In the light of NHL hockey playoffs being filled with upsets, Cook had an epiphany! Take a look at his Top 5 Wrestling Upsets!
I’m not sure if most of you have been paying attention to the NHL Playoffs. I have. I’m a big Nashville Predators supporter, and I write a lot about them when I’m not doing the wrestling. The Predators won the Central Division and were one of the top two seeds in the Western Conference, so I was looking forward to a deep playoff run for them.
That didn’t happen. It didn’t happen for any team that won an NHL division this season. Nashville, Calgary, Tampa Bay & Washington all found themselves among the first round losers, leaving a bunch of underdogs to settle the Stanley Cup among themselves. That’s hockey! Well, not really, as it’s the first time in NHL history that each of the division champions found themselves crashed out after one round of playoff hockey.
Upsets are widely celebrated throughout sports history. They are also celebrated in sports entertainment history. Here are the five that I think have had the most impact on the history of the business and were the most shocking at the time they happened.
5. Chris Jericho over Triple H (WWF Monday Night Raw 4/17/00)
I don’t like upsets that result from referee abuse. It seems cheap and doesn’t really help the person winning get over. But check out the pop when Jericho pins Triple H on the Lionsault…
Legend has it that this is when the WWF higher-ups realized that Jericho was a pretty big deal. If they didn’t know it before, they had to know it after that reaction. Our man Y2J had many doubters within the company during his first few months there, but that helped to silence them. Gotta give the Penn State people credit for that, if nothing else.
4. Mikey Whipwreck over Steve Austin (ECW November to Remember 1995)
Mikey had already scored a number of upsets prior to this match. He had somehow become an ECW Triple Crown Champion, holding all of the championships for one reason or another. The guy he beat for the TV Championship was a schmuck. Cactus Jack carried him to the Tag Team Championship. Sandman was drunk when Mikey won the ECW Championship. But Steve Austin? This was a veteran of the business, a man who had won the WCW United States, Television & Tag Team Championships. Surely he would run Mikey over in short order.
Booker Paul Heyman wanted to give Austin the strap on this night. Austin was smarter than him. He knew that Mikey getting the win would give his character that much more motivation to take the strap later. He probably also knew that he wouldn’t be in ECW for very long. A win in this match meant 100 times more for Mikey Whipwreck than it ever would have meant for Steve Austin. Mikey’s finisher in his later years was the Whippersnapper, which was a version of the Stone Cold Stunner. Mikey can tell his grandchildren that he beat Steve Austin. That’s a story worth telling.
3. The Mulkeys over The Gladiators (NWA World Championship Wrestling 3/28/87)
Randy & Bill Mulkey lost matches on NWA World Championship Wrestling for so many years it’s easy to lose count. They were jobbers in the day that jobbers were king, and the idea of them winning a match was pretty crazy. The Gladiators had been built for weeks as an indestructible dup, and were expected to roll over the Mulkeys on their way to the Crockett Cup Tournament. Things went awry…
The Mulkeys went out in short order in the tournament, but their win still led to MulkeyMania, and a match with the Midnight Express in West Virginia that sold the joint out by gawd.
2. Barry Horowitz over Bodydonna Skip (7/9/95 WWF Action Zone)
Barry Horowitz was a very solid worker. He had a knack for making other wrestlers looking good, so he got put in that spot. Over and over again. Didn’t matter where he worked, that’s what he did. He got a random win in GWF & got the nickname of “The Winner” because he rarely won. I didn’t see that, so it was shocking to me when Barry scored the win over good ol’ Skip.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this was so much a boon for Horowitz as it was a bust for Skip. Sure, he & Zip still won the tag team championship on the WrestleMania XII Free-For-All. But I feel like this was the point where Sunny realized that she had to do better. And she certainly did better if you know what I’m saying.
1. The Kid over Razor Ramon (5/17/93 WWF Monday Night Raw)
People that were in the know at the time knew that Sean Waltman, AKA The Lightning Kid, AKA The Fill-In-The-Blank Kid, was supremely talented. Us young WWF fans had no idea at this point. He was a guy that’d lost a few matches in short order. We figured Razor would have no problem handling him, but we were in for a surprise.
This particular episode of Raw also featured Marty Jannetty defeating Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Championship, and if I did a “Top 5 Raw Episodes” column it would most likely be included. The Kid would eventually befriend Razor & the Clique, which helped his career immensely. That shouldn’t take away from his ability though. If anybody deserved to get bumped up from the ranks of the jobbers to the eventual Hall of Famers, it was Sean Waltman under whatever name you’d like to give him.