Wresting Hypothetical Question

Hi Scott,

Wishing you continued success with your blog.

I enjoy the concept of wrestling without actually enjoying it on my TV set these days.

My question is a hypothetical one since Vince would never go for it. 

It seems to me that one of the most exciting aspects of Ultimate Fighting is that anybody can win at any moment.  You can't turn away to grab a slice of pizza because some dude might get knocked out with an out of nowhere knee or something.

So why does every single WWE match have to come down to somebody hitting their finisher, or a run-in/fluke roll up?  Why can't wrestler A slap on an arm bar and win out of nowhere?  Wouldn't this make RAW a more compelling program?  Sure you can't do this for a PPV but on a week to week show you could have surprise victories that would lead to easy feuds.  Loser wrestler would say, "That was a fluke, there's no way you can do it again" and then you'd have instant heat on a rematch.

I mean, do people really pop for early pin attempts, because you KNOW that unless one of the dudes hits his finisher there's no way the match is ending? 

And this second idea is even less likely, but you could have styles clashes where speedy wrestler A can beat big man wrestler B, but technical wrestler C can beat A.  So you'd have some fluky victories by different guys.  This is what makes boxing as minimally interesting as it is.

I guess my question is, has there ever been anything in wrestling like the two scenarios I've described and did they work?

Keep up the good work.

-Channing

​Yeah, I mean basically you're describing a whole style that New Japan was doing for a long time when Inoki was all into the fake MMA thing, and there's still some vestiges of it today.  I don't know how effective it was, in that the company damn near died when they were doing stuff like pushing ex-MMA fighters as IWGP champion, but certainly you're much more likely to see matches even today end on something like a random submission move than you would in WWE.  As has been noted several times, WWE is all about their "house style" now, kind of like McDonalds where you know exactly what you're getting on every show and some people prefer the Big Mac and some prefer the McChicken but it's not like you're getting different burgers if you go to the other McDonalds across town.  ​

Starrcade 97 question

Reading about/Watching starrcade 97 again, and how awfully booked it was. Why didn't Kevin nash end up wrestling The Giant? I remember that being billed as the number 3 match behind the main event and Zybsko/Bischoff. Also, Larry freaking Zybsko was in the 2nd from the top match at one of the biggest cards of all time? Also Randy Savage wasn't even booked on the card and was a last minute replacement in the 6 man? And Raven didn't even wrestling even though he was booked in a feud with Benoit at the time? Any reasons for any of this??

​God, why would you watch Starrcade 97 again?  
Nash's story is that he had a heart condition scare that turned out to be heartburn or indigestion or something, although the most common rational explanation is that he didn't want to do a job.  
Raven had a really gnarly staph infection that was causing inflammation of his pancreas, or something along those lines, so that one was legit. Plus Benoit got his revenge and beat the piss out of him at Souled Out, so fine.  
Randy Savage wasn't originally going to be there because WCW had used up all his dates, and when Konnan went down with injury they had to basically call him and beg him to work and actually changed the finish of the match to Savage going over with the flying elbow to get him to work.  
Zbyszko…well, it is what it is.  Larry was pretty over in that role and I'd guess Bischoff wanted to work with someone he was friends with and trusted.  But it at least made sense from a storyline perspective.  
God, though, that show was so bad.  

Question

Scott,

After hearing news of the passing of Dusty Rhodes, I wondered why Dusty and Hulk Hogan were never intertwined during Rhodes' 1989-91 WWF run? I mean, not even a one time match as tag team partners?

Also, how come Barry Windham's return to the WWF in '89 was not treated as a bigger deal? This was a guy who had just come from being a member of the premiere heel stable in wrestling at the time, and they saddled him with "The Widowmaker" gimmick and treated him as a virtual unknown (even though he was a WWF Tag Champion four years earlier).

Thanks.

