411 Fact or Fiction 01.02.14: Undertaker’s WrestleMania Opponent, Jarrett’s TNA Departure, More
Posted by Larry Csonka on 01.02.2014
Do we want to see John Cena face the Undertaker at WrestleMania over Brock Lesnar? Was Jeff Jarrett's TNA departure shocking? Has Goldust’s WWE return been the feel-good story of 2013? 411's Nick Marsico and Nick Bazar 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 he, he is the former author of The Tuesday Communique and still contributes other articles, Mr. Nick Marsico! His opponent is the former author of the Contentious Ten and an all around swell guy, he is Mr. Nick Bazar! Lets get to work…
Questions were sent out Monday.
Participants were told to expect wrestling-related questions, possible statements on quantum physics and hydroponics.
1. The Randy Orton vs. John Cena rematch at the Royal Rumble has you excited for the show.
Nick Marsico:FICTION The Royal Rumble match has me excited for the show. Oddly enough I don't have a prediction nor a preferred outcome for Orton v. Cena I don't really care about it and I'm really more interested in finding out what they do with the title from WrestleMania and beyond. Anything before that just exists as a placeholder. I'm sure the match will be very good and I'll certainly enjoy watching it, but much like the TLC match (which was spectacular) I have no vested interest in either guy or their quest to be the best because they've been around forever and have a thousand title reigns between them.
Nick Bazar:FICTION This slightly turns me off from buying this show. I'm obviously still going to order it, I mean come on, it's the Royal freakin' Rumble, but do we really need to see this match again? They are so clearly- and so desperately- trying to turn Orton/Cena into Rock/Austin that it isn't fun anymore. I remember playing the original Smackdown vs. Raw game for the PS2 when it first came out. The opening video had Randy Orton and John Cena staring each other down- and it was awesome. It felt fresh and I distinctly remember thinking, "This is gonna be huge when it actually happens." Fast forward a couple years, and it finally does. I wouldn't necessarily say it was worth the wait, but it was fun and enjoyable. Then they went back to it again. And then again. And now here we are, the first pay-per-view of 2014, and they announce it again. As the kids say, I'm so over it.
Score: 1 for 1
2. AJ Styles appearing on an ROH TV taping sends a bad message for a potential TNA return.
Nick Marsico:FICTION From everything I've seen, a TNA return for AJ is all but set in stone. His ROH TV appearance actually could foster some good potential toward something I asked to see in my most recent column, that being a renewed working relationship between Ring of Honor and TNA. I've fallen off the TNA bandwagon recently, specifically after the episode not too long ago that featured so much talking that I fell asleep trying to finish it more times than I did trying to watch Signs. But to answer the question fully, no, I do not think AJ showing up on ROH's television program will have any bearing one way or the other on his potential return to TNA. He's not under contract and Dixie isn't vindictive or petty.
Nick Bazar:FICTION Well, I hope that's the message they intend to send. So far, this is playing out exactly how the WWE's version of The Summer of Punk should have, and I'm optimistic that this is just another step in a long line of them. AJ Styles has been with TNA far too long to just be written out of storylines so hazardously, and they built his character far too much all throughout 2013 to just be dropped from one day to the next. They will continue to create this illusion that Styles is really gone for good, and I will continue to look forward to his return. Hell, even if Styles comes back 10 years later and he really is gone presently, they could just claim that it was all part of the plan.
Score: 2 for 2
3. You would rather see Undertaker vs. John Cena over Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30.
Nick Marsico:FACT You bet your bippy I would. 'Taker/Lesnar has potential to be this year's Lesnar/Triple H or even the 2014 version of the 2012 'Taker/Triple H (which was horrendous and still gives me headaches when I think about it). I don't know, or care, what Brock may be doing at WrestleMania. A rematch with Punk would have made sense if they hadn't completely shit the bed with the Heyman v. Punk angle but even then, it's just another rematch for Brock, who should be working with as many different people as possible. Brock versus Sheamus would be pretty badass and I would even be open to the idea of Brock/Batista, since Brock was gone a full year before Batista became anything but a lackey goon. The possibility of suck could be high, but I still kinda want to see it on the off chance that it could surprise me. Nobody thought Undertaker and Batista were going to pull out the match they did at WrestleMania 23 and that thing was fantastic. To get back to the point of discussion at hand, I've wanted Cena/Taker for New Orleans since the moment I saw somebody mention it last year around 'Mania time. My only stipulation is that it can't be for the WWE World Title. That way either Undertaker gets it and holds it for 5 minutes and the WrestleMania match is historically pointless or Cena breaks the streak and I have to deal with everybody bitching and moaning about not only WWE having the balls to end Undertaker's all-important run of wins but also having John Cena be the one to do it. I'd have to quit the internet to get away from it.
