Ask 411 Wrestling 09.18.13: Daniel Bryan, Stephanie McMahon, AJ Styles, Royal Rumble 2003, More!
Posted by Justin Watry on 09.18.2013
Is Daniel Bryan overrated? Is AJ Styles underrated? Why do so many wrestlers change gimmicks? When will the next boom period in wrestling happen? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
How is everybody doing today?
Before I begin, I want to thank Jay Bradley one more time for granting me an interview. Hopefully, all of you enjoyed it! Secondly, I want to thank every single person who read last week's column and took the time to leave feedback. Seeing over 220 comments was beyond my wildest expectations. It may even be my personal best, so again, thank you all!
My Green Bay Packers are still my Green Bay Packers. Even through the early ups and downs, football is back! For 12 hours every Sunday, that is all that matters. Also, Big Brother officially ends their 15th season this week. What a ride that was! I usually follow the show without rooting for/against anybody, but the cast was so ridiculous this summer it was hard to stay out of the drama.
Moving over to the wrestling side of things, I hope all the paying customers enjoyed Night of Champions. They are the opinions that actually count, so hopefully the money was well spent! It sure was eventful and translated into an interesting episode of Raw. With yet another WWE pay-per-view coming up soon, who knows where all the main story lines are going next? All I know is where this column is headed, and for that...
Pro Wrestling in the Olympics: My apologies. I looked at the question wrong. That was my mistake. Of course, it could not be featured due to its pre-determined fashion. However, if it was entered as art or similar to figure skating, a "team" could certainly be judged based on performance. Looking at it from that point of view, pro wrestling just may work in the Olympics. I highly doubt it happens in this lifetime, but the concept would be acceptable...in theory.
Bob Holly and 1-2-3 Kid (I Ask YOU!) Response: I think SpankyHamm put it best. You lie about things to keep up the illusion. Making them seem smaller would certainly help that. However, ODB makes a good comment. X-Pac (1-2-3 Kid) was very skinny back then. Like, very! Maybe that was their official combined weight?
Your Turn, Smart Guy...
Last week, I asked about the first ever Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James match on pay-per-view. Once again, Adam was quick to answer correctly. In fact, he was the ONLY person to be right. Trish Stratus defeated Mickie James to retain the WWE Women's Title with a Chick Kick at New Year's Revolution 2006. Nailed it! I am not sure if the move was called the 'Trish Kick' yet, but it's all the same to me. Trish Kick? Mick Kick? Chick Kick? It is a kick. Props to you sir for the response. This week, let's ask about the annual Royal Rumble match! Remember, no cheating. Have some pride here. This is VERY serious business...
Name the last Royal Rumble winner to NOT compete for a major championship at that year's WrestleMania event.
Questions, Questions, Who's Got The Questions?
Let's start like we do most weeks - taking a look at the best posts from the comment section without any cuss words or insults. Trust me, there were a few out there!
The Secret Insider: So I guess the short answer for the low buyrate is that RAW wasn't good, and where RAW goes so goes the PPV numbers.
I won't post the other four paragraphs because that summed it up. Anybody with a clear mind knew that Booker T vs. Triple H for the World Title was not very compelling and completely out of left field. I get that! Usually, I would agree. Raw is the A-show and sells most pay-per-view. However, in 2002 and 2003, Smackdown was right there with Raw in ratings/viewership. Thus, it is not like today where most fans watch Raw only. This theory does not fly.
Peter: All in all - WM XIX looked great strictly on paper, without looking at the actual circumstances. But the build itself was lackluster in many cases and the main events were a not very promising looking repeat (Austin/Rock), a weak match from a character and build standpoint (Lesnar/Ange) and a huge selling point that nobody really wanted to see (Hogan/McMahon).
This was a pretty good comment. Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon was the main selling point. If you did not watch wrestling during early 2003, you may not agree with that notion. However, for those that did watch Raw and Smackdown each week, it was nothing but Hulk/Vince promos. All the time! While that was a dream match and 20 years in the making, having that as anything more than your special attraction was questionable.
Cable Guy: I thought it was pretty common knowledge that WM19 was the first PPV that you HAD to have a digital cable box to order. The story was there were a lot of problems with people trying to order it and most were unable.
Good! I am glad somebody brought this up. This actually was a problem for many people I knew in 2003. However, I never knew it was widespread. Thus, this theory does work for (at least some) lower amount of PPV buys.
