Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Sunday, 24 August 2014

From the loft: WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sable collector's edition cover
From Sunny and Sable flashing the flesh in the centerfolds, to Hunter and Cactus tearing each other limb from limb, a bloody Shawn Michaels and more, it's all here in 1998's first edition of WWF Raw Magazine.

I'm still plucking up the courage to sit down and review WWF Royal Rumble 1995 which I sat through last week. Until I can clear enough of my schedule to face up to that task, I thought I'd head back into the pile of old wrestling mags I dug out of the loft recently and see what's in store.

Ready to join me? Here goes.

WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998

So, though the contents of this magazine were the same throughout the land, we had ourselves a choice of two different Collector Covers, one looking like the one above, the other featuring Sunny in a similar provocative pose.

To be honest, I was always a bigger Sunny fan back in the day, so I'm not even sure why I chose to throw my money in with Sable. Maybe it was that smoldering look in her eyes. Who knows?  

All I know for sure is that this magazine was well-thumbed by its 14 year-old owner, which more than likely accounts for the sorry state we find it in today. 

Anyway, that's more information than you came looking for on a wrestling blog, so let's turn the page, shall we?

DX - "You make the rules, we'll break 'em"

WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - DX magazine ad
Why bother with half-naked diva pics when you could spend time viewing pictures of Shawn Michaels and Triple H fellating bananas, flashing their behinds and generally acting like juveniles? 

There was a new version of WWF Magazine out which featured D-Generation-X in its initial incarnation, a version which would only actually last about another three months or so after the publication of these here magazines.

I pulled a copy of this magazine out of the loft recently too, so I'll get round to covering it here pretty soon.

Along with the DX piece, it's also got bold predictions for the year ahead, a profile on the Legion of Doom, and results from 1997's Bad Blood pay per view. 


World Wrestling Federation on America Online

WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - Sable WWF Online ad
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year....yes folks, before there was the WWE Network, before there was Classics on Demand, there was...drum roll please!...WWF on America Online. 

Featuring a cat-suit clad Sable in a pose far more tame than she would strike elsewhere in this publication, the ad tells us nonetheless that 'this might be more than you can handle.'

Don't worry WWE marketing men, more Sable I can handle, more of Shawn Michaels' rump I probably can't.

Alas, among the rolling list of keywords down the left hand side of this thing, HBK's ass is touted as one of the main reasons we should check it out. 

Don't believe me? Here, look closer:

WWE - WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - Look at Shawn Michael's ass online

I don't know about you, but I think I'd rather check out the behind the scenes features. 

Vic Venom is your new Raw Magazine Editor-in-Chief

WWE - WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - Vic Venom wrote a letter as Editor in Chief
You remember Vic Venom, right? The evil alter-ego of writer, booker and pole-aficionado, Vince Russo.

For reasons I can't figure out even after reading this grammatically-terrible letter three or four times, 'Venom' had been appointed as the top dog at the magazine, and used his new found authority to let rip with a scathing tirade against erm, 'lazer tag spots on Raw is War.'

Before that, Venom promises that he's not here to BS us. That's not his style, you see. What he's really here to do is:

'Slap you in the face with it...pick it up..then slap you again!'

He doesn't say what it actually is, but if it's anything akin to Shawn Michaels' behind, I don't know want to know. 

I'd read this again and give you some more details, but Russo -sorry, Venom- keeps replacing the 's' in plural words with Zs (as in folkz and KIDZ rather than folks and kids), pretty much rendering anything he has to say entirely ridiculous. 

Let's move on then.

World Wrestling Federation Travel Club

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sunny promotes the WWE travel club
Just about every WWF magazine in the late 1990s featured Sunny in horrible PVC tye-dye thing giving us the 'come-hither and join the WrestleVessel' look.

And hey, why wouldn't you want to take the lovely Sunny up on her offer? 

The WrestleVessel was apparently a five days/4 nights cruise around the Bahamas were you could enjoy "cruisin', dining, dancin' & jammin' with your favourite WWF Superstars." 

I'm not sure why 'dining' gets its full spelling and all the other verbs get the ever-so-hip replace-the-last-letter with an apostrophe thing. 

Regardless, as part of 'the hottest club going,' you could also get your hands on discounted airfare, access to special WWF autograph sessions and other such fun. 

I'd say this looks like a great deal for superfans who splashed a lot of cash following the 'Fed around the States, but honestly? The sign up form is so small I wouldn't be surprised if anybody had the patience to fill in their details in such small writing and actually join up. 

Hey ho, enough with the ads already, let's get down to some honest-to-goodness editorials.

Venom: Uncensored!!!

