Some of you who know a thing or two about amateur wrestling may have heard the name Dan Gable. He’s considered by many to be the greatest amateur wrestler in the history of the United States, winning multiple state high school championships, two NCAA Division I titles, the 1971 World Championships, and won the gold medal at the 1972 Olympics without giving up a single point in the tournament. He went on to become one of the most celebrated college and Olympic coaches in history, leading Iowa to 15 national championships in 21 seasons and guiding many wrestlers to national, World, and Olympic titles of their own. But for all his success, one loss haunts Gable to this day, one blight on what had up to that point been a perfect record.
The Honky Tonk Man made his career on a record that still stands today for the longest Intercontinental Title reign in history. For 454 days, the Honky Tonk Man managed to keep the second-most important title in the WWF around his waist before being squashed in under a minute by the Ultimate Warrior at Summerslam 88. While the impressive length of the reign is what most people remember, the thing that really made Honky’s IC Title reign unique was that he was a really crappy wrestler who should have been destroyed by nearly everyone he defended the title against.
The WWF upped the ante when they ran the third Summerslam PPV on August 27, 1990 at the Philadelphia Spectrum, bringing not one but two big main events. Hulk Hogan would take on the overwhelming power and girth of Earthquake, while the Ultimate Warrior defended the WWF Title in a steel cage against the one man who had even managed to beat him: Ravishing Rick Rude. Plus, the Hart Foundation challenges Demolition for the WWF Tag Team Title in a 2 out of 3 falls match, Mr Perfect defends the Intercontinental Title against newcomer Kerry Von Erich, and much more.
The WWF began a summer tradition on August 29, 1988 in Madison Square Garden when they ran the first ever Summerslam PPV in Madison Square Garden. The main event was a huge tag team match pitting Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage against Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in a match marketed as the Mega Powers vs the Mega Bucks. Also, the Honky Tonk Man may have bitten off a bit more than he could chew when he laid out an open challenge that was answered by an impressive newcomer called the Ultimate Warrior.
Following up on the success of the first Summerslam event the previous year, the WWF ran their second Summerslam PPV on August 28, 1989 at the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The show was headlined by Hulk Hogan teaming with his good friend Brutus Beefcake to take on “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Zeus in a tag match, and also featured the Ultimate Warrior facing Rick Rude in a rematch for the Intercontinental Title, a pair of six man tags, and much more.
Every so often, a wrestler comes along that everyone takes one look at and right away sees big things in their future. They’re the complete package: athletic, a good look, strong promo skills, and that intangible charisma that immediately connects with fans. There’s no holding them back, and it’s just a matter of time until they take that big Superman leap over all the 1-As and become the megastar who will carry the business for years to come…except that they don’t.
This week on Monday Night Raw: Bret “Hitman” Hart defends the WWF Title against Fatu, Money, Inc reponds to Hulk Hogan’s comments from last week, plus the Steiners, Lex Luger, and Doink the Clown are in action! Your hosts are Vince McMahon, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and “Elvis Presley”, who is Rob Bartlett doing a crappy Elvis impersonation with the getup and everything.
This week on Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Dutch Mantel takes on “Prime Time” Brian Lee as a result of their run-in last week. Plus, “Hollywood” Bob Holly, Rip Rogers, Robert Gibson, and Tim Horner are all in action, and Jim Cornette talks about his mystery team that will be entering the SMW Tag Team Title Tournament!
Time for another week of action on Smoky Mountain Wrestling! We’ve got a double main event this week, and Jim Cornette is joining Bob Caudle on commentary since Bob’s usual partner, Dutch Mantel, is in action against Scott Armstrong. Also, the Fantastics are taking on the Koloffs, and Cornette says he knows the Fantastics and what they bring to the table, but the Koloffs are out for blood, and he’s betting on the Koloffs.
Though I had seen bits and pieces of Smoky Mountain Wrestling over the years, I never really had the chance to delve full on into the company and experience it as it happened in the 90s. However, I recently came into copies of their entire TV run from 1992 to 1995 as well as a slew of their major events from a friend of mine who was “making room” in his home (translation: his wife was making him toss it all), so I decided that, if I was going to get to go back and experience Smoky Mountain from start to finish for the first time, I might as well do recaps of the shows and share it with my readers. So if you’re like me and seeing all this stuff for the first time, or a longtime SMW fan who’s already seen it, I hope you enjoy my Smoky Mountain Wrestling Project!
