Wow, has this been a slow news week or what? Most of the wrestling talk across this thar Interwebby thing has been about John Cena and the Make-A-Wish kids. Having dealt with some M-A-W families in the past, I shall not vent my own personal feelings here, but that is nothing to do with Cena and his activities. The kids looked happy, so what was the harm? Was it a cynical thing to do by the WWE? Don’t know. I am more offended by their Be A Star campaign, when women are ridiculed for the way they look in storylines with no come-uppance afterwards. But, really, it didn’t bug me. I basically ignored it.
The other bit of news has been WWE giving their quarterly shareholder stuff and, really, they aren’t going to be dying any time soon, and that’s all that should matter to us wrestling fans. We’re going to be stuck with WWE for a long, long, long time to come, it seems.
So, I was stuck for a column. Then, at training the other night, one of the guys asked this question, “Considering the way they were booked, who would have won – 1986 WWF Hulk Hogan or 1996 WWF Hulk Hogan?”
Wow, what a question. 1986 Hogan was the new face of professional wrestling as a pop culture commodity. He was there for the first Wrestlemania, beat King Kong Bundy in a cage and was heading towards 1987 and the Wrestlemania 3 showdown with Andre the Giant. He was beating all comers.
1996 Hogan, on the other hand, was the face of WCW, beating all comers, making the great Ric Flair look like a jobber and defeating or holding off as many as 8 other wrestlers by himself. He might take a loss here or there, but the outside interference for that to happen was normally off the charts. Even when Hulk wasn’t around, the others talked about him. He was the complete and utter centre of attention. And so when the nWo came along, he was the central focus of that group as well.
I think, judging by booking alone, 1996 Hogan would have won easily after weeks of pathetic build. But that’s just my opinion.
So who would have won? 1986 WWF Hulk Hogan or 1996 WCW ‘Immortal’ ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan?
So who else was there? Let’s look at CM Punk. In 2005 Punk – then with Ring Of Honour – signed a deal with WWE. Thus started 3 months of chaos known as the ‘Summer of Punk’. He beat all comers and ran rough-shod over the locker-room until losing, in the end to Colt Cabana. Fast forward to 2012. Punk is the WWE World Heavyweight champion, and holds that title for 434 days, a modern-era record. Even though he has used help at times, he beats all comers until losing to the Rock. So who would win? 2005 ROH “Summer of Punk” CM Punk or 2012 WWE “434 day champion” CM Punk?
Mick Foley is an interesting study. By the time he left WCW, ‘Cactus Jack’ was an insane wrestler who would take insane bumps and use bizarre mental tactics to get any win he could. His battles with Sting and Big Bad Vader were legendary. And then he came into WWE and ‘Mankind’ was born. This was the Mick Foley who won the WWE Title and was thrown off the Hell in a Cell. He was taking more and more insane bumps, but was a step or two slower in the ring. Still, he was booked to be a 3-time WWE champion.
So who would win? 1993 WCW Cactus Jack or 1998 WWF Mankind?
In 1995 a huge man named Paul Wight entered WCW. Billed as ‘The Giant’, he was alleged to be the son of Andre the Giant and won the WCW title from Hulk Hogan in his first match. By 1996 he was having better than watchable matches and running roughshod over the competition, eventually defeating Ric Flair for the title before losing it to Hogan due to a lot of outside interference. This Giant could throw dropkicks and chokeslam literally anyone. In 1999, during the St Valentine’s Day Massacre PPV, a huge man emerged from beneath the ring during the Vince McMahon-Steve Austin cage match and destroyed Austin, though it led to Austin’s victory. This was the Big Nasty, later the Big Show born in WWF. By year’s end he was the WWF champion as well, and his matches were generally regarded as watchable. So who would win? 1996 WCW The Giant or 2000 WWF The Big Show?
In 1998 a legitimate gold medallist named Kurt Angle debuted in the WWF. His skills in the ring were smooth and clean, and it did not take him long to embrace the sports entertainment culture of life in the televised circus, winning the WWE title on numerous occasions. His bouts in 2000 and 2001 were legendary, especially his series of matches against Chris Benoit. Then came 2006-7 and the first years in TNA. A noticeably smaller Angle beat all comers – including stopping Samoa Joe’s undefeated streak – and upped the intensity in the ring on his way to TNA gold. He was a big deal in a smaller pond, but he was booked to be a wrestling god.
So who would win? 2001 WWE Kurt Angle or 2007 TNA Kurt Angle?
Australian. Father. Perpetual student. Started watching wrestling before Wrestlemania 1. Has delusions of grandeur and was known to regularly get the snot beaten out of him in a wrestling ring. Also writes occasionally in other Pulse sections.Thinks Iron Mike Sharpe is underrated.