What If? Chris Benoit


If Chris Benoit never loses his mind and does what he did in the Summer of 2007, how do you think the rest of his career would have played out?  He was just moved to WWE's 3rd brand at the time, ECW, and presumably would have gotten a run with the ECW Title.  Do you think he would have gone back to Raw or Smackdown and given another big push before he would retire, or do you feel him being put in ECW was a way of putting him out to pasture?  

He was being transitioned into a role as a trainer, although he would have won the ECW title and had a run with that for a while. Oddly, one person who got a shot as a result was CM Punk.  So there’s that. 

Hogan and Hall


Did Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall ever have an actual singles match against each other at any point in their career (not counting one of those Nitro bait-and-switch deals)? Maybe I'm crazy but it seems like their styles would have been a pretty fun fit if the opportunity had presented itself for Hogan vs. Razor Ramon in 1993 WWF.

Not as far as I’m aware.  Definitely would have been an interesting match!

Wrestling dream I had I like to share with the blog


I know it's not 4/20 but I had a weird wrestling dream Friday night that I want to share with the blog in honor of baking them this weekend:

I'm at a flea market, and I find a video "WCW and the Masters of Evil", which has a bunch of guys dressed up like the Masters of Evil (the original Jack Kirby version, with Black Knight, the first Baron Zemo, Executioner, Melter, Echantress) and in the background, members of the NWO (Hogan, Hall, and Nash) in the shadows about to attack the costumed villains.

I buy it and put it in my VCR and instead of something about the NWO fighting super villains led by a Nazi and his costumed goons and Asgardian allies, it's all about Brett Hart. Starting with him, older and surrounded by various WWF stooges, in a behind the scenes documentary about his rise to being the booker/head writer of the WWE.

After watching Brett, Steph, Jim Cornette, etc talking and planning out a John Cena/Randy Orton match, the video cuts to Brett talking about the fall of 1996 and how his career changed that year. He talks about how after his brief program with Steve Austin, he used his creative power from his big contract to push Austin down the card to the midcard and began his "masterpiece" plan that saved the WWF from the WCW juggernaut.

First he talks about getting rid of "that blasphemous Austin" and then making Vince job out Shawn Michaels to Undertaker and kick him out of the WWF. Undertaker then shows up on camera, and talks about the 5 star classic match he and Brett had at the 1997 Wrestlemania. How the match saw Brett "slay" Undertaker and reclaim the world title and how it kicked off "Undertaker the White"; as Undertaker came back a heel with an all-white version of his Undertaker costume and declared war on Brett and his family. They then show a version of 1997 Undertaker in an all white version of his costume (his facial hair/hair is still red, not dyed white to go with his white variant costume)

I then woke up though, so I don't know how this saved the WWE and how this feud with the Hart Foundation somehow did what Austin vs McMahnon did and beat WCW. But between the NWO/Masters of Evil cover and this bizarro "What If" version of WWE lore, I thought I would share it with you and the blog so everyone can psychoanalyzes this wrestling dream of mine

Well, 4/20 might be done, but we all got Bake’d.  

JYD Blinded For Life



Scott, this is footage of the famous Freebirds/JYD blinding angle from

1980 Mid-South.  https://youtu.be/oEmIIIfShVo  The video quality is

bad and you'll want to turn the volume way down because the audio is

extra loud for some reason, but this is still some amazing video and I

can't believe those guys weren't murdered half a dozen times during

that period. Hopefully this is OK to share with the blog.

Yeah, as long as I’m not directly posting videos that are owned by WWE on a non-WWE channel, it’s not my problem.  WWE’s issue was stuff like random matches from JCP shows that are available on the Network or their YouTube channel. I’m sure Maffew could tell us some stories about copyright issues with them.  

Reigns at Mania


Had WWE held off on Reigns's announcement until Mania, we'd have been spared another heatless, mediocre match on an already stuffed show, and the show starting with Reigns's music as he surprises the crowd by returning and delivering his "I'm in remission, y'all" speech at Wrestlemania would have been a legitimate Wrestlemania Moment.

