Posted August 22nd, 2014 by 1Wrestling News Team

TIMELINE – The History of WWE: 1992
As told by WWE Hall of Famer, Bret “The Hitman” Hart
By Joseph Feeney

1992 was an interesting year in the world of professional wrestling. As it began, the (then) WWF was at the genesis of some troubled times. Hulk Hogan’s kid friendly image was forever tainted by allegations of steroid use, even as he denied them. Two of the WWF’s top lieutenants left the company amidst allegations of sexual misconduct with young men on the road, who put up the WWF ring in each town.
The addition of perennial NWA/WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, and the hopes of a “dream match” with his WWF counterpart, Hogan, didn’t draw as well as expected on the house show circuit. Mr. Perfect was out with an injured back. The Ultimate Warrior had disappeared the previous summer. Randy Savage had just returned from “retirement” to defend the honor of his wife Elizabeth, first against Jake Roberts, and later against Flair.
Some new talent was beginning to get chances, some well-deserved, and some due to look. Sid Vicious had jumped from WCW with a monster look and aura. Injury had slowed down his progress, but he was seen as a future opponent for Hogan. Shawn Michaels had finally broken up the Rockers in spectacular fashion, and was honing a new persona. Another man had started his own road to superstardom at Summerslam 1991; Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
With a submission victory and Intercontinental Championship win over Mr. Perfect, Bret was on a roll at the start of 1992. His popularity had been growing steadily since his face turn in 1988. The kids loved the never say die IC Champion. The smarter fans loved his in ring work. He was destined for greatness! Or was he? Would his smaller stature compared to champions of the past hold him back? Would Vince break his promise of a push once again? Would Bret jump ship for a guaranteed WCW contact?
Bret answers all these questions and adds a whole lot more, in this Kayfabe Commentaries specialty, the Timeline series. Bret goes back in the time machine to review the ups and downs of the WWF in a very turbulent 1992. We start at the beginning of the year, when scandals began to erupt, and threaten the WWF’s very existence.
Bret discussed his feelings on “Superstar” Billy Graham and “Dr. D” Davis Schultz’s appearances on the Tabloid TV show, “Inside Edition.” On this show, both men shared stories of not only seeing the Hulkster in possession of steroids, using steroids, but they also claimed to have injected the face of the WWF themselves!
Hogan retaliated with an ill-advised visit to the Arsenio Hall show. “Hogan was pathetic in how he handled it,” said Bret. In his opinion, and from what he says about his fellow wrestlers, they wished he had just come clean. By lying about it, he made the rumors that much stronger. This began “a tidal wave of headache and nightmare,” for the WWF, according to Hart.
Bret also discussed the drug testing that was instituted around this time. He swears it was legit, and it didn’t concern him because he had nothing to worry about. He said that some of the guys did attempt to cheat. Some were successful and others were not, in this “game of chance.”
When asked why Hogan and Flair weren’t successful in their WWF feud, Bret thinks it is because “they only worked their own ways.” Hulk had a “Hulk Hogan match” to work, while Flair had a “Ric Flair match” to work. Without common ground between the two, their matches weren’t going to live up to the crowd’s enormous expectations.
Bret pointed out how he thought Flair would sabotage him later in the year, while he was the WWF Champion. He refers to spots and finishes always being out of sync, or messed up, and he suggested to Vince that Flair may have been doing things on purpose to harm the match. Vince replied it was just the way Flair worked. He didn’t know how to have more than one type of match.
The Rockers split up around this time. Bret thinks Shawn had enough of babysitting Marty, sort of like how Bret felt once upon a time with his championship tag team partner, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. However, Bret claims he never pushed for the Hart Foundation to split. He had fun running the roads with Jim, but sometimes worried about overspending, and about keeping Neidhart in line. While Bret liked both of the Rockers, it was clear that Shawn was “very gifted.” He believes Shawn may have been unsure of his own abilities as a singles star back in 1992, as Bret himself was in 1991.
In January of 1992, The Mountie defeated Bret for the Intercontinental Championship at a house show. Bret said it didn’t matter who he lost the belt to, but he wasn’t sure where it was going, and he didn’t trust it. He felt that the “rug was being pulled out” from under him. He wanted to believe that Vince had great plans for him, but those plans had vanished before.
For a backup plan, Bret began to speak to allies in WCW. Brian Pillman told Bret, he was making more than him, and he was sure Bret could get the same deal. But when the Hitman called, Jim Barnett told him there was no way he could be paid the amount he was looking for. Bret was pissed, because Flair also told him he could get a great deal, and also because the negotiations leaked to the dirt sheets.
