Ask 411 Wrestling 01.30.13: Benoit, Superkicks, Switching Gimmicks, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 01.30.2013
Did Chris Benoit's actions create WWE's PG era? Would WWE be around if not for Stone Cold Steve Austin? When did Shawn Michaels start using Sweet Chin Music? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
It's Mathew Sforcina! What a shocking return!
Hey, I'm just trying to get into the spirit of things.
Anyway, this is Ask 411 Wrestling, and I am Mathew Sforcina, and I am back! Sort of. See, for those of you keeping track, I've been away for over a month due to boring day job commitments, and I've been replaced by Ryan ‘THQ was looking for' Byers in those weeks. And he did an excellent job.
But a bit before I was set to come back, boring day job turned around and said "Actually, we're gonna need you for a few more weeks than we said, sorry…". And so I'm torn between wanting to come back and having to get up in a minute to go back to boring day job.
The upshot of this? For a few weeks, we're doing Total Opinion Weeks, which also helps me slide back into doing these things. But, as always, the occasional fact may, and indeed will, sneak in.
And if you complain, WWE does Rock/Cena III: Without A Vengeance at Wrestlemania XXX, so think carefully.
I am from a small European country, though throughout my career I was billed as being from a much larger one. I was a regular fixture on WWF cards throughout the 1980's, where my parents (or perhaps "parents") were even once involved in an angle. After leaving the WWF, I was involved in a match to determine the first holder of what some would call an important world championship. Also, I had an unusual hobby with a nautical persuasion. Who am I?
It's Salvatore Bellomo, according to Maravilloso. It makes sense to me.
Remember, I have opened this one up to you guys, if you have a good trivia question, feel free to send it in. Jeremy has sent in a couple, so we'll have him for two weeks. Here's #1.
We are a short lived faction that was comprised of members of two other stables. We consisted of two former world champions, two movie stars, and 3 managers. Other members included a tag team, and someone with power backstage. Our group competed in a unique match in a structure that would return in some form a few years later. In this match, our group competed against an established tag team. Although weapons were legal in this match, the finish came from a different foreign object being introduced. Our then-active members are either now retired, deceased, or competing on the independents. Who are we?
Questions, Questions, Who's Got The Questions?/My Damn Opinion
So then, it's a light and fluffy edition of Ask 411 Wrestling, keeping it fresh and light-hearted while I get back into the groove, so let's see who gets to be the first cute, funny and above all light-hearted question-asker shall we? Nightwolf, take it away!
So I have to ask this question because it's been burning at my soul for years. For a couple years now, I've watch wrestling fans cry foul at the WWE. They say things like: WWE Sucks, They need better writers, Vince doesn't know what he's doing anymore, WWE should go back to the Attitude Era. OK so Vince McMahon steps down and Triple H takes over. WWE gets better writers so we get better storylines. WWE goes to something like the Attitude Era. Fine, fantastic great idea! Here's the problem. Don't you think that the reason Vince is in the PG Era is because of Chris Benoit?
There are two main issues here.
The first one is the list of complaints about the WWE. Your first three, that they suck, they need better writers and that Vince doesn't know what he's doing, they are defendable and reasonable positions, albeit with some tweaking, in that I feel that they aren't putting out as good a show as they could be, that need bookers, not writers, and that Vince isn't focusing due to his blinkers about the network.
The Attitude Era thing on the other hand is, in my opinion, less reasonable, in that it's fine to want aspects of that era back (anything can happen, interesting characters) but WWE will not be going TV-M for a long time. PG does not preclude good writing, or a good show. It just precludes certain things that, while I miss them on occasion, I don't need for a good show. Yes, blood can make a grudge match feel bigger and more of a moment, but it's not essential.
But the main point you have, that PG is due to Benoit, is… Not really accurate. It's playing a factor, yes. It certainly is something WWE wants to get away from, and going PG is, in some ways, a response to that, but it's not the main reason. The main reason WWE is PG?
MMA, or rather, UFC, has taken so much of the older audience, that WWE, to survive and prosper, had to switch target audiences. While WWE has never not been family friendly, for a given value of the term, they had to start going after them hardcore, since the older male fans were now focused on UFC. It's a big reason why The Rock is YOUR WWE Champion right now, an attempt to bring back the fans lost to UFC.
There are other reasons, deals they couldn't make not being PG, Linda's failed runs, but while Benoit did cause them to change some aspects of how they work in the ring, and is a factor in the PG push, but it's not the main reason from where I sit.
Bumpkin Bottle Oregon Slapsack has one of those questions that time has answered for us.
