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Guest Booker with HTQ: The NWA from August 1989 to January 1991



For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the Guest Booker DVD series is an idea from KayfabeCommentaries.com where a famous wrestling booker is given the task of booking a promotion or territory form a particular point in time with the idea that things didn’t go exactly as they did in real life and this is their chance to show us what they would have done were they the booker at the time. The first DVD featured Kevin Sullivan booking the WWF from the beginning of 1984 but without Hulk Hogan, who, for whatever reason, never made the big jump from the AWA. It’s a very interesting DVD, and while some of Sullivan’s ideas seem a little out of place, it still gives a lot of insight into the mechanics of booking and you still learn a lot of things about the art of booking that you probably won’t learn anywhere else.


With the concept explained, I shall set out the premise for this version of ‘Guest Booker’;


In late 1989, the NWA and Ric Flair were making a play to bring Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard back to the company, but there was also talk of other names being courted to jump to the NWA, specifically Ted DiBiase, Curt Hennig, Bret Hart, The Rockers, Roddy Piper and Randy Savage. Of course, we know that the only name of all of those to jump was Arn Anderson; Blanchard would have jumped back too but Jim Herd withdrew his contract offer when Blanchard failed a drug test for cocaine, which coincided with his decision to leave the WWF.


But what if Tully and Arn had returned together? And what if those other big names had made the history altering decision to jump to the NWA as well? How would things have changed?


Well, this is where Guest Booker comes in, and I book the NWA in the 18-month period from August of 1989 to the end of 1990.


There will be six sections to this piece:


The NWA World Heavyweight title

The US Heavyweight title

The World Tag Team tiles

The US Tag Team titles

The World TV title

New Arrivals


Hopefully this will inspire some intelligent debate about booking, and give us something to talk about.


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The NWA World Heavyweight title:


This one begins in November of 1989 right after Ric Flair beats Terry Funk in the I Quit match to end their feud. During the November tv, Flair talks up his victory over Funk, and says that he needs to move on to new challengers for his title, and that there are many contenders that deserve a shot at his title, but he doesn't know who should get the break of a lifetime. At this point, Flair should still be a babyface, but retain that cocky sense of self-confidence. Flair should be Flair, and the fans can cheer or boo him as they see fit. At the end of the month, the interviewer, Gordon Solie, can tell Flair that there is someone out there calling the NWA and demanding to confront Flair over the World Title. Flair asks who it is, but Solie tells him that the person is disguising their voice, so they don't know who it is. As December rolls on, Flair gets more irate at this person, who is still unnamed, and calls him out.


In the meantime, Flair defends the NWA title against the Great Muta at Starrcade which is set up thusly:


After Muta attacks Flair at the end of Clash IX, Flair rips into Muta in a promo, and tells Muta that if he thinks he can attack Flair from behind and get away with it, then he is mistaken. Flair tells Muta to step up to the plate and see if he can do that kind of damage by attacking Flair face on, and Flair says he'll sweeten the deal, and put the NWA World Title on the line. The next week, Muta, via Gary Hart, accepts the challenge, and the match is set for the main event of Starrcade. During the hype, much is made of Muta being unbeaten in the NWA, and that Muta already has the TV Title and will look forward to adding the World Title to his collection. Various angles will take place to hype the match up, with the final tv before Starrcade seeing Muta 'mist' Flair with the black mist, and the announcers will go crazy putting it over, citing the black mist as the most dangerous mist, and that Flair is now the firm underdog going into Starrcade.


Flair comes out for the match with his eyes red and bloodshot, selling the misting from Muta. The match is mostly Muta in control with brawling and his usual spots, with Flair fighting back with chops and punches, and Muta going for the eyes to regain control. It goes about 17-minutes and is really heated, with the fans getting into Flair's comebacks. The finish sees Flair go for the figure-four on Muta, Gary Hart try to interfere only to get decked by Flair, and when Muta goes for Flair, Flair hits a lowblow with his heel that the crowd pop for and he slips on the figure-four on Muta who fights for all he can, but finally submits as Gary Hart tries to pull himself up to help Muta.


Back to the mystery wrestler calling up the NWA and wanting to confront Flair, and the week before Clash of the Champions X in January, Solie tells Flair that the mystery person will confront Flair live in the middle of the ring. Clash X rolls around and Flair storms to the ring looking angry and irate; Flair goes off on the person who has been calling the NWA, and tells whoever it is to get his ass to the ring, and settle things like a real man. Cue Pomp and Circumstance-like music, and the crowd go insane as Randy Savage walks out. Flair is shocked, and looks like he is about throw a fit. Savage gets in the ring, grabs the mic from Flair, and tells Flair that if anyone knows about being a man, it's him (Savage). Savage then talks about how he has been around wrestling all of his life, and that he's done with performing in a three-ring circus and he's come to where the real wrestlers fight it out, and that he is challenging Ric Flair to a match for the World Title at WrestleWar the following month.


Before Flair can answer him, Sid Vicious hits the ring and goes after Flair, and Savage just looks on for a minute, before pulling Sid off of Flair and throwing him to the floor. Before Sid can return to the ring, Roddy Piper comes out and pulls Sid to the back, telling him to wait his time for now. Savage looks at Flair before making belt motions around his waist, and hopping over the top rope to the floor, and walking off, locking eyes with Sid briefly as he does so, before he and Flair engage in a staredown, with the announcers wondering if Flair will accept the challenge of Randy Savage, and if Sid will go after Savage as well now, due to Savage preventing his attack on Flair.


