WWE Tough Enough – Season 6, Episode 4: “One Man Show”

(w/ Danielle Stolman)

Because ZZ’s about as unkillable as the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, Daria was sent home last week. Last week also saw all the characters trying their best to promote personalities despite the fact that not a single contestant on this show even has one, let alone a soul. Will ZZ succeed in banging at least one of the women on the show? Will we talk about his giant “package” again? Will Hulk Hogan ask the women to comment on ZZ’s package? Let’s find out…

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In Defense of John Cena Poopy Promos

Hey Scott,

Just a quick thought, Cena (or by extension WWE booking) gets a lot of heat for being very flippant about challenges and losing and not booking main events seriously. I agree for the most part.

HOWEVER, considering this is a weekly show we're talking about, wouldn't treating main events that way every time have eventually gotten monotonous?  To wit, HHH. No one could every accuse him of not treating every title match like it was Clash of the Titans and that led to the classic, "I, uhhhhhhh, am, uhhhhhhhh, the Game,uhhhh" promos that got insanely boring, in part, because, for the most part, everyone knew HHH was winning one way or the other.

Obviously, Cena has the same problem. We know how Cena vs. X, for the most part, is going to turn out. Argue about the merit of Super Cena at another time, but the writers know Vince wants Cena to win, so Cena wins, so everyone knows Cena's going to win. So why not keep the dial at 6 or 7 until it's time for 11? If given a Strawman choice between constant Super Serious and constant Super Cena, I imagine most people are likely to pick the later. In any event, Cena has the capability to turn on the heat when it's important. So why not keep things light until it's time to get heavy?


​The problem is that he never does get heavy.  And he's shrugged off some of the biggest potential money-drawing angles ever, like the Brock match in 2012 and the Nexus angle, just to name two.  It's great that he has the ability to pull out a money promo when he needs to, but he rarely does and it makes it all the more frustrating when you want to like him but just can't because his primary method of building up a big grudge match is to show badly photoshopped baby pictures or something equally silly.  ​

QOTD #38: Best Promos

Today’s Question:
What’s the best promo you
ever saw?
If you want to skip yesterday’s discussion and start right
away, scroll to the end or hit “Comments”. Otherwise please stick around to
talk about your own personal bizarro world.