Grogznog: As far as a low buy rate for XIX, how about HHH using casual racism to build his feud with Booker T? Maybe 400,000+ people had a problem with that?
I never took that story line as racism. Some fans just jumped to assumptions and connected the dots on their own, but HEY! Elvis was at the mall last night too, and the Montreal Screwjob was a work. What do I know? Also, even if viewers did somehow take the comments as being racist (again, I didn't), as Ed Grimley Reaper pointed out, it is pro wrestling. When has there not been story lines that used controversial life issues during the past 50 years? Welcome to WWE.
Nate: Brock Lesnar was a terrible draw as a baby face. He became a huge draw in UFC, and some people look back in hindsight and think he was in WWE too, but he actually didn't deliver like WWE hoped he would after all the pushing they put into him. They realized he wasn't going to be their big baby face draw and turned him back heel that summer.
I can buy this one. Outside of late 2002 to the middle of 2003, Brock Lesnar has always been a heel. It just works best. Even in UFC, he "played" the bad guy to draw in huge numbers. That works for him. Despite WWE wanting to tell the story of him getting back his WWE Championship he was screwed out of, it never clicked 100 percent. As you noted, he was heel again months later. Last but certainly not least...
Mr. Telling It Like It Is: Not sure how much it affected buyrates, but Wrestlemania XIX was the last WM shown in the UK on non-PPV, so a big chunk of international buyrates could have hit it.
I will take your word for it. That would definitely hurt nowadays, as a ton of WWE pay-per-view buys come from international. All in all, those were the best posts. Many were extremely opinionated (which can't be right or wrong). Some held substance, like the cable/UK posts. Ultimately, we may never know. WWE just got hit by a chain of events that added up to an extremely low WM buy rate. I am sure that is partially on their product at the time. I am sure the cable/UK issues did not help. I am also sure that the theories will continue on for another ten years. Hey, let's just all be thankful we witnessed another classic Undertaker match at WrestleMania!
Wow, that is enough text for one topic. Since last week's rapid fire format did not go over too well, we will return to the "normal" format this week. Damion (one of my most loyal readers) starts us off with a question about Daniel Bryan:
Okay, let me play devil's advocate here (by the way, I think Keanu Reeves should play Riddler), Daniel Bryan is on fire. I am rooting for him too, but seriously, people hate on John Cena, but he looks tough. Bryan, not so much. I get it. It shouldn't matter what you look like - believe in yourself, yada, yada. In your humble opinion, is Bryan great or a B+?
First, Keanu Reeves should not be getting any major acting roles in 2013. None.
As for Daniel Bryan, there are a few differences comparing him to John Cena. The obvious is his character. WWE is not building Bryan up as a seven foot tall destroyer. He is a WRESTLER and will beat you in the squared circle despite any kind of size different. It is called an under dog. Toughness falls into that same category. However, ask Bill Goldberg about the 'toughness' of a much smaller Chris Jericho. As long as the story being told makes sense (so far, it fits), then Daniel Bryan works as the main face going up against the evil corporation putting him down every week.
I am not going to give him a grade just yet. Let's hold off on that for another couple of months. Time will be the real scoring system, with business results as the main resource. If he puts on five star matches but bombs in the ratings, sells no t-shirts, and gets none of his "fans" to actually shell out $50 on a pay-per-view with him in the main event, then he stands no chance. If his "fans" actually support him at the arenas, through WWE.com and PPV outlets, then he could be an A++++++ talent for years to come. Judging him without business results is all fine and dandy but simply is not realistic. Whether folks like to admit it it or not, WWE is a business. Make money for the company, and the sky is the limit. Perform great but show no profit for the bottom line? Doesn't matter.
Night Wolf wants to discuss gimmick changes.
Why is it that new wrestlers in the WWE seem to do better when they are repackaged? For example: Skip Sheffield to Ryback, Bryan Danielson to Daniel Bryan, Husky Harris to Bray Wyatt, and Michael McGillicutty to Curtis Axel.