Wanted your opinion on my hypothesis here....we saw several months ago that Rick Petco of Orange County Choppers was designing the new WWE Title. Do you think there is any chance that if The Rock wins the Rumble, he'll show up at RAW the next might with the new belt in hand?? Which of course he will lose to Cena a few months down the road...
Well, obviously that didn't happen. But after Cena wins it at Wrestlemania, it's a real chance. But then again, I've heard 2014 as the time frame when they can swap it over, so maybe the night of, or the night after Wrestlemania XXX, mark of a new era and all that…
Brad has a full bore fact question!
This may be an easy question to answer. Is there any record of Col. DeBeers wrestling Hulk Hogan? If it happened, I'm thinking it was in the AWA during the early 80's. Col. DeBeers happens to live in the same retirement community as my parents, and I've heard second-hand that he wrestling Hogan twice, winning once. Any information is appreciated.
It's amazing how many old wrestlers claim they have beaten Hogan at some point. It's almost as many people as those who saw that Steve Austin was gonna be a superstar the first time they saw him…
Anyway Colonel/Major DeBeers (he got a promotion somewhere along the line) was a mainstay of the AWA from 1985 through to its closure in 1990, where he played the racist South African card for all it was worth, having a long and bloody feud with Jimmy Snuka over the fact that Snuka wasn't white. But while he did at one point bloody and injure Snuka, the main thing is that he lost the feud, which is one of those rules in wrestling that shouldn't ever be broken, in my view, but anyway.
Anyway, Hogan did work for the AWA between 1981 and 1983, so that would be the most logical place for them to cross paths (an indy date before that point is possible, but I don't think they were ever really in the same place at the same point prior to AWA.)
However, records from that period of AWA are… sketchy. It is entirely possible that he fought Hogan on some house shows and won by CO or DQ, since a pinfall over Hogan was, even in AWA, not something everyone got to do. Sadly all my resources came up empty. So I have to say that it's possible, but I can't prove it one way or another. Sorry.
Harrison Glenn Furd asks one of those questions that always pops up every so often.
If you were starting a new promotion with the intention of becoming the #1 wrestling company in the world which current 10 wrestlers would you start your company with? You can choose from anyone in the world who is currently wrestling. Who would you hire to run it? Booker? Announcers?
Well, if I was aiming to become the #1 company in the world, I'd need more than 10 wrestlers, but all right, let's roll with it, my top 10 picks. (Well, top 11. Tara's a given.)
In alphabetical order.
Antonio Cesaro (Can speak many languages, and so will be very useful in overseas promotions. Also a superb wrestler, and looks the part, which helps.)
Austin Aries (See below)
Bobby Roode (I really kept flipping between these two and the Bad Influence, but the thing is, these two have proven they can be The Guy, and so I'll take the two guys with a bigger assured upswing in singles)
Brock Lesnar (I think you need a very, VERY good reason if you don't take Brock in this thing. Well known, huge, over, etcetc.)
CM Punk (A real total package, even if he doesn't look it.)
Colt Cabana (And here's the guy who I send out to all the press. Big, good looking, athletic, funny, everything you want in a PR goldmine.)
Daniel Bryan (See CM Punk)
Joseph Park, Esq. (This one might be controversial, but I think he's a rare thing, a giant who's also a believable underdog. Seeing Brock throw him around…)
John Cena (I dislike the booking, not the guy.)
The Rock (He's a fricking movie star. Of course I'll take him.)
But there's a ton of guys I'd want in the midcard. But those would be my first 10. As for other roles, for trainers I'd take William Regal and Lance Storm to run my developmental (in whatever configuration they thought was best). To run the business side would be the best accountants I could get, guys who aren't wrestlers or fans, I want money guys looking after the money. They just don't have final say, Triple H runs the corporate side. Announcers would be JR and JBL, with Scott Stamford and Jeremy Borash as my seconds (or, if I had two shows, I'd do JR/Borash and JBL/Scott). Booking would be a committee of sorts, with every superb wrestling mind I could get my hands on all in a room, bouncing off ideas. Off the top of my head, I'd want Pat Patterson, Arn Anderson, Jake Roberts, Paul Heyman, Raven and Chris Jericho. And yes, he (and Regal) are there just so I can get them without breaching the 10 only list.
But the commentators will probably have their own lists. Please do share, and let's see if we can't get a consensus happening. Because we surely can agree on a few names, right?
Ah, Chandler, how I've missed you.
Rick is all over the shop.
I love this column. It is my favorite thing on the entire internet. Thank you for taking your time to do it. I have a few questions. First, if Hogan was not under A contract to TNA, do you believe Vince McMahon would hire him? And if so, in what capacity?
