Ask 411 Wrestling 10.16.13: Iron Sheik, Shane McMahon, Triple H, John Cena, More!
Posted by Justin Watry on 10.16.2013
Why does everyone seem to hate Triple H? Was The Iron Sheik really asked to break Hulk Hogan's leg? Will John Cena be on the wrestling Mount Rushmore someday? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
The time is drawing near. Each and every October, Wisconsin is excited about two things: Green Bay Packers football and Halloween trick or treating. This year is no different. My costume has been picked out for weeks now and is all set. Very excited. Hope it is not too cold out! Maybe I should check out the forecast for the next couple of weekends?
Moving over to the wrestling scene, not much is going on. WWE is doing their best to sell a pay-per-view on short notice, while TNA Impact Wrestling has done the complete opposite. You'd think with four months to build up your "biggest" show of the year, the card would be finalized and announced well in advance. Welcome to TNA, where pay-per-view buys are not wanted. Ever. However, "Aces and 0.8" television ratings are accepted....
I ASK You Response: The most well thought out comment came to us from Kevin concerning the infamous Lawler-Von Erich match. Long story short, it was politics. Both sides wanted to obviously benefit, and what we got was probably the best option for everyone.
Macho Man: I consider Randy Savage to be a 'big' wrestler compared to guys like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, etc. That is just my point of view. Height, weight, whatever - it is all a part of the show. Just from using my own two eyes, he was much larger.
Your Turn, Smart Guy...
Last week, I asked about the ending to Armageddon 2000. While a few answers were close, one covered all bases. The one and only Lord Regal was correct before anybody else: Austin hit Rock with a Stone Cold Stunner, but Triple H then hit Austin with a neckbreaker (always remember thinking it was a great reference to Austin's neck injury) allowing Angle to steal the pin on Rock). Props to you! This week, let's all remember the great ECW brand from 2006. Kelly Kelly stripping each week? A vampire outside of the arena? A zombie? The Sandman and his terrible theme music remix? Ah, the good ol' days...Anyways, my question is about their "debut" episode in June. It was on a Tuesday, two days after One Night Stand II. Remember, no cheating! Have some pride.
Who won the night's main 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!
Shark: I want to issue a challenge to you Justin. Go one month, 4 columns, without mentioning illegal streaming. Not a paragraph, not a sentence, not a mention, not a single word about that topic. We all get your point, at this point the column can be called Ask 411 Wrestling: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate Illegal Streaming. Your complaints about it are very tired right now. I want to see if you can stop yourself from talking about it now.
I won't promise anything, but that was actually my plan last week. It really was! However, the ending to Battleground compelled me to add in that final section. As usual, the point went over everybody's head - no surprise there. When John Cena comes back and gets the main event slot over others (again), maybe then the point will be made? Maybe.
Edit: A few days ago, after my last column, I received an email from somebody inside the business on this topic. Not some random fan but a fairly well known name actually in the trenches. Here was the exact quote: "If someone stole the PPV, they have no right to complain."
Michael L: The major problem with HBK's run as champ was that he was pretty boring as a babyface. He played the standard generic "I love everyone" type of babyface that was just this side of being Cena in terms of annoying. And in some ways, it's even worse because that was not HBK's natural character, whom always had to have an edge as a singles competitor. He had some great matches no doubt, but it was hard to really get behind him when he was trying so hard to be liked. It really wouldn't be until 97 when HBK really rediscovered his edge, which lead to a full on heel turn in late 97.
Compare that to WCW at the time, which was trying a lot of different things. It wasn't just the NWO, although that was a main feature. It was also bringing in solid midcard talent, including the cruiserweights, who were really tearing it up at the time. Plus, outside of HBK and the UT/Mankind feud, there really wasn't that much else interesting going on at the top of WWE in 96. Yes, you had the rise of Austin, but he was still in the midcard, and you had Pillman, but he would get injured again upon his WWE debut. Things really didn't pick up again until Hart returned to kick off his extended rivalry with Austin.
Also, the one thing I would change about the Rumble is that the winner would be guaranteed the main event slot--meaning his match would go on last. It was ridiculous enough that the Rumble winner would be in the midcard, but recent matches had the match in the first hour--or even first on the card--and in the case of Sheamus, winning the title in 18 seconds.
Very good comment.
