Old School Observations/Questions Thread 2020

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Idk. I actually think judging by Macho Man getting several sincere, heartfelt farewell messages on WWF TV and the fact that they tried hard to get him to comeback in the Fall of '96 makes me think that Vince immediately realized his mistakes when Savage left for WCW.
 

snuffbox

Integral Poster
Kind of like a woman finally leaving a dude after he cheats on her for 2 consecutive years and then the guy totally wants her back and he's different now. He's changed!
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
You got me. I am secretly a huge supporter of Vince McMahon and Donald Trump cause I have slightly different opinions than you.
 

snuffbox

Integral Poster
No, I didn't say either of those things. We have different opinions about how McMahon would've used Randy Savage if he had returned in 1996. That's all. Nothing about huge, nothing about general support, and nothing about that loser politician. We have different opinions about McMahon's potential use of Randy Savage in a fictional 1996/97. And that's ok.
 
Different climate, though. Savage in late 1996 would bring in more desperately needed name value (to where I don't think Vince would have much choice in using him) and there's no way if Hogan is around he doesn't get a push. Politically, Savage is invaluable; there's always money with Hogan, he's on good terms with the Clique, and more than anything Vince needs him for the Slim Jim deal. There's no way a contract doesn't happen where he doesn't at least have a minimal schedule or solid ring time, a contract that probably gets better when the Outsiders leave.
 
I always thought the Savage farewells were due to a deal where he wouldn't go to WCW, which he promptly did and pissed Vince off enough to negotiate with him in late 1996.
 

snuffbox

Integral Poster
Didn't he have the Slim Jim deal in 1993 and '94 too? And Hogan was there in 1993 for 2 of the ppvs Savage didn't have a match at. They also needed star power those years at least as much as they did in 1996.

Again, I liked the fantasy booking ideas. I would've enjoyed those stories and the matches they'd produce. I'm just not sure that enjoying the fantasy ideas makes the known real life stuff (Savage's treatment in 1993-94) any more likely to have changed.
 
Slim Jim bailed because they didn't have Savage anymore, and who wants to buy beef sticks promoted by Bam Bam Bigelow? It's a valuable tie in, as WCW figured out. They straight up wouldn't acknowledge Savage's inactivity if he came back because that would mean Vince was wrong. If you bring in Hogan anyway, who at this point had been in WCW and accepted as being back in the mainstream consciousness and firmly tied to the WWF (the crowds thought so), he pops the company up much better in 1996 than he does in 1993 even if it's using Hogan math.

By that point, you'd have Piper and Warrior coming in. Maybe Jake hanging around. Hogan completely elevates THOSE returns because of his history with them and their making money. By Survivor Series the gimmick would be out of gas just enough for Savage to get the contract he'd want which is being a wrestler with a good schedule. Vince is always one to ignore being wrong rather than admit it, so his commentary run never happened. Throw in the idea of the Outsiders jumping and that's even some panic mode which makes things further weird. The money they'd make would mend some important fences, and Savage leaves a year or two later for WCW again.

I'm just fucking around with all this, but I think there's a little plausibility given the alternate universe.
 

Laz

0101100101
Hogan coming back to Vince around then doesn't do shit for business because Hogan with Turner money didn't do much for business. Vince doesn't listen to Russo('s poor man's copying of Heyman booking) and the Fed suffers continuously until WCW really starts taking off with the Outsiders angle anyway (since Hall/Nash leaving was bound to happen over money anyhow).

HBK leaves and becomes the third man. There is no way he sticks around with Hogan in the mix, since even Bret was too big a power struggle for him. The Kliq is the nWo, but not anywhere near as big of a deal to the mainstream. WCW's business goes up, but instead of 83 weeks of ratings victories it's a seesaw for the next couple of years, with the WWF hemorrhaging undercard talent to WCW and ECW until a major reckoning occurs when Hogan/Savage suffer career threatening injuries or get actual deals in Hollywood.

The real winner here is Paul Heyman, who still loses talent to the two major companies but attracts the attention of cable TV execs earlier that are eager to cash in on wrestling's rising tide (which happens but isn't as major).
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I agree with my man Laz that the late '90s boom doesn't happen, at least not to the extent it did. I don't see Vince turning Hogan heel until it is only option left to do. And even if he did, I just don't see Hollywood Hogan being as good of a fit in WWF as WCW.
 
It'd always be more of a hump than a boom in this scenario. No matter what, it'd more or less stay the course.

