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Bret Hart vs Daniel Bryan as a draw


Hey Scott,
I was just wondering if you could chime in on a debate that's been going on today on the blog. People have been debating whether or not Bryan is more popular now than Bret and Shawn ever were and that led into a discussion about whether or not Bret was a draw and if the actual down turn in WWF business was his fault for not drawing.
So 1) do you think Bryan is more popular than Shawn or Bret in the 90's
2) Do you consider those guys "draws" for keeping the WWF alive and enjoyable in the mid 90's or are there short comings (and not the growth of wcw/steriod scandals/loss of hogan and savage) to be at blame for the down swing in business.

Thanks!

I don't think Bryan is more popular because house show business hasn't gone up with him on top, whereas Bret won the title from Diesel in 95 and immediately the numbers went up noticeably.  Plus Bret was a legitimate mainstream sports star worldwide.  It's hard to do any other kind of comparison, though, because the business is completely different now and operates on a different model.  It doesn't matter who's a draw on top because people are only there to be part of the show or see John Cena.  You could argue that hijacking the show on behalf of Bryan has become as much of a part of the show as watching him wrestle, but that would send the debate too far down the rabbit hole even for me.  

So my stance:  No, Bryan is not more popular.  

Comments

  1. The whole "Bret is not a draw" myth needs to go away forever. I don't know where it started but anyone who watched the WWF from 1991-1996 knows Bret Hart was a draw.


    There is not a WWF/E if not for Bret Hart. They would not have survived the steroid scandal.

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  2. People think that if you're not Hogan/Austin/Rock level, you're not a draw.

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  3. YankeesHoganTripleHFanMarch 27, 2014 at 7:28 AM

    That's impressive. Much props

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  4. Look at that gap between Hogan and Austin, Bret has to be the draw in there somewhere.

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  5. That would be a long WM.

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  6. Scott did this, or another poster?

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  7. Looks like another poster, based on the font.

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  8. No Cruiserweight title match.

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  9. So where does Shawn fit into this? was he a real draw?he had 3title reigns back then. Was he a draw the first time? the second one was cut off with the loss of smile and the third time he was really just a transition between bret's contract and Stone Cold

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  10. I was hoping this attempted argument would have died yesterday for good

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  11. Even with his indie cred, I've never seen Bryan be treated with God-like reverence by a wrestling crowd so I'll say Bret is more popular.

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  12. As for Bret...Look to Stone Cold for was Bret a draw. Yes Stone Cold made himself to a degree but he became a superstar top tier guy against Bret....in a non title match. That doesn't happen if the opponent isn't huge over.

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  13. On the other hand, Bryan looks more like Jesus than Bret ever did.

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  14. People overlook how much of a draw Hart was for WWE as it was pre-Attitude era; yeah, wrestling was in a down period, but comparitvely Hart was huge then. He main evented multiple Wrestlemanias, and was semi mainstream as he was hired for roles in movies & TV shows like NATURAL BORN KILLERS, LONESOME DOVE and THE SIMPSONS. And he was hugely over in Canada, both in pops and in merchandise sales.

    Ratings-wise, RAW was fluxuating between 2-2 and 3.1 during 1995 and 1996, and RAW now is just above that, floating around 3.0 -- even without WCW competition.

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  15. "Bret was a legitimate mainstream sports star worldwide."

    Wait, what??

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  16. The "Bret and HBK" wasn't a draw argument is so lazy amd short sighted. Business was inevitably gonna go down due to seeds that were planted long before their time on the top. They kept that company afloat for a few years.

    It's like when idiots put 100% of the recession on Obama, the seeds were planted years before he took over. It's just lazy

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  17. AverageJoeEverymanMarch 27, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Quake vs Adam Bomb was chosen from X obviously to save some time.

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  18. Hero to millions.

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  19. He appeared on The Simpsons, had a top ten hit single in the UK for example.

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  20. Whoever did this must show themselves. It's not bad

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  21. However Bret looks more like a withered old lady...just saying.

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  22. It's really hard to do a comparison as who's the bigger draw, because Bryan isn't on top right now. And by most reports, Cena is staying on top even if Bryan wins the title at Mania or at some point during the year. A more apples to apples comparison would be Bret's run in 1993 when he was clearly the guy the crowd wanted but Luger and Hogan and Yoko got the attention.

    My argument was Bryan gets a bigger crowd reaction week in and week out than Bret or Shawn ever did and I'm sticking to it.

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  23. Only in Canada, and only to some Canadians. Some think he's overrated and nowhere near the best Canadian Wrestler ever.

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  24. Where do you find house show numbers? Just curious.

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  25. Worldwide. He was basically the only reason WWE was able to draw overseas during that period.

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  26. I agree, Bryan gets a much bigger crowd reaction then Bret ever did. Bret only got that reaction in Canada, while Bryan gets that reaction everywhere. Hell even the Yes chant has become mainstream, Bret can never claim anything he did really went mainstream.

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  27. It was all Yoko, Backlund, Diesel and Sid.