(The Sid-Piper team will be explained later on)


The Flair-Savage series begins at WrestleWar. Flair wins at Wrestle War in a hard fought match, but to keep the program going Savage attacks Flair afterwards and piledrives Flair on a steel chair to lay Flair out. In 1990, something like this is still a major angle, so it gets a ton of heat and Savage still looks strong because Flair gets stretchered out and Savage gets to brag about putting the NWA champion in the hospital. This happens in February and with the next PPV, Capitol Combat, in May, we’ve got three months of promos and angles to build to the rematch with Flair vowing revenge against one of the few men to ever put Flair out of action. To really spice things up, the rematch will be in a cage, a gimmick which hasn’t quite been prostituted into oblivion and still means something.


Flair versus Savage at Capitol Combat in a cage needs to be violent, so it’s going to be a complete brawl with both guys bleeding tons. We’ll have the big Thunderdome cage so that both guys can brawl around the ring and we can get camera shots of the blood spattered all over the ring mats. Flair goes over here, but I want a finish that keeps Savage strong. I want it memorable, so we’re going to have Savage miss an elbow off of the top of the cage and Flair cradling Savage for the win. For the time, Savage’s move will be a huge spot and it’ll get over big because it’s going to be replayed and talked about constantly on TV the next week. Flair goes over clean, but Savage loses nothing because he literally put it all on the line for the NWA title, a fact Flair will play up in post-CC promos so as to put over the spot, Savage, and, of course, the NWA title (because Savage was willing to risk his health to win it)


With WrestleWar out of the way, and successful defense against Muta at Clash XI, it’s time to focus on the Great American Bash in July, which will be headlined by Flair defending the NWA title against Ted DiBiase. Ted DiBiase gains the number one contendership by way of a feud with Terry Funk, which will be explained later. It’s a wild feud, with some memorable matches and angles, so people are primed for Flair versus DiBiase at the Bash.


Flair versus DiBiase at the Bash is an old-school masterpiece, going over twenty minutes, with lots of great action. DiBiase wins when Flair has the match won and goes for a figure-four, but DiBiase kicks him off and the ref gets knocked down, but not out. Flair goes to pick the referee up, but DiBiase reaches into his trunks for knuckles and KO's Flair when he turns around. The knuckles go back into his trunks, the referee gets up, sees the cover, counts the pin, and DiBiase is the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion


The next major even is Clash XII, which is in September and it’s going to be headlined by Ted DiBiase defending the NWA title against Ricky Steamboat, who won’t be forced out the year before and ends up in a feud with Bret Hart (to be detailed later) which culminates at the Bash.


Clash XII in September sees DiBiase defend against Steamboat and they go to a 30:00 draw. DiBiase is going to try and play it straight, but he’s going to get more heelish as the match goes on and Steamboat gets closer to victory. The final five minutes see lots of two counts, with DiBiase desperately trying to fend off Steamboat until the time limit expires, which it eventually does. A rematch must be had, and it’ll take place as the main event of Halloween Havoc with a one-hour time limit. Steamboat’s going to play on DiBiase’s pride in the build to this and claim that DiBiase knows he can’t beat him clean. The idea being that Steamboat knows he can outwrestle DiBiase, so he’s going to goad DiBiase into playing into his hands and keep things straight. The rematch goes around 40:00 and the shocker is that DiBiase actually does play fair because his ego demands he prove Steamboat wrong and that he can win without cheating, which he does, by rolling through a crossbody from Steamboat and hooking the leg for the win.


Clash XIII is in November and DiBiase headlines this in a tag match as he teams with US Champion Stan Hansen to take on Sting and TV Champion Terry Funk. You’ll see later why Sting and Hansen are in these spots, as well as how Hansen and Funk got their respective belts. It’s a transition show, so we’re going to have a non-finish as DiBiase and Funk brawl away at one end of the arena while Sting and Hansen brawl away at the other end and both teams get counted out.


This brings us to Starrcade where the main event is DiBiase defending the NWA title against Terry Funk in a cage match. Funk parlays his TV title reign into a title shot as a means to try and gain revenge on DiBiase over winning their feud earlier in the year. While that aspect gets played up, the big lure on the Starrcade main event is Terry Funk gunning after ‘one last’ NWA title run. We’ll run video pieces on the Funk history in wrestling as well highlights of Terry winning the NWA Title from Jack Briscoe. The match itself, in a regular cage, is another war, with lots of bleeding and brawling. The finish sees a turnbuckle get exposed and, in an act of desperation, DiBiase hotshots Funk head first into the metal, knocking him out and getting the win.


Summary: Flair, and the title, get over with two great matches with Savage and two clean finishes. The screwjob loss of Flair to DiBiase protects Flair but gets over DiBiase as a cheating heel. It also doesn’t, or shouldn’t, get a groan because it’s the only screwjob in an NWA title match all year and they can get something over huge if done sparingly, which they will be. DiBiase also shows he’s a great wrestler who doesn’t need to cheat, which means the heat he gets is even bigger because of that fact, because he holds his own and even cleanly defeats Ricky Steamboat, who spent most of 1989 establishing with the fanbase that he’s one of the premier wrestlers in the world. DiBiase gets over as a heel with the Funk feud in the early part of the year, and it culminates in the Starrcade win because he crushes the dream of Funk for that one, last NWA title reign.


