T.V. Ads for Smackdown on Fox

What do you think of the T.V. ads the WWE is running for Smackdown on Fox that prominently feature several wrestlers who are retired/not full time anymore?  Ex-Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena, Ric Flair, etc.  Do you feel these are counterproductive to the talent that is on the shows every week, or do you believe that the commercials aren't a big deal either way?  

I think they're certainly setting up expectations for Fox that might be tough to match.  Although I haven't watched anything on Fox in ages so I can't speak as to the commercials themselves.  Really the only actual TV shows I've watched lately are Big Brother and Live PD and everything else I consume is on streaming services or YouTube.  

The Hard Camera

I haven't been to alive show since I was 7 or 8, and never to a tv taping. How awkward is it to have the winner of a match celebrating and grandstanding in the direction of a tarp instead of to the fans?

They do make sure to have fans on the hard camera side.  The upper deck is often tarped off but the lower bowl is usually filled for TV tapings, even on the side you don't see.  

AB to the XFL?

Antonio Brown playing in the first XFL game as the mystery 11th offensive starter for the home team, are you seeing this?

I have no idea why people would send me football questions.  

Jerry Lawler

Scott……….thanks to the network and YouTube I’ve really come to appreciate how good The King was in the ring.   

So here’s my question – has the WWE misused Lawler all these years?   Would he have worked in a trainer/agent role?   How would you have used him?

I wouldn't say they've misused him, but holy god could he definitely teach the new guys how to throw punches and cut promos if they wanted to use him that way. 

The Hogan/Flair/Savage triumvirate

In yesterday’s Hidden Gems rant you mentioned the commentators bringing up the ridiculous notion of Kerry Von Erich beating all three of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Ric Flair, but that got me to thinking:  Who does have pinfl or submission victories over all three? There’s a couple I can think of with at least two but a stretch to say all three.
Oooh, that’s a tricky one.  I wanna say Austin Idol is our best shot, because I could find a record of him beating a young Terry Boulder for a title and probably beat him later on when he was Hulk Hogan, and obviously he would have met and beaten Randy Savage in Memphis at various points.  And I’m pretty sure he beat Ric Flair too.  So I think he’s our winner!
Edit:  A quick bit of research reveals that Luger beat Flair at house shows in April of 89, so along with his wins over Hogan and Savage, we can add him to the list, too.

Road to Wargames

Hey Scott–

Much like it was for the Horsemen a generation earlier, it seems pretty clear that Wargames is a match that belongs to the Undisputed Era and that they'll be the heels in the match once again this November. Given that, I have two queries for you.

1. UE has all the NXT men's gold. November seems way too early to take any of the belts off of them. Do they roll into Wargames with their titles, meaning the only championship match will be the women's title? And what non-title matches would you book to fill out the rest of the card?

2. Seems pretty clear to me that the next big program is Velveteen Dream v. Adam Cole, and that Dream should be leading the babyfaces into the Wargames match. Who do you put out there with him? My vote goes for Matt Riddle and (if Ciampa's healthy) a reunited DIY. Who do you put on the… *sigh*… Dream Team?

I think it's tough to plan stuff for November given the Wednesday Night Wars about to launch, where plans will no doubt change weekly.  I can see the tag titles or even Cole's NXT title switching before WarGames.  Honestly, it's time for Dream to come to the main roster.  He's still got some stuff to work on, but they desperately need star power for Smackdown and he's the guy with the most potential to have it at the moment.  But yeah, if they're doing Dream as the captain, you can do Dream and Riddle.  I'd go off the grid and throw Keith Lee and Dijak in there as uneasy allies as well because I feel like they could be effective in that environment.  Just a hunch.  

As for the rest of the show, if WALTER is willing to work NXT, then he can defend the UK title against KUSHIDA as teased by this week's show.  Plus the CW title seems to be part of NXT now, so that's three title matches and the WarGames and you got yourself a Takeover!  

Pulling The Trigger Too Soon On A Push?

