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Getting Over In the Modern Day
CCharger - 9-17-2019 at 02:32 PM

So, what wrestlers from the past would still be big acts today if they were in their prime now?

I think Flair in his prime would be over. I think the Road Warriors would be huge today. I think the Rock would be over huge (remember: in their prime).

On the other hand, I don't think Hogan or Savage would be able to get over with their gimmicks.


First 9 - 9-17-2019 at 03:46 PM

I think Diesel would do a lot better today than he did back then. He'd stand out a lot more as there are fewer giants and he'd have more chances to show his in-ring chops with today's bigger emphasis on workrate.Instead of having shitty slugfests with guys like Mabel, he'd be having much better hoss offs with Strowman and McIntyre, and he would have more opportunities to have great big man vs little man matches like he had with Bret.

Plus with social media and all the behind the scenes shows WWE does, Kevin Nash's personality would get to shine outside the ring.

[Edited on 9-17-2019 by First 9]


bigfatgoalie - 9-17-2019 at 03:58 PM

Obvious guys:

Austin, Rock, Foley, Flair, HBK, and Triple H. All can work, talk, and have a good look. Or unique in Foley’s case.

Also, Hardy Boys, E&C, and Dudley’s would all be above Young Bucks.

Oh... and Brock gets over in any era at his peak.


Less obvious:

Bret - the Canada > America thing? With Bret being able to hang with top workers? That could work. Excellence of Execution? Not so sure.

Savage - coked out promos? If Enzo could get over, so could Macho Man.

Vader - I mean, Ryback and Braun got over. Vader in his prime was much better.

CM Punk/Bryan Danielson/Indy darling - see Rollins,Owens, Balor, etc.

Trish - Mandy Rose would be Trish’s downside. She’d have at least an Alexa level career now.


Not Happening:

Undertaker - his peak was built around being a legend. Not sure he reaches legend status with being an ok big guy who can’t really talk with a silly gimmick.

Lita - moonsaults aren’t enough.


punkerhardcore - 9-17-2019 at 06:15 PM

Rick Rude was way ahead of his time. The whole, "cut the music" bit, along with the shit talking and air brushed tights would still be amazing today.


Paddlefoot - 9-17-2019 at 07:37 PM

Any non-goof gimmick would make it as long as it was combined with some good in-ring skills. Scott Hall of The Outsiders would succeed but Razor Ramon certainly wouldn't. Savage would make it - he was just too talented to ever ignore but the insanity promos never go out of style but the zubaz swag would have to be deleted. Ultimate Warrior would be laughed out of every building in the world right now because one-dimensional clothesline-clobbering combined with tassels around the biceps is (and always was) too lame for mere words to describe. Doink would make it, thanks to at least 90% of the population being afraid of clowns.


DKBroiler - 9-17-2019 at 10:06 PM

RE: Hogan

Not only would prime Hogan be a huge star, he would be their biggest star. Have you not watched WWE? Goldberg is still over primarily from 20 year old victories over Hogan and he is over as hell still.

Don’t ever for a second confuse what would be popular with hardcore uber fans with what would be all over Smackdown on Fox posters.

Kenny Omega, for example, is not nearly as over with the casual wrestling audience TODAY as Hogan is TODAY. And Hogan is a racist who can barely walk or talk anymore. 30 to 45 year old Hogan was a God of Heat and that should not just be forgotten about.

Also, Savage is amazing and would still be. He’d fit in any era. Do you not like charisma?

[Edited on 9-17-2019 by DKBroiler]


Paddlefoot - 9-17-2019 at 10:21 PM

It might heighten the divisions between jaded adult fans and the kids in the crowd, as the decade of Cena illustrated, but there's no way that a Hogan-type gimmick would ever get universal acclaim again. Those days are now extinct, as shown most vividly by the anti-Reigns hate-fest anywhere from 30 to 40% of the audience was engaging in (as recently as earlier this year) until the cancer diagnosis was revealed. And it's further shown by Becky and Bayley getting real cheers only after the goody-two-shoes routines they were stuck with got abandoned altogether. Any pure hopeless-sap face of the Hogan variety is something that should be forever extinct in WWE as chair shots to the head now are.


punkerhardcore - 9-17-2019 at 10:36 PM

You're missing the point of the thread, DK. Nobody is disputing Goldberg's current nostalgia-based popularity. The question is-- if Bill Goldberg debuted as a brand new superstar next week, would he be able to get over? I'd say maybe. He's a big dude who could fuck people up. Probably do no worse than Braun, really.

