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Posted in: CPR Productions
ATTITUDE! Mazza and Maverick's Prelude (CPR Productions)
By Mazza
Jan 2, 2014 - 5:20:19 AM

‘Sup, Lords of Pain? Mazza here once again but with something new for 2014. As some of you will know, former LoP Main Page columnists ‘Plan and Prime Time have spent the last couple of years delivering epic column series on WWE’s must see matches and the Monday Night Wars respectively (pop by the columns forum and check some out if you haven’t). Since then I have been wanting to start my own lengthy series but couldn’t come up with an idea I wanted to stick with. Until now. When you are an IWC member, you will often see a question pop up about what the greatest era in professional wrestling was. Most people my age (34 very soon, I will include an Amazon wishlist with the next column) will respond with one simple word. ATTITUDE! That said, there are plenty of criticisms that get aimed at the era too. For a while now I have wanted to revisit the Attitude Era as a fan, so I have decided to pair that quest together with a column series. The result will be one column a week throughout the whole of the year going from PPV to PPV during the Attitude Era. If I did this all by myself however I’d probably throw it all away by week two. Fortunately I’ve got somebody on board who grew up through the era like I did and will give me the kick up the arse I need to get it done. Maverick is one of the most talented columnists in the CF right now and of course one of my regular co-hosts on The Right Side of the Pond podcast on LoP Radio. But you will get to know a lot more about Mav over the course of this series. I guess that is enough of the build up though. Let’s get on with the first edition of...






Mazza: So Mav, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your first hand experiences of the era we call Attitude!

Maverick: I suppose the thing that comes to mind the most, looking back at the era from a fan’s perspective, is the way it breathed new life into the product. Although I enjoy a lot of The New Generation stuff now that I’m older and can appreciate the nuanced in-ring competition that marks out that period (some of you may have read my CF series on it back in August), at the time, it just felt...small somehow, perhaps even unambitious. That seems like an absurd term to use towards anything run by Vince McMahon, but it really did take the chairman of the board a long time to recover from the steroid and sexual harassment lawsuits of the early nineties. Looking back on things through a historian’s lens, Vince was just going back to the well too often; ideas that had got over huge in the eighties had become tired and unsuitable for the increasingly counter-cultural nineties. A dominant big man babyface like Diesel might have seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but he was constantly given crappy opponents and wasn’t ever booked very well, so his lengthy reign as champion fell flat. Creating evil foreigner characters like Yokozuna and Ludvig Borga was similarly misguided; audiences had moved on and were not really moved by the same patriotic fervour as Hogan’s crowds had been. That meant that Lex Luger’s All American gimmick had little to no chance of getting over, no matter what he did.

The thing was that people like myself and Maz who had been inducted into wrestling around the Wrestlemania VI period were teenagers by the mid-90s and some of what was going on was embarrassingly hokey no matter how good the actual in-ring action was. If you think about what was happening in the world of music- grunge and gangsta rap, two notably hyper-real, hyper-visceral genres- it seems obvious that wrestling needed to fall into line with that trend. Gradually, WWF began to filter edgier storylines and more violence into their main event contests, so that I remember finding myself suddenly interested in wrestling again, after spending much of the ‘93 to ‘96 era dipping in and out and mainly sticking to watching the big four only. The birth of Attitude drew me back into the product in a massive way; it was such an exciting time that it felt as if you were discovering pro wrestling all over again, that addictive rush we all know so well. The product evolved to suit the tastes of the teenagers who had been kids during the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling era, and that was a masterstroke on Vince’s part, even if the beginning of that change to grittier television had been something of an accident to begin with.

Sometimes I find it uncanny just how similar our viewing habits have been over the years. Like Mav, I was totally immersed as the 80s became the 90s but by the time the New Gen came around I had become a casual observer. I mean I knew generally what was going on but nothing about the WWF was must see for me. I wasn’t quite at the age where it was because girls were taking up my time either. That came during Attitude and I always had time for Raw then. It wasn’t split loyalties with other pastimes. I did enjoy my football but, once again, I spent a lot more time devoted to that during the Attitude Era and, once again, it didn’t affect my WWF experience. It was simply a case of the product not being particularly interesting. The larger than life characters weren’t as large, and the fact that I was becoming larger too (I was a chubster in my early teens!) meant that it just didn’t have the same hold over me. That seemed to be a general consensus. Wrestling didn’t seem to have the same stigma attached to it here in the UK that it did in the States, certainly at that stage. It wasn’t a case that it became embarrassing or uncool to watch the WWF, just that it wasn’t particularly interesting. Slowly but surely, Attitude begun to bring me back. It definitely wasn’t an overnight thing. It was a slow change and it was things that begun to appeal to me as I really begun to develop my own identity as a young adult.


