Ask 411 Wrestling 10.02.13: Macho Man, Paul Heyman, Stone Cold, Wrestling T-Shirts, More!
Posted by Justin Watry on 10.02.2013
Did Randy Savage no-show an episode of Raw? Could Paul Heyman have saved ECW from folding? Was Steve Austin jealous of Hulk Hogan? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
Welcome. How am I, you ask? Well, my Green Bay Packers did not play on Sunday. My Super Bowl 2014 champion Denver Broncos keep on winning. Plus, my columns all over the internet just keep getting more and more coverage. The links are at the end each week. Things are going great. I hope my uncle (now back in North Carolina) read last week's edition of Ask 411 Wrestling for the comments. I have been doing this for over five years now, but last week may have been my best column yet!
Shifting focus to the wrestling scene, there is another pay-per-view this weekend. My thought is that Battleground will draw a near record low pay-per-view buy rate for WWE. However, fans can easily prove me wrong - not going to hold my breath though. I guess there is always hope for Heck on a Deck a mere three weeks later! Ring of Honor? TNA Impact Wrestling? I am not even going to bother. Let's just begin...
Sheamus Defeating Daniel Bryan In Less Than A Minute: As I said from day one, I will be completely honest with all of you. Love me or hate me, what I talk about is my honest opinions mixed in with truthful stories on my life. When I discuss my past steroid use, it is the truth. When I say I do not up/down vote ANY comments on this entire website, it is the truth. When I say I do not even comment here, it is the truth...and last week, when I said I wrote about the WrestleMania 28 World Title match outcome a week before it happened, it was the truth. Yes, BEFORE WrestleMania 28, I wrote a column about Sheamus winning the World Title off Daniel Bryan in less than a minute. Here is the direct link. There you go! It also takes all of five seconds to Google "sheamus daniel bryan less than a minute" for my column to show up first on the useful search engine. Never enjoyed serving up crow more than I did after that beautiful match...
Stone Cold Turning Heel: Old topic, I know. However, Stone Cold (again) reiterated last week that turning heel was his idea and NOT the right thing to do. He went so far as to call it a "bad idea." Hindsight is a funny thing sometimes, but everybody had to know this was never going to work out. All that buzz for WrestleMania 17 immediately gone...too bad.
Tag Title Switch (I Ask YOU!) Response: From what was gathered, it was nothing more than the Kliq up to their old tricks. Shocking, right?
Your Turn, Smart Guy...
Last week, I asked about the infamous ECW Draft in 2006. Despite many guys "jumping ship" during that time period, there were only two official picks. One was Rob Van Dam (Raw). The other was Kurt Angle (Smackdown). Our answer came to us from Matthew Thomas - props to him! Always ironic when some think questions are easy but then get them wrong. For this week, how about another ECW question? As usual, have some pride. Do not run off to Wikipedia or Google anything. You think you're a smart wrestling fan? Prove it.
Name all six Extreme Elimination Chamber participants at ECW December to Dismember in 2006.
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!
Brett Farve: Justin has a cool hair-cut
Come on, it is FAVRE! Unless you were trying to be funny and spell it wrong? I don't know. As for my hair, I assume you are referring to the great mohawk photo. That picture floating around the internet is from over three years ago. Since early 2011, my hair has been your standard buzz cut (current Triple H length). However, since everybody loves to always mention the hair cut, I have kept that as my Twitter picture to keep up the intrigue. Discussing my hair? Great way to start folks. Keep in mind, I am just following your lead.
Sal E Bugger: Serious question. How do you feel about the illegal streaming of PPV's?
Fair point. I will cool it with the discussion on illegally streaming pay-per-view. However, my points (correct ones mind you) still stand. Go ahead and stream them. Steal, steal, steal! Just don't turn around and act like you are a paying customer with a valid opinion. WWE cares about money only and the fans that spend it on the product. Not the thieves.
I totally agree about the loyalty thing. Here in Boston, WFNX, a "beloved" indy rock radio station, closed down last year, and people were irate, but judging by the ratings, nobody actually ever listened to it. I'm betting if TNA did close down, it would be the same thing. People would be hacked off, but nobody ever puts money into it, so really, who would be at fault? Of course, I don't watch TNA, so what do I care?
