WWE Impact Superstars of the year: 1997
by, 01-17-2013 at 11:56 AM (5624 Views)
*Hey everyone, if you know the rules scan down to the blog portion.
Hello fellow internet dwellers, my name is Earthquake (or David lol) and I am going to (try) get a little blog published on Breakthrough Superstars of the year from 1990 until present day. So that is 23 years of personal opinion that I don't think most people will be able to argue with but of course if you read this put forward your opinions cause this is a blog and it really feeds on your opinions, otherwise it's just me spouting (obvious) nonsense. I am going to write all of these one after the other so the initial aim is to get 1 published per day but I've gut nothing else to do so hopefully I will get a few out at a time.
Every year I will pick ONE superstar that I feel made the big breakthrough of the year. In the interest of fairness once somebody has won the breakthrough "award" he can never win one of them ever again.
I will pick a runner up, because again in the interest of fairness some people need to get their due. People who are runners up can at one point before, or in the future, receive the breakthrough award themselves, as this represents a significant step in the right direction or a brilliant re-emergence that made the world take notice of them again and solidified their status that may at once have been in doubt.
I will also pick 3 "also-rans", again in the interest of fairness. These 3 can win the award again before or after and again just signified a step in the right direction from the superstar.
Many things can achieve the award. A simple gimmick change that works brilliantly, a solid run in the main event, or the first steps that lead to a run of momentum to the main event scene. Most likely winning a championship for the first time will achieve this but not necessarily that.
There will be some controversial picks, and I'll admit there will probably be some guys I didn't like, people who didn't deserve a push, but in the interest of fairness I can't let personal bias cloud how prevalent they were in the year selected.
I hope you enjoy my blogs. I will enjoy writing them thats for sure.
So without further adieu.
Impacting Superstar of The Year: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold dominated 1998 and 1999, but no one had a year that was so epic like Stone Cold did in 1997. After his defeat at 96's Survivor Series, Austin would not relent on his assaults on Bret Hart, telling him "It will never be over Bret, never". Stone Cold was targetting Bret for as long as it took. In the 97 Royal Rumble, he got eliminated but snook into the ring when he recognised none of the officials noticed his elimination and flipped out the remaining men in the match, notably Bret at the end who thought he'd won. There was a real change in WWE in this time. Stone Cold was still heel but he was fast moving into anti-hero territory, and fans loved his attitude. This corresponded with Bret showing disdain for all "the fun" that was being had at his expense and Stone Cold got on his back for being a baby. The match was set, a submission match at WrestleMania 13. Arguably the greatest match in history. It was a gruelling affair in which Bret (once again) showed his brilliance. He convinced Stone Cold to "get some juice", he could envision the money shot. And that was it, Austin writhing in pain, in the sharpshooter, blood gushing down his face. That moment, followed by the fact he didn't even submit but only lost by passing out, cemented Austin in his words as the "worlds toughest son of a bitch". The fans cheered Austin, and booed Hart for assaulting him after his victory. The double turn happened. Austin was now the anti-hero and on his way to greatness. The two would continue feuding afterwards, new legs in the feud with the reversal of roles.
At SummerSlam, he won his first WWE gold, but what happened cemented his legacy even more when it could have killed him. He got dropped on his head from a botched piledriver from Owen Hart. Austin was real fucked up. He was never the same. But in his worst moments, he showed how amazing he really was. He knew he was on the verge of making the breakthrough he always knew he could make, but knew him being out of action would probably destroy all his momentum. So a true to life inspired storyline was carried out, wwe officials wouldn't allow him to compete, but he was all about the promo's at this time. His character grew, and his anti authority stance sent him into overdrive, stunning any official that tried to stop his rise all the way from Sgt. Slaughter to the chairman himself Vince McMahon. He would return as a competitor at Survivor Series and get his IC belt back, but as you know, he hadn't even started making history.
