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Opinion

Cook’s Top 5: Miami Wrestling Events

Cook breaks down the Top 5 events with…talent…in South Beach. Close enough, enjoy the read!

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Miami is one of the most frequent hosts of the Super Bowl. This Sunday will mark the eleventh time that the National Football League has held their championship game in South Beach. And who could blame them? Miami is a great place to hold any event. Great weather, delightful scenery, lots to see & do.

Wrestling promoters know this as well. Back in the territory era, Miami was one of the hubs of Eddie Graham’s Championship Wrestling from Florida promotion, which was one of the most successful territories for many years. After the promotion folded, WCW & the WWF would both hold multiple major events there. Today, we look at the five biggest wrestling events to take place in Miami.

5. The Superbowl of Wrestling 1978

Miami has seen plenty of Super Bowls through the years, including professional wrestling’s version! The Orange Bowl hosted somewhere around 12,000 fans for an event featuring the WWWF Champion taking on the NWA World Champion in a title unification match. Believe it or not, Superstar Billy Graham & Harley Race were unable to unify the titles, as the match ended in a time limit draw. Other matches included Dusty Rhodes defeating Ken Patera, Jack & Jerry Brisco winning against Ivan Koloff & Mr. Saito, Joyce Grable winning an eight-woman battle royal & Mike Graham & Steve Keirn winning the NWA Florida United States Tag Team Championship from the Valiant Brothers.

4. The 2006 Royal Rumble

American Airlines Arena hosted the second Royal Rumble to take place in Miami. It featured Rey Mysterio winning the 2006 Royal Rumble match in honor of Eddie Guerrero, lasting the entire hour & two minutes the match spanned. John Cena won the WWE Championship back from Edge while Kurt Angle defended the World Championship against Mark Henry. Also of note: Mickie James told Trish Stratus she loved her before defeating Ashley Massaro in a match officiated by Stratus. One can never be sure whether to take love declarations in Miami seriously or not.

3. The 1991 Royal Rumble

The Miami Arena was packed with 16,000 people that saw their hometown hero Hulk Hogan win the 1991 Royal Rumble match. This was an eventful show, as Sgt. Slaughter won the WWF Championship from the Ultimate Warrior with some help from “Macho King” Randy Savage. It also featured Dusty Rhodes’ last match with the company for over fifteen years, and Virgil finally saw the light & turned against his employer, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. The show also featured the Rockers & Orient Express in one of the best WWF PPV matches up until that point.

2. The Great American Bash 1987

The 1987 Bash tour held its final event in Miami’s Orange Bowl, featuring a War Games match pitting the Four Horsemen & the WAR MACHINE against Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, the Road Warriors & Paul Ellering. Dusty was always popular in Miami, as the Florida territory was where the American Dream persona came to life. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express defended the NWA World Tag Team Championship against the Midnight Express, Kevin Sullivan defeated Dory Funk Jr. in a Texas Death Match, and Mike Rotunda & Barry Windham were successful in defending their Florida-based championships.

Honorable Mention: WCW Uncensored 2000

WCW PPV events by this time period were pretty rough, but this one is fondly remembered for featuring the most important match that Hulk Hogan & Ric Flair ever had, and probably the biggest match to ever take place in Miami:

THE YAPAPI STRAP MATCH, BROTHER!

1. WrestleMania XXVIII

The football stadium that was named after a financial service company back in 2012 hosted the twenty-eighth edition of WrestleMania. The event featured a match that we were told would take place Once in a Lifetime: The Rock vs. John Cena. The hometown boy won the match, sending Cena into the worst year of his personal & professional life. Other matches included the Undertaker defeating Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match, CM Punk retaining the WWE Championship over Chris Jericho & John Laurinatis winning control of Raw & SmackDown due to the result of a twelve-man tag team match.

The show also featured Daniel Bryan losing the World Championship to Sheamus in eighteen seconds, a result that sent fans in Miami and everywhere else into a tizzy. The crowd at Raw the next night, also held in Miami, let their feelings be known & the rest was history.


