Good Heat

The topic about match results that had people legitimately pissed made me think of the opposite: match results where you were marking out. I'm not talking like "Oh, yeah good for him he won the World Title." I'm talking where you jump off your couch screaming with joy.

A few for me would be Punk walking out of MitB 2011 with the WWE Title, Eddie Guerrero beating Brock Lesnar, and Edge's MitB cash-in on John Cena

In the words of Caliber, how say you?

Steven Richards tapping out HHH at Wrestlemania XX, Dolph Ziggler cashing in on Del Rio, Piper smashing the fuck out of the Flower Shop with a baseball bat while on one leg, Ultimate Warrior squashing Honky Tonk Man at Summerslam, Randy Savage winning his first World title at Wrestlemania IV, Rick Steiner beating Mike Rotundo for the TV title at Starrcade, The Brainbusters winning the tag titles from Demolition (I was an NWA Guy and that was practically a Crockett takeover) and of course Warrior beating Hogan.  Many more, but that's off the top of my head.  

Breaking Good Chemistry?

Credit goes to cabspaintedyellow [what’s the meaning behind this name, btw?] for the idea on this post.

But who are two people who had fantastic chemistry that really had absolutely no right to?

Most recently I’d have to say Henry vs Big Show. I mean, who wasn’t just absolutely dreading those matches?

Also, I wouldn’t say that Cena & Punk had no right to great chemistry, but who thought they’d end up amongst the greatest of all time. They’re in Flair/Steamboat territory if you ask me. Hell, they were the only good thing about The Hangover III.

Steiner vs Goldberg from Fall Brawl 2000, and their following cage match on Nitro fit in as well. I mean, you wouldn’t expect these two to have good matches with anyone, let alone each other.

Good workers, lame finishers

As a follow up to the finishers post- what about good workers that have lame finishers?  This doesn't apply to stiffs that are limited with their abilities.   For example – Kurt Angle was an awesome worker and the best he has is an angle slam (looks like a transition move) and an ankle lock (effective in a legit fight but not exactly visually stunning). Or HBK with all of his ability uses a finisher where he kicks someone in the face?  

Would be interesting to hear thought on this or if there and any other obvious examples.

Wait, what?  The anklelock isn't completely BADASS?   In what universe?  

I always thought Ricky Steamboat needed a better finish than the bodypress.  Jericho's codebreaker was a MAJOR improvement over the Walls of Jericho and IMO was one of the things that allowed him to become a legit main event guy late in his career.  I still think Punk needs something better than the GTS, like something more quick and impactful.  Maybe he should switch to the high kick full-time or something, I dunno.  

Book Review: “It’s Good to Be the King…Sometimes.”

Jerry Lawler has certainly experienced a lifetime in the last seven months. It was an absolutely surreal moment when “The King” suffered a near fatal heart attack on air at the September 10, 2012 Raw. He defied the odds, pulled down the strap, and made a remarkable recovery. With all those fuzzy feelings fostering inside me for the King, I felt I would be inclined to give Jerry Lawler’s biography a good rating, figured I would enjoy the book and the remarkable journey of a remarkable wrestler and personality.

I was wrong.

“It’s Good to Be the King…Sometimes” is probably one of the worst volumes the WWE has published….and that covers a lot of ground…which, trust me, you are going to see in my next few reviews. It just seems impossible that a wrestler as renown and decorated as Jerry Lawler would have anything but a spectacular biography. I am saddened to report that this is not the case.

This is going to be a bit of a different review, as I just cannot bring myself to recap the career of the man. The big reason is that Lawler does a spectacularly shitty job himself in the book. Instead, I will try to hit on some of the main points and narratives offered in the book.

Lawler grew up in a fairly nondescript middle class home that moved from Memphis to Cleveland and back to Memphis again all while Jerry was still a child. Young Jerry Lawler was not a model student, except for one exceptional skill: art. Lawler is an incredible artist, which is shown throughout the book in the form of some of his illustrations. Unfortunately, these are the best written parts of the book.