    Of course Bret and Shawn were fuckin' draws.

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  28. If you don't think Bret carried them, think of how badly business goes if they're forced to run with Luger for a few years. Bret absolutely carried that promotion for a few years

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  29. Yeah, but look at the shitty roster the WWF had at the time. Really who else would bring out the crowds, Bigelow, Smoking Gunns, Godwinns, Tatanka? If Bret's rise happened at a different time with a better roster he would never have been the top draw at the time. It's like being the number one draft pick on the worst team in sports, you'll be the main guy but only because the rest of the guys can't draw shit.

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  30. Of course Bret carried them, like I said already, he was the best part of a bad era. That doesn't say much for him though. Simply put there was no one else that would draw, so by default Bret becomes number one.

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  31. Completely wrong. Just because you're not Hogan doesn't mean you're not a draw or have failed at carrying a company.

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  32. Bret's run in Canada during the feud in 1997 was definitely insane. He got an Austin 1998 level pop at Canadian Stampede. But that was confined to Canada.

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  33. Doesn't that mean more?! He kept the company afloat essentially single handedly

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  34. Never said he failed, just said there was no one else to do so. The roster was so thin at the time, Bret was pretty much the only choice they had. Shawn wasn't ready yet, and Bob Backlund just wasn't over enough. Who else do you go with? Yokozuna? Undertaker might have worked, but at the time his gimmick was not suited to a big main event style.

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  35. I question the lack of a WHC match, but otherwise really solid.

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  36. That's a pretty significant overstatement. The WWF brand alone was enough to carry them through some lean years.

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  37. Never said he didn't, just being the star attraction on a shitty team, doesn't make you a superstar. Bret was only as big as he was because the WWE was as bad as it was.

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  38. Top ten hit single in the UK? Whaa??

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  39. Yea, we just fundamentally disagree

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  40. The business was different in his day tho. Sure the brand was still pulling in business but wwe had gone the complete "brand centric" direction yet. It was alot more superstar/individual driven then it is today

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  41. Yea, I think Brets a main event guy in almost any era.

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  42. Shawn was pretty much a box office failure on top in his first run but most of that was because WCW was killing WWF at the time. No one else was going to turn it around at that time but Shawn's real problem was his act was incredibly grating at the time. He was pushed because of his edge then became milquetoast then started doing weird stripper shit. Also after Nash left and Bret was on sabbatical he had no one to work against on top aside from Vader, who he bitched about being stiff and stopped that feud cold like an asshole, and Sid, who was a consistent box office failure. He had one great match on PPV vs Foley but that was it and not sure why. His DX work was great and he became a ratings draw but how much was working with Tyson and Austin is very debatable. You can argue Shawn being better in-ring than Bret but zero comparison draw wise. Think about this too he was a top guy in WWF for years and yet WCW never went after him.

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  43. He was a pretty decent house show draw during his first title reign. Unfortunately, that period wasn't too good for ratings or PPV buys, though neither went up a whole lot after he lost the title. I'd say he was a decent draw, a small touch below Bret, but it's a little tough to get a complete picture due to the timing of his top runs.

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  44. Whipper Billy Watson. Abdullah The Butcher. Ray Rougeau Sr. Mad Dog Vachon. Rick Martel.

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  45. Nice job, it is tricky to build a card with that criteria and a bunch of big matches. We have been doing this for every month on the podcast (through April now). Fun exercise though.

    The WrestleMania one will be in writing as well in the next week or two. January and February are written up.

    http://placetobenation.com/place-to-be-podcast-episode-280-march-april-all-time-ppv-cards/

    Written

    http://placetobenation.com/the-all-time-january-ppv-card/

    http://placetobenation.com/the-all-time-february-ppv-card/

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  46. That's cool. Everyone has their own opinion. :-)

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  47. Although Daniel Bryan hasn't reached Bret's level of popularity quite yet, you have to remember that Bret had been kicking around the midcard in the WWF since the mid '80s until he became the main event mainstay that he was by '93 or '94. The audience had became accustomed to Bret and under the circumstances were comfortable with him becoming *the guy*.


    On the other hand, Bryan's only been in the company for a few years and the fans have skyrocketed him to being the hottest act there is.

    It's apples and oranges.

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  48. No, not in the eighties he would not have been. He would've been a jobber in the era of Hulkamania, and even before that. Right time, right place.

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  49. Yeah, I get that. Which is a huge of why WCW was able to catch up and subsequently overtake the WWF in popularity. Hogan, Savage, Nash, Hall, etc. were the draws for WCW. Then there were WWF loyalists (like myself) who were going to watch the WWF pretty much regardless of what WCW was doing.

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  50. You've never heard "With Tears In His Eyes"?

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  51. You're crazy if you don't think Bret in his prime is a top level player in that era. He's not Hogan but he's slotted firmly in the next tier.

