(Re: The hiring of the new business-people as heads of New Japan) From the new WON: "Let’s just say that the next few months are going to be very interesting. The excitement so many had for working here has taken a hit. It’s really a bad time for that with the goal of international expansion and that fun vs. WWE money was a key to a lot of people, but if you lower the fun aspect, that changes the equation, and basically we’re coming in on the single most interesting and important contract season since New Japan started garnering some international growth. There are people who in the past had never even considered WWE who are thinking about it, and others who were completely committed to staying who are probably still leaning that way, but are considering the WWE option."

Tanahashi as Spartacus! Pokemon tagteam! David Finlay as Aquaman!

Dave was talking about the situation on the show last night and yeah, it’s bad. The Young Bucks in particular seem to be dropping hints that they’re not happy, and if they go, then that whole crew goes. It’s a really strange time to making major upheavals in the power structure, too, especially bringing in people who have no experience running a wrestling company. Vince might get his wish and get to gut the company after all!

Things You Wanted That Ending Up Bumming You Out

Hey Scott.

Was there anything in wrestling that you always wanted to see, then finally saw it…..and wish you hadn’t? Kind of a ‘be careful what you wish for’ thing?

I was always intrigued by the streak ending and then it did – and I was bummed out. Of course, they could have handled it differently but that’s a whole different conversation.


I think that Sting finally triumphing over Hogan in 97 would be up there, because myself and my friends were heavily invested in seeing him getting him get the title and revenge on the nWo for an entire year. And then he did, and it was like "Oh, well, he’s champion now, I guess" and it was just plain ol’ Sting again.

I’d also throw Tommy Dreamer finally beating Raven onto that pile.

Crown jewel too hot?

Given the Saudis killing journalists seems to have made them public enemy number 1, is the crown jewel looking less of a good idea?

Yeah, that video package from the first Saudi show is looking more and more ooky by the day. Sure doesn’t make ME want to visit at the moment. I think the turning point will be the first time there’s a news story about the Saudis and someone says “WWE” in connection to them. Really, if Vince was smart he’d cut bait now before that happens.

Hope! (Okay, not really)


I stumbled upon this while searching something completely unrelated, bizarrely enough. A fun enough article, even if I didn’t recognize half of the current roster. Some tried harder than others, clearly.

The reason I sent you this is not because it’s great (it isn’t), but because among other ECW guys imitated it features Sonya Deville (?) as… Raven! And since Shinsuke is featured as Sabu, I figure it isn’t that old. Okay, okay, I’ll check… July of this year. I’m guessing it’s just because the site is low on the priorities and thus oversight check list, but I still was a bit surprised (okay, I admit it, I just want to keep alive the (delusional) hope that ol’ Scott Levy will go in the Hall of Fame, and thus get some recognition and regular ‘talking head’ presence).

What did Raven ever do to warrant inclusion in the Hall of Fame?

That’ll Put Seats On Butts.

Hi Scott.

Just reading you’re review of the famous "That’ll put butts on seats" Nitro and it got me thinking, are there any numbers or reports or anything of people who were perhaps watching Raw that night, but decided to turn over and watch Nitro, missing Schiavone’s famous quip and Foley’s title win?

Seems doubtful considering Nitro lost hundreds of thousands of viewers at the point when the RAW main event started.

Uncomfortable Fan Reactions


In the comments to the wedding RAW you posted, multiple people (myself included) have noted that the next night in Anaheim for SmackDown, the crowd basically booed Stephanie out of the building when she opened the show. Bear in mind, according to storyline, Stephanie was the victim of sexual assault, forced kidnapping, etc.

It got me thinking: what other fan reactions to stories have left you (or if you’re pretty hardened by this, people you knew) a little uneasy with the implications? I’m thinking stuff like "the crowd so desperately wants Sid to beat Shawn Michaels that they cheer when Jose Lothario fakes a heart attack".

The bikers at Road Wild/Hog Wild who were basically booing anyone of color. That was some deeply uncomfortable stuff and I’m glad they killed the concept after the third show.

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–06.16.97

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 06.16.97

LAST NIGHT! The Great American Bash happened, and nothing much came of it. Randy Savage and DDP had a hell of a main event match, Flair and Piper broke up, and there was a whole lot of nothing in the midcard.

Live from Chicago, IL, drawing 16,500, which actually fell short of a sellout and juuuuuuuuuust missed the all-time gate record that they set last week. Well, put a nail in the company now.

Your hosts are Tony & Larry & Mike

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–06.16.97

Forbidden Word Alert!

Ciampa used the word “belt” on NXT tonight. Triple H exerting his influence, or Tomasso about to be “future endeavored” by Crazy Uncle Vince?

Vince isn’t producing NXT as far as I know, so I think Ciampa is safe for now. If he says "strap", though, he can start packing his bags.


