I recently had a word with Stewart from the New Generation Project Podcast, who was kind enough to answer a few questions about wrestling’s past, the podcast’s future, and Alan Partridge references.
Your podcast starts at King of The Ring 1993, when ‘Hogan jobbed to fire’ and subsequently left the WWF. What is it about a post-Hulk Hogan, pre-Attitude Era WWF that made you want to study this particular period in wrestling history?
Well, the idea initially came out of being a fan of the Attitude Era Podcast and then OSW Review. I probably listened to every OSW episode in about the space of a week and then recommended them to Paul. He suggested we attempted something similar ourselves and having enjoyed both those shows, the “New Generation” era seemed like the logical option. In addition to that, 1992-1995 was the period I grew up watching, so there was some familiarity there for me and a touch of nostalgia, so getting to watch shows like “King of the Ring 1993” and “Wrestlemania X” again were definitely part of the allure.
Hogan’s move to WCW put the WWF into something of what we’ll kindly call a creative holding pattern during the following years. To what do you attribute this spell? Further to that, what exactly is with all the double-gimmick wrestlers during this time?
Hogan’s move itself is what creates this period. Vince is determined to create another Hogan-esque top liner, and that’s what yields the ‘creative holding pattern’ you mention. His initial attempt is an exact Hogan replica: Lex Luger, and as we’ve all seen, it failed spectacularly. Vince never truly wanted to commit to Bret Hart as ‘the guy’ so we get those short spells between Vince’s different failures where Bret steps in to steady the ship. We’re currently at the period where Vince goes with Shawn, and fair play to him, he goes all in with Shawn, but as we’ll see he isn’t the one who ultimately works out, due to a combination of behaviour and ultimately, injury. As for the two-job superstars? I blame The Big Boss Man, Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake and Rick ‘The Model’ Martel – those gimmicks were successful in the late 80s, so Vince went back to what he knew. We’re about to hit another wave of those types of characters, so I’m looking forward to Adam and Paul meeting The Goon and TL Hopper.
Paul experienced a ‘Jimmy Del Rey’ moment early on in the run, when a wrestler he’d not really known of put in some impressive performances. Who’s provided you with your own JDR moment during the span of the podcast so far?
Without a shadow of a doubt, Bull Nakano. I definitely remember her from when I was a kid, and in fact, I must have actually seen her live, but seeing that “Summerslam 1994” match between her and Alundra Blayze opened up a whole new world of wrestling for me. I’ve been out and got hold of a ton of 90s joshi stuff and been blown away by the likes of Manami Toyota, Mayumi Ozaki, Akira Hokuto and Kyoko Inoue. If I could recommend a couple of matches, I’d say people should definitely check out the Manami Toyota/Toshiyo Yamada “Hair vs Hair” match from August 1992 and the 8 Woman “Thunder Queen” match from July 1993 – you won’t believe what you’re seeing is over 20 years old.
Armchair booking time: after the legendarily awful show it turned out to be, who from the whole roster do you think should’ve won King of the Ring ’95 (I will accept ‘Nobody’ as an answer), and how?
I think the correct answer is “anybody other than Mabel”. In all seriousness, the correct answer was probably Shawn. He was red-hot at the time, and eliminating him in the first round in a time limit draw with Kama, of all people, made no sense. You could have built to Shawn vs Diesel at Summerslam, and maybe done some face vs face stuff before turning Diesel heel. Plus, Shawn being in that lineage with Bret, Owen, Austin, HHH etc definitely seems more fitting than what we were left with.
One of my favourite things about your podcast is the clearly evident strong friendship between the three of you. That could all be down to the magic of an edit though! Do you think that the output of a typical episode gives an accurate depiction of how you guys get on?
Yeah, I’d probably say it’s a pretty accurate representation. Editing definitely does a lot for the show, but I don’t think it really affects how the dynamic plays out between the 3 of us. I’d say some of the random tangents and discussions we end up with are fairly true to what the conversations would be if we were to just sit down, watch the shows and discuss them between ourselves. Adam and I live together so we have to get on, and Adam used to live with Paul in the pre-Mrs Scrivens days so we definitely all know each other pretty damn well!
On the podcast so far we’ve had pay-per-views from both WWF and WCW, TV specials and even a special listeners’ mailbag edition. What’s been your favourite episode to make so far both from a research and recording standpoint?
I’m generally fairly critical of what we record and often come away from a recording session worrying about the quality of what we’ve produced. Generally editing and putting the episode together will ease those worries somewhat. From a recording standpoint, the WCW shows tend to stand out as the most fun to record; “The Great American Bash 1996” was one of the rare recording sessions that I came away from feeling good about what the show would turn out to be, and “Halloween Havoc 1995” was one I knew was a lot of fun also. “Baywatch vs Thunder In Paradise”, despite containing no actual wrestling, was a lot of fun to record. In terms of research, that’s something I quite enjoy on a personal level – reading about things like Vince’s steroid trial and Brian Pillman’s contract shenanigans stand out as favourite memories from that side of things. The mailbag episodes were fun to do in that I had to do no actual work for those in terms of research, so it was a bit like having a couple of weeks off.
Aside from, obviously, what’s on the WWF PPV schedule, do you have anything special lined up for an episode in the near future?
The WCW shows are VERY popular, so while we won’t be doing them on a month-to-month basis, we’ll probably look at doing them more frequently to keep up to date with the happenings over there. We’ll definitely do an episode for “Pillman’s got a Gun”. When we reach the end of the calendar year we’ve discussed doing another episode of “Thunder In Paradise” alongside the episode of “Baywatch” where Shawn Michaels turns up. “Santa With Muscles” has been requested by a few people, so we may do that nearer to Christmas. And there is another super-secret bonus episode that I can’t say anything about right now!
Anything else you’d like to promote?
After months of people asking, T-Shirts are on the way! We’re doing it all by ourselves (WOO!) so what you receive will be a package completely from us, with some cool little freebies put in there. They should be available in the next week or so [EDIT: NOW AVAILABLE!]. And obviously, just the show in general. We’re massively thankful to everyone who listens and it’s genuinely a joy to interact with our listeners.
Who invented the skip?
Bobby Moore, I don’t bloody know, do I?