…so why didn't they do it that way?


A very legitimate question.  Or he could have interrupted Elias and combined two segments.  

Finally updated!!


I’ve finally updated the reference site for your ****+ matches. I think a lot of people (including yourself, IIRC) use this pretty regularly to see what you’ve given and haven’t given the honorable number of snowflakes. It only took me four years to get it updated, but I came into a wife and two kids…so you know… Maybe a re-plug on the blog for old times sake?


I'll probably add a perma-link at the top of the screen again for this one.  Let the overanalysis and arguments commence!  

WM 35


Jesus balls.  I've been watching WM35 off and on for the past week and I just passed the Kofi title win.  Not only was Joan Jett still in The Runaways when this PPV started but I think Jesus was planning the menu for the Last Supper during the pre-show.  This show makes WM4 look like In Your House: Beware of Dog Part 1.

Starting next week, it’s the WM 36 pregame show!  

Bye Bye Brock?


I was as big of a Brock Lesnar fan as anybody and even traveled to Chicago to see his return match against John Cena.  I even was a fan of the decision to have him break the Undertaker’s streak as it solidified him as an unstoppable monster on a different plane than the rest of the roster.  But even I stopped giving a shit by the time he got the big red belt and obviously I wasn’t alone.

With Brock Lesnar jerking the curtain at Mania and basically being squashed by Seth Rollins, do you think we’ll ever see him again in a meaningful capacity?  I could see him still doing the $audi shows, but even Vince by now has to realize that nobody else wants to see Brock get millions to have the same five-minute match anymore, right?

He’ll be back by Summerslam to con Vince out of another million with vague rumours of a fight with Daniel Cormier that will never happen.  Maybe another couple of million to work the Fox debut. 

Comics for beginners?

Hey Scott,

I’m a huge fan of the comics genre – love all  the Marvel movies and Netflix shows, some of the TV shows, all of the old cartoons, even most of the DC movies. I read a lot of trivia/history of Marvel/DC stuff so feel like I have a solid base of knowledge. That said, I’ve never really gotten into reading actual comic books.

Do you have an opinion on the Marvel Unlimited online subscription library? Is it a good place to go for someone in my position?

Thanks


I've always found it way overwhelming the times that I've subscribed to it.  There's a lot of stuff there and it's not very well organized as far as directing the reader to stuff if they don't know EXACTLY what they're looking for.  Plus chunks are randomly missing, like for example I wanted to read the X-Force and X-Statix runs and it ended up that the first few issues of the X-Statix weren't added.  I'd really be interested in seeing what DC Universe has to offer in comparison, but it's not yet available here in Canada.  

Usually my recommendation would be to check bookstores, because everyone has a section for graphic novels now, and pick up a collection from a character you like and give it a try.  Stuff these days is very geared towards 4 or 5 issue story arcs that can be put into trade paperback form a month later so it shouldn't be hard to pick up.  Hey, even my local library has up to date stuff, so it won't even cost anything if you don't want to pay! 

Viking Experience as Vince’s parting shot at Verne Gagne

What if this seemingly stupid name, the Viking Experience, is an elaborate troll job on Minnesota sports fans? It would make sense, given Vince's penchant for ruining Verne Gagne's life. They could do just like the NFL Vikings and always choke in big matches, miss easy moves that would have won them championships, pin their own teammate in a throwback to Jim Marshall's infamous wrong-way touchdown… There's tons of material there.

Cultaholic sez that the team was going to be called the Berzerkers until the literal last minute, when Vince changed his mind.  So I doubt he'd have time to craft that kind of elaborate trolling backstory for them.  

WWE Fan Council surveying for XFL?

Scott,

Check out a screenshot from today's WWE Fan Council survey. I haven't even finished watching Wrestlemania yet due to it's length, but WWE wants to know if football is too long because of commercial breaks. And asking if NFL is too politicized when the former CEO and current wife of the WWE owner is in the President's cabinet is rich…

They’re apparently going hardcore on the surveys at the moment and hopefully they actually listen to them.  Although they had focus groups last year that said WM was too long and this year’s was longer.  

