Title change

Nail your colours to the metaphorical mast : 

Leaving aside anything to do with Benoit, which title change (any title) had you marking out the hardest?

Personally, I still can’t go past Steamboat getting his  vengeance over Savage…

I nearly jumped out of my seat when Demolition won the tag titles from Strike Force at WM4.  Plus that one was closed circuit at the Coliseum in Vancouver at the time and EVERYONE was cheering for Demolition in that match.  I'd probably say Steamboat but we didn't go to WM3's closed circuit showing for whatever reason, so I didn't see it until the tape came out.  
Story time!  I've probably told this one before, but there's first-time readers everywhere.  So Steamboat v. Savage was actually the impetus for us to switch from Beta to VHS.  We had a Betamax player from, like, 1978 that we used as our VCR and it was getting questionable, but once WM3 came out in the video stores, my dad got super pissed that there were only 1 or 2 Beta copies available to rent and a bunch of VHS.  So we went to Sears that very night, bought a brand new VHS recorder, and then returned to rent Wrestlemania as the first thing we watched on it.  And in fact I ended up taking that VCR with me when I moved a few years later and used it as my dubbing deck all the way until about 2005, when I copied my massive wrestling tape collection over to digital formats and then chucked the entire thing in a dumpster.  Frankly had I known that the WWE Network would be a thing, I wouldn't have bothered even doing that. 

Fwd: Crazy Roman idea:

I’ll preface by saying it’s unlikely/almost impossible… but 

The WWE through his cancer diagnosis/return, feud with Shane, and careful booking have somehow kept Roman as an over babyface since his return. Roman realizing what it has taken WWE fans to embrace him after years of hate has orchestrated this angle himself, paying others to “attack” him to play the fans into cheering him.

He reveals this in a grand “It was me Austin!” type promo when he’s confronted by Rowan and Bryan. He calls out the fans for being pathetic and only willing to cheer him when he’s on the verge of death. He could say he’s proven he has to literally die for the WWE Universe in order to get a positive response.

This could be the Rock 97/98 heel turn mixed with Hogan 96. I’d go double turn and have Bryan end up the sympathetic face. After all, Roman was booed initially for stealing Bryan’s spotlight and now he falsely accuses the man of vehicular homicide to get fans to hate a guy they used to love.

I know this won’t ever happen, but on the fantasy booking scale, how’s this as Angle to build to WM

So, you're saying they should turn Roman Reigns heel, then? 

Disney Plus launches in Canada!

About time they announced this.  I'd call $9 a month totally fair given what you get, although we're never getting the Hulu bundle deal up here.  Can't wait for the cable monopolies to start crying foul, though, so hopefully this won't get tied up in court for years while Rogers claims the loss of Canadian culture or whatever.   

Mailbag question

Thanks to a certain t-shirt company, has there ever been a better time to be under contract to WWE than now?

You're getting your contract renewed (and a raise) without hesitation because Vince is scared of AEW (for no reason). 

You don't have to worry about being released because Vince is scared of AEW (for no reason). 

If you're under contract, but not being used, WWE will just pay you to stay home (ala Lanny Poffo), rather than see you pull a Lex Luger and show up on TNT Wednesday because Vince is scared of AEW (for no reason).

Is WWE even doing drug testing anymore? 
Only if AEW is doing testing. 

Jeff Hardy

All the Orton talk this week got me thinking. Do you think Jeff could of been a bigger star had he not dealt with his "demons"? People forget that at one point, that man was the most over guy they had on the roster. During his last run, I'd even say he was the Daniel Bryan of that time period as far as popularity. Just sucks he spent all those years in TNA destroying his body cause he's still a pretty young guy, maybe a revamped in ring style to go along with the damaged body?

I think it goes without saying that he destroyed his own career.  He was selling millions in merch at his peak and literally threw it away for drugs and booze.  Even in 2010 they still tried to push him and he was a wreck.  

WWE Rejects

An early concern for AEW would have to be (and they've vocalized this) not just snatching up WWE people. One of the complaints about WCW and later TNA/Impact was how they would sign up the WWE castaways & push them over their stars. The lack of care for their homegrown stars was a problem, but isn't it a positive to have this business approach? Shouldn't we encourage this?

Thinking about it, there's been plenty of people (Christian, McIntyre, Bubba Ray, etc…) that evolved or developed further once they got away from the WWE System for a while. Having another place for them to sign also gives the wrestlers options and not being forced to stick with a place they don't get to flourish in.

I've often wondered how stale acts like a Dolph Ziggler would evolve (or not) outside of WWE, so I welcome these types having a 2nd life outside of the WWE control. It did wonders for a guy like Cody…

They also appear to be doing well with Shawn Spears, but it's a real crapshoot.  Impact was terrible at it because they'd always push the WWE rejects to the top, at the expense of their own guys, and it made them look second-rate in their own promotion.  I think what Cody is trying to say is that they need to establish their own guys FIRST, and then if the right WWE guys become available, they can find a home in AEW if needed.  But Ziggler?  Forget it, he's damaged goods at this point.  Unless he can drastically reinvent himself PCO-style, he's better off doing stand up comedy.  

