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Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by GhettoV1, Jun 16, 2017.
What year signaled the start of the end of the Golden era (1984-92)?
Most will say Wrestlemania 6 in 1990 was the peak of the Hulkamania era with over 60,000 packed in SkyDome. It also marked the passing of the torch from Hogan to Warrior. One can argue business dropped significantly after that with Wrestlemania 7 taking place at the LA sports arena. 1991 also saw the departure of Ultimate Warrior.
I personally point to 1992 as the year. The WWF loses Hogan. Warrior returns only to have less of an impact than hoped for and is gone at the end of year. Savage is done as a full time performer so is Piper. Jake the Snake, Sid, Flair, LOD, Bulldog, Warlord, Barbarian and Hercules are all gone. Ted DiBiase is wrestling tag matches. Bret Shawn and Razor are elevated to the top spots signalling the start of the New Generation.
Yeah, pretty much everyone was gone by '92 or '93. To add on: Greg Valentine, Tito Santana, Big Boss Man, the Nasty Boys, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Jimmy Hart. And most of the ones who hung around until '94-'95 were rarely seen on TV: Rick Martel, Bushwhackers, Koko B Ware.
I think that era began decaying earlier around WM 5.
No Holds Barred bombed and thus Hogan had to get the belt back from Savage (although they flogged it like a dead horse) and those were the first cracks that appeared.
This was also the first "oil change" of talent that hadn't been a roaring success. Those who came in in 1984/5 had all done great business but those who joined in 1987 and replaced them hadn't done quite as well...often because of Hogan.
Ted DiBiase for example, was meant to be champion but wasn't, ultimately because Hogan needed the belt back. Hacksaw Jim Duggan's drugs bust meant he hadn't received the planned push and he was floundering in lower card feuds, Bam Bam had left as quickly as he arrived and Honky Tonk Man had lost his sheen with Vince.
Of the 87 debutees, only Rick Rude was really working as a character and that's a poor return on the potential they had in 87 when they all debuted... by 1990 they'd pissed that great character away too.
I always consider Royal Rumble 1990 to be the real "end of that era" - It was the last time Hogan entered the Rumble as champ, "just to win it", the title didn't need to be part of it and the talent on display on the card was arguably the peak of the era...
From just a World Champ perspective you had Martel and Hennig (AWA), Garvin and Dusty (NWA), Hogan, Andre and Savage (WWF) on there and that's before Rude, Piper, DiBiase and the like.
After that talent began to disappear regularly over the next year... indeed by Rumble 1991 had finished, Rude, Garvin and Rhodes were gone...
I'd say WM3 was the absoloute peak of the Hogan era.... though business was still strong into 1989 and up to WM6
However by 1991 there was a downturn in PPV buys- and WM7 has to be switched venues due to poor ticket sales (WWE claimed there was a switch as a bomb precaution) but whatever... a smaller venue was used.
The WWE receieved a lot of negative press by turning the Iraq war into a storyline, as real life American troops were being killed (and it ended weeks BEFORE wrestlemania 7 yet the WWE kept the story going anyway till Hogan got the belt back from Sgt Slaughter)
Though business was to take another downturn after Hogan left (apart from Summerslam 92 but that was UK based).... Hogans star was beginning to fade long before he did vacate the spotlight
As has been mentioned in earlier posts, Mania 3 in 87 was the peak of the golden era. Business was still strong heading into Mania 4 in 88 as evident by the rating for the Main Event where Andre beat Hogan only to sell the title to DiBiasi causing the tourney for the vacant title at Mania 4. That would be as good as it got for this era, but business was still strong all the way through Mania 6 in 90. From there we see the decline begin with many factors that can be attributed to it. I always viewed the end of this era to be when Bret won the title from Flair in Sep. 92. While he wasn't the first young guy to win the title with Taker and Warrior before him, he was the first guy to win the title that represented a different style then the previous champs. Coupled with Bret winning the title you have Hogan on vacation only to return for 2 more matches before leaving for good in 93, Savage finishing his last full time run for the company, Warrior about to be suspended and gone almost for good except a short return in 96 and Flair on his way out by the beginning of 93.
I believe for those reasons that Bret winning the title in 92 was the end of the Golden Era.
