On that dumb Summerslam call-in show.

Hi, Scott! Long-time stalker of your content here.
 
I was reading your most recent Wrestling Observer Flashback (the 8/29 one as of this writing), and you mentioned that trainwreck of a call-in show prior to SummerSlam 1994. One of my most vivid memories as a pro wrestling fan was when I called into that show as an 11-year-old kid, in his second year as a wrestling fan. Yeah, I got into wrestling during this garbage time to be a wrestling fan. I don’t know how I stuck around, either.
 
I remember calling all night trying to get in on that, and getting busy signals. But once, just once, I picked up and got… silence. No instructions or anything. Having never called into a show like that before, and being a dumb 11-year-old with a minimal amount of sense, my reaction to getting nothing but silence was to shout “Hello? Hello? Mikey!” and then hang up. For the record, I can’t say that I really remember what I was going to ask if I had been aware that I was going to be “live”.
 
So, I kept watching the call-in show, because I was 11, didn’t have good cable, and there was nothing else on the air for me. Towards the end of the show, Vince and the King got to this guy named “Vinnie from New York”. And for some crazy reason, he shouted “Hello? Hello? Mikey!” at them in a confused, yet obviously handsome 11-year-old’s voice. 
 
I remember Vince and Lawler looking very confused themselves, until Lawler pushed the toilet flushing button that I think every soundboard is federally mandated to have to get rid of the voice.
 
I would say it’d been ten minutes since I hung up then, but I know that was me. 
 

My name is not Vinnie, and I was from the most dogshit part of rural Tennessee at the time. I’m a New Yorker in the same way that Tommy Rich and Tracy Smothers are full-blooded Italians. Even the call-ins were kayfabed.


Wrestling, am I right?
 
So, what I’m trying to get at is that it was indeed a representative sample of WWF/E’s actual audience. Children and dumbasses called into that show. Sometimes both!
 
Thanks,
Vinnie from New York

 

​An inspiring story!
*toilet flushes*

 

Styles/Nakamura


Was listening to Meltz and he said theres gonna be no title changes at Backlash which sucks for Nakamura but hey if thats where we have to go to get Joe/Styles for the title, I’ll take it. Which means 1 of 2 things, either Joe is the one who dethrones Styles which would be great. I’d have him hold it till SummerSlam and drop it to Bryan. Or hes gonna roll past Joe and drop the title to [shudders] Big Cass. I guess you do Nakamura/Hardy after. Thoughts?

​Unless Dave has a crystal ball, the show’s still a week away and he’s just guessing.  I’m really not particularly invested in AJ’s title reign at the moment either way.​

Greatest Wrestling Classic?

Bring back the Wrestling Classic PPV and just add “Greatest” in front of it.  You could have Roman barnstorm his way through three 2 minute matches and then lose by countout to Titus O’Neill on some fluke.  If that doesn’t get him over finally I don’t know what to tell you.


You know what might have worked?  No-selling the F5 and beating Brock in 30 seconds at Wrestlemania.  

Backlash and the Heavyweight Title

Hey Scott… I did a bit of research and I found that, since the brand split in 2016, the WWE Heavyweight title (you know… The one with the lineage) hasn’t once been defended in the main event of any of their co-branded PPVs.


My question is, do they actually treat the belt like it might mean something and put AJ/Nakamura on to close out Backlash, or will they give Roman the top spot so he can get booed out of the building again? 

I think we know the answer.

Roamin’ in the Rain


Bet you’ve been thinking “Yknow, no one’s asked me about Roman Reigns in what seems like AGES!” Well heads up.

So, one of the myriad excuses for why they HAVE to keep Reigns as a face is because he moves merch. Which got me thinking about another drab, dour motherfucker with permanent doucheface that I’ve had to keep watching get pushed for years: Orton. If I recall correctly (I’m sure your readers will chime in with exact figures and smug comments about how easy they were to find), Orton used to be a huge merchandise mover, often just behind Cena and trading the #2 spot with Rey, DX, etc. And he flipped from face to heel all the time, probably heel more often than face. So what’s the hold up with Reigns? Heels can sell merch, and his stuff looks like bastardized Affliction gear anyway, so why don’t they try selling it to adult tools?

