Steve Cook’s look back at his years as a wrestling fan hits 1993, with his Top 5 memories!
Hi, hello & welcome to my continuing celebration of thirty years as a wrestling fan! We’re up to 1993 now, which isn’t exactly a year that most old school wrestling fans will hold in regard. Nobody was doing killer business. I didn’t care about business as a nine year old. I wasn’t worried about ratings or demos. I was just looking for entertaining stuff.
This is what I found in 1993.
5. The Lex Express
I think the “Made In The USA” Lex Luger push could have worked. WWF really wanted him to be the next Hulk Hogan. He had the tools. Good physique. Solid in the ring. Good body. Had Lex been pushed at the right time as a hero it could have worked.
There were a couple of things working against it. For one thing, he had been pushed as a Narcissist, and we were given no time for a transition. There was no hint Lex would turn good until July 4th. Nothing on TV, not even any subtle hints. We were expected to accept this right away. Kinda awkward. Then he got the big win at SummerSlam…by countout! And people celebrated like he had done something, though we all know that the title didn’t change hands via countout. So awkward.
4. The Power Bomb Heard Around The World
Cactus Jack & Vader had already had a badass match on WCW Main Event, where Cactus got a countout victory. They took it to WCW Saturday Night on April 24, and things got kicked up a notch. Vader & Harley Race decided they needed to power bomb Cactus on concrete, and everybody involved in the situation acted like it was a big deal. Not to sound like Jim Cornette, but when everybody involved acts like it was a big deal, people treat it like a big deal. So Cactus getting power bombed on concrete and everybody breaking character, including Jesse Ventura riding in the ambulance with Cactus, made it seem like a big deal.
Then we had the “Lost in Cleveland” segments with Cactus having amnesia, which weren’t so great. But the beginning of the angle was fantastic.
3. A Brush With Greatness
I was always a Flyin’ Brian supporter. Even after he turned heel, he was still a former Cincinnati Bengal and from the area, so I was inclined to buy whatever he was selling. I saw some talent in Steve Austin previously, but once he was teaming with Brian I was 100% on board. The Hollywood Blondes were one of my favorite tag teams for the relatively brief time they existed as a tag team. Pillman & Austin had great chemistry together.
Once the Blondes got over together, WCW needed to break them up. Bad times. Steve Austin wasn’t big on the pairing at the beginning, but he eventually figured out that he & Pillman were a good team. It didn’t last long once certain people realized it was getting over. A shame on some level, but it was part of that Stone Cold story, so it might have been for the best in the long run. Austin didn’t want the tag team when he was pitched it, but it ended up being the best thing that could have happened to him. It’s just a shame that Austin & Pillman weren’t able to fully capitalize on it in the WWF due to Pillman’s limitations at that point. As somebody that loved the Blondes, I would have been on board with that feud.
2. Yokozuna & Vader Dominate As Champions
When I think of 1993, I think of the two heavyweight champions that reigned supreme over their companies for most of the year. Looking back at each man’s career, 1993 was their peak as box office attractions in North America.
Big Van Vader dropped the first two names and simply became Vader in 1993. With the exception of a week in Europe (which actually was mentioned on television), he held the WCW World Championship from the beginning of 1993 until Starrcade, where he lost it to Ric Flair in a Title vs. Career match. In between, he was downright unstoppable. Just a complete force of nature. He had the size, he had the power, and he could do a freaking moonsault! You had to be on your A+ game to have a shot at beating Vader in 1993.
Over in the WWF, we had Yokozuna. A monster of a man that won a Royal Rumble via the most hilarious ending to a Royal Rumble I’ve ever seen. Listen to me lose my shit when I finally see the match twenty years later. Simply amazing. Nevertheless, Yoko went on to WrestleMania, beat Bret Hart, then lost to Hulk Hogan because Mr. Fuji was an idiot and booked a match right after Yoko won the title. Yoko killed Hulkamania at the King of the Ring (never came back) and kicked ass the rest of the year. He had his weight at a good level in 1993 where he could still do some things and not look completely immobile. That happened in later years. As a youngster in 1993, he looked unbeatable, as did Vader.
1. THE SHOCKMASTER!
Whenever WCW had a Clash of the Champions, it was must see television for me. If I wasn’t home I would make sure to set the VCR for that show. I was home for this one, and I got to see the debut of one of WCW’s…honestly, I have no proper phrase to describe this gentleman. There’s a lot of things going on here, so it deserves a series of points.
-This was Sting & Davey Boy Smith’s ace in the hole for the upcoming War Games match at Fall Brawl.
-We were expected to believe it was going to be a big deal.
-It was Fred Ottman. No disrespect to Uncle Fred, who seems like an awesome guy based off his appearance on the Dino Bravo episode of Dark Side of the Ring After Dark. Gotta say it though…he was never going to be a true main eventer in any promotion that wanted to be national.
-The Shockmaster gimmick may have had some potential with the right person doing it.
-Then again, maybe not. It was a big dude wearing a bedazzled Stormtrooper mask & a sleeveless vest. There was probably a limited shelf-life even in the best case scenario.
-In any event, dude fell out of a hole in a wall and his mask fell off, and most of the people on stage lost their minds.
-“HE FELL ON HIS FOOKIN ARSE” – Davey Boy Smith
-Sid really tried to put that over. God bless him for that. That man tried to make all of this nonsense work. It was a lost cause, but like most Southerners with lost causes, that didn’t stop Sid.
-WCW had a lot of bad segments, as every wrestling promotion has. But does anything get worse than this? You’re introducing a character that you want to be on the main event level, but one second into the debut it’s a shitshow. There’s no recovering from that first impression. Shockmaster was always going to be a joke to the fans no matter how much WCW tried to push it afterwards. Dead On Arrival.
But hey, we’re still talking about it in 2020. So there’s that.
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