Inbox Quickies

The inbox just keeps piling up, so let’s see if I can bang off a few questions here before work…

Hey Scott, Read this piece on the dirtsheets, your thoughts?
”For some time, Sami Zayn has been receiving a lot of praise by WWE officials for his in ring work. But now word comes that the promotion wants him to stop climbing the ropes and playing to the crowd as much as he does. Word is that Vince McMahon is not a fan of stars doing that.”

The website you cited omitted Meltzer’s zinger to follow up, as he noted that Vince must have hated drawing millions of dollars when Steve Austin did the same thing.  I don’t know even know what decade Vince is living in these days, to be honest.

WWE sent out a DVD survey listing a bunch of stuff they want to get fans’ opinions on and one of them was a Randy Savage DVD/Blu-Ray with a documentary. What matches would you put on the set (with nothing being recycled from the first Savage DVD)? 

The first DVD was surprisingly good about getting all the major stuff.  It’s getting tough to find unique matches to put on there these days, actually, but I’d throw the Savage-Warrior match from Summerslam 92 on there (is that thing ANYWHERE on DVD besides the Summerslam set?)  and the Flair-Savage title change from 92 as well (the one infamously restarted by Vince, probably I’d put both versions on there for fun).  I’d put the original Savage-Steamboat TV match with the ringbell, maybe a couple of Dibiase matches from 88 (Wrestlefest 88 comes to mind), the crazy Tito Santana brawl from MSG that was on his Coliseum video, the Savage/Adonis v. Bruno/Tito tag match from the cage match video, maybe some WCW stuff that doesn’t suck…there’s probably quite a bit out there still.  Honestly you could pull hours of footage from Coliseum videos and recycle them for new audiences.

Scott, Have you ever heard what WWE had planned in 2011, before CM Punk re-signed and the ‘Summer of Punk’ made him a new top guy?  If Punk was not necessarily in the cards beyond ‘Money in the Bank’, what was supposed to be next in a WWE without Punk?  Was Cena vs. Del Rio the next big program, since ADR had just won the MITB briefcase?  More Cena-HHH?  Cena vs. Nash?  I don’t see any other obvious opponents for Cena from that summer to Wrestlemania, before the Rock-Cena match at Wrestlemania 28.  So, if Punk doesn’t re-sign in 2011, what was in the cards for WWE that year?

You’re basing the question on the premise that Punk’s contract ending was not a work, which is not a valid premise.  They knew he’d be re-signing all along and everything on TV was scripted.

How would you bring the Intercontinental title back to something resembling its former prestige? Is it as simple as jobbing the current IC champ to a big name like Punk, Del Rio or Sheamus and letting them run with the belt for a while? Or can you keep the belt on a rising mid-card talent but book a long-term rehabilitation plan to elevate that wrestler and the title? Personally, I don’t think the IC title needs to be put on an established big name — I like it as a tool to elevate younger mid-card types. So I think you can keep the belt on guys like Langston and Ryback but do more to make their characters and storylines feel important. How would you book it?

Put it on a rising midcard talent and then don’t fucking beat them every week.  Big E really needs to get the belt off Axel because it doesn’t help Axel or the belt, for instance, to be out there jobbing to Punk like Jobby McJobber on TV all the time. 

Hi Scott,
I was wondering if you could tell me if I’m remembering this correctly.  When Ric Flair came back to the WWF after WCW died, was there a period of time when they did their best to not have him cut promos because they didn’t like his mic work?  My brain keeps telling me that this was a thing, but Google isn’t helping me confirm it.

Sounds like something, but the WONs aren’t archived back to that time yet and my print copies are buried somewhere in the basement so I can’t confirm. 

Hi Scott, Why did Vince never run Wrestlemania from multiple venues again after Wrestlemania II? I would have guessed that pulling in 3x the gate would offset any logistical headache and make it worthwhile. Any idea on this? Related question – we know that the first WM was viewed as a big success and kept Vince in business, how did WM II do, business-wise? And if it did well, that just reinforces the first question of why Vince never ran from multiple venues again.

