Looking to WM

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Hey Scott, big fan of the rants/books/blog, etc. With Rock vs Cena set in stone for WrestleMania  and Punk vs HHH being a strong possibility (with Punk vs Austin as a very slight possibility). Could this years WrestleMania have a theme of old(er) vs new(er) wrestlers? I’m not saying that it’ll be the old group vs the new group storyline like in TNA and WCW. But the main matches on the card will reflect that theme, I know work rate wise we won’t get great matches but it could be interesting. What do you think of that idea? Also who do you think will face who? Of course Rock/Cena, Punk/HHH(maybe Austin) then you got Undertaker, Kane, Nash, Foley has been rumored coming back and if Austin does return who does HHH wrestle?

Well of course now it’s looking more like Punk v. HHH will already be blown off by then.  Punk v. Austin might be a possibility if they’re desperate enough, but Rock-Cena will do such huge business that it realistically won’t matter what’s on the undercard.  I think probably HHH and Undertaker will have their rematch, Punk might face Austin, and I guess D-Bry is cashing in his briefcase against Randy Orton.  Although I’d be shocked if the briefcase didn’t end up in someone else’s hands well before WM.  The whole “brand extension not ending but kinda ending” thing really screws up future planning. 

Looking to WM

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Hey Scott, big fan of the rants/books/blog, etc. With Rock vs Cena set in stone for WrestleMania  and Punk vs HHH being a strong possibility (with Punk vs Austin as a very slight possibility). Could this years WrestleMania have a theme of old(er) vs new(er) wrestlers? I’m not saying that it’ll be the old group vs the new group storyline like in TNA and WCW. But the main matches on the card will reflect that theme, I know work rate wise we won’t get great matches but it could be interesting. What do you think of that idea? Also who do you think will face who? Of course Rock/Cena, Punk/HHH(maybe Austin) then you got Undertaker, Kane, Nash, Foley has been rumored coming back and if Austin does return who does HHH wrestle?

Well of course now it’s looking more like Punk v. HHH will already be blown off by then.  Punk v. Austin might be a possibility if they’re desperate enough, but Rock-Cena will do such huge business that it realistically won’t matter what’s on the undercard.  I think probably HHH and Undertaker will have their rematch, Punk might face Austin, and I guess D-Bry is cashing in his briefcase against Randy Orton.  Although I’d be shocked if the briefcase didn’t end up in someone else’s hands well before WM.  The whole “brand extension not ending but kinda ending” thing really screws up future planning. 

The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classic–08.24.11

http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/09/01/the-smark-rant-for-awa-championship-wrestling-on-espn-classic-08-24-11/ You know when you’re watching a shitty show and suddenly there’s one of the greatest matches of all-time as the main event and you didn’t even know it was coming?  Yeah, that’s this show.  One word:  Bloodbath. 

The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classic–08.24.11

http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/09/01/the-smark-rant-for-awa-championship-wrestling-on-espn-classic-08-24-11/ You know when you’re watching a shitty show and suddenly there’s one of the greatest matches of all-time as the main event and you didn’t even know it was coming?  Yeah, that’s this show.  One word:  Bloodbath. 

Bryan Alvarez gets MAD

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http://www.f4wonline.com/component/content/article/78-bryan-and-vinny-show/21955-free-today-aug-31-bryan-a-vinny-show-very-disappointing-two-days-for-wwe-raw-and-supersmackdown-reports-new-songs-shout-outs-cats-more I agree with Bryan’s angry rant on this show.  WWE had a major opportunity to win back fans with the Summer of Punk, and they’ve just been wasting chance after chance.  SUPER DUPER SMACKDOWN LIVE was so boring I didn’t even bother recapping it.  I’ll do Impact instead.  THAT’S HOW BORING SMACKDOWN IS.  It makes me want to review IMPACT because I’ll have something interesting to talk about.  Also, Sonic Boom as the team name for Kofi & Bourne should have been the winner. 

The Midnight DC Post!

