Ask 411 Wrestling 05.08.13: Ribs, Buddies, Mark, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 05.08.2013
Does John Cena have any good aspects to him? Should we support TNA just to screw WWE? What should you call The Undertaker to his face? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
This is Ask 411 Wrestling, I am Mathew Sforcina, and I'm so in a rush right now. Basically I've got a rather big deal happening tomorrow, as I'll be filming a music video dealy tomorrow, which is cool, but also means that I need to get plenty of rest and why am I telling you this? You don't care, unless you're involved in said music video dealy, you're just here to see the new Botchamania videos and see if I messed up a question or not.
Or maybe you're here for other reasons. I don't quite understand why I'm ‘popular', I just roll with it. But yeah, Total Opinion Week this week as I cannot devote time to counting stunners this week.
Keeping them separate: Oh believe me, I'm not getting rid of the opinion questions, just not putting them separate. But no-one was really too passionate one way or the other, so I guess we'll keep it as is. Except for this week's, obviously.
Your Turn, Smart Guy…
I have wrestled for each of the "Big 3 promotions." I have wrestled under a number of names, most of which have been gimmicky. I have held one major singles title, having held it twice. I was also a transitional champion where I won a tag team title with one partner and lost it with another. I've been both a member of many stables, as well as the leader of one. I've been known to jump start a number of careers, mainly as a trainer, but also in one other sense. I tried to put a new spin on an old gimmick, but that did not go over well. In fact, there is another old gimmick I used that would not be welcome today. Who am I?
Maravilloso has the answer for us.
I have wrestled for each of the "Big 3 promotions." I have wrestled under a number of names, most of which have been gimmicky.
Crash the Terminator
General E. Rection
The Laughing Man
The Man of Question
I have held one major singles title, having held it twice.
WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
I was also a transitional champion where I won a tag team title with one partner and lost it with another.
WCW Tag Titles
I've been both a member of many stables, as well as the leader of one.
Leader of MIA, and member of several other groups like Dungeon of Doom
I've been known to jump start a number of careers, mainly as a trainer, but also in one other sense.
I tried to put a new spin on an old gimmick, but that did not go over well.
In fact, there is another old gimmick I used that would not be welcome today.
Hugh E. Rection
Your name: BILL DEMOTT
And he also gives us this week's question!
I am a gimmick match. Part of my name is kind of famous, but it was never used or shown anywhere in that particular night because it was changed before the match started to something that used to win a title in a different promotion from the one I was a part of. All the participants in me were American, but I actually happened outside of the USA. A former World Champion's interference was involved, which actually backfired. The gimmick of one of the combatants was kind of ironic in a sad way. All the three main participants in me won at different times the same title, although one of them won it in a very controversial and unusual way. On that same night, an international wrestler lost a singles match, but later that night won the same title the wrestlers involved in me won before. What am I?
Questions, Questions, Who's Got The Questions?/My Damn Opinion
vegasdonk is up first.
After watching the past couple of Raw's and seeing John Cena take bumps, it raised an old question I had : Does Cena have some sort of problem with the back of his head or neck? I go back to Royal Rumble 2010 when Edge came out (awesome moment, by the way). He did 3 consecutive spears upon entering … Jericho and HBK sold them like pros, but when he gave the final one to Cena, his head never came close to touching the mat and to be honest, it made Edge's spear look weak. Fast forward to the last couple of Raws. Both the Triple Powerbomb from The Shield and the spear from Reigns, same thing. Cena's head never came close to touching the mat. It lessened the visual impact of both moves, IMO. So … is that just how he was taught to sell? Or is there some kind of past issue he had that I don't remember?
Well here's a video of him as a very young trainee bumping…
However, I think this is a side effect from 2008, when he suffered a herniated disc in his neck, and had to have surgery on it. Or possibly the torn pectoral in 2007. When you tear muscles, especially stuff like neck and pectoral muscles, you tend to be a little hesitant to bump on them again. Ric Flair is famous for never bumping on his back, for instance. So I would wager that after he suffered the neck injury, which is scary and a very dangerous one, he started to bump with his head up, which may not even be a conscious decision, he may well be doing it on instinct and no-one has called him on it.
