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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Best of Times
June 28, 2005 by Phil T.


The year was 1983 when a five year old little boy got his first taste of professional wrestling. Twenty-two years later that little boy is still hooked. I have seen many great moments and also many not so great moments in the world of professional wrestling spanning through three separate decades. In my opinion the greatest time to be a wrestling fan was with out a shadow of a doubt, the 90's. This decade had it all, just pick a year. For those of you who started watching wrestling a few years ago and think that the WWE is the shit. I have two words for you, "I'm sorry." For those of you who grew up like me with the 90's you know how beautiful the face of professional wrestling used to be. The current face of the WWE has developed a few wrinkles in my opinion. Let us take a look back at what made the 90's so great for every wrestling fan that watched it unfold year after year.

For the fans of ROH and TNA I have to take a second and say a few quick things. In regards to ROH, I have heard more positive comments then negative in the last two years for the promotion. However I live in the Northeast and ROH is not broadcast up here. I've seen three ROH matches thanks to the internet, but that's it. So I really can't form an opinion on ROH as of yet, unfortunately. Now in regards to TNA I have one vital question I must have answered from the fans of TNA. WHY" I never thought in my lifetime I would see a major wrestling promotion produced in an arena, (and I use that term loosely), smaller then the ECW arena. For me this makes TNA lose any feel as a major player in professional wrestling. Also I don't know if I'm in the majority or the minority on my next opinion of TNA, but I know I'm not alone. What the hell is up with their six sided ring, a professional wresting match should take place in a SQUARED circle and not a F---ED up one. I included this paragraph in my piece for the only reason being a few people who will comment on my column saying today we have ROH and TNA as well as WWE. I know those people are out there. I hope this little paragraph takes care of those comments. So with that out of the way, let's begin.

Without a doubt the biggest reason why the 90's rocked can be summed up in nine letters, WWF, WCW, and ECW!!! The WWF was formed years before 1990, but WCW was brought to the table in 1991 and ECW followed shortly there after in 1992. Here you had three major wrestling promotions that all had a common goal. That goal was simply to kick the other guy's ass and when the smoked cleared be the last promotion standing. We all know who finally won that triangle match and has since monopolized the face of professional wrestling for the worst through these last few years.

I must now pose a question to all of you who grew up with the 90's. Who was the wrestler that clearly ruled this decade" Some may say, Austin, The Rock, and some fans may even say Hogan. For the latter part of the 90's all these three are legitimate choices, but the man who ruled the whole decade from start to finish was Bret Hart. (I think Miss Quest will agree with me on that one.) In the decade of the 90's Bret Hart held the WWF Tag Title once, WWF Intercontinental Title twice, WWF World Heavyweight Title five times, WCW US Title four times, WCW Tag Title once and culminated the decade in 1999 by capturing the WCW World Heavyweight Title on two separate occasions making him one on a very short list to hold both WWF and WCW World Titles on multiple occasions. WOW!!! You don't win all that gold on a fluke. You take any PPV match of Bret's during this decade and nine times out of ten it's a timeless classic. For all those years I always loved watching Bret in the ring and unfortunately for many wrestling fans an old saying comes to mind, "You don't know what you have till it's gone." Thank you Goldberg! Yet another contribution to professional wrestling by ending one of the greatest careers of all time, good job you bald piece of shit. Bret, thank you for the memories and I hope to see you in the WWE Hall of Fame sooner then later. When that day comes you will be the brightest star in the WWE Hall of Fame with out a doubt. Compared to the majority of WWE wrestlers today, you truly are, "The best there ever will be!!"

How can I go on without taking a second to mention The Rock as well as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin" We all know how huge these stars became and how many countless classic matches they gave us in the 90's, so I'll keep this short and sweet. Some of their best matches ever were between the two legendary stars themselves. It was the decade of the 90's that also gave us, "Austin 3:16", as well as "The People's Eyebrow." Two timeless trademarks that every wrestling fan can remember hearing or seeing for the first time. It was these two men that gave McMahon the star power to later destroy WCW in 2001. For those of you lucky enough to see these two men live know how awesome they were. To use a term that I haven't heard in the WWE in years and to me is no surprise, "You could feel the electricity!!"

Another aspect of the 90's was the countless jumps of WWF wrestlers to WCW and vice versa. Now after reading that sentenced the majority of you will think immediately of Hall and Nash, but that wasn't the first colossal jump between the WWF and WCW in the 90's. The first took place in the summer of 1991 and I will never ever forget it. It was a normal Saturday morning, I was just finishing breakfast and about to watch the WWF. The show starts off like it normally does with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan doing color commentary. During that broadcast WWF fans saw something they could not believe. Bobby Heenan was holding the big gold belt that represented the World Heavyweight Championship for WCW. This had to be one of the biggest shockers in the last five years up until that point. Vince McMahon was flaunting off the fact that the WWF was holding its main competitor's most prized possession. Ric Flair had jumped to the WWF while he still officially held the WCW World Heavyweight Title which caused WCW to change the main event for The Great American Bash in July of that year basically in the eleventh hour. WCW fans were not happy. Since Ric Flair owned the championship belt itself, WCW could do nothing but sit and watch their World Title being broadcast on WWF programming. It was this moment that clearly spelled out it was now a war between WWF and WCW. Eventually Flair sold his belt and all rights that went with it to the WCW and from then on it was WCW who owned the belt for the duration of the 90's.

