Consultation

Scott, Have you ever been asked to consult, write or otherwise get involved professionally with any level of pro wrestling? I’m thinking of a "Bill James moving from Baseball Abstract to the Red Sox" situation. If not, have you ever pursued it? If not, why not?

Never had any interest in that area of the business.  The only area I had any interest in was the home video division, as going through the library and picking out rarities for the DVDs and WWE 24/7 would be my dream job.  Otherwise dealing with the politics and assorted bullshit wouldn’t be worth it – it’s much more enjoyable to just watch from the outside and not be accountable for any of it.

PPV v. Coliseum

Hey, I got a question for your Blog of Doom.
When it comes to live pay per views and Coliseum Home Video releases back in the 80s and 90s, when has there ever been an occasion where the Coliseum release was better than the live edition and vice versa?
Also, when it comes to the 1994 King of the Ring, which edition is better, live or Coliseum?

There was no polishing that turd, regardless of media. There wasn’t a lot of dramatic changes between live and Coliseum that I can remember, although a big one was Wrestlemania V.  The original show was a 4-hour borefest, whereas the Coliseum release cut down almost all the matches to a more manageable length.  Once they got the PPV shows down to a 2:40 constant length, there was no longer a need to edit things down as much any more. 

PPV v. Coliseum

Hey, I got a question for your Blog of Doom.
When it comes to live pay per views and Coliseum Home Video releases back in the 80s and 90s, when has there ever been an occasion where the Coliseum release was better than the live edition and vice versa?
Also, when it comes to the 1994 King of the Ring, which edition is better, live or Coliseum?

There was no polishing that turd, regardless of media. There wasn’t a lot of dramatic changes between live and Coliseum that I can remember, although a big one was Wrestlemania V.  The original show was a 4-hour borefest, whereas the Coliseum release cut down almost all the matches to a more manageable length.  Once they got the PPV shows down to a 2:40 constant length, there was no longer a need to edit things down as much any more. 

RAW Tapings

Hi Scott, hope you are well. I’ve recently been watching all the Raws from 95 & 96 (I’m a couple months behind Logan), which I feel have been a little overly maligned. They’re not great, but their not THAT bad either. Anyways, one of the factors that people often demean those shows for was that many of them were taped in one night, causing the crowd to be burned out by the third week or so. As the shows often came on a four-week cycle (one live, the rest taped, all done the night after a PPV, usually up to the next PPV), that meant that about half of the shows would have a stale, subdued air as the audiences were less energetic. While I don’t deny that aspect existed and did hurt the shows somewhat, I feel that it was a price worth paying considering the large positive engendered by this taping approach. Namely, that it allowed for some consistent long-term planning. We have all seen, over the past decade, or with WCW in the late 90s, the difficulties that come with consistently changing plans mid-stream with angles and characters. This can be made easier when one has the opportunity to change one’s mind every week because with a live show each week, one can give in to their fickle natures. On the other hand, when one has the map laid out well in advance, they have to commit to a particular course of action. This can create a mindset where the braintrust feels that they have to get it right, or at least as good as possible, the first time around. Although those mid-90s Raws did allow for some tweaking each week, with taped promos and other angles (such as the Sid angle recently discussed), there was generally only so much one could do with an angle already "in the can", so to speak. It is generally accepted that linear, long-term planning works better for wrestling angles, which is what often brings in the most interest. With those old Raws, they would have no choice but to commit to an angle to a great degree, whether that angle was good or not. I know that business was bad in those days, with WWF losing millions each year. However, I think that there were many other larger reasons than taping most of their TV shows. I would argue that doing so actually had some good benefits, from a quality standpoint. Heaven knows we’ve seen what can happen when Vince and his crew are allowed to alter plans on a quick whim, week after week. Planning can be a habit, and those old shows created good habits. Thoughts?

Well undoubtedly the best planning came in 2000 when Chris Kreski was in charge of the writing team, and he had a system where everything would be storyboarded to within an inch of its life.  Once Stephanie took over full-time that went by the wayside, unfortunately.  The four-week taping cycles were good as far as planning things out a month in advance, but once the cycle was done, often things would change radically on the next live show anyway.  It’s a fine line because wrestling is a business where you HAVE to be ready to change with the times at a moment’s notice (witness what a disaster the WCW Disney tapings were), but if you change TOO much, then it turns into stuff like the Vince Russo ADD booking.  So yeah, I have no real answer here.

RAW Tapings

Hi Scott, hope you are well. I’ve recently been watching all the Raws from 95 & 96 (I’m a couple months behind Logan), which I feel have been a little overly maligned. They’re not great, but their not THAT bad either. Anyways, one of the factors that people often demean those shows for was that many of them were taped in one night, causing the crowd to be burned out by the third week or so. As the shows often came on a four-week cycle (one live, the rest taped, all done the night after a PPV, usually up to the next PPV), that meant that about half of the shows would have a stale, subdued air as the audiences were less energetic. While I don’t deny that aspect existed and did hurt the shows somewhat, I feel that it was a price worth paying considering the large positive engendered by this taping approach. Namely, that it allowed for some consistent long-term planning. We have all seen, over the past decade, or with WCW in the late 90s, the difficulties that come with consistently changing plans mid-stream with angles and characters. This can be made easier when one has the opportunity to change one’s mind every week because with a live show each week, one can give in to their fickle natures. On the other hand, when one has the map laid out well in advance, they have to commit to a particular course of action. This can create a mindset where the braintrust feels that they have to get it right, or at least as good as possible, the first time around. Although those mid-90s Raws did allow for some tweaking each week, with taped promos and other angles (such as the Sid angle recently discussed), there was generally only so much one could do with an angle already "in the can", so to speak. It is generally accepted that linear, long-term planning works better for wrestling angles, which is what often brings in the most interest. With those old Raws, they would have no choice but to commit to an angle to a great degree, whether that angle was good or not. I know that business was bad in those days, with WWF losing millions each year. However, I think that there were many other larger reasons than taping most of their TV shows. I would argue that doing so actually had some good benefits, from a quality standpoint. Heaven knows we’ve seen what can happen when Vince and his crew are allowed to alter plans on a quick whim, week after week. Planning can be a habit, and those old shows created good habits. Thoughts?

