Quick hits

Scott,
Four quickies for you:
1. If Austin was able to work Wrestlemania 2000, do you think we would have seen Austin vs. Big Show, or a face vs. face Austin-Rock rematch?
2. If Luger won the NWA title in ’88, do you think he would have been a true mega-star?
3. Likewise, if Luger wins the WWF Title at SummerSlam 1993, do you think he could have approached being the Hogan-replacement Vince wanted?
4. Did Scott Steiner really not get the proverbial ‘jesus-push’ in 1994 because he didn’t want to break up the tag team?  Or was there more to that?  He seemed a perfect candidate to run with the title once Luger did not pan out.

1.  No, it was Rock-HHH all the way, I’m still pretty sure.  Austin-Show sounds more realistic, as they wouldn’t need the four-way to draw with both Austin and Rock on the show.  2.  Yup.  No doubt in my mind that Crockett flushed away millions.  3.  Nope.  He was already ruined by Flair constantly cutting him off at the knees, and then was never the same as a worker after the motorcycle accident.  Even if he beats Yokozuna, he’d still flop and they’d have to go back to Bret.  4.  Steiner was almost the recipient of a giant push TWICE and he refused both times because he didn’t want to break up the team, sadly.  WCW tried with him in 92 and then WWF in 94.  By the time Scott DID want a big singles push, what we got was Big Poppa Pump.  To be fair, Japan was paying them shitloads of money and they probably didn’t want to jeopardize that. 

Quick hits

Scott,
Four quickies for you:
1. If Austin was able to work Wrestlemania 2000, do you think we would have seen Austin vs. Big Show, or a face vs. face Austin-Rock rematch?
2. If Luger won the NWA title in ’88, do you think he would have been a true mega-star?
3. Likewise, if Luger wins the WWF Title at SummerSlam 1993, do you think he could have approached being the Hogan-replacement Vince wanted?
4. Did Scott Steiner really not get the proverbial ‘jesus-push’ in 1994 because he didn’t want to break up the tag team?  Or was there more to that?  He seemed a perfect candidate to run with the title once Luger did not pan out.

1.  No, it was Rock-HHH all the way, I’m still pretty sure.  Austin-Show sounds more realistic, as they wouldn’t need the four-way to draw with both Austin and Rock on the show.  2.  Yup.  No doubt in my mind that Crockett flushed away millions.  3.  Nope.  He was already ruined by Flair constantly cutting him off at the knees, and then was never the same as a worker after the motorcycle accident.  Even if he beats Yokozuna, he’d still flop and they’d have to go back to Bret.  4.  Steiner was almost the recipient of a giant push TWICE and he refused both times because he didn’t want to break up the team, sadly.  WCW tried with him in 92 and then WWF in 94.  By the time Scott DID want a big singles push, what we got was Big Poppa Pump.  To be fair, Japan was paying them shitloads of money and they probably didn’t want to jeopardize that. 

Greatest Ring Entrance

Scott, I don’t know if I’ve seen this one knocked around too much so here goes.  What, in your opinion, is the coolest single, pre-match ring entrance that you’ve ever seen? CM Punk’s at MITB was awesome but I have an all-time favorite that is probably not on anyone’s radar.  I loved HHH’s entrance at Royal Rumble 2000 against Cactus Jack.  You had the atmosphere of MSG and the classic short entrance way for WWF events.  His mannerisms and facial expression coming to and getting in the ring conveyed the seriousness and the brutality that was about to take place. It was before the whole "water bottle" routine that defined his entrance in later years, so there was more ad-lib to it.  Plus, it was his first venture into the world of bloody, hardcore-style brawls and I think Paul Levesque’s nervousness was showing as well.  What say you and the readers? What single entrance, before a match, sticks out above the rest?

I always liked Flair and Steamboat at Chi-Town Rumble, as Steamboat was the simple family man coming out with family for one last shot at glory, while Flair was the overblown music, robes and women that ended up coming back to bite him when pride went before the proverbial fall.  Simple yet effective on both sides. Hogan at WM3 was of course one of the defining moments of the modern era, as everyone else took a cart to the ring and Hogan walked down, taking the hard way and getting ready to face down the giant.  I like stuff like that.