Look, I'm not saying Russo used this rag as a vehicle for self-promotion or anything, but it does seem pretty suspect that within the first six pages, the only stuff that isn't advertisements is Russo ranting under his pseudonym. 

This time round, Venom let's loose with his thoughts on note other than James E. Cornette.

WWE - WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - Vince Russo shoots on Jim Cornette

Remember when Russo tried to bury the hatchet with Cornette recently, and all James E. wanted to do was just bury Russo?

I have no idea what they fell out over in the first place (TNA perhaps? Somebody inform me please?), but it probably wasn't this article.

After claiming that he disliked Cornette at first thanks to his general Southernes, Russo goes on to call The Prince of Polyester a 'total !@#$%in' GENIUS! [who can] write and talk circles around yours truly - ANY DAY OF THE !@#$%in' week!'.

Again, I'd go into more, but I really dislike 'Venom's' writing style, which comes across like an immature highschooler on a sugar rush.

NEXT!

The informer: The 'Real' Story Behind the Signing of Jeff Jarett

Back in October 1997, Jeff Jarrett returned up north from a short-stint in WCW and cut a scathing promo on both Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff.

I seem to recall Jarrett stating pretty clearly back then why he'd jumped ship, though according to this piece from the informer 'only a few know the real reasons behind his decision.'

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - The 'real' story of why Jeff Jarrett came back to WWE


That is, until now of course.

We'd be here all day if I gave you the full summary of this feature, so let's just look at the key points here:

  • Back in the mid-90s, when everybody else headed to WCW for huge, multi-year contracts, Jarrett only signed with Bischoff for a year because he's a smart cookie who knew that his name value would be worth more once that year was up.
  • Throughout that year, Bischoff basically ignored ol' Double J, refusing to open negotiations with him until the last minute and misusing him on shows. 
  • When Jeff's contract came up for renewal, Eric finally offered him a good chunk of money to stay, then went right onto the Internet and buried the second-generation star (um, what?).
  • So ultimately, Jeff returned to the WWF because even though he could made more money with a man who supposedly trashed him online and withdrew the contract offer, what Jarrett is really all about is PRIDE, HARD WORK and OPPORTUNITY, things he could all find in the World Wrestling Federation.
So, yeah.

Letter's to the editor

In this month's edition, we get praise for Cornette's recent Raw shoot interviews (seriously, how much did Jimmy pay Russo for this edition?), praise for Taka Michinoku and his in-ring work, and a letter from some guy called Cagney.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Letters to the editor


In the same sentence, Cagney says that he's shocked and appauled that Shawn Michaels would beat up a cameraman at In Your House: Bad Blood, yet still loves HBK anyway and won't be changing his mind about that any time soon.

Right on, Cagney.

Russo blows his own cover

On the same page, we get the obligatory Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation for this magazine, signed by none-other than Editor-in-Chief, Vince Russo.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Vince Russo's signature

Hey, wait a minute! I thought Vic Venom was the editor now? You mean, they're one and the !@$#%in' SAME, FOLKZ?

Ragin' Ross!

Proving once and for all that a good copy editor can work miracles, Jim Ross presents his latest thoughts on the WWF product without all the spelling mistakes and dreadful punctuation which litter his otherwise fantastic blogs, tweets and Q&As. 

Hey, I know I'm not perfect, but still, a good proofreader can be a Godsend, and Ross is proof of that.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Jim Ross's report


In this edition, he heaps praise on Jim Cornette for being a great manager (seriously, what is going on here?), wonders if Ahmed Johnson will ever stay injury-free for long enough to become a top star (no), claims that The New Blackjacks would 'surprise us,' calls Jeff Jarrett a jerk, and suggests that Ken Shamrock take up Danny Hodge's offer of training assistance. 

Yep.

Hey, look! More Jim Cornette!

And so, after much hype by Russo, Ross and some fan whose name I can't bother flicking the pages back to look up, James E. himself puts pen to paper for his Shootin' From the....MOUTH column.

If you believe the rest of this magazine, Cornette is apparently the greatest wrestling mind, writer and all-round uber-talent that the business has ever seen. 

How does he choose to use those talents here? By scalding current fans for not knowing who Jackie Fargo, Harley Race and Lou Thesz are.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Jim Cornette hated that new fans didn't know who Harley Race was


Hey, I know who Thesz is at least. Isn't he the guy who took his name from that move Stone Cold used to bust out?

The Calm of the Cannon

OK, let's get serious for a second.

I was never the biggest Brian Pillman fan in the world, and I won't pretend otherwise. It's not that I held anything against the man, the wrestler or the characters he played on TV, it's just that, during his life time, I was young, dumb, and far more distracted by the 'bigger' stars of WCW and WWF.