A few months went by and on October 27, 1991 at WCW's Halloween Havoc WCW would strike back with the Halloween Phantom. We first saw the Phantom early in the night basically destroy Tom Zenk in a squash, but it was the finisher he used that left the announcers speechless for a few seconds. The Phantom executed a perfect version of "The Rude Awakening" neck breaker to get the pin. Later in the night Paul E. Dangerously brought the Phantom back to the ring and had him unmask to show the whole wrestling world one of the WWF's greatest heels of all time, "Ravishing" Rick Rude. To quote good old JR and Tony Schiavone, "WOW!!" For those who saw it live time seemed to stand still. A top WWF heel and former WWF Intercontinental Champion was now standing in a WCW ring. It was also this moment that gave birth to The Dangerous Alliance. One of my personal favorite stables in the world of wrestling, for those of you who didn't know, one of the charter members of The Dangerous Alliance along with Rude was a very young and long haired, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

For the next few years it was almost a guaranty you would see a WWF Superstar or Superstars, (Tag Teams), in WCW or vice versa every couple of months. Then came the summer of 1994, WCW was able to sign the largest draw in the history of professional wrestling, Hulk Hogan. Once WCW signed Hogan all of the pressure went right back on McMahon's shoulders. Here was the man Vince thought he created now working for the WWF's biggest rival. Unlike the WWF in the past WCW was able to promote a match between the two biggest draws in the last ten years and they did it the only way they could, live on PPV. On July 17, 1994 at Bash at the Beach Hulk Hogan defeated Ric Flair to win his first WCW World Heavyweight Title. McMahon now saw his biggest draw ever holding the WCW Title. Ironic wouldn't you say" This had to be one of the worst days in McMahon's professional career. If only McMahon knew what would happen only two years down the line.

In 1995 Eric Bischoff came to the decision that if he was ever going to compete against the WWF there was only one way to do it, head on. On September 4, 1995 Nitro made its debut and for one hour went heads up with RAW. "The Monday Night Wars" had officially begun. Months went by with both promotions trying to out perform the other week after week. Then in late May of 1996 the face of professional wrestling would change forever. Scott Hall literally dropped by on Nitro totally unannounced and went straight to the announce table and confronted Bischoff. Up until this point what 99% of wrestling fans were watching was Razor Ramon, former four time WWF Intercontinental Champion, on WCW Nitro. Hall's promo that night was a classic. He told everyone that he was not alone and a friend would be joining him shortly on Nitro. He referred to his friend as "The Big Size Man" and himself as "The Medium Size Man." On another edition of Nitro "The Big Size Man" was revealed to be none other then Kevin Nash. Again what the majority of people were witnessing were Razor Ramon and Diesel cutting a promo on WCW Nitro. It was this moment that many consider the highlight of the "Monday Night Wars."

Hall and Nash's first match would take place on July 7, 1996 at the Bash at the Beach PPV. The match was to be Sting & Luger & Savage vs. Hall & Nash & Mystery Partner. Through out the whole night both Hall and Nash only said, "He's here" referring to their mystery partner. It wasn't until the closing minutes of the match that the mystery partner was revealed. Savage was getting the crap beat out of him in the ring when all of a sudden the crowd went nuts. It was Hulk Hogan making a return from a short absence from television, coming down the aisle to make the save. I was thinking, "Great here we go ago. Good old Hogan comes in and makes the save. We haven't seen this before." Then Heenan said a line I will never forget, "Whose side is he on." When I heard that time stood still and I thought, "NO WAY!! WCW's going to make Hogan a bad guy"" A few seconds later I got my answer when I witnessed Hogan drop the big leg on Savage and the rest as they say is history, the NWO was born. Afterwards Hogan cut a promo, in my opinion his best and most famous promo ever, in the ring with Mean Gene Oakerland. In that promo Hogan said a phrase that pierced the red and yellow hearts of Hulkamaniacs all around the world, "You fans can stick it brotha!!" It was on this day were Phil T along with many others finally became a Hulkamaniac. For the next two years the NWO was the dominant force in professional wrestling. After the two year mark, in my opinion, the NWO angle went sour and took a drastic nose dive. But this initial moment would prove to be one of the most talked about angels ever. Eric Bischoff and even Hogan himself took a colossal chance by changing the most beloved baby face of all time into a heel. This angle is one on a very short list of compliments I would give to WCW. WCW as well as Hogan hit a grand slam with the NWO.

