Model Year Wrestler #10 – Taz in 1998

Back in the late 1990s, there was a wrestler who rode to the top of the company by generally being a miserable jerk, laying out babyfaces and heels with no regard for what the fans might think. This guy cut promos to make you buy into his gimmick and make you love his no-nonsense ass kicking attitude. Yes, this can also describe Stone Cold Steve Austin but in this case I am talking about Taz, the king of ECW in the late 90s. This is a look at Taz in 1998. Continue reading Model Year Wrestler #10 – Taz in 1998

Model Year Wrestler #9: 1996 Steve Austin, From Ringmaster to Stone Cold

You’ve come a long way, baby!

As was covered with the Rock in 1997, you need more than just talent to become a top star. Luck is required and things that are beyond the control of the individual need to line up for that person to take a huge step forward. Steve Austin spent much of 1995 on the shelf with an arm injury, fired by WCW. After a stop in ECW that served to hone his promo skills, Austin made his way to the WWF in 1996 to presumably serve as a midcard mechanic type. Little did Vince McMahon know that he was hiring a guy who would make him even more money than Hulk Hogan. This is the story of Steve Austin for the year 1996. Continue reading Model Year Wrestler #9: 1996 Steve Austin, From Ringmaster to Stone Cold

Model Year Wrestler #8: Bam Bam Bigelow in 1988

Twas good to be a Friend of Hulk in '88
Twas good to be a Friend of Hulk in ’88

In wrestling as in life, sometimes crap happens. And when it happens, it can derail a career in very unexpected way. It can be a bad injury, a guy’s poor attitude, or a combination of many things that keep someone from rising to the top. This is the strange journey of Bam Bam Bigelow in 1988, where crap most certainly happened. Continue reading Model Year Wrestler #8: Bam Bam Bigelow in 1988

Model Year Wrestler #7 – 1989 Brutus Beefcake

A very modified GTS
In life, sometimes it’s not what you do and more who you know. It is probably a smart play to attach yourself to the hip of the guy who would become the biggest name in the history of the business. And that is the story of Ed Leslie, aka Brutus the Barber Beefcake in the WWF, the subject of this week’s Model Year Wrestler for the year 1989.

Continue reading Model Year Wrestler #7 – 1989 Brutus Beefcake

Model Year Wrestler #6 – 1989 Ricky Steamboat

This week for the Model Year Wrestler, I will examine Ricky Steamboat for the year 1989. It was not a completely full year for the Dragon or one that made a ton of money for WCW, but it was certainly memorable and critically acclaimed. After losing the Intercontinental title to the Honky Tonk Man in mid-1987, Steamboat gradually faded away in the WWF zeitgeist. He had matches with Rick Rude, including one to kick off the first Royal Rumble, but it was not as good as their later WCW series. His loss to Greg Valentine in the Wrestlemania 4 world title tourney was his last WWF match until 1991. Continue reading Model Year Wrestler #6 – 1989 Ricky Steamboat

Model Year Wrestler #5 – The Rock in 1997

rocky1As we’ve learned with Roman Reigns and countless other examples, it takes time and planning to create a new megastar in the wrestling business. There is also a lot of luck involved: Hogan getting the part in Rocky III, Austin getting boosted because Bret Hart wanted to work with him in 1996, the list goes on. Dwayne Johnson is one of the biggest movie stars in the world today and the year 1997 would change his life forever. It was a year he started as a green Rocky Maivia and end as the cocky and cool trash talker The Rock.  Continue reading Model Year Wrestler #5 – The Rock in 1997

Model Year Wrestler #4 – 1990 Sting

sting GABIf 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

Model Year Wrestler #3 – 1992 Bret Hart

This week’s post for Model Year Wrestler will look at 1992 Bret Hart. It was a roller coaster year for the Hitman that did not get off to a very good start. After a 4+ month reign as Intercontinental champion, Hart lost his title to the Mountie in Springfield, MA two days before their scheduled Royal Rumble match. The question is often asked as to why this title switch occurred with a guy he had been beating at house shows all month. The story is quite complicated with some inter-promotional intrigue. Continue reading Model Year Wrestler #3 – 1992 Bret Hart

Model Year Wrestler – 1987 Honky Tonk Man

Honky
He’s cool, he’s cocky, he’s bad

For the Model Year Wrestler for this week, we will take a look at the Honky Tonk Man for the year 1987. To understand how Honky got to where he did in 1987, we need to rewind back to his WWF debut in 1986. It is hard to believe he was introduced as a babyface, but Vince McMahon thought the character would be wildly popular and used all available tools to get him over with the fans. He was made a “buddy” of Hulk Hogan, Junkyard Dog and others. On his Sept. 28 debut on Superstars, Hogan did an insert promo telling the fans how much they’d love the Honky Tonk Man. The plug was pulled quickly after a disastrous match in Toronto on Nov. 16 where he was booed heavily against jobber Mr. X (in reality, “Dangerous” Danny Davis with a mask). Continue reading Model Year Wrestler – 1987 Honky Tonk Man

Model Year Wrestler – 1991 Brian Pillman

One recurring feature I would like to do on this blog is to take a wrestler and do a quick look at what he or she did in a given calendar year.

pillman Today let’s look at 1991 Brian Pillman. He started the year with a ton of promise and was a star of the five star War Games match at WrestleWar. Despite that, Sid Vicious nearly killed him with a power bomb, hitting Pillman against the cage ceiling and dropping him on his head. Flyin’ Brian was back a week later working tags with Brad Armstrong. Continue reading Model Year Wrestler – 1991 Brian Pillman