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Yes, for those angry comic nerds anxiously awaiting my review of the big releases from DC tonight, here you go! Flashpoint #5:  About what I expected.  No idea what the mumbo-jumbo with the Speed Force actually means or how it leads to everyone wearing armor and high collars.  I didn’t even realize Barry’s mom was dead or that anyone cared in the first place, and I was reading from the late 70s all the way until he died in the Crisis, so this must be a new development.  As everyone suspected, all the crossovers end up meaning fuck all.  Justice League #1:  As the first part of a trade paperback collection it’s great.  As the first issue intended to draw in the mythical new readers, who then have to wait until OCTOBER 19TH to read the second part and hopefully see more than just GL and Batman in the book, it’s a crushing disappointment.  Jim Lee’s artwork is, however, breathtaking.  I can withstand a lot of crap if it’s drawn by him or Dan Jurgens (see also All Star Batman and Zero Hour, respectively).  I know that it wasn’t realistic to expect them drop the big 7 (or big 6 + Cyborg) fully formed out of the sky, but given all the hype I was hoping for a LITTLE more for my $4.

RAW notes

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Hey Scott, I was at the RAW taping in Tulsa last night. Some notes: ·      … John Morrison and R-Truth had a very good match for the Superstars taping. Not sure what it will look like on TV but it was awesome to watch in person. ·      … When Zack Ryder came out everyone in my section kept asking, “Who the hell is this guy?” ·      …  I was surprised at how overwhelmingly pro-Cena the crowd was. It was all legit too, not piped in.  ·      … I was also surprised at how dead the crowd was during Punk vs. Miz, especially given how many Punk shirts there were in the crowd. My guess is the crowd was pretty much “popped out” by the Cena segment and Orton/Ziggler match that preceded it. ·      … Not sure what it sounded like on TV, but the pop for Nash’s powerbomb of Punk was huge. ·     … After RAW went off the air Ziggler and R-Truth ran out to attack Cena and Sheamus, but Orton came out and helped the faces take care of them. All three celebrated together in the ring… huge pop for that. Overall this show was a lot of fun to watch live, though I can see how viewers at home would see it as a disappointing episode given how lackluster the wrestling was after Orton/Ziggler. Thanks for reading. 

Thanks for writing!  Further to the RAW discussions here, the Nash thing was not, as suggested, an angle, but rather a medical issue that was handled in rather bizarre fashion.  I guess that’s the very definition of “booking on a napkin”, when you’re changing shows on the fly during the show itself. 

Lex Express

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A curiosity regarding Wrestlemania 10.  If the plan in mid-1993 was for Lex Luger to win the WWF Title from Yokozuna at Wrestlemania, why the double-winner booking at the Royal Rumble and double title defense at WMX?  We hear the urban legend about Luger blabbing about the title win and having the booking changed as a result, but what was the original intent with the dual main events?  Just an experiment?  Or was the Luger title win really never set in stone leading up to the show?

It was never set in stone.  They wanted Luger to chase the title for longer, but then they were waffling as usual and went with Bret instead.  As for the co-mains, here’s Meltzer after Royal Rumble 94:

In hindsight, the idea of the tie in the Rumble leading to the two title matches on the same show is a good one. This show’s biggest draw is not any matches, but the name "Wrestlemania," as evidenced by the show selling out in just a few days, before any matches had even been announced. However, neither Yokozuna vs. Luger or Yokozuna vs. Hart on their own is a box office bonanza as a main event. Luger’s popularity has cooled considerably since SummerSlam, and even that show, one of the most well promoted cards in history and with Luger riding a wave of publicity that should have but didn’t make him the No. 1 name in the business, did a disappointing buy rate. While not as focused as a singular title main event, there is no title main event that is ready to knock them dead at the box office so selling intrigue may hide the fact that neither match on their own is a killer at the box office.

So basically they didn’t have faith in Luger headlining alone.

Foxy Boxing

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Hi Scott – haven’t seen anything pop up on the Blog since the press conference, so just wondered what your thoughts were on the seven year deal the UFC have inked with Fox?
Is it coming at the right time for the sport?
Do you see any potential downsides to it?
What do you think about TUF going live weekly?
Also – slightly related, if you do write another book, what are then chances ut would be an MMA one instead of wrestling focussed?

