Wrestling's Golden Age?
by Gary McClellan
This last week, Vince McMahon did something we never thought he would do. He not only acknowledged his former stars, but even put together a show that made a number of them look very good. But even so, I've noticed that many have a sense of nostalgia for the "good old days". There is a hunt for the "golden age" of TV wrestling.
Well, I think we are living in that Golden Age today. I first started watching wrestling seriously around 1977 or so. Due to the wonders of Cable TV, I could watch Georgia Championship Wrestling on WTBS, AWA on the local Omaha station, and the old Central States promotion out of Kansas City. For a new wrestling fan, this was heaven. And they all had their charms.
GCW had to my mind at the time, the best stars, the best production values, and the best announcer. AWA had some great wrestlers of their own. And the Central States actually put feature matches on TV...week in and week out, there would be a tag team match between Bulldog Bob Brown and Dick Murdoch on one side, and Pak Sung and Takachiho on the other.
So, was this the golden age of TV wrestling? Hardly... because with rare exception...the shows (other than Central States) took the same pattern. Star (or even midcarder) squashes jobber. He talks to announcer. Star trashes jobber, he talks to announcer. Maybe once every 2 months, a show would do something interesting (like a run in). At the time, I didn't mind (too much). But looking back now, that would drive me to distraction.
So next came the golden age of Hulkamania. And TV wrestling even managed to crack Prime Time Network TV on occasion..or at least to displace Saturday Night Live. Was this the Golden Age? It was certainly a good age, but I don't know if I would call it the golden age. By this time, the WWF had already put a presence on 1 weeknight a week (but an interview show with VinnieMac? ugh) However, while the TV matches were getting better, and there were some real developments on TV shows (especially Andre's turn on Hogan, and the Quake's squashing of Hogan), it was still pretty much jobber matches.
So when did the Golden Age come, I think it came the day WCW decided to go head to head with WWF on Monday Nights. It started an period of competition that still goes on today. In the 1 3/4 years since Nitro began, we've seen World titles change hands on both shows, we've seen World Tag Titles change hands on both shows, we've seen major heel turns on both shows. Yes, there are still jobber matches, but even at that, I think the level of jobbers has gone way up. A few years back, we had Pat Rose, George South and a whole slew of others. Today, many jobbers are excellent wrestlers (better than the stars in many cases) capable of headlining an orginization.
For example, everyones favorite jobbers the Armstrong brothers are some of the best wrestlers around, and I've seen them as the feature wrestlers in places like the old SMW.
However, I'm afraid that the "Golden Age" is getting somewhat worn away. Two years ago, my cable had a small station that brought me SMW, USWA, ECW (for awhile) and then some indie out of Mississippi. Today, I get to see none of these. Now, this may just be the story of TV in Western Oklahoma, but I don't think so. SMW is gone. From what I've heard, USWA is hurting badly with attendance way down. ECW is doing their own thing, but having struggles with acceptance, and raids on their roster.
I think the gold is rubbing off on the majors as well. They seem to have fallen victims of their own success. Storylines become more important than titles. In this I don't think the WWF is as bad off as WCW. The titles are still the focus, but even so, even there the focus has shifted away from the titles. Instead of generating heat around titles, its nowaround storylines. Any appearance by Sting flying in for more than a few seconds gets bigger pops than a title change.
And this isn't all Eric and Vinnie's fault. For all the frustration we may have...they are successful. The ratings are highest at the end of Nitro to see the Sting appearance. ... what do people talk about...the nWo, not the belts.
So, is the "Golden Age" just getting a little worn, or are we going to find that its been gilded. I don't know, but I do hope to stick around to find out. For this wrestling fan is still enjoying himself.
Gary McClellan (under a psuedonyme) is a regular contributor to the Solie's Readers Forum
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
This is an article that I have been meaning to do for a long time. Granted, like any other man, I tend to stare when a good looking woman comes into my view. However, I can appreciate the other things that women in wrestling do as well as their faces and figures. Here are my opinions on the women of wrestling:
1. Woman - Actually started her career in the early-80's as the "Fallen Angel." She was the valet (and is the real life wife) of Kevin Sullivan. Disappeared in 1986 and wasn't seen again until 1989 when she did her famous (or infamous) "Robin Green" ploy on Rick Steiner. Became Woman in September of 1989. Has managed DOOM, The Four Horsemen, DC Drake and The SandMan. Most recently managed Chris Benoit. Has never managed a wrestler to a major title but did manage The Sandman to the ECW title. She is one of the classic hell raisers in wrestling!!!