He'd certainly want Hogan under contract, just so no-one else could have him. He'd have him on a legends contract, so he'd pop up every so often and make public appearances for the company, but there's no chance he'd have him wrestle. Hogan's just far too broken down to do so. He'd make the occasional cameo, appear in lots of DVDs, and just hang around on a legend's deal.
Secondly, what do you think the chances are that Vince would ever write an autobiography?
Slim, on the basis that it would really require him to retire, and I firmly believe Vince will keep working until he's dead. Believe me, I'd LOVE to read it, to get his view on so many things, but I don't see it happening until he retires, and since that is, in my mind, unlikely… But not impossible, if the current rate of Triple H taking over holds true.
Thirdly, had Steve Austin not came up with the stone cold gimmick would the WWE have survived the Monday Night Wars?
Ooooh, now that's a tough one. I suppose it depends on what happens in its place. Does he come up with a gimmick that isn't quite as good? Austin was a major part of WWE's resurgence, sure, but was he essential? It is hard to say, without going back and rerunning the damn thing, but I think that, provided Russo is still there, so WWE still rips off takes the lead from ECW, and the Screwjob still occurs, then it comes down to the question of if someone remaining is able to fill the void in terms of hooking people and playing off Vince. I think Foley might have been able to pull it off, Foley/Rock we know have chemistry, and Foley as more the loveable underdog rather than the pissed off redneck would have been a much different dynamic, yes, but it might well have worked.
There's no way WWE does as well without Austin, for the record, they don't win as neatly, but they'd survive. Possibly. If nothing else was changed.
Maybe. Best case scenario. If whoever is left doesn't catch on at all, they yes, they are dead in the water.
And lastly, who is the greatest referee of all time? I'm going with Earl Hebner.
That's a funny way to spell Tommy Young.
Tommy Young is the standard by which every referee is measured. He stood out in your mind while never taking away from the match. You always believed that he was in charge of the situation, but always knew when and where to be to be out of position. He was his own character that always complimented, never took away, from the story of the match. He had his own spots, but at the end of the day, while you believed he was laying down the law, he never overshadowed the wrestlers. Tommy Young is the gold standard in referees. Bar none.
One thing I've really missed in this thing was putting the comedy/cool videos in the middle. And the reason I'm back before I really should be is because I can't wait any more. Botchamania 220… With a big ad for ME in it! YAY!!! And the episode itself it awesome, but more importantly, ME!!
Wait till you see the second ad for me…
And here's Botchamania 221, sans me.
And then there's NewLegacyInc. They gave you a spoiler for the Rumble PPV, telling you ahead of time about the new tag champs, the awesome Uso V Uso match, and the winner of the Rumble (such a shocker #30 entry…)
And then there was a rumble marathon, which then gave the world one of the most offensive and yet hilarious jokes ever. Go to 7:28 for it.
And here's an awesome video package for a match you may have heard of…
Efrain asks another fact based question. The hell?
Hey man, great column never stop.
Anyway my question is this, when did HBK start using the Sweet Chin Music as a finisher?
He always used the Superkick/sidekick as a signature move but when did he actually start finishing matches with it?
During his heel IC run he barely won clean and usually whenever used a finisher was the teardrop suplex. So my time line is sketchy.
WM X there was no mention of such a move but by next WrestleMania it was his big finisher.
Shawn had been using the superkick ever since The Rockers, as a double one with Marty, and it even marked the end of The Rockers.
However, while an exact date is hard to get, the rough time line was that it began to be established starting at Survivor Series 1994, when he accidentally hit the superkick on Diesel, which was the start of the Diesel push, which led to Diesel/HBK at Wrestlemania XI. And it was this build up that saw Shawn really establish the fact that he could beat big guys, since there was a semi-famous run where, in the lead up to Wrestlemania, he beat several big guys in a row with the Superkick. He began using Sweet Chin Music because he needed a finisher he could do on anyone. He wouldn't be able to use the Teardrop Suplex on Sid, would he? And since the Superkick was always one of his best moves, it was suggested by Scott Hall, from memory, that he use it as a finisher.
So yeah, exact date, can't help you. But between Survivor Series 94 and Wrestlemania XI was the build up/establishment of it as a finisher.
Ben asks a stinker of a question.
I have wondered this for a very long time but never knew if it would be appropriate to ask. I even have looked for this to be discussed in shoot interviews…. Has any wrestler that performs (or has performed) the pile driver ever made mention of the "receiver" passing gas in their face? Looking at the hold… Well there is quite a close proximity between rear and face. Somebody has had to have had this happen to them. I would about imagine Jerry Lawler or Paul Orndorf have had a few "blowbacks".
