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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Steroid Trials

Scott,

Is the whole Zahorian 'Steroid Trial' thing overstated?  It's been said that Hogan and Warrior were out of favor because they were obvious 'roid guys carrying the company banner.  Yet we had Hogan & Sid headlining Wrestlemania and a returning Ultimate Warrior facing the WWF Champion (Savage) at SummerSlam '92 (and, supposedly, slated to win the title & go heel if I remember your previous words correctly).  Flair, Hart, and Yokozuna took it away from the 'muscle man' image a bit, but the undercard was still littered with them, they went out and signed Lex Luger, brought back Hogan for Wrestlemania IX, etc.

So my question is: was the impact of the Steroid Trials overstated or was it just a convenient excuse for pushing Hogan's act and Warrior's unpredictable nature out of the title picture?  The whole "no obvious steroid guys as champion" thing just doesn't seem like a reality.


Oh no, it was definitely eating Vince alive from the moment it started.  There was very real fear on his part that he was going to end up in prison and it's absolutely the reasoning behind the main event talent purges in late 92.  You'll notice that Hogan was a skinny shadow of himself in 93 without the gas, as were quite a few other guys like Savage.  Panicked Vince gets RESULTS.

16 comments:

  1. Panicked Vince gets RESULTS.



    Aw hell, now I want to see a PanickedVince twitter.

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  2. Warrior was also much smaller upon his return... so much so that I remember rampant speculation that it was a different person playing the Warrior character. Then he went to wearing that singlet starting at SummerSlam, which was also probably to hide his shrinking physique.

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  3. Goddammit, why isn't a 2.5 getting Vince panicked?!

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  4. Because he's crippled by Alzheimer's, or because everyone mentioned in this article either wants nothing to do with him or is Bret Hart? Fucking goddam life!!

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  5. Especially because he was on the show... that's his usual solution to bad ratings: bring back Vince!

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  6. Skinny!Hogan did have an awesome match with Muta in Japan. Even pulled out an enzuigiri.

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  7. What a lot of people have forgotten, or not realized to begin with, was how LONG the Zohorian fallout went for. The good doctor was first busted in '89, but his trial (which really started the bad publicity) wasn't until the summer of '91, and he was convicted in July '91. Hogan made his infamous appearance on Arsenio Hall shortly after (I want to say August '91), which only amped up the media attention due to his obvious lies.
    They tried to ride it out through the rest of '91, with Vince making proclamations about new and improved drug testing, which had lots of holes. In early '92, larger scandals related to both steroids and sex abuse, hit the press in a big way. Vince tried to survive it, but accusations just kept piling on one another heading into Wrestlemania VIII. Luger was signed for the WBF before that show. The real steroid testing started around this time, though the wrestlers only needed to have their testosterone levels drop from the last test, not actually be below a certain number. The bad publicity would continue, though it would lessen in intensity.
    Hogan went on hiatus right after WM, Sid was gone a couple of weeks later, thanks to flunking a drug test days before WM. Between WM and Survivor Series, Warlord, Hawk, Animal, Bulldog & a shrunken Warrior would all leave/be fired, as would Jake Roberts & Roddy Piper. Not all of them were likely steroid related, but I imagine quite a few were. It was during this time that WWF business went in the toilet, and wouldn't recover for more than five years.
    Vince would continue to be investigated, yet wouldn't be indicted until Nov. 93, and his trial wasn't until the summer of '94. The ordeal took a long time, and the fallout was spread out for a long time. It would be five years before Vince learned how to make money without his 80s formula, during which time the roster turned over enormously, and what constituted a McMahon main eventer (Hogan & Warrior, to Bret & Shawn, to Austin & Rock) would evolve a ton. It was a period of tremendous change, and Vince never would have made those changes if he hadn't had to, all thanks to those Steroid Scandals.

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  8. Nice stuff- I had no idea it went on for THAT long- I just remember reading all of the comments about the mid-90s WWF sucking, guys shrinking (Hogan's Kidman-esque physique is always funny to see, given what his build USED to look like, and what it became once he hit WCW and it's more liberal roid policies... Macho Man was much the same- bigger in WCW than he ever was in the WWF), and Vince preparing to run the company from prison. But yeah, the wheels of justice are really slow to turn.

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  9. Don't worry I'm sure next week we'll get to see the return of Stephanie or even better Linda with a major announcement.