Cena called his new lightning strike his 6th move of doom ("this is the doomiest!") on the Tonight Show. Fallon said it too. Just fyi

Pretty sure I’m never getting royalties but I’ll keep hoping. I’d accept a mere pittance of 1% of Cena’s lifetime earnings!

Wednesday Night Thread

Tonight!  It’s NXT and Tommy will probably have it up before the show finishes airing.  Mae Young episode 6 as well.

Nitro tomorrow.  I promise.  I had originally wanted to get a redo of Bash 97 in but we’ll just skip it unless I have a lot of time tonight.

Suggestion for Pete Dunne vs Ricochet noted and will he added onto the Hidden Gems next time I do it.

Bye bye, Yankees!

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems–10.09.18

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – 10.09.18

As promised, we’ve got some SHOOTER themed Hidden Gems this week, although I’m not really sure what the tie-in would be. Dean Malenko’s birthday? Who knows. And of course, a special bonus at the end that people have been bugging me for.

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems–10.09.18

Vince supporting ECW

Hey Scott, it always seemed obvious from 1997 on (beyond the ECW invasion on WWF TV and obvious collaboration here) that Vince helped ECW out, at least by giving them some of his developmental or undercard guys (Brakus, Lafon/Furnas, Snow, Aldo) or non-wrestlers (Lawler, Sunny, Rude) to help Heyman fill his cards and spice things up a bit. On the other hand, Vince took ECW guys for one-night-shots (Candido) or snatched them up (later on Dudleyz, Taz…) when he wished. No surprise that you never saw Raven or Shane included in the WWF vs ECW storyline, for obvious reasons.

I really doubt he funded/supported ECW before the Scorpio deal in November 1996, because there was almost zero cooperation regarding talent or any angles (only the Mindgames IYH incident in September 1996 comes to mind). Tommy Dreamer hinted that ECW was supported by Vince the entire time. What do you think/know? Why didn’t Vince use ECW talent more often for a shot or two post-Invasion storyline in 97, let’s say Bigelow appearing on a RAW episode in 98?

I’m pretty sure there’s lots of legal entanglements that would have prevented Vince from lending Heyman any kind of significant monetary support. At the very end of the company there was a loan floated to them so that WWF was listed as a creditor during bankruptcy and they could get the library and assets, but I imagine that WCW could easily cry contract tampering if they were trying to, for example, sign Bigelow, and he was showing on WWF TV as a part of his ECW deal. Obviously I’m no legal-talking guy, but if Vince WAS doing that kind of backdoor dealing, he’s clearly smart enough not to broadcast it.

Austin as THE MAN


When they did decide that Austin was going to a main eventer? He went from feuding with Marc Mero and Savio Vega and a unscripted win at KOTR 96 to feuding with the biggest star in the company in Bret Hart. Did they see money in him before the Survivor Series match with The Hitman?

Nope, it was really Bret Hart pushing for him to be a top guy that got him to that level in Vince’s eyes, and then the Rumble 97 performance and leadup to Wrestlemania that made him a star. Otherwise Vince kind of saw him as a midcard guy for most of 96 and wasn’t in a hurry to pull the trigger on him.

Rumble Winners


I just watched a highlight reel of every Rumble winner. Two questions :

1. Out of how you felt AT THE TIME which winner was the biggest booking blunder by the WWE?

2. With the benefit of hindsight, apart from Benoit, which winner was the biggest booking mistake?

1. A lot of the modern ones have been head-scratchers for me, but unfortunately it doesn’t really matter who wins now that we’re into the Network era. Still, Alberto Del Rio felt like a giant waste at the time and hindsight has borne that one out. Randy Orton’s win in whatever year the Bray Wyatt stuff was is another one where it made no sense at the time and then made even less sense as it played out.

2. Bootista, obviously. The whole thing was a colossal waste that happened to work out with the Daniel Bryan win at Wrestlemania, but his Rumble win ultimately meant nothing and he left the company again right away. I’d have to add this year’s winners as well, because the Nakamura/Asuka double-shot went nowhere and just further devalued the prestige of the match in the process.

Test sucking

Was it Test sucking? I mean the didn’t really give him a chance. Everything pointed towards Test replacing Austin at Survivor Series, but they inexplicably picked Show. Everything pointed towards Test/HHH At Armageddon, but the was Vince. Then they blew it off in one Raw main event and he was done and with T&A by WrestleMania 2000.

Had Test been the one Steph turned on, and had he won the Rumble or had ppv Meon events with HHH maybe things were different. Test had the look, was decent in ring, agile… Nash like only with less charisma and a better moveset. Why did Vince quit on him so quickly?

