Living the Gimmick

Hey Scott,

So WWE put out a video about how Nikki Bella and Cena have been “reconciling”. In my opinion, this means that their break-up was a work that everyone fell for, and will be resolved by the last episode of next season's Total Bellas. Is it safe to assume that the world is a work and we're all just marks for accepting any part of this reality?

A Reader

P.S. Would you say that Roman Reigns is closer to Luger (Choke artist that keeps getting pushed and bailed on, then pushed again almost immediately), or Biker Taker (Loyal soldier for Vince who gets pushed over stars with much greater presence, because of his loyalty/older, better gimmick)?

​Clearly Nikki has been Roman Reigns with a wig and rubber facemask like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible all along, and we'll get the big reveal to set up the feud that will finally get the Big Dog over.  ​

SummerSlam idea

Hey Scott, longtime reader and enjoy your work. I had an idea for SummerSlam and was wondering what your thoughts were. What if Seth Rollins continues his tremendous run that he is on as Intercontinental Champion, putting on great match after great match through May, June and early July. He begins to grow confidence and says he is RAW's true champion because Brock Lesnar is never around.

At Extreme Rules in July, Rollins defends his title against someone who the WWE is looking to build up, someone like Samoa Joe or Elias (even Roman if it will get him away from the main event for a while), Lesnar returns and is pissed at Rollins' trash talk and decimates him. Since it would be a No DQ or some other kind of stipulation given that the event is Extreme Rules, Elias or whoever picks up the easy pinfall victory to win the IC title. 

This sets up Rollins vs. Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. At the event, Rollins wins the championship, but is once again laid out by Lesnar after the match. Finn Balor, having won the Money in the Bank briefcase in June, appears as the demon and cashes in to win the title, simultaneously getting revenge for his injured shoulder from two years ago and beating the same opponent in the same venue at the same event to win the same title he never got a run with. Then the next month they could do a triple threat match to get Lesnar's rematch clause out of the way (if they decide to pay attention to it that month) and then they run with a Rollins/Balor program atop RAW into the fall. 

​I don't really like the idea of pulling the trigger on Rollins and then cutting him off right away in favor of the midcard Balor, but let's face it, we're into the era where it literally doesn't matter who they push or what they do as long as they pump out content for USA.  It's pretty depressing.  ​

Reigns cashing in on Seth

Rollins beats Brock at Summerfest. Reigns who has won money in the bank cashes in during the match to claim the title.

Is this seen as a heel move, or would fans take Seth as a hypocrite if he complained?

​Clear heel move for Reigns.  Just because you're justified doesn't mean you're not a dick.  ​

Friendships in wrestling?

Hey Scott,

Might you (or anyone on the blog) know of any real-life friendships in wrestling? 

Like I always figured Sting and Lex Luger were real-life best friends. Shawn and HHH is an obvious one. But what are some others? I guess Flair and AA were really close?

Are any of the modern guys (Cena, Bryan, Reigns, Orton) known to have a real-life best friend or clique?

What about older generations? Austin? Taker? 

Any you've ever found surprising? Like if Rick Rude and Haku were best buds behind the scenes, that would kinda shock me (plus they'd beat the shit out of everyone.)

​Obviously we know Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss are BFFs behind the scenes.  The one that always surprised me was the menagerie of the Bone Street Kru, which I didn't even know about at the time.  ​

$20 Million Lost

Hi Scott,

In Death of WCW, R.D. and Alvarez claim that, in 2001, WCW lost $62 million.

When Russo had R.D. on his show, he asked him to, essentially, itemize how they came to $62 million and what proof they had. R.D. didn't really have an answer outside of, “that's what Meltzer said.”

Have you ever heard, exactly, how they got to $62 million?

​Well, AOL/TW is/was a publicly traded company so I can't imagine it would have been too hard for someone like Dave to source the losses.  As I understand it, it was a combination of the ridiculous payroll combined with the huge costs of producing Nitro and Thunder every week combined with losing advertising revenue as ratings fell.  In particular, when Russo dropped the third hour of Nitro, they lost a GIANT chunk of advertising that had been helping to offset costs, and they had nothing to balance it off.  Once they had gone to 3 hours of Nitro, they were unable to squeeze the toothpaste back into that tube, which is the same reason why RAW remains 3 hours today even with freefalling results in the third hour all the time.  ​

Fabolous Moolah Allegations Months Later

Whats up Scott,

So now that everything regarding Moolah has died down and reading more articles with more people comming out saying she was actually good to them. Was it a mistake to quickly judge based off allegations?

Considering that stories have been circulating about her for years, I don't think anyone was judging anything too QUICKLY.  Quite the opposite.

Superhero Movies

I know virtually nothing about comics and superheroes. I haven't seen any of the Avengers movies or Black Panther or Wonder Woman. In fact, I think the last superhero movie I saw was Superman IV in the theater.

But with the success of all of the recent movies, it's piqued my interest. I want to see Infinity War for example, but I know it will be more confusing than anything because I don't know any of the characters. I don't even know the difference between DC and Marvel. Comics just weren't my thing growing up.

My question: What movies should I watch first to get caught up to the current offerings? Should I just start at Superman from the 70s and go chronologically? Should I watch all DC first then Marvel? Should I just jump in to Infinity War now and figure it out as I go? Is there anything I should skip that's not worth my time.

I need some sort of outline. If you could help a newbie out, that would be great!

​That's not exactly a one-email request, I'm afraid.  Avengers is actually very entertaining even if you have no idea who everyone is, because otherwise there's decades of backstory and having to understand the difference between the Disney Marvel, Fox Marvel, and Netflix Marvel characters and such.  I'd say just jump in and see if you enjoy it, because you probably will.  Or if you check out Captain America: Civil War, Thor Ragnarok and maybe Guardians of the Galaxy, you're good.​

No logic in tag team wrestling

So, I'm supposed to take Riot Squad seriously as a close-knit, three-woman unit, and yet they lose to a randomly thrown together three-woman team? Where's the logic in that? As a team, they're already dead because the booking has now made it clear that they are nothing distinctive *as* a team. What, they're a real team because they come out together? Because they wear matching gear?

It's always bothered me that every team in wrestling, even if it's their first time teaming together, is booked by the agent to look like they basically have perfect chemistry in the ring (unless they're going to feud together). They have perfect co-ordination together, never make any mistakes with the timing, always know when to tag out, etc.  Even worse, if it's a random pairing of two top guys, they're almost always booked to win over an established team that's been together for years.

Am I the only one who finds this approach outdated and silly? It just seems to unrealistic from the viewpoint of ring psychology. I mean, what sport is there where you could be thrown into a team with someone you've never worked with and work almost just as well together as a team that's been working together as a cohesive unit for years?

The one exception to this in recent years was The Shield. They got over because they beat everyone, and the message was as simple as anything – these guys together are more organized and cohesive together than any other team, and so you can't beat them if they are together. And what a shock – The Shield got insanely over even if individual members didn't (like a certain Samoan you hear about who can't get over as a top guy…who was that again?).

Thoughts? Keep up the awesome blog.

​Hey man, four words:  Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Regardless, I don't find stuff like the Bray/Matt team particularly compelling either, but at least they're doing something with Matt and doing something different with Bray.  The top guys beating an established team thing I'd also disagree with, because in theory if you're a top wrestler, you're good at a variety of things and can compete on a level where if you're, say, John Cena, you can team up with Shawn Michaels and win the tag titles by sheer force of being better than both members of the opposition.  
But yes, certainly point taken otherwise.​