Another compliment I would give to WCW in the 90's is the birth of the Cruiserweight Division. Some of the greatest WCW matches in the mid and late 90's were thanks to the cruiserweights. It was also this division that helped Nitro kick RAW's ass for over a year. Again I must say this, "If you rookie fans out there think the WWE Cruiserweight Division is the shit. I'm sorry." Sure in the last year there have been one or two good matches and I think London is simply awesome if the booking team would use him in the right way, but the 90's brought awesome matches week after week after week. The greatest being Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. at Halloween Havoc 1997, for the fans that haven't seen this match it's a must and for those of you that have I know you will all agree it was one of the best Cruiserweight Title matches ever!! So what has happened to the Cruiserweight Division in the WWE" Don't ask me. Ask the billion dollar MORON Stephanie McMahon.

Another quality that the 90's had that the WWE so far has not yet been able to bring to the table were the classic heel announcers. The announcers that the fans loved to hate because they always put down the fan favorites and made the heels out to be saints; the two greatest of all time were Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and the always never at a loss for words Jesse "The Body" Ventura. These two added so much too each match they called. Some of my favorite memories of Heenan were that he absolutely seemed to be in love with Ric Flair. Heenan's over the top style with Flair I thought was pure gold and brought a smile to my face every time. He also had many catch phrases as well. My all time favorite is when he would refer to absolutely anyone, (wrestling personality or not), about going into the hall of fame. I'll use Hogan as an example, Heenan would say, "Hogan got 1045 votes for the hall of fame today" his broadcast partner would then say something like, "Really"" Hennan's reply was priceless, "Ya! He would have had more but he ran out of stamps." I still pee my pants every time I here that on an old tape.

Jesse Ventura was probably the greatest heel announcer of all time. He also had his trademark moments and phrases as well. What put Ventura on the map as an announcer for me was his undying hatred for Hogan. At the time I was a little boy and I would think, "What a dick"" How could he call Hogan the "Pukester" and refer to Hulkamania as "Pukeamania." Now when I watch an old tape and hear that, I realize he was a genius and gave so much more to the matches he called then do the announcers the WWE has today. Good old JR adds as much enjoyment to a match as little beaver would add weight to a battle royal. He is just dry and boring two things Ventura would never be mistaken for. Anyone also remember the plug Ventura would give Rick Rude every single time Rude made an appearance. Rude would be on camera for a second and Jesse wouldn't waste anytime by always mentioning Rude's greatest career achievement, (in Jesse's eyes anyway), Rude was the first and only winner of the coveted "Jesse The Body Award." Another timeless line that still makes me smile. Now when the WWF tried to use Lawler as a heel announcer at the start of his announcing career, I don't feel that Lawler even came close to a Heenan or a Ventura which the WWF I think initially intended. Now as far as the WWE announce team goes at the present time. To have the announcers agree 99% during the whole show just doesn't work for me. It's boring. Finally for those of you who think that Coach is a great heel announcer you obviously were not around for the two greats I had just mentioned. He is annoying and a waste of T.V. time in my opinion. The heel announcer is truly a lost art.

Now my pick for the feud of the decade would clearly be Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. These two battled from 1991 till late 1997. Put these two legends in the ring and you where guaranteed something special every time. These two had the honor of giving us the very first ladder match in WWF history when they battled over the Intercontinental Title for a time. Bret would have the honor of winning that historic contest. They would continue to battle a short time after, but this time the WWF World Heavyweight Title was the prize. Bret yet again came out on top match after match. Michaels would have to wait until 1996 to finally one up his greatest rival. The stage was WrestleMania 12 and the WWF World Heavyweight Title was on the line in a 60 minute Iron Man Match. These two greats yet again delivered a classic. HBK would go on to win this historic match and his first WWF World Heavyweight Title in overtime with a super kick heard round the world.

The most famous or one may even say most infamous moment between the two would take place during their last match together ever. All I have to say is one word, "Montreal" and every wrestling fan on the planet knows what I mean. Despite the ending I thought this match was awesome. I would even go as far as to say it rivaled their Iron Man match at WrestleMania. It had wrestling and fighting all rolled into one. Unfortunately Bret submitted to his very own Sharpshooter and HBK won his third WWF World Title. At least that's what it says in the record books. It was well known before the bell rang that this was to be Bret Hart's last match in the WWF because he had signed a very lucrative contract with WCW. JR even mentioned it on the PPV by saying, "If Bret Hart loses this match. Many believe it will be Hart's last match in the WWF." Bret refused to lose the belt to Shawn in Montreal and this made Vince extremely nervous; and to be honest who could blame him. The last minute of the match was the biggest black eye in professional wrestling in the entire decade of the 90's. Shawn hadn't even sat down fully to execute the Sharpshooter properly before Vince ordered Hebner to ring the bell and declare HBK the new WWF World Heavyweight Champion. The second the bell rang Hebner did his version of the 100meter dash and ran for his life to an awaiting car in the back. He didn't even raise Michael's hand. Earl Hebner would now be the most famous wrestling referee of all time thanks to this act of defiance. Highlight for this WWF fan was seeing Bret fire a Godzilla size lugee in the eye of Vince McMahon and later see Vince stumble out of Hart's locker room punch drunk, (thank you "Wrestling with Shadows"), after Hart gave Vince a receipt for all the years of working his ass off for the WWF and nailed him on the chin with a legit right hand. One man that regrets that this match even took place still to this day is without a doubt, Earl Hebner. We owe one of the greatest chants ever in the history of wrestling all to him. "YOU SCREWED BRET!" Two years ago I was in the second row for a RAW taping and the moment I saw Hebner go up the steps I just couldn't resist. After I yelled the phrase he made famous as loud as I could, he proceeded to flip me off and he also used a few colorful adjectives for what I could do with myself. The rest of the night every time he came to the ring he stared me down. It was awesome.

