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MARCH 2019 WRESTLING TALK.

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I'd throw the AWA into contention there too.

Had they not pissed off Hogan things are hugely different

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Hogan, while he would have been a huge asset to the AWA had he stayed, would have been held back by Verne Gagne's traditionalism and lack of understanding of the changing landscape.

In one of the latest Between The Sheets podcasts, Kris Zellner and Bix talk about  Verne bringing in The Midnight Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Janetty). He originally wanted to call them The American Express in part because he thought Rockers referred to Rocking Chairs. Had the credit card company found out, Verne would have been sued into Oblivion.

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1 hour ago, cubbymark said:

Hogan, while he would have been a huge asset to the AWA had he stayed, would have been held back by Verne Gagne's traditionalism and lack of understanding of the changing landscape.

In one of the latest Between The Sheets podcasts, Kris Zellner and Bix talk about  Verne bringing in The Midnight Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Janetty). He originally wanted to call them The American Express in part because he thought Rockers referred to Rocking Chairs. Had the credit card company found out, Verne would have been sued into Oblivion.

Which is funny since Windham and Rotundo had been the US Express years earlier.

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@thee Reverend Axl Future, I went to a few shows long long ago ran by local uh..."talent" "The Cobra" Chris Bassett. That was amusingly sad.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, thee Reverend Axl Future said:

Looks to be a Rockin' Randy card. Not the original Doink or Golga, I assume. A quick Googling shows no results, but random people say they saw Booger v. Spinks "box". I reasch out to a source, so if I hear anything I will let you know. I did stumble across the archives of the Upper Midwest Wrestling Newsletter, so that was trippy. Davis was a good guy. http://drdarindavis.com/oldsite/umwn/

SorceressKnight hit the major points. I feel that no one else could have done it, only Mr. McMahon and the WWF. He saw what was coming and took the gamble. He understood what the tech revolutions of cable and PPV were rapidly going to mean for sports/entertainment culture. It was the perfect time in pop culture. He had the capital, and the correct superstar in Hogan. The ringwork was generic enough to appeal to most, and he was willing to adjust the booking and traditions of the classic pro wrestling of his father to maximize profit. He used celebrities and music unashamedly and understood merchandising and marketing better than any other promoter. He really was interested in taking over and making money, not in spreading his vision of wrestling around. With nothing to prove, he would even jettison kay fabe, which everybody else thought would kill the business but really wouldn't the internet have destroyed it anyway (or transformed it utterly)? Watts was pretty smart and ambitious too, but had money problems and his stubborn view about 'rassling really wasn't fit to explode nationally. WCCW was set to crash'n'burn from the get-go. JCP tried, but we know what happened. Turner's millions made it a possibility, but I believe that the headstart of only a year or so that WWF had in the expansion war was too much for any other promotion to overcome, and that is even taking into account all the bad luck, scandal and hubris that VKM and the WWF had.

- RAF

p.s.- Dammit, Harley Race, I pictured you to live forever. Don't prove me wrong, sir...

I think it is an interesting question whether WCW actually happens if WWF does not. I know way too little about the territories, depending on who talks about them they were either dying sometime in the mid or late eighties. Dying as in going out off Business, not being sustainable etc.

Does McMahon restricting the WWF do any good at all for the territories? Or does everything simply collapse because it's behind the times? Does Turner still decide to buy out Crockett? Or does everything just wither away because wrestling is not a valid business model anymore? There will most likely no big head-to-head stuff between major promotions on American soil if WWF didn't expand as agressively as it did. 

This almost belongs into the "What if" - thread, but the discussion is here. And it's really interesting. 

Edited by ReiseReise

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20 hours ago, ReiseReise said:

I mean, how can anyone seriously put Repo Man over Demolotion Smash?! 