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  10. +1 to this. I recall seeing this match a few years ago (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5i7i6_the-great-muta-vs-hulk-hogan-5-3-93_sport#.UL9seIY2x8E) and was pleasantly surprised at how Hogan really COULD work back in the day. I think a lot of the flack he got for his SRO style in the 80s and 90s was because he didn't need to (nor was ever asked to) work a more complicated style. FWIW, I'd like to see Scott throw a runt out for this match if he's got the free time.

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  11. Think this is why Hogan threw Vince and the WWF/E under the bus and went to Japan where he gave promos he wanted to be "a real wrestler?" Because he thought this was what would put them out of business?

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  12. Early 2001 Scott would say it was a ** match, and had a lot of horrible stuff that Japanese wrestling shouldn't be. One guy on youtube just went off on how bad the match was. I don't see how people think this match is bad. If this match had happened in the US with this type of workrate it would have been ***3/4 to ****. Plus Hogan took a whole lot of bumps in this match. This was during his "I don't want to hold on to this toy (WWF title), I want to really wrestle. I'm tired of the cartoon crap. That's not who I am (paraphrase)."

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  13. Maybe after exams, I'll hunt down my Hogan in Japan collection I got. Some of those matches were actually good. Some of them, were not. There is an interesting one with Backland in 1979/80 that isn't bad - but I always liked the one in June 1980 one - that ended up on a WWE DVD set a few years back. Almost a **** match carried by Little Bobby Backlund. Backlund was surprisingly a great worker.


    Hogan had some great matches with Fujamani too in 1984-85. Even Akira Madea stayed professional and worked with him around 1983-84. There were some interesting matches with Andre too, including one where Andre played the heel in Japan - about 1982-83. (When Hogan started wearing the black trunks in Japan - it was about 1983-85. Before that he had his heel trunks (usually yellow) and everything else was yellow afterwards.)


    The Hansen match from 1990 should have made a DVD release when Hogan was on good terms with the E. Hogan tries to wrestle Japanese style, and it doesn't fully work and then match just turns into an all out brawl - but it does feature Hogan pulling out a standing high cross body on Hansen and the axe-ah-boom-bah. (Some say its the axe-bomber, but the axe-bomber was a non-flying standing ax-handle (The movie savage used to do from the top rope), where the axe-ah-boom-bah was the clothesline/larait.)


    From my knowledge of Hogan in Japan, he did a whole bunch of matches in the early 1980's. I don't think he toured in 86, 87, 88, or 89. The 1990 show was a joint show with WWF and All Japan, and was supposed to be Terry Gordy - who supposedly pulled out because Hogan wasn't champion and they put Hansen in his place. Hogan wrestled twice in Japan in 1991, and then he did three matches in 1993 for New Japan (Muta, Brute Force (Japanese Road Warriors - Hawk/Chono), Mutoh). Then he got to Fujanami in 1994, which was like Battlearts or something. Came back in 2003 to try to work a Wrestlemania Rock match with Chono, which kind of worked - but basically used the "hulk up" in the match - something he never did in Japan and then did the visual of kiss his butt to the announcers after he won the match. Hogan hasn't worked Japan since.

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  14. Possibly, but I think it was more likely that Hogan & Vince weren't getting along (during the spring of '93, when he wouldn't work many WWF shows in spite of being their champion), he received a big-money offer from Japan, and wanted to appeal to the Japanese fans and stick it to Vince at the same time.

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  15. In addition to my earlier postings, in response to the original question, the list of champions definitely illustrates that the steroid scandals had a big effect. From '92 on through '96, here is a list of the WWF champions.
    Flair (has admitted to some steroid usage, but was obviously far from a juicehead), a shirt-wearing Savage, Flair again, Bret, a very slimmed-down Hogan, Yokozuna, Bret once more, Backlund, Diesel (who was more tall than bulky at that point), Bret yet again, Shawn, and finally in Nov. 96, Sid, who was the first obviously big juicer during that stretch. Take a wild guess what year they stopped doing the steroid testing?
    That's not exactly a major steroid line-up (by 90s wrestler standards anyways). The Zahorian trial and the fallout most definitely had an effect on who Vince pushed to the top.

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  16. I always thought those early 80's Hogan matches in Japan were interesting to watch as it's just an almost completely different style in both his wrestling and mannerisms than what he would be known for later.
    Like watching his tag match with Stan Hansen against Inoki and Dusty Rhodes and it's almost like watching a proto-Hollywood Hogan, like he's testing out how to heel it up.

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