THE JOHN REPORT
The Best Matches, Feuds and PPVs in WWF History and More!
I was planning to write about Raw and Nitro this week but neither show inspired me enough to write in depth about them so I came up with this post. I will say that the fiasco with Mae Young was the ABSOLUTE WORST thing I have ever seen in the history of Raw. The only positive out of the whole thing was the comedy of the stooges but even they couldn't save that segment. She gave birth to a prosthetic hand! A hand! What the fuck was that all about? It was a forgettable Raw for the most part so I will just avoid it all together and move on. As for Nitro, well I put the badmouth on Tank Abbott last week and he really isn't worth the column space to do it again. I liked the Jarrett/Vampiro match a lot and I was hoping Vampiro would win cause JJ has no need for the U.S. title. It was probably the best Nitro of February so at least they are improving even though it will take a while to really make a dent in the ratings. This is my second column in three days because my son is with his mother (my ex-wife) this week and it has left me with some time on my hands. Life goes on and so does this column. Here she blows...
After claiming that No Way Out was one of the best PPVs in a long time I was asked by several people what I thought was the best ever. I have also been asked about the best feuds and the best matches so in this column I will take a look at these things.
I will only do WWF ones for a while and in the future I will do some WCW ones but there are plenty of WWF ones to keep me busy. Keep in mind that I am 24 years old and we didn't get WCW here in Ontario till around 1992 so I am still catching up on a lot of things that I missed. I have watched the WWF for at least 15 years now so I remember many of the key historical moments. These opinions are my opinions and mine only so if you have a problem with any of them just let me know and I would be glad to discuss things with you.
Best PPV Ever: WrestleMania X in 1994
Best PPV Nobody Talks About: IYH Calgary Stampede from July 1997
Best Feud Ever: Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart
Best Matches in WWF History
1. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin "I Quit Match" - WrestleMania 13 (March 23,
All of these matches were given a rating of ****1/2 to ***** from me with the bottom two being the only ones getting ****1/2. The top fifteen matches are ones I would consider as being five star while #16-18 are ****3/4.
I know I may be missing out on some matches from the '80s and I am sure I will be asked about the Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart "Ironman" match from WrestleMania 12. My explanation for excluding that match from the list is that I felt it had moments where the action seemed to be lacking due to the 60 minutes they were in the ring. If they were in there for 45 minutes it would definitely be in this list but I don't think they did enough in 60 minutes to earn a spot here.
I will be honest when I tell you that I have changed this list around a lot as I prepared to post this column. I have seen the matches in the top ten several times each so I think I was fair in terms of the order of which they appear. If you want me to write about each match with a reason why it is in that particular spot you can mail me at email@example.com and let me know what you would like to be discussed in more detail.
That is all I am going to do in terms of "Best Of" for this column but I promise to continue this trend in next week's column using categories that you suggest. Let me know what you want to see me write about and I will do my best to accommodate your wishes.
THE MAILBAG I want to share a few emails that I have received in the past week so here they are with reader comments in italics.
Brad Robinson asked a very good question:
I won't ask if Jericho will win the WWF title this year (of course he won't), but I will ask your opinion on who will win it FIRST: Jericho or Benoit?
I think there's a chance Jericho could win the world title this year because he is next in line for the push that Rocky received in late '98 and HHH received in the summer of '99. He is in line for a main event push after WrestleMania so there is a good chance that he gets close to that level. I think he could be the world champ by the end of this year but I am not going to bet on that. I think Y2J will get it before Benoit just because he has been in the WWF longer and has done a good job in terms of getting over. I wish Jericho put up a better effort in the ring though because he is underachieving right now. Putting the belt on either man is obviously a good thing but I think Jericho will be the one to have the belt first.
After I sent this to Brad he wrote back and here's a look at some of his reply:
First, thanks for replying. I've been a long time reader of your columns and know you support each wrestler tremendously (as they are both favorites of mine as well). Thought you might find the question interesting; "Who will be the WWF champion first?"
