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Cook’s Top 5: 1993 Wrestling Memories

Steve Cook’s look back at his years as a wrestling fan hits 1993, with his Top 5 memories!

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The Hollywood Blondes WCW Brian Pillman Steve Austin

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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Opinion

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn: Get Your Popcorn

Chris King is back as he runs down why he believes Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn at WrestleMania is a potential show-stealer.

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Chris King is back as he runs down why he believes Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn at WrestleMania is a potential show-stealer.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are simply incredible performers and storytellers in the ring. Every time they are on the opposite side of each other they create magic. I did a little history lesson on their almost twenty-year rivalry, going back to their days in Ring of Honor and PWG where it all began. Heel Owens to me is a stone-cold killer, he’s out for one purpose to be the best. Zayn has found out the hard way what happens when you get in his way.

Poor Zayn didn’t learn his lesson and dropped his guard in NXT when KO made his in-ring debut at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution. Owens utterly destroyed his so-called best friend and hit a vicious Pop-up Powerbomb onto the apron. KO then went on to defeat Zayn two months to the day of his debut at NXT TakeOver: Rival to capture the NXT Championship. Owens beat the living shit out of Zayn that night, to the point where the officials have to physically stop the match.

Zayn once again came rushing back for another chance to best his bitter rival but was demolished yet again. Dammit Sami just stay down and live to fight another day. This time Samoa Joe had to stop KO from causing more carnage to Zayn. We would not see the former NXT champ until months later at the 2016 Royal Rumble, where he would cost Owens the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The two bitter rivals would fight again during the ladder match at WrestleMania 32 for the Intercontinental Championship, where Zayn would cost Owens the title. At the 2016 Payback pay-per-view, they would do battle again, Zayn would lose yet again. Zayn and Owens would square off one final time at Battleground in another hellacious battle, except this time Zayn finally got his comeuppance after two Helluva Kicks.

Over the past few years, Zayn and Owens have been on the same page, and shockingly enough the same team. The two best friends would come full circle again after Zayn returned to Friday Night SmackDown because of the pandemic. Zayn has been spurting all of this nonsense about this huge conspiracy going on around him for months now. Owens has been unsuccessfully challenging for the Universal Championship but ran into his friend backstage.

A few weeks ago, Zayn attacked his rival, for being paranoid I guess was his excuse. Owens however didn’t care and goaded him into a match at this year’s Mania. Owens and Zayn are about to create history and fulfill a lifelong dream of having a match on the Grandest Stage of Them All. I can only imagine how incredible this. the moment will be for those two, and the WWE Universe is honored and privileged to be able to experience it.

I’m very thankful that WrestleMania is two nights now because these two wouldn’t be given the appropriate amount of time if they were crammed into a seven-hour event. Please just give Owens and Zayn fifteen to twenty minutes, and let them create magic in the ring.


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Cook’s WrestleMania 37 Night Two Gambling Picks

After delivering (and standing?) his Takeover and WrestleMania Night 1 picks, Steve Cook is back with Night 2. For (sports) entertainment purposes only!

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WrestleMania 27 Stage

After delivering (and standing?) his Takeover and WrestleMania Night 1 picks, Steve Cook is back with Night 2. For (sports) entertainment purposes only!

Welcome back to the gambling picks!

If you missed Night 1, go ahead and click here!

I’m not going to lie to you guys, I’m already a bit peeved at WWE.

Why? Because they rendered part of my Night 1 pick column useless when they made Sasha vs. Bianca the main event after saying Drew vs. Bobby was! Like, what the hell man? At least I’m pretty confident they won’t change the main event of Night 2, so let’s make some picks for entertainment purposes only!

Kevin Owens (-350) vs. Sami Zayn (+225)

Independent wrestling fans would have never seen all this coming a decade or so ago. Kevin Owens as a babyface? Sami Zayn as a heel, without a mask? A YouTube personality as part of the build while Steve Corino agents away & Colt Cabana chills with the Super Smash Brothers? I’d have a hard time explaining all this to 10 Years Ago Me.

