Feuds you hate

Scott,

    What feuds did you hate off the bat because you genuinely liked both wrestlers and hated that one of them was gonna lose the feud and get hurt by the booking, or knew that 50/50 booking would kill both of them?  This Aleister Black / Cesaro mini feud is why I'm asking because I see no good outcome here (Black dominates and Cesaro is still considered one step above the 24/7 belt, or they both split matches and it lowers Black).
That's always kind of the problem with babyface feuds and why you don't see them often.  You're essentially splitting your audience and guaranteeing that someone is going to be disappointed.  For me right now, I wouldn't say I HATE Ricochet v. AJ, but they've already 50/50-d them and I don't think it's the right time for Ric to start doing jobs. 

Heel announcers

Can we please get rid of the concept of the heel announcer? It feels so dated and silly at this point. 

I used to love Bobby Heenan and Jesse Ventura back in the day. But they were special. They were entertaining. It doesn't work today and just makes the product seem corny and carny. 

I hope when AEW launches, they skip the heel commentator and just put over the wrestlers and storylines. 

What do you think? 

Yeah, but if we don't have Corey Graves and Renee Young screaming at each other with petty arguments about what the motivation of a heel is, how will we ever know?  By having someone CUT A PROMO?  Yeah, right.  

What’s good?

My WWE Network subscription is about to run out, and I'm not itching to re-up given how "meh" the current product has been lately. I was a fairly regular viewer of the weekly programming until very recently (and for 2/3rds of my life), but too often I find myself just not caring about anything that happens. Maybe it's Shane, maybe it's 50/50 booking, maybe I'm too old and on the wrong meds… I don't know. For the first time in a long time though, I just plain don't care. So, with everything ever recorded at my fingertips for the next couple hours, I'm going to look for something that will remind me why I fell in love with this pseudo-sport to begin with. I'm thinking Rumble 2000, but we'll see. I can always dig out some RoH DVDs from '07 if I can't find anything else.

When you (and the Blog at large) feel jaded about wrestling, what are some shows/matches/segments you go back to? What makes you say "THIS is all that is good about wrestling?"

What's good?

The two Bash 86 shows!  It's like the peak of Crockett right there on the screen, with all of Dusty's excesses and hubris paying off with a pair of huge stadium shows with jacked crowds, just before the promotion goes completely down the toilet.  

Also, those Superstars shows.  It was like a shot of snark adrenaline right to the heart.  

Worst Actor In Pro Wrestling?


Who do you think is the worst actor in pro wrestling, either currently or all time?  I don't know about all time, but currently it is hands down Baron Corbin for me.  Everytime the guy talks I think I'm watching a middle school play.  

No one will ever touch the acting prowess of Sid.  

WWE Name Generator coming back to bite them?

I was watching the G1 the other night, and as Moxley is coming to the ring, Kevin Kelly talks about how the handcuffs are off and Moxley can be who he wants to me. Just a day earlier, Shane Spears looked like a huge star during the 6-man tag at the AEW show.

What struck me is how quickly both guys have been embraced with their names. You look back at the 1990s and so many ex-WWF guys couldn't get over elsewhere because their names were so aligned with WWF (Brutus Beefcake, Earthquake, Big Boss Man, Mr Perfect, etc etc)

So my question – do you think the WWE Name Generator for marketing/trademark purposes is actually a problem for them now? Most AEW/NJPW fans don't watch WWE (based on Meltzer's reporting on who bought Double or Nothing) so these guys can quickly become new characters and develop new personas almost instantly. The WWE names were picked out of a hat, so they mean nothing to nobody. Dean Ambrose was a WWE champion! And people gladly forgot that name in a heartbeat. 

It also helps feed the larger narrative that WWE doesn't know what theyre doing. Not saying Shane Spears is going to light the world on fire, but he's already 100000 times more interesting than he ever was in WWE & has a shot vs Cody in August to potentially get over in a big way. 
Shawn Spears.
Anyway, yeah, I hate the name generator.  You know who's awesome, though?  Velveteen Dream, a throwback to the old way of doing things by coming up with a character name that instantly conveys what he's about and who he is.  They need to do more of "come up with the character first and base the name around it" instead of "Come up with a name for trademark purposes and then work on a character later".  

Main event commentary

Hey Scott,

One of the big differences that's struck me recently between NXT and the main WWE product is the live description of what's happening on screen. The commentators on the main roster shows and PPVs hardly stop for breath, constantly talking about the back story
of the match and hypothesising about what the wrestlers on screen are thinking and feeling. Meanwhile the commentators in NXT (and in other companies) just describe what's happening in the ring and let the workers tell the story. Is this the Vince effect?
Does he not trust his main roster workers to be able to tell a story on their own in the ring? Does he not trust the viewer to understand the story being told in the ring? Is this type of commentary now an accepted part of the 'sports entertainment' product
that we'll be stuck with when Vince is long gone?