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  52. Raw may not have WCW competition, but there's far more competition in cable TV now than there was in 1995 and 1996. Plus, the NFL is a bigger deal now than it was twenty years ago, and wrestling isn't DVR-proof. I know a lot of people who watch Raw on DVR, partly because they enjoy being able to fast forward through the garbage skits. I'm not sure how accurately Nielsen's able to factor in DVR watchers. And finally, due to population growth, a 3.0 now actually encompasses more people than a 3.0 in 1996.


    All that said, Bret actually was incredibly valuable during the lean years and business probably would have been much worse had he not been around. Sure, he wasn't the mainstream star Hulk Hogan was, but he definitely had a major role in keeping the company afloat during the transition from one boom to the other. And like has been mentioned elsewhere, the roster depth was no where near what it was in 1987 or 1988. Just compare the midcards of the two eras. Not even close. I could argue that Diesel/Bret/Shawn all had to shoulder more of the load than Hogan ever did.

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  53. Pretty good list considering the limitations of only using each wrestler and title only once.


    However, hypothetically speaking if you could condense the show down to three hours, it's actually quite the mediocre show. That's not a dig at the guy who did this, but probably WrestleMania itself.

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  54. Next tier doesn't mean Main Event then. Sorry, but I just think Bret was overrated and nowhere near as good as people believe. He just happened to get the right opponents to pull of great matches (Owen, Davey, Backlund, Shawn, Razor, Perfect).

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  55. Okay, he's just one of the singers on the #4 1992 hit single 'Slam Jam': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFpAD36d48o

    But he did get featured on British TV during what I can still remember appearing on a lot of daytime soft TV where they would play:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG0syMYs9J8

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  56. I'd have to seriously disagree with your assertion that he had only one great PPV match during his first title reign. The no-holds-barred match with Diesel, his second match with Bulldog (a little overlooked), the six-man tag at International Incident where he was clearly carrying the face side (partnered with Sid & Ahmed), his Summerslam match with Vader, and the Survivor Series match with Sid were all very strong matches. His '96 run was one of the all-time best as far as PPV match quality goes.
    You can certainly argue about how grating his persona was during that period, but not his match work. It was great.

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  57. Nobody was Hogan. Just because Cena isn't Austin doesn't mean he wasn't wasn't a draw in his own right. Same with Bret and Hogan. It takes more them 1 guy to be in a main event.

    Nobody is saying that Bret is in the Austin, Hogan, Rock pantheon. Just because you're not them tho doesn't mean he didn't draw. It's to early to say if he'll have a better career than Bryan, but right now I'd say Brets peak is brighter than Bryans.

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  58. "Plus Bret was a legitimate mainstream sports star worldwide." Talk about your hogwash or ambiguous comment.. what does that exactly mean? Bret Hart a mainstream star? Certainly not here in the UK (WWE's next biggest market after the US)... I think wrestling fans have a hard time distinguishing whose big in wrestling and whose big in the real world. The occasional cameo with the mainstream does not make you a star to the masses.


    In reality it is very hard to compare their popularity as Scott is right, it's a totally different model used by WWE these days, as they are a giant machine themselves that draws on name value alone regardless whose on top. But based on live crowd reactions Daniel Bryan is the most over guy since the Rock and Austin were at their peaks. So yes the argument can be made that Daniel Bryan is more popular than Bret ever was, the only thing DB doesn't have going for him at this point is longevity, if he can sustain this level of popularity for a number of years he blows the Hitman out the water.

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  59. "the only thing DB doesn't have going for him at this point is longevity, if he can sustain this level of popularity for a number of years he blows the Hitman out the water."

    This and this. There's still the potential for Daniel Bryan to bomb horribly.

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  60. No no no no. Let me clarify that he had great matches consistently I was talking about opponents that were draws. Foley did a good job with Taker and the show with HBK did better than Shawn's other stuff but they never followed up. I was pointing out that after Diesel he was working abbreviated feuds with Vader and Foley and then longer feuds with Bulldog (good but another guy that never drew outside the UK) and Sid (never drew). I actually contend Shawn was best ever in North America work wise.

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  61. Oh, they stuck some Bret soundbites (and Bulldog, and Savage, and Undertaker) against the typical WWF backing track. Pretty convincing proof of his mainstream stardom.

    Listen, I was a big Bret mark too, but calling him a legitimate MAINSTREAM sports star is an egregious stretch.

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  62. Now do it without using any dead guys!

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  63. I think a big problem with the house show business today is the split house shows. If a house show has Bryan, Cena, Orton, Batista, etc all on it, it';s going to sell more tickets than one that only has half the top guys.

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  64. After hearing Bret's performance on that track Paul McCartney confided in Bret that he wanted to work with him so Bret could carry him to an all time classic album.

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  65. Not true - Bret was the acting King of England from 1992 - 1994, an honour bestowed upon him by the Queen after seeing him carry Davey Boy Smith to a classic match in Wembley Stadium.

