17 items from 2014
The wrestling business has changed a lot since its heyday in the 1990s. People can say that the 1980s were great and that the 2000s were a lot of fun while the 2010s have provided memorable moments, but the best time to be a fan was in the 1990s. That’s when we got to experience so many game changing moments that most fans today don’t really appreciate.
The 90s gave us so much from the battle between Raw and Nitro, Hulk Hogan’s improbable heel turn leading to the New World Order, the rise of Steve Austin from fired WCW employee to top star in WWE, the incomparable Rock talking in the third person, Eric Bischoff challenging Vince McMahon to a fight on his show and the late great Ultimate Warrior started off the decade by doing the unthinkable as he beat Hulk Hogan clean for the WWE Title. »
- John Canton
In 1992, a brash new bad guy entered World Wrestling Entertainment and wasted little time making an impact. Known as Razor Ramon, he would align himself with Ric Flair in the Nature Boy’s rivalry with “Macho Man” Randy Savage. His matches with Savage, Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect and the 123 Kid established him as a fine in-ring performer and his character (and the conviction with which he was portrayed) set him apart from the other more goofy gimmicks of the time.
The machismo that he exuded led to Ramon becoming a fan favorite and one of the marquee stars in Vince McMahon’s promotion. A leader of the New Generation initiative, Ramon battled Shawn Michaels in classic contests including WrestleMania X’s epic ladder match.
One of the most popular stars of the era, Ramon caught the eye of opposing promoters, leading to an impressive contract offer from World Championship Wrestling »
- Erik Beaston
After about a month of taking in what the WWE Network has to offer I thought we could take a look at some of the things that are worth your time on there, and even just to pick up on DVD. Every PPV event from WWE(F), WCW and Ecw is included on the on-demand section of the network, which means there is hundreds of shows and thousands of hours worth of wrestling to dig through, so I wanted to whittle it down to ten shows that I feel are worth watching, and the reasons will be highlighted too.
Let’s begin with an obvious one shall we?
WWE: WrestleMania 1
Held in Madison Square Garden in New York City, the very first WWF pay-per-view ever presented and a show that lit the fuse on the rocket that became sports entertainment and the concept of pay-per-view. The show isn’t »
- Chris Cummings
It’s been rumored for months now and we reported about it a couple of weeks ago, but it appears to be official now that Scott Hall aka Razor Ramon will be the next inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014. The announcement is expected on WWE Monday Night Raw from Brooklyn tonight, though the reveal has been confirmed early by the following newspaper advert;
A report from PWInsider suggests that the current plan is for members of The Kliq to induct Hall. That infamous group included Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman (X-Pac). No word if all of them will present Hall or if it will be just one of them. If it was one of them, Nash appears to be the most likely since he two formed the Outsiders together. However, if all »
- John Canton
One of the most admired and recognized records in professional wrestling is “Nature Boy” Ric Flair’s combined 16 reigns as World Champion (though Flair himself will tell you he is a 21-time World Champion, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Nwa, Tna and WWE all recognize only 16 of those reigns/title changes) since his first reign in 1981 when he defeated Dusty Rhodes for his first reign.
While some of those reigns lasted only scant hours, others lasted a year or longer and saw Flair face down and defeat the biggest names in the history of wrestling including Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Magnum Ta, Sting and many, many others proving that Flair truly was the man to beat and while there were always several promotions touting world champions at the same time, the title held by Flair (be it Nwa, WCW or WWE) always seemed to »
- JV Vernola
The New York Knicks are one of basketball’s most storied franchises but they haven’t won an NBA title since 1973. Celebrity fans like Spike Lee, Woody Allen, and screenwriter William Goldman worshipped the star-studded — but team-first — Knicks teams of that championship era, and a generation of aging sportswriters refuse to let those hardwood legends die. Actor Michael Rapaport was only three years old when the Knicks won their last title, but he’s turned his yearning for those glory years into a documentary, When the Garden was Eden.