Your blog is great. Thanks for all the excellent work dude!


It's 100% a Vince thing and basically everything you say is exactly what he thinks according to everyone who's worked for him.  

Strong champs / Nakamura question

Scott,

Saw something in another thread about now that we are past Extreme Rules and Heyman/Bischoff should start exerting more influence that we might see less jobbing out of champions week in and week out on TV.  It got me thinking: they had Nakamura defeat Balor pretty definitely in two straight matches – one non-title, and then last night to win the IC title.

So if they continue this idea of a "reborn" Nakamura who's going to keep knocking people silly and feed him wins to bolster him as a strong IC champ, is that enough to save his main roster run?  They've really felt like they dropped the ball hard with him ever since his Rumble win, but can this turn him around, or is it too late?

Cheers!

Nakamura has made it pretty clear that he's here to surf and collect his money as a paid vacation, I think.  There's really nothing to "save".  He is what he is at this point. 

WWE killing gimmick matches

What do you think about this recent practice of the WWE making almost every match a 2 out of 3 falls match, or an elimination match?  Not only do I think it's poorly done with falls coming coming at an unnatural time than they would in a normal match, but it appears to be an overreaction to complaints about commercial breaks in the middle of matches, as they "restart" the match after the break when one of the falls/eliminations occurs.  I still don't understand why they can't have matches that are less than 10 minutes long without a commercial break in between?  They actually did this not that long ago, so I can't see why they can't do it now.  

I'm sure if I watched RAW or Smackdown I'd be really annoyed by it, but….*shrug*.

The beginning of the end

Hi Scott,

In light of the recent Russo question and the general agreement that WCW was already one foot in the grave by that point anyway, two questions for you… 

1) Was there anything that WCW management could have done to turn things around in 1999, or was the decline completely out of their hands by that point in time? 

2) Assuming the latter, what do you think was the point of no return for the company as far as fixing the sinking ship was concerned. 
1.  I think they could have saved it, yeah.  They still had tons of talent, and they still had Goldberg, and they still had money.  Kevin Nash's reign as booker was a major problem and so was TBS interference, but that was all stuff that could be fixed with new people in charge.  
2.  I don't know that there was really one point of no return, but Vince Russo really did a number on the company. 

What if Russo Never Left?

Hey Scott,

 

Although I believe Russo didn’t kill WCW (he does help kill it quicker though) as it was doomed anyway, what do you think would happen if he and Ed never left the WWF?

 

I’ve always believed the best era of the WWF was from January 2000 to Wrestlemania X7, but it was because they moved past all the Russo inspired bullshit of the late 98(post Survivor Series which is arguably the best of Russo’s work) thru 99 period. I can’t see them hitting that creative and successful peak if Russo was still there.

 

Russo has said that he was so incredibly burned out that he was trying to quit anyway, so either way he might have been gone by the end of 1999.  But he might be lying, because Russo.  I think that either way, Vince McMahon was still smart enough about business trends to figure out the wind was changing, and Russo would have been left behind by that.  More importantly, Vince wanted to put Stephanie in charge and Russo was never going to win that argument. 

Hulkamania Era

I've been watching a lot of the old PPVs lately, and it got me wondering on if there was ever any reports back in the day of resentment from any of the heels (Savage, Dibiase, Hennig, Rude, etc…) being fed to the usual no sell kickouts of Hogan, and to a similar extent, Ultimate Warrior?

I know this was the big money making payday for many being in top programs with Hulk, but some wrestlers take the business/character more seriously than others, so I was curious if any of the heels were mad about their "big spot" being destroyed by the no-sell. Or was it just it's own separate thing being in a Hogan/Warrior match & they go back to traditional finisher booking when they moved back to midcard?

Typically it wasn't issue, although for example Kamala pitched a fit about losing to Hulk on SNME and got replaced by Sika instead, so there are always exceptions.  Warrior was different in that he generally wasn't liked in the first place whereas Hulk was at least viewed as someone who was "one of the boys" coming up.  But guys like Orndorff made so much money laying down for Hogan night after night that there was never going to be any major problems with it.  

Raw Reunion

Is there any possible opportunity that they use the extra attention from the nostalgia pops to get literally anyone on the roster heat or over? Or is this just full-on desperation for quick ratings?

What would be your plan of attack if you actually wanted to use the old people to get the young guys over?

It's literally just a ratings ploy.  They've basically damaged the brand of their own legends so badly by turning them into punchlines that there's no real rub left to give anyway.  

Sasha

Hey Scott,

Question for you regarding Sasha's contract: I know she's locked in for a few more years after re-signing last year, but can this time she's missing be added to her contract? I know they can do it for injuries, but not sure if that same rule applies for missing
shows by choice. Feels like she's in a no win situation. Either she quits and doesn't get paid until her WWE contract expires, or she puts her head down and just goes through the motions until her contract expires.