Jerry’s wrestling career began in a most unorthodox way. As a youngster, he would send some of his drawings to the offices of Memphis wrestling, and to the young man’s shock, announcer Lance Russell actually displayed some of Lawler’s work on the air. Memphis wrestling legend Jackie Fargo was impressed by these illustrations, and invited the impressionable artist to help decorate a club he owned in town. From there, Jerry Lawler would never look back, as he was now neck deep into the wrestling industry.

Lawler was not exactly a womanizer in school, but once he had that first taste…forget about it. His first girlfriend became pregnant when Jerry was just beginning to engage in the mat wars, and he became a father at 21…and again 10 months later. Quite the fertile couple. One of those offspring was Brian “Grandmaster Sexay” Christopher (Lawler). Jerry was not exactly thrilled by this, but he married the girl, and made an absolutely unfathomable decision at such a young age: he got a vasectomy.

While Jerry was married, this did not stop his young, budding, womanizing ways, and he makes no bones about it in the book. He makes some veiled references to marital infidelities early on, but nothing too much in detail. Just keep that in mind for later.

Lawler was basically a sensation in Memphis, which led to a feud with his childhood idol Jackie Fargo. Lawler made an off the cuff remark about Fargo being the “King” of Memphis wrestling, and when Lawler defeated Fargo in a highly publicized match, Jerry Lawler became Jerry “The King” Lawler.

There is a rather funny story about Jerry’s crown early on in the book. One night he forgot his crown somewhere, and another wrestler who was using a “King” gimmick offered the use of his to Jerry. This wrestler died in a plane crash the next week. This happened again down the road, only the wrestler lending the crown this time died in a horrific auto accident. Since then, Jerry has always made sure to have his own crown at all times, lest the “Curse of the Crown” rear its ugly head again and kill another wrestler.

Now, while the stuff about his early career is excellent and pretty detailed, the rest of the book just falls off a cliff from here. The only exception are the chapters on Andy Kaufman. I hope to GOD people reading this know who Andy Kaufman was, and his importance in pro wrestling. I will assume you do, and spare all the details. Jerry did not want to break kayfabe or tarnish the legacy he had with Kaufman, but seeing the book was published in 2002, post “Man on the Moon” , Jerry offers his insight to the whole thing. It was a total work, but Andy was a very enigmatic person (fuck Jeff Hardy). The matches in Memphis were one thing: scripted to a degree, with some leeway. But the David Letterman appearance was something different altogether. Lawler was in the dark on what Andy was EXACTLY going to do, only having a very broad, general idea of what was supposed to occur. The coffee throwing? The slap? All improvised, left to Jerry to figure out what the enigma Kaufman wanted. And if you watch that today, it is still a tremendous piece of business, as Letterman is practically wetting himself as all of this occurs. The matches at the Mid South Coliseum drew big time sellouts and made Lawler much dinero (as he and Jerry Jarrett had basically taken over the territory by strong arming Nick Gulas out of the area when he tried to push his untalented son George past the bounds of all sanity), and Kaufman never once demanded any money from the King. Lawler gave him checks, but they were never cashed. It proved to be kind of a bittersweet swan song for Kaufman, for he died shortly after from lung cancer. As a quick aside, that the WWE Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame does NOT have Andy Kaufman in it is a joke. OK, I know the WWE Hall of Fame IS a joke, but no celebrity has EVER had the impact and the passion for the business as Andy Kaufman did. Bar none.

Now, Lawler basically skips over most of his great eighties stuff. He gleans over the Von Erich/Hennig/AWA stuff in like two paragraphs, which is a goddamned shame. He doesn’t mention the money distribution problem with Gagne over WrestleClash. He barely talks about Hogan in Memphis. I mean, he just basically jumps from Kaufman right to the WWF. And even here its choppy.

One item Lawler does clear up is the rumor of someone, upon his entry to WWF, shitting in his crown. He confirms it, but has no idea who it was.