What would the 90's have been without ECW" When I first heard that Paul E. Dangerously started a wrestling promotion my first response was a belly laugh. This would come to be the first and only mistake I would come to make in the 90's. Paul Heyman lived out a dream and brought forth a wrestling culture that would prove to be immortal. During the Monday Night Wars many of my friends and I would go back and fourth on who was better and why between the WWF and WCW. The one thing that a WWF and WCW fan could always agree on back then is that ECW kicked serious ass. Remember the WWF and WCW Hardcore Titles" You can thank Paul Heyman for each one. If not for ECW these two championships would never have existed. I attended five ECW shows in the 90's and all I can say is you had to see it to believe it. To say the fans acted as one was an understatement. Paul Heyman created a promotion that didn't need your classic heel and baby face matches. Fans wanted a good match period so that's what Paul gave us. When fans saw a great move they went nuts, no matter who executed it. The biggest honor for an ECW wrestler was to see the fans after a classic match, no matter who won, give both wrestlers a well deserved standing O and shout, "ECW!! ECW!! ECW!!" I never saw fans like this ever at a WWF or WCW event. I was in awe and I had the time of my life every time at an ECW show.

On November 18, 2001 at Survivor Series it was pretty much unanimous that WCW was dead. However ECW did not die that night as was the plan by Vince McMahon. Reason being the fans wouldn't allow it. After that event every now and then the fans would see something sick or they would see two former ECW stars in a match and they just couldn't resist. Vince McMahon would hear ECW chants at his events. That wasn't supposed to happen according to him. In the 90's Paul Heyman had created a wrestling culture phenomenon that thanks to the success of "ECW One Night Stand" has proven ECW will never die in the hearts of true wrestling fans. If I could only meet one more personality in the world of professional wrestling it would be Paul Heyman. I would shake his hand and say, "Thank You." Paul gave the fans what THEY wanted to see night after night and not like the WWE who continues to give the fans what the WWE wants them to see like it or not. I can't wait for the next ECW PPV. WWE has no choice but to listen to the over whelming response and deliver another ECW PPV with Paul Heyman at the helm. "One Night Stand" was the first PPV in years I can honestly say I enjoyed from start to finish. Paul Heyman, thank you.

I hope I have proven my case that the 90's where the best of times. For all of you who saw everything unfold as it happened I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and I'm sure that those of you out there who had the same problem as I did back then wish you had it back. Do I watch Nitro and tape RAW or do I watch RAW and tape Nitro" I'd give a million dollars to have that problem back again. Hopefully one day Vince will realize he would make a shit load more money by listening to the fans and giving us what we want, just as he did years ago. Unfortunately it's become painfully obvious all Vince cares about is the almighty dollar and not the quality of wrestling he has been producing these last few years. In closing I hope all of you old school fans take a minute and comment on my piece. If the majority is good I will continue to right old school columns in the future. Last but not least here are two top ten lists of both best and worst moments of the nineties. As you will see the lists are mostly for fun. Peace.

Best Moments of the 1990's

10. Vince gets some spit in his eyes
9. No MasterLock Challenge
8. Tammy Sytch in a thong
7. WCW Cruiserweight division
6. 12 PPV's per year max
5. The NWO
4. Monday Night Wars
3. Mankind wins WWF Title
2. Anything ECW
1. Any match of Bret Hart
Worst Moments of the 1990's

10. Chyna wins IC Title
9. Jesse Ventura leaves pro wrestling
8. Steve "Mongo" McMichael
7. New Diesel & Razor Ramon
6. The LWO
5. WCW T.V. Title is disbanded
4. Montreal Screw Job
3. Goldberg
2. HBK forced to retire
1. Death of Owen Hart
by Phil T...


Erkka Järvinen wrote:
Ok i am sick of people like you bashing current product and saying everything like its a fact. First about the heel announcers. Who are you to say Lawler or Coach aint on Ventura's level" Do you define what is a great heel announcer" Thats your opinion so dont speak like your opinion is a fact. Also, blaming Earl Hebner for the incident is completely ridicilous. He just did what he was told to do. On a second note, if you are sooooo pissed off about the current product of WWE then stop watching and shut up! 90's are gone if you havent noticed and if you dont like the way WWE is taking then i suggest you to stop watching. If WWE would do what "the fans want" as you say it, it would be total chaos. There are millions of wrestling fans around the world, are you the one deciding what they all want" Next time when you think you are "The Voice of wrestling fans", think again.
Shawn wrote:
Great column, the 90's will always be the greatest decade in wrestling history.

