Fastest feud ever

So Cena takes the powerbomb to the apron (a death move in NXT) and two weeks later is out and smiling to set up Cena/Owens III at Battleground!?  This is what wrestling has become huh? A major feud with essentially a best of three series (all MOTYC) and it's going to be blown through in 2 months on 3 straight shows.  Why not sell the injury, have Owens do an open challenge at Battleground, win, have Cena run out and chase him off to set up a gimmick match at Summerslam in NYC?  Is there really that much fear of Cena's merchandise sales going down?

​In a word, yes.  On a recent radio show, Meltzer said that pretty much immediately after the first Cena loss to Owens, WWE got business metrics that indicated almost immediately that people were not down with the whole "John Cena doing clean jobs" deal and they made sure to put him over in match #2.  So I guess his merch numbers must have dropped literally overnight.  In other words, good or bad, Cena is still what drives business right now.  Which doesn't bode well for Roman Reigns taking over as the #1 guy.

Jake/Macho Man feud

I just got finished watching This Tuesday in Texas for the first time since it happened and there's something I'm curious about coming out of it. With everything leading up to, and following, the Jake Roberts/Randy Savage match (the snake bite, Roberts slapping Liz and and insanely intense post match interview from Savage), how is it that all we got out of this program was two less than 10 minute jobs by the Snake on TTIT AND SNME? Savages promo after the match was psychotic. He wanted to fucking kill Roberts for smacking Elizabeth.

I don't get why there was no real blow off. I understand this feud led up to the Undertaker's face turn but with all that came out of it, the payoff seemed kind of weak.

​Yeah, in this case there is actually a story behind it.  Basically Jake was supposed to have the blowoff with Savage at Wrestlemania, but they switched Macho's match to the title match (I'm talking months before, not the TV kayfabe switch) and made promises to Jake about taking over as booker when Pat Patterson retired shortly after Wrestlemania if he'd do the job to Undertaker instead.  And then Wrestlemania came and Vince was like "Psych!  We're just not gonna hire someone after all" and Jake freaked out and threatened to jump ship to WCW because his contract was up, so then he ended up getting completely squashed by Undertaker.  And then WCW changed command structure and he lost his supposed million dollar contract with them.  Whoops.  ​So he got triple fucked and ended up signing with WCW for WAY less in August when his non-compete ended.  

​So basically, yes, the Macho-Jake feud was supposed to go longer and pay off bigger, but they felt it was more important to get the belt onto Savage and Jake was disposable.  Which, as it turns out, he was.  ​

Ambrose vs Rollins Feud

Hey Scott, I wanted to get your thoughts on the current Ambrose vs Rollins feud.  To me it's one of the best booked angles in a long time.  It is so simple too.  Rollins turns on Ambrose and Ambrose wants revenge.  It feels like a legit blood/hate feud and it is so refreshing to see such a seriously booked angle.  Look no further than Ambrose's run ins during Rollins' matches.  He's in his street clothes and he doesn't wait for his music to cue(I always thought that was stupid.  If you want to sneak attack someone, why would you want your music to play in the arena?), it's little things like that, that have me enjoying this angle so much.  This actually frustrates me a little cause I have been watching this and I'm wondering why can't they book more angles like this.  Like you said, they know how to book someone strong(Reigns) and they know how to book a solid angle(like this one) but they just choose not too.  Your thoughts?  

​Well Ambrose is certainly a guy who gets it, although I still don't understand the reasoning behind just breaking up the Shield and then trying to retroactively create storylines for the guys later.  Now hopefully they don't beat the feud into the ground like they usually do.  I think Ambrose seems different because he was allowed to develop on his own before coming into the WWE system, and takes his influences from guys like Dick Slater and Jake Roberts, who weren't part of the modern system either.  Sometimes different is good.  ​

Cena/Wyatt Feud

I was pretty high on WWE's direction going into and after Wrestlemania, (as, I believe, we all were) but the Cena/Wyatt feud has been really bugging me over the past few weeks.
Let's recap, shall we?