Nick Bazar:FACT Taker vs. Cena is the match that fans have wanted at WrestleMania for years, and it's a match that NEEDS to happen, no questions asked. And let's face it though, the sooner it happens, the better. We've seen Taker/Lesnar before, and the thought of it happening again at WM30 doesn't really excite me- both guys can easily be paired with more intriguing opponents. For Taker, it's obviously John Cena. For Brock, I'd strangely like to see him in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.
Score: 3 for 3
4. You were shocked when Jeff Jarrett announced his departure from TNA Wrestling.
Nick Marsico:FACT I don't necessarily know that shocked is the right word but I was absolutely surprised to read that headline. As has been said many times since the news broke, everybody was under the impression that Jarrett was about to assume what would hopefully be a noticeable amount of power/control behind the scenes and then BAM, he's suddenly gone. Through the good and the bad (take your hat, your coat, and leave!) Jarrett has been THE guy associated with TNA since the very beginning and it is indeed odd to think of the company without him but he's probably better off at this point without dealing with clueless Dixie. She means well but she has no idea. That had to be eating at Jeff.
Nick Bazar:FICTION I was honestly far more shocked when I started reading that he was in a position of power backstage recently. Let's face it, news of Jeff Jarrett's departure from TNA has been a long time coming. It feels like the end of an era, and I'm not afraid to admit that it's quite sad. I've followed TNA since 2004, and Jarrett has always been a mainstay. To a fault? Probably, but TNA was his baby, so let the man suck that teat. Wait, what? Nevermind. When it comes down to it, Jarrett is an important name in the wrestling history books, and he doesn't get enough credit or recognition for what he has contributed to the industry we love. I, for one, am curious to see what his next move will be.
Score: 3 for 4
5. Constantly bringing back so many part time performers at WrestleMania over the last few years is part of the reason that many of the WWE's current roster members are not considered to be "draws" or "bankable stars".
Nick Bazar:FICTION That's a cop-out. The reason is because the WWE just doesn't seem to care about developing new bankable stars. They had two huge opportunities in 2013: Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan. Unfortunately for us, they completely dropped the ball on both. It's actually mind-boggling how badly a multi-million dollar (billion dollar?) company botched the rises of both. And it had nothing to do with "the part-timers" getting in the way. They weren't even involved in storylines with said part-timers, so it's not like they were blatantly buried by them. I welcome these part-timers during WrestleMania season because they really do bring a sense of importance and relevancy with them. However, I do hope they put a little more effort into pairing some of these part-timers with the "young, up-and-comers."
Nick Marsico:FICTION It's not the part time performers that are the issue. It's the mindset and how they use them. The mindset is that the big stars need to wrestle other big stars in order for the money that they pay them to be worth it. They used Brock as a foil for big star (and mostly retired) Triple H and did three freakin' matches! Granted only one was at 'Mania but the finale was only a few weeks later. He had an amazing match with Punk that definitely had a tailor made story (instead pointless shoe-horned drama) but Punk is already massively over and a big star in his own right. Same goes for Punk's two matches with The Rock. The only time they actually put themselves in a position to use a part-timer to help out less over guys was when they did Rock/Cena v. Miz/Truth and they decided to pass up on making bigger stars out of two guys who were arguably the company's hottest act at the time to instead try (and fail) to get more buys for their fall PPV and add extra drama to their WrestleMania main event. I guess you could go with FACT for this question due to the wording since the stars are indeed part of the reason, but the stars are only there because of the quick-money line of thinking. It will end soon enough because they've effectively run out of new options. It's not going to happen overnight but in due time they'll have no other option than to make new stars out of the guys they have and I think Triple H already knows that.
Score: 4 for 5
6. AJ Styles and Chris Hero working several dates for ROH in 2014 makes you more interested in the promotion.
Nick Bazar:FICTION Eh, I've never really been into ROH much, so this is neither here nor there for me. As I stated earlier, I can appreciate the AJ Styles inclusion if it does in fact turn out to be part of a bigger picture, but other than that, it doesn't impact me at all. I will most likely seek out his match with Roderick Strong, but I don't see myself actively following anything else outside of that. As far as Chris Hero is concerned, I haven't seen enough of his work to comment in much detail, but what I have seen hasn't energized me to the point where I want to start following his storylines or matches.
