It’s the latest installment of The Wrestling Time Machine!!!
(Content Warning: Blood, Violence, Weapons)
It’s the latest installment of The Wrestling Time Machine!!!
(Content Warning: Blood, Violence, Weapons)
In less than a couple of weeks, this year’s WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament will air on the WWE Network as the company is reportedly moving forward with a UK-based ongoing series to air on its streaming service. While WWE’s aggressive expansion into the UK market was seemingly due to the return of World of Sport on ITV last year (which stalled only to recently get back on track), the UK scene has exploded of late (as has the wrestling industry in general). This is clearly evident by New Japan’s recent announcement of Strong Style Evolved UK N1 which happens only days after WWE airs its UK tournament. New Japan has already expanded its territory into the US in the last year and the UK is its latest bid to become a global brand like WWE. This has led to battle lines being drawn as WWE has made arrangements with UK promotions Insane Championship Wrestling and PROGRESS as well as snagging several of World of Sports’ stars while New Japan has formed an alliance with Revolution Pro Wrestling and prominently features Zack Sabre Jr (who participated in WWE’s inaugural Cruiserweight Classic), Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll, and “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith Jr. in its promotion (Ospreay and Smith are also both featured in upcoming episodes of World of Sport). However, these moves could very well only be the opening salvo for a much larger confrontation as WWE tries to bring its Network to every corner of the world and New Japan has been emboldened by its consistent significant growth to try and offer some semblance of competition since WWE consumed WCW and ECW to become the undisputed king of sports entertainment. The question then becomes what country will enter WWE and New Japan’s optics next.
Snap into your Slim Jims, and shut off your Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it’s time for the latest installment of Wrestling Time Machine!
Grab yourself a bag of Butterfinger BB’s, set your VCR to record TekWar and tune in to the latest Wrestling Time Machine Column, as we flip the switches and travel back to January of 1995!
Hello my precious professional wrestling pals, and welcome to another edition of Wrestling Time Machine! We’ve got the dates keyed in on our time circuits, the Flux Capacitor is a-roaring to go, all to take us to February of 1997*!
Known primarily for his webcomic HEAT: The Space Age of Pro Wrestling (fusing pro wrestling and science fiction), cartoonist Jeff Martin is combining together elements of pro wrestling with another genre in battle monsters. Wrestlemon (2017) parodies the popular Nintendo property of Pokémon (short for Pocket Monsters) while also parodying pro wrestling with allusions to lucha libre in its featured monsters and homages for the likes of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, John Cena, Demolition, Ultimate Warrior, and more. The plot revolves around rookie trainer Jacey and her Wrestlemon Technico (after the lucha libre term “tecnico” meaning technician and referring to a babyface or hero) as they begin their path toward competition in the world of Wrestlemon. In their way is Jacey’s rival Thad and his Wrestlemon Roodo (after the lucha libre term “rudo” meaning rough and referring to a heel or villain) as Thad struggles to escape the shadow of his legendary father and his Wrestlemon Flaireon. All paths lead to a Wrestlemon gym where Jacey and Thad must prove their worth as trainers and their Wrestlemon demonstrate the ability to overcome in such a highly competitive environment.
Hey Stranger Rangers, I told you I’d be back and here we are. As I said in my last post, ComicArtCommunity.com and I have parted ways and over my five year career with the site, a few of my 267 articles have stood out. Previously we covered the most popular articles on CAC where now we’ll examine my favorite. The criteria for my favorite articles largely encompass one prevalent component: hard work. While I tend to invest a lot of time and energy into many of the pieces I write, some I have really needed to pore over and research. As such, many of these projects I’ve needed to care a great deal about in order to bring to completion (as I assure you, not every article I begin crosses the finish line). Of course, some of the most popular articles were also my favorite (like “Destroy All Monsters! Tokusatsu in America”) but for the sake of this list, there will be no repeats. Without further ado, my favorite articles I’ve crafted for CAC.
Good day my Wrestling Time Travel Compatriots, it is I, your humble docent through this exhibit on the History of Professional Wrestling, and today we will be continuing our journey through January of 1997!
Hello fans!!! I’m your host, Bobby Fisher, and THIS is Wrestling…Time…Machine!!! This is your go-to guide through the low-definition war zone that is the Attitude Era of Professional Wrestling.
Hello fans! I’m your guide, Bobby Fisher and this…is…THE Wrestling Time Machine! So on today’s post, we’ll be talking about November of 1996. I AM going to try to be more active on our eponymous website. So…November of 1996 was an interesting time for both of the Big Two.
Just call me “Bobby Styles” and this…is…THE Wrestling Time Machine!