Where it goes from here into 1991 is a little up in the air, but my ideal plan would be for DiBiase to hold the belt until the Bash where he’d drop the title to Sting. Sting would have ready made challengers in the form of DiBiase, Curt Hennig (explained later), Luger, and maybe some Clash defenses against Arn, Tully, either of the Steiners and others.


That’s the NWA World title done with. Next time, I’ll cover the US Title.


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The US Heavyweight title


I’m keeping the US belt on Luger through the end of 1989 and into 1990. His big singles program of 1990 is with Sting, but the seeds are sown in late 1989 with Sting interjecting himself into Luger’s feud with Ricky Steamboat after Luger tries to injure Steamboat during their house show run and Sting makes the save. This leads to a big tag team match at Starrcade with Sting and Steamboat against Luger and his mystery partner who will turn out to be the debuting Bret Hart. This match will see Sting and Luger brawl off to the back to start their program, while Bret cheats to pin Steamboat which will start their feud, both of which will be top singles programs of 1990. The Steamboat-Hart feud will be deal with later; this is about Luger and Sting and the US title.


The two teams actually have a rematch at Clash X in January, with a similar finish to their Starrcade match; Sting and Luger brawl on the floor to distract the referee, while Bret undoes a turnbuckle pad and when Steamboat applies a sleeper hold, Bret rushes to that corner of the ring, ducks, and Steamboat goes face first into the exposed steel, knocking himself silly, and Bret covers to get the pin. This builds to singles matches at WrestleWar between Sting and Lugar and Steamboat and Hart, but we’ll deal with Sting and Luger for now.


Luger and Sting at WrestleWar goes about 13:00 minutes, probably at a fast pace, and Luger gets the win by using the ropes for leverage. A rematch is needed and that happens at Capitol Combat in May. This one goes a little longer and this time Luger pulls out the win by using a foreign object to knock Sting out and then putting him in the Torture Rack with the referee calling for the bell. Once again, a rematch is needed to determine a conclusive victor in this feud, but with an added stipulation; if Luger does anything to get intentionally disqualified or counted out;, then he loses the US Title to Sting. The rematch, the final match in the Sting/Luger feud takes place at the Great American Bash. It’ll go nearly twenty minutes, the longest match of the program, and it’ll see Sting finally get the clean win over Luger, with the scorpion deathlock, and become the new US Champion.


With Sting as the US Champion he needs a big program, which we’ll pull the trigger on at Clash XII. Who is the program with? Enter one Stan Hansen. At Clash XII, it’s Sting defending the US title against Ric Flair. With it being a Clash, and not the main event, we can forgo a clean finish as Stan Hansen comes bellowing to the ring to attack Sting causing Flair to be disqualified. This sets up Sting against Hansen at Halloween Havoc for the US Title. Hansen wins clean in about fifteen minutes with the lariat. The two face each other again in a tag match at Clash XIII, as mentioned in the World title section, with Sting and Terry Funk going to a double count out with Ted DiBiase and Stan Hansen. Sting and Hansen must square off one more time, and it’ll be at Starrcade in a Texas Lariat match. The match is a brawl, and a good one, and we’ll have the photo finish with Sting just beating Hansen to the fourth turnbuckle to get the win and regain the US Title. After the main event of Starrcade, which is Ted DiBiase retaining the NWA title against Terry Funk, Sting comes out with the US title and makes it clear he’s intent on facing DiBiase, which sets up the Sting-DiBiase program for 1991.


Summary: The Luger/Sting feud lasts six months, which is a pretty lengthy feud even for the time, but it gets heat on Luger who keeps tricking and cheating his way to victory over Sting until, in true storybook fashion, Luger is foiled when he’s no longer able to cheat and Sting triumphs over the villainous heel. Sting then gets a hot program with Hansen, and we get the classic story of the heroic babyface taking on the loudmouthed bully boy, with the bully initially getting the upper hand, but the babyface eventually wining out and even beating the bully at his own specialty match to get back the US title. Not only that, it nicely sets up the Sting big program with DiBiase over the NWA title, which will be the big singles program of 1991.


With the major singles titles dealt with, we’ll deal with the World tag titles next.


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World tag team titles:


This one starts at the beginning of January 1990, at the TV taping where Arn Anderson returned but was meant to see Tully Blanchard return as well. Only this time, Tully does return as intended, and he and Arn make their return in a big by showing up unannounced and laying out the Steiner Brothers. This leads to a World tag title match at Clash X, which Arn and Tully win in typical heel fashion with a spinebuster on one of the tag belts leaving Rick Steiner out of it and getting pinned.


Things kick into high gear for Arn and Tully, with promo’s bragging about their title win and proclaiming themselves to be the best tag team in the world and inviting any other team to do their best to take the belts away from them.


It’s time for the big push, and this is how Arn and Tully’s calendar looks for the rest of the year:


WrestleWar: beating the Southern Boys clean

Capitol Combat: beating The Rockers after the Midnight Express interfere (The Rockers and MX have been feuding for a while at this point, and it’s still going strong)

Clash XI: losing to The Rockers via DQ when The Midnight Express interfere.