On the subject of Flair winning the Royal Rumble in 1992, and becoming the WWF Champion, Bret expresses disdain that Ric is called “the greatest of all time,” though he does respect his work ethic. He knew Flair would have a tough time “filling Hogan’s shoes,” and also being the champion during the steroid and post steroid scandal era. He says Ric’s matches were always the same old show and he was “locked in the ‘70s.”
Bret tells a story from later in 1992, at a Saturday Night’s Main Event in Hershey, PA. Savage was defending the WWF Championship vs. Flair, who was set to regain it. When they came through the curtain, “Vince went ballistic and made them go right back out and do the match the way he instructed it.” They did basically the same match, and Hart says that may have been the end for Flair, who left early in 1993.
The topic of Kerry Von Erich being arrested for forging prescriptions comes up. “Kerry was a hard guy not to like,” Bret said. He also said he knew almost all of the boys in the locker room were sympathetic to Kerry and his troubles, especially due to all he had been through, losing his brothers. He said he never personally saw Kerry all messed up.
While teaming with Bret’s brother Owen as “The New Foundation,” Jim Neidhart got himself fired. Bret thinks he may have either stalled out or refused a drug test. Vince fired “The Anvil,” who became so infuriated he threw a monitor at Road Agent “Chief” Jay Strongbow. The monitor missed him and hit a WWF TV Executive and broke his foot. Neidhart wouldn’t resurface until the summer of 1994. Bret also says there was no discussion of putting him and Owen together at that time. Bret and Owen were in two totally different places on the card.
On a Saturday Night’s Main Event, The Undertaker began his first babyface turn. Bret thinks it was the right time, and says he trusted Undertaker’s judgment when it came to that character. He says working with Taker back in 1991 was easy and fun, but he had doubts they’d mesh in 1997 due to differences in their characters at the time. But Taker was excited to work with Bret, and “The Hitman” gives all the credit for their good matches to the dead man. “I don’t know anyone else who could have pulled that gimmick off.”
Other scandals began to emerge at this time. First, Pat Patterson and Terry Garvin had to resign due to sexual harassment and abuse alleged by some of the ring boys. Bret said he had his doubts about Garvin and Mel Philips, but he never saw anything. “I don’t know what happened behind closed doors,” explained Hart. He also says he believes a lot of the rumors were just conjured up by the wrestlers, and other wrestlers would verify them, but it was all talk and no evidence.
Also, Rita Chatterton appeared on a talk show to publicly accuse Vince McMahon of sexual abuse, and rape. Bret himself doesn’t believe that Vince would jeopardize his life and his empire in that manner. But then again, Hart can’t believe the choices Arnold and Tiger made, and how they could make those poor choices.
When asked if Vince sold any strain during this time period, Bret says he mostly stayed strong and composed, but that he was prepared for the worst. If McMahon wound up going to jail, he would still be booking from his cell, with Jerry Jarrett in charge of the actual shows and the talent.
A failed McMahon venture around that time was the World Bodybuilding Federation, the WBF. Hart confesses that all of the wrestlers resented it to some degree. House show attendance and merchandise sales were down, yet these bodybuilders were flying first class and they were paid higher salaries than the wrestlers! They were also all paid in full for the length of their contracts when the WBF folded. Bret called it “a doomed enterprise from the start,” especially with steroid testing now in the picture.
Hart thought the lone bright spot of those shows was Lex Luger. Luger had come over from WCW after he dropped their World Championship to Sting. Luger was unable to wrestle for the WWF for around a year, but Vince put him in the WBF to keep him visible. Bret says Lex was drug free and that his physique was totally legit, but no one cared. All they saw was that he was skinnier than he was in WCW.
ICOPRO was another McMahon creation, a supplement that sponsored and was pushed hard by the WWF. Bret said he had crates of it shipped to his house, but “it was awful.” He claimed it was so bad, he would give it away to neighbors, who would try it, and bring it back to him!
From there, the talk shifts to Wrestlemania 8, and some of the major events there. Firstly, Hart was scheduled to wrestle “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, his biggest singles opponent ever, the WWF Intercontinental Champion, and also a close friend. “He did me a favor that day,” said Hart, “He wouldn’t have done that for many guys.” Bret considered Piper one of his mentors.
Hart went back and forth on what he wanted to do and not do in the match. He had dinner with Roddy who laid the whole match out, and Bret totally agreed with his ideas. Piper also felt some blood in the match would really put it over the top. “Blading” was frowned upon in the WWF at this time. I don’t believe it was banned yet, but it was a definite no-no.
