junkyard Dog challenging the Midnight Express in a no DQ match for the Mid-South tag team titles. Continue reading Mid-South Wrestling 08/04/1984
Just to give a heads up on some upcoming blog business:
I have already posted reviews of the first two episodes of Saturday Night’s Main Event. I will be reviewing the entire series, at least on its original run through 1992. This will include The Main Event as well.
The Model Year Wrestler will post weekly on Mondays. Not sure where I am leaning for next week but I would like to post on a WCW or ECW wrestler soon.
The 1992 Royal Rumble match review will be posted Friday. This will be more of a love letter since it’s only my favorite match of all time. If you haven’t done so already, check out my articles on the first four Royal Rumble matches here.
Because I enjoy watching them, I will be reviewing Mid-South shows from the WWE Network as they are so fun to watch, last 40-45 minutes, and have excellent storytelling. And they don’t have David Crockett, who has started to annoy me.
I would like to review random RAWs under some goofy title like Random Raw Review. Probably focused on the period from 1993-1998.
Requests for reviews on all shows are happily accepted. You can send requests and comments to me on Twitter @Bruins309