Which is worse?

The Colons, sons of Puerto Rico become Fernando and Diego, Mexican Bullfighters

Tito Santana, former tag/IC champ is rechristened El Matador

Ricky Steamboat, former IC and NWA Champ is dressed as a lizard and christened The Dragon

War Raiders (Hanson & Rowe), the defending NXT Tag Champs who defended 10-days ago over Mania weekend are now literal Vikings in a team named for an Epcot excursion.

Better yet, explain why their NXT opponents are still Ricochet and Aleister Black instead of Colonel McFlip, and Crimson Moody?



People are really triggered by this one for some reason.  

Lamer Name Change?


Okay, wracking my brain, but can’t think of a lamer name change than The Viking Experience?  Literally the same guys, same characters, same look.

Anything else historically where the only thing they changed was the name that was this unnecessary?  Aside from the recent “one name only trend”?  Has to be something from the 2000s I’m forgetting about.


There was a point late in the run of the Val Venis character, and I can't remember if it was before or after the RTC change, where he was officially referred to as "The Big Valbowski" exclusively.  That was pretty stupid considering that nickname was supposed to be his penis.  

No ideas for WWE/Universal Titles?

Do they have any idea what they are doing with the WWE Championship and Universal Title moving forward?  This is the 2nd week in a row on both Raw and Smackdown that Seth and Kofi were in meaningless, time killing tag team matches.  I don't think I've ever seen the 2 weeks after WrestleMania where they didn't at least already name a No.1 Contender to 1 of their main Championships.  

Everything just feels like it's killing time right now.  Wrestlemania itself felt like 90% of the matches were just there to fill 7 hours.  Especially with Seth, where the last champion is now gone for the foreseeable future and they didn't bring anyone over from Smackdown who could even be a contender.  Unless they're turning AJ, which is possible I suppose.  I guess there's always Baron Corbin.

Favorite Women’s Wrestler?

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard you proclaim this, so I’ll ask. Who’s your favorite women’s wrestler of all time? 

I’m pretty sure mine is Kairi Sane. Her selling, her pure babyface mannerisms, that Insane Elbow… a buddy of mine called her Ricky Steamboat. That’s an apt comparison.

Also up there for me are Molly Holly, heel NXT Sasha Banks and, of course, Trish Stratus.

Trish Stratus #1, Lita #2, and then everyone else is a distant third for me as far as favorites go. 

AEW as a business

There’s obviously been discussion ad nauseam about AEW and whether they need a TV deal, whether they are or should be viewed competition for WWE etc. 

But my question is more about how exactly they function as a business. I read somewhere that they have 40 some wrestlers signed, plus I would assume they’ve got to have some sort of office staff in place. How are these people getting paid?  Even if their next show is a huge success, is that really enough for guys like Jericho and Jim Ross to get paid, plus enough left over for the 36 executive producers to make something as well?

Tony Khan has a lot of money.  Plus you don't start a business and instantly turn a profit, that's just not how it works.  I'm pretty sure ownership is well aware that things are gonna be deeply into the red for the first while.  

Which WM was better?


Hi Scott,


I noticed your WM 35 rant had circa 800 comments compared to the 1600 comments for the WM 34 rant. It's similar on other sites too, so it seems WM 35 overall had noticeably less interest from fans than WM 34, which I find interesting. 

I saw WM 35 receive a lot of praise among IWC, which do you think is better? 35 or 34?

And what in your opinion is the best WM since WM 25 (including)? Outside of 30, that one is obvious.


Oh yeah, interest in this year’s show was WAYYY down.  Last year did 24,000 pageviews, which stands as an all time record for the blog, and this year’s show did 17,000.  Both this year’s show and last year’s suffered from the same problem quality wise, in that they started good and then trailed off badly at the halfway mark.  But 34 had some tremendous matches by that point. Whereas this year had Kofi vs Bryan and little else.  
As for the best one if I’m not allowed to pick the actual best one, I’m gonna have to say the one with the first Rock vs Cena match. At least I can remember that match.  