Hard for me to consider '87 the "peak" when the business was still very much on the rise from '88 to '90. The WWF went from 2 PPV's in '87 to the four in '88. I believe they also increased their Saturday Night's Main Events if I'm not mistaken.They continued to sell out everywhere they went, the ratings for SNME and Superstars of Wrestling were incredible, not only was Hogan a huge crossover star but Roddy Piper, Jesse Ventura, and Zeus (Tiny Lister) all made movie debuts in the late '80's. WWF wrestlers made appearances on Regis and Kathy Lee and Arsenio Hall.
What I think sets the years '88'-'91 apart from '84-'87 was the WWF really hit the kids' market hard. While the WWF used MTV to crossover in '84 when they flooded the kids' market with action toys, video games, and wrestling "buddies" is where they really took off. Parents were lining up outside Toys R Us to buy their kids the latest WWF toy. If you had an action figure made in the late '80's you were set for life. That all translated to the WWF's immense popularity in the late 80's all the way up to 1990. They didn't draw 90,000 like at WM 3 but they easily could've at the SkyDome in '90. I don't think there was any drop off from '87-'90 in the big picture.
You don't think the Million Dollar Man, Mr. Perfect, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Big Boss Man, Ultimate Warrior, Honky Tonk Man, Rick Martel, Warlord, Barbarian, were not all successes? LOL!!! They are all wrestling legends to this day just because they didn't win the title does not mean they were not successful. They were part of some of the best and most memorable matches, feuds, and angles in WWF history.
The Golden Era ended in 1980 after Vince Bought the World Wide Wrestling Federation Entertainment LLC from his Father. The ERA Between 1980-1997 was known as Federation ERA as far as WWF is concerned. So end of discussion it was 1980.
Only Rude was working as a character? Regardless of whether he won the title, in what world was Ted Dibiase's character not working? He's one of the most memorable characters in WWE history.
I think the opening thread poster meant the 'Boom' period .... the huge growth under Vince with Hogan as the pawn.
Golden is probably the wrong term
Vince bought the WWF in 82 not 1980 and no, the golden era was 84-92
Golden Age or Era is defined as "A period of great peace, prosperity, and happiness." So 1984-1992 would be the WWF's "Golden Age or Era." Nothing before 1980 can compare to the growth and prosperity of the mid-to late 1980's.
The "Golden Era" or as I like to call it, the "Hulkamania Era" was three mini-eras from 1984-1992.
In 1984, WWF started doing their crossovers with MTV, what they originally dubbed the "Rock 'n Wrestling" era. Hogan was obviously their biggest star. Also had guys like JYD, Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd, Paul Orndorff, Andre the Giant as a babyface (until he turned.) The first few WrestleManias, the start of Saturday Night's Main Event. I would say this was from 1984-1987, culminating with Hogan vs. Andre in front of 90 thousand fans at WreslteMania 3.
Then from 1987-1990, we had a slightly different era. They still had celeb involvement at WrestleManias, but it wasn't like before where Mr. T or Cindi Lauper had major storylines. They started adding more regular PPVs with SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and Royal Rumble. A lot of the guys I mentioned above, JYD, Bundy, Studd, Piper, Orndorff, etc, were phased out or left the company altogether. New wrestlers like Ted DiBiase, Rick Rude, Ultimate Warrior, Demolition, Mr. Perfect, etc, became stars. Dusty Rhodes came in. Andre was not a full on hated heel. Savage moved to a main event level superstar. This era culminated with Hogan vs. Warrior at WM6. Personally, this was my favorite three year stretch in wrestling history.
