Monday, June 1, 2015

Warrior Reign

Scott,

Why exactly did The Ultimate Warrior's run as champion tank? The guy was immensely over, and the title win at WrestleMania VI was seen as a passing of the torch from Hogan. Putting the title on the Warrior was seen as the best thing to do at the time. Around this time, NBC also saw the ratings for Saturday Night's Main Event decline. So everyone applauds Warrior winning the title, but then go "Meh"? Was it a lack of any threats to the title? Hogan was feuding with Earthquake, who was probably the biggest threat at the time. I don't recall Earthquake ever truly threatening the Warrior's reign.

What happened there?

Lots of stuff.

1)  No viable challengers.  Warrior wins the belt and then immediately gets put into a feud with midcarders like Dino Bravo and then the repackaged Rick Rude, who we had just seen unsuccessfully face Warrior at Summerslam.  

2)  People still liked Hogan and wanted him on top.  It would be one thing if Hulk lost and then went away for a long while, but he basically stuck around the whole time and was clearly the bigger star.  Warrior just couldn't compete with it.  

3)  Warrior wasn't connecting with the fans.  This is one that often gets overshadowed, but it's important to note that his crazy promos were fine for an IC level guy, but when they put him on top he pretty much failed to make anyone get invested in his matches on a human level.  Hulk was a blowhard but at least he would interact with Mean Gene as a real human being and do talk shows and stuff.  Warrior was strictly all gimmick, all the time, and once people had seen that act and seen the logical conclusion of the storyline, there was nowhere left for the character to go.  That being said, they finally figured it out with the Macho Man storyline in 91 where he started showing real emotions, but by then it was too little, too late.  

4)  Merchandise.  Remember all the great and memorable Warrior shirts and merch you could buy?  Yeah, me neither.  

One of them would have been bad, but taken all together the poor bastard never had a chance.  

83 comments:

  1. May that poor bastard rest in peace!

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  2. As a kid I was more into the Warrior than Hogan. Warrior was like a real life cartoon character and all colorful and shit. Plus he never looked weak and beat Hogan clean! But I get all the reasons they had to go back to Hogan. I was just tired of the Hogan hype as a 9/10 year old.

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  3. He should have had a run right away with Ted Dibiase.

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  4. Weren't the masks pretty popular? I seem to recall they were back in the day.

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  5. Yeah, I'm surpised to hear that Warrior wasn't a big merch seller, since even Keith just said that the guy was all gimmick, and the guys that are all gimmick tend to be pretty good merch sellers.

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  6. Yeah as a kid, I basically saw Warrior and Hogan as the same character, but I preferred Warrior over Hogan too just because he was younger, more muscular and had a full head of hair. Warrior had that cool factor that appealed more to kids than Hogan did.

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  7. A hero on DailyMotion put up all the Superstars episode from 1990 and I have to disagree with Scott on why the Warrior didnt get over. .


    In the month after Warrior wins, the top angle is Earthquake (a VIABLE title contender) nearly killing Hulk Hogan. So week after week, it's all Hogan, all the time, about whether he's going to wrestle again. I mean, you even have Vince breaking kayfabe during the attack.


    At the same time, the Warrior is basically absent except for Rick Rude calling him out and when the Warrior does return, it's the infamous "Amanda Warrior" promo where he gets creepy about a little girl fan doing a cartwheel. Even when we get to the SummerSlam promos, the Warrior's makeup are two hearts (wtf??) on his cheeks! They took away all the cool stuff about it.


    Like, NO SHIT everyone is still going to love Hogan. But I disagree it was the fans who wanted Hogan to remain on top - the WWF went out of their way to keep Hogan on top. They never gave Warrior a chance.

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  8. The cardboard masks made them money, so did the shirts costumes and teddy bears. There was plenty of warrior merchandise. Was it late 90s levels? No but it never was back then

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  9. I had a ton of Warrior shit as a kid. Wrestling buddy, hasbro figures, t-shirt, bed sheets and curtains, talking figure just off the top of my head.

    In two weeks, I'm gonna get a Warrior tattoo. So I mean, he's mega over.