The Shawn Michaels and WCW stuff was covered nicely. Kudos sir! As for the Rumble comment, I only disagree under one condition. Dream matches still should get the final slot at WrestleMania. Two recent examples are from 2010 and 2012. Like it or not, HBK/Taker II had to close the show. With Michaels retiring, it was fitting. You could even argue Ric Flair deserved the same in 2008 but probably not due to fear of match quality. Then in 2012, the year long build of Cena/Rock in Miami had to be the final match. There was no other choice. Other than that, you are right. The prestige of being a Royal Rumble winner would be helped...although let's not forget I did predict the Sheamus-Bryan match lasting less than a minute!
Pi: Sorry Justin, but I have to disagree with you on the Cena deal. He did main-event (23, 27, 28 and 29) the four best-selling WrestleManias at inflated prices nonetheless. Sure, Austin drew WAAAAY bigger crowds (selling-out house shows) and certainly sold a TON more merch, but he was a top draw for only 6 years (1997-2002) and he missed a year during that time. Cena's been the top guy for nine years and counting, so by sheer duration I believe he out-grosses him. However, for the whole pop culture exposure, I'd have to agree he ranks VERY low on the totem pole of relevancy. But still, Cena's a cash cow and he's entirely worth of comparison to Austin and Hogan. Now if only WWE would release their merch sales stats...
Fair points. I seem to recall WWE releasing information on their merchandise sales a few years ago on their ShopZone website. It was right there for the public to see. Also, as noted, an ESPN report from 2010 listed Cena's worth to WWE as being well over $100 million. I am not down playing his legacy at all. He is clearly the top star today and has been for most of the past decade. However, Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan are still firmly set to be on the Mount Rushmore of wrestling...with John Cena *likely* there when all is said and done.
=): The 2 titles ruined the Rumble. Back when the winner got the chance for the one and only top prize in the company, he got to main event. (Yes, I know there are a few exceptions).
I don't think being the 'main event' was really much of a problem (as discussed above). It was just placing importance on the big accomplishment. Just by going through the past ten years or so when there were two major titles, it really is amazing to look at the Royal Rumble winners. Brock Lesnar got the main event slot. Batista was pushed heavily and got the main event slot. Rey Mysterio and that story was a mess - no main event slot. The Undertaker did not get the main event slot. John Cena did not get the main event slot (lost as well). Randy Orton did...but lost at WrestleMania. Edge won the Rumble...but lost at WM26 in 2010. Alberto Del Rio lost in the opener. Sheamus won the belt in 18 seconds. Then last year saw John Cena win the Rumble and close WrestleMania 29 by defeating The Rock for the WWE Championship. Somewhere along the way, priorities shifted. Was it the fact that there were two titles or other things? Feel free to comment below.
Burt Price: BAD idea. Royal Rumble's beauty is NOT knowing who is coming out when.
This was about possibly "drawing" numbers in advance.
Handing out ever single number is a terrible idea. Some, sure. Like Burt said, the beauty of the Rumble happening is not knowing who is next to enter. I am okay with doing it on occasion and having a few revealed backstage during the pay-per-view (or throughout January). A perfect example is Eddie Guerrero stealing Ric Flair's number in 2005. We knew Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels would begin the Rumble in 2003. Bill Goldberg won a battle royal to earn the #30 slot in 2004. Just this past year, Dolph Ziggler was able to pick his entry number (#1) due to winning a Beat the Clock challenge That is fine. However, knowing the full order and all of that destroys any kind of excitement or buzz before the match even begins.
Now, to some emails! We kick it off with Michael.
Why do wrestlers, if they're wearing t-shirts or "street clothes," and tempers start to flare, have to remove their shirts before fighting (or almost fighting)? I've, unfortunately, been at various sporting events or bars where over served or overheated (or both) patrons start brawling and, not once, has anyone ever stopped and said "Hold on" and taken off their shirt before they start brawling. What gives?
All for show. It adds to the intensity of the moment with them flexing and trying to tout their muscles first. I am in the same boat as you. I am sure most are. We have all seen fights at a bar or evolve somewhere else out of the blue. Nobody stares the other down, poses, takes off their shirt, or any of that nonsense. It is just fists being thrown, and all heck breaking loose! To go off on a tangent, it is always nice to see a street fight in WWE when the guys go at it in their clothes. Jeans, t-shirt, and the willingness to destroy one another. A perfect example is Edge vs. HBK from early 2005 on Raw.
Raza keeps us rolling with another good question.
