Oh, these (snarky) comments!


I do not disagree with some of the things you have said about the Jinder Mahal push of Doom. Also, I do understand why some of this has been a little upsetting to some of your readers as of late. After reviewing some of the discussion that has taken place on this subject and listening to Brian Alvarez’s (sp?) incessant public bitching, I would like to make a few points that I feel deserve further attention.

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Attitude era overrated?

Just finishing up 1998 WWF PPV’s and I have to say this. I know this was in the middle of the last great wrestling boom period but for the most part, most of these PPV’s really sucked. From re-reading your rants you fully acknowledge the bad undercards with the hot Austin main events but with the exception of WM, the two followup Foley brawls, and Summerslam, even most of the main events were snoozefests. You’ve got the super over Outlaws putting on mediocre match after mediocre match and terrible to just boring undercard matches. I would argue that 1997 was a better year wrestling wise even though WCW was kicking their ass. I know with 1999 shows approaching on my watchlist it won’t get much better until 2000 hits. As a whole, with the exception of Rocky’s rise to stardom, is it safe to say with almost 20 years of retrospect that the Attitude era was vastly overrated?

​Hey man, I’m not one of the millenial Attitude Era babies that’s always longing for a return to the Russo Days and crying about the PG Era. Maybe it’s because we really only got half of the Monday Night Wars in Canada, but I just don’t have the blind nostalgia for that time period that others seem to. And yeah, a lot of the stuff after Austin wins the title and before Rock becomes a go-to main event guy are BRUTAL. They just had nothing for challengers for Steve outside of Mankind, and it was basically an entire roster of guys adjusting to a completely different style of working. By the time Rock matured and Russo left, it was of course awesome, and once again it can’t be overstated how important adding the Radicalz to the mix was to the undercard.

Jinder or Reigns?


Jinder as Champion, Fabreeze, and Sami Zayn winning=ratings? Roman Reigns push=lower ratings? The question remains if you have to choose between Reigns or Jinder being pushed who do you choose and why?

Jinder. He works cheaper, so it’s better ROI. I’d make a joke about outsourcing overseas, but Jinder’s Canadian.

Jinder Mahal, from the perspective of a Punjabi

Don’t know how this experiment will translate in terms of success but it’s the most curious I’ve been in quite a while.

"Why was I all-in at the very beginning? Why was I so emotional over a scripted result? It’s simple. I’m Punjabi. I’m an Indian-American who’s family lineage started in Punjab, India. There is a guy that’s on TV that’s actually representing Punjab. That’s a big deal. Not just because there’s literally no representation out there for Punjabi’s in American media, but he’s actually representing minorities and people of color as a whole."


The issue has never been with Jinder. If you want to push him, wonderful, go nuts. But PUSH HIM, don’t just decide three weeks before the show that he’s the new guy and give it a halfassed build. Why did we even bother with the Bray title switches if Jinder is where you wanna go? Did anyone give a shit about the Orton v Wyatt match at WM just because it happened to be for the title?

History Repeating

Hey Scott–

Remember that time WWE had this lower-mid card loser that Vince really wanted to push all of a sudden? I mean, they had tried getting him over as a singles attraction before, but it flopped so badly on Raw that creative threw him back together with his tag team partner in a gimmick that had worn out its welcome years prior.

Then, in a swerve so sudden it nearly broke our collective necks, this douche got a total character makeover, was thrust into a main event scene that he’d never even sniffed prior, and with a couple months of rushed build up (and wrestling very few matches to build his credibility) was put over the reigning champ in a move that baffled everyone watching.

And then JBL was WWE Champion for nearly a year.

I just find myself giggling nonstop over the outrage in SmarkTown over Jinder Mahal as world champion, when Vince has pulled this exact same troll job on the fan base before…

​Imma stop you right there, broheim. This fallacy has been floating around the internets since the title change, and it’s just not true. The JBL character might have had a relatively quick ascension to World champion, yeah, and he might have been a total disaster on top, yeah…


You can’t say they didn’t believe in him and want him to be a top guy. He was consistently pushed as a protected guy with the APA (which Jinder was the exact opposite of), and then given a test singles run in 2002 where he was heavily protected (again, the exact opposite of Jobber Mahal), plus a Hardcore title reign or seven, and the JBL character was introduced as a big deal in an important, featured role. Ratings were fine when he won the belt and during his buildup, and dropped the longer he held the title.

Jinder was literally a jobber who suddenly won a six-pack challenge on Smackdown and then beat, like, three top midcarders over the course of a month and won the title with two guys helping him. Ratings for Smackdown were decent at the beginning of the year, but have dropped to record lows during the build for his title match, before he even won the title. Ratings for RAW, the night after he won the title when you’d expect at least a LITTLE PPV bump from casual fans who might tune in to hear about him, actually hit a new record low. He doesn’t even have merchandise! They didn’t do anything to tweak his character, just made him angrier and added smaller versions of him as useless henchmen.

