By Garland Chan
The votes are in and the winner is-best commentator. In the first blowout, best commentator beat out best lightweight by a 9-3 margin. Thanks for all your votes! There are two types of commentators, play-by-play and analytical. I won't distinguish between the two, but I will explain how I decide who is the best. As one astute person mentioned in his e-mail, there are the commentators who are funny and there are commentators who really know their wrestling. Well, I believe in having the best of both worlds and I believe everyone has a mix of both. I will look at the overall picture and that is how I'll decide who truly are the best commentators in the wrestling business. On with the show.
1. Jim Ross
Three weeks after being selected as the best interview, this guy takes another Best. He is truly an encyclopedia of wrestling knowledge treating fans with colorful insightful tidbits which I believe gives the wrestlers that added dimension. There is no hold that eludes him; no maneuvers that stump him and his very words can turn mediocre matches into good matches and good matches into great ones. Getting Ross from the WCW was a big coup for the WWF and is a perfect foil to the likes of Lawler and Cornette. He can even poke in a joke here and there.
2. Bobby Heenan
Is there a funnier man in pro-wrestling? If there is, please raise your hand. I thought so. "The Brain" or "Weasel" is one of wrestling's icons. His has one liners that will make you hurt inside with laughter. I remember his days with Gorilla Monsoon in the WWF in the old Monday night show. Gorilla would always berate Bobby's integrity and in turn Bobby would have some of the funniest comebacks. Gosh I miss those days.
3. Jerry Lawler
Lawler is a part time wrestler who spends most of his time beside Ross arguing back and forth. "Burger King" is one the funniest guys in pro wrestling and he's never at a loss for words. The guy can flat out insult everyone and we always want him to get his due. And they usually get their wish when he steps in the ring to wrestle. On top of that, he can give a pretty damn good interview too.
4. Mike Tenay
5. Larry Zbyszco
He always says "New World Odor," but we all know this guy doesn't stink. Larry Legend comes up with some of the funniest things. His ego and integrity make him a delight to watch week after week on Nitro.
Honorable mention: Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette
Last week I asked which was the better federation, the WWF or the WCW. Here's what some of you had to say:
"There is no contest as to who is better. WCW has more talent, better personalities, more charismatic wrestlers, better interviews, way better matches, is live every Monday might, and did I say more talent? ...Anyway, WCW has so much more to work with in terms of talent and money, they should be blowing the WWF away, but that'll probably never happen because McMahon will always hang around and get by."
- Joe McMenamin
"It is difficult to come up with a clear cut answer to your question. WCW has a much deeper and talented roster. However, no one wrestles. Nash, Hall, Hogan, Savage, Sting, they don't wrestle, but somehow people still watch Nitro over RAW. Why? I don't know. WWF might not have as much talent, but their talent wrestles. When healthy, Austin, Hart, Michaels, Undertaker, Vader, they all wrestle on TV. I don't want to watch interviews, I want to watch wrestling. That is why I believe WWF is better."
- Tom Donnelly
"Really, I don't think there is a best federation right now. I think that one gets a gimmick, then the other counters with another gimmick. For instance:
a. WCW-NWO, WWF-Hart Foundation
b. WCW-Giant (agile big man), WWF-Undertaker (agile big man)
c. WCW-Ray Mysterio, Jr., WWF-Taka Michinoku
d. WCW-Buff Bagwell (cocky and confident), WWF-Hunter Hearst Helmsley (the same)
"I think what we have is two equal federations, even though it is not shown in the numbers. However, with each federation trying to "out-do" each other, the fans are really the ones winning by getting some excellent entertainment...I applaud the two federations."
- Claude "Buddy" Guffey
Thanks Joe, Tom and Claude!
As an avid and loyal WWF supporter, I root and yearn for something to happen that will put WWF back into prominence. I must say that the disappointing percentage of non-conclusive matches is a big reason why I think the WWF has lagged far behind. But the bottom line is booking. Terry Taylor and company are doing a fabulous job creating angles we care about. This all leads up to my next question.
Question of the week: What do you think it will take for the WWF to compete with WCW again? (Please e-mail with your thoughts-if I like it, I may print it!)