Hogan and Dusty ran in different touring circles, as typically Hogan would headline the A-tour and Dusty would headline the C-tour and thus they weren't typically booked on a lot of the same shows.  Plus I'd have to imagine that Hogan wouldn't be super-thrilled about teaming with a guy who would probably overshadow him.  Really, there's no upside for either guy, so I can understand why they never did it.
Yeah, the Windham deal. Barry left a plum gig and probably could have ended up in the front office if he gave a shit, but he just didn't.  It was a bad fit with the WWF and I never understood why he left either, because god DAMN could you imagine the run we would have gotten out of face champion Flair defending against heel challenger Barry Windham in 1989?  It makes me cry thinking about it.  

Comic “Events” Question

Hey Scott,

Wrote you a year and a half ago, as an adult who had never read a comicbook but had become interested in that world, basically through the MCU.  I had asked you (and the Doomers) where to start as a comicbook first timer.  The input was great…

My next question concerns comic event/crossovers.  What are your favorites?  Let's say…your Top 10.  Love to put it out there for the Blog for their input also…

Thanks,
Eric

​Well, most of my choices would be pretty DC-centric since that's all I read until the late 90s.  For me, Crisis on Infinite Earths is still the biggest and best, one of the few where it promised that everything would change and effects would be lasting, and it delivered.  Plus it let George Perez draw millions of heroes in super-detailed group shots over and over.  ​On the Marvel side, I'd probably go with Age of Apocalypse, which was actually my introduction to the X-Men comics in general and was a pretty entertaining series of books on their own.  I'm a sucker for alternate-reality stuff anyway.  DC's version of the same concept, Flashpoint, was a really pale imitation and pretty much represented all the worst instincts of Geoff Johns allowed to run wild.  Flash was the savior of the universe, people died violently for no reason, people turned grim and gritty all over the place, the story made no sense and built to a payoff that made even less sense, etc.  I still kind of liked it and bought the trade, but clearly the Batman spinoff was the best thing about it.  Zero Hour seemed OK at the time, but MAN did that one not age well.  The story is complete nonsense (like, literally, major events occur in the story that make no logical sense) and Dan Jurgens is the most generic writer possible.  
We'll throw this one out to the floor for further discussion.  

NXT Homegrowns Question

Hi Scott,

Another NXT question (lotta that going around these days!). With guys like Owens, Joe, and Zayn moving up to the main roster, more indy talent is going to be signed in pretty short order to fill their spots. I'm not against indy talent getting their shot, but doesn't this defeat the purpose of NXT creating new Homegrown talent? As WWE keeps bring in more indy guys to fill the rosters, it seems like the Homegrowns aren't getting attention. With all the buzz about Owens, Joe, and Balor, where does that leave Rawley, Breeze, and Corbin? Do they really matter anymore? Should they?

Any thoughts?


Having too much talent that's ready for TV is a good problem to have, I guess.  Breeze is absolutely ready for the main roster and should be there already, but he's in the weird friendzone where he's above the NXT learning crew but below the NXT All Star Indy Squadron and that's a tough spot.  As I said before, I really like the idea of splitting the NXT brand into the upper and lower tiers, because it's really becoming a problem where people expect WAY too much out of people that are essentially learning the basics but happen to be on TV with people that already know enough to be stars.  It's becoming a weird dynamic and I almost feel like they should just shoot two hour-long or even just 40 minute shows, one with the beginners and one with the IndyPowers crew.  But hey, even HHH admitted that he was learning as we went along, too, so I'm willing to cut everyone some slack and just enjoy the shows. 

Blog question

Scott,

Although I've drifted away from the product in the last few years, I
do follow through through your blog mostly (over 15 years of
continuous reading), which brings me to a question. I've noticed most
"talents" are going through the FCW and NXT to make it to the main
roster. And I realize the old days or jumping ship and showing up in
prime time (Lex Luger, Rick Rude, X-Pac) are mostly over. My question
is, is there a star, or stars, that could/would debut on the WWE main
roster and skip the gimmick makeover? Have we reached the point where
there is no excitement of ever watching someone like Scott Hall, Chris
Jericho, Randy Savage, or Bill Goldberg show up and shock us all?

Thanks!

