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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

The Wrestling Sandwich 06.25.11
Posted by Wes Kirk on 06.25.2011

Welcome once again to the Wrestling Sandwich, where you will find news on all the major companies and of course, people trying to make themselves relevant twenty years after they were! And we have a bunch of news for you but let me address one request in the comments section that I've gotten quite a bit.

A lot of you think I should can the Haterade bit. To be honest with all of you, I like to have a little fun but I can see where you are coming from. The best decision I have come up with is that the Haterade columns as you know them will be finished next week in the June 25th issue. After that, I'm going to replace it with two things: One that I'm currently working on, and the other being a simpler version in which I'll pick two good comments and two bad comments and respond to them. This way I can at least be a little more interactive, rather than just ignoring anybody who has something to say. I hope you guys enjoy that and I'll keep you posted on what is coming two weeks from now to replace half the section.

Only one person spotted my mistake last week that I accidentally called Andy "Adam" a few times in the bottom of the Haterade section. I do apologize for that, as I was extremely tired and was just putting the finishing touches on everything even though that's no excuse and not meant to be one. It also says a lot about Tough Enough that only one person spotted the situation! Frankly, what I meant to say was that Adam and Andy look a lot alike and Andy's "Silent Rage" character seems to be based on Edge's old tortured soul character when he first debuted. I really continue to think Andy was the wrong choice, and that Luke will prove it if he's given a chance anywhere.

If you want to e-mail me, please put "411" in the subject somewhere so I don't misplace it with the other advertisements from the Nigerian gentlemen who want to use my bank account to store thirty million dollars. Poor guys can't seem to catch a break in this market with banking fees.

Let's bite in!

Top Stories of the Week!

It has been a difficult week for the WWE! The company has had to deal with several incidents in recent days including admitting that several results in the WWE.COM poll were not accurate and taking steps to rectify the problem. In addition, a Canadian company claimed a certain "Connecticut company" took steps to block them from competing in an arena, Zack Ryder may very well have been punked out by none other than Vince McMahon, and Tough Enough runner-up Luke reveals a few things you may not have known that makes Tough Enough look bad. But how much of it is true? We'll analyze the stories and check each one to see how many have the ring of truth and how many sound like somebody had a grudge and made it up on the spot.

1. WWE.COM Admits Results On Several Matches Were Inaccurate During Power to the People

WWE revealed the night after RAW that several matches were affected by a vote. To quote the report found here on 411 "- WWE has announced that a second match last night had voting issues. The company announced that issues with counting the votes turned the Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston match into a Best Two of Three Falls match instead of the actual winner, which was Vickie Guerrero being banned from ringside. The company says all other voting results besides that and Mason Ryan being incorrectly chosen as Evan Bourne's opponent were counted correctly."

So if all of this is accurate Evan Bourne faced the wrong opponent, the main event stipulation was the wrong one, and now WWE is moving to have Sin Cara vs. Evan Bourne which won the competition on RAW this Monday. That's a pretty big credibility error for a company to have, especially one with over six years of online voting experience with the Taboo Tuesday/Cyber Sunday concepts.

I've always felt that they should give a week in advance to vote on matches and stipulations. Imagine how much better RAW could have been if we had the whole week to vote and they could check and ensure the winner was accurate well before bell time on Monday night. Five minute voting windows were not the smartest way to go about these things considering the likelihood of voting errors, and they did indeed happen. Conspiracy theorists say that the voting was actually fan votes but WWE pretended it wasn't to go ahead with plans they had anyway, which I do not believe happened. Bourne was probably going to lose to at least two of the guys in the voting, and possibly beat Swagger, and was likely told in advance what ending he'd be going with. Mason simply took the opportunity and made the best he could with it, claiming a victory. As far as Vickie and Dolph went, it was likely that the match planned was a one-on-one rematch with one fall and Dolph getting disqualified would be the finish all along. They probably just talked over going a fall each and then running the original ending anyway before the votes came in to confirm the match.

Percentage of Truth: 90% True. I think another match may have been affected by the voting as well but I can't say for sure. But I don't believe the WWE wanted Ryan/Bourne and I do not think the two-out-of-three-falls match was what WWE wanted to go with. As far as the vote that might have been changed to fit the WWE's needs, that was probably Cole over Booker for the "dance contest" which was horrible. Seriously, Cole vs. Vickie?

2. Canadian Wrestling Federation Complains of "Connecticut Company" Preventing Arena Booking

This one is a bit on the odd side: A wrestling company in Canada known as CWI said that a Connecticut company moved to block an August 27th date from being accessible for a wrestling show. Obviously, WWE comes to mind immediately as one of the only companies that have the stroke to ban people from renting an arena and have exclusivity clauses, and they do run cards in that arena locally. Also suspicious is the fact primarily ex-WWE talent such as Sid Vicious, Tatanka, Billy Gunn, and more are performing and Hulk Hogan performed earlier for this same company.

Now, we all know Vince McMahon is a vindictive and spiteful man when he wants to be. Warrior's DVD, the ranking of Hogan in the Top 50 DVD, jobbing out anybody who was loyal to WCW if they didn't come to the company during the War of their own wishes, and so on. But is this claim credible? Would WWE really do something like this, as they did in the past? When a company runs in an arena repeatedly, they can have an exclusivity clause that allows that company to use the arena anytime they want and their competition cannot. Technically, CWI would be classified as competition. This is no longer a Monday Night War situation, so the claim is questionable right now. To get to the bottom of this, I'm contacting the promotion and I'll see if I can get some straight answers for next week's column!

