Main Event Mic Style?

Hey Scott,
I was engaging in a forum discussion about the awesomeness of a Rock vs Punk promo, most thought it would be the coolest thing since disposable diapers, but I believe that their mic styles are way too different to really mesh into a great promo.  And as I thought more on that subject, I’ve noticed a trend with the promo style in WWE, especially amongst faces.
Here’s how it usually goes, insults towards the heel, involving/talking to the audience, say something very simple in content at very high intensity and finish it off with a catch phrase.  Now, without going into the quality of the promos, it seems that this style, which is if not invented, certainly perfected by the Rock, has been used by most every face to come out of the company in the last ten years (the only real exceptions being Punk and Orton, and of course those that don’t get mic time).  Now of course elements of this style were evident in Hogan and Flair’s work (high intensity plus catch phrases) Rock completed it by keeping the content fairly simple (he’s better than you) and added insults.
So, if the Main-Event Style is the standard for working the ring, do you believe that there is an equivalent standard for working the mic?
p.s. If so, come up with a catchy name for it.

Honestly, I don’t think there’s any kind of generic style for the main eventers.  Cena’s poopy jokes are quite different from Orton’s super-intense and humorless interviews, for example.  On the heel side, Dolph Ziggler has a much different timing than, say, Miz, but both guys insult the audience as a part of their gig.  Yeah, everyone is overly scripted and rehearsed, but I don’t think you can say that all promos follow the same “style”.  So no catchy name, sorry.

X-Pac Heat

Scott, I think that X-Pac doesn’t deserve to associated with that term. True, there was a time where people just hated him, primarily because they didn’t like him. The Invasion PPV sticks in my mind when he was the only WWF wrestler to get booed. There was however a time when he was popular and well liked and he is acknowledge as a talented wrestler.
Michael Cole, on the other hand, as far as I can recall, has never been widely loved. He has real "fuck this shit, let’s change the channel heat". His commentary is just so fucking grating, when he is a face or a heel. Although he has done some good things in his recent heel run, I would say most of his heat comes from his abysmal commentary. He was atrocious when he replaced JR in 98, when JR had Bell’s Palsy. A good example is the commentary on the DX’s nation parody and DX’s corporation parody. I will grant that he has improved since then, but still, after over 10 years of experience he’d be much better.
I think that Waltman should catch a break and we should rename "X-Pac heat" to "Cole heat", as Michael Cole is a far better example of a wrestling personalty being hated due the audience not enjoying their work. I’m sure part of it is the way he is produced, but JR was produced by the same people and he did a good job.
Thoughts? I’m sure the Blog will have some opinions.

Yeah, but X-Pac was supposed to be a pushed heel who headed up his own heel faction.  God knows what Cole’s role is even supposed to be, so it’s not really fair to blame him entirely for being annoying as he is.  It’s not like Cole is acting this way and then going out there and having matches, too, so it’s kind of apples and oranges.  Sorry, but X-Pac Heat is gonna be around for a while as a term, I’m pretty sure. 

X-Pac Heat

Scott, I think that X-Pac doesn’t deserve to associated with that term. True, there was a time where people just hated him, primarily because they didn’t like him. The Invasion PPV sticks in my mind when he was the only WWF wrestler to get booed. There was however a time when he was popular and well liked and he is acknowledge as a talented wrestler.
Michael Cole, on the other hand, as far as I can recall, has never been widely loved. He has real "fuck this shit, let’s change the channel heat". His commentary is just so fucking grating, when he is a face or a heel. Although he has done some good things in his recent heel run, I would say most of his heat comes from his abysmal commentary. He was atrocious when he replaced JR in 98, when JR had Bell’s Palsy. A good example is the commentary on the DX’s nation parody and DX’s corporation parody. I will grant that he has improved since then, but still, after over 10 years of experience he’d be much better.
I think that Waltman should catch a break and we should rename "X-Pac heat" to "Cole heat", as Michael Cole is a far better example of a wrestling personalty being hated due the audience not enjoying their work. I’m sure part of it is the way he is produced, but JR was produced by the same people and he did a good job.
Thoughts? I’m sure the Blog will have some opinions.

