So, it’s summer break and Covid has me all kinds of bored so I’m going to try and do something a little in depth.
I want to simulate the Wrestlemania era on WWE 2k19 and see what might have happened if a few chips went a different way. I’m going to quick sim weekly cards and full sim the PPVs/Major TV events for WWF, WCW (and eventually ECW and TNA/AEW - should I get that far) I’ll respect the results and book championships accordingly on the back end of it, as well as propose a few ‘what-ifs’ in this alternate universe.
What if Magnum TA didn’t have his car accident?
What if Rick Rude’s back didn’t give out just when he hit the legit main event?
What if Owen hadn’t died?
What if Hogan wasn’t the biggest WWF star. Who’s the 3rd man in the nWo.
Part sim, part fantasy booking. It should keep me busy anyways.
I’ll start it off with the legit Wrestlemania card and we’ll go from there.
Magnum would have been NWA’s Hogan, easily. Probably would have also affected Sting coming in and becoming their top babyface for first half of the 90’s.
Difficult to say about Rude. He did have main event runs in WWF in 89 and 90. And was a top guy within WCW until his back injury.
Had he stuck around in WCW I imagine he would have worked a program with Hogan in 1994/95.
You could also see him leaving WCW for WWF in the same window, due to being stuck at a certain level.
Would have loved to see mid 90’s Bret and Shawn work with Rude.
Owen being alive would have likely had many ripples. The match possibilities with Jericho, Benoit, Eddy, Angle, and others would have been amazing.
The possibility of Owen mending fences between WWF and Bret in the early 2000’s would also be a possibility.
Plus, Bret would have been a different place mentally, and his WCW run would have been completely different. Perhaps avoiding the concussion from Goldberg all together and the health issues that followed.
Going to have to get back to the Hogan / nWo question…
So there are two questions at play here. First off, who would have been Vince’s handpicked top guy in the 80’s for expansion if he didn’t go for Hogan. I think the most likely candidates would have Tony Atlas, Andre The Giant, or Jimmy Snuka. However, while any of them might have been positioned as the top star - nobody says any of them would connect like Hogan. And because of that, the entire Rock n’ Wrestling connection and explosion probably wouldn’t happen.
Also on that note - perhaps it’s not a male star. Maybe Vince gets behind Wendy Richter as the face of the company in the 80’s?
No Hogan, means no Hulkamania, means no reason why Vince would have ever tried to replicate a Hogan like reign with Nash as Diesel. No run on top for Nash, means very likely no Outsiders, and thus no nWo.
Look, at the end of the day, this what if could also look at if JCP / WCW blew-up in the 80’s, and scored national domination - and Horsemen-mania hit the mainstream. And then, who knows what the 90’s would have looked like…
I think Magnum TA is the great ‘What If?’ in wrestling history.
In essence, I’m just doing a resim of wrestling history for a bit of a giggle but yeah, who else could have been in Hogan’s shoes? Randy Savage? I know he’s small but he’s charismatic and colourful - There’s been stories about Greg Valentine but he doesn’t have the skillset. Piper had all the tools but he’s such a natural heel and had eyes for Hollywood.
Magnum definitely could have been the face of 80’s wrestling’s national expansion. No Hogan - leads to no anchor for WWF to base around (Savage entered my mind… I just am not sure if he would have connected like Hogan did to the mainstream). If Magnum becomes the lead babyface with JCP, and if he sticks around until Turner buys NWA… Who knows. The sky is the limit.
The guy would have turned 30 in 1989… He could have been a massive star throughout the 90’s, into the new century.
He was a star to a very limited audience - and had all the tools to translate that elsewhere.
At Saturday Night’s Main Event (May 1985), Hulk Hogan has dropped the World Title to Cowboy Bob Orton. Hogan had the match won but then was interfered with by Roddy Piper which allowed Bob Orton to regain the upper hand and eventually the win.
It’s said that WWE has Hogan vs Orton as the programme throughout the Summer with Hogan vs Piper still on the card as well.
In other news, Mr Wonderful Paul Orndorff lost a match to Adrian Adonis and was dropped by Piper and Orton afterwards with Piper stating on an episode of Piper’s Pit that if Orton had been his partner, they would have won at Wrestlemania.
