The Wrestling Professor sent this in:

Welcome to the Armpit wrestling quiz for Monday, January 12, the first quiz of 2009. For those of you who are sick of questions on WCW, this will be our final installment on the Clashes. Let us now proceed with part 7 of ???Clash of the Champions.???

How will 2008 go down in the history books? It was one of those rare years in which there were not any major news stories in pro wrestling. There??’s nothing wrong with that, though, as 2007 contained the biggest news story in pro wrestling history, and I don???t think anyone reading this wants to go through another ordeal like that again. That incident still haunts and baffles me to this day, and it probably always will.

2008 was far more notable in the MMA world, in which the return of Randy Couture, the ascension of Brock Lesnar, and the arrival, and departure, of MMA on network television were huge stories. All those events changed MMA history and were truly fascinating to watch. It also seems more and more wrestling fans are flocking to UFC, and it??’s not just because of Lesnar. That trend should continue in 2009, which looks to be another solid year for UFC on PPV.

What will 2009 bring? No one knows for sure, but here??’s one bold prediction: Paul Heyman and Gabe Sapolsky will re-unite and return to the scene in some form. Both of these guys are going crazy sitting on the sidelines, and their creative minds are chomping at the bit to get back in the game. That??’s why both are blogging like there??’s no tomorrow; Paul E. with The Sun and Gabe with his MySpace page.

Sure, Gabe is enjoying his hiatus now, but once that wears off he???ll be itching to book again, just like Paul E. is. Heyman recently teased in a recent article that he???ll get back in the game and show TNA how it??’s done, but then said that he was kidding. And maybe in his mind, he was kidding. But all it will take is for Paul E. and Gabe to have a few conversations on the phone about today??’s wrestling scene, and sooner or later one will say to the other, ???Hey, wanna start something new????

Here??’s another reason why I???m almost positive this will happen: kids. Let??’s face it, kids drive parents nuts. Paul E. is stuck at home with a crying, crapping, whining little kid. Gabe is at home with his significant other. Wives and kids are the single biggest reason men stay late at work and never want to come home. As I write this, the miserable co-worker sitting behind me seemingly never goes home. He??’s constantly online, here on some weekends, and never takes a vacation. Is he that dedicated to his job? Hardly. He??’s here because he doesn???t want to face the reapers waiting for him at home. And that goes for everyone else I???ve ever worked with who puts in long hours at the office. They hate their jobs, but for them, it sure beats their home life.

So you???ve got the former Paul E. Dangerously sitting at home with his family, watching a horrible TNA product, watching WWE desecrate the ECW brand he created, watching UFC make big money without any real competition, and wanting to bolt out the door as soon as possible before he drives himself absolutely insane. And Gabe will feel the same way in about 6 weeks.

Getting TV will be difficult, but Gabe will convince Paul E. that ROH did just fine without TV. Better yet, the two might even start their own MMA promotion.

The biggest challenge will be getting financial backing, but if they can pull that off, it??’s on. With WWE steadily wishing future endeavors to so many talented folks, they could easily build a solid roster. Paul E. made stars out of indie guys like Tommy Dreamer and the Sandman, so he can work his magic on guys like Ken Doane, Rob Conway, Nick Dinsmore, the Bashams, and much of the old OVW crew. He can call in old pals like Sabu RVD, Sandman, and pull in out of work veterans to play the roles Jack Victory and Terry Funk did in old ECW, like Kanyon, Sean Waltman, and a plethora of others not being used today.

And like I said, if that doesn???t work, they could form their own crossbreed MMA/wrestling promotion. Real fighting with pro wrestling style hype, interviews, and angles. Sort of like UFC with less star power, but with a more over-the-top presentation. Whatever this hybrid turns out to be, I expect something will happen. Paul E. and Gabe are far too talented and creative to sit this industry out. Please. We???re begging.

Back to the quiz.

Answers from last time:

-Clash #22 featured the long awaited babyface turn of Cactus Jack.

-Clash #23 saw the highly anticipated match between Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and the Hollywood Blonds (Steve Austin and Brian Pillman).

-At Clash #23, Too Cold Scorpio wrestled an invigorated Barry Windham. Big style clash but they pulled it off.

-In the weeks leading to Clash #24, Cactus Jack disappeared doing his amnesia gimmick. That amnesia gimmick was WCW??’s answer to a big money feud handed to them following Jack??’s brutal matches with Vader on WCW Saturday Night. Don???t ever wonder why that company went belly up.

-At Clash #24, the Shock Master (formerly Fred ???Tugboat??? Ottman) came crashing through the set of ???A Flair for the Gold??? in wrestling??’s all-time greatest blooper.

-The main event at Clash #25 was Flair vs. Vader.

-Clash #26 was the WCW debut of Bobby Heenan. He was very funny, calling Marcus Bagwell the ???Bag Lady??? by accident.

-Sting and Ric Flair wrestled at Clash #27 to unify the WCW title and WCW International title (don???t ask).

Here are this week’s questions. No winners will be declared. We’re just doing this for fun and to honor the forgotten world of wrestling history.

1. Clash #28 was the first major wrestling event to occur after I left for college in a dorm room that had no cable TV, so memories are fuzzy here. This show featured Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan, but those two legends were not even the biggest stars on the show. Yes, Hogan??’s Japanese equal was also on this show. To be fair, Hogan was never the star in America that this man was in Japan, but worldwide, Hogan was clearly the bigger star. Name this legend.

2. Clash #29, closing out 1994 and the first profitable year since Turner bought WCW (a small profit, and reportedly not including the expense of signing Hogan, which was charged against a separate Turner department), was pure FOH-mania. FOH stood for Friends of Hogan, a popular acronym at the time among inside wrestling fans. This show had Honkytonk Man, Brutus Beefcake, Earthquake, Jim Duggan (going over on Steve Austin), and a special guest referee very familiar to vintage Hogan fame. Name him.

3. Absolutely nothing happened at Clash #30, so I don???t know what to ask about it. How about this: what do Clash #30 and WrestleMania IX have in common?

4. Clash #31 was also very uneventful. In case you haven???t noticed, the red hot crowds and kick-ass matches of the 80s were long gone. No epic Flair-Sting 45-minute draws here. On this show, Paul Orndorff had to put over the Renegade. Sadly, what ended up happening to the Renegade?

5. 1996 was kicked off by Clash #32. While 1996 was the year WCW turned around, the real pickup would not happen until the summer. Nitro had already debuted, but hadn???t picked up major steam yet. This show featured Brian Pillman vs. Eddie Guerrero, so you can???t go wrong there. Also on the card was a team called the Blue Bloods. Who were they?

6. Clash #33, airing shortly after the Bash with Hogan??’s heel turn, was more like it. WCW now had Guerrero, Mysterio, Ultimo Dragon, Bull Nakano, Dean Malenko, and all sorts of great foreign talent. But the main event was still owned by the legends: Hogan and Flair. What two women, now both deceased, were in Flair??’s corner that night?

7. Starting off the legendary year of 1997 was Clash #34, headlined by Lex Luger against Scott Hall at the peak of the nWo angle. It was just on fire back then, and this was before it got too diluted. Interesting match on the undercard in hindsight: Chris Benoit vs. whom?

8. The final Clash, #35, was one I definitely remembered. The ending scene was hard to forget if you saw it; what was it?

Answers will be posted next time.

The Armpit
Pro wrestling/MMA’s least trusted news source