That said, I do remember enjoying what he did on WWF television when he joined the Federation, and being saddened, when I woke up the morning after the morning after the Bad Blood pay per view, to learn that he had passed away.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - In memory of Brian Pillman


What we have here is less a glowing tribute of Pillman himself (that would come in other publications), but more an account, written by Russo, of what happened the day the 'The Loose Cannon' was found dead.

It's a look backstage at how the talents reacted, at how much Brian would be missed and how, despite all else, the show had to go on.

On a lighter note, though this piece does take on a rather solemn tone, I couldn't help but grin when the first paragraph praises not Brian Pillman, but yep, you guessed it, Jim Cornette. A guy died, but let's give Cornette props for creating the Hell in a Cell gimmick before we get to that.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - A report on the day Brian Pillman died


Why the inmates are running the asylum!!!

Getting back to the world of scripted wrestling, Vince Russo Vice Vennom pens a commentary piece claiming that Vince McMahon has lost control of his company.

We get reminders that Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin and DX had all either physically or verbally attacked Vinnie Mac, followed by the insistence that McMahon himself was to blame for all of this.

Why? Because he signed all these prima donnas to big-money, guaranteed contracts, which inflated their egos, and now he can't fire them because they're all his biggest stars.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Why the inmates are running the asylum

Venom's suggestion to remedy all this? Fire 'em anyway.

Cactus Jack vs. Triple H

On an episode of Raw is War, both Mankind and Dude Love turned up on the Titantron to suggest that the only person suitable to deal with their arch-rival Triple H was none other than Cactus Jack. 

Here, WWF Raw magazine writer Bill Banks talks us through that match in words and pictures.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Triple H vs. Cactus Jack pictorial





















And you know, Banks is able to tell a great story here without resorting to randon !@#$% nonsense or switching the letter s for a z at the end of words. Russo take note, this is how you write.

Anyway, this is basically your standard play-by-play report similar to that which you might find scattered around the Internet, albeit with a bunch of cool pictures. 

Sunny and Sable Centerfold

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sunny and Sable photoshoot
Here's the part you were really looking for, right? Tantalizing shots of the World Wrestling Federation's biggest female stars parading around in a bikini and making horny teenage boys like your writer...then I mean, not now.

Of course, being a horny teenage boy, I ripped out most of the pictures and stuck them on my wall (and later in  a wrestling scrapbook I made.)

Much, I'm sure, to your delight, I did actually manage to track a few more of these pictures down when I pulled all my wrestling stuff out of the loft, so you lucky people get to see Sable and Sunny posing in photos far more innocent than you could find elsewhere on the web. 

And here's the weird thing too.

At the time this magazine actually came out, Teenage Chris would have chopped off his foot (and perhaps other appendages) to see both of these women in their birthday suits.

When, thanks to the marvels of the Internet (and whoever paid them to strip), when I finally did get to see the objects of my adolescent desires in the buff, it wasn't that big a thing. Far from relishing in the joy of realising a lifelong ambition, I think I just shrugged and moved on to the next thing.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sable with her nipples showing
Oh yeah, and did I mention that this pictorial was called Les Beaux Femmes?

Yes, I know it's French for The Beautiful Women or something to that effect, but I was am was an immature sort of guy, so of course I'm going to take this as to read, rather crudely, as Lesbo Fems! and imagine all kinds of racy girl-on-girl action going on behind the scenes between two women I suspect actually hated each other at the time.

But you've probably heard enough from me now, so I'm going to be quiet for a minute whilst you remember that yes, Brock Lesnar's wife and the woman who once did that weird porn thing with Missy Hyatt were once schmokin' hot.



WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sunny and Sable in their swimsuits

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sunny in a pink swimsuit
WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sable in a tigerprint swimsuit

Sable ladies and gentlemen, with a crotch bigger than most men's heads.

An interview with Farooq

From teenage fantasies to tales of hardship and triumph in the face of adversity next as Kevin Kelly speaks to Ron Simmons or, as he was better known back then, Farooq.

In a candid interview, Simmons talks about growing up in a poor neighborhood, his football career, and that time he was hyped to the heavens as The First Black World Heavyweight Champion.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - An interview with Farooq


He also discusses Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff and the death of the territories, but sadly nothing about his time playing a Roman gladiator.

The Long Road Back

On June 15th, 1997, Doug Furnas was involved in a car accident that nearly ended not only his career, but his life. 

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - A report on the car crash that nearly killed Doug Furnas
As the story goes, Furnas was riding from Montreal to Ottawa with partner Phillip LaFon, Flash Funk and former WWF champion Sid. The latter reached up to fix the sunroof, and lost control of the vehicle, nearly killing Furnas in the process.