Percentage of Truth: Not rated until I hear back from them

3. Did Vince McMahon Rib Zack Ryder?

One of the strangest rumors passed through the wrestling world recently. In fact, it is so strange let me quote you the news itself from Stephen Randle's column:

"There are unconfirmed reports that a script for Raw was created that included Long Island Iced Z. In fact, Ryder was allegedly told that he would have a segment on Raw where he would turn face, acknowledge the fans, and get to plug his YouTube show. When Raw went on the air, the fans were rabid, and there were distinct chants for Ryder. Everything seemed to point to a great reception, and possibly a decent push, given the thinness of Raw's roster and the fact that Ryder had developed a passionate following. I mean, come on, the #2 face on Raw currently is arguably Alex Riley, at least until John Morrison heals up. So, what happened?

Well, it turns out the script was fake, and shortly after Raw began airing, Ryder was told that he had been the victim of a massive rib by none other than Vince McMahon himself. That's right, the billion-dollar owner of a publicly traded company had nothing better to do with his time than play a mean joke on one of his lowest-ranked employees, apparently because he didn't appreciate the fact that Ryder had dared to cozy up to that darned Internet crowd. The company whose public line has always been "if you want to get noticed, give us some ideas to get you over" instead felt it was more important to send a message that "Internet fans don't tell us who to push" than to actually push a guy who spent his own time trying to make his character more marketable and managed to get noticed by a fan base that is desperate for someone new and different to get behind.

The good news, if there is any, is that Ryder is quite well-liked by many Superstars, including that guy on top who makes Vince all that money, John Cena, and apparently many of them were more than a little upset about how things went down on Monday, and were quick to tell Vince their opinions on the matter. Now, I'm sure Vince was quick to smooth things over, but in the end, it doesn't really change the opportunity that was missed last week. Even if Ryder does the exact thing that they had planned for last Monday this week, you can't tell me it will have the resonance that it would have had in Long Island, where they finally would have had a hometown hero worth embracing. "

Since that story broke, there were a few tweets from WWE guys in regards to the cruelty of the joke and how it was completely out of line. I know that CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, and John Cena are obvious fans of Zack Ryder from their tweets and aren't pleased with the lack of usage on RAW for the former tag team champion. But is it true?

Vince McMahon is no longer a billionaire. In fact, his value has dropped by more than half since he originally hit the 1.1 billion mark years ago. Also, Vince is very well known to hold grudges and commit spiteful acts against his own guys as well as the competition. Now we just have to find out if something like this ever took place anywhere outside the fantasies of a few people who hate WWE. I know how hypocritical that sounds, but I am not rooting for lies to sink a company I once loved and cost talented men and women paychecks. But if this story is true, Vince seriously has some bad karma coming and I don't mean an hour-long video on the Warrior's blog.

Probability of Truth: 50% - It wouldn't be the first time Vince has screwed with his talent if it is true, and it won't be the last fake rumor about Evil Vince if it is false. For whatever it is worth, though, I think it happened.

4. CM Punk Leaves After MITB, Or Does He?

CM Punk gave a promo on RAW saying that he was being brutally honest and his contract is expiring the night of the Money In The Bank PPV, July 17, and he will be leaving whether he is the champion or not afterwards. Some wrestlers believe Punk is working everybody and has signed at least a temporary deal with WWE, while others believe Punk is headed out to recuperate, rest, and head back when he's ready similar to what Jericho has done.

If Punk is leaving, it won't shock me. Punk and Regal have said several times they were unhappy with the way they were treated in the company on Twitter, and recently Punk has even ragged The Rock on Twitter for having such a "grueling road schedule" that he might not make it to WrestleMania, which is obviously scorn for Rock not showing up since his birthday episode. Punk has said a few things that make it look like he's not happy and rumors of him leaving have been going on for long enough to have some merit. Fans from the Attitude Era will remember during a PPV in 1999, Jeff Jarrett was the IC Champion and did not renew his contract with the company in time for the PPV, so he was paid a large sum to compete and job the title to Chyna in a Good Housekeeping match and head to Nitro the next night. This is one reason why it is possible some contracts may end specifically on PPV dates since it may be the final appearance of a wrestler on their way out. It seems fishy, though, that one of the top wrestlers and mic workers in the company would not only walk out but also publicize that fact repeatedly on the flagship show.

If Punk is off screen for any length of time, it is bad for the company. However, with Sin Cara, Daniel Bryan, Evan Bourne, and several other guys known for their ability and high-risk style WWE is in better shape to absorb this loss now than, say, a year ago. Punk has very little left to do in the WWE beyond win a Royal Rumble, main event WrestleMania, and possibly win a King of the Ring tournament. That is about all he has left to accomplish after his five year run, because he was signed in June 2006 for the ill-fated ECW brand.

Punk loves to work the fans, but lately WWE have been honest with their departing stars - Edge, for example, was thought to be part of a work but he wasn't. Is it possible this is all 100% truth this time? Or is Punk entering the next phase of his gimmick and will stay with the WWE for the foreseeable future?

Probability of Truth: 75% - It is well known that CM Punk has issues with "sports entertainment" and wants to wrestle. It is also well known that he has issues with authority figures and left a company in nearly the same way to come to WWE. With that said I find it more probable than not that Punk will leave, take some time off, work in the indys or maybe a short stint even in TNA to up his visibility and re-sign with WWE for a much larger contract. It wouldn't be a bad thing to get time off from the famous road schedule, and Punk could call himself a wrestler for a while without being scolded.

5. Tough Enough Finalist Luke Robinson Claims Andy Had A Development Deal

Revealing and interesting things from this interview with Luke Robinson here including the following:

"Jack starts by saying he personally thinks Luke got robbed out of winning Tough Enough. Luke says he hears that a lot, and believes most people thinks he should have won.

Luke said he was shocked to see Andy win considering Trish Stratus and Booker T praised himself quite a lot backstage. He couldn't believe Booker said Andy had the "it" factor, because he thinks Andy is the opposite of the "it" factor. He talks about how embarrassing Andy's promos were on RAW and how McMahon cut him off."