I will say, I think JBL was a disaster as champion, but I can respect the effort. Vince McMahon was ALL IN with that shit. Jinder has been a half-assed push to troll the fanbase and maybe kowtow to India if they ever tour there again. Totally different.

Damien Sandow In 2013

Why do you think the WWE never put the World Title on Damien Sandow after he won the Money In The Bank Briefcase in 2013, even if he would’ve just
been a transitional champ with a short reign?

​Because I’m still convinced that Cody Rhodes was the one who supposed to get that briefcase and they just pulled the swerve with Sandow to fuck with everyone, and then got bored with him after two weeks and killed him off. Plus, had he won the title, then we’d have World champion Damien Sandow, and I mean, COME ON. Really now.

The SmarK Rant for the Monday Night Wars–02.03.97

The SmarK 24/7 Rant for the Monday Night War – February 3 1997

– Welcome to the 2 hour era of Monday Night RAW, as these shows are now a little over 3 hours total, and I’m sure they’ll have to be split up for technical reasons pretty soon.  (Ha ha, NOPE.  In fact they just dodged the issue completely by dropping the 1997 version of the show and restarting back in 1995 again, before the channel was cancelled completely a few weeks later.  I have a month missing in my archives, so I’ll have to redo those ones for February, and then about a month’s worth of these left over from March ’97 before I’m gonna have to start reviewing the shows for real again, by the way.  My current feeling is alternating weeks of RAW and then Nitro, because two hours a week is about the most I can take.  Like holy hell, how did I get the time to retreat to my office and do these monstrosities for four hours at a time back in 2007?  No wonder my wife never saw me.  Also, thank JEBUS that this is the point where I ditched that stupid new format for the rants and went back to the classic way.  Every time I read one of them I want to go back and rewrite the match results properly.) 

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Flash Season 3

Would love to hear your thoughts on the finale and the season…weakest season and ending yet IMO. I feel a disconnect from the entire team at this point and the whole "Don’t let anyone know Barry is Flash but let everyone into STAR Labs" can stop as well

Two very mitigating factors for me this season:

1) They totally lost me with this Savitar shit, repeating the Iris "death" week after week while no one communicated on Team Flash and Barry continued to brood and plot to fuck with the timeline. Seriously, UGH. I was tuning out a few episodes ago and there was nothing that compelled me to get back in.

2) More importantly, CTV cancelled the show and moved it to their "CTV 2" channel mid-season. You know whose cable provider DOESN’T have a "CTV 2" station? MINE. So that meant I really had to go out of my way to find episodes after the fact, and again, I couldn’t be bothered past a certain point.

3) I’m mostly chuffed that they didn’t use my "HR is secretly Abra Kadabra" theory. CHUFFED I TELL YOU.

Also, Supergirl was pretty damn aimless for the end of the season and finally picked up again with the last couple of episodes. Mon-El was GREAT for a while. Now, not so much. And I really love Chris Wood.

But hey, next season, fresh start. I’ll probably catch up on Flash once they dump the season on Netflix in the summer and be all excited to start again in the fall.

7 famous wrestling gimmicks intended for someone else entirely!



Hey, it’s my latest Sporting News column, as I take a look at 7 gimmicks that began as someone else. You might recognize a few of these from the Flashbacks. These are apparently doing gangbusters on Sporting News because it turns out that writing clickbait material leads to people clicking​ on it. Little SEO tip for you, as we say in the website biz.

NEXT TIME: 10 wrestlers that changed their gimmicks overnight!

Observer Recaps

I love the Observer retrospectives from both your and Dave’s perspective, but I was curious how much of this stuff you already knew? Did you go back and reference the newsletters when you were writing your books or did you rely on your own expertise? I know these recaps do well on the blog and help pay the bills, but how much are you enjoying these on a personal level and how much of this is new info to you? Thanks!

The recaps are by far the most fun I’ve had doing the blog. I’m learning tons of new stuff because it’s impossible to retain all that info and news from the original times, and a lot was filtered through hotlines in a literal telephone game. I’m glad everyone enjoys them so much and I have no plans to stop.

Chicago crowds

Chicago crowds always are so lively for wrestling. How did AWA not better utilize their proximity to Chicago to draw and present a better received product? Or did they do well in Chicago and just not tour there enough?

Will TNA start running Chicago more seeing as how if Jinder is over in Chicago, even their show has a chance?

​AWA drew great in Chicago and ran there all the time. It’s just that Verne killed off the entire product.

Also, Jinder might be World champion, but it’s still far more likely than TNA ever drawing a crowd anywhere ever again.​

Where the jobbers at?


One of my favorite parts of the brand split last summer was the return of the jobber matches. James Ellsworth got a job, Braun got over, and Nia Jax looked competent. We used to get 2 a show last summer on Raw, where’d they go?

Just another concept that Vince got bored of, I’m assuming. You’d think the fact that it managed to get BRAUN STROWMAN over would convince him to keep going with it, but nope.