Sports Review Wrestling Predictions into 1998…What They Were And Why They Weren’t As Ridiculous As You Might Think.
Took some inspiration from the ongoing WWF Magazine recaps on the BOD, and remembered that I had this in my possession (not for long…as of this writing you can purchase it from my eBay store at jmfabianorpl, with other wrestling goods and more! Jeter421 on Half.com has even more great items. Anyway…)
Back when I started being a wrestling fan, I had to have EVERYTHING related to the sport. The action figures, the books, videos, I had to be around when anything even resembling wrestling was on television and I watched it ALL. And of course, there were the magazines. Like others, I started with the WWF Magazine, but then as I discovered other companies on TV, I took notice of other titles on the newsstand…especially those coming from Bill Apter and “TV Sports.” Yes, the trinity of The Wrestler, Inside Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling Illustrated especially…though I liked many of Apter’s side publications such as Wrestling ‘8x/’9x, Wrestling Superstars, and why I am here today, Sports Review Wrestling.
SRW really didn’t have anything that jumped out at you like the other Apter mags did…for example, Inside’s strengths included One on One (a phone conversation between rivals); Top 15 rankings, instead of the usual 10, for the major companies and a roll call of champions; and a “Where are they now?” page. PWI had arena reports, “breaking” news, and full-color centerfolds. SRW seemed to mostly be straight news most of the time. Wrestling Superstars, while one of the B-listers, still had monthly dream matches, complete with storylines (such as a masked Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake assaulting Sting and Davey Boy Smith; El Gigante taking Andre the Giant’s mainstream popularity, causing the latter to get in bodybuilder’s shape for one big blowout; and the Road Warriors having a singles match competition for a car, ending inevitably in them facing each other). However, more often than not, the other magazines would get something interesting, and the September 1988 SRW was no exception, as you can tell from the cover. For this issue, the writers would attempt to guess what way the wrestling world would go in the next 10 years. I am a sucker for this kind of thing, and love revisiting the fans’ predictions in the year-end PWIs. So I had to have a look at this article and some of the things it foresaw. I expected far-fetched weirdness and got some, but I must tell you…some of SRW’s predictions actually weren’t as far off from the truth as you may think…
So, we start out with the bold prediction that a major corporation would take over the NWA by 1993, helping it compete with the WWF and even surpass it. Coca-Cola (which would have lost Columbia Pictures years ago) and MCA (which would lose Universal in a couple of years) are named…BUT…we know how things really went down. As the NWA would be purchased by Ted Turner, rebrand itself WCW, and would of course become a part of Time Warner eventually. Now the article is 5 years off with the year of the purchase, which would actually be coming within months. However, think about this: 1993 was when Eric Bischoff came to power, and though it took some more time, he would be the one in power when WCW did overtake the WWF. And hey, the article is off by just one year as far as when that really happened. You could even stretch things and say 1995 was the debut of Nitro, which was a catalyst in WCW becoming number one.
Next prediction involves “Sean” McMahon, Vince’s son (typo? Misinformation? DIDN’T KNOW BUT CAME REALLY, CLAIRVOYANTLY CLOSE?!!?), taking over the WWF by 1997. Either that or you can say another Sean (or Shawn) was practically family with Vince by then, of course, being favored in the Montreal Screwjob and pretty much being allowed to get away with anything and, well, practically running the joint. Name play aside, the dates again are still not that far off, and competition with WCW would indeed push the WWF harder, all the way into the Attitude Era, as the prediction states. As for the prime-time comedy-drama, isn’t that one of the things they insist/insisted Raw and Smackdown are? Then again, the XFL was pretty unintentionally comedic…but that was years off anyway. This column also predicts that “Sean” will make WrestleMania 14 the first to be held in outer space…yeah, let’s pretend that SRW was actually seeing Steve Austin beginning the company’s rise into the stratosphere for the next 3 years.
OK bear with the blurriness here. We have Michael Jackson signing a 10-year contract with the WWF in 1992 after doing an album of standards with Frank Sinatra. MJ would be getting $50 million and by 1994 would primarily serve as a manager who loads his sequined glove to pass to his wrestlers. I could simply say “no, but both would be dealing with PR scandals at the time.”
The Road Warriors were predicted to break up in 1990 and become singles wrestlers, only to feud when both Animal and Hawk wanted Paul Ellering for a manager. They would have a one-on-one match at Great American Bash ’91 or Starrcade ’91 and cripple each other, ending both their careers, so the article said. Now, any LOD partings in the ‘90s happened with whimpers (their split in 1992 when Hawk left the WWF; the teased feud in 1998 that was abandoned for the formation of LOD 2000…sup, Russo?). Interestingly enough, Bash ’91 did feature a grudge match between the former members of a long-standing NWA/WCW tag team in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express. And Starrcade of that year ended with a confrontation with ex-friends Sting and Lex Luger, in the Battlebowl finals.
Steve DiSalvo will be NWA world champion in 1993, managed by Harley Race, and he’ll run rampant until losing the title to Owen Hart in ’94. The closest level of infamy DiSalvo achieved was becoming the first, or one of the first, IWC internet memes in 1991. But a dominant world champion in NWA/WCW, managed by Race and dominating throughout 1992-94, sound familiar? Also, Owen DID use the Sharpshooter/Scorpion Death Lock as a finisher, like someone’s arch rival during his tenure in WCW.
When making a predictions article, Apter always loved to throw in a tease that Hulk Hogan would be turning rulebreaker. This was no exception, as the writers saw Hogan beating Brutus Beefcake for the Intercontinental Title in ’93, then going to the NWA…to join the Four Horsemen. Again, SRW was a few years ahead, but we all know that this basically happened with Hogan returning to his heel roots with a new elite group in the company. And hey, Hogan did leave the WWF in 1993, although it took time for him to first show up in WCW.
Other predictions made in the column included: Larry Zbyszko getting his own talk show on WWF TV and beating the Ultimate Warrior for the I-C title; Elizabeth beating Wendi Richter in a 26-minute classic in ’94 to become WWF Women’s Champion; and Nick Bockwinkel coming out of retirement and regaining the AWA title in the mid ‘90s. (Well, the latter can be likened to a certain legend winning the #3 company’s world title, on their first pay per view…)
So Sports Review Wrestling…second coming of Nostradamus, or not worth the $1.75 it cost? You decide…