Sounds pretty much accurate thus far. He also discussed WWE reactions:

"Nikhil phoned in and asked: What was it like to be in the first segment with Stone Cold and Vince McMahon? Luke said he knew they would be in the segment as Tough Enough would lead onto RAW. Nikhil asked did anyone come up to him backstage after losing? Brooklyn Brawler told him don't worry you have money all over you and you will become a star, he praised Stone Cold for being a great man to him. He said he reminded him of a young Shawn Michaels. The Miz said he expected him to win and hopefully sees him again working for the WWE. Luke says Bill DeMott and him didn't get along so well. Did he keep the WWE belt he was holding? The winner did and one day he will wear the belt."

I wouldn't necessarily listen to the Brawler on career success, but wait a second.

Something else was revealed!

"Jack asked did everyone know Andy have a development contract? That news leaked out on the first episode when they were backstage at Smackdown. He said he didn't find out till then. It was odd and could understand people questioning it, but has nothing bad to say about any conspiracy theories of some sort, he didn't know Christina had a contract either."

So let me get this straight: Several individuals in Tough Enough had developmental deals, which basically guaranteed them a job in the future with the company they were competing to earn a contract from? These people were already signed to a WWE contract, albeit a developmental deal one, and yet the program was portrayed as being a chance to earn a contract since you didn't already have one. This is extremely questionable behavior by the WWE, considering that the first person eliminated apparently had also scored a contract and tweeted about it before deleting it. If that is true, than three people in the competition ended up with or began the series with a contract for WWE's developmental territory.

I can't say how screwed up this is. Andy already had a job, why screw over Luke? There are reports Luke was on some gay fetish wrestling site which may have had more than a little to do with the decision behind the scenes, but if that was true what about the other competitors like AJ? AJ showed he could work the mic better than anybody when they said he couldn't work it at all, and he had the skill to perform but yet got thrown out like trash. The least they could have done is run a series legitimately without ringers thrown around in the entire time. And then, having a ringer win the contract when he can't talk or wrestle is just bullshit. I think it is telling that so far Andy still hasn't wrestled on Raw or SmackDown and that he has a long way to go before making it in the company. Luke, however, will never have the chance in all likelihood.

The news of the developmental contracts has been confirmed. Therefore, there's no need for the probability of truth, but there is a need to find this kid a job in WWE and put Andy back in FCW for years to come. Classy move by the 'E as they are wont to do.

6. Warrior Unleashes Destrucity On Hogan Through YouTube

Okay, I admit I loved the Warrior when I was young and followed him more than I did Hogan. Because of this, I delved where few men dared to delve and watched the entire eight segment (and bonus) Bad Karma video series the Warrior created and will tell you what is on there so you don't have to go through all of them.

Warrior made the following allegations about Hogan:

- He said Hogan was a cokehead and kept people down by giving them drugs and keeping them addicted and dependent.

- He claimed Hogan and Linda had an open marriage and both of them had sex with anybody they wanted whenever they wanted.

- He said Hogan's hair in the back actually is a series of extensions because he's vain about his appearance

- He said Hogan was at least partially responsible for the destruction of Miss Elizabeth's life and her marriage to Randy Savage.

- He said Hogan stashed cocaine and other drugs in his fanny pack he was notorious for wearing in case he needed a quick fix

- He said that Linda married a guy from Brooke Hogan's own class and Hogan married a girl who looked just like his daughter

- He claimed Hogan deliberately used the Renegade concept because he couldn't have Warrior signed at the time in WCW and did it to go up Warrior's ass

- He said Hogan completely lied on the Warrior DVD released by WWE about when he left the company

- Warrior also said he was a horrible parent and that is why Nick ended up in so much trouble with his accident

Warrior split the gigantic shoot into eight parts and added a bonus segment in which he discussed Hogan's brain probably being made of melted cheese by this point from the alleged drug usage. Basically, it was around 57 minutes of Warrior seated and talking into what appeared to be a webcam with the same background as "professional video/audio editing" which really looked like he bought a webcam and cut the whole thing into parts with a free video editing software program.

The production or lack thereof notwithstanding, these are serious allegations that Warrior must either prove or be subject to losing a large amount of money due to Hulk filing a lawsuit over these claims. As far as whether any of this, some of this, most of this, or all of this is true I'll leave you the readers to decide because after watching an hour of that MY brain is melted cheese. So what do you think? Does Warrior have any truth to him or is Hogan right when he says Warrior is a liar?

All I know is I'm avoiding any video over 4 minutes for a while. Now where's the goddamn Tylenol??

7. Paul Heyman Reveals Genius Plan For Daniel Bryan In TNA

Just to keep relevant, formerly bankrupt ECW owner Paul Heyman released his plans to build up Daniel Bryan in TNA if he had joined as a booker and Bryan landed there as a talent. Heyman said he'd give Daniel a program where he would tap everybody out in less than a minute and at the same time, bring in some monster that he would give an undefeated streak to who would beat the hell out of everybody. Within three months, the two meet and Daniel taps the guy out and ultimately, this somehow leads to Kurt Angle challenging Bryan because he was the only guy who wasn't tapped out or something similar.

Now I see how the dude went bankrupt. What's the obvious problem with this angle right off the bat? The monster heel/face immediately loses all credibility by tapping out just like everybody else. Daniel ends up going against Angle in some classics to be sure but seriously, is that the best he could do? This is what the IWC creams themselves about coming in to book matches for the wrestlers?

I usually wouldn't bother doing any fantasy booking but in this case, what the hell. Bryan comes in and pulls a huge shoot on WWE, discussing how he believes in submission wrestling and they refuse to even discuss the word "wrestling" anymore. After getting that out of his system he tells everybody he's here to shut his critics up for good and has a brand new way to do it. Bryan then competes against various job/enhancement talents and uses this new submission hold to put them down in under 10 seconds every match, but keeps it on and establishes himself as an evil bitter heel.