​Well, Samoa Joe came closest, but even though they neutered him somewhat by having him appear on developmental instead of the main roster.  The main problem is that pretty much everyone with star power has already been absorbed by the WWE system, or else had that star power killed off by TNA.  There was a point where, say, America's Most Wanted or AJ Styles could have jumped in the TNA glory days of 05-06, but that time has long passed.  ​

Bruno Sammartino Question

Scott,

Bruno Sammartino left the WWF just prior to Wrestlemania IV. Knowing that Bruno was outspoken about things like the drug use and steroids after the fact, what was the straw that broke the camels back, as far as Bruno choosing to leave just before Wrestlemania. Was it a combination of things, or was there an incident that led him to quit on the spot? Did the angle involving the WWF Championship between Hogan-Andre-DiBiase have anything to do with it? We all know that Bruno was a traditional guy, and having the title handled in that manner may have seemed ridiculous to a guy like Bruno.

​I'm pretty sure it was the steroid issues that were running rampant at that point for the most part, but I don't know there was one inciting incident that made him leave for good.  The Observers at the time don't really have a 'By the way, Bruno told Vince to go fuck himself' report that you can pinpoint.  Has he maybe said something in an interview since then?  ​

Simple Question. I think. Plus a blog topic.

It seems like there's a lot of guys coming through NXT these days. But there's not a lot of room on the main roster for them to come up and take.

Which five guys would you take off the roster and why? (By either firing them or what have you. Letting Miz work for Stephanie in the charity division or whatever she does, for example.) and who would you replace them with from NXT? (They don't need to have the same type of role.)

​There's TONS of room on the main roster!  They have 5 hours of first run TV to fill every week, plus another 2 hours of C-shows.  It's just that they have expenses cut so far back that they can't splurge for enough guys to actually fill all the TV time without using Kane and Big Show 17 times per episode.  Just look at the Royal Rumble this year and how thin that was.  
That being said, I'd fire Dolph Ziggler because he's pretty much hit his ceiling and could use a tour of the indies to learn that WWE isn't the only option.  Get rid of Zack Ryder because they never use him anyway and he could make a better living on his own.  Get rid of the Ascension because DUH.  And I'd fire a Diva, say, Alicia Fox just because.  Replace them with Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Enzo/Cass (only as a unit, however) and Sasha Banks, all of whom are beyond ready for the main roster.  ​

Quick and Easy Blog Question

Hi Scott,
  On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely do you think it is that the following will turn up in NXT at some point, either as quick one-off appearances, or in a more involved role?   And (on the same scale) how much would you want them to be involved there?

Daniels Kazarian Styles Samoa Joe John Morrison Bully/Bubba Ray Shelton Benjamin   And do you think the WWE will try to get any more big Japanese names into NXT – someone like Nakamura, for example?  

​That's neither a quick nor easy question.  That's multiple questions with multiple parts.  Just saying.
​Daniels:  1.  Too old for developmental, makes more money on the indies and has no shot of making the main roster anyway.

Kaz:  1.  Same answer.
Styles:  1.  They already offered him a deal and he turned it down for New Japan.  
Samoa Joe:  10.  Coming in July.
JoMo:  5.  He'll probably end up coming right back to the RAW roster when he returns, but I could see him doing a one-shot at some point.
Bully Ray:  1. Not worth it to him when he could be promoting his own stuff or whatever.  
Shelton:  10.  He's already there as "Angelo Dawkins".  Duh.
Nakamura is too old for them I'm pretty sure, but they've openly made a play for Okada and will probably end up getting him at some point.  

WWE Tough Enough Winner $250K Contract Question

Hi Scott,

Just wondering: the new TE winner gets a 1-Yr $250K Contract. Assuming this isn't a "fine print" situation and the K is legit, what is a $250K Contrac wortht in real world terms? I mean, considering that these are 1040 workers who provide their own travel, costumes, taxes, etc… What would I, aspiring young wrestler, hope to take home from that Quarter Million?

