The Funker



Terry Funk’s pop sensation, “Barbra Streisand’s Nose.”
"Sensation" is a strong word to use, I think. 

Keith Lee winning the Rumble

I like Keith Lee a lot & think he could be a big star if pushed correctly, but he's still just an upper midcarder in what is basically WWE's minor leagues. He has minimal main roster exposure. 

Having Lee win the Rumble would be like a baseball manager deciding in September that one of your best minor league pitchers is going to start game one of the World Series. Does that make sense?

I don't think anyone was seriously suggesting that Keith Lee should win the Rumble.  However, eliminating Brock Lesnar and getting the match at Wrestlemania?  Definitely a play they could have made.  

Could Marty Scurll save RoH?

People have basically been writing obits for Ring of Honor since last year's MSG show made them look so bad, and things only got worse from there in 2019. So I know I wasn't the only one surprised that Marty Scurll decided to stay with them, though his spot as lead booker seemed like a worthwhile carrot.

Since then, we've seen Marty, and other RoH guys, working with NWA. Now, it appears Marty will face Jay White over WM weekend, to give RoH a nice hook for that show: https://twitter.com/ringofhonor/status/1222172913744392194

So here's my question – could Marty Scurll save Ring of Honor? I know it's early in his reign, but it's already about 10,000 times more interesting than it was just 6 months ago. And because of Sinclair's backing & unlimited desire/need for content, it's not like RoH will be hurting for support.

Sidenote: It's only been one month, but 2020 has already been an extremely fascinating year of pro wrestling. 

ROH is in the interesting position of "company that can help a lot of other companies" but I don't think they're going to succeed on their own ever again.  Honestly they'd be better off going the route of developing talent and then getting a piece of the action when they move somewhere else.  

Fantasy Booking a Fantasy Booker

Hey Scott–

Scott Hall, Jake Roberts, Eddie Gilbert.

All three are 100% demon-free and/or don't burn their bridges with

various promotions.

Who has the best mind to book a compelling wrestling product?


The problem is that Eddie Gilbert was a smart guy, but all he ever wanted to do was recycle old Jerry Lawler angles.  He was never gonna be a long-term guy anywhere.  

I'd have to go with Scott Hall, although I think Raven is the dark horse choice for best one of all.  Had he stuck around in the WWF when Vince wanted to make him producer as Johnny Polo, he could have ended up in HHH's position today.  I mean, he WOULDN'T have, but he COULD have.  

Beating words to death

As someone who works with words and IP laws etc every day as part of my job, I try to cut slack to WWE when it comes to some of their dumbass branding. For example, do I like that every variation on “title shot” or “title match” must now be a “championship opportunity?” No I don’t, but I understand trying to make that the primary, formal term you use to make it seem special (I don’t agree with it, but I understand).

But there is a reason people use a thesaurus – you can’t constantly use the same word over and over and over without it beginning to lose all meaning. And I feel like we’ve reached that event horizon with WWE commentary and the word “opportunity.” I physically cringe now when I hear it. Is this going to be like the word “wrestler” that was instant death for a while until a few people like Daniel Bryan started saying “fuck it, I’m a wrestler” and it got them over? Is Drew McIntyre going to come out and say he wants his “title shot” against Brock to make himself even more of a badass? Or are we stuck with people talking in phrases that normal humans, normal people talking about fighting one another, would ever use?


Until Vince is gone, yeah, we are.  

WCW/NBC Special That Never Happened?

I seem to vaguely remember WCW in early 1999 striking a deal with NBC to produce some kind of televised special.  Any ideas why that never happened?  
I don't know if there was specific reasons but there was never really a "deal" in place as far as I know.  There was definitely talks and I know Hogan was trying to position the rematch with Goldberg where he got the title back for it, but nothing ever really happened. 

Avenging Doom Patr… I mean Edge

So with Edge re-crippled story-wise, who's going to avenge him at Wrestlemania? 

1. Zack Ryder: Started his career as 21 to Edge's Monarch and Orton/Ryder haven't fought before to my knowledge. Plus give Ryder his token Wrestlemania bright spot moment in terms of him beating Orton there, to make up for the fact that he's been reduced to a jobber 364 days a year

2. CM Punk: Has an epic blood feud with Orton that predates his blood feud with Cena. One that was never resolved. From a promo standpoint, Punk and Orton have great chemistry and Orton in general is one of the few people that can push Punk's righteous indignation to a level beyond even Cena in terms of Punk selling Orton as pure evil in a person suit. 

3. Daniel Bryan: Again, longstanding unresolved blood feud with Orton, doesn't have much going on on Smackdown, and let's face it, you can get some mileage out of Orton wanting to recripple Bryan too since he's on a role…..  

