A Mark’s Eye View is a weekly look at some of the things that made me a huge fan of professional wrestling.
Another Super Bowl is in the books. No matter who you were rooting for, there is no doubt that the Super Bowl is much more than just another football game — it’s an event that even non-football fans can take part in. It’s so culturally recognized, that in order to state the importance of things, people will refer to them as “the Super Bowl of…”
What may come as a surprise is how far back promoters have referred to having a “Super Bowl of wrestling”. In 1974 – before the NFL’s biggest game had become an American institution – Verne Gagne released The Wrestler. In the movie, he dreams of all the wrestling leagues coming together to have a Super Bowl of wrestling. But even before that, promoters dreamed of a Super Bowl of Wrestling.
Superbowl of Wrestling (1978)
Originality has never been wrestling’s strong suit. The first Super Bowl of Wrestling card took place in 1972, but it was the second one that fans remember. Held at the Orange Bowl in Miami, the main event was a bloody unification bout between WWWF World Champion Billy Graham and NWA World Title holder Harley Race. The match ended in a one hour time limit draw and saw each man leave with his belt.
Verne may have never achieved his dream of a Super Bowl of wrestling, but it certainly was not for lack of trying. The first SuperClash saw stars from the AWA, NWA, Mexico and Japan. Two world titles were defended and legends like Ric Flair, the Road Warriors, and Stan Hansen all wrestled on the card. Unfortunately, egos and money prevented the event from being the start of something special.
WCW/New Japan Supershow II (1992)
This event is more like the Super Bowl than any other show on this list. It was the second co-promotion between WCW and New Japan, but more importantly, it was the first January 4th Tokyo Dome show, a tradition that eventually came to be known as Wrestle Kingdom, one of the most anticipated shows of the year for wrestling fans. The show also featured a series of cross-promotional bouts that ended with a great tag match that saw former enemies Sting and The Great Muta defeat the awesome Steiner Brothers when they were at the peak of their powers.
When Worlds Collide (1994)
Yet another of the few wrestling PPVs that is unavailable on the WWE Network, When Worlds Collide was filled with WCW stars, had Mike Tenay on commentary, and was produced by Eric Bischoff. So why the exclusion? Though most of the five matches from the card have been shown on various DVDs, the card was technically a AAA event. It includes a five star match, the first major exposure for lucha libre in America, and the platform for many future legends to showcase their skills to a large audience.
Super Bowl of Wrestling (1995)
Vince McMahon’s Super Bowl involvement is not just limited to some Halftime Heat shows. In 1995, the WWF sent some talent down to Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling for the Super Bowl of Wrestling. The card even saw the USWA belt change hands. If the idea of Shawn Michaels defending the Intercontinental title against Buddy Landell does not interest you, how about the first match between the Undertaker and some guy named Unabomb, who would go on to greater fame as Kane?
Next week: St. Valentine’s Massacre! (no, not that one)
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