Review Suggestion



Scott,

Just wanted to throw out a review suggestion for the blog. Earlier today I was browsing the Old School section of the Network and found the MSG show from 8/7/76 that features the cage match with Bruno and Stan Hansen that blows off the feud over Bruno's broken neck.

I figured its hard to go wrong with a passed off Bruno and Stan Hansen with a cage and blood. Hope you consider it.
I actually thought I had done that one already.  If not, sure, great idea.  

Bill Watts


Hi Scott,


I primarily know Bill Watts from his short run at WCW. What were his strengths as the booker at Mid-South? Would he have been able to make a success of WCW if he had stayed on or was his thinking too behind the times by then? I am guessing the failed attempt to get Ron Simmons over as world champ did not help.

He wasn’t ever really “booker” because he was the big picture guy like Vince.  He had guys like Bill Dundee or Dick Slater doing the day to day booking for him.  Same with WCW.  He was more about “This is the direction I want things to go” as I understand it.  We just say “Watts wanted…” as shorthand for him filtering his decisions through the actual booker.  

As for WCW, no, he never would have been a success because that’s not what they wanted from him.  They wanted expenses brought down drastically (done and done!) and contracts under control (which they were) so the company stopped bleeding money.  Really anything else was gravy but Watts still managed to fuck it up anyway with the racial stuff.  But they were never going to succeed past a certain level because Bill didn’t have the backing of TBS to do so.  

What If…? 1996 Warrior Edition


Hey Scott–


Let's assume for a moment that Vince and Warrior are able to have a copacetic relationship in 1996 (BWAHAHAHAHA! I know). Is there any juice in a Warrior/Shawn program for the belt? Given Shawn's ability to get anything with two legs and a pulse to four-stars, Warrior's character and rep necessitating he be in the main event mix, and the company starved for tippy-top guys at the time, would they have found their way to that match as the year progressed?

We could have gotten the heel maniac Warrior we were supposed to get in the early nineties, or douchebag DX Shawn could have emerged a year early to work against babyface Warrior. Do you think it could have/should have worked?

I think Shawn could have made it work, but I don’t know if he would have wanted to. 

Man, heel maniac Warrior in the Attitude Era would have been cool though. 

Generation Job


Hi Scott, I remember you saying in your review of Wrestling With Shadows that Montreal resulted in a whole crew of wrestlers having no qualms about doing jobs. And I know we’ve had guys since who’s politicked their way out doing them, but it’s not something you really hear about now (at least I don’t). So my question is, did Montreal (and a lesser extent, that generation finally moving on) kickstart it, or is it people now are just glad to be on tv and making a comfortable living that they don’t care?

I would definitely say that Montreal allowed Vince to kickstart the narrative of the “time honoured tradition” but I think Russo and his devalued win/loss stuff and prop titles really killed off that facet of the business for good.  So all these guys who came up watching the Attitude era believe in it now. 

ambrose vs lesnar


Although Ambrose eventually won the wwe title and is now a top wrestler as aew champ, to my mind, Ambrose vs Lesnar was a huge wasted opportunity at Wrestlemania 32. Even if you book Ambrose to lose, how good do you think that fight could have been if Lesnar had gone all out for the match, or if Vince had – gasp – demanded that Lesnar put in high quality work as recompense for the pay Lesnar was receiving? I always figured they were capable of a 4 – 4.5 star match that would've been at least 5-8 minutes longer than what we got, that is rather more violent than what we got, with some sort of ending in which Ambrose passes out from a Lesnar submission and Lesnar himself cannot walk off on his own power afterwards. What we received instead was so watered down . . . 




Indeed it was.  Moxley was pretty disappointed in the match himself.  It’s so weird because Brock has the rep of doing whatever stupid stuff you pay him for without questioning, but he just wouldn’t do business with Dean for whatever reason.   

WM9 tat title match


Your recent superstars reviews had me revisiting WM9 for the first time In awhile and one of the many questions I gave is, why did the tag title match suck so much?  Was it just a day where nothing clicked? And was it always planned to be that long?

Hogan is still over and I thought it was all leading up to the hot tag. Beefcake Can at least work a decent face in peril(but not as long as the match was). IRS could carry some weight. Dibiase always provides heel heat to whoever he’s with. I remember being very underwhelmed as a kid and even more now.