However, I would not just limit that to Superstars in today's era. Dolph Ziggler was a male cheerleader, as well as a caddy for Kerwin White before that. Yet, talent showed through, and he is a two-time World Champion now. Steve Austin was a "Ringmaster" in the mid-card until he shaved his head bald and started flipping the bird as Stone Cold - one of the biggest stars of all-time. The Undertaker was 'mean' in WCW and turned into a man who is currently 21-0 at WrestleMania. Kane was a DENTIST, before showing up at Badd Blood 1997 during the initial Heck on a Deck match and causing havoc. There are many more, on top of the wrestlers you listed.
Now, why is this?
Life is all about trial and error. When you try something, does it work the very first time? Maybe on the rare exception...but probably not. Does a baby crawl across the living room on his/her first try? Of course not. Do you learn how to ride your bike your very first day without the training wheels? Of course not. Did Thomas Edison invent the light bulb with his first attempt? Of course not. You put things together, try out gimmicks, and see what the best fit is. Some aspects may work. Others will need tweaking or fine tuning. Then when a character/names comes together, magic happens in the wrestling business. Whether it takes two changes, five changes, or 20 changes is irrelevant. When it clicks, it clicks.
Moving forward, Allan asks about Dolph Ziggler and his future!
With everyone going crazy about Daniel Bryan, when do you think Ziggler will get his chance? I am a Ziggler guy and always will be. He is an amazing talent, and I believe should be a bit higher in the Main Event scene. But he is 33, I think? Timing is everything, and Ziggler is not getting any younger. Do you think WWE will push him any time soon? Or will he be a missed opportunity?
A two-time World Champion can be a missed opportunity? If that is the case, every single WWE Superstar in the lower card would happily be a 'missed opportunity' any day. I know your basic premise - make Dolph Ziggler a permanent fixture in the main event scene. I get that. He certainly was on the right track coming out of WrestleMania 29. However, two things detracted him big time.
1. Using hindsight, that crowd reaction from New Jersey the night after WM29 was great...but potentially damaging. That is what happens when you get a bunch of drunk 'internet fans' cheering heels, booing faces, and chanting for the announcers for no reason. Immediately, a heel Money in the Bank cash-in moment was treated as a face moment for Ziggler. Any chance of him being a heel World Champ were flushed down the toilet. From there, it snowballed to Dolph getting more and more cheers...likely well before WWE has any plans of turning him. Well, that process sure was sped up quickly after.
2. His entire feud with Big E and AJ Lee wrote itself. It really had the making to be something special - like Batista and Triple H imploding Evolution. However, as noted, WWE had to have noticed the crowd reactions and wanted to hurry up the feud. The concussion certainly did not help matters, as his World Title run was cut short upon return. All of that just created one giant mess. From May-August, what happened? Wow. Now, Ziggler is on Raw losing to Bray Wyatt.
Back to the original question, the saving grace is two fold. WWE could easily spin this as part of the main story line. Triple H could say he is punishing Dolph and not giving him any World title matches any more and working his way back up the card. Real life or not, that seems logical. Also, as we saw on Smackdown, he is still feuding with The Shield - three heels carrying gold around and associated with Corporate Evolution. Even in his 30's, the man is in a very nice spot to move up the card once again. Like many, let's hope it is for good next time!
No question here - just a very well thought out email from Dave. It's a little outdated (my fault) but still works. Enjoy:
The question in Ask411 about the number of champions on the roster at any given time really intrigued me - I thought Mat did an excellent job, but (sensibly) left it before it got out of hand. I'm apparently less sensible, so plotted all of the comings and goings on a spreadsheet and then analysed every week since the first RAW (11 Jan 1993) - I'll email you the sheet separately (it's pretty huge!) if you want it? Let me know.
Your questioner specifically excluded occasional guys like HHH and Taker. Obviously, this is all a judgement call, but I've taken the view that if someone is positioned as a wrestler or wrestling relatively often, then they count. So Brock counts, but HHH hasn't counted since April 2010, Vince has counted in three separate stints but not since June 2007, and Taker has been a special attraction and doesn't count since October 2010. Rock's recent comeback stint doesn't count, but Bret's in 2010, Nash's in 2011 and Foley's in 2004 and 2005 do. Injured people under contract count (I'm looking at you, Rey!), but not if they're only ever part-time afterwards (HHH).
Your mileage may vary.
On that basis, here are my findings:
1) The week Mat's referring to would be 15 July 2013 (the only week that Jericho and RVD overlap). On my criteria, that's 12 (the first 11 he lists, plus Brock).