ATTITUDE: THE BEGINNINGS


There isn’t really a date or a single event you can point to as the definitive start of the Attitude Era. Most will point to sometime in 1997 although I have seen arguments made for as early or as late as a year either side of that. 1996 to 1998 were big years for me. It was where I finished school and was doing my A-levels at college. I had my first car, first girlfriend, starting delving into the seedy nightlife of clubs and bars. My musical preferences went from chart music to hip hop. My film tastes went from comedies and summer blockbusters to gangster flicks and anything that had even the slightest hint of Tarantino involvement. As my tastes moved towards edgier products, Vince was beginning to really cater to me. We have picked WrestleMania 13 as the loose starting point for Attitude for the purposes of this series but for me, the first shift towards the edgier programming came as early as late-1995 with the debut of a character that really rubbed people up the wrong way. Goldust.

In hindsight, it was just a brilliant way to troll the core American wrestling audience, not the kind of people, generally speaking, to take kindly to a cross dressing “freak” in a gold catsuit and tinsel wig. Dustin Rhodes played that character absolutely brilliantly from the get-go and he was very much the top upper-midcard heel for much of his first run with the company. I remember a tremendous match with Razor Ramon at the Rumble in 1996, which, as Maz says, was one of those things that couldn’t help but draw you back in as a slightly lapsed fan.

What’s interesting to me is the way that the Bizarre One was almost a parody, a satire of the lame “character” gimmicks Vince had been foisting on all of us for so long. We’d had a wrestling hockey player, repo man and escaped convict, and now we had a wrestling transvestite film star...and something about it just worked. Goodness knows, McMahon had never been shy of controversy until his setbacks in court at the dawn of the nineties, and the confidence seems to flow back into him and his company through 1995. The characters were a huge part of that, but the in-ring product was changing rapidly too.

Myself and my other regular British sparring partner ‘Plan have spoken at length of the Royal Rumble and Survivor Series duology between Diesel and Bret Hart being key to the amping up of pure violence in the product. By spring 1996, Shawn Michaels was bashing Diesel around the head with Mad Dog Vachon’s false leg, and you know, weapons shots have been an integral part of the majority of WWF/E main events ever since. But one match took all of this a step further and might even be my choice for the true birth of the Attitude Era style main event. I speak of the Final Four match from February 1997, featuring Vader, Austin, Bret and ‘Taker. It’s violent, bloody, lengthy and filled with interference and story intersection.


ATTITUDE MAIN EVENT STYLE


It’s interesting that you talked about the Attitude Era main event style. When you look at it in the context of wrestling history, it had elements that a lot of other eras had but they used them a lot more sparingly. During Attitude you had a lot of these elements at a time and on a monthly basis. Let’s have a look at what those elements are.


1. Interference


This particular element is something that will come into prominence with the first PPV that we look at. It just seemed like during the Attitude Era, people were always all up in each other’s business, and usually with good reason. When you look at the recent Authority angle in the WWE, you can see how multi-layered everything is to the point where you could conceivably see a whole host of people interjecting themselves into any given main event. Well the Attitude Era had that vibe from beginning to end. It could be down to somebody believing they had been overlooked for a title shot. It could be down to good old fashioned revenge. It could be down to a touch of bounty hunting. It could be down to doing someone else’s dirty work. Sometimes it could be down to all of the above. One thing is for sure though, if you are a stickler for a clean finish, you would have been disappointed during the Attitude Era… a lot.


2. Outside Brawling


Whenever anyone thinks of Attitude era main events, I dare say this is one of the very first things that comes to mind. The likes of Austin, Rock, Foley and Hunter were masters of the brawling art. There were times during the era when matches took place more outside the ring than in it; the competitors could end up in the stands, the backstage area, the car park. The crowd just used to eat it up and the high energy nature of these brawls was an essential part of the success of the period. It’s interesting to trace back the amount of outside action through the years preceding ‘97. Watch Randy Savage’s classic with Ricky Steamboat from ten years before and you’ll find Macho dropping that double axehandle from the apron to the floor and you’ll find both men trading bombs outside the squared circle. However, even given the success of that match, outside brawling in the WWF was fairly rare until the mid 90s, when gradually, during Michaels’ ‘96 run with the belt especially, it became more common, particularly in the matches with Sid and Diesel. By the time Shawn had “lost his smile” the kayfabe beef between Stone Cold and Bret kicked the brawling door wide open, first with the aforementioned Final Four match, and then with their Wrestlemania XIII classic. How very ironic that Bret Hart, the biggest critic of what became Attitude, did so much to create it!