1. Bray costs Cena the title at the Rumble. Cena hardly reacts and does not seem upset.

2. Cena forgets about Bray completely and Bray goes off to kick ass with the Shield. Then, Bray costs Cena the Elimination Chamber match. 

3. In accepting Bray's challenge on Raw, Cena berates him and undermines his gimmick.

4. Leading up to the PPV, Cena beats all of Bray's followers while Bray says he'll break Cena's spirit.

5. At Mania, Cena beats Bray clean. Also, Cole said that if Cena won, Bray would be proven a false prophet, therefore undermining his gimmick more. (To be fair, on Raw the next night, Cole said Bray had "arrived at Mania," which is Cole for "Had his very protected finisher kicked out of and had all of his threats proven null and void, but had a sweet ass jacket.")

6. Two weeks after Mania, (after apparently this feud must continue, although what Cena has left to prove is beyond me) Cena makes fun of Bray's gimmick and weight.

7. The week after, Cena was about to single-handedly beat the Wyatt Family when they got themselves DQ'd. After a beat down, Bray sang his now less over song, apparently proving that he has a chance to win the match that will mean little after the big Mania loss.

Am I missing anything? I know they're high on Bray, but the booking has been very inspired, to say the least.

​Yup, welcome to the 2014 version of getting a huge push.  ​Not to mention the ridiculous notion that Cena is the one who needs the cage match to protect him from the Wyatts, when he already beat Bray in the first place.  Plus clearly the Wyatt Family is still going to interfere despite the cage stipulation, so why not do a different stip or just have Cena get two partners and do a six-man?  

Inside Scott’s (in)Box 3: Feud Blow Offs That Never Were.

Scott,

What do you think are some of the best/worst feuds that never got a proper blow-off?  I will start the bidding with Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (’97/’98)

I’ll see that bid and raise you Bret Hart vs. Tatanka  for least Native American person who talks like a Native American person. Seriously! Watch an interview with the guy!

If we’re being serious, I guess I’d imagine the NWO stuff in WCW is a big one. That just sort of petered out, right? It never had a big blow-off where WCW won?

A REAL Vince Vs. Eric Vs. Heyman feud
I think Eric Bischoff  vs. Vince was money waiting to happen but never really materialized in the proper way, though there was the “announce table near the entrance ramp” era.The ECW Reboot seemed like a great opportunity, but save for a shoot promo or two, it seemed that Vince – a guy happy to get his REAL ass kicked, was insecure about letting his precious WWE appear weak or vulnerable – perhaps due to possible stock implications.

Bret vs. Vince
Also not to turn this into a make fun of Bret Hart thread, but I really, really, really, really, really, really, fucking really, hated Bret vs. Vince at Wrestlemania. I may have told this story before but everyone I talked to that weekend was stoked for that match, based primarily on what Shawn was able to do in his ‘big return’ at Summer Slam. Bret was obviously going to be limited, but I guess I, and people not ‘in the know’, held out a sliver of hope that maybe Bret had a little magic left, but he didn’t. Bummer.

CM Punk vs. Mick Foley

I think Scott made a point about this one. They delivered a super heated segment, despite them not actually feuding and there being zero chance of them wrestling. It could have been a *great* match, and I bet Foley could have done some innovative ‘PG’ safe things, but as it stands all I remember is the awesome segment. I can’t even remember the PPV they were going for.


Show/hide

Potential Cena-Bryan feud

So…

It seems to me that the groundwork is being laid – intentionally or otherwise – for a Cena-Bryan feud, with Bryan as the quasi-heel (although he'd undoubtedly have a lot of fan support). The motivation for Bryan is just about perfect: why does Cena get a free pass from The Authority – thrown into a title match before he's set foot in the ring following injury – but Bryan keeps getting screwed over at every turn because he's not "Good for Business?" Never mind the fact that he beat Cena clean as a sheet in the middle of the ring. Cena, meanwhile, has a perfect defense: he chose to defend the title against Bryan at Summerslam, and when you go all the way back to it, he's the one who brought Bryan back into the company after the Nexus kicked him aside (or if you want to go for extra realism, after he got fired). It could even work with both of them winning their matches on Sunday to make it a title unification feud, although I doubt they'd go there since multiple belts means multiple toy belts to sell to kids (which, of course, is Good For Business). 