After that, you really only got a mini-era of two years. First off Jesse Ventura left after WM6. It didn't matter if it was Gorilla or Vince or even Mean Gene handling the play by play, Ventura worked well with all of them on color, and it wasn't the same without him being the voice of the heels. Bobby was great and hilarious, but Jesse made it seem more like a legit sport. Anyway, besides the major commentary change, WWF also shifted in a slightly different era. A lot of guys were repackaged. Some worked - Rick Martel into the Model, Rocker Shawn Michaels to the Heart Break Kid, etc. But lot didn't work - Tito Santana to El Mantador, Smash to Repo Man. Legion of Doom, Undertaker, Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter all were big time guys during this era. A lot of the guys from the previous era like Rude, Dusty Rhodes, etc. were now gone. Guys like Warrior and Savage were always in limbo. Savage didn't wrestle for almost a full year, wrestled a match at WM7, and then was retired until his angle with Jake Roberts. Jake Roberts of course was now a heel after being one of the top babyfaces a few years ago. Warrior, who was champ for most of 1990, was gone from SummerSlam 1991 to WM 8. You could tell things were starting to change. WM 8 was probably the culmination of this mini-era, and the Hulkamania era overall. WM 8 was billed as Hogan's retirement match, and he did in fact leave the company for almost a year.
After WM 8, WWF definitely started shifting towards the "New Generation." Summerslam 1992 was the first WWF PPV ever without Hogan, I'm pretty sure. And while the advertised main event was Savage vs. Warrior, two main eventers from Hogan's era, the actual main event was the IC title match with Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith. Survivor Series was advertised as Savage/Warrior vs. Flair/Razor. Warrior was eventually replaced by Mr. Perfect. All of those guys with the exception of Razor were Hogan era guys, but again, the actual main event was Bret vs. HBK. Royal Rumble was Bret vs. Razor for the belt, and I think Yoko winning the actual Rumble. They had ended Saturday Night's Main Event, and were now doing a weekly Monday Night Raw. So at this point, they're pretty much in the New Generation era. Of course, Hogan comes back for a little bit, and WM9 ends with him as champion. But he was gone for most of the year leading up to that WM, and he left pretty much right after. So I consider that year more of a "New Generation" era year.
So anyway, long post but to answer your question, I'd say the Golden era, or the Hulkamania era, was from 1984-1992. The Brawl to End it All being the start and WM 8 being the end. The MTV specials and the first three WM's being the first part, WMs 5-6 being the middle of it, and WMs 7 and 8 being the downhill slope. After WM8 they started shifting to a different era.
This was my favorite era also. Every character was either built like a superhero i.e. Hogan or Warrior or had an outsized personality like "The Million Dollar Man, "Mr. Perfect", or the "Macho Man." That's what made the toys, video games and even trading cards so successful among kids. You had a guy like Akeem the African Dream or Koko B. Ware, who were glorified JTTS, but even they had toys and cards. Vince was so successful in marketing every character he made and making them into characters in a movie.
This era also coincided with Vince admitting it was "sports entertainment" and the outcomes were predetermined in order to stop paying athletic commission taxes in New Jersey. That was HUGE! If you remember, just a few years earlier Piper shot on Mr T (or so he claims) to protect the business and of course we all remember David Shultz slapping the shit out of John Stossell for asking "the" question." I think the '87-'91 was not only part of the "Golden Era" it was an entirely new era by itself. Sports Entertainment.
I think its more a matter of opinion, In my opinion 85 to around 91 was almost seemed like a magical era in the WWF, I never stopped enjoying wrestling after this time especially with the monday night wars and rise of ECW but being a kid during the previous era the wrestlers felt like superheroes.
I agree with the above posters. Although I was introduced to WWF in 1986 and was drawn to it immediately, 1987 was really when started to take a new shape. I knew who Snuka was, I knew who the Moondogs were, I knew who Pedro Morales was...but in 1987, I was all in with the characters. While I understand why supposed heels like Stone Cold eventually became popular, I still loved the two set sides of good and bad back then. I recently re-watched the first Royal Rumble and throughout the match, as a heel or face would enter, Ventura would say things like "that evens the sides" acknowledging what everyone knew. There was the good guy side and the bad guy side. Now, they flip and flop all the time and the only thing that makes them heel is telling the crowd to shut up.
But, the Golden Era, whether it started in 84 or not, for me was 1987-1990. I agree that it ended in 1992, but for me personally...87-90 was incredible!
Another thing I recently realized was that I often remembered different stages within this era by "feel" of the events. WrestleMania 2 had a small, dark, house show feel to me. WrestleMania 3 and 6 were big arena feels. But then I realized that 4 and 5 were in the Trump Plaza and had a horrible atmosphere, but those are still two of my favorite years of WWF. 7 again was mediocre atmosphere and then 8 was amazing. I guess it was simply the venue more than the feel or production.