And while a powerbomb is obvious, you can sell a spear without a head bump. If you rag doll a bit, sell it more as arms and legs flying, that can be as effective a sell as a flat back bump. But yeah, a powerbomb is slightly unforgivable.
Sam continues the Cena talk.
A couple of questions for you about John Cena.
1) Say John Cena's contract was coming to the end and he told Vince he was going to retire and had the big send off. Then decided to do a Flair and come out of retirement and go straight to TNA after his no competing clause ran out. How much would that legitmise TNA as a company (providing they didnt blow it) - would it really raise their stock do you think?
TNA have Hulk Hogan on the roster. Now that's given them a lot of clout behind the camera, but it's still Hulk Hogan. And they haven't gotten that much media attention. Now, Cena is current, I'll give you that, so it would be a coup, sure. And given how TNA are actually doing quite well right now, sort of, they wouldn't automatically mess it up (Cena/Bully? That could play…) But it would not send TNA into the stratosphere and ruin WWE by any means. Cena is their main star, yes, but the WWE name is bigger than any one person, which is sort of by design on behalf of the company.
So it would help, sure, and TNA would gain some ground, if they used him right (i.e if Bully doesn't immediately drop the belt to Cena), but it wouldn't make them billions overnight. Millions, maybe, but not billions.
2) I challenged you ages ago to name 5 good things about Vince Russo and his work. Can you do the same for John Cena?
His metric fuckton of charity work.
He is one of the best big league main event workers in the world today.
He is passionate about wrestling, and loves what he does.
He's a great guy to send out on media appearances, he is a good ambassador for the business.
He makes his wrestling company a hell of a lot of money off kids.
But for my mind that first one is all you need. I do not have one bad thing to say about John Cena the man. Hell, not even the character really, just the way the character is portrayed. There is too big a disconnect between how the fans view the character, what the character is, and how WWE tries to portray it.
Eric starts us off with something Cena certainly isn't…
I am a huge fan of the column and lately I have really been enjoying as many matches with you in them as I can watch. Personally, as a bigger (fatter) guy, I think you work a style of character that I would have ended up working, had I made wrestling my career, but, unfortunately (joking) I had kids and needed to find something a little bit more higher income.
Anyway, I have a couple questions for you:
1: I'm not sure if "Ham and Egger" is a term exclusive to wrestling but I have heard it used a lot in discussions about wrestling and am curious about what exactly the term "Ham and Egger" means when discussing a wrestler.
It's not a term exclusive to wrestling, although origins are a little sketchy. It's hard to say if it began in boxing and moved over, or vice versa, or it's just a generic term used by normal people that moved over to wrestling and/or boxing.
But anyway, the term means an average joe, someone not very talented or well off, just a working slob. Such a guy, if he goes to a diner, can't afford the deluxe burger (with named meat!) or a slice of pie or anything. No, he goes for the cheapest option, slice of ham, couple of eggs.
And so in wrestling, you get guys like that, who never seem to win, just wrestle and lose, so they never rise up the ranks, never get the winners purse. They are the wrestling ham and eggers. Or, as they are more commonly known, jobbers. The guys who go out and lose to make their opponent look good. Barry Horowitz (most of the time), Brooklyn Brawler (most of the time), Zack Ryder (All the time now). That's all it means, unless it's some sort of weird sex act some wrestlers are doing on ring rats.
(… I had a joke here that offended me far too much, about what sort of sex act it was, so I removed it before posting. Apologies to Bobby Heenan.)
2: I have noticed recently that Daniel Bryan has been using two of Chris Benoit's signature moves: the flying-headbutt and the No Lock, which is pretty much the Crippler Crossface. What I'm wondering is this: is this some attempt by Bryan to pay homage to a favorite wrestler of his or is it a move by WWE to "take back" the moves and assign them to someone who didn't go crazy and kill his family/himself? On a related point, I just want to say, that people who want to erase Benoit from wrestling's history are morons. No matter how much they want to pretend that Benoit didn't exist, he will NEVER be wiped from the history books and I think we should promote the good he did for wrestling rather than just boiling him down to "murderer." We need to learn that he wasn't created a monster but became one through years of stress/injuries/drug abuse and should learn from his mistakes by making sure they don't happen again through safer practices and habits as well as celebrating his accomplishments rather than just demonizing him. But that's just me and, except for Jericho or Savage, he was always my favorite wrestler.