Yeah, but X-Pac was supposed to be a pushed heel who headed up his own heel faction.  God knows what Cole’s role is even supposed to be, so it’s not really fair to blame him entirely for being annoying as he is.  It’s not like Cole is acting this way and then going out there and having matches, too, so it’s kind of apples and oranges.  Sorry, but X-Pac Heat is gonna be around for a while as a term, I’m pretty sure. 

X-Pac Heat

Scott, I think that X-Pac doesn’t deserve to associated with that term. True, there was a time where people just hated him, primarily because they didn’t like him. The Invasion PPV sticks in my mind when he was the only WWF wrestler to get booed. There was however a time when he was popular and well liked and he is acknowledge as a talented wrestler.
Michael Cole, on the other hand, as far as I can recall, has never been widely loved. He has real "fuck this shit, let’s change the channel heat". His commentary is just so fucking grating, when he is a face or a heel. Although he has done some good things in his recent heel run, I would say most of his heat comes from his abysmal commentary. He was atrocious when he replaced JR in 98, when JR had Bell’s Palsy. A good example is the commentary on the DX’s nation parody and DX’s corporation parody. I will grant that he has improved since then, but still, after over 10 years of experience he’d be much better.
I think that Waltman should catch a break and we should rename "X-Pac heat" to "Cole heat", as Michael Cole is a far better example of a wrestling personalty being hated due the audience not enjoying their work. I’m sure part of it is the way he is produced, but JR was produced by the same people and he did a good job.
Thoughts? I’m sure the Blog will have some opinions.

Yeah, but X-Pac was supposed to be a pushed heel who headed up his own heel faction.  God knows what Cole’s role is even supposed to be, so it’s not really fair to blame him entirely for being annoying as he is.  It’s not like Cole is acting this way and then going out there and having matches, too, so it’s kind of apples and oranges.  Sorry, but X-Pac Heat is gonna be around for a while as a term, I’m pretty sure. 

Overrated Matches

Just a quick little something for discussion – Any thoughts on matches that didn’t live up to the hype?  Not necessarily matches that don’t hold up well today, but matches that were built up as almost legendary by people, only to find they were just OK? 
My own pick is the Jerry Lynn/RVD series from ECW.  I usually just dipped in and out of ECW during this time, but I remembered seeing the Internet go into convulsions over this series, like it was the new Flair/Steamboat.  I checked out the matches and wasn’t exactly blown away.  They were good matches, Lynn did a pretty good job of reining in Van Dam’s ECW-era sloppiness, but it was just the usual stuff here as far as I could see.
Thoughts and comments?

The first Shane v. Funk v. Sabu three-way match.  It was the match where everyone raved about it and told me I HAD to get ECW tapes and such, and it just wasn’t great to me, even at the time.  It sure as hell doesn’t hold up today either, but a lot of that is Sabu not holding up in general. 

Overrated Matches

Just a quick little something for discussion – Any thoughts on matches that didn’t live up to the hype?  Not necessarily matches that don’t hold up well today, but matches that were built up as almost legendary by people, only to find they were just OK? 
My own pick is the Jerry Lynn/RVD series from ECW.  I usually just dipped in and out of ECW during this time, but I remembered seeing the Internet go into convulsions over this series, like it was the new Flair/Steamboat.  I checked out the matches and wasn’t exactly blown away.  They were good matches, Lynn did a pretty good job of reining in Van Dam’s ECW-era sloppiness, but it was just the usual stuff here as far as I could see.
Thoughts and comments?

The first Shane v. Funk v. Sabu three-way match.  It was the match where everyone raved about it and told me I HAD to get ECW tapes and such, and it just wasn’t great to me, even at the time.  It sure as hell doesn’t hold up today either, but a lot of that is Sabu not holding up in general. 

Overrated Matches

Just a quick little something for discussion – Any thoughts on matches that didn’t live up to the hype?  Not necessarily matches that don’t hold up well today, but matches that were built up as almost legendary by people, only to find they were just OK? 
My own pick is the Jerry Lynn/RVD series from ECW.  I usually just dipped in and out of ECW during this time, but I remembered seeing the Internet go into convulsions over this series, like it was the new Flair/Steamboat.  I checked out the matches and wasn’t exactly blown away.  They were good matches, Lynn did a pretty good job of reining in Van Dam’s ECW-era sloppiness, but it was just the usual stuff here as far as I could see.
Thoughts and comments?