2. Miss Elizabeth - Rumor has it that she started her career in the old ICW as a comentator (if anyone can confirm this, please e-mail me). It is said that it was around the time Randy "Macho Man" Savage was ICW Champion. Actually had been married to Savage long before their wedding in 1991 at the WWF SummerSlam. First came into the WWF in 1985 to manage Savage. Mostly looked upon as a meek, little sex object, she was actually an aggresive woman who drove Savage to two WWF World titles and one WWF I-C title. Currently with Savage again as part of the NWO after a brief feud where she sided with Randy's longtime enemy, Ric Flair.
3. Sherri Martel - Began her career as a wrestler in the AWA. She was the AWA Women's Champion from 1985-1987. Best known for her managerial antics with Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, and The Harlem Heat. Has managed The Heat to six reigns as WCW World Tag Team Champions. Another longtime hell raiser in the manager/valet world.
4. Kimberly Page - Yes, I must admit that I was one of the thousands of men that bought Playboy's Nude Celebrates magazine back in March. Great body, without a doubt but her managerial skills can't be overlooked. Has managed two WCW World TV Champions. They were Marc Merro (formerly Johnny B. Badd), and her husband Diamond Dallas Page. Is also Page's personal trainer. Keeps Page in great shape (and I mean that in the fitness sense). Would like to see her get more involved in the Page/Savage feud though. A catfight between herself and Liz perhaps? Won a PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED poll for sexiest manager/valet.
5. Miss Jaqueline - Formerly known as Miss Texas in the USWA. Was their ladies champion. Was briefly part of the USWA version of the Nation Of Domination. She took the name Queen Moeshia during this period. Joined up with Kevin Sullivan in WCW to help him battle Chris Benoit and Woman. Not a managerial stratigist but can kick some a**!!! � Why Eric Bischoff doesn't put her in the Women's Division with Madusa and Akira Hokuto is beyond me. She would be a great help to that division because she is obviously talented enough.
6. Sunny - Began her career under her real name Tammy Fytch. Was the hottest manager in the now defunct Smokey Mountain Wrestling area (both in figure and in managerial accomplishments). Has managed Brian Lee and Chris Candido to the Smokey Mountain tag belts and Candido to the NWA title. Has also managed The Bodydonnas and The Smokin' Gunns to the WWF Tag belts. Is the second most beautiful woman in the WWF (sorry Sunny but either Marlena or Sable is number one). Still, with her brains and shrewdness, it is beyond me why does Vince McMahon only uses her as a showpiece? Ah, well.
7. Madusa - One of the most influencial lady wrestlers of the modern era. Still looks great for her age!!! A former AWA and WWF Ladies Champion. Was a key figure in Paul E. Dangerously's "Dangerous Alliance" and formed a lethal alliance with Rick Rude in 1992. Threw her WWF Ladies title into the trash on WCW Monday Nitro in November of 1995. Didn't see nearly the success in WCW that she enjoyed in the AWA, WWF or in Japan. Had her career ended (at least temporaraly) by Akira Hokato. Still, her place in wrestling can't be denied.
8. Marlena - Real name is Terry Runnels. Was a make-up artist for WCW/NWA before breaking into the sport in 1991 as Alexander York. Formed the York Foundation with Michael Wallstreet, Terry Taylor, Rick Morton, Tommy Rich and Mr. Hughes. It was during this time that she met Dustin Rhodes and formed an off-camera relationship which resulted in marriage. Had some success in WCW but the best she could do was the now-defunct WCW Six Man Tag Team Championship. Ironically, it was the team of Big Josh (Matt Borne), Tom Zenk and Dustin Rhodes (her future husband) that they defeated. Disappeared from the wrestling scene at the end of 1991 but reappeared in 1996 with her husband as Marlena. By this time, Dustin Rhodes had become Goldust. Helped her husband capture the Intercontinental title twice in 1996. Recently became faces. Terry still looks hot!!! Should have a good career in managing in wrestling so long as she doesn't run into too many more Chyna's in the world!!!!!
9. Sable - Is the manager and wife of Marc Merro (formerly Johnny B. Badd). Began her career as Hunter Hearst Hemsley's valet but that quickly ended. Briefly managed her husband to the Intercontinental title in 1996. Still, she has successfully taken over as the number one woman in the WWF. I just hope she's appreciated for her talents and brains rather than her body though (although those gifts can't be discounted either)!!!
