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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

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The Underrated: Razor Ramon

By @TrueGodImmortal

When talking the New Generation Era, we have to talk about one of the most popular wrestlers of the era, Razor Ramon. Now, Razor would eventually have mega success as Scott Hall as one third of the original NWO in WCW, but before that, he grew his name in the WWF. When Razor first became the Cuban bad guy character, he was a heel, one whom wasn't necessarily figured out yet in terms of direction. After leaving WCW in 1991 from an unsuccessful run as the Diamond Studd, the Razor character would be modeled after Tony Montana and Manny from the Scarface film. It was in many ways cutting edge for the era, as Razor being based off of a movie drug lord, definitely challenged the family friendly vibe of WWF TV.

The hilarity in the creation of the character is that Scott Hall pitched it to Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson as a mere joke, quoting lines from the film Scarface when he pitched it to them, obviously utilizing the "Say Hello to The Bad Guy" quote from the film to drive home his point. Regardless, Vince and Pat hadn't seen the Scarface film, so they figured these were all ideas made up in Scott's mind and loved it. The debut vignettes in many ways were also modeled after the movie, as fans got a glimpse at the character and the whole concept. Clad in Miami style clothes and gaudy jewelry, along with a small razor blade on his chain, Razor was the embodiment of a Spanish drug dealer from Miami. When he debuted, he would begin to win squash matches with his patented Razor's Edge finishing move. His first big moment would be inserting himself right in the Randy Savage vs Ric Flair WWF Title feud at the time, helping Flair win the title.

A small alliance between Flair and Razor would begin leading to a match against what was to be Savage and the Ultimate Warrior, but the Warrior was replaced by Mr. Perfect. This feud was significant because it instantly catapulted Razor to another level and had him look even better in the eyes of the fans. Razor would end up in a main event title match for the richest prize in the game at the 1993 Royal Rumble taking on champion Bret Hart. Razor would put up a great effort and though he lost, you could feel the fans start to take a liking to the charismatic Razor.

After a loss to the upcoming 1-2-3 Kid in May 1993 (The Kliq!), Ramon would fully make a face turn and the rest is history. He engaged in a feud with the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, and would be the final opponent for Dibiase in his last WWF match, beating him at Summerslam 1993. From there, after Shawn Michaels had to vacate the WWF Intercontinental championship, Razor would win  a battle royal with Rick Martel to earn the rights to face each other for the vacated title. Razor would win and the stage was set for what is likely Razor's finest hour in WWF.

This epic feud would lead to the classic Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania 10. The match is still regarded by some as the greatest ladder match ever, and while it definitely catapulted Shawn Michaels to higher levels, Razor walked out of the match a made man as well. Razor would win his feud with Shawn, then feud with Shawn's bodyguard Diesel, who defeated him for the Intercontinental title. Razor would win it back at Summerslam 94 and continue on his path as Shawn and Diesel split up. Soon after, Razor would end up in a long term feud with Jeff Jarrett over the IC Title. Jarrett won it from him at the Royal Rumble, but Razor would win it back in a ladder match at a house show (a major title change at a house show!!! Never happens today!) in May 1995 to become the first star to ever win the Intercontinental title three times. Jarrett would win the title back just 3 days later however, and their feud would continue until Jarrett lost it to Shawn Michaels.

The date of destiny was set again as a ladder rematch between Shawn and Razor took place at Summerslam 1995. Shawn would win this one, but Razor at this point was now ready for the big time. The main event. Razor would win the IC Title a fourth time, but it began to lose its luster. Razor during 1994-1995 was honestly the most popular guy on the roster that wasn't named Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels. Diesel was over to an extent, but he couldn't draw a dime. Razor was able to draw, was consistent and had a loyal fanbase. He deserved a run with the WWF Title. I've always felt like WWF forced Diesel as a champion and it didn't work. Thus, they almost went out of business due to that big mistake. My idea for rebooking everything in 1995 would have been to make Razor the King of the Ring, setting up a rematch between Diesel and Razor for the WWF Title, with Razor finally ending the long dragging reign of Diesel and finally winning the big one. Shawn could have put the IC Title on the line against someone like Owen Hart in a ladder match, giving Shawn a true heel to work and likely another classic match.  I will likely expand on this before New Generation Week is out in a rebooking scenario for Summerslam 1995 anyways. Regardless, Razor would eventually go into a losing streak in 1996 after dropping the Intercontinental title and once he got the offer from WCW, he had to take it.

While the chapter of Razor Ramon officially ended in May 1996 for the WWF, his legacy lives on forever. When we reflect back on some of the greatest of the New Generation Era, his name should always be at the top. Hands down.



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