Around the same time as Bryan comes in working this story, the "monster" comes in as a monster face with a killer pin finisher that he uses to put down enhancement and lower-card talent left and right. Both men have an undefeated streak lasting about two months by now, and they meet when Bryan refuses to break the finisher after winning and the monster hero comes in to make the save since he was scheduled to wrestle next. The two stare at each other, but security keeps them apart.

The next week Bryan calls him out. He says that despite his work the last two months the monster is nothing and will submit just like the rest. The monster face says to bring it on, the match is made for the next PPV, and the two again are stopped from contact by security forces. Bryan yells, "I AM BETTER THAN YOU!" and spits at him in disgust. For the sake of having something to type, let us call Bryan's killer submission move the Budokagatame and the monster heel's pin move the top rope hangman DDT, similar to Orton's but off the top rope and not the middle.

The match begins, and the two compete. As the match is coming to a close, Bryan exposes the top turnbuckle when the ref is with the face and Bryan ends up sending him face-first into the turnbuckle, then a sick DDT, and then locks the Budokagatame in. The monster face does not submit, but he does pass out and the ref declares Bryan the winner via match stoppage. On Impact, Bryan gloats and the big guy comes in to inform him he never tapped him out and he wants a rematch, but a special kind: Submission only, no forfeit or stoppage. Bryan is too happy to accept, and that match will take place on the next PPV. The two compete again, this time Bryan locks in his Budokagatame and the monster powers out and breaks the hold! Bryan is so shocked he gets set up for the top rope DDT, but counters, and the monster counters into a new submission of his own! Bryan taps out but attacks the monster post-match and sends him off for a month injured.

After a month of dominating competition, the monster returns to save somebody from Bryan and the two are booked to settle the issue in a two-out-of-three-falls match on PPV. Fall One will be Anything Goes, Fall Two is Submission Only, and if required Fall Three is steel cage win via escape. The first fall sees the top rope DDT get its first kick out as Bryan escapes, and uses a new impact move of his own to put the monster down for a three. The next fall, the monster ends up pulling out his submission hold to get Bryan again. The cage goes across the ring and the two have a back and forth contest, both bleeding and taking risks to get the victory. Bryan hits the new impact hold and goes up to escape but the monster shakes the cage and sends him back inside, where Bryan seems to hurt his leg. The monster pulls Bryan into not one, not two, but three of those top rope DDT's and climbs to the top of the cage, yelling down "YOU ARE A DEAD MAN!" before hitting an off-the-cage leg drop or splash or something extremely unexpected from a guy his size. The bloody monster face slowly climbs up the cage and out, landing on his feet, and collapses outside. Both men require aid to get to the back as they take their applause, but the monster stands defiantly on his own power near the entranceway and raises his arm to a thunderous cheer before walking to the back with several referees.

With that, I made two stars instead of one. People will remember Bryan's dominating performance in the first match and his new moves in fall 1 and 3 of the final match, and the monster will be famous for winning the feud and taking such a risk off a cage. Both can continue to compete in the upper-card, and head towards main event status. It is simple, relatively easy to pull off considering Bryan can have a great match with nearly anybody, and this would go a long way to making two guys look good even in defeat. Instead of destroying one career to launch another, this launches two careers and makes people give a damn about both wrestlers and their abilities.

Smartest Thing of the Week: TNA Returns Focus To The X-Division With Destination X

TNA is doing something extraordinary by having a Destination X PPV containing only X-Division wrestlers and matches in a few weeks, despite the many critics who complained a few weeks ago that they are purposely killing off the X-Division. However, the Abyss situation was merely the start of putting more focus on the wrestlers and having their very own PPV is a good way to show the world just how great TNA Wrestling can be. The possibility of RVD vs. Lynn, Joe/Daniels/AJ, Austin Aries getting a contract and more should entice anybody to purchase Destination X as it probably will be the highlight of the year in terms of the major two promotions PPV quality. Kudos to TNA!

Dumbest Thing of the Week: Capitol Fans Receive Punishment Via Unfunny Obama Impersonator

While the wrestling was solid yet unspectacular at Capitol Punishment, the one thing many fans will remember is, of course, a fake Obama impersonator who appeared in several stupid segments spaced throughout the PPV so if you took a piss break you were still guaranteed to see some of them. Having not bought the PPV myself, I decided to see just how bad things really were on YouTube and....

...I'm glad I didn't buy this show! Was it really necessary to do this when there were many talents who could have used a PPV payday in an actual match? This is reminiscent of when the actual Presidential candidates appeared in 2008 for a taped address on RAW and then they had the Obama vs. Hillary battle of the imposters anyway in the ring. The highlight of that was the Bill Clinton impersonator, hands down, but from what I saw nobody won watching this on PPV.


Greg "The Hammer" Valentine

Greg Valentine was actually more accomplished than most wrestling fans know, as much of his career was spent in the WWF after achieving success in the NWA. However, anybody who has seen Valentine compete knows he has the skill to put on a good match, and he also comes from a wrestling family.

Valentine began training for wrestling in 1970, with Stu Hart as his trainer no less before completing his training under The Sheik. Valentine was the son of Johnny Valentine, and in an interesting twist began competing as a tag team with his father listing himself as his father's brother due to concerns about Johnny's age and credibility in title matches with a son Greg's age. In 1975, Johnny Valentine suffered a broken back during a plane crash and had to retire. It was at this point that his son headed to the NWA to achieve success for the family name.

He was originally was known for his skill with an elbow strike, finishing off his opponents with an elbow drop from the top rope similar to Randy "Macho Man" Savage later on. He broke boards with his elbow on promos and put out Johnny Weaver, the credited inventor of the sleeper, with the big elbow. Ric Flair would become his tag team partner, and they would defeat Gene and Ole Anderson for the NWA World Tag Championships in a match that saw Gene Anderson get beaten badly and require a stretcher job. They would lose the belts and gain them back in another match where Valentine and Flair left Ole unable to leave on his own power, getting a reputation quickly for being very dangerous. They were stripped of their titles for their brutality, and the team split.