I've been talking with friends about this very question for the past few weeks (really, since Benoit has had VERY impressive matches with WWF main eventers: Triple H, Rock, Rikishi, and now Kane). Y2J gave a nice "first impression" as well (the very greatest entrance in wrestling history) but to me, besides a look at what will be a historic feud for the future (Rock/Jericho), he hasn't given the same... impact. I mean, Jericho is IC champion (very impressive after only about 6 months) but who has he fought? Chyna? Shamrock? With an opportunity to finally make his first "impact" this weekend against Angle (Jesus, does this have the potential to kick ass...), he hasn't impressed like Benoit has.
In honesty, it's hard to tell and way too early, but yet it's still a lot of fun to think about. Benoit's only been there 6 weeks to Jericho's 6 months, but I just get a sense Benoit is making more corporate heads turn. He was also WCW champion... but that doesn't mean much, no matter how long he held it. This is a lot of writing to basically say "I don't know". If it's worth anything, the only meaningful conclusion my friends have come up with is the same reasoning you have: "Jericho, cause he's been there longer". My feeling is that 6 months isn't THAT much longer, though.
I feel Benoit would make a better and more believable champion, but they will have to build him up more than they would Jericho due to the differences in mic work. And when he is built up, Benoit vs. Austin will bring the house down like no house has EVER been brought down before (I've decided to mark out early). But despite that, will he make it there before Jericho?
I love that you're giving the possibility that J might win it by years-end, but I'd only argue the timing because I think they'll build it like they did Shawn's first win, at a WrestleMania (or maybe at 'Mania Jr.: SummerSlam). I agree with you, for the most part. Y2J is next in line, and has made a big name for himself - but is it championship big? Thinking about it this way, there's the perfect chance for this coming up after April. Rock will have the belt after 'Mania. Turn J heel (he's much better this way) and finish the feud he started with the Rock at SummerSlam. It works out on paper, but personally I think it's too soon. Next 'Mania feels right to me. But where will Benoit be by then?
No doubt BOTH men will make incredible WWF champions some day and are truly the company's future. If done right (and probably will be) these two will reach and surpass the legends that Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart left behind. I'll be looking forward to (hopefully) an in depth opinion in your next column. Take care.
This is the kind of discussion I really enjoy so I would like to say thanks once again to Brad for this terrific email. He made a lot of good points here, many of which I agree with, and honestly I am not sure who will win the world title first. I didn't think The Rock would win the world title before Mick Foley but he did. I would have no objections if either man won the world title later this year. The WWF has a strong main event picture for the future especially with Steve Austin's return slated for the summer. There is only one belt and although two or three people deserve to be at that level only one person can be there so they will have to do an ego check if they want to hold it. The advantage Benoit has over Jericho is that he is a better, more consistent worker who can put on good matches with anybody whether it is a fat ass like Rikishi or a cruiserweight like Jeff Hardy. Whether they push Jericho or Benoit to the top they will have a deserving wrestler at the top and absolutely no complaints from me.
Just like Brad, I am REALLY anticipating Steve Austin's return and I really hope his return match comes against Chris Benoit. I would love it if Benoit challenged Austin the same way Austin challenged Bret Hart in 1996 while Bret took time off. If I could see any match happen this year it would be Chris Benoit vs. Steve Austin. My dream match is probably HBK vs. Benoit but that will never happen since Shawn has retired so I'll go for the next best thing and hope the WWF can deliver Austin vs. Benoit in the near future. Give me Austin vs. Benoit for 20 minutes and I guarantee you will get a match of the year candidate. Thanks again for the mail Brad, I appreciate it.
Bryan Harmon wrote me after my column last week where I gave five suggestions to help WCW:
Great post. It is nice to see someone giving suggestions to WCW instead of just saying they simply suck (which they do right now).
I appreciate that and I agree with what you are saying here. I am frustrated with WCW right now just like a lot of fans and I wrote that whole piece because I would like to see the product improve. Many people think I hate WCW for saying it is in bad shape but if I felt that way I wouldn't bother writing about it in the first place. They need to do a lot of things in order to impress the fans they are losing right now. The sooner they change things the better it will be for everybody involved. Thanks for the mail, I appreciate it.
