411 Fact or Fiction 12.05.13: Hogan at WrestleMania, Unifying Titles, Holiday Shows, More
Posted by Larry Csonka on 12.05.2013
Does WWE need Hulk Hogan to be at WrestleMania 30? Is WWE making a mistake by unifying the World and WWE Titles? Do we want Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara at WrestleMania? 411's Wyatt Beougher and Mark Radulich debate these topics and more!
Welcome back to the latest edition of 411 Fact or Fiction, Wrestling Edition! Stuff happened, people loved/hated it and let everyone else know. I pick through the interesting/not so interesting tidbits and then make 411 staff members discuss them for your pleasure. Battling this week: first off, he does a ton of MMA live coverage and is a podcasting guru, he is Mark Radulich! He faces off with the man that runs 411 MMA Fact or Fiction & recaps Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., he is Mr. Wyatt Beougher! Lets get to work…
Questions were sent out Monday.
Participants were told to expect wrestling-related questions.
1. While some feel it is rushed, you are in support of WWE unifying the WWE and World Titles.
Mark Radulich:FACT And while we're at it, unify the IC and US title too! Didn't Mick Foley come out a few years ago and complain that there were too many titles and thus went about the business of making unification matches? The former WCW world title has been relegated to what the IC title used to be, the not-yet-ready-for-WWE-Title. It has been this way at least since Batista was the focal point of Smackdown. When the WWE model was two semi-separate brands with 2 more or equal champs then it made sense to have two belts. The day Raw became "the super show" was the day they should have been building toward single titles again. Better late than never I suppose. Hopefully after the titles have been unified we'll start seeing some degree of care put into the booking of the IC title instead of treating it like an afterthought.
Wyatt Beougher:FACT Sure, why not? John Cena conquers all and the brand separation was largely ignored (and later retconned) shortly after it was conceived, so what's the point in having separate titles anymore? Sure, it feels like the 'E has hit the panic button based on some pretty awful recent buy rates (which are obviously Daniel Bryan's fault, naturally), but still, there's really no reason NOT to unify the titles at this point, so if they're not going to use the opportunity to elevate someone like Bryan (like they did with Jericho the last time unification happened), at least we hopefully won't see Triple H kill the new champion's momentum by winning the title...ah hell, who am I kidding? Triple H will win the new title by Wrestlemania, where he'll end the Undertaker's streak and basically piss on everything that I love about wrestling. Oh, yeah, and then, after he loses it, he'll decide he wants another title and create yet another one, leading to this whole process happening again in another ten years or so. HOORAY!
Score: 1 for 1
2. Holiday themed episodes of wrestling shows like last week's Impact and Smackdown are a fun change of pace from the regular weekly shows.
Mark Radulich:FACT I still have fond memories of silly things like Steve Austin giving Santa the Stunner. With 52 weeks of live TV the occasional throwaway episode is not a bad thing at all. It gives the performers a chance to relax and it's a nice change of pace for the audience.
Wyatt Beougher:FACT First off, let's get one thing out of the way - Halloween-themed episodes, complete with costumes, far outweigh any other holiday-themed episodes. Oh, and Titus O'Neil "vomiting" on people isn't something that I'm thankful for. With that said, wrestling, especially the WWE and TNA, tends to get caught in minor ruts (see: Smackdown either redoing matches from the RAW that just happened or previewing matches that'll take place on the following RAW, the fact that Aces and 8's is still limping along) so anything that breaks up the general monotony is okay by me. Sure, they tend to do the same gags year after year, but at least we've had a year without them, as opposed to seven days or less. So yeah, I dig it.
Score: 2 for 2
3. It is overkill having two handicap matches (CM Punk vs. The Shield & Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family) on the TLC PPV.
Mark Radulich:FACT Frankly I think it's overkill to have even on handicap match on a PPV. Has the WWE booking staff completely forgotten the concept of a PPV? If you are going to use handicap matches as your go-to gimmick for hurting the faces then do it on your free TV show so that your audience will pay to see the heels get their comeuppance on PPV. Why would I pay to see two guys I'm rooting for take a gang beating like it's an episode of Oz? Now some of you might be saying, "Ah but you see, the idea is that you should pay to see the faces overcome the odds and win a 3-1 match!" I'm not buying it. Once is too much, twice is obscene.