2) That's actually the highest it's been since March 2010 (12 - Batista, Show, Hart, Jericho, Edge, Cena, Kane, Orton, Michaels, Sheamus, Taker & HHH), so good work Mat! But I don't think it's the highest.
3) The lowest it's been in between those two highs is November 2010 before Miz wins the title (6 - Show, Edge, Cena, Kane, Orton, Sheamus) - immediately after Bret and Jericho finish up their stints, and after Taker's last "regular" match by my count.
4) The most I can find, though, was during Stone Cold's brief run in Feb/March 2003 - 14 champs on the roster, being Austin, Show, Brock, Jericho, Nash, Hogan, Kane, Angle, Flair, Michaels, Rock, Taker, HHH and Vince. There's a decent-sized stint of 13, either side of that run - this is the only time it's ever been over 12.
5) The fewest is the period from 10 November 1997 to Kane's title win in June 1998, when there were only ever two champions on the roster at any one time - Taker and Michaels, then Austin when Michaels leaves.
Just for giggles, I also broke up the period into rough chunks - the New Generation (starts in 1993), Attitude (starts at Survivor Series 1997), the Brand Extension (starts with the purchase of WCW in March 2002) and the PG Era (starts on 1 January 2008).
Not surprisingly, the Brand Extension era (no major competition for talent) is where we get the 14-champion roster - there's never less than 7 on the roster, and an average of 10.46. The PG Era is slightly lower, but not much - 12 max, 6 min, 9.99 average. Obviously numbers, for earlier eras are lower - average of between 4 and 6 champs on the roster at any point from 1993 to 2002, with a max of 7 for the New Generation and 11 for Attitude.
There you go folks! Dave deserves a huge pat on the back. Feel free to discuss this below in the comment section..
Our next topic comes from James concerning Mr. AJ Styles.
AJ Styles, in my opinion, is THE MOST under rated wrestler in the WORLD. I know, I know this may be because of the company that he is currently in. However, I think that people forget when AJ Styles is just AJ Styles, he can even cut a good to great promo. I remember when he first started feuding with Kurt Angle, and he said something to the effect of " Kurt Angle talks about he won a Gold medal in the Olympics, but what does that really mean? I mean I won a blue ribbon in the triple high jump, but you don't see me tooting my own horn." For me, that was a priceless promo that cannot be taught but has to just come from the gut of whoever it is speaking. Point being when AJ Styles is just plain AJ Styles, he is much like WCW Sting except AJ can wrestle.
I may have replied to this one already. Seems very close to all the other 'AJ is unappreciated' claims...
All in all, you are mostly correct except for the promo part. He usually comes up short on the mic and/or downright awkward. That has been the case for ten years and is still seen to this day. That is okay. Brock Lesnar should not be allowed near a microphone either. He has other strengths, so it is fine. Ultimately, this has been touched on so many times it is becoming redundant. Styles is in TNA Impact Wrestling. Thus, before we ever mention his skills, only a limited viewing audience even knows who he is. Wrestling fans know the name. Ask anybody else on the street who AJ Styles (or Allen Jones) is, and it will be met with silence. Add in his great wrestling skills - you have something. Again though, that will only go so far. Now, if he jumps to WWE, is seen by 4-5 million people each week, sells tickets, and wrestles in front of 80,000 fans at WrestleMania with over one million pay-per-view buyers at home, fans will consider him to be an all-time great. In TNA? That can't be done.
I would mention his ongoing contract negotiations with TNA, but come on! Are people really buying into that? Didn't we go through this whole song and dance worked shoot garbage back in 2011 with CM Punk? AJ Styles is not going anywhere. Sad but true. I'd like to see him give WWE a try before retiring.
Dallas keeps us going with a question about today's roster heading into 2014.
My question is, not knowing if you like to predict outcomes (or fantasy book) what is going to happen from now until WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. I'm just curious. Predict what could happen (in great detail, if you don't mind, but if you do, you can keep it short and right to the point) about the current Daniel Bryan vs The World angle. Does Bryan become WWE Champion sometime this year or will we have to wait for his triumph at WM 30? As well as predict what happens with the following superstars: Triple H, Cena, Orton, The Shield, Ziggler, Big Show, Henry, Miz, Vince McMahon, CM Punk and Paul Heyman , as well as Daniel Bryan.