I should have known that fantasy booking would draw out the
comments en masse, and it did. What match finish would YOU change if you had
the power to do so? Of course, this would theoretically set off a chain of
events that would change the potential direction of entire companies at times,
but that’s part of the fun.
PrimeTimeTen: In the 174th match between Dolph Ziggler and
Kofi Kingston, I would have had it end in a double-disqualification.
Here we go.
Thebraziliankid: Cena vs Brock at ER 2012. My finish would be
like this, Cena hits the AA on the steps and goes for the cover, 1…2..NO!
Brock kicks out, that was Cena’s last straw of strenght. Brock does that evil
smirk, picks him up F-5 put his foot on Cena’s chest, 1…2.. Brock takes the
foot off, grabs him again does another F-5 and locks the kimura, the referee
stops the match when he sees that Cena is out. That would make Brock a even
bigger monster than 92 Vader and would still make Cena strong for Surviving
that punishment. Brock only became a monster once more because he conquered the
We are off to the races with one of the most heavily debated
finishes in recent years (as Brock Lesnar matches are wont to do), starting
with his arrival. Cena was right off of losing to The Rock at Wrestlemania, and
a fresh Brock Lesnar was waiting in the wings. Brock, armed with a WORLD of
credibility after backing up his legitimacy by becoming UFC champion comes
back, and sets the stage by bloodying Cena’s nose during the closest thing to a
“shoot brawl” you’ll see. Then Cena wins. What the hell? By following your
story, Lesnar continues to look like the unbeatable machine we all believe him
to be, and Cena’s story of “worst year EVER~!” doesn’t change. I like this.
 Brian MacLeod: The first one
that pops to mind is the main event of WrestleMania 2000. The Rock clearly
should’ve won there instead of at Backlash. Because Rock won the next month, I
suppose it didn’t really “damage” anything long term, but I always
liked the “face walks out of WrestleMania champion” tradition and it
was kind of a bummer to see that broken…
Brian, the only reason I’m going to disagree with you here,
is because Wrestlemania 2000 was the last time Wrestlemania didn’t feel like
WRESTLEMANIA. It was built like another PPV. It wasn’t in a major stadium, it
wasn’t shot any differently, and aside from the 98-hour pre-game show, there
wasn’t anything to truly differentiate it from the other shows of the year.
They were still another year away from remembering exactly what it was that
made Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania. So with that in mind, I don’t hate the
decision of Triple H going over; and in fact stacking the deck even further
against The Rock just made the crowd even more rabid to see him take home the
gold the following month.
LScisco: Luger over Yokozuna at SummerSlam ’93 for
the title. I think that match would’ve made Luger’s WWF career.
Who needs the gold when you’ve got this:
DJ Sprite: Matt Hardy vs Edge summerslam 2005. Maybe
not the fact that edge won, but stopping the match via blood loss? Hardy was
one of the hottest acts in wwe and that’s the finish in the grudge match? Have
Lita-ferance cost Matt the match, leading to the cage match the next month.
Not a bad choice, and it truly doesn’t change much in the
grand scheme… except maybe keeping Matt Hardy hot a little longer. He lost so
much steam from not being able to come back and avenge himself for having lost
his job AND his girl to the guy with the movie-star good looks who was anointed
the future. Of course, it’s Vince McMahon we’re talking about. I figure when he
gave Matt Hardy the finish to the match, he told him “LIFE SUCKS … THEN YOU
 YankeesHoganTripleHFan: Hogan
vs Warrior at WM VI. Don’t get me wrong it was totally the right booking
decision, but I was 11, a Hogan fan, (obviously) and to this day it’s the only
match that actually made me feel sick to my stomach…I just never thought
Hogan would lose
My advice: Avoid all of 2002 through SummerSlam. By King of
the Ring you might be in need of CPR.
Ryan Yoder: Maybe Orton vs Undertaker at Wrestlemania
21. I really liked the Legend Killer gimmick, but I think at the time, Orton
was going to have to get surgery after Wrestlemania, so him winning and then
having to be out would probably have killed his momentum.
This probably denies us the Shawn Michaels series. You might
have to face a lifetime ban from the blog for that stunt.
Stranger in the Alps:
John Cena vs. The Miz at Mania 27. First,
because it was Wrestlemania and it deserved a better match. Second, sending the
fans home on a heel victory at Mania just feels wrong. The ending of the show
needs to be the babyface celebrating in victory……….even if it means
What revisionist history forgets, is that the net was FULLY
on board with The Miz. For god knows what reason, people saw star power in the
guy and were fine with him running with the belt. It wasn’t until he failed to
show *anything* new after dropping the belt that he was finally regurgitated.
In retrospect, yes, he should have been sent packing sooner, and Wrestlemania
would have been a fine time to stop.
VintageECW: No doubt, Taz v Sabu from Barely Legal. I
would’ve had Sabu pin Taz a hundred percent of the time. And I would have
murdered whoever came up with that double turn, dumbest move ever.
Great choice. Sabu had the cult following to end all cult