Nick Marsico:FICTION This was a tough choice. I'm supremely interested in seeing both guys there but ROH has a lot of work to do in order to feel interesting again. They have a number of good characters and some fantastic wrestlers but what those characters do outside the ring is very uninspired and whenever something looks like it has promise it ends up being disappointing. I'm excited that Chris Hero appears to be set up to become a major part of the ROH main event picture but I know better than to get my hopes up. As I said, however, I do still look forward to seeing what 2014 has in store for Ring of Honor.
Score: 5 for 6
7. Goldust's WWE run has been the best feel good story in wrestling for 2013.
Nick Bazar:FACT It's been pretty fantastic. Goldust always seems to be the guy who comes back out of nowhere and surprises the ever-living shit out of audiences with his continued ability to perform at a high level. 2013 was no different. I remember watching this Dustin Rhodes shoot interview from 2005 where he said something along the lines of, "I consider myself one of the best in-ring workers currently in the business." At the time, I thought that was a stretch, but thinking about it now, he really is up there. It just makes me happy thinking how elated both Rhodes brothers must be feeling during this Tag Team Championship run. It also makes me happy to think that Goldust may finally be getting his dream WrestleMania match against The Dashing One. I mean, if not this year, then when?
Nick Marsico:FACT Is there even another legitimate choice? Joseph Park before he became a straight comedy feature could have been an amazing story but either they never had a blowoff in mind or they just lost interest and decided that Park's mannerisms and comedic timing was giggle-worthy enough to scrap whatever they had in mind. Jake Roberts and Scott Hall allowing themselves to be taken in by DDP and taking responsibility for their actions is also a possible choice but it's too soon to call that fight. This is easily the closest either man has come to getting into full recovery mode but the most important part of controlling addiction is making it last. Not enough time has passed. If either (or both) land a good backstage job with WWE in 2014 and keep themselves sober and alive through 2015 then it would be in the running. This past year goes to Goldust as far as I'm concerned. He's in great shape and wrestling better than he ever has throughout his long career. Plus he recovered from being Black Reign. It took a while, sure, but he's finally been able to heal those wounds. Rellik (WHICH IS KILLER SPELLED BACKWARD YOU GUYS) still cries himself to sleep at night. And his family hasn't welcomed him in for Thanksgiving dinner for years.
Score: 6 for 7
8. If what Jim Cornette says is true ROH will never truly improve under the ownership of Sinclair Broadcasting.
Nick Bazar:FACT To be fair though, I'm not basing my "Fact" response solely on Jim Cornette's comments. From the several shoot interviews I've seen featuring Cornette, he strikes me as the kind of guy who passionately HATES anyone or anything that even remotely goes against what he feels is right or good. Going back to the original question, anyone can see that Ring of Honor is a severely mismanaged company. How many times can a legitimate company make the same mistakes over and over again before the wheels just completely fall off? When you consider their nightmarish experiences with iPPV for example, it's downright embarrassing. I'm not saying they are going out of business in the near future, but they certainly aren't moving in the right direction.
Nick Marsico:FACT It's a cautious fact. If what he says is true then it shines a ton of light on the situation they found themselves in both as a moneymaking business and as a creative entity. If Sinclair really is treating ROH like a lot of people were afraid they would, as just another cheap show to syndicate, the quality of the shows will stay on course and stay mediocre instead of working toward recapturing any of that old charm and magic. Cornette was certainly a problem as well, because even though a lot of what he said in that clip shows significant progress in his old school mindset, he is still stuck with things like having a single taping location. Taping TV at normal live events instead of taping a bunch of separate shows in one night that gets presented to the crowd as a sterile, safe television show makes for a more exciting TV product and also doesn't alienate the ROH crowds, of which Cornette clearly doesn't have a full understanding. He talks about not changing the product on them but then wants to go back to the formula that made for a boring TV program on HDNet that alienated the fans around the country. He talks about Danny Davis making money doing it his way, but OVW is a small regional promotion with a few local TV deals. That format works well for a company with no aspirations to grow. They make money, draw good crowds, have good shows and have helped produce a lot of good wrestlers over the years. Ring of Honor would not be able to successfully grow using the OVW format. He still makes a lot of good and rational points but he's also a lot like that 26-year-old office boy in that he thinks he knows everything about what's best for business. He's starting to come into the 21st century but has an unbalanced mix of what worked in the past, what will work in the present and what will allow a modern wrestling promotion to having a prosperous future. But yeah, to answer the question in a succinct manner: if Sinclair continues to treat ROH like a third-rate inbred Cyclops cousin that they keep chained in the basement unless there's company around, ROH is fucked. Oh, and I thought the idea of letting the fans compete to create the new company logo was a good one.
Score: 7 for 8
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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.