I know there are more women in wrestling than this but I though I would keep the list narrowed. I would've like to have the women of ECW on here as well but I don't know too much about them and I have only seen a couple of them. Maybe I'll do an updated version of this article and have them included someday. Well, these are strictly my opinions and I have tried to keep them in good taste. However, if you want to debate me on this or just write to me about the article, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. By the way, these opinions above are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of Earl Oliver or any other writer on this page.
Coming Soon: Run, Blade Runner, Run: The Story Of Sting
Irvin Griffin Jr. is a regular contributor to Solie's as well as the Ringside Insider and other publications.
WCW Nitro has been shifted to Tuesday this week so I will review RAW in this issue and put out a special edition tomorrow with the Nitro report.
The program opens with hype for the scheduled Flag Match. Another "mystery" - who will face the Hart Foundation this evening? RAW is live from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Vader vs. Ken Shamrock - Big Van Jobber has his rematch from Richmond, VA back in May. Ooh - there's an "HBK Gay" sign right down front. Shamrock is interviewed in an inset - he holds up a can of Pedegree dog food as he challanges the Bulldog. Vader thumbs his opponent in the eye to take the early advantage. Shamrock goes for a leg grapevine submission hold but the big guy slips away from it. Vader continues to dominate. Moments later Shamrock lies on the apron as Paul Bearer bashs him in the head with his shoe. The fight goes out to the floor where Vader continues his onslaught by slamming "the World's Most Dangerous Man" into the steps. Back in the ring Vader goes for a Powerbomb but now Shamrock slips out. He gets a belly-to-belly to stop Vader's momentum. Paul Bearer prevents the pin and soon has Shamrock's fist in his face. Back in the ring there is another scuffle and the distracted Shamrock gets downed once more. Vader sends him over the top rope out to the floor. As he tries to return to the ring the British Bulldog interferes. He hoists Shamrock into a running powerslam onto the steel ramp. Shamrock is counted out and suffers his first defeat since entering the WWF. Cut to Canadian fans making the expected partisan remarks then to a commercial.
We get a flash of a newcomer to the WWF from Germany - sounded like they called him Brachus.
The Hart Foundation comes on down to wild applause and cheers. Bret has a smug expression as he begins "It's nice to be home...it's nice to be in God's country." He rants about being in San Antonio last week and compares the shape of America to a toilet bowl. The crowd goes nuts and starts a "US Sucks!" chant. Bret has used the word "crap" twice by now. He challanges the Undertaker to "...not wait for SummerSlam." and come out for the Flag Match. The Bulldog then challanges Ken Shamrock for the match tonight. Owen then adds Steve Austin to the list. Austin comes out to the ramp and accepts the challange. No sign of the other two so far. Cut to commercial.
Brian Christopher vs. Brian Walsh - Walsh is Canadian but not over with the fans at all. He out wrestles Lawler's little boy at the start of the match. Christopher finally turns things around with a belly-to-back suplex. He goes right to work but soon misses a punch and manages to smash his fist into the mat. Walsh goes on the attack again for about 30 seconds then gets caught in mid-air and slammed. Christopher snap-suplexes him out of the corner then goes up the turnbuckle to drop a big leg and get the pin.
The Truth Commission (from South Africa) has a promo for their appearance next week on RAW. What will McMahon stoop to next..? Cut to commercial.
Marc Mero looks on in feigned disgust as his wife hypes the $1,000,000 contest.
The Story of Dude Love is told in video clips. I love that look on Austin's face as Foley made his entrance as Dude Love. Austin comments that he couldn't believe what was happening. He still doesn't want a Tag Team Partner but allowed that Foley showed that he has what it takes to win... cut to commercial.
Video review of the Godwins' attack on LOD before they can get to the ring for a match with the Blackjacks. The Road Warriors rant loudly as only they can do. Hawk refers to themselves as "the things that wouldn't leave..."
Triple-Treat Tag Match - Godwins vs. The Blackjacks vs. The Headbangers- I guess the Blackjacks are mad because they missed out on their match last week. This is a Tag Team Title contenders match. The rules are different on this one. Three men are in at once - each combatent can only tag his own partners. This is kind of nuts - with one from each team in at all times it will be difficult for anyone to get a pin. I won't try to call this one move for move - to complicated. Needless to say, everytime someone goes for a pin the third guy breaks it up (but I said it anyway...) I assume LOD aren't in this mix because Hawk is still injured from last week. Certainly they have a better win-loss record then any of these three teams. Phineous eventually brains Windham with a bucket during a confused moment - Henry gets the pin - the Godwins get the Title shot. For some reason they decide to show some rather radical Canadian headlines before going to sell something.