Brian added his thoughts on WCW's problems and the Oratory:
First let me say that you and the rest the Oratory are great, and I can't wait for the N.W.O preview and the next Oratory Staff column. Now, your WCW suggestions were on point. But even if you were put in place of authority at WCW, and you did put your initiatives in place. It wouldn't change anything because you wouldn't have enough quality workers and/or likable stars in your promotion. You would need to fire the leeches first, and they are your biggest "stars". So you wouldn't have those old, sucky guys to put your young, good guys over because they will fake an injury before jobbing to someone who will never have their drawing power.
Thanks for reading,
You were right on the money when you said that they no longer have the talent to push because they just let everyone walk out. They have Kidman, Vampiro, Crowbar, Booker and a few others but they have buried a lot of these guys to the point where fans have lost interest. Fixing the situation is a very difficult task and I am not sure the booking committee, especially one headed by Kevin Sullivan, can turn it around. Thanks for the mail, I appreciate it.
Shannon had this to say about the great Mick Foley:
John, Too damned bad guys like Hogan and, even though I still like him, Flair can't realize their time has passed and pass it on to someone else. Mick Foley has been my favorite wrestler since arriving in the WWF. I knew of him for years dating back to his WCCW days feuding with the Von Erichs and Eric Embry. I still laugh at seeing a slim blonde Percy Pringle. HHH has become a lot better in the ring and on the mic this last year. Thanks Mick for the laughs and the tears. God Bless You.
Flair has tried his best to pass the torch but I think he is finding things to be very difficult in terms of hanging up his boots. He is the greatest ever but he needs to hang the boots up now before it's too late. Thanks Shannon.
A long time friend of mine, BroodSquad, had this to say about No Way Out and Mick Foley:
I just gotta tell ya what a great column that was about No Way Out and Mick Foley. The last part, where you talked about what kinda guy Mick was, was really put perfectly, and I agree 100%. Your feelings of the NWO PPV were the same as mine, and I too think it's gonna be hard for any other event this year to top it. I'm just curious... did it bother you that the ring broke on Foley's fall through the cell? I KNOW that it had to hurt like hell... but by making the mat give in, it looked all soft like it didn't hurt, and made the fall look less impressive. I appreciate it greatly, but other people I talked with said how it didn't look that bad, and was no big deal, and that he's probably not even hurting at all... and that bothers me. Because he took a hell of a fall, but because the ring gave in, it looked like the bump was no big deal, and some people don't appreciate it. Maybe it's just me...but I was upset, because now I'm gonna be arguing with people all week about how great that was. I wish every fan could understand exactly what Foley did for us Sunday night. Later...
I will write more about Mick Foley this weekend so if you are wondering where is the Foley talk I am going to save it for Saturday. I briefly touched on the subject of Mick's bump on Monday and once again I will say that there are very few wrestlers who would take such a bump. Falling through a cage fifteen feet below is a hellacious thing to do even if it is padded. The bump is still impressive even though he crashed through the ring into the soft protective mats that saved Mick's body. I agree with you, it was a great bump and although Mick says it didn't hurt that bad I know that many wrestlers are in a hurry to take. If a person is navvvve enough to say "oh it wasn't that bad" they need to consider themselves falling fifteen feet backwards and then see how bad it is. You can't fault the WWF for insuring the man's safety especially after the near death experience that happened the last time. In closing, I have to agree with you that it was a brutal bump and it was not lessened by the fact that Mick walked out without injuries. If you watch wrestling for people to get hurt you are a sick person and honestly there is no place for such a fan in this business. I may not like some wrestlers but I appreciate what they do and I would never wish for someone to be injured in a ring. Thanks for the mail.
That wraps up this week's column and I would like to close things out by asking you to mail me with your thoughts on the first part of my look at the best moments in the WWF. I am open to suggestions in terms of categories as well as your feedback on the topics I wrote about today. Send me your list of matches, the best PPVs or the best feuds and I will include a batch of your emails in an upcoming column. Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts, comments or questions and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible. Take care and have a great week.