3. Ref Bumps


Poor old Earl Hebner. The guy took more bumps during Attitude than most wrestlers. To be honest, the rulebook was pretty much thrown out the window during this period in time. With all the interference and outside brawling, every match would have ended in a countout or disqualification if the laws were followed to the letter. Even though the rules were relaxed, you still couldn’t get away with some of the crazier and more blatant shenanigans that were going on. Enter the ref bump. The ref can’t call what goes on when he is knocked out. In more extreme cases you could get multiple replacement zebras suffering the same fate. It was an easy way to throw in highly controversial incidents to matches and also to leave things up in the air. If you go back to Night of Champions this year, you knew immediately that Daniel Bryan’s victory could well be snatched away the next night on Raw. As such you were compelled to tune in, and making sure people tuned into Raw was the key to success in the Monday Night Wars.


4. Intersecting Storylines


As Maz has already mentioned, the current Authority storyline has very much resurrected this feature of the Attitude Era main event. When The Big Show arrived on the scene at Battleground back in October to knock out both Orton and Bryan, foiling Triple H and Stephanie’s two month long manipulation of him, I was instantly transported back to the late 90s boom period. I’m so fond of this method of wrestling storytelling, and have hugely fond memories of such roster encompassing storylines as the Corporation and the McMahon-Helmsley faction. Who could forget The Rock leading the entire roster out on strike in protest at the treatment of Mick Foley or Rikishi running over Austin on Triple H’s orders but explaining that he “did it for The Rock”? Famously, the six man Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon 2000 brought the entire main event roster, who’d spent the year fighting each other, together in one bloody, brutal battle. If there’s one thing I’m glad came back from the turn of the millennium, it’s this.

There you have the key elements of the Attitude Main Event style. It led to great and exciting matches but the era has its critics and we have to look at the flip side of the coin as well. The style didn’t lend itself to many technical classics, something we saw quite a lot of in the eras either side of Attitude. There is also a school of thought that a lot of the main events were very time specific and don’t hold up well today. That is definitely something we will be exploring as we go on but it isn’t just main events that define a company. A quick look at the WrestleMania 12 buyrate will show you that two men can’t carry a company by themselves. The midcard was a huge part of the Attitude Era. Just a quick glance at the names that were part of the midcard throughout those four-odd golden years will give you an idea of the talent involved. Take the Intercontinental Championship for example. We begin this series with The Rock holding that title and end it with Chris Jericho sporting the gold. Between those reigns, all time greats like Steve Austin, Triple H, Edge, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero managed runs with the title in addition to names that really drove Attitude like Owen Hart, Ken Shamrock, Goldust, Val Venis, The Godfather, both New Age Outlaws, Chyna and Rikishi. And that is one midcard title. On top of that you had a tag team division which boasted some of the greatest duos of all time and who could forget the rise of the hardcore division.

I think there were two major selling points of the midcard during this time. The first is not only the championships, but the fact that there was an importance given to them. It’s a simple concept really that is lost today and I have no idea why. The superstars wanted to win the midcard titles. I mean really wanted to win them. The only time you really see that these days is when someone actually wins one. There seems to be very little in the way of people chasing the belts because they want to win them. That never seemed to be an issue for me during Attitude. All a midcard title feud needed for fuel was a desire to be champion. That’s not to say that the creative were lazy when it came to writing stories. Au contraire. The second selling point is that there always seemed to be a story. Now granted, some of them were absolutely ridiculous and downright awful, but there was always a reason for the matches on show. That is another thing that is seriously lacking in today’s environment.

