I took a break from wrestling from 93 until the summer of 97(and was only a kid before that) so there are a few questions I have that I was hoping you or the blog viewers could provide insight on.
1) Before Starrcade 97, I seem to remember Flair was supposed to face Hennig in a cage but that got changed to DDP vs Hennig shortly before the event. Was Flair legitimately injured? I seem to remember him wrestling Jericho shortly after Starrcade leading to Jericho's heel turn and I know he was at Souled Out vs Bret. Overall, it seems like they tried to make Starrcade as disappointing as possible
He definitely wasn’t injured. I think it was part of their ongoing plan to kill Flair off, which of course failed roughly 1800 times. He was “injured” in storyline, so that was the reasoning for switching to DDP at Starrcade. I will say that the program wasn’t really getting over anyway.
2) Sometime before Summerslam 97, I remember hearing on one of the WWF programs, likely Livewire or something minor that Vader was supposed to wrestle Sid. Any recollection? Sid was at KOTR 97 but nothing after so it seemed strange. Sure enough, it was never mentioned at the event and neither man had a different match.
No recollection of that here. Sid got into a pretty bad car accident after KOTR and that was pretty much it for him for a while, though.
3) Late 96 - Was there any hint of Bischoff joining the NWO before he was outed by Piper in-ring in November? I have a faint memory of him(maybe from Saturday Night, don't think it was on Nitro) being found somewhere outdoors with at least one NWO member beforehand leading to suspicion. Maybe this was just some wacky dream I had 19 years ago.
There was definitely no hint of it in advance.
4) Was the WCW International title thought of as a joke at the time or pretty legit? It does have lineage from the NWA belt and the titleholders were all very strong (Rude, Sting, Flair) I don't see it as being any worse than the two belts WWE had for years.
It was thought of as a total joke once Flair got it and it just became “The Big Gold Belt”. People pretty much considered it on the level of what the secondary titles are now. The unification between Flair and Sting was really no big deal.
5) When Luger took off about 2 months in late 91 - early 92 as champ, did they kayfabe explain why the 30 day rule was not enforced or was it just ignored? Also, what was the legit reason, guaranteed dates contract? I didn't think those existed at the time.
Yup, the legit reason was that Luger had a guaranteed dates contract and WCW literally booked him for too many shows. They also did that with Sting in 96, which is part of the reason why he was sitting around in the rafters for much of the year. As far as I remember, on TV they basically said he was training for Sting, and the 30 day rule was never really addressed.