Wyatt Beougher:FICTION First off, I'm biased because I like all 8 guys involved in these two specific matches; however, even with that out of the way, I think that either Bryan/Wyatts or Punk/Shield doesn't end up actually happening, based on the Bray/Bryan interaction on RAW. Either Bryan willingly joins up with the Wyatt family before their match (which would be a shame because that's the match I'm most looking forward to at TLC), or Bryan gets beaten by the Wyatt family, causing him to realize that Bray is right, and that if he works with the family, he can overthrow the Authority. If the latter is the case, then I think Bryan and the Wyatts interfere and save CM Punk from the Shield, giving the WWE their first neutral stable in possibly forever. However, even if I'm way off the mark, and both matches happen, I don't think it's too many. It's not like they're having an entire PPV inside a cage or anything...
Score: 2 for 3
4. Following his impressive performance at the Survivor Series, the next stage of the Roman Reign push will be to get the Kevin Nash/Kane push in the Royal Rumble.
Mark Radulich:FACT I suppose so. After almost 20 years of "Diesel" pushes at the Royal Rumble it kind of loses it's luster and importance for me. We've seen the WWE push so many guys to the moon, starting with a spot where they clean house in the Rumble only to depush them without any rhyme or reason. My problem with this whole thing is that it's not so much a push as it is a "flavor of the month" where he'll shine at the Rumble and then be feuding with Wade Barrett on Smackdown by summer. Meh.
Wyatt Beougher:FACT This is probably a fact, as the WWE is pretty intent on making Reigns their next big, strong, unstoppable start; however, I'd much prefer if he and Big E come in relatively close to one another when there's already a large crowd of wrestlers in the ring, eliminate everyone else in the ring, and then do the whole "unstoppable force vs. immovable object" spot, jointly eliminating the next three or four guys to enter the Rumble while trying unsuccessfully to eliminate one another. I doubt the utterly awful commentary team would sell it with the proper gravitas, but it's still something that I'd love to see, it'd make both guys bigger stars than they already are, and if they decide to go Rollins vs. Ambrose when the Shield breaks up, it gives Reigns something logical to do.
Score: 3 for 4
5. John Cena is correct when he says WWE needs Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 30.
Wyatt Beougher:FICTION Should Hulk Hogan be at WrestleMania 30? Absolutely. But does the WWE need him there? Not at all. WM30 is going to be the biggest sports entertainment spectacle to date, with or without Hogan's involvement, and honestly, beyond acknowledging his presence there, what can he really bring to the show? Hogan's post-wrestling career as terrible reality star, even worse general manager of TNA, and butt of thousands of jokes certainly dulls the warm feelings of nostalgia he should engender, and the WWE has a new Hogan in Cena (I don't mean that as a knock, even as much as I dislike the repetitive nature of Cena's matches and promos) - he's the face of the company, is consistently booked as the best and strongest wrestler in the company (with or without the championship), and he's the idol of millions and millions of children worldwide. Hogan's the past, and it's certainly not a bad idea to recognize the man who basically made Wrestlemania, but Cena's the present (and likely the future), so the focus should be on him (and other full-time WWE stars).
Mark Radulich:FACT WrestleMania 30 is a big deal and having Hulk Hogan will add gravitas to the event. He doesn't have to wrestle or anything like that but being there and just lending his name to the event will make it nice for the adults who have stuck with this product forever and for the kids who still like to cheer him. He was there in the main event for the first Wrestlemania and continued to headline these PPV's for almost 10 years. He deserves it and I don't think his presence will be harmful at all.
Score: 3 for 5
6. You have no desire to buy the TNA One Night only PPVs, due to the fact that they are taped so far in advance and that they have no continuity with the current product.
Wyatt Beougher:FICTION I have no desire to buy the upcoming TNA One Night Only PPV, but not because of the lack of continuity - from what I've read about the show, it just doesn't appeal to me, and I hate to say that because the World Cup was one of the things that really turned me on to TNA back in the mid-2000's. Like the Knockouts One Night Only PPV, if TNA actually put the effort in to make these things feel important instead of just an afterthought. I realize that the Bound for Glory series has kinda stolen the thunder of the World Cup, but why not make four or five teams of guys (and ladies, as applicable) who don't regularly work for TNA, and have the winners of the World Cup get a six-month contract with the company? Make the Knockouts PPV for a guaranteed Knockouts Title shot (and don't end it with a stupid gauntlet match for a meaningless title). Just simple things that TNA could do to get me, personally, to buy their One Night Only PPVs.