Great American Bash: beating the Rock and Roll Express clean

Clash XII: beating The Freebirds clean

Halloween Havoc: beating Doom clean

Clash XIII: Shawn Michaels pinning Arn Anderson

Starrcade: The Rockers beat Arn and Tully for the belts with Shawn pinning Tully after a superkick.


Summary: As you can see, Arn and Tully get the belts right away and keep them for the almost the entire year. They’re the most pushed team of the year, and while they don’t have one specific feud going on, the tag team division revolves around them as they have the tag titles. The main story of the year is the Midnight Express vs. The Rockers feud, which will be elaborated on later, but with the underlying theme of the Midnights getting in the way of the Rockers and the World tag titles with the Rockers chase for the belts culminating at Starrcade and finally getting their hands on the tag titles. The belts are made important because so many top teams chase for them but nobody is able to win them from Arn and Tully until The Rockers finally do it at the end of the year.


The Rockers have defenses in 1991 lined up against The Midnights, Tully and Arn and many other teams.


Next up are the US tag titles.

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US Tag team titles:


At the start of 1990 the US tag titles are vacant and get put up in a tournament. In the real world, Brian Pillman and Z-Man win the belts, but for the purposes of this venture I’m going to have the Road Warriors win them instead. However, in classic fashion for the Roadies, their title reign doesn’t last long as they drop the belts to Doom at Capitol Combat when Doom pulls the old switcheroo and Reed pins Animal with a handful of tights. Doom retains the titles at Clash XI over the Southern Boys with some more chicanery before dropping them back to the Road Warriors in a Chicago Streetfight at the Great American Bash. The next title outing is at Halloween Havoc with The Road Warriors defending against the Steiner Brothers in a much anticipated match. It’s totally clean with no cheating at all, and in the end the Road Warriors come out on top. The Steiner’s are gracious in defeat and embrace with the Roadies. HEEL TURN! The Steiners go nuts, suplex both Warriors into oblivion and leave them out of it. The feud is on, but we have to wait until Starrcade for the Road Warriors versus Steiner Brothers II. It’s a very physical match, as you’d expect, and both teams go all out for the win. The Roadies are all set for victory, when Paul E. Dangerously, who is doing color commentary at ringside, is seen to hand Rick Steiner his cell phone, which is huge in 1990. One distraction from Scott later and Rick has planted the phone firmly between the eyes of Animal and has knocked him out cold. Animal is easy pickings, and the Steiner Brothers are the new US tag team champions and have a manager in the form of Paul E. Dangerously.


Summary: I wanted the US tag belts to gain some value in 1990 and putting them on the Roadies does just that. While they drop the belts soon after, they get them back at the end of very physical feud with Doom and them winning the belts back in their specialty match gets them back over again. Of course, the big news of the US tag title scene, and the turn of the year, is the Steiner Brothers going heel after dropping the title match at Halloween Havoc. I think this could have really added some fire to Steiner Brothers, and giving them Paul E as their manager and mouthpiece adds a ‘brains behind the brawn’ element to the unit.


Going into 1991, you’ve got the Steiners defending against the Road Warriors as well as other teams, and you’ve also got the Steiners challenging The Rockers over the World tag titles, in matches that surely would have been really hot and allowed Shawn Michaels to really sell his ass off.


Next up is the TV title

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World TV title:


At the start of the year, the Great Muta has the belt, and I’d keep it on him until Capitol Combat where he’d drop the belt to Curt Hennig; Hennig would get wins over Z-Man at Clash X and Pillman at Wrestle War to build him for his shot at the title.


After that, Hennig retains over Thomas Rich at Clash XI, Pillman at the Bash, goes to a double countout with Terry Funk at Clash XII before dropping the belt to Funk at Halloween Havoc when Funk reverses the Hennigplex into a cradle. This sets up Funk for his run at Ted DiBiase at Starrcade. Naturally, in between those matches, Hennig is defending that belt regularly on TV with wins over various midcard names and even offering shots to the lower rung wrestlers and jobbers when we need to get over his arrogance.


Funk keeps the belt with defenses on television, though his appearances on major cards are limited to teaming with Sting to take on Ted DiBiase and Stan Hansen at Clash XIII and challenging DiBiase at Starrcade, with the tag match setting up the NWA title challenge as was explained earlier.


Summary: The belt’s primary function for most of 1990 is building up Hennig who is going to be a challenger for the NWA title in 1991. With regular wins over name wrestlers on TV all year, Hennig should get over really strong, despite a dropping the TV title to Funk near the end of the year. It wouldn’t last too long, as I’d have Hennig get the belt back in the first month or so of 1991 and get back on track with another strong run as TV champion before pulling the trigger on his challenge for the NWA title.


With the titles out of the way, it’s time to expand on how each of the big names gets introduced.

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The New Arrivals:


Ted DiBiase: In the aftermath of losing the I Quit match to Ric Flair at Clash IX, Terry Funk does a series of interviews where he's quiet, humble, and almost sullen. He talks about maybe not having what it takes anymore to compete at the top level in professional wrestling, and that maybe it's time to finally retire once and for all. Finally, after a lot of teasing, at the tv tapings in December, the 'main event' for the first hour is a big Terry Funk interview, where it is expected that he is going to announce his retirement from wrestling. After an emotional interview, with polite applause from the fans, Funk starts to announce that he is indeed going to retire. However, without warning, Ted DiBiase hits the ring and levels Funk from behind, Funk tries to fight back, but is too stunned, and DiBiase leaves Funk laying with a DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, DiBiase takes the mic, and he tells Funk that by losing at the Clash and shaking Flair's hand he not only disgraced himself but the memory of his father, Dory Funk Sr. DiBiase goes on to say that he grew up watching Dory Funk Sr. wrestle, and he admired the man and wanted to be like him one day, and that watching Funk disgrace the family name is something that he will not stand for, so he's entered the NWA to punish Funk for disgracing the Funk name, and when he's done with doing that, DiBiase says he is coming after the World Heavyweight Championship.