Exactly. Where are all these die hard, loyal fans? Here in Wisconsin, we are seeing the same thing with our National Basketball Association team - the Milwaukee Bucks. Everybody whines and cries over the possibility of them leaving because of low attendance and no support. Well, THEN GO TO A GAME! Buy a jersey. Get a seat. Purchase tickets. However, should the Bucks ever leave town, you know the outcry would be overwhelming from upset fans in Wisconsin. Just ridiculous. A few years ago, there was a "Stand Up For WWE" campaign. Maybe TNA should do the same. Instead they have all those Dixie Carter action figures to sell and plugs for her Twitter account and ONLY hers - nobody else.
Pi: I'm no expert, but I found out a TV taping costs them around $800,000, so there are 104 tapings for around $80 million. Then on the Torch, I found out they had $75 million off TV rights fees (domestic and international) for the first 6 months of 2013, meaning they probably get twice the number at the end of the year (150 mill). That would make a TV rights profit of around $70 million. But I don't know if the costs number is reliable and this is all an amateur work from me, so feel free to discuss my guess.
That is pretty much dead on. Very quietly over the past couple of years, WWE business has increased big time through television ad revenue. Part of that is due to all the new programming such as Main Event, Saturday Morning Slam, Total Divas, etc. (and extra hour of Raw). The other factor is just the actual big contracts being thrown around by networks. It used to be all about pay-per-view and live events for the wrestling industry. In some ways, that is till true. No doubt. However, the HUGE dollars being spent on NFL, MLB, NASCAR, etc. is finally making its way over to WWE. Obviously, they are not getting Super Bowl like numbers, but the ridiculous amounts of money on TV right fees has gone up, up, up! Vince McMahon recently said they are "poised" to take advantage of this. We shall see.
CS 22: You could probably assume that if Bret never got the concussion and the stroke, he would have never reconciled with Vince. So him going to TNA sounds like a real possibility. The fact that he appeared for WWA showed that he wanted to stay in the business even if it was for a minor organization. I think Bret could have been another Sting in TNA in terms of in ring success.
Seems logical. I can buy that. A WWE-Bret reunion still would have taken place at some point (in my opinion, of course), unlike Sting, who is to this day avoiding WWE like the plague. Unfortunately all he is doing is delaying the inevitable. He will jump ship though before leaving the business for good. Legends Deal. Hall of Fame spot. Whatever. Sting will sign his name on a WWE contract eventually.
Okay, now to emails! First up is Raza asking about the 2002 landscape of WWF/WWE.
In 2002, WWE brought Hogan in, and he remained with the company for many years to come. Then later on, a few publicized controversies occurred regarding a potential Hogan-Austin match at WM 2002 that did not happen and then the ‘Legend vs. Icon' match with Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam 2005 where he over-sold Hogan.
Now whatever the story was, I guess that in 2002 WWE brought him; many other superstars like Austin, Rock, Michaels, Triple H, and Undertaker thought that Hogan would remain to be heel at least for an initial period so that they won't have any problem working with him (he indeed had great matches in past as a heel with wrestlers like Piper, Sting, Goldberg etc. back in his WCW days). But WWE thought of cashing in more $ by turning Hogan as a yellow and red ‘face', creating problems among top faces of WWE at that time. Obviously when WWE told Austin about of the idea, he backed out of the match with Hogan at WM 2002 because wrestler of Austin caliber won't want to make a fool out of himself during the match when Hogan suddenly hulks-up and beat him (I don't know why Rock agreed when Austin didn't). Same might even go to Michaels comically overselling at SS2005. Your thoughts particularly on Hogan-Austin at WM2002 which did not occur?