The first Shane v. Funk v. Sabu three-way match.  It was the match where everyone raved about it and told me I HAD to get ECW tapes and such, and it just wasn’t great to me, even at the time.  It sure as hell doesn’t hold up today either, but a lot of that is Sabu not holding up in general. 

Match Quality

Hey Scott,

Clarify something for me here:

Say it’s before a big PPV, Wrestlemania for example. Why haven’t Vince/the agents/whoever just told the entire roster to “put on absolute classics/bring your A+ game? For example, what’s the downside of having CM Punk and Rey Mysterio cut loose and deliver a ****+ match at this past year’s WM? Or do you think Vince and Co. actually does go out and say that every so often, it’s just the talent that fails to deliver?

Do you know of any instances where Vince was gunning for purely match quality, and everybody delivered? Or tried to deliver? It just seems weird… why wouldn’t somebody like Punk/Cena/Rey/Christian/etc put on nothing but four-star and above PPV matches if they’re capable of doing it? That’s like asking your big homerun slugger to only swing for the fences once every few months.

The only times I know of where Vince did that was the Bret Hart-Randy Savage match on SNME years back, and the Michaels v. Perfect match at Summerslam where they went on TV and basically promised a **** match.  Otherwise it’s generally the talent who put that kind of pressure on themselves, like with Eddie v. Rey at WM21.  Of course it also backfires, like with the same match, so it’s pretty much impossible to just say “Have a classic match” and expect people to deliver.  Guys are pros and certainly know what works in theory, but there’s so many variables that it’s impossible to predict what will work and what will suck.

As for the downside, for sure there’s a downside.  Agents try to program the PPVs so that you don’t get 3 or 4 similar-style  matches in a row and burn out the crowd, because you’re trying to focus on your biggest stars and matches.  John Morrison going out and trying for a **** 20 minute classic in the second match might serve his own ego, but to me it’s like the opening act for U2 playing for 2 hours when no one paid money to see that.

Match Quality

Hey Scott,

Clarify something for me here:

Say it’s before a big PPV, Wrestlemania for example. Why haven’t Vince/the agents/whoever just told the entire roster to “put on absolute classics/bring your A+ game? For example, what’s the downside of having CM Punk and Rey Mysterio cut loose and deliver a ****+ match at this past year’s WM? Or do you think Vince and Co. actually does go out and say that every so often, it’s just the talent that fails to deliver?

Do you know of any instances where Vince was gunning for purely match quality, and everybody delivered? Or tried to deliver? It just seems weird… why wouldn’t somebody like Punk/Cena/Rey/Christian/etc put on nothing but four-star and above PPV matches if they’re capable of doing it? That’s like asking your big homerun slugger to only swing for the fences once every few months.

The only times I know of where Vince did that was the Bret Hart-Randy Savage match on SNME years back, and the Michaels v. Perfect match at Summerslam where they went on TV and basically promised a **** match.  Otherwise it’s generally the talent who put that kind of pressure on themselves, like with Eddie v. Rey at WM21.  Of course it also backfires, like with the same match, so it’s pretty much impossible to just say “Have a classic match” and expect people to deliver.  Guys are pros and certainly know what works in theory, but there’s so many variables that it’s impossible to predict what will work and what will suck.

As for the downside, for sure there’s a downside.  Agents try to program the PPVs so that you don’t get 3 or 4 similar-style  matches in a row and burn out the crowd, because you’re trying to focus on your biggest stars and matches.  John Morrison going out and trying for a **** 20 minute classic in the second match might serve his own ego, but to me it’s like the opening act for U2 playing for 2 hours when no one paid money to see that.

Match Quality

Hey Scott,

Clarify something for me here:

Say it’s before a big PPV, Wrestlemania for example. Why haven’t Vince/the agents/whoever just told the entire roster to “put on absolute classics/bring your A+ game? For example, what’s the downside of having CM Punk and Rey Mysterio cut loose and deliver a ****+ match at this past year’s WM? Or do you think Vince and Co. actually does go out and say that every so often, it’s just the talent that fails to deliver?

