411 Fact or Fiction 03.22.12: Punk's Family Matters, Menounos vs. Divas, Tebow in Wrestling, More
Posted by Steve Cook on 03.22.2012
Have Chris Jericho's promos successfully built interest in his feud with CM Punk? Is Maria Menounos hotter than the WWE Divas? Does the Triple H/Undertaker/Shawn Michaels feud need some action? 411's Stephen Randle & Andy Clark debate these topics and more in this week's 411 Fact or Fiction: Wrestling!
Hi, hello & welcome to 411 Fact or Fiction! I'm Steve Cook, and it's been an interesting week in pro wrestling. The WrestleMania feuds continued their build on Raw, with each of the main matches being addressed by the superstars involved. Chris Jericho took his baiting of CM Punk to another level by bringing his sister's drug addiction into public light. Maria Menounos's show Extra was marred by Diva interference, and she'll be in a match at WrestleMania. There was some story about FCW that I'm not sure what to make of. TNA held a PPV that featured Bobby Roode angering the fans & Austin Aries pleasing the fans. In non-wrestling news, Tim Tebow might need a job. Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Pinky?
I invited two 411 veterans to discuss these topics. Our first entrant needs no introduction, and that's a good thing because I didn't plan on giving him one. Here's Stephen Randle!
His opponent will be returning to 411 for a one shot WrestleMania deal very soon…say hello to Andy Clark!
Questions were sent out Monday.
Participants were told to expect wrestling-related questions.
1. The Undertaker/Triple H/Shawn Michaels feud needs some action prior to WrestleMania.
Stephen Randle:FICTION. What are they going to do? We already know every guy in this feud is a high-level wrestler, they've all got 20+ year careers behind them. You can't put them in matches leading up to the show because you can't just put them against jobbers, since that's clearly a waste of time, and you can't put them against the rest of your top guys because neither HHH or Taker should be losing leading up to their match, and you also really shouldn't be putting them over the guys who actually are going to be carrying the company the other 300+ days of the year. I think the build has been hurt because there's been so much time since it got underway and all they can do is talk, but that's a failure of the Creative team, not the lack of contact.
Andy Clark:FACT. I literally had an entire paragraph written arguing fiction, but just as I got to the end I had an epiphany. The Rock and John Cena are already doing the "no physicality until WrestleMania" deal (pending this Monday's Raw of course) and while my initial response was to keep Triple H and Undertaker apart there is really no reason to. These men already beat the hell out of each other one year ago and they have shown those clips. While I think WWE is going to want to have the epic staredown and slow start to their match at WrestleMania, I think after all of these weeks of talking it would be nice to see them show that they really do want to kill each other. I'm reminded of the big brawl between Undertaker and Batista on the SmackDown before WrestleMania 23 that really helped sell their issue. This past Monday's segment seemed to indicate that they have already hit their peak in terms of quality talking so a bit of action this week may not be a bad thing. The one thing stopping this from happen though, oddly enough, will likely be Taker's hair. If they really are waiting until Mania to reveal the Deadman's new look it might be kind of difficult for Triple H to attack him while keeping his hoodie in place.
Score: 0 for 1
2. Chris Jericho involving CM Punk's family in his promos increases your interest in their WrestleMania match.
Stephen Randle:FACT. Not so much my interest because I was already hyped to see this match, but I like the layers it adds to the match. Yes, it's great that they're fighting over who's Best in the World, but a feud like that between two "smart fan" favourites could potentially end up splitting the crowd, especially since both men have legitimate claims to the title. Adding the personal level ensures that Jericho can do what he does bet, play an absolute complete dick heel, while Punk gets to be the intense face that got him to where he is right now. Throw in that they've actually handled it well, making it dramatic without being over-the-top cheesy, and I'm totally hooked.
Andy Clark:FACT. I would have said FICTION a week ago because it first seemed kind of desperate, and at the time I'd much rather given Daniel Bryan and Sheamus a story instead of Punk-Jericho who already had the "Best in the World" battle going on. This week's addition of Punk's sister though really sold me on the angle and Jericho, to the surprise of no one, really made this work. I'll be honest, as much as I like CM Punk I've found him quite boring in recent months, so any spark that can be used to fire him up in the build to WrestleMania is a welcome addition. I anxiously await to hear what dastardly things Jericho says about Punk's family this week.
Score: 1 for 2
3. Maria Menounos is more attractive than most of the WWE Divas.
Stephen Randle:FACT. Man, Cook, you could have made this a lot easier. "Most" I'll give her, but not "all", since AJ's on the roster. Although, if you had switched out "more attractive" with "a better wrestler" I'd probably give the same answer, as I'm sure we'll find out April 1st. You are entirely going to get me in trouble with the wife, you know.
