Today’s top 5 list will be about those special moments in Wrestling history that forever sculpted the WWF/WWE. These are the moments us wrestling fans live for! Some of these are specific moments in time and some are time periods but you will all have to admit, these are why we watch, and if you notice we haven’t had a groundbreaking moment like any of these in recent memory, and that’s why the WWE product is so poor, Vince needs to remember what made the product so good to begin with! So here we go:
#5- The Sweet Chin Music Heard Round the World
We all love HBK, and one thing that made him so awesome was he had an awesome finishing move, Sweet Chin Music was just cool. It was devastating, it was show stopping, it could come from no where and that’s exactly where it came from during an episode of the Barber Shop on December 2nd 1991. Brutus Beefcake was trying to get the Rockers to come together as one, and it looked like it was working, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty gave each other a hug and just when it appeared the Rockers were going to go back into the Tag Team ranks HBK was born when he gave Jannetty one hell of a Sweet Chin Music, and then proceeded to toss Jannetty through the glass window of the Barber Shop! The reason this moment was so important was that The Rockers were a perineal crowd favorite and this tugged at the heart strings, it also gave rise to one of the biggest stars the WWF/WWE would ever have in Shawn Michaels, as this freed him up to work with Sherry Martel and enter into his notorious singles career. This clip also has one of the best commentary moments of all time after Jannetty gets face planted through the glass window Bobby Heenan says “Jannetty tried to dive through the window to escape, what an act of cowardism!” That’s brilliant!
Rockers divide on The Barber Shop
#4- Birth of the Attitude Era/Monday Night Wars
November 9th 1997 at the Survivor Series the WWE/WWF coined the term attitude era, but it had been coming for almost a year. The Monday Night wars were in full swing and the WCW was winning. The WWF hired a man named Vince Russo and though many wrestling fans hate Russo, he saved the WWF. With creative writing and a new take on what wrestling should look like Russo and McMahon brought forth some of the most notable characters in history, including Mankind/Foley, The Rock and of Course Stone Cold Steve Austin. This new era focused on an older crowd, ushered in buckets of blood, and saw matches the likes of which have never seen before nor since. This era really kicked off with the rebirth of the Iron Man Match in 1996 when Bret Hart lost to Shawn Michaels in a match that lasted over one hour, we then saw a new type of Dead Man in the Undertaker. This era brought back the celebrity influence, when Mike Tyson began to appear in the ring. We also saw an influx of real fighter from the then brutal UFC such as Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackmon. Then of course we saw the amazing tandem of superstars in Rock/Austin/Mankind which gave us amazing, brutal, and unforgettable matches, that we will never have again in this PG era we are in. To bad too, because the epic Mankind Vs Taker Hell in a Cell was a spectacle that just cannot be recreated under todays family friendly landscape.
#3- Hogan Goes Heel
The idea was let’s do something that has never been done before, and the WCW did it, when Hulk Hogan the ultimate good guy turned his back on Macho Man on July 7th 1996, to embraced the Outsiders. First off, I just want to say this speaks volumes about The Macho Man as he is probably the only guys that could have given Hogan the bad guy push, if Hogan had turned on anybody else it probably would have turned them heel, but the Leg Drop hit Randy Savage and the crowd saw the writing on the wall. Hogan then gave his Billionaire Ted Speech and pledged his allegiance to the Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, with that, a new era of wrestling was ushered in. The Monday Night Wars was as much responsible for this turn as anything, because Eric Bishof new he had to do something to gain ratings, and the birth of Hollywood was the answer! Wrestling was forever changed, non wrestling fans begin to tune in to see what all the fuss was about, rating soared and a New World Order took over the Wrestling World. Unfortunately the WCW had the inmates running the asylum and things crumbled within a few years, however that day in 1996 without a doubt rocked wrestling to its core!
#2- McMahon Takes Over the World
It all started when Vince Jr purchased the then WWWF from his father in 1979, he renamed it the WWF and then in 1980 founded Titan Sports, He began recruiting talent from all the regional leagues and then acuired his centerpiece Hulk Hogan from the AWA. Wrestling at this point was a small time business, most wrestlers held other jobs and gathered in small halls for small shows, Vince had other ideas, he wanted to take the sport global, using television he took wrestling out of the Sportatorium and into Madison Square Garden. The visionary that is McMahon Jr. soon had accumulated all the talent from the regional groups and was set to deliver the final blow. He sold his time slot on television to Jim Crocket Promotions for one million dollars and with that money he set up the first Wrestlemania, a huge gamble that paid off. All of a sudden the once laughable WWF had become the place to be, the limelight, the real show.
#1- Hogan Beats the Shiek
Vince had the dream, he had the idea, but he needed a catalyst, and that was going to be Hulk Hogan. Freshly acquired from the AWA, Hogan saved crowd favorite Bob Backlund showing he was a babyface, and within three weeks he faced the Iron Shiek on January 23rd in Madison Square Garden. Hogan had appeared in the 1982 film Rocky 3. and had some level of stardom, but what was to follow nobody could have foresaw, except for McMahon. The match is not the greatest by any means, in fact it is pretty poor, but the spark was ignited and Hogan needed the Shiek to put him over as the fan favorite, his personality lifted his character and Hogan became a household name, everything Vince had wanted was coming to fruition. I do love the Shiek, he is classic and at a time that saw the Iranians as an axis of evil, it was the All American that brought him to his knees!