Badseed's Bottomline #362:
The Stars Of Yesteryear
Hey yo! The nostalgia continues. Thinking about how wrestling works today, it is amazing how certain wrestlers way back when did not win titles in the WWE. I wanted to talk about my favorite wrestlers not to win a title in the WWE when I was watching.
Bam Bam Bigelow: At one time, this guy was all the talk of wrestling. There was that big push when he first debuted. Every manager wanted him, but the WWE screwed up and gave him Oliver Humperdink, hoping he would be the next Capt. Lou Albano and it didnít work. Paul Orndorff got screwed on that deal, too. Bigelow was up against King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang and Andre The Giant, beating two of the three, and looking like a future superstar. He disappeared, showed up in WCW with Humperdink still as his manager and failed in his quest to unseat Barry Windham for the U.S. title. Back to the WWE he went and as a heel, he had his babe, Luna Vachon, a feud with Tatanka and then suddenly, Bam Bam Bigelow was thrust into the spotlight with the Million Dollar Corporation and actually was the main event of Wrestlemania XI against Lawrence Taylor. A high profile face turn made it seem like Bigelow was going to get a major push, but he ended up going nowhere and only seemed to succeed in ECW with some small time success in WCW. With so much fanfare, Bigelow deserved the IC title and will only be known as the guy who lost to a football player.
Don Muraco: Yes, he was a two-time IC champion, but when I was watching, the WWE had just blown up and was all over the world. Muraco was feuding with Ricky Steamboat, the man who would eventually win the IC title. Muraco was a great heel, but it was when he turned face that they should have done something. As a good guy, he had inspirational leadership from Superstar Billy Graham, but the WWE never capitalized on it and Muraco ended up disappearing from the scene without so much as a whimper, while a wrestler like The Honky Tonk Man went on to win the IC title and hold it for over a year.
Ken Patera: He was an IC champion at one time before the WWE exploded on the market and when he came back, Patera was a monster; a ball of fire. Legitimately spending a year in prison, Patera came back as a face, confronting Bobby Heenan for never visiting him once in jail or helping him out. It was a really good feud; almost cutting edge and the WWE never went anywhere with it. They wasted their time and Patera would never go on to win a title in the WWE again. Why? It made little sense at all. Patera was a great worker and he had a great look. The WWE dropped the ball.
Paul Orndorff: He main evented Wrestlemania I. He turned on Hulk Hogan after Wrestlemania II, leading to their high profile main event matches all over the world and a Saturday Nightís Main Event cage match that was so well choreographed, that it made Orndorff look like a future champion for sure. If done right, this should have main evented Wrestlemania II rather than Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy. Bundy is not a wrestler who wins a title. He is a threat, but never a champ. Orndorff should have beaten Hogan for the World Title on Saturday Nightís Main Event thanks to interference from King Kong Bundy, who breaks Hoganís ribs with the splashes. Then, you go to Wrestlemania II with Hogan injured; his ribs taped up; Danny Davis as the evil referee trying to screw Hogan out of his revenge, Bundy lurking around and Bobby Heenan there, too. When the two get out of the cage at the same time, the match has to be restarted, but not before Bundy splashes Hogan on the outside, putting Hogan up against the ropes and Orndorff in the driverís seat. But somehow Hogan comes back and gets the win when Bundy gets into the cage, goes to splash Hogan, misses and hits Orndorff; Hogan slams Bundy and climbs out of the cage and wins back the title. What drama that would have been. But Orndorff never won the belt. The WWE never even thought of putting him and Rick Rude together as a team to take the titles, split up and feud. They would have certainly done that today. Thankfully, WCW did provide Orndorff with some respect.
Junkyard Dog: JYD was as popular as Hulk Hogan at one point. The two were like todayís Steve Austin and The Rock. The fans ate up everything JYD did and his matches against Harley Race and Terry Funk were memorable battles. Today, JYD would have won the title, even if it was briefly, as Mick Foley did, but back then, the WWE didnít even allow him to beat Greg Valentine at Wrestlemania I for the IC title. It made no sense. The WWE allowed him to beat Randy Savage in the Wrestling Classic tournament, but Hulk Hogan was the top star and no one was allowed to unseat him even if he was just as popular as Jimmy Snuka and JYD were. How do you overlook such a popular force in the WWE? Even WCW teased us with having him beat Ric Flair in a non-title match only to never win the belt and then disappear from the company entirely, as part of some whack ass team with Mr. Hughes. The guy sold out arenas in Georgia. His matches with Butch Reed and The Fabulous Freebirds will be talked about for years and WWE just went past him, giving title shots to wrestlers like Kamala and Killer Khan. Great judgment.