So, you think they'd go in this direction? Or do you think they wouldn't want to cut off sales of "Yes! Yes! Yes!" shirts by making Bryan a quasi-heel?

Oh, and by the way, the NY Islanders' "Loudville" fans (college kids who get access to cheap seats an hour before the game) have started doing the "Yes!" chant after the Islanders score. You think they'll have the good sense to do something with that when Raw's at the Coliseum next month?

I think you're overlooking the most obvious and lame and thus most likely reasoning behind a Bryan-Cena title feud:  The Bellas.  It's a Bella in every corner!  

Defining moments of a feud

Hello
 
What would you say was the definining moment or match of the following feuds?
 
1. Ric Flair vs Dusty Rhodes
2. Midnight Express vs R and R Express
3. Hulk Hogan vs Randy Savage
4. Steve Austin vs Vince MacMahon
5. Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart
6. John Cena vs Edge
7. Hulk Hogan vs Sting
 
and
 
8.  CM punk vs John Cena
 
Thanks

 

1.  The PPV debut of the Dusty Finish at Starrcade 85.
2.  No real "defining" one, I'd say.
3.  The backstage brawl on The Main Event that turned Savage into the biggest star in the world for a while.
4.  The Tyson brawl in February of 98 or Over the Edge with the Vince as referee gig.
5.  Bret does the first 20 minute interview on RAW from a wheelchair, goes way long, Shawn superkicks him and throws a fit backstage.  
6.  Edge wins the title, ratings go way up, he drops the belt back to Cena at the Rumble because HHH.  
7.  Sting rappelling down from the ceiling to challenge him at Starrcade.  It was all downhill from there.
8.  MITB, duh.

This Feud MUST Continue!

So obviously, the landscape has been littered with angles and feuds that went on for far too long. Cena/Orton, Kofi/Dolph, Ross/Rachel…but I wanted to ask: A) what great angles were the perfect length? For me, that was Batista and HHH; first, the slow six-month build to Wrestlemania, where they had small hints of Batista being disenchanted with HHH, then brief bouts of rebellion (“Now YOU are starting to piss me off!”), then the awesome thumbs-up, thumbs-down contract signing. And even with the shitty WM21 and Backlash matches, they had an AWESOME Cell blow-off that cemented Batista as a legit star. Perfect story arc that created a new main eventer in a great slow burn fashion (instead of deciding to do it out of nowhere just ’cause a la Miz). B) what potentially great angles did you wish panned out longer? The easy one for me is CM Punk winning the title in 2011. I agreed with bringing him back for Summerslam and not having him off TV for too long lest the momentum be lost, but the correct feud after that would’ve been sticking with the one that turned him money: Punk vs. the WWE itself, not Punk vs. The Kliq once HHH wanted some of that momentum, because HHH ON TOP, JACK, IS WHAT’S BEST FOR *THIS* BUSINESS! Also, Rated RKO had great potential. Def. interested to see how you and the Commentators of DOOM! respond.

1)  I think Hogan-Orndorff was just the right amount of time.  Orndorff turned and they did the giant gate in Toronto to kick it off, then ran for a few months of house shows with the Orndorff by DQ finishes, then did all the return shows with the Hogan going over finishes, then let it cool for a bit before finishing it off on SNME once and for all.  They generally got 2 or 3 HUGE houses out of each town, and then when it hit the logical end, they ended it and Hogan moved onto the Andre feud.  Nice and neat.  2)  Sticking with the old school motif, I think hindsight absolutely says that they should have done a fuck finish at Wrestlemania V and stretched out the Hogan-Savage title change to Summerslam.  Savage was insanely hot as a heel and was drawing even bigger than he was as a babyface, and there’s no telling how high he could have gone after screwing Hogan out of his “rightful” title and forcing a chase all summer.  Yeah, the Hulkamaniacs would have been pissed off, but fuck them for cheering for Hogan and fuck the high rollers who were comped into Trump Plaza and sat on their hands for the whole show. They didn’t deserve Savage’s greatness in 1989 anyway.

