|By Raj Giri||September 10, 2012 | Comments|
Hulk Hogan was so big and when he was gone -- if Hulk Hogan would have left in '88 -- let's just say -- and been gone from '88 to '90, there business would have gone down even with 'Macho Man' and [Roddy] Piper and those people. It wouldn't have gone down as much because they were more on a roll then. Hulk Hogan was so important to the building of that brand that. When Hulk was gone, you were going to be a little bit hurt there.
Then, the other thing was that you were used to all these huge, muscular guys and it wasn't just Hulk. It was Hulk and it was Warrior and it was Sid Vicious and it was the Road Warriors. In the course of 1992, if you look at the guys that depart the company, it was a pretty big list of the top talent.
Then you're left with a lot of guys like Bret [Hart] and Shawn [Michaels] who were there but they were not top guys. Bret was on the verge of being a top guy when this happened and then became a top guy pretty quick. But for a long time, he was in the middle. Shawn was not a top guy, he was starting to get his push. So, it was a transition period. Again, a lot of it also was that creative was bad.
You had the Papa Shango angle that I don't think really clicked. I don't think people wanted that type of thing. It was not like people got outraged because people were on steroids at all. I don't think that had anything to do with it. But, the fact that a lot of guys got smaller and a lot of guys disappeared that were type guys and bad creative combined. Yeah, that lead to a down period in wrestling.
WrestlingINC: Was it around that period that shoot fighting starting to get big in Japan or was that earlier?
Meltzer: Pancrase started in '93, UFC started in '93 as well. This is the bad period of wrestling, I would say, post-WrestleMania '92 was when it really went down. When Hogan left. It started to make the comeback with the Monday night wars. The Monday night wars late-'95, so the comeback started in '96ish, probably. That would be when those groups did get started in Japan and in the United States.
WrestlingINC: You started covering UFC right away with UFC 1. Was it kind of because of the pro wrestling connection and that you had pro wrestlers competing in the UFC?
Meltzer: Yeah. The first UFC had Gerard Gordeau who had one or two pro wrestling matches in Japan, but I knew of him. Ken Shamrock was a pro wrestler. Dan Severn was not in the first UFC but he was a pro wrestler who became a star in UFC pretty quick.
The crossover of guys in those early UFCs to pro wrestling -- there were tons of them. It just became a natural thing to cover. A lot of it, too, was that the first UFC, the local promoter in Denver was Zane Bresloff who at the time would have been in his last days with WWF. I knew Zane Bresloff and he was promoting with WWF until late-'93 and then in '94, he switched to WCW.
He didn't stay with UFC very long. He promoted the first two shows and then he ended up with WCW full time and didn't have anything to do with them. But, that's also how I got started in a sense. He was the one that was really gung-ho. 'Hey, we got this guy and this guy and Ken Shamrock.' I was like, 'Oh, if Ken Shamrock's in it, then I got to cover it.'
Ken Shamrock wasn't a big name in pro wrestling in the United States, but he was a big name in pro wrestling already in Japan from the dying days of the UWF. Ken Shamrock, as the promotion was dying, became one of their big stars and he was very popular with Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi when they were doing worked-shoot style. Pancrase started right before and nobody knew what pancrase was honest to God. It was just different.
Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.
Clash Of Champions' Event Advertisement Drops Hint At Title Possibly Switching Brands
Bayley Makes The Save For WWE Hall Of Famer (Photos), Kofi Kingston And Xavier Woods, WWE Stock
WWE NXT Live Event Results From Ocala (7/22): WWE Legend Appears, Asuka, HoHo Lun, Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Live Event Results From Newark (7/22): Big Return, Sami Zayn Wins MOTN, Tag Team Matches
Roman Reigns Returns At WWE Live Event, Issues Statement
Mark Henry On Not Wanting To Face Brock Lesnar, Bayley Not Getting "Her Just Due" In WWE, His Future
WWE Battleground Kickoff Match Revealed, Stephanie McMahon Q&A, Sasha Banks On Two Womens Matches
TNA Impact Wrestling Draws Near-Record Audience For First Thursday Night Show On Pop TV
Two Former WWE Superstars Returning To The Main Roster Soon
Roman Reigns WWE Suspension Ends, Paige "Deletes" Alberto Del Rio, WWE Stars At Comic-Con
Kevin Nash Wants To Return To WWE As Dolph Ziggler's Diesel, New Day Reaches Milestone, WWE Shop
Who Won The Backstage Fight At WWE SmackDown?, WWE Considering More Squash Matches On TV
Former WWE GM Says MVP And Shelton Benjamin Are Returning To WWE, MVP Responds
New Behind-The-Scenes CM Punk And AJ Lee Photo, RAW And SmackDown At Same Arena, Sasha Banks
Paul Heyman's WWE Contract Reportedly Expires
Former WWE Announcer Defends Vince McMahon, Rips Lawsuit Filed By More Than 50 Wrestlers (Video)