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  10. that and, for whatever reason, Warrior was taking part in those 6 man matches with LOD vs Demolition. Not sure why they didn't have him actively defending the title in singles matches.


    and - seriously - why didn't they do Hogan/Warrior II at Summerslam? wouldn't that have done better business than the double main event that they had instead? but I guess they needed to blow off the Earthquake feud (even though they didn't actually blow it off then, or ever...?)

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  11. I GET ATTENTION EVERYTIME I WEAR MY ULTIMATE WARRIOR SHIRT. EVERYTIME.

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  12. SOME CHICK SAID SHE WOULD GIVE ME HEAD FOR THE SHIRT. I POLITELY DECLNED OF COURSE.

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  13. I EVEN HAD THE WARRIOR COSTUME. IT HAD A BIG XL T-SHIRT WITH HIS MUSCLE ON IT.

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  14. If argue a lack of ever figuring out a "Warrior Formula" hurt too. Hogan was an incredibly limited guy in America but his formula was great for getting people invested. Warrior never really had that.

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  15. I'm thinking outside the box here and I'll probably have to turn in my snark card, but why didn't the WWF think of bringing back Zeus to be Warrior's first challenger post-WM VI? They spent the better part of summer 1989 building him up for Hogan but aside from the one-off NHB: The Match, the Movie PPV they never really blew off the feud. So, Zeus still ha credibility from the monster buildup and never really did a credibility killing job. I think he was a much bigger kayfabe threat to Warrior than Rude was.

    Now, the matches would have been beyond horrible, but when did that ever stop Vince back on those days?

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  16. Hogan passed the torch but never actually left. Warrior never had a chance,but your point about a heel is well taken. Earthquake was the hottest heel in 1990, a big fat monster who could work and actually cut a promo. HE should have been Warrior's feud into Summerslam, not Hogan.

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  17. If anything the Earthquake feud should've went to him or at least give him the Savage feud earlier. Macho wasn't doing shit as the Macho King anyway besides messing around with a washed up Dusty Rhodes.

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  18. At least you were polite about it.

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  19. I disagree with 3 and 4.

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  20. Hogan should have turned heel and they could then have made a rematch at Summer Slam which Hogan could have won leading to Wrestlemania VII where they could have made Hogan Warrior III where then Warrior wins the title again and then Hogan goes face again.

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  21. I always picture S1 Jesse Pinkman when I read your comments. I don't know what this means.

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  22. Warrior should have got the Earthquake feud.

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  23. The whole Warrior is Backlund and Hogan is Bruno def was a good business plan but I think with Warrior and Hogan being so similar in ring along with Warrior having no real opponents really killed that idea from the start. Backlund was having matches with guys from all around the country while Warrior got stuck with either DiBiase, Bravo or Rude, and that's it.

    If Austin didn't leave I could've seen Vince try that business strategy again.

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  24. They changed the Warrior aura the moment he became champion. He was this intense, colorful, mysterious character with awesome creepy promos, and then he wins the title and McMahon makes him Hogan 2.0 (check out his lack of face paint and "Amanda Ultimate Warrior" brother love promo). He ultimately became the 95 Diesel. His character shift after Mania killed the draw.

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  25. MaffewOfBotchamaniaJune 1, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    He was CM Punk in 2009

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  26. Scott I think you're dead-on with #3. People will disagree, but it's accurate.


    Warrior just wasn't as good at getting fans emotionally invested in his character. He was kind of like Goldberg. Freakish look, high intensity, uniquely charismatic, great entrance, etc., but he didn't have what both Savage and Hogan had in terms of character. He cut weird promos about space and plane crashes.

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  27. The truth is that Warrior couldn't sell. And if you can't sell, you can't get sympathy. And if you can't get sympathy, your comeback means nothing. Hogan was a master at selling, getting sympathy and making a comeback. Lawler too. Warrior just wanted to kick the hell out of people, get knocked down for a second, run around and pin his opponent.

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  28. The funny thing is, as proven after he retired, the "weird promos" was who Warrior was in real life.


    When Hogan spoke to Mean Gene, it felt like two old friends talking to each other. When Warrior spoke to Mean Gene, it felt like he was talking at, instead of talking to Mean Gene.

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  29. At the time, the WrestleMania VI buyrate was considered VERY disappointing. The SummerSlam '90 buyrate was pretty close to the WM VI buyrate

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  30. Trying to turn Hogan heel in 1990 would have been....interesting.