I always read that in early 00's Triple H used his powers/personal relations in WWE to get the top spot and championships in the company (I am not an anti-Triple H at all); ask Scott Steiner and other wrestlers. Besides, Triple H, to me, has the maximum numbers of matches at PPVs in the history of professional wrestling as he featured in almost every PPVs in the late 90's and early 2000's (until they segregated PPVs on ‘Raw' and Smack Down basis). I am referring this as I read that many wrestlers complained about him particularly when DX formed and him later becoming a family member of McMahons. Scott Steiner is never happy with his second run in WWE due to him and he never apparently got along with wrestlers like Booker T, Goldberg, Hogan, Bret etc.
Same old story. He has a ton of matches on pay-per-view because of his longevity. Of course, a long-time veteran will have much more on his record than somebody who stuck around for 5-10 years. Other names would include The Undertaker (not in recent years) and Shawn Michaels. Is it due to backstage stroke or because they are still healthy, able, and ready to deliver after a decade of competing? As for his co-workers, go to any job in the world. Go to any movie theater. Go to any factory. Go to any office. Go to any shopping mall. Go into any locker room throughout sports. Take a poll of the employees/athletes about their peers. You will find out real fast that not everybody is 'buddy-buddy' and friends. This is not about WWE, TNA, WCW, ECW, or any other federation. I am not even going to bother with Scott Steiner and his lackluster WWE run. We've done that subject to death. The rest are Hall of Fame performers and have been more than respected.
Edit: Hulk Hogan told the AP about bumping into Triple H recently: "He just welcomed me with open arms. He said if ever I decide I get the itch to come back home, the door's open." Take that for whatever it is worth; just please remember who is speaking here.
Up next: Andrew sent me a nice email that I have no issues posting.
I wanted to clear up an issue from the previous week's Ask 411 column, which you also commented on in the Back-Talking section of this week's column.
The questioner claimed that Jerry Lawler got his announcing gig because Randy Savage no-showed a TV broadcast and instead turned up in WCW. You commented that although the timelines don't exactly match it doesn't mean it didn't happen.
I'm not in the business of publicly correcting columnists on the site which is why I thought I'd email. To preface, I used to write for an Australian-based wrestling magazine and was lucky enough to have some great contacts in the wrestling industry in the United States. I covered the story of Randy Savage's signing with WCW at the time it happened in 1994.
So let me assure you; It DIDN'T happen. Jerry Lawler was an announcer for the WWF from 1992. At the time, Savage was still a full-time wrestler. There was some early discussion in running a Lawler-Savage program, as the two had a long-standing feud in Memphis in the early 1980s before Savage came to the WWF. The closest they came to that was when Savage went to the USWA as part of Vince McMahon's stable in that strange period when Vince first played evil heel and WWF viewers never saw any of it, when the USWA and WWF had a working relationship.
Randy Savage's last PPV match for the WWF was at Wrestlemania 10 in March 1994. From that point on he was largely used as an announcer. By then, Lawler had served as a commentator for the WWF for about 15 months. Savage was told by Vince that he was phasing him out as a main eventer and saw his future in the announce booth. Savage opened negotiations with WCW in September as his contract was up by the end of October. He did this with Vince's knowledge as WCW had guaranteed Savage a high spot in the card, as a partner of Hulk Hogan. Hogan encouraged Savage to make the jump, having won the WCW title in July of 1994. Savage's last live WWF appearance was October 17th 1994 on Raw, as an announcer. They did 3 weeks of tapings and Savage's last TV appearance was the last of those tapings on October 31st. His contract with the WWF was up and Vince knew where he was going. In early December, 1994, Savage debuted on WCW television. There was no surprise, no sudden departure or "no-show" to mark Randy's ending of his WWF career.
Whatever is stopping Savage from being in the Hall Of Fame, his jump to WCW is certainly not the reason.
Bravo! I appreciate it. Feel free to publicly correct me anytime. After doing this for over five years now, nothing bothers me. I've read it all and seen it all. If something is wrong, please let me know through email or in the comment section. No worries! We are all wrestling fans here and in this together. The mystery of Macho Man continues on...
Speaking of, Tim was able to help us out on a previous topic. Thank you sir!
I remember there was some question several weeks ago about double dare. I was able to find the following: Family Double Dare ended its Fox run in July 1988 after 13 episodes. After the first order of episodes were produced, FOX insisted upon producing specials, such as WWF Wrestlers vs. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Since Viacom (Nickelodeon) was in charge of production and wanted to keep it a kid-related show, they refused the idea. When an argument struck between the two stations, Nickelodeon walked out on FOX, ending its production.
HBK's Smile asks a very intriguing question for everybody to chime in for...