It did not do very well business-wise from a PPV standpoint, although the actual shows drew well, but at least by that time Vince’s national expansion meant that he wasn’t going to be going to the poor house if the show flopped ala the first Wrestlemania.  Plus I’ve heard that the shows were a logistical nightmare and fans were annoyed by the “get four matches live, watch 8 on the big screen” setup of the arenas.  These days I’m sure they could pull it off, but why?  Personally I’ve never understood the appeal.  Yeah, it’s three times the gate, but it’s also three times the expenses, maybe more if you factor in the simulcasting and such.  Doesn’t seem like there’s much payoff. “This collection of Promoters is excited to build a new sanctioning body for pro wrestling. Our goal is to work within our local areas to create new talent, recognize a common “United” Champion and plus our broadcasts. Although the idea of a sanctioning body isn’t new, “United” is being executed with fresh eyes especially for the digital age. I know this is going to take time to launch and educate the public, but I’m positive the outcome will achieve our goals,” states Marquez. The criteria for participating are simple. There is no “Membership”, “Franchise” or “Affiliate” fees. All sanctioned promotions must have a television broadcast or agree to terms to produce a broadcast to participate.” So if you’re TNA and you see this, wouldn’t you think this is a solution to keep you alive? You get footholds in a lot of markets you can’t sell out yourself, you have the most attractive stars and the biggest TV deal by far. You become the pinnacle promotion and you share talent with the other feds (using them as jobbers, sending your younger guys out to get some seasoning) Send guys like James Storm out to do what basically ROH and TNA did at the beginning and have them make your local guy look like a million bucks but win in the end. Am I naive enough to believe something like this would be a way better solution than what they’re doing now? 

Yes. Promoters can barely agree long enough to order a cup of coffee together.  This will not go anywhere.

Reports are Triple H is big on again attempting to rebuild the tag division. What better way than to bring back the 10 on 10 Survivor Series tag match.  Team captains Cody and Goldust with the Usos, Los Matadores, Tons of Funk and Santino/Khali vs. Team Shield with the Wyatt Family, Real Americans, 3MB, and the Ascension.   This would open the show and whip the crowd into a frenzy.  Then you have a Team Bryan vs. Team Authority main event.  If they finally have Heyman join HHH, then you can run Bryan, Punk, Langston, Ziggler, and Christian vs. Orton, Ambrose, Ryback, Axel, Sandow.  Add another Cena/ADR gimmick match and Triple H vs. Big Show and you got a great old fashioned Survivor Series card. Interested to hear your thoughts

I think it’s time to let the old fashioned Survivor Series die.  The show stopped drawing for a reason.  And I really don’t see 3MB being involved in anything that’s going to whip anyone in a frenzy. 

Watching the Make a Wish clip with Mark Calloway got me to thinking:  what’s the end game for Undertaker?  Every year we think he is retiring and every year he comes back.  With him only having to wrestle once or twice a year, I could see him pushing the Streak to 25-0.  So a few questions: How much longer do you think Taker sticks with it? Does the Streak stand? Will he end putting someone over or go out on top?  If so, who?

I think he’s gonna stick with it for at least a few more years.  Doing one match a year allows for a LOT of rest between matches, and he can let it all hang out in the ring.  Ending the streak certainly does have value, although I just don’t think there’s anyone who both needs the rub and could properly benefit from it.  If they have someone beat him and then waste that with their usual 50/50 booking bullshit by trying to then use THAT to elevate someone else on a lower tier, then they might as well have not done it at all.  Really the only guys I could realistically see ending it would be Cena in a scenario where the alternative is worse for the fans than the streak ending (like, say, HHH or Paul Heyman getting permanent control of the company if Cena can’t end the streak) or Shawn Michaels coming out of retirement to do it, since fans would buy that he could and probably not hate him forever for doing it.