OK, couple of points here. First off, he was using the Headbutt before he came to WWE. Yes, it's now a signature move, but it's not something he just started using, he did do it on the Indies.
And I understand the logic in saying the No Lock is the Crossface, but either way, it's not the same move. But even if it is, Shawn Michaels and Triple H both used the Crossface themselves since the incident, so there has already been an attempt to clean them off. I'm sure that in the lead in, when this was pitched that the disconnecting them from Benoit thing may have been a factor, but it wasn't the main goal, I'm sure.
But as for the main point, the erasing Benoit from history, WWE have done what they have because they have to. If they were seen to be in any way profiting off or glorifying Benoit in any way, they would, even today, be roasted by the media for it. How dare a supposedly family friendly company dare to make money off the actions of a murderer! I knew that Vince McMahon was a scumbag, look at all this stuff from the past that paints him in a negative light! Let's get them!
For PR purposes, they have to bury him in a dark vault from now till a point far, far in the future. You can argue the positives or negatives of divorcing Christopher Michael Benoit the murderer to ‘The Rabid Wolverine' Chris Benoit the character. You can distinguish the two, fine. A lot of people can't. But more importantly, WWE can't. Because the media sure as hell won't.
3: Reagrding the current Aces and 8's storyline in TNA, which I don't think is NEARLY as bad as most IWC members would have you believe, is there any chance that the original masked members of the group were actually played by the people they were eventually revealed to be? In other words: in the earliest appearences of Aces and 8's, was that actually Briscoe, Bischoff, Brown, Bully, Devon, Knox, or Doc, under the masks?
For the most part, yeah. Knux and Doc were both members from the start, they were on short terms deals that were tryouts, and obviously they both passed. They were the guys filling the suits, with the idea being that if they fit in they'd get the nod, and if not, they could be replaced.
Bischoff and Briscoe were also almost always the guys under the masks. Hard to hide that hair, nor those tattoos. They were them 99% of the time.
And Brown was probably there during all his ‘appearances', as his body is somewhat recognizable, and was easily spotted by people when he appeared.
As for the 3D boys… See, they were the surprises, the shockers, so at the time no-one really picked them for the roles. Unlike the others, they weren't obvious, nor were they pegged. Sure, a lot of people thought Bully would be the leader, but that was based on logic and storytelling tropes, not actual evidence. So it's possible that they were in the suits, and would fit in with the rest of them, but it's impossible to say for sure on those counts. Certainly I never heard of anyone else playing a role that didn't end up getting one…
4: This is totally an opinion question but I really think it's an important issue. I believe that the majority of wrestling fans would say that the last time wrestling was at it's best was back when WWE had actual competition, before WCW was bought and sold. Taking this idea, I think we can say that wrestling, like any business or creative endeavor, is at it's best when it has competition to compete with, a "we can do it better than them" mentality where each side tries their best to one-up the other and true competition reigns, making each side do their best rather than relish in the glory of victory. Going one step further, shouldn't every wrestling fan who whines endlessly about "how bad WWE is now" lend their total support to TNA (the only realistic competition that WWE faces) so that WWE can once again have a competitor to measure themselves against or try to one-up? I mean, if you want WWE to do better, shouldn't you lend your support to their competition so that they realize that they can do better? Now, I know that TNA isn't perfect (trust me, I watch every week) but I LIKE having a choice and I like knowing that there is a company that dows things that WWE doesn't. And I would love a world where WWE actually tries their best EVERY week rather than just coasting along for months on end as the top dog.
Well, those are my questions, thanks for answering them, and good luck in the squared circle Massive Q!
I'm sure TNA would love your logic. And there is some truth in it. Bitching online about WWE sucking wouldn't fix anything. Actively avoiding their product and merchandise and supporting their competitors, be it TNA, or ROH, or your local indy company, that is a more direct and impactful way to send your message, no pun intended.