If they can avoid injuries in their main events, they have a deep enough roster right now that it’s definitely the right time for it.  Downside is that Fox isn’t known for their long-term planning and dedication to new things if they don’t immediately work out, but if UFC can snag football or Idol’s demos, it’ll go through the roof.  Ultimate Fighter going live is exactly the kick in the nuts that the show needs and I’m glad Fox pushed for it.  And there’s zero chance of me doing an MMA book. 

Rey the GOAT?

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Hey Scott, got a question here, in the list of contenders for GOAT, why do you think that it’s always the more traditional wrestlers that get the rub, the Bret Hart’s, Bryan Danielson’s and Chris Benoit’s, the suplexers, the technical wrestlers, those with an amateur background.  But I believe that there are wrestlers of different styles that are just as good, if not better than this cadre of elite wrestlers.  In particular, I’m talking about high fliers.
Rey Mysterio is a wrestler that has been held up as one of the best in the business, and his consistently fantastic matches for 20+ years certainly back that theory up.  But as great as Rey Mysterio is and no matter how many five star matches he has, people disregard his talent, they call him overpushed, or a bad mic worker, or accuse him of wrestling the same matches, the thing is, you could throw these claims at many other contenders for GOAT, but they get excused because of their in-ring ability.  So if we’re judging Rey just on his in-ring talent (and honestly his ability as a draw is pretty underrated too) doesn’t he go up their as one of the greatest of all time, or at least greatest still working?  He has perfect babyface psychology, is an awesome seller and still has one of the most varied and extensive movesets on the roster.  People say that his moves don’t look like they can hurt, but if we buy a vertical suplex and the Sharpshooter as legitimately painful moves, how can we say that a moonsault doesn’t make any sense?
So, what are your thoughts on this phenomenon?  You yourself said that Kurt Angle carried him to a good match.  Why do we immediately jump to congratulating the technical wrestler when a quality match happens.  Why do we ignore the talent of wrestlers because they hit splashes instead of suplexes and ranas instead of leglocks?

Uh, I didn’t know there was a movement towards technicians or against high-flyers in the first place.  I’ve long considered Randy Savage to be probably the greatest all-around wrestler, and he mixed high-flying with brawling.  I have nothing against Rey, but I’d say wrestling mostly the same type of match over and over and roiding himself to the point of explosion kind of hurts his chances. 

Wrestling Is Not Cyclical

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Scott –
Hey, since I am just getting back from Memphis, I thought I would pull the strap down and drop the fist in one of the more inane memes in wrestling fandom: "the professional wrestling business has always been and always will be cyclical."
This is wrong on so many levels.
1) And most obviously – the professional wrestling business has not "always been cyclical" because, it has not "always been".  It might be 100 years old, at best, the territory system more like 70 years old, and it died out; the modern wrestling era is not quite 30 years old; it’s been around a decade since the end of the Attitude era, which is gone.  It’s not anything like saying sunspots or the precession of the equinoxes are cyclical, but people say it with same decree of certainty.
2) At best, people make statistical generalizations based on maybe two data points and call that a trend.  It’s not.  The professional wrestling business may be down for good.  I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.
3) Game changers.  For years, a certain segment of the audience thought wrestling was not staged.  Like professional magicians when they show how their tricks work, once pro wrestling broke kayfabe it may have been only a matter of time before they lost audience, or, were left with the only segment of the population who still believes – kids.  Another game changer is MMA.  Why watch staged violence when you can see the real thing, particularly one that has learned a lot from wrestling as to how to stage events?
4) Divergence of audience tastes.  When Austin caught fire, virtually everyone liked him.  These days, that is virtually impossible, because adult men like certain wrestlers (in general, there are exceptions) while women & children like other wrestlers (like John Cena).  People who say "no one likes John Cena" aren’t listening to over half the audience, apparently because of the higher pitch if their voices.  Women and kids like the more traditional baby faces, guys like cool heels, and that may not change, or it may, I don’t know.
The upshot is, wrestling had a few cycles during it’s brief history as we know it (it has existed in barely related forms for ages, if one wants to go there), but there have been one-time changes that may have changed that business for ever (breaking kayfabe and MMA) and changes in tastes that have made a universal baby face character hard to achieve anymore.  It’s very possible that the only cycle we will see from now on is one where WWE reaches Impact Wrestling levels of cultural irrelevance.

Couldn’t have said it better.