Friday, May 8, 2015

Luger's WWF run and why it failed as heel and face.

Scott,

In the King Lear rant you wrote (copying and pasting from the Scott Sez version):

"Well, now Hogan was gone and fans needed another reason to care. Want an example of what I mean? Take Bob Holly, for instance. When he started in the WWF, he was called "Sparky" Thurman Plugg, which is a semi-clever play on "STP" and "spark plug". Hah hah, right? But just looking at that gimmick, do you cheer him or boo him? And why?  (You boo him because he's a dick, although we didn't know how much of one at that point.)  
It was that "why" that really got to the fans. Because Vince would just keep sticking guys out there with silly names and silly costumes and pretty soon no one cared anymore. Vince produced the evil martial artist Kwang, who didn't get a reaction because he didn't do anything particularly evil. So he repackaged him as the good Caribbean legend Savio Vega, and again he didn't get much of a reaction because he didn't do anything particularly good. Vince, ironically, was the last to "get it". The fans were asking "Why should we boo a plumber? Why should we cheer a garbageman? Why should even bother to care one way or another about Jerry Lawler's evil dentist?" The WWF's answer was basically "Because we told you so" and that's where it all went bad. (Doesn't THAT sound familiar?) "

You know which guy this point really reminded me of (and yes I know this was a few years before the period you're talking about in the rant)?

This reminded me of Lex Luger's entire WWF run- and largely for the same reasons for both his heel and face runs.

They bring him in as The Narcissist and don't give him any character development beyond "He's a guy who loves to look at himself in the mirror".

He didn't do anything particularly bad, and didn't really get any mic time to build himself up as any kind of character. He just posed a lot in front of his mirror and knocked guys out with his STEEL FOREARM OF DESTRUCTION AND EXTREME UNCOMFORT!

How is that supposed to make me want to boo the guy? If I had the abs of Lex Luger circa 1992 I'd probably be kind of narcissistic, too!

Okay, so obviously that gimmick wasn't getting him any heel heat, so with Hogan gone they hit the panic button and abruptly (very abruptly!) turned him face, had him slam Yokozuna, and stick him on a bus to kiss hands and shake babies in an attempt to make him Hulk Hogan 2.0.

And that ultimately failed too, because for all the effort they put into pushing him (at least this time he got over to some degree) they again didn't do anything to develop him as a character or give him any kind of reason for kids (or anyone) to particularly give a damn about him beyond the fact that he loves MURICA instead of himself now.

So they stuck him in a heatless mid card tag-team with another guy who wasn't able to get over.

The difference between Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger was that Hulk Hogan had character and charisma, and could make a 12 year old really believe in him and care about whatever feud he happened to be in at the time.

Yes, the fact that they booked Luger to win SummerSlam 1993 against Yokozuna by count out (?) didn't help him any, but even a world title run wouldn't have saved the gimmick.

I'm not sure I agree 100% with your detective work there, Lou. I think Luger's big push was working just fine once they focused on the Made in the USA aspect and gave him the bus and everything, but it was specifically building to him winning the World title and once he failed at that everything else became aimless.  You can say a lot of things against the gimmick in hindsight, but at the time this wasn't a Daniel Bryan situation where there was someone else fans were screaming to be champion more than Luger.  Yeah, that became Bret Hart later on, but people were more than ready for Luger to win that belt and accept him as champion.  

233 comments:

  1. MaffewOfBotchamaniaMay 8, 2015 at 7:07 AM

    Luger question on the blog?

    Take a shot!

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  2. Most NXT talent are making between $25,000 and $50,000 a year. The high end is for the women and the big name Indy stars.

    Florida ranks on the low end of the U.S. cost of living. I live in one of the highest cost of living states in the country and when I was a single-income household making about $27,000 a year, I made it work fine. It was not some fanciful and luxurious existence, but I never had to worry about my bills being paid, my fridge being full, my car having gas, etc. and I had all the creature comforts of the Internet, video games, going out to dinner every now and again, a nice savings, etc.

    If the NXTers are good with money, I think they're doing just fine. NXT rarely travels outside the Central FL area and when they do, we have no way of knowing what they are or aren't spotted or reimbursed for. When guys go on the road to do a Raw match like Charlotte or Zayn, we again don't know what costs Triple H ate to get those people the exposure and experience. Maybe none, but maybe some. Maybe a lot.

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  3. I think he should have won the belt, but I think what killed him even more was just how happy and satisfied he was after he won by count out at Summerslam. They had a PARTY in the ring because he won by count out.

    Had the same result happened and Luger was a bit annoyed by it and vows to get his rematch even if the contract says he can't, plows through Yoko's buddies, wins the Rumble (on his own, no Bret) and then wins the title at Wrestlemania I think it still could have worked.

    But everyone was just so "Mission Accomplished" at Summerslam when he just came off like a goof...... it just kind of killed the whole thing.

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  4. I still don't get not having Luger /Bret the main event at mania. It would have been a better match obviously but also you can take it one of two ways Bret wins and lex raises his hand putting the lex fans behind bret. or turn Lex heel and set up another feud that has actually been building for a while anyway.

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  5. That's a really good point. Even having Yoko screw him over would've worked better than him grinning like an idiot with a countout win.

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  6. Jeremy RinehartMay 8, 2015 at 7:29 AM

    They built him up to win the title at SummerSlam, and when he choked (as usual), the air went out of the balloon.

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  7. He was introduced at Royal Rumble 93 as being "better than perfection" so you'd think there would have been a feud with Hennig, but they get what, one match at Wrestlemania 9, which Luger wins, and the feud switches to Hennig/Michaels before the show even ends...this all happens months before the face turn, the bus, and the countout win at Summerslam...almost like Luger was set to fail in the WWF from day 1

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  8. Jeremy RinehartMay 8, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    With hindsight, him not winning the title at SummerSlam was an incredibly stupid move

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  9. They also set up a Bret/Luger feud that weekend. I don't think they set him up to fail at all.

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  10. It looked they were setting Luger up for Bret since he knocked him the day at Wrestlemania 9, but it never really got very far.