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  66. Shawn Michaels was not a draw on top. He is only regarded as a draw because in hindsight/revisionist history. He killed business so badly Vince even turned to SID. Sid! As I wrote in the whole argument thread yesterday:

    "To show how far down the popularity ladder Michaels was at the time,
    the three Hogan vs. Vader 1995 WCW PPVs did the following buyrates: 0.95
    (SuperBrawl), 0.96 (Uncensored) and 0.82 (Bash at the Beach)

    One year later, Michaels vs. Vader at SummerSlam 1996 did 0.58. Even
    the third Hogan/Vader match beat that. For fuck's sake, Diesel vs. Mabel
    the year before got a 0.9!"

    Buyrates for WrestleMania 12 and King of the Ring were lower than in 1995. Survivor Series did better in 96 than in 95, but barely (.59 vs. .58). And aisde from Good Friends, Better Enemies popping the 2nd highest IYH buyrate up until that time, the next 4 that Michaels headlined did .37-.48.


    Everyone talks about Diesel being the worst-drawing WWF champion, but Michaels didn't make it much better.

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  67. Bret was supposed to play Mickey in Natural Born Killers but Vince wouldn't let him shave his head, even though Bret believed a bald headed anti-hero would be a great wrestling character. The role eventually went to Woody Harrelson who, ironically, starred in Cheers. Bret was he original choice to play Sam Malone but was screwed out of the role by Ted Danson.

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  68. It's not wrestling fans. It's CANADIAN wrestling fans. Canadians have a VERY rosy tint to their glasses when it comes to Bret.

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  69. WM 14 has the Light Heavyweight title. Close enough.

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  70. Bret Hart drew. He drew characters in his books. Outside of that I hate this conversation

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  71. However, we can all agree that Canada sucks at everything tho, right?

    #TrollingScottForTrollingMe

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  72. Ah, ok. Yes, I'd agree that his feuds during that period left something to be desired. I think if Diesel had stuck around a little longer, they would/could have stretched that feud out a ways, and that would have given the Fed longer to build their other heels up better. A face's title reign is often only as strong as the heels he has to work with.

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  73. Porn-Peddling Jef VinsonMarch 27, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    But in Bret's mind he could name 1000 better singers/performers than McCartney.

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  74. Although I imagine there might be some obscure site out there with some house show numbers, the only place I've seen to consistently have them was old Wrestling Observers (though I would imagine some other newsletters from back then, like maybe the Torch, would have had some). Many have argued about Meltzer's opinions over the years, but he was pretty comprehensive about getting numbers.

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  75. Worldwide? Here are the attendance figures from thehistoryofwwe.com from some of the European shows that Bret Hart appeared on:

    Summer Slam 92 - London, England - Wembley Stadium - August 29, 1992 (78,927; 75,000 paid; sell out; announced at 80,355)
    WWF @ Manchester, England - G-Mex Center - February 2, 1993 (5,000)
    WWF @ Hamburg, Germany - Sporthalle - September 8, 1994 (6,000; sell out)
    WWF @ Kassel, Germany - Sporthalle - September 9, 1994 (4,500; sell out)
    WWF @ London, England - Wembley Arena - September 14, 1994 (10,000)
    WWF @ Berlin, Germany - December 7, 1994 (10,000; sell out)
    WWF @ Zeltweg, Austria - Aichfeldhalle - June 17, 1995 (3,000)
    WWF @ Wels, Austria - June 18, 1995 (2,500)
    WWF @ London, England - Royal Albert Hall - June 22, 1995 (5,500; sell out)
    WWF @ Dortmund, Germany - April 7, 1996 (7,339)
    WWF @ Kassel, Germany - April 10, 1996 (2,981)
    WWF @ Bonn, Germany - April 11, 1996 (2,400)
    WWF @ Frankfurt, Germany - April 12, 1996 (6,202)
    WWF @ Dusseldorf, Germany - April 13, 1996 (4,000; sell out)
    WWF @ Rostock, Germany - April 18, 1996 (3,000)
    WWF @ Halle, Germany - April 19, 1996 (4,751; sell out)
    WWF @ Bayreuth, Germany - April 20, 1996 (3,637)
    WWF @ Stuttgart, Germany - April 21, 1996 (4,900)
    WWF @ Munich, Germany - April 22, 1996 (4,702)
    WWF @ London, England - Arena - November 27, 1996 (7,000; sell out)
    WWF @ Birmingham, England - NEC - November 28, 1996 (7,000; sell out)
    WWF @ Cologne, Germany - Sporthalle - February 23, 1997 (3,323)
    WWF @ Obenhausen, Germany - Arena - February 24, 1997 (4,193)
    WWF @ Berlin, Germany - Deutschlandhalle - Februrary 26, 1997 (6,373)

    There are some big numbers there (obviously SummerSlam sticks out), but I'd say the results are mixed at best. There were other European cards that didn't have Bret Hart on them that did just as well, so it doesn't seem like Bret even mattered.

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  76. I know guys who are champions have to take credit if business falls/rises but Shawn was world champion during WWF's worst period where all the big stars (Bret, Diesel, Razor, hell even Warrior) left the company at roughly the same time.