NXT to USA question

If Vince does decide to involve himself and helps implode it, would this finally be the move that makes Triple H say "fuck this, I'm out". It's Triple Hs baby and you can tell he has a special bond with every body that goes through there.

I think it's actually a realistic possibility that if Vince starts meddling, HHH will step down again to the Performance Center / Florida touring version of NXT and work on building that up instead.  That seems more like his passion, rather than doing 2 hour live shows with his father-in-law in his earpiece.  

WCW SN rants

Chances you do smark rants for 92/93 Saturday Night episodes? They will upload some 1993 episodes tomorrow. Tons of intriguing stuff with Vader, Cactus, Steamboat, Sting, Hollywood Blonds etc

I like to do stuff in order as much as possible unless there's a really good reason, so I'm gonna stick with 92 for the time being.  Plus those are the shows I watched at the time so I'm familiar with them.  

Booking decisions that were awesome with hindsight.

Hey Scott,

Thanks as always for answering reader questions.

What's your pick for the booking decision which seemed ridiculous at the time, but was rendered awesome by hindsight?

Mine – Delaying Savage beating HTM for the IC title so that he could win the World title at WM IV (which I know was partly brought about by necessity.)

Speaking of Honky, you'd have to go with Honky beating Steamboat for the title originally.  Seemed like a ridiculous move at the time, but Steamboat's title reign was completely DOA in hindsight and Honky went on to draw big money in that position. 

Hidden gem


You might've already seen this but there's a Hidden Gem on the Network from March 1984, "Boogie Jam 84" that is a full Crockett card from Greensboro. Includes a Flair-Steamboat classic for the NWA Title, Ernie Ladd, Greg Valentine as a face in a cage match vs. Dick Slater, and Tully Blanchard managed by…Paul Jones.

Definitely worth checking out. 
I'm aware, it's on the list.  That random 84 Crockett stuff never does well, though. 

Wait a minute

I’m not taking sides in the aew/wwe cross fire ( I just want good shit out of it ) but saying nxt is moving to USA to screw aew overlooks the fact that nxt was on Wednesday’s prior and technically aew is trying to hurt nxt. Yet no one will say it like that. 

Not saying that AEW hasn't been poking the bear a lot, because they certainly have, but NXT is a streaming show that's available on demand and happens to debut on Wednesday nights.  AEW announced their cable TV show first and then WWE specifically made the move to cable TV in direct opposition to them. 

Feedbag question

Long time reader (NWWWO,
Slim Sean Shannon, Rantsylvania, Jay Bower, The Smarks.com, I sent you some copies
of a Pet Sounds box set once,
etc.), first time emailer.


After what amounts to a small lifetime reading your stuff
and being a big supporter, there’s clearly a lot of pressure in finally asking
you a question, so I’m going to keep it simple…


This is silly, I know, but we’ve all thought
about it and no one ever talks about it. In your opinion, what are the two
instances where a match was both better AND worse because of the variation of
tights that a particular wrestler wore? For instance, I remember in 2003 a lot
of AJ Styles fans were irked he wore his green TNA tights for his big match
against Paul London in ROH (petty, I know, but this is the topic). Same thing
with the WM 20 main event, where HHH wore f*cking white boots for the triple
threat match against HBK and Benoit (this kills me just thinking about it).

the flip side, I always loved the Hart/Austin match at WM 13 even more because
Bret wore the rare “pink on top, black on bottom” variation of his tights that
he ditched once he because a world champion.

What say you?


Lastly, what DID happen to Sean Shannon and Jay Bower? Jay
especially was a cool guy and writer.

Oh yeah, that Pet Sounds box set was amazing!  Love me some Brian Wilson.  Nowadays with Spotify and such there's no challenge to it anymore.  Someone else sent me a box set of Faith No More / Mike Patton rarities that I also loved and listened to a lot. 

Sean Shannon apparently transitioned and is off doing something as a woman now.  No idea what happened to Jay Bower.  

As for the question, referee gear has ruined more matches for me than wrestler gear, such as Ric Flair's horrible red boots in his referee gear for the Austin-Undertaker atrocity in 2002, or Shawn's bicycle shorts for the Iron Man match between Rock and HHH.  And for great gear, Kurt Angle's mirror universe black tights always add an automatic one star to the match.  

KOTR brackets revealed

Miz vs Corbin might steal the show

More importantly, look at the professionally made tournament graphic and actual bracket!  Bill Watts eat your heart out.  Regardless, I do appreciate that they've at least got this somewhat planned out before they find a way to have either Corbin or Shane win it.  

Mr. Kennedy in 2007

Even before he got hurt in 2007,(and later popped for a Wellness Policy violation), were they really going to have Mr. Kennedy wait a year until Wrestle-Mania 24 in 2008 to cash in the Money In The Bank briefcase he won at W.M. 23, or did his injury cause him to have to drop the M.I.T.B. briefcase to Edge?  

I've always heard he was going to cash it in much sooner as a part of the aborted "Mr. McMahon's child" storyline.  

Best NXT Match

Hey Scott,

After the whole Gargano/Cole thing, I'm just wondering what you (and the Blog's) take on the best NXT match ever is.