​Oh, I'm pretty sure that contract is nothing but fine print.  But if they do qualify for the main roster after winning, $250K as a baseline is pretty much in line with what the upper end of Zack Ryder-type guys pull in, from what I understand.  Road expenses and taxes pretty much destroy all that, however​, which is why guys are so dependent on video game revenues and merchandise to stay afloat.  I can't even imagine how the poor NXT geeks eat from week to week with what THEY make.  

nWo question

Since you're doing all the summer '96 reviews, something I always wondered – obviously the planning and execution of the invasion angle was incredible, but did they have the actual nWo name picked in advance?  Basically I've always wondered if they just grabbed that term from Hogan's in-ring promo after the turn and ran with it, or if that promo was specifically scripted because the t-shirts were printed up and ready to go.

​Well Hogan originally said "New World Organization", so it wasn't really him.  According to the Observer at the time, WCW was pushing for just calling the group "The Outsiders" in the most on-the-nose naming in quite some time, although that ended up just being Hall and Nash, obviously.  So it appears to be a rare case of WCW actually picking up on the cultural zeitgeist of something and running with it without fucking it up.  ​

WWE Network Question

On their website (and Mobile app updates) the WWE keeps referring to the "award winning" WWE Network.  What award?  And when did they win this?

Answer:

Basically it's a BS award.  But we're probably going to hear about it for the next two years on every show now.  They're like when Owen Hart "won" those Slammys and then didn't shut up about it, but in corporate form.  

Question about ECW One Night Stand


I just watched One Night Stand 2006 on the Network, and I was blown away with how engaged that crowd was during the main event. Booing Cena mercilessly, throwing back his shirt, the numerous anti-Cena chants…it was all pretty incredible. Cena, to his credit, knew what he was doing and played the heel really well (he even did the little things, like putting his feet on the ropes to try to get a pinfall). Of course ECW probably wouldn't have gotten this kind of response in too many cities around the US, but I never understood how the WWE missed the opportunity to do more things to take advantage of that crowd response. Guessing this died because McMahon kept inserting WWE players into the ECW 'brand', right? Was there any other behind the scenes reason for why the WWE couldn't capitalize on this?  

​Mostly as you noted.  They wanted a third touring brand under the WWE umbrella, but didn't want Heyman's vision of it.  But really you couldn't have just toured the Philly and New York markets alone, so it was a losing proposition from the start.  
Although it does kind of blow my mind that ECW the TV show got replaced by NXT the reality show, which became NXT the developmental show that we have now.  So in a way it came full circle and turned into what people wanted out of the "new" ECW all along.  ​

Flair and The Big Gold Bet distortion question.

Scott,

A few questions regarding the distortion of Flair's Big Gold Belt on WWF TV in 1991.

1. When they first started distorting the belt on TV as part of the angle, he was still carrying the actual BGB in the arenas and during promos, right? They then swapped it for a different belt (I think one of the Tag Team Titles?) at some point later on, correct?

2. Specifically when was the BGB swapped for the Tag-team Title belt (or whatever belt they used)? Do we have any kind of date as to when the BGB was actually last used on WWF TV in 1991 and when the other title was used in its place?

I mean the whole point of the "Tunny orders the belt distorted" thing is that they no longer had access to the BGB because Flair had returned it to WCW after reaching a settlement with them, right?

Thanks in advance for any answers you or the readers might have. 

1.  Right, he was carrying it for a bit and then they actually made their own knockoff belt once they returned the real one to WCW.  It was kind of a cheesy thing that looked like a cross between the AWA inmate beltand the real Big Gold.  Not sure what photos are floating around, but they do exist.  And then I believe they got legal threats over THAT as well because they were kind of representing themselves as having possession of Big Gold when in fact they didn't, and at that point they switched to the tag title and killed the angle completely.

2.  It was pretty quick.  Flair came in around September and the BGB was gone by Survivor Series, right?  

WWE World Title BOD question

So, let’s play a little true or false. These guys have won their last WWE World Title:


Brock

True.  I think everyone knows and acknowledges that the experiment was a failure as far as having a part-time champion goes.  

Daniel Bryan 

False.  Something will happen and they'll need a transitional guy and that's Bryan.  

Dolph Ziggler 
Well he's never won it in the first place, and I think he'll get it someday.  False.  

HHH 

If he was gonna, the Bryan storyline would have been the time.  So true.  

John Cena 

Are you kidding me?  