    I think with better booking and if Shawn was professional enough to make his opponents look like his equal then it would have done better business during that period, and even though Shawn wasn't champion from his 2003 comeback run, I think he deserves a lot of credit during the time WWE did great business like WM23.

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  77. People always say "best of a bad era" when referring to Bret, but the Cena era hasn't exactly set things on fire either. It's a completely different business model so it's a hard comparison but I don't think anyone would argue Cena isn't a draw.

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  78. "Plus Bret was a legitimate mainstream sports star worldwide."

    Being a recurring guest star on Lonesome Dove doesn't mean you're a mainstream sports star.

    Bret might have made it into the mainstream in Canada. In the U.S. he wasn't particularly famous outside of wrestling.

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  79. THIS. Revisionist McMahon history has Shawn Michaels being one of the great bannermen for WWE and the reason the Attitude era existed. But reality is business tanked while he was on top and DX would've never happened if Austin hadn't kicked down the door first with the Bret Hart feud.


    He's probably the greatest in-ring perfomer ever in WWE, but draw-wise he's probably closer to Edge than he is to Bret.

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  80. I honestly hope HHH goes over at mania and Bryan gets rolled back a level afterwards just because I'm so annoyed at Bryan fans trashing Bret and Shawn. Someone send hhh a copy of this thread and the one I was in yesterday so he can politic Vince into going over.

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  81. Oh, there's no denying that Shawn's first title reign came when WWF was doing its worst business and WCW was getting hot and taking the big names.

    The Diesel title reign definitely killed most of WWF's business, but Shawn Michaels gets treated liked a revered figure from 1995-1997 when, in all honesty, the box office just doesn't reflect that. I agree with you that Michaels deserves credit for some great business after his comeback, but the mid 1990s Michaels was no lifesaver.

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  82. I've also decided after watching almost everything-aavailable on YouTube and the network re: mid 90's WWF that Bret hart is indeed my favorite face ever.

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  83. I never could have imagined that ANYTHING could have trumped or cancelled out your HHH hatred. That is impressive.

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  84. Hey now, we're the best at a sport nobody takes as seriously as we do! And it's our humble nature that makes us better people than everyone else!

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  85. As I said, I think all the evidence you need to show that Shawn Michaels wasn't a draw was that Vince gave up after seven months put the belt on SID. Sid, who never drew a dime in his life and was plagued by frequent backstage problems. Sid, who has half the brain you do. Sid, who supposedly shit himself at Mania 13. Sid, who tries to fight his battles with a squeegee despite being a mountain of a man.

    Even though he did terrible business, Vince believed in Nash enough to give him a year-long reign. He didn't (or maybe couldn't) have that same patience with Shawn.

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  86. As fun as his little heel run was, he is up there with Sting in that he has perfected the face role completely

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  87. It's not only the era, it's the competition. And cable in 1994 is a LOT different than cable in 2014.

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  88. It's fair to grant that champions sometimes get too much credit when things are hot and too much blame when they're cold.

    But business issues aside...at some point you have to evaluate guys based on what they actually did, not what they could have done if the overall company was healthier or WCW was doing worse.

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  89. Shawn Michaels wishes he was that big in Europe.

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  90. You must have thin skin l if people "trashing" (i.e. offering factual evidence that suggests that they might not have been draws) two retired wrestlers makes you annoyed.

    And if anyone sends anything to Triple H regarding the end of Mania 30, it better be my idea of Hogan walking out as champion.

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  91. That's some compelling evidence you have there to prove me wrong!

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  92. As big of a Bret fan as I am I would also say that its kind of silly to have a discussion about someone being a draw until they are put over as champ and given opportunity to carry the company.

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  93. And like I stated yesterday about how stupid it is to think that Bret and Shawn werent draws, people need to remember and realize how absolutely huge the NWO deal was. late 96/all of 97/all of 98 Nitro was virtually untouchable on a ratings/draw when you compare the two companies. Even the high magnitude of Austin 3:16 STILL took a year to overtake WCW.


    You can put out any product from today, Bryan or not, and it wont be able to compete with 96/97/98 WCW. It's not at all a slight on Bret or Shawn and should not be looked that way either

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  94. He doesn't know what he's talking about. Probably just some kid who wasnt watching and then and has picked up on hearing that 95 was a bad year for the WWF and just wants to parrot back some info he heard.

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  95. HE WAS ON THE SIMPSONS! Does it get any more mainstream than that??

    "Daniel Bryan is the most over guy since the Rock and Austin were at their peaks."



    This is the dumbest thing I've seen on here in a while. Okay, we get it, we all hate Cena. But go watch the Raw in 2005 when it's announcing Cena was drafted. Or watch the 2005 Raw where Batista gives Triple H the thumbs down to set up the WrestleMania match.


    Or watch HBK attack Jericho at any point during their 2008 feud.


    This revisionist history about Daniel Bryan is fucking absurd now. Yes, the guy is over. No, he's not in the same league as Rock or Austin.

