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. 

Bourne To Be Bad

Hey Scott:
Apparently Evan Bournce just got Wellness suspended. To your
knowledge, are they still testing for any and all drugs as part of the
Wellness Policy? I seem to recall them saying that they tested for all
drugs, including marijuana, not just steroids or growth enhancers.
Everyone seems to be so shocked by whoever is suspended for a month
nowadays, but if they did this b/c of pot then I’m not surprised at
all…didn’t Randy Orton suffer one b/c they caught him openly smoking
a joint backstage? I know that’s suspendable in itself, but that would
explain how guys like Evan (who I can see smoking up to ease the pain)
are getting "busted" while guys like Mason Ryan (who’s almost
certainly juicing) aren’t.

They’re on a real kick about synthetic pot right now, and that’s apparently what got Heath Slater, and I would presume Evan Bourne now as well.  Thing is, it’s apparently totally legal, but you’re not allowed to use it in WWE.  And after I made a joke about him getting a 30-day “injury” after that Swagger powerbomb.  My bad, sorry Evan. 

Bourne To Be Bad

Hey Scott:
Apparently Evan Bournce just got Wellness suspended. To your
knowledge, are they still testing for any and all drugs as part of the
Wellness Policy? I seem to recall them saying that they tested for all
drugs, including marijuana, not just steroids or growth enhancers.
Everyone seems to be so shocked by whoever is suspended for a month
nowadays, but if they did this b/c of pot then I’m not surprised at
all…didn’t Randy Orton suffer one b/c they caught him openly smoking
a joint backstage? I know that’s suspendable in itself, but that would
explain how guys like Evan (who I can see smoking up to ease the pain)
are getting "busted" while guys like Mason Ryan (who’s almost
certainly juicing) aren’t.

They’re on a real kick about synthetic pot right now, and that’s apparently what got Heath Slater, and I would presume Evan Bourne now as well.  Thing is, it’s apparently totally legal, but you’re not allowed to use it in WWE.  And after I made a joke about him getting a 30-day “injury” after that Swagger powerbomb.  My bad, sorry Evan. 

Bourne To Be Bad

Hey Scott:
Apparently Evan Bournce just got Wellness suspended. To your
knowledge, are they still testing for any and all drugs as part of the
Wellness Policy? I seem to recall them saying that they tested for all
drugs, including marijuana, not just steroids or growth enhancers.
Everyone seems to be so shocked by whoever is suspended for a month
nowadays, but if they did this b/c of pot then I’m not surprised at
all…didn’t Randy Orton suffer one b/c they caught him openly smoking
a joint backstage? I know that’s suspendable in itself, but that would
explain how guys like Evan (who I can see smoking up to ease the pain)
are getting "busted" while guys like Mason Ryan (who’s almost
certainly juicing) aren’t.

They’re on a real kick about synthetic pot right now, and that’s apparently what got Heath Slater, and I would presume Evan Bourne now as well.  Thing is, it’s apparently totally legal, but you’re not allowed to use it in WWE.  And after I made a joke about him getting a 30-day “injury” after that Swagger powerbomb.  My bad, sorry Evan. 

Site Maintenance

OK, WordPress has been updated to the very latest version, which is nice considering I’ve been running 2.8.4 since something like 2009.  It also means I can FINALLY ditch the built-in comments and endless plugins, and instead I’ve installed the awesome Disqus commenting system.  Basically it does everything that all my cobbled-together solutions do, but as one program, and it links the blog with thousands of other blogs too.  It’s also prettier and way easier to deal with from my end.  All the old comments are being automatically converted and migrated as well, so nothing has been lost.   From your end, it now means you can log in with a Google or Facebook account to post comments instead of having  to remember an account here.

So as always, drop me a line if you notice any glaring problems.

Site Maintenance

OK, WordPress has been updated to the very latest version, which is nice considering I’ve been running 2.8.4 since something like 2009.  It also means I can FINALLY ditch the built-in comments and endless plugins, and instead I’ve installed the awesome Disqus commenting system.  Basically it does everything that all my cobbled-together solutions do, but as one program, and it links the blog with thousands of other blogs too.  It’s also prettier and way easier to deal with from my end.  All the old comments are being automatically converted and migrated as well, so nothing has been lost.   From your end, it now means you can log in with a Google or Facebook account to post comments instead of having  to remember an account here.