Andy Clark:FACT. When did AJ Grey start writing these questions? This is a bit of a cheat since I've been a Maria Menounos fan ever since she broke poor Keith's heart on the second season of One Tree Hill. I've also become relatively immune to the charms of most of the Divas, whether it's over exposure, the fact that I've seen a few of them up close, or just my own personal tastes. I'm not particularly interested in critiquing any of the Divas, and there are a few that are quite attractive, but I'll gladly take Maria Menounos on this one. And if you disagree with that assessment feel free to head over to the forums at OffTheTeam.com and express your displeasure. Nothing like talking beavers with a bunch of OTTers.
Score: 2 for 3
4. You think that Randy Orton vs. Kane is the least interesting WrestleMania match.
Stephen Randle:FACT. I think it was underscored this week on Raw where Kane was an afterthought in a match that highlighted the Big Show-Cody Rhodes feud and Randy Orton got to cut a really dull promo that did nothing to sell me on that match. There's no spark, there's no interest, it's clearly just a "they're top guys so they have to be at Mania" thing, even though you could have put them in the GM match to add a little star power, but anyway, I don't care about this one bit. So of course, we'll probably get a rematch or two at the PPVs afterward so WWE can pretend they actually had a feud.
Andy Clark:FICTION. I'm less interested in the aforementioned Divas match, and while I actually do anticipate their match because I think it will be good, Daniel Bryan-Sheamus has got to be the most milquetoast WrestleMania title match in a long, long time. There really isn't much meat to this Orton-Kane feud, but honestly that's OK. I don't expect much from a match that is clearly the eight match on an eight match depth chart. This is the perfect kind of match to include on the show, I projected this to be the fourth match on the show over at Offtheteam.com; the perfect palette cleanser on a show full of huge matches. Plus I do have a pretty fond recollection of the match they had last summer that Orton referenced on Raw. This is actually a pretty fresh match and I like the fact that they haven't bogged it down with superfluous story. Kane vs. Cena was a fresh matchup too but the story killed that one dead. Kane is a monster, Orton is a badass. ‘Nuff said.
Score: 2 for 4
5. Closing Florida Championship Wrestling would be the right decision by WWE. Editor's Note: The question originally had "is" instead of "would", but it doesn't affect the answers here. I blame Meltzer.
Andy Clark:FICTION. Which is why I don't believe it's happening. I wouldn't shocked at all to see WWE perform a "brand extension" on developmental. By physically separating two (or maybe even three) entities across the country a developmental brand extension, almost a makeshift territory system, would probably work better than the actual brand extension. While the crowds for FCW haven't been the most energetic, WWE has a decent amount of sweat equity put into the place so I don't see it being closed. Opening up another developmental territory would not only allow the upcoming superstars the ability to hone their craft in a different environment but it could also help save them from themselves. Keep getting DUI's in Tampa? Boom, we'll ship your ass to Connecticut. While I don't doubt the idea of closing FCW may have been mentioned before, even if only as a temporary restructuring, ultimately I think WWE will keep the program alive and well. At the very least they'll need something to run on WWE Network.
Stephen Randle:FACT. Although the news has broken that FCW is not closing, I can't say I was shocked at the initial story, even if it wasn't true. FCW has not really done what it was supposed to do, and that is create TV-ready Superstars. Hell, look at what should have been their shining graduation class: NXT Season 1, which became the Nexus. Of the original eight, Wade Barrett is the only true FCW success story. Gabriel and Slater are undercard guys on Smackdown, Sheffield has been gone for over a year, Tarver is fired, Young is back on NXT, and David Otunga…well, he drinks a mean cup of coffee. The eighth guy, of course, is Daniel Bryan, and anyone who gives FCW credit for him is brain damaged. FCW has a success rate more on par with DSW than OVW, and that's not a good thing. The only reason the roster is so strong right now is that WWE has populated it with the best of the indy circuit instead of hiring bodybuilders and fashion models, which is what they should have been doing in the first place!
Score: 2 for 5
6. Bobby Roode's antics at Victory Road should result in a storyline dismissal from TNA as the Impact Zone fans requested.