I'm glad to see so many others love this time in WWF history and hope to see more posts about superstars, angles and other bits of history--LJN figures, WWF magazine, whatever! I loved it all!
Here we go again... shakes head.
Not all were INTENDED to be world champs or even close to it... but some like DiBiase and Duggan WERE intended to get major main event pushes that never happened....likely against each other as they had torn the house down in the UWF... Had DiBiase won the belt, Duggan would have (without being busted) been his top contender... and last I checked Ultimate Warrior DID win the title
Guys like Hoonky and Bossman were never getting anything more than an upper midcard push...
A lot of the time, careers didn't go as intended cos of injury like Hennig or Martel with his wife's illness... but neither guy was EVER getting that World championship in the WWE, even if they had it in the AWA.
Warlord and Barbarian? Name one truly memorable thing either did as a singles in the WWF... I'll wait.
They brought in a lot of talent between 87 and 89 and only Rude ever really lived up to his potential... but had to leave the WWF to do so. Almost to a man, WWF wasted those talents when it mattered in favour of Hogan and Warrior. They even did their best to squander Bret Hart, aborting his first singles run...
Agreed... at that time the WWF was the most tangible it has EVER been, there was the magazine which was distinctive on the magazine rack... sticker albums, the toys, the early video games like Wrestlemania Challenge (that even let you play as "Yourself") and its stars in big movies like They Live, Predator and The Princess Bride... even the Hogan shitefests.
You could say "Macho Man" Randy Savage and someone would have heard of him... you had the Andre The Giant Has a Posse street art movement, Piper's "Chewing Bubblegum and Kicking Ass..." entering the lexicon.
They wish for that sort of publicity today and seem to get it by sending titles to all and sundry...although the London cop was a great moment, it's somewhat diminished by every damn sports team getting one.
Never happened?!? What the hell are you talking about?!? Ummmm....DiBiase only had main event matches with every World Champion of that era Hogan, Savage, and Warrior LOL. He feuded with Hogan and Savage. He was the top heel from the debut in '87 all the way up to '89 and even then he was always a top tier heel working with the likes of Big Boss Man and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. As far as Duggan goes, who would he have supplanted for his "main event push"? Hogan? Savage? Warrior? Despite fact that he was released he still had a very solid and productive career. from '87-'93 I don't know what more you can ask for. The fact is your statement that....
is erroneous and patently false in that I pointed out that DiBiase, Duggan, Hennig, Martel and Warrior all worked as characters. That was the "class" of '87/88
So what?!? Not everyone can be in the main event. They had great spots at a great time for business and are remembered for being memorable characters in that time period. What is your problem with that?
Again, who the fuck cares??!? You are obsessed with this "World title" crap like some stupid mark. The FACT is both had great, successful, and memorable careers in the WWF. In the grand scheme of things, they are best known for their WWF runs not their AWA runs no matter how many titles they won the AWA.
You don't remember Warlord or Barbarian as singles wrestlers? To help you out, Warlord had a feud with Davey Boy Smith that culminated at WM 7 while Barbarian was part of the Heenan Family feud with Boss Man that led to his match at Royal Rumble '91. Both were solid, well-built and powerful heels at a time when they needed big, muscular heels to feud with the WWF's big and powerful babyfaces so they served their purpose.
That's matter of opinion but in my opinion, one that is VERY wrong. Rude lived up to his potential. Again, he had a feud with Warrior for both the IC and World titles and semi-main evented multiple PPV's. He will best be remembered for his WWF run than anything he did with Crockett or WCW. Apparently you think "wasted" means not getting the World title not developing a character that lives on this day and stays on the minds of thousands of fans.
No Wasted was not allowing Rude, DiBiase etc to run with the ball as the top people in the company... Rude's most memorable moment, like it or not was his US title run... during that time he made THAT belt mean more than the WWF World title, feuding with Sting, Steamboat and the like...
Imagine what the good he could have done if they'd put the strap on him just once instead of Slaughter and kept him in the WWF.. Rude v Bret, Shawn, Perfect, Savage, Davey Boy... Sure most of those guys got over eventually, but having Rude to work against would have elevated them quicker and much stronger, just how he did for Rhodes AND Sting... even though Sting lost that feud, he came out a million bucks.
