Wrestling Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I became a wrestling fan as a kid right before WrestleMania 2, and followed the WWF throughout the rest of the Golden Era. As a young fan, two things stuck out to me as we entered 1993 and 1994.

1) The superhuman superstars (i.e. steroid-ladden physiques) were now gone. No more Ultimate Warriors, Hulk Hogans, Hercules, Kerry Von Erich, Warlords, or Sid Justices. Even Macho Man went from a wrestler who wore trunks to a cartoon character in a full body costume. The new wrestlers were either complete cartoons - Doink - or guys who would have been jobbers in the past were now "superstars". Nondescript guys like Kwang or Thurman Plugg.

And the tag-team wrestlers of the 1980s - Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels - were now billed as the elite of the promotion.

2) The promotion began to seem increasingly minor league. WWF used to tape Superstars in basketball sized arenas in front of 12 - 15 thousand people. By the summer of 1994, the shows were taping in community centers and high schools. The former was expansive and brightly lit, the latter in dark but small venues filled with a thick haze.

These crowd shots show the comparison:

February 1990:


August 1994:



Here's video of the same periods:



At this point for any of you watching at the time, how much downhill did you feel that the WWF was heading?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,161 Posts
I was enjoying it as much as ever at that point because the match quality was so good. Mainly down to Bret, Shawn and Razor. It was in 1995 that things seemed to go downhill for me, and that year could be the worst in history for wrestling.
 

·
Team Narcisse
Joined
·
7,939 Posts
I also lost interest during this period. I'd still go to my cousins house and catch some PPV's but that's about it. Was far more into WCW.
 

·
TONI POR TODO!
Joined
·
4,602 Posts
Well it was precisely in 1994 when I started watching WWE, because that was the year Monday Night Raw became available in my country.
I guess I would've been watching since ten years earlier around the black Saturday if american.
I already knew about wrestling with a local wrestling show, and about most wrestlers of the ''golden age'' because of watching Hulk's cartoon in 1987 and playing the arcade games.
Watching Ted Dibiase as manager of wrestlers got me assuming that most of those wrestlers were already deservedly retired, I mean Roddy Piper was acting as referee or even ''president'' later...
That's why when Ultimate Warrior made his short return it was great for me, because he was the most played character in the arcades.

When the company informed me that Hogan was active in the other promotion with their sketchs mocking Ted Turner, I really thought he was THAT old, like twenty years older than British Bulldog, Billy Gunn, etc.:lol And wondered how the other company could hope to compete with WWE with a geezer as champion.
Of course I ignored the huge push Hogan gave to american wrestling in the eighties, and the NWO phenom didn't happened yet.

And IMO it was pretty normal seeing wrestling shows in those small arenas mentioned. After all it was just wrestling, not Football...


Is interesting how you mention the end of the ''golden age'' at the time of Hogan leaving, since I always thought it was when Hogan lost clean to Warrior in 1990.
And of course I remember that guy in these forum whose opinion was the golden age was the times of Buddy Rogers, Sammartino, Jack Brisco etc.
 

·
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been do
The Icon That Can Still Go
Joined
·
54,753 Posts
I started watching in 1990 as a 7 year old. Looking back now, as OP pointed out, there was a clear change of direction for the product in the mid 90's.

As he pointed out the big, huge guys were now pretty much gone. But there was a reason for that; the steroid trial. Vince's hands were tied at that point, even after the trial ended. He knew he now had to be very careful and knock off the shit with the 'roids and HGH. So, they didn't really have a choice when it came to that.

While it is true quite a bit of fans stopped watching in 1993-1994, I actually kept watching. There was the change in size of buildings the shows ran in, but as a 10-11 year old kid, I didn't really notice, so that aspect didn't have any affect on me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,169 Posts
I was a fan of interesting and unique characters from the beginning. Even as a 5-6 year old, as the 80's came to an end, I thought guys like Hogan were the drizzling shits. They were boring to me in every way. It was guys like Savage, Piper, Dusty, Steamboat, Bossman, Sting, Vader, Hart, HBK, Undertaker, and Razor that got me hooked.

From around the time that Hogan signed with WCW in 94' through most of 95'. Even as a tween I thought both WWF and WCW were generally horrible though. If it wasn't for new and changed characters that started to pop up at the end of 95', along with things shifting away from being so hokey. I definitely wouldn't have left 96' still a wrestling fan.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,262 Posts
I haven't watch wrestling in almost a year.

I love this era. Razor Ramon, Doink,Savage, Diesel,Yoko,Bam Bam were big topics in the classroom. Wrestling was so simple around this time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,605 Posts
1994 was a good year that gave us the Bret/Owen feud. The rise of Diesel, a wonderful heel run by Backlund. Lots of other stuff as well. Still the business was in the doldrums then and didn't really get out of it until 1997.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,761 Posts
I unfortunately can't relate or respond. I was 7 in 1993, aka, the time i started to watch, so i dont know how the "aura" was around the product in the 80s. As a kid, I loved the cartoon characters and how every wrestler was an occupation.