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  11. Jeremy RinehartMay 8, 2015 at 7:39 AM

    Bret did quite a few house show jobs to Luger, but that was it

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  12. Knuckleberry PinnMay 8, 2015 at 7:42 AM

    Didn't that pay per view setup Michaels vs Perfect as well? And, the fact that that weekend's festivities set up Bret vs Luger shows just how abruptly Hogan interjected himself into the title scene.

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  13. Knuckleberry PinnMay 8, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    The timing was also weird. At that time, if a big face was winning the WWE Championship, it was at Mania. The only face to not do this in fact was Bret when they hit the panic button in the midst of the steroid controversy.

    However, Luger's bus tour led in to Summerslam. So they're probably thinking that if Luger wins the belt and conquers Yoko, it's gotta be at Mania. So they needed a way to prolong things, but it just resulted in the fan consensus that Luger choked.

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  14. or at least led to a cage match where the fat guy can't fall out of the ring

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  15. I was a huge wrestling mark at the time and I was willing to swallow any type of propaganda WWF threw my way, but even I had trouble getting behind the Lex Luger push. I think with the benefit of hindsight and Scott's 93 Raw reviews makes it clear on why it was hard to like Lex and it was the little things like instead of winning matches to earn a title shot, he was doing boring promos and bus tours.

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  18. He has that Randy Orton you know he is a dick ...you can just tell. so if you try and pushing as clean cut all american baby face it's going to feel at least off..if not out right fail

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  19. Hmmmmm, that IS more than the NXTers make now.

    But are apron powerbombs or the ability to do them helpful in this line of work?

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  20. Ric Flair was part of the steroid controversy?

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  21. The original plan was for him to come in as Lex Luger, two sport athlete attempting to qualify for the luge competition in Lillehammer.

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  22. Knuckleberry PinnMay 8, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    well, funny enough, even though he wouldn't be a guy you associated with steroids, he openly writes in his book that he took roids during his wwf run, so he would have failed a test.

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  23. It didn't help that over the course of 6 - 7 years between NWA/WCW and WWF, he had already had three

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  24. It's one of the enduring mysteries as to why Luger did not win the title. I've never heard a good reason or understanding for it.

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  25. I think Vince just simply thought a patriotic bodybuilder was the best thing ever and having him chase the title for six months and win it at MSG at Wrestlemania would have put him over huge. He just didn't expect that Luger's popularity wouldn't sustain itself for that long without him actually winning the title.

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  26. I was the same. I was a Bret fan at the time but I was completely on board with Luger going into Summerslam. Once he failed to win I just lost interest in him because as a Canadian a guy who's entire character is based on being a proud muscular American just didn't keep my interest.

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  27. Knuckleberry PinnMay 8, 2015 at 8:09 AM

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  28. According to a shoot Luger did some years ago, he WAS supposed to win the belt at SummerSlam, but "certain people" who were playing their own political games in the WWF talked Vince out of it shortly before the show. (He never said who, but said that it's obvious when you see who benefitted in the long run.)

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  29. Bret and Owen?

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  30. Wrong. Luger was going to win the belt at SS, but he got screwed over behind-the-scenes.


    There was never any plan for Luger to win it at WMX. Even before the Royal Rumble, Vince told Luger to his face he wasn't winning the belt at Mania. His being in a World Title match at Mania was just to promote interest and buyrates.

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  31. PATRICKisLEGENDMay 8, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    ... or maybe Luger TRYING to get Yoko back in the ring... maybe realizing he made a mistake.

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  32. I know he's died and a lot of guys talk reverently about Yokozuna as a worker, but he was really boring and I can't think of a match other than maybe the WM9 Bret match that I enjoyed. It was 20 minute matches where half of them were nerve holds. For whatever reason, Vince just loved him - huge frame and jingoism I guess?

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  33. A GOOD reason...

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  34. I remember being bummed that the Narcissist gimmick was dropped, too. Looking back (fantasy booking alert!) giving Lex the monster heel push that Yokozuna got would have been great with him just knocking guys out left and right with his steel arm. That thing was a pretty good heat magnet. You can literally insert Luger into every situation Yokozuna was in through WMX. I would have him beat Hogan at Summerslam to win the belt and just run from there.

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  35. He was pretty easy to get into as a mark kid - he was huge and I didn't see how anyone could beat him.

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  36. "they again didn't do anything to develop him as a character or
    give him any kind of reason for kids (or anyone) to particularly give a
    damn about him beyond the fact that he loves MURICA instead of himself
    now."

    You must've missed the ENDLESS "Who Is Lex Luger?" interview videos they played over, and over, and over, and over again in an attempt to get him over as a face. My older brother and I still joke about how we thought those things went on for hours.

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  37. His match and celebration with Mabel are fantastic!

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  38. The whole premise of this email is flawed - there were plenty of reasons to boo Lex Luger.
    1) His whole character was an unlikable jerk who loved himself too much
    2) He was associated with Heenan
    3) He knocked people out with an illegal steel forearm (CHEATER!!!)
    4) He'd stall and preen before every jobber match, still posing and looking in the mirror. Putting himself way above his competition.


    Trust me, he was booed. He had heat. The gimmick was fine - it was just a slick version of his pretty good heel character from WCW.


    I feel like these modern fans think the only"character development" that can happen is 20 minute arguments with the authority figures behind the action.

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  39. Steve Austin lived off potatoes, Al Snow ate convenience store sandwiches he heated up on the engine of his car, Jericho lived off of gas station food, Hall, as Razor Ramon, was eating cans of tuna (although probably spending food money on drugs)....guys these days aren't getting rich but it could be worse.

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  40. Narcissist was a great gimmick. They dropped it way too soon.


    Considering the lack of any good heels they had, in 94-95, he would have been much better in that role.

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  41. The only thing wrong with the gimmick was the name. Hard to spell and say for the rubes.

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  42. Cabana made an interesting point in the recent shoot they did about developmental. He said he can't understand why they don't have an endorsement deal with some type of protein shake/powder company to help some of those guys get what they need. He also told a story of people literally hiding under the ring to eat because Al Snow would give these 6 and 7 hours lectures and when you are trying to keep the kinds of bodies some of those guys are they need to eat every couple of hours.