Rapaport’s movie, which is also part of Espn’s “30 for 30″ series, »
- Jeff Labrecque
World Championship Wrestling became the number one wrestling company in North America in the late 1990s. The rise of WCW was brought on by the cruiserweights, realistic storylines and, of course, the New World Order. WCW rose faster than anyone could have ever predicted but it also fell quicker and harder than anyone could have imagined.
Once the World Wrestling Federation purchased WCW in 2001, fans were almost begging for the WWF to put on dream matches that they had envisioned for years. Imagine: Hulk Hogan vs. Steve Austin, The Rock vs. Ric Flair, The Outsiders vs. The New Age Outlaws, the nWo vs. Degeneration X…the possibilities were endless.
Instead, we got an Invasion angle that lacked any drama and showcased none of wrestlers that WCW was most known for. Instead of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Sting we got Lance Storm, Booker T, and Mike Awesome. Eventually, there were »
- Mike Shannon
AP Photo/Jessica Hill
The WWE Network debuts next Monday in America and it’s getting a lot of attention as it should, but it is WWE’s new TV deal that wrestling fans should really be paying attention to.
The current TV deal in America currently pays WWE approximately $139.5 million per year. That money comes from NBC Universal, which airs WWE Monday Night Raw on USA Network and WWE Friday Night Smackdown on Syfy. A new story from Variety.com offers insight into what might be next for the wrestling giant.
A WWE spokesman offered an update on the current negotiations:
“WWE’s exclusive negotiating period with NBCU for our flagship television programs, ‘Raw’ and ‘SmackDown,’ has now expired. While we were unable to reach an agreement with NBCU during this period, we have certainly appreciated our long and productive partnership. With year-round, live programming that is highly coveted by programmers, »
- John Canton
After more than twenty years and well over a thousand episodes, Monday Night Raw remains WWE’s flagship show. It’s the “A-show” and watched by millions of dedicated weekly viewers. Without question, the show will continue to play an integral role in the WWE as they are banking heavily on the upcoming TV Rights Fee increases. With the evolution of Pay-Per-View programming to be included on the WWE Network, undoubtedly, Monday Night Raw is going to continue to be the centerpiece of WWE programming.
Thus looking at who is regularly booked on Raw (and in which segments) will tell you a whole lot about how the company views those performers and their importance in the company. Don’t be decieved – whilst the Monday Night Wars with WCW Nitro may have come and gone, WWE still pays very close attention to Raw ratings, particularly segment-by-segment.
- Chris Harrington
There had been talks in recent weeks that Hall might be in line for a surprise induction this year but when the big three inductees were announced, it didn’t look likely there would be room for the former Razor Ramon in this class.
However a new rumour started yesterday when Hall recently received a “verified” mark on Twitter, as did the three so far confirmed names for induction this year; The Ultimate Warrior, Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Lita.
Hall himself further added fuel to the speculation by tweeting the following;
“Me @JakeSnakeDDT and @AmyDumas all verified at the same time. Hmmm….”
“Add @UltimateWarrior to that same list…hmmm”
Is that enough to warrant the speculation that an induction is pending? I’ll let you decide!
- Matt Holmes
Earlier this week, it was ratings day for the WWE, where they look over the hour by hour breakdowns from Monday night, seeing what’s working and what’s not. Though, these days it’s easy to imagine the importance of these numbers has taken a far back seat to the coming release of the WWE Network streaming service.
There was a time, however, when that report was life and death for the WWE, because in those halcyon days, they had a single point of competition; the WCW. A product of the titanic Turner Broadcasting company, WCW was the ‘Brand X’ to many people around the country due to WWE’s nationwide broadcast television exposure on ‘Saturday Night’s Main Event’ on the NBC network, and the USA Network’s Saturday programming, along with Prime Time Wrestling had such market penetration, WCW had a hard time gaining mainstream viewers »
- Dan Houser
Copyright: The Best Of WCW Monday Nitro Vol. 2
Right now, there are 113 men and women in the WWE Hall of Fame. Ever since the 2004 class, the company has let between five to seven wrestlers, managers, tag teams or stables in each year. While the Hall is stacked with some of the best wrestling talent of all time, it still feels incomplete. There are a few glaring omissions that are deserving for enshrinement, but for one reason or another, they haven’t got the call yet.
