Posts Tagged ‘WCW’

One hobby among wrestling fans is to poke fun at some of the sillier moments in wrestling history, and one event that ranks up their among the silliest is the yappapi match.

In March 2000 World Championship Wrestling had their Uncensored Pay Per View event in which the main event was Hulk Hogan (who was back to the red and yellow/not the evil Hollywood Hogan anymore) vs Ric Flair in a strap match. In a strap match the two wrestlers are tied together, and you win by touching all four corners of the ring. For some reason WCW decided to call this a Yappapi Indian Strap Match. The origins of the word Yappapi are unknown to me, but I’m going to guess there isn’t really an Indian tribe by that name.  (Even better, during the match Hogan won by pinfall, the rules of touching all for corners were seemingly ignored at the end.)

Anyway Hogan cut some pretty crazy promos for this match, and once youtube came around people were editing them into some funny videos. The one I’m linking has this promo, along with a Flair promo from when he and Hogan toured Australia years later, set to music. Pure nuttiness in all its glory. Enjoy.

 

 

 

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1973 saw the premiere of The World at War. Considered a landmark in the history of British television, this World War II documentary was considered ahead of its time in rekindling interest in military history.

A generation later, World at War producer Jeremy Isaacs returned to produce the Cold War documentary for CNN and BBC.

Last August, the most important documentary of our generation debuted, its final two episodes aired in early January of 2015. This documentary aired on the WWE Network. This documentary, was the Monday Night Wars.

For the uninitiated, the Monday Night War was a period from September 4th, 1995 t March 26th 2001, during which the TNT network aired WCW Monday Nitro, head to head against WWF Monday Night Raw. Considered by many fans to be wrestling’s greatest era, early on WCW was dominant, with a villainous Hulk Hogan leading the groundbreaking NWO faction. WWF later fought back, with it’s Attitude Era and new edgy stars like DX, the Rock, Mankind, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Eventually WWF purchased WCW in early 2001, hence winning the Monday Night Wars.

The first episode features the background of the rivalry between Ted Turner and Vince McMahon, how Eric Bischoff became head of WCW and started the Monday Nitro program. The first episode of Nitro is highlighted, with it airing live from the Mall of America and the surprise appearance of Lex Luger.

The following episode features the NWO, which included the most shocking heel turn ever, Hogan going bad. His reluctance to turn heel is mentioned, as is how innovative and real life the story line felt.

At this point one of the weaknesses of the documentary becomes apparent. Every episode feels the need to spend 5-10 minutes recapping what we already knew, or at least learned in the first episode. So basically there could be up to 190 minutes of material you already heard, that’s almost like losing 3 episodes.

It’s interesting to see who appeared for an interview for this and who did not. We get Vince McMahon, Vince Russo, Lex Luger, Hogan, Nash, HBK. There are a few older clips of Vince, Bischoff, and others. However there are no interviews of Sting, Madusa, Chyna, and very little of the Undertaker. I can’t help but wonder what was a bigger factor in not having Chyna, her past relationship with HHH, or that she is a porn star during the now PG era of WWE. There’s an old interview from Ted Turner from 1998 where he talks about WCW. (This interview, often the same segment of it is played repeatedly throughout various episodes). An exclusive Ted Turner interview would have been gold.

Each episode is given a specific topic. The third episode is about the WWF Attitude Era, followed by episodes for DX, Foely, and Bret Hart. It was interesting to see how Bret and HBK were friends early on, when WWF started its “Youth movement.” It’s generalized how WCW didn’t use Hart well but it’s not followed up on specifically. (And they show Hart with the WCW belt.) An ECW episode follows telling how Vince invested in the company and how they kept losing their roster to WCW. An Austin episode airs before going back to WCW with the Cruiserweights (where see Benoit and hear his name said) and Goldberg, where the numbers of his undefeated streak are called into question, and CM Punk says no, in fact he was not and Austin Clone. Then we go back to WWF with the Rock.