Andy Clark:FICTION. If Lockdown weren't the next PPV then I'd say sure. But Lockdown has traditionally been TNA's second biggest show of the year (and financially I think it may have a better success rate than Bound for Glory) and Roode vs. Storm has been the match that, theoretically, they have been building to. TNA may be banking on the return of Hulk Hogan and the rising star of Garrett Bischoff (*snicker*) to be the big event, but Roode has been such of a dick that it would be best to try and get people to want to see him get his ass kicked inside a cage. Sure it would make the most sense for Roode to be fired, but this is wrestling. Randy Orton main evented WrestleMania weeks after kicking the owner of the company in the head. You can easily have Roode weasel his way out of legal action, possibly with the assistance of Eric Bischoff (maybe he could Tweet @DavidOtunga) and build to a firing angle down the road. While real life common sense would dictate that Roode should be fired, in the world of professional wrestling this should make him even more of a star (or at least as much of a star as one can be in TNA).
Stephen Randle:FICTION. I don't like storyline firings because they're never done well and nobody ever believes that the guy is fired anyway. So you end up with cameras following the guy around backstage or in the parking lot instead of in the ring, until he's inevitable re-hired anyway. Save the time and just punish him some other way that keeps him on the show. Plus, firing Roode would also mean stripping him of the TNA World title, and there's nothing I hate more than when a company strips a wrestler of a belt if he's physically able to compete, because it breaks the lineage and devalues the next champion who doesn't get to win the belt from the previous holder. And it cheats fans out of a match with a title change, which is supposed to be one of the biggest thrills in pro wrestling.
Score: 3 for 6
7. Austin Aries should turn face in the near future.
Andy Clark:FICTION. Although isn't this one kind of moot by now, considering I'm pretty sure Aries has already turned face? Look, Aries is capable of being a face, I don't doubt that. The magnetic charisma he carries is the kind of thing that necessitates a heel to turn face because the crowd enjoys his shtick so much. Despite the fact that he is apparently the longest reigning X-Division Champion in history though, he's still relatively new to TNA. Part of the new non-Russo era I would hope is to maximize the talents of the wrestlers in TNA before burning them out. It's hard to get invested in a guy like Mr. Anderson for example when he turns every other month. Aries has been relatively consistent since his return to TNA last year but I still think he has a lot of mileage left on this current heel character. It's been a long time since TNA has had a bankable heel X-Division competitor and I would hate to see them blow it by having Aries turn to soon.
Stephen Randle:FICTION. It's not that I don't think he can do it, I just think A-Double works best as an arrogant heel, and less well as a good guy. He hasn't even been back in TNA a year, he's still relatively fresh in fans' eyes, so I don't think his character needs a turn any time soon.
Score: 4 for 7
8. If Tim Tebow can't find a job as an NFL quarterback, he should turn to pro wrestling.
Andy Clark:FACT. I offer this advice to any polarizing, big name athlete. Although WWE kind of already has their own Tim Tebow, his name is John Cena. With WrestleMania being in Florida, albeit Miami and not Gainesville, a cameo by good old Tebus would actually be pretty cool, especially if one Texas Rattlesnake were to make an appearance as well. (It looks like Tebow may go to the Jets, start planning for next year Vince!). Regardless of your opinion on Tebow, the fact is that a good number of people HAVE an opinion on Tim Tebow. Ultimately this should equate to drawing money, whether you tune in to see him succeed or tune in to see him get destroyed by Mark Henry. One especially nice thing about Tebow is that he would likely be respectful of the business and not be a celebrity prima donna. On the most recent WWE Legends Roundtable Jim Ross, Roddy Piper, Michael Hayes, and Diamond Dallas Page talked about the various celebrities that have participated in wrestling. The one trait they all agreed that was shared by the best wrestling celebrities was a respect for the business. For all his critics Tim Tebow has shown himself to be a humble, thoughtful person and one would think that that would be very helpful for an outsider coming into the wrestling industry.
Stephen Randle:FACT. At least then we'd have somebody we could point to and say "and you thought smiling ‘aw shucks' good guy man of the people John Cena was bad and split crowd reactions". And you know he'd end up heel, because he's apparently a legitimately nice guy who doesn't say a bad word about anyone but still has an aura of "I'm way better than you", plus everyone thinks he's either really lucky or really good at what he does. Wrestling fans hate that guy.
Final Score: 5 for 8
The 411 veterans score a respectable 5 out of 8 and bring up some interesting points. I'm pretty sure Aries wasn't a face, he was just cheered against Zema Ion and remains a douche nozzle, but I could be wrong. Feel free to comment on Aries, Maria Menounos, Tim Tebow or any of these topics in the comment section and let us know who you thought was the voice of the people! Thanks to Andy & Stephen for participating, and join us next week for more Wrestling Fact or Fiction!
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