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Mark Coale




Being one of those anal-retentive types who spent most of the year saying 2000 was not the new millennium (a millennium yes, but not the millennium). So, while everyone did their decade lists last year at this time, I'm doing mine now.

But, the last ten years in wrestling has been so tumultuous that trying to narrow down everything that happened would be a Herculean task. Instead, I'm going to throw out some of the moments, big and small, that made an impact on me as first a fan, then as a journalist and then as someone that does work inside the business.

Please note that the list is being done in general chronological order, not in order of importance.

  • Fall 1991 - Hell freezes over. Well not really, but Ric Flair appears on WWF TV with the NWA title. And Vince McMahon takes one of his first bumps when Roddy Piper hits him with a chair.

  • December 1991 - A dream comes true. I get to see Jushin Liger in person, wrestling Brian Pillman in Baltimore a few months before their famous match at Superbrawl.

  • April 1992 - Some friends from the college newspaper and I go to Wrestlemania VIII in Indianapolis. While getting quotes on the concourse, I miss the "triumphant return" of the Ultimate Warrior during the main event.

  • Spring 1992 - I rejoice when hearing Bill Watts is hired to run WCW. The best lain schemes of mice and men .

  • February 1993 - The Von Erich curse strikes again as Kerry commits suicide after years of fighting personal demons.

  • Summer 1993 - Big Van Vader nearly kills Cactus Jack when he powerbombs him on the concrete floor. This great feud is ruined, as documented in Mick Foley's book, by the infamous "amnesia" angle.

  • June 1993 - Ric Flair Returns, part one. The Nature Boy and Arn Anderson wrestle the Hollywood Blondes on the Clash of the Champions. A few weeks earlier, the Blondes perform one of the most classic bits of the decade, "A Flair for the Old."

  • December 1993 - Thanks to the infamous Sid/Arn incident in England, Ric Flair is put into the main event at Starrcade against Big Van Vader. It may well be Flair's last great match.

  • November 1994 - AAA, with the help of WCW, puts the first Lucha Libre show on PPV. The momentum of the show is derailed both by WCW jealousy of the quality of the show and the death soon after of Love Machine Art Barr.

  • September 1995 - Lex Luger shows up announced on the first episode of Nitro, after working a WWF card the day before.

  • June 1996 - Steve Austin wins King of the Ring, utters for the first time "Austin 3:16."

  • July 1996 - Hulk Hogan shocks the world by turning heel and joining the N.W.O.

  • April 1997 - One of the most moving things in wrestling I've ever witnessed as we go to the Terry Funk Dinner the night before the first ECW PPV.

  • October 1997 - Brian Pillman dies, after having spent much of the year in his "Loose Cannon" persona, which many credit with laying the foundation for the new "attitude" in wrestling.

  • November 1997 - Montreal.

  • June 1998 - Mick Foley takes the bump off the Hell in the Cell cage at King of the Ring.

  • Fall 1998 - Ric Flair Returns, part two. After settling his legal problems with Eric Bischoff, the Nature Boy makes an emotional return in Greenville, SC.

  • January 1999 - Mick Foley takes 11 unprotected chair shots from the Rock at the Royal Rumble. I couldn't stand it then and, as documented in Beyond the Mat, it upset people in the company too.

  • January 1999 - I make my first trip to the ECW Arena. Despite living less than an hour away, I waited years to go until I could sit in the crow's nest in relative safety.

  • March 1999 - I see one of the best indy matches in my life, a four-way MCW Cruiserweight title match between the Hardy Boys, Christian York and Joey Matthews. Sitting at the timekeeper's table only made it more special.

  • May 1999 - Owen Hart dies during a WWF PPV.

  • June 1999 - A dream comes true as I get to my wrestling hero, Jim Cornette, backstage at a Maryland Championship Wrestling show in Baltimore.

  • November 1999 - Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara jump from the WWF to WCW. The Powers that Be cannot repeat history in Atlanta.

    Missing from the list are things that are not specific events, like the misuse of Lucha and cruiserweight wrestlers in WCW, the WWF Steroid Trial from the mid 1990s and the evolution of WWF Attitude. There are also a few other events that just missed the list (like Shawn Michael's "collapse" on RAW) or things that just fell out of the timeframe (Sting's knee injury at the 1990 Clash).

    Of course, this is just one man's opinion. If you think there's something glaring from my list, drop me a line at If I get enough responses, maybe I'll do a follow-up column with some of those choices.

    Mark Coale
    Odessa Steps Magazine

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