Well first up Dibiase had a back so bad that they almost needed to shove a coat rack up his ass to keep him upright. It’s kind of amazing that he made it to Summerslam in retrospect.  

And no, the match wasn’t supposed to be that long.  They actually had to cut the Kamala match and chop a bunch of time from Bret’s match because the show ended up running so long.  
And Hogan was probably distracted by working out his con of Vince and wasn’t going to do anything to jeopardize his Japan money.  

My two biggest problems with Raw

1. It feels like every time I turn it on all I see is this fucking Rollins/Mysterios program that’s been going on since, what… before COVID? This program has been endless especially since I don’t buy Dominik as any kind of legitimate threat whatsoever.

2. I thought a bit more about why I feel like this is what I always see and it’s because I almost always turn on Raw right after I put my kids to bed. The show has the exact same structure every single week and my god that’s worn me out.

I don’t think I even have a question here. But as a dumbass who gives this show an honest shot each week (and even likes a bunch of it!), this is intensely frustrating.


You could just do like I do and completely the ignore the weekly TV altogether but still complain about it to annoy people.  

Wrestler’s Heat


More of a comment than a question here, and you'll probably say, hot take; but watching old WWF shows in YouTube makes it painfully obvious that today's wrestlers just don't generate the reactions that wrestlers of old did.  A heel Hulk Hogan was booed out

of the building vs. Tito Santana, and although I was never a big fan of Piper, it was undeniable that the crowd wanted to kill him when facing a newly face Orndorff.  How is this lost on an old school Vince, as out of touch as he is?


Yeah but now they just program the Audience-O-Matic to react however they want anyway. 

Splitting Up The Inner Circle


Given that after an incredible main event at Double or Nothing every member of the Inner Circle lost at All Out, including the one fighting a guy who didn’t know what time zone he was in, do you think maybe it’s time to split them up?

With the next PPV in nine weeks and no obvious direction outside of the Omega and Page split, is there anything in particular you’d like to see happen in AEW to make Full Gear better than All Out was?  (Besides actual concussion protocol)

I actually thought putting LAX back with Eddie Kingston was where they were going.  But yeah, I think it might be time for the Inner Circle to go do their own thing for a while.  

Owen’s Last Words

Hi Scott

 

I just finished watching the Dark Side of the Ring episode about the death
of Owen Hart. One moment stuck with me: Jim Cornette said that as he was
falling, the last thing Owen said was “Look out!”, the implication being that
even as he was plunging toward his death, Owen’s last thoughts were for other
people. A noble gesture, to be sure… but it is true?

 

The person most likely to have heard Owen’s warning was Jimmy Korderas, who
was in the ring at the time, and earlier in the episode he only said he thought
he had heard a scream. And to the best of my knowledge JR and the King never
said they heard anything at all. I know there were some inaccuracies in the
episode (the claim that Owen’s blood was on the mat for the rest of the show,
for example) so I wonder if this was another one. Has anyone ever gone on record
as saying that they heard Owen shout out a warning, or is Cornette making things
up?

I haven't watched the episode because I've already lost both my cats this year and I don't think i could take the Owen episode on top of it, but I have heard that particular tidbit previously.  And I think it was Cornette who said it, so that wouldn't help in confirming.  But I've never heard any serious confirmation from anyone else who would have known, so I'm thinking it's probably just a nice story and nothing more.  

Rebooking in a Starrcade ’89 fashion

In your Starrcade ’89 re-rant, you mentioned that the formatting for the PPV didn’t do justice to the year that was 1989 in the NWA, to which I agree. 

Picking your brain here: Which PPV during a hot period like 1989 NWA would have benefitted from a round-robin format instead of the direction that it went in?


I dunno, maybe one of the Smackdown PPVs during the Smackdown Six era when they were trying to establish the tag titles?  Certainly would have been better than a lot of what they were trying at the time.  

Substack

You should move your premium content over to https://substack.com/ and charge for it

I'd put up:

– weekly shows & PPV's posted right as they end (can post to the regular blog the next morning)
– popular long-form content (eg. Observer Mailbags?)
– rant archives

I think there's a bunch of readers that would pony up $5 or $10 / month to consistently get access to new show reviews as soon as they end – but still monetize from people who can't/won't pay by putting up the content the next morning on the blog

I feel like that would be a level of cynicism that even exceeds my limits.  I would never force anyone to pay for my website content, even as a “bonus” version.  Hell, if I ever won any kind of significant money in the lottery, the first thing I'd do is pay off the blog's web server for 5 years and remove all the ads for good.    

