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  1. #81
    We are on the same page with much of this. One matter we debated often on TLS (my mind changes by the moment).

    Would I be willing to give up the Hogan heel turn, the nWo, that amazing 95-97 run for a 1994 built around Flair, Steamboat, Vader, Austin, Rhodes. A sort of return to old school NWA without Hogan coming in and stomping it out?

  2. #82
    I look forward to listening to that debate. My initial reaction is that I would be willing to give it up, especially if Flair wasn't going to be allowed to politically influence results. I would still sign Hogan; just not allow him to run roughshod over the title scene like he did. Let him have a competitive series with Flair, but then lose the title to Austin so he and Rhodes and he and Steamboat can feud over the top title; since they feuded over the midcard titles. Bring Windham in, as well, and still sign Luger and Savage. Hogan's last gasp would be a big match between he and the Total Package. Savage also had lots of mileage left on him that could have been accentuated with not having Hogan's will dominating everything. So then you have Flair, Steamboat, Vader, Austin, Rhodes, Sting, Luger, Windham, and Savage. That's a great company to build around. You still add DDP; you keep Regal running strong; you make sure Badd gets re-signed. I think that company is still around today.

    BTW, you could still do a Hogan heel turn in this scenario. He realizes he can't get by on what he preached anymore after he loses to Luger and goes bad. You may not get the financial swing of the NWO, but you certainly get an interesting character.
    Last edited by XanMan; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:19 AM.

  3. #83
    We never allowed ourselves such luxury of imagination. (Just the thought of Hogan coming in and doing as he's told and the company not losing their minds over him was more than I could imagine.)

    Ours was a very solid two options and you have to choose one:

    96-97 as we know it. The years that WCW dominated. The years that pro wrestling was universally loved. The years that our dream matches were weekly realities. The years of tension, of WCW/nWo, of Sting/Hogan, or Luger/Hogan, or what-have-you.

    vs.

    A world that never creates that 96-97, meaning Hogan never comes in. But, since we're comparing to only the BEST of what happened in WCW, we will not, in this imagining, have Flair ruin 1994 (as he likely would have). This is a 1994 where, let's say, Flair actually keeps his word and trades the belt with Vader. This is a 1994 where Austin becomes champion for the first time (as was once a plan). This is a 1994 centered on Flair, Steamboat, Vader, Austin. Maybe Windham, Arn, Douglas, Pillman. Rhodes. A WCW that goes forward based on WCW wrestlers and a WCW legacy.

    I have a feeling you would pick the 2nd one. I want to pick the 2nd one and *probably* would, but I'd also be getting rid of December 1996-August 1997, which is the one and only time Luger was booked how I think he deserved to be booked. So I'd be selling out the centerpiece of my pro wrestling experience. Luger *is* a WCW guy, though, so maybe he comes back in 1995 anyway.

    I really love this from you: "So then you have Flair, Steamboat, Vader, Austin, Rhodes, Sting, Luger, Windham, and Savage. That's a great company to build around. You still add DDP; you keep Regal running strong; you make sure Badd gets re-signed. I think that company is still around today."

    Up until Spring Stampede, you really got a glimpse at WCW being WCW again.

    God, there's so much that will remain unsettled. Only reason I can't stop talking about these narratives that could have been, maybe should have been.

  4. #84
    I listened to wrestle mania 2 and rather enjoyed it...you guys did a fine and fair coverage

  5. #85
    Thanks man. It is definitely a show where the concept well outpaced the performance. We recorded the Vader tribute today. The next three weeks are all special episodes to me. They include Vader Special, a SNME (with Hogan/Adonis tacked on), and The Big Event with Orndorff/Hogan.

  6. #86
    I've never seen a multiple arena show turn out well. It's a nice idea and I even respect the way it tried to capture the 3 city feel too. But having the celebrities announce of all things was the worst idea. Having broadcasters who don't know the product is just counter-productive on its face.

    Even the announcers they had didn't have enough to go around. Bobby wasn't in the booth yet. The only good play by play announcers for a show that big were Hayes, Ventura, Monsoon, and McMahon. That's hardly enough to fill 3 arenas.

    The Hart foundation and Andre is definitely a hi-light in the event for me. Also, kind of want to hear Ernie Ladd announce again. I forgot he was on that show. It's been so very long since I've watched Wrestle-Mania 2.

  7. #87
    The Brain
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    There's a reason for that... I did think the battle royal had some charm though. And Ernie Ladd is always cool in my book, I think he was the 3rd man in the booth on one of the shows for a while.

  8. #88
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    Just got through WM 2. Despite lackluster material to work with, I think you guys handled the review very well. Interestingly, this is the first WM i was cognitively aware of as a wee child back in the mid-80s. My first intro to wrestling was Hogan's ribs being "crushed" by Bundy. Despite my usual nostalgia, even when I was young, I knew this show was no good. I appreciate the love for Hercules Mizfan. Always felt he was typecast incorrectly and that folks saw him through a certain lens that was too constrictive for what he could actually do. This was really the pinnacle of bad celebrity involvement as you boys correctly point out.

