Giant Pushes

Hi Scott,
Hope all is well. I’ve got a question for your blog, which relates to the role of giants (or just big dudes) in wrestling. Personally, I love the often-used angle where a big guy is presented as an invincible killer and built up for the top babyface for a huge payoff. Kane is my personal favourite in 1998 when he was unstoppable until he met up with Taker and Austin.
However, my big problem is how these giants are employed after their first angle. Granted, very few are great wrestlers but it’s just weird how WWE does it now, where a killer will have his big angle…then dropped down to punching-bag status…only to be built up again every few months as a killer once more. Kane, Big Show, Khali and now Mark Henry are prime examples of this although Henry doesn’t bother me as much because his promos come across like he’s a guy who’s done messing around and wants the world title at any cost. His recent in-ring promo with Bret Hart where Bret asks him if he’s trying to intimidate him and Henry responds with a fairly genuine and passionate, "I don’t need to intimidate you, Bret!" was very well done.
Anyway, my point is that all this stop-start pushing can’t make sense for the audience (I know, I know, logic in wrestling, what am I thinking?) and it bugs me. A great example is Big Show as a top wrestler and then dropped down to jobbing to Jeff Hardy (back in the day) and although Show deserved the de-push, it’s still kind of jarring seeing how it may take three finishers to put him down now. What do you think?

It’s pretty symptomatic of WWE in general, where everyone whose name doesn’t rhyme with Wena or Morton goes up for a bit, then down, then up when they need a PPV headliner, then down again, etc.  It used to be a set formula back in the day for the Hogan tour:  Mark Henry would have squashed a variety of guys in impressive fashion, drawn big money with Hogan on the circuit for two-three months, then settled into the midcard after taking the big boot and legdrop.  Now the difference today is that no one gets the sustained push up the card in the first place.  Yeah, King Kong Bundy eventually sunk down after doing a series of jobs to Hogan, but he bought a fucking mansion first and then was able to write his own ticket on the indies for years afterwards.  They seem to think that they can just skip steps now, by having guys do 50/50 booking when they come in so that no one buys them as a threat, then they push them to the main event where they bomb, and they go “Well, we tried, but you got the rub by jobbing to John Cena, so if you can’t get over it’s your fault now.”  It’s very bizarre and backwards. 

Anti-Smark

Scott – This subject has been discussed from time to time on the blog, but I’d like to get your take on it: how exactly did this whole "anti-smark" mentality that is currently infiltrating the internet come about? Do you think it’s a psychological reaction to the Benoit tragedy, or is there another cause? I’ve been around the so-called "IWC" for quite some time now (fifteen years), and even though there were always been those who questioned Meltzer’s journalistic credibility or had differing opinions about what makes for a good match, I’ve never seen this kind of vehemence, disdain and outright hostility towards certain targets until the last few years or so. Is it just anonymity of the internet that makes people so emboldened and devoid of common decency and respect? And I don’t think it’s mere trolling, although there are those who fit into that category. Rather, it feels more like a wholesale rejection of anything that even remotely "smarkish". Your thoughts?

It’s probably just the usual “reject the status quo” thing that happens when people decide what’s cool and what’s not.  I haven’t noticed a whole lot of it myself, but then I live in a pretty insulated bubble on the internet anyway.  I still reject the notion that there’s any kind of coherent “internet wrestling community” in the first place, though, given how divided and downright hateful most viewpoints are. 

Anti-Smark

Scott – This subject has been discussed from time to time on the blog, but I’d like to get your take on it: how exactly did this whole "anti-smark" mentality that is currently infiltrating the internet come about? Do you think it’s a psychological reaction to the Benoit tragedy, or is there another cause? I’ve been around the so-called "IWC" for quite some time now (fifteen years), and even though there were always been those who questioned Meltzer’s journalistic credibility or had differing opinions about what makes for a good match, I’ve never seen this kind of vehemence, disdain and outright hostility towards certain targets until the last few years or so. Is it just anonymity of the internet that makes people so emboldened and devoid of common decency and respect? And I don’t think it’s mere trolling, although there are those who fit into that category. Rather, it feels more like a wholesale rejection of anything that even remotely "smarkish". Your thoughts?