Allow me to preface by saying this is the first volume of my Wrestling Time Machine blog, something I talk at length about on our podcast that we do here. Today we’re going to be tackling ECW, what I would consider the first year. This first year starts with “The Franchise” Shane Douglas defeating 2 Cold Scorpio with a Pinfall decision, in the NWA World Title Tournament on August 27th 1994 and ends with a real BARN BURNER of a match in what was the final confrontation (in Extreme Championship Wrestling, anyways) between a young Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko. The WWE Network is a smorgasbord of classic wrestling of all kinds, albeit missing some of wrestling’s essential main courses. The WWE Network, while it boasts “Every WWE/WCW Pay-Per-View”, The WWE Network misses out on just about most of the ECW Pay-Per-Views and Specials. This is unfortunate, because Pay-Per-Views provide of course a sense of closure for much of a given month’s events, and where even new stories can be born.
Though all is not lost, if Paul Heyman and the ECW Brass was good at anything, it was knowing that their target demographic may not always be in the market to pay to view, and so many episodes of ECW Hardcore TV were simply highlight episodes, devoted to the most recent Pay-Per-View, devoted to keeping fans not only enlightened of the match highlights, but also of any major story beats and new developments. By far the biggest omission that deserves mentioning is the lack of actually licensed music throughout the whole show. Now…I get it, WWE’s a big company, and ECW was known for using music without necessarily worrying about frivolous things like getting the rights from the artists, etc. You know, the little things, and so it came to pass that WWE is forced to use very generic tunes for the entrances of the ECW performers. Something is lost in the incredibly generic tunes, some of the attitude-the balls of ECW is muted, it feels almost too sanitized. Now granted, I don’t think we can necessarily fault the WWE for this, or even Heyman and whomsoever was in charge of designating entrance music. ECW was, for all intents and purposes, small show, a small organization. They barely (and often times didn’t even) made end’s meat, let alone had the extra cash to shell out for licensed music. This didn’t stop them from trying though…
Let’s get down to thumbtacks, though. The first year
of ECW is…pretty intense. The very first episode I mentioned at the top of the article also featured another pinnacle in ECW history, Tommy Dreamer being caned by The Sandman. This, along with Douglas’ epic speech about what ECW really is, how important new blood was to wrestling , this set the tone for the entire promotion. This wasn’t your father’s wrestling, and that’s what made it unique. ECW had a finger on the pulse of what wrestling could be, and what many fans at the time and even still to this day, think it should be. While ECW dabbled in extremely violent performances, that was simply the icing on the cake, the real substance of the promotion would be found in performers like Shane Douglas, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko-to name a few-who could put on spectacular matches without the need for barbed wire, or cattle brands. Tazz is another highlight in ECW’s fledgling year, and his first experience on commentary can be heard through the WWE Network’s archive, as he was a guest commentator with Joey Styles for a special match.
While ECW had
few veterans in the form of wrestlers like Terry Funk, the fuel that kept it’s engines running was the
influx of young talent given a stage to shine on that didn’t involve being a jobber to the stars, or relying on silly gimmicks. If I’ve learned anything though, it’s that ECW was no stranger to silly gimmicks. Just ask Surfer Ray Odyssey.
There are many other things to talk about when it comes to ECW’s fledgling first year. The brilliant promo work of Shane Douglas, and The Franchise’s one-sided feud with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, the formation of The Triple Threat to serve as combating force against The Four Horsemen. The introduction of the mysterious, brooding Raven and his obsessive groupie goofball Stevie Richards. Towards the beginning of July 1995 we see the introduction of The Dudley Boys, and before too long, their ever-expanding family. For Big Daddy Dudley, THE THIRST was oh-so-real. I’d say one of the biggest highlights though, in watching ECW was the surprisingly decent promo work of The Public Enemy. For those not familiar, this Tag-Team consisting of “Flyboy” Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge were essentially WWE’s Cryme Tyme, before Cryme Tyme, and they saw much more success than the WWE duo. Though The Public Enemy had some great matches with The Pitbulls and a feud that could only be described as “Actual War crimes of the 1990s” with
The Gangstas, The Public Enemy would soon depart, like many others, for greener pastures in WCW. Sure, Billionaire Ted’s money may have seemed appetizing, but I would argue that The Public Enemy didn’t get a fair shake (again, like countless others) in WCW, at least on the company’s flagship program WCW Monday Nitro. Rocco and Johnny could deliver decent enough promos to carry a story, and yet, WCW’s Tag Team Division was very much an afterthought, even prior to the N.W.O.’s emergence.
