Ask 411 Wrestling 10.09.13: Vader, Scott Hall, Miss Elizabeth, Royal Rumble Changes, More!
Posted by Justin Watry on 10.09.2013
How will the John Cena era compare to Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold's WWE eras? Would Shane McMahon sign with TNA? Does the Royal Rumble match need to change its rules? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
There is never a dull day, huh?
Thankfully, my Green Bay Packers were back on the field Sunday afternoon. The 2014 Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos just keep on rolling, and the MLB Playoffs have even gotten underway. I would mention the NHL, but let's be real. How many fans outside of a select few cities and Canada even knew hockey was back? Exactly.
As for the wrestling scene, WWE just capped off a Battleground pay-per-view which excited a lot of fans. There was a VERY similar non-finish to an Attitude Era pay-per-view way back when, but let's not even go there. Wonder if people remember that? No? Anyways, I predict a record low buy rate for the show, unless every CM Punk and Daniel Bryan purchased the show legally. Yes, that was a joke. We all know those online streams were busy Sunday night. The countdown to John Cena returning and taking back his spot continues. Heck on a Deck should be entertaining in a few weeks at least. Now, to the real draw of this column...
Macho Man No-Showing?: The time line does not exactly match up. However, that does not mean it did not happen. All we can go on is hearsay. Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler told similar stories. While Macho Man no-showing may not have been a final straw type of sin, it could have still led to his banishment from returning.
Difference Between Youtube And Illegal Streams: I have written about this many times before...on other websites. The links at the end of every column are very simple to use.
Five Knuckle Shuffle (I Ask YOU!) Response: John Cena has won a match with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. I could not believe it either. While he did hit the F-U beforehand, the final move was still the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He teamed with Big Show to defeat Orlando Jordan and JBL on Smackdown. Thanks to Jay El Bee for the find. Here is the video proof!
Survey Results: Last week, I took a "survey" consisting of all the wrestling fans reading this column. It was something fun to try out, and the feedback was great. All things considered, this experiment should be considered a success. Now, a week later, there were two main takeaways - one more important than the other.
Note: I trust everybody was honest with their answers. Outside of a few obvious jokes, the replies were all straight forward and (seemed) legitimate. Appreciate that.
1. The younger the person, the more cuss words and/or insults posted. No surprise - just a quick observation.
2. Every single reader had a different story. Some were in their 60's and had been watching since early childhood. Others were in their 20's and jumped aboard during the Attitude Era. Many were 30-40 years old and grew up watching The Hulkster. Through all of the comments, each had their own story and opinion the wrestling business. I loved it!
Ladies and gentlemen, that was my goal for doing this "survey."
I have my own opinions. You have your own opinions. The person sitting next to you during class may have a different point of view. The neighbor you never talk to will have a different set of views. The long lost cousin of the family is going to enjoy something you may hate. A stranger you never met 1,000 miles away will like a style of clothing you dislike. Somebody from another state will like a certain kind of music you despise. A co-worker 30 years older than you will love a wrestling program you may think is garbage. Yet, your 5 year old son may disagree.
Long story short, we all have our opinions.
Nobody is right. Nobody is wrong. We all love wrestling and what it brings. If TNA Impact Wrestling is your preference, that is cool. If you love indy wrestling, that is cool. If Ring of Honor is your favorite, that is cool. If WWE entertains you on a regular basis, that is cool. If you like a mixture of those products, that is cool as well. Whether it is Monday night, Thursday night, or any other night of the week, everybody reading this is a wrestling fan.
Your Turn, Smart Guy...
Last week, I asked about the infamous ECW December to Dismember main event in 2006. The good news is a couple of people had the correct answer. The bad news is (once again) there is some controversy. First, Kooch listed CM Punk, Big Show, Test, Hardcore Holly, RVD, and "Ashley." I assume it was meant to be Lashley, but maybe Ms. Massaro made an appearance? Of course, the comment was edited a little later on to fix the mistake. Before that happened though, Shark came in to list all six men without any typos. Do I be strict and focus on the small typo made, even though we all make mistakes? Or reward the other person for being perfect? You can all decide that. I will leave that up to the readers! This week, let's take a trip back - all the way to the year 2000. In the year 2000...