    As a fun juxtaposition I also just finished Superbrawl 97. It's a fledgling PPV, though a time when Hulkamania was very popular and over against wrestling approaching its fever pitch in early 1997. I'm trying to find time to go back and rewatch - made it through the 6 man tag so far, so my progress has not been great (having two small children at home and studying for a pretty grueling professional exam eats up a lot of my time - listen to your shows when I find time to work out or go for runs). The Luger/Giant vs. Outsiders match is fun and the fans are HOT for Luger. I think back when this was a contemporaneous angle I caught on to Hall always winning rock scissor paper - I was always a mark for them beginning matches this way. It fits in with their take it or leave it attitudes (whether those attitudes were ultimately good for the product, well...) The analysis of where Benoit, Rey, Eddie and Malenko rank 1 through 4 is a great portion of your collective commentaries on this show. Having listened to you two, I was pretty spot on in assuming where you would both land on these rankings. It's amazing that Benoit was so far ahead of the other three at this point, his longevity certainly helped matters. I know this may be unpopular and I am not looking to begin a huge debate, but I do want to say thank you to you two for honoring Benoit the wrestler during your ongoing narratives. To pretend that his legacy is void is somewhat silly, but to suggest that there isn't a feeling of discomfort in rewatching his work seems tone deaf and I feel you two are really handling the topic quite well.

  9. #89
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    I think I'll have lots of positive things to say about Hercules as we go. One of the most underappreciated Heenan Family members.

    Talking about Benoit is never easy, so I'm glad we struck a good balance for you. There's no way to do the series without acknowledging his ability and contributions, but I do think it's important to acknowledge what the end result of his destructive style was too.

  10. #90
    Lex Luger was WAY OVER. Somebody tell Steve Austin, who only seems like he turns into an idiot when talking about Luger.

  11. #91
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    It was the chip on his shoulder about guys pushed over him in WCW that made Austin what he was. Not surprised he's still got a little piece of it on there.

    I would LOVE to see a '97 Austin vs. Luger match, just saying.

  12. #92
    People either love me, hate me, or they don't care CanadianCrippler's Avatar
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    Really enjoyed your SNME & WM2 podcasts, and am impressed with the King Kong Bundy career retrospective, well done. I kind of rely on you guys to educate me on PPV cards of the past while taking most of your recommendations into consideration most of the time, I've skipped over WWF at this point thus far.

    Looking forward as always to the next episode, it's great to hear you guys enjoying your jobs again!

  13. #93
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    Haha, how strange to think a few months ago we were mired in the worst of Russo. Appreciate the listen, CC!

  14. #94
    I like Wrestlemania 2 far better than you guys do, but great job covering it. I don't think it's great, but I don't think it's the worst Wrestlemania of all time; I think the first is worse, though it does have a big imagination. 9, 29, 32, at the least are worse Manias off the top of my head.

  15. #95
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    I could certainly be persuaded to agree there are recent 'Manias worse than anything done in the 80s.

  16. #96
    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    I could certainly be persuaded to agree there are recent 'Manias worse than anything done in the 80s.
    Beat me to it.

    These were the days before they were booking main events they knew the fans would outright ignore.

    CC, if you watch most of this older WWF stuff, it's almost a different genre to take up. I might consider certain matches/feuds, rather than whole shows at this point.

    Xan, I was, and likely will remain, a fan of IX. I think it was the first outdoor arena for me. I know people have shitted on it from the beginning of time, but there is at least a 50/50 chance that won't happen with me.

  17. #97
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    I do really like the venue for IX.

  18. #98
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    I wouldn't call this on topic per se, but as I'm listening to the 1997 shows from the WCW Legacy Series, I just wanted to call out that the music they used for Jericho (at least originally) was a straight pillaging of Even Flow by Pearl Jam. Mizfan, I know you refer to whatever the Network uses (which may be the original - haven't watched any of the 1997 stuff yet, it's pretty seared into my memory) as generic Final Fantasy music. Not a huge gamer and never got into the Final Fantasy series of games, but I do know me some later 90s WCW theme music, particularly the stuff that was ripped off of popular music - the DDP music being a prime example, which was in fairness absolutely perfect for his character.

    Fantastic Vader retrospective gentlemen. You don't disappoint.
    Last edited by BK-097; 1 Week Ago at 07:13 PM.

  19. #99
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    The Network dub of the music screws up so much stuff. I had no idea DDP's theme on the Network wasn't his real theme until someone sent me the original theme. Turns out it sounds like a nice slamdunk lawsuit for Nirvana, but for sure it was spot on for his character. There was always something perfectly grungy about the guy, wasn't there?

    Thanks for listening man, always good to hear from you.

  20. #100
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    1997 has been pretty awesome from a listening perspective. Dreading Starrcade 1997 as there is so much wrong with that show. So much invested in Sting only for him to show up out of shape and the ridiculousness with the "fast count", Hart losing all credibility, the weird six-man tag - aaaahhhh!!! I haven't even listened to it yet (and don't think I can watch it out sheer self-preservation) and I'm already angry.