Here, Bill Banks talks to the Oklahoma grappler about the accident, and his long journey back to recovery.

It's a compelling read, detailing the crash itself, how wrestlers like the Legion of Doom and Savio Vega were the first at the hospital, and how the Rougeau Brothers' sister Joanne was sent to act as translator since barely a soul in the hospital spoke English, and how badly Funas' injuries were.

That said, for most of the interview, Doug only seems concerned with how badly his partner was cut up and covered in blood.

Speaking of which...

Hell on Earth

Up next, we got another words-and-pictures match report, this time looking at the bloody battle between
WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - A bloody Shawn Michaels from the first Hell in a Cell
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker in the first ever Hell in a Cell match. 

You know the one, right? The one where Kane made his much-anticipated debut and beat the crap out of 'taker?

It was also the one where Michaels bladed lie a bastard and had his DX cronies HHH, Chyna and the late, great Rick Rude to help him backstage after a brutal match.

I always liked these match reports, they bring the actual battles to life in a much more vivid and visceral way than "HBK hit 'Taker with a chair, got a two count and carried on" never could.

From the present to the past next, as we go to one of RAW Magazine's regular features, profiling the stars of days gone by.

Yo, do you remember 'The Big Cat' Ernie Ladd?

If you don't, then Keith Elliot Greenberg has everything you need to know about the man "who could evoke as much fear on the football field as in the squared circle."

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Do you remember 'The Big Cat' Ernie Ladd?






















Here, Greenberg gives us the full account of 'The Big Cat's life and career, all the way up to his retirement in 1984 (hey, the year I was born!) and his induction into the World Wrestling Federation Hall of Fame: Class of 1995.

The Night the Belt Changed Hands: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Diesel

The Survivor Series which immedietly preceded this edition of Raw Magazine will perhaps live on forever for a little thing we've all come to know as The Montreal Screwjob. 

Yet the last of the WWF's annual Big Four didn't always have such bad memories for The Hitman. Just two years perviously, it was the site of his third WWF Championship win over Big Daddy Cool Diesel.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Bret Hart vs. Diesel Survivor Series 1995 recap






















Ignoring (as the mag's editors clearly did) writer Lucas Swineford's insistence on calling Bret 'The Hit Man', this was nonetheless another good piece looking at the history between both men and their battles throughout '94 and '95 leading up to the big one. 

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - More Bret Hart vs. Diesel coverage






















From there, we got another compelling blow-by-blow account of the action, all the way to Bret's title-winning inside cradle.

From actual warfare to fantasy warfare next, as Bill Banks pits Mick Foley against one of his heroes.

Fantasy warfare: 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka vs. Dude Love

You recall the story right? Mick Foley, once better known to WWF audiences as the deranged Mankind, bared his soul in a series of interviews with Jim Ross. On one of these, he talked about travelling to Madison Square Garden to watch 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka leap off a cage and flatten Don Murraco.

After that, Foley invented the wrestling persona named Dude Love and -in a move that would set a precedent for backyard feds everywhere- threw himself off his parents' garage. 

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Dude Love vs. Jimmy Snuka fantasy warfare


So, what would happen if Dude Love finally squared off with his role model? Who knows? This is just a look at each men's strenghs and weaknesses, their finishing moves and, of course, their strategy, which for Snuka meant hitting the Superfly Splash, and for Love meant, well, avoiding the same splash.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - More Dude Love vs. Jimmy Snuka fantasy warfare


Epic. 

'Til next time!

And that, dear readers, was pretty much all she (or Russo & Co.) wrote for the January 1998 WWF Raw magazine.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Steve Austin merchandise ad
Oh, apart from this advertisement for Stone Cold merchandise, which suggested that you "please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery." Seriously?

That seems like an awful long time to pop a vest in the post and get it to somebody's house. 

A couple more ads followed this, one for the 1998 Royal Rumble, and two more on the back page promoting Raw and Shotgun Saturday Night, but I'm sure I'll have pics of those the next time I decide to take one last look through a wrestling magazine that has been stuck in my loft for 14 years before ultimately throwing it in the bin. 

It does seem a shame to throw this away, but it's really not in much shape to do anything else with.


I'm hoping that my next post on Retro Pro Wrestling will actually be an event review, most likely of Royal Rumble 1995, but if you like these magazine reviews, join me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated the next time I post one.

Friday, 15 August 2014

From the loft: 14 years of WCW, WWE, WWF, TNA and ECW coverage

From the death of Brian Pillman back in late 1997, all the way through to the current John Cena, all contained with the pages of Power Slam magazine.