Reminder: No cheating! Have some pride. The six man Heck on a Deck WWE Championship battle at Armageddon 2000 is still one of my favorite "forgotten" matches of all-time. As most will recall, Kurt Angle ended up pinning The Rock to retain his title. However, the final offensive maneuver in the match was not done by Angle or Rock. Explain.
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!
Team J-Rod: You know what the best part of watching "Your Denver Broncos" is? We all know how this storyline ends...with another "Manning Face" as Peyton becomes sole possessor of the losingest QB in NFL Playoffs history moniker.
Please do not remind me. The man has won four MVP awards (should have been five with last year's season), compiled an amazing win-loss record in the regular season, yet has only cashed in on one Super Bowl. I still have nightmares over their loss to the Baltimore Ravens from January in the post-season. Woulda, coulda, shoulda...but didn't! In any event, the Denver Broncos are MY Super Bowl champions come next February, and that is coming from a man with very pricey Green Bay Packer season tickets.
Carl Rood: ECW would have had talent retention problems even if they'd gotten a new TV deal. Sure there would have been some loyalists who would have stayed, but the fact is WWE was able to pay more and once the ECW guys hit their 30's and started having families, they'd be less inclined to take the hard hits for less money. I feel the WWE will continue to market to kids because ultimately it's more profitable. An adult can wear the same T-Shirt for years. Kids grow and in some cases quite quickly, so you can actually sell them the same T-Shirt twice. Kids get toys, kids break toys, kids cry, kids get new toys. Does anyone expect Disney to "grow" with their audience? Of course not. They just put together another show with a teenage girl who can sing to target the same age group. They do own other brands which they market to older customers, and that's something WWE might one day consider.
Yep! I wish I could add more, but you nailed it perfectly. Great comment here - it deserved to be posted.
Yapapi: Re weakest finishers, I agree with you on Wasteland, looks reasonably strong to me, no weaker than Cena's AA. For really weak finishers from the last 10 years: COBRAAAAAA, Starship Pain, People's elbow, and MVP's Playmaker
Nice selections. The Playmaker from MVP was always a little rough to watch. The opponent had to really help out. I didn't mind the People's Elbow too much because The Rock made it work. Just like Hulk Hogan could make a simple leg drop look devastating. I am with you on the Starship Pain - never connected all the way and came across bad on television. The Cobra is meant for comedic purpose and has actually resulted in title victories. Believe it or not, the move has a decent track record of defeating guys. One final entry: ONITA100 adds the Zig Zag to the discussion as a weak finisher. I can live with the move, but it does make me wonder why Dolph Ziggler was using the super kick as of late. Is he testing out a new finisher? Trying an alternative? Maybe WWE (and Ziggler) are well aware he is in need of different finish...
Now, to some emails! We start off with Nightwolf and two questions about HBK.
I had read somewhere that when HBK was champion, rating bombed because of it. Why is that? He was a talented wrestler, and he had great charisma. So what went wrong?
Shawn Michaels is my favorite wrestler. To me, he is the greatest WWE Superstar of all-time. However, I am not biased and have to call it fairly.
He was never that much of a major draw. Top level performer, no doubt. As we all know, talent does not always translate to a mass audience and create dollars. The problem with Michaels becoming champion in the mid-1990's was really three parts. First, WCW was on fire. Nothing was going to defeat them. Once Hulk Hogan jumped and Nitro caught on, WWE had a little of catching up to do. Secondly, the entire steroid scandal was still hovering over everybody' head. It had passed, but with the company pushing 'smaller guys,' I am not sure how the public felt about that. Thhere had been 'smaller guys' on top before but not like this. After years of seeing Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man, and other huge guys carrying around the belt, seeing HBK and Bret Hart battle had to be a shock to the system. Thirdly, it really didn't matter who was champ. It could have been Michaels, Hart, Undertaker, etc. WWE were not going to deliver the kind of programming seen on WCW. They had all the viewers and attention. Of course, that changed when somebody like Stone Cold picked up momentum...
Nightwolf continues on discussing HBK.
What would have happened if Vader had pinned HBK for the title?