And as a kid i never really noticed things like 'hot crowds'... and lets be real, the amount of 'hot crowds' even in the golden era were few and far between. I remember thinking the crowds for WM 4 and 5 being quite lame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
For me, the presentation just was depressing. It's like the NFL going from holding games at Cowboys stadium to this:





Similarly we went from this:




to this!






Or for another comparison:

Golden Era (1989)

New Generation (1995)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,508 Posts
I think you're being unfair to the presentation here.

I don't know if it was a money thing and they couldn't afford to host those Raw's in big buildings or not but whether they could or not, I liked that they were hosted in those small buildings cause I felt it captured the rawness and grittiness of wrestling and the show that was titled "Raw". It felt like Raw had soul back then whereas today it's just too clean, HD and LED, it feels like it's all flash but no substance. It doesn't feel like it has a soul. They were moving on from that cartoony era to a more rebellious, edgy, gritty era, so hosting those early Raw's in big clean buildings like they do today just wouldn't have fit what Raw and the product was about and had become at the time. ECW was held in these type of small buildings but it felt like it had a life and soul. If you hosted ECW in big clean buildings, it wouldn't have fit what they were about either.

Raw was just starting out aswell, no new wrestling shows ever start out in big clean buildings. They develop over time and end up being hosted in bigger clean buildings but they always start out in small dirtier buildings. TNA started out in The Asylum.

Also, you are just only posting those early Raw events. The PPV's around that time were held in bigger clean buildings but the Raw's were held in community centers and high schools.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think you're being unfair to the presentation here.

I don't know if it was a money thing and they couldn't afford to host those Raw's in big buildings or not but whether they could or not, I liked that they were hosted in those small buildings cause I felt it captured the rawness and grittiness of wrestling and the show that was titled "Raw". It felt like Raw had soul back then whereas today it's just too clean, HD and LED, it feels like it's all flash but no substance. It doesn't feel like it has a soul. They were moving on from that cartoony era to a more rebellious, edgy, gritty era, so hosting those early Raw's in big clean buildings like they do today just wouldn't have fit what Raw and the product was about and had become at the time. ECW was held in these type of small buildings but it felt like it had a life and soul. If you hosted ECW in big clean buildings, it wouldn't have fit what they were about either.

Raw was just starting out aswell, no new wrestling shows ever start out in big clean buildings. They develop over time and end up being hosted in bigger clean buildings but they always start out in small dirtier buildings. TNA started out in The Asylum.

Also, you are just only posting those early Raw events. The PPV's around that time were held in bigger clean buildings but the Raw's were held in community centers and high schools.
Indeed they were, and the syndicated shows were to have continued to be the bigger shows. But by 1994, they too were being held in community centers. That's why I included the Phantasio clip - that was a WWF Wrestling Challenge taping at Wilkes University Marts Center in front of a few hundred people. It's one thing to have a gritty show like RAW in front of 500 people. That was part of the presentation. But the syndicated shows had been in front of 7K - 15K people since 1986, and they suddenly dwindled down to TNA or ECW arena sized crowds. That was depressing - it was reflective of the lack of popularity of the promotion.

The PPVs were the only shows that aired in front of sizeable crowds, and even WrestleMania 11 had to be held at the Hartford Civic Center.
 

·
Hardcore Casual
Joined
·
2,284 Posts
1) The superhuman superstars (i.e. steroid-ladden physiques) were now gone. No more Ultimate Warriors, Hulk Hogans, Hercules, Kerry Von Erich, Warlords, or Sid Justices. Even Macho Man went from a wrestler who wore trunks to a cartoon character in a full body costume. The new wrestlers were either complete cartoons - Doink - or guys who would have been jobbers in the past were now "superstars". Nondescript guys like Kwang or Thurman Plugg.
Yes, definitely, but it was somewhat of a transitional period. 1995 stands in direct contrast to even 1990-1994, where you still had of an obsession with huge guys, even if they weren't necessarily roided up: Diesel was in the middle of a year-long title reign, the debuts of both The Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior, Yokozuna's back-to-back Wrestlemanias, Giant Gonzalez etc. By 1995, as you said:

the tag-team wrestlers [and Intercontinental Champions] of the 1980s [and early 90s] - Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels - were now billed as the elite of the promotion.
2) The promotion began to seem increasingly minor league. WWF used to tape Superstars in basketball sized arenas in front of 12 - 15 thousand people. By the summer of 1994, the shows were taping in community centers and high schools. The former was expansive and brightly lit, the latter in dark but small venues filled with a thick haze.
While I agree with the assessment on production values, I'm not sure I would qualify it as minor league because it would imply there was a fed that was selling significantly more. Compare live attendance at the PPV events for WCW and WWF in 1994:

WWF
Royal Rumble - 14, 500
Wrestlemania X - 18, 065
King of The Ring – 12, 000
Summerslam - 23, 000 (Undertaker vs. Undertaker)
Survivor Series - 10,000
TOTAL: 77, 565 (average attendance of 15, 513 per PPV)


WCW
Superbrawl – 7, 600
Spring Stampede – 12, 200
Slamboree – 4, 000
Bash at The Beach - 14,000 (Hogan v. Flair)
Fall Brawl – 6, 500
Halloween Havoc - 14, 000 (Hogan v Flair II)
Starrcade - 8,200
TOTAL: 66, 500 (average attendance of 9, 500 per PPV)

The whole wrestling business was on the financial downswing from about 91 until late 95 or 6.