I did that with my Hasbro figures. I had a nice, long-running feud between Repo Man and Kona Crush versus Demolition Smash and Crush where they swapped the tag team titles multiple times. When Ax would get involved, I'd toss in Ultimate Warrior to even things up in six-man matches.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, ReiseReise said:

I would have to see the Jungle Book  before I can argue some more, but I truly think a nostalgia act so good it became pretty much iconic is still higher in powerrankings overall @Smelly McUgly

This is more than fair, and I do honestly see your point. 

I think that the Demos aren't actually that iconic in the greater WWE scheme of things, unless I'm missing a resurgence in Demos love. The WWE didn't treat them in such a way and most general WWE-centric fans don't treat them in that way.

HOWEVER, places like here have argued for the Demos as great workers and a great gimmick, and I see that side of the argument. To me, where we're differing is just that you see them as iconic, and I don't actually see them as iconic. I see them as a solid tag team of heavies that did a nice little Road Warriors tribute and that I would not think of for awhile when I started to think of great U.S. tag teams. 

In fact, I would probably list about eight or nine WCW/JCP tag teams before I got to my first WWF tag team that I considered "iconic" (The Rockers, and that's partly because I also got to see their AWA run as a very young child because we had ESPN at the time). 

(BUT I'm not saying that my view is the right one, and I absolutely understand the arguments that I've read for the Demos as a legitimate great or iconic tag team, so I respect your viewpoint here!)

Edited by Smelly McUgly

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Posted (edited)

The reason they aren't considered iconic is solely due to the WWE choosing to ignore their existence. If Eadie and Darsow hadn't burned their bridges so long ago, they'd be given a more prominent role in the company's version of history.

Edited by mattdangerously
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That is fair, but even when they were still active, as soon as Vince signed Animal and Hawk, the Demos were treated like a second-class team in comparison. The way the Demos have been positioned wasn't just because of how Eadie or Darsow acted after they left the company. 

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Ax's heart problems is a big part of that though. Crush wasn't nearly as good, and that's when they signed the Roadies. I think if Eadie had still been healthy, that would've been a more competitive feud.

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But then Vince turned around and gave Crush a pretty big push as a face (well, as big as you can get when you lose every match to your first big feud opponent), so Crush being green doesn't seem like it was a big turn-off for Vince. Crush was never a great worker, but he didn't become passable for awhile. Actually, he probably wasn't passable until maybe near the end of his first run as a Fuji-aligned heel? I remember him being what one might call "decent" consistently only when he came back and aligned with the Nation in 1996. 

It's funny because I think that it wasn't until Kronik that he turned into a reasonable facsimile of what he was supposed to be as the third member of the Demos. I saw some of their stuff again a few years back now, and while it wasn't great, Crush was doing a pretty decent "immovable object who sells at the right time" bit of work. 

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Re: Turner buying out Crockett

Given the good ratings that JCP/NWA had on the network paired with Crockett's poor money management and Ted's affinity for wrestling, I think that purchase was eventually going to happen.

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For people wondering about the Becky-Ronda twitter work vs kayfabe thing, I believe I read that it was all scripted by Heyman but WWE hadn’t approved the profanity and weren’t happy about Ronda using “shit” in her tweet 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, ReiseReise said:

I think it is an interesting question whether WCW actually happens if WWF does not. I know way too little about the territories, depending on who talks about them they were either dying sometime in the mid or late eighties. Dying as in going out off Business, not being sustainable etc.

Does McMahon restricting the WWF do any good at all for the territories? Or does everything simply collapse because it's behind the times? Does Turner still decide to buy out Crockett? Or does everything just wither away because wrestling is not a valid business model anymore? There will most likely no big head-to-head stuff between major promotions on American soil if WWF didn't expand as agressively as it did. 

This almost belongs into the "What if" - thread, but the discussion is here. And it's really interesting. 

Well, the big thing to keep in mind was that: If Vince McMahon didn't break the barricade and go national, someone else would have. 

A number of other promotions were taken national due to cable TV anyway, and many promotions were able to book outside their territories due to it. ("Death of the Territories" is a good read for how it was going through anyway.)  It was clear many, many other promotions were trying to go national through cable- but it was all of Vince's other talents that made their chance take.