The match is signed for Clash of the Champions X: Terry Funk v Ted DiBiase. Both men give interviews in the months beforehand, with DiBiase pressing home the point that losing to Flair and shaking his hand was a disgrace to the Funk family name, and that it wasn't something that Dory Sr would have ever tolerated from his children, and that by doing so, Funk tarnished the name of the Funk family, and as someone who loved Dory Sr like he loved his own father, more so after Dory Sr fought to save the life of his own father, DiBiase won't let Terry Funk tarnish his family name. Funk fires back, saying that he did nothing to disgrace the Funk family name. He fought his heart out against Flair, and that was just what his father told him to do; fight all you can, and you can live with yourself, and that fighting with anything less is the real disgrace. Funk will go on to say that he gave it his all, and while he didn't win the match, he can still live with himself, because he did everything he could to win the match, but Flair was the better man that night. Funk, in true Funk style, will tell DiBiase that there will never be a night where DiBiase is the man, because losing to DiBiase would definitely tarnish the Funk name, and Funk has absolutely no intention of ever letting that happen.


Funk v DiBiase is a war, with Funk attacking DiBiase as he makes his way to the ring. The match is fought mostly on the floor, with both men using chairs on the other, and the guard rail seeing a lot of action too. There is very little wrestling here, as both men are content to brawl away, with the fans getting more than their moneys worth. In the end, after a few near falls, both men wind up decking the referee with dual headbutts, and the match is ruled a no-contest, amidst the sight of Funk and DiBiase brawling into the crowd, back over the guard rail, and then to the back of the building. Later on, after the next match, we see them being separated by security, with vile threats of violence going back and forth.


The following TV would see DiBiase berate Funk for not beating him, and Funk doing the same to DiBiase. Funk would then talk about the upcoming PPV Wrestle War, and that in war there is death, and at Wrestle War he and DiBiase would have a Texas Death match, and that he is going to show DiBiase what a true member of the Funk family can do in the ring, when he is fighting the type of match that his father invented and made famous.


The Texas Death match is the bloody brawl you’d expect with furniture tossed aside and the commentary team running for their lives. It’s a chaotic affair with a close finish as I want the program to keep going, and Funk goes over by the narrowest of margins, barely beating the ten count to get the win, but still triumphant in the match invented made famous by his father.


The feud between DiBiase and Funk would culminate at Capitol Combat in a Strap Match, but not with the photo finish you typically get in these matches. With DiBiase primed to be the top heel in the NWA, he needs something to round him out as being more than just a great wrestler but as someone with an edge and a willingness to do whatever it takes. The finish would be quite graphic, for the time, and would be very ironic, because it’s going to see DiBiase wrap a plastic bag around Funk’s head and choke him out with the strap with Funk trying to fight it but eventually passing out and the referee calling for the bell and for immediate medical attention for Funk. It’s a strong finish, maybe too strong, but I want some major heat on DiBiase, and I think he gets it by going to such an extreme to finish off Funk.


Summary: This feud is very old-school, blood and guts in nature, with two well traveled veterans going at it. Funk turns babyface, seemingly to go out with his head held high and the fans respecting him, but then Ted DiBiase, a friend of the family, shows up and gives Funk a beating. DiBiase then really turns the emotional screws by bringing up the memory of Funk’s father, a person that both idolized. This makes it personal and gets it really heated. Funk might think he’s on the edge of retirement but he’s not going to let someone, even a friend of the family, disrespect the name of his father. Funk’s the respected legend who believes it’s time to step aside at the top, but he’s got that one last issue to take care of before he can ride off into the sunset. As for DiBiase, the feud should do a damn good job of making him a major heel and effectively getting the people to see him as no longer the cartoon character that was the Million Dollar Man but the old-school, willing-to-do-what-it-takes heel who makes no bones about what he wants and doesn’t care that he has to step on personal friends to get it. The fact that Funk and DiBiase are friends adds a personal dimension to the angle, because DiBiase is such an asshole that he’s willing to use the memory of Dory Funk Sr., a man that longtime fans know he was close to, in order to try and put down Terry Funk, someone that fans also know he was close and that helped break him into the business.


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Curt Hennig: After a series of vignettes during December, with Hennig saying that he is going to bring a sense of perfection to the NWA, Tom Zenk speaks out against Hennig during an interview, and says that he knows Hennig from their past, and that it sickens him to see what Hennig has turned into. Hennig responds to this by saying Zenk shouldn't worry about the past, and that he is going to face Zenk at the Clash in January, and give him a reminder of why he really will bring a sense of perfection to the NWA.


Their match at the Clash is a mostly clean affair, with Hennig playing it a little arrogant, and Zenk firing back hard. In the end, Hennig would duck an attempt at a flying body press, and quickly follow up with a cradle suplex to get the win.