Stevie Richards


So I enjoyed 1995 ECW well enough.  It certainly was leagues better than WWF and WCW at the time.  You know the guy I have probably been the most entertained by though is Stevie Richards.  Decent in the ring and just an annoying little chucklehead on the mic (in a good way).  An admitted lackey who now has his own lackey.  Getting into 1996 now with him and Missy Hyatt so looking forward to whatever happens between them.  What's your opinion of Richards at the time and overall?

He's alright.  He certainly managed to maximize the amount of talent and charisma that he had and turn it into a shockingly long run in WWE, I'll give him that.  He was a good worker for a midcard comedy guy and he was certainly smart about most of his opportunities. 

A suggestion regards the TNA reviews

Why not just jump ahead to Raven debuting in 2003 and do the arc building up to AJ Styles winning the Title for the first time?

There’s great matches, Raven is awesome, AJ really comes into his own, D’Lo Brown debuts, plenty of stupid Russo stuff to get your teeth into, Trinity looking HAWT etc

I’ve been gradually working my way through them on Impact Plus and they’re more watchable than the 2002 ones just due to the company finally developing its own identity and the likes of AMW, xXx, Amazing Red, Kid Kash and others having really good years. Even Disco Inferno becomes a semi-interesting character at one stage

I know you did some 2003 TNA but when you started AJ was already Champ wasn’t he (correct me if I’m wrong) so this would be non treaded land by yourself?

I dunno, I'm not seeing a huge market for the content, is the problem.  The two hour shows are a huge time sink and they're been dropping in popularity rapidly since the start of the run.  
Back in the day, yes, I was reviewing the 2003 stuff with Raven and young CM Punk and such.  Ultimately the problem with TNA is that it's really hard to have perspective with it because their legacy is typically “And then the company radically changed direction a few months later and none of this went anywhere”.  We were already seeing it with the early shows and it only gets more pronounced later on.  

Glass Ceilings & Brass Rings


I'm not saying the AEW should stop signing former WWE talent who would fit their brand, but for the love of god can they stop cutting promos like Miro's on their debut? It stinks of TNA.

Miro at least had a point.  The silly one is where they're trying to make out like Matt Cardona was somehow being held down for the past decade.  Yeah, 2011 sucked for you, bro, but that was a long time ago and you kept signing the new contract offers and got an IC title reign and a tag title out of it.  There's not much potential left there to be wasted.  

AEW Horsemen: Yea or Neigh

AEW have teased the Horsemen a couple of times recently. It looks like the plan is for Cody to go heel at some point to join FTR and likely Shawn Spears to form the group. If they pull the trigger on forming the stable, what is your dream line-up?


  

In fantasy booking land, if NWA’s troubles continue and the collaboration with AEW lasts in the long term, how about a debuting Nick Aldis be the man to bring the Horsemen together alongside FTR, with Tully as a manager? For a crazy left-field choice,
how about Tessa Blanchard switches to AEW to become the 4th member, following in her father’s footsteps and playing the Chyna enforcer role? It would also be a thumb in the eye of WWE's Horsewomen.

Keeping Cody as a babyface would allow them to pay tribute to the original Horsemen feuds with Dusty. I'd have Arn turn on him to join the faction to really twist the knife. It would also allow the Elite to reform as a face group down the line to help
him beat the Horsemen in a WarGames / Blood and Guts match.

Yeah I think Aldis would be the guy in that scenario.  He was already doing a very similar deal on Powerrr and he'd fit in with AEW perfectly.  

Vince and the NWA


Supposed Vince wanted to buy everything out there that is NWA-related.  Is the current Billy Corgan Youtube show the only thing left?  Considering that the NWA had their fingers into practically everything wrestling related pre mid-80s before collapsing, is there some NWA tape library Vince doesn't have that might be interesting for us?


There's not really an “NWA”, it was more of a collection of promoters doing their own thing and using the name.  So for example, he can buy up the NWA Hollywood promotion and their footage, but the person with the actual rights to the NWA name is Corgan.  And Billy doesn't own any old footage of his own (aside from the Powerrr shows they produced themselves), it's all licensed from other promoters (like the Houston wrestling footage).  So really, Vince can buy the Powerrr episodes for the meager offer that WWE always makes, but buying the NWA name gets him nothing.