So Lawler enters McMahon Land. He is programmed with Bret Hart following King of the Ring 1993. Lawler seems to suffer from selective memory, as he mentions the King of the Ring beatdown on Hart at the coronation ceremony….and then jumps to the Kiss My Foot Match two years later. No mention of SummerSlam 1993, no mention of the buildup to Survivor Series 1993 in BOSTON, and CERTAINLY no mention of the rape charge that was dropped but kept him out of said Survivor Series. Not even his return at WrestleMania X (which, as a young 13 year old fan back then, I was PISSED when Lawler showed up there. Sign of a good heel). Nope, none of that…straight to the Kiss My Foot match, with a quick backpedal to the Piper match at KOTR 1994, which Lawler says is the stiffest he has ever been involved in.

Here is where the train jumps off the rails. Lawler doesn’t go too in depth about his WWE run, besides his respect for Jim Ross. Expecting witty banter about Vince McMahon, particularly the whole “McMemphis” storyline? Not there. I am going to skip over a bit of the stuff Lawler prints, and get to the nitty gritty of this book.

Lawler has never done drugs, and has never drank. That is admirable in an industry where those two vices seem to run rampant. Lawler himself states in the book that he has one vice: Sex. The Lawler you may remember during the Attitude Era, carping on and on and ON about the Divas and their “Puppies?” THAT is a shoot. Lawler is a depraved sex addict, and if you need further proof, well, this book is for you. Lawler was married twice before coming to WWE, and even while married, his sexaul dalliances were almost deviant and depraved. This guy is a fucking sicko. He has a whole chapter devoted to some of his printable sexual exploits and the divas, past and present, that he would like to fornicate with. It is absolutely unreal how fucked up Lawler is in this fashion. Keep in mind, many of these dalliances occurred when he was married. He talks of a time he got a blowjob in the back of a limo from two ring rats, and when they left the limo, the voyeur limo driver, sweat dripping off of his brow, turns to the king and says…and i basically quote from the book…”Mista Lawla..you da man…those bitches be slurpin you fo an houa…you is tha King.” Witty repartee there. Lawler talks about wanting to bang Sunny, Missy Hyatt (he didn’t…is he the only one who hasn’t?) and Terri Runnells. He married Stacy Carter…who might I add, was pretty damn hot in her WWE run…and life seemed good. To quote Mel Brooks, “Its Good to be the king.”

Then No Way Out 2001 happened. For my money, that is the greatest non Wrestlemania PPV the WWE has ever produced. Every match had something, and stars abound, particularly the three stages of hell HHH-Austin match. On that PPV, Steven Richards defeated Jerry Lawler in a match that if Lawler had won, his wife, The Kat, would have gotten naked that night. The RTC (Right to Censor) abducted Kat, and she was never heard from again on WWE TV. The next night, Vince fired Kat…for reasons never known. Maybe it was the fact that her only marketable skill was the possibility of nudity (see Armageddon 1999). Maybe because she was long time good employee Lawler’s wife. Whatever the case may be, she was shitcanned, and Jerry Lawler made the worst possible decision of his life: he walked away from WWE with his wife.

To be truthful, King did as much as he could with his trophy wife, fulfilling as many bookings as the independents would give them. But Stacy, who, Jerry says, was not a girl looking for publicity, didn’t HAVE enough publicity anymore. She wanted a divorce, and started cheating on King.

OK, here is where the book gets ridiculous. Jerry Lawler, bastion of great marriage and fidelity, the beacon of what very young blonde bimbo should aspire for, a man who has rampantly cheated on every “soul” partner he has ever had…is DEVASTATED by Stacy Carter’s marital betrayal. Its comical. Lawler sounds like a teenager scorned in describing the breakup, and it is absolutely pathetic. But it only gets worse. Stacy leaves him, and Lawler is desperate for young pussy, but now he is 51 years old and off of TV, so his tastes far exceed what reality is about to deal him. He has his agent put out a search for young nubile women to “accompany” him to the ring in his matches and accompany him outside of the ring. Basically, he has his agent set up a fucking Beaver Hunt. It is so lame and pathetic. Dude, you are a man who has been a public figure, famous for years. GO TO A FUCKING BAR OR CLUB. Use your wit, your chops, your pick up lines….anything is preferable to this farce. Christ…it is pathetic.

