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What If's in Pro Wrestling History

Alfdogg

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I think you at least have to consider rolling the dice on Ken Shamrock.

He’s fresh.
He’s over.
He’s legitimate, in a time they were going for a more realistic image.
He can work.
He’s charismatic.
You can still play the heat with Tyson using the UFC vs boxing angle.

Seems like a low-risk proposition to me
 

King of Summer Kamala

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Only issue is I don't know if HBK would drop it to Shamrock but you could probably get around that by having someone HBK did respect like Foley or Taker be transitional champ or you could have Shamrock (and/or Undertaker on behalf of Shamrock) intimidate HBK into believing that not dropping the title was not an option!


Do you think the '80s wrestling wars would've ended different if WrestleMania III had not been a huge success? How would Vince respond if 2 out of 3 of the first Manias were bombs? Does Bill Watts decide to stay in business? Does JCP try to make a stronger play at expansion? Or would it just kill wrestling a whole's boom entirely?
 

BruiserBrody

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[quote author=BRODY link=topic=7317.msg606823#msg6
Only issue is I don't know if HBK would drop it to Shamrock but you could probably get around that by having someone HBK did respect like Foley or Taker be transitional champ or you could have Shamrock (and/or Undertaker on behalf of Shamrock) intimidate HBK into believing that not dropping the title was not an option!


Do you think the '80s wrestling wars would've ended different if WrestleMania III had not been a huge success? How would Vince respond if 2 out of 3 of the first Manias were bombs? Does Bill Watts decide to stay in business? Does JCP try to make a stronger play at expansion? Or would it just kill wrestling a whole's boom entirely?
Assuming WM1 goes off as planned, I think JCP and Watts are both doomed. Expansion and TV (and the oil crisis for Watts) killed them off as much as Vince cockblocking arenas and whatnot.

If JCP had been able to get their merch side fired up, they might have been able to better to compete w/ Vince both corporately and talent incentive wise but by late 1987 Dusty's booking was fried and the PPVs (Starrcade 87 and Bunkhouse Stampede) needed some serious rebooking. They had lots of talent, but it didn't translate to those shows. Clash 1 and the GAB 88 were good shit however but the damage was done and by the summer the Turner buyout was on.

An interesting off shoot of your question would be what happens if JCP and Inoki both do not infuse 1 million dollars each into the WWF right before Wrestlemania, which gave them the sauce for a final mega hype job.
IIRC something like 60 arenas canceled WM1 showings due to bad pre sales, but the walk up ticket sales were insane.

WM 2 did cause them a bit of $ loss I believe as they didn't even sell out the live events. Other than William Perry, the rest of the celebs were largely meh. Perry, T and maybe Elivra and Susan St James would have probably been used better than "elusive Baa-gah man, Herb" and all the others for overall impact.
I still think Perry and Andre vs Studd and Heenan would have been great. Heenan can be banned from the LA cage match because of his role in orchestrating the attack that put Hulk down. Only problem is Andre has to be the Ricky Morton in that scenario.
 

BruiserBrody

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[quote author=BRODY link=topic=7317.msg606823#msg6
Changing my mind some... Keep Tommy Lasorda too due to his beloved status. Joan Rivers was big deal, so she's in too.
Dick Butkus is the "coach" for Andre/Perry. Heenan counters with Ed "Too Tall" Jones as his "coach". Jones just needs to say "I am the one true Giant in the NFL and Studd is the one true Giant of the WWF,"
--

A little surprised thinking of it now that Dusty didn't replace the RnR Express when they rage quit in Jan 88 with the Midnight Rockers. A direct FU to the Express and opens up a ton of fresh matches.

--
If you told me that the WWF made as much on ad revenue doing the 4-5 SNME specials as JCP did all year, I think I would believe it.
 

alkeiper

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Wrestlemania 2 would have worked better as a one arena event. They were trying to compete in the close circuit market and emulate Starrcade but it turned out that PPV shortly killed that concept. It's a weird show because it starts with preliminaries, a main event with Piper/T, back to preliminaries in Chicago, a couple main events, back to preliminaries...

Re: Wrestlemania III. A better question might be if Survivor Series '87 fails.
 