Hogan... I really don't think he would. In today's era, he'd be a half bald chump, who is barely an OK worker. All that hokey stuff from the 80s like no selling and shouting "you!" wouldn't fly today.


salmonjunkie - 9-17-2019 at 11:48 PM

Hulk today would be pulling off shit like this to get over:


CCharger - 9-18-2019 at 12:48 AM

Same with Savage.

If Savage debuted today with the sunglasses and the rhinestone cowboy hat and giving his semi-coherent promos, he'd be roasted on here constantly.

You know who else wouldn't get over? Andre.


bigfatgoalie - 9-18-2019 at 01:35 AM

Yeah, but rhinestone hat Savage wasn’t peak Savage. The heel act with him mistreating Elizabeth? The cream rises to the top? That guy would get over today.

I’m not sure about Hogan, and Piper as well. Both have the charisma. But in the ring? Not sure.

Another I’m not sure on? Ricky Steamboat. Not sure he has the mic skills to be an over baby face in 2019.

Another who would? Jake Roberts. Lots of guys use a DDT variation as a finisher, and none hit it as well as Roberts. Plus snakes are always imagery. See the Viper and Rattlesnake.


punkerhardcore - 9-18-2019 at 03:04 AM

I was gonna mention Andre as well as a firm nope.

I absolutely agree on Savage getting over. But even beyond that, I picture a Randy Savage who was breaking into pro wrestling today as having a much leaner body type. Without all the steriod/whatever use, he'd likely be much less jacked up looking... more like a Seth Rollins-ish level of fit.


Paddlefoot - 9-18-2019 at 03:14 AM

Hate to think about what some of those guys from back in the day could be doing if they were, like you just said, a bunch of no-steroid CrossFit Jesuses like Rollins. At a minimum a hell of lot of them would probably still be alive today.

Toss this one out for controversy - except for Dynamite Kid (due to his flippy-shit ability) and maybe Owen I don't think any of the other Harts would have been successful in today's wrestling. Too mechanical and often boring, not that great on promos, and far too often caught like a deer in the headlights by others who could talk way better than pretty much all of them. Toss in too that even Anvil and Davey Boy weren't all that big compared to some of the specimens around today like Reigns, Orton, Elias, Cena, etc.. What made them unique back then just doesn't exist anymore. Benoit would have been super-successful though, because the reckless way he could go in the ring would have matched up perfectly with (once again) Rollins and others like Balor


shashwat mishra - 9-18-2019 at 08:52 AM

Owen Hart would be able to pull off the main event today. Great worker, good on the mike, terrific as the bitchy, whiny heel who could back it up in the ring. With a heel Bret by his side, they would dominate the tag division. He would also do well in the singles - at Kevin Owens's level.

I believe Bret could still play a clean, top babyface most of the time. He would have to change his wrestling style and make it more brawling oriented to avoid being tagged as boring. The matches he would have with Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles and with Brock Lesnar would be epic.

Macho Man would be taking over Dean Ambrose's slot in the WWE. Unhinged, unpredictable, able to work all styles but way more entertaining than Dean Ambrose.

Undertaker would succeed as Judgement Day Biker Taker with a take-no-prisoners attitude. He is okay on the mic when not playing supernatural characters. His feud with Brock Lesnar in the early 2000s is something that would work even today.

Doink > Pennywise and would have a gimmick as a psychopath. Would be better than Bray Wyatt's first run in any case.

Hulk Hogan probably would struggle with his in ring limitations. He is a big guy and Vince would have tried a huge push. Also, I doubt his look and the yellow undies would fly with the new generation. His top feuds would be with Jinder and Rusev.

Shawn Michaels and Seth Rollins would have a love story? Vince would personally write that one.


CCharger - 9-18-2019 at 02:01 PM

I have to imagine that RVD and Matt Riddle would have some kind of weed/martial art themed tag team together.