Do you know of any instances where Vince was gunning for purely match quality, and everybody delivered? Or tried to deliver? It just seems weird… why wouldn’t somebody like Punk/Cena/Rey/Christian/etc put on nothing but four-star and above PPV matches if they’re capable of doing it? That’s like asking your big homerun slugger to only swing for the fences once every few months.

The only times I know of where Vince did that was the Bret Hart-Randy Savage match on SNME years back, and the Michaels v. Perfect match at Summerslam where they went on TV and basically promised a **** match.  Otherwise it’s generally the talent who put that kind of pressure on themselves, like with Eddie v. Rey at WM21.  Of course it also backfires, like with the same match, so it’s pretty much impossible to just say “Have a classic match” and expect people to deliver.  Guys are pros and certainly know what works in theory, but there’s so many variables that it’s impossible to predict what will work and what will suck.

As for the downside, for sure there’s a downside.  Agents try to program the PPVs so that you don’t get 3 or 4 similar-style  matches in a row and burn out the crowd, because you’re trying to focus on your biggest stars and matches.  John Morrison going out and trying for a **** 20 minute classic in the second match might serve his own ego, but to me it’s like the opening act for U2 playing for 2 hours when no one paid money to see that.

Podcast Plug

Scott,

Hey. Want to listen to a group of tired old wrestling fans talk about the past? A few of the writers for the videogame / “geek culture” site Unwinnable recorded a wrestling-themed podcast called Unpinnable. Among the participants is former WrestleLine and Smarks contributor Don Becker. I thought your readers might want to hear us rhapsodize about the 1980s, ECW, and our favorite taglines. If you’re interested you can stream it here: http://www.unwinnable.com/2011/10/21/unwinnable-presents-unpinnable-the-all-wrestling-show/

Thanks! I’ve been a fan since the RSPW days and I still read your blog every day, even when I’m not actively following any promotions.

Haven’t heard from Don in a while.  I actually was going to buy TheSmarks.com domain and redirect it to the blog when it came free last month, but it got snatched up on me.  Oh well.  Enjoy the plug!

Podcast Plug

Scott,

Hey. Want to listen to a group of tired old wrestling fans talk about the past? A few of the writers for the videogame / “geek culture” site Unwinnable recorded a wrestling-themed podcast called Unpinnable. Among the participants is former WrestleLine and Smarks contributor Don Becker. I thought your readers might want to hear us rhapsodize about the 1980s, ECW, and our favorite taglines. If you’re interested you can stream it here: http://www.unwinnable.com/2011/10/21/unwinnable-presents-unpinnable-the-all-wrestling-show/

Thanks! I’ve been a fan since the RSPW days and I still read your blog every day, even when I’m not actively following any promotions.

Haven’t heard from Don in a while.  I actually was going to buy TheSmarks.com domain and redirect it to the blog when it came free last month, but it got snatched up on me.  Oh well.  Enjoy the plug!

Podcast Plug

Scott,

Hey. Want to listen to a group of tired old wrestling fans talk about the past? A few of the writers for the videogame / “geek culture” site Unwinnable recorded a wrestling-themed podcast called Unpinnable. Among the participants is former WrestleLine and Smarks contributor Don Becker. I thought your readers might want to hear us rhapsodize about the 1980s, ECW, and our favorite taglines. If you’re interested you can stream it here: http://www.unwinnable.com/2011/10/21/unwinnable-presents-unpinnable-the-all-wrestling-show/

Thanks! I’ve been a fan since the RSPW days and I still read your blog every day, even when I’m not actively following any promotions.

Haven’t heard from Don in a while.  I actually was going to buy TheSmarks.com domain and redirect it to the blog when it came free last month, but it got snatched up on me.  Oh well.  Enjoy the plug!

Rise of Ryder

Hey Scott,

I was wondering what you thought about the ascent of Zack Ryder over the last several months. This story is pretty amazing to me, that he basically rescued himself from the bottom of the totem pole where guys like Primo reside and launched himself to the point where he has a sizable fanbase (that was some chant on Monday), merch that moves, and more important, job stability to the point where I think it’s a question of not if, but when he becomes US/IC/whatever Champion. When he thanked his fans two days before Vengeance on his web series (via making them his collective Broski of the Week), saying that 36 weeks prior, he was just some kid with a Flip cam wanting to make a name for himself because it was either “get noticed or get fired”, and now here he was in a PPV title match solely on the wave of that fan support, there was a sense of genuine pride in the fanbase (or at least in myself) because that appreciation wasn’t some scripted WWE line, but a true, Honest-to-God emotion from worker to fans, that we the fans made this happen and not just because the powers that be forced him down our throats.