Let’s focus briefly on the tag team scene which emerged towards the end of 1999 in the series between young guns Edge and Christian and The New Brood (or as they became better known, The Hardy Boyz). The risks these guys took in the ladder match for Terri’s managerial services were absolutely insane for the time, and the fact that even Shawn Michaels had never thought of some of those spots should tell you everything you need to know. By the time WWF pinched the Dudley Boyz from an increasingly broke Paul Heyman, you had the recipe for the best three way feud of the era and perhaps ever. The TLC classics, one unofficial, two with the actual name, will forever be remembered as the absolute height of stip match grappling. Those tag titles were seen as ultra important throughout the mid to late Attitude years and were a key part of the show, whether it was one of the main three teams taking on lesser teams for the number one contendership (we shouldn’t forget the likes of T and A, LoDown, Right To Censor’s Bull Buchanan and Goodfather, and Too Cool) or E and C dressing up as 1980s joke team Los Conquistadores to relieve the belts from the Hardyz after they’d been banned from contending for them! Even ‘Taker and Kane dropped down to the midcard to tag together, and right at the close of the era, we also get Jericho/Benoit and The Two Man Power Trip (Triple H and a heel Austin) joining the tag ranks.

In fact, the ability of main event talents to drop into midcard storylines when they weren’t contending for the top title was an important trait in Attitude’s success. The Game’s pseudo-babyface run against Chris Benoit in 2000 was a good example of this, as was his beef with Jericho a few months before. The Undertaker and Kane both got through a whole lot of midcard work in 2000/2001, and The Rock’s feud with Billy Gunn in 1999 was another classic example. As Maz mentioned before, the stories told during Attitude were important to the overall feel of the pay-per-view cards. Even when there was no title involved, there was often a concrete story. Right To Censor objecting to The Kat’s nakedness so taking out Lawler. Raven feeding Perry Saturn’s “friend” Moppy into a woodchipper. There wasn’t so much of the thrown together nonsense with a moment’s notice bouts we get on pre-shows now. Stories were king! This has improved at the top of the card in the present day, but the current midcard needs work in this regard.

Honestly we could go on here all day about what we loved about the Attitude Era, but that would kind of make the whole idea behind this series redundant. What we are here to do is revisit Attitude on a month by month basis from start to finish for the first time since we lived it live and direct. We will be starting this time next week by looking at WrestleMania 13 but in order to get into the right frame of mind, let’s have a look at just how the WWF landscape was in March of 1997. Of course you have to start at the very top.


STATE OF THE WWF: THE TITLE SCENE


In order to understand the picture fully, we need to go back as far as the winter of 1995, when Vince decided that Shawn Michaels was going to be his next go to guy. The only choice to put HBK into position as the new king was Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, who, when asked that summer if he had a problem putting Michaels over in a blockbuster Wrestlemania main event, said no, he had no issue with that. Despite Shawn’s party boy nature and the rumblings about his backstage clique, Bret recognised Michaels as a hard worker who had paid the same dues he had, rising from a popular tag team to become a successful singles wrestler, despite his smaller size. By the time the Rumble came around, Bret was not so sure about the deal anymore, mainly because his booking as champion from November ‘95 onwards was pretty iffy, with much of the TV time being given to Shawn’s comeback from a bar room beating, and with the Hitman only narrowly escaping defeat in matches with The Undertaker and Diesel; his paranoia told him that he needed to look stronger going into the match with the Heartbreak Kid. However, with Bret due to go on a sabbatical from the night after Wrestlemania XII, he decided to work the best match he was capable of and then come back to do some business with Shawn that autumn.

As I’m sure you all know, Mr Wrestlemania’s boyhood dream came true at the Arrowhead Pond, and his title run against all comers was creatively successful, if not necessarily financially so, since WCW used the recently acquired Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to run the Outsiders angle that helped them romp away with the ratings. Meanwhile, Michaels’ petulance in the main event of Summerslam ‘96, where he yelled “MOVE” at Vader when the big man was out of position for a top rope elbow that Shawn had to abort, effectively torpedoed a hot angle, causing storylines to be rewritten and for the super over Mastodon to be sidelined. By November that year, drugs and alcohol, as well as the pressure of being “the guy” had taken their toll on HBK, and he dropped the belt to Sycho Sid in a superb match at Survivor Series.