Well undoubtedly the best planning came in 2000 when Chris Kreski was in charge of the writing team, and he had a system where everything would be storyboarded to within an inch of its life.  Once Stephanie took over full-time that went by the wayside, unfortunately.  The four-week taping cycles were good as far as planning things out a month in advance, but once the cycle was done, often things would change radically on the next live show anyway.  It’s a fine line because wrestling is a business where you HAVE to be ready to change with the times at a moment’s notice (witness what a disaster the WCW Disney tapings were), but if you change TOO much, then it turns into stuff like the Vince Russo ADD booking.  So yeah, I have no real answer here.

Sandwich Plug

I don’t know if you ever read stuff from the old website you were at on 411mania, but a couple of months back they hired a new writer named Wes Kirk to pen a new column called "The Wrestling Sandwich."  Needless to say, he’s EXTREMELY controversial. I personally just find it hilarious.  I’ve seen columnists disagree with their commenters before, but this guy just plain attacks them. He reminds me of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh,etc.  What’s you opinion?
http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/columns/199335/The-Wrestling-Sandwich-08.27.11.htm

He’s working a schtick, and that’s cool.  Outside of elvy there’s not a lot of hardcore TNA apologists out there, so it’s pretty fertile ground for carving out a niche for yourself.  I find the column itself overly long, but if he’s got the time and inclination to pack all that in there on a regular basis, good on him. 

Sandwich Plug

I don’t know if you ever read stuff from the old website you were at on 411mania, but a couple of months back they hired a new writer named Wes Kirk to pen a new column called "The Wrestling Sandwich."  Needless to say, he’s EXTREMELY controversial. I personally just find it hilarious.  I’ve seen columnists disagree with their commenters before, but this guy just plain attacks them. He reminds me of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh,etc.  What’s you opinion?
http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/columns/199335/The-Wrestling-Sandwich-08.27.11.htm

He’s working a schtick, and that’s cool.  Outside of elvy there’s not a lot of hardcore TNA apologists out there, so it’s pretty fertile ground for carving out a niche for yourself.  I find the column itself overly long, but if he’s got the time and inclination to pack all that in there on a regular basis, good on him. 

Quick hits

Scott,
Four quickies for you:
1. If Austin was able to work Wrestlemania 2000, do you think we would have seen Austin vs. Big Show, or a face vs. face Austin-Rock rematch?
2. If Luger won the NWA title in ’88, do you think he would have been a true mega-star?
3. Likewise, if Luger wins the WWF Title at SummerSlam 1993, do you think he could have approached being the Hogan-replacement Vince wanted?
4. Did Scott Steiner really not get the proverbial ‘jesus-push’ in 1994 because he didn’t want to break up the tag team?  Or was there more to that?  He seemed a perfect candidate to run with the title once Luger did not pan out.

1.  No, it was Rock-HHH all the way, I’m still pretty sure.  Austin-Show sounds more realistic, as they wouldn’t need the four-way to draw with both Austin and Rock on the show.  2.  Yup.  No doubt in my mind that Crockett flushed away millions.  3.  Nope.  He was already ruined by Flair constantly cutting him off at the knees, and then was never the same as a worker after the motorcycle accident.  Even if he beats Yokozuna, he’d still flop and they’d have to go back to Bret.  4.  Steiner was almost the recipient of a giant push TWICE and he refused both times because he didn’t want to break up the team, sadly.  WCW tried with him in 92 and then WWF in 94.  By the time Scott DID want a big singles push, what we got was Big Poppa Pump.  To be fair, Japan was paying them shitloads of money and they probably didn’t want to jeopardize that. 

Quick hits

Scott,
Four quickies for you:
1. If Austin was able to work Wrestlemania 2000, do you think we would have seen Austin vs. Big Show, or a face vs. face Austin-Rock rematch?
2. If Luger won the NWA title in ’88, do you think he would have been a true mega-star?
3. Likewise, if Luger wins the WWF Title at SummerSlam 1993, do you think he could have approached being the Hogan-replacement Vince wanted?
4. Did Scott Steiner really not get the proverbial ‘jesus-push’ in 1994 because he didn’t want to break up the tag team?  Or was there more to that?  He seemed a perfect candidate to run with the title once Luger did not pan out.

1.  No, it was Rock-HHH all the way, I’m still pretty sure.  Austin-Show sounds more realistic, as they wouldn’t need the four-way to draw with both Austin and Rock on the show.  2.  Yup.  No doubt in my mind that Crockett flushed away millions.  3.  Nope.  He was already ruined by Flair constantly cutting him off at the knees, and then was never the same as a worker after the motorcycle accident.  Even if he beats Yokozuna, he’d still flop and they’d have to go back to Bret.  4.  Steiner was almost the recipient of a giant push TWICE and he refused both times because he didn’t want to break up the team, sadly.  WCW tried with him in 92 and then WWF in 94.  By the time Scott DID want a big singles push, what we got was Big Poppa Pump.  To be fair, Japan was paying them shitloads of money and they probably didn’t want to jeopardize that.