In interviews after the Clash, Hennig would put Zenk down, and he would also fire a few shots towards Brian Pillman, criticizing Pillman for teaming with Zenk. Pillman would respond by telling Hennig that if he has problems with him, they can settle things in the ring, and a match between the two would be set for Wrestle War. Hennig wins, clean, and then is set to challenge The Great Muta for the TV title at Capitol Combat. Hennig wins, and then we'd get the TV title scenario laid out previously.


Summary: I have plans for Hennig in 1991, so 1990 is the year he gets built up. High-profile wins over Zenk and Pillman start that off and then it kicks into gear with a rare clean defeat of Muta to win the TV title. Hennig gets a good five month reign with the TV title, only dropping it to Terry Funk to build up the main event of Starrcade. For 1991, I’d have Hennig get the belt back early in the year for another run with the belt, this time probably longer as to lead into his challenge for the NWA Title which would be held by Sting by May or July, so you’ve got four to six months with Hennig on TV getting a strong push to lead into his program with Sting.


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Bret Hart: With Steamboat and Luger having a lengthy feud off of their match at the Bash, and Sting getting drawn into the mix, Luger says that he needs to find a tag team partner to take on Sting and Steamboat at Starrcade. They can tease who this partner is in the lead-up to Starrcade, and the week before on TV, they can heavily hint as to who it is in such a fashion that people will expect it to be Bret. Come Starrcade, and it's Sting and Steamboat versus Luger and his partner, he can bring out Bret Hart. The match can go about 15-minutes, with Sting and Luger fighting to the back, which will allow them to segue into a new feud, and the finish can be Bret using a roll-up plus a big handful of tights to get the pin Steamboat, and they can segue into their feud. First off, we have a rematch at Clash X which is set up at set of TV. Bret talks about how all he's ever heard when it comes to technical wrestling is Ricky Steamboat this, and Ricky Steamboat that. Bret says he is tired of that kind of talk, and that he's come to where the wrestlers are, the NWA, for one reason, and that is show Ricky Steamboat that when it comes to wrestling, there is nobody better than Bret Hart. Steamboat responds by talking about how is aware of Bret's heritage, and that he respects the Hart name and what it means, but Steamboat tells Bret that he is going about this all wrong, and that if he wanted to prove something to him, then Bret should have tried to settle things like a man.


Meanwhile, Luger and Sting go back and forth as well, with Luger telling Sting he had no right to interfere in his match with Steamboat, and that now he's made an enemy in Lex Luger. Sting fires back that while he considered Lex a friend at one time, he doesn't anymore, and that it saddens him to someone so physically gifted throw it all away by breaking the rules when he doesn't have to, but that when he gets his hands on Luger, he'll teach him a lesson.


At Clash X, it's a Starrcade rematch, with Sting and Steamboat vs. Luger and Hart. A shorter match this time around, going about 10-minutes, with Sting and Luger fighting on the floor, Bret undoes a turnbuckle pad, and when Steamboat applies a sleeper hold, Bret rushes to that corner of the ring, ducks, and Steamboat goes face first into the exposed steel, knocking himself silly, and Bret covers to get the pin.


With the inevitable singles match between Bret and Steamboat set for WrestleWar, it’s time to hype it up a little with Steamboat telling Bret that deep down he knows that he can't beat Steamboat fairly, and that at Wrestle War he is going to prove it in front of the whole world. Bret meanwhile brags about beating Steamboat twice in a row and that’ll make it three at Wrestle War.


Wrestle War comes around and it’s the first time ever match in the NWA of Ricky Steamboat and Bret Hart. It’s a great pure wrestling match, with Bret playing the subtle heel for most of it but then getting more aggressive as the match goes on. With both guys going at it at their very best it’s seems like nothing can separate them and nothing does as the match goes to a 30:00 draw. The feud must continue and it’s time to hit the house shows with it for a couple of months, with each run of matches going to a time limit draw and the time limit getting extended each time. First run would see 30:00 draws, second run would see 45:00 draws and the third run would see 60:00 draws. They’d split off around May with Steamboat and Ted DiBiase getting a house show program, to set up their title program down the road, and Bret going against Terry Funk.


The issue would be kept alive on TV, and we’d finally see the conclusion to the feud at the Bash in July with Steamboat finally getting the win over Bret, something he hasn’t been able to do all year.


Bret simmers for a while after this, not happy about losing to Steamboat, until he starts his new feud with Brian Pillman around September time. The first match at Clash XIII in November sees Bret cheat to win, with Pillman winning the rematch at Starrcade, to seemingly end things between the two…


Clash XIV rolls around in January of 1991, and one of the matches is Brian Pillman taking on Butch Reed. Ron Simmons is at ringside and keeps interfering, so Pillman says something to the referee and walks to the back. Doom think they’ve won and start celebrating, but then Pillman comes back out and he’s not alone. Bret Hart is with him and it’s clear they’re on the same page. An impromptu tag match unfolds and it ends with Pillman and Hart getting simultaneous pinfalls on Doom and a top babyface tag team is born.


Summary: I don’t want to push Bret towards the NWA title scene just yet, as I want some NWA regulars to be in the picture, but I still want Bret to get a good push so he and Pillman are going to be the #2 or #3 babyface tag team, behind the Rockers and alternating with The Road Warriors for the second spot. I see them working great against the Steiner Brothers in a US tag title program and possibly against the Rockers in a rare babyface vs. babyface series over the World tag titles. After about a year, I would consider either turning Bret heel or turning both Bret and Brian heel, possibly putting them over the Rockers for the World tag titles. Before that, though, you’ve got Bret and Brian against the Midnight’s, the Steiners, Arn and Tully, and others for what are sure to be some fantastic matches.