I've been collecting these magazines, on and off since my teens, but alas, as a thirty year-old man, it's time to get rid of them.

So they're going, this Sunday, on eBay.


Here's what's up for grabs:

52 editions of Powerslam Magazine from 1997-2011, 3 editions of Fighting Spirit Magazine containing exclusive interviews with Kurt Angle and AJ Styles, several pull-out specials and two WWE merchandise catalogues from the Attitude Era.

A full list of the issues, the month they were published and the main feature can be found below. Some of the highlights include:


  • Death of Brian Pillman and tribute
  • Brock Lesnar and Stone Cold leave WWE
  • Kurt Angle joins TNA
  • Several years of PS50 - Ranking the top 50 pro wrestlers in the world


Most of these magazines are in fair-to-good condition, though a few haven't stood the test of time so well and do have a few tears, creases or marks. I've clearly labelled the condition of each magazine in the list below.

Hoping to sell all these as a job lot as I no longer have the room in my loft for them, but if they don't sell I will consider selling individual issues.

SPECIALS

Mini mag - The Best of Wrestling 2007
Women of wrestling 2004 special pull out
Wrestling's funniest, dumbest and greatest quotes pull out
2 WWF UK merchandise catalogues from the Attitude Era

POWER SLAM

Issue 40 - November 1997 - Brian Pillman dies, a tribute (loose cover)
Issue 42 - Jan 1998 - Scott Hall wins WCW World War Three (some cover damage)
Issue 45 - April 1998 - Stone Cold tears the house down at No Way Out (fair condition)
Issue 46 - May 1998 - Steve Austin wins the title at Wrestlemania 14 (some cover damage)
Issue 47 - June 1998 - Kane v Taker inferno match - (fair condition)
Issue 49 - August 1998 - Ken Shamrock wins King of the Ring (fair condition)
Issue 50 - Sept. 1998 - Undertaker v. Austin Summerslam preview (poor condition)
Issue 51 - Oct. 1998 - Goldberg triumphs at Road Wild - Fair condition
Issue 52 - November 1998 - Ric Flair returns to WCW (fair condition)
Issue 59 - June 1999 - Stone Cold reclaims title at Backlash (fair condition)
Issue 61 - August 1999 - Chris Jericho: "I'm tired of being held back (fair condition)
Issue 62 - Sept. 1999 - The Amazing Saga of Glen 'Kane' Jacobs (poor condition)
Issue 66 - Jan 2000 - Steve Austin's injury - (good condition, but slight cover damage)
ISSUE 103 - Feb 2003 - 2002 Review (fair condition)
Issue 104 - Brock Lesnar v Kurt Angle Wrestlemania preview (fair condition, defaced cover)
Issue 105 - April 2003 - Stone Cold returns at No Way Out (fair condition, defaced cover)
Issue 106 - May 2003 - The Rock profile (cover damage)
Issue 108 - July 2003 - Has Steve Austin wrestled his last match? (good condition)
Issue 111 - October 2003 - Rob Van Damn profile (slight crease/fold in front cover)
Issue 112 - Nov. 2003 - John Cena, rising star (good condition)
Issue 114 - Jan 2004 - The PS50, Pro Wrestling's best performers of 2003 (good condition)
Issue 115 - Feb 2004 - Chris Jericho profile (good condition)
Issue 116 - March 2004 - Will GOldberg sign another WWE contract (good condition)
Issue 118 - May 2004 - Brock Lesnar leaves WWE (good condition)
Issue 119 - June 2004 - Stone Cold leaves WWE (fair condition)
Issue 120 - July 2004 - Triple H/ Why wrestling became a work (fair condition)
Issue 146 - Sept. 2006 - Edge is on top of the world (fair condition)
Issue 147 - Oct. 2006 - DX 2006 - (fair condition, slight cover damage and folded back pages)
Issue 148 - Nov. 2006 - Kurt Angle joins TNA - (slight cover damage)
Issue 149 - Dec 2006 - John Cena, winning popularity contests (slight crease in cover)
Issue 150 - Jan 2007 - PS50, Pro Wrestling's Best Performers of 2006 (good condition)
Issue 151 - Feb 2007 - Triple H seriously injured at New Year's Revolution (good condition)
Issue 152 - March 2007 - Batista v Undertaker Wrestlemania preview (fair condition)
Issue 158 - Sept. 2007 - Batista profile - (cover damage)
Issue 162 - Jan 2008 - PS50, Pro Wrestling's Best Performers of 2007 (slight tear on cover)
Issue 168 - Feb 2008 - Can Jeff Hardy win the WWE title? (good condition)
Issue 164 - March 2008 - John Cena wins the Royal Rumble (tear on cover)
Issue 166 - May 2008 - Undertaker goes 16-0 (good condition)
Issue 167 - June 2008 - Triple H becomes 12 time champion (poor condition)
Issue 168 - July 2008 - Edge is on top of the world once more - (missing back cover)
Issue 171 - Oct. 2008 - Will Gail Kim sign w/ WWE or TNA (good condition, some cover damage)
Issue 177 - April 2009 - Inside Story on Wrestlemania (fair condition, slight cover damage)
Issue 181 - August 2009 - Edge injured! - (good condition but slight cover damage)
Issue 182 - Sept. 2009 - Jeff hardy regains World title at NOC (good condition)
Issue 183 - Oct. 2009 - Rey Mysterio suspended! (good condition)
Issue 184 - Nov. 2009 - Randy Orton, WWE Champion - (fair condition, v. slight cover damage)
Issue 185 - Dec. 2009 - John Cena wins title at Bragging Rights (fair condition)
Issue 186 - Jan 2010 - PS50, Pro Wrestling's Best Performers of 2009 - (fair condition)
Issue 187 - Feb 2010 - Jeff Hardy joins TNA (fair condition, very slight cover damage)
Issue 191 - March 2010 - Jack Swagger becomes a main eventer (good condition)
Issue 192 - July 2010 - Batista leaves WWE (good condition)
Issue 207 - October 2011 - Triple H retains COO spot at Night of Champions (poor condition)


