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Vince Not Trusting Bret To Main Event As Champion

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Bret main evented 3 WrestleManias, but many times during Bret's career he did not main event pay per views as champion.

Survivor Series 92
King of the Ring 94
Summer Slam 94
Survivor Series 94
Ground Zero 97
Bad Blood 97


I think this shows how Bret was never Vince's ideal choice to be champion.

And to be fair, Bret did main event a few ppv's when he wasn't champion or wrestling the champion.

What do you think of this? Was Vince wrong for not trusting Bret, or do you agree with Vince?
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This new revisionist history of "last match is the main event" is completely false...The Savage/Flair tag match was literally announced as the "main event" on WWF programming, weeks before the fact.
Regardless of your thoughts on it, OP made it known that's precisely what he meant. So Bret vs. Shawn did main event 1992 Survivor Series.
 
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Oh, and there's no revisionist history going on. Back in the 80s, the last match was always the main event. Whether it was Wrestlemania, a house show or even a TV show like Prime Time Wrestling, the last match was always the main event. I don't remember the events you posted very well, but everything I do remember had the main event as the last match.
What are you basing this on? There are numerous examples (some I cited, some I haven't) were the match advertised as the "main event" does not close the show. Most TV tapings end with about an hour of jobber matches because everybody went home. For example, are you going to tell me that the summer 1994 RAW where Bret defended the title against 1-2-3 Kid was actually main evented by IRS vs. Ray Hudson? Hell, pick pretty much any show from that time period and the most important match usually opens the show and the last match is usually a jobber match.
 

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Speaking to Yahoo Sports in an interview, Undertaker revealed how nervous he was before walking into the match against Hogan. He also spoke about how the fans at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan turned him into a babyface.



This very forum talked about it too.

Taker was a heel, but he had some fans liking him since he was basically the bad guy version of Hogan and Warrior being impervious to pain. Right after Mania, the WWE had him against Warrior. For back then that was real quick rising in the ranks to have major feuds with Warrior and Hogan within 6 months. Think of it being similar to Brock Lesnar's first 6 months where he ended up getting cheered against Rock despite being a heel.
Respectfully, an anecdote from a wrestler about how over they were is not the most compelling evidence.

I don't need to compare it to Lesnar and Rock because I was watched Undertaker's career unfold in real time. I recall Undertaker's push. He was being positioned as a monster heel to go against Hogan, and subsequently Warrior. Being positoned as a monster heel - and getting over as a monster heel - does not mean you're rivalling the popularity of Hogan and Warrior.

It is accurate that in the early 90s the audience's appetite for Hulkamania was waning. Hogan was still over but that could lead to Hogan's opponents getting some cheers. It is not indicative of that opponent being as over as Hogan. An obvious example is Sid. Sid got cheers in his standoff with Hogan at the Royal Rumble in 1992, a mere 2 months after Survivor Series 1991. Does that mean Sid was as over as Hogan? No.

I don't dispute that Undertaker would go on to have great popularity. I don't think he was rivalling Hogan in 1991.
 

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Respectfully, an anecdote from a wrestler about how over they were is not the most compelling evidence.

I don't need to compare it to Lesnar and Rock because I was watched Undertaker's career unfold in real time. I recall Undertaker's push. He was being positioned as a monster heel to go against Hogan, and subsequently Warrior. Being positoned as a monster heel - and getting over as a monster heel - does not mean you're rivalling the popularity of Hogan and Warrior.

It is accurate that in the early 90s the audience's appetite for Hulkamania was waning. Hogan was still over but that could lead to Hogan's opponents getting some cheers. It is not indicative of that opponent being as over as Hogan. An obvious example is Sid. Sid got cheers in his standoff with Hogan at the Royal Rumble in 1992, a mere 2 months after Survivor Series 1991. Does that mean Sid was as over as Hogan? No.