followings, and in his first PPV foray, he should have absolutely been built as
one of the biggest stars in the company. For hardcore fans, Sabu had been
tormented by the bully Taz, and after 18-months, it was time to stand his
ground. Instead, he taps like a bitch. Granted, to the toughest guy in the
company, but still. Then AFTER losing, he enlists the help of Bill Alphonzo?
Why not call on his assistance BEFORE having all your joints ripped apart by a
killing machine? They got too cute here, probably feeling the pressure to do
something special. They missed.
Johnny Polo: Shawn vs. Bulldog at One Night Only. Looking
back, I’m surprised Shawn didn’t also go over Owen in their title vs title
match on Raw to become IC champion. And then as both IC and Euro champ, he
could beat Bret at Survivor Series to hold all three belts by beating all three
Harts. Surly Shawn and HHH ran this idea by Vince.
This is one of those spots where it seems more clear that
Bret’s departure was premeditated. There was no reason for them to take the
European belt off of Bulldog, especially when the title was virtually
meaningless. It didn’t add anything to Shawn Michaels’ overall heat, and
considering Bulldog dedicated the match (non-kayfabe) to his sister Tracy who
would soon lose a battle with cancer, it was a pretty lousy thing to do. All it
did was get a belt off a prospective Hart ally who might jump ship a month
later if anything “screwy” might occur.
Daniel Lewis: I would have kept the WWF title on Chris
Jericho in 2000. Have Rock and HHH wrestle at Backlash in a grudge match, and
have Jericho defend against Benoit. Then move Jericho into a feud with either
Rock or HHH. Jericho at that time was the 2nd most over man on the active
I’m torn. Triple H still had unfinished business with The
Rock; but the chance to run with a surprise champion who DID get the job done
could have been a lot of fun. I don’t think Rock’s heat would have suffered in
the long run, so this is one bizarro world scenario I’d love to see play out.
Glen4321: Kurt Angle vs HHH Unforgiven 2000 would be
the one match ending I’d change Instead of Steph low blowing Angle while still
seeming like she cares about Angle (a terrible end to a very hot feud), Steph
should have came in the ring, low blowed HHH and then made out intensely with
Angle. Then the feud could have concluded at the next PPV in a much better blow
off match (hopefully with much blood). Also, if HHH and Steph were broken up on
TV this early on, maybe they would have broken up in real life if they weren’t
together so much. Changing the ending to this match could have prevented HHH’s
reign of terror from 2002-2005 on Raw.
Now Glen is a man who is into the spirit of the column. We
have it all here! A swerve finish! Live gratuitous tongue wrestling! Real life
divorce implications! I think we’re overstating the importance of a single
match just a little here, but having Angle steal Triple H’s girl would have
been the right ending here. In a world where nothing ever turns sour for Lord
Hunter, a man with the might of a thousand penises, it would have been great to
see him get his comeuppance and lose the girl here. Angle would have had killer
momentum going into No Mercy where he’d take the title, and logically he’d drop
the belt back to Triple H at Mania in this scenario. Austin still likely turns
heel, and sets his eyes on H. I like everything about this.
ts14: Raven going over Jarrett in TNA. The crowd
was nuclear for it, it should have happened. I know Raven as a champion would
have probably been a disaster but they should have gone with it for a little
A forgotten classic from the weekly PPV era. I fully
disagree Raven would have been a disaster as champion. Fans were eating up
everything he was involved in for months afterwards. This was a bitter
disappointment, and moving the belt to AJ Styles weeks later was the inferior
move. Raven should have been able to take the belt and run with it. He could
have just as easily have carried it into the impending feud with the New
Church, done business with Shane Douglas, lost his hair, had his comeuppance,
and then … in the Internet wet dream … have CM Punk turn on him and recycle
their ongoing feud in ROH and MLW. I hope someone who can influence Jeff
Jarrett is currently building a DeLorean.
Starscreamlive: Sting winning clean at Starrcade ’97. Would
have brought closure to that storyline once and for all instead of the debacle
it turned into. The nWo could have still hung around afterward, but it’s
mission would have changed from destroying WCW to just being a stable of four
or five core members.
It’s mind boggling how obvious this decision was in 1997. We
don’t need retrospect for this. We need Hulk Hogan to do the right thing. And
there lies your root cause.
Easily Booker going over HHH at WMXIX.
Not only does it erase the inane “HHH goes racist for five weeks then wins
at Mania” angle, but Booker was on the cusp of legit stardom; only HBK was
more over on RAW at the time. Instead, back down the card went Booker and it
took him three years to get back to the main event scene.
This was heavily debated on the blog today. As we may
recall, this was during the “Triple H can’t put over Booker because he needs
his heat for Nash … and he can’t put over Nash because he needs his heat for