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  43. My little brother was into him, but I also was bored. I started tuning out around the time he became champion.

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  44. There's this weird revisionism among fans who are often too young to even be able to remember stuff. Yokozuna was crazy over a s a heel.(In fact the only 'problem' was that WWF was used to running with faces as World Champion, and having heels as transitional champions).


    Narcissist was crazy over as a heel. Made in the USA Lex Luger was crazy over as a face.


    Vince would probably sell his nuts today if it meant that guys like Rollins and Reigns could get the kind of reactions Yokozuna and Luger used to get. (Well Reigns does get a big heel reaction, but...)

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  45. All good points, and one more to the list: what is this "promo time"? WWF didn't give people 20 minutes to talk on TV in 1993. You had 2-3 minute interviews and a butt load of event center/face-to-face promos to advertise local shows. He got plenty of time to talk, and he was an arrogant jerk. Sometimes the best character development is simple and to the point. Did Narcissist Lex need layers?

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  46. Maybe if he had pointed to his shoulders and said 'NO! NO!' modern fans would think he was over......?

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  47. I didn't care that much for the No/Yes aspect of Daniel Bryan's character. I like him because he's an outstanding worker.

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  48. Yeah, but that doesn't mean he's a draw.


    Who are the biggest draws of all time? Hogan, Andre, Austin, Rock

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  49. Never said he was. He's about as good of a draw as Lex Luger was for WWF.

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  50. Yeah, right...........:)

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  51. It was almost a joke how lop-sided face/heel alignments became. In the summer of '95, you had Bret, Shawn, Diesel, Razor, Taker, and Lex as faces, and for heels... Sid. Mabel. Double J. Bulldog was turned out of necessity.

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  52. And don't forget his patented 'pinkie pin.' The Narcissist was a great heel, they just didn't have anything for him besides the Perfect feud. I always thought they pulled the plug on it too soon.

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  53. And no state income tax in Florida, which is part of why cost of living is so low.

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  54. Yep. The Narcissist Lex Luger and the Total package Lex Luger was basically the same character with the only differences being new tights and a mirror. Lex was always good at getting heel heat. He was good as a face too. He shoud've had a face run as WCW champ in the early 90s and definitley after they went all in with the Made in the USA thing.

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  55. Supposedly house show attendances were ticking upward going into SummerSlam, so a decision was made to put off Luger's title win until the "time was right" (which in wrestling is almost always "never") and house shows needed a spark again. The WWF of '92 and '93 were doing things it had never done before, like having a babyface "chase" the title.

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  56. I take it back. Bryan is probably a better draw than Luger's flop run of 93-94. Luger's house show numbers were pretty weak, but to be fair, he was mostly programmed with Ludvig Borga. Try drawing crowds with that main event.

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  57. Sad to break it to you, but Bryan is not a draw. he's a guy who always gets a great reaction from the live crowd, but as a draw he's not much.

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  58. When did I ever say he was a draw? I said he's about as much of a draw as Luger was for WWF. A non-factor.

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  59. Except Luger was a factor.

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  60. The WWF took too long to pull the trigger with Luger. Let's accept that Vince did not want him to win the belt at Summerslam. But making the fans wait until Wrestlemania was just too long. Luger won his title match by countout. Usually when someone wins a title match by countout they usually demand another title match on the basis that if circumstances were different he would have won the championship. However after Luger won the Summerslam match by countout there was nothing. No demands for another title shot, no nothing, he just moved on, expecting people to want to see him win the title at Wrestlemania. They would have better off if they built up a match for a special edition of Monday Night Raw within a month or two of Summerslam where Luger would have finally beaten Yokozuna for the WWF title. Instead Lex Luger came off as an apathic geek. If a wrestler does not act like he wants the WWF world championship why should the fans want that wrestler to win the WWF world championship?

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  61. How? They pushed him down fans throats for 6 weeks to hype SummerSlam, and the buyrate was nothing special. Then he works a weak house show program that wasn't much of a draw to finish up the year. After that, Luger was a total after-thought, feuding with midcarders Crush, Tatanka, and further buried into a go-nowhere tag team with Davey Boy.

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  62. The time Luger was on top, ticket sales rose, merchandise sales rose. tv ratings rose. When he was taken off top, ticket sale fell, merchandise sales fell, tv ratings fell. Do the math.

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  63. I think Luger failed for 3 reasons: First and least, his workrate after his motorcycle accident noticeably sucked, and he never recovered. Then, his Made in the USA bus riding celebrating with Santa for Murica super cheesy gimmick. 1993 was bad timing for that. The cable Beavis & Butthead entertainment generation was off, and shocking that Vince would take 5 years to be forced to catch on. And, of course, Lex never won the big one. We're more sensitive now to noticing when wrestlers purposely are or aren't getting the wins that matter, but still. When you're hyped constantly and you end up not being the guy, you might as well just leave.

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  64. Cena vs Orton,one more timeMay 8, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    "I can't even imagine how the poor NXT geeks eat from week to week with what THEY make. "


    Ramen noodles,just like in college.

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  65. Good point on the Face overload in '95.

    Surely they must have considered turning Lex or even Razor at that point?

    Shawn's turn happened by accident really but they had no choice due to Mania 11. I also think the Shawn turn was the big warning flare that one of the two other top guys was turning soon (I think they probably wanted it to be Bret but ended up being Nash).

    Taker didn't really count as you always had the title feud and the Taker feud back then.

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  66. He was OK. It was weird because for the entire Hogan era basically the face was on top, everybody goes home happy. Of all the heels to break that streak with a long run with the title, it is Yokozuna of all people. He was a good placeholder while Vince was dealing with the steroid nonsense and while they were figuring out who should be the next "guy," which...in turn ended up being the guy Yokozuna first beat for the title anyway.



    At the very least, he was a credible champion. Who the heck was going to beat him?

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  67. In his book, Bob Holly said that Flair, Undertaker and someone else I can't remember flat out refused to take the test in the mid-00's. He said that HHH, Batista and Cena were all tested b/c he was in line with them but that he was doubtful that their results were truthful.