So as always, drop me a line if you notice any glaring problems.

Site Maintenance

OK, WordPress has been updated to the very latest version, which is nice considering I’ve been running 2.8.4 since something like 2009.  It also means I can FINALLY ditch the built-in comments and endless plugins, and instead I’ve installed the awesome Disqus commenting system.  Basically it does everything that all my cobbled-together solutions do, but as one program, and it links the blog with thousands of other blogs too.  It’s also prettier and way easier to deal with from my end.  All the old comments are being automatically converted and migrated as well, so nothing has been lost.   From your end, it now means you can log in with a Google or Facebook account to post comments instead of having  to remember an account here.

So as always, drop me a line if you notice any glaring problems.

GSP v. Diaz

Hey Scott,
Just another example of what is missing in the WWE that the UFC some how is able to pull off with out being a work.
So we have the abrasive Nick Diaz who has been piling up wins against mid card talent for the past few years over in Strikeforce. Has put down all challengers in that time. The whole time squacking about not making enough money, how he could beat the champ (GSP) if he wasn’t being held back. Meanwhile the clean cut, even keeled GSP is having pedestrian performances where, although remaining unscathed and dominant in them, has looked unimpressive. Diaz destroys all in front of him until the UFC can’t ignore him as a challenger any longer and set up a title fight. GSP vs. Diaz is set. In the months leading up to the fight, the brash and stubborn Diaz decides he doesn’t want to play the UFC media game and no shows a pair of press conferences calling them "beauty pageants" and as a result gets pulled from the main event. GSP down plays Diaz as a contender in the first place and gets set for another opponent. In Diaz’s eyes "The Man" has just stepped in once again, cost him his big "pay day" and continues to hold him back all while protecting the paper champion. He now is forced to face a top contender, former title contender and former rival of champion GSP.  In the fight Diaz dominates Penn in a three round war where Diaz sets a new record for strikes landed and RETIRES Penn. (Penn leaves strong having the heart and determination to withstand Diaz’s punishment). Post fight Diaz calls out the champ immediately! Claims he’s scared to fight anybody right now and that he’s been held back. The normally calm and cool GSP loses it (Off camera unfortunately) and demands to fight Diaz next. Calls him "The most disrespectful human being he’s ever met and that he’s going to put the worst beating on Nick the world has seen." Out of the circumstances, Dana White cancels GSPs next opponent and signs Diaz vs. GSP for Superbowl weekend. This shit is straight out of Rocky III? Diaz just needs to assault Greg Jackson and cause him to have a heart attack. They’ve created a credible, monster heel out of Nick Diaz to face off against the mega-face GSP. Seriously, I would lay down my money today for the pay per view that’s months away.

Yup.  Plus now we’ve got Anderson Silva, the claimed #1 fighter in the world, actively ducking Chael Sonnen and claiming he’s not worthy of a title shot while Sonnen cuts awesome promos on him whenever he’s got a microphone near.  If they play their cards right, they can score two million+ buyrates in a row headlining with those matches now.  It just goes to show that a little carny attitude goes a LONG way.  Although Diaz really is just that crazy, unlike Sonnen who actually “gets it”. 

GSP v. Diaz

Hey Scott,
Just another example of what is missing in the WWE that the UFC some how is able to pull off with out being a work.
So we have the abrasive Nick Diaz who has been piling up wins against mid card talent for the past few years over in Strikeforce. Has put down all challengers in that time. The whole time squacking about not making enough money, how he could beat the champ (GSP) if he wasn’t being held back. Meanwhile the clean cut, even keeled GSP is having pedestrian performances where, although remaining unscathed and dominant in them, has looked unimpressive. Diaz destroys all in front of him until the UFC can’t ignore him as a challenger any longer and set up a title fight. GSP vs. Diaz is set. In the months leading up to the fight, the brash and stubborn Diaz decides he doesn’t want to play the UFC media game and no shows a pair of press conferences calling them "beauty pageants" and as a result gets pulled from the main event. GSP down plays Diaz as a contender in the first place and gets set for another opponent. In Diaz’s eyes "The Man" has just stepped in once again, cost him his big "pay day" and continues to hold him back all while protecting the paper champion. He now is forced to face a top contender, former title contender and former rival of champion GSP.  In the fight Diaz dominates Penn in a three round war where Diaz sets a new record for strikes landed and RETIRES Penn. (Penn leaves strong having the heart and determination to withstand Diaz’s punishment). Post fight Diaz calls out the champ immediately! Claims he’s scared to fight anybody right now and that he’s been held back. The normally calm and cool GSP loses it (Off camera unfortunately) and demands to fight Diaz next. Calls him "The most disrespectful human being he’s ever met and that he’s going to put the worst beating on Nick the world has seen." Out of the circumstances, Dana White cancels GSPs next opponent and signs Diaz vs. GSP for Superbowl weekend. This shit is straight out of Rocky III? Diaz just needs to assault Greg Jackson and cause him to have a heart attack. They’ve created a credible, monster heel out of Nick Diaz to face off against the mega-face GSP. Seriously, I would lay down my money today for the pay per view that’s months away.