4. Samoa Joe: He dug coal with Christian in TNA Impact and since Christian can't beat Randy Orton on his own, calls in a favor with Samoa Joe to have him avenge Edge for Christian

5. The Rock: Because Edge played Atom Smasher on Flash and Rock is set to play Black Adam and in the comics, Atom Smasher and Black Adam are BFFs who invaded not-Iraq with the rest of Infinity Inc to help him take back the country Black Adam used to rule in the past before he got exiled for fucking the Wizard Shazam's evil devil daughter. 

6. The Fiend: Because even evil has standards 

7. Asuka: Because no one would expect it and allow them to slowly dip their toes into intergender wrestling as a regular thing since it's already a big thing in the indie scene with two of their biggest names in male and female wrestling duking it out at Wrestlemania 


Well, I just got BAKE'D for the morning.

Lesnar in the Rumble

Cards on the table up front, I'm not impartial on this because I'm beyond tired of Lesnar at this point.

Having admitted that, am I crazy or is it just short sighted to give him a run like that at this point? They've already trained the audience to think he's above most of the roster, what's the point in making that many guys look like chumps for a guy that's already a made man? Drew gets a rub off of being the man to eliminate him, but he was going over as the winner anyway. 

Imagine if, instead, they had taken a similar route only had it be Keith Lee and cut it off after 9-10 guys instead of 13. You establish Lee as an up and coming monster on the second biggest show of the year, you can still have Drew be the guy who eliminates Lee and go on to win and I don't think he ends up with significantly less shine than he wound up with last night. So you're making two stars, you can put Drew over Brock and let him hold the title until Summerslam, Brock can piss off back to Saskatchewan or UFC (pretty please), and then you can run a McIntyre-Lee program when you're ready to bring him up out of NXT.

Overall I liked the match, it was different if nothing else and putting Drew over was a welcome surprise. But for the life of me I just don't see the point in going through all that for the 40+ year old part timer that for all that work ends the match no more over than he started. 


I feel like they're 100% behind Drew in this case, and we'll see after Wrestlemania if this is the time that Brock can actually give someone the rub.  If it works, great.  If they put him over and then immediately stick him in a feud with Baron Corbin, though, I don't like his chances.  
In other words, let it play out and see where it goes.  

Best/Worst Double Turns In Wrestling?


What do you think was the best and worst double turns in wrestling?  My personal picks;
 
 
-Best;  Steve Austin vs Bret Hart in a submission match at Wrestle-Mania 13 in 1997.  I really don't think I have to explain why.  
 
 
-Worst;  Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship in a steel cage at Uncensored 1999.  Nobody was clamoring to cheer Hogan and boo Flair at that point.  
 
 
Sure.  Have their been a bunch of other ones?  I don't really think it's common enough to where I can make a list or anything. 

Rumble

I thought it was actually a well booked Rumble for a change.  The Brock stuff told a story sort of like the first Austin run.  He ran through people until Drew kicked him out.  Then you had nice touches like the Rated RKO reunion.  Then they pulled the trigger on Drew and made a star.  Hopefully they don’t screw it up.  

I will say that the Fiend has an early Undertaker vibe.  Less is more and he doesn’t need the title. 

"Less is more" is so not in the WWE vocabulary these days. 

“Live” Wrestling Shows?


Recently you wrote about how Vince McMahon loves to promote all his T.V. shows as taking place live, otherwise he believes his audience will tune out.  However, was/is he the only one in the wrestling business to employ this philosophy?  I seem to recall WCW during the Nitro Era acting as if WCW Saturday Night, Pro, Worldwide, etc. were taking place as they were airing.  I'm not sure about ECW, though.      

Yes, historically everyone has gone to fairly ridiculous lengths to pretend like their shows aren't taped.  Vince is hardly the only one with that attitude. 

Royal Rumble in Stadiums?

While I understand why WWE still likes to hold Wrestlemania in stadiums, it doesn’t seem entirely logical to hold other events in them, especially given their uneven attendance numbers outside of that event. It’s especially questionable given how hard it was
to sell tickets to last years Royal Rumble.

It kind of makes me think back to the 1997 Royal Rumble when they were trying to prove they were bigger than they really were at the time (though the actual 48,000 tickets bought for that event was far more impressive than what they usually sell now).
Is it really worth it for them to do stadium events outside of Wrestlemania at this point, given the ticket sales and overall dead crowds they tend to perform in front of now?

 

I think they mostly had it planned already last year and now it's just a prestige type of deal, since attendance and making money are literally no longer a factor in their decision making process.  They just have to wave the balance sheets at investors and be like "Whoops, still making a billion dollars from FOX and USA, sorry not sorry" and really that's the end of any arguments against them. 