At this point for any of you watching at the time, how much downhill did you feel that the WWF was heading?
Because I was young and didn't have much of a thought process or context to the mid-80s (too young), I actually didn't mind it except the horrible gimmicks. My three favourite wrestlers were in the main event scene (HBK, Hart, 'Taker), Wrestlemania X took place in1994 (one of the best PPVs ever imo), and there were a lot of phenomenal matches involving the likes of Owen Hart, Mr. Perfect, British Bulldog, Razor Ramon, even Diesel.

In retrospect, it was a terrible year, but not quite as much ass as 1995.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,708 Posts
That time had it's ups and downs. The WWE were truly throwing ideas out there. It was certainly one of the most creative times in WWE history. Funny, where are The Undertaker Fans? He built his legacy during this time and beyond. People wanted change and they got it from WCW. In fact I would argue that WWE wouldn't be around today if it weren't for WCW keeping them relevant. Fans were drawn to WCW around this time and then stars from the this WWF era were leaving fro WCW. NWO, Monday Night Wars etc. Competition is great for business. Figure it out Vince. Start another promotion already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, definitely, but it was somewhat of a transitional period. 1995 stands in direct contrast to even 1990-1994, where you still had of an obsession with huge guys, even if they weren't necessarily roided up: Diesel was in the middle of a year-long title reign, the debuts of both The Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior, Yokozuna's back-to-back Wrestlemanias, Giant Gonzalez etc. By 1995, as you said:





While I agree with the assessment on production values, I'm not sure I would qualify it as minor league because it would imply there was a fed that was selling significantly more. Compare live attendance at the PPV events for WCW and WWF in 1994:

WWF
Royal Rumble - 14, 500
Wrestlemania X - 18, 065
King of The Ring – 12, 000
Summerslam - 23, 000 (Undertaker vs. Undertaker)
Survivor Series - 10,000
TOTAL: 77, 565 (average attendance of 15, 513 per PPV)


WCW
Superbrawl – 7, 600
Spring Stampede – 12, 200
Slamboree – 4, 000
Bash at The Beach - 14,000 (Hogan v. Flair)
Fall Brawl – 6, 500
Halloween Havoc - 14, 000 (Hogan v Flair II)
Starrcade - 8,200
TOTAL: 66, 500 (average attendance of 9, 500 per PPV)

The whole wrestling business was on the financial downswing from about 91 until late 95 or 6.
I'd leave WCW out of the equation. They had been struggling since 1989 (I recall that they booked the SuperDome that spring and drew less than 5K). They struggled to draw anything close to a sellout in an NBA sized arena until 1994. If anything, they were the opposite of WWF. Production values were improving under Eric Bischoff and crowds were heading up in 1994 and 1995.
 

·
Benson, Charisma and Camila Mendes Fan. King Of Th
Joined
·
17,365 Posts
1994 was a great year for the WWF because they gave us some of the best feuds of all time. Feuds with Razor/HBK, Razor/Diesel, Bret/Owen, Lex Luger/Tantaka, The Undertaker/Yokozuna for a full year. It was also the year of Diesel winning three titles in one year. The Undertaker's character was starting to change/evolve here. We also see the woman wrestling such as Alundra Blaze, Bull Nakano, that one woman at WM 10, and last Luna Vachon. That was the year that gave us a great casket match between Undertaker and Yokozuna. Brother vs Brother match at WM 10 between Bret "Hitman" Hart and "The Rocket" Owen Hart. Their cage match at Summerslam. That Submission match between Bob Backlund and Bret Hart was one of my favorite Submission matches of all time. The British Bulldog was also returning to the company to wrestle and last year of Macho Man Randy Savage in the WWF. That year in the WWF was a breath of fresh air because Hulk Hogan was there anymore. So that forced Vince McMahon to start pushing younger talent. I almost forgotten about 1 2 3 Kid getting his title shot against Bret on Raw in July. All of these events is the reason why 1994 was my 5th favorite year in wrestling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
I was 10 in 1994, and had been watching wrestling since around 88 (earliest I can remember watching). I was still watching but not nearly as much as I had been a year or so prior and was more into NBA at that time. I don't remember thinking about the small venues or whatever, but thinking that all the characters were kinda lame. I liked Bret, Taker, Diesel, etc. but a lot of the gimmick characters were just too much for me, aside from M.O.M. (dunno why I liked them but I did lol). Looking back now, I think a lot of the wrestling was good because you had the likes of HBK, Bret, Owen, Taker, but the product wasn't as exciting to me as it had been in the late 80s - 1992ish
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top