The best episode is easily Diva’s gone wild, even though Madusa isn’t interviewed for it. After the Madusa incident, where she appeared on Nitro and threw the WWF women’s title in the garbage, the WWF legitimately did not have a women’s title for 3 years after this. Chyna is covered even though she wasn’t interviewed for this. They also cover Sunny and Sable and how the Diva’s evolved over time. (It should be said that WCW’s women’s division is given little to no coverage)

The following celebrity episode was very interesting, but the most disappointing episode was about Sting and the Undertaker and how neither of them jumped ship. This episode aired after Survivor Series of 14, where Sting finally made his WWE debut. A good portion of the episode is spent time speculating on why neither of them ever switched sides, and it simply boggles the mind why nobody just asked them. Again Sting does not appear on camera for this at all, Undertaker briefly appears in a few other episodes, but not this one. Why on Earth would they not simply just ask the guys? They both work for the company right now. For God sakes it’s not like they’re both dead!

While that was the most disappointing episode the following one was probably the dumbest. Fifteen episodes in and we keep getting the narrative that WCW lost because they didn’t build new stars. Now this episode tries to say how they did. They talk about the Giant (Big Show) and how he “beat” Hogan to become champion in his first ever match. They don’t mention how that match is considered one of the all-time goofiest things in wrestling, with the YET-TAY (big giant guy wrapped up like a mummy) coming to the ring and he and the Giant dry hump Hogan. Also not mentioned is how in the storyline the title gets vacated anyway and Macho Man wins it at the next PPV (ala WMIV) which was WW3, WCW’s attempt to out-do the Royal Rumble.

We get an episode on the Kliq, how one group of friends influenced both companies. The next to last two episodes are Mistakes on the Battlefield and the Fall of WCW. Here we see Bischoff’s frustrations in the later years and Russo’s tenure at WCW. The lawsuit between Hogan and Russo is mentioned but not covered much. The general disarray of WCW’s final days is covered, from the later gimmicks to the KISS appearance to the Viagra on a pole match. The Oklahoma gimmick mocking J.R. is ignored. Russo still defends putting the title on David Arquette, because it got a mention in USA today. They keep the traditional narrative of Nash and Hogan played politics and didn’t let new talent flourish, but we don’t really get Hogan and Nash’s side of the story. I would have liked some coverage on the Thursday night war too, when Smackdown and Thunder aired head to head.

The final episode covers the purchase of WCW by WWF, and how the Invasion angle was underwhelming due to the contract situations. It is mentioned how WCW had no TV deal, and it is suggested that WWF couldn’t air WCW programming on another network due to the nature of their contract with TNN (on which RAW aired at the time). However they did air Smackdown at this time so I would have like to have seen that clarified more.

The subsequent years of various WCW alumni appearing are covered, as is the return of Hogan/Hall/Nash to WWF and how they came in with their NWO gimmick. Interestingly they say there was this Executive Creative Control table that voted against bringing Hogan back, but Vince over ruled them.

There was a sports writer that appeared for this documentary, and he said that in the history of television, there’s never been two sports federations that went head to head. That was an interesting insight.

The Monday Night Wars is one of my personal obsessions, and because of that I knew a lot about it going into this. However, despite my criticisms above, it did offer a lot of insight into various aspects of that time. I would have liked to have seen a few things be elaborated on, but that’d probably be the case no matter what.

The Monday Night Wars documentary is a fun nostalgia trip that offered some good insights into wrestling’s greatest era. However, ultimately, as a documentary, it was a little disappointing. In conclusion, it’s obvious that someone needs to write a book about the Monday Night Wars, and that someone just might have to be me.

I’ve been out of touch with video games for a while, but last year I played the Smackdown vs Raw series. (07-09) In the story modes of these games you can choose to be on Smackdown or Raw, you can switch brands, and there are stories with cross brand rivalry. ECW is also in the mix in the 08 and 09 versions. Being new to me it got my wheels turning to an idea I’d become obsessed with. What if they made a Monday Night Wars video game?