My pick is still Zayn/Neville, but reasonable folks can disagree.

Man, that match felt like something from an entirely different era, didn't it?  I think for my own sentiment my FAVORITE is Gargano v. Ciampa.  But as noted, it's OK for everyone to have their own opinion on match ratings and what the best one is.  

Midget mania!

I was reading your recent Prime Time Wrestling rant and it got me thinking…. what on earth was the build to the Wrestlemania III midget match? It's one of the standout weird matches from the early manias, but I've never seen any footage or angles that explain how it came about? I checked out historyofwwe and that gave nothing either, other than a few house house show matches between Hillbilly and Bundy in early 87. It seems too random a match to have been completely thrown together… so why exactly were they all fighting!?

They were literally thrown together, and the whole deal was that Bobby Heenan and Bundy in particular resented being forced to team with the midgets in the first place.  I agree it was a really weird addition to the show and I'm not sure what the big guys even added to the match.  

Dead by Labor Day, pal!


When do you think AEW stops instantly selling out arenas? 

I also think WWE should take a cue from AEW on hyping up specific matches for TV shows. Not only does it give them something to promote & get fans excited, it helps to plot out long(er)-term booking that doesn't exist right now.  

I wish they’d hurry up and announce a damn Canadian TV deal, though.  

Andre Question

Hey Scott! Was watching some Ernie Ladd matches and gotta say, he was a very underappreciated heel  But, one match in particular was a match against Andre in the Carolina's. I have always heard that Andre felt he was the only man that could step over the top rope, it was his thing. Ernie Ladd stepped over the top rope and I didn't see anything in terms of retaliation from Andre. Did Andre respect Ernie? I watched some matches with Big John Studd, and it was like Andre gave Studd nothing and I heard it was over Studd stepping over the top rope. Thanks Scott.

Everyone respected Ernie, he was awesome.  I'm just sad he wasn't around in a big way to watch in my prime years as a fan in the 80s because these days I get excited whenever they dig up new stuff with him on the Network.  

The Boys

Superhero fan that you are, have you watched The Boys? I found it hard to watch at times for the over the top gore but the acting, especially Antony Starr as Homelander, is just top notch.

I have not, no.  As a creature of habit, I find it hard to switch from watching shows on Netflix to watching on Prime Video, silly as that sounds.  Plus, as noted, the gore would not be up my wife's alley and if I'm looking for series to watch alone, that's what Black Mirror is for.  

Can you tell the BoD about two weeks free Progress OD?

Hey Scott.

Progress have just started an email for two weeks free trial of their OD service.  Think you can start whenever, but can't find a date for how long the offer lasts.  Be cool if you could post this on the Blog.

Watch the show via web browser or the Demand PROGRESS app! 
iOS: bit.ly/progress-ios
Android: bit.ly/progress-android
Roku: bit.ly/progress-roku
Fire TV: via Silk browser
or web browser: demand-progress.com  

If you want to review a couple of matches, I'd be happy to email you some shows and time stamps.  There's some great stuff involving Riddle, British Strong Style and Walter from 2016 and 2017.


I got so much stuff and so many streaming services already, though.  Plus for that kind of product I find OTT provides as much as I'm looking for on YouTube already for free.  I really like that promotion, by the way, so kudos for whoever it was that turned me onto it.  

Biggest Knee-Jerk Booking Move?

What do you think was the biggest knee jerk booking move?  My pick would be putting the WWE Hvt. Championship,(when there was only one of them), on Hulk Hogan right after the initial brand separation based on the reaction he got in his match with the Rock at W.M. 18.  I believe he dropped it shortly thereafter when ratings tanked.  
We've talked about that one before, though, and I will defend that one until I die on that hill.  Hogan was super-hot coming out of Wrestlemania and they basically had one chance to cash in on it and 100% had to give it a go.  Unfortunately, no one could predict just how fast Hogan's act would burn out.  Yes, in hindsight it looks like a dumb move, but they had to try.  

Explaining Randy Orton

During the Kofi match last night my son says, "Randy Orton seems like he should be such a big deal, but I just don't get him.  Am I wrong and he's a bigger deal than I think?"  My short answer was "you're not wrong", but then when you run down the laundry list of accolades, factions, pop-culture finisher, legend killer gimmick and toss it in with his good looks…how is Orton not a much bigger icon in the grand scheme of things??  

If I was randomly asked to name the best 30 wrestlers of the last 30 years I'd likely forget him entirely.  Not leave him out purposefully, mind you, just probably totally forget him.  Is he overrated?  Is he underappreciated?  I really don't know how to best sum him up, but for a guy so heavily involved in the last 15 years of the WWE I just don't see him as amazing as all of his accomplishments.  Turning to the blog for opinions.

He's a guy who is a great worker and can coast to a certain level of stardom, but much like Booker T works down to the level of his opponents.  Plus he doesn't seem like he's ever had the drive to be a tippy top guy.  So you get the insane situation where someone like him is a billion time World champion but only a footnote in history and not even a serious candidate for the Hall of Fame.  The fact that he became more known as a meme than a wrestler pretty much sums it up for him.