First, The Rock had no problem looking weak against Hulk Hogan for two reasons. One, he was going to pin The Hulkster in the end. Two, he was heading off to Hollywood weeks later. Whatever happened at WrestleMania X-8 was nearly irrelevant. Movies were calling his name, and it was clear Rocky's days as a full-time wrestler were over. Stone Cold had to worry about the booking and future plans should a match against Hogan take place. As for the others (more importantly Steve Austin), you hit it right on the head. Having Hogan be the heel for awhile was fine for the top of the roster. However, when he came in and was instantly 'more over' than them, you had to assume it stung a little bit. Then Vince decided to fast forward plans, break up the nWo, and make Hogan the Undisputed Champion? Yeah, you can just see Steve Austin backstage steaming over this. Any potential Hogan-Austin showdown has likely been a pipe dream from the beginning, but with all the "creative" chaos going on in 2002, that made it even less possible. A year later, Stone Cold retired. Two years after that, Shawn Michaels got to experience the "Hogan Way" in setting up a match first hand. Just comes with the territory.
Thomas has a question about ECW closing its door back in 2001.
Do you agree with Paul Heyman when he said ECW died because they didn't get on another network in time? That's a tough one to call, but I'm leaning towards no. They lost a lot of their big stars (Taz, Raven, Dudleyz, Mike Awesome) and no PPV's really stood out as great from what I remember. I'm sorry, but when your main event for a PPV is Mike Awesome vs. Spike Dudley, there's something wrong. The impromptu title changes were also hurting the company, like when Sandman won the TV title and Rhino came out right after the match and Gored him to win the title back. Same with Justin Credible and Rhino's World title wins. Rhino especially, since that was how classic ECW ended.
I agree with you.
Paul Heyman is great at one thing: talking. Now, where the truth falls into between there is anybody's guess. That is part of what makes him great. He is SO convincing that you just have to believe him. Yet, two minutes later, he would laugh in your face and admit he was lying the whole time. Heyman wants ECW fans to believe they were about to land a television deal and continue on. While there is some sliver of legitimacy to those comments, it would not have changed anything. ECW had no talent to speak of that could draw at a major level. WCW was a mess and about shut down. All the while, WWE was signing up every available talent and gearing up for a monstrous WrestleMania event at the Astrodome. Once that snow ball starts going down hill, it is hard to stop the momentum.
Thomas continues on with the ECW discussion.
Say ECW did get on another network, or somehow survived, what do you think it would've looked like? It's hard to really predict the mid-card, but I'm sure Rhino's World title run wouldn't have lasted long. RVD would've been champion by Heat Wave, or as soon as Living Dangerously, and probably would've had an epic title run like he did with the TV title. I could see Jerry Lynn taking the belt from him for a short while, but RVD would've for sure had a lengthy title run. That's my thoughts.
It would have become TNA Impact Wrestling.
Same with WCW. Without them folding, TNA would not exist. Have some shows only on pay-per-view. Maybe get some dreadful time slot on FSN. Then get lucky with Spike TV needing another wrestling program. The rest is history. As for the talent, that goes back to the previous point. WWE would have scooped up any good talent and let the rest sit. Rob Van Dam was definitely heading to WWE. Rhino was as well. Jerry Lynn was a good talent but didn't do anything for WWE in 2001 - such a shame too. He was more than capable of being a nice addition to Raw OR Smackdown. Everybody else would have fended for themselves, as the TNA originals started to arrive on the scene. Then they'd eventually mold into the Dixie Carter Show with the Aces and 0.8's ratings every Thursday night!
Up next, James has an interesting question about finishing moves...
From your opinion, who do you believe has had the weakest finisher in the WWE from the past ten years? Specifically, any male performer who seems to have had his finisher either kicked out of or reversed more often than other performers?
Nice topic. I assume the comment section will have a varying opinion on this.
The popular answer may be Wade Barrett's Wasteland, but I enjoy it. He does it with enough force that it does not look eak at all. Plus, he has won some big matches with that move, so has some credibility. The first move that jumped into my mind was Chris Jericho's Lionsault. I can't even remember the last time that won him a match. Nowadays, it is more of a set-up move, where years ago, it was actually a move he won matches with. My, how times have changed, huh? The other move is the Angle Slam. That has more to do with his TNA matches though, to be fair. Everybody kicks out of this thing at least once a match. I recall years ago when he was wrestling X-Division and even they kicked out of the Angle Slam. It was just ridiculous. Why even have a finishing move then if it does not, you know, FINISH the match? In any event, let me know folks! Who has had a weak finisher from the past ten years?