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  31. Would Savage-Warrior work for SummerSlam '90? Savage had been seriously depushed over the year

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  32. Interesting = fans turn on Warrior

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  33. Agreed. After WM, Hogan gets immediately thrust into a hot angle with the biggest heel BY FAR at the time in Earthquake, while "Champion" Warrior kind of meddles around with the second tier.

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  34. BINGO. We have a winner.

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  35. People forget this, but following WrestleMania, fans were booing the Warrior at house shows.

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  36. I should have scrolled down to you first. Well said. I bet Earthquake being fed to Hogan was probably part of the "deal" for getting Hogan (expeditiously anyway) to do the J.O.B. to Warrior. He was gonna get an instant re-rub of monster heat regardless of "doing what's best for business" at WM6. Hogan is no dummy.

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  37. Damn smarks.

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  38. Zeus wasn't an actual wrestler though. He was an actor who played a wrestler who did a match as part of the promotion for a movie. Not sure what his availability was - or how much they trusted him in a singles match against Warrior (wasn't the match he did have some sort of tag-team? Or am I getting it mixed up with something else?)

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  39. Even when Hogan was off TV to film Suburban Commando, his "injury" at the hands of Earthquake was still all over the TV shows. Even when Hogan wasn't there, he was.

    Warrior was never going to replace Hogan if Vince kept using Hogan as the top star.

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  40. I was the biggest Warrior fan. Like, I was screaming with joy when I watched the WrestleMania VI video and Warrior won, event though I already knew the result. And I was still super uncomfortable when Warrior tried cutting that "humanizing" promo on Brother Love where he barely had any face paint on and he was holding the little girl and talking about loving his warriors. Even today I'm scared I'll cringe to death if I try and watch it. I suppose that's a sign that he wasn't really going to work as a long term #1 guy.

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  41. Very interesting response Scott. Woryah deffo had the deck stacked against him. Realistically, who could've been drafted in/built up as a credible challenger at that point, do you think?

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  42. Reminds me of the Leno to Conan Tonight Show "torch passing"...Conan finally takes over the Tonight Show, but Leno hangs around...eventually NBC gives him the Tonight Show back...

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  43. Warrior is the reason I became a fan. Maybe I just love crazy shit.

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  44. That's actually a very good comparison. Would the audience end up buying into Conan if Leno went away? Nobody knows for sure, but having Leno on for an hour before Conan obviously didn't help matters.

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  45. Interestingly, the Quake/Hogan feud did so well on house shows that they didnt do a clean finish at SummerSlam & basically dragged it out all the way to Royal Rumble 91 (Quake last one out).


    If you went back in time & changed the Quake feud to Warrior instead...I bet we have far fewer discussions about why Warrior tanked so hard.

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  46. Wrestling needs a certain element of unscripted insanity. That's why I love Scott Steiner promos and hope he gets a live mic as often as possible at Global Force.

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  47. the Earthquake feud wasn't blown off because it was making so much $$$$ on the house show circuit. It technically ended at the 1991 Royal Rumble.

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  48. Savage in 1990 at his peak stuck with Dusty Rhodes is a crime against pro wrestling.

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  49. Probably not. If this were Summerslam '89, definitely, but for a year, he was doing house show programs with Jim Duggan and Dusty Rhodes, the latter of which seemed more comical than serious. The Duggan program was something to bounce back from, but "The King v. Common Man?" Seriously...

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  50. On a scale of 1 to 10, how jokey will Cena be tonight? I go with 7.

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  51. Items like that were cheap enough to produce and give away to make it look good on TV. As for the rest of his merch... no different than what Hogan had. Several shirts, whacked out poster, and random stuff like wrist-bands and tassels.

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  52. To be fair, NBC was going to stop giving a shit anyway once they got the NBA and Ebersol wasn't going to be involved with SNME anymore.

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  53. Probably not? Why not? He came back from the Rhodes feud to do the Warrior feud anyway....what's the difference in doing that in summer 1990 or fall 1990?


    Savage was still crazy over in 1990 (his title match vs. Hogan at the Main Event did a better rating than the 1989 Main Event) and people would have bought him as a contender in a heartbeat.