Larry/Bruno: How That Feud Saved the WWF(?)

I know you usually don't field questions from the pre-WWF expansion era. But hopefully you can reach back and dig something up, If not, I'd like to hear you riff on this…


I saw a Kayfabe Commentaries preview with Larry Zbyszko talking about 1980 WWF. This was the year he turned on Bruno Sammartino and they had a major feud that lasted most of that year. From what I gathered is, Larry Z is claiming the WWF was on the verge of bankruptcy, his feud with Bruno saved the company, he should have been given a run with the WWF title because Backlund wasn't drawing and he left the Northeast after disputing money with Vince McMahon Sr.I don't want to understate the Larry-Bruno feud because it was a big deal, Zbyszko had nuclear heat and Backlund was pretty much pushed in the background because of it, which of course hurt his drawing power as champion.

But how much of this is really true? Was the WWF in that kind of financial straits heading into 1980? Was there a plan to put the title on Zbyszko? I had heard years ago that Zbyszko was suppose to turn face after the Sammartino feud (as evidenced by raising Bruno's hand after he lost the blowoff cage match at Shea Stadium). And the fact Zbyszko never went back to the WWF/WWE even when the territories went belly up and companies were going under just adds to the mystery.

What do you got?

OK, here's what I know about the Larry-Bruno situation, which is very limited because all the stuff I have from that time is very kayfabe-y and the Observer didn't start up in the form we know it until the mid-80s. So this is all stuff I've cobbled together from Meltzer's radio shows and Karl Stern and such.  
Basically, yes, there was a rough plan to catapult Zbyszko from the Bruno feud into the WWF World title, and in fact I've also heard separate talk that the plan was for Bruno to get a third long run with the belt himself, so you could probably do some associative property math and speculate that Backlund would drop the belt to Larry in 81ish, then Bruno would win it from Larry for his big blowoff victory and last World title (remember, he didn't actually pin Larry in the cage match, so it wasn't definitive by the standards of the time).  However, Bruno and Larry were really tight in real life, and once Bruno started having problems with the WWF, he allegedly got into Larry's ear and convinced him that he shouldn't concede to the booking plans so easily.  So after the cage match at Shea, Vince Sr would pitch programs for Larry where he'd do the job, and Larry would be like "Oh, well, I main evented Shea Stadium with Bruno, so if you're asking me to job to his schmuck then you're basically asking Bruno to do the job."  And then of course things got nasty and Bruno left, which left Larry without his leverage and he quickly bailed on them as well and in fact never came back.  So obviously there was some BAD blood in the split, since you're think Bruno's return would have opened the door for him in 85, or even when the WCW buyout happened. 
As for the bankruptcy, doubtful.  They were still selling out MSG every month even with Howdy Doody on top for six years, so things couldn't have been particularly bad.  Not to mention Graham was a hell of a draw on top before that for a year.  

… and this feud MUST CONTINUE

Like a lot of your readers, I have noticed an annoying trend in wrestling and that is the lack of blowoff/payoffs to feuds.  It seems like feuds just keep going with no end in site.  You of course always point it out with your 'so this feud MUST CONTINUE'  For example, Cody Rhodes made fun of the Big Show for always losing at Mania.  Then Show beats him at Mania to win the IC title to finally have his moment in what should have been the perfect blowoff.  But then the feud continued for like another month. 