Greatest Ring Entrance

Scott, I don’t know if I’ve seen this one knocked around too much so here goes.  What, in your opinion, is the coolest single, pre-match ring entrance that you’ve ever seen? CM Punk’s at MITB was awesome but I have an all-time favorite that is probably not on anyone’s radar.  I loved HHH’s entrance at Royal Rumble 2000 against Cactus Jack.  You had the atmosphere of MSG and the classic short entrance way for WWF events.  His mannerisms and facial expression coming to and getting in the ring conveyed the seriousness and the brutality that was about to take place. It was before the whole "water bottle" routine that defined his entrance in later years, so there was more ad-lib to it.  Plus, it was his first venture into the world of bloody, hardcore-style brawls and I think Paul Levesque’s nervousness was showing as well.  What say you and the readers? What single entrance, before a match, sticks out above the rest?

I always liked Flair and Steamboat at Chi-Town Rumble, as Steamboat was the simple family man coming out with family for one last shot at glory, while Flair was the overblown music, robes and women that ended up coming back to bite him when pride went before the proverbial fall.  Simple yet effective on both sides. Hogan at WM3 was of course one of the defining moments of the modern era, as everyone else took a cart to the ring and Hogan walked down, taking the hard way and getting ready to face down the giant.  I like stuff like that.

Dream Matches

Thumbing through your archives, I came across your post saying Cena/Rock is the only "Dream Match" left. I don’t think I quite agree, though it’s close. I’d argue all of the following count, though: 
CM Punk vs. Austin (apparently going to happen) Rock vs. Cena (definitely going to happen)
Sting vs. Taker (not going to happen and would probably suck if it did)
Shawn Michaels vs. Rock (snowball’s chance of it happening, but both guys can still go and both guys still take money from WWE so never say never…)
Did I miss any? I mean, plugging Rock/Shawn/Austin in against your favorite modern superstar doesn’t really count, I think (mayyyyyyyybe Shawn/Bryan just for the whole teacher/student thing), but other than that… I dunno, is there anybody we never got to see Brock or Batista face?

Each other, I’m pretty sure.  I’d also count Brock v. Cena, because the John Cena who got the PPV match in 2004 is not the same guy who was World champion a year later.  That match done today would be EPIC.  I don’t think we ever saw Cena-Flair, although at this point we wouldn’t want to.  You can play all kinds of time travel games as well, but if we’re sticking to matches that could realistically happen TODAY, I can’t think of many more.  Brock v. Joe?  D-Bry v. AJ Styles?  Oh!  Daniel Bryan v. Kurt Angle, that would rock it.  

Dream Matches

Thumbing through your archives, I came across your post saying Cena/Rock is the only "Dream Match" left. I don’t think I quite agree, though it’s close. I’d argue all of the following count, though: 
CM Punk vs. Austin (apparently going to happen) Rock vs. Cena (definitely going to happen)
Sting vs. Taker (not going to happen and would probably suck if it did)
Shawn Michaels vs. Rock (snowball’s chance of it happening, but both guys can still go and both guys still take money from WWE so never say never…)
Did I miss any? I mean, plugging Rock/Shawn/Austin in against your favorite modern superstar doesn’t really count, I think (mayyyyyyyybe Shawn/Bryan just for the whole teacher/student thing), but other than that… I dunno, is there anybody we never got to see Brock or Batista face?

Each other, I’m pretty sure.  I’d also count Brock v. Cena, because the John Cena who got the PPV match in 2004 is not the same guy who was World champion a year later.  That match done today would be EPIC.  I don’t think we ever saw Cena-Flair, although at this point we wouldn’t want to.  You can play all kinds of time travel games as well, but if we’re sticking to matches that could realistically happen TODAY, I can’t think of many more.  Brock v. Joe?  D-Bry v. AJ Styles?  Oh!  Daniel Bryan v. Kurt Angle, that would rock it.  