Believe it or not…THAT is basically where the book ends. You get a quick paragraph on him returning to WWE after Survivor Series 2001, where he took over for Paul Heyman (who was far superior in that color role…may I add). In that instance, as he says, it was good to be the king.

All in all, this is one of the WORST books I have ever read by a wrestler. Jerry Lawler has won more titles than anyone EVER in the industry and has experienced both the highs and lows that go with it. Instead, this book devolves into a bad version of “Desperate Letters to Penthouse.” If you want to read into the demise of an all time great, read this book. Otherwise, I will let this quote do the talking:

“It was the first time I had seen Chyna since she left the WWE and we sat down and talked about what went wrong for the both of us. She told me what happened between her and Triple H (and Steph) and I talked about what happened between Stacy and me. We wound up crying and hugging eachother, but she seemed to be stronger and in better shape emotionally than I was.”

No wonder he has been a shell of his former self for 10+ years….

WWE Lists Top 50 Villains and Good Guys in Wrestling History

Source – Villains

Source – Good Guys

These might be old but it’s the first I’ve heard of them.

Villains:

  1. Roddy Piper
  2. Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen
  3. Mr. McMahon
  4. Ted DiBiase
  5. Hollywood Hogan
  6. HHH
  7. Superstar Billy Graham
  8. Bobby Heenan
  9. Gorgeous George
  10. Jake Roberts
  11. Rick Rude
  12. JBL
  13. The Fabulous Freebirds
  14. The Original Sheik
  15. Chris Jericho
  16. Sherri Martel
  17. Mr. Perfect
  18. Killer Kowalski
  19. Jim Cornette
  20. Edge
  21. Freddie Blassie
  22. Undertaker
  23. Sgt. Slaughter
  24. Harley Race
  25. Vader
  26. Nick Bockwinkel
  27. Paul Orndorff
  28. Fabulous Moolah
  29. Raven
  30. Jerry Lawler
  31. Kevin Sullivan
  32. Randy Orton
  33. Terry Funk
  34. Abdullah the Butcher
  35. Paul Heyman
  36. Ivan Koloff
  37. Ernie Ladd
  38. CM Punk
  39. Dudley Boyz
  40. Don Muraco
  41. Kane
  42. Brock Lesnar
  43. Eddie Guerrero
  44. Eric Bischoff
  45. Andre the Giant
  46. Iron Sheik
  47. Mark Henry
  48. Vickie Guerrero
  49. Randy Savage
  50. Batista

Good guys:

  1. Bruno Sammartino
  2. Hulk Hogan
  3. Steve Austin
  4. John Cena
  5. Sting
  6. Bret Hart
  7. Dusty Rhodes
  8. The Rock
  9. Ricky Steamboat
  10. Rey Mysterio
  11. The Von Erichs
  12. Undertaker
  13. Junkyard Dog
  14. Rock and Roll Express
  15. Andre the Giant
  16. Jeff Hardy
  17. Ultimate Warrior
  18. Magnum TA
  19. Randy Savage
  20. Mankind
  21. Goldberg
  22. Jimmy Snuka
  23. The Crusher and the Bruiser
  24. Shawn Michaels
  25. Bobo Brazil
  26. Road Warriors
  27. Mil Mascaras
  28. Bob Backlund
  29. Jim Duggan
  30. Jack Brisco
  31. Chief Jay Strongbow
  32. Rob Van Dam
  33. Verne Gagne
  34. Tito Santana
  35. Jerry Lawler
  36. Mr. Wrestling II
  37. Antonino Rocca
  38. Eddie Guerrero
  39. Wahoo McDaniel
  40. Lex Luger
  41. Tommy Rich
  42. Ivan Putski
  43. Kofi Kingston
  44. Pedro Morales
  45. Tommy Dreamer
  46. Danny Hodge
  47. Trish Stratus
  48. Bob Armstrong
  49. Rocky Johnson
  50. Diamond Dallas Page