Goldberg … and he can’t put over Goldberg, because Goldberg needs more heat
…” era. I like changing the result, I just cringe at the idea of Booker T
eating the “Miz” treatment of wrestling in the 3rd match of the card
against World Title challengers Bubba Dudley and Jeff Hardy until it comes time
to drop the belt to the first “real” main eventer he faces.
BobSacamento: Orton over Triple H at WrestleMania 25. Fuck
that shit. Orton was hot as you could be and that loss really did him no
favors. Beat Hunter, punt that son of a birch and then move to feud with MVP
and then Batista until Triple H returns for Vengeance….and loses again.
You’ve laid out a very well thought out scenario that I
would never want to watch in a million years.
Del Rio’s cash-in on Punk has to be up
there. I don’t think that did anyone any favors.
Now we’re talking! If we manage to avoid Alberto Del Rio,
which for the record I try VERY hard to do, Punk’s title reign now extends to
roughly 17 months on top of the promotion which is something that will likely
never be topped again. Granted, neither will the 400+ days, but I’m just trying
to pile it on at this point.
David: Barrett beating Orton at Survivor Series for
the title. He only had 1 real ppv win over those 6 months (making cena join the
nexus). Fine they lost at summerslam. However, barrett never got his big title
win. He got screwed by cena for the title at the ppv before. He lost to orton
that night and the next night on raw after the nexus kicked orton’s butt before
the match (then the miz cash-in). Next month, he lost a chair’s match to cena.
Ever since then, he has looked like a chump except as bad news barrett. Who
knows where barrett would be if he actually beat orton that night?
He might be as revered as former champion Jack Swagger. In
all seriousness, winning that match is not going to overcome the lack of
personality he showed up until he became Bad News Barrett.
Devin Harris: The Flair-Hogan double-turn at Uncensored
99. This was supposed to be Flair finally beating Hogan for the title as a
babyface and then WCW cheats us, the fans, out of it by doing a double-turn. Of
course, the fans cheered it anyway
Devin, let’s recap. Hogan comes back, and steals Goldberg’s
title away with the Finger Poke of Doom. Reunites the nWo. Has Flair driven out
to the desert, where he is beaten and left for dead. Steals Flair’s son David
away with sex (like THAT would ever work on a 19-year old). Flair retaliates by
smacking Hogan with a tire iron. And HE’S the bad guy? I’m with you. NO TURN.
Darren X: Thats easy: DDP & David Arquette vs.
Jeff Jarrett & Eric Bischoff. More than any one match, killed the business
as we know it, and put it in the hands of Vince McMahon.
I really hate to burst your bubble, but WCW was long gone by
this point. Still, I am happy to live in a world where David Arquette is NOT a
former champion.
Adam Wright: Wrestlemania 4 main event, Dibiase Vs
Savage. Have Andre move to attack Elizabeth which distracts Savage allowing
Dibiase to roll him up. After the match you can have Andre, Virgil &
Dibiase beat on Savage until Elizabeth goes for Hogan for the save to still get
the megapowers. Except now you have Dibiase as a hell champ, the first heel
champ in 4 years. Suddenly there’s a lot of faces who can get a quick run on
top as challenger, whilst Megapowers fight Virgil/Andre. You can still have the
Megapowers Vs MegaBucks match at Summerslam, and at Wrestlemania 5 you have
Savage over Andre & Hogan over Dibiase.
The only heart-breaking part of this is that Savage never
gets his proper due until about Wrestlemania 8 in your world. I’m absolutely ok
with seeing DiBiase get the run he deserves with all the hard work he put
behind his Million Dollar Man character, it’s just unfortunate that Macho winds
up on the back seat again.
greaterpower99: Nexus over Team WWE at Summerslam. After
taking the beating from Barrett and Young in the final stage of the match, Cena
manages a flurry and tags Bryan. Bryan steps in, and flattens him with a
roundhouse kick. All three men then finish him off.  The Nexus angle was more or less killed off
as any sort of serious threat by Supercena, putting them over in that scenario
(or something like it) would have given them monster heel heat and kept it
going for much longer.
This isn’t just fine fantasy booking, this is EXACTLY how it
should have played out. I rarely get excited for pay-per-views any more, but I
had a good friend over for this one and we were pretty stoked for what we
figured was either a changing of the guard, or a sure-fire Cena heel turn. Then
CENAWINSLOL. I am okay with changing this finish of this match to do one of a
thousand different things, as long as it leads to the Nexus getting the big
Thank you for the quality discussion points today, good
stuff from everyone who contributed in the thread – even you Vince Jordan.
Back at it again tomorrow folks, as we kick off my last week
of doing the QOTD feature. (For those of you who’ve been waiting for this
moment – you can rejoice!) I current work nights, which allows me the free time
to do this every single day because no one’s awake at the god awful hours I put
this together. However, mirroring my wife’s schedule is gonna make it
impossible to run a daily piece.
We’ll address this more next weekend when I wrap this up,
but in the meantime, have a great Monday with whatever you’ve got planned.