The ever so reliable Wicked Drums wants to know about the next crop of wrestling fans.
Since wrestling is geared at an age group that none of us are in, can we expect a dramatic change to the business when all of the 8-12 year old are teenagers (EXACTLY like the Attitude era)? Or...do you think they'll just reset again and go after the new crop of young kids? They can't cater to everyone at once, I understand that, but as a fan of 31 years, I'll watch whatever they put out, no matter how terrible it can get sometimes. My 6 year old daughter recently fell in love with wrestling, and her favorite is Kane. Since wrestling fans during the late 90's 'grew up,' and then eventually went as far as it could go before getting the PG reset, what will the next swing be?
I wish I knew.
I can tell you the Attitude Era or anything even close to resembling that is not coming back. That three to four year period was a rare, rare, rare exception and an anomalously. To expect that anymore is just pointless. Half naked women wrestling in mud? Yeah, we all love watching that, but it takes two seconds to see that (and much more) on the internet. Sorry. Swear words and cussing on cable? Well, that used to be taboo. Fifteen years later, nearly every other show on cable is more vulgar than needs to be. Filthy story lines and tawdry scenes? No big deal anymore. Turn on ANY channel with a dozen reality shows airing. While Raw used to be able to showcase that with about 100 less cable stations and choices, it is no longer new or innovative to be controversial with 'crash television.' Blood and chair shots to the head are never returning on a regular basis with all the new studies on concussions, so that is not an option. Everything that stood out and grabbed fans in the late 1990's worked ONLY for the late 1990's. Not ten years before. Not ten years after. It was a once in a lifetime, stars aligned, perfect run for a few short years that is not going to happen again.
As for the next swing? My jury is still out until the WWE Network launches (doubt it ever does). That goes hand in hand with the Netflix subscriptions, Hulu deals, rising television contracts (discussed earlier) and where the PG rating takes us. For the foreseeable future, I do not see WWE really changing much. Still being a profitable company and having zero real competition, they are in no rush to completely change their type of programming. Maybe in 10 or 15 years? Time will tell. Until then, what you see is what you get. Not to you specifically but anybody still holding out hope for the Attitude Era needs to stop. Either continue to watch and make the best of it...or turn the channel for the next decade.
Moving on, Chris sent me a great email.
Love the column - keep up the good work. I can only imagine the stress that comes with the unbelievable number of questions that you're inundated with on a weekly basis.
I wanted to pass along a note - not necessarily a question - but more of an answer. Last week, I was listening to Jerry Lawler on the Stone Cold Steve Austin Podcast, and Lawler gave an interesting anecdote about how he got involved with announcing, despite still being an active in-ring performer at the time.
He said that one day, despite being an active guy, Vince called him and asked if he would do a one-off date as a color man, as the acting color guy - Macho Man Randy Savage - had no-showed the date and instead popped up in WCW. Lawler did well, and before he realized it, years had passed and he was still in the announce booth.
But rather than focusing on Lawler, I think this could be the reason why Savage is persona-non-grata with the WWE to this day. If this story is true about Macho's disappearing act, then he's in the same category as Jeff Jarrett, Madusa and Lex Luger - none of whom have been so much as mentioned on TV in years. If he truly ditched WWE with that little notice - just not appearing for a taping and showing up down South - VKM has every reason to cut him off.
I know the question is asked a lot, so I thought I'd pass along this note.
Either that, or he slept with an underage Stephanie. Both are viable options.
Or maybe he illegally streamed a WWE PPV. Which is the worst sin a man can commit, I've heard. Just kidding - you're doing a great job!
Well done sir. Now, these emails are excellent to read. No cuss words. No insults. Just wrestling talk with a touch of humor - I love it! Ladies and gentlemen, the bench mark has been set.
