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Wrasslin question

Hey Scott. I was wondering if you knew how far in advanced the WWF feuds were booked in the early 90's? Did they plan out the WrestleMania main events months in advance or did they just kind of wing it? Also, how come Roddy Piper and Rick Rude never had their big match that was being built up well into WrestleMania VI? Instead they stuck Rude with Snuka and Piper and Bad News. Thanks and keep up the great work! It must be horrendous to have to sit through 3 hours of RAW every Monday. Which do you think was worse...3 hour RAW's or when Nitro went 3 hours for a little while?

In the early 90s?  They planned the feuds and Wrestlemania main events in particular WAY in advance.  Like usually a year, or sometimes more.  The whole "make it up as we go along" thing didn't start until the Monday Night Wars era, in particular with the rise of Russo.  They knew Slaughter was getting the World title as soon as he came in, for instance, and of course the Luger push was planned well in advance as well.  

Piper and Rude did have their big match, but it was at MSG in a cage match.  It didn't happen at Wrestlemania because they were giving Rude a renewed push and a new look and it would have been counterproductive to have Piper beat him at the point where he was supposed to be going back to the main event again.  

And we didn't get the 3 hour Nitro here in Canada, they were edited down to 2 hours or sometimes less by TSN.  Occasionally if there was a block of time open on the Wednesday following they'd show the whole thing in full, but that was never a rule.  Honestly, the Monday Night Wars were barely a factor in Canada because the WWF was here first and were given preferential treatment by the only station with the rights to both shows.  If Sportsnet or the Score (the two alternative sports stations) had been around in 1997 then one of them might have bought the WCW rights and made a fight out of it.  But they didn't, so I never really had a chance to watch Nitro.


Comments

  1. I thought the plan originally was Warrior/Hogan 2 at WM7? Always thought the Slaughter thing was kinda last minute.

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  2. The 3 hour Nitros were pretty enjoyable for the most part. It was like 2 separate shows. Beginning and end of the show were the main eventers and nWo guys. When they had something to sell they'd sprinkle big matches in and out. When they didn't and were killing time they'd throw an hour and a half of cruiserweights and good guys without pushes to have random meaningless "moving up the ranks!" matches.

    I found that much more enjoyable than 3 hour Raws full of recaps and getting bashed over the head with the top 2 storylines. WWE has a deep enough roster that they really could just spend the middle hour of the show and let midcarders have random matches just to get the crowd used to watching wrestling again.

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  3. 3hour Raw is WAY worse than 3hour Nitro. WCW had such an unreal talent level in 1998 - Bret, Hogan, Savage, Sting, Luger, Giant, Hall, Nash, Goldberg, etc. etc. & all the awesome midcard guys like Mysterio, Jericho, Malenko, Guerrero & the luchas.

    People tend to forget that WCW was still pretty hot for most of 1998, even with Austin in full swing the ratings were tight through October. WWF started to pull away around Survivor Series, then a bunch of things happened (Rock & Foley title wins/Goldberg losing/Fingerpoke of Doom) that sent WCW into its death spiral.

    The 3hour Nitro episodes definitely dragged at times but it was nowhere near the complete slog these 3hour Raws have become. Mostly because WCW had more than 2 legit main eventers on the roster. And they let their midcarders cut it loose.

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  4. It's the dumbest thing ever nowadays that no matches are actually scheduled for a show until the "GM" (another terrible idea they should ditch) makes them AT the show. So logically there would be no matches otherwise...? Hate that. It's like every wrestler shows up at the arena now with no plans to actually have a match.

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  5. Yep! Basically, if no wrestler feels like venting at the beginning of Raw the first 20 minutes would just be pyro, Nickleback, & Cole spouting buzzwords.

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  6. Obviously, booking in 1991 was easier because you didn't have 3-hour Raw, 2-hour Smackdown, 1-hour Main Event and 18 pay-per-views with different stipulations (DURR LET'S DO AN EXTREME PPV! DURR!) to worry about. WWE probably makes more money than they did relative to those days, but I seriously question if they are creating as many long-term fans.

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  7. I think Warrior vs Hogan was the plan but sometime before Survivor Series 90, after seeing Hogan was the only major draw and Warrior was starting to lose star power, they changed plans. This is why they started a Warrior/Savage program around this time. Or course they couldnt fill the LA coliseum with Hogan/Slaughter main event so they had plans to move to the smaller LA Sports Arena before they made it official.

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  8. So they brought in Luger as 'The Narcissist' knowing they would be pushing him as 'The All American' Lex Luger a few months later?


    I will bow to your superior knowledge, but that was such a substantial re-tooling of character I struggle to believe it.

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  9. I think Scott's point was that Luger was getting a mega-push in 1993, regardless if he was a heel or a face.

    In fact, at WrestleMania 9 they started to tease a Bret/Luger feud (Luger "attacked" Bret at some WrestleMania breakfast). They switched gears after Hogan flamed out but Luger was going to be a main eventer by SummerSlam in some fashion.

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  10. Yeah I don't buy that. I think he always supposed to be the Narcissist but when Hogan left, Vince wanted another guy like that and found Luger.

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  11. I was about to disagree with you but that last paragraph really solidified your point. Those cruiserweights and top-notch worker mid-carders had some awesome matches. I especially enjoyed Juventud Guerrera's string of great performances after he lost his mask.

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  12. Slaughter as an Iraqi sympathizer still boggles my mind. I mean, what would cause anyone, not to mention the wrestling uber-patriot, to join IRAQ of all places? Hell, I could even see Slaughter turn commie if he discovered a love of Karl Marx. But Iraq? I guess it was because Sheik couldn't really work anymore and they needed someone shocking to fill the xenophobic hole.