Randy Orton

See John Cena.  They'll be trading the belt when the world is reduced to post-apocalyptic rubble and Paul Heyman is managing the cockroaches.  

Silly Question

Feel daft asking this, but Did Superfly ever work as heel? Been mostly a wwe man since Mania 7 so not sure if he heeled it up before or afterwards? Cheers
​I wouldn't want anyone to feel daft.  But yes, Snuka absolutely worked as a heel for years before he got famous with the WWF.  He had a pretty famous cage match with Bob Backlund in fact.  ​

Wrestlemania 12 question

Hi, Scott. I was just watching Wrestlemania 12 again and I can't help
thinking how Bret vs. Shawn at their peaks should've been a 5 star
affair easily and it just wasn't. It wasn't a bad match, but either
because of the booking or the tensions between the two guys it just
fell flat. I was wondering if you can think of any other matches that
looked like sure MOTY candidates on paper and weren't for whatever
reason. Thanks.

​Shawn v. Perfect at Summerslam 93 was of course the most glaring example of that.  Shawn v. Austin at WM14 should have been the epic launch of Austin​ and Shawn nearly gutted out a classic, but it wasn't quite there.  Steiners v. Road Warriors at Starrcade 89 should have been awesome and just wasn't.  Ditto for the Muta matches on that show where he was clearly unmotivated (and can you blame him?) 
Also, Roman Reigns v. Big Show.

Question for the Blog ‘O’ Doom Universe.

> Every since I installed the 1.42 update for the WWE Network on my PS3 the Network will play for roughly a minute or so.  After that minute the video skips a tad, freezes five seconds later, but the audio continues to play.  After about 10 more seconds or so the audio stops and my PS3 completely freezes and I have to reboot it.
>
> My question for anyone out there is:  IS there ANY way to fix this?  I'm forced to install the update so that's not really an option. I've deleted, and re-installed the WWE Network App 3 times now.  It's very disheartening because I've literally been subscribed since the Day 1 Launch.
>
> I really miss my NXTs, old WCW PPVs, and the occasional new content.  Any help, remedies, or just general empathy would be greatly appreciated.   
>
> Thanks in advance.   
>
> PS.  Roman Reigns isn't THAT bad. Sez you. As I've mentioned recently, the Network has been getting nearly unwatchable on Roku, XBone and PS3 for me too.  It buffers FOREVER especially during archival content.  I don't know what's up with the Network but the problem is on their end. I can't even watch Nitro!

Hogan/Savage Question

Hey Scott,
 
Reading the '96 Nitro recaps and I'm wondering about the Savage/Hogan relationship. We're aware of the story that Hogan's shiner at WM 9 was due to Savage (and something involving Liz…) but within two years, Savage follows Hogan to WCW, which Hogan was obviously ok with, as if he wasn't it would never happen, and they're running the top program together for forever. So what happened there? Was there some reconciliation? How? And then a few years after that we get the whole rap album thing…was there another falling out and why? Just trying to make some sense of what was going on, and why, if you know anything more. 
 
Thanks

I believe the relationship could be summed up as "cordial and businesslike" but they certainly weren't hanging out at the bars or anything afterwards.  From what I can figure out about their ridiculously complex relationship over the years, Hogan loved to have Savage around because he knew that he could draw money against him and Savage wouldn't care about putting him over, but they didn't make up on a personal level (allegedly) until days before Savage's death.  If nothing else, both guys knew what made money and trusted each other in the ring.  But yeah, it was definitely kind of weird that they were booked to either team up or oppose each other so often given all the personal friction between them.  Certainly by the end of WCW's run all bets were off between them, though.  

Question for you regarding another match closing out besides Roman/Brock..


Hey Scott, what's going on?


So, at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the E flushing down Lesnar/Reings midway though the show, for several reasons.

I think it's safe to assume that Brock's just closing out whatever business he has left at this point. As in, fulfilling his contract by showing up and not much else. Go out there, make the appearance, do the job, get paid, go back home to hunting and screwing Sable. 