I don't dispute that Undertaker would go on to have great popularity. I don't think he was rivalling Hogan in 1991.
Hey, you wanted a source I gave it. If you don't want to take his word for it that is fine, but I just wonder why since Taker is believed about the Hogan neck situation at the same time by people. I also gave an example of how Brock Lesnar was a heel, but he ended up getting backed by fans by SummerSlam against the mainstream star and champion The Rock. The comparison is there with Taker and Hogan in 1991. I also gave links where people were saying they were getting tired of Hogan by the end of his 2rd title reign which also helped to have people siding with the new characters of Sid and UT. Does this mean I say they were more popular mainstream wise? No, but in the wrestling bubble they were the new kids on the block some were backing as the next in line.

Here is another link about people on here talking about UT getting cheers and the timing being right for the face turn.

If you want to get all technical fine in terms of the wording of "rival," but he was rivaling Hogan and Warrior in comparison to guys like Bret Hart and HBK.He was a main event guy that was seen as a threat to Hogan and Warrior when others weren't. He was turned face when the company changed up the plans for WM when he went up against Jake The Snake who was originally programmed or advertised to go against Savage. In turn, Savage got switched to face Ric Flair. Prichard talks about the face turn if you don't want to take Taker's word that fans were into him before the turn.

To add to Prichard, Jake says he wanted a super tag team with UT. It was not done because they believed it would have turned Taker face even faster than what actually happened.
"I think The Undertaker and I as a tag team could've done an easy six-month run with anybody and everybody," Roberts said on "DDP Snake Pit." "I think they missed out on that. I think we would've drawn a lot of money as a tag team. ... We were unbeatable as a tag team. How the hell are you going to beat those f** guys? I think the big problem with us, the reason they didn't go with the tag thing, is that we would've been so unbeatable that would've turned him babyface too soon."

Read More: Jake Roberts Explains Why His Tag Team With The Undertaker Didn't Last - Wrestling Inc.

Rolling Stone did a nice article about Taker's first title win and also made a good note on how that event was the first non WM and SummerSlam world title match on a ppv especially the team oriented Survivor Series. Mention of Taker getting cheers at Tuesday In Tuesday is credited for making Vince decide to turn Taker face.
Not long after the title reign lasting less than a week, the crowds usually shocked into silence at the appearance of the nearly 7- foot “deadman” eventually began cheering the moment the first death bell ran to announce the presence of the wrestling mortician. McMahon had no choice but to turn The Undertaker babyface.


Sid was positioned as Brock in 1991 when vignettes as the next coming. He got put into the main event of SummerSlam as special ref. It is also not an accident he was the match for Hogan at WM and was used in part for the return of Ultimate Warrior. Here is an article if you want to see other people report on this.

Another example from Bleacher Report article that believes Taker was treated as an equal in terms of main event star within the first year in the company.

Their matches at Survivor Series and This Tuesday in Texas solidified The Undertaker as a true main event Superstar. Hogan was the biggest name in the business, and Taker stood toe to toe with him twice in one week.

Some people don't realize what a big deal this was at the time. The Undertaker wasn't the kind of character we usually saw in the title picture, and the fact that McMahon took a chance on him shows how much faith he had in Mark Calaway as a performer.

It also has to be noted that Hogan had a lot of power backstage at the time, and the fact that he was willing to put Taker over in their first encounter showed that he also had faith that the supernatural gimmick could work.
 

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It is accurate that in the early 90s the audience's appetite for Hulkamania was waning. Hogan was still over but that could lead to Hogan's opponents getting some cheers. It is not indicative of that opponent being as over as Hogan. An obvious example is Sid. Sid got cheers in his standoff with Hogan at the Royal Rumble in 1992, a mere 2 months after Survivor Series 1991. Does that mean Sid was as over as Hogan? No.

I don't dispute that Undertaker would go on to have great popularity. I don't think he was rivalling Hogan in 1991.
I'd call that a pretty accurate assessment. I feel people way overplay the meaning behind these crowd cheer moments. Hogan had been hot for close to eight years at this point. This was an unbelievable run. It was to be expected that people would have gotten tired of his act at this point and that fresher, newer characters might start getting some crowd reactions but that is far different from being able to take the ball and run with it. None of them had it like that.
 