Death of WCW

Hey Scott– Something I’ve been turning around in my mind for awhile now: Months ago, the guys that run the Wrestlecrap site asked you for a plug that you graciously supplied (discerning soul that you are :)). Then I noticed in the comments section an awful lot of venom unleashed at these guys accusing them of being hacks, particularly concerning the book The Death of WCW. Some of your readers threw around accusations of inaccuracies and falsehoods in the book, doing their best to damage it’s credibility. Here’s the thing: None of the people who levied accusations of falsehoods in the book came up with a single example of said inaccuracies. They would just drop grand overarching statements about the book being garbage and leave it at that. Last I checked, Alvarez and Reynolds did a great deal of research, particularly culling most of their info from The Wrestling Observer. It isn’t as if Dave Meltzer has credibility issues as a wrestling journalist. The readers of the Observer even dubbed The Death of WCW book of the year in 2004 (though I still contend it is criminal that your works have never been considered for nomination). Do you have any concrete examples of how The Death of WCW is inaccurate? Do some of your other readers? If so, I’d be happy to be proven wrong. Until then, however, I’m going to side with the guys that did research for a book, not blog posters who trade in vague accusations. Making broad proclamations without any facts to back it up doesn’t make you a credible critic; it makes you a Fox News employee.

Don’t look at me, I never even read the book.  The accusations of inaccuracies were news to me, though. 

Death of WCW

Hey Scott– Something I’ve been turning around in my mind for awhile now: Months ago, the guys that run the Wrestlecrap site asked you for a plug that you graciously supplied (discerning soul that you are :)). Then I noticed in the comments section an awful lot of venom unleashed at these guys accusing them of being hacks, particularly concerning the book The Death of WCW. Some of your readers threw around accusations of inaccuracies and falsehoods in the book, doing their best to damage it’s credibility. Here’s the thing: None of the people who levied accusations of falsehoods in the book came up with a single example of said inaccuracies. They would just drop grand overarching statements about the book being garbage and leave it at that. Last I checked, Alvarez and Reynolds did a great deal of research, particularly culling most of their info from The Wrestling Observer. It isn’t as if Dave Meltzer has credibility issues as a wrestling journalist. The readers of the Observer even dubbed The Death of WCW book of the year in 2004 (though I still contend it is criminal that your works have never been considered for nomination). Do you have any concrete examples of how The Death of WCW is inaccurate? Do some of your other readers? If so, I’d be happy to be proven wrong. Until then, however, I’m going to side with the guys that did research for a book, not blog posters who trade in vague accusations. Making broad proclamations without any facts to back it up doesn’t make you a credible critic; it makes you a Fox News employee.

Don’t look at me, I never even read the book.  The accusations of inaccuracies were news to me, though. 

Before Their Time

Scott- 
Which 80s or earlier stars do you think would have been much more successful if they’d showed up in the last 10-15 years? 
For my money, there are two top picks, then everybody else. 
1) Bad News Brown, for the reasons you always point out
2) Jake Roberts (heel version). His dark, psychological gold-bricking manipulator routine would have been GREAT played against headstrong faces like Rock/HBK/Austin/Cena, and he had some of the best heel offense ever. He had (was the blueprint?) the best bits of both the HHH "Cerebral Assassin" gimmick, and the Randy Orton "cold blooded viper" routine. And that’s not even getting into his promos and/or willingness to slap around a woman for cheap heat. Guy would have been HUGE, drug concerns aside. 
Other nominees… Dynamite Kid for his offense, maybe DiBiase doing a much better "rich guy we hate because it’s a recession" than JBL can even dream of…
But really, the biggest differences between then and now are threefold; tone (darker, more realistic, get over as a character instead of a gimmick), media (youtube and episodic television make mic work way, way more important), and workrate (nobody cared in the 80s, now you have to at least be passable (or, you know, big) to get a decent push). Snake an Bad News are the guys I can think of who positively killed on those fronts (Bad News’ workrate was meh, but now I’m just picking nits). 
Your thoughts?

