Undertaker – THE question to start arguments.

Scott,

 

The question that will launch a thousand arguments, but which I don’t think has been properly debated on the blog –

 

Taking into account story, booking, workrate, bumps and everything else, what is Undertaker’s best Wrestlemania match?

 

​I'm fond of the one where he told everyone he was retiring beforehand, did a big farewell at the end, and then came back the next year for another million dollar payoff.  You know the one.​

Biggest International Signing Bust?


Hideo Itami or Sin Cara? Both men were signed due to their international reputation and stardom in their respective countries. Sin Cara was the first signing under the Triple H regime and was supposed to be Rey Mysterios successor. And Itami, they brought Hulk freaking Hogan to Japan to announce his signing.

​I'm gonna go with Sin Cara, because as noted he was supposed to be a big crossover star and succeed Rey.  Itami was intended to pop the Japanese market, but I don't think anyone seriously thought he would be a huge star in North America.  Too old, too much of a language barrier, too many injuries.  He's been a bit of a disappointment, yeah, but he's already done everything in the business he needed to.  Sin Cara not only flopped, but got injured numerous times and pretty much destroyed his own legacy in the process.  ​

Failed wwe India tour

Hey Scott,

After reading the recent Jindel Mahal win as 2017 Gooker award winner, I was thinking about how the WWE’s planned ‘tour’ of India slowly dwindled down from several shows to two shows to just one (with the inevitable Triple H win over Jinder). Regardless of Jinder’s ‘importance’ to the tour, it left me wondering why WWE was unable to draw sufficient interest in a tour.

TNA seemed to be popular despite only have Sonjay Dutt, to the point that they even had Ring Ka King, an India specific wrestling show with some of their talent, and even toured there a few times. So why was TNA able to gain a foothold in the country where wwe could not? Was it because the TNA numbers were sufficient for them justify it; where as those numbers would count as a significant loss for wwe? Or is TNA somehow more popular there?

I’d like to hear your thoughts.


TNA is also weirdly popular in the UK, so it just goes to show that different markets are DIFFERENT.  It's a lesson that WWE seems to have trouble grasping.  The failure of WWE in India (and China) mostly seems to stem from them trying to charge ticket prices, and streaming prices, in markets that won't support them.  China in particular is just not going to pay money for the WWE Network, and it's been a similar struggle in India.  The recent "tour" of India couldn't even sell out two shows at ticket prices that aren't much more than the standard house show tours here, so the lesson is that they just ain't gonna pay for the product.  

Sgt Slaughter – A (Un)Real American Hero?


The combination of Sgt. Slaughter being the break out star of your 1981 Mid Atlantic rants and my renewed interest in GI Joe – thanks to the brilliant piece of nostalgia The Toys That Made Us, on Netflix – got me to thinking:

Is there any concrete proof or reliable sources that Robert Remus actually was a US Marine, let alone a Drill Instructor? The internet seems to believe he was. The timeline is a bit off too, at least if we are to believe that he was a DI.

If he wasn't a US Marine DI… is this the greatest pro wrestling work of all time? 

​Time Magazine seems to think that he was a legit drill instructor.  More importantly, ​Wikipedia reveals that he went to high school and played football in Eden Prairie, MN.  This kind of blew my mind, since I just finished watching the third season of Fargo and it's kind of cool to see one of the (storyline) locations of the show revealed to be a real town with real people that came from there!  
Also, if you've never watched Fargo, it's on Netflix, and it's GREAT.  Just sayin'.  

Trolling with Daniel Bryan… again


So the odds on Daniel Bryan winning the Rumble are down to 4-1. WWE fans aren't dumb, and we follow the odds. Aren't they just setting up another massive troll job and won't the crowd (in philly again) shit on the Rumble again, when #30 is anyone but DB and we're left with Roman and Cena in their at the end. Seriously that ending has NWO garbage in the ring written all over it…

It's not like WWE sets the odds.  If anything, the only logical thing you could infer from WWE TV is that Daniel Bryan is going to wrestle Shane at Wrestlemania.  The odds swinging like this come from so many people being stupid enough to put money on Bryan winning that they HAVE to move the odds.  

LU to NxT/WWE


Post season 4 possibilities: So with Richochet debuting soon(I imagine), you seeing Jeff Cobb(I believe that’s who you’ve mentioned) a good fit to come over as well, what do you think of other LU prospects? Wether 205 Live dies or lives, that roster has to still wrestle, and Fenix & Drago(205lbs before the costume?) could make for some hot openers.

But more than anything I want to see PENTAGON!!! breaking NxT prospect arms on a weekly basis!  He can work most styles, has what I consider one of the best looks in wrestling today, I don’t even need to understand him as the passion and anger in his voice tells me how much pain he wants to bring. Do we give him a mouthpiece? Do we try to ensure that mouthpiece doesn’t overshadow him?

​Pentagon is likely making WAAAAAY more money on the indies right now thanks to the LU exposure and I think he's under contract long-term anyway.  I can't see any of the Pentagon/Fenix/Drago group making the move, just because WWE is so different from the pure lucha style that it would take a long time to reprogram them.  Even super-talented guys like Kalisto and Andrade took years to acclimate.  We haven't reached Killshot yet, but someone like him or Cuerno, who have the look of a WWE style wrestler and can comfortably speak English, would be bigger prospects, I feel like.  ​

Way overpushed newcomers/returns


Watching 96/97 RAWs, and oh-so-many new/returning guys were way overpushed from the start.