On the other side of the coin, you have Roman Reigns, who's probably gonna get booed out of the building, and the whole thing is gonna be far more awkward than Brock's other match with Goldberg. At least Goldberg had a following, no matter how hostile the crowd at 20 was toward him. Roman's got, what, a very small fanbase of women, children and Vince McMahon?

Next consider the drama from this past week with Brock walking out on a scheduled appearance and later showing up at a UFC event. Wouldn't be a big deal except he's rumored to be rejoining that org. It isn't like Taker showing up. It's a clear message and shot fired towards Vince and co. 

So, if they don't outright take the title off of Brock and remove him from the event, change the main event and go another direction, let's just say that if it were me running the E, I would be a little paranoid at this point that my champion would sandbag the final match on the biggest show of the show. That's assuming he shows to begin with. 

So, assuming he stays as professional as needed and shows up with the title to do the business, a middle-of-show placement would be good strategic planning in case the match absolutely flops or he flakes out mid-match and says to hell with it, pin me, pay me, I'm out. 

Do you think, at this point, it would be better to close out with another advertised match?

– Cena's the top star anyway, and his fued with Rusev has much more momentum and audience participation. 
– Sting, on the other hand, has been one of, if not the THE most long-awaited arrival ever in the E and his story with H is the longest running right now. Definitely a main event in its own right. 
– Taker and Wyatt, well, there's that stupid rumor that they want to put the match high in the card so it happens after dark. It's Taker, so what the hell, would it hurt for him to main? Bray's superstrong right now, so like Sting/HHH, it's a main in its own right. 

– OR, call the same audible, get Brock/Roman out of the way early and then have Roman pull double duty against Bryan or Rollins in the final match of the night? It would guarantee a good show-closing match. WWE's not really behind Bryan, that much is obvious, so a second main-event of Roman versus Rollins would be an excellent show closer, as well as make a ton of sense. Seth's been the top heel for the last year, Roman's the next big thing and they have a ton of history. 


None of the other scheduled matches mentioned should main this Mania, but they're bigger on paper on paper than what's advertised in the main. 

Also, I feel a two minute MITB cash-in mini-match with Seth Rollins would feel cheap. Any other show, yeah, but not Mania; so how about opening the show with Rollins hijacking the mic, holding the case high and saying he wants Reigns or Lesnar at the end of the night? A straight-up almost-fair one-on-one match really wouldn't fit his chickenschittt persona, but it would present a best-case scenario for salvaging a troubled card. WWE's had a couple of shows in the past where the card changed mid-show, so while it would be a mess, it's still better than what's currently advertised.

Again, I feel that finishing the wrestling year with Roman defending against Rollins would make a million times more sense than any other match, for multiple reasons (quality, prior history, etc). Roman wins the title, Brock gets wished well in future endeavors, show goes on before closing out with Roman and Rollins. Roman wins, Vince is happy and people are satisfied with a decent main. (Rollins can always have a rematch later.)

I didn't mean for this to be a novel. It just seems to me that there are so many other, better quality, more sense-making ways to go about your biggest show of the year. 

Thanks! 
– CX


CLIFFS:
– Brock's a man on a mission, and while I can't fault him at all, I wouldn't trust him at this point to do anymore than simply show up.
– there's no hope for Roman/Brock anyway, so get it out of the way, mid-show. 
– if not one of the other huge matches being the show closer, have Roman defend against Rollins, if not Bryan. 
– Roman and Rollins makes way too much sense anyway, so while it would make sense to be the main of Mania, it makes too much sense for WWE to book it.

You know, for everyone that complains about how little they care about this year's show, I sure get a lot of e-mails about it every day.  Damn smarks, am I right, Dougie?  High five, buddy.  

Michaels/Sid question

Hey Scott, all this talk of Sid and Shawn on the blog got me thinking. We all know the stories of Michaels being difficult behind the scenes, especially when it came to dropping titles, but I don't remember ever hearing anything about him having a problem losing the belt to Sid at Survivor Series '96, which seems really out of character all things considered. Its hard to believe Shawn was totally cool with a 7-8 month title reign. Was it because he promised the belt back at the Rumble?

 
-Joey

Yeah, he was friends with Sid, and the idea was always to build up to him regaining the title in his hometown at the Rumble.