Right now Randy Orton has beaten Del Rio so many times, they had a great falls count anywhere match on Smackdown that seemed perfect to end the feud(3 weeks ago!) and yet, it's still going. 
One of the main reasons to buy the PPVs is to see the blowoff of a feud.  Well, why should I pay money when I know that is NOT happening?  It never happens anymore. It happens when creative gets bored and just ends it with no explanation and moves the guys onto something else.  Plus with the WWE's obsession with 50/50 booking, even if they do a great finish on a PPV, I'll just assume the guy who lost will just get his win back the next night on RAW.  It makes it really hard to get invested in the angle or storyline. 
I know you notice this, but why do they do this?  Why can't they just satisfyingly end feuds anymore.  I mean must they always, as you say, 'MUST CONTINUE'?

Because as you noted,they're obsessed with 50/50 booking, and they have precious, precious TV time to fill so what better way than with REMATCHES.  Why invest the time in creating new feuds when you can have one guy invoke his "rematch clause" and do the same match again the next month?  Plus there's an awesome video package to go with it because they just had a match together!  They'll make MILLIONS!  Well, with Rock-Cena they really will make millions, but otherwise I'm just being sarcastic.

Bret/Owen feud

One thing I've always wondered about-During the Bret/Owen program,after Owen IIRC got a rollup pinfall win in the first encounter,why did he then lose the next 4000 rematches? I mean,I was like 14 and did not have the net or read the sheets so I was still basically a mark,but obviously I knew the matches were fixed and I never understood why you would just want to absolutely bury the guy the way they did with Owen. He lost regular matches,cage matches,tag matches,he basically became "that guy who gets pinned by Bret Hart." Even if they felt he couldn't draw as champ (probably true) why not have him lose to Bret once or twice and move on to a new program (maybe IC title) instead of having his heat just totally extinguished.

It's pretty standard operating procedure, or at least it used to be.  Owen got hot after beating Bret at Wrestlemania but wasn't going to be a long-term main eventer, so they milked the feud for everything it was worth and then discarded Owen back to the midcard.  That's what happened with Hogan's challengers all the time in the 80s.  Plus Owen was basically on the verge of getting fired and retiring from the business in late 93 when they came up with the program anyway, so it's not like he was in any worse of a position than he was going to be if they didn't do it.  

Best Feud Ever?

Sting and Ric Flair had what could charitably be called a match on the
last Impact show.  To my knowledge, they are the only two guys to
wrestle each other in a major promotion (if the AWA in it’s death
throws was still a "major organization", then TNA deserves that title
too!) in four different decades.  Does it deserve to be known as the
greatest wrestling feud of all time?

Ninja please.  There’s been far more epic and fruitful long-term feuds in wrestling over the years.  Such as: – Paul Heyman v. His Creditors – Vince McMahon v. Sanity – Kevin Nash v. Grey Hair – HHH v. that cart on Monday OK, that’s all my joke answers for now.  Anyway, the Sting-Flair feud was pretty great up until 2001.  Actually I think about the 1995 Flair turn way too much, because I hated it so much back then but it was kind of secretly brilliant.  I think that Hogan v. Flair is another contender because they were mostly incapable of having a bad match together and some were even really good, plus it played out over 20 years as well.  Probably Undertaker v. Kane too. 

Best Feud Ever?

Sting and Ric Flair had what could charitably be called a match on the
last Impact show.  To my knowledge, they are the only two guys to
wrestle each other in a major promotion (if the AWA in it’s death
throws was still a "major organization", then TNA deserves that title
too!) in four different decades.  Does it deserve to be known as the
greatest wrestling feud of all time?

Ninja please.  There’s been far more epic and fruitful long-term feuds in wrestling over the years.  Such as: – Paul Heyman v. His Creditors – Vince McMahon v. Sanity – Kevin Nash v. Grey Hair – HHH v. that cart on Monday OK, that’s all my joke answers for now.  Anyway, the Sting-Flair feud was pretty great up until 2001.  Actually I think about the 1995 Flair turn way too much, because I hated it so much back then but it was kind of secretly brilliant.  I think that Hogan v. Flair is another contender because they were mostly incapable of having a bad match together and some were even really good, plus it played out over 20 years as well.  Probably Undertaker v. Kane too.