AEW back on the road in July


https://mobile.twitter.com/AEWonTNT/status/1391766455067111426


First 3 shows in Florida & Texas so I assume they could have full crowds if they want.

This is pretty exciting I must say. As someone who is fully vaccinated, I cant wait to go back to an AEW show when they come near me again. 


Wrestling going to surge when crowds are back, don't you think? 

Surge with more cases of Covid probably.  I just don’t feel like it’s time yet.  Maybe if the tinfoil hat nutcases in those states would take the fucking vaccine I’d feel better about the idea.  

When should these Reigns end?


Good morning Mr. Keith, hope the family is safe and well. As riduclous the title count some companies have, there are a few reigns/championships that i think still have value and hope the time and energy is taken into account when its time for them to switch hands.  Your thoughts on who should conquer the few i still think are important out there:

WALTER: this is the hardest for me to figure out, and it should wait until the crowd can witness it:

Roman Reigns: even if they get a Rock match at WM, he won't or shouldn't be the one to dethrone him.

Kenny Omega: storyline dicates Hangman Page one day but i feel thats a long way off based off where theyre at now.

Will Ospreay: i didn't agree making him champ but if your gonna make a hated champ, then you better have a feel good blow off, and Shingo shoulda been it but theyve already blown through that match.

They still don’t need to take the belt off WALTER.  There’s no point. 
I still don’t see anyone who could justify beating Roman yet either.  I think when it happens it’ll be a three way deal so they don’t have to beat him.  
Omega should definitely be Hangman Page but they’ve gone so deep into this belt collecting gimmick that they almost need to start getting belts off him soon.  

Royal Rumble performances



Disqualifying Chris Benoit, for reasons of murder, who has produced the best individual performance in a Royal Rumble match?

Depends what you’re after.  For best work, Flair obviously.  For getting over I’ve gotta go Austin in 97 or Diesel in 1994.  

Primes


Hey Scott,

I’m on my 3rd lockdown being a service industry kinda guy. So if you could humour me, I’d be interested to know if you could pick any 10 wrestlers in their “primes” to start a promotion—-who would they be?

1987 Savage

1994 Bret

1996 HBK

1997 Austin (…..pre-Summerslam)

2000 HHH

2000 Rock

1985 Piper

1989 Flair

1995 Sunny (…….)

1998 Vince

Those are my wacky picks.

That's a good list.  I'd actually switch out Vince and Sunny and HHH put in 1982 Sgt. Slaughter and 1983 Jerry Lawler and maybe 1979 Terry Funk, but I can't argue with the rest of it. 

What If’s Galore!


Good day, Mr. Keith,

Here are a couple of “What if's” that I thought might make for some fun blog discussion. Feel free to split them into separate blog posts if you prefer.

What if…

1) …Thunder in Paradise had become a runaway smash hit, stayed on the air for 12 seasons and Hogan never goes back to wrestling, but retires in 2006 with truckloads of syndication money in his pocket? No nWo, no WWE nostalgia run, no Rock-Hogan / Shawn-Hogan… What's the wrestling world like with no Hogan anywhere after King of the Ring 1993?

2) …Yokozuna manages to keep his weight in check, lives a longer life and remains an active wrestler? He finished up at Survivor Series 1996, right before the Attitude Era took off, but I was surprised to realize that he was actually only released from his WWE contract in May of 1998. So, without his weight issues, where do you see his place in the Attitude era/during the Monday Night Wars, up to possibly well into the 2000s? Would he have fit in anywhere? Does he go to WCW instead?

3) …Vince had already been true to his “I won't ask you to do anything I wouldn't do myself” adage in 1999, and he subsequently had tried the harness jump before asking Owen to go through with it…and the harness had snapped during the practice run the afternoon before Over the Edge? What would've happened to WWE if Vince had tragically died in May of 1999 instead? Who takes over? How does the wrestling world change? Would WWE still exist today?

4) …WCW had succeeded in putting WWE out of business in 1996-1997? What would the wrestling landscape be like today? Do you think WCW would still be there today? Would it have benefitted ECW somehow? And where would WWE's wrestlers end up? 

5) …Ric Flair had listened to the doctors after the infamous plane crash and ended his wrestling career in 1978?

6) …Shawn hadn't injured his back in 1998?

7) …Bret and Shawn don't become mortal enemies, Bret stays with WWE through his 20-year contract, and the Montreal Screwjob simply never happens?

8) …Trish Stratus hadn't retired in 2006 and kept going for another 5-10 years? How would it have impacted the “Women's Wrestling Revolution”?