King of Summer Kamala

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See I don't think there's much of a risk of Survivor Series '87 failing. After WM III, I feel like Vince could (and did) call his own shots for the rest of the decade.
 

snuffbox

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Yeah, unless a lot of other things also changed, McMahon would've rebounded in 1988. WCW still would've had their disastrous Stampede ppv in January. And I assume the Main Event still draws the huge rating in Feb.
 

King of Summer Kamala

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The first Survivor Series mostly seemed about screwing over Crockett. Whether it was a success or not didn't seem to matter much. If it fails, it's easy to be like "Well. It was dumb to run a PPV on Thanksgiving but someone else thought of it before we did!"
 

Valeyard

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It isn't the same but I wonder what would've happened if the Clash had taken a bigger chunk out of WM4. Who'd get that blame? Or rather would Dibiase or Savage get a bit of a de-push while Vince throws all the money he can find at a 100% chance of Flair and Sting
 

King of Summer Kamala

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I think COTC did take a sizable chunk of the WM4 audience and probably prevented it from beating WrestleMania III's buyrate record. I think WCW messing with WWF's PPVs annoyed cable companies more than it hurt WWF. It was a good short term idea but it might've been detrimental in long term.
 
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BruiserBrody

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[quote author=BRODY link=topic=7317.msg606823#msg6
The first Survivor Series mostly seemed about screwing over Crockett. Whether it was a success or not didn't seem to matter much. If it fails, it's easy to be like "Well. It was dumb to run a PPV on Thanksgiving but someone else thought of it before we did!"
Makes you sort of wonder what Vince was planning or would have done had he not created SSeries and Rumble to cockblock JCP's PPV efforts.
If No Holds Barred isn't green lit do they just have Hogan beat Andre again at WM 4? Maybe Dibiase w/Andre in the corner?
--
Officially JCP paying for the UWF in late April of 87 was done to get the TV time slots and not the talent. That left One Man Gang, Dibiase and others to choose their own destiny. Dusty has said in shoots that he did not want to do UWF vs JCP since he was already fighting the WWF for real. So why even keep doing UWF TV tapings and not just switch the syndication over to Worldwide and whatever else?
- One option would be to hotshot the champions vs champions build and have a big final blow off at the Charlotte Bash or Omni Bash card or maybe even the Superdome?
- Instead of Big Bubba beating Gang in a heel vs heel match, toss Barry Windham in there and have him be the UWF flag bearer instead of Dr Death. Then you can build to a Starrcade Unification match that will finish off the UWF and be a great match w/Flair?
- Bring up the Powers of Pain a few months early and let them be the big dogs in the UWF tag division instead of the Sheepwhackers and Lightning Express, etc.
- UWF can have their syndication and Worldwide can stay on for JCP (hopefully with some sort of package deal to expand to markets that lack one or the other) I'm not sure all of the JCP shows TBS had active in mid 1987, but TBS could put the UWF in the Sat AM slot that Power Hour or whatever was in eventually. WCW Sat Night can see a 50/50 split in the time, with perhaps just enough cross over/teases to keep the brand wars intriguing for the rare UWF vs JCP feuds. JCP can then have the Sun PM "Main Event" show.
- When a suspension angle happens or a loser leaves for 30 days or something, it can create a opening for a fresh piece of talent to show up on the other show.
- Dusty can put himself over by wrestling as Dusty on JCP TV and doing an angle where the Masked Rider is in the UWF.
- UWF's roster wasn't bad at the time of the sale: Dr. Death, OMG, The Freebirds, Chavo, Sting, Eddie Gilbert, Steve Cox, Bill Irwin, Iceman Parsons, Sam Houston, Chris Adams, Terry Taylor, Savannah Jack, Dibiase works dates after the buy out. Black Bart is sent in soon after and a young Shane Douglas debuts in there in June. Plus Mike Rotundo, Ron Simmons, Mike Graham, Dory Jr, and Ed Ganter are dying in Florida, so kill the CWF off and add them to the talent mix. UWF can then expand into Florida with some familiar faces.
Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong have a cup of coffee in JCP in the summer too before quickly quitting, so there is another young talented team to add into the mix. Steve Keirn returns from his brief retirement by June.
- In 1988 there could be some fun in having the Original Midnight Express come to the UWF and slowly build to the Express vs Express angle from there.
 

King of Summer Kamala

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Here's a weird one....