Valentine set his sights on Chief Wahoo McDaniel and his NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship, defeating him for the belt in a match that saw Valentine utilize a "leg/ankle suplex" as it was called, although in actuality it was simply hooking the ankle and dropping backwards with the DDT motion on the foot, to break Wahoo's leg since his figure-four wouldn't work on Wahoo's thick legs legitimately. Nowadays the move is used often to work over a leg but in the 1970's it was billed as bone breaking.

The next stop was the World Wide Wrestling Federation run by Vince's father, Vincent J. McMahon. He wrestled in both organizations and was billed in the WWWF as a guy who simply enjoyed breaking his opponent's leg, and had the Grand Wizard as his manager. His notable accomplishment early on was breaking Chief Jay Strongbow's leg and also, he went to a one-hour draw with Bob Backland for the WWWF Championship. Later on, Backlund would beat Valentine but the referee was dazed and handed Valentine the title, which for some reason caused it to be held up. Backlund won anyway after that finish that sounds like it came from Vince Russo, and ended up injuring Pedro Morales with a suplex on the concrete. Yes, back then people actually sold those moves as threatening to your life and well-being.

Valentine won the NWA tag titles again with Ray Stevens, but the promoter told him that he had film evidence that showed the wrong man was pinned and the titles were going to be returned. Naturally the heels just beat him up and cut the film up with a pocketknife so he had no proof! Shortly after this situation Valentine once again attempted to rekindle his team with Ric Flair, although Flair originally had turned him down. This time Flair and Valentine faced off with Jimmy Snuka and the Iron Sheik, and Valentine betrayed Flair by legitimately breaking a wooden cane over Flair's face, which broke his nose and split his lip. Valentine would hold Flair's US Championship before losing it back to him in a revenge match, although he'd go back for the title several more times. Unfortunately, Roddy Piper wanted the belt as well, and the two went at it in dog collar chain matches across the country. Piper got the win in the first Starrcade in 1983 over Valentine in a non-title match but paid the price with damage to his ear that never healed. Piper and Valentine would beat each other for the title, and then Dick Slater would pin Valentine and send him off to the WWF.

Captain Lou Albano was the first to manage Valentine on his return, and in 1984 he defeated Tito Santana for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Tito had wrongly thought he won the match, and when he celebrated Valentine rolled him up after injuring his knee earlier in the match and got the fall. He would finish it off with a figure-four after the victory, putting Santana out with leg injuries. Junkyard Dog would be unsuccessful in fighting Valentine for the title, although he did score a count out victory at the first WrestleMania in 1985. Santana, after healing, would face Valentine and beat him for the title that saw Valentine throw a fit and destroy the belt. It was at this time that he became a tag team wrestler with Brutus Beefcake, managed by Johnny V. who was also the original manager of Demolition who was reviewed last week. They defeated the U.S Express for the gold, losing to the British Bulldogs at WrestleMania II. At WrestleMania III, they defeated the Rougeau Brothers but Valentine left the match because of an inadvertent hit by Beefcake. Valentine and Dino Bravo were billed as the New Dream Team, but he was then asked to participate in a storyline where he would kidnap the Bulldog's mascot Matilda. Valentine said no, and resigned from the company. He would return, with Jimmy Hart as his manager, but never gain the fame he'd had prior to this incident.

In 1988 Valentine continued his injury streak by assaulting "Superstar" Billy Graham, who had returned to the company after hip surgery and then became Don Muraco's mentor. Muraco went after Valentine as a result, and he two had various matches with little settled between them. Valentine defeated Ricky Steamboat in the WrestleMania IV tournament, but then lost in the second round to Randy Savage, who would go on to win. He would wrestle against various opponents before his next feud with "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin began. Valentine pinned Garvin in a retirement match on Superstars, which was extremely rare to see in those days on a Saturday program, and used the ropes to do so. Garvin became a referee afterwards and caused problems for Valentine until Hart and Valentine were able to remove him. Garvin again came back as a ring announcer, introducing Valentine as "thirty pounds overweight" at SummerSlam 1989 when Valentine fought Hercules. Valentine won, but Garvin announced Hercules as the winner, prompting a furious Valentine to demand his reinstatement so he could beat Garvin. This brought about the famous battle of the shin guard that Valentine used for a supposedly injured shin, but used it offensively against opponents with elbows and the figure-four. Garvin put his own shin guard on when they competed at the Royal Rumble 1990, and when Valentine locked in the Figure Four Garvin just sat up and made funny faces at him because the move had no effect. Valentine would get the brace off Garvin but lose when Garvin nailed him with his own shin brace and locked in a Sharpshooter for the victory.

After this loss, he became part of Rhythm and Blues with the Honky Tonk Man, who he had been teaming with in late 1988 and 1989 on occasion. Valentine dyed his hair jet black and performed horrible "vocal performances" as backup to Honky, and the two eventually broke up when Valentine turned on Honky. Honky left the company before the two could feud, and Valentine shifted from loss to loss, to men like Earthquake and I.R.S and getting eliminated from the Royal Rumble in 1992 by the Repo Man. Since he knew his time was pretty much done, he jumped to WCW.

Valentine didn't find much success there, as he would become WCW U.S Tag Team Champion with Terry Taylor for half a year, but then he was asked to job to Sting. Why he thought this was a bad thing was something I do not know, but he did and decided to quit the company. It was off to the indy circuit for the rest of his career, although he did return to both companies for various short runs and one-off appearances. He would be the Blue Knight on the Survivor Series team originally captained by Jerry Lawler against the Hart Family, and he would make an appearance at the 1994 Royal Rumble. Valentine occasionally competed in WCW, and in 1999 appeared on the infamous Heroes of Wrestling PPV where he defeated George "The Animal" Steele in a horrible excuse of a match. Then again, all the matches on that show were pretty awful! In an ironic note, in 2005 Valentine would become the IWA Heavyweight Champion only to lose it to his old nemesis 20 years later, Tito Santana!