It’s a weird case because usually guys who look like Test get a million chances, but they really booked him like shit after Summerslam 99 for whatever reason. I’ve heard he didn’t help his own cause backstage, but it’s not like he was any worse than any other people in that same position with that same look. For me as a fan at the time, what killed him off as an interesting threat was the tag match on RAW after the wedding, where he finally got a chance to get revenge on HHH and just kind of tagged in and lethargically did a normal match instead of showing any kind of fire for being wronged and having his fiance stolen from him.

But hey, ultimately Steph and HHH were the true destined couple, so he was doomed from the start anyway.

Weekly WWE viewing schedule

I was just curious how much of the current WWE product do you watch from week to week? Two hours of Smackdown is about all I can handle anymore.

I watch the weekly WWE TV recap on YouTube and sometimes have RAW on at work in the background but I don’t actively watch. Sometimes I’ll watch NXT but not steadily enough to recap it. WWE honestly does a pretty effective job of recapping their shows on YouTube and kind of eliminates the need to even watch them. Probably a big reason why ratings are in free fall, in fact.

Tuesday Night Thread

UFC 229 did the biggest buy rate in UFC history, with somewhere between 2 and 3 million buys.

Tonight is Smackdown and Mixed Match Challenge, plus baseball playoffs and other sports.

Tomorrow is either 97 Nitro or Hidden Gems depending on my mood.  Sunday Night Heat will be replaced by 99 Smackdown starting this week.

Welcome back to Brian and have a great night!

Need some help

Hello Scott,

It’s Lostscribe from the Blog. I’m not trying to set a dangerous precedence of people attempting to get you to show off their GoFundme campaigns but my family ran into some bad news several weeks ago when we found out my stepdaughter has Stage 3 Breast cancer. The medical bills are already starting and we haven’t even gotten into the meat of the treatment.

I’m not even going to ask anyone to contribute because everyone knows if they can spare a few bucks or not. But if you could just share this with everyone and encourage them to share it with everyone they know I can get the word out which is really the only thing I can do.

If Ric Flair can survive so can my daughter.


I’ll keep reading either way


Russo and Ferrera

Hey Scott,

I hope you and your family had a great Turkey Day. Let’s say Vinne Ru and Oklahoma get hired back tomorrow with WCW levels of freedom. Using today’s wrestlers, what would be the top 5 storylines on Raw next week?

From the sound of all the angles they did on Monday, maybe they’re back already?

The SmarK RAW Rant–11.28.99

The SmarK RAW Rant – 11.28.99

OH MY GOD the Wedding Episode. This one blew my mind when I first saw it in 99, because they had been building to the wedding for so long and you knew something wacky was going to happen, but the “Wrestling Wedding” was not yet enough of a trope that you could predict the beats of what exactly would go down. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would have predicted how huge this ended up being for THIS BUSINESS, and that this angle would end up completely altering the dynamic of the entire company years later, but here we are today.

Live from Los Angeles, CA

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

Read moreThe SmarK RAW Rant–11.28.99


Have you checked out any of Mayans yet? I’ve really started liking it after the first couple episodes, and think there’s so many great directions it could go.

Also, Cena’s new hairstyle. What’s up with that?

We got four episodes in and then checked out. There’s just so much going on and they don’t particularly seem interested in fleshing out the characters they have, instead just kind of dropping you in the middle of all their lives. Sons of Anarchy at least spent the first season just showing all the bikers doing day-to-day biker stuff so you could know who the various members of the gang were and what purpose they served, and THEN moved onto the club self-destructing. With Mayans, it’s like we’re suddenly 3 seasons into a long-running show and everyone just got back from a fateful trip to Ireland that we didn’t see. Also, they should have had EZ actually be a cop instead of a rat. Now THAT would have been a cool twist.

Polishing up the Crown Jewel

Hi Scott,

DX vs Brothers of Destruction is a good start, but still seems kind of
lacking in star power and surprising returns. How about making it a
six man between Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Ric Flair vs Kane, The
Undertaker, and Hulk Hogan?

Better yet, let’s also add Christian, Edge, Chavo Guerrero (they’ll
never realise it’s not Eddie), Bret Hart, Goldberg, Steve Austin, The
Rock, and Akebono. They can fight over a chartreuse belt that
proclaims them to be the Greatest Fourteen Man Tag Team Champions Of
All Time.

Don’t forget bringing back Lanny Poffo and dressing him as his brother, or else the whole thing would just be silly.

DC Universe

Hey Scott,
Do you have DC Universe yet? I’ve been enjoying it so far, but still think it could be so much more. I have my fingers crossed that Titans is a huge hit and creates more opportunity for original programming. A show where a reformed Riddler solves mysteries as a private investigator would be awesome, don’t you think?

Unsurprisingly, DC Universe is unavailable in Canada, along with whatever the Disney streaming service turns out to be, and Simpsons World. 21st century streaming technology, content guidelines from 1972.