ECW would have definitely ended up with Pillman on top and the cruiserweights. Way more acceptable to sponsors and ppv companies.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I feel like WCW stays alive as respectable but distant #2 in this scenario. Maybe we eventually get back to a more territorial system with WWF never booming and an inevitable conflict (possible split) in ECW between hardcore guys and workrate guys.
 

snuffbox

Integral Poster
How much of the late 90s boom was Hogan? I think an argument could be made that he was 2nd or even 3rd in terms of NWO popularity, and that the third man could've been someone else & still been successful. Hogan wasn't that big a draw in the 90s. His babyface run in WCW wasn't as big a success as Bischoff and Turner had hoped. Aside from Hogan, there were other factors just as important, if not moreso, in the NWO's success and the boom period. The decade was marked by 'alternative' and 'outsider' -ness. It was also a decade of the rise self-referentialism, as seen with Seinfeld. Hall and Nash were charismatic and fit the tone of the moment perfectly (which Hogan did not). DX was popular; if HBK (who also fit the mood of the moment) were the third man, I think it had a chance to be just as successful as Hogan.

Those were also the factors of the WWF's comeback and its place in the boom. Steve Austin was the outsider fighting with his boss. It jibed with Seinfeld, South Park, the Sopranos, etc. Stone Cold probably doesn't happen if McMahon just relies on aging stars. He needed something totally different and Austin was it.

The late 90s boom didn't need Hulk Hogan. Or the Ultimate Warrior or PG Piper or etc. Those types could've still had a place in the boom. But they were not required. Hogan didn't need to be the third man for it to work. But tying into the mood of the moment and the state of pop culture in the 1990s was absolutely essential. HBK could do that as the third man. The relics of the 80s could help put stories and guys over. But without the rebel attitude, the alternative style and ethos, or the 'cool' factors of that particular moment, the boom would not happen.
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
I think Hogan absolutely was the catalyst. Everything else got wrestling more popular but Hogan turning heel got people curious on wrestling that hadn’t acknowledged it for years.

I agree once everything got hot, Hogan wasn’t such a big reason but I don’t think the attention would’ve happened without that as a reason for people to tune back in and notice things were different than the last time they watched.
 

HarleyQuinn

Laugh This Off... Puddin'!
Staff member
Hogan coming back to Vince around then doesn't do shit for business because Hogan with Turner money didn't do much for business. Vince doesn't listen to Russo('s poor man's copying of Heyman booking) and the Fed suffers continuously until WCW really starts taking off with the Outsiders angle anyway (since Hall/Nash leaving was bound to happen over money anyhow).

HBK leaves and becomes the third man. There is no way he sticks around with Hogan in the mix, since even Bret was too big a power struggle for him. The Kliq is the nWo, but not anywhere near as big of a deal to the mainstream. WCW's business goes up, but instead of 83 weeks of ratings victories it's a seesaw for the next couple of years, with the WWF hemorrhaging undercard talent to WCW and ECW until a major reckoning occurs when Hogan/Savage suffer career threatening injuries or get actual deals in Hollywood.

The real winner here is Paul Heyman, who still loses talent to the two major companies but attracts the attention of cable TV execs earlier that are eager to cash in on wrestling's rising tide (which happens but isn't as major).
Given Hogan's predilection for Hollywood, I don't know how long his WWF run would've actually lasted if he came back in 1995/1996. I could see Hogan coming back in '96 but then doing the dual WWF/Hollywood stuff and eventually choosing Hollywood by 1998. Undertaker and Bret are the top stars still with Vader & Savage on the periphery. I could even see them doing the Kane angle still with Hogan in the Michaels role so Kane and maybe Bulldog are also on top. Triple H (assuming he refuses to go back to WCW), Goldust, Ken Shamrock, and Mero are probably in that IC Title area teasing up against the main event.

ECW probably retains a good portion of their talent: Cactus, Pillman, Austin because they don't want to be in the WWF under Hogan (and Savage/Warrior/Piper) after dealing with that shit in WCW. WCW probably still builds up their cruiserweight division but I don't know if they are able to lure Raven, Saturn, Bigelow, Douglas, Sandman, etc. without the big money that the nWo helped provide Ted Turner.

I could see Vince trying to bring back Bigelow towards the end of 1998/1999 (see the return of Big Bossman as an example) in a type of talent exchange with ECW. Possibly the same for somebody like Chris Candido to fill out the midcard section.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Laz

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I doubt Hogan ever goes to Hollywood full time because he wasn't very good there and the depth chart was way too deep for '90s action stars. Hogan's such an egoist that he'd much rather be the top guy in a low rent industry like wrestling than a fourth or fifth tier action star.

In this scenario, I could see Hogan bouncing between the promotions or even at some point, deciding to attempt start a promotion himself. I remember the '93-'early '94 IWC talking about him doing that instead of jumping to WCW.