DiBiase the same... the Million Dollar Belt was NOT the same as him being a legit World Champion... had they done so, then that role they gave him of elevating guys would have had infinitely more credibility... but again, they chose to appease The Hulkster.
Like I said, name one thing MEMORABLE about Warlord and Barbarian and you couldn't... I remember them fine but what they did was forgettable and frankly shite... WM7 wasn't memorable for either Davey (who was originally going against Perfect before he got hurt) or Warlord... it was a 4 minute squash.
The proof in the pudding was in the old school WWF magazine, whenever they did an article saying you'd signed an "open contract" it meant you were now officially a jobber... both guys got that honor very quickly into their singles runs.
Would it have been better had they swapped Warlord to Heenan? Probably... but by that time Heenan was already winding down management... Marty Janetty gets a lot of shit but at least he won titles.. Warlord never won FA...because he was awful.
Again, I fail to see how that is "wasted". Both were main event talent used in main event feuds with the top babyfaces in the company. So "wasted" is debuting in 1987 and immediately getting put in the main event at SummerSlam? "Wasted" is co-main eventing 3 PPV's with the #2 babyface in the company? "Wasted" is having a year-long feud with the WWF Champion? I think ALOT of wrestlers' would love to have been "wasted" if that was the case.
And I'll ask the question again. Who would have DiBiase or Rude supplanted to "run with the ball"? Hogan, Savage, Warrior? We're talking about three of the top draws in WWF history all things considered.
So you're telling me with a straight face that Rude, wrestling in front of a couple thousand people in a dimly-lit arena in WCW was more memorable than him winning the I-C belt at WrestleMania 5? Or wrestling for the World Title in front of 20,000 people in a steel cage match at SummerSlam '90? Damn, what are you smoking dude?!?!
Not debating any of that but Rude didn't need the World title to have elevated those guys. We knew Rude was one of the best workers in the business. I fail to to see how a "transitional" run with the WWF title of only a couple months would have elevated him to a higher tier than he already was. He was already main event. He was a former I-C champion and had wrestled for the World title. A two month reign like Slaughter had would've done nothing for him in terms of his reputation. The reason for Rude jumping was purely financial it had nothing to do with the World title.
Again. I fail to see how it would've. He was already a top tier main event guy. Just because he didn't hold the title didn't make people view him as any less of a main event talent. Every feud he was in was given top booking. Dusty Rhodes in 1989, Jake Roberts in 1990, hell even Virgil in '91. He elevated Razor Ramon in '93 with no problem. DiBiase, like Jake and Piper, was one of those guys who didn't need a belt to justify their spot. You just knew they were a big deal.
I just named two feuds with them that culminated in two PPV matches. How is that not memorable? The fact that you admitted you remembered them makes them memorable. And how do you know it wasn't memorable for Davey?!? Did you ask him?? I love how you state opinion as some kind of fact. And where is your reference on Perfect?!? Last I checked Perfect wrestled at WM 7 AND SummerSlam '91.
As I said. They served their purpose. Were they going to be World title contenders? No but the WWF needed big, muscular, and powerful heels to work with their big, powerful babyfaces so splitting the Warlord and Barbarian only made sense. You can all them "jobbers" if you want too but in the grand scheme of things they served their purpose which was to feud with the WWF's bigger babyfaces.
Again, opinion. Warlord had a distinct look. Again. Warlord was the type of wrestler who didn't need a title to make people go "Wow"! The guy was a legit 330 pounds of pure muscle. Wrestlers' have their roles. Not everyone is going to be a World Champion or main event but each wrestler has their role to play and Rude, DiBiase, Barbarian. Warlord whomever all played their role.
Perfect was scheduled to face DAVEY at WM7 and this was planned since Davey signing...but Davey was injured at the wrong moment, first killing his chance at replacing Brutus in the Summerslam match (originally to take the role Tornado took) and his recovery took too long for him to be correctly positioned before Mania... that's why the Bossman feud with Perfect seemed so "thrown together".
