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

1991 Royal Rumble match

The 1991 Royal Rumble took place amid a backdrop of patriotism with Operation Desert Storm having commenced 48 hours earlier. The use of Sgt. Slaughter as an Iraqi sympathizer is no less exploitative than the way women were treated during much of the late 1990s, which to me makes 1991 somewhat of a mini-prequel to the Attitude Era. By year’s end we would see cobra attacks, wedding receptions ambushed, another promotion’s world champion showing up with his title, and a Hogan shirt used as a stand-in for burning the flag. Earlier in the ’91 Rumble telecast, the Sensational Sherri pretty much offered Ultimate Warrior sexual favors in exchange for a title shot for the Macho King Randy Savage. This is much more adult-oriented storytelling than seen in WWF in years. Continue reading 1991 Royal Rumble match

1990 Royal Rumble match

20151211_234130The 1990 Royal Rumble was the first PPV main event of the decade that would change the wrestling industry forever. The WWF was still making boatloads of money with Hogan on top and a variety of characters underneath. But during 1990 the Hulkster would take a hiatus to make another movie (Suburban Commando) so there was a need to build someone to take his place. With that in mind, let us examine the 1990 Rumble match which emanated from the brand new Orlando Arena (already since demolished) and hosted by the wildly underrated team of Tony Schiavone and Jesse the Body Ventura. This would be the only Rumble for Tony and the last for Jesse. Continue reading 1990 Royal Rumble match

Saturday Night’s Main Event #1 05/11/1985

Like most families in the 1980s, my family had a subscription to TV Guide since it was the easiest way to know what was on TV. For a period of time I would grab the little magazine when it would arrive in the mail and turn immediately to Saturday’s listings to see if wrestling would be on at 11:30 PM. Usually, it would be Saturday Night Live and I would be disgusted because I hadn’t yet learned that by the late 80s, they had a set schedule for these specials. It was a special place where you would see two guys that matter face off, and Hulk Hogan was a huge part of the package. NBC wanted two guys on this new show: one is Hulk Hogan, and the other is Jesse Ventura whose absence in 1986 to make Predator would upset NBC so much that WWF was forced to bring him back. But let’s look at the first show from May 1985, taped at historic Nassau Veterans Memorial Asbestos Coliseum. Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #1 05/11/1985

1989 Royal Rumble Match

Early 1989 WWF in one photo
Early 1989 WWF in one photo

The 1989 Royal Rumble is notable for several reasons: It is the first Rumble to air on PPV, it was the first wrestling PPV held in the wrestling-rich state of Texas, and further launched the money angle that would carry Wrestlemania V. This show also saw the birth of the sometimes amazing Royal Rumble promos, where people like Koko B. Ware would tell you how it’s every man for himself but he would defeat 29 other superstars. Personal favorite from one of the syndicated shows I wish I could find: an inset promo by Bad News Brown that goes something like: “Royal Rumble? Royal Rumble? 29 spineless cockroaches and Bad News Brown. Who do you think’s gonna win?” Continue reading 1989 Royal Rumble Match

Match of the Day – Brain Busters vs Tim Horner and George South, January 1989

This match is very interesting because it involved four guys best known for time in WCW/NWA working in a WWF ring. The Brain Busters are taking on Tim Horner and George South on an episode of Superstars from early 1989. Things that I enjoyed here: the bizarre Horner/Blanchard handshake at the start, Jesse Ventura keeping it real by pointing out to the Rockers that they shouldn’t be looking for specific people in a Royal Rumble, and the Busters’ sweet offense. Arn hits his traditional spinebuster off a whip, which Vince calls as “look at this maneuver”. The spike piledriver is done in a way to get the referee to turn his back first since it is technically illegal. Basically, they put actual thought into their matches. Tim Horner got a bit of shine at the start, but it really did go South when he tagged out. It is a shame that we only got slightly less than three years of Arn and Tully as a team.

1988 Royal Rumble Match

88rumble Over the next several weeks, I hope to review as many Royal Rumble matches as possible in the lead up to the 2016 edition. The first edition was on January 24, 1988 which is a familiar date; it was the same day as the NWA Bunkhouse Stampede which was airing on pay per view. This was another middle finger by Vince McMahon toward Jim Crockett Promotions as he tried to seize complete control of wrestling on pay per view. His plans for monopolizing wrestling PPV would be thwarted by Ted Turner, who used his influence among cable companies to make sure Crockett had clearances to air PPV, mostly because the NWA aired on his channel and he had shown interest in buying out JCP. But let’s look at the 1988 Rumble match, which took place in Hamilton, Ontario at the then brand new Copps Coliseum. Continue reading 1988 Royal Rumble Match

Model Year Wrestler – 1987 Honky Tonk Man

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