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  68. Reminds me of the Celebrity Jeopardy sketch. "The answer was Don't Do Anything and you did something." In this case, almost anything would've been better and they did nothing.

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  69. I think I've heard there being a plan to turn Razor after Mania 11. ther than more choking, he never really changed his ring-style to accommodate being face, so it woul

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  70. Limited travel expenses, and living at home most of the time. And the E pays for their apartments. And they can do all their workouts from the performance center, so no gym memberships. So they don't need as much to make it. And if someone from that roster is getting called to work Raw or Smackdown tapings, it's probably a separate piece of coin from their NXT money.

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  71. The Love-Matic Grampa!May 8, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    I still think Luger winning the belt at Summerslam and then immediately turning heel by revealing that the "Lex Express" deal was a scheme to play off the crowds' xenophobia and con his way to the title would have been a great storyline.

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  72. Flair was pretty out of shape/insecure about his body at the time so I could see him using back then. Undertaker got in great shape around that time to.

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  73. I never thought of that, but that's great. It wouldn't be a stretch for him to play it either since that's essentially what he was doing.

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  74. Shelton BenjaminMay 8, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    I seem to remember hearing that the NXT people get some perks. Housing?


    Or maybe relocation costs?


    Whatever it is, I recall hearing that their pay actually goes farther than it otherwise would for whatever reasons.

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  75. No wonder Austin's gut looked like a potato

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  76. The Titan Sinking book said there were plans to turn Razor heel and wrestle Undertaker at WM11, to the point that they actually filmed vignettes. Too bad that didn't happen because that would have been awesome. Then push Razor to Nash at SS95

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  77. I'm pretty sure everyone was using then. Occasionally some undercard geek would get punished and take the fall, to show how the Testing was legit. Meanwhile HHH, Batista and Cena carried on untouched.

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  78. I thought WM killed him from jump street ... Bret had figured him out and it took some Fuji Salt to beat him, then jobs like a punk to Hogan seconds later? I know he beat Hogan down good at KotR but still ...

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  79. I went back to school this fall and had to cut out some things that weren't necessities. Without the $100 membership to the fancy gym, $100 monthly in supplements and however much I spent on daily protein bars and fish/chicken I lost 30lbs in two months. I can't imagine how much these guys have to invest in just maintaining the body they're expected to have.

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  80. Speaking of Mania 9... It's not a "Great" match, but Bret/Yoko is a much better match than I think most give credit. It's perfect David vs. Goliath. I guess the cheap finish and Hogan stuff that followed killed it for everyone.

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  81. No. What killed it was that neither guy was really over at that point. WWF went from Savage-Flair as the World Title main events to....


    Bret Hitman Hart? And business dropped. And Yokozuna had only been in the WWF a few months at that time.

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  82. I meant match quality, not drawing. Nothing was going to pop the buyrate for Mania 9 with the pieces WWF had available. Bringing Hogan back to bring in casuals who stopped watching during the scandals of 91-92 just reminded the remaining fans how out of place he was in the "new" WWF, going through a weird transition trying to find it's next big draw.

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  83. Has there ever been a wrestler that choked in the big match more than Luger? Batista might be a close second

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  84. I promise you that obody cared what his "workrate" was in 1993 or even now. WAY too much emphasis in this community is put on something that most of the audience has proven isnt a factor in who they cheer and boo.

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  85. Everybody wants to know what's wrong with Lex Luger. There's nothing wrong with Lex Luger. What's wrong is bloodsucking leeches like Mr Fuji and and overstuffed, sushi-eating, rich chomping wrestler we called a champion! He was a disgrace to the World Wrestling Federation!

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  86. There was a stipulation that that would be his only shot, Cornette tried to keep him out of the Rumble on that basis

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  87. I love when Edge asked Batista why he kept getting title shots. Kinda when the heel was in the right

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  88. When Luger came in to the WWF I remember thinking it should have been a big deal given his standing down in the NWA/WCW, but that the Narcissist gimmick was pure midcard dreck. When he made the surprise turn and slammed Yokozuna it really felt like they were only running with him because Hogan was gone. So I think to fans like myself it felt like a desperation move, while to the more loyal WWF fans (who hadn't followed Luger's career prior to the WWF) it was a random turn by a random midcarder. They cheered a bad guy turning good, but they didn't feel any emotional connection to it. Then all the Lex Express stuff to get him over was pure cornball cheese. Had it gone on, and had Luger won the belt, I think fans would have turned on it.

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  89. I'm curious as to where you're getting the data on this. I can't find 1993/94 ratings anywhere, nor merchandise sales figures. You work in Stamford?

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  90. Debating the booking of 1993 Lex Luger is not too far off from Abe Simpson yelling at a cloud.

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  91. No.


    I actually think he was the worst champ ever (that actually held the belt for a decent amount of time).


    Even Diesel's reign was way more tolerable for me as a fan.

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  92. Luger and Martel would have been an amusing, if incredibly obnoxious team

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  93. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    Agreed. When I was 10 yrs old in 93, I loved Crush, Tatanka, Papa Shango, Razor, Hart, and Michaels. But nowhere in there did it register to me which ones were having the best technical matches

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  94. I totally agree. At least Vader, a super heavyweight like Yoko, had good matches

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  95. Yoko as champ sent me back to WCW

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  96. Bret was my favorite and nobody was a close second. I was sooooo pissed when Bret didn't beat Yoko for the title on the Survivor Series showdown

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  97. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:00 AM

    I never thought he was interesting. The silent killer thing works just fine if you have a guy cutting his promos, but he wasn't particularly intimidating looking either. Whereas the 10 year old me thought guys like Vader and Sid looked terrifying, Yoko just looked fat. He wasn't booked like a killer or anything, just a guy you didn't want to sit on you. He was terribly boring and the fact that WWF didn't have a clearly defined top babyface to chase him didn't help things.

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  98. As a kid, Vader scared me. I thought he was trying to kill people. The way he annihilated Nikita Koloff shocked me. Yoko on the other hand, was fat, slow and boring.