FIGHTING SPIRIT MAGAZINE

FSM Magazine - Issue 024 - JBL profile - (cover slightly creased)
FSM Magazine - Issue 026 - Kurt Angle says "Screw you, Vince!" - (cover damage)
FSM Magazine - Issue 029 - AJ Styles interview (good condition)

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

From the loft: WWF Raw Magazine - March/April 1997

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE - MARCH/APRIL 1997 COVER ft. GOLDDUST AND MARLENA
Want Golddust and Marlena covered in gold paint and posing in a bizarre photo shoot? How about a fantasy dream match between WWE legends 'Wildman' Marc Mero and Flash Funk? Or how about a war of words between Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Shawn Michaels over six months before Montreal? It's all here in WWF Raw Magazine, For the Mature Fan!

I'm getting ready to move house soon, and had to clear out my loft of all my old wrestling junk. Before I threw away most of my worn-out, well-thumbed wrestling mags, I thought it might be nice to take one last look through their pages and share what I find with you.

Let's start here, with the March/April 1997 edition of the World Wrestling Federation's WWF RAW magazine. 

What was WWF Raw Magazine?

For those who weren't around, or just simply forgot about this gem of a publication, RAW magazine, was the WWF's attempt at providing a more adult version of their kid-friendly WWF Magazine.
It regularly contained pin-ups and centerfolds of the Divas of the Day (namely Sunny, Sable and this issue's co-cover-star, Marlena) along with features that focused on stars older audiences would remember from their youth and a tone much more befitting the new 'grown-up' phase of the WWF. You know, the one they would eventually call The Attitude Era.

I only remember it being around for a few years, though history tells me it was probably a lot longer. 

Anyway, with that out of the way, let's take a look at what's inside, shall we?

WWF Raw Magazine - March/April 1997

Remember those awesome World Wrestling Federation comic books featuring superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker doing battle in all kinds of otherworldly...erm...worlds?

Nah, me neither.

Though I do remember them being promoted heavily in WWF publications like this one. Thus, throughout this Raw magazine, we got comic-book like renderings of Stone Cold, Mankind and other stars, promising that something big was going to happen.

This Austin ad was on our inside cover, right next to the contents page with half of it cut out when your writer, at 13 years-old, decided to make a wrestling scrapbook.


The Informer

The Informer column, a kind of backstage gossip, rumour-mongering piece came next. In this edition, we found out that Hunter Hearst Helmsley may or may not have a new bodyguard, that Stone Cold apparently got in a backstage fight with Crush, and that Mankind still thought Sable was his mother. 

Don't believe me? Here's what it says:

'Remember the bizarre Mankind-Goldust-Sable "MOMMY" incident from a few months back? You know, the one where Goldust convinced Mankind that the leggy Sable was his mommy. Well, whereas it indeed turned out to be yet another mind game concocted by the masterful movie man, one source recently told me that Mankind...may still believe it!!!
       BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
That same source went on to also inform me, the Informer, that as you read this, Paul Bearer may be brewing a devious plan to deliver...MOMMY BACK TO HER SON!!! Stay tuned to this one-Same BATTY time, same BATTY channel!!!'