​Because logic and previous experience apparently doesn’t enter into Vince’s mindset.  Honestly, though, Roman is DONE.  The heel turn needed to be three years ago, and it’s time to cut bait and give Strowman the shot at being top guy.  So of course Braun is doing a fucking tag team match on the PPV instead.  ​

Father-son blog question

Bonjour M. Keith:

The recent tributes about Bruno and inevitable mentions of David got me wondering: on a pure performer basis, what is the most successful father-son pair of all time? I mean, usually you have the above example where the tree far eclipses the apple, but then you have your Dwayne Johnson and Randy Orton types. I’d say the most apparent example in terms of mutual success is Dusty-Cody, but I want to know if there’s an obvious one I’m missing, thanks.

​Ric Flair and Charlotte?  Or if we’re being sexist, Ric Flair and David, since Flair’s accomplishments by himself dwarf those of any other father-son team anyway.​

What now Reigns?


Scott- with Reigns now effectively a loser, what do they do with him now? He’ll probably beat Joe and is scheduled with Mahal in June but Vince can’t keep thinking of him as the top guy or can he?


And who takes the belt off Brock now? I’d think happy fun hands Braun but that ship has kinda sailed…there are no good options. Daniel Bryan eventually?

​Yeah, to be honest, they’ve stretched this out so much with Brock that I don’t think anyone really cares anymore.  Had Roman kicked out of the F5 and won that would have at least been the peak of the story, but they missed it and now it doesn’t really matter.  It’s like with Punk’s reign where they built it up to a near-record length and then just had Rock end it at the Rumble to set up Part-Time-A-Mania.  If they were gonna beat Brock with Braun, it should have been at that show last year when Braun was crazy over at his peak.  That was a big mistake in retrospect.  ​

Infinity War – Wrestling parallels

Hey Scott,

Like you, I thought the movie was incredible. But as I’m reading a bunch of the comments on your post as well as the earlier ‘spoiler’ post I couldn’t help but notice the similarity in gripes between the movie and wrestling. That is to say, IW leaves us with a seemingly obvious direction for the 4th installment and wresting very often does the same (except where Reigns is concerned) and that seemed to turn a lot of people off. Wrestling fans should generally have a good idea of how things are going to end up – same with the Marvel movies.

I guess my point is, even if you have reasonable expectations of how it’s going to end, isn’t the best part of being a fan taking the actual journey to get to the end? Very few movies swerve you in the end so it has to be how they execute the story – and Marvel has a tremendous track record to this point. Incidentally, I think that’s the larger problem with WWE. Their track record on the story telling is decidedly not tremendous so the outcome almost becomes less important.

Any thoughts?

​The issue is not even that the story is an obvious one to tell on WWE’s part, the issue is that it doesn’t make sense and it’s not a good story.  The ending of Avengers was a giant shock that made complete sense based on how the movie was proceeding and people just didn’t think they’d actually have the balls to end the movie that way.  But they did.  And it matches up with everything that Thanos had been saying for the entire movie.  The Avengers were basically like “Oh shit, we’re fucked” for the entire movie but they kept trying anyway because they’re heroes.  
On the flip side, the story WWE was telling was that Roman is the guy who “shows up every night” and beats everyone all year while Brock dispatches everyone with one F5 and then leaves for months, which leads to the big showdown between them at Wrestlemania.  Except that Roman does jobs for people like the Miz a few weeks before the show for no reason and looks like just another guy.  Then they have the match and Brock kicks his ass and beats him clean, just like he said he was going to do.  So then Roman is like “Duh, we’re gonna have a CAGE MATCH next and it’ll be different because reasons I can’t articulate, duh” and then Brock kicks his ass again in the exact same manner and Reigns stupidly spears him through the cage and costs himself the title this time.  And then Brock leaves for another 4 months and Reigns fights Samoa Joe for nothing next week.  Like, what a great fucking story.  ​Reigns looks like a complete clod who failed twice, and even worse, a babyface who makes a promise to the fans and then can’t deliver.  That’s why this was his death knell as the top guy.  Say what you will about John Cena, but he was very protective of the things he said and did as top guy, and if you were a young Cena fan, you were very rarely disappointed by him.   