    Still, I think Slaughter's gimmick would have been pretty awesome if he turned into Cat Stevens (or Yusuf Islam, as I think he's called now).

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  13. Yeah, I'm of the opinion that the main event changed once CNN reported their record ratings for the Gulf coverage and Warriors house show run was struggling.

    I'm pretty sure Vince thought he could fill the LA Coliseum with Slaughter/Hogan though, due to the high interest in the war, but ticket sales just never picked up.

    WrestleMania VI sold something like 10,000 tickets the first day and 20,000 in the first week, but VII was under 15k in sales with almost 10 months of ticket sales.

    Does anybody remember the doctored photo they used of Hussein, Slaughter, and Adnan standing together?

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  14. I think Slaughter would drown the audience each night if he started singing.

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  15. I meant that once they turned him babyface on Memorial Day, the end result was always going to be Wrestlemania.

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  16. Warrior-Hogan might have been the plan around Wrestlemania VI when they made the Coliseum announcement, but by the time Slaughter was in (August, I think) they knew they were doing the Iraqi thing.

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  17. Just because I feel the need to be that guy right now - don't ban me, please! - they turned him on the Fourth of July on the USS Intrepid.

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  18. I remember getting the 3 hour Nitros in Canada. I think it became a fairly regular thing, for a while at least. I was 14 and kind of a wrestling nerd but I loved 3 hours of Nitro. It felt like a collection of matches featuring entertaining guys, rather than one long boring show.

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  19. The gimmick may have been re-worked but I think Luger was getting a push regardless.

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  20. As Mr. Keith said, Piper and Rude did Main Event at MSG and it was featured on one of the first WWF SuperTapes at the time. Not sure if it was SuperTape 1 or SuperTape 2?


    As for Slaughter, I think they wanted to turn him heel - but having him be a heel Drill Sgt wasn't going to cut it. Before Kuiwait, Slaughter was going to be a midcard heel at best. And after the success of Full Metal Jacket, him being a evil drill Sgt. was never going to work.


    When he first joined General Adanan, I was shocked as a kid - and even more shocked that even Brother Love (at first) seemed aghast at that turn of events. It would have been different, if they had done something as they did later with Russo - where even the heels couldn't stand Slaughter anymore. Outside of Brother Love's initial shock of disgust, he fell into line like all the other heels.


    I guess because Shiek was billed from Iran was why they didn't use him for the feud. He did show up after Slaughter lost as Colonel Mustafa (Simba, I'm disappointed in you. You clearly disobeyed me, and what's worse - you put Narla in danger!)


    I think Sean Mooney or his other gimmick Ian Mooney actually admitted, "He used to be the Iron Shiek, now he's joined Iraq."

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  21. YankeesHoganTripleHFanOctober 22, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    The Piper/Rude cage match is featured on Piper's DVD. Not a bad match actually.

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  22. I still think the Hogan-Slaughter thing (and versions involving Hogan & Warrior fighting the 'Iraqi' contingent) should have been the backdrop for Hogan vs. Warrior, Part II. That was their biggest match to have a chance at running a Coliseum show. You could run the handicap match stuff on house shows or something, with the Slaughter team gradually driving a wedge between the babyfaces. Then he beats some poor sympathetic babyface, like Duggan, decisively at Wrestlemania and demands a later title shot against the winner of Hogan-Warrior II. Hogan vs. Slaughter could have been blown off at SummerSlam, or at least done some house show business. Seems a shame we lost Hogan vs. Warrior just for the Slaughter-as-Iraqi-sympathizer nonsense.

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  23. Piper did some great matches (at one point) that weren't work-rate classics, but they were entertaining.


    Piper vs. Snuka was always good.


    Piper vs. Hogan at Wrestling Classic was somewhat good, and featured a Hogan that was motivated to do something more than pose.


    Piper vs. Rude was good, and while I've only seen it years ago - it was very entertaining.


    There was a six-man elimination tag match before Piper retired in 1987 for Hollywood that featured Piper vs. Savage at the end. I always liked the booking of Piper playing possum, and having Savage go up for the elbow - only for Piper to slide out of the way and pin him.


    Piper vs. Adonis was also a ***** match in terms of booking, and in terms of how to book a wrestler on his way out. Hey Hogan got a perfect swan song with both the HBK match and the Orton match, and Piper got that honor here.


    And (of course) Piper vs. Hart was great as well . . . but then Piper really wasn't the same after 1992. Piper (on a shoot interview done in the middle of May 2003 - while still with the WWE) admitted he was too old to wrestle and was ashamed to even be out there - but people did want to still see him work.


    Piper vs. Lawler from 1994 was horrible. Hogan was Piper at Starrcade and afterwards was always bad. Piper did not have a good match after 1992. While you could say Flair and Hogan actually had good matches up until 2002. Flair's last good match was against Shawn in 2008, when he "retired for good" until he realized he couldn't live his "lifestyle" without it.

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  24. To whoever was wondering about this you should check out the old rspw web site that has the archive of herb kunzes old tidbit newsletter. Lots of interesting news and smarky opinions about early 90's booking. Specifically the stuff discussed below.

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  25. The way they booked blow offs was totally different then. There were a lot of feuds that were blown off at house shows rather than PPVs, because house shows were still perceived the main revenue source.

    Business was just done so differently, and you can' compare today to then. Now, you always get the blow off on TV or PPV, because that is all that matters, but when they used to go to the same market once a month, it was all about delivering at house shows. If you look at PPVs from '80s to mid '90s you'll often see many of the matches aren't between guys currently feuding. This was due to not wanting to hurt house show attendance.

    Though Piper vs. Brown actually was a feud set up at the Rumble, and I'm not sure if that one ever got a real blow off. They shifted Brown to Roberts shortly after Mania and I think Piper took a break before returning as an announcer.

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