Let’s take a trip back to spring of 1996. This Generation X-er was about to enter the Golden Era of teenage years. It was a few weeks after the monumental NFL Draft that landed Miami Dolphins icon, Zach Thomas.
In addition to the recently named Hall-of-Fame Semi-Finalist (again), Miami’s draft class included Daryl Gardener, Stanley Pritchett, Shawn Wooden, Shane Burton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
We can discuss who Thomas’ Hall-of-Fame classmates are in a few months when we all find out together. Book that.
Fast forward a few weeks after the 1996 draft euphoria, and believe it or not, I remember watching the Bob Hope All-American Special and saw this tiny, stocky linebacker from Texas Tech jog out.
Mr. Hope had a head on him, but something stuck with me…this was him.
This was the guy.
The Zach Thomas story is one for another page view. Sorry for the shameless tease, but I have kids to feed.
Back to Springtime, and my other love of my childhood into early adulthood.
Not Morlon “Ultimate” Greenwood wrestling, where he was the 1996 Long Island heavyweight State champ, undefeated at that (32-0), but the world of professional wrestling.
WWF and WCW style.
Bringing this back to now like it’s an MCU time-jump, a certain storyline captured the hearts of sports entertainment fans of all ages.
On a random May night in ‘96, Scott Hall, aka Razor Ramon, interfered in a worthless WCW match and officially invaded the “company.” The former WWF star, who was recently shunned, was a free agent so-to-speak, and was available.
Like it or not, this was the start of a changing of the guard. The very beginning of a new way of doing things.
A New World Order of acquiring talent.
As much as the Miami Dolphins are in need of “talent,” what this organization did in 2019, led by Eric Bischoff, er, Chris Grier, was concoct a go-for-broke strategy that can go one of two ways.
A brilliant and potentially lucrative standard, or a titanic disaster.
What happened on August 8th, 2019 at Hard Rock Stadium was similar to the debut of the WCW’s new free agent.
“The Bad Guy”
Before anything else, that moniker is false. A horrible misrepresentation of a young man who was about to force his way onto the scene, and make his presence officially felt after being, well...shunned.
Preston Williams wowed the audience in a relative worthless preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, much like the meaningless WCW jobber match of Steve Doll and the Mauler in which Hall shocked the world.
Much like the entrance of Hall, Williams started a trend that opened eyes in Miami and parts north.
There were several of these guys. These cast-offs. Forgotten ones…
As that game and preseason went on, much like the start of the true Invasion of the traditional way of doing things that is the WCW; Grier managed to convince Billionaire Ted, er Stephen, that this was the way of the future for his relatively new pride and joy.
The Miami Dolphins.
Something so rich in tradition and fan passion, but at the same time, tragically in need of an upgrade. A new identity.
A new Attitude.
Along with Preston Williams, who can be corelated to Scott Hall in timeframe only now, and not in nickname, there were more.
One savvy, well-known veteran. One brash, young up-and-comer.
Enter Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen as if they were Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash.
Let’s call Fitz All-American Hogan, as Rosen is more Hollywood, but bear with me here.
Fitz has changed colors as much as Hogan has anyway, whether he was happy about it or not.
Christian Wilkins was then thrown in as the drafted young superstar in the making with a “Giant” personality. Some thought a reach, or risk, or not the right position to go for at that time.
The Giant personality is ready to choke-slam opposing quarterback, but gracefully to avoid a flag unlike other men-in-the-middle in Miami.
Sorry. Suh, me.
Fellow disrespected and shunned prospect, Nik Needham, came on board as the 6th member, a tad late, but better than never. Much like a completion to a Syxx-Pack, the rookie cornerback who can break-up a pass as easy as 1-2-3, Kid, started making his voice heard in Miami.
Taco Charlton and Vince Biegel then showed up, shocking fans of the Fins much like the WCW fans asked their parents and older siblings, “who are those guys from those other teams?”
With these new names, these Outsiders started making noise in Miami Gardens, and there seems to be a Hostile Takeover afoot.
Stars were put on notice, and ultimately, expulsion.
The once-beloved, were now no longer relevant to us, be still cared for.
The Four Horsman of the Miracle were now gone. Tannehill, Drake, Stills, Ted Larsen and more, became as relevant to this base as Dean Malenko and Arn Anderson.
Some players, however, were ambiguous in all of this, much like the organization and fans alike to them. Like the nearly shunned DeVante Parker.
The home-grown talent who was being questioned. The Sting of the Miami Dolphins.
Although things weren’t initially smooth for the Stinger, and Parker alike, the Miami wide-out showed his true colors through The Invasion and proved to be the leader he is to guide this ‘Pack of hungry young Wolves.
He once performed at his peak in red. Not Stinger red, but reminiscent of Cardinal red from his days at Louisville.
All in all, the Million Dollar Coach Brian Flores, brings his bling that would make only Ted DiBiase jealous.
Will these Outsiders develop as one unit, and play to sell-out crowds soon, and sell merchandise buttonhook left and right?
Time will tell, like all things, but much like Solo D’s D.W.A, the time is NOW for this N.W.O. in Miami.
Now in a sense these Outsiders are proving the belong. Not just in Miami, but in the “Show.”
As a businessman myself, like a Vince McMahon, I understand this cant last forever and this group will undoubtedly not all be retained for various reasons over time.
Yet this group of players are putting together a foundation of a decade long run, that could permeate the fan base for generations.
They could capture the current generation, inspire the next generation, and make the other generations remember a time where enjoyment came with every viewing.
With plenty of winning that is just...too... sweet!