He would have won the title...?
Okay, seriously. Not much would have changed. WWE never gave me any reason to believe they would go all the way with Vader as a top, main event act. The big man was great everywhere he went, but that was Shawn Michaels' time. With his stroke backstage, can you blame him? I would do the same thing. You would do the same thing. We all would keep ourselves as champion over another co-worker if push came to shove. Welcome to politics! They are at every single work place, school, etc. Once it was made clear that this was HBK's world, Vader bolted two years later in late 1998, but at that point, WWE got all they could out of him. Sad but true folks! It was best for him to going elsewhere. Ironically, HBK was done wrestling after March 1998.
Andy brings up the annual Royal Rumble match!
I've always wondered when watching Royal Rumbles; how much is pre-planned? Winners obviously are and I would presume the majority of feud continuations are, but don't have a clue beyond that.
I've just finished watching the 98 Rumble where The Rock lasts 50+ minutes which makes sense as he was hot and it further solidify him as a top guy. But Bradshaw, Godwinn, and D'Lo all lasted 30 minutes. Is this deliberate or were these guys just stubbornly hanging around?
Also, I don't know about yourself, but I've been becoming jaded with Royal Rumble matches in recent years and think a slight change could improve things. If you could change one thing, what would it be?
Man, I love the Royal Rumble. Is it January yet?
Every single guy just follows their own instructions. What one guy does may have nothing to do with what another is doing. In the end, all 30 different scripts will come together to form one huge match. If you are scheduled to last only two minutes, you do that. If you are scheduled to come in at #4 and last 30 minutes, you know a certain checkpoint when to get eliminated. If you are set to be in the final two or three, you probably do not want to be hanging over the ropes too much...just in case.
As you mentioned, the big story lines are planned. Should Kane need to toss out a record 15 guys, that is made apparent. If a confrontation is planned (Goldust/Cody Rhodes in 2013 being a recent example), just know to be in position for the camera to zoom in on your face. If your next feud is to be with a new person (HBK/Kurt Angle in 2005), they will be paired up with some interaction. While all of this is going on, the referees are at ringside giving cues, like they always do.
If I could change one thing about the Rumble? I would make sure the winner could never, EVER put his victory "on the line" a month later. See Rey Mysterio in 2006 for an example or even John Cena this year. The entire gimmick is just so perfect. Some things in life should never be switched up. Don't fix what isn't broken, right? Just thinking about it, what really is there to change? Time limits kind of come and go anyways with variations in between. The amount of wrestlers is nicely set at 30. However, WWE, in 2011, tried 40 and have done 20 as well. Outside of that, how can the match change? You should't do a Divas only one - the roster is too small. You shouldn't do multiple Rumbles a year - that isn't needed (forget the 2004 Smackdown version). Keep it 30 men. Keep it in late January. Keep the two minute intervals. Keep the winner going to WM for a title shot. Keep it all the same.
Feel free to discuss any changes you would make to the Rumble below!
Next up: Sergey is curious about an infamous time for Scott Hall...
Love Ask 411 - it's always good reading. Great questions and interesting answers. I have one question: we all know about Scott Hall's problems with alcohol. Sometime in WCW, they were doing an angle presenting him drunk. But were there any known real situations when Scott Hall appears on TV drunk?
You mean like Jeff Hardy in 2011?
Yikes! Just because I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt, let's just say he was always clean. The downside to giving Scott Hall the benefit of the doubt is just that; he is Scott Hall. That is my main problem with doing these 'worked shoots' and presenting real problems as a part of the story line. Scott Hall was definitely acting drunk in WCW, but who says he wasn't still drinking beforehand? At that point in his life, would anybody really put it past him? The inmates were running the asylum and could do anything without consequence. That is the scary part. Like all rumors in the wrestling business, I am sure there are legendary road stories and tall tales about his actions on screen. However, his most high profile incident did indeed happen inside a wrestling ring and found its way onto television through ESPN E:60 months later.
Will Miss Elizabeth be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame? Sean wants to know.