I’ve read on some of the news sites that he has a backer in Triple H and it reminded me of when Aitch did an interview a couple of years ago lamenting that the younger guys didn’t put in the full effort to get better, that they didn’t work with guys like Steamboat or Arn Anderson who offered tutelage, that they basically showed up, did their TV work, and expected to be handed elevation to the top of the card. I think the cynic would chalk it up to HHH spinning the reasoning on why certain guys were held back, but off of those comments, it would make sense why he would support Ryder, who could’ve just languished in the lower card until his inevitable release, but went out and got himself noticed his own way. And when Vince ribbed Ryder by telling him he’d be a vital part of a RAW in Long Island, then pulled the rug from under him right before the show was to go live (in one of many, many things that was only funny to Vince), to see big names in the locker room go to bat for him afterward showed that his effort was also admired by his peers. It’s just really cool to see a guy rise in the ranks on his own accord.

What do you think about the Long Island Iced Z?

I like him!  He’s a fun midcard character who is the rare guy that hung in through getting ignored by management, and got himself over in the process.  He probably would have benefited from working indies to actually refine his in-ring stuff, but that’s sadly the least important of the package these days.  I think it really goes to show, however, that wrestling is truly the snake that consumes its own tail.  Who would have thought that a nothing half of a nothing team would reinvent himself, using the same name no less, as a totally new character and get over?

Woo woo woo indeed.

Rise of Ryder

Hey Scott,

I was wondering what you thought about the ascent of Zack Ryder over the last several months. This story is pretty amazing to me, that he basically rescued himself from the bottom of the totem pole where guys like Primo reside and launched himself to the point where he has a sizable fanbase (that was some chant on Monday), merch that moves, and more important, job stability to the point where I think it’s a question of not if, but when he becomes US/IC/whatever Champion. When he thanked his fans two days before Vengeance on his web series (via making them his collective Broski of the Week), saying that 36 weeks prior, he was just some kid with a Flip cam wanting to make a name for himself because it was either “get noticed or get fired”, and now here he was in a PPV title match solely on the wave of that fan support, there was a sense of genuine pride in the fanbase (or at least in myself) because that appreciation wasn’t some scripted WWE line, but a true, Honest-to-God emotion from worker to fans, that we the fans made this happen and not just because the powers that be forced him down our throats.

I’ve read on some of the news sites that he has a backer in Triple H and it reminded me of when Aitch did an interview a couple of years ago lamenting that the younger guys didn’t put in the full effort to get better, that they didn’t work with guys like Steamboat or Arn Anderson who offered tutelage, that they basically showed up, did their TV work, and expected to be handed elevation to the top of the card. I think the cynic would chalk it up to HHH spinning the reasoning on why certain guys were held back, but off of those comments, it would make sense why he would support Ryder, who could’ve just languished in the lower card until his inevitable release, but went out and got himself noticed his own way. And when Vince ribbed Ryder by telling him he’d be a vital part of a RAW in Long Island, then pulled the rug from under him right before the show was to go live (in one of many, many things that was only funny to Vince), to see big names in the locker room go to bat for him afterward showed that his effort was also admired by his peers. It’s just really cool to see a guy rise in the ranks on his own accord.

What do you think about the Long Island Iced Z?

I like him!  He’s a fun midcard character who is the rare guy that hung in through getting ignored by management, and got himself over in the process.  He probably would have benefited from working indies to actually refine his in-ring stuff, but that’s sadly the least important of the package these days.  I think it really goes to show, however, that wrestling is truly the snake that consumes its own tail.  Who would have thought that a nothing half of a nothing team would reinvent himself, using the same name no less, as a totally new character and get over?

Woo woo woo indeed.