Well… I don't recall a famous farting moment, beyond the Sid shitting his pants story where Taker then had to hit him with a Tombstone, which must have been fun. (And for the record, it did happen, according to Taker/Paul Bearer, but not at Wrestlemania.)
I'm sure it's happened, although if you're doing the piledriver in the classic sense, it's actually not that close, in that the back of your head is near that end, but you're facing out. Tombstones, for the deliverer on the other hand, that's a ripe moment for a ripe moment, as it were. But then, it's a brave man willing to fart in the face of the Undertaker.
But no, I don't recall anyone ever being famous for it. Maybe those muffler things work.
Evil Jeff asks is swapped gimmicks would have worked.
got another question for you, although this is more of a opinion question that what I've asked you in the past:
I'm sure most people are familiar with the tale that the 'Big Van Vader' character was originally intended for Jim 'Warrior Warrior' Hellwig, so how do you imagine both guys careers would have worked out if that had indeed happened?
Would Leon White have still become the unstoppable monster? Would Jim Hellwig have become a well rounded-wrestler due to his time in Japan?
Have some fun with this, I'm just curious what you think.
Well, Leon White I think would have been a good, or at least brutal wrestler, regardless, and while the angle with Inoki established him, he probably would have gotten over in Japan regardless, if he was pushed a little. His career trajectory would have been totally different, in that without the Japan fall back, he may well have stuck to the States more, and so might have gone to WWE earlier. So that would have been interesting. Hey, if Vince thinks he created him…
Warrior… See, the thing is, Vader, by all accounts, while he was seasoned in Japan, didn't suck prior. So the question becomes, does Warrior improve to a level where Japan would accept him as a major star? I'm… hesitant to say he's over as long term as Vader was. The language barrier, and what he did in the States… I don't see Warrior becoming the next Great Muta. I'm sure he'd end up better, but I don't know that he becomes as good as Vader. That assumes of course that Warrior doesn't quit in Japan, that he doesn't crack under the pressure and leave the business.
So overall, in my view, Leon White would be fine. Warrior, not so much.
"This is my real name" wants me to seek out a specific promo.
There is a promo I remember from when I was a child, that was a favorite of mine and also my father's. I have to believe it was around the time that Yokozuna debuted, because of the generic nature of Mr. Fuji's boasts, but the timeline on those saturday morning shows was sketchy at times. In the promo, Mr. Fuji boasts that each day, Yoko "eats 30 pounds of rice, and 100 pounds of meat, chicken, and fish". It was so outlandish my dad would give me a good ribbing about my newfound interest (this was still better writing than could be found on RollerGames). I feel rather certain about the amounts because the line, even the images, have stuck with me to this day. So perhaps it's silly for me to ask for you to find the promo if I claim I can picture it in my head. But, I remain undeterred in my request: can you find this piece of nostalgia from my youth?
I did find this, although I swear that what I saw were comments from a staged backstage promo with the fake graphic backdroppy thing:
Monday Night RAW #20 - 6/7/93: Shawn's Insurance Policy
The King's Court w/Yokozuna & Mr. Fuji
The first RAW appearance of any interview segment - this one hosted by Jerry "The King" Lawler in a makeshift throne room set. After running down New York with a bunch of tired jokes, (The most popular pet in New York is a cockroach on a leash! Oh that is RICH!) We get a commercial break in the middle of this, actually. Lawler says he's not here to discuss the King of the Ring tournament because whoever wins will only be an imposter king anyway (foreshadowing!) and brings out Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji. Lawler says Hogan has been off in Hollywood shooting movies (including a new remake of Frankenstein where the Hulkster doesn't have to wear any makeup.) Fuji says that at King of the Ring, Yokozuna will weigh 550 pounds. (He also says that Yoko eats 20 meals a day, including thirty pounds of rice and "about 100 pounds of meat, chicken and fish", which seems unlikely.) Fuji looks forward to seeing Hogan in pain and listening to his bones break. Yokozuna says Hogan will go down.
and one more thing, I'm fairly certain I stopped watching wrestling at that time before Monday Night Raw existed, so I really do believe Fuji had said this in a different context and much earlier. Although now I see Anoai didn't debut until just months before RAW debuted. I didn't always have cable growing up, but I had it during the 1992-1993 hockey season, so that doesn't explain things either. Odd.
Well, I did find this Home Video thing of Mean Gene going to dinner with Yokozuna.
But that's not what you're after.
Well here's another promo leading to King of the Ring, which has that line in it.