Ultimately, most of the differences did kind of boil down to geography more than anything: Vince had New York City, Vince was able to take Los Angeles- and by having New York and LA, he had his promotion as the wrestling in both big media markets in the US, which meant that his wrestlers were seen as the stars by the star makers, which meant Vince was in control of getting the big stars. By the time Vince also picked up Georgia Championship Wrestling (the only other promotion that came CLOSE to going national at the same time)- Vince had basically stepped on everyone else's necks and turned it into a game of 'keep up with WWF'.

Edited by SorceressKnight
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16 hours ago, thee Reverend Axl Future said:

Here's my old man off the topic story, I hope I can do it justice:

In the early Aughts, a loony money mark was active for a couple months in the Wisconsin area, and used a bunch of unemployed ex-WWF/WCW talent as well as a bunch of indie guys from the area, including your humble narrator. Wow, I made a bunch of money from this coke-addled goofus and more importantly, got a whole passel of amazing tales out of it. One night, we were in a nightclub's utility room that was serving as the locker room for this money mark's card (no advertising, about 14 people in attendance). The Fabulous Moolah was there, as well as Jim Neidhart, Sensational Sherri, Carmine the Hustler DiSpirito (who was the contact for many of the vets), some indie cannonfodder (inc. thee RAF) and Mike Shaw. Mr. Shaw always had a lot to say, and was really holding court on this night. He was telling everyone how he had asked the "promoter" if he could work early in the card because he had to get back to Michigan to get to his wrestling school in the morning, and that he had gotten his hotel moneys in cash (and how he could use any of his gimmicks, and how cold it got in Calgary, and how nice Hogan was to him, et al...). He really went on and on about his students, and no one else had much to say or the time to say it. When Shaw lumbered out of the room, there was a pregnant pause and Moolah quietly said in her Southern lilt, "Well, who is gonna teach Mike how to work?" and we all fell out. She really was a master of timing.

emmis,

RAF 

Was Sherri decent?  Man, there was just something about her!   Teenage me really enjoyed her work!  Haha

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3 hours ago, Smelly McUgly said:

This is more than fair, and I do honestly see your point. 

I think that the Demos aren't actually that iconic in the greater WWE scheme of things, unless I'm missing a resurgence in Demos love. The WWE didn't treat them in such a way and most general WWE-centric fans don't treat them in that way.

HOWEVER, places like here have argued for the Demos as great workers and a great gimmick, and I see that side of the argument. To me, where we're differing is just that you see them as iconic, and I don't actually see them as iconic. I see them as a solid tag team of heavies that did a nice little Road Warriors tribute and that I would not think of for awhile when I started to think of great U.S. tag teams. 

In fact, I would probably list about eight or nine WCW/JCP tag teams before I got to my first WWF tag team that I considered "iconic" (The Rockers, and that's partly because I also got to see their AWA run as a very young child because we had ESPN at the time). 

(BUT I'm not saying that my view is the right one, and I absolutely understand the arguments that I've read for the Demos as a legitimate great or iconic tag team, so I respect your viewpoint here!)

Well, one thing that must be considered is that even aging and having lost a step or two, Bill Eadie was so much better than either Animal or Hawk in-ring and as a promo was pretty close. (Though truth be told, when Hawk was in the zone of whatever it was he was doing, his promos were top-five all-time material.)

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I'll still push the AWA argument on the basis that a) they had the great TV deal with ESPN and b) I think they send Verne out to pasture a lot sooner if there was more at stake, rather than seeing where things were heading and allowing him to go down with the ship.

You keep Hogan, you keep Heenan and Gene. It's then unlikely Piper goes to NY to be Hogans next challenger and stays with Flair. 

Vince probably finds another guy to replace Backlund, so he probably goes to the AWA. They can probably afford to keep Martel, Hennig, Slaughter etc. Andre probably never goes back after his back operation.