However, if all you're wanting to do is hurt WWE, then turning off completely, switching to MMA or Hockey or Glee or any other media entity is just as powerful a message, as far as WWE is concerned. Watching one show because you hate the other is a fool's errand. You should watch a show because it's good, not just because it isn't the other show.
Support TNA if you like it, if you tune in and you enjoy Bully Ray and Bad Influence and Dirty Heels and Joseph Park and Goddess, then tune in, and buy the DVDs and shirts and what have you. If you don't like it? Don't watch it. Same thing with WWE.
As for TNA making WWE better by competition… I think that there both is and isn't some truth to this. See, WCW existed for a long time before it began to kick WWE's ass. It required a very specific set of circumstances. It wasn't like WCW existing was enough to magically improve WWE. It needed WCW with a clear vision and a hot storyline and big names and a secure equal footing on another network with money behind it, and even then WWE needed a small revolutionary company to use as a template for how to proceed. So TNA being really good isn't enough, nor for that matter TNA being profitable.
I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, I'm all for competition, and it can only be a good thing, just that TNA being big will not automatically make WWE ‘good'. Hell, WWE would probably buy TNA if it looked like it was going to be a threat…
Andron has two questions.
Thanks to your repsonse to my last question.... this just another question to get your opinion on.
Is chris jericho really the best person for Fandango to fued with? With Jericho losing so much to push the other wrestlers over shouldn't WWE focus on building Chris Jericho to look as if he's a bigger threat first then use him to push someone else over? Is there anyone else you could see pushing Fandango over? R-Truth, Zack Ryder,
As we discusses last week, Jericho is actually in a good place for this, as he can lose and it means something, and yet he's not over so much that he has to be kept special, and yet he's over enough that a loss won't hurt him.
But is Jericho the right guy here? I would have said no, if Fandangoing hadn't become a pseudo-thing. Now that there is this fan interaction thing, and so Jericho is sorta perfect, because you need someone who is good enough on the mic that they can use the fan interaction in their work, and not too many people can do that. I shudder to think what Zack Ryder or Kofi Kingston would do in this same situation.
Plus there is a very short window here to get him over as a wrestler not just a one note joke. So you need someone on Jericho's level to get the joke over and to also put him over in the ring.
After Jericho has worked the program, then sure, you can move into Fandango squashing Clay and Tensai for a few weeks, but right now, Jericho is pretty much the only guy who isn't busy or off injured who can help Fandango.
And is Big E the next Bobby Lashley?
No. Big E has talent.
Lots of videos this week!
I don't normally include these sorts of things, but bear with me.
Hornswoggle changing gimmicks to a ball shot giving ninja? That I could get behind.
So this is a new guy, but it's worth giving him a chance.
Oh could Damien have this play at some point for Randy…
And finally, MORE NEW BOTCHAMANIA!!!
Tutti Fruitti Lizard Stinkin Padlock asks about Regal.
Why was William Regal's first stint in WWE cut so short? Was he released all together or was he put on hold?
I assume you mean Steven Regal, Real Man's Man?
Well, actually when he first debuted in WWF, it was the night after King of the Ring 98, and he was much more closer to his traditional look/gimmick.
But then he went down to Dory Funk Jr's training camp to get in shape, and then twisted his ankle before breaking his leg because of this injury at home. When he came back, he was Real Man's Man.
He was also goofed up on highballs, or whatever the term is. He had an addiction to pain medication, and after a few weeks of working that he apparently doesn't really recall, he checked into a rehab facility. Eventually WWF let him go, he went back to WCW, then came back to WWF, although it wasn't until his match with Benoit at the 3rd Brian Pillman Memorial show that he was called up as William Regal, Goodwill Ambassador.
… I still maintain that Regal was/is the biggest missed opportunity in wrestling history. In 2008, he seemed so perfectly placed to become King General Manager and YOUR WWE Champion…
Such a waste. But then, he admits it himself, he blew it. He got a push, so he got worried about his looks, so he took some substances and got caught out. Sigh.
Ric has a few questions.
Keep up the good work mate! A few questions for you which should be interesting to ask
1) When a new wrestler joins the company do they have like an assigned buddy or mentor especially if they are a rookie. So I'm thinking of them rooming with them, showing them round the place, introducing them etc. And if so how are these guys chosen for the task.