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  96. That's what made Bret's heel run so good. He still believed he was a babyface the entire time.

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  97. Too dumb to respond to. Think what you want. No one cares anyway

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  98. He put the belt on Sid to set up Shawn winning it back in his hometown.

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  99. God damn this whole thread is filled with moronic posts. What the hell does that even mean? The fans were going crazy for Bret back in 1988 & 1989, but the WWF held off because it had Hogan/Warrior/Savage on top.


    If Bret was made champ in 1988, would that make him more over than Bryan?


    You telling me Daniel Bryan would have be the #1 face if Hogan/Savage/Warrior in their prime were around??


    Damn, I think I'm starting to understand Triple H's B+ player remark.

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  100. Well... maybe if they WERE big draws they could've actually made a dent in WCW's dominance. In fact, one of the whole reasons why WCW got to that level was because WCW was doing far more interesting programming with the nWo and cruiserweights while WWF was having Shawn Michaels dance like a male stripper and Bret Hart fight a pirate.

    Blame WCW's dominance all you want, but if they were actually big draws they would've actually done something to turn business around. The most significant thing Bret Hart ever did to increase ratings for the WWF during the Monday Night War was get kicked out, and the most significant thing Shawn Michaels did to increase ratings was retire so Austin could run with the ball.

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  101. LOL, great comment. He just happened to have great matches with everyone he wrestled.

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  102. This guy gets it!

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  103. You weren't alive in 90s, were you? Watch SummerSlam 91, King of the Ring 93 & WrestleMania X.

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  104. Shawn gets credit for the Attitude Era because he and the clique were pushing for a more realistic adult product back when Nash and Hall were still around. He was one of the driving forces behind it whether he was the first character to do it on television or not.

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  105. Actually I've been watching since the 70s. The pop for Bret was not that big. Nothing like what Hogan or Austin got, and nothing like Bryan gets on a regular basis. The only monster pop for Bret was at Canadian Stampede, which is no surprise since it was in Canada.

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  106. Ah yes. The big hometown victory. Shawn Michaels was so popular in his hometown that WWF sold $10 tickets and still had to give 12,000+ free tickets away.

    Have Cornette tell ya all about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIKBDHNYeII

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  107. "Plus, the NFL is a bigger deal now than it was twenty years ago"

    This is actually false when it comes to Monday Night Football. During Bret's time, the show was on ABC and drawing about twice as many viewers as it does now.

    "And finally, due to population growth, a 3.0 now actually encompasses more people than a 3.0 in 1996"

    That is true, but minimally. A ratings point in 1996 = 959,000 households. Today, it equals roughly = 1 million. So a 1.0 today is only worth about 50,000 more viewers than 1.0 in 1996. Also we are talking about a station (USA) that had great penetration in 1996.



    If you were to look back to the late 80s, then the cable numbers would be way off.

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  108. Wow, a cameo on The Simpsons, he MUST have been a mainstream star worldwide!! Never mind that his appearance on the show was to illustrate how far Mr. Burns had fallen that he had to sell his house to a pro wrestler.

    The Simpsons also had cameos from Stephen Jay Gould, Bruce Baum, John Kalodner, Jasper Johns, and Jay North. Feel the mainstream!

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  109. I can say for a fact that Bret Hart was by far the most popular wrestler in Germany for several years (and btw: this was also when wrestling had it's biggest boom period here and for a certain time frame became the second biggest market for the WWF behind the United States).

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  110. and he was to me, too!

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  111. Yeah, he wanted to work with the clique, but they were gone for the most part aside from Hunter and he was being punished and not really over. Pillman was injured (and a healthy Pillman would've been fantastic vs. HBK just on promos alone...). Austin was doing a lot of jobs to HBK at house shows and dark matches, but I don't think he was ever seriously considered for a PPV main event with Shawn at the time. Probably because he was being protected on TV to face Bret at Survivor Series that year. He did make chicken salad out of chicken shit because with Austin out of the picture, Foley out of the picture (aside from the one-time match) because of the ongoing Taker feud, he only had Vader or Sid left after the Bulldog feud. Not wanting to face Vader again was a mistake, but Vader had been buried by WCW for a year and then buried again after he was let go and wasn't quite the draw in WWF he had been in WCW anyhow. At the end of the day Shawn was doomed due to lack of top heel depth, a downward cycle and the WWF's insistence on changing their new main eventer's character. But business did improve when Bret came back and that means something especially when it happened multiple times in the 90s. Bret as champ = steady business, replaced by Yoko/Hogan = business down, Bret back as champ = business improves, Diesel as champ = business way down, Bret returns = business improves, HBK as champ = business drops, Bret returns = business improves. There's a definite pattern.

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  112. Isn't the whole concept of someone being a draw outdated? (outside of The Rock)

    the first Hell in a Cell match between CM Punk vs. Ryback didn't do those suprisingly good numbers because Punk or Ryback (hahaha) are those huge draws... but that match at that ppv was. we know (or felt we knew) that Punk was going against The Rock at the Royal Rumble but on the other hand they had given Ryback that undefeated streak. so there was real suspense about the outcome. and THAT was the draw.