WCW was NWA, plain and simple. NWA Mid Atlantic/Crockett Promotions and WCW was basically the same company, just a name and owner change. So, WCW was around for many years before the 90's.

To be fair to Ring of Honor and TNA, they really just starting. The internet is putting too much pressure on ROH and TNA, what do you expect from a three years old feds" TNA taped all their shows at Universal Studios because it's a great place to produce tv. TNA always turning away hundred of fans for the ppvs because the IMpact Zone is full. Despite what the internet want people to believe, TNA is not trying to compete with the WWE. That's just the internet false hope. TNA is just trying to be another wrestling company, they not trying to be WCW or ECW they just trying to be TNA. The internet community have to accept that and stop dissing TNA because they not WCW or ECW. By the way, four sided rings is tradition but sometimes you have to start your own traditions. ECW was a hardcore promotion and went against tradition, TNA is just trying to start their own tradition with the six sided ring,it's really not a big deal. Ring of Honor will never be big because they don't want too. Watch out for the World Wrestling Association later this year.

You said the greatest fued of the 90's was Bret Hart vs.HBK. WCW vs.NWO,Austin vs.Hitman,Austin vs.Vince,WCW vs.WWF were all better.

I love the Rock but he only had like two big years in the 90's. Scott Hall,Sabu,HBK,Foley and Nash had a bigger impact(impact and popularity has different meanings) in the 90's than the Rock. You mightest well say Ultimate Warrior had a big impact because from 1990-1992,he was bigger than the Rock. Vince vs.Austin and DX help WWF overtake WCW not The Rock.

Everything else I pretty much agree with. We need another Wargames Match dammit.
Matt Green wrote:
Great, great column, really brought back memories. I live in the UK and like most fans I used to watch Nitro from 9-10pm to see the cruiserweights and then flip to Raw to watch things like DX, The Rock Bret Hart and HBK.

I think we have to realise that competition will always make companies stronger, and unless someone comes out of nowhere the WWE will continue to provide fans with what they want them to see not what the fans want to see.
Dev Hasan wrote:
My God...this column was simply AMAZING. That's the only way of putting it...I didnt get bored reading it and I wanted to hear more and more. I miss those days as well and I too am a big fan of Bret and I feel the same to over-hyped no money bring in Goldberg. I never thought about the whole "you don't know what you have till you lose it" I always think about that we missed the oppunity for Bret to preform for us still...it's a complete waste of talent.

I hope you DO make more of these kind of columns...I need something intresting to read while at College or at home cause College is stressful and these great column's life yours relaxs me! Keep up the hardwork!
Smi from Germany wrote:
... first of all, Phil T., congratulations ! This is really an interesting review, worth to be read and it brought back lots of memories about the good old 90`s in Wrestling-business. THX !!!

As mentioned, I grew into this scene right here in Germany, what made it quite difficult to follow storylines or to watch the regular spots. Imagine Wrestling being brought to you nearly at midnight in the middle of the week and the episodes are presented to you approx. 2 weeks later than in the US, that's Wrestling in German TV within the 90's. Pure Horror if you're a real fan. In the meantime within the last few years, thanks to the internet, better TV-Spots in Germany and my upfilled tape & DVD archive, there is nearly no lack of knowledge (ok, you can ALWAYS learn) in the main-structure of the 90's in Wrestling for me. But I remember nearly all worthy moments of your enumeration and memories came back like flashlights in a dark room, too funny.

It's very difficult to compare those times with today's product, caused by the evlolution of wrestling .... there were also many crappy moments in Wrestling in the 90's - stupid gimmicks, worse storylines and disastrous matches, but the Higlights of that era (mentioned within your column) were light-years better than most of today`s product. So, carry on, bring back some more moments and let's be like old men talking about the good old times (never forgetting the present and having an open eye for the actual product (it's also worth it) ...).

One comment refering Erkka above - these kind of comments and columns are mostly written subjectively and base on personal experiences and emotions, don't be the one blaming other people for their oppinion or evaluation. Exspecially as Phil was not bashing the current product extremely ... and don't tell other people to stop watching, just because they do not agree to all presented scenes ... also you would not stop watching football (or whatever), just because you have seen a better match in the past ...
Rob Devivo wrote:
I couldn't agree more. I'll never forget the old question that you stated "Watch RAW and tape Nitro, or watch Nitro and tape RAW"". Up until WCW's last nitro I was still a fan of both promotions. For all the people that wanted to see the WWF, topple the WCW and end the Monday Night Wars what good as come out of it" Sure it was fun in the beginning, just the WWF... JUST the WWF. Then it became JUST the WWE (Sure ECW Was around but was not nearly as big a threat to the WWF then WCW was). I don't want to sound cliche but it seems that The WWE fell into a hole they dug themselves. There is no need to out-do another federation, there is no need for writers to cram all night thinking of a angle that would top a new NWO stint over at WCW. There is no longer a need for the WWE to put 110% into their promotion, if people don't want to watch it, what are their other options"

