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Joe Gagne

Wrestling What-ifs?

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On this week's Between the Sheets there was a mention of the FCC removing laws in 1984 that allowed for the proliferation of infomercials, and also allowing Vince to buy TV time to air his products - if this law hadn't passed, one would have to think it would have hampered Vince's national expansion.

 

Doing a show on wrestling what-ifs soon - are there any more like this, where something seemingly unrelated to wrestling ended up having a major impact?

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What if the 7-7 bombings don't happen in England or if they happen, but WWE doesn't air the Hussan-Undertaker angle?

 

What if AOL and Time Warner don't merge?

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Speaking of Mid South, what if they are the ones with the long-running TBS presence instead of Jim Crockett Promotions? That almost happened.

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- What if it's 1987 and a tape comes out of Hulk Hogan making the exact same comments?

- What if Flair's 1989 idea for WCW to raid all of the WWF's good workers -- DiBiase, Bret, the Rockers and Hennig -- had been successful? What if talks with Savage and Piper that year had gone well and the two jumped ship? What if Herd was able to keep Steamboat in the fold? How badly does all of that hurt the WWF? How greatly does all of that benefit WCW?

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- What if Flair's 1989 idea for WCW to raid all of the WWF's good workers -- DiBiase, Bret, the Rockers and Hennig -- had been successful? What if talks with Savage and Piper that year had gone well and the two jumped ship? What if Herd was able to keep Steamboat in the fold? How badly does all of that hurt the WWF? How greatly does all of that benefit WCW?

 

Is there anything that details this plan? Don't think I've ever heard about it. I would think the impact on Vince would come later - the raid basically strips away all the guys he went to in 92-95 when the steroid trials hit.

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That's about the extent of it. When Dave did his walk-through of the WWF-WCW feud a decade or so ago, he mentioned it there. It never got off the ground, really, because Turner Broadcasting wanted WCW to be both a wrestling company run on the cheap and a competitor to the WWF. One or the other could have been possible, but not both.

 

The Savage story was something else. WCW started showing interest. Savage said they weren't going anywhere out of loyalty. Liz was like no, we're going where the money is. Then Herd offered Savage less money than he was already making to jump. Savage thought they wasted his time and stopped talking to them.

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What if Bill Watts is hired into WCW in 1992 NOT with the directive to slash costs, but with the directive to do whatever it took to get competitive with Vince? How different might his time have been?

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- What if Flair's 1989 idea for WCW to raid all of the WWF's good workers -- DiBiase, Bret, the Rockers and Hennig -- had been successful? What if talks with Savage and Piper that year had gone well and the two jumped ship? What if Herd was able to keep Steamboat in the fold? How badly does all of that hurt the WWF? How greatly does all of that benefit WCW?

 

Whilst I'd like to think that this was would have led to some great business for WCW, it probably wouldn't have given how badly that company was run.

 

On the plus side. All those guys plus Flair, Sting, Luger, Funk, Muta, Windham, Arn, Pillman, The Steiners and the Midnights would have led to an absolutely amazing amount of great matches, angles, promos and shows that we would all probably look back on today with a great reverence and nostalgia for.

 

What if Bill Watts is hired into WCW in 1992 NOT with the directive to slash costs, but with the directive to do whatever it took to get competitive with Vince? How different might his time have been?

 

As you pointed out in the yearbooks. Watts has finally starting to head in the right direction before he got turfed, but realistically he was probably always on borrowed time there.

 

I wonder what 1992 WCW would have been like if you could have kept Kip Frey in charge and he'd hired Watts to be his head booker. Maybe he could have been a buffer between Watts and upper management.

 

Both regimes made missteps along the way, but there was some common ground between them and they had an amazing roster to work with. If they could some how have been merged together with the backing that Bischoff got. Wrestling in North America could have taken a very different path. Especially as Vince was at his weakest point in those years

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I was listening to Flair's podcast with Steamboat from a couple months back today and they were discussing Magnum TA, specifically his training. Apparently Ole and Buzz Sawyer used to beat the shit out of poor Magnum. Steamboat brought up something I've thought about a lot - how many potential stars did they drive away by treating trainees like this?

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What if Mr. T did back out from Mania 1 at the last minute as Dave mentioned almost happened in his Roddy piece he just wrote?

Related, what if Cyndi Lauper didn't meet Albano on that plane and put him the video?

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What if Steve Austin was given a sustained push as WCW US champion, really broke out as a top midcard talent and got on Bischoff's good side, brought the attitude that eventually made him so great, and went on to become a key player in the NWO angle?

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I often wonder, what of Hogan never took to wrestling...what if he chose another line of work. How different would everything have been?

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I always ponder the "what if Brian Pillman never had that humvee wreck". Meltzer often says Pillman wanted to stay in WCW, and I believe him, but the way the business went anyway with Hall and Nash heading in, Hogan staying on top, and all his supporters on the other side, I think Pillman would have found his way to the WWF a couple of years later injury free with the great character and dynamic promo style in a time and place that was custom made for it.

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A common "what if" during the early days of internet message boards was "what if Art Barr had not died and him and Eddie had gone to ECW and New Japan as a team like they were supposed to".

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Atsushi Onita, one of the cornerstones of the relatively unimportant AJPW junior heavyweight division, blows out his knee jumping off the apron to the floor of all things in All Japan. Retires. Somehow hatches the idea for a vision of FMW in his brain, comes out of retirement to be the ace of his own company that does fairly well for a while and pisses off a lot of All and New Japan people. Takes a bunch of old grudge match concepts and turns them all up to eleven, and invents some really weird bullshit along the way. Ends up inspiring a multitude of knockoff companies, which at least in the case of Big Japan (and I guess in a way CZW) still exist today.

 

So I guess a what if is "What if Onita wasn't clumsy"? FMW was a really fun outlaw company for a while there, even if it turned to shit by the end. And it was a genuinely innovative product in terms of showing people some stuff no one had ever done before. Hard to think anyone else could have pulled it off quite the same way.

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- What if it's 1987 and a tape comes out of Hulk Hogan making the exact same comments?

- What if Flair's 1989 idea for WCW to raid all of the WWF's good workers -- DiBiase, Bret, the Rockers and Hennig -- had been successful? What if talks with Savage and Piper that year had gone well and the two jumped ship? What if Herd was able to keep Steamboat in the fold? How badly does all of that hurt the WWF? How greatly does all of that benefit WCW?

 

Although getting all those names would be great, I think we'd also have to consider that if all those guys come in it's also likely someone has to go back out either due to a lack of spots, or out of McVengeance. Maybe part of the question is who does Vince go after in return?

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- What if it's 1987 and a tape comes out of Hulk Hogan making the exact same comments?

- What if Flair's 1989 idea for WCW to raid all of the WWF's good workers -- DiBiase, Bret, the Rockers and Hennig -- had been successful? What if talks with Savage and Piper that year had gone well and the two jumped ship? What if Herd was able to keep Steamboat in the fold? How badly does all of that hurt the WWF? How greatly does all of that benefit WCW?

 

Although getting all those names would be great, I think we'd also have to consider that if all those guys come in it's also likely someone has to go back out either due to a lack of spots, or out of McVengeance. Maybe part of the question is who does Vince go after in return?

 

 

Looking at 1989 WCW my guess would have been Road Warriors, Sid, Mean Mark, Luger, the Steiners and maybe Spivey. It's exactly who he ended up poaching but he probably would have gone after them more agressively. WCW would have still come on top on the trade as all of those except one were busts in the WWE, and even if they had not been, the steroid scandal would have happened either way.

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