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Opinion

King’s WrestleMania Rewind: Stone Cold VS. Scott Hall (WrestleMania X8)

Chris King is back with another WrestleMania Rewind, looking at the NWO’s Scott Hall battling Stone Cold Steve Austin at WWE WrestleMania X8 from Toronto!

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Steve Austin Scott Hall WrestleMania X8

Chris King is back with another WrestleMania Rewind, looking at the NWO’s Scott Hall battling Stone Cold Steve Austin at WWE WrestleMania X8 from Toronto!

Chris King is back this week with another edition of WrestleMania Rewind, where he is rewatching all the past Mania matches and feuds. This week you’re in for a treat as we look back at ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall at WrestleMania X8.

In late 2001, Vince McMahon bought out his competition WCW and acquired the rights to a plethora of talent including Booker T, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and the iconic trio known as NWO. Hulk Hogan; Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall were hell raisers, and what better way to make a name for yourself than take out the two top superstars in the WWE The Rock, and Stone Cold?

The NWO cost Austin his chance at becoming the Undisputed Champion at No Way Out during his match with Chris Jericho. Adding insult to injury, the NWO spray-painted ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ with their brand logo just like they did in WCW. As you can imagine, Austin was pissed and out for revenge against the group and primarily Scott Hall.

Hall would challenge Stone Cold to a match at WrestleMania 18. Both superstars beat the living hell out of each other leading up to this highly-anticipated match for who runs the WWE.

The glass broke and Stone Cold made his iconic entrance, and black and white NWO covered Halls’ entrance alongside Kevin Nash. With the odds stacked against ‘The Toughest S.O.B’ could Austin or NWO prove their dominance? Sadly the NWO  broke up that very night when Hulk Hogan came to the aid of his adversary The Rock after their ‘iconic’ dream match. Stone Cold would ensure the victory with the Stunner. Hall would perform an Oscar-worthy sell over the finisher.

What a time to be a wrestling fan in the 2000s when nothing was impossible for WWE. Who would’ve thought WCW would go out of business and Hogan would make his long-awaited return to WWE?


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Opinion

King’s WrestleMania Rewind: Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens (WWE WrestleMania 36)

Chris King takes a look at the most underrated WWE WrestleMania matches, and starts off with Seth Rollins battling Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 36!

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WWE WrestleMania 36 Kevin Owens Seth Rollins

Chris King takes a look at the most underrated WWE WrestleMania matches, and starts off with Seth Rollins battling Kevin Owens in the WWE Performance Center at WrestleMania 36!

Chris King is starting a new series heading into WrestleMania season dubbed WrestleMania Rewind. Each week he’ll be going back and sharing his insight over underrated matches at the Show of Shows. First up, is Kevin Owens vs. “The Monday Night Messiah” Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 36.

At the 2019 edition of Survivor Series, Rollins sacrificed himself during the men’s traditional match allowing SmackDown to ultimately gain the victory. The following night the self-proclaimed Messiah, berated the whole roster but KO was not having any part of it. Owens quickly became a huge barrier in Rollins’ cause for the greater good. The Authors of Pain attacked Owens with Rollins’ character in question.

Owens finally had enough of his rival’s mind games and torment and challenged Rollins to a match on the Grandest Stage Of Them All. Rollins mockingly accepted his challenge and the match was made official for night one of WrestleMania. Owens came out of the gate beating the holy hell out of the Monday Night Messiah trying to achieve his long-awaited moment at Mania but, Rollins tried to steal a disqualification victory by using the ring bell.

Owens hellbent on revenge provoked Rollins into turning their encounter into a no-disqualification contest where the fight could be taken all over the empty arena. The highlight of the match, was when KO used the WrestleMania sign to deliver a thunderous senton bomb through the announce table. Owens would secure the victory with a Stunner in an incredible match. Despite having no crowd during the pandemic era, both KO and Rollins put on an intense performance under the brightest lights.

In my personal opinion, this was a great feud that helped both superstars in their transformation as compelling characters for years to come.


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