By Garland Chan
The votes are in and the winner is-best heel. In another blowout, best heel beat out best face by a 9-1margin (sorry Greg). Thanks for all your votes! Well, I won't go into a big explanation on what a heel is. All I have to say is, a heel is a wrestler you love to hate. Here's my list.
1. Hulk Hogan
He made the amazing turn from most popular to most hated. NWO really took of after the Hulkster joined the group. Many people didn't like this untalented wrestler was a "wrestling" champion and then all of a sudden they are given a huge reason to boo. He is undoubtedly the most hated man in wrestling�and Hogan's loving every minute of it.
2. Bret Hart
After making the gradual unsure turn to the "dark" side (starting when he went off on that "I've been screwed" bit, and continuing after Wrestlemania, this Canadian patriot made it a point to list out every single fault of the American fans. Every one. Ok, from a Canadian citizen standpoint, he may be a hero and the best face who ever lived. But guess what? I'm not Canadian.
3. Curt Hennig
Who doesn't like to hate a Benedict Arnold? Not I. First it was Marc Mero and making him lose the Intercontinental championship to Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Then it was leaving the WWF high and dry. And now in probably one of the dramatic, horrific acts in the history of wrestling, slamming the door on Flair's head and turning his back on the Horsemen. The guy is the perfect heel and I'm sure it's not the last time he'll put a long sharp object into somebody's lumbar region.
4. Eddie Guerrero
This guy is awesome. Not only is he an awesome wrestler (as we've already known for quite some time), he's an awesome heel. If you read my house show report last Monday, you'll know that I got a first hand look at the man. He really works the crowd to his advantage, and his dysfunctional family bit helps him to be one of the best heels of today.
5. The Sultan
Sorry. Couldn't resist =). The real number five is Owen Hart. Sure he was a good face, but he makes a much better heel. He's almost retired two very popular wrestlers in Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. You can't do that without drawing some heat. He's a funny guy who knows how to work the crowd and I know there will be some World gold around his waist in the future.
Honorable mention: Shawn Michaels and Randy Savage
Last week I asked what it would take for the WWF to compete with WCW again? Now keep in mind when I say this, I don't mean what would it take for the WWF to annihilate WCW, but rather what (specifically) would make the WWF be able to garner ratings victories at least some of the time. I got a lot of responses on this question. Here's what some of you had to say:
Thanks Monty, Nick, Ed and Chris!
My personal feelings about this whole thing is that the WWF actually has what it needs right in their own stable. They just need to harness their talent better. Look at ECW. Paul Heyman turned the majority of his basic wrestlers into superstars. Vince somehow needs to learn how to make his wrestlers into superstars. One idea is the return of jobber matches. Sure they have predictable outcomes, but I think it's a hell of a lot better than the regular screw jobs week after week. I think they built up the wrestler's charisma just fine. Another thing would be to make longer matches more often. Twenty to thirty or more minutes of wrestling action with some conclusive ending would do a lot for not only the winner, but the loser as well. Giving your all for that long gains a lot of support in the eyes of the wrestling audience. Just ask Steve Austin after Wrestlemania.
Question of the week: If the Four Horsemen reform, who would you like to see as the members? (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 Submission or Best Lightweight?
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. This final chapter brings up to date concerning the personalities who held the WWF Championship.
Part VI: WWF - The Personalities 1994 - 1997
by Matt Benaka
It was now Bret Hart's turn for revenge at Wrestlemania X. He won the title from Yokozuna on March 20, 1994 and became the eighth man to have held the title twice. The only thing worth noting about the title change is that "Rowdy" Roddy Piper was the special guest referee. Bret would be champion, again, for 8 months and 5 days.
November 23, 1994 would shock the WWF Title picture. Bob Backlund regained the World Title for a fourth time. That would make him only the second man in history to have done so. His title win was in a towel match. Bret Hart was seconded by "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith and Backlund was seconded by Owen Hart. The only way to win was for Bulldog or Owen to throw in the towel for their respective wrestlers. Owen knocked out The Bulldog and convinced his mom to toss in the towel on Bret's behalf. Thus, Backlund began his four day reign as champion.
Backlund was nothing more than a transition champion to get the title to "Big Daddy Cool" Diesel. Diesel disposed of Backlund in eight seconds for the fastest title win in history on November 26, 1994. He defended the title often. While his wrestling skills were limited, he was able to draw impressive heat from the fans and could work the microphone well. So, the WWF ran on Diesel power for 11 months and 24 days.
Diesel's tank would run out on November 19, 1995. On that day, Bret Hart would defeat Big Daddy Cool in a no disqualification; no count-out match to become the third man in federation history to win the title on three occasions at The Survivor Series. For 4 months and 12 days Bret tried to prove that he was "The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be."