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  113. It's a fair argument and the numbers above support that (a few Germany sellouts in 1994 and 1996). But I find it odd that people are arguing that Bret Hart was a "worldwide" draw when WWF wasn't even a worldwide company yet and the European house show numbers are roughly the same with or without Bret Hart on the card.

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  114. If you are using Savage/Steamboat from III, then you gotta go Hogan& Mr.T vs. Orndorff & Piper for I, no?

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  115. I'm not a Cena fan, but Cena has kept WWE relevant when it has more competition from cable, legit pro sports, and legit combat sports than Hogan or Austin ever had to face.

    The NFL is even more popular now than it was in the late 1990s. MMA is about a hundred times as popular. There are hundreds of cable channels and streaming services like Netflix. The fact that millions of people still tune in to Monday Night Raw in 2014 is actually an accomplishment in itself in a depressing sort of way.

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  116. By this definition, what sort of massive mainstream star is Edge? His likeness was used in South Park AND he has a staring role in a SyFy series.

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  117. That's all true, but still putting the title on Sid wasn't Vince giving up on Shawn it was done to set up another big show centered around Shawn.

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  118. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 27, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    "Plus Bret was a legitimate mainstream sports star worldwide"

    ...

    really?

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  119. I don't know where you get your info, but I've heard from the man himself that Iron Mike Sharpe was Canada's greatest athlete. They wouldn't let just anyone say something like that. So, you should just probably admit right now that you're mistaken.

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  120. Lonesome Dove, bitch!

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  121. Good job but no way I could sit through 30 straight matches

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  122. Comparing WWF/WWE draws to HBO shows:


    Hulk Hogan = Sex and the City, the biggest mainstream show ever until...


    Steve Austin = The Sopranos, the biggest show on the network ever


    Bret Hart = Deadwood, a really big drawing show, but didn't get nearly as over as the SATC or Sopranos and it was cancelled too early (though Bret came back and Deadwood never has)


    Diesel = John From Cincinnati, was supposed to be the next Sopranos/SATC and Deadwood was cancelled to make room for it. Generally considered the biggest mistake ever.


    The Rock = Game of Thrones, the new age biggest draw and mainstream show


    Triple H = Oz, because he rapes everyone else's push


    Shawn Michaels = Tell Me You Love Me, a good show with a lot of action that never got the viewers it should have. Also it sounds a lot like it lost its smile.


    Randy Savage = Curb Your Enthusiasm, solid performer that was overshadowed by bigger draws and never really given the big push as THE show on Sunday nights


    CM Punk = Girls, a show loved by some and hated by others that gets more attention than it deserves


    John Cena = Boardwalk Empire, respected by a lot, but not really loved despite doing very solid business. Jimmy = rapping John Cena, dead too soon


    Bob Backlund = Arliss, not very good and it ran way too long


    Ric Flair = Big Love, both characters have had a ton of wives. Lot of respect for both. Could make a case for Hung I guess


    Randy Orton = Eastbound & Down, both are very awesome, but very childish


    Batista = Entourage, skinny jeans galore


    Rey Misterio = Life's Too Short, too obvious


    Bruno Sammartino = The Wire, old school drama that is generally considered the best ever


    Undertaker = Six Feet Under, natural fit

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  123. But Shawn was supposedly scheduled to lose that belt two months later at WrestleMania 13 to Bret Hart, which again shows you that Vince didn't think that Shawn could carry the belt long-term.

    But less than a month later Shawn cracked and took a 3 month vacation. Vince didn't put the title on him again for over a year until Bret Hart was walking out the door in order to make Shawn a transitional champion between Hart and Steve Austin. Vince knew Shawn couldn't draw and only gave him his second and third reigns when endpoints were already set in stone.

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  124. Wow. I can't tell whether to make fun of this nor applaud it. Damn you

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  125. Uh, what? 1988 Hart Foundation Bret Hart was nowhere near as over as Daniel Bryan is now.


    Daniel Bryan's status now is equivalent to Bret Hart in 1993.

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  126. I'm with you there. He did some mainstream stuff like Lonesome Dove and a guest spot on the Simpsons but no one knew who he was for the most part.

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  127. I think Shawn and Bret fans were more loyal, especially Bret fans. Look at how long it took people to get over Montreal and some people still aren't. If this happens to Shawn in Texas or Bryan in Washington would the hub-bub really linger this long? No way to really know, but I don't think people would be that upset.

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  128. Here's another crack at it. 10 title matches, a MITB match, and some heavy WM hitters. Austin/Hart, Rock/Hogan, Flair/Savage, UT/HBK. Pretty much every big name gets a match except Angle and HHH (didn't intend for that one, just a pleasant result). Sure some awful things sneak in there, but you do what you gotta do.