What if WWF's attempt to push Johnny Polo as the next Bobby Heenan had actually taken? How do you think it would have effected WWF in the New Generation (or maybe even beyond to the Attitude Era) and how do you think ECW could have filled the Raven sized void on their roster?
 

BruiserBrody

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[quote author=BRODY link=topic=7317.msg606823#msg6
Here's a weird one....

What if WWF's attempt to push Johnny Polo as the next Bobby Heenan had actually taken? How do you think it would have effected WWF in the New Generation (or maybe even beyond to the Attitude Era) and how do you think ECW could have filled the Raven sized void on their roster?
Was this inspired by OVP tweeting Polo and Gorilla's bowling hijinks?
 

Valeyard

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Polo would've gotten what ended up being the Million Dollar Corporation. Better for literally everyone if that happens especially if it means the Quebecers are ground floor members. Great stuff would be had by everyone in and out of the ring. I don't know if the combination of Levy's lifestyle, relationship with Vince and Shane, and the Clique would've let it last as long or work out as well overall, though.

Tommy Dreamer would've gone to summer camp with Tugboat instead.
 

Laz

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It changes a lot more than you'd think, because his work as Raven in ECW (and subsequent aiding of booking duties) helps bring the company attention, so do we get the impetus for Attitude? Do we see Vince realizing that a more adult product can make money?
 

King of Summer Kamala

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Was this inspired by OVP tweeting Polo and Gorilla's bowling hijinks?
Yep. Almost just posted that tweet in the New Gen thread but that inspired this question.

My gut instinct is similar to @Valeyard in that '95 WWF would have been soooooo much better if Johnny Polo had been successful as the defacto Heenan replacement.

Hot take is I feel like Scott Levy's career would've been longer...not necessarily better but longer if Johnny Polo was his breakout character not Raven. You can do a spoiled rich kid gimmick into old age (see Paul Heyman) but anytime Raven has showed up after '06 or so, it's just become increasingly depressing.
 

BruiserBrody

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[quote author=BRODY link=topic=7317.msg606823#msg6
Here's a weird one....

What if WWF's attempt to push Johnny Polo as the next Bobby Heenan had actually taken? How do you think it would have effected WWF in the New Generation (or maybe even beyond to the Attitude Era) and how do you think ECW could have filled the Raven sized void on their roster?
I'm glad Laz spoke up as I was going to write that we need an ECW mutant to chime in for context. I didn't take Levy's booking influence into consideration. My take was that with Heyman's early booking and the fans desire for a non WWF/WCW product, ECW grows with Dreamer, Sandman, Cactus, Funk, Shane Douglas, Public Enemy, Sabu, and Taz's slow move up the card at roughly the same pace as w/Raven serving as a top heel.
Options for a world where Levy stays away:
Al Snow, pre-New Rockers/Avatar I'm insane because of bad booking and more undersized dick head heel. Potentially this run predates Snow finally breaking through in SMW, so he's a total underground darling. He had a ladder match w/ Sabu sometime in this 92-94 timeframe that was hyped by tape traders.
Fatu - After Capt Lou fails to domesticate him on WWF TV, Paul E revives his former charge's most savage leanings and Fatu gets a run as an athletic Umaga like smashing machine. Or Make a Difference Fatu is actually "Drugs rule!" San Fran Samoan street tough Fatu.
Bradshaw - If he can be convinced to leave the Texas indies for a yet to be proven ECW in 1994ish, he has size and raw charisma, with a stiff, brawling style that should do well in Philly. Depending on the timing, Stan Hansen's lone ECW appearance could also be used to help John Hawk be established.
Moadib - Another Texas indy guy, gigantic and mobile. The future Ahmed Johnson also had a legit street background that could work to get him over with the hard edge urban tough audience.
Charles Wright - Papa Shango vanished sometime in early 1993 and Kama didn't appear until mid-late 94 IIRC. So this big, raw boned, charismatic young vet could have had a nice run for a year or so before Vince salivates at the chance to push a big man again.
That's just some quick ideas based on re-tooling some WWF New Generation duds. Maybe I will gander at WCW from 93-94 and see if I find some inspiration. Out of this list, Snow is the only one to truly fit a multi-year singles guy run, unless Bradshaw blossoms and they can keep Vince and WCW away from their hosses.
 