9) …Kurt Angle had chosen ECW when he was visiting there in 1996? Or alternatibvely, what if he had chosen UFC instead of wrestling? Do you think he would've become an MMA superstar?

10) …Brock Lesnar had made it into the NFL in 2004-05 with the Minnesota Vikings instead?

11) …Wrestlemania I hadn't been a success? Would they really have had to close up shop in 1985? I've always found that claim to be a tad exaggerated. Surely there would've been a way to keep going, given you've got cash cow Hogan on hand?

12) …Becky hadn't gotten pregnant? Who'd she have feuded with over the last year? Would she have kept the title for 2 years?

13) …COVID hadn't happened? What would the 2020 wrestling year have looked like in WWE? Would they still have pushed the same people and done the same storylines? What would WM 37 have looked like?

That's all I got for now. 🙂

Cheers!

Honestly the mailbag selection has been pretty ass this morning so I'll put this up and see if it'll generate some discussion. 

Super market brawl


Went down the YouTube rabbit hole last night and watched the Austin Booker T super market brawl. Still pretty funny. Curious, any reason they never followed up with a ppv match or blow off? They did that ( and apparently spent 12-15k on it ) and then nothing.
Always thought that was weird too, and I don't have any good answer for you. 

Damn


I had tickets to go see WWE in Johannesburg, but I couldn't make it. 

I missed Roman Reigns down in Africa.

Take your upvote.  

Expectations


Just curious, realistically what should expectations be for NXT weekly ratings? I think what most people wanted them to get back to was not worrying about popping ratings each week to try to beat AEW and instead just focus on good matches/building characters. Obviously that is not gonna always be must see tv, especially since people can easily go back to watching on the network the next day commercial free like they did prior to USA move. I feel like some of their charm too was some on the lower card guys getting moments to shine, which the stuff between Swerve and Ruff was a perfect example of. They built it up the last few weeks and had a great payoff. Zoey Starks is another good example of that formula, I feel like they have done great with building her up the last few weeks.


I am also curious, how do you catch up on WWE these days? I know there is no way in hell you are watching Raw and I think some other shows are on a different day/times in Canada. Even thought you don't review are watching NXT and Smackdown, or do you just get caught at PPVs thru the promo packages?

I typically just watch the “Here's what happened in WWE this week” video packages they put on YouTube, which do an excellent job of distilling things down to like 2 minutes, and of course Dave & Bryan recap the shows on Observer Radio and I listen to those on the way to work in the mornings.  

Meltzer and WM3

No, this is not about the never-ending debate about the attendance (for the record, I agree with those who say that the “official” number is phony – there's no way there's 13000 on the floor, it's got to be about 5000 max – but Dave's 78000 figure is too low).


I remember from the Observer recaps long ago that Meltzer kept predicting WM3 was going to flop, possibly licking his chops while doing so.  I even recall that he kept doing it even as the tickets were moving briskly and it was clear it was going to draw a
big crowd.  To your knowledge, has he publicly taken shit over that from readers, or has he offered a mea culpa about his questionable prognostication skills there?


No, and I've been emailing him every week since 1987 and he STILL won't answer me for some reason!

Blood & Guts or Nothing


So you have the huge Blood & Guts match, 3 1/2 weeks before what's supposed to be their biggest PPV of the year, where your World title match definitely feels like Omega vs. random filler challenger and not the big main event. Why not hold the Inner Circle return a week or two more and have some random mix and match tag matches the next two weeks between the groups and have it main event the PPV? At least then we wouldn't have 5 commercial breaks during the match, where they promise to show all the action in the picture in picture, but then the picture in picture is only on for half the break

Dunno, perhaps the TNT network execs really, REALLY wanted it on TV. Wouldn't surprise me.  They could always do a Stadium Stampede rematch at the PPV, assuming Jericho can be medically cleared by Mike Lindell beforehand.  

Mouth of the Hulk


Something that’s always bothered me but I’ve just brushed off for years is face Jimmy Hart being paired with Hogan. I get that they were real life friends, but them together on TV was corny and never seemed right. I found face Hart to be so miserable.

What’s the scoop on this from your knowledge and how did it come off for you at the time, especially as an old school Bret Hart guy?

I thought it made Hogan look stupid and gullible for suddenly trusting this guy who had been trying to destroy him for years, especially since he hadn’t done anything to prove trustworthy as a babyface.  Oh no, Money Inc screwed you over?  Too bad so sad.  

Question


My Apologies if this question has been asked before.


I’m watching the Brian Pillman “Dark Side of the Ring”, and I’m wondering why WWE allows their footage to be used on this series when most of the episodes do not exactly paint them in a positive light. 

