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The late 80s/early 90s US wrestling scene


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It's not the type of thing that's been mentioned a lot, but as booker in 1989, Ric Flair had hopes of luring all the following names away from the WWF:

 

Ted DiBiase

Curt Hennig

Bret Hart

The Rockers

Roddy Piper

Randy Savage

 

Let's say, for argument's sake, that they would have actually hired Tully Blanchard like they were supposed to as well, and that they were able to hang on to Steamboat at the time. Most of the guys I mentioned above considered jumping at one point. Now look at the roster WCW had around this time. How would you have booked the next 2-3 years?

 

Your heavyweights:

Ric Flair

Terry Funk

Lex Luger

Sting

Great Muta

Brian Pillman

Ted DiBiase

Ricky Steamboat

Roddy Piper

Randy Savage

Curt Hennig

Bret Hart

Ricky Steamboat

Sid Vicious

Tom Zenk

 

Tag teams:

Midnight Express

Steiner Brothers

Road Warriors

Southern Boys

Rock & Roll Express

Rockers

Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard

Freebirds

Doom

 

How would you have booked the next 2-3 years of WCW? Who would have emerged as the next wave of stars, and how would you have gotten there? Keep in mind as well that the following guys would all be in WCW by 1993.

 

Rick Rude

Vader

Dustin Rhodes

Steve Austin

Davey Boy Smith

Williams & Gordy

2 Cold Scorpio

 

With spot show appearances from the following guys:

 

Jushin Liger

Chris Benoit

 

I think the number of good matches would have been absolutely sick. I'm almost frightened at the possibilities.

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Guest cawthon777

As far as the midcard, I think it would have been as strong as 97-98. The main events, which was the one major flaw of WCW at its peak, would have been drastically improved.

 

I don't think Flair could have snagged all that talent but even if he was able to acquire a few names, that would have been a strong asset to the NWA. The more talent he got from the WWF, the more would have been lost in the roster and they would have gone back to Vince after a few years anyway.

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Here's my take ...

 

Ric Flair -- He needed to stay babyface. He's a great heel, but he was too respected to ever draw as a heel. And by 1990, he had been so damaged through booking that his power was starting to wane anyway. I would have kept him a face and still built to Flair v Sting in a title match with Flair dropping the belt to Sting, doing the handshake afterward and putting him over properly. Soon after, Arn, Ole and Tully would claim that Flair had gone "soft" and they'd built to an angle over the course of a few months where they'd turn heel on him and he'd come back for revenge. They'd announce that they found a new Horseman leader and it would be revealed to be Ted DiBiase. Build to Flair v DiBiase, holding off the big match as long as you could, in a title match, with DiBiase as champ by that time retaining, but with Flair coming out strong. Flair would later get his revenge in some type of blood/gimmick match and go over DiBiase in the final blowoff to the feud. Of course, Flair would need two guys to help him fight off the Horsemen. Who would those guys be? Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk, his two greatest rivals! I wouldn't have made Funk/Steamboat a tag team for obvious reasons, but part of the way you prolong the big Flair/DiBiase singles match is to run combinations of Flair/Funk/Steamboat v DiBiase/Arn/Tully for a while.

 

Terry Funk - See above. I'd have him help Flair in his wars with the former Horsemen and then use him to put over the Great Muta in a feud between former J-Tex allies.

 

Lex Luger - The fun part about Luger in this time period would have been that all the good workers in the company would have been competing with each other to see who could get the best matches out of him. I'd have him stay the path he stayed in 1989, as a heel, and as a strong US champ who was Sting's first program on top. After that, it's hard to say. He's probably someone that would have jumped to Vince even sooner with this roster around him, and there would be less of a place for him, although he could easily be turned face to challenge DiBiase as world champ as well. I see feuds with Hennig and Steamboat more than any others.

 

Sting - Still the top babyface. After defeating Flair, he has a swarm of heels waiting to be fed to him -- Luger, DiBiase, Savage and Hennig are the top choices. Waiting in the wings would be Rude, Vader and Windham as possible choices as well. TV matches with guys like Arn and Tully.

 

Great Muta - I think the opportunity was there for him to be a big babyface when the Horsemen turned, and I would have tried to capitalize on it. I like the idea of a Funk/Muta program, with Funk having to go heel first for it to truly work, which means the feud would have to come a little later after the Horsemen v Flair/Funk/Steamboat feud had run its course. In the meantime, I'd tease a face turn repeatedly to the audience for months without actually giving it to them until the time was right. Have him start doubting his associates and slowly get frustrated with the heels around him. It's not important that he have a huge program in the interim, but he's yet another possible title opponent for Sting, or at least he would have been until they jobbed him out at Starrcade '89.

 

Brian Pillman - I like the idea of a Pillman/Bret feud and also like the idea of Pillman having more matches with Luger. He's a great choice to do televised matches against the top heels as well. He's one guy who can work the undercard or near the top, and can play face or heel, so you can do pretty much whatever you need to do with him. DiBiase v Pillman on TBS with 15-20 minutes and a hot crowd would be great, even if it's not quite a marquee PPV main event. He's another guy that can feud with Hennig.

 

Ted DiBiase - I think I outlined the plan for him pretty well when talking about Flair, but I think that's the natural angle. He has to have the world title at some point for the angle to work, but I'd have Sting win it back fairly quickly, so I could build to the money match against Randy Savage.