A series of events.


Hey Scott,

   Let’s say through a neverending series of misunfortanate events happening, you end up inhereting the WWE tommorow, who are the first 10 performers you would fire?  Also, I think Titus is going to get a huge push after this weekend.

Hopefully they don’t push him too hard, he might trip and fall.

As for who’s on the firing line, first thing I’d do is merge the women’s divisions and get rid of most of them.  One champion for both shows, and you can easily cut Ruby Riott, Alicia Fox, Liv Morgan, and Sonya Deville.​  Might as well get rid of Lana as long as we’re not kidding ourselves.  I’d also get rid of all the extra announcers, so farewell Byron Saxton, the robotic woman (Dasha?), the guy Jericho thinks is Tom Phillips (Mike?), David Otunga, and probably whoever that chick dating Finn Balor is.  There you go, 10 people immediately gone and no one even notices. 

Jake Earthquake


Hi Scott,
One of my favorite memories of wrestling happened when I was eleven. Right after Mania 7 Earthquake attacked Jake and then squashed and killed Damian. I probably hadn’t been as sad since Barry turned on Lex and joined the horsemen. So what happened with this feud? Did they have a blowoff or did Jake just go away for a while and then turn heel at summerslam? Thanks for all you do!

They didn’t have a blowoff on TV or anything, but they worked a bunch of house shows around the loop.  I think I reviewed a couple of them and there was one of them featured on that Unreleased DVD if I’m not mistaken.  Anyway, it was mostly just something for Jake to do between Rick Martel and Ultimate Warrior, and it was dropped pretty quickly due to Quake getting repackaged with the Natural Disasters and such.  

Greatest Survivor Series?



15 men on each team. 

To make up for the unholy display of women the first time, a public stoning in the middle of the ring for the director who aired the spot will serve as the main event.



​I will tell you this much:  I’m not buying into any sort of hype for the second time they go there.  It was made abundantly clear what the purpose of the show was this first time. ​

Saudi Arabia


So with Saudi Arabia being mad WWE ran a promo involving women and gaining backlash for the segment they did pitting Arabian wrestlers against iranian wrestlers. Safe to say either this is the end of that for then or atleast won’t be back for another 20 years?

​Given the money involved, I’m gonna guess that Vince will apologize profusely and they’ll be back later this year.​

Belts


​Is there a better-looking belt…oops, sorry…”championship title​” among the major companies right now than the NXT North American Championship? Also, are we in the midst of a recession when it comes to belt designs? Almost every title introduced or redesigned over the past few years by WWE, ROH, NJPW, TNA seems like a step back.

​HHH’s design aesthetic seems to run towards boxing belts for whatever reason, because that’s the inspiration for most of the new ones coming out.  I do really like the design of the main WWE title, but yeah, it really does seem like the people in charge have forgotten how to make a great one.  Especially when the biggest idea for the main roster seems to be “Make it exactly like the one on the other brand, but BLUE.”  ​

WCW 2000 PPV Themes

Hi Scott

Been watching a few year 2000 WCW pay per views on the Network and I’ve noticed that some of the entrance themes have been overdubbed.

Any idea why as don’t WWE own the rights to them?

Thanks

​Yeah, because WCW licensed specific stuff under deals that WWF decided not to continue when they bought the company.  And honestly it would be a huge waste of money to do so anyway.  WCW tended to be pretty bad about keeping track of things that music rights and it rendered a lot of stuff unusable without major edits as a result.  ​

Watts/Flair

Scott,

Did Bill Watts have a plan for Ric Flair in 1993 before he was fired just before Flair’s return at SuperBrawl?  I can’t envision Bill thinking his hosting Flair for the Gold as a quality return on investment.
Also, has Roman Reigns ever considered sending mysterious boxes to a future opponent?