It’s hard to argue with either top five (although I could see Steamboat being a top five good guy ever.  Same with Mysterio), but some of the lower lists are bizarre.  For one thing, where are Jimmy Hart and Shawn Michaels as villains/ Also, Harley Race at #24 and freaking JBL at #12?  Ridiculous.  The top five villains are about as accurate as you’re going to get though.

Good Looking wrestlers

Hey Scott,


Is it just me or did you notice the WWE is hiring a lot more good looking people?  There are tumblr sites dedicated to how hot Roman Reigns and Bo Dallas are.  And Brad Maddox looks like he could be a model.  Eric Bischoff's Matrats promotion was 10 years ahead of its time.


What the fuck happened to Bo Dallas, anyway?  One week he's engaged in a feud with Wade Barrett and the next he's wiped from existence.  For that matter, what happened to the Wade-Sheamus feud?  They were fighting over movie trailers for weeks and then POOF, dropped out of nowhere.  

Anyway, it's not just you.  WWE is absolutely hiring people who look like male models and trying to train them as wrestlers, and it's a practice that has been going on for years now.  Frankly I'm shocked that Dolph Ziggler, someone who is both a wrestling nerd and a legitimate athlete, got past their strenuous screening process in the first place.  Honestly, for as cosmetically centered as the 80s were with the steroids and steroids and steroids and stuff, this most recent era, The Botox Era if you will, has been very focused on guys with The Look.  

What makes a good heel?

So I’ve debated this with several people and would like to get your thoughts.  What makes a good heel?  Is it as simple as pissing people off?  Time and time again I hear people say how great Vicki Guerrero is.  However, there is nobody that makes me hit fast forward on the DVR quicker.  I suppose you could call it X-Pac heat.  Is that bad, or is the only thing important that you get a negative reaction?

 In my opinion a good heel is someone that makes you want to pay money to see them get their ass kicked.  With Vicki, you don’t have this except on occasions where she feuds with a diva.  If she is harassing a male wrestler, it is pointless, especially with no male on female violence allowed.  So you are left with things like having her dance like Elaine.  Then we have the “Cool” heel.  I would say Hall and Nash were the epitome of this.  You can’t say people didn’t pay money to see them.  However, in the long run they ended up making WCW look like losers.  That leads me to my second point, a good heel makes themselves look bad to make their opponent come out more popular.  I’ve heard it referred to as Showing Ass.  Hall and Nash would lose to Lugar and Sting or the Steiners, but they never made themselves look bad.  The next night they would come out like it was no big deal.  Compare this to the Brain getting put in a weasel suit and selling it to the point of chasing his tail.  Thoughts?

Vickie has cooled off a LOT.  People boo her reflexively now, but she hasn't added anything to the Dolph Ziggler package for many months and he'd be 1000% better off without her.  Her peak as a heel was obviously the Smackdown GM run with Edge, where she was in an unwarranted position of power and did a really effective job as someone who deserved to be taken down a few pegs.  Now she's just this annoying person who does nothing, which is like the Mr. Fuji managing method.  
And yes, showing some ass is definitely a good thing, although WWE has gone so far over the top with it that no heels can get heat anymore.  Ted Dibiase was probably the best template for what a good upper level heel should be — he talked a big game and looked like a threat to the main guys, but generally lost the big match when it came down to it because he was too arrogant for his own good.  And the loss would upset him so much that he'd plot and scheme against his next babyface opponent.  All good stuff.  
The other alternative is of course the Monster Heel, the guy who never shows ass and keeps winning until one babyface finally is able to stop him, at which point he rockets down the card again so the next guy can have a turn.  If they don't actually ever lose, then it's a Road Warriors situation where fans just turn them babyface, kind of defeating the purpose.  The Monster Heel was of course the status quo during the Hogan era, but it's harder to pull off now because the product features the same few guys in a rotation and they don't want to break from the 50/50 booking patterns to let someone be that kind of dominant guy.  
I think that it's tough to say that there's one "good" kind of heel, just like there's more than one good babyface type.  It's fine to have cool heels, but eventually someone's gotta teach them a lesson.  Obviously that's where Punk is headed.  