DKBroiler - 9-18-2019 at 03:28 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Paddlefoot
It might heighten the divisions between jaded adult fans and the kids in the crowd, as the decade of Cena illustrated, but there's no way that a Hogan-type gimmick would ever get universal acclaim again. Those days are now extinct, as shown most vividly by the anti-Reigns hate-fest anywhere from 30 to 40% of the audience was engaging in (as recently as earlier this year) until the cancer diagnosis was revealed. And it's further shown by Becky and Bayley getting real cheers only after the goody-two-shoes routines they were stuck with got abandoned altogether. Any pure hopeless-sap face of the Hogan variety is something that should be forever extinct in WWE as chair shots to the head now are.


They said over, not universal acclaim. Cena and Reigns ALWAYS got a reaction (IE being over) even if it wasn’t the one that WWE wanted. There’s a 100% chance a loud minority of fans would boo the hell out of Hogan it he was in his prime in 2019. But he would absolutely get a loud ass reaction and kids would love him, no different than Cena/Reigns and get promoted in the same way. No one is arguing that Hogan was ever a good in-ring technician, that’s silly. I’m arguing that a finger point, Hulk-up and leg drop would still get the loudest reaction of the week because prime Hogan had supernatural charisma.

[Edited on 9-18-2019 by DKBroiler]


DKBroiler - 9-18-2019 at 03:30 PM

quote:
Originally posted by punkerhardcore
You're missing the point of the thread, DK. Nobody is disputing Goldberg's current nostalgia-based popularity. The question is-- if Bill Goldberg debuted as a brand new superstar next week, would he be able to get over? I'd say maybe. He's a big dude who could fuck people up. Probably do no worse than Braun, really.

Hogan... I really don't think he would. In today's era, he'd be a half bald chump, who is barely an OK worker. All that hokey stuff from the 80s like no selling and shouting "you!" wouldn't fly today.


No I got it. I’m arguing that in WWE it totally would and he’d be selling out arenas world-wide because charisma > wrestling skill 99 times out of 100 in WWE.


nOOb - 9-18-2019 at 03:30 PM

Correct answer: whoever Vince is inexplicably drawn to at the time, or, more importantly, whoever doesn’t do something that Vince decides he doesn’t like in front of him. Hogan can come back in his prime and be shat on by the smart fans, but if Vince still wants to go full on ‘Murica, he’ll sell the universe on him in a heartbeat. Likewise, any old school work rate guy could come in and set the masses on fire with their performance, but they do something like yawn or sneeze in front of Vince, they’ll be off TV until the Universe forgets about them.


DKBroiler - 9-18-2019 at 03:34 PM

quote:
Originally posted by CCharger
Same with Savage.

If Savage debuted today with the sunglasses and the rhinestone cowboy hat and giving his semi-coherent promos, he'd be roasted on here constantly.

You know who else wouldn't get over? Andre.


Roasted on here does not mean over. Being on NFL commercials for Smackdown on Fox while little kids line up so their parents buy $35 t-shirts does. Every single person you mentioned would be over as hell. I’m sure they’d make a few modern tweaks like less coke and alcoholism but that’s the whole industry.

Who we like in our own corner of hardcore nerdism is wildly different than what an average WWE fan will react to.


DKBroiler - 9-18-2019 at 03:38 PM

quote:
Originally posted by nOOb
Correct answer: whoever Vince is inexplicably drawn to at the time, or, more importantly, whoever doesn’t do something that Vince decides he doesn’t like in front of him. Hogan can come back in his prime and be shat on by the smart fans, but if Vince still wants to go full on ‘Murica, he’ll sell the universe on him in a heartbeat. Likewise, any old school work rate guy could come in and set the masses on fire with their performance, but they do something like yawn or sneeze in front of Vince, they’ll be off TV until the Universe forgets about them.


100% what Noob said better than I ever could. The answer is Vince. “We” might hate many of his pet projects but the guy is a master at institutionalized Stockholm Syndrome.


CCharger - 9-18-2019 at 03:41 PM

I love Andre the Giant, but do you really think that in today's wrestling that a lumbering 7' 4" guy who can hardly speak English, and a limited skillset would get over? You're crazy. Look at Khali.

And I understand that we are a niche corner of wrestling fandom, but my point was that if Savage debuted with the Macho Man gimmick today it wouldn't get over in general. He would not be a big start today like he was in the 80's. Fans wouldn't buy it.