For some wrestlers, it’s only a matter of time before they get in. You can imagine that talent like Jbl, The Rock and Lita will get in sooner or later. But others are starting to seem like they’ll be locked out forever. This year it’s actually quite surprising that Ultimate Warrior and Jake “The Snake” Roberts are getting in due to their past troubles with the company. »
- Andrew Soucek
My last article for WhatCulture.com looked at potential winners for the Royal Rumble. I’m sorry to say that the one man I left out of my list went on to win. The reason for this is simple: I was under the impression that a Batista win was so obviously stupid and worthless to the fanbase that WWE would be out of their minds to even tease it, much less leave Daniel Bryan Out of the Rumble altogether.
Here’s my problem in the short form; I keep thinking of WWE as a rational company. They’re not. They’re led by powerful egos who fancy themselves infallible due to past successes. Also, I’m an old school wrestling fan. I’m also in my early middle age, and I remember a time when fans mattered, and legitimate fan heat caused push, not the other way around, or »
- Dan Houser
One night after the 2014 "Royal Rumble" and it looks like this will be an interesting episode of "WWE Raw." Not for the reasons WWE had hoped, though. When the show went off the air with Batista winning the 30-man match, destined for the "Wrestlemania XXX" main event, the audience booed loudly.
Something special and unique to professional wrestling happened during the show, and has been building to this point for months. The crowd wanted to see Daniel Bryan enter the match and win. After losing early in the show, they had convinced themselves he would end the night on top of the world.
Do you remember the last episode of WCW’s Monday Night Nitro? It was a pretty surreal night in the history of professional wrestling. Vince McMahon had purchased World Championship Wrestling, there was the only simulcast between Raw and Nitro in the history of the Monday Night Wars, and Ric Flair cut a promo where he mentioned Harley Race and Buff Bagwell in the same sentence. It was truly a night of firsts.
The aftermath of the purchase left a giant void in the wrestling business as McMahon’s primary competitor had been vanquished. It was only a short month after the purchase that Paul Heyman’s Ecw would finally succumb to financial struggles and have to close their doors as well. Whether intended or not, both brand names were quickly buried during the disappointing “Invasion” angle and both promotions are now relegated to DVD releases and WWE Network time slots. »
- Nick Boisseau
It has been in the works for several years and its launch had been rumoured for a few months and now it's official - World Wrestling Entertainment will launch their own network on February 24th 2014.
Announced last night at a CES Event in Las Vegas, members of World Wrestling Entertainment including Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Michael Cole gave the first details of their new network.
The WWE Network will cost $9.99 a month with a six-month commitment and will launch at 11:05 Est after the Monday Night Raw that night. All 12 PPVs for 2014 will air on the network and will be covered in the monthly fee - this includes WrestleMania 30 which will be the first PPV to air.
On Monday (Jan. 6), WWE will presenting an old school version of "Raw," featuring many names from the company's history, who will join forces with current stars for a unique show. The arena is given a retro look, the ring looks like it's right out of the early '90s, and it's a night where everyone gets to have just a little bit more fun.
One of those taking part in the show is Brian James, better known to wrestling fans as Road Dogg, one half of the New Age Outlaws tag team. Zap2it had the chance to chat with Road Dogg about catching up with old friends in the wrestling business, what to expect from the show and who he thinks is going to go far in the "Royal Rumble," among other topics.
Zap2it: The old school "WWE Raw" concept is almost becoming an annual event at this point. »
17 items from 2014
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