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  99. I forgot about that part. But still they should of had him campaign for one more shot. Luger just accepting the result made him come across as if he didn't really care.

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  100. Yoko came off as beatable while Vader was a freaking heartless killer

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  101. Bret beating Yoko at WMX is my favorite moment in wrestling

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  102. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    Luger had a proven record of playing a strong heel, and he did that without the help of Bobby Heenan as his manager. The Narcissist thing could have been great if Luger was pushed as top heel. The pretentious entrances and elitist prick character were perfect for him and would have been ideal as the contrast to "everyman" Bret Hart. But they were more interested in pushing the big fat foreigner instead. If Yoko is out of the way, Lex would have been great as a dominant heel being built up to take down humble family man Bret Hart (if he stays champ from WM9 on).

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  103. After luger's failure in WWE he decided to become a super hero called Captain Planet and had five devoted teenagers as fan and always came to there rescue when they cried Earth, fire, wind, Water and Hart!!!

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  104. In retrospect I liked how he seemed like a different kind of martial artist, doing sumo spots instead of typical chop socky stuff. As a kid I dont remember ever being afraid of him. And as a chubby dark haired 90s kid he was the bane of my fucking existence.

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  105. Yes. he was a big, scary looking guy. Before his weight got really out of hand, he could actually move.


    Of course, which is more believable, a guy putting a hold on another guy, or a guy doing a rana to another guy? Yoko actually made it look legit. You've got a huge fat guy, why the fuck should he be doing sunset flips?

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  106. It was WCW's favorite moment too, as it sent lots of fans from the WWF over there.

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  107. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Precisely. Plus, he was managed by another cartoon character in Mr. Fuji. They came off as a mid-card act and nothing more.

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  108. Yeah Bret was the best. When his music hit you knew that it was ON.

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  109. Whenever his music hit, the only thing that was ON was me. On the can.

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  110. Duke Nukem was a tougher opponent for Captain Planet aka Lex Luger than Yokozuna ever was, Hogan and Hart woulnt have stood a chance again him, but Luger managed to beat him countless times......

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  111. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    Yeah, that's the thing. It wasn't like the Hogan days where you wanted to see the heel get his. There was no more Hogan, they had moved away from Bret Hart as a legit top guy (for the moment), and didn't pull the trigger on Luger. I'm all for putting the dominant heel over guys to build him up for the big payoff, but they didn't have that new "Guy" set up yet. By Mania 10, it was just WWF reverting back to Bret, which was the right call, but it felt more like a "reset" than the end of an actual story arc.

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  112. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    How I would book Luger in '93. . .


    Rumble '93: strong showing in the Rumble match, tossing a bunch of dudes out effortlessly. Gets cocky, gets eliminated by Tatanka, setting up an insta-feud for Mania 9.


    WMIX: Luger beats Tatanka clean in the middle with a Torture Rack, ending Tatanka's "unbeaten streak" nonsense. Tatanka passes out to stay the tough guy, but Luger gets a "holy shit" moment by actually beating a popular babyface clean. Bret retains against Yokozuna, because fuck Hulkamania in 1993.


    KOTR '93: Luger beats Duggan, Crush, and Perfect (in that order) to win the KOTR tournament. Big pretentious celebration to close the show. WWF Champion Bret Hart isn't in the tourney; he beats Lawler to retain ("Champion vs. King" theme).


    SummerSlam '93: Bret vs. Luger, WWF Title. Lex is the unbeatable heel who we want to see humbled by the everyman fighting champion. Bret taps him out with the Sharpshooter, Heenan berates him, Lex turns on Bobby and racks him for a face turn. In following weeks, Luger goes solo and says he was humbled at SummerSlam and needs to get back to his roots. Start the all-American thing here, as Lex wants to get the fans back on his side.


    Survivor Series '93: Luger leads the "All-Americans" vs. Yokozuna's "Foreign Fanatics".

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  113. You wouldn't believe the hate Luger gets from Crockett fans. It's "Luger was lazy" to "Luger never had a good match" to "Luger was a bum." Elizabeth's death really tarnished how people remember him, but 1988-1999 and 1995-early 1996 Luger was pretty awesome.

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  114. I would have had Luger come in as the arrogant prick he was in 1989. At SummerSlam, Luger cheats to win the title. For Survivor Series, go Team Bret vs. Team Luger. At the Rumble, Luger defends (and defeats thanks to interference) Randy Savage or Undertaker. Bret wins the Rumble match. At WMX, Bret regains the title.

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  115. Luger was an all time great heel

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  116. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    Starting at SummerSlam '93:
    - Put Bret over Lawler clean with the Sharpshooter to blow off that feud. Start Bret back toward the title. Go with Luger winning the title clean from Yokozuna, with the full ticker-tape treatment....then Lex cuts a scathing promo calling the fans "gullible" and the WWF stupid for believing he would actually want to be the new "Real American". He doesn't care about being a hero or about "doing it for the kids", he cares about the gold being around his waist. Have him just completely run down the fans to the point that the ring fills with garbage, ala nWo in '96. He says he knew the WWF suits would never give him his shot as "the Narcissist", so he seized the opportunity aboard the ship, and he slammed Yoko. He created the false image of "All-American" because he knew the fans would DEMAND he get a shot at Yokozuna. All the WWF babyfaces are AGHAST at his actions and guys like Crush, Tatanka, Steiners, etc. take their turns against him. Luger retains against all of them, until Bret Hart is the last remaining babyface. Lex ducks him continuously, forcing Hart to win the Royal Rumble. Have Luger responsible for manipulating Owen against his brother, so that feud can still happen after Mania 10. Bret wins the Rumble, then beats Luger for the title at Mania X. Yoko can stomp out someone at Mania X to keep him a viable challenger (house show circuit vs. Bret?). Bret beats Luger in a re-match at KOTR '94 (champ vs. '93 KOTR), while Owen wins KOTR to build credibility. Hart vs. Hart at SummerSlam '94.

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  117. I could never figure out why people never attacked Yoko's knees. As a kid, that bugged me

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  118. How I would have done it differently.....


    SummerSlam 1993 Luger pins Yokozuna clean to win the WWF World Title.