It’s probably just the usual “reject the status quo” thing that happens when people decide what’s cool and what’s not.  I haven’t noticed a whole lot of it myself, but then I live in a pretty insulated bubble on the internet anyway.  I still reject the notion that there’s any kind of coherent “internet wrestling community” in the first place, though, given how divided and downright hateful most viewpoints are. 

Lost Potential

I found what you wrote about Barry Windham not reaching his full potential during your WWF Vintage Collection review interesting.  Are there other examples of wrestler’s not reaching their potential, for whatever reasons, you can think of?  Terry Taylor? Lex Luger? Vader?

I don’t really know what more Vader could have done.  By the time he went to the WWF he was past his prime and it’s not like he was going to be the top guy there anyway. Terry Taylor is a different kettle of fish, because he was a great worker who got into a really bad car accident in the 80s and then suddenly became a mostly good worker instead.  So yeah, the Red Rooster thing destroyed any chance he had to get over on his own, but there was really a ceiling there anyway.  He wasn’t going to be a top guy. Luger, yes, definitely.  Should have been The Guy, but he got screwed over too many times and he just stopped caring.  Nikita Koloff is another one who should have jumped to the WWF and drawn millions against Hogan, but his wife dying ripped his heart out and he was never the same again.  He was improving so fast in the 80s, though, that he should have been something great.  More recently, there’s been a disturbing trend of WWE calling guys up way too early and then basically chasing them out of the business when they don’t get over right away.  Because there’s no regional scene to make a living from, if a Chris Masters fails in his one shot as a green rookie, then it’s less likely he’ll hone his craft and return.  A lot of these guys are just finding jobs outside of the business and not coming back, and I think that’s what’s really going to hurt in the long run.  So all you ever get is the potential, and then they’re gone. 

Lost Potential

I found what you wrote about Barry Windham not reaching his full potential during your WWF Vintage Collection review interesting.  Are there other examples of wrestler’s not reaching their potential, for whatever reasons, you can think of?  Terry Taylor? Lex Luger? Vader?

I don’t really know what more Vader could have done.  By the time he went to the WWF he was past his prime and it’s not like he was going to be the top guy there anyway. Terry Taylor is a different kettle of fish, because he was a great worker who got into a really bad car accident in the 80s and then suddenly became a mostly good worker instead.  So yeah, the Red Rooster thing destroyed any chance he had to get over on his own, but there was really a ceiling there anyway.  He wasn’t going to be a top guy. Luger, yes, definitely.  Should have been The Guy, but he got screwed over too many times and he just stopped caring.  Nikita Koloff is another one who should have jumped to the WWF and drawn millions against Hogan, but his wife dying ripped his heart out and he was never the same again.  He was improving so fast in the 80s, though, that he should have been something great.  More recently, there’s been a disturbing trend of WWE calling guys up way too early and then basically chasing them out of the business when they don’t get over right away.  Because there’s no regional scene to make a living from, if a Chris Masters fails in his one shot as a green rookie, then it’s less likely he’ll hone his craft and return.  A lot of these guys are just finding jobs outside of the business and not coming back, and I think that’s what’s really going to hurt in the long run.  So all you ever get is the potential, and then they’re gone. 

Revolutionary Plug

Hey, Scott. Just wanted to pass along this interview with Jeff Katz (producer of Wrestling Revolution) conducted by Michael Spada and Jimmy Rivers of the Breaking Kayfabe podcast. A very interesting, intelligent discussion that answers pretty much any and all questions about the up-coming WR project. Highly recommended! http://breakingkayfabe.podbean.com/2011/09/09/interview-jeff-katz-wrestling-revolution-project/

Katz seems like a cool guy and I really like the idea of a wrestling promotion with a set end date for their storylines, because it makes it easier to craft actual stories with beginning, middle and end that way. 