Oh wow! Well, for anybody who has read my work the past five years (on different websites) should know, "fantasy booking" is not my thing. Never has been, never will be. It ranks right up there with handing out pointless star ratings for matches - just do not care to even bother with it. However, since you asked nicely, I will give a quick breakdown - not in great detail. I will leave that up to the real experts out there who know everything. Just a future hint though: Asking me to care about "fantasy booking" is not my cup of tea.
Note: I am writing this before the upcoming Night of Champions weekend.
Daniel Bryan should not get that lengthy WWE Championship title run for awhile. He definitely should not beat Randy Orton clean this Sunday. The story just started. It'd be like the super hero destroying the villain thirty minutes into the movie. Then what? The story is over. It has to stretch out two hours with the big fight scene near the end. Right now, the heels need to get over on the face(s). If that calls for a Heck on a Deck match in late October, so be it. If that means a giant five on five Survivor Series match with title ramifications, so be it. If this drags out to Daniel Bryan needing to win the Royal Rumble for another title shot, so be it. The good guy will overcome the bad guy. That has been the most basic story told since the beginning of time. That time is just not near.
Triple H at WM30 - Again, do not consider this "fantasy booking" whatsoever. I like the idea of him facing off against CM Punk again. Their mini-feud in 2011 was never even supposed to take place. Remember Kevin Nash was pulled from the pay-per-view last minute. Thus, HHH had to step in. Under those terms, we may still be here in 2013 without ever seeing a one on one match between Hunter and Punk. Looking at how Mania may shake out, these two fit together perfectly.
John Cena at WM30 - Does he face The Rock in the rubber match? Probably not. Does he finally challenge The Streak and take on The Undertaker? Maybe. Or will Cena come in and save the day to defeat Randy Orton for the WWE Championship? Outside of those options (unless a major star comes back), nobody is worthy enough to wrestle Cena in a major setting in New Orleans next April. Any realistic ideas?
Randy Orton at WM30 - As noted above, Mr. RKO is in a prime spot now. The only concern is his two Wellness strikes, as well as WWE trusting him come January-April. Doing so now is wonderful. Let's see if that sustains. At WM24 and WM25, he was in big championship matches. At WM26, he fought Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. At WM27, he faced CM Punk. Then in 2012, he wrestled Kane. Just this past year, he was in a six person tag with The Shield. Not exactly high profile stuff...
The Shield at WM30 - The Shield will be on their last legs. Every great team should break up and try their hand at single's competition. With these three, it is even more necessary. There is no true weak link here. I suspect another six person tag match but with bells and whistles attached. Also, hints of a breakup may occur. Spanning November 2012-April 2014, that is a very good run together. Plus, they have been protected very well - only losing a handful of matches nearing a year now in WWE. All the while, the trio owns victories over multiple top, top, TOP stars. Not too shabby for three newcomers!
Dolph Ziggler at WM30 - Eh. Tough to say. Whatever the World Title feud is, put him there.
Big Show at WM30 - Is Shaq available? Can we finally see that Ryback 'Shellshock' on Show I have been waiting to see for over a year now? Let's say Ryback faces Big Show. The World's Largest Athlete can be the guy that stands up to the bully Ryback on television.
Mark Henry at WM30 - I love the guy's work and was on his bandwagon long before 2011 (unlike most). Yet, he is injury prone and constantly out of action. He recently said his new deal with WWE is for five years. Honestly, does anybody really think he will last that long? Again, he is great and a no doubt future WWE Hall of Famer. The man just can't stay healthy. I would be thrilled just to see him on the WM card next spring.
The Miz at WM30 - If his face run continues to bomb, he will be back as a heel. That much is certain. Since the guy loves the media and press work, he will get a nice spot. It usually works out that way. Come New Orleans, WWE will give him something worth while. Let's just hope it is as a bad guy, where he can truly shine again. Miz has to add to his impressive WM win-loss record. Watch out!
Vince McMahon at WM30 - This falls back into the Triple H discussion. If the McMahon family is going to feud for the 879th time, then it has to involve Triple H, right? I have CM Punk (read above) pegged for a HHH feud. Does that mean one guy is represented by Vince? Is this thing made a complete mess by then? Where would Stephanie fall into this all? That is why I avoid thinking about things out of my control. Too many occurrences can take place from now to April. I will say though that if Vince wants to 'pass the torch' and hand over the company to HHH in public, WrestleMania XXX would be a nice milestone event to make the transition. We'll see!