Elias


Do you think they pull the trigger on Elias soon? He's not a great wrestler, but he has a ton of charisma who gets some of the best reactions each week and the company seems to love him.

I'm hoping he weasels his way into winning Money In The Bank this year. I'd love to see him with the briefcase and eventually cash in on Kofi.

No one ever argues about his charisma, but he’s got NOTHING in the ring.  Seth Rollins got one good match out of him a year ago and that’s pretty much it.  If all you’ve got is charisma and a funny character, that’s the Honky Tonk Man.  Honky is great at what he did, but that’s not a top guy.  IC title, sure, put it on Elias all day long.  But I think he’s already been exposed at the higher level they thought he could be and that’s why his push got killed. 

Worst Time Of The Year For Wrestling?


Do you think this is the worst time of the year to be a pro wrestling fan?  I read this somewhere recently, but I don't agree with it.  I think Fall will always be the worst in my view;  Monday Night Football comes back on, so the WWE starts phoning it in until January.  Much worse than the post Wrestle-Mania lull period, IMO.   

It’s not bad if there’s interesting stuff coming out of the draft, but this year was just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic as far as creative direction. Like, what are they gonna do once they’ve finished milking the Shield “last ever” matches and have to come up with actual storylines again? 
But yeah, September through December is DEATH.  Brand supremacy?  Table matches? Wake me for the Rumble.  

Striking while the iron is hot

Which wrestlers did you think WWE (or any company) should've pulled the trigger and pushed to a world title but either never did or did it too late? Two of the biggest ones for me is Braun in 2017 against Brock, Braun was WHITE HOT going into that match but
lost clean and has never gotten close to being as over as he did ever again and the second would be RVD in 2001, the guy was the MVP of the Alliance angle broke out to be a big star that having him beat Austin in 2001 could've made him a mega star but did
it years later long after his peak in popularity.  What say you?


Yeah, the RVD run in 2001 is certainly the gold standard for it.  Say what you will about WCW, but they pulled the trigger on Goldberg when he was peaking and it paid off bigtime.  

Question


Bryan Alvarez made this point on his Figure 4 daily update:  you can whine and pout like Bayley and Sasha or you can try and get yourself over like Becky.  Becky now has the proverbial rocket tied to her ass such that she kicked 3 people’s butts on Monday night.  His point was that no matter what happens, you do have some control over your destiny.  What say you? 

I would tend to agree, but what did Bayley ever do?  She's been nothing but a good soldier through all of the bullshit booking they put her through. 

Luke Harper


Hey Scott, kind of annoyed with WWE's handling of Luke Harper. His comeback match was awesome with Dijak and I actually thought he was going to reunite with Wyatt in some capacity  hoping Sanity would have joined with Wyatt as well.


Luke Harper had the potential to be Bruiser Brody with a moveset. For a bigman, he could go. Why didnt WWE push Harper? I guess AEW will  harness his potential. 

The perception is that he’s older and injury prone, I’m guessing.  He’ll do all right for himself on the indie scene. AEW doesn’t really want older WWE washouts but I can see ROH putting him with PCO and Brody. 

If Only…


Hey Scott—


April means non-Mania PPVs at the gym. I was watching Backlash 2003. Totally skippable outside of Rock/Goldberg, due to another Rock-as-heel one man performance. I’m shocked no one had stolen his “Shove ref aside/punch guy in dick” heel spot in the last sixteen years, and I would love to see what you think of the match years later. 

Anyhoo, the highlight is Rocky’s pre-match promo. To borrow your phrase, he’s clearly gotten into the good coke, and poor Terri Runnels is close to losing it the entire time. 

And then I got sad, because I realized we never got Mean Gene interviewing heel Rock, and we totally could have in 2003 if Vince didn’t believe every backstage interviewer had to come out of a modeling catalogue. Could you even begin to imagine the riffs we would have had between those two?!? 

I dunno, I feel like Gene would keep trying to get Rock back on track when he’s going on an extended run, and it wouldn’t work very well.  Rock really needed a Coachman that he could bulldoze and then take over the promo himself.