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I'd call that a pretty accurate assessment. I feel people way overplay the meaning behind these crowd cheer moments. Hogan had been hot for close to eight years at this point. This was an unbelievable run. It was to be expected that people would have gotten tired of his act at this point and that fresher, newer characters might start getting some crowd reactions but that is far different from being able to take the ball and run with it. None of them had it like that.
This is true, but take into account that in 1990 Hogan lost to Warrior for the title and again lost to Undertaker a year and a few months later. His stranglehold on the main event scene had waned for the reason you mention. Prior to Warrior's lost, Hogan only jobbed once to Andre The Giant in his Vince Mcmahon Jr. run.

Hogan only won the title once after losing it to Taker in 1991. Taking the ball and run with it in comparison to Hogan was not going to happen with all the decline and bad press that affected the business since the summer of 91. The change was in the air and the first signs were there in 91 and 92 as Bret rose in the ranks too.

Hulk Hogan took a self imposed exile post WM 8 for a reason.
 

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Hogan only won the title once after losing it to Taker in 1991. Taking the ball and run with it in comparison to Hogan was not going to happen with all the decline and bad press that affected the business since the summer of 91.
I count twice. He beat Taker to get it back and then got the belt from Yoko in 1993. Unless you are specifically narrowing it down to his run from 1984-1992, which is still really saying nothing as 1991 was his last full year with the company and we're at the end of November when he loses the belt to Taker.

The change was in the air and the first signs were there in 91 and 92 as Bret rose in the ranks too.
I'd call Bret "rising in the ranks" an interesting narrative. It implies a form of meteoric rise occurred at this time where he suddenly surpassed or leveled up with the star players who were there in 1991. He didn't. There was a mass exodus of top talent leaving the company for months and he became the guy they took a chance on. He was considered a dependable talent and was certainly popular amongst the WWF hardcores but he was not super visible in terms of presentation. Nothing that happened in ten out of the twelve months in 1992 suggested some gradual build where Bret had become so red hot in the eyes of the fans and Vince himself that he was the defining choice to lead the company. He closed a major show in England because he was champion and they were putting a belt on the English guy he was working against. He had some excellent matches but the decision to have him run with the title was definitely eleventh hour. His match with Shawn was like fourth or fifth billed on the Survivor Series card before they had him win the title and he was not featured on the advanced poster for the PPV or the home video releases. By comparison, Undertaker and later, Ramon, had a far more organic "rising in the ranks".

Hulk Hogan took a self imposed exile post WM 8 for a reason.
Agreed and given the circumstances, it proved a wise move for all parties involved..
 

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I count twice. He beat Taker to get it back and then got the belt from Yoko in 1993. Unless you are specifically narrowing it down to his run from 1984-1992, which is still really saying nothing as 1991 was his last full year with the company and we're at the end of November when he loses the belt to Taker.



I'd call Bret "rising in the ranks" an interesting narrative. It implies a form of meteoric rise occurred at this time where he suddenly surpassed or leveled up with the star players who were there in 1991. He didn't. There was a mass exodus of top talent leaving the company for months and he became the guy they took a chance on. He was considered a dependable talent and was certainly popular amongst the WWF hardcores but he was not super visible in terms of presentation. Nothing that happened in ten out of the twelve months in 1992 suggested some gradual build where Bret had become so red hot in the eyes of the fans and Vince himself that he was the defining choice to lead the company. He closed a major show in England because he was champion and they were putting a belt on the English guy he was working against. He had some excellent matches but the decision to have him run with the title was definitely eleventh hour. His match with Shawn was like fourth or fifth billed on the Survivor Series card before they had him win the title and he was not featured on the advanced poster for the PPV or the home video releases. By comparison, Undertaker and later, Ramon, had a far more organic "rising in the ranks".



Agreed and given the circumstances, it proved a wise move for all parties involved..