By far, one thing that does bear mentioning when discussing ECW, is the strange weapons opponents sometimes used to inflict pain on one another, even during this first year. Often when reading about ECW, or even watching it, you’ll see the Hardcore standbys-chairs (wooden and steel!), tables, Singapore canes, trashcans, etc. but eagle-eyed viewers will see such strange weapon fodder as plastic dinosaurs and cheese graters.
I suppose I’ll close out this first edition of The Wrestling Time Machine by giving just some final thoughts on the first year of ECW…ECW was a welcome alternative to the then-WWF, and WCW, both promotions which suffered from their own problems. The WWF was struggling to push and build younger talent into main event stars, while still relying on hackneyed cartoon gimmicks based on garbagemen, french pirates and Portuguese Man-o-Wars, while WCW was ramping up it’s cartoon gimmicks to eleven with the Dungeon of Doom all whilst relying on older stars in Hulk Hogan, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. ECW focused on just being unique, and what made wrestling good. Stories didn’t need to be larger than life, and opponents that could go out and wrestle with the skilled technician of a brain surgeon didn’t necessarily need to have a built-in story for the match beyond, “These two guys are fighting”. ECW wasn’t afraid of it’s fans, and didn’t push matches, agendas, or stories it knew the fans didn’t want, something any person in the creative field should take away as an important lesson.
Well let’s see here open Wrestling Sites see if there is anything to report………
Adam Rose? Don’t be a lemon, be employed! Oh wow Sandow! Well at least Cody is still he-THE HELL!? Whatcha doin’ wit your life WWE!? Yes, it seems like it’s that time of the year where the talent feels lost in the shuffle of the organization, or simply put you’re not on tv therefore you’re gone. Getting rid of talent doesn’t mean you won’t see them again, what with other Wrestling programs out there, I’m sure they’re bound to show up somewhere or just take time off refresh and return like nothing happened. What else, we just came off an Extreme Rules PPV, which is weird but common for just three weeks between not popular PPVs. That being said, that Fatal Four Way AMAZING!! The main event, good grief! Is there any match that AJ Styles can’t make look good? I mean wow, just wow, this guy is still amazing! Also we got the RETURN OF SETH FREAKING ROLLINS!! Yes, the heel we all love is back and what’s sad is he’ll have to kick a puppy or perhaps dump his father manager to get real heat on him this time, because the crowds just hate Roman. Still, even after putting on a show in two matches with AJ Styles, the crowd just doesn’t like him as champ. Again you know my stance on him-he needs to turn heel or just speak softly and not surfer….So yeah the PPV was fine, the Raw the next day, well it had me scratching my head and saying what!?
So Raw gave us all wrestling fans a star to shine for the next PPV Money in the bank simply by putting in our internet darlings Zayn, Caesaro, Owens, Ambrose and Jericho, which for him coming off of a lost to Ambrose in the first ever Asylum Match which was on for far too long during the PPV, but with two spots remaining, who’s it going to be?…..Also Girly Flair rid herself of Old Man Flair which is aboot time, but also gave her a ton of heat, like a TON. That crowd straight up hated her for yelling at that old man. We also saw the return of the Social Outcast, 3 Man Band baaabay!!! I keed, I keed. Enzo came back with Big Cass and continued their feud with those Damn Dudleys!!!
THIS JUST CAME IN TO THE NEWS ROOM! So starting July 11th on Raw they’re having a WWE draft!! The WWE is also moving Smackdown to Tuesday live!! So two different shows with two different stories? Well, I wonder if they’ll bring back the old Eagle belt? Or the Attitude title? What’s this mean for the current roster? In a way it could be good, it could give a chance for men and women that aren’t in current story lines to shine a little more on a different show. Will they split up the PPVs? Please for the love of GAWD! No, please no! Bragging Rights PPV…OK! This is just my thoughts on it, really I was just about done with this blog, so let’s hope with this change it’ll spotlight wrestlers or NXT talent getting the call up!
Speaking of NXT, Takeover is coming up and I can’t WAIT!!! Joe VS Balor in a steel cage!!! And Aries VS Nakamura!!! Take all of my money, NOW!!!! PLEASE I BEG YOU!!!! Also I hope we see Bobby Rooooooode come to NXT. Well this one is a short one, and I feel that unless something big happens before Money In the Bank, I know Cena is returning this coming Monday, so let’s see what storyline he ends up with…please just let him feud with Rusev, don’t put him in the MITB ladder match!! But it’ll happen unless AJ Styles comes out with The Club…that he said he didn’t need, goes full heel and attacks Cena. Yes, PLEASE!!!! Later down the road Cena can take the title from Hulk Roman brother!! I mean Uce? Uso? How do you spell that?
Well the Ref is calling this one a DQ….until next time, This is Mike E Dangerously saying, “Back To You Gorilla!”