Sunday, November 13, 2011

Top 5 WCW Wrestlers Who Were Held Back by the Hollywood Hogan Era (1994-1999)

by Brian Phelps

Over the course of his career, Hulk Hogan has taken not one... but two wrestling promotions to the moon. He spent two decades dominating the sport of professional wrestling. However, while Hulk Hogan was monopolizing the world title and main event scenes in the then WWF (WWE) and now defunct WCW, there were many wrestlers who were held back. I've gone over the Top 5 WWF Wrestlers Who Were Held Back by the Hulkamania Era in the WWF. When Hulk Hogan left Vince McMahon's WWF for Ted Turner's WCW, he came in riding an incredible wave of momentum. There was even a parade for Hogan. Needless to say, there would be a list of talented wrestlers that were held down by the Hollywood Era. Hollywood doesn't entirely refer to his Hollywood Hogan persona. It also refers to Hogan's joining of WCW all together, as he was starring in movies, receiving parades, and even opening restaurants. I'm here to look at the Top 5 WCW wrestlers who were held down by Hogan's WCW run. In other words, the Top 5 who never reached their full potential in WCW.

5) Diamond Dallas Page - In WCW, if Sting was the franchise then Diamond Dallas Page was the company's heart and determination. DDP was never the prettiest guy, but he was a heck of a fighter. Diamond Dallas Page ascended to the top of the WCW mid-card becoming the WCW United States Champion. He took on all comers defending it against any and every one, including a win over Raven in the Steel Cage. It appeared that DDP moving up to the World Title was imminent. However, to do that he would have to get through Hollywood Hogan and the nWo to get it. However, due to Hogan's constant monopoly of the WCW title, it wasn't until the nWo was dead and gone and Hogan was all but through with WCW that Diamond Dallas Page would become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion. Page won the WCW title as the company was beginning it's down hill slide instead of winning it during the company's apex. The same would happen to fellow WCW cohort Booker T.

4) Curt Hennig - The late Curt Hennig is one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all-time. He's right up there with Bret Hart, Benoit, Malenko, and Kurt Angle. During the early '90s, Mr. Perfect couldn't get beyond the mid-card due to Hulkamania. When he went to WCW in the mid '90s, he couldn't get byond the mid-card due to Hollywood Hogan. Hennig couldn't catch a break, and it's a shame because this guy should've been a multi-time World Heavyweight Champion in WCW and WWF/E. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. One thing I noticed is that the majority of guys that had the potential to come up the ranks and move Hogan out of the picture ended up becoming nWo members themselves or members of some other faction. It was kind of a way to keep them busy while Hogan was on top. Rey Mysterio said that the top guys in WCW would convince the brass that cruiserweights for instance were not top level material.

3) Eddie Guerrero - The late great Eddie Guerrero was another wrestler who was held down during the Hollywood Era in WCW. Often told that he was too little to main event, and that cruiserweights weren't main event talent... Eddie like Rey Mysterio was held down as well. Eddie Guerrero had great showings against "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, yet the brass in WCW still had no confidence in Guerrero. He would never overcome the backstage politics of the Hogans, Nash's, and veteran ex-WWF talent. It is because of this that Eddie Guerrero and the rest of the WCW faction The Revolution (Benoit, Saturn, Malenko) other than Shane Douglas would jump ship to the rival WWF and become The Radicalz. It was from here on that Eddie would realize his potential and become WWE Champion. Sadly, it would also be Eddie's last stand.

2) Chris Jericho - Chris Jericho is yet another wrestler who would be held back by the nWo era. Eric Bischoff famously said that he didn't believe that Chris Jericho could be a headliner. Contrary to what Bischoff thinks, Chris Jericho went on after WCW ignored him to become the first Undisputed WWE Champion. He famously defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock in the same night. He's reinvented his character over the years to remain relevant. In WCW, Jericho was nothing more than an opening match guy. Despite having vast international wrestling experience, and fantastic mic skills Bischoff and the rest of WCW passed over him time and time again. In spite of that, Chris Jericho's character is the embodiment of the Attitude Era and will no doubt go down as one of the greatest of all-time.

1) Scott Hall - Scott Hall is the greatest victim of the Hollywood Era. Some might question this, but hear me out. Scott Hall jumped the guard rail on WCW Nitro and started the Monday Night Wars. He fired the shot heard round the world. However, when they adopted Hogan into the nWo... that put Hogan as the leader instead of what we think of now as a more "modern DX style" co-leadership between Hall and Nash in the same mold that Triple H and Shawn Michaels have recently used over the last few years. With Hogan as the figure head, Hall fell in line behind Hogan and would continue to do so until his own personal demons would force us to see less and less of Hall after 1999. Also, Scott Hall famously won the 3-Ring 60-man battle royal World War 3 in 1997 that was supposed to lead to him getting a world title shot at Starrcade 1997. However, due to the large shadow of Hollywood Hogan and his feud with Sting... Scott Hall wouldn't even get a match at Starrcade. Instead, he was in Eric Bischoff's corner as Eric battled Larry Zbysko. It wouldn't be until I believe Uncensored 1998 that Hall would get the title match he was supposed to get at Starrcade, and due to Sting being at the utter height of his career (and that's saying something) after his pay-per-view record shattering numbers he did against Hollywood at Starrcade... Scott Hall was basically fed to Sting. He would never again get a real world title push thus making Scott Hall the worst victim of the Hollywood Hogan era. 

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