The British Bulldogs and Killer Bees also had an excellent matchup while there are rumours that Don Muraco has been greenlit for a push originally intended for Andre The Giant after Muraco beat Andre clean on National Television.
LOL. I don’t get into fantasy booking too much, but it’s interesting to think who could’ve had a run with the WWF Title during the Hogan era if you apply the more modern WWE booking philosophy of multiple title changes per year (typically) rather than dominant, multi-year reigns. Piper for sure, probably DiBiase, and some combination of Earthquake, Rude, Sid, Perfect, maybe even a guy like Zeus. And probably an extra reign or two for Savage as a heel and/or babyface.
And that’s all without thinking about if things went completely off the rails and “upper midcard” faces like Duggan and Jake had a run while Hulk worked a non-title program.
GREAT AMERICAN BASH - July 7, 1985 (Results simulated with WWE 2K19)
Buddy Landel def. Ron Bass (w/ J.J. Dillon)
Buzz Sawyer & Dirty Dick Slater def. The Minnesota Wrecking Crew when Buzz submitted Arn
Manny Fernandez, Jimmy Valiant and Sam Houston def. Abdullah the Butcher, Konga the Barbarian, and Superstar Billy Graham by Countout "
The Road Warriors (with Paul Ellering) def. The Russians (with Nikita Koloff) by Countout to retain the NWA Tag Team Titles "
Magnum T.A. def. Kamala to retain the NWA United States Championship
Nikita Koloff def. Ric Flair to win the NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship
Dusty Rhodes def. Tully Blanchard and wins custody of Baby Doll for 30 days
Insiders report that the NWA is having a knee-jerk reaction to Hogan’s dethroning and wanted to strike while the iron was hot with a heel that the whole nation can be united in their dislike of. Some think this may all be a play to groom Magnum T.A. while others are certain that Starrcade will bring Flair back as the chasing babyface against Koloff. Only time will tell
UPDATE THROUGH OCT 3, 1985 - SATURDAY’S NIGHT MAIN EVENT
The numbers game of Piper & Orton caused Hogan & Orndroff to go 0/2. Piper def. Orndorff with a sleeperhold after Bob Orton had been thrown to the back. Hogan had his rematch for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship but lost to Orton via Countout thanks to copious interference from Roddy Piper.
It’s said that Vince is trying to build up to a big cage match down the line but the fans are really starting to get behind Tito Santana who feels like he hasn’t lost in months.
Elsewhere on the card, the U.S. Express retained against the British Bulldogs and JYD was successful in a non-title match against the newcomer, Macho Man Randy Savage.
UPDATE THROUGH NOV 7, 1985 - THE WRESTLING CLASSIC
The numbers advantage couldn’t hold up forever and Hulk Hogan finally regained his WWF World Heavyweight Championship over Cowboy Bob Orton despite the continued interference of Roddy Piper throughout the match.
Elsewhere, newcomer Macho Man Randy Savage won the 16 man Wrestling Classic tournament, defeating Ivan Putski, Davey Boy Smith, Nikolai Volkoff, and Terry Funk to claim the crown. He is believed to be firmly in the #1 contender’s spot for Junkyard Dog’s Intercontinental Championship.
The WWF have announced a sequel to last year’s successful closed-circuit event, Wrestlemania, and have announced that it will take place at Chicago’s Rosemont Horizon. There had been rumours of splitting the card between 3 sites but it was quickly dismissed as a stupid idea of Vince’s that was shut down by those around him as quickly as it was given breath.
There are rumours that tag team champion Barry Windham is working without a contract and that Vince is eager to either make a change or have Windham extend his stay. Similarly, earlier in the year there were those willing to cut bait on David Sammartino but he is actually getting over with the WWF audience and has been rewarded with a string of mid-profile wins on the House Show circuit. One source said that what started as nepotism to placate Bruno may actually be turning into legitimate skill and popularity. Stay tuned for updates on these events. We should know more as we head towards Wrestlemania II
WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan Intercontinental Champion: Junkyard Dog Tag Team Champions: The U.S. Express (Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo)
NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE World Heavyweight Champion: Nikita Koloff United States Champion: Magnum T.A. Tag Team Champions: The Road Warriors