CM Punk at WM30 - A feud with HHH? I suppose a Brock Lesnar rematch could be waiting for him, but that seems like a repeat of 2013 with Triple H. Face at Summerslam, fight again at WM? No thanks. The popular vote is a CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan title match. However, this is the only world. Of course, that is the popular vote.
Paul Heyman at WM30 - For starters, I hope he is far away from Curtis Axel. I predicted he would fall short as a "Heyman Guy" from the moment he was announced. Before he spoke. Before the music hit. Before HHH came out. Before anything. People loved to blame the Michael McGillicutty name. Sorry folks, a name does not change talent. You are who you are. Pairing him up with a great manager can only go so far. Paul E will still be managing some heel because he is that entertaining. For the sake of continuity, let's go with Matt Morgan.
Daniel Bryan at WM30 - This brings us back full circle. A part of me really is curious to see how long WWE can drag out this entire battle. Bryan winning the Rumble to get one last shot at the gold is a story book ending. WWE could even put him as the #1 entrant too just to really stack the deck! If that is the case, would Orton still have to be champ? Could a different heel step in? It definitely is intriguing. Even with the obvious assumption that Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, The Rock (maybe), Chris Jericho, Batista (long shot), and other legends will pop in for the huge WMXXX event, there is still tons of intrigue about Daniel Bryan. Amazing, huh?
Will there be another wrestling boom period? David has a theory.
I have a theory on the various boom periods in wrestling history happening in large part due to advancements in technology and providing content on the ground stages. Modern wrestling's 1st boom was the 1920's with Strangler Lewis and the Goldust Trio, which coincided with radio capturing the popular imagination. The 2nd boom occurred in the 1950's with Fred Kohler's show on the DuMont Network, which coincided with the advent and popularity of television. The 3rd boom occurred in the 80's with Vince McMahon and the WWF, which coincided with the growth of cable television. The 4th boom occurred in the late 90's with the Monday Night War, which coincided with the explosion of the internet. In each instance, as the medium grew, wrestling became somewhat lost in the shuffle after initially tapping the potential, often simply by luck/accident. Obviously, this is a tough question as the answer might lay with some kid in college, with an idea still in it's infancy...but can you foresee any technology on the horizon or even the evolution of an existing technology that could help wrestling to begin a 5th boom period or even revolutionize the industry itself?
Yes and no.
I do foresee another boom period for wrestling. However, it may not necessarily be due to an invention or advancing technology (maybe a little). You could easily flip the switch and say all these new avenues cause viewers to use that technology to STEAL the product (illegally online). Then how does that benefit the company? It doesn't. In my mind, the WWE Network has so many different possibilities. From this beginning, I have said this thing never even gets off the ground. Years later, it is...still not off the ground, but what if it does? We have seen how "on demand" services like Netflix can benefit so many shows. With a full blown channel with wrestling 24/7 available, surely some fans out there would check it out. At least as a curiosity for a month or two. From there, things will get interesting. Either WWE will slowly lose millions and millions of dollars, or a ton of casual fans come back to (or begin following) the WWE product.
Where I disagree though is the definition of a "boom period." That term is as laughable as folks saying boxing is dead every year. Yet, pay-per-view/live gate records may be shattered on Saturday night, with their main star collecting over $40 million for one fight. Yeah, real 'dead' there. WWE has had some of its most profitable years in recent times. For the year 2009 alone, they had their best financial statements nearly each quarter. Remember WrestleMania buy rates (and live gates in stadiums) are as high as they have ever been the past decade due to international deals. I think a lot of fans confuse television ratings in the United States with money. That is not the case. Just because the Attitude Era had sky high numbers every Monday night does not mean WWE was able to cash in to their fullest. Thus, if we are saying the last "boom period" was strictly ratings, then that'd be the late 1990's. No doubt! If we are talking money and profits all around, well, WWE has been making more after the Attitude Era from going public and their various revenue streams. Therefore, what exactly is a "boom period?"
STD Steve asks about the infamous Triple H vs. Scott Steiner match from 2003!
Since my understanding is that most matches are called on the go by the wrestlers in the ring (except for the big spots), would you say that it's a just as much a skill to call the right spots to make the match a good match just as much as it is executing the actual moves? In the same line of thought the infamously bad match between Steiner and HHH , should HHH have been blamed too since seemingly the match went something like this? Steiner: "Suplex." HHH" "Okay." Steiner: "Another suplex." HHH: "Okay." Steiner: "One more." HHH "Okay." You get the point.