Of course, now I'm imagining a scenario where Hogan jumps to a stronger ECW in '99/'00. I like to imagine the alternate timeline where me and @Laz discuss HULK FN HOGAN's underrated comeback matches against Mike Awesome.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Laz

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I remember Herb Kunze's tidbits in late '93/early '94 talking a lot about Hogan starting his own promotion that would be on HBO and I went over and rooted around the Observer Threads on Wreddit to see if those were actual verified rumors or just made up BS early IWC rumors.

Haven't found anything yet but I saw that WWF offered Onita a spot in the 1994 Royal Rumble and he turned it down. How cool would it've been if he said yes? I'm imagining him hitting Luger with a bat wrapped in barbed wire and Luger doing one of his trademark OOOOOOAFFFS noises.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Ah here we go

2-7-94 Observer said:
Meanwhile, Hogan is seemingly giving serious consideration to running his own shows, most likely in Europe because it's considered the most fertile ground for a "Hogan Fan Appreciation Tour" (his words). Hogan has even purchased his own world championship belt, which seems to indicate that he is planning to start promoting shows on his own. The idea seems to be something like the Ice Capades tour, with big special effects and a rock concert (featuring Hogan, Jimmy Hart, and others) before the wrestling show takes place. (Belt afficianados: anyone got pics of this belt Hogan made for himself?)

The Wrestling Boot Band playing an European tour, opening up for Hogan beating Kamala and The Zodiac, would have been better what we actually got in late '94 WCW tbh.

2-21-94 Observer said:
Atsushi Onita has been hired by an AIDS awareness group in Japan to be a celebrity spokesman, doing PSAs on TV and warning young people about reckless behaviors that can lead to HIV and AIDS. Dave reminds us that this is the same man who wrestles in the bloodiest death matches in the world and, just last year, had several bloody open wounds on his body and then dove into a polluted river and ended up having to miss several months of action due to the infections he got from it.
I wish we could crunk dino our own posts rn.
 

Laz

0101100101
How much of the late 90s boom was Hogan?
Enough to where every kid on the playground who wasn't already watching asked "wait, Hulk Hogan is a BAD GUY now?" Enough to where our parents, who cheered Hulkster in the 80s (or were just indifferent to wrestling altogether) asked "Hogan is a BAD GUY now?!"

Hogan turning heel was a much, much, much bigger deal to wrestling's resurgence in popularity and WCW's dominance than "that guy who almost bankrupted the WWF as champ" showing up.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Nash and Hall showing up to WCW was absolutely a big part in swinging the MNW to WCW but the Hogan heel turn is what made the landing stick on the storyline. If they botch the third man, the NWO was at risk of just being the '90s version of the Nexus.
 

Laz

0101100101
Of course, now I'm imagining a scenario where Hogan jumps to a stronger ECW in '99/'00. I like to imagine the alternate timeline where me and @Laz discuss HULK FN HOGAN's underrated comeback matches against Mike Awesome.
Hulk never goes to ECW unless Linda files for divorce in 1997 and Vince/Turner don't offer him money. In this bizarro universe where Hulkster grows a conscience and becomes a grander version of Terry Funk, though, I see him more forcing Heyman's hand to keep him on top but bleeding buckets whenever possible to make the fans think he deserves the spot.

Then ECW dies because Metallica hires Hogan to replace Jason Newsted, because this timeline is fucking bonkers and Jesse Ventura is POTUS after Gore and Dubya accept his challenge to a fistfight for the office.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Thought of us getting pilled out, depressed divorcee Hogan ten years earlier when he still could kind of work (and in ECW) ROCKS tbh.

And of course, Hogan would use THE AX BOMBER as his finisher in this scenario.
 
  • Dino
Reactions: Laz
It's Hulk Hogan. Everyone knows what a Hulk Hogan is. Him becoming a bad guy was huge. People were talking about wrestling in regular conversation at school, not the hushed embarrassment huddles of the big fans. It made a LOT of people know WCW wasn't the same company as the WWF, as well. Hulk Hogan was the only guy it would've truly worked with, no one would've given a fuck if it were anyone else. Not on that level.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
If Sting was the 3rd man, it could have been fine. I think WCW might have been number one promotion for a bit but I don’t think it would have captured the public’s imagination and helped trigger ‘90s wrestling boom like Hogan being 3rd man did.
 

snuffbox

Integral Poster
Yeah, def had different childhoods. Literally nobody at my school gave a shit about Hulk Hogan in 1996; nobody but me, the wrestling geek, had in several years. 1998, though, a different story. Many kids at school were into DX and Austin then. Kids, and adults, were into stuff like that, South Park, etc.

I mean, I wish I had gone to school with some of you where Hulk Hogan was still playground fodder in 1996.
 
Top