Thanks.


They can literally do whatever they want with her contract.  They could let her out of it tomorrow if they wanted.  But yes, I would presume they've frozen her contract until she decides to return to working again.  Talent basically has zero negotiating leverage outside of Brock Lesnar.  

THE 1 MCU FLAW THAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS…..

So you’re Iron Man. You have a dope collection of nano-tech armor that basically makes Stark a human aerial assault weapon. It takes more than a bullet or a sword to pierce the armor. Why is he not making armor for his more vulnerable teammates? 

Obviously Banner had some gear but Hulk is badass & doesn’t necessarily need one, as well as Thor, Panther & Strange. Ant-Man is pretty hooked up on his own as well. But we had Iron Spider, War Machine & Rescue. But why not one for Hawkeye, Black Widow, Cap, Fury, Falcon & Winter Soldier? Basically…..everybody? Aren’t Hawkeye & Falcon 1000x more useful in a suit of nano-tech aerial assault armor? Just sayin. Biggest flaw in every Avengers movie that really chaps my ass. This is a serious stuff. Defy the logic.

Perhaps he asked and they said no? 

In Honor of The Club Re-Signing…

Would you rather….

A) Be the Highest Paid Jobber (AKA Brian Pillman) or a Team like the Club that's making bank with the understanding that their Fed isn't going to be doing anything with them?

B) A guy with a really good push and visibility but crappy payout?

I get that actual facts and #'s matter for this. I guess (in honor Winston Churchill or the Million Dollar Man) what I'm asking is what is the number that will make you a whore?

It depends completely on your life situation.  AJ and the Club are getting older, and I don't know if he's ever made mention before, but Karl Anderson has a hot Asian wife who needs supporting.  If you're a young guy like Ricochet who still can make bank on the indie scene, then it might not be such a great career choice to lock yourself in for 5 years, but I think for a good chunk of the WWE roster it's a no-brainer.  

Main Event Opener


Last night at Extreme Rules, the Undertaker & Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre match could have – for better or worse – gone on last and probably had more intrigue than the real main event.

WWE has obviously flirted with putting the main event on first – namely this year’s WrestleMania (Brock is always the main event whether you like it or not, pal) and the No Mercy PPV a couple of years back when the WWE Title match opened the show.  Do you think in the era of ridiculously long but basically free shows that it actually makes more sense to put the biggest match on right out of the gate?

No, I think it actually killed off the crowd for a long while.  I’d have run with the tag title match (either one) as the opener.  You just can’t build a show properly by putting a main event first.  Watch the Bash 86 shows on the Network as an example of how to build intrigue through the show.  

AEW

I'm a big supporter of AEW, I really do hope they become a valid alternative & all that good stuff. However I realized something watching "Fight For The Fallen". This stuff can get old quick. I just don't find myself invested in anybody or anything that happens. Ok Sonny Kiss wins his match, cool now what happens with him? He wrestles another random at All Out? Take the Lucha Bros/Bucks for example. The ladder match I'm sure will be all kinds of awesome but their having the match for the sake of it. Literally nothing at stake. So why should I care about who wins the match? The only thing they have resembling a feud is Omega/Moxley. Whose the heel? What is Moxley anyway? Im currently at odds with WWE due to their shitty programming lately & I really want AEW to succeed but man these guys really need to get an identity. And Cody really is the Triple H of AEW as now we get to see him try to have a 30 mins epic with Tye Dillinger. 

100% agree.  Shawn Spears looks like more of a star now, but pushing ex-WWE guys from the undercard isn't the way to make money and it's not a good look.  Hopefully Cody takes this stuff to heart and makes some changes by October.  

Hangman Page

Is it just me or does anybody else find Hangman Page over rated? He's solid enough in the ring but his look sucks, he does nothing 20 other Indy guys aren't already doing, probably better at that. 

He sucked in his rookie year but got a lot better.  Doing a 20 minute Broadway tease with Kip Sabian isn't the way to showcase him, though.  He needs to be Bradshaw or Stan Hansen, not Kenny Omega.  

Fwd: AEW: Has the buzz worn off

After watching the AEW show, it's looking like they've put all their eggs in on Double or Nothing, the last 2 shows have been average as the day as long and it seems are fans are kind of crapping on the product even moreso now, I admit there are some
issues with the product, the roster needs some more depth, the characters need to be built up a little more than just flippity flip indy geeks, the production qualities need to be tightened up and someone like Cody isn't exactly a guy I want to see on the
top of the card.


What do you think Scott, has the shine worn off on AEW a bit or is it just a slight bump in the road and come October they'll be off and running

I think doing these two mini-PPVs was kind of a mistake, honestly.  But once they get onto TNT, I think they'll be off and running.  