As for a quick reply, I will level with you. Your comment about Stephanie was originally deleted, but I kept it in there after some deliberation. While I think it is ridiculous and quite slanderous, lots of folks love these wacky 'conspiracy theories' to get their jollies off. For the "Elvis was the the mall last night" crowd, have at it! About the rest, I am not Vince McMahon nor can I speak for him. However, I can tell you - being stood up by a girl or getting canceled on last minute is definitely a low blow so to speak. For Vince, wrestling is his life. Speak bad about WWE? Fine. Go work for WCW? Fine. Bash him and his family? Fine. Vince has proven to be a forgiving person, but no-shows are just flat out wrong. It takes a lot to get over that slap in the face even if, on the surface, there are far worse actions.
Changing gears, DJPII asks about wrestling t-shirts.
Hi Justin! I have been reading your column for quite some time now, faithfully. I've always had a two-part question about merchandise sales (t-shirts in particular). When a wrestler/superstar is judged upon how much merchandise they sell/don't sell, is there any consideration given to the design of the product possibly causing it to not really sell?
Examples: Good Shirts: Original Austin=3:16 shirt, Punk's=White, Best in the World, Original NWO, Bad Shirts: Dolph Ziggler's=Pink, You Wish You Could, Daniel Bryan=Burgundy, YES! YES! YES!, Sheamus=Brogue Kick)
How much input does the wrestler/superstar have on the design of their merchandise?
It depends on the wrestler.
Some are very hands on and want input with every aspect of their character. Others just simply wrestle and let the company do their thing behind the scenes. In the case of Chris Jericho, when he returned for his heel run in 2008, he did not want ANY new merchandise made for him to further his bad guy persona. While I am sure that hurt his pocket book for awhile, it is very old school. Why would a heel want people cheering him and buying his stuff? Makes no sense. It is the same reason I wish WWE would have waited on selling sheep masks for the Wyatt Family. They are supposed to be creepy and scary to kids, yet there they are being sold. Huh?
As for the designs, that is all up to the specific fan. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? I did not really like the last CM Punk shirt. Many other fans probably did. John Cena has had some cool looking ones in the past and also some very ridiculous looking shirts. Does it really matter for him though? Once the color changes, it is open season on t-shirt sales! Yet, it works every single time. I think the plain Daniel Bryan shirt actually fits his persona more than some flashy look that simply isn't him. Ultimately though, it comes down to personal choice. Obviously, the Austin 3:16 and nWo shirts (great by the way) sold a bunch to the public implying they were well liked by a majority. However, if you searched long enough, you could probably find a select few out there that did not like those classic designs. All opinion...
I Ask YOU!
This week's question comes from Todd concerning everybody's favorite - John Cena!
Recently read the 411 Top ten worst Current Finishers column. I mentioned in the comments that I was surprised to see that Cena's Five Knuckle Shuffle didn't make the list or the comments, considering his STF was mentioned by someone. Some one else asked me when he had ever won a match with it. So there is the question. Has Cena won matches with the Five Knuckle Shuffle?
I tried. I really did. For the past month and a half, nothing came up. Just off my memory, I am picturing him beating someone like Santino Marella with the move years back. However, as just noted, nothing came up with more researching. Therefore, it is now up to all of YOU great readers out there.
There you go! Have at it. Your marching orders have been set. Inform myself, and everyone on why this happened!
Please, I Ask YOU - Has John Cena ever won a match with the Five Knuckle Shuffle?
Another week, another chance for my readers to come through! If not, this section will be done. Gone. Over. You all have seven days...
Use the #Ask411 hashtag.
My Darn Opinion
This is more of a survey/census type of deal.
A few years ago, Mick Foley took a survey of his wrestling fans. It was not done in a malicious way or in any attempt to gain personal information. This was done as a curiosity more than anything to get a firm grasp of his core fan base. I liked that idea then and still do. Therefore, please participate in this very quick census.
Very simple rules: Just tell me your first name, age, and when you started watching wrestling. Do not tell me your address, occupation, or ANY kind of personal information whatsoever. I don't need to know all that mumbo-jumbo! That is not what this is about. This is about wrestling and learning a little more about a fan base. Feel free to comment below. I will begin.
My name is Justin. I just turned 25 years old, was born a wrestling fan and have never looked back. There are still old pictures of me as a baby with a Hulk Hogan pillow by my side.
Now, let's get some "ME!" plugs out there for all of you...