(The Monday Night Wars was when WCW aired Monday Night Nitro head to head against WWE’s Raw. It began in 1995 and ended in 2001, when WWE bought WCW)

Imagine a game with every wrestler, gimmick, TV personality, TV Show, announcer, match type, PPV, etc, that aired on WCW and WWE from 9/95 to 2001, with maybe a few things after 01 as well. It would also include the entirety of ECW. Triple cage matches, multi-ring battle royals, World War Three matches, etc. What a game that would be!

I see the game broken down by different eras for each company. For example, WCW would start with the pre-NWO era, from 9/95 to 96’s Bash at the Beach. The next era would be NWO, then NWO Wolfpac, then New Blood/Millionaires, or something like that.

The game modes for each era would be like  games we have now, Story mode, championship modes for the various singles and tag belts, and a career mode. I always wanted to see a stable mode where your group must get the world title, tag titles, and one secondary belt. This mode would have some story, as you have to keep the stable together and maybe recruit and fire members. A separate Stable Challenge would be a Survivor Series, World War 3, type match against other stables.

Career mode would be pretty sophisticated. You pick one wrestler, and choose a company to start in, WCW, WWE, or ECW. Your goal is to win the world titles in all three companies. Secondary goals are to win at all the PPV and match types of each company, and finally to simply survive the Monday Night Wars. This could also be like a role playing game where you have to train your character, develop different skills, avoid injury, and make money to buy other unlocked characters, PPVs, match types, outfits, etc.

Each company would have advantages and disadvantages for this mode. ECW would earn you the least money, but would make you the most popular. Their training would be average. WWE would have the best training, average money, but not make you as popular. WCW would pay the most, give average popularity, but the lowest training.

There’d be lots of unlockables, like different wrestlers or old gimmicks, (Like Austin’s ring master gimmick, etc.) The look of each years PPV would be unlockable as well. (Example, Wresltemania XVI, XVII, XVIII etc)

One feature on SVsR that seems interesting but is actually kind of dull is the general manager mode. I don’t know how to make this interesting, but we’d need to have a mode where you actually run WCW, WWE, and ECW. You have to fight off invasions from other brands, deal with network and locker room politics, etc. One idea is for WCW you invade the WWE taped shows to steal there results. If you win a backstage brawl, then you get the results back to WCW for a ratings bonus. For WWE, you’d defend against the same thing. In here you could have different outcomes to the era. Like what if WCW ended up buying WWE, or what if by some miracle ECW emerged victorious.

Other what if scenarios can be played out, such as what if the Montreal Screwjob turned out differently? After the wars, what if the NWO lasted longer in the WWE? What if ECW kept all it’s big stars? The possibilities are many.

The final mode would be Fantasy Match, where you get to play big matches that never occurred. Hogan/Austin, DX/NWO, Sting/Undertaker, etc.

A game like this, and wrestling games in general could use a trivia game.

Now let me address the two elephants in the room. With all due respect a lot of us fans would love to have Owen Hart in this game. I would agree to not have his Blue Blazer gimmick or the Over the Edge PPV.

The other is Chris Benoit. The WWE has virtually wiped away Benoit from it’s history. I don’t believe putting him in a game condones his horrible actions, but I understand the sensitivity of the matter. One compromise could be to have a wrestler called The Crippler, who looks and has the same move set as Benoit. Then he could be in the game without having to use his name.

I believe that having both wrestlers in some capacity in a game is not meant to exploit tragedy, but for fans to remember their in ring work during this incredible era.

For a game like this I want it all, but if it were really made what realistically would be in it? Probably not Owen and Benoit, the KISS wrestler, celebrities like Dave Arquette and Mike Tyson, and probably not some of the more obscure characters from the era. It’d be a shame not to have Sting. There’s so many announcers, so for simplicity sake it’d probably be Bischoff and Heenan for WCW, J.R. and Lawler for WWE, and Joey Styles for ECW. Either way if they made a game even close to this I wouldn’t leave the house for a year.

Oh well, here’s to dreaming.