I'm telling ya though, Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy are EXACTLY what they need to push the shit out of, because they're gonna draw teenage boys.  Guaranteed.  They're got something with those guys.  

Prime time

I’ve been watching the summer 1989 prime time wrestling shows on YouTube (excluding the matches) and I found it fascinating how great they were.  You had a months long storyline between Piper and Heenan with Piper taking over Hennan’s spot and Bobby desperately trying to get it back.  You had the famous Rude incident and then Piper dressed as the Brain knocking out Brother Love.  Ultimately, Heenan won the feud because he finally baited Piper into attacking him by outing Santa.  What a great show.  

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I kid.  Hopefully they'll keep adding Prime Time to the Network so we can get there, but it's not looking likely at this point.  

Obsessive Fan Alert: Best Matches of the Decade

Hey Scott,

I went ahead and compiled all your best matches of the 2010s. By my count, you have 22 matches ranked at 5 stars or above (not counting Ospreay vs. WALTER and Punk vs. Bryan from OTE 2012, did you rank those 5 stars?)

The full list is below, and I took a shot at ordering them in the order I thought you might consider them. Looks like it's safe to say Okada/Omega; Omega/Tanahashi; and Gargano/Ciampa are the three best matches of the decade and maybe of all-time, according to you?

Also, Gargano is on here 7 times. Omega 3 times; Naito 3 times; Ciampa 3 times. Would you say Gargano is the best wrestler of the decade?

And last question: are there any of these that you would downgrade/upgrade or re-rate with the benefit of hindsight?

No, because clearly I am perfect and my opinions are resolute and indisputable.

Gargano is pretty friggin' great, yeah. I think you forgot Jericho v. Omega from last year, which I'm pretty sure was also the full monty. I'd also add Dustin v. Cody to the list the more I think about it.

And yes, I gave Ospreay v. WALTER five stars, as well as Bryan v. Punk after doing an extended bit that only got funnier with each iteration.
Best Matches of the 2010s
  1. NJPW Dominion 2018: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega (2/3 Falls Match) *******

  2. NJPW WrestleKingdom 2019: IWGP Heavyweight title: Kenny Omega v. Hiroshi Tanahashi ******½ 

  3. NXT Takeover: New Orleans 2018: Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano ******

  4. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 2018: Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito *****

  5. NJPW BOSJ: Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi *****

  6. WWE Money In The Bank 2011: John Cena vs. CM Punk *****

  7. NJPW Dominion: IWGP Junior Heavyweight title: Dragon Lee v. Will Ospreay *****

  8. NXT Takeover: Philadelphia 2018: Andrade Cien Almas vs. Johnny Gargano *****

  9. NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 2018: Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano *****

  10. NXT Takeover: Toronto 2016: The Revival vs. Tomasso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano *****

  11. NXT Takeover: Phoenix: Ricochet v. Johnny Gargano *****

  12. WWE SummerSlam 2013: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar *****

  13. NXT Takeover: New York: Johnny Gargano v. Adam Cole *****

  14. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 2018: Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho *****

  15. WWE Hell In A Cell 2018: Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose *****

  16. NXT Takeover: 25: Johnny Gargano v. Adam Cole *****

  17. NXT: July 11, 2018: Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Bate & Trent Seven *****

  18. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 2019: IWGP Intercontinental title: Chris Jericho v. Tetsuya Naito *****

  19. NXT Takeover: Dallas 2016: Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura *****

  20. NJPW Dominion 2019: IWGP Intercontinental title: Kota Ibushi v. Tetsuya Naito *****

  21. WWE Royal Rumble 2010: Royal Rumble Match *****

  22. WWE WrestleMania 28 2012: Triple H vs. The Undertaker *****



Women’s Tag Titles

One of the most monumental flops in WWE history imo. More worthless than Mideon or Duggan literally digging up forgotten lowcard belts and suddenly defending them. What do you think?

Given the buildup and launch, I agree.  Plus they shot themselves in the foot by talking up all their big plans for having them defended on multiple brands without ever having a plan in place.  Putting them on the Iiconics has got to rank up there with all the all-time boneheaded booking decisions and it completely killed off the belts before they could ever be established.  

Steamboat

Hey Scott, hope all is well with you. When Steamboat won the IC Title after WM 3, what was the plan?  I heard he wanted time off for the birth of his child and that why he dropped the title to the Honky Tonk Man. But, if he didn't take off, would Steamboat have kept the IC title for an extended run? Did Savage and Steamboat even have house show matches after WM3?

Yeah, they had a bunch in the month following the show.  Steamboat wasn't going to be a long-term champion even if he stuck around, though.  Once the story of his triumph was told, he dropped off quickly again.  If Honky didn't beat him, someone else was going to by August.