Classic WWF Era Matches
February 3, 2006 by Alejandro Bravo
Ah, the good old Kayfabe era; when Vince McMahon was just another announcer at the Pay-Per-View´s and the leading host in the "Prime Time Wrestling" Show; when Jack Tunney was WWF´s "President"; when "Mean" Gene and Bobby Heenan (after his superb job as a manager) were the hottest announcers in the business. When did the Kayfabe era start and when did it end" I don't know, nor neither care. I know it's gone, but that's not the topic of the column.
I started watching wrestling around 92 or 93, I don't remember well. I used to see it with my older brother (in fact, watching wrestling Saturdays and Sundays on USA network prevented us from fighting each other). Then, the cable company parted ways with USA and I missed wrestling until 1995-96. I kept track until HBK retired the first time and I lost interest, only to regain it now that I have the FX channel and can see Velocity. In the meantime, I've been downloading some matches (I know, shame on me, but I live in Venezuela and it's pretty damn though to find a wrestling DVD here); some are PPV, but most are matches that I saw and enjoyed a lot back then.
Everybody has his or hers favorite match. Hogan vs. Andre, Hogan vs. Warrior, Macho Man vs. Stemboat, Hart vs. Piper, Hart Vs. Mr. Perfect, etc. I´ll put here a list of those good matches that, even though they´re not classic, were very classy. The list is in no particular order, since I liked them all.
1) Money Inc. Vs. Natural Disasters. Money Inc. was one of the first tag teams I ever got to see on TV as a youngster. Demolition, The Hart Foundation and the Rockers were gone, but there were LOD, Bushwhackers, Headshrinkers, Nasty Boys and the Beverly Brothers. Money Inc. and the Natural disasters were the dominant teams, and I always liked Money Inc, especially Mike Rotunda's style. He really did a great job with IRS (I think that gimmick is one of the 50 worst ever in the WrestleCrap site, but he knew how to get the best of an "evil tax accouter"). I don't remember if this match for the Tag Team Titles was on PPV or on regular TV, since I watched it on a rerun, I only remember the "Million Dollar Dream" on Earthquake. The match itself was awesome, Money Inc. used all the cheats they could, and Natural Disaster just squashed them with every move, and just when I though that Earthquake would pin DiBiase, Dibiase managed to put his sleeper hold and claim a clean victory (something that Money Inc, were not used to doing) and win the Tag Titles.
2) Rick Martel Vs. Bret Hart - Intercontinental Title Match. The match was pretty cool, even though Martel was no longer "The Model" (which I loved, by the way. I even have the action figure!), but he was still an amazing performer. And the Hitman was, well, the Hitman; the one who gave his glasses to the little kids on the front row. Martel KO Hart with his "Arrogance" sprayer and put him in his finisher (a Boston Crab, I believe), but suddenly Shawn Michaels appeared and slapped Hart. Martel was DQ, and couldn't get the IC title... and this started a silly but very funny feud between them. The good thing about guys like Martel, Dibiase, Rotunda, Flair and many heels of that era, was that they could cheat, but also could wrestle at a high level.
3) Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair Vs. Bret Hart and Randy Savage. A dream match for many; at that time, Michaels and Flair were cocky and arrogant (well, they still are) and Hart and Savage were fan favorites. Savage pinned Michaels in a match that no one knew who would to win because it was well balanced and both teams had their time to show their skills.
4) Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage - Wrestlemania VIII. Another great match for Flair. I admit it, I'm a Ric Flair fan, and I'm the first to say that he is a routine man (even though he puts some moves here and there that makes his matches interesting), but in this match Flair was fueled up and gave a great performance. Savage won the title, and gave the best of himself, but Flair stole the show. And this was the first time I saw Flair do one of his flying maneuvers and succeed!
5) Ric Flair vs. Mr.Perfect - Loser leaves WWF. Perfect parted ways with Flair and teamed up wit Macho Man against Flair and Razor Ramon in Survivor Series (another great match, very intense, specially when Perfect doubted about to stay and help Savage or turning his back on him) and this match was the "match to end their feud". I'll go short on this one, this was a classic match, very old school. I didn't fully appreciate this match until a couple of months ago when I downloaded it (how I wish to have this one on a decent VHS tape and not in a .mpg archive that looks bad!) and watched it again. It seemed that I was in 1993 again and not in 2005.
I have more matches and more memories, but I don't want to do a mile long article. I truly believe that the Flair-Perfect Match in 1993 was one of the final moments of the Kayfabe era.
But hey, we still have great matches today! HBK vs. Angle was a great match, but what about Marty Jannetty vs. Kurt Angle" I was kind of disappointed with the Rockers reunion (just a quick match against La Resistance) but this match was super, even though it was a shame that HBK didn't interfere. Or HHH vs. Flair at Taboo Tuesday" Even though I never got the storyline behind that, this match was a very good one. I didn't like the excess of blood, but the rest was great.
Before I finish, I'd like to say something about downloading matches from Internet: Downloading is like fast food---yes, you can have a lot of great matches, but you get them with sound issues or resolution issues or whatever. In other words, you loose quality. There´s no fun watching HBK vs. Razor Ramon in Wrestlemania X in a tiny video screen.
Thanks for reading.
by Alejandro Bravo..
Mike Forbes wrote:
I thought it was a very interesting and nostaligic look at the old days of wrestling. I myself feel the same as you because at the time I was breaking in as a wrestling fan. I can still remember the electricty of Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage's entrances. It was a time when wrestling fans got to see the future of the Federation by seeing guys like Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Davey Boy Smith, and my all time favorite Bret the "Hitman" Hart. It was also a time that Hulkamania seemed to come to a end for a time (At least for a time). Luckily the WWF had greats like Ric Flair and Macho Man Savage that could pick up where Hogan left off. Fans who never saw Flair before finally got to see the Nature Boy, and weren't dissapointed.
In my humble opinion Hulkamania was never the same after Hogan lost to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI. Although still the greatest thing going, Hogan himself was wearing down. One of the watershed events of this era would be Royal Rumble '92. After proclaiming himself The "Real World's Champion" for months, Ric Flair finally prooved by defeating 29 other men, and lasting well over an hour in the rumble and becoming the new WWF champion. Fans even booed Hogan. At the time I was dissapointed Hogan or Macho Man didnt win, but looking back it was a great move, and for my money the best Royal Rumble ever.
This era was a transitional era as well. Ratings were dropping and it seemed like Wrestling wasn't so "cool" anymore. But as a loyal fan of wrestling for the past 14 years, I can honestly say it was an exciting and memorable time. Again I applaud your article.
You mentioned the mr perfect bret Heart match at summer slam 91 (I think it was in 91) and hogan vs warrior at wrestle mani VI I agree those were two of my favorite matches. Your number 5 Mr perfect vs Ric Falir loser leaves was a clasic too. My personal favorites would probobly be; Mr. perfect vs Lex Luger at wrestle mania IX | Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels iron man match | Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels first ever ladder match
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