Jim Ross introduces Shawn Mickaels to a loud chorus of boos and jeers. McMahon is determined to see how far back he can set Canadian-American relations... Shawn is looking like a beach bum again this week. A rabid fan holds up "Kill the Klik" sign. HBK wants to make a "blockbuster announcement". First he makes tasteless remarks about homosexuals - interesting considering some of the allegations that have been made about him... He says "Canada Sucks" at one point. The crowd is going berserk. He volunteers himself for the Flag Match. He then announces that he will take part in Summerslam as the special referee for the Main Event - the Bret/Undertaker match. He further reveals that he has to call the match fairly or will face his own permanent ban on appearances in the US.
We still don't know who the third member of the "American Team" will be. Cut to some more partisan fan commentary then another commercial.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. The Patriot - this will be Del Wilkes first appearance in the ring. I used to love this guy in the old GWF... Hunter attacks before his opponent can get fully into the ring. It only gains him a momentary advantage. The Patriot is double tough. Hart family members come down to the broadcast position to protest the Michael's participation in the Summerslam match. He ends up attacking Vince (he slaps the headset right off of his head!!) who has a murderous look in his eye. Bret retreats momentarily then comes back and starts pulling at Vince's clothes - Vince pulls Bret's t-shirt over his head. The Patriot tries to intervene and gets creamed by the troups. Cut to commercial.
Paul Bearer is called a liar by Jim Ross. He denies it and says he has the proof of his allegations with him tonight. He talks of a "little statue" that was cut in half. Each of the brothers was supposed to have kept a part. He seems to think that his possesion of this little icon somehow proves that Kane is alive. Beats me...
Farrooq (w/Kama-Mustapha) vs. Goldust (w/Marlena) - Goldust gets the early attack in on this one. It doesn't last long as he plants his solar-plexus on Farrooq's upraised knees. McMahon suddenly says "Oh No..." throws down his headset and heads for the back. Farrooq ia fully in charge now. We are told that Shawn Michaels has been injured backstage - the Harts were seen leaving HBK's dressing room. In the match Farrooq and Kama are doubleteaming Goldust. The referee DQ's Farrooq because of the outside interference.
More Canadian partisanship is displayed as we go to the next commercial. The Flag match is next but it is up in the air as to who will be involved on the side of Steve Austin. This is a funny Flag Match, by the way - whereas the object of every Flag Match I've seen was to capture your opponent's flag - in this one they are supposed to capture their own...
Shawn Michaels is shown stumbling around back in the locker room - he is refusing medical aid. The Harts make their entrance to rather subdued cheers (I could swear I see a "F#CK America" sign in the long shot). Bret calls for the Canadian National Anthem to replace his own theme. (Where are the Amazing French Canadians when you need them..?)
Stone Cold's music plays as he is introduced. He is alone at first - then he is joined by Dude Love. They rush the ring and we're off. I expect HBK to show up at any minute. Both Americans are tossed out early but Austin is right back in and trying to climb the pole to capture his flag. Owen is the next one to go up but gets upset as well. Just as we are going to commercial we hear the Undertaker's music start to peel forth.
UT has joined the frey as we return. The crowd has become definitely subdued. The Americans have swung the advantage in their favor now. Undertaker is trying to go for the flag while Austin is holding Owen on the mat - JR says they will go overtime to finish the match (the scroll across the bottom of the screen says that La Femme Nikita will begin in ten minutes). Owen continues to get worked over. He tries to get the flag again and again gets dropped on his head. Foley is doing all the dirty work. He tags in Austin. He sets Owen up for a superplex in his (Austin's) corner but gets shrugged off. The Undertaker is tagged in as we cut to another commercial.
Dude Love is back in with Owen as we return. Poor Owen is getting creamed in this one. He fights out of trouble and falls right back as Austin comes back in. Austin goes for a sharpshooter but is kicked off. Bret is tagged in. He drags Steve over and tries to put on his peculiar figure four but Dude Love breaks that up. In the ring its UT and th Bulldog. Bret Hart comes in and the Undertaker gets the best of him. UT goes for the flag but is pulled off by Owen. He is back up again but Bret is ascending the opposite side. As UT is about to get the flag - Brian Pillman and the Bulldog upset his balance. Bret gets the Canadian flag and we're off to see Nikita...
Not bad - it will be interesting to see what Nitro comes up with tomorrow night. I'll be back tomorrow. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
(Editor's Note: If you have found anything thats been said here to be particularly offensive please read this disclaimer).
Copyright 1997 - Jump C