At the very least, it guts the WWF roster for national expansion, and makes it difficult for them to run shows in the Milwaukee/Minnesota area, which from what I can see, didnt draw great numbers but a better alternative to what they did in the South.

18 time world champion Greg Gagne y'all

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17 minutes ago, RolandTHTG said:

I'll still push the AWA argument on the basis that a) they had the great TV deal with ESPN and b) I think they send Verne out to pasture a lot sooner if there was more at stake, rather than seeing where things were heading and allowing him to go down with the ship.

You keep Hogan, you keep Heenan and Gene. It's then unlikely Piper goes to NY to be Hogans next challenger and stays with Flair. 

Vince probably finds another guy to replace Backlund, so he probably goes to the AWA. They can probably afford to keep Martel, Hennig, Slaughter etc. Andre probably never goes back after his back operation.

At the very least, it guts the WWF roster for national expansion, and makes it difficult for them to run shows in the Milwaukee/Minnesota area, which from what I can see, didnt draw great numbers but a better alternative to what they did in the South.

18 time world champion Greg Gagne y'all

Piper left Charlotte because he saw the lay of the land with Dusty coming in...Vince already had Slaughter, but I see what you’re saying.

 

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27 minutes ago, RolandTHTG said:

18 time world champion Greg Gagne y'all

I'm going to say not likely.

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BTW - Harley Race's family has confirmed that Harley has lung cancer

Here is the important - they say it isn't terminal.

They say he is still planning on doing all his regular activities - including an appearance at a show next weekend

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He beat Polio.

He can beat this.

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2 hours ago, The Great ML said:

Piper left Charlotte because he saw the lay of the land with Dusty coming in...Vince already had Slaughter, but I see what you’re saying.

 

That also ties into a couple extras for AWA expanding: 

We can establish Piper would leave Charlotte anyway. As @RolandTHTG mentioned, Hogan doesn't come, then AWA keeps Heenan and Okerlund...but if Hogan doesn't come and Vince needs to replace Backlund, then he's probably more willing to let Sgt. Slaughter deal with GI Joe in order to keep him, because Slaughter would have been the perfect replacement for Hogan. (Hell, you can argue Slaughter's GI Joe run might have worked better for the syndicated, kids' audience of WWE than Hogan's appearance in "Rocky III", a more adult movie, would have been.) 

The big questions with that would boil to the two most important national questions:

1) If AWA has Hogan/Heenan/Okerlund, is ESPN as excited to take AWA? (Very likely, but Hogan probably doesn't get the AWA World Title, so he's not as big a name for it.)

2) AWA could keep Minneapolis and Milwaukee...but could AWA have kept Chicago? WWF would have problems in Milwaukee or Minnesota, but Milwaukee and Minnesota weren't the crown jewel of the area. It was always Chicago, and if WWF can manage to take Chicago from the AWA anyway, then the NYC/LA/Chicago mix would have been unstoppable.

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Posted (edited)

But the Sgt. Slaughter/G.I. Joe deal comes in 85' and like ESPN and the AWA, that comes from the WWF explosion with Hogan in 83'. Hogan was huge in the AWA but he was never entering the zeitgeist without Vince. Does Hasbro care about a wrestler without the New York boom? Probably not.  And I seriously doubt Slaughter would have been able to fill Hogan's slot.

Edited by Execproducer
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I think it may be crossing to many "what if" bridges to compare the AWA and WWF as far as what happened because of the divide of Verne and Vince. Not on any planet would Verne ever had the foresight or guts to push a Hogan and the rest like he did, to involve Hollywood/MTV and make a presentation that had never been done and really fit what would work on a national level. 

Even if Verne keeps whoever, I think the eventual winner is Vince.

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I mean Hogan spent two years in the AWA. Even without the belt he was the top star. He could have stayed a few more years and sold out venues and probably landed a few more movie roles. But that was all it was ever going to be. 

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