You can’t swing a cat these days without hitting a WWE or AEW pay-per-view or television special named after a sorely missed grappling extravaganza from days gone by. Since the start of 2020, we’ve had Bash at the Beach, Great American Bash, Halloween Havoc, WarGames, In Your House… even the long-forgotten Vengeance (Day). To be fair to AEW, its own instalment of Bash at the Beach remains the Florida-based company’s only foray thus far into this curious nostalgia-fest.
That may have something to do with the sequence of events last year when Cody Rhodes embarked on a trademarking binge, staking a claim to famous WCW event names – many of which were associated with his dad, the late great Dusty Rhodes. WWE, which purchased WCW’s intellectual property in 2001 when the company went bust, opposed the filing and reportedly reached an agreement with Cody for him to back off. When he did, WWE snapped up Superbrawl, Slamboree, and more.
While WWE struggles to define the identity of Raw and Smackdown, recent evidence has shown NXT’s brand is focused a lot more on fan service, easter eggs, and yep – nostalgia! Triple H’s baby has become the home for heartfelt homages to the trappings of wrestling’s 80s and 90s heyday. With NXT Great American Bash just around the corner, what pay-per-view of yore should they revive next? And which should they avoid at all costs?
Avoid (5.) – Jakked
Ok, so this was a TV show rather than a pay-per-view. But while some old WWF/WWE show names and formats from years past are well worth revisiting for a nostalgia pop (i.e. Tuesday Night Titans, LiveWire), some most definitely are not.
Jakked replaced the flagging Shotgun in 1999 and was the equivalent of today’s Main Event in the pecking order. It did have exclusive matches alongside all the highlights and recaps of the real action from Raw and SmackDown.
Purely down to the somewhat, erm, questionable name it was given (it was the Attitude Era, after all), I think it’s safe to say WWF Jakked is not making a return anytime soon in the family-friendly modern WWE. And all the better for it.
Revive (5.) – WrestleRock
If it’s tongue-in-cheek we are looking for then look no further than AWA’s WrestleRock. NXT showed back in October with the fun that was had in reviving ‘Spin the Wheel, Make a Deal’ for Halloween Havoc, those in charge know full well that retro shows need the correct mix of in-ring action, well-built stories, and plain old silliness.
As the Minnesota-based company struggled (and failed) to keep pace with the burgeoning growth of Titan Sports in the mid-80s, promoter Verne Gagne scrambled around for anything that might match the famed ‘rock and wrestling’ wave. His answer? WrestleRock, a heavily promoted stadium show which promised both rock and wrestling. In the end, 23,000 fans filed in to see an unremarkable AWA card followed by a brief performance from country star Waylon Jennings.
The jewel in the crown for WrestleRock though was not the action between the ropes. Oh no. Infamy was guaranteed the moment someone decided the AWA crew should shoot a music video – a rap video no less – titled the “WrestleRock Rumble”. Among those dropping bombs in the four-minute banger are future Clique members Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels. No Triple H, sadly.
WWE has already parodied the tune a few years ago, but NXT could absolutely sprinkle its magic on this much maligned super-show of yesteryear.