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The Rockers: The Midnight Express v Dynamic Dudes issue would be concluded at the end of September on tv, with Cornette and the MX doing their heel-turn on the Dudes, and Eaton pinning Ace after smashing him in the face with Cornette's racquet. Then, MX and Corny would throw out an open challenge, claiming that while they're still chasing the tag titles, they are so good they need something else to do. In one promo, Lane can laugh and mention that one team is interested in there challenge, and he whispers the name to Cornette. Cornette laughs, and says that "they'd be fools to show up here". As the weeks go on, leading towards Clash of the Champions IX. Lane can bring the team up again, without mentioning any names, and Cornette will get slowly more irate and upset when talking about this unknown team. Finally, Cornette can snap, and challenge the mystery team to face the MX at the Clash. Fast forward to the Clash, and the MX and Corny are in the ring, and Cornette calls out the mystery team, telling the fans that, "these two goofs don't have what it takes to survive the Midnight Express and the rest of the NWA". Fast paced rock music hits, and The Rockers come bounding out, as the crowd go wild for them. With Cornette working his ass off at ringside, The MX and The Rockers go at it full blast for 20-minutes of **** action, which the crowd eats up. In the end, Cornette's attempt at interfering backfires, leaving Lane open to a flying body press from Michaels and getting pinned..


During November, Cornette and the MX cut some heated promos, livid over what happened at the Clash, and really tear into The Rockers. The Rockers fire back that they made an impact in the NWA in the biggest way they could; by taking down The MX. Cornette and MX respond by saying The Rockers beat them once, but they haven't taken then down, and that wrestling is a marathon not a sprint. The Rockers play up on Cornette's choice of words, and challenge The MX to a 30-minute Marathon Match for Starrcade. Cornette and The MX accept the challenge, and the match is set for Starrcade.


In the Marathon Match, MX and The Rockers tear it up for 30-minutes of great action. MX wins the first fall very quickly, with Cornette's tennis racquet coming into play, and Eaton getting the pinfall on Jannetty. The Rockers battle back, and at the 13-minute mark Michaels pins Eaton to even the score at one-fall each. The MX pull a fast one, and thanks to some illegal double-teaming, they regain the lead very quickly, and the MX are now 2-1 up. Big comeback by The Rockers as the match hits the home stretch, but at the 29-minute mark Cornette hits Jannetty with his racquet, to seemingly give MX the win, but wait!. Cornette dropped his racquet in the ring, and the referee questions him on its use. Corny and MX argue with the referee on this, and Michaels switches places with Jannetty. Eaton turns around, and gets small packaged by Michaels, and the referee sees this, and makes the three-count at 29:57, evening the match at two-falls apiece. The bell rings, the match is over, and The Rockers pull out a draw when it looked like they had lost all hope.


After this, I would build towards an elimination tag match between the two teams at Clash of the Champions X. That match, I would keep to around 15-minutes, with Eaton pinning Jannetty illegally, Michaels fighting back to pin Lane, and a distraction allowing Cornette to smash Michaels with his racquet, and Lane pinning Michaels to win the match for the MX.


From here, it’s singles matches at Wrestle War with Shawn pinning Stan clean and Bobby pinning Marty thanks to Cornette. The next step is at Capital Combat with the Rockers getting a title shot at Arn and Tully for the World tag titles only for the Midnight’s to cost them the belts and letting Arn pin Marty. A rematch at Clash XI sees the Rockers win via DQ when the Midnights interfere and we get a beatdown. The feud takes a rest until Clash XII with The Rockers and the Road Warriors taking on Doom and the Midnight Express. Cornette and the racquet come into play for the DQ and another beatdown but this one ends quickly with the Rock and Roll Express making the save.


With the feud having gone on for almost a year, it’s time to end it and this happens at Halloween Havoc. A feud this long and filled with great matches should end with the best of them so they get almost thirty minutes with the Rockers going over clean and even using a Midnight original, the flapjack, to get the victory with Shawn pinning Lane. The people pop, standing ovation, and the Rockers celebrate while a bemused, exhausted and irate Cornette can only look on and throw his racquet down and start crying into his jacket.


From here, the build to the Rockers vs. Arn and Tully at Starrcade begins, and along the way at Clash XIII Shawn pins Arn in a singles match to set up the third and, by way of stipulation, last ever challenge of The Rockers at the biggest PPV of the year. The match itself has the usual twists and turns, with Arn and Tully almost pulling off robbery but the babyface some back in heroic fashion and put the champions down for the count and the Rockers win the World tag titles to a thunderous ovation.


Summary: Well, the Rockers debut in a big way and right into the thick of things with a big time feud against the Midnight Express. Naturally, the matches are great and things are kept going for almost an entire year, which ensures lots of time for Cornette on the mic and plenty of great matches in the ring. The Rockers themselves get over with consistently good to great matches on TV and on the road, and not only is the feud their main story of the year but you’ve also got their chase of the World tag titles. Coming close on two occasions only for the Midnights to ruin things, having to take care of them to settle the issue and then getting that one last title shot against Arn and Tully which they are able to make the best of and finally getting their hands on the gold after so many roadblocks stood in the way.