Honestly, here in 2014, I remember absolutely NOTHING about this. Any readers shed some light on what happened? Moving swiftly on....

Sycho Killer?

WWE - WWF Raw Magazine - March/April 1997 - Letters to the editor ft. Sycho Sid
Next up, we're treated to some fan letters, including praise for past WWF announcers like Sean Mooney, Craig DeGeorge and Lord Alfred Hayes from some guy with the e-mail HEADJUG@aol.com (I'm not making that up.)

We also had a rather irate letter from a James Padilla of Austin, Texas, who claimed that WWF Champion Sycho Sid was an ATTEMPTED MURDERER for his attack on Jose Lothario at Survivor Series 1996. Mr. Padilla couldn't believe that WWF fans would cheer for such an absolute bastard. 

The response from Raw magazine's New York based editor, Vince Russo? 'Without a doubt, New Yorkers are THE most interesting fans in the world!'

World Wrestling Federation's Official Rankings

When this rag went to print, Sid was our WWF Champion and a pre-DX Triple H held the Intercontinental Championship. Beneath them, Raw Magazine's esteemed staff saw fit to outline who they thought were the Top 10 contenders to each title. 

Shawn Michaels was deemed number one contender to the Sid's belt, while Goldust was poised as the main challenger to Hunter's. 

What this writer fails to understand, is is how Ahmed Johnson can be the third-ranked Intercontinental contender, with Farooq behind him at number four, and yet in the WWF title ranks, Farooq is place sixth and Johnson languishes in the number 10 spot.

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: WWF Rankings

I was about to tie myself in knots trying to figure that out, but then I remembered that this is the same company that made Harvey Wippleman, and quickly turned the page instead.

Oh, and I should point out that this same ranking system also placed Jerry 'The King' Lawler as eighth in line for a shot at the Intercontinental Championship.

Moving swiftly on then.

The Superfly's Last Hurrah!

A couple of short features follow, profiling Stone Cold Steve Austin's destructive streak, The Undertaker reinventing himself for the 21st Century, and the first episode of Shotgun Saturday Night, the WWF's first attempt at capitalizing on the success of ECW by promoting adult-oriented shows in a New York nightclub.


WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Jimmy Snuka's last hoorah!


I'd go into details about these, but back in 1997, I had no idea I'd be writing a blog about this magazine 17 years later, and cut out half the contents for my scrapbook. Instead then, let's look at this feature from Keith Elliot Greenberg, looking at the caeer of Super Fly Jimmy Snuka, his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 1996, and his return to the ring, the following night, at the WWF Survivor Series '96. There, Snuka teamed with such luminaries as Flash Funk, Savio Vega, and former WWF Champion Yokozuna to take on the mismatch team of Vader, Farooq and Fake Diesel and Razor Ramon

To be honest, I'd totally forgotten about that match, and probably for good reason. 

All the same, this was a nice, sentimental piece paying tribute to an all time favourite. 

Who's worse? A Sycho or a Madman?

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Mankind rips Sid's face off!
Up next, we got a nice little Raw Exclusive Photo of Mankind trying to rip Sid's face off, apparently taken at a recent 'Federation live event'. 

I may be alone in this one, but I think I would have enjoyed the insane verbal duels that would have resulted from some kind of feud between these two. 

'You may be twice the lunatic that I am, but I am only half the man that you are!'

I know he was the WWF Champion at the time and everything, but there sure is an awful lot of Sid in this magazine.

Still, I suppose it's better than the amount of freaky Goldust pictures, which we're about to see next. 

Goldust and Marlena - A Love Story for the Ages

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena poster
As we discussed earlier, most WWF Raw magazines included centerfolds featuring bikini-clad divas like Sunny and Sable. Not this edition. Instead, we get lots of weird pictures of Goldust and Marlena, wearing nothing but thongs and gold body paint and erm, well, I'm not even sure what they're supposed to be doing here.

Rather than trying to figure it out, I'll just get on and show you the pictures, but before I do, I just want to point that the pic where The Artist Formerly Known as The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust seems to have the world's longest legs (and biggest feet to boot), that's more the angle I snapped the pic at than anything else. 

I'd try and take another one, but Goldy Long Legs amuses me far too much.


WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and MarlenaWWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena
WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena


WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena

 When you've sufficiently recovered from whatever the hell it is we all just went through together, let me know and I'll turn the page. 

Bret vs. Shawn
"I tried to say I love you, but the words got in the way"

Here we have a simple war of words between arch-rivals Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. This was prior to Bret's full-on heel turn around Wrestlemania 13, but even still he comes across as a bit of a self-righteous ass.