Bad News’ workrate was NOT meh, he was just in the WWF well past his prime, when injuries were catching up to him and he didn’t have to haul ass every night.  He could GO.  Dynamite was for sure well before his time, as he was the template for a million guys who came after him.  Definitely those were the main ones.

Before Their Time

Scott- 
Which 80s or earlier stars do you think would have been much more successful if they’d showed up in the last 10-15 years? 
For my money, there are two top picks, then everybody else. 
1) Bad News Brown, for the reasons you always point out
2) Jake Roberts (heel version). His dark, psychological gold-bricking manipulator routine would have been GREAT played against headstrong faces like Rock/HBK/Austin/Cena, and he had some of the best heel offense ever. He had (was the blueprint?) the best bits of both the HHH "Cerebral Assassin" gimmick, and the Randy Orton "cold blooded viper" routine. And that’s not even getting into his promos and/or willingness to slap around a woman for cheap heat. Guy would have been HUGE, drug concerns aside. 
Other nominees… Dynamite Kid for his offense, maybe DiBiase doing a much better "rich guy we hate because it’s a recession" than JBL can even dream of…
But really, the biggest differences between then and now are threefold; tone (darker, more realistic, get over as a character instead of a gimmick), media (youtube and episodic television make mic work way, way more important), and workrate (nobody cared in the 80s, now you have to at least be passable (or, you know, big) to get a decent push). Snake an Bad News are the guys I can think of who positively killed on those fronts (Bad News’ workrate was meh, but now I’m just picking nits). 
Your thoughts?

Bad News’ workrate was NOT meh, he was just in the WWF well past his prime, when injuries were catching up to him and he didn’t have to haul ass every night.  He could GO.  Dynamite was for sure well before his time, as he was the template for a million guys who came after him.  Definitely those were the main ones.

Looking to WM

Hey Scott, big fan of the rants/books/blog, etc. With Rock vs Cena set in stone for WrestleMania  and Punk vs HHH being a strong possibility (with Punk vs Austin as a very slight possibility). Could this years WrestleMania have a theme of old(er) vs new(er) wrestlers? I’m not saying that it’ll be the old group vs the new group storyline like in TNA and WCW. But the main matches on the card will reflect that theme, I know work rate wise we won’t get great matches but it could be interesting. What do you think of that idea? Also who do you think will face who? Of course Rock/Cena, Punk/HHH(maybe Austin) then you got Undertaker, Kane, Nash, Foley has been rumored coming back and if Austin does return who does HHH wrestle?

Well of course now it’s looking more like Punk v. HHH will already be blown off by then.  Punk v. Austin might be a possibility if they’re desperate enough, but Rock-Cena will do such huge business that it realistically won’t matter what’s on the undercard.  I think probably HHH and Undertaker will have their rematch, Punk might face Austin, and I guess D-Bry is cashing in his briefcase against Randy Orton.  Although I’d be shocked if the briefcase didn’t end up in someone else’s hands well before WM.  The whole “brand extension not ending but kinda ending” thing really screws up future planning. 

Looking to WM

Hey Scott, big fan of the rants/books/blog, etc. With Rock vs Cena set in stone for WrestleMania  and Punk vs HHH being a strong possibility (with Punk vs Austin as a very slight possibility). Could this years WrestleMania have a theme of old(er) vs new(er) wrestlers? I’m not saying that it’ll be the old group vs the new group storyline like in TNA and WCW. But the main matches on the card will reflect that theme, I know work rate wise we won’t get great matches but it could be interesting. What do you think of that idea? Also who do you think will face who? Of course Rock/Cena, Punk/HHH(maybe Austin) then you got Undertaker, Kane, Nash, Foley has been rumored coming back and if Austin does return who does HHH wrestle?

Well of course now it’s looking more like Punk v. HHH will already be blown off by then.  Punk v. Austin might be a possibility if they’re desperate enough, but Rock-Cena will do such huge business that it realistically won’t matter what’s on the undercard.  I think probably HHH and Undertaker will have their rematch, Punk might face Austin, and I guess D-Bry is cashing in his briefcase against Randy Orton.  Although I’d be shocked if the briefcase didn’t end up in someone else’s hands well before WM.  The whole “brand extension not ending but kinda ending” thing really screws up future planning. 