Rise of Ryder

Hey Scott,

I was wondering what you thought about the ascent of Zack Ryder over the last several months. This story is pretty amazing to me, that he basically rescued himself from the bottom of the totem pole where guys like Primo reside and launched himself to the point where he has a sizable fanbase (that was some chant on Monday), merch that moves, and more important, job stability to the point where I think it’s a question of not if, but when he becomes US/IC/whatever Champion. When he thanked his fans two days before Vengeance on his web series (via making them his collective Broski of the Week), saying that 36 weeks prior, he was just some kid with a Flip cam wanting to make a name for himself because it was either “get noticed or get fired”, and now here he was in a PPV title match solely on the wave of that fan support, there was a sense of genuine pride in the fanbase (or at least in myself) because that appreciation wasn’t some scripted WWE line, but a true, Honest-to-God emotion from worker to fans, that we the fans made this happen and not just because the powers that be forced him down our throats.

I’ve read on some of the news sites that he has a backer in Triple H and it reminded me of when Aitch did an interview a couple of years ago lamenting that the younger guys didn’t put in the full effort to get better, that they didn’t work with guys like Steamboat or Arn Anderson who offered tutelage, that they basically showed up, did their TV work, and expected to be handed elevation to the top of the card. I think the cynic would chalk it up to HHH spinning the reasoning on why certain guys were held back, but off of those comments, it would make sense why he would support Ryder, who could’ve just languished in the lower card until his inevitable release, but went out and got himself noticed his own way. And when Vince ribbed Ryder by telling him he’d be a vital part of a RAW in Long Island, then pulled the rug from under him right before the show was to go live (in one of many, many things that was only funny to Vince), to see big names in the locker room go to bat for him afterward showed that his effort was also admired by his peers. It’s just really cool to see a guy rise in the ranks on his own accord.

What do you think about the Long Island Iced Z?

I like him!  He’s a fun midcard character who is the rare guy that hung in through getting ignored by management, and got himself over in the process.  He probably would have benefited from working indies to actually refine his in-ring stuff, but that’s sadly the least important of the package these days.  I think it really goes to show, however, that wrestling is truly the snake that consumes its own tail.  Who would have thought that a nothing half of a nothing team would reinvent himself, using the same name no less, as a totally new character and get over?

Woo woo woo indeed.

Greatest Rivalries II

From the Masked Man dude who used to write for deadspin.  Pretty thorough piece.  I was just wondering your take on it.  Thanks.  Enjoy the blog.  -Cory
http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7176623/one-wwe-greatest-rivalries

An e-mail I got soon after yours sums up my feelings, actually:

I assume you’ve read the Grantland article on the Bret / Shawn DVD?
The slant is… interesting.  The writer’s still stuck in that insane
"reality era" theory of his, and at this point he’s basically a high
school essay writer who can’t accept that he went in the wrong
direction ten pages ago and that starting over would be the best bet.

Yeah, I wasn’t feeling the whole “It was never real to Shawn” stuff.  I think he was an ass at the time and now he legitimately feels bad for his role and wants to make amends. 

Greatest Rivalries II

From the Masked Man dude who used to write for deadspin.  Pretty thorough piece.  I was just wondering your take on it.  Thanks.  Enjoy the blog.  -Cory
http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7176623/one-wwe-greatest-rivalries

An e-mail I got soon after yours sums up my feelings, actually:

I assume you’ve read the Grantland article on the Bret / Shawn DVD?
The slant is… interesting.  The writer’s still stuck in that insane
"reality era" theory of his, and at this point he’s basically a high
school essay writer who can’t accept that he went in the wrong
direction ten pages ago and that starting over would be the best bet.

Yeah, I wasn’t feeling the whole “It was never real to Shawn” stuff.  I think he was an ass at the time and now he legitimately feels bad for his role and wants to make amends. 

Greatest Rivalries II

From the Masked Man dude who used to write for deadspin.  Pretty thorough piece.  I was just wondering your take on it.  Thanks.  Enjoy the blog.  -Cory
http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7176623/one-wwe-greatest-rivalries

An e-mail I got soon after yours sums up my feelings, actually:

I assume you’ve read the Grantland article on the Bret / Shawn DVD?
The slant is… interesting.  The writer’s still stuck in that insane
"reality era" theory of his, and at this point he’s basically a high
school essay writer who can’t accept that he went in the wrong
direction ten pages ago and that starting over would be the best bet.

Yeah, I wasn’t feeling the whole “It was never real to Shawn” stuff.  I think he was an ass at the time and now he legitimately feels bad for his role and wants to make amends.