VOTE!!! What would you like me to write about next week? Best Face or Best Heel?
Agree? Disagree? Suggestions for future articles? Go ahead make my day.
Until next time, this is Garland riding shotgun...
The World Titles: An Historic Perspective
Here is the continuation of Matt Benaka's historical perspective on the lineage of the two major promotions' World Titles. The next TWO chapters concentrate on the personalities who held the WWF Championship. In this installment we explore Hulk Hogans four subsequent Title reigns and other matters.
Part V: WWF - The Personalities 1989 - 1994
by Matt Benaka
On April 02, 1989 Hulk Hogan defeated Randy Savage at Wrestlemania V to become the third man in federation history to have held the title on two occasions. Hogan would enjoy his time at the top for 1 year and 1 day.
The Ultimate Warrior was the next man to wear The WWF World Heavyweight Title. On April 01, 1990 The Warrior entered the ring as The Intercontinental Champion. Both he and Hogan were putting their titles up in a first ever title vs. title match. At Wrestlemania VI, The Warrior would become the only man to simultaneously hold both The World and Intercontinental Titles. The Ultimate Warrior would reign as champion for 9 months and 19 days.
January 19, 1991 was The Ultimate Warrior's worst day. After several sneak attacks by Randy Savage, Sergeant Slaughter was able to put The Warrior away and win the WWF World Title. Slaughter's reign was focused around The Gulf War. Of course, Slaughter sided with Iraq and America needed a hero. Who better than Hulk Hogan? General Adnan was Slaughter's manager during his 2 months and 7 days at the top.
Hulk Hogan became the second man in federation history to win the title on three occasions when he defeated Slaughter on March 24, 1991 at Wrestlemania VII. This reign would last 8 months and 5 days.
Who could beat Hogan? The Undertaker. They met on November 27, 1991 and, after the smoke cleared, The Undertaker was WWF World Champion. It took outside help from Ric Flair, but the man from the dark side had pinned Hogan in the middle of the ring. Paul Bearer would manage The Undertaker during his 7 days as Champ.
Due to the manner in which the title changed hands, and instant rematch was called for. The two combatants faced off again on December 03, 1991. That was the day that Hogan would become the first man to have held The WWF World Title on four occasions. The match ended when Hogan blinded The Undertaker with ashes from his urn. Needless to say, WWF President, Jack Tunney, didn't appreciate the conduct of either athlete. So, on December 04, 1991 the title was stripped from Hogan. The new champion would be decided in a thirty man battle royal known as The Royal Rumble.
The WWF World Heavyweight Title would go to an unlikely candidate next. On January 19, 1992 "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair would enter the Royal Rumble as the third participant and would outlast everyone. In the end, he dumped Sid Justice over the top rope to become World Champion. This was the first time that a World Champion had been crowned by tossing his opponent over the top rope. Interestingly, Flair had been the dominant NWA World Heavyweight Champion of the 1980's and many thought that The WWF would use him as a punching bag for its superstars so as to prove the superiority of The WWF. Instead, Flair became the second "Nature Boy" in history to have held both The NWA and WWWF/WWF World Heavyweight Titles. For 2 months and 18 days Ric Flair was managed by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Mr. Perfect as WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
On April 05, 1992 Randy Savage would become the fourth man in WWWF/WWF history to win the title on two occasions as he defeated Flair at Wrestlemania VIII. Savage was, once again, managed by Miss Elizabeth as he spent 4 months and 28 days on top of the world.
Ric Flair wanted the title back though, and he would get his wish. On September 01, 1992 Flair became the fifth man in federation history to win the title on two occasions. The title change was marred by outside interference from Razor Ramon and Mr. Perfect. Ramon injured Savage's leg, and Flair put him in the figure four leglock. Savage would not submit though. He passed out from pain and his shoulders were counted for the pin. Flair's second reign was shaky from the start. He was still managed by Heenan and Perfect for his last 1 month and 12 days as WWF Champion.
Flair's successor would be Bret "The Hitman" Hart. On October 12, 1992, in front of a sold out crowd in Saskatoon, SK, Canada, the hometown hero would realize his destiny. Hart would defend his title against all comers and eventually lost his prize after 5 months and 24 days.