Good Match Request

I'm curious about two eras of wrestling, of which I know I little. 
The first is the chunk of the 80s where Dusty Rhodes was a top-tier guy. If I wanted to watch some matches, and I know Rhodes' ringwork wasn't particularly legendary, which should I seek out?
The second chunk is basically TNA pre-2010, when I started watching. I've seen a few of the variations on Samoa Joe v Daniels v Styles, but that's it. What matches with Christian, Raven, Angle, etc. that are worth finding?
Thanks for the help.

I wouldn't say Dusty was ever a "top tier" guy.  He held the World title for about a week total, combined, and other than that it was all Flair, all the time.  There's a million Flair matches from the 80s to recommend, basically close your eyes and pick 20.  The great thing about Flair is that you can plug any opponent in there and get a great match out of it, which is why he was a travelling champion who drew such big money.  
As for TNA, that would have to a project for the readers.  I literally didn't watch any TNA between 2006 and late 2011 because Russo drove me off so completely.  

Why Do Rappers Make Good Actors?

I was 16 years old when some bastards kicked me out of Eminem’s 8 Mile at Taunton’s Silver City Galleria. This was during a particularly nazi-esque regime at the theater, where all under 17 patrons needed to be accompanied by a blood relative in order to enter R-rated movies. I was pretty pissed off at the fuckers, too (having fallen in love with the phrase “pissed off” and “fuckers” after hearing them used so wonderfully on Eminem’s records). Eventually I made my way to a theater in East Bridgewater that cared as much about rules as they did about copious amounts of popcorn butter on the floor, and it was there that I became engrossed in Eminem’s silver screen debut.
The role wasn’t a particular stretch for Mr. Mathers, a white rapper from the ghetto of detroit, who in the movie plays a white rapper in detroit’s ghetto. Probably not the greatest of acting challenges. Still, the fact he wasn’t a complete disaster in the role sparked something in the minds and eyes of Hollywood. Rappers could act!