RUNNER UP: Triple H
Triple H still went under the guise of Hunter Hearst Helmsley for most of the year, but for the last few months there was no doubt he was now Triple H. He did nothing until he won the King of The Ring in this year and as a result started showing more attitude. He had an epic feud with Mankind before things really started taking off. Once he started appearing at the side of Shawn Michaels, flanked by Rick Rude and Chyna, the snobby grappler was now an egocentric softmore inspired hijinx master. The two revolutionised late 1997 as Degeneration X, and Triple H became one of the biggest characters on the show. It would only get better...
New Age Outlaws
Billy Gunn and Jesse James were toiling away in wwe. Gunn had been in a successful (though dated) tag team known as the Smoking Gunns with his brother Bart and promptly left to attain singles success. He was nowhere near it though, becoming a protegé of the Honky Tonk Man and known as "Rockabilly". Jesse James was also toiling, he was feeding off the scraps left by Jeff Jarrett and riding off a gimmick inspired by him being "The Real Double J". Neither were going anywhere. They had a little feud centering around "music" with Honky Tonk man before Jesse stopped it by making a proposition to Rockabilly. He was going nowhere, and he said Billy was being held back by Honky. Billy promptly smashed Honky's guitar over his head, and lo and behold, we had a new makeshift tag team. This tag team though, completely went with the momentum of anti-hero characters in the wwf, being proud of winning by cheating and being uncompromising. With Road Doggs "Oh you didn't know" mic work in their unique entrance, they christened themselved the New Age Outlaws, Billy changing his name to "Bad Ass Billy Gunn", and they were heels who didn't even try play by the rules. They ended 97 by capturing their first tag straps off Legion of Doom and became bigger every month.
For months we had heard about Kane. Paul Bearer badly wanted to share Undertaker's glory now that he was wwe champ (he won from Sid at WrestleMania 13) and once Taker refused, the blackmail began. Bearer and Taker were back together eventually and nobody knew why. When Taker decided he wasn't going to take any more of this, Bearer got nasty and told him "KANE IS COMING, YOUR BROTHERS ALIVE, KANE IS COMING". Taker had admitted the whole story to the world, that he burnt down the house with his brother inside. The legend of Kane was sewn long before he made his debut. In the first ever Hell In A Cell match at that years Badd Blood PPV, Undertaker was in cruise control against Shawn Michaels and set him up for the finish when the lights went out and the pyro hit. We saw our first glimpse of Kane, he ripped the door off the cage, they had a staredown, Kane lit the ringposts on fire, and tombstoned the distracted Undertaker costing him the win. Throughout the rest of the year, he murdered anyone he saw fit. His mission was simple, he was going to destroy everyone until his brother faced him in a match. Unlike all of Undertaker's "insurmountable foes", Kane was clearly working, he was a bad ass mental case and would remain that way for years to come.
The Three Faces of Foley
Mankind had become one of the main characters on television and was a success. However, mid way through 1997, the man who was clearly Mankind (Mick Foley) came out as a funky freaky cool cat, calling himself "Dude Love". This was tottally different from Mankind, and it was so bizarre people couldn't help but notice it. It was Foley's brainchild and it was just pure fun. During a rather hardcore feud with the then Hunter Hearst Helmsley he reverted back to Mankind, and when Hunter was in the ring waiting for him we saw a hell of an original promo we will probably never see again. Dude Love appeared on the screen, being all dudetastic saying that he has a better opponent for him and introduced Mankind, the two of them "sat beside each other" and had a conversation about destroying Hunter Hearst Helmsley but then agreeing they knew someone even better. Enter Cactus Jack, Foleys hardcore maniac persona, with a garbage can ready to go nuts on Helmsley. The Three Faces of Foley were now all prominents "characters".
As you can probably tell from how much I've written here, 1997 was a very interesting year. 1996 was the year it started building for the attitude era (in my opinion) but 1997 was the year change started to really take place. I personally think it's the most interesting year in WWE history.