From Rocky Maivia (wins IC title 3 months after debuting), the Nation Of Domination (Crush beats Bulldog, Taker, Ahmed within a few weeks on TV in early 97), Kurrgan, Furnas/LaFon (instant top contenders for tag titles) and many more were forced down the fans' throats and usually heavily rejected or conway-popped within a few months.

what the hell were they thinking? Throwing shit at the wall then let's see what sticks?? Desperation? Shaking things up?

​Mostly desperation due to Nitro destroying them and a really thin roster.  There's no other era where Brian Pillman would have been allowed anywhere near a ring, for example.  Although to be fair, Furnas and LaFon were a top tag team everywhere in the world they went previously and they should have been instant contenders, but they just flopped.  ​

Del Rio Wanting Back in WWE




Found this interesting interview with Del Rio. It's in spanish so I'll give a basic translation. 

He called Triple H personally and apoligized for his past remarks.

Him and WWE are supposely on good terms now.

He wants to end his career in WWE whether its a retirement match or a part time schedule but it wont happen till 2019

He blames Paige saying she manipulated him into believing WWE and Triple H were purposely trying to sabotage their relationship along with her career.

​Oh boy, maybe he'll be a surprise entrant in the Rumble and we can hear him talk about his destiny for two months before he gets fired again.​

Blog question – Old NWA / WCW Rants.

Two quick questions re the old rants for PPVs :

 

1.      
In your Starrcade 88 rant, you note that (as is well known) Flair vetoed jobbing the World Title to Lex Luger.  In the match rant, you then say that Flair was subsequently told to go over clean, but insisted
on cheating to win.  Was Flair just trying to not be a total jackass to Luger (given his use of veto) or was he genuinely trying to help Luger stay strong for future chokes?

2.      
You make a couple of references to Bill Apter and / or PWI taking payoffs from NWA / WCW with regard to awards such as Wrestler of the Decade etc.  Has this been confirmed / proven?  Is it something Meltzer
referenced in his newsletters?

 

​1.  Yeah, he was trying to keep Luger strong for future rematches.  Beating him clean as a heel would have been really short-sighted.  The veto for the job to Luger was in 1990, though.  ​Had they asked him to lose to Luger in 88 he wouldn't have had any issue with it, I don't imagine.  Clearly Luger was the money guy that Crockett wanted on top eventually.  

2.  Does anyone have records of it?  No, of course not.  And hey, Bill Apter told me himself that he never took a dime from Crockett or Turner, so maybe it was all on the up and up.  All I can say for sure is that WWF did not cooperate with them on photos and coverage, and the NWA cooperated extensively, and we know which side won the most year-end awards and got more cover photos.  

The end of an era


Any memories of Sears to share?

I'm still getting over Target's spectacular death up here.  As for Sears, like all kids, the Wish Book was the highlight of the holiday season.  Plus when I got older, I loved the Arnold Palmer pants for work.  Other than that…ehhhhhhh.  I won't miss it.  

Daniel Bryans Return?

I'm gonna call BS.  However, this one time I'll spot them some awesome fantasy booking.  Roman Reigns is #27, and he throws out five guys or whatever, until the ring is cleared and only #30 remains.  Philly wants his blood, but DB returns as the last guy and wins. Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles headlines WM.  I humbly accept a 10% booking fee off the top of the gross of the millions made.  

All 30 Royal Rumbles, Ranked from Worst to Best

Hey Scott,

I'm enjoying rereading your Rumble reviews and was wondering if you could put up a plug for an article I did, "All 30 Royal Rumbles, Ranked from Worst to Best." It was a lot of fun rewatching all the Rumbles (a project which I devoted more time to than just about anything I actually get paid for).

I know you just mentioned you were in a bad mood when you reviewed '07 and I think you should give it another shot…I've got that Rumble as the #6 best on my list. Granted, most of that is because of the epic Undertaker/Michaels finale, but still…

What's your vote on the most underrated Rumble? I know you love the 2010 edition.

Thanks as always, long live the Blog!

​Yeah, the CM Punk stuff in 2010 was fantastic and I thought it was probably the last one where they got the timing exactly right and hit the right pacing for clearing out deadwood and bringing in big stars and such.  ​Plus the Shawn Michaels run was heartbreaking (pardon the pun), where people were hoping so hard for one last run from him and then had it yanked away.  Plus the big surprise at the end of Mountain Man Edge winning, even though the Wrestlemania payoff ended up being supremely disappointing.  

Tokyo Dome on January 4, 1992

Hi Scott,

I think you had mentioned not knowing the rights with the early WCW/NJPW Tokyo Dome, but the 1/4/92 is up on NJPW World:

https://njpwworld.com/p/s_series_00104_1_11

Unlike WWE Network their search is pretty solid even with the language gap so you can find a lot of other WCW endorsed matches with 90’s guys rocking their WCW gimmicks.


That link you sent is just for Luger v. Chono, or as the translated description calls it,

"Super Warrior IN Fighting Dreaming 1994 January 4 Tokyo Dome 11th WCW World Heavyweight Championship game Rex Ruger vs Masahiro Butohno"

​Ah, Rex Ruger.  ​Anyway, I wish they'd put the full shows up there as one deal.  I actually find the WWE Network much more intuitive when I'm looking for stuff.  I do wish that NJPW would just hire some English website guys and make a full version of the site for us North American clods, since that's a huge chunk of their business now.