On March 31, 1996 a boyhood dream would defeat The Hitman. It was a Marathon Match that went into overtime, and "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels used two superkicks to secure his place in history at Wrestlemania XII. As his name suggests, Shawn would have his heart broken. His boyhood dream came to an end after 7 months and 18 days.
Who would turn Shawn's dream into a nightmare? It would be "Sycho" Sid. On November 17, 1996 Sid would become The WWF World Heavyweight Champion. He used everything he had, including a video camera, in order to reach this point in his career. Sid would reign supreme for 2 months and 3 days.
Sid couldn't last forever. On January 19, 1997 Shawn Michaels would use all his ability, and, for the sake of irony, a video camera to become the eighth two time World Champion of The WWF. Michaels was not to be champion for long though. Injuries, that had been nagging him for quite a while, were the basis for his vacating The World Heavyweight Title on February 13, 1997. His second reign lasted only 26 days.
The WWF now had a vacant World Title. Fortunately, they had a quick way to fill it. There was going to be a four man match in which anyone could be eliminated by pinfall, submission, or being thrown over the top rope, at the next pay per view. This match was originally going to decide who would face The World Champion at Wrestlemania XIII. Now, it was to fill the vacant title. "Stonecold" Steve Austin would be the first man eliminated. Vader would go next. In the end, Bret Hart eliminated The Undertaker to become the third man to win the title on four occasions. This was the second time in history that this title changed hands by having the opponent thrown over the top rope. Bret's fourth reign would last only 2 days.
On February 17, 1997 Sycho Sid would become the ninth man to win the title on two occasions. It looked as though Bret would defend the title successfully until Steve Austin arrived at ringside and hit him over the head with a steel chair. The referee didn't see the blow, and Sid powerbombed his way to another World Title. He would reign as champion for 1 month and 5 days.
That brings us back to The Undertaker. On March 23, 1997 he would become the tenth man in history to wear the title on two occasions. The scene was Wrestlemania XIII. The match was no disqualification; no count-out. Bret Hart tried to interfere. Sid grabbed Bret and powerbombed him. The Undertaker took advantage of the distraction and delivered a tombstone piledriver to win the WWF World Heavyweight Title. While his performance is not that of a Shawn Michaels or Bret Hart, he defended his title often. Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels would combine to end The Undertaker's reign. In the end, his second reign lasted 4 months and 12 days.
On August 03, 1997 Bret Hart became only the second man in WWF history to win The World Heavyweight Title on five occasions. Not without controversy though. Shawn Michaels, the special guest referee, accidentally struck The Undertaker with a steel chair. Bret covered the prone Undertaker and became champion for the fifth time. As of now, he is still enjoying his reign at the top.
The question now looms as to which promotion boasts a better list. That is a decision of personal preference to be made be each and every reader. Personally, I think that The (W)WWF list is more impressive. Not only because of length, but because the title was around before wrestling focused around story lines. This is reflected in people like Backlund reigning for long period's of time. None the less, that is merely my opinion. I hope you each have one of your own and would like to hear them. That leads us to Volume Three. I will attempt to analyze the conduct of former champions as it relates to the words WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. Till next time...
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part 8: Scorpion Unmasked
Part 11: VADER
After winning his second world title from Lex Luger, everyone assumed that then WCW US Champion Rick Rude would be the top challenger for Sting's title. But Harley Race had other ideas.
After Luger's departure, Race secured the services of Vader, the 400 plus pounder from Boulder, CO. Vader had a run in with Sting in 1991 in the Chamber Of Horrors Cage match At Halloween Havoc '91 but never had a feud with him until 1992 when, during one of Vader's squash matches, Sting came down to physically confront Vader only to be left laying after Vader powerslammed him and gave him one of his patented running splashes!!!
Subsequently, the two had matches all over the country after that. The most notable took place in April when Sting, while attempting a flying bodypress from the top rope, was caught and powerslammed by Vader.
This resulted in some broken ribs and a bruised spleen!! Vader, however, opted to punish Sting rather than go for the pin and was DQ'ed for hitting the referee (I personally think that this was real and not a work, otherwise Vader would've pinned him). Sting would be out of action until May of 1992. Nikita Koloff, one of Sting's former enemies, took Sting's place in most of his matches against Vader (including one match in my hometown of Bluefield, WV). Sting, impressed by Koloff's selfless act, asked Koloff to be on his team at WrestleWar '92 against Rick Rude and the Dangerous Alliance. Koloff accepted the invitation. The match was a WarGames match that featured Sting, Koloff, Barry Windham, Rick Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes against Rude, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zybszco, and Steve Austin. The match was probably one of the better WarGames matches since their inception in 1987. Anyway, Sting looked very good in this match (which was his first since his injury).
