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My Wrestling Golden Era!


Michael_3165

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I have been watching some old school wrestling over the last few days and thought I would look at some old 1997 RAWs. It got me thinking:

 

What era did you get into wrestling? What drew you to wrestling at the time? What are your favourite memories of watching wrestling for the first time? If you stopped watching regularly, when and why did you?

 

My era was 1997. The first show I saw was a random episode of RAW when Bret was against Sid for the WWF Championship leading to his rant 'this is a load of bullshit, everybody screwed me'. I was hooked. My first PPV was In Your House 13, by no means a wonderful illustration of wrestling in it's peak but as an 11 year old child I was drawn in. Vader vs Taker vs Austin vs Bret. The whole story, the unpredictable run ins leading up to the and after the event made this era.

 

I was a massive fan of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. I didn't have access to WCW at the time but when I was able to get hold of WCW I always thought the WWF was a better product overall but ratings proved otherwise. Bret was my hero, the idol who stood for good. Bret turning was wonderfully done, perfect way to keep this young British boy interested and loyal whilst turning off scores of Americans from the Hitman.

 

Watching Bret 'snap' at Patt Patterson ("that dirty rotten son of a b

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Late '99-mid 2000 for me. I know everyone credits the Foley feud as the one that really put Triple H over the top, but I think he did a fantastic job with the Vince feud in the latter months of the last millennium. After that, though, I doubt I'll ever see a more perfect 8 months of wrestling than we had from the point Triple H ended the half-arsed Big Show title run up to the point they ran out of decent ideas for the HHH/Stephanie/Angle love triangle. Just the ideal mix of great PPVs, consistently entertaining TV (when 2 major TV shows a week was still relatively fresh), a tremendously deep talent roster (especially after the arrival of the Radicalz), and a writing and booking team who seemed passionate about providing great material for talent up and down the card, not just the main eventers.

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Got cable tv Autumn 88, I remember they took a while for ppv's to appear on the sky channel, yes there was one sky channel!

 

Remember watching Warrior squash Honky, was meant to be Beefcake, but he got spurred by Ron Bass.

 

December meant Survivor series, the 10 men tag, and mega powers, still a tidy ppv 26 years on.

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1992 is when I got into things but I don't know if you can really count that. What was so good about being a fan in 1992 was watching all the Silver Vision tapes from the late 80's/earlier 90's begging stealing and borrowing anything I could get my hands on.

 

1996-1997 is probabaly my real golden era, all my mates had fucked wrestling off and not come back yet for the attitude era but I wasn't arsed, I still loved it. I was still young enough to think Shawn Michaels in his chaps and gay biker hats was cool, then in 1997 as I was becoming a teenager the WWF seemed to "grow up" with me, with the beginnings of the Attitude Era with Austin vs the Hart Foundation and the emergence of DX.

 

You also had a great WCW product over on TNT every week at 9 after Cartoon Network finished with maybe my favourite feud ever Sting vs the nWo. It was an amazing period, I just wish there'd have been a way to catch ECW outside of the 30 minute Bravo show.

 

Could definitely also make a case for that great WWF 2000 year though and the indy wank that was ROH 04-05.

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For me, it's 1989-1994 WCW. It wasn't particularly commercially successful but I loved every little thing about it. There's something to be said of being able to only see one hour per week (provided it was on at all) and having to wait and search for the PPVs on VHS in John Menzies - Seeing competitive matches seemed so special.

 

There was some fantastic wrestling going on too, with Rude, Steamboat, Vader, Sting, Pillman, Flair, Windham, Rhodes, Muta, Steiners, Doom, Arn Anderson and so many more. I've always been more interested in the matches than the other stuff in wrestling so this era was perfect for me, and I still go back and watch this stuff all the time.

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This is where I really show my age, but I have to go with the era where I had the most exposure to the majority of programming and I believe the roster was at its strongest. That's 2002-2008, which I believe is referred to as the Ruthless Aggression Era.

 

The roster was mind blowing across this 5-6 year period. You had all these Attitude Era guys still fairly active and in their prime, like Triple H, Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Kane and Big Show- with Rock, Austin and Foley active in bursts. HBK made his improbable comeback to wrestling and was better than ever. "Technical" wrestlers came to the forefront, like Angle, Benoit and Eddie. Rey Mysterio came to WWE and had youth and several less knee surgeries to his name. You had the OVW Class of 2002, with Cena, Orton, Lesnar and Batista. Edge, Jeff Hardy and CM Punk all rose through the ranks to become credible main eventers.

 

The Elimination Chamber and MITB matches were created. Wrestlemania became a grander spectacle than ever with stadium shows. The Undertaker kept evolving and adding high quality matches to his Streak. Raw was still 2 hours, without those painful guest hosts. Vince McMahon was still a great villain who would step in for some wild gimmick matches. ECW came back for the One Night Stand shows, even though the brand revitalisation wasn't great, those two shows were amazing.

 

I was able to watch Raw and Smackdown just about every week, especially from 2006-2008 when I wasn't relying on other people for video tapes. I had a great group of mates at school to talk wrestling with, even though it wasn't as "cool" in high school as it was in primary school, a lot of people I knew watched it on the down-low.

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Probably 1992 - 1995 such great characters and the WWF seemed so much more glamorous being foreign and American. I watched the Royal Rumble at a friends and a couple of the Saturday shows and was hooked. I would buy WWF magazine every month with my pocket money to keep track. I never had Sky myself, always watched it at friends houses so the tagged classics are great for reliving it. I loved the humour in it with Heenan, Jerry Lawlers mocking of the Hart family and crazy characters like Repo Man, Papa Shango and Skinner as well as the excitement of tag team matches with the Rockers or Legion of Doom. I do remember hating Ultimate Warrior for no apparent reason as well.

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I'm pretty sure I didnt miss a single Raw or ppv between 96-01. I was buying at least 6-7 wrestling mags a month, crazy time period and one I miss. I actually miss being at school, talk about wrestling and footy all day, walk home and spend bus money on a mag, then get home and watch wrestling. Then in 2001 I turned 18, get a job, find a girl and habits change drastically.

 

Found ROH in 2004 and watched it religiously until about a couple of years back. My son, 7, is into wrestling big time and is great, we sit and watch old Raws and ppvs together and he loves it. I've kept all the mags and he loves going through them. He goes into school and talks about all the great wrestlers of the past, he is exactly like me back then. Shame the mags are shit and expensive these days.

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