One of the best things about tapping into wrestling history is that there’s so much of it. For better or for worse, the legacy of today is shaped in the past; whether it be a long time ago or much more recent. Every day we’re finding and sharing new stories across our Facebook and Twitter account, so to keep fully up to date make sure you’re checking those out. But some stories require a little more, so each week we’re going to bring to you a few either important or our favourite moments in time and delve a little deeper.
February 18th 2010 – Abyss HOF Ring
Going all in on LOL TNA is like low hanging fruit. Shooting fish in a barrel. All the cliches you can care to name that mean “this is so easy, it’s not even worth it”. That’s not to say that people stopped, especially given the sheer amount of ammo that they kept putting out there for their detractors. On paper this storyline isn’t actually that bad. Unfortunately for TNA irrespective of how cartoonish it became, it doesn’t play out like that in reality. Hulk Hogan “giving the rub” to Abyss (how much that’s worth in 2010 is anyone’s guess) at the very least attempted to put the right person in the spotlight. It’s also proof that you don’t need titles to build someone up necessarily, it’s just a matter of showing the audience that they care about something and there’s no doubting Abyss’ affections toward this ring; he absolutely cherished it and put it over big time. Unfortunately there was one issue here.
They say the devil’s in the details. In this instance it was one key factor that gave this entire storyline a sour taste. The ring in question was Hulk’s WWE Hall of Fame ring. Making it seem like an item is worthy or has a power/influence is great. If it’s lineage puts over your competition however then it instantly makes everyone look small time. TNA wrestlers should care about TNA things. If they’d done that maybe we’d have cared about them.
February 17th 2008 – End Of An Era?
Although this show would be infamous for something entirely (check out our latest Beyond The Beermat podcast for the lowdown on exactly what), there’s still something to be said for slotting all the Wrestlemania pieces into place. Triple H and the Undertaker both having to battle through the Elimination Chamber simply to earn an opportunity at the two main titles speaks to the depth of roster available; with neither the World Heavyweight Champion or WWE Champion (John Cena & Edge respectively) having to add star power to the match. There is something to be said – especially with the chaos of the last twelve months – in this being the beginning of the end for traditional Wrestlemania booking. Back then you would have some idea as to who would be facing who, it was simply a matter of how it came about whereas nowadays we can be merely days away from Mania before knowing a marquee match.
February 17th 1997 – No Justice For Bret
What a time for wrestling the late nineties were. Yet the transition from one era to the next isn’t exactly a smooth one. We’re a far cry from a whole era of it but there’s definitely some attitude going around in this episode of Raw. You can choose to look ahead to Wrestlemania and what became of both Bret Hart and Sid’s respective matches or you can look back at a booking process that saw a vacated title won by The Hitman just twenty four hours earlier. Steve Austin’s part cannot be understated in this either, then again three separate run ins sounds more Russo than Rattlesnake. You wonder too if HBK might have found some part of his smile too, casting a glance over to his TV and watching the man he was “supposed” to drop the title to now all but officially out of the picture. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how ridiculous the path is that you take, what matters is getting there and to that end – as with everything that happened around this time – you can sum it up quite quickly with “At least we got Austin VS Bret.”
February 20th 1989 – The Dragon Becomes Champion
Everyone gets older and memories fade. But the moment lasts forever. Ricky Steamboat versus Ric Flair is something that gets passed down from generation to generation as a concept. The flamboyant heel who talks too much versus the humble and noble face. The two as characters could not be further apart, so when you add in the fact that the one thing the do have in common is that they are two of the best wrestlers of their generation then the result is destined to be special. There are those saw the WWF as a flashy promotion whose competitors had no substance and that the NWA was where “real” wrestling was to be found. This feud that would go on to be booked alongside Hogan/Savage is the epitome of that divide.
February 17th 2002 – New World Disorder
If words echo in eternity, Vince McMahon ranting about injecting the WWF with a “lethal dose of poison” and his introduction of the nWo might be a voice that never leaves the minds of wrestling fans of a certain age. Sure the WCW/ECW Alliance angle might have fell flat but there wasn’t much in the way of big names anyway, this was a real invasion. Except it wasn’t. Rather than being true antagonists or even remotely villainous, their opening promo is full of smarky references that are great to briefly pop the live crowd. Being upset that you all had “heat with the boys” might have something to do with the fact that you’re on camera purpose is to destroy the company lads. Worrying points of contention aside, attacking Steve Austin is a sure fire way of saying to everyone exactly where you stand and there was still a tremendous amount of buzz around the wrestling world. It’s just a shame so soon after one angle that could have been great and fizzled out, there was another.