In their WWF Championship match that night, both Flair and Savage bled, much to McMahon’s dismay. Flair had especially made his blading rather obvious. Those two got fined; Bret, who bladed in his match, did not. After the match, which Bret won, he told Vince it was a hardway, and that he didn’t blade. Piper and Hart had a shoving match in the dressing room as well, to sell that they weren’t pleased with each other, and that aspect of their match.
That night, Jake “The Snake Roberts also quit. He threatened to not go out for his match with The Undertaker, unless Vince gave him his full release. Jake had a big money deal waiting for him at WCW (or so he thought) and he was headed for the goldmine. Bret mistakenly believes here that Jake lost by count out, when in fact The Undertaker did pin him, after a Tombstone on the floor, thus cementing one of the early images of the streak to come. Bret and Jake would’ve worked a program that summer, but due to his departure, that never happened, and they would never wind up working a match together at all.
Also, Randy Savage defeated Ric Flair for the WWF Championship that night at Wrestlemania. “WWF was looking for someone to pull the sword out of the stone,” as Bret described it. As champion, Hart said that the “Macho Man” drew well enough, was over strong enough, and was “loved and respected by the boys.”
Shortly after Savage’s triumph, came a fall. His wife Elizabeth, left him. It was a shame, especially to Bret, who felt that “very few guys didn’t respect the both of them.” He also confessed that “Randy had Liz live a life kind of like a bird in a cage,” and that “that jealous character he played is really how Randy was.”
Prior to Wrestlemania, it was alleged that Sid tried to cheat a drug test, maybe by using Harvey Wippleman’s urine. Bret wasn’t sure about that. He liked Sid, but said “Sid was a bit naïve and easy to stir up.” He believes Sid was level headed and good hearted unless someone encouraged otherwise, but that “Sid was a good guy whenever I was around him.”
Post Neidhart’s departure, Bret’s brother Owen was then paired with Koko B. Ware as the dancing, parachute pants wearing tag team, “High Energy.” Amidst his own laughter, Bret explained that “Owen was stunned, and though he was maybe being ribbed. He was really mad at Neidhart,” for getting fired and deserting him. However, according to “The Hitman,” those two “were an odd combination, but they did whatever they could to pull it off.”
Another angle that began after Wrestlemania was the cringe inducing Ultimate Warrior vs. Papa Shango feud/skits. Next to the Gobbledy Gooker, Bret believes that was “maybe the second worst idea they ever had,” and that it was “everything that pro wrestling shouldn’t be.” Bret thought highly of Shango though, and said he “had a great look, a great gimmick, and a great name,” but that “Patterson hated his work and hated his gimmick.”
And there is where this review will leave off! Well, I can’t tell you everything the man said, that would just be spoiling it! Rest assured, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, a man who has already cemented such a beautiful legacy in pro wrestling, and a Hall of Famer, is not going to pull any punches, as you have seen thus far.
During the duration of the “Kayfabe Commentaries” production, with Sean Oliver hosting, Hart will tackle many of wrestling’s biggest events of the early 90s. This will include his match with the British Bulldog in England, for the Intercontinental Championship at the famous Summerslam ’92. He will also discuss his seemingly out of nowhere first WWF Championship reign, after he defeated Ric Flair. He will go over more of his frustrations trying to work with Flair while defending as Champion, how much he wanted to be regarded as a fighting champion, and he experiences with many different opponents.
Also to be brought up is his first championship defense against the then IC Champion Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series ’92, the departures of both the British Bulldog and The Ultimate Warrior, and his thoughts on the debuting Yokozuna. All this and so much more!
This is an excellent purchase for both fans of pro wrestling and fans of Bret Hart. Bret captures moments in time, and much like his book, his answers to each of the questions go into a great deal of depth and detail. No one can tell the story of the WWF in 1992 better than the man who was there through it all, through the scandals, the highs and the lows, and the man who ended the year as champion.
Head on over to www.kayfabecommentaries.com and go to their timeline section to find this DVD as well as more Timeline selection with the likes of Jim Cornette, Val Venis, Roddy Piper, Rikishi, The Honky Tonk Man, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, Fit Finlay and many more! There are also Timeline sections for WCW and ECW, as well as the famous YouShoot DVDs where the fans send in the questions! So check their site out for their wonderful selections. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Category: Wrestling.

Tags: , , .

Comments are closed.