Valentine was entered in the WWE Hall of Fame on March 13, 2004, inducted by Jimmy Hart. He also competed briefly, losing to Rob Conway on WWE Heat. He also came out during Ric Flair's retirement party on RAW to say goodbye to his old friend, although Flair would return a year later to the ring. Amazingly, Valentine continues to wrestle at age 60 across the country, and is a born again Christian who speaks with Ted Dibiase on tours.

Valentine was famous as well for his appearance on Tuesday Night Titans, or TNT, which was a two-hour show mostly used to show off the talents and gimmicks of the WWF wrestlers. It was an entirely kayfabe show, and Valentine appeared to get a back rub from his wife during the show. You might think that it was a plant or a model hired, but Valentine actually was married to the woman! Here's how lucky he was:

Take 5

Wrestler To Watch: Alex Riley

Who would have thought that the arrogant rookie carrying Miz's bags two months ago would become one of the top faces on WWE RAW with a clean PPV pinfall victory over the former world champion? Alex Riley, for whatever reason, has been getting the crowd behind him massively in recent weeks and has done well with the push he's been given. I always liked his ability and more recently some of his promo work but after the last month I can see Riley getting into matches and segments that will help build his entire career from this point on.

Promo of the Week: Scott Steiner Makes Ric Flair Cry

This is the famous promo that Steiner cut on Nitro that was so bad Ric Flair cried backstage over it. At the time it was sacrilege but since Flair decided to move to TNA he's suddenly allowed to be the punching bag of the IWC. Anyway, Steiner showcases his famous lip and ability to rock a microphone when he utters these words that brought tears to the eye of the former Sixty Minute Man.

Babe To Watch: Kelly Kelly

In recognition of Kelly Kelly's achievement of becoming WWE Diva's Champion for the very first time despite competing for five years, we present to you the early days of young Kelly Kelly when she was regularly stripping and dancing on ECW for the fans. Maybe it is just me but she looked a lot hotter back then, perhaps because she was allowed to show some facial expressions and acted like a total slut. Speaking of, catch Kelly Kelly acting slutty slutty right down here and YOU'RE WELCOME KELLY KELLY LOVER.

Match of the Week To Watch: SEXY BIKINI TIME!

Since it is the beginning of the summer I decided to give you guys a special treat and let you watch a "match" of sorts involving bikinis! Namely, WWE SmackDown's bikini contest between former WWE Divas Cherry, Michelle McCool, and Victoria/Tara in TNA along with Eve and my favorite WWE Diva, Maryse! Check how hot she is in this contest.

Mystery Section to Watch: Feel Good Clip Of The Week!

People were shaking their heads in disbelief and disgust that after an Elimination Chamber match going over forty minutes; John Cena was still the heavyweight champion. "My Time Is Now" played yet again over the speakers, Cena pranced around with the title belt, and it looked like all was well in the world of the budding Cenation. But this night was not over, and Cena's title reign was about to get SPEARED into nothingness. Edge takes Cena out with the very first cashing in of the Money In The Bank briefcase at New Years Revolution 2006!

Haterade: Hater's Gotta Hate, Here We Set 'Em Straight!

One of the first, and last, posters both had something to say regarding the ratings of WWE vs TNA on SpikeTV. Here's the first one:

"Oh man, the defense of TNA ratings vs. Raw ratings because of the different networks is priceless. "The highest it ever received was 1.7 during the Jan 4, 2010 live three-hour broadcast which tells me there is a ceiling on SpikeTV as to how high you can go with this particular channel."

How this was actually your defense of TNA's low ratings is beyond me. RAW was on Spike for years and it pulled in much much better ratings than Impact's peak. In fact, if memory serves me correctly RAW was doing better on Spike at that time than it currently does on USA. The networks have no significant impact here, it's just the argument that you thought of to deflect from the real reasons, most of which have to do with the poor product and TNA's inability to capture the collective interest of the wrestling community.

Posted By: Bacon Baron (Guest) on June 18, 2011 at 02:46 AM"

And the second one basically parroted the same thing as this one and accused me of being a troll. So, in other words, the 'Etard special. Right, well time to once again educate you guys:

1. RAW did draw better on Spike than TNA did. This was also years ago before the advent of over one thousand channels on your television box, OnDemand movies and television shows, mainstream DVR usage, the advent of the UFC and mixed martial arts and other technology factors that make it easier than ever to watch what you want when you want.

2. RAW also was not taped like TNA shows are, sometimes for over a week at a time. People can just go on 411 and read the results if they don't care to watch the show, which leads us to one of the facts of wrestling shows: Live almost always outdraws taped!

3. RAW was on during the time of Spike being "The National Network", a name change from the old Nashville Network. RAW ran from 2000-2005 before returning to USA, which was a period, that saw the highest ratings from TNN come from....

The Joe Schmoe Show.

Seriously. In late 2003, that particular show was the top dog on the network over RAW. Spike drew high ratings on shows, which is no longer true. They even had to drop the #1 network for guys claim because they do not have that demographic anymore. In 2000-2005 it was not uncommon to see shows passing 5 or 6 in the Nielsens, whereas today the top rated SpikeTV show is Impact Wrestling. The third-highest rated UFC show in history drew only a 2.4 rating in November 2009, and the programming could not be different. Years ago people actually watched other shows, whereas today the ratings for most programming doesn't pass 1.0 or higher on Spike. Yes, in the past it was well viewed but BECAUSE of all the choices out there the network is pretty dead in the water when it comes to moving program numbers. Seriously, who do you know that watches SpikeTV if it isn't for UFC or TNA?