  21. #101
    You should feel anger. Imagine what it felt like on our end. WCW July 1996-August 1997 is one of my favorite years ever, in anything.

    But you know what's coming the whole time.

  22. #102
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    I remember really distinctly that things start to fall apart at Road Wild '97. Slowly, but very surely.

  23. #103
    If Lex Luger takes the title away from the nWo, and holds it, how does crow Sting behave? Does he still want revenge on Hogan? Does he embrace Luger?

  24. #104
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    Thatís a really interesting question Mystic. Not sure we know enough about Crow Stingís motivation outside of the context we were fed to answer that. Interestingly, as much of a derpy do-gooder as Sting was and as much as he thrived at being the victim and creating the situation for himself, I donít know that we were ever given enough for me to think he would have not embraced Luger, or challenged Luger for the title, at least not straight away, even though in his mind he clearly deserved everything he ever got.

    It must have been hell covering this - I feel for you guys.

    Complete side tangent and only because the two of you really got me interested in a scenario - going back to the what if situation re: Benoit/Sullivan (one of my all time favorite feuds) taking place in the 1980s NWA and time machining a bit here and assuming Benoit is a Horseman, what are your thoughts on expanding the feud out a bit and making it a full blown Horseman/Varsity Club feud. There is a time and a place for heel vs. heel faction warfare and we know the Horseman were able to do heel v heel well (thinking back on the tag matches with Doom). There are a hell of a lot of possibilities there and the Sullivan/Benoit feud at the center in a real 89s style NWA blood feud would be fantastic. Thank you for bringing up the possibility of that feud in an older era.
    Last edited by BK-097; 1 Week Ago at 09:39 PM.

  25. #105
    You are speaking my language. I am a heel enthusiast. Big fan of heel-on-heel battles, especially since they only happen randomly, using signifying something bigger. For instance, I love WWF 1997. I love the Austin-Bret-Michaels-Vader-Sid-Undertaker war. Love Hart Foundation-Nation-DX-Austin. Love Horsemen-Doom. A horseman-varsity club feud, on its own merit, would be fun. But adding Benoit-Sullivan brings in that gritty, bloody, all-in nature that I love so much. It would be one we'd still be talking about to this day. Hell, it never happened, and we're talking about it, today.

  26. #106
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    I know some people think it's absolute madness to say so, but I still think running with Luger as champ has a major upside. Put him over Nash at Starrcade whereas Sting/Hogan can continue but be a grudge match (and obviously, hopefully, not be completely bungled).

    Really interesting idea of the Varsity Club being Sullivan's backup, instead of the Dungeon of Doom. It would be hard for me to give up those Benoit/Meng matches but there is a certain appeal to doing it in that time and place. I do love when someone besides Flair is driving the actions of the Horsemen. There were periods where Tully Blanchard had the biggest storyline going on in the 80s, even as Flair was champion. It was a rich time when a lot of different stuff could be happening at once.

  27. #107
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    Hogan has shown a bit of well placed generosity since developing the Hollywood persona and I do wonder if his match with Sting wasnít for the title if he would have gone to the lengths he did to make the Starrcade match a boondoggle. Donít get me wrong there is a distinct difference to losing to a hot 1997 Luger and the version of Sting we got at Starrcade and Iím sure based on appearances alone (but hopefully due in part to abilities and untold narrative) Hogan was more comfortable with the formwr BUT no belt on the line could have smoothed Hoganís ego to the point that he may have done the right thing - WCW woulda still dropped the ball but I like the notion of Luger/Nash for the title and Sting/Hogan for control.

    Losing Benoit/Meng would be a hit to the feud, but Sullivan would have had some decent hands to throw out there as roadblocks to Benoit if he had the full support of the Varsity Club. I agree the Horsemen are really fun when Flair is not the featured feud. If Benoit had Horsemen support the combinations of potentially great matchups between those factions is really pretty astounding and revolving it around Benoit/Sullivan is a perfect way to slip into the heel v heel setting

  28. #108
    The Benoit/Meng matches are amazing, but, on the other side, if you had '96 Benoit in 1988-1989, you also have a potential for Benoit-Steamboat and Benoit-Funk. Let that sink in.

    Starrcade '97 would have been worlds better with the double main event of Luger-Nash and Hogan Sting. Though I don't have imagination enough to believe in a Hogan who gives that much. (Though, Hogan always was good to Luger, for whatever reason.) There is a bigger narrative here, though. A bigger WCW flaw. At Starrcade 1989, not only did the wrong guy win and become Franchise, but I've always said the dumbest thing was having *any* Franchise. Keep the Luger-Sting question open, take advantage of getting two super talents at the same time. It's the same way here. Hogan and Sting could have main evented Starrcade with just as much hype without the world title. Luger-Nash not only raises Luger, but you have an nWo guy stepping into Hogan's role while Hogan takes on the bigger role. You now have four people around the same level, instead of two. In both cases, WCW was dividing and subtracting when they could have been adding and multiplying.

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