Laz

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Alternatively, you can argue that Dreamer doesn't reach the same level of popularity he does in ECW, because the Raven feud is the absolute highlight of his career. It's also the highlight of classic ECW, and the Sandman feud worked on multiple other levels.

IIRC, Levy has also said that the Raven character made him realize his own mental health issues, so it's very likely we have "RIP Johnny Polo" at some point in the late 90s.
 

King of Summer Kamala

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I haven't read/listened to shoots about that time period but I'm assuming the only reason why WWF phased Scott Levy out so quickly in '94 when the heel roster was so thin was because there were serious behavioral issues, even by standards of '90s WWF.

But, hey, that made him perfect for ECW!

I agree that Dreamer is not where he is today in a scenario where Raven never happens. I think he could still be a memorable ECW guy but maybe more at a Balls Mahoney level without that iconic feud.
 

Valeyard

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Levy and Shane were buddies, and Levy was a hurricane of poor decisions. Vince hated him being around his son, and has hated him ever since. "Who the fuck hired Raven?!" was legit anger back in the day. Vince not letting him actually wrestle full time was a huge factor (consequence?) as well.
 

King of Summer Kamala

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I wonder why he was even brought back in '00, even in a minor role (his first feud was with the announce team). Hell, Raven was so good though that at least he willed his way to a well remembered undercard match against two of the company's all time favorites at WrestleMania.

That almost brings up another good "What if?" ...how much things would have been better off for '00s WWE if Vince didn't hate Raven's guts and Raven wasn't his own worst enemy? To me, Raven could slot in perfectly into a upper mid-card/main event level heel spot in '03-'06 era WWE. Sooo many good potential match ups there. Raven-Mysterio, Raven-Cena, Raven-Undertaker. Goes on and on tbh.
 

King of Summer Kamala

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Frig. Raven would've been perfectly suited to go against Austin's neck injury brawling style too.

Reading Raven's Wikipedia page's Return to WWE section, I totally forgot the angle where Raven was banished to Sunday Night Heat after losing a "Loser Leaves RAW" match to Tommy Dreamer (rivalry renewed!). Now I'm mad that Peacock hasn't uploaded 2000 and on episodes of Heat.
 

Valeyard

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I vaguely remember people praising that period of Heat. Wonder if it's actually worth it.
 

King of Summer Kamala

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IIRC, Raven and D-Lo had a series of matches on Heat that the IWC (and probably Jeff Jarrett) really liked in the summer/fall of '02.

Also not only Raven lose a match to Tommy Dreamer where he was banished off RAW, he later won a rematch on Heat that earned him the right to go back to RAW.
Of course, WWE being WWE, Raven had exactly one match on RAW where he jobbed to Jeff Hardy then he requested his release.
 

Epic for the Summer

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That Jeff Hardy match was memorable as they had Raven cut his hair and wear trunks only to release him the next day as the ultimate "fuck you" on his way out.
 
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King of Summer Kamala

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Vince hated Raven so much that he let him go without enforcing any sort of no compete clause. He was on RAW on Monday, released on Tuesday, and showed up at the end of the TNA show on Wednesday.
 

Epic for the Summer

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I think Raven voluntarily waived the 90 days (guess you could do that back then?) before appearing in TNA.
 

Valeyard

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It got waived under the condition that he wasn't allowed to talk shit about the company iirc
 

HarleyQuinn

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IIRC, Raven and D-Lo had a series of matches on Heat that the IWC (and probably Jeff Jarrett) really liked in the summer/fall of '02.

Also not only Raven lose a match to Tommy Dreamer where he was banished off RAW, he later won a rematch on Heat that earned him the right to go back to RAW.
Of course, WWE being WWE, Raven had exactly one match on RAW where he jobbed to Jeff Hardy then he requested his release.
SNH also allowed Raven to kind of book his own character a bit more in that time period (he very briefly teased a seven deadly sins-type character arc before he got up to Raw/left) because nobody really gave a shit about Sunday Night Heat. Ironically, Stevie Richards also ended up doing some of his own character booking on SNH for much the same reasons.

It's worth trying to find some Raven matches/interviews from that period. He's a lot of fun and even on screen you could tell he had way more freedom than he otherwise probably would've.
 
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