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  119. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    I like it. I usually try to err on the side of a Wrestlemania main event not being a re-match, but I think it works well enough in that case. Bret winning the Rumble to earn his re-match works nicely

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  120. That is some really interesting fantasy booking, but I can't imagine they would have ever had Luger do that in 1993, a few years too soon for that.

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  121. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    Where do you go from there though? Lex would have been fine as top babyface for a while, but what headlines Wrestlemania X? Do you go face vs. face with Bret? They didn't really have any viable heels in summer '93, once Luger beats Yoko.

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  122. For things to really click, we need 1989 Luger, not the 1993 version

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  123. The one factor that everyone forgets is this:


    Bret Hart flopped as World Champion. Bret Hart never drew a dime. The "need" to somehow end up with babyface Bret Hart as World Champion negates the whole purpose of fantasy booking 1993-1994 to make it actually work.


    And Bret Hart was a much better heel than face anyway.

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  124. Turn Perfect

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  125. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:30 AM

    Yeah, I'm sure you're right. On one hand, I think it's risky, because 1993 WWF wasn't conditioned for that, but you were getting a heel champion anyway, in Yokozuna, and Bret Hart was right there to be the "real" top babyface. I wouldn't turn Luger while he was champion if not for Bret being right there to build up as his challenger

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  126. They did. You had guys like Bigelow. Or you could have done the "passing the torch" thing with the Macho Man.

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  127. In full agreement here. 1989 Luger ruled.

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  128. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    I'm no Bret Hart shill, but Bret's first title reign was not a measuring stick for anything. He wins the title unannounced at a house show, defends against a mid-carder (Shawn) in what was essentially an undercard match. He defends against another mid-carder at Rumble '93 (Razor). Then he loses in his first Mania title match and gets overshadowed by Hulk Hogan. That was it for his first title reign.


    Now, I agree with the point that Bret didn't "need" to be The Guy. All roads didn't need to lead back to Bret at all. He wasn't over to the point that the fans were demanding it or anything. I'm perfectly fine with going all-in on Lex Luger at SummerSlam '93, I just think they needed to make a big move to give him a top heel challenger for Wrestlemania X and beyond. Maybe you turn Bret Hart or Macho Man, maybe you continue with "evil foreigners" like Crush or Borga (who ended up hurt anyway). There just wasn't a strong heel on the roster at that point to put against Lex after he had already beaten Yoko

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  129. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:36 AM

    As the Wrestlemania X main event?

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  130. WWF could have turned Randy Savage in 1993. Savage cuts a promo saying all these guys who have not paid their dues are getting title matches, but he, a former two time WWF Champion is relegated to the announce table. Savage wins the Rumble, attacks Bret Hart multiple times leading to WrestleMania IX, then puts Bret over at Mania.

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  131. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Macho was probably the best option at that point, as a short-term fix for Mania X. I love Bigelow and he probably could have been built back up to main event status. Give him a big win at Mania X, put him over as KOTR '94, then do Luger vs. BamBam at SummerSlam '94?

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  132. Then you make one. Who bought Owen or Anvil as top heels?
    (Actually who bought those guys as top heels even when they were feuding in the main event in 1994?)


    If someone had told you in 1993 that Diesel vs Shawn Michaels would be the World Title match at WrestleMania 11, you would have thought they were mentally challenged.


    You build guys up.

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  133. No, turn him after SummerSlam and go with Perfect vs. Luger in the fall

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  134. If only this and Bret-Warrior at Rumble and Bret-Hogan st Summerslam...

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  135. So, you're saying putting Bigelow with a clown didn't send him to the main events :)

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  136. How is it possible that all of us here are better at booking the WWF in 1993 than Vince & Co. was?

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  137. Vince was tied up with the steroid trials and wasn't really doing much in terms of booking.

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  138. In fairness, WCW was pretty retched in 1993

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  139. If Bret had had THAT year, would that have made him a true draw?

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  140. But he could have said, "hey guys, this sucks"

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  141. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    Exactly. That's what I'm saying. There was no obvious top heel after Yoko, so they needed to make some moves to get some viable contenders. Luger would have been at least as good a top babyface as Bret Hart, if they had been willing to invest all-in on that. Totally agree on Neidhart and Owen not being viable World Title challengers. People will say, "Yeah, but they were better matches", but I counter with "you can still do all the Bret vs. family" feuds while Luger is world champion. Bret vs. Owen never needed the title anywhere near it; it worked as a personal grudge match feud.


    Honestly, I think you do Bret vs. Owen/Anvil through '94 and blow it off in the fall. Run World Champ Lex Luger vs. heels (Bigelow, Crush, etc) through the same period. Head into Survivor Series '94 with the Million Dollar Corporation trying to recruit both Lex Luger and Bret Hart. Tease a "who will turn?" kind of thing for months, with Dibiase and company stirring the pot between Lex and Bret. Then Bret wins the '95 Rumble and you have options for Mania 11: turn Luger as Corporate Champion during the run-up; keep them both faces throughout; have sympathetic babyface Bret Hart sell out and go Corporate.

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  142. Can't disagree there. For some odd reason I enjoy WCW Saturday Night for that entire year though. No idea *why* though.

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  143. If they leave the belt on Bret, build to Bret vs. Perfect at KOTR, Bret vs. Luger (1993 KOTR) for SummerSlam, then Team Bret vs. Team Luger at Survivor Series.

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  144. I liked 1993-1994 Saturday Night. It was fun

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  145. I liked Cheetum! :-)

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  146. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    haha. Perhaps not.

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  147. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    Oh gotcha. I can dig it.

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  148. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    Yeah absolutely. Book him as a dominant heel champ. Lex was awesome with the dickhead persona who could still beat up a Steamboat or Pillman.

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  149. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    He really was.

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  150. As time goes by, I hope people give Luger the credit he deserves

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  151. Was it dumb? Yeah, but it was fun, something the current product sorely lacks

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  152. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    Yeah, it really works so much better with Macho vs. Bret at Mania IX. Build Yoko up so that Hogan has someone to beat in a "special attraction". I'm good with Yoko only being used for that. Make Hart-Savage the title match, keep Hogan away from the belt.