So what's happened is that early on, Fuji's thought of/been given that line, and then he's said it, and then in the build up to King of the Ring, when he needed a line to talk about how Yoko's getting heavier, he reused it. But I couldn't find a single green-screened Yoko/Fuji promo, so sadly the original I can't find. But he did say it, so… Yeah.
Ace asks about WWF and numbers, and then kisses.
Got a question regarding the 1997 Royal Rumble. For WEEKS leading up to the event WWF was pounding their chests, mentioning every 30 seconds that they would have 70,000+ in the Alamo Dome in San Antonio (a building that TNA will be running a ppv out of in March to a much, MUCH smaller scale). My question is, why would they keep promoting 70,000+ fans - even the day of the event on the WWF Superstars tv show - and then have to announce a total attendance of 60,000 plus? I remember thinking at the time that - while 60,000 fans is impressive, they are still 10,000 shy of what they promoted for weeks. This coming at a time when WCW was killing them in the ratings & PPV buyrate war. It just made WWF look even more weak, because just 5 years prior they packed 80k in Wembley Stadium in London, but couldn't sell out their own domestic market.
Because they wanted 70K+ there, the whole point was to put on a big show. But here, let Jim Cornette explain it.
The short story is that the original plan was for Shawn to win the WWF title back off of Vader, in his home town. The local boy made good, winning back his title in his home town, it made sense. And drawing a huge crowd for a big show would send a message that WWF was still cooking, still hot. But then Shawn decided that Vader was a big meanie and so didn't drop the belt to him but rather to Sid, and so he won the belt off of Sid instead, which didn't do as well.
WWF tried to get up to 70K+, they sold very cheap tickets and then 12K tickets were comped. But they only got to 60K. Now, if you're of a certain mind, you could argue that WWE has lied about numbers before, they bumped up Wrestlemania III's numbers (supposedly), why not bump this one up?
But the thing is, A) the dirt sheets were more active right now but more importantly B) if they had lied, Eric Bischoff would have spent the next episode of Nitro running down WWF for it. He would have hammered them on their ‘lies and deception'. So they hoped and did everything they could, but then in the end they fessed up.
On the October 2, 1989 episode of WWF primetime wrestling ravishing Rick rude kissed a woman that looked a lot like Owen Hart's wife. Was this her??
I couldn't find any source saying it was her. Nor could I find a video or picture of the event in question. By that point Owen and Martha Hart were married, so it's possible, as spouses and kids would often get roped in to run angles. But again, I couldn't find a source either way. Readers?
Brad finishes us off with WM talk.
The original idea was Hogan vs Orndorff. Obviously that was scratched. Other than the obvious "Dream Match" of Hogan vs Andre, was there any other underlying reason for the change?
No, that wasn't the original plan. That was the back up. Andre's health was questionable, and while he had assured Vince that he was good, Vince wanted a back up. So, the story goes, Orndorff was the Plan B. If Andre couldn't go, then they would clip the end of the Cage match on SNME to make it a tie, and then hold the belt up, and they'd have a match at Wrestlemania III, possibly another cage match. Hogan/Andre was always the plan, but given that he was in bad shape, Paul was slated to be the back up.
If they went with the original idea. Was Andre going to be on the card? And vs whom?
As I said, Andre was the main plan. If he wasn't in the main event, then he was too injured and thus he wouldn't be on the show.
Since there was the change, what happened to Orndorff and why wasn't he on the card?
As said by him and others, he was working injured at the end of his run with Hogan. Weightlifting, he had damaged his right arm, injuring the nerves and the muscles. But he was pulling in somewhere like $10,000 a show wrestling Hogan, so he didn't take time off, he just kept going. And so, by the time Wrestlemania III rolled around, the injury got worse, and so he had to take time off to get the surgery and heal up, but he never truly recovered, as his right arm is even today much smaller than his left, due to the permanent damage suffered.
But, had Andre been unable to make Wrestlemania, he would have come back. I'm sure he would have worked the main event of WMIII if he ‘had' to…
Where was John Studd at this time? Was he already gone from the WWF?
Yes he was. He left at the end of 1996, his last match airing November 15, 1986, teaming with King Kong Bundy against two of the Machines, although he was part of the WWF Magazine leading up to Wrestlemania III as part of the hype for Hogan/Andre, he gave an interview, but then the mag ran so slowly in those days, that's to be expected.
Regard WM 2
I just read there was an idea Steamboat vs Hart. Why didn't this happen? This would have been fantastic! I still miss the "grease ball" days.
Bret says that at the time, it was decided that Hercules would be a better choice. They just felt he was a better bet than Bret.
And on that head scratcher, I bid you all so long, see you on Monday…
(See, that's one of those subtle message things, you know?)