Pro Wrestling’s Biggest What If’s: CM Punk, Hulk Hogan, WWE WrestleMania 9, DX & Magnum T.A
By any calculation, Wrestling has a prestigious history. Looking back at certain times, one can trace points where something happened that changed the direction of the industry. The question “what if”, can be applied to just about every walk of life.
What if Jordan never retired in the 1990’s?
What if Tupac and Biggie were still alive?
What if you didn’t drink everything in sight that one night?
It’s one of the best questions to ask yourself, because you’ll never really know the answer. Wrestling is no different. Whether through injuries, risks taken, or behind the scenes controversy, opportunities to shine are often created or taken away because of those moments.,
The last time I gathered you all here, I asked questions regarding, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania 1, WCW & more.
Thanks to some awesome readers that responded to my open call, this column will continue with their questions. After reading this, feel free to contact me on twitter @DangerRich32 or @OneNationRadio or in the comment section below to see YOUR questions answered by yours truly. Lets hop into question 1.
@wynne004 asks: What If WrestleMania 9 Had Been Booked Better?
As many of you know, WrestleMania 9 is regarded as the poorest offering of WWE’s flagship show. In theory it was supposed to be great. The outdoor venue still stands up to this day as one of the coolest Mania venues ever, but that is where it stops. This show featured many puzzling booking decisions that can only be looked back upon and justified by the thinking of “They were in a transitional period.”
This WrestleMania featured The Undertaker winning via DQ, Shawn Michaels losing Via Countout, and lastly Bret Hart getting royally screwed for the first time of many with his sudden title loss to Yokozuna. And that’s before Hulk Hogan swooped down for the earliest version of a Money in The Bank Cash In.
If WM 9 was booked better, Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan may have not carried the contempt for one another that there is rumored to be. Upon taking the title off of Bret, McMahon still had to find a way to present Hart as a rising star. I truly believe the 1993 King Of The Ring showcase was Vince’s attempt at a peace offering to Bret, in exchange for taking the championship from him. The success of this event spawned the tournament that we saw until 2002. If Vince books “better” we may not have gotten the King Of The Ring PPV.
We really missed out on a 1993 showdown between Hulk Hogan and Bret The Hitman Hart. We did get the birth of The Lex Express later that year though.
@JDizzy87 asks: What If CM Punk never takes two months off after WrestleMania 29?
This is a loaded question on so many fronts. CM Punk had just been defeated by The Undertaker in an epic contest. To dig deeper, CM Punk had been defeated since the end of his 434 day title reign. Wrestling that many grueling matches over a year and change, not to mention house shows no one saw, really added mileage on Punk’s body.
So after WrestleMania 29, Punk disappeared for two months.
During this time, Team Hell No was dethroned by Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins of The Shield, and Daniel Bryan began the long journey he had to the top. Determined to not be known as the weak link, Bryan’s star seemed to grow weekly, as he captured a large portion of the fans CM Punk appealed to. In slang terms, this was the beginning of Daniel Bryan, “Stealing CM Punk’s Trap.” (Daniel Bryan would go on to Defeat Triple H, Headline Wrestlemania 30, and Win The WWE World Heavyweight Title)
Punk emerged from his long absence to do battle with old foe Chris Jericho, in his hometown of Chicago, where he was greeted with a lord’s welcome. His departure after his heel run instantly made him a face, however it took some of the edge off of him. He clearly stood at #3 in the pecking order of faces. Something that would ultimately not sit well with him.
After what I felt was the match of the year against Brock Lesnar, CM Punk drifted off into his own world of self admitted mediocrity. CM Punk was tasked with carrying Ryback, Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman through pay-per-view matches. Punk then entered a rivalry tag teaming with Bryan against The Wyatt Family, a solo battle against The Shield, and then Kane.
If Punk never misses two months, he never has a reason to turn face over the summer, Daniel Bryan’s destiny certainly would be altered, and Punk is probably still with WWE. Conversely, we never get Punk vs Lesnar/Heyman, or The Best teaming with The Beard at Survivor Series. Which one would you prefer?
Michael Gross Asks: What If DX had gotten into the arena during the invasion?
In 1998, DX (HHH, X-Pac, The New Age Outlaws & Chyna) rode a jeep to a WCW event in Hampton, Virginia in one of the most jaw-dropping moments of The Attitude Era.
This question is easy. From everything I’ve ever heard about the incident, DX was not far from the presence of friends, Scott Hall, DDP, & Kevin Nash. A simple embrace, and question of “when are you guys coming back?”
To play devils advocate, Eric Bischoff would have had WCW security swarm DX, remove all WCW roster members from near the doors to not let WWE cameras capture them, and we all would have had memories for a lifetime.
Jacob Widlarz asks: What If Hogan Didn’t Leave WWE In 1993?
It’s interesting this question was submitted along with the WrestleMania 9 Question above.
If Hulk Hogan stays in WWE, he would have continued to occupy a top spot as the times were changing, and I seriously question whether Vince McMahon would have had the vision to turn Hulk Hogan heel like WCW did. At the time, the main event scene was changing. The only classic Hogan opponents left, were Savage, Undertaker, and Yokozuna. Hogan eventually would have gone to a reduced schedule and been used as “The Babe Ruth Of WWE.” It’s hard to imagine classic Hulk Hogan lasting any longer than 1995, due to the rise of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels.
Also, The NWO never forms, WCW never seriously challenges Vince McMahon, which could have redesigned the entire late 1990’s landscape of Wrestling. If WCW never becomes a threat, there’s no reason to ever change what always worked in the past. In a way, Hogan leaving facilitated everything that happened in Pro Wrestling from 1993 to 2000. That is a real Marty McFly zone.
Josh Smith asks: What if Magnum T.A’s never crashed his Porsche?
In the mid 1980’s Magnum T.A was one of the fastest rising stars in the NWA. His strong resemblance to Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I fame, made him a huge draw. From all accounts, including Dusty Rhodes, and Ric Flair…Magnum T.A was being groomed to ascend to the throne in the NWA. Until fate stepped in.
Magnum was in a career ending single car accident that shook the entire wrestling world. Watching his insane charisma it was clear to me, Magnum was due to rule the NWA after Ric Flair. The question is how do we project a career that never was?
Let’s start with the known plans. Magnum was set to regain the US title for the third time before being put on track to become NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Magnum becomes a monster babyface, and the NWA’s answer to Hulkamania. Dusty steps back sooner, and Magnum continues a rivalry with Ric Flair.
Flair and Magnum surely would have traded the NWA title a few times before Sting showed up. Sting vs Magnum T.A would have been the NWA’S answer to Hulk Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior. From there Sting emerges to where he ended up, while Magnum winds down his career as a multiple time champion, and a possible late career appearance in WWE.
Thank You to everyone that submitted questions. If You would like your “WHAT IF’S” explored, comment below or contact me on twitter, @DangerRich32 or @OneNationRadio.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.