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  153. Keep Yoko away from the belt, too. The two angriest wrestling memories are: 1. Shawn beats Bret at XII, 2. Yoko beats Bret/Hogan beat Yoko at IX. I was soooooooo pissed.

    I was far too much of a Bret Hart fan boy.

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  154. Luger suffered from the 1993 version of the push Roman Reigns got. If you're going to back this horse then back it and dont pull the carpet from under him.

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  155. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    I know Bret's title win being in Saskatoon was a cool "moment" for the people who were there, but I think you get more "bang" if he actually builds up to a Mania title win. Maybe give Bret a non-title win over Flair in Canada, just to show that Hart is "ready" and focused on the title. Then. . .


    Survivor Series '92: Macho & Perfect vs. Flair & Razor. Bret vs. Shawn is for the IC title they were already kind of feuding over (with the Bulldog loss).


    Macho wins the WWF Title from Flair at a big house show or something


    Rumble '93: Macho def. Flair, Title vs. Career, in the final blow-off of their '93 feud. Bret Hart wins the Rumble.


    WM IX: Bret def. Macho to win WWF Title. Build it as a "new era" kind of thing. Macho doesn't even have to go full heel or anything, just get the fans firmly in Bret's corner during the run-up. Bret wins it clean, Savage bows out gracefully endorsing the new generation of champ. Hogan beats Yoko just to placate his ego.

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  156. Oddly enough, one of my favorite memories is the Main Event(s) of Mania IX.

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  157. I agree way too much with you. Though I'm still a Bret fanboy when it comes down to it. Despite his book and revelations and tears in eyes.

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  158. He probably would have got the BOOtista reaction.

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  159. I'm not sure fans would have bought Bret challenging for the WWF Title at WrestleMania if he's not in the Survivor Series tag match. How about, Savage & Bret & Perfect vs. Flair & Ramon & Shawn in the main event. Bret pins Flair to get the win.

    At the '93 Rumble, Bret beats Flair for the title while Savage wins the Rumble.

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  160. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:56 AM

    I agree about Yoko. He didn't need the belt.


    WM9: Bret over Macho for the title. Hogan over Yoko to give them something to do.


    KOTR '93: Bret over Lawler (keep with the "new champ" vs. "veteran" thing and the "King" theme of the show). Focus on the KOTR tourney, with Luger winning it as a heel.


    SummerSlam '93: Bret over heel Luger to retain. Build it as the "new generation" of superstars, with no Hogan or Macho around anymore.


    If they insist on Yokozuna being a viable main event threat, spend the period from Mania 9 to 10 rebuilding him as unbeatable. He can win the '94 Rumble and challenge Bret at Wrestlemania X. When Hart beats the guy who only Hulk Hogan beat previously, his title reign is beyond a year at that point

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  161. I refuse to acknowledge an alternate universe where Hogan didn't "get the Jap, brother" on Bret Harts behalf.

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  162. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    Totally. They can continue the whole "unbeatable monster" trajectory with Yokozuna during that timeframe too, without making him the top guy. Build him up to be beaten by Bret at Mania X

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  163. I don't like Lawler challenging for the WWF title on a PPV since most of the country had never heard of him. I'd go with Bret defending against Perfect or even Hogan since KOTR was his last PPV

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  164. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    I love it. That six-man would have been an all-time classic too.


    I like the idea of Bret winning the title from Flair, then Savage taking exception because it was "his" title shot (after not getting his re-match from Flair). Macho wins the Rumble to prove he's still The Man, then Bret agrees to a title match for Mania

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  165. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 12:01 PM

    To an extent, yes. But people weren't actively rejecting Luger before his big title shot either

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  166. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    Yeah, but that Hogan match was never happening, unfortunately. If we are purely fantasy booking, yeah, Bret beating Hogan would have been preferable, but Hulk wasn't doing it. Bret vs. Perfect, WWF Title, is perfect though. Luger wins a KOTR tourney that doesn't include Hart or Hennig, so both of those guys would be fresh match-ups for Lex.

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  167. I mostly agree, which is why I noted least important. But, I do think even little kids can notice when a big clod is struggling to do anything physical, and I think Luger was at that point in 93.

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  168. Huh? Batista was a multi-time champion and had a couple of long runs with the belt (albeit interrupted by injuries). How was he a choker?

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  169. AverageJoeEverymanMay 8, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    sure it did, he was main eventing the same PPV the following year. LT saw what Bam Bam did to Doink and was determined to get at him next time he was in the area. LT bravely picked himself up out of the local crack house to make it to that show and confront Bam Bam.

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  170. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    Survivor Series '92: Bret def. Michaels to retain WWF Title. Macho & Perfect def. Flair & Razor


    Rumble '93: Bret def. Flair to retain WWF Title (Title vs. Career). Macho wins '93 Rumble.


    WM IX: Bret def. Savage to retain WWF Title (passing the torch kinda deal). Perfect def. Razor to blow-off that feud. Luger def. Tatanka


    KOTR '93: Bret def. Perfect to retain WWF Title. Luger wins KOTR Tournament. Yoko def. Hogan in a "grudge match"


    SummerSlam '93: Bret def. Luger to retain WWF Title. Yoko def. Crush (Crush slams Yoko on the carrier, but comes up short in the big match. He later joins Yoko & Fuji's evil foreigner group). Lex is humbled by Bret, turns on Heenan, goes All-American after SummerSlam.


    Survivor Series '93: The Hart Family def. The HartBreakers (Michaels, Diesel, & Quebecers). The All-Americans (Luger, Tatanka, Steiners) def. Foreign Fanatics (Yoko, Crush, & Headshrinkers).


    Royal Rumble '94: Yokozuna wins Royal Rumble. The Quebecers def. Hart Bros.


    Wrestlemania X: Bret vs. Yoko, WWF Title. Luger vs. Crush. Make a decision on Luger at this point. If he's the next "The Guy", then put Yoko over for the title and build to Yoko-Luger at SummerSlam '94. If Luger isn't getting the top spot, then have Bret retain at Mania X.