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Roddy Piper: Over the December period, a series of vignette's with Roddy Piper would air. They would be building up to the debut of Piper's Pit in the NWA, and that the first Pit would be at the Clash of the Champions in January. The main point of the vignette's would be Piper talking about just who the first person in The Pit would be. With all sorts of hints and teases as to who the first guest would be, people would speculate that the first guest could be absolutely anyone.


The Clash arrives, and with the ring set out for Piper's Pit, Roddy Piper comes out to a tremendous ovation. After letting it die down, Piper then talks about returning to his NWA roots, and that he is going to call out one of the young stalwarts of the NWA: Sid Vicious.


Piper talks down to Sid at first, and bemoans his lack of success, with Sid looking irked. However, Piper changes tack, and begins to talk up Sid and his ability and what he can do. He tells Sid that he doesn't need a gang behind him to make him great, he needs the mind of a man who was part of something that changed the direction of wrestling, and he needs the mind of someone who can turn him into the success that he knows he can be; he needs Roddy Piper. Sid smiles and he and Piper shake hands, before Piper tells everyone that with a mind like his behind him, Sid is going all the way to the top of the NWA, and that Ric Flair better watch out, because Sid is the man who will take the World Title from him.


From here, Sid begins a slow climb to the top with Piper as his mouthpiece and heat getter at ringside.


Their initial feud is against the Dynamic Dudes, which is really just to get them over as a unit. Sid and Roddy beat them at Wrestle War and then Sid beats Ace in a singles match at Capitol Combat.


Then, it’s time for Sid to start getting some momentum behind him and for that he’s going to feud against Mean Mark, who is going to turn against Sid by accusing him of leaving him behind. It’s not that long of a feud, about four months or so, and its pretty much Sid all the way; their two singles matches, at the Bash and Havoc, see clean wins for Sid. It’s really just a feud to get Sid over as someone who can hold his own against someone his own size, and make it seem more dangerous when smaller wrestlers take him on, plus Mark is going to New York and he might as well get someone over on the way out.


After the feud with Mean Mark, Sid is content to squash jobbers and issue threats for a while. At the house shows, he can face variety of mid to top level babyfaces. He goes over the midcard types clean, but goes over the top tier babyfaces via DQ when they turn the tables on Roddy Piper’s interference and get caught using whatever foreign object he was using. However, to keep the babyfaces looking good they can lay out Piper with their finisher while Sid gets held at bay when an ally of the babyface evens the odds up.


This can go till the end of the year, and then Sid can start a new program on TV which can build him up for an eventual NWA title program against Sting when he gets the belt.


Summary: It seems a little barebones, and I’m not entirely satisfied with it, but there’s not a lot I can do with Sid when I’ve got the other major spots locked up. Piper can do rare TV matches, typically 3-on-2 squash matches with he and Sid taking on three jobbers with Sid powerbombing them all and letting Piper get the pin. He can wrestle occasionally on PPV, but not often and probably only against Flair or Funk or other veteran names. I wouldn’t beat Sid on for a long time after hooking up with Piper, and I’d avoid having to beat either of them on TV unless it was major. House shows can be a little different, and I’d use the scenario of one babyface laying out Piper while another holds Sid at bay with a chair to keep the people happy without having to beat either Sid or Piper. I might also be open to having Sid feud with Vader in 1991, which would be interesting politically.


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Randy Savage: You can read the NWA World title section for what I’d do with Savage for the first six months of 1990, with the lengthy program with Ric Flair. Once that’s over, Savage needs to cool down a little, both to avoid burning out and eclipsing the Flair-DiBiase series. For TV, I think he and Pillman could have a hot match or two, while for house shows it might be nice to see him take on Steamboat or even have a run with Sting. Near the end of the year we’re going back to the Flair feud for a Starrcade rematch, which Savage wins, and it sets him up for a major program with Sting for 1991. With Sting set to get the NWA title, Savage can win the US title, maybe with DiBiase’s help, so when Sting becomes NWA champion he’s got a ready-made feud with Savage. As part of it, the big tag team main event some of the house shows can see Savage and DiBiase against Sting and another top babyface, possibly Flair.


Summary: The stuff with Savage seems light post-Flair, but that’s partially by design. He’s not in my top of the card plans after the Flair stuff until 1991, so in the meantime he can regain any lost momentum and such with some convincing wins against mid to upper level babyfaces, so he’s looking good again for the short-term feud with Flair that primes him for the run with Sting where he wins the US title. I think Savage could have a good run as US champion in 1991, and when he finally drops the belt he can do so to the next up-and-coming babyface superstar who’ll be challenging for the NWA title sometime in 1992.


Epilogue And so ends the epic that was Guest Booker with HTQ. The origins of this date back a couple of years to the original NMB board, when Loss made a thread asking what people would do if, when Arn Anderson jumped back to the NWA, a number of other wrestlers made the jump with him. I know a number of people posted their ideas, but I never got around to posting mine, and you can see why. Putting together cards for PPV's and Clashes took a couple of days and fleshing the whole thing out took a few more, so the whole thing took about a week to put together. It's been sitting on my computer since then as I never got around to putting it out there for various reasons. I know people have been reading it, and now that the epic is finally over, I'd be interested in feedback and to get some kind of debate going.





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