Compare USA's lineup to SpikeTV: White Collar, In Plain Sight, WWE RAW, Burn Notice vs. 1,000 Ways To Die, Manswers, re-runs of anything and everything, and of course Impact Wrestling. The network just doesn't have the marketing or the programming to bring in new viewers, and they don't seem to care.

"I give up. Whether you've been watching wrestling since 1986 is irrelevant, you've proven countless times that you're not willing to fairly analyse wrestling and are, in fact, just looking to make a name for yourself by criticising the WWE and kissing Dixie Carter's arse regardless of what the evidence tells you. Every week you say something that is heavily contradicted by something else, and you never hold yourself accountable for your hypocrisy because in your mind you're just sticking up for TNA. Oh wait, you did 'apologise' for saying Wrestlemania wouldn't get a million buys - which means absolutely nothing because apologising for being disproven by a fact isn't an apology at all and is, in fact, absolutely necessary to avoid looking like a complete moron - but overall it's the same old shit, week after week. "I know more about wrestling than you, blah blah, Spencer Mullard and The Fuj are ok because they love TNA, blah blah, Cena sucks, blah blah". With this blinkered attitude it's hard to believe that you've even been on this planet since 1986, let alone been watching wrestling all that time.

Again, I think it's fair to admit that many people criticise TNA more than it deserves (and I've fallen victim to that trap many times myself), but the difference is the majority of those who do so don't have the opportunity that you do to set the record straight. However, instead of focusing solely on TNA and historic wrestling - the things that apparently you know so much about - you're spending hours out of every week getting into flame wars with people who have the audacity to suggest that WWE isn't as bad as you're trying to make out and that TNA should be culpable for the mistakes it makes, while also giving props to infamous trolls simply because they're trolls on the side of TNA rather than WWE. In essence, your 'knowledge' of wrestling really doesn't appear to go any further than "I am rubber, you are glue". I honestly haven't read anything so childish since Stuart Carapola began that pathetic 'The Death of AJ Styles' series in response to a few people calling him 'Stuart Crapola' after he originally said AJ was a bit overrated - and keep in mind we've seen a TON of smark columns since then, yet somehow yours manages to stand out as one of the most insufferable.

Having opinions is one thing, but refusing to back any of them up with any kind of statistical evidence or logical reasoning and instead sticking your fingers in your ears while screaming "I'm right because I've watched it longer than you, TNA, TNA" isn't a reasonable response. Nor is refusing to give credit to anyone in WWE except Sheamus. Your article is a flop, and it will be until you change the focus to TNA exclusively instead of this fan-baiting shite. Until then, goodbye.

Posted By: Frie (Guest) on June 18, 2011 at 05:48 AM"

Seriously, every week you come in and say the same shit. I back up my claims although there are rules about being able to link to certain sites so I cannot do it directly but if you want to know the source of certain things, e-mail. My knowledge of wrestling is probably considerably greater than yours, considering I write for 411 and you post whiny crap like this every single week in the comments section. All it really is is flummery, so rest assured unless you make it good it isn't going to be printed. If you think you can do such a better job, apply to 411! Harder than it looks, kiddo.

"So Kofi and Dolph and Rey and Punk are fighting again on PPV. They have had great matches against each other in the past so what's wrong with them fighting again? I didn't hear you whine and cry like a little bitch when Angle and Jarrett have fought each other several times in the last few months? So why whine and cry like a little bitch here? So I guess it's OK for TNA to do rematches but it isn't for WWE? Again more TNA bias bullshit.

Posted By: Guest#2352 (Guest) on June 18, 2011 at 06:49 AM"

You call that great? I knew standards for wrestling matches are low these days but you really believe Dolph and Kofi put on matches that can be compared with some of the better ones in our sport? You know, here's just one of the ways you are wrong: Kofi and Dolph fight both on free TV and PPV's for around two years now. Angle and Jarrett have had five PPV matches since November 2010 to June 2010! FIVE. In contrast, Dolph and Kofi have wrestled each other three times in the last two weeks alone, once on PPV and twice on free television. There is a big difference between having FIVE MATCHES between eight months and three matches in two weeks. Yeah, facts are a bitch.

"The difference between the Undertaker/HHH chairshot and the Rob Terry abomination is that the Taker chair shot was a protected shot and ended up meaning something due to the scaling down of headshots. The Terry chairshot was unprotected and was forgotten about in a month as Terry was pushed to the side for whatever reason.

Posted By: KM (Guest) on June 18, 2011 at 07:30 AM"

They got fined so it wasn't that protected; although likely the fine was in name only or maybe a dollar just to put it on record. Bottom line: Chairshot to the head is a chairshot to the head. I heard Storm go off on TNA when it happened but WWE did that and ran Orton two days in a row after a concussion in main events and Storm doesn't say a word.

"In all honesty Wes I like your column and I think you have a lot to offer but it just makes me cringe to watch you let the trolls get to you. No reaction = untrollable. I'd love to see you write more about wrestling than give the trolls the time of day.

Posted By: Hercules Strongs (Guest) on June 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM"

Thanks, and by the way I believe it was you I wrote to about the health insurance website where you could get your insurance cheaper in New York, I believe it was. Starting in two weeks Haterade is massively scaled back, and as far as me being trolled? I'm lazy. My 411 Pro taught me the Art of Laziness and this section is basically responding to various comments with questionable credibility. Do I personally care? No. I live in a liberal state and I get hammered for my conservative views all the time anyway so I'm used to it!

"So you don't think Josh was mentally rehearsing his lines before he went on the air? He isn't Gorilla Monsoon, he doesn't just get to make his own lines up. Everything he says on-air is scripted or being paraphrased as it gets fed to him by someone else. Just because he isn't "on the air" that doesn't mean he wasn't doing his job. Having worked as a production assistant on television shows, I can tell you pre-broadcast is the worst time for everybody because they're trying to get everything ready, make sure they have their parts memorized, etc.