'I really don't like his [HBK's] message and I never did,' says Bret.

'I don't consider it my job to send 'messages' to anybody. What I do is go out and work hard' replies Shawn.

'I didn't like Shawn pulling his pants down at the Royal Rumble,' bemoans Bret.
'I do what I feel like doing because I'm having fun. Bret doesn't have fun, he goes out there stone-faced, beats everybody up and then wants to go home,' Shawn insists.

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Bret vs. Shawn war of words


And on they go, Bret says Shawn is a terrible role model, Shawn says he doesn't want to be a role model at all. Bret says the WWF has started to abandon kids by presenting HBK as their top star, Michaels responds that viewing figures among 5-14 year-olds were the highest they'd been in over ten years with him on top. 

A lot of back and forth bitching, basically, all heading, many months down the line, to Montreal. 

Vote on the 1997 Slammy Awards

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Slammy Award voting
Thought the Slammy Awards were just another gimmick? Think again, buddy! These things are the real deal, and to prove it, we're next asked to vote on some of our favourite superstars and matches from 1996.

I like the fact that the Slammy for 'best finishing maneuver' is called 1,2, He's Got him! and like to think that, in true Vince McMahon fashion, all the runners up in that category get their own No, he didn't! prize.

I also like the idea that the famously-bald Stone Cold Steve Austin is the first name to choose from in the 'best hair day' category, and that any match involving Savio Vega could be in the running for match of the year.

To be fair, it was his Caribbean Strap Match against Austin at In Your House.

What's next then?

Jose Hospitalized!

As eluded to earlier in our letters page, that evil bastard Sycho Sid beat up Shawn Michael's manager Jose Lothario at Survivor Series and put the aging manager in hospital. 

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Adrian Adonis profile

For the morbidly curious among us, Raw Magazine were kind us to give us some exclusive pictures of the incident, which I'd show you if I thought they were actually any good.

They're not.

After the image above, we got three or four pics of HBK, EMTs and WWF officials crowding round Mr. Lothario, along with a blow-by-blow recap of what happened. 

Interesting.

Yo, do you remember Adrian Adonis?

Why, of course you do! He had that absolutely awful match against Uncle Elmer at Wrestlemania 2! What, you mean you purposfuly blocked any such thing from your mind? Well don't worry, because Raw Magazine have got a full overfiew of the Adorable One's career, so that new fans can remember the wrestler Keith Elliot Greenberg calls 'As street-wise as Savio Vega, as gifted as Owen Hart, and as flamboyant as Goldust.'

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Adrian Adonis profile

Quite.

The Night the Belt Changed Hands

More retro ramblings come next courtesy of Bill Banks and his look back at the night The Honky Tonk Man started his infamous Intercontinental Championship run by dethroning Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat.

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: The night Honky Tonk Man beat Ricky Steamboat 1


After a quick discussion about what a cheating little weasel Honky was, and how he didn't really deserve a title shot, Banks proceeds to go through all the action that led to the Elvis impersonator's victory on June 2nd, 1987.

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: The night Honky Tonk Man beat Ricky Steamboat 2

Fantasy Warfare: 'Wildman' Marc Mero vs. Flash Funk

Wow, talk about a dream match!

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Marc Mero vs. Flash Funk Fantasy Warfare
Ever wanted to know who would win between the former Johnny B. Badd and the former Too Cold Scorpio? Nope, me neither, but Bill Banks apparently thought we did.

Not only that, but before we get down to the details, Banks suggests that Mero/Funk would be up there as a five-star classic along the lines of Bret and Shawn's Wrestlemania 12 Iron Man match. 

Seriously. 

The best part of all this is that we never actually get to find out who Banks thought would win such an epic battle for the ages.

Rather, we got a look at each men's strengths, weaknesses and key victories, namely an IC title tournament win over Farooq for the Wildman, and a debut win in the aforementioned Survivor Series match, which actually ended up in a double DQ. 

'Til next time!

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Coliseum Home Video ad
And that was just about all Vince Russo and his crew had for us in this edition, apart from this ad for the latest Coliseum Home Video releases. I've got to to admit that the 1996 Year in Review cassette, which apparently featured The Hitman in matches against HBK, Diesel and Undertaker, along with Michaels vs. Mankind, does seem like it would have been worth a watch.

So, what am I going to do with this cut-up, tatty old mag now? Probably throw it away. There's so many bits and pieces missing thanks my younger-self's tendency to cut everything up, that it really isn't worth anything to anybody. The Goldust/Marlena pics are still in good condition though, so who knows, I may hold on to them.


I've got a bunch more magazines like this one that I plan on posting here before I get rid of them, so do stay tuned!

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.