Anyway, I really agree with your column and being a kid growing up in the 90's It was always fun to see "The best there is, The best there was, and The best there ever will be.." in the ring. Currently I find it easier to just pop in VHS from the 90's then tuning into WWE Raw. I guess the WWE gave me a good reason to invest in a tape collection...
Phil T. wrote:
I have written four columns so far for this great website and I have never felt the need to write a comment on an article I wrote till now. Erkka, Erkka, Erkka, (That was my Tom Cruise impersonation hope u liked it.J) Now on to this MORON, to quote Chris Jericho, "You are a JACKASS!!" I have no problem with anyone writing a negative comment on one of my columns as long as they have the knowledge of what they are talking about, or in this case, what they are personally attacking me on. News flash Erkka, popping a tape in of Wrestlmania 8, for example, does not make you an expert on what wrestling was like in the 90's You obviously have only been watching wrestling since the very late 90's if that, (I am being very generous on that assessment I think). How could I be so sure some may ask" Simple!! Your first comment states that Lawler and The Coach are on the same level or higher then that of one Jesse "The Body" Ventura. I wish I was smoking what you are smoking because that must be some high quality shit. I thought that was one of the most moronic comments I have ever read on here, EVER, but like a real winner you out do yourself one second later. I have to quote your next comment word for word if you don't mind Erkka, "If WWE would do what "the fans want" as you say it, it would be total chaos." If I get amnesia one day I guarantee I will never forget that statement. Do I have to comment on this statement" I don't think so, but what the hell. How stupid of me to think it would be better for everyone, (WWE and Fans), to get what they want and what the fans would pay money to see. How stupid of me what was I thinking" You obviously are among the 1% that are happy right now that the WWE decided to give the Diva Search another try and lose 15 minutes of quality air time were they could promote another match. Instead we have to listen to a group of people that are stupider then you. Some maybe saying is that possible and much to my surprise it is. I would also bet you are one of the 1% that doesn't change the channel during a "MasterLock Challenge." As far as totally bashing the current WWE that was not my intent and I think it's obvious to anyone with one brain cell it was not my intent. Perfect example, if I said, "The 2001 NFL season was the best ever!" Am I bashing the other 80+ seasons" Of course not!!

Since I found this awesome website I have noticed you comment on many if not all the columns WE columnists put our heart and soul into every time we sit in front of our computer. Most of the time bashing them and voicing your opinion as FACT, I think I speak for the majority if not all who have ever had the BALLS to write a column, "PUT UP OR SHUT UP!" I checked through the column section and so far you haven't had the balls to even write one itsy bitsy column you could call your own, so until that land mark day, "SHUT THE F-K UP!!" Last but not least. It's been painfully obvious through these many months English is not your first language. If I was to ever write comments, personal attacks on a columnist is what you do, on something in a second language. I would make damn sure I did it right, and knew what the hell I was talking about first, MORON!!!!! For those of you that enjoyed my piece, thank you.
Kirsty Quested wrote:
I don't usually post feedback. But two things have inspired me to comment on this article. The first is that when I edited it - and I use the term "edit" very loosely as it needed very little in the way of my red pen - I was blown away by how well structured it was, how easy it was to read, and how interesting I found it. Phil's consistently written wonderful columns for OWW and I'm very proud to have him as one of our regular columnists. Long may it continue.

The second inspiration was provided by the comments of Erkka Jarvinen. Erkka, Phil voiced his opinion most articulately, as he has every right to do. If he prefers the product of yesteryear to that of today, then he has the right to say so. I'm just grateful that he chooses to do so eloquently, and on our website. Phil has written 4 columns for us Erkka, and I think you've contributed one. You have no hesitation in criticising other people's work, I've noticed... perhaps you should consider taking the plunge more often yourself.
Jacob Kuhn wrote:
Good job here, Phil. I can't say I agree with everything you have said, but I do like the way you said it. As far as your writing goes, all I can say is that it seems like you started out reflecting your opinion on the situation, and halfway through the article became a history lesson.

Technically, WCW has been around since the mid 70's. And to Shawn, the NWA was NEVER WCW. WCW was Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling which was a MEMBER of the NWA. And when Flair went to WWF, he wasn't the WCW Champion, he was the NWA champion. He had already been stripped of the WCW belt. I am not trying to be an ass by pointing this out, but it seems to be a common misconception that a lot of people are still not comprehending.

Also, I wouldn't agree that Vince 'destroyed' WCW. WCW destroyed itself. I won't go over all the reasons why, because it's an arguement that has been rehashed over and over.