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  54. Scott nailed this. Even after Warrior won the title Hogan was still the centerpiece. By fall Warrior spend all this time with LOD.

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  55. The same reason Dibiase and Rude didn't work. They were clearly "middle of the pack" guys regardless of past accomplishments. They build Savage/Warrior immediately after SummerSlam, and didn't do anything until the road to WrestleMania. Maybe Savage was injured, disinterested, I don't know. Something had to be there to keep them on the back-burner for 4 months until Rumble.

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  56. I agree with your point, but that was the case for late 80s early 90s WWF was that main event heels NEVER had credibility. The last real huge threat they had was Andre.The faces always went over in the main events, Hogan beat everybody and Warrior was treated similar.


    Savage could have worked because at least in a way out of every heel on the roster, he had least had a resume that suggested he could win, if they built him up.


    Earthquake obviously could have filled the role, but if we are not over fantasy booking he is with Hogan.

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  57. Did Rude ever get one over on Warrior in the entirety of their program? They immediately push him on TV calling Warrior out and training hard like he's Rocky, but did he ever lay a massive beat down on him, like Quake or Boss Man did to Hulk? I know they did a match on SNME for reasons unknown and went to a DQ or CO finish, but never a "wow, he REALLY might win the title" kind of moment.

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  58. The whole 'Hogan not going away is the reason Warrior failed' argument is completely bizarre. If Warrior is any good, where Hogan is shouldn't matter. And what exactly is the game plan for Hogan? Pay him to sit at home? Release him? If Warrior can't take the spotlight from Hogan, that's Warrior's fault.

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  59. Rude was positioned for a program with the Boss Man on the TV tapings immediately after SummerSlam and was scheduled to be on Quake's team at Survivor Series.

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  60. People really resented him for beating Hogan. Fans were cheering Rick Rude during those house shows.

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  61. Have Savage beat Rhodes convincingly at WrestleMania VI, then you have a shot.

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  62. Savage didn't even participate in the 1990 Survivor Series

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  63. A lot of the build was built around Rude beating Warrior at WrestleMania V.

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  64. With or without Hogan, numbers progressively dropped for most of the 90's. It's more about "fans losing interest in wrestling" than "Warrior was a bomb". Flair didn't draw much, Savage's run in 92 didn't draw much, and we know the saga of the WWF's financial success from 1993-1996.

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  65. Ah yes, the 'yo mama' joke angle with Boss Man.

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  66. Does Hogan dropping the title speed up the public's disinterest in wrestling?

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  67. Not by much. Whatever business WWF could do was taking a kick in the balls by the end of '91 when the sex and steroid scandals started making headlines.

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  68. Hogan going on Arsenio was such a bad idea

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  69. Yeah, but when the numbers increased, was it because people were interested in wrestling, or people wanted to see Hogan? Hogan was a draw. Austin was a draw. nWo was a draw. All of those guys increased viewers. They created interest. Warrior, Hart, Diesel etc did not. They failed.

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  70. People wanted to see Hogan. No doubt about it.

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  71. Well, he did get a haircut to make himself look more butch. That's all I got.

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  72. Ted Dibiase.

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  73. I love Quake, but does he get AS hot if he doesn't put Hogan on the shelf?

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  74. They just booked him terribly as champion and he was still playing second fiddle to Hogan,


    Warrior's first PPV title defense and it's underneath Hogan/Earthquake? At Survivor Series, the Warrior has to stand there in Hogan's shadow as Hulk flexes. Heck, Hogan completely ruined Warrior's moment at WrestleMania VI. He kicked out at 3.0000000000000001 and then grabs the belt and gives it Warrior, so we get this nonsense of Hogan "passing the torch." Warrior had his legs cut out from him as champion before he even left the ring.

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  75. Pretty sure he was hurt through the end of the year.

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  76. Warrior/Rude went on last, but I thought for years Hogan/Earthquake did, which goes to show which match they made the bigger deal out of.

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  77. 5. The Wrestling boom was ending, Warrior or no Warrior.


    Business remained solid for another year or 2 of course but then the bottom really fell out, it was bound to happen regardless of who was on top.

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  78. Interesting tidbit... didn't figure Warrior winning would create resentment of that magnitude.

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