​Didn’t he already cause himself enough trouble by having mysterious boxes sent out?
I can’t imagine Watts was able to plan too much for Flair, since Vince was so aggressively blocking him from doing any wrestling until his WWF contract was done.  Bill was pretty checked out by the end of the 1992.  ​

BBC Report on Saudi TV pulling GRR footage


Hi Scott, 


BBC reporting today that Saudi TV pulled the Greatest Royal Rumble and an apology has been issued following footage of women wrestlers appearing in a promo spot. 


I assume this was the song where they were promoting the fact that they are only doing one PPV a month now. 

Reckon someone has got a pink slip before you can say “fired”? 


Just makes you realize how terrifying and plausible “The Handmaid’s Tale” really is, don’t it?

I got it!


After Saudi Arabia, Vince should get Roman a bus to go cross country campaigning for one more shot at SummerSlam. He wins there by countout and all the faces celebrate with him on their shoulders. Heyman says no more title shots so the Roman Express drives into the GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE EVER, he wins from number 1 and they main event Mania 35 in MetLife! That is a guaranteed time tested way to get Roman over

In other words, Roman is Lex Luger 


Thanks for clarifying that one.

Infinity War

Hey, Scott, just wondering what you thought of Infinity War? I liked
it overall, but it fell just a little flat for me. It ended pretty
much the way I was expecting, though.

​Dude, you’re NUTS.  This was like the biggest and bestest superhero movie.  Everything happened and it all made sense to the girlfriends and wives, and the movie was like “We’ve got 2.5 hours and a lot of shit to cover and if you don’t remember Civil War then too fucking bad but here’s Black Panther”.  And the entire THEATER had this shocked gasp at the end that I’ve never heard before.  No spoilers for the specifics, but the Russos throwing up a subtitle that just says “SPACE” early in the movie pretty much sells it as the best thing ever.  ​Also, who wouldn’t want to have a friend who’s a tree?  Especially if you’ve taken Groot as an elective in college.
THIS MOVIE RULED.  Is what I’m saying.  I wanna go watch it again.

Saudi Arabia Apologizes….

For a scene in an ad during the Greatest Royal Rumble that depicted women wrestling.  Squared Circle Reddit has it at https://www.reddit.com/r/SquaredCircle/comments/8fkhv2/saudi_arabias_general_sport_authority_apologizing/?sort=top with translated text below:

“The General Sport Authority would like to apologize to the viewers and attendees of last night’s WWE event that took place in Jeddah, over the indecent scene involving women that appeared as an ad before a segment. It would like to confirm it’s total disapproval of this, in the shadow of its commitment to eliminate anything that goes against the communities values.

The authority has made sure to ban showing of any segment that involves women wrestling or any scenes related to it, and stipulated that to the company (WWE). The authority also disapproved any promotional stuff with pictures or videos showing women in an indecent way, and emphasized on commitment of this rule. And it’s a commitment that the authority would still commit to forever in all of it’s events and programs.”

​I’d apologize for having Carmella as the women’s champion as well.  ​

 

 

The inevitable Saudi Wrestlemania

Hi Scott, 

If the Greatest Rumble is a success in the eyes of the Saudi government, how long do you give it before they buy a Wresltemania?

Say, in 5-7 years they allow women to wrestle in their Power Ranger alternate body suits, there is little downside for WWE to move Wrestlemania off the continent. It could open up the global markets even further for the WWE. Even if they keep the ladies out, I’m sure the Saudi government would pay more than handsomely for the rights. Heck, they could buy Network subscriptions for the entire population to sweeten the deal.

I don’t see the WWE backing down from a potential massive payday in lieu of some possible negative press.

What say you?

​I agree, I think we’re headed towards an international Wrestlemania someday, and given the money they made off this for almost zero effort, that day may be sooner rather than later.  ​