    WM1 Ricky Steamboat vs. Matt Borne
    WM2 Don Muraco vs. Paul Orndorff
    WM3 Piper vs. Adonis
    WM4 Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules
    WM5 Demolition vs. Powers of Pain (Tag Titles)
    WM6 Rick Martel vs. Koko B. Ware
    WM7 Big Bossman vs. Curt Hennig (IC Title)
    WM8 Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage (WWF Title)
    WM9 Steiners vs. Headshrinkers
    WM10 Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb
    WM11 Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
    WM12 Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Vader vs. Yokozuna, Ahmed Johnson, Jake Roberts
    WM13 Austin vs. Hart
    WM14 Taka vs. Aguila (LHW Title)
    WM15 Shane McMahon vs. Xpac (Euro Title)
    WM16 Test/Albert vs. Snow/Blackman
    WM17 Kane vs. Raven vs. Big Show (Hardcore Title)
    WM18 Rock vs. Hogan
    WM19 Stratus vs. Victoria vs. Jazz (Women's Title)
    WM20 Goldberg vs. Lesnar
    WM21 Mysterio vs. Guerrero
    WM22 JBL vs. Benoit (US Title)
    WM23 MITB: Kennedy, Edge, Punk, Booker, Jeff hardy, Finlay, Matt Hardy, Randy Orton
    WM24 Batista vs. Umaga
    WM25 Undertaker vs. Michaels
    WM26 Vickie Guerrero, Michelle McCool, Layla, Maryse, and Alicia Fox vs. Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Eve, & Gail Kim
    WM27 Miz vs. John Cena (WWE Title)
    WM28 Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (World Title)
    WM29 Mark Henry vs. Ryback

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  129. Then where do you fit Andre in?

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  130. The next challenge.

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  131. It would have to be a 3 day show, 10 at each event.

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  132. Completely different lineage. It's like saying the US title is "close enough" to the IC title.

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  133. So what would you do for WM30?

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  134. Well, it kind of is since they're both mid-card titles. Different lineage or not, it's close enough. There haven't been that many Cruiserweight title matches in WM history anyway, is there?

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  135. Ugh.


    WM 5 goes to Bushwhackers vs. Rougeaus
    WM 29 becomes Jericho vs. Fandango
    WM 30 is Rybaxel vs. Real Americans vs. NAO vs. Los Matadores.

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  136. Demolition vs. Colossal Connection from VI or even Jake vs. Andre at V

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  137. that works much better.

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  138. Here's my initial stab at it. 12 title matches, and while some matches acted as ways to buy time and others were shoehorned in to get guys into the lineup, I'm pretty proud of it.

    1) Tag titles: Volkoff/Sheik vs. Rotundo/Windham
    2) Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T
    3) IC title: Savage vs. Steamboat
    4) Rick Rude vs. Jake Roberts
    5) Arn/Tully vs. Strike Force
    6) WWF title: Hogan vs. Warrior
    7) Virgil vs. Ted DiBiase
    8) Owen Hart vs. Skinner
    9) Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
    10) WWF title: Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger
    11) Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
    12) Undertaker vs. Diesel
    13) LOD/Ahmed Johnson vs. NOD
    14) WWF title: HBK vs. Austin
    15) European title: Shane McMahon vs. X-Pac
    16) Test/Albert vs. Al Snow/Steve Blackman
    17) Tag titles: Edge/Christian vs. Dudleys vs. Hardys
    18) Angle vs. Kane
    19) Tag titles: Team Angle vs. Los Guerreros vs. Benoit/Rhyno
    20) Rock/Foley vs. Orton/Batista/Flair
    21) Women's title: Trish Stratus vs. Christy Hemme
    22) Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle
    23) Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga
    24) Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show
    25) IC title: Rey Mysterio vs. JBL
    26) Bret Hart vs. Mr. McMahon
    27) WWE title: The Miz vs. John Cena
    28) CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
    29) World title: Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
    30) HHH vs. Daniel Bryan

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  139. Even in that all time WM card, Daniel Bryan is still getting buried.

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  140. someone needs to double check this but...
    1 beefcake-sammartino

    2 orndorff-muracco

    3 bees/sheik-volkoff

    4 steamboat/valentine

    5 rooster/heenan

    6 martel/koko

    7 dibiase/virgil MILLION $

    8 sid-hogan

    9 steiners/headshrinkers

    10 blayze-kai WOMEN

    11 razor/JJ IC

    12 goldust/piper

    13 austin/bret

    14 taka/aquila LW

    15 shane/x-pac EURO

    16 3 way ladder TAG

    17 tazz/apa-rtc

    18 molly/hurricane HARDCORE

    19 hardy/rey CW

    20 cena/show US

    21 Batista/HHH WORLD

    22 boogeyman/sharmell-booker

    23 originals vs new breed

    24 kane/chavo ECW

    25 hbk/taker

    26 orton/dibiase/rhodes

    27 Cole/Lawler

    28 Punk/Y2j WWE

    29 henry/ryback

    30 Divas Invitational DIVA

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