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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Revolution
by Brad Dykens




Vince McMahon & Hulk Hogan
1984 - In the early 80s, when Vince McMahon Jr. was passed the World Wrestling Federation by his father, Vince McMahon Sr, nobody on the face of the planet could predict what could happen. Vince McMahon saw something no one else did at the time, he saw an opportunity. He recognized that he was in a position to give the public exactly what they wanted, and get exactly what he wanted, money and power. The vision was clear; the public wanted to be entertained! So his first order of duty was to find a superstar, a leader, a hero to take his company into what he hoped to be a successful business venture. I'm not sure he was fully prepared for exactly how far it would go..

Hulk Hogan was wrestling for Verne Gagne in the American Wrestling Alliance, main eventing for the Heavyweight Title against Nick Bockwinkel and Verne Gagne at the time. Hogan also appeared in a major motion picture, called Rocky III, which got a lot of exposure, and that is what Vince McMahon likes to see. So McMahon plucked Hogan from the AWA and made a superhero out of him, minus the cape. Vince immediately wanted to put into a program with then WWF Champion, Bob Backlund. However, Backlund wasn't so keen on fueding with this massive blonde rookie. So Backlund refused. Soon after, Backlund dropped the title to the Iron Sheik, in what some believe to be the "original screwjob", when manager Arnold Scaaland threw in the towel on Backlunds behalf. Many insiders say this was not the pre-determined outcome of the match. However, the Iron Sheik became WWF champion that night, and Backlund dissappeared, and a week later the Iron Sheik was defending against Hulk Hogan in Madison Square Garden, so you draw your own conclusions. On that night, Hulkamania was born, and that, my friends, is only where it begins...



Bret The Hitman Hart
1992 - Bret Hart's career has been molded by tradition. His entire family was exposed to the wrestling business constantly, even running their own promotion called Stampede Wrestling. The Calgary Family lived, and died, for the sport/business. Around the same time Hogan entered the WWF, Bret was Stampede Wrestling's North American Heavyweight Champion, battling classic matches with Dynamite Kid and Bad New Allen. Vince saw Bret's talent as well, not so much as a leader, but as a supporting character in his mainstream organization. Bret originally didn't like the idea, he was happy where he was, but he soon realized the money and exposure was too good to pass up. So Bret and his brother-in-law, Jim The Anvil, signed with the WWF and competed in the tag team division as "The Hart Foundation". Winning the WWF Titles from "The British Bulldogs". A few years later, Bret's talent was impossible to ignore, a singles career was launched. His Intercontinental title run was extremely successful, and brought a lot of interest to the mid-card area of the events. His battles with Roddy Piper, Mr Perfect, and Jacque Rougeau were stealing the show in some cases. Over the following years, Bret's talent just grew and grew and grew. In 1992, WWF Champion Ric Flair was suffering from an ear injury that left him dizzy and disoriented at times, so he was forced to drop the title. Vince McMahon was under close observation for "steriod allegations", so Hulk Hogan was laying low at the time, The Ultimate Warrior was having contract disputes, so that left the company with no major "good guy" to take the title from Flair. The WWF was on a Canadian tour, and the decision was made to hand the ball to Bret Hart, a man with a clean image with unlimited hero potential. At a house show in Saskatchewan, Canada, Bret Hart defeated the Nature Boy for the World Wrestling Federation title to the delight of the extremely proud (and shocked!) Canadian audience. Bret wore the title with just as much pride, and defended it more often than any champion before him. Gone were the days of three-move champions, and in were the days of respectability and pride. Bret is currently working on his biography, which should be an incredible read whenever it is published.


Eric Bischoff
1997 - There was a war going on in The USA; A war so bitter, that the ruthlessness of those involved, often overshadowed the actual product and talent. It is a ratings war between World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation. It was neck and neck with the ratings flip flopping on a weekly basis. Somebody needed to do something "big" to tip the scales in one direction.. Eric Bischoff was the president of WCW at the time and was tinkering with an idea that would ultimately push the company into an 82 week ratings win streak. The idea was based on the aftermath of turning wrestlings biggest hero into a collosal heel, and having him lead a pack of thugs to domination, while the good guys battle for the honor of their company. The "New World Order" concept was a colaborative effort by Eric Bischoff, Diamond Dallas Page, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and many, many, other contributers. Out of nowhere, on a random Nitro telecast, Scott Hall, recently employed with the WWF, shows up and crashes the party. A week later Kevin Nash, who six months prior was WWF Champion, joins him. At Bash at the Beach 1997, the duo promised a third member, and Hulk Hogan shocked the world by turning his back on all the "Hulkamaniacs" and becoming an evil villian. Away with the red and yellow, and on with the Black and White. "Hollywood Hogan" was born, and the nWo began their invasion of WCW, an angle that proved successful for over a year...

Stone Cold Steve Austin
1998 - The WWF was losing the ratings battle, having lost 60+ weeks in a row, and recently givin up Bret Hart in a bitter seperation. The Montreal Screwjob was a wake up call for Vince McMahon. He no longer had a big angle, and the WCW had the biggest angle ever. He knew he had to change the face of his company and once again and take it up a notch. So the "WWF Attitude" campaign was initiated. The product was a bit rauchier, questionable language was used, and suggestive sexual overtones were often a focal point. And do you know what? It was working. Vince had been stained by his situation with Bret. He was regarded as a "Jerk" or an "a$$hole". So the WWF did what they do best, they turned reality into storyline. Vince turned heel, and began a campaign top stop the lead badmouth of the federation, Steve austin, from getting anywhere, especially near the Heavyweight Title, which was held by Shawn Michaels. The more Vince tried to stop him, the more Stone Cold got over with the audience. Austin was getting to kick the crap out of his boss, and the crowd loved it, they wanted to be him. Slowly the ratings shifted, and again it was a new ball game, and WCW's decreased production quality and management issues cause a major change. WWF began a winning streak that continues today. Even putting WCW out of business. Vince had to buy the company he forced into closure!

Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho & Kurt Angle
2000 - This latest step has shown two new superstars step up to the plate with who whole new style. Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho are young, entertaining, agressive, and most of all, extremely athletic. This new style will take us well into the new century along side Kurt Angle, William Regal, Lance Storm and many other who share this same unbelievable athletisism..




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