You're right about the Yoko win as I forgot that since that led nowhere but back to Yoko anyways. As you said, 1991 was Hogan's last full year. Hogan back then already hinted he wanted to be in Hollywood. One rumor that actually hit Toronto sports news was that the original plan was for Hogan to retire in LA in 1991(reason why it was originally in LA Coliseum), but due to sagging attendance since Warrior won the belt that got changed.

There was also talks on WM VI weekend in Toronto that Flair was in talks with Vince. I'm saying this to say that Hogan ending up having his last full year in 1991 was not surprising. Hogan was on borrowed time and the most hardcore smark knew it back then as it appeared in reports in sports news that use to cover wrestling then.

It is why Vince pushed hard to get new blood with Road Warriors and Kerry Von Erich in 1990 and then getting Sid in 1991. Ric Flair who was rumored in 1990 and even back in 1988 finally coming in was just icing on the cake. Ultimate Warrior was really suppose to be the heir apparent for Hogan.

In terms of Bret Hart, again from reports we were getting he was being approached from Flair to jump ship in 1989. The fans were gravitating to guys like HBK and Hart because of the excitement they would have in their tag matches. They broke up the teams knowing they would have possible new stars. Bret Hart also went solo fully in 1991 just as the talent pool was drying up that I mentioned. Kerry Von Erich didn't really pan out long term as expected when he went over Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam 90. Perfect ended up getting back the IC strap and then passed it onto to Bret at SummerSlam 1991.

The Legion Of Doom worked out even though the company really stretched them out in terms of how long they took to get the titles from The Nasty Boys at the same SummerSlam that Bret was crowned IC champ. Bret was the one who was relieved of the tag titles by the Nasty Boys before being the tag champ that LOD helped at SummerSlam 90.

I stated this on here already that by early 92 Bret again was being approached by WCW. There was fear by Vince that Bret was going to jump which is why he lost the IC title. He lost the title under dubious high fever in the storyline, but that was still to protect Hart from losing to The Mountie. Once Vince was sure Bret was not jumping he had Piper do the honors finally for Bret and obviously Piper was fine with that since he never jobbed by pinfall since 1984.

Bret Hart being put in the title match with Bulldog was not the original SummerSlam 1992 plan. The company was going to have the first ever ppv ladder match with Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels for the IC Title. So, Bret was going to be champion on that show regardless when it was originally scheduled for Washington DC.

I also stated before on here that Toronto Star had reported Bret thought he was main event worthy when he carried Bulldog in the last match to end the second biggest ppv of the year. It was reported by Norm DaCosta that Bret again threatened to jump ship if he wasn't going to be used in the main event scene. This was well known in Toronto press and Vince obliged weeks later with Bret as champion although that was not expected. I say this to counter what you are saying about Bret not being red hot or whatever.

The fact is Vince did not want to lose Bret Hart to WCW in 1992 with the way the business was changing and losing his stars like Hogan and so on. Bret filled a gap that was needed in 1992 and got put over by Piper and Flair who were big stars from the previous generation. Sure Bret did not get top billing at Survivor Series, but the guy who did get billing in Ultimate Warrior ended up leaving again. Vince had to get Mr. Perfect to come out of retirement.

For all intents and purposes, Vince was on the money to keep Bret from jumping since Flair, Savage, and Warrior were not around to main event Rumble or Mania. Savage I think Vince was wrong to bench, but that also shows Vince thought highly of Bret as now he probably thought he had his new Macho Man in the Hit Man. Bret Hart even made mention of this in his promo for WM 12 against HBK at the 3:04 mark in the video below.


Undertaker as champion then wouldn't work for what was talked about earlier in the thread by someone. Bret even talked about why it was awkward for Taker to be a contender then too.


As for Razor Ramone, I think we know the issues there with trying to put the company on his back to carry. He is not dependable as Bret.
 

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I never bought into Bret as the top guy until his heel turn in 1997. That whole thing where he was a face in Canada and a heel in the USA was like World War 3. WCW really dropped the ball with him when he went there.
Yeah, I think that was Bret's best work character wise and of course he had classic work with Austin at WM 13. I think Bret was comfortable calling out the US fans since the industry was changing cheering anti-heroes.
 
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