 

Ricky Steamboat - Endless possibilities. Could work some really fun trios matches with Pillman and Bret as partners against any combination of heels. Could have a great feud with Hennig. Could be a PPV headliner against DiBiase and they could even build a babyface match on PPV against Sting. I also think there would be big money in a heel turn for him, just because people would be crushed, but it would have to be done properly and at the right time. Sting beating him could be the beginning stages of a slow burn, actually, but I'd let it play out over the course of 6-12 months.

 

Roddy Piper - Another guy you can have as a top face or a top heel. I'd personally have him opposite Flair at all times. Flair would pretty much never turn heel again if I was booking him at this point, so I guess that means Piper is the heel. He's a guy who can distract Flair to prolong the blowoff with DiBiase and he's also someone who could add to the already really deep main event roster considerably. I wouldn't have him appear all the time. I like the idea of Piper getting destroyed by Vader pretty quickly after Vader debuts.

 

Randy Savage - Coming in as a heel, turning face later. Working matches with pretty much every name on this list on both sides of the fence. I think the most potential to draw is in Savage v Sting at Starrcade '90 with Savage as a major heel. He'd need to go over lots of babyfaces through 1990 and be protected like hell, and he'd need to go babyface after losing to Sting in the big match, or he could stay heel and put over Bret Hart in a long feud starting in early '91.

 

I'll try to pull this all together and more thoughts later.

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Lex Luger - The fun part about Luger in this time period would have been that all the good workers in the company would have been competing with each other to see who could get the best matches out of him. I'd have him stay the path he stayed in 1989, as a heel, and as a strong US champ who was Sting's first program on top. After that, it's hard to say. He's probably someone that would have jumped to Vince even sooner with this roster around him, and there would be less of a place for him, although he could easily be turned face to challenge DiBiase as world champ as well. I see feuds with Hennig and Steamboat more than any others.

I was going to create a topic for the Lex Luger shoot interiew but this is as good a place as any to mention this. I'd have to disagree about Lex jumping to the WWF IF (and that is a big IF) you believe what he said in his shoot interview. In his shoot, he said one of the primary reasons he jumped to the WWF was because of the way the office treated Harley Race (and general mistreatment of the guys in general) even though he was never personally disrespected. According to Luger, he had no problem working with anyone ( :blink: ) and was willing to put over anyone at anytime.

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Curt Hennig - Of course you'd have him as a heel, at least for the first two years or so, before maybe turning him face and putting him in a role similar to Flair where he's the ultra-respected veteran with occasional title shots, but he's kept strong. I'd probably have Sting/Hennig headline a Clash at some point, which would likely pop a nice rating if Hennig was built up as a threat, and then I'd program him and Bret together for all eternity. Feud with Flair is a must. I also don't think he ever faced Savage in the WWF and that seems like such a natural match. Hennig and Steamboat could have great matches too, and have him aligned with Rude when he comes in, so you could do Hennig/Rude v Flair/Steamboat, Hennig/Rude/Savage v Bret/Steamboat/Pillman matches out the ass, Rude/Hennig v Sting/Pillman, Rude/Hennig v Bret/Davey Boy ... the possibilities are pretty endless there. After Flair slayed the Horsemen and they disbanded, I'd look into creating another stable, simply to try to streamline all the top talent.

 

Bret Hart - 1990 would be the year to establish him and keep him in midcard-lower midcard feuds where he gets wins, but doesn't really advance past that level with few exceptions. 1991 would be the year he gets the big US title push, either against a heel Luger or Hennig, with him going over. I'd also have him feud with Rick Rude with Rude winning the feud, but Bret making a really strong showing. Once you get to 1992, Bret/Vader is the big match. Bret and Sting would actually be the main challengers to new top heel Vader, with Barry Windham filling out the top four there, and '93 sees lots of Barry/Bret.

 

Sid Vicious - The monster who I'd keep out of the ring, except in short squashes. I'd put him as the bodyguard for a smaller heel or tag team trying to get over, maybe Pillman after a heel turn and push toward the top would be a good choice. I'd have him wrestle 3-4 times a year with beating him being a huge deal.

 

Tom Zenk - Cannon fodder.

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Rick Rude - Feuds with Flair, Sting, Steamboat, Dustin ... pretty much all the opponents he really *did* have between 1991 and 1993, maybe mixing Bret in. If Vader wasn't so good, I'd probably have him as my top heel. Windham is better in the ring, but Rude had more potential to draw.

 

Vader - Comes in and makes an enormous splash pretty quickly, and by 1992, he's a world champion, just like he ended up being. Opponents would be Sting, Bret, Dustin (who'd have a lot more opportunities in big matches against him), Steamboat and Davey Boy. He'd pretty much be used the way he already was.

 

Cactus Jack - Funk recruits Cactus Jack to do his dirty work against Muta in their feud, which results in Funk taking advantage of him big time, until he finally figures it out and turns on Funk.

 

Dustin Rhodes - Vader, Rude and Windham are all top opponents. Singles and tags. Always a babyface.

 

Steve Austin - With all the other top-shelf talent around, it's hard to find a place for him. Knowing now what no one knew then, I'd pair him and Pillman off as the Blonds pretty quickly and save a split until like 1994 or so, at which point Austin gets a makeover and big character change and starts making a run for the world title, which by that time would be held by Bret Hart.

 

Davey Boy Smith - Much better face than heel, which gives him lots of opportunities since the promotion is loaded for bare with heels. Vader/Davey Boy were good matches. If there was a way to make it make sense in the booking, Bret/Davey Boy would be a good feud. I don't know who else would be a good match for him though.

 

2 Cold Scorpio - Tag division with various partners, also involved with Benoit and Liger on their appearances. Maybe the occasional match against a Vader or Steve Austin or Barry Windham.

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