Total opinion question - If you could change the outcome of one match, which one would it be and why? For me, it would be Booker T beating HHH at WM XIX, as I felt that could have made him a legit headliner in the WWE for years to come, and deservedly so.
Great subject. I will try to work on your other question for next week.
As for my opinion, I am not a big fan of "what if" discussions. I do not own a time machine, so we are off to a rocky start already. I do not run WWE, nor do I pretend to know better than those who do. I am not an armchair booker/Monday morning quarterback, and certainly have never dove into the laughable "fantasy booking" world. That being said, WrestleMania 2000 just bothers me in just about every single way. Outside of the triangle ladder match, that entire night was a stinkfest. I felt that way then and do over a decade later. Maybe the worst Mania of all-time? Certainly debatable. Funny how both 1999 and 2000 dropped the ball on the grand stage...hmmmm. Regardless, the fatal four way main event build up and ending for the title is probably my choice (The Rock should have won there, not a few weeks later and go on to play hot potato with the belt). If I really thought about every Raw, every Smackdown, every PPV, and every single outcome in the history of the business, I could give out more examples if need be. Just off the top of my head though and my "go to" answer, it is always anything to do with WrestleMania 2000. Yuck!
An anonymous reader wants to discuss Iron Sheik and one of his rambling claims.
Sheik has said that he was offered money by Verne Gagne to break Hulk Hogan's leg. I know you weren't there, but do you think that this actually happened or Sheik's just "spinning a tale?"
I would like to think Verne Gagne wouldn't wish for a broken leg on anybody, especially done on purpose. However, with everything had gone down and what was surely about to go down, I can't rule anything out. As harsh as that sounds, it was a dog-eat-dog world with the territories and Vince McMahon ready to take down every single promoter. Now, was Iron Sheik ever going to actually go through with it or take the suggestion/threat seriously? No. This is just one of those 'wrestling tall tales' that has been repeated enough so that folks start believing it. Dealing with The Hulkster and Sheiky Baby, I believe next to nothing they say. Besides the obvious ramifications, it just did not make much sense...unless you were Gagne. Chalk up another false story. Now let's enjoy something that actually took place...
New section coming next week! Let the speculation begin...
I Ask YOU!
This week, Kevin has a question for all of the old school wrestling fans out there. Here it is:
Do you know of how many Champion vs. Champion matches there have been between NWA Champion vs. AWA Champion vs. WWF Champion, etc?
I certainly don't! Thus, I turn it over to all of my wonderful and very intelligent readers! Please, I Ask YOU - give Kevin, myself, and others the answer.
Use the hashtag #Ask411 to be featured.
Phil Milkfish (@Phil_Milkfish) Was Shane O'Mac winning the European Belt and then retiring it, only to give it to Mideon, the original plan in 1999? Seems strange.
Welcome to the Attitude Era!
If it seems strange, that's because it was. During the Monday night Wars, was there really such a thing as "original plan?" I doubt it. If anybody will even try to convince me there was some master plan behind the European Championship, they are lying. Shane got it, had some fun for awhile and moved on. Thus, it ended up on Mideon. Did any of it make sense? Nope. Was the belt won inside the squared circle? Nope. Some big story to back it up? Nope. Yet, the ever-so-perfect run of 1999 continued on without a care in the world. Truly is amazing how much they could 'get away with' during the Attitude Era...
My Darn Opinion
This is going to be a re-post from early September. Either people forgot or just simply did not get the memo:
From September-December, WWE Raw is going get annihilated in the television ratings. It happens every year and will in 2013 as well. Yet, every year, fans flip out over the low numbers, go wild over the 'booking' team, call for major changes, question long-term future of WWE, blah blah blah. Same old song and dance! Yet, every year, January rolls around, and viewership goes right back up! Just last year, I remember MULTIPLE weeks of Raw to close 2012 with some unreal low ratings. Come January, Raw was topping 5 million viewers - much higher than usual.
In other words, I deliver a fair warning for everybody to just relax.
The ratings are going to tank next Monday night against the NFL. From there, it is going to be an ugly three month stretch of time. Not having John Cena and Sheamus, while experimenting with some of the 'new' guys will only muddy the waters more. Smackdown likely will not be altered too much. Raw, on the other hand, will feel the wrath of football and see it in the ratings. Just remember that January is coming (when NFL Monday Night Football ends). The Road to WrestleMania is inevitably on the schedule Therefore, when the numbers come out every Tuesday afternoon, just keep a level head.
Things will be okay.
Now, let's get some "ME!" plugs out there for all of you...