Other than that, I am not going to say you're wrong about anything because you have expressed your opinions and they are valid ones at that.
MOSES wrote:
Well, I would like to say that your write up was very interesting. But I do have to disagree with you a little bit. I think that the late 90's were the best time in wrestling! I will explain a little bit further....back in the early 90's I used to watch NWA and WWF (actually started this trend back in the 80's but what ever) I think the deal was Saturday morning = wwf and Saturday night = nwa. then Sunday morning nwa Sunday night wwf.......I loved this! but then to my dismay my cable co. changed hands and nwa was not on anymore (at least for a little while). All that was left was the wwf. and I hated it!!!!! it was what I would like to call CARTOONISH and just plain stupid! Now I will not go into all the reasons why but if you are old enough too know what I am talking about you understand! I actually missed the change over from nwa to wcw because I could not see what was going on! But I read about it in some of the magazine's that were around. I think a close 2nd would have to be the mid 80's....I have very fond memories of wrestling back then! and even though I will always tell people that I was an NWA fan and a WCW fan I have to give the WWE (then WWF) credit for the great wrestling it gave us in the mid 80's...if it were not for this time period wrestling would not be what it is today! very nice list too! Here's too wrestling past and hopfully some great wrestling in the future!........
William Barnickel wrote:
I just have to say this was an amazing column, man! The 90's were deffinitely the best era in professional wrestling and without question produced the most entertaining wrestling product. Your column was so great, in fact, that I've decided to run though my great pro-wrestling memories as well.

Over the early years of my life I developed a slight barrier against pro-wrestling due to the fact that my parents looked at the sport as "fake" and nothing but a "male oreinted soap opera". Also, the fact that all the wrestling fans I went to school with were undoubtedly quite stupid, didn't help matters either. It wasn't until I became friends with a couple die hard wrestling fans in my junior high years that I was really introduced to this great sport. It just so happened that my brother also had some friends who were getting into pro-wrestling and so we both became curious about the same time. On one fateful Monday night our curiousities got the better of us, and we tuned into Nitro. I'll never forget that night. Hour 1 of Nitro was always the most entertaining for me because of the cruiserweights. The likes of Rey Mysterio Jr., Juventud Guerrera, Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Psycosis, and Eddy Guerrero blew me away. The unparalleled athleticism, outstanding technical ability, and terrific ring psycology immediatly tapped into my intelect and the wall against wrestling I had slowly errected over the years was shattered instantly after seeing my first asai moonsault.

After that fateful night, I tuned into Nitro for quite sometime every monday. I have great memories of my favorite personalities and matchups from my WCW watching days. I loved Chris Jericho's runs as cruiserweight champion. His promo he cut during his feud with Dean Malenko about being the man of 1,004 holds is still the top comedy promo in the history of this business for me. I couldn't stop laughing. The Benoit/Booker T feud over the TV title was also one of my favorites. The best of 7 series they had was great stuff. Raven and DDP feuding over the US title is another that really stands out in my mind. Unlike everyone else, I never really got into the nWo angles. I actually found them to be quite predictable and repetitive, and they got stale for me very fast. As Nitro became increasingly saturated after the first hour with nothing but nWo drivel, I started the channel flipping between Nitro and RAW. One day, it became too much for me and as soon as 8:00 hit, the channel flipped to RAW and it stayed there.

I was introduced to RAW during the prime of the Austin title reign. Man, was that great TV. Austin vs. McMahon will forever go down as one of the top feuds in the history of the wrestling business. While the main event angles with Austin and McMahon were thoroughly entertaining and usually quite unpredictable, I found myself more drawn to the RAW mid/undercard much like I was with Nitro's when I initially started watching. Owen Hart (R.I.P.), Rocky Maivia, Triple H and DX, Ken Shamrock, Mankind, the list goes on. These were the guys who I immediatly spotted as having something special and I really enjoyed watching them. Some of the key angles and matchups I remember from this time were: Rocky and Shamrock feuding over the IC strap, Rocky and Triple H feuding over that same belt, DX continuing to take the comedic chaos to new heights, Kane and Undertaker's amazing feud, the Mankind/Cactus Jack/Dude Love transformations, the infamous Hell in a Cell between Mankind and the Undertaker, the late and great Owen Hart not getting any respect as the nugget (one of my all time fav's, I miss you Owen, R.I.P.), the zany and unpredictible antics of Goldust (his transformations to Dustin and back), I could just go on forever. The WWF was pure greatness back then.