Not that this would be at the top of the list of things to warn 10 Years Ago Me about. Just saying…this is all wild stuff.

Kevin Owens is the likely winner as Sami gets punked out by his “buddy” Logan Paul. Slight chance Sami pulls the upset, but I doubt it’s worth throwing fake money on.

Randy Orton (+500) vs. The Fiend (-950)

I haven’t had a lot to say about this feud since it started, and that trend continues here. Not for me, and since I won’t be watching live I’ll surely be skipping ahead of this one. Hopefully those who are into this type of thing have fun.

Fiend likely wins, but if you really wanna throw a few bucks on Randy Orton at +500, maybe it’ll pay off.

United States Championship Match
Riddle (-160) vs. Sheamus (+120)

We can certainly question the methods WWE is using to feature Riddle, but it’s clear that they see something in him and want him to be a big deal. Sheamus has had a strong 2021 so far, and will give Riddle a good match and a big win for his first WrestleMania appearance.

I don’t have much else to add here. Should be hard-hitting.

Intercontinental Championship Nigerian Drum Fight
Big E (+120) vs. Apollo Crews (-140)

As we all know, the  “Nigerian Drum Fight” goes back to the early days of the legendary Nigerian pro wrestler Power Uti. If you’re not familiar with Uti, many consider him to be to the Nigerian Wrestling Federation what Undertaker has been to WWE over the years. They have a ton in common, including holding victories in major specialty matches over Mick Foley.

In the original incarnation of the Nigerian Drum Fight, the object of the match was to bash your opponent’s head into a drum in each corner of the ring. The first to hit all four corners in succession won the match. It looks like WWE is shifting the rules somewhat, and are just doing the typical No DQ thing they like to do. I assume that drums will still be legal, but am unsure of the spear.

If the spear is legal, go with Crews. I get the feeling that Big E is in line for the win here, and thus is my pick, especially since he’s the underdog.

Raw Women’s Championship Match
Asuka (+250) vs. Rhea Ripley (-400)

Once upon a time, Asuka was the new star fresh out of NXT looking to make an impact at WrestleMania. She won the Royal Rumble, but ended up losing at WM to Charlotte Flair. It happens. Just ask Rhea, who lost to Charlotte at last year’s WM. The best news for either of these two is that WWE avoided the urge to insert Charlotte in this match, as we know who the betting favorite would be then.

(Well, we think they’ve avoided the urge. Won’t be sure until the bell rings.)

I’m a big Rhea fan and am definitely supporting the Nightmare here. We all know that Asuka’s days as champion are numbered, as she’s seemed like an afterthought for most of her reign. However, there are reasons to believe that Asuka could get it done here. Mostly, the fact that her feud with Charlotte isn’t over yet.

Nah, I gotta stick with Rhea Ripley here. I’m not sure how Vince & the main roster creative folks feel about Rhea, but they probably haven’t had enough time to turn against her yet.

Universal Championship Triple Threat Match
Roman Reigns (+150) vs. Edge (+115) vs. Daniel Bryan (+200)

This is the first WrestleMania main event in a long time where the favorite doesn’t seem super obvious on paper. For one thing, there’s no reason for Roman Reigns to lose the Universal Championship. He’s superb in the role right now and should sit at the head of the table as long as possible.

Then there’s Edge, who against most other champions would be the obvious favorite. He’s making his big comeback complete by main eventing WrestleMania. Having him win only makes sense, and there are plenty of ways to go with it after, whichever side of the fence you want to put him on.

Daniel Bryan is the longest shot in this match, but we all know that’s when he’s at his most dangerous. One last run on top for Bryan wouldn’t be met with many arguments, and you can set whoever you want with him after & it’ll work.

Any of these picks are a winner in my book. I’m going to go with Roman Reigns because it isn’t often you’ll get those kind of odds on him. Usually he’s the heavy favorite, and for good reason. I wouldn’t be surprised by any outcome here, and that’s what makes this match a true main event.


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