Thanks.

As I understand it, they’re not really “using” the footage.  You’ll notice that it’s typically done like filming a TV screen that’s showing their footage, which would count as a transformative work and fall under “fair use”.  The A&E documentaries are actual licensed footage by contrast.  WWE licenses their stuff all the time and it’s a big reason why they buy up all the libraries. 
As a counter, AEW are apparently being super big dicks about people on YouTube using their stuff in any manner, and sending out copyright claims denying fair use as a reason. Maffew in particular is getting worked over by them on the regular.  

Six-star Meltzer strikes again


Big Dave broke the scale again to give Shingo/Ospreay 6 stars at Wrestling Dontaku last week. 


The match was an easy five stars for me, but didn't reach the Okada/Omega zone of breaking the scale in my opinion.

So my question – are we on a six-star scale now? Should some older matches get retroactively bumped up to 6? Does any of this matter? 

Bonus question – Since NJPW had to cancel their big Dome shows in May due to COVID, don't you think it'd be smart for them to blow open the Forbidden Door and get more guys on AEW while Japan is shut down? 

He was raving about the match on Observer Radio, but it’s getting hard for me to keep up with the star rating inflation!  Maybe if Blood and Guts had been better. 

Conrad Thompson’s contribution


I know you don’t listen to his work and have no idea how insufferable his shilling can be, but is Conrad Thompson, as flawed as people perceive his product to be, not going to go down as one of the biggest contributors to wrestling’s history somewhat akin to Meltzer because he too is capturing all this information that would likely never be recorded otherwise?


What say you sir?

I have no idea what Conrad’s role actually is, because as you noted in this email, I don’t listen to his work.  

I’m with you on the AEW World Title situation


Pac or OC kind of feel out of nowhere as #1 contenders

I’m sure a match with either will be great and it’s probably too soon for Hangman if he’s not going to win the belt, but as you said why not just do Cage?

Add the FTW belt to omega’s collection for good measure

Cage can wrestle the match as a face, lose due to Starks “accidentally” costing him the bout, and you can then have a ready made feud of Cage finally leaving Team Taz and getting his revenge

Oh well, at least we get YUJI NAGATA next week!

Yeah we do.  And yeah, Cage putting his FTW belt on the line and losing it would have been a cool twist.  

Dario Cueto in MLW


Hi Scott,


First of all, congratulations on finally getting vaccinated. I got my first shot last week, and it feels good to be finally turning a corner.

Secondly, 411mania is reporting that Dario Cueto will be a part of MLW, as he is revealed to be the leader of Azteca Underground. (Really, when you give a faction that name, their leader pretty much had to be Dario Cueto).

I'm super excited about it, because like you've been mentioning, he was the best part of Lucha Underground. But I've never seen MLW. I know you've reviewed a bit of their programming; do you think this can be a very good thing?

Thanks,

Vince

No idea, really.  I haven’t watched MLW since before the pandemic so I have no clue what’s going on with it now.  But Cueto is a big get and he’s open for business and WWE is willing to work with them, I’d love to see him in NXT as Regal’s slightly more evil counterpart.  

All women’s show


Mick Foley recently stated that WWE should start a women's only brand and while I do believe that they have a ton of talent to do it (if you take all the Raw,SD and NXT women) I can't help but think Vince would quickly lose interest and make it another 205
Live a show that's just there for content and even then people like the Nia's, Nattie's, Carmella's would still be featured as focal points of the shows and of course Charlotte would be head and shoulders above everyone else.


What do you think?  Could you see it working or no?

I see a few immediate issues that Mick obviously hasn't considered very closely before making that tweet.

1.  What if they're married?  I mean, obviously they all must be to validate them as women, but has anyone thought of all the time and effort required to check with each of their husbands and get permission for them to be on TV every week?  It's a logistical nightmare.  Plus, if you're planning on using 50 women on the show, that's 50 meals that aren't getting prepared at home!  Those sandwiches aren't gonna make themselves.  

2.  Science tells us that the female sex is more delicate than the male one, and the worry from leading medical science doctors at the moment is that putting all those women together at the same time would cause a probable mass breakout of female hysteria, with everyone causing trouble for the men and maybe even withholding valuable sex time.  I for one do not want that on my conscience.

3.  Finally, it's come to my attention that some of the performers have been wearing revealing outfits that are intended to titillate.  I've been discussing it on the /r/incel-ebration sub-Reddit and I've come to the conclusion that it's unfair to arouse people like that.  

I hope this helps.