Fall Brawl had been a very successful night for the New World Order, in large part because of the additions of the Giant, the NWO Sting, and Ted Dibiase to the group. The Giant had defeated the Macho Man, while the NWO Sting put Lex Luger away with the Scorpion Deathlock to lead the NWO to victory over WCW in Wargames. The NWO’s already stacked roster continued to grow on an almost weekly basis as 1996 continued.
By all signs, including his recent appearance on the WWE Network to discuss the passing of the Ultimate Warrior it appears that Sting is finally WWE-bound. This is a pretty big deal since, as longtime wrestling fans know, Sting was the one and only WCW guy to never make the jump. He stayed loyal to WCW for nearly 15 years, then once the company closed, he took a few years off before going to TNA for another eight or so years. It’s going to be interesting to see how Sting is used in WWE since the general consensus is that he’s well past his physical prime and can’t deliver what the fans who didn’t see his TNA run will remember him as. I think he’s better off than the hobbled old man some people make him out to be, but it is true that Sting is in his mid-50s and has understandably slowed down. However, while Sting was solid in the ring, his real strength has always lay in his ability to connect with a crowd and having an excellent sense of timing in terms of how to build a match, time his babyface comebacks, and bring the crowd up […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
Back in 1993, both the WWF and WCW were dominated by huge, monster heel champions. Given that they were so similar in size, WWF Champion Yokozuna and WCW World Champion Big Van Vader were often compared, and though they did eventually meet in the ring years later in the WWF, they were both past their prime and weren’t put in a position to have the kind of match they might have had they crossed paths in 1993. Today, let’s take a look at each man’s time at the top of their respective companies, then see about how they measure up to one another overall. Yokozuna had steamrolled to the WWF Title less than six months after his debut, defeating Bret “Hitman” Hart in the main event of Wrestlemania 9. Though he immediately lost it in an impromptu match with Hulk Hogan right after defeating Hart, Yokozuna regained it about two months later and sent Hogan packing from the WWF for nearly a decade. For the next nine months, every top WWF star, including Bret Hart, Macho Man Randy Savage, Lex Luger, and the Undertaker, tried and failed to dethrone Yokozuna. Some challengers, like Crush, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, and Tatanka were […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
The war with the New World Order was going very badly for WCW. Not only had they failed to defeat the rogue group in even one match since their debut Bash At The Beach 96, but Hulk Hogan had claimed the WCW World Title and manipulated the WCW wrestlers into turning their backs on Sting, driving him into a self-imposed exile. The Four Horsemen blamed Lex Luger for dropping the ball at Wargames, and they wound up fighting each other instead of dealing with the NWO. Though WCW had failed to maintain a united front, one man was still clearly focused on taking Hogan and the NWO down. Macho Man Randy Savage, the man Hogan had legdropped at Bash At The Beach to mark the beginning of the NWO, had a long history with Hogan going back over a decade as both best friends and sworn enemies. With WCW’s other troops too busy squabbling amongst themselves to worry about the NWO, Savage took the war into his own hands and challenged Hulk Hogan to face him for the WCW World Title at Halloween Havoc. Savage was already running low on people to stand by his side since Sting had disappeared […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
WCW was in a bad way coming out of Hog Wild 96. They had been on the receiving end of months’ worth of beatings from the NWO, and had a bomb dropped on them when Hulk Hogan turned heel and formed the New World Order with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Hogan had gone on to defeat the Giant for the WCW World Title and spraypaint the NWO logo on the belt, and as if all that wasn’t bad enough, the NWO was hinting that they had more members who would be revealed in the near future. WCW decided that drastic measures were needed to try and get a foothold in the war with the NWO, so they challenged them to face Sting, Lex Luger, Ric Flair, and Arn Anderson in WCW’s signature match: Wargames. The NWO accepted, but wouldn’t reveal who their fourth partner was quite yet, preferring to let WCW sweat for now. The NWO kept us guessing for a few weeks while they began revealing new members. The Giant joined the NWO after laying out several WCW wrestlers who thought he was coming to help them in a fight with the NWO, and then Ted Dibiase joined […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry…