Should they have kept the belt on Reigns?

Hey Scott,

For all the flak Reigns gets, in hindsight, going back to Survivor Series 2015, should they have just kept the belt on Roman for the last two years? With the exception of AJ's stellar run with the belt, every one else has been a flop — Sheamus; Triple H; Seth Rollin's for five seconds; Ambrose; Cena for a month; Bray; Orton; and Jinder. 

Since Reigns is their guy, wouldn't it have made more sense to have him win it at SS15 and hold it until he drops it to AJ in September '16. Then Cena can win it at the Rumble and drop it to Reigns at WM33, who holds it indefinitely. What's the point of throwing the belt around like this? When Cena was their guy in 2005-2007, they just kept the belt on him regardless. 

​Yeah, I've said many times now, if they wanted Reigns to be The Guy, then they should have just pushed him as The Guy and made him champion.  Vince is obsessed with creating the perfect coronation moment for him at Wrestlemania and having him magically turn into Hulk Hogan or John Cena, and it's just not how it works for everyone.  They needed to push Reigns even harder until people just accepted him as WWE champion like they did with HHH, because THAT is what generally does work.​

CM Punk’s Drawing Power

Hi Scott. Been reading your stuff for years. Really enjoy what you do with the site. I've always wondered was CM Punk a big money draw in his time with the belt? Would his reign be considered a "success" in terms of being on top as champ? Since he hasn't done much of anything since leaving I figured he must have made a bunch of $$ during that time to be able to pretty much disappear and continue his lifestyle. Wondering if you could clear that up for me?


​Punk was definitely not a draw.  His big feature show, Money in the Bank 2011, did about the level of a normal B-PPV, but he did good ratings typically.  Punk pretty much made his money from three sources:
1)  Living on the cheap and saving as much money as possible while on the road.
2)  Huge merchandise sales, specifically t-shirts and his DVD set.
3)  Extra income from being on the cover of the WWE videogame that one year.  
You'll note that although Punk was champion for a year, he was rarely in the main or featured match of the night and was typically underneath John Cena during his entire reign.  So really, there was always going to be that ceiling for him anyway.  ​

Why the Carolinas?

Hi Scott,

Just wondering has there ever been a real understanding of why the Carolinas was the last territory to fall? It's never really discussed as one of the more important territories and yet sometimes it seems like people use the terms "JCP" and "NWA" interchangably.

Also, how come there were never any important territories in California? You'd think, with such a huge economy, it would've been a prime target for a wrestling stronghold.

​Dude, seriously?  California was a huge wrestling territory from the 50s to the 80s!  Freddie Blassie was a top star there for years and they had their own version of the World title and everything.

House of Hardcore on Twitch

Hey Scott,

House of Hardcore has started a weekly show on Twitch, and will be airing Saturday's live event in Philly on the streaming service for FREE. Tommy Dreamer spoke with The Wrestling Estate about the new deal, Austin Aries returning, Bully Ray retiring and much more. 
Hope your readers enjoy.
Thanks as always,
John Corrigan 

Old Wrestlers Learning New Tricks?

This question was inspired by the Observer post mentioning Terry Funk adopting moonsaults in 1994. Other than him (the moonsaults and adopting a more hardcore style) and The Undertaker adopting MMA-type moves later in his career, can you think of examples of wrestlers notably changing their style later in their prime or after their prime?

​Sure, there's Shawn Michaels going from daredevil bump machine to master of babyface psychology, Matt Hardy changing from bump machine to evil crime lord or whatever he does now, HHH going from technical wrestler to lost Legion of Doom member in 2002, Scott Steiner going from suplex machine to muscle-bound oaf in 1999…there's lots of examples.​

Brock Lesnar-Curt Henning Fight On A Plane In 2002?

  I remember hearing about Brock Lesnar and Curt Henning getting into a fight on a plane around 2002 or so, and Henning supposedly came out on the winning end.  Any truth to this?  Thanks. 