From that point, things get complicated. Rising upper midcard heel ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, who, in winning King of the Ring ‘96, had fatefully uttered a parody of Jake Roberts’ Bible referencing promos, spent much of the summer calling out Bret Hart, labelling him a coward, telling him that he wouldn’t dare come back to the WWF and face him. On the very same night Shawn dropped the gold, Bret returned to beat Stone Cold in a superb match. Bret went on to challenge Sid for the belt at the December pay-per-view, but lost when Michaels, at ringside as guest announcer, became physically involved. At the Rumble, the Showstopper won the title back from Sid in front of his hometown crowd, while Austin won the Rumble, but only after his elimination went unnoticed. The three men who were legal at the time of the Rattlesnake’s “elimination” Vader, Undertaker and Bret, were booked in a “Final Four” match along with the Rumble “winner” to determine the true number one contender, but before it could take place, Shawn revealed that he was suffering from a knee injury that would require surgery. In a deeply controversial promo, he vacated the belt, saying that he was going home to find his smile.

Of course, even at the time, many were suspicious, to say the least. It certainly seems as if Michaels did not want to put Bret over in a return ‘Mania match, as originally planned. To this day, Shawn maintains that the injury was legitimate. This would be the starting point for the beef that would eventually explode in the first few months of Attitude. Due to the championship’s vacation, the Final Four match became a title match, with the winner to meet Sid the next night on Raw. Hart managed to win the title, but Austin, whose pursuit of the Pink and Black Attack had been unrelenting, cost him his first defence. The match was then officially booked for Wrestlemania as a Submission Match. And yet there were more twists! Although Undertaker had been inserted into the number one contender’s berth, and was due to face Eudy for the strap in the main event, Hart got himself one last chance to win his gold back in a cage match, which featured the bizarre sight of Stone Cold trying to interfere on Bret’s behalf so that their match at ‘Mania would be for the title! However, Sid managed to retain, provoking the Hitman to go on an expletive laden rant about company politics which sowed the seeds for his upcoming heel turn, as well as being yet another perceived “launchpad” to Attitude.

However, the shenanigans in the late New Generation main event scene should not cause us to forget the midcard. A deceptively strong supporting cast were putting on some solid matches, and lurking within the Intercontinental and Tag divisions were some future stars...


STATE OF THE WWF: THE MIDCARD


A quick glance at the names in the midcard today will give you the impression it was ridiculously strong. In a way it was but in context a lot of these names were rising stars, still a way off their peak. Even Steve Austin at this stage was a man on the rise and although he was mixing it up with main eventers and trying to put himself firmly in the title scene, he was still over a year away from his first run as WWF Champion. Austin was not the only guy around that upper midcard level. Like Mav alluded to, Vader had been very much a man they could throw in as a legitimate contender even if he had felt the wrath of Shawn pulling what is known today as “an Orton”. The big man found himself as part of a Paul Bearer stable along with another guy who had challenged HBK for the title in the summer of 1996. Mankind’s battles with The Undertaker upon joining the company had established him as one of the top heels in the WWF. Of course, with Bearer heading things up, Mankind and Vader’s prime purpose was antagonise The Deadman but with Taker heading to the main event at Mania, they would be killing some time by going after the tag team championship.

Holding those belts were brothers-in-law Owen Hart and The British Bulldog. By this stage in their careers, Owen and Davey had become dependable guys, perfect for a run with a midcard title and the occasional exciting at the very top of the card. As part of the dysfunctional Hart family, problems were never far away however. The heel team had held the straps since September but there was definitely trouble in paradise with everything pointing towards a break up sooner rather than later. Owen was the sneaky one who was likely using his bro-in-law as dumb muscle and it was surely only a matter of time before Davey cottoned on. Hart “accidentally” eliminated his partner from the Royal Rumble, and the tension grew after Davey beat Owen in the final of a tournament to crown the inaugural European Champion. Still, when you throw in the Slammys Hart had obtained, the team were carrying a lot of gold and had a lot of weight in the midcard scene.

The other title belt in the company at the time was, of course, the Intercontinental Championship. This was being held being held by a cheesy, third generation babyface rookie by the name of Rocky Maivia. He still had a lot of work to do before he would become The Rock but you could definitely see glimpses of his mischanneled charisma. The man who he had won that title from was a talented wrestler with friends in high places. That had been working against him for a while though as he had spend a lot of 1996 in the naughty corner following a cheeky kayfabe-breaking goodbye hug with his mates in Madison Square Garden. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a curtseying snob from Connecticut, was definitely on the rise before the infamous Curtain Call incident. His main punishment was seeing his 1996 King of the Ring victory go to Steve Austin but it seemed he had served his time by 1997 and was getting his career back on track. There was some edge starting to come into his work by that time too, thanks in no small part to his bodyguard, a seriously hench woman by the name of Chyna. The pair would find themselves involved in a personal feud with Attitude Pioneer Goldust and his wife/manager Marlena heading into WrestleMania.