Yokozuna would defeat Hart on April 04, 1993 at Wrestlemania IX. Yokozuna would claim the shortest reign in federation history. After the match, his manager, Mr. Fuji would challenge Hulk Hogan to face The Champion for The Title. Hogan accepted and won an impromptu match in under thirty seconds. Thus, Yokozuna's first reign lasted a matter of minutes.
Hogan's win made him the only man to have won The World Title on five occasions. Jimmy Hart led him through 2 months and 10 days as Champion. During that time, he never defended the title.
Yokozuna would have his revenge. On June 13, 1993 he would end the last WWF Title reign of Hulk Hogan's career and become the seventh two time champion. Still under the management of Mr. Fuji, he became one of the most imposing champions in recent memory. Later in his reign, he would take on Jim Cornette as a second manager. He would be champion for an impressive 9 months and 8 days.
Next week Matt will continue describing the WWF Champions.
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part 10: Pleasure and Pain
"I had so always hoped that you would end this reign, but it is my destiny to be the king of pain."
Sting must have felt like that man in "King Of Pain" in 1991. He lost the NWA/WCW World Title in January to Ric Flair, lost a controversial match to the Great Muta in Japan, took a chained Russian Sickle clothesline from Nikita Koloff during his tag match with The Steiners, won the US Title but lost it four months later thanks to a conspiracy by Lex Luger and Paul E. Dangerously and got his knee re-injured!!!
But there was still more pain to come as Starrcade '91 approached in December. In this unique event, 40 wrestlers would participate in random drawn tag team bouts. The winning teams would then go on to "BattleBowl", which was a two ring over the top rope free for all. When there is a winner in ring #1 and ring #2, the two winners would go at it until there is one winner and he would be BattleBowl champ. Sting was one of those 40 participants and his luck, true to form, would be all bad!!! He drew Bobby Eaton (a Dangerous Alliance member) and Brian
Pillman as his opponents and Abdulla The Butcher as his partner!!! Sting must have thought he was in hell at this point!!! He spent as much time fighting Abdulla as his did Eaton!!! The match ended when Abdulla's regular partner, Cactus Jack, came down to hit Sting but hit Eaton. This allowed Sting to get a quick pin on Eaton and advance to BattleBowl but the downside was that Abdulla, by being Sting's partner, also advanced!!! When the BattleBowl match began, it was a crazy match to say the least.
This match featured Sting, Vader, a young Marcus Bagwell, Scott Steiner, Arn Anderson, Rick Rude, Rick Steamboat, Jushin Liger, Rick Morton, Lex Luger, "Stunning" (Stone Cold) Steve Austin, Ron Simmons and others.
This was a good battle royal which saw Luger win in ring #1 when he eliminated Vader. Luger had about 10-15 minutes of rest time as Sting and Rick Steamboat battled "Stunning" (Stone Cold) Steve Austin and Rick Rude. Stinf eventually won in ring #2 but not before taking a Rude Awakening from the "Ravishing One." Luger, seeing his opportunity to humiliate Sting, waited as Sting crawled over to the other ring.
Luger punished Sting and had various opportunities to eliminate him but didn't. That would prove to be his undoing as Sting slowly battled back and eliminated Luger to win BattleBowl. This victory led to a match in
February of 1992 as Sting face Lex Luger for the WCW World Title at SuperBrawl II in Milwalke, WI. What was expected to be a classic match was actually one-sided for the most part as Sting took it to his former partner, pinning him with a flying bodypress for the title!!!
However, Sting didn't have much time to celebrate afterwards as Rick Rude challenged Sting for his World title. In fact, Sting and Rude got into a brawl after the card. The Dangerous Alliance tried to gang up on Sting but was cut off by Nikita Koloff. But Rude would not be the only one to challenge for the belt, as you will see next time. In fact, look at the title for the next chapter below.
Coming Soon: Diary Of A "HitMan"
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis.
That's it for today. I am on vacation this week and next and will be heading up to the Northern California coast today for a few days. I will be back here with you on Monday with the usual Monday Night Wars Edition. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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