Indeed shortly after this WWF Magazine was touting the feud heavily for the August 91 issue (which would have been written around Mania time) but Perfect's injury meant they needed to change gears and Bret got the nod instead... Makes sense as Bret could have a match with the injured Hennig that Davey couldn't...
You are very wrong on Rude... The sole reason was not money, he was also pissed that Hogan refused to face him AT ALL... and Warrior was now refusing to job to him for the World title... Rude had played a massive part in getting Warrior the belt and was offended that Sgt. Slaughter, was being moved into the spot that was rightfully his. When he was told he was going from headlining Summerslam to facing Bossman (and being expected to lose) over insulting his mother...he balked and took WCW's offer.
You ask what difference it would have made to Rude having a 2 month reign and the WWF? Massive in the scheme of things... as I mentioned, having Rude as a former (and potential 2 time) champ would have helped elevate a whole slew of new, smaller faces and helped to end the reliance on Hogan, Warrior and monsters like Sid... There was already noise that the roid issue could blow up in 1990... Rude may well have used as much as anyone, but a physically smaller man would have escaped the scrutiny Hogan and Warrior brought on the WWF. Rude did wonders for Sting, who had already been a World Champ but didn't really hit that level until this feud... when he then went against Vader he was ready... Rude could have done that for several talents in the WWF, even some we're not considering as they never actually "made it" to that level... Imagine Rude v Tatanka around 93 for example... Rude v Luger or Scott Steiner...
At the end of the day, Vince backed the wrong horses and it set a slump that lasted several years... Rude given that role and responsibility when he clearly wanted it for a couple of months sets up a whole different era for the 90's... he never even needed to win it again, but guys like Bret, Shawn and Davey would have become bigger stars, quicker having a former champ Rude to work off of.
As for DiBiase... he is the one guy who DID need the title...not A title but THE title once after the "purchasing it" debacle... Look at Jinder Mahal now... his stealing the belt works cos he won it. If they hadn't followed through all that promise is lost... Flair comes in and wins the Rumble... wouldn't have mattered if he never lifted the title again but he got it.
It WAS lost for DiBiase and while he did his best to make the Million Dollar Belt work, it always hurt him perception wise that he couldn't buy everything or back up his boasts...however good his work was, there was always that nagging question.
We'll never agree on the Warlord and Barbarian... I never saw anything remotely interesting about them... indeed The Berserker was more interesting than either of them for wearing a skirt and winning by countout... WWE wasted a LOT of "big men" in those days to appease their chosen few... even guys like Earthquake who did have talent or those with a name like Sid... Warlord never stood a chance.
This is going way off topic, but both Rude and DiBiase WERE successful. Both were top stars of that era. WWF was a babyface promotion, for the most part, a babyface was always champion, be it Bruno, Backlund, Hogan, etc. Sure, there were a few exceptions, like Billy Graham, but that was rare, and that was before Vince Jr. took over. Andre had the belt for what, a few minutes? Undertaker had it for like a week. Slaughter only had it from the Rumble to WrestleMania. Savage held it for a year, but he was a babyface for most of it, only turning heel towards the end of the Mega Powers angle. For the most part, a babyface held it. It wasn't until Yokozuna in 1993 that a heel had a long run with the belt. So even if DiBiase or Rude had won the belt, it's unlikely Vince would have let him keep the belt for a long run anyway. Just because they didn't have the belt doesn't mean they weren't successful.
And think about it like this, Hogan, Savage, Warrior, Andre, Slaughter, Undertaker, Flair. That's the only people who officially held the belt during the Golden era. Are you saying only 7 people were successful during the Golden era?
Good post. What I don't understand is earlier you were talking about "characters" not working. Here, you're talking about booking.
I'm in full agreement that Ted Dibiase should've won the world title.....but his character certainly worked.
Rude should've been champ too, I agree. The WWF's refusal to have a heel champion for the majority of the 1984-1990 period was pretty lame, and finally going with a washed up Sgt. Slaughter in 91 (with a desperate traitor angle at war time) and Yokozuna in 93 (another "evil foreigner") for two of them (Flair and a couple months of Savage in 89 being the others) was also pretty lame.
Perfect, Rude, and Dibiase all could've used reigns. But going back to my original disagreement with you, regardless of booking....their characters worked. As did Warrior, Duggan, and several others mentioned.