There normally isn't an official system for this, occasionally the office will pair a couple of guys up on screen and hope they travel together (Mark Henry and Tony Atlas being the most notable version there). But most of the time, it's up to the veterans in question, as new guys will probably travel with each other or whoever on the roster they know, since it's very rare that someone comes in and they know nobody at all. But if a vet likes the cut of a rookie's jib, or they want to do a favor for the trainer or parent of the rookie, or out of some common aspect, or because they want someone to carry their bags, they'll offer to let the rookie travel with them, they can drive the car and carry the bags and so forth. So it's up to the vet to decide if they want to let the rookie travel with them. There is no buddy system.
2) The backstage seems notable for ribbing each other especially a newbie probably gets a lot of pranks on them. I think the premise is that laugh along with it and be like "Haha real funny guys" as if you're glad they've done it and feel honoured that they like you enough to rib you, but then do you sort of wait a good few months before you start ribbing others and who do you choose - I take it a rib on HHH / Taker would not be the way to go. Do they want you to give some banter back to them or just prefer you to be a whipping boy.
It depends on the ribber. Some ribs are round robin things, where there's some item or joke that just gets played in turn, maybe some sort of risqué item will get shoved into your bag, and you're supposed to just take it and put it into someone else's bag. That sort of thing you don't mention at all, and just put it into someone else's bag, although you may choose your target carefully.
But an actual rib, laughing it off is probably safe, although some guys will take it as a challenge. The safest option is to not mention it at all. Don't laugh it off, don't make any sort of deal. Just quietly and calmly deal with the issue. Complaining is the worst option, but bringing any attention to you over it will lead to more. You need to make it so that the ribber gets no joy from it. And by not reacting at all? That's no fun.
As for ribbing others… That's up to an individual. If you want to rib, fine, go ahead. I don't, because I don't find them funny, but that's just me. But if you must rib, always rib down, unless you're getting ribbed repeatedly by someone. If someone is targeting you, then yes, you can retaliate if you want to go to war, but the thing is, always rib people lower on the totem pole than you. Ribbing upwards is never a good idea.
3) How do you go introducing yourself to a fellow wrestler - do you generally say their stage name - I know you wouldn't walk up to Taker and say "Hows it going Mark"
Stage name unless and until they say otherwise, although "Sir" is never a bad idea. Never assume to call someone by their real name. If they go "Hey, how's it going, call me Mark" then by all means, but I'd call Taker ‘Sir' until such time as he hold me not to. But yeah, although you end up mostly using real names, you use stage names at first. Hell, I tend to use them more myself, but that's because I've got a bad memory.
4) A random question - what do you think wrestlers opinions on making WWE films. They must surely know that the film will suck or not do very well but they still do the part - is it a case of trying something new or do they do the film because they feel they have to. And who is actually paying money to watch these things - surely nobody wants The Marine 4?
The Marine 3 was in the top 20 DVDs the week it was released, so clearly someone is watching it. But I would believe that most wrestlers would jump at the chance. It's a nice payday, as they would get a cut of the profits, and they get to try being an actor, since in most wrestlers' minds there's that "I could so be the next Rock…" and so they'd love to become a movie star. But honestly? I think the fact that they get several weeks away from the ring and be paid for it is enough of an incentive. Plus they get a nice little push upon their return, there's little downside to it.
Of course we can argue about the type of films they are making (Jericho and Miz in a Disney style buddy action comedy, ala National Treasure, not horror films or anything…) but the films themselves, I'm fairly sure most wrestlers would jump at the chance.
5) Final question - always wondered what the take is on "They don't need a belt" - its established that HBK and Taker are so over that they dont need a belt for success but then you could say that about Cena and Orton but they continually have the belt put on them - what is the logic behind that - is it a case of veterans vs the face of the company?