Outside of those people you wouldn’t call it the strongest roster in the history of the company. In fact, during the rumble that year there were plenty of international imports for the night. Most of the rest of the talent found themselves in tag teams. Legion of Doom weren’t the team they were a few years previously but still had gas left in the tank. They were paired with Ahmed Johnson in a feud with The Nation of Domination, the main faction in the company at the time. This was still the original incarnation of the “street gang” with Faarooq as the leader, Crush and Savio Vega as the other superstars and a bunch of hangers on. Other teams in the tag scene included the likes of The Godwinns, The Headbangers, The New Blackjacks and Doug Furnas/Phil Lafon. The singles guys looking for a chance to rise up the midcard included Flash Funk, Billy and Bart Gunn, Marc Mero, Jesse James and Leif Cassidy, none of whom had much stock at all at that moment in time.

Now we have looked at the State of the WWF in March 1997, we’d be crazy not to consider what is probably the biggest reason the product was as fun as it was during Attitude. Competition. When WCW managed to sign WWF stars Diesel and Razor Ramon, it was really on. Hogan’s heel turn and birth of the nWo had Vince and Company in big trouble, but just what was going on down South and what did the Monday Night War ratings look like at the time?


THE COMPETITION


Ever since Ted Turner’s millions had begun to lure away the biggest WWF stars of the first boom period, there friction had been growing between the two wrestling giants. As soon as a young buck by the name of Eric Bischoff got the green light to match WWF’s flagship prime time wrestling show, Monday Night Raw, with one of WCW’s own, Monday Nitro, a phenomenon known as the Monday Night Wars was born.

Right from the off, WWF were on the back foot; the very first episode of Nitro had Lex Luger, who Vince had essentially forgotten to negotiate a contract extension with, walk onto the set of Nitro to an almighty pop. Luger had even worked a WWF house show the night before! So nobody saw that coming and it set the tone for WCW’s momentum in the first couple of years of the war.

However, the Atlanta company were not immune to gaffes; the negative publicity they garnered from Hogan and Savage running through the entire heel roster at Uncensored ‘96 saw Raw gain some respite in the ratings through Wrestlemania season. But then, WCW signed themselves Scott Hall and Kevin Nash for money that Vince could not hope to match, and the entire complexion of the wars was about to change...

The birth of the Outsiders storyline caused a pretty much instantaneous change in the Raw and Nitro ratings and points to fans switching allegiances to Ted Turner’s pet project. As the storyline progressed into the birth of the New World Order over the summer of 1996 that only grew. In fact, when we arrived on the eve of WrestleMania 13, WWF had only one extremely narrow Monday night rating victory over WCW since Scott Hall first showed up on Nitro. They were totally dominant in that field and they were also winning in terms of PPV buys. Vince and Co were in trouble and quality television was the bare minimum that was needed just to survive. We have already looked at the state of the WWF but just who were the big players in Atlanta coming off of their February PPV?

Hollywood Hogan was leading the New World Order and was WCW Champion feuding with old foe Roddy Piper. Randy Savage had just joined the nWo by helping Hogan defeat the Rowdy One. Tag Champions Hall and Nash had lost the belts to key members of the WCW resistence, Lex Luger and The Giant only for Eric Bischoff to reverse the decision the next night. Another nWo member, Syxx, had just nabbed gold as well in the form of the Cruiserweight title, taking it from Dean Malenko. Eddy Guerrero was holding the US title and was fresh from a defense against Chris Jericho in an indication of the talent WCW had swimming around the midcard. Prince Iakua was TV Champ coming of a victory over Rey Misterio. In other news, Kevin Sullivan and Chris Benoit found themselves in a bitter feud and Jeff Jarrett had become a member of the Four Horsemen by defeating Mongo McMichael.

But we have been going on about this for rather a long time now and if we keep going, we are going to run out of talking points and we don’t want to do that with a year’s worth of columns planned. We shall be back next week when the series really kicks off with a look at WrestleMania 13. So we will see you then, same day, same place. In the meantime you can totally check out our links and social media...





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You can hear more from Mazza and Maverick on The Right Side of the Pond, part of LoP Radio. New episodes every are out every Friday at 9pm UK time/4pm EST.

On tomorrow’s show the team discuss the interesting goings on during the last Raw of the year plus we try our hand at a few predictions.

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