​There are no winners when you try to double-leg an NCAA champion on a plane, but basically the WWE crew got really, REALLY drunk on a plane ride back from Europe and Hennig challenged Lesnar to a wrestling match right there.  He tried to take him down and they rammed into the emergency door in the process, and while descriptions of "everyone nearly dying" are overblown, it was a bad situation.  Flair was incredibly drunk as well, and X-Pac cut off Michael Hayes' ponytail to prank him.  Unfortunately it resulted in the termination of Hennig pretty much immediately, and he died in a hotel room of an overdose shortly after.  ​

Hogan at WM X8

I don’t remember much of the leadup to WM 18 aside from Hogan trying to
kill The Rock but was Hogan starting to get cheered even before the match? 
In other words was Hall and Nash turning on him after the match an audible based
on Toronto’s reaction to Hogan?  If Hogan gets booed out of the building
are they still having Hall and Nash desert him to try and turn him face
regardless?  I know him beating HHH the next month was based off the
nostalgia pop but was there an original plan after WM that got shot to shit when
Hogan got turned face at WM?

​Hogan was getting some cheers before the show, yes.  Basically a week before Wrestlemania they knew they were going in the new direction with him, so the Hall & Nash turn wasn't so much an audible as it was a hasty change of direction that was planned in advance. But yeah, they were turning him babyface either way, and it just happened to work SPECTACULARLY well. Who knew that Hogan could play a babyface?​

The Hurricane

Why hasn't The Hurricane ever made a comeback? You would think since they are PG the kids would love him so merchandise sales could be huge. The whole superhero thing has been red hot for years on TV. He could add a lot to RAW/205 Live.

Yeah, and as far as I know Gregory Helms is still active, although last I heard he was more interested in being an agent or trainer.  Still, he could definitely play a mouthpiece for someone, and his buddies are in the promotion again, so it's not out of the question.

When Did It Start?

Forgive me if this is common knowledge, but I wondered if there was an official period or point when the WWF/WWE writing & booking staff expanded? 

There's been plenty of former wrestlers who have vented about the "dozens of writers", comparing to the glory days when it was Vince & Pay Patterson laying out most things. Then there was the Russo/Ferrera era. Was it Stephanie moving up in early 2000's when the staff got so cluttered?

Closest I can get was a Russo interview (take his word for what it is) when he ranted how in 2002-2003 he was talking with Vince about returning, and he said there was so many people writing now he say it as a failure.

Is that around the original brand split when it started, or earlier?

​Yeah, it was the original brand split when they really went nuts with hiring writers, and split them into two teams.  The problem had started once Steph got hired originally because she wasn't really a creative person herself and acted more as an overseer.  Plus you had specialty guys like Gerwirtz who would write for their favorites almost exclusively, and yeah, it just got to be a big mess of writers.  ​

Prospects in dying promotions

Feeling really bad for someone like Eli Drake, who gives his all and has very good entertaining promos on the regular, being in a colossal garbage promotion like Impact Wrestling. He could thrive in the indy scene or in NXT. Instead he now seemingly has to put over Alboreto in the near future

Who are other good examples of big fishes or top prospects in small or dying ponds/promotions? Destruction Crew in 90/91 AWA? Booker and Lance in 00/01 WCW? EC3 a bit ago in TNA?

​EC3 was a special case because WWE wasn't gonna take him back anyway, so TNA was pretty much his ceiling outside of Japan.  The guy I feel kind of bad for right now is Jeff Cobb in Lucha Underground, because he could be getting MAD offers all over the world but he's locked into the LU contract for another season now and can't really do anything as long as they exist.  I'm of two minds with the Destruction Crew, in that they had enough star presence in the AWA to look like a big deal, but got COMPLETELY exposed once they made it to the WWF.  Mike Enos was always a good worker, though, and someone who could earn a regular payday with or without Wayne Bloom.  ​

No Sexual Assault/Harassment Allegations in wrestling?

Hey Scott,

I posed this question in the Friday post but I wanted to get your thoughts on this: with all the sexual assault and harassment allegations coming out in show business and in government, does it surprise you that nothing has come out about this in pro-wrestling? Is it just a matter of time before it does? And if it's against Reigns, would Vince still deem him the chosen one?
​Frankly I'm shocked that Vince HASN'T been taken to task during this firestorm, because he's admitted to all kinds of stuff before and the promotion was nearly sunk one time already due to the shenanigans of Terry Garvin and Mel Phillips.  They could easily have that sort of thing dragged up again, and this time it would be much harder to buy off the ringboys and wait for the news cycle to go away.  Not to mention Jerry Lawler's checkered past.  Really, it feels like a Deadspin article just waiting to happen.  ​