Revolutionary Plug

Hey, Scott. Just wanted to pass along this interview with Jeff Katz (producer of Wrestling Revolution) conducted by Michael Spada and Jimmy Rivers of the Breaking Kayfabe podcast. A very interesting, intelligent discussion that answers pretty much any and all questions about the up-coming WR project. Highly recommended! http://breakingkayfabe.podbean.com/2011/09/09/interview-jeff-katz-wrestling-revolution-project/

Katz seems like a cool guy and I really like the idea of a wrestling promotion with a set end date for their storylines, because it makes it easier to craft actual stories with beginning, middle and end that way. 

You’re Stealing It Wrong…

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/69561 An older article, sure, but I came across it while doing my usual random surfing of Mental Floss and I found the presentation by Jason Scott to be pretty engrossing.  For those of us who used to hang out on local BBSs via 2400 baud modems, this is a great trip down memory lane.  Basically it’s a video of Jason giving a talk at a computer convention, delivering an entertaining hour-long history of various software pirate groups and how it evolved into what it became today.  Sadly he only really gets rolling just before he runs out of time, but I’d love to see a full-length talk from the guy on the subject, because he turns a potentially dry subject into a humorous conversational chat.  It’s great stuff. 

You’re Stealing It Wrong…

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/69561 An older article, sure, but I came across it while doing my usual random surfing of Mental Floss and I found the presentation by Jason Scott to be pretty engrossing.  For those of us who used to hang out on local BBSs via 2400 baud modems, this is a great trip down memory lane.  Basically it’s a video of Jason giving a talk at a computer convention, delivering an entertaining hour-long history of various software pirate groups and how it evolved into what it became today.  Sadly he only really gets rolling just before he runs out of time, but I’d love to see a full-length talk from the guy on the subject, because he turns a potentially dry subject into a humorous conversational chat.  It’s great stuff. 

AWA What-Ifs

Hi Scott, Since you’ve been reviewing AWA on ESPN and I just got done watching SuperClash III, I was wondering what if all the promoters involved had been able to trust each other for longer than five minutes and had done a follow-up pay-per-view sometime in 1989? What do you think the card might have looked like based on the talent available at the time? For title matches, I think a Lawler-Kerry re-match to settle the dispute would be a must, and logically it’d be a first blood match and I suppose you could have Tatsumi Fujinami defend the IWGP title against Manny Fernandez based off their little post-match fracas and to add some international flavour. You know Verne would want Greg featured with his precious TV title so I guess an outsider with some name appeal who was available in ’89 to come in for a shot would be Bam Bam Bigelow. The British Bulldogs would also have been able to come in (if not working All Japan or Stampede) so my initial thought was to do that rare Bulldogs-Rock N’ Roll Express match here but alternatively, you could put the Rock N’ Rolls in with Jimmy Golden and Robert Fuller in a street fight or a cage match to settle their shitty non-finish, and put the Bulldogs in with the Samoan Swat Team or Badd Company for either set of tag titles and you know they’d both be pretty killer matches. Sgt. Slaughter also has scores to be settled with Iron Sheik, Adnan Al Kaisse and Col. DeBeers, probably some kind of boot camp match, or maybe teaming with Wahoo McDaniel, Corporal Kirchner or someone. For the women, who knows? Wendi Richter vs. Madusa, Madusa vs. Nina Ferrari, Nina & Wendi vs. Madusa and Susan Sexton? That leaves the likes of the Steve Cox, RPMs, Jeff Jarrett, Eric Embry, King Parsons, Top Guns, The Guerreros…perhaps Big Van Vader even though he’s not really much of a star in the US at this point. Just no Jimmy Valiant I hope!

The Boogie Woogie Man was money.  Just ask him. Bulldogs v. SST would have been BADASS.  Before they got fat and unmotivated in the WWF, the Headshrinkers could rock that shit.  Instead of doing another singles match, they could have extended the Lawler-Von Erich feud by doing a tag match, say Lawler & Jarrett (or Dundee) v. Kerry & Kevin in a crazy brawl.  I’d throw in Badd Company v. Rock N Roll Express for the tag titles, and maybe Greg Gagne v. Larry Zbyszko (which wouldn’t be great but it’s at least a fresh logical matchup with some star power), and the previously mentioned Slaughter v. DeBeers match, and that’s a pretty decent PPV show. 