Honorable mentions would also have to include Rick Steamboat, Rick Rude, and Steve Austin. Their performances in this match were probably one the best ever in WarGames match. Anyway, the match ended when Zybszco accidently hit Eaton in the shoulder with a turnbuckle bar. Sting, seeing the opening, put Eaton in a basic armbar to get the submission.
In June, Sting took on one of his "bounty hunters" (Cactus Jack) in a falls-count-anywhere-on-the-gulf-coast match at Beach Blast '92. It was a war, to say the least, that saw Sting get the victory on the ring ramp after a clothesline from the top rope!!! But lurking in the wings was Vader, waiting for his chance to face Sting again. He got that chance in July at the Great American Bash when he face Sting for the WCW World Title. Sting, to his credit, had Vader going during the match and actually had the man pinned in a German suplex but the ref was knocked away for a couple of seconds. The match ended when Sting leaped too high on a "Stinger Splash" and his head struck the ringpost, causing a nasty gash on his forehead!!! Vader, seeing the opportunity, put Sting in the powerbomb and pinned him for the victory. Everyone, including Sting, thought that regaining the WCW title would take top priority but fate would intervene once again.
Next: Snake Bitten
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis.
With this edition, Solie's introduces a new contributer. Anyone who knows this newsletter, knows that I don't generally report rumors unless I think they have some validity or if I just want to comment on their validity. With that premise in mind allow me to introduce John Armstrong who will be exploring the sometimes serious, sometimes...not, world of wrestling rumors
by John Armstrong
The WCW hotline has recently reported that there's a "spy on the inside" in WCW. For some reason, this lead folks to believe that the spy was from the WWF. But all the respected sheets are saying that the spy is nWo. The question is, who is it? Prevailing suspicion falls on one of the broadcast team members, so that leaves five main prospects - Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Dusty Rhodes, and Larry Zbyszko. The reports I have read have mentioned all except Schiavone, with Heenan being mentioned most. Oddly enough, I haven't heard Zbyszko mentioned until today, and I think that turning him nWo is probably the most likely scenario. Why? Nobody cares about Mike Tenay. Bobby Heenan hates Hogan, always has, always will. But Larry is involved now. He's the referee at Havoc in the Luger/Hall match as we know, and that presents a perfect opportunity for him to show his true colors by somehow shafting Luger, then joining in on the nWo attack. This is by far the situation that would draw the most heat. I could be wrong (and I hope I am...big Zbyszko fan here), but that's what I'm predicting.
On the subject of Dusty, there are weak rumors stating that he will appear on the October 6 RIW to object to the renewing of Goldustin & Marlena's vows. I doubt it, myself. I haven't heard mention of a possible Pillman attack during the ceremony, which seems to be possibility to me. Also in WWF weak rumors, I have read that Sgt. Slaughter may turn and join the Truth Commission. My thoughts - who cares?
The WCW has reportedly signed a few new wrestlers. It's been confirmed that Perry Saturn signed a three-year deal and reinjured his knee. It's also been reported that Rick Martel signed a two-year deal. On a side note - with all the new people joining the nWo, I think it's possible they are stacking sides up for a split, with Hogan's group feuding with the Wolfpack. Other signees include Gorgeous George III (Lanny Poffo) & Wayne Bloom, who has one of the Beverly Brothers in the WWF along with Mike Enos. Could we see a reuniting of the Destruction Crew in WCW?
4-1-1 News reported that Rocky Maivia is in line for a European Title reign soon. Now how this will fit into the HBK/Bulldog deal I am not too sure, but the WWF is supposedly happy with the heat that Rocky is drawing as a heel. I guess we'll see on that one.
Lastly, all kinds of opinions surround the "death of the Horsemen". The way I see it, WCW is going to do one of three things. 1) Actually kill the Horsemen, which I hope does not happen. 2) The most popular scenario, have the nWo think the 4H are dead, and then have the Horsemen re-form in a couple of months. 3) Chris Benoit takes the lead and forms the "New Horsemen". I haven't read option 3 anywhere. That's my take, and here's why. Remember the "New Horsemen" angle that was in the works in the summer? Know why it got scraped? Kevin Sullivan, who was planning the angle, left his position as head booker at WCW. Now he's back as an assistant to Terry Taylor. Could it be he brought the idea back with him and they're going to do it after all? It makes sense to me. Benoit takes the lead, keeps Mongo, adds Dean Malenko as he should, and then makes the fourth another youngster like Chris Jericho. Just a though, but I think this angle would really work.
More news & rumors next week, but I leave you with a very early lineup for Starrcade (can't recall where I found this)
That's it for this edition. I will be back this weekend with my IYH Report. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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