Everyone always asks about Randy Savage not being in the Hall of Fame, but my question is what about Miss Elizabeth? She is the first lady in professional wrestling and definitely should've been in before Wendy Richter (of the original screwjob fame) and Sunny. Is it because of her ties with Savage? Or the way she died? Did she tick Vince off too? Lanny Poffo was half-right about Randy going into HOF with his family...he needs to go in with his ex-wife, who is long overdue herself.
Yeah, she will be inducted. Give it time. All of that other nonsense is just that - nonsense.
My best advice for all these Hall of Fame questions that come up every year is to be patient. WWE only inducts a few people each year. They are not going to wake up one day and induct Elizabeth, Macho Man, DX, Owen Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Great Khali, and others in one giant class. Stop with this line of thinking. A main event act goes in, a few others upper echelon stars, and one female/deceased wrestler goes in - end of story! Also, going in "before" wrestlers means nothing. Who cares if someone gets inducted before another? It is not a race or ranked in any order. When a certain city or time comes up, the ones who deserve a spot will get a spot. Being "first" only matters on internet comment sections...right folks?
*insert old school Chandler image*
Just looking at recent years, Miss Elizabeth did not fit in anywhere. Now, you could argue that any year makes sense, but hear me out! Since WWE likes to induct one girl a year (unwritten rule), it is tricky. In 2010, Wendy Richter was inducted. She was the female that year. In 2011, Sunny was inducted. She was the female that year. Doing so in 2012 would have come off as awkward considering Macho Man passed away in May 2011. Not sure that would have went over too well. Giving her the spotlight but not Randy Savage? Good luck! Then as most know, Trish Stratus was induced this year. She was the female inductee. Moving to 2014, who is left? Sable? Chyna? Lita? If none of those pan out, my vote goes to Miss Elizabeth!
We follow that up with a wild theory about TNA Impact Wrestling thanks to Chris. Yes, that promotion is still up and running! Quick note: This is the last TNA related question in my email inbox as we speak. If you wish to focus on them more going forward, do not hesitate to let me know. I can only answer what is sent my way.
With Hogan and Bischoff looking like they are on their way out the door, and Jerry Jarrett's comments on Dixie Carter which appeared on 411 on Sunday got me to thinking:
I read through the comments section at what was being said, and one man came to mind who could not only run TNA properly (something I believe Dixie Carter really doesn't have a clue as to how a wrestling company should be run) but also give it the creative direction to be something different to WWE
Shane McMahon. I thought that Shane's creativity never truly got the chance to shine when he had his shots in WWE due to the nature of the committee booking style and, of course, everything having to go through Vince. Shane certainly has the business sense to make TNA profitable. He has the connections to expand them in the global media and has been brought up eating, sleeping, and drinking the wrestling business.
Should TNA be approaching Shane-O-Mac as the guy to move their company on to the next level?
Wow! Sounds like something out of the National Enquirer...I hear they are now a reliable news source. Also reported, aliens from Mars are walking around New York City. Oh, and Hulk Hogan has signed with Ring of Honor. Who knew?
No. Shane McMahon is WWE through and through. I don't think TNA Impact Wrestling should even bother talking to him. Unless WWE purchases TNA, there are about a million and one problems that could arise with stock holders as well. It is the same deal with Shane really running WCW - not going to happen; only under story lines was that possible. Just not worth the time even bothering. As for TNA, they just need to get their own issues figured out. Every time I read the mention of them going to the 'next level,' I just laugh. I'd say they should worry about paying employees on time first. I'd say they should worry about their 1.0 ratings first. I'd say they should worry about papering a crowd every two weeks first. I'd say they should worry about scheduling live events past 2013 first. I'd say they should worry about those high dollars contracts expiring first. I'd say they should worry about remembering they have a pay-per-view coming up and getting more than 10,000 PPV buys first. The last thing they should worry about is trying to hire Shane McMahon.
Michael has a question about Mark Henry and an incident from 2006.
Just a quick question about this YouTube clip of Mark Henry ripping the chain off the cage door. I've heard before that the door was meant to be gimmicked, but it wasn't. So Mark Henry had to really break the chain! Firstly, is that true? And what was the reaction to Mark being such a pro to do that?
Well, the Youtube clip is below for all to see.