AWA What-Ifs

Hi Scott, Since you’ve been reviewing AWA on ESPN and I just got done watching SuperClash III, I was wondering what if all the promoters involved had been able to trust each other for longer than five minutes and had done a follow-up pay-per-view sometime in 1989? What do you think the card might have looked like based on the talent available at the time? For title matches, I think a Lawler-Kerry re-match to settle the dispute would be a must, and logically it’d be a first blood match and I suppose you could have Tatsumi Fujinami defend the IWGP title against Manny Fernandez based off their little post-match fracas and to add some international flavour. You know Verne would want Greg featured with his precious TV title so I guess an outsider with some name appeal who was available in ’89 to come in for a shot would be Bam Bam Bigelow. The British Bulldogs would also have been able to come in (if not working All Japan or Stampede) so my initial thought was to do that rare Bulldogs-Rock N’ Roll Express match here but alternatively, you could put the Rock N’ Rolls in with Jimmy Golden and Robert Fuller in a street fight or a cage match to settle their shitty non-finish, and put the Bulldogs in with the Samoan Swat Team or Badd Company for either set of tag titles and you know they’d both be pretty killer matches. Sgt. Slaughter also has scores to be settled with Iron Sheik, Adnan Al Kaisse and Col. DeBeers, probably some kind of boot camp match, or maybe teaming with Wahoo McDaniel, Corporal Kirchner or someone. For the women, who knows? Wendi Richter vs. Madusa, Madusa vs. Nina Ferrari, Nina & Wendi vs. Madusa and Susan Sexton? That leaves the likes of the Steve Cox, RPMs, Jeff Jarrett, Eric Embry, King Parsons, Top Guns, The Guerreros…perhaps Big Van Vader even though he’s not really much of a star in the US at this point. Just no Jimmy Valiant I hope!

The Boogie Woogie Man was money.  Just ask him. Bulldogs v. SST would have been BADASS.  Before they got fat and unmotivated in the WWF, the Headshrinkers could rock that shit.  Instead of doing another singles match, they could have extended the Lawler-Von Erich feud by doing a tag match, say Lawler & Jarrett (or Dundee) v. Kerry & Kevin in a crazy brawl.  I’d throw in Badd Company v. Rock N Roll Express for the tag titles, and maybe Greg Gagne v. Larry Zbyszko (which wouldn’t be great but it’s at least a fresh logical matchup with some star power), and the previously mentioned Slaughter v. DeBeers match, and that’s a pretty decent PPV show. 

Love Plug

Hey Scott Alex from London (UK) here. I’m a long-time reader (you "smartened me up" in 1999), first time writer. I write a blog that gives men advice on how to improve their confidence and skills with women. As a big wrestling fan I try to slip in references to it whenever I can. I wondered if your readers might find some of the articles interesting (= shameless plug request). Here’s an article with a shoutout to you: http://www.lsattraction.com/websites-ive-been-visiting-august-2011/ And here’s an article on how being a tweener / anti-hero can make you more attractive to women: http://www.lsattraction.com/work-hard-play-hard/ Fingers crossed and keep up the good work mate.

Definitely not a subject that gets plugged much on this site, so best of luck with it!

Love Plug

Hey Scott Alex from London (UK) here. I’m a long-time reader (you "smartened me up" in 1999), first time writer. I write a blog that gives men advice on how to improve their confidence and skills with women. As a big wrestling fan I try to slip in references to it whenever I can. I wondered if your readers might find some of the articles interesting (= shameless plug request). Here’s an article with a shoutout to you: http://www.lsattraction.com/websites-ive-been-visiting-august-2011/ And here’s an article on how being a tweener / anti-hero can make you more attractive to women: http://www.lsattraction.com/work-hard-play-hard/ Fingers crossed and keep up the good work mate.

Definitely not a subject that gets plugged much on this site, so best of luck with it!