Yup.  Plus now we’ve got Anderson Silva, the claimed #1 fighter in the world, actively ducking Chael Sonnen and claiming he’s not worthy of a title shot while Sonnen cuts awesome promos on him whenever he’s got a microphone near.  If they play their cards right, they can score two million+ buyrates in a row headlining with those matches now.  It just goes to show that a little carny attitude goes a LONG way.  Although Diaz really is just that crazy, unlike Sonnen who actually “gets it”. 

Hawk Falling Down

Hey Scott, Long time reader, followed you through Wrestlemaniacs/ Wrestleline/ Rantsylvania/ Smarks/ 411wrestling/ 411mania/ Insidepulse/ Blog of Doom. The discussion within the Scott Hall post got me thinking about Road Warrior Hawk. My timeline may be off, but I believe it was back in the LOD 2000 days, when Hawk was playing being drunk/stoned, and I think the idea was that Droz was his dealer or something to that effect. Anyway, very early in the angle, LOD was doing a promo and Hawk took a minute to address the crowd as Michael Hegstrand to apologise for his behaviour the previous week, saying that it wasn’t professional, not what the fans paid to see, and promising that it wouldn’t happen again. Sure enough, starting the very next week Hawk is stumbling around the place, tripping while getting in the ring, and falling off the titantron. My question is, what was the incident that started that angle, and was it genuine? Was Hawk really on live TV unfit for work in a glaringly obvious way? And did they base the angle off that incident, forcing Hawk to air his personal demons on TV, or was it all a work?

Well, the drunkness and poor condition was certainly no work.  Hawk was in rough shape at that point and shouldn’t have been on TV.  The rest was the genius of Vince Russo, who decided that it would be edgy and cool to make fun of someone who could barely function.  I forget the exact inciting incident, although I think it was something like him doing commentary while being drunk.  But yeah, the initial incident was genuine, the rest was a work, albeit one far too close to home. 

Hawk Falling Down

Hey Scott, Long time reader, followed you through Wrestlemaniacs/ Wrestleline/ Rantsylvania/ Smarks/ 411wrestling/ 411mania/ Insidepulse/ Blog of Doom. The discussion within the Scott Hall post got me thinking about Road Warrior Hawk. My timeline may be off, but I believe it was back in the LOD 2000 days, when Hawk was playing being drunk/stoned, and I think the idea was that Droz was his dealer or something to that effect. Anyway, very early in the angle, LOD was doing a promo and Hawk took a minute to address the crowd as Michael Hegstrand to apologise for his behaviour the previous week, saying that it wasn’t professional, not what the fans paid to see, and promising that it wouldn’t happen again. Sure enough, starting the very next week Hawk is stumbling around the place, tripping while getting in the ring, and falling off the titantron. My question is, what was the incident that started that angle, and was it genuine? Was Hawk really on live TV unfit for work in a glaringly obvious way? And did they base the angle off that incident, forcing Hawk to air his personal demons on TV, or was it all a work?

Well, the drunkness and poor condition was certainly no work.  Hawk was in rough shape at that point and shouldn’t have been on TV.  The rest was the genius of Vince Russo, who decided that it would be edgy and cool to make fun of someone who could barely function.  I forget the exact inciting incident, although I think it was something like him doing commentary while being drunk.  But yeah, the initial incident was genuine, the rest was a work, albeit one far too close to home.