As I started high school I was introduced to the third of the big three promotions...ECW! My god, what a trip! I had only been exposed to the comparitive blandness of WCW and WWF and then, BAM!, I saw the first airing of ECW on TNN with the RVD/Jerry Lynn TV title classic and I was hooked. These were guys who were doing things I never thought possible inside a wrestling ring and wrestling a style of match that I was immediately drawn to and it was absolutely amazing! I tuned into ECW on friday nights, as much as I was able to given my high school sports commitments, and I loved every minute of it. The announce team of Joey Styles and Cyrus is, in my oppinion, by far the most entertaining in the history of this business. "The Virus" deffinitely needs to be mentioned in, at least, the same breath with "The Brain" and "The Body". While I knew that ECW was not on par with WWF or WCW, I rooted like crazy for that company to succeed and was so sad to see it fold. I have a very vast ECW DVD collection and still relive the greatness of ECW on a regular basis. I don't think anything will ever come close to topping the feeling I got while watching an ECW show. One Night Stand was amazing, and while it produced the closest thing to that feeling since 2001, there was still something that I knew was missing. Maybe it was the fact that I knew this was for one night only...maybe it was because of the WWE stooges in attendence...maybe it was because of Austin being the voice of ECW at the end instead of Taz...maybe it was because I knew RVD wasn't gonna be able to compete...whatever it was, there was just something missing from the show. Some of my fondest memories of ECW are: RVD and Jerry Lynn feuding over the TV title and the title of "The Whole F'n Show", RVD and Sabu feuding with Bill Alfonzo being comically two-faced keeping the two massive ego's happy (some of the most memorable promos were given with Van Dam blowing himself up and watching Sabu react, then Alfonzo gives props to Sabu just to keep him from ripping Van Dam's head off....priceless), Taz vs. Shane Douglas for the world strap, Taz vs. Sabu...'nuff said, Dreamer vs. Raven...'nuff said, Awesome vs. Tanaka...'nuff said, Tajiri/Guido/Super Crazy 3 ways being the stuff of classics, Corino getting his old school skull caved in by a Balls Mahoney chair shot in his PPV debut, Little Spike getting thrown around like a rag doll by Awesome and Rhino in respective feuds (god damn that kid could take a beating), the Eddie Guerrero/Dean Malenko feud and emotional farewell. Again, I think I can go on forever. All around amazing promotion and I can't say this enough: THANK YOU, PAUL!!!!

The post 2000 WWF/E is absolutely pathetic...noone can argue this point, especially if they've watched even a Nitro or two during the 90's. The post millenium WWF/E has sadly only been able to produce roughly a half a dozen "mark out moments". Ironically, most of them include ECW talent, or an ECW angle...so I don't even know if I should consider them WWF/E. They are (in no particular order):

1. RVD and Dreamer's debut and ECW joining the Invasion giving the pathetic angle only a half a RAW's worth of kickass potential before they unexcusably join up with WCW in the main event (complete stupidity, anyone who knew anything about ECW knew that WCW was considered pure evil by Paul Heyman....damn pathetic WWE creative team)

2. Kane unmasking (admit it, everyone was curious and wanted it...initially, the WWE shockinly didn't disappoint...of course, that was very short lived...damn pathetic WWE creative team, again!)

3. ECW resurgence and One Night Stand PPV (again, THANK YOU, PAUL!!!)

4. RVD busting out a Van-Terminator on RAW (only this time he eliminated the middle man and placed the chair himself while in mid-flight...all while clearing the width of a much larger WWE ring...if RVD ever wants to make ligitimate claim to the title of "Wrestling God", this proves his point)

5. Benoit winning the world title...looooooong overdue (Benoit vs. Angle Royal Rumble 2003, Angle vs. HBK at WM21, and HHH/Beniot/HBK WM20 are sadly the only true classics of the "new era" in my eyes)

6. Shawn Michaels return to wrestling (he's not "The Heartbreak Kid" of old...but damn, he can still go. Arguably my all time favorite WWF performer and if it wasn't for the Montreal screwjob would undoubtedly be number 1 in my book. All that aside, I was so happy to see him return)

In roughly a five year span, only having 6 moments of wrestling bliss is absolutely pathetic by the WWE. In reality, unless RVD gets his well deserved push upon his return from injury and actually let Paul London perform at the level he's capable of (both highly unlikely) the WWE will officially never grab my interest again. It's truly pathetic to see the levels the WWE has sunken to in not having any immidiate competition.

As of today, my pro-wrestling fire still burns brightly; however, it has nothing to do with a promotion that involves a 'W'. Ring of Honor has become the reason for proudly calling myself a wrestling fan again. I've been following ROH since late 2003 when I happened to stumble accross a rare copy of their first show, "The Era of Honor Begins", at a local Suncoast Video. The action was amazing and the main event immediatly hooked me as a fan. In my oppinion, that 3 way between American Dragon, Low Ki, and Christopher Daniels had much the same feeling as Shane Douglas, Sabu, Terry Funk did of early ECW fame. I've been following ROH stringly by hearsay over the net, but since the One Night Stand PPV, I've gotten the itch for good pro-wrestling again. I've now expanded my ROH DVD collection complete through 2002 and well into 2003 and I can't wait to continue. Watching ROH develop from its first show up through the present is a task that I am completely cherishing. I'm anxiously awaiting getting to 2004 as the Punk/Joe trilogy has me salivating. I haven't felt this way about pro-wrestling since the glory days of the 90's. You really owe it to yourself to check out some of ROH's best shows..."The Epic Encounter" from early 2003 is my recommendation as the Paul London/American Dragon match is a bonafide ***** classic! I promise you won't be dissappointed and you'll truely get that nastalgic pro-wrestling fan feeling that you've been missing due to WWE's ineptitude of the past 5 years or so.
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