Jump The Shark: Wrestling Edition Part 1: HBK, HHH, WWE, WCW, Hulkamania

Lanny PoffoCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2009

I know the whole Jump the Shark thing has been done before, but I thought it was time to apply it to wrestling.

For those who don't know, the term "Jump the Shark" means the point at which something goes from cool to not cool anymore.

Many consider the episode of "Happy Days" where the Fonzie jumped over a shark in Hawaii the point at which the show started to deteriorate. 

The great thing about this is that there can be a lot of disagreement about it, but as I've put a lot of thought into each of these, I doubt that anyone will have a problem.


1. Shawn Michaels

HBK jumped the shark the moment he cut his infamous Montreal promo in which he tricked the audience into thinking Bret the Hitman Hart was coming out, not to mention Hulk Hogan. 

He was in classic form that night, and it was truly the pinnacle of his comeback.  Ever since he's had a great run with DX, and he's had some of the best matches in the company, but I don't think he'll ever match the brilliance of that one time when he allowed his pre-comeback attitude to come back.


2. Triple H

HHH jumped the shark when Evolution broke up.  At that point he had had a great career, and been part of two legendary factions.  But with Evolution, with all due respect to Ric Flair, HHH single-handedly got both Batista and Orton over. 

Since then, it's been a good run as a watered down DX, and then one "roll the eyes" run as champion after the other.  He used to be able to excite a crowd, as well as incite them as well as anyone else in the Attitude Era, but those days are over. 


3. WWE

The WWE jumped the shark when they bought WCW.  Whether it was the fact that there was no longer any real competition, or if the product became repetitive, there is no denying that the excitement about the business has not been the same since. 

The Monday Night Wars were great drama, but that movie ended.  If most great movies continued after they ended, they'd probably be more boring too.  The hero would go home and go to sleep. 

The WWE has tried to invent reasons to watch, but nothing could compare to watching to see how each company would try to outdo the other.  Maybe someday we'll be back there, but we're a long way away.


4. WCW

This one is easy.  The fingerpoke of doom.  I loved this when it happened.  I was thinking that Nash and Hogan were really going to at it.  I was supposed to go to bed early that night, but I stayed up.  And was floored when Hogan put his finger on Nash, toppled him, and pinned him.  I loved it. 

But this really was the end.  It seemed that once Goldberg's steam was stopped the night before, they really lost their way.  NWO this, that and the other thing.  They botched Bret.  David Arquette, anyone?  Although I thought it was great, it was definitely the beginning of the end.


5. Hulkamania

Tough.  You could break this up, actually, since his career has been so long.  But I'm speaking right now as a kid whose favorite wrestling moment of all time was when I finally got to see him wrestle live, vs. the Big Boss Man in a steele cage at MSG. 

He jumped the shark when he beat Sgt. Slaughter for the WWF Heavyweight Championship.  The magic of Hulkamania was gone after that.  He lost to and then beat the Undertaker, and then the Yokozuna Wrestlemania 9 fiasco.  It was never the same again. 

It was probably best for the survival of the WWF that Hulkamania had to die at the time, because it gave them the opportunity for others to get the push they needed.

Feel free to agree or disagree with anything I've said, and also to offer any wrestling "Jump the Sharks" you can think of.  I'd like to make this a semi-regular article here on B/R.