What would you say was the worst example of a wrestling company pulling the trigger too soon on a wrestler's push?  I'd have to go with Ryback in the WWE in 2012.  He was getting over squashing jobbers in his first few months, then he was put in a WWE Championship match inside Hell In A Cell with C.M. Punk out of nowhere.  From that point on it was all downhill for him.     
That one was a very tricky situation because Ryback was getting to the point where they HAD to pull the trigger or people were gonna get tired of him, but they couldn't.  In retrospect, I still think they should have had him beat Punk and then lose it back at Survivor Series.  Rock getting the belt at Rumble ended up going over like a wet fart anyway so the extended title reign of Punk wouldn't have mattered either way. 

Strange managers/valets

Between Buddy Roberts managing the Samoan Swat Team in the AWA and Baron managing the Powers Of Pain in WWF (right in the same timeframe), what other nonsensical and weird manager/wrestler pairings do you recollect? Bonus points for Teddy Long/Jim Powers

Oliver Humperdink as a babyface manager for Bam Bam Bigelow was pretty out there.  

Secret Origins

Hello Scott,

Over the last decade or two, I've read and re-read countless classic rants on old shows, as well as most of your themed essays.  I read most of your current PPV recaps as well. 

However, for all of the content I've perused, one thing remains unclear to me – exactly what is the origin of the phrase "BONZO GONZO?"  

I understand the the basic meaning of what it represents, but I'd like to know the specific match/incident that inspired it.  It warms my heart that you still use it.

It specifically comes from the History of the Tag Team Championship Coliseum Video, rant, with a match on the Spectrum Network in the 70s.  I forget which match. Someone else can probably call it up faster than me.  

NXT First Impression

Hey Scott–

Just wondering if you had any thoughts regarding NXT's first foray into cable TV. If the assumption is they are trying to grab the million or so WWE viewers who don't have the network, how do you think they did with their first go-around?

I didn't watch it yet because

a)  It doesn't air live in Canada

b)  The full Network version doesn't go up until literally 24 hours after the original airing so realistically if I'm reviewing the show, it has to wait until Friday.  

Seemed like a good show, though.  I'll probably check it out tonight.  

Biggest disparity between two wrestlers’ matches?

I was watching the Hogan vs Warrior match from Wrestlemania 6 as it is a favorite of mine from childhood.

And it got me thinking  about their rematch at Halloween Havoc 1998. It had to be one of worst matches I have ever seen.

I give the Wrestlemania match 4 stars.  And the Havoc match negative 5 stars. 

Can you think of any two wrestlers that a bigger disparity in the quality of the matches they had together?

People also tend to forget about the rematch that Hogan had with the Rock in 2003, which was just awful.  I wouldn't say it was a bigger disparity than the Warrior matches, but it definitely showed that the Wrestlemania match was a once in a lifetime achievement.  

PPV’s Being Used to Build to Next PPV?

Hey Scott,

 One trend that I’m noticing out of WWE that has become more common is using some PPV’s to build to another PPV. While this was done on occasion in previous eras, it has almost become the norm now. To me, WWE’s PPV’s have lost their importance over the
past few years because of it, what do you think?

They've lost importance for a lot more reasons than that, but the worst is not PPVs building to the next PPV, it's PPVs building to TV shows.  

AEW must succeed.

It’s impossible to topple WWE in terms of fan loyalty and guaranteed income that it feels like any competition is unlikely to make any dent in its popularity.

When RAW is bad, if a WWE PPV is dull and uninspired it’s ok, it’s the norm, the accepted standard and seemingly enough people are fine with this and keep watching in hopes that one day things will get better.

I already know if AEW doesn’t draw an insane amount of views and every match isn’t at least 4 stars every single week, or whatever the goal post shifting target is, then everyone will write AEW off with their “told you so” attitude. You can already see the discussions where WWE gets a free pass for shitty TV programming but AEW has an impossible goal to even remotely appease a small fraction of the wrestling fan base and the first episode isn’t even out yet. AEW has an impossible task ahead of it.

I fear It doesn’t matter what AEW will do, it will never be good enough. If quality mattered then the WWE would have died a decade ago but alas here we still are.

AEW please save us. AEW please succeed.

I'd rather they both be good, personally.