The New Generation Project Podcast softens the blow of you ever having seen a WWF New Generation PPV; with humorous insight, amiable hosts and plenty of decent wrestling trivia.
Ask any wrestling fan when the dark days of the WWF were, and they’ll very likely spin you a yarn of the very dark days; when gimmicks were awful and the lack of roster depth was immense.
When Hulk Hogan left the WWF in 1993 having pretty much refused to ‘pass the torch’ to someone else (a feat he would repeat many times over), the company was in the bad position of having no heir to the throne. And with the company reeling from the steroid trial, the bad publicity heaped upon the WWF in the mid-90s was enough to see it fall down a hole both creatively and financially.
And of course, that’s when I happened across and started watching wrestling. And at the age of 8 I didn’t see all that much wrong with dentists, farmers and binmen all doubling up with a career inside the ring, but fortunately the guys from the New Generation Project Podcast have come to see me right.
Hosted by Stewart Brookes, Paul Scrivens and Adam Wykes, The New Generation Project Podcast sets out in each episode to “honour the heroes of Hulkamania and analyse the architects of Attitude” by examining the WWF pay-per-views between King of the Ring 1993 (Hulk Hogan’s final appearance in the 90s) and Wrestlemania XIV (Stone Cold Steve Austin’s first World title win).
The usual format has Stewart running down each match and angle within the show in question, while Paul and Adam chip in with their own thoughts, which often take the form of their specialist subjects: being a maths whiz, Paul grapples with the mathematical problems posed by the in-ring action and commentary (a recent one involved working out the circumference of a sumo wrestling ring) while Adam rates and reviews the beautiful 90s haircuts on display – and some of the ladies too.
The guys have just passed through the period I remember most clearly – between Wrestlemania X in 94 and In Your House 5, which took place in December 95. Of course that means we’ve had their thoughts on King of the Ring 1995; the infamous disaster of a show which saw a brave Savio Vega wrestle four times in one night and get all the way to the final, only to fall to the new King Mabel who wrestled just twice thanks to various screwy booking.
As a ten-year old I rallied behind brave Savio Vega; the plucky underdog. Now, having listened to the New Gen Podcast’s very insightful and very funny take on it, I’m stunned to have any good memories of it at all. It sounds diabolically bad, and I feel sorry for them for going through that torture in the name of entertainment.
(On the other hand, there are shows featuring Bret Hart; still one of my favourite ever wrestlers, and I’m still dumbstruck that they gave him such silly feuds when he should’ve been challenging for, or holding, the World title for a good long time; such was his talent in comparison to others who got more of the rub around this time.)
And entertaining it really is. Stewart’s in-depth research nicely plugs the gap between PPVs, ensuring we’re all up to date with the various angles played out on Monday Night Raw and Superstars (ah, Superstars…) while all three provide some great insights on hair, maths and more throughout. Their easy-going conversational style is something special, and it’s very much in keeping with the content: when something particularly bad or silly occurs in the show, you may as well just go with it right?
I’m a big fan of the episodes where they change the channel to see what’s happening down south in WCW – where Hogan and failed Hogan 2.0 Lex Luger are bedding in nicely to make WWF’s financial woes even stronger by throwing the company’s money around.
(It’s also been the place where the guys provided my standout moment of the show so far: introducing Bunkhouse Buck for a match, before one of the guys misheard and thought we were being treated to a ‘Bunkhouse Bob Monkhouse’ match. I want that on a shirt.)
So if you were as unlucky as me to have tuned into wrestling in precisely the period that represented a massive slump in the fortunes of its biggest supplier, you’ll feel better after listening to the New Generation Podcast. And you’ll stay for Scrivens’ karaoke. Superb stuff all around.