Random Promos that no one talks about

Long time reader and fan have all your books and have read you since the Nail rant, which needs to have a 2013 Keith Says, but anyways I know I am not the only person that is getting excited for the War Games that comes out soon and I saw that they have the GAB 88 match and you said something about unless you are a big WCCW fan you dont know about this match type.  Well I have been looking for it and I came across these two gems:
WCW Thunderdome:

WCCW Triple Dome of Terror:

But one thing I couldnt understand is no one ever talks about how bad the Thunderdome promo is


ell maybe it's because it actually led to a great match.  
As for the World Class one, all I can say is MISSION: HIGH RISK.  

Angle-killing promos

Hey, Scott.
That e-mail about great promos brought up a lot of examples that moved the business forward or brought in a lot of money. But then I thought about The Rock meeting the nWo at No Way Out in 2002 which was funny as hell but ultimately killed the angle before it got started. This wasn't the first time The Rock inadvertently committed character assassination (His Big Show impression and "My name's Billy" spring to mind.) Are there any other promos you or the board can think of that were incredibly entertaining but ultimately very bad for business?

Billy killed his own push just fine without Rock's help.  
This one is tougher because a downturn is harder to catch onto than an upswing, because who knows what might have affected business?  I think the worst offender was This Is Your Life Rock, though, because it was initially a success and then convinced Russo he needed to do that FOREVER.  Oh, also the first Bret-Shawn 20 minute interview on RAW in 1997, because that's where THAT came from.  

Great Promos

Hi Scott
Thought it would be fun if you did a thread on the best promos and I have a couple of questions which arise from my top half dozen:
6) CM Punk, Raw 2011. Punk “shoots” on Vince, the audience, ice cream bars and kicks off the summer of Punk. Seen by the IWC as a break-through moment and hopefully the start of a new direction for the WWE but in fact went no-where and if the ratings are to believed fell flat with the mass audience.
5) Mick Foley , ECW TV – the hardcore promos.  Unintentionally or otherwise Mick foreshadows why eventually ECW and the attitude era will eat themselves and calls out wrestlers for being bigger marks than the fans.
4) Bret Hart, WWE Raw – Bret turns heel on the US fans in 1997. Several great promos in this series but the “here in Canada we look after each other” one wins for me.
3) Steve Austin, ECW TV – the “all I’ve seen is a bunch of violent crap” promo.  For me beats out the more famous WWE King of Ring 3:16 promo as the real the birth of Austin character and the attitude era.
2) Hogan, WCW Bash at Beach – Hogan turns heel on the fans and forms the NWO. Kicks off the WCW end of the most profitable period in wrestling’s history and reinvents the Hogan character for a another half decade.
And in first place..
1) Dusty Rhodes, Mid Atlantic Wrestling – Hard Times.  The promo equivalent of Steamboat / Savage; in three minutes Dusty gets himself and Flair over, explains why they are feuding, connects with the audience and remembers to sell the damn PPV! In my opinion the perfect promo from one of the greatest of all time on the stick.
Looking at this list two things leap out.  Firstly five of them are heel promos and at least two if not four are actually cut on the audience as much as another wrestler – so it is easier  to do a great heel promo? Secondly where is the Rock in the list given that he is supposed to be one of the most charismatic stars of the modern era?

Well, I mean, it's your list, so you'd have to tell me where the Rock is.  Rock did a lot of great promos on a weekly basis, but nothing I'd call a single great money promo like these.  Just like Austin did a lot of the same kind of stuff week after week, and Flair in the glory days of TBS.  I'd also put HHH's "I Am The Game" promo in there somewhere because it kicked off a decade-long push.  
And yeah, I think it's easier to do a great heel promo, because there's so many more shortcuts and tricks they can use that babyfaces really can't.  A heel doesn't have to connect with the audience and make them empathize, it just works out better if they do.