DKBroiler - 9-18-2019 at 03:54 PM

quote:
Originally posted by CCharger
I love Andre the Giant, but do you really think that in today's wrestling that a lumbering 7' 4" guy who can hardly speak English, and a limited skillset would get over? You're crazy. Look at Khali.

And I understand that we are a niche corner of wrestling fandom, but my point was that if Savage debuted with the Macho Man gimmick today it wouldn't get over in general. He would not be a big start today like he was in the 80's. Fans wouldn't buy it.


Khali still sells out arenas in India. That’s something. Maybe Andre wouldn’t be a world champ but put that guy on NXT UK and he’d become a megastar in Europe at least. Put him next to WALTER and we’d have to stop capitalizing his name. Book him to go undefeated in NXT UK for 2 years and at worst he’s a main event heel fodder for Reigns to take down.

As for Machoman ... the guy who had the original best match ever at WM 3, um really? First he’d be the absolute favorite of work rate fans. While I don’t think that work rate is nearly as important as charisma, it still counts for something. And then add in his charisma which was Rock level and I’d argue he’d be an enormous star ... who still would get booked as below Hogan/Reigns/Cena cause Vince. Machoman would be the smark favorite and if he were on AEW be hailed as the best wrestler in the world.


denverpunk - 9-18-2019 at 04:42 PM

Ted Dibiase Sr. would probably do even better today than he did in the 80’s. I also second Jake the Snake. Guys like Greg Valentine, Dino Bravo, and Honkey Tonk Man would all stiff.

I wonder about Andre, because I think Yokozuna would be a big star today. Being big and slow doesn’t mean you won’t make it.


First 9 - 9-18-2019 at 05:11 PM

If anything, AEW's looser feel and wild environment would probably a better home for the Macho Man character than modern WWE is. Just like Cody is a throw back to 80's Southern wrestling, they could fit in a throwback to the WWF's steroid fueled, cartoony 80's era aswell.


Paddlefoot - 9-18-2019 at 07:06 PM

quote:
Originally posted by denverpunk

I wonder about Andre, because I think Yokozuna would be a big star today. Being big and slow doesn’t mean you won’t make it.


Viscera/Big Daddy V bombed, and he was wildly more mobile than Yoko ever was. I think in terms of big fat guys that someone like Dozer would be the limit of how far WWE would be willing to go. There's just too many of the Rollins/Balor type of guys now who go non-stop at full speed to make the huge fatties look credible as opponents.


DKBroiler - 9-18-2019 at 07:16 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Paddlefoot
quote:
Originally posted by denverpunk

I wonder about Andre, because I think Yokozuna would be a big star today. Being big and slow doesn’t mean you won’t make it.


Viscera/Big Daddy V bombed, and he was wildly more mobile than Yoko ever was. I think in terms of big fat guys that someone like Dozer would be the limit of how far WWE would be willing to go. There's just too many of the Rollins/Balor type of guys now who go non-stop at full speed to make the huge fatties look credible as opponents.


This is where we will never agree. I find it less likely that Bálor is a credible opponent for a 500 pound man than vice versa. Bálor is amazing but he could literally be killed by one move against someone like Yokozuna. Winning every now and again on a fluke or a submission is one thing but if you were to book 100 Yokozuna vs Bálor matches Yoko should go over in about 95 of them.

And he’d be a big star because of it.


Edit - Holy shit, thats 3000 posts! If one of you bastards doesn’t nominate for Lifetime Unachievement this year I’m gonna find you and hunt ... wait that’s someone else’s line. You get the point.

[Edited on 9-18-2019 by DKBroiler]


Paddlefoot - 9-18-2019 at 07:28 PM

I have my doubts simply because I can't believe the majority of the fans today would fall for the gimmicks of the Cartoon Age. Especially not when the really big stars of the current era are remarkably healthier in appearance and incredibly faster than the ones from twenty to thirty years ago were. Vince is really the only one left in the business, as shown by the example of Nia Jax, that someone overweight and in terrible shape deserves to be pushed. The rest of the industry, as shown by the absence of the fat monsters on their rosters, have left that idea far behind them.