Rappers have been in movies before, of course. Vanilla Ice was in the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and DJ Pooh starred in the 2001 comedy The Wash. Of course, Vanilla Ice was basically a cameo in TMNT2, and The Wash was a movie targeted to rap fans and stoners who weren’t expecting much beyond seeing their favorite rappers palling around.
The first breakout role for a rapper in a movie (like a real movie, with a plot, and production value and such) was Ice Cube’s turn in Friday.That movie, about attempting to scrounge together 200 dollars to pay a drug dealer – or else – was a vulgar-but-sweet comedy about the largely dead-end lives of two stoners in South Central Los Angeles. It cost about four million dollars to make and ended up grossing 30 million dollars, roughly 1.5 million blunts, domestically. A run-away success.
Friday was successful because it was funny, compelling, and most importantly, authentic. This was a story audiences would buy Ice Cube in. Sure, things get a little crazy toward the end, involving a ghetto beat down using a brick and sub machine guns, but at it’s heart, it was a movie about two kids hanging out on their stoop, trying to figure out what to do with their lives. It spoke to people.
Would the movie be as successful with a different leading man? If Cuba Gooding Jr took over puffing the J for Ice Cube, I doubt the movie would be any worse for the wear. But Ice Cube was an established brand with established street cred. Audiences bought him in the lead role without even thinking about it. In film, this sort of credibility is hard to come by.
Flash forward to 2012, and rappers are everywhere and doing everything. Method and Redman kept up the silly stoner comedy torch aflame with How High (get it?) and Soul Plane. Rapper Common popped up in a few movies including the Steve Carell / Tina Fey action comedy Date Night before making a star turn as NBA-Basketball-player-on-the-mend, Scott McKnight in the romantic comedy Just Wrightopposite Queen Latifah (another rapper turned actress). 50 Cent has been in a number of movies, including the semi-autobiographical (but entirely terrible) Get Rich or Die Trying. And who can forget LL Cool J in “Deep Blue Sea”?
The quality of these movies aside, it’s obvious rappers have taken Hollywood by storm, and have largely done a pretty good job doing it, too. Why? Credibility. In Hip Hop, more than any other genre, your reputation is important. Where you come from, how hard you spit your lyrics, how much they mean, are of paramount importance to having a critically successful record. In the best songs of the 90’s and early 2000’s the lyrics were important and teeming with emotional meaning and showmanship.
This is a form of acting. Sure, Fiddy Cent isn’t going to make anyone cry on his next LP, but when it comes to rapping a great deal of emotion and passion go into making the words. Otherwise it’s just a guy talking, ya know?
In much the same way a 6th grader reading Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” would be horrifying and hilarious, Rappers are careful to take roles that they (and audiences) would be comfortable in. A rapper’s first role isn’t going to be a tour-de-force performance in a David Mamet play. By giving rappers roles that are authentic to their experience (and audiences expectations) it’s less of a risk for producers who take a chance on Hip Hop stars looking to dip their blinged-out toes in the acting waters.
Some rappers have since branched out into unorthodox roles. Method Man has appeared in an episode of ‘The Good Wife’ and Queen Latifah is one one of the more coveted actresses in Hollywood. But the explosion of hip-hop stars has been intriguing, – and profitable – for studios. For audiences? They get a chance to see someone they’ve only heard on the radio display some character and (hopefully) light up the screen.
And for The rappers, well, they get a chance to expand their brand and reach audiences that wouldn’t have heard of them otherwise. Of course, if hip-hop is to be believed, mo’ money mo’ problems. 
Next Time: Why Do Wrestlers Make Crappy Actors? 

Someone from NBC thought it was a good idea to interview the Iron Sheik about the olympics…

http://www.nbcolympics.com/news-blogs/blog=olympic-talk/post/iron-sheik-talks-team-usa-wrestling-london-olympics-2012.html This will be fun for everyone. You can play mad libs with all the deleted expletives.

I’m shocked he didn’t mention his fake experiences in the Olympics in 68 or 72 or whatever year he’s remembering this week.  Or maybe he did and we couldn’t tell, who knows. 

Was Bruno actually any good?


Hey Scott,
So the recent stories about Bruno latest Hall of Fame invitation-slash-rejection has me wondering: was Bruno Sammartino actually any good? Obviously I don't mean in terms of popularity or drawing ability, as he was one of the biggest money makers of all-time. And in terms of actual real life tough guy ability, the stories I've heard is that he could legit hold his own if needbe. But what about match quality? How was his WORKRATE??? Were Bruno matches entertaining in a way that modern wrestling fans could get into, or were they all slow kicky-punchy affairs? Was Bruno more Ric Flair or a slower Hulk Hogan? Just curious if you have any first hand experience having watched his old footage, or if there is any critical consensus (i.e. Dave) out there.
Thanks!

It was obviously a different time and style, but no, Bruno would not be what you'd normally consider a great worker.  He knew the right time to do his comebacks and how much offense to give the heel and all the technical side of things, but he wasn't Bob Backlund out there or anything.  But hey, he was champion for a decade, it's not like he needed to be.  

GI Joe pushed back to March 2013 – Good news for WM?

Call this one a win for the WWE since now they can just hop onboard Paramount's advertising bandwagon to further push the Rock's WM appearance.