Jimmy Snuka: This guy did more than Hogan ever did. Fans never forgot his leap from the top of the cage. He was arguably just as popular as Hogan, which was why they had to include him into the main event at Wrestlemania I, but Snuka was never allowed to hold a major title for some odd reason and even when he came back, the WWE basically made a mockery of him and had him lose match after match. I mean, we are talking about the guy who was part of one of the most shocking angles in wrestling when he got clocked over the head with a real coconut and the WWE never gave him the IC title. He deserved it as much as Ricky Steamboat did at the time. Did we even get a Snuka vs. Savage feud? Nope.
Ted Dibiase: He was the HHH of that era, only better and thatís not a diss at all to HHH. Dibiase was the greatest heel ever invented and he stood at the top of the game for quite some time. Yes, he did win a tag-team title, but after such a high profile feud with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage over the world title, to only win a title with a wrestler named Irwin is an insult and to have to create his own title as part of some silly storyline that was only cool in his feud with Jake Roberts was just a mockery of who he was. Dibiase served a world title. He deserved it more than any heel of that generation.
Jake Roberts: He invented the DDT. He used great ring psychology. He was probably one of the best talkers in the business. He tested wrestlers before they battled Hogan. How does he get rewarded? They gave him an interview segment called the Snake Pit. You have to be kidding me. Jake Roberts revolutionized the business. He paved the way for the Undertaker. To not get a run with the IC title was a travesty of justice.
Billy Jack Haynes: Phenomenal look; cool ass full nelson finisher; high profile feud with Hercules at Wrestlemania III, but he got nothing to show for it. He feuded with Demolition at one point with Ken Patera as his partner. That seemed like a good team, but they never went anywhere either. Haynes came in at the wrong time. Hogan had a stranglehold on the world title. Honky Tonk Man had an unnecessary hold of the IC title and The British Bulldogs and Hart Foundation were the tag-team title focus until Demolition had a stranglehold on that belt. Itís a shame, because he had tremendous potential that ended up being wasted.
Killer Bees: This team worked so well with teams like The Hart Foundation. Their gimmick with the masks was original at the time. They had a good look and were a real tag-team back when being a tag-team meant something. They had a uniform look and worked well together, but were overlooked when it came to winning the gold while teams like Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff and Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine, while good, but not as good, were given the nod to run with the belts instead.
The Islanders: This was a great team and far better than The Headshrinkers during their run with the WWE, yet nothing they could do, even a heel turn, earned them the tag-team titles. Haku would go on to some great success. Unfortunately, he won the tag-team titles in a strange alliance with Andre The Giant. The Giant couldnít really even wrestle anymore at this point; a true shame, considering how Tama could.
The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers: This group looked better than worked better as a team than the Quebecers did, yet they were often ignored and ended up in meaningless feuds with the Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs and Rockers, where they lost even when they won.
Hercules: He did a lot for the WWE and never got any props. He was a stable force for the Heenan Family and was even made to look like a threat to Hulk Hogan, but was never given the IC title as a reward for his loyalty or even the tag-team title when he teamed with Paul Roma as Power and Glory (they had a cool finisher). And donít disagree. The WWE gave A-Train the IC title once. Hercules was way better.
Big Bossman: How do you become so popular a wrestler in the WWE and never win a title until your career is almost dead and the WWE resuscitates it with a tag-team run and Hardcore title run. You mean he didnít deserve the IC title when he feuded with Mr. Perfect at a point when he wasnít as perfect anymore or a tag-team title run while part of the mega heel Twin Towers tandem, but deserved a run with Ken Shamrock in a team no one remembers at all? Makes no sense.
I think about how The Natural Disasters, Men on a Mission, The Quebecers, a past his prime Andre the Giant and Haku, A Train, Honky Tonk Man, Billy Gunn, The Hollies, Headbangers, Smoking Gunns and so many other wrestlers who didnít deserve it held on to titles while true stars went without a belt for years and it almost makes me sick. What about Big Bully Busick? He was a legend in the making. NawÖJust kidding. Have any favorites I overlooked? Let me know. Go to my Myspace page at www.myspace.com/gpop2005 and become my friend and drop me a line. Peace.
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