The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classic–08.24.11

http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/09/01/the-smark-rant-for-awa-championship-wrestling-on-espn-classic-08-24-11/ You know when you’re watching a shitty show and suddenly there’s one of the greatest matches of all-time as the main event and you didn’t even know it was coming?  Yeah, that’s this show.  One word:  Bloodbath. 

The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classic–08.24.11

http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/09/01/the-smark-rant-for-awa-championship-wrestling-on-espn-classic-08-24-11/ You know when you’re watching a shitty show and suddenly there’s one of the greatest matches of all-time as the main event and you didn’t even know it was coming?  Yeah, that’s this show.  One word:  Bloodbath. 

Bryan Alvarez gets MAD

http://www.f4wonline.com/component/content/article/78-bryan-and-vinny-show/21955-free-today-aug-31-bryan-a-vinny-show-very-disappointing-two-days-for-wwe-raw-and-supersmackdown-reports-new-songs-shout-outs-cats-more I agree with Bryan’s angry rant on this show.  WWE had a major opportunity to win back fans with the Summer of Punk, and they’ve just been wasting chance after chance.  SUPER DUPER SMACKDOWN LIVE was so boring I didn’t even bother recapping it.  I’ll do Impact instead.  THAT’S HOW BORING SMACKDOWN IS.  It makes me want to review IMPACT because I’ll have something interesting to talk about.  Also, Sonic Boom as the team name for Kofi & Bourne should have been the winner. 

The Midnight DC Post!

Yes, for those angry comic nerds anxiously awaiting my review of the big releases from DC tonight, here you go! Flashpoint #5:  About what I expected.  No idea what the mumbo-jumbo with the Speed Force actually means or how it leads to everyone wearing armor and high collars.  I didn’t even realize Barry’s mom was dead or that anyone cared in the first place, and I was reading from the late 70s all the way until he died in the Crisis, so this must be a new development.  As everyone suspected, all the crossovers end up meaning fuck all.  Justice League #1:  As the first part of a trade paperback collection it’s great.  As the first issue intended to draw in the mythical new readers, who then have to wait until OCTOBER 19TH to read the second part and hopefully see more than just GL and Batman in the book, it’s a crushing disappointment.  Jim Lee’s artwork is, however, breathtaking.  I can withstand a lot of crap if it’s drawn by him or Dan Jurgens (see also All Star Batman and Zero Hour, respectively).  I know that it wasn’t realistic to expect them drop the big 7 (or big 6 + Cyborg) fully formed out of the sky, but given all the hype I was hoping for a LITTLE more for my $4.

RAW notes

Hey Scott, I was at the RAW taping in Tulsa last night. Some notes: ·      … John Morrison and R-Truth had a very good match for the Superstars taping. Not sure what it will look like on TV but it was awesome to watch in person. ·      … When Zack Ryder came out everyone in my section kept asking, “Who the hell is this guy?” ·      …  I was surprised at how overwhelmingly pro-Cena the crowd was. It was all legit too, not piped in.  ·      … I was also surprised at how dead the crowd was during Punk vs. Miz, especially given how many Punk shirts there were in the crowd. My guess is the crowd was pretty much “popped out” by the Cena segment and Orton/Ziggler match that preceded it. ·      … Not sure what it sounded like on TV, but the pop for Nash’s powerbomb of Punk was huge. ·     … After RAW went off the air Ziggler and R-Truth ran out to attack Cena and Sheamus, but Orton came out and helped the faces take care of them. All three celebrated together in the ring… huge pop for that. Overall this show was a lot of fun to watch live, though I can see how viewers at home would see it as a disappointing episode given how lackluster the wrestling was after Orton/Ziggler. Thanks for reading. 

Thanks for writing!  Further to the RAW discussions here, the Nash thing was not, as suggested, an angle, but rather a medical issue that was handled in rather bizarre fashion.  I guess that’s the very definition of “booking on a napkin”, when you’re changing shows on the fly during the show itself.