Braun Strowman? I'm with you in that I saw the potential in this guy three years ago when most others were deriding him. But I didn't see it just because he's gigantic. I noticed it the first time I saw him run and nail someone with a shoulder tackle. He's that great because he's fast and in terrific shape. If he were another lumbering guy like Andre, Khali, or Yoko he wouldn't make it today, even if Vince blew out another pack of brain synapses and gave him a push.


DKBroiler - 9-18-2019 at 07:49 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Paddlefoot
I have my doubts simply because I can't believe the majority of the fans today would fall for the gimmicks of the Cartoon Age. Especially not when the really big stars of the current era are remarkably healthier in appearance and incredibly faster than the ones from twenty to thirty years ago were. Vince is really the only one left in the business, as shown by the example of Nia Jax, that someone overweight and in terrible shape deserves to be pushed. The rest of the industry, as shown by the absence of the fat monsters on their rosters, have left that idea far behind them.

Braun Strowman? I'm with you in that I saw the potential in this guy three years ago when most others were deriding him. But I didn't see it just because he's gigantic. I noticed it the first time I saw him run and nail someone with a shoulder tackle. He's that great because he's fast and in terrific shape. If he were another lumbering guy like Andre, Khali, or Yoko he wouldn't make it today, even if Vince blew out another pack of brain synapses and gave him a push.


Fair. Strowman’s speed is what hooked me as well. Hell, Corbin’s speed is a lot of the reason I like him.

That said, I don’t believe the reason why there are so many smaller wrestlers nowadays is because big guys don’t sell. I believe it’s just really hard to find people in general who are 6’10” or 400 pounds. Many people of that size are either half crippled by injuries or are making millions of dollars in the NBA or NFL. We talked last week about how weird it was that Enes Kanter wants to become a pro wrestler because he has 100 million in the bank.

My guess is that if an NBA washout standing 7 feet tall wanted to become a pro wrestler there would be a line of companies waiting to push them to the moon. NFL players rarely get that tall and would never be allowed to get near 500 pounds so less so with them.

Ultimately there are ... googling ... just 2800 7 foot tall people on earth and those people have ... googling ... a 17% chance of playing in the NBA. That’s 1 out of 6 who would instantly be athletic enough but have too much money. Got to assume that at least half of the 2800 would never consider pro wrestling as well. Ultimately there just aren’t that many insanely large people.

And because of this, guys like Andre The Giant will always be a spectacle that many people will pay to see.

Bálor is an amazing talent who is in the top 1% of most well conditioned people on the planet but ultimately he just looks like the guy from Mr Robot. No one is paying to gawk at Mr Robot.


DKBroiler - 9-18-2019 at 08:39 PM

I’d like to thank Pads for the tallest people rabbit hole I’ve been Googling. By my count there appear to only be 46 living people who would be taller than Andre The Giant’s billed height of 7’4”.

Of that I’ll assume anyone born before 1980 would have no interest in becoming a pro wrestler at this point. That’s 13 people off the list. 33 left. You can cross reference that with the 17 professional basketball players on the list (4 are still alive and born after 1980 with a 5th in Yao Ming who can be lumped in too since he probably has 200 million dollars in the bank). We’re down to 21.

That’s it. The entire list of people on Earth who are taller than Andre The Giant assuming his billed height was accurate. Many of which live in 3rd world countries and have massive debilitating injuries. My guess is that MAYBE there are 5 people on Earth healthy enough and poor enough to want to attempt a career as a pro wrestler when other options like basketball, volleyball and acting are available to them.

If Takko Fall flames out in the NBA he would be the most likely person on the entire planet earth to become the “10th Wonder of the World”.

So yeah, I do no believe that big guys don’t sell. I just don’t believe they are in any way available.


Paddlefoot - 9-18-2019 at 09:48 PM

I probably shouldn't cast my opinion on others, thinking that they share the same view. But unless it's a Strowman or a younger & fitter Big Show I've completely lost interest in the side-show aspect of the big-guy mystique. It never really held anything for me, not even with Andre most of the time. I was always like "the guy can barely move, why not just kick him in the back of the legs until he goes down?, even during his feud with Hogan. Yeah, WM3's main event was a unique spectacle but, as opposed to say Austin, HBK, or Rock, it was difficult to go along with Andre when his mobility weak point was so glaringly obvious. Ditto with Khali, simply because the poor bastard is so damn slow and awkward.