Once again, yes and no.
Yes, it is definitely a tough skill to call matches on the fly. In my opinion, that trait is more difficult than just execution. With the right teaching and practice, anybody can performs the holds/moves in an empty training facility. When the lights are on bright and the show is live with different kinds of fans watching, it is a whole new story. Think of it as being a comedian. Anybody can come up with a funny punchline while brainstorming one day in your living room. Now, go out on stage, time your words right, work the audience, and deliver the joke in grand fashion! It is much more difficult.
The part where I disagree is HHH vs. Steiner. Contrary to the email, my assumption is that Triple H would call the match. Love or hate him, it is hard to imagine Steiner would walk into the company for about a month and be in charge of "calling" World Title matches at major pay-per-view events. WCW career or not, Triple H would be the guy to follow out there. Now, does that mean he deserves partial blame for the bad match? Usually, the answer would be yes...but not in this case. Anybody with two working eyes could clearly see Steiner was not able to live up to the hype his non-wrestling segments presented him. An easy comparison would be The Ultimate Warrior. Great entrance. Cool music. Good physique. Very effective promos. Once the bell rings though, everything falls apart. Triple H did all he could out there. No wonder HHH had to keep the World Title belt for so long...
Who here watched wrestling 13 years ago? Really, come on? RM has a question on Stephanie McMahon from the year 2000. YEAR 2000!!!
When Stephanie McMahon was a TV regular in 2000 and would get stripped, stink-faced, have her breasts mocked etc, who backstage was writing these segments and did she suggest them herself?
Some people can be self-deprecating and make it work. Other can't do it. Nice trait to have! As the boss's daughter, she is not going to be asked to do anything unless it is approved though. It's not like she is going to be treated like a lower card wrestler with no say in his/her character. She is Vince McMahon's daughter and a part of the Creative Team. Whether Steph is officially in charge of the ideas or not, she has final say on her segments. As do all McMahons. I give Steph credit for being able be the 'butt' of many jokes. Whether it was a stink face or getting embarrassed by Stone Cold, it added to the product.
Back to the main topic, Chris Kreski is a man who gets lots of props for his time with the WWE Creative Team after Vince Russo left in late 1999. His name may get lost in shuffle years later, but he deserves a lot of praise. If you are looking to hand out credit during WWE in 2000 NOT named McMahon, it is him.
I Ask YOU!
This week's question comes from the ever so patient Wicked Drums deep in the archives.
What happened to wrestlinggonewrong.com? That was the Ultimate site, and then mysteriously vanished...
I have never heard of the website. Thus, you can count me out. Therefore, I will happily hand over this question to all of YOU - the great 411mania readers! Please tell me and inform the masses as well.
Please, I Ask YOU - what happened to wrestlinggonewrong.com?
At last check, there was nothing using the hashtag. Once again, I put this concept on the line! If there are no questions sent on Twitter using the #Ask411 hashtag in the next seven days, it ends. Done. Gone. Bye-bye!
My Darn Opinion
So far, so good.
We are still waiting on the official WWE Summerslam PPV buy rate. We are going to be waiting for the WWE Night of Champions PPV buy rate for awhile yet. However, what we have seen is Raw ratings on television the past few weeks without John Cena (or even Sheamus).
No doubt, the top two faces currently in the company are Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. For the past few years, they have always had to rely on Cena as the main draw. From live events to PPV shows to merchandise to the television product, it was Cena and everybody else below him. That all changed in late August. Now, the pressure is on Bryan and Punk.
Thus far, I admit things have been running smoothly. Whether you love Cena or hate him, there is no question he is/was the man in WWE. Ratings are holding steady (even though NFL is taking away some viewers). The crowds are staying engaged. Story lines have been strong. It is definitely a small sample. For all we know, things could fall apart in the next month, and WWE starts begging for Cena to come back early. You never know. Until then though, I am impressed.
Maybe I just expected worse, and that could still come down the line. Whether you are in the entertainment industry, sports, wrestling business or whatever, losing your top star for any amount of time can be extremely damaging. Not right now though! WWE is doing just fine...
So far, so good.
Now, let's get some "ME!" plugs out there for all of you...