Yeah, some guys aren't going to be front and center, Taker and HBK are over enough to always be able to work a main event, but not so over that they have to be the champ. Being the champ should mean you're the #1/#2 guy in the company, so whoever is the #1/#2 guy should be the champ, or fighting for it. Taker and HBK weren't #1 or #2, so they didn't have to be involved in the belt. They could if they needed to be (Wrestlemania 23, for instance) but the point was that they would be able to wrestle in the main event without the belt and it would still be over, but not be weird. Cena main eventing a bunch of PPVs while not being champ was weird. But DX V Legacy main eventing wasn't. Clear?
Eric asks about shoots.
Hey Mat. I once again just want to extend my thanks for answering all my questions and enlightening me from a different opinion than my own. Ive read this column a long time, and Im glad your love for the business is genuine and it shows. Just some quick questions about the Attitude Era, then a PG era follow up. Thanks in advance.
1) When the Attitude Era was on its cusp and Steve Austin was breaking out in his feud with Bret Hart, he once did a promo where he revealed The Stalker to be Barry Windham. Was this planned? Or did they give Stone Cold free reign on a promo and he just went overboard to fit his character? I know from that point on, Windham wrestled as himself, then went on to form the New Blackjacks. So was it just a lead-in to kill the Stalker gimmick or did Austin get carried away?
Well, thing is, during the Stalker gimmick, they didn't hide the fact he was Barry Windham. Count how many times Vince calls him Barry Windham.
I mean, even when he was fighting Austin, it was still ‘The Stalker' Barry Windham.
So I think it's just a case that since the gimmick was ruined from the get go (promos made him a heel, but then he debuted as a face due to Mero), so there was no point in pretending. I'm sure Austin went on a rant about him, but he didn't out him.
A) Later when the Era was in full swing, Ken Shamrock was having issues with the Corporate Ministry after being kicked out. He came out and "shot" on the Undertaker, calling him by his real name, "Mark". This was even parodied on Celebrity Death Match when Taker did a guest voice spot. Was the Most Dangerous Man in the World told to say this? It just strikes me as odd as someone as protected and coveted as the Undertaker would allow for his real name to be said live on the air in front of millions of people, despite the Attitude Era being as "shoot" as possible, let alone be repeated in a late nite claymation MTV show, as popular as it was at the time.
Yeah, it's odd. But this was at the height of Vince Russo's power, and Russo loves Shoots.
Taker at the time wasn't objecting to the storyline of him going demonic, so I guess if he had reservations, Russo was able to convince him that it would make the angle seem so much realer, make it seems like he and Shamrock really had issues. His name was also used on recap shows, selling the idea that Mark Calloway had gotten far too deep into his character…
See, I don't mind real name usage to a degree, the occasional throw away line is fine, but that sort of stuff, ‘X is too deep into his character' I find silly. You can claim that guys use ring names, maybe even that they are a little different when they step into the ring. But never claim that they're playing characters. Ring names are able to be explained in kayfabe. Characters, not so much.
TheOne finishes us off with a Horsemen question.
Just wondering with Flair as a manager who do you think would make-up a good stable for the New Horsemen using only Wrestlers on the current rosters? My selections are below, also since they would be called The New Horsemen and not The Four Horsemen there could be more than four in the stable.
Maybe you could ask the 411 IWC the question as well?
Well, the 411 IWC can answer below if they like. But to start with, I wouldn't redo the Horsemen. It's been done to death, both originals and copies, in both companies, WITH Flair involved, as Evolution and Fo(u)rtune. So to redo it now would be too backwards looking. But OK, let's say it's the orders from on high. Using only guys in WWE…
Mouthpiece/Leader: Ric Flair
Manager: Arn Anderson
Main Event Wrestler: Dolph Ziggler
Secondary Champion/Main Eventer In Training: Antonio Cesaro
Tag Team: Rhodes Scholars
Enforcer: Big E
Alpha Female: AJ
Floozies: The Bella Twins
Similar enough to the Horsemen to make references, but new and different enough to stand on its own two feet. Or in this case, 20 feet. And might as well dig it out of mothballs, it's not just The Horsemen, it's the whole BEEPing Apocalypse! You could put your index fingers and thumbs together to make an A and everything…
Actually, I'm liking this more and more…
Anyway, dear readers, please do say who you'd put into a New Horsemen, and maybe next week we'll have a consensus. Until then, stay frosty! Unless you prefer to stay warm, then do that instead.