Mark Henry actually answered this four months ago during a July 2013 interview with Peter Rosenberg. When the incident came up, he said the following: "A lot of people say look at stupid Mark Henry. You know? Mark Henry F's up or whatever, and it wasn't a mistake. The chain that we use for the business just didn't go as easy at it should have...realizing that it wasn't me but who put the cage together that forgot to help it out a little bit."
There you go. He went more in depth HERE around the 47 minute point. Mark Henry is legitimately a strong dude and has won multiple competitions and set many records. Whether the cage door was gimmicked or not is just about irrelevant. He was going to find a way to get inside that cage come heck or high water. Why? Because that's what he does!
I Ask YOU!
This week, Matthew has a question for all the old school fans out there:
Why was it decided to have Jerry Lawler beat Kerry Von Erich for the unified belt back when AWA and WCCW were trying to fend off WWE?
There you go! Feel free to inform Matthew, myself, and everybody else in the comment section...
Please, I Ask YOU - why did this happen?
My great readers came through! Props to everyone. Just because I love you all, there will be TWO #Ask411 questions answered this week. Keep them coming.
dursin (@dursin) #Ask411 Are you super-religious? Not that I care, but what's with Heck on a Deck & issues with comments having "cuss words?"
Nope! I am not (super) religious at all. There is no hidden meaning or deep thought process behind myself not cursing. If you want to curse 50 times a day and act cool, go ahead. If you enjoy that kind of language, more power to you. I can get a point across or voice an opinion without using those four letter words. There are billions of web pages online with swear words. In my columns though, you won't read that nonsense.
Edit: Or just listen to Bob Backlund ramble on during Raw. He knows the proper way to speak. Long live Heck on a Deck!
Jayzus Christ (@TheMichaelJay) #Ask411 When it's all said and done, will the Cena era rank higher than the Austin era or the Hogan era?
Well, what are we judging?
Pop culture? No way. The Hulkamania time frame and Attitude Era will likely never be touched. They certainly were not when John Cena was on top (assuming he has another few years left as a full-time main event star). Match quality? I think this era has had better matches than any other in wrestling history. Yes, that is with John Cena wrestling folks. Live event attendance and television ratings? Again, Hogan and Austin have that wrapped up. Pay-per-view buy rates? Well, the past few WrestleMania events have been record breaking. Outside of that though, the other shows do not draw well. In comparison to Austin and Hogan though, that is not entirely fair. One era had so few PPV shows - thus making them more special. The other had more but at lower prices. Comparing apples to oranges...
In the end, I will say the answer is no. The "Cena Era" has been profitable, done well, produced many excellent matches, created amazing story lines, introduced new character, kept business running smoothly, and will be remembered more fondly as time goes by. A 2010 ESPN report listed John Cena as being worth over $100 million to WWE. That is amazing! However, putting that against the Hogan Era or even the Austin Era is just asking for trouble. Using opinions and being subjective is one thing. Measuring success and pop culture buzz is another.
My Darn Opinion
Did you buy WWE Battleground on pay-per-view?
That is really my only question. If you did so and felt ripped off by the main event finish, by all means - ask for a refund. Voice your complaint, show WWE your proof of purchase, and enjoy the $50 in return. That is your right as a paying customer. The customer is always right. I have no problems with those fans upset with the Battleground ending.
Now, if you illegally streamed the show online, stole it, never paid a dime, and are mad? Too bad. Run off to the forums and complain all day long. It won't change a thing, not a single thing. You have to pay to play! That'd be like me stealing a car from a dealership and then calling them the next day to complain the transmission isn't working properly. After they ask for proof of purchase, title of the car, paperwork, etc., I can only hang up and look in the mirror.
I stole something and am now angry over the product I illegally obtained?
Sorry! Does not quite work out.
Ultimately, this entire column was written and done with by Friday (like it is most weeks). However, on Sunday night, I came back to add in this little section. I felt it was necessary. Again though, the paying customers have every right to contact WWE or their cable providers. The illegal steamers? No leg to stand on.
One more time: Did you BUY WWE Battleground?
Now, let's get some "ME!" plugs out there for all of you...