Beth Phoenix Bleeding

Watching the Royal Rumble and for the majority of the women rumble, my 11 and 8 year old sons could do nothing but talk about Beth Phoenix's bleeding scalp and red hair.  At first I thought it was hair dye then was like they will pull her to not have this on tv, but nope.  Kept going as my boys talked about how blood was now on Charolette etc.


What the F not as bad as their shock during the Orton Brock incident but why was she not pulled?
I don't wanna tell you how to parent because I recently watched the 1990 It miniseries with my nine-year old daughter, but you might want to toughen up your kids a bit. 

Blog question – star trek


Hey Scott – long time reader / poster. I'm a long time star wars fan who has never really been into star trek beyond casually watching the Abrams reboot in 2009. Everyone is saying how awesome Picard is and my interest is piqued as I'm sure others feel the same way. Would you rank or recommend the series in any way? They are all mostly on Netflix, I've heard deep space nine is the bees knees especially. Appreciate your insight. 

DS9 is pretty advanced studies as far as Trek is concerned.  Watch Next Generation starting in season 3 if you want to get a sense of why Picard is so great.  The best of the NG movies is First Contact, but most of the plot points from the new show come from Nemesis, the movie that killed off the franchise.  I like it but most do not.  Overall I’m a huge fan of Next Gen mostly, but I also enjoy the original Kirk run for what it was. 
I have done many DVD reviews and will post them again sometime.  

WALTER

I've noticed something lately, WALTERS popularity has drastically increased since his debut at the first UK Takeover. The crowds are starting to treat him like a big star with them being really into his offence (chops especially) eventually hes going to outgrow NXT UK but he's made it clear he doesn't want to move to America so what happens then?

I'm pretty sure Vince could find a way to make it worth his while when the time comes.  

Pumped up

Scott,

I was reading your recent Royal Rumble 1991 rant and your comment about Rick Martel being ripped struck a chord with me.  I was thinking the same thing around that era and was actually going to write you about it before your post.

I know that you can't put yourself in the minds of the wrestlers, but what do you think the thought process was behind this?  To me, Martel was always more of a high flyer, but after his heel turn and during his singles run, he seemed to pack on the muscle.

Was this his way of extending his career as this was seemingly towards the end for him?  I'm not aware of him having any nagging injuries for which he was trying to compensate.  Excluding his WCW run in 1997-1998, which I actually enjoyed, Martel was seemingly done with WWE by 1994-1995, so this would have been the last 3-4 years of his career.

Or do you feel he thought that if he changed his look, he'd be in line for a major singles push?  Although he had some feature feuds with Tito Santana, Jake Roberts, Shawn Michaels, and Tatanka, as well as occassional IC title shots against Bret Hart and Razor Ramon, it didn't really seem to amount to more than him putting everyone else over.

I bring this up because he has not been the only wrestler to do this.  Arguably one of the most successful at this was Scott Steiner.  Another one that comes to mind is the worst, Dino Bravo.  I'm not familiar with Bravo's work outside of WWE, but Wikipedia states he wrestled from 1970-1992.  In his early 80s WWE tag team work he seemed like a chunky babyface and somehow morphed into strongest man by 1987-1988, again towards the end of his career.  My last example would be Davey Boy Smith, although he made the change earlier in his career during his WWE absence between 1988-1991.

I'm not looking at this as a steroid argument and whether or not a guy used them before or after his change as I don't doubt Davey Boy was using in 1986.  I'm also not looking at this as a simple gimmick change (though this seems to follow a gimmick change), but was wondering why one would change his body type and entire working style so late in his career when he's already had success without it.
Wrestling is a weird business and wrestlers can get body issues as much as anyone.  That being said, Martel wasn't really steroid-y at the Rumble, it was more that he was all shredded up and clearly proud of it.  I feel like Bulldog was a guy who clearly saw that bigger guys were getting the pushes and just decided to get big and keep up with them. A lot of times high-flying guys like Bravo will get injured and be forced to work a different style.  That's a big reason why Scott Steiner drastically altered his style and body type, since he just couldn't do all the stuff he used to be able to.  And hey, some guys just get big into bodybuilding and might like bonding over it.  Like I said, wrestling is a weird business.

Random Rumble Questions

Hey Scott. With the Rumble around the corner,I was wondering your take on past PPV's.

1. What show had the best Rumble match but had a terrible undercard?
2. What show had great undercard matches but a terrible Rumble?
3.What Rumble were you most apathetic to but it somehow managed to surprise you with how good it was?
4. What about one you were pumped for and ending up being a dud?
5. Any year(s) where you were completely clueless as to who was winning?

Thank you!

1.  Rumble 92.  Flair saved the show.
2.  Seemingly all of them since 2012 or so.  

3.  My rewatch of Rumble 90 a couple of months ago, actually.  

4. The one Daniel Bryan didn't win.  

5.  2010.  The surprise Edge win came completely out of nowhere.