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  171. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 12:16 PM

    Booking-wise, the Ultimate Warrior kind of made out like a bandit by leaving at the times he did. He never had to return the huge Hogan or Savage jobs. Never lost to Andre, Undertaker, Jake, Flair, or any of the other high profile guys on PPV. His one big PPV job (Rude at WM5) was returned at SummerSlam. He really wasn't even used to put anyone over in '96 either. (Vader should have beaten him clean to build him for Shawn).

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  172. This is what I missed not watching wrestling until I was a teenager: I never got to be scared of monster heels.

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  173. Because there wasn't a Bryan around as an alternative. Bret wasn't nearly that over yet.

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  174. A heel has never left a WWF/WWE PPV at MSG with the world title. No way that ends in 1994.

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  175. In fairness, how many people "bought" (both literally and figuratively) Diesel/HBK as a viable WM Title Match? They couldn't even main event one of the weakest (and poorest selling) Wrestlemanias in history. I understand your point about building guys up, but this might not have been the best example to use.

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  176. I'll never understand how the struggling (to put it lightly) WWF didn't run a Title program with HBK vs. Warrior IMMEDIATELY after WM12. They did not have the luxury of time at that point, WCW was gaining serious momentum, the nWo was right around the corner, and ECW was firing on all cylinders. They needed a money match in the worst way possible and instead gave us HBK vs. Bulldog and Warrior vs. Jerry F'n Lawler. Patently insane.

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  177. At least they don't live live in a hick town working for an outdated store that barely pays the bills. Wife get to work!

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  178. I liked it too. It was a lot of fun from about 1992-1995.

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  179. Shelton BenjaminMay 8, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    2004 says hi

    *trollface*

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  180. Are the figures accurate that the NXT guys pull in $25k a year? Having lived on that salary once myself, I can tell you it is almost impossible to live in any reasonable degree of comfort on those wages.

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  181. Jericho always had a knack for leaving at the right time. He was the first underutilized WCW guy to jump to the WWF. He left in 2005 when they were really downplaying him. He comes back to a top spot in 2007, left when that started to die out, was able to come back to a Wrestlemania title match with Punk...and now he just kinda does what he wants.


    He's the opposite of Jeff Jarrett, who seemed to make the wrong moves at the wrong time. Was getting his biggest WWF push in 1995, leaves. Comes back, leaves a month later. Off to WCW, failed run for a year. Jumps back to the WWF and after finally finding a character that was working for him, jumps to WCW and gets himself blackballed.

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  182. I thought Bam Bam was going to be a killer when he destroyed Bossman in his re-debut. Then he just became another midcarder.

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  183. 2001/2002 Jericho is juiced to the gills.

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  184. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    haha. Good comparisons, especially Jarrett.

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  185. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    Yeah, I agree. They got basically ZERO bang for their Warrior Return buck. Either use him to put over HBK directly, or bring him in to sacrifice to Vader and/or Sid to get the next monster over for Michaels to beat

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  186. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    Here's a hypothetical. . . So let's say you know you've got Hulk Hogan committed through Wrestlemania X (after winning the belt at Wrestlemania 9). How do you proceed? Presumably the logical thing is to have him put over the next big thing, but how do you get there?

    - Heel Luger over Hogan at SummerSlam '93, en route to Luger jobbing to Bret at Mania X?
    - Hogan vs. Hart, face vs. face, at Wrestlemania X?

    - Hogan vs. Luger, face vs. face, at Wrestlemania X?
    - Something else?

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  187. That just shows how poorly booked Mania 9 was. Perfect/Luger was all over the weekend shows and hyped as equally as all the other notable angles leading into Mania. Then they just hit reset. Luger/Perfect branched off to Perfect/Shawn and Luger/Bret. Money Inc. went from Nasty Boys to the thrown-together match with Hulk and Friend, and then just jumped into a program with the Steiners without so much mentioning the Nasty Boys anymore. Undertaker started feuding with Mr. Hughes (who was originally programmed with Kamala... either way, it stunk), and then suddenly back to Giant Gonzales.

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  188. With all due respect, Jarrett, X-Pac, and the Boss Man all jumped to WWF from WCW before Jericho did.

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  189. Didn't Sid do it at SS 96 too?

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  190. Although Pac may not count since he was fired from WCW.

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  191. I wonder if that's where things were headed before Warrior abruptly left in the summer. Still, knowing how flaky Warrior was in general, they should have used him to put somebody over ASAP. Instead they wasted him in meaningless feuds with Goldust and Lawler.

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  192. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMay 8, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    Bigelow vs. Undertaker at Mania 9 would have been infinitely better program that Taker vs. Gonzalez. Or Giant Gonzales vs. anyone for that matter

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  193. Big Dirty MurphMay 8, 2015 at 2:35 PM

    I think Warrior had heat with the Kliq and HBK didn't wanna work with him.

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  194. I was thinking along the lines of WCW midcarders who weren't being used to potential and finally had the guts to make the jump.

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  195. Burt Macklin, Man Without FearMay 8, 2015 at 5:09 PM

    History seems to rewrite Luger's face run in WWF as a failure but I implore anyone who thinks that to watch SummerSlam 1993. That building was hugely into Lex and they wanted him to take that title from Yoko. Not winning the title there made his run into a failure but at that moment the fans were absolutely behind him as the #1 guy.

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  196. The Narcissus gimmick was a good fit for a feud with Mr. Perfect. It was the Mr. Perfect gimmick taken to a dickish extreme. But it was kind of ridiculous how the gimmick overshadowed Luger's established name value. Like we were supposed to pretend we hadn't just seen him working with a fully developed personality in WCW.

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  197. "You can say a lot of things against the gimmick in hindsight, but at the
    time this wasn't a Daniel Bryan situation where there was someone else
    fans were screaming to be champion more than Luger."


    for me personally it definitely was. Bret Hart was "robbed" at WrestleMania and was still the rightful champion for me back then. he then even goes on to prove that he really is the best in the promotion by beating three guys on the same night, with none of them being lower-tier guys.


    no matter if it was Luger or Undertaker, for 11 year old me it was them getting a shot at Bret's title.

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