Mark Radulich:FACT This is kind of an unfair question to ask me, I don't buy any of the TNA PPV's regardless of their relation to current events. However, let's pretend this was 2005 – 2008 and I was still actively following TNA instead of just catching the last 10 minutes before Bellator starts, I still wouldn't bother with a PPV that was taped so long ago it no longer reflects reality. This isn't a knock on TNA, I tend not to watch past WWE, UFC or boxing events either. I used to watch old UFC Unleashed episodes when I first got into MMA but I don't even do that anymore. I'm certainly not going to spend money on an out of date wrestling show.
Score: 3 for 6
7. While it may set a record for the most people wearing Lucha masks in one place, you have little interest in the rumored Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara match at WrestleMania 30.
Note: The statements were sent out prior to the confirmation that Hunico was playing Sin Cara on Raw, and may be doing so going forward.
Wyatt Beougher:FACT At this point, Rey Mysterio has absolutely no appeal to me - he misses more time due to injuries and wellness suspensions than he actually wrestles in any given year, he's not even a shell of his ECW/WCW self, and his moveset at this point in time is completely impact-free so as to prevent any further injuries, making him look like the most ineffective professional wrestler of all time. I get legitimately angry when I see someone like Rowan or Harper have to sell his crappy 619, and it's not even a size thing, because AJ Lee is even smaller than Rey, but at least she does her best to make it look like she's trying to harm her opponent, rather than simply bouncing around and hitting her cues like Rey does. And I'm probably in the minority here, but if Hunico is going to take over the Sin Cara gimmick again, I'm all for it. If they still want to salvage Mistico, have him re-debut with a new mask and a new name at some point between now and Wrestlemania. Hopefully he's finally gotten accustomed to the differences between the WWE's ring and those in his native Mexico and can integrate some of his Mistico moveset without embarrassing and/or injuring himself. If that's the case, give me Sin Cara (Hunico) vs. Mistico (with Rey in his corner) at Wrestlemania, or, better yet, give Sami Zayn a mask and make it a three-way (or four-way, if they must get Rey involved). You still get your mask moment, and we the fans get a much better mask.
Mark Radulich:FACT The WWE has learned nothing from the "Fandango Incident." You can't force a "happening," just ask Andy Kaufman. Booking a near crippled Mysterio who is now a shell of his former self vs. an accident and injury prone Sin Cara just to force the visual of a large live audience wearing lucha masks is about the silliest thing I've ever heard of. I have no interest in watching either of these guys wrestle period, let alone wrestle each other. This is yet another example of the bubble booking and general tone deafness of WWE management.
Score: 4 for 7
8. You are in full support of WWE's latest efforts to highlight tag team wrestling.
Wyatt Beougher:FACT I can honestly say, without any hyperbole, that no matter how many times or in how many different zones I compete in Fact or Fiction, this is the biggest FACT that I will ever give. I love love, LOVE tag team wrestling, and if the WWE is serious this time about pushing tag team wrestling, I'm all in. Of course, we've heard this time and time again, and it seems to get scuttled each and every time, but since the Shield won the titles from Team Hell No, it looks like the powers that be in the WWE are actually going to go through with it. They've brought together some intriguing tag teams since then (Big E/Mark Henry - my personal favorite - The Real Americans, and BRhodes come immediately to mind), they've called up the Wyatt Family, the Usos have been booked as a legitimate threat, and, of course, the Shield are still in the title picture. More than that, though, they've even developed the tag team undercard with comedy teams like Los Matadores, 3MB, and the Prime Time Players so that the tag team champions don't have to beat their only challengers ten times in a row and kill any momentum said challengers had built up. (And yes, I know 3MB and the PTP were around before the Shield won the tag titles, but they'd be on RAW one week and then disappear for a month or more, whereas they're getting consistent appearances and, more importantly, storylines and rivalries, these days). If you're reading this, WWE, please just keep this momentum going. Oh, and get some more tag teams in NXT, please - I think the Ascension, for all their faults, would be a valuable addition to the main roster tag division, as would Big Cass and Enzo Amore, but seriously, what other tag teams do you have in developmental?
Mark Radulich:FACT Sure, I love tag team wrestling. I miss the days of real teams who dressed alike coming down to the ring as a solid unit. I genuinely enjoy pairings like the Prime Time Players and hope to God the WWE somehow finds a way to call Woods and Truth, Truth or Consequences. I think the WWE made a grave mistake in doing away with the tag teams due to the misguided belief that singles were marketable than teams. It is good to see that on this issue at least they are correcting their mistake.
Score: 5 for 8
Wyatt and Mark agree more than disagree, but they seemed to have a good time in doing so. Tune into next week's column for more debating fun, and thanks for reading.
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Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.