Just over a month before its original premiere date of June 29, Paramount Pictures has pushed G.I. Joe: Retaliation to March 29, 2013, in order to convert the film into 3-D.
http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/05/23/g-i-joe-retaliation-pushed-2013/

Yeah, although generally when a movie has trailers all over for a summer release and then suddenly gets pushed back to the next year, there's more than a 3D conversion going on.  It's not like it would be difficult to top the quality of the first one, so this doesn't bode well for the film.  That being said, definitely great timing to have Rock in the main event of Wrestlemania again.  Maybe John Cena can play The Marine and they can have a HOLLYWOOD SHOWDOWN where they do battle in character.  They'll make MILLIONS!

Good Times, We Got ‘Em

Hey Scott,Johnathan1988 from the boards
I keep reading about different "boom" periods in WWE, or times when business was bad, but different sources seem to give different information on which time-frames WWE was successful in (ratings, buyrates, attendance), and which periods things weren’t so good in. Seeing as I didn’t really take notice of such things until my conversion to smarkdom in 2001, I write you asking to clear it up.

I start with Hogan beating the Sheik for the belt. WWE was clearly on fire then, highlighted with Hulkamania and Hogan’s huge WM3 win over Andre. Does the fire start to die down a little in 88 and 89, or is it going just as strong up until WM VI in toronto?
Obviously things get cooler from here, but the mid 90s provide a constant source of argument between Bret and Shawn fans. Was Bret’s 94 run doing any good numbers? Was Shawn’s 96 title reign the closest WWE has come to going out of business? And where does Diesel in 95 fit in?
The Attitude Era was the next big boom, but my question is if Austin’s year long-absence (and thus the Rock taking over the top spot) made a difference in the numbers in 2000 compared to 99?
Finally, I heard an interview with Cena where he calls 02-06 "a down time" for ther business. So when does it start picking up again? Wrestlemania 23?
I know this is a convoluted question, but I figured you were a good authority to somewhat set the record straight.

OK, I’m game. 80s:  84-88 was huge, with Hogan-Orndorff in particular making money hand over fist every night for close to a year until they finally managed to burn people out on it.  It was INSANE the kind of houses they were doing after that piledriver.  Savage did really strong business on top as champion, leading to the all-time buyrate champion for a long time at Wrestlemania V.  Business starting dropping rapidly at that point, leading to Warrior’s horrible run on top (fault and causes are another argument, point being, business went south).  You can safely call 89-92ish a pretty big down cycle. The early 90s were a really weird period, and I’m going to play it safe and say it’s hard to categorize who would have done what with the title on top.  Diesel was unquestionably death for business, however, and I don’t think anyone seriously debates that.  As a personal anecdote, Diesel’s reign as champion saw them drop from running the hockey arena in Edmonton to the much, much smaller adjacent building, something that would have been unthinkable to me a few years prior.  Sid on top in 96 was a similar situation.  Bret always drew big numbers as champion internationally, so you pretty much had to keep him on top during that period when they were expanding like that.  Overall, 93-97 was a huge transitional period for the business in general, with Vince shifting his focus from promoting house shows on TV to promoting PPV on TV and finally just promoting TV for the sake of it.  2000 was the most profitable year for the WWF in their history, including today, so Rock must have been doing something right.   Really, by that time Austin wasn’t needed as a draw and HHH and Rock could carry things just fine on their own.  Austin’s peak years, 98-2000, were SOOOOOOO huge that he could have retired and still been comfortably rich for the rest of his life just based on them.  2000 was pretty much the peak of the entire business as far as WWF goes. As for the last one, business picked up specifically with the Batista-HHH main event at Wrestlemania 21.  That’s the show that turned WM from just the biggest PPV of the year into an event in itself.  It’s also the last time they really pulled the trigger and made 2 legitimate new stars (Cena and Batista), both in the same night!  However, outside of WM, PPV has been trending steadily downwards for a long time now, so we’ve been a down cycle for many years.