Also, wrestlers really don't owe you anything. We do pay to see them but if they're weren't doing what they do we wouldn't be there in the first place to pay. It's a two-way street. There's a major difference between writing a wrestling column, where your comments (let alone hits) probably don't eclipse double digits, and 10,000 people filing into an arena. If you were put under the same stress a WWE announcer is, I don't think you'd be so quick to attack Josh. There's a reason guys like Mick Foley and JBL quit that job -- it's ridiculously stressful thanks to Vince micromanaging it.

Posted By: Guest#5458 (Guest) on June 18, 2011 at 01:23 PM"

You got that right, he sure isn't Gorilla Monsoon. Giggling and laughing with Michael Cole during NXT and SmackDown isn't exactly indicative of massive hard work on Josh's part. I agree with you on Vince's micro-management being a detriment, because people shouldn't have to go through that. However, it does not take away the number one rule of wrestling business: THE FANS PAY YOUR SALARY. Pissing off your customers that just paid hundreds of dollars to be there is not going to encourage them to come back. Besides, his job is not hard. Here, I didn't even rehearse:

"Welcome to another edition of WWE Heat! I'm Josh Mathews, bringing you the action live from (arena name here) at (city, state here) along with my broadcast colleague (name here). And what an incredible main event we have tonight when (Wrestler name 1) collides/takes on/faces/steps in the ring with (wrestler name 2), what a (superlative here) match that's going to be!"

Yeah, takes hours to write that stuff right? As a writer, I can tell you that the WWE guys are pretty lazy. One of the reasons this current era sucks so badly is because the guys do not get to craft their own promos and work with talented promo artists from the past to improve themselves. It has been said many times WWE's writers don't understand the characters they are putting on camera, especially with the second generation guys and it is so true. Let them sink or swim on their own, WWE! Forced face promos are so hard to get through it isn't even funny.

"I think the Haterade section needs to be dropped, or at least changed in a major way. I will admit it was amusing/interesting at first, but now it is just repetitive/boring. You will never change people's minds on TNA, and they will not change your mind. So what's the point, other than hits?

Posted By: JLAJRC (Guest) on June 18, 2011 at 06:25 PM"

I'm lazy. That's really it. However, your wish is my command and in two weeks Haterade gets a major revamping.

"I've met josh matthews 3 times over the years and he's always been very friendly and chatty. I'm thinking the guy who said he ignored him is one of those fans that are rude and get in the wrestlers faces then find it strange why the wrestlers don't wanna talk to them!

Posted By: ukboy (Guest) on June 18, 2011 at 06:30 PM"

If by rude and annoying that means walking past and waving politely with a smile then yes, I was rude and annoying. I was just happy to get indoors at that point!

"Keep up the good work on the column, it's one of the better ones around, but as everyone else already said, DON'T FEED THE TROLLS.

Posted By: poffo316 (Guest) on June 19, 2011 at 07:04 AM"

Dude, if I don't feed the trolls I'll have to write more and do more research every week. Do you really want me to have to do more work every week? Steve was very clear on laziness being important in the career of a website writer. And I listen to my Pro.

"I am not a TNA hater, but this column is barely readable, particularly the lengthy self aggrandizing diatribe to open the piece. These trolls in the comment section are bad enough, I think those who are lucky enough to write a column should refrain from acting like some of the unlikeable losers that frequent sites like this. It's just childish and off-putting.

Posted By: Norm L. Pearson (Guest) on June 19, 2011 at 02:02 PM"

Weren't you that fat guy on Cheers?

"Nope, this is the same mentality of the jr. high wrestling fan or mtv zombie. Ke$ha sells more albums right now then Metallica did. The reason TNA's ratings won't go up is because they don't have an arena full of 10k little kids. And when it comes to wrestling or music kids will always do what they see on mtv.

Posted By: Guest#7053 (Guest) on June 18, 2011 at 12:30 PM

No, this is not true. I'm twenty nine years old, I've been watching wrestling since 1988, my two favourite bands are Godspeed You! Black Emporer and British Sea Power, I do not follow mainstream hype and I'll flat out tell you I think TNA is trash. Storyline wise it is no better than CZW or some shitty indie promotion. Storylines are made up on the spot to promote the next match. I guarantee you that in three weeks time Gunner will be nowhere closer to a TNA Title shot than he was a month ago. He won't even appear on next week's Impact if the spoilers are any indication.

Wes Kirk is a little bitch. A bitch of the highest order. In one section of your feedback column this week your mane arguement aganest someone was too go run there comment threw a spell cheque, (I counted one error, I've had a drink, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask but, still). surely you've got better than that? The standard internet put down? You'll be calling us all basement dwellers or claiming you're more intelligent than us... Oh hang on, you already did.

I'll tell you something Wes. You are not more intellingent than me or the adverage column writer or commenter on 411. I'll tell you what, I challenge you next week, I'll write the column with you and we'll argue it out.

Posted By: Xetal (Guest) on June 19, 2011 at 03:48 PM"

You are right; I am not more intelligent than you. I have no clue what that word is or what language you were speaking in, either.

Anyway I contacted drunky here about his offer to write half the column. Unfortunately, his mother found out he was drinking and enabled parental controls so he can't come to the computer to ply his craft and submit that magnum opus to me. Ah well. Hope he can come out and play when he's slept it off, Mrs. Xetal.

- Listen to the latest edition of the 411 on Wrestling podcast! On the show, I am joined co-host Steve Cook to discuss TNA releasing Desmond Wolfe, dream NXT seasons, Matt Hardy's "Vacation," Impact Wrestling, the card thus far for the Destination X PPV and much more!

You can listen to the show on the player below, or you can download the show here.

The show is also available on iTunes!

Listen to internet radio with Larry Csonka on Blog Talk Radio


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