Curse of being a mega-cynic and uber-skeptic is simply not being able to suspend disbelief to go along with the carny aspects of wrestling when they trot a sideshow freak out.


bopol - 9-19-2019 at 02:27 AM

I think you have to consider that 70s Andre was much more mobile than the Andre of the mid-80s that is lodged in our memories. He wasn't superquick, but he was huge and could move very well for his size. That Andre would have gotten over.


Paddlefoot - 9-19-2019 at 02:35 AM

Could be. I've also been way too influenced over the last few years of the crowds at WWE shows just sitting there barely reacting at all when something really neat, unique, or cool happens right in front of them. It's one of the main things I miss about Attitude, where the audience would be going nuts at a mere RAW or SD whereas today too often they don't even get off their feet at a really good PPV. That's why I've got it stuck in my head that even an Andre wouldn't get much fanfare today.

[Edited on 9/19/2019 by Paddlefoot]


First 9 - 9-19-2019 at 07:26 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Paddlefoot

Toss this one out for controversy - except for Dynamite Kid (due to his flippy-shit ability) and maybe Owen I don't think any of the other Harts would have been successful in today's wrestling. Too mechanical and often boring, not that great on promos, and far too often caught like a deer in the headlights by others who could talk way better than pretty much all of them. Toss in too that even Anvil and Davey Boy weren't all that big compared to some of the specimens around today like Reigns, Orton, Elias, Cena, etc.. What made them unique back then just doesn't exist anymore. Benoit would have been super-successful though, because the reckless way he could go in the ring would have matched up perfectly with (once again) Rollins and others like Balor


Disagree on the Harts, Bret would probably rise even faster in today's envinronment. He wasn't especially flashy but he was so good at the fundamentals that he'd still stand out. His transistions and timing are still at an elite level even when compared to today's roster. Plus, the pink and black attire with the sunglasses is a great fucking look.


LoveMuscle - 9-20-2019 at 01:50 AM

quote:
Originally posted by bopol
I think you have to consider that 70s Andre was much more mobile than the Andre of the mid-80s that is lodged in our memories. He wasn't superquick, but he was huge and could move very well for his size. That Andre would have gotten over.


I think this is the thing that's being overlooked. Probably for most of us WrestleMania-era Andre is what we remember and think of ...but younger, slimmer Andre was one heck of an athlete for someone his size. I mean, we're not talking about shooting star presses off the top rope or anything, but think of an oversized Luke Harper. By all accounts he was legit super-strong too - it's no stretch to see him doing the stuff Strowman has done (flipping ambulances, no-selling being squashed by a semi truck) and yet be even more believable. Yeah, the accent would limit his promo ability - but how many words has Brock Lesnar spoke in the past five years? You think an in-his-prime Paul Heyman or Bobby Heenan couldn't do all the talking for Andre? He'd just have to stand there with his arms crossed and look intimidating while his mouthpiece did his job.


GodEatGod - 9-20-2019 at 08:52 AM

I think Savage gets over in any era. He's like the Rock, this combination of a supernova of charisma with this amazing, over-the-top character that you can't look away from - and he could back it up in the ring. Warrior would probably still get over at first with his crazy promos, but his shit matches would keep him from ever getting above a certain level.


SpiNNeR72 - 9-21-2019 at 11:20 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Paddlefoot
I probably shouldn't cast my opinion on others, thinking that they share the same view. But unless it's a Strowman or a younger & fitter Big Show I've completely lost interest in the side-show aspect of the big-guy mystique.


Watch NXT next week. You'll see what gets big guys over these days...


I completely agree on Savage. He was just too intense not to get over on any TV based promotion at any time. Intense in character and ~workrate I may add.

Hogan is a very interesting one. I'm sure most of us here (middle aged die hards) think of him primarily in the 80's role, against the likes of Andre, Warrior, Zeus, Bossman (that cage match still sticks with me though) etc.

So yeah, at the time I wasn't a fan of his wrestling. Until I got a tape of him in Japan via RSPW. I can't even remember the event now but fuck the dude could wrestle! Slick, quick, some innovative holds ("sliding" figure 4 was awesome, enjiguris, urinagi backbreakers, etc etc)

These days, we would know all about that.