Ask 411 Wrestling 01.08.14: Hypocritical Fans, Super Fans, Frankenhooker Fans, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 01.08.2014
Why were there judges for Sting vs. Ric Flair at Clash of the Champions? Why did the Freebirds and Von Erichs hate each other? Did George Steele once break a guy's shoulder? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
Hello and welcome to this Express Edition of Ask 411 Wrestling! I am your host, Mathew Sforcina, and I'm seriously against the clock here. I'm back at work, and a bunch of stuff all happened last weekend when I intended to do this, so instead I'm slamming this all together across Monday and Tuesday nights with far less time than I like to spend. I ain't doing another TOW, don't worry, but whatever. I know some guys always hate when I say stuff like this, but I like to be honest with you, my dear readers.
Again, nothing really major to touch on, apart from the announcer home town bit (I remember the Hassan logic, didn't know about the original intent, so thanks for the pick up!). Not sure if that's good or bad…
The Trivia Crown
Who am I? I'm currently employed by WWE in some form or another. Every ring name I've ever had has at least one part the same all the way through. I've been Royalty (Twice!) and working class. Last time I won on Raw was 2009, if you don't count dark matches. I've been tag champ 4 times with 3 different men, none of them having an actual tag team name. I once stood against a company I would later become a part of. And both of my female managers are 2 time Women's and/or Diva's champions. A man who has a famous New Year's Resolution, and who (according to newLEGACYinc) is a proud black man, I am who?
Ron_Mexico_17 gives us the answer.
Every ring name I've ever had has at least one part the same all the way through.
Steven Regal, Roy Regal, William Regal, etc.
I've been Royalty (Twice!) and working class.
Lord, King of the Ring 2008, and Real Man's Man
Last time I won on Raw was 2009, if you don't count dark matches.
He won a six-man tag team match with Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes against JTG, Shad, and CM Punk.
I've been tag champ 4 times with 3 different men, none of them having an actual tag team name.
With Lance Storm, Eugene, and Tajiri.
I once stood against a company I would later become a part of.
And both of my female managers are 2 time Women's and/or Diva's champions.
Layla and Molly Holly
You are William Regal!
Although the standing against the company was a reference to ECW…
Oh, and yes, while Lord isn't royalty, he claimed lineage to William the Conqueror. So close enough.
Maravilloso is back, back again.
I am a pro wrestler. To win my first singles title reign, I had to win it from my wrestling teacher. One of the most controversial angles I was involved was when I brutally hurt another wrestler as a way to avenge a very tragic situation, as many people still don't know whether it was a work or a shoot. I have something in common with Vader and The Rock, have a connection with Michael Jackson and my signature wrestling move can be used for food and if you translated in English, it can sound like a certain body part. PS, I share the same name and nickname with a well known defensive player . WHO AM I?
Getting Down To Business
Ron gets first crack, since without him I wouldn't be here. If you think that's unfair, just pop back in time and see to it that me being here is due to you and your questions will be fastracked as well!
I knew your retirement wouldn't last! That's not a bad thing, by the way (there should probably be a Chandler in there somewhere...)
You mocked the video I found a couple weeks ago (Peter Maivia turns on Bob Backlund), but I wrote to you many moons ago to see if you could find that video. Having taken care of that bit of business, I ask for more help.
I remember something from around 1981, but I'm not sure if I really remember it, or it's one of those "it could have happened, so it must have happened" memories. At the beginning of the show, Vince McMahon and his co-host (I think it was Pat Patterson, but again, who knows) come on camera and advise squeamish viewers to not watch the next match. They show George "The Animal" Steele vs. Some Guy. At the end of the match, Steele picks up Guy in the flying hammerlock, and Guy gives up quickly. When Steele drops him, you can see Guy's shoulder is dislocated, to the point where the top of the humerus is visible through his skin. Steele then stomps on the guy's shoulder until they can get him on a stretcher.
My question is, am I imagining this, or did it really happen?
Sickened beyond all belief by this memory,
I assumed it was something like that, I was just too lazy to search my old emails and find the last one from you. My bad.
Anyway, this time my Google-Fu is much, MUCH stronger, as I found the video, or at least close enough to be what you remembered. Here is George ‘The Animal' Steele vs. Brian Madden.
Tony Garea is the other commentator. And for the record, Madden had the ability to dislocate his arm at will, some people do have joints that can pop out if they want it to. George didn't break a shoulder or anything, was just a very effective angle.
Elvis asks about WWE Raw a couple weeks ago.
Hi Mathew, welcome back! I was watching the RAW Christmas special that aired last night and at least a few times Michael Cole and JBL commented on things as they were happening on social media. For example, they mentioned how superstars were touting all day, and how one of the matches was set up on the WWE App earlier that day, but they also said how #RAWCHRISTMAS was trending and Dolph Ziggler and Batista were tweeting and so on. If I didn't know the show was pre-taped about a week ago, I would have thought it was live. So how does WWE handle integrating social media into their pre-taped RAW shows? Do they just assume things like #RAWCHRISTMAS and the announcement of Batista's return will be trending, and do they tell the superstars when and what tweet and tout so it matches up with the commentary, or what?
The show was pre-recorded, the commentary was live. JBL and Cole were in a studio in Stamford, and while the bits to camera were pre-recorded, they did commentary live. (JBL confirmed this on Twitter). Thus they threw in more topical comments than usual, so that you might think that the show had to be live since the commentary was live. They try to cause some confusion on that front, so that you don't think to go online and spoil yourself and decide not to watch any more. Plus it let them talk about the Batista return which certainly wasn't the original plan, I don't think.
Nightwolf wants the low down on one of THE wrestling feuds…
Professional wrestling has had some amazing rivalries over the years. Hogan/Andre, Bret Hart/HBK, Bret Hart/ Stone Cold, Stone Cold/Vince Mcmahon, LOD/Horsemen, etc. I was wondering about one particular feud. What was the story behind the feud between the Von Erichs and the Fabulous Freebirds?
Like the truly great feuds, it's a simple idea at heart.
Christmas night, 1982. World Class Championship Wrestling, Reunion Arena, Dallas Texas. On that night, the NWA World Champion, Ric Flair, faced a hell of a challenge. Kerry Von Erich, the hometown hero, the oldest of the Von Erich boys, had a shot at the title. And, worse still for Ric, it would be inside a steel cage to ensure no outside interference. And, just to make sure Flair couldn't cheat his way to a victory, there would be a second enforcer ref inside the cage, along with the assigned ref, David Manning. The fans were allowed to choose who that ref would be. Ever since October that year, the Freebirds had been a popular trio, and so their leader, Michael Hayes, was the obvious choice to be that ref, he'd ensure Ric got what was coming to him.
Earlier in the night, Hayes teamed with Terry Gordy, a fellow Freebird, and David Von Erich to compete for the Six Man Tag Titles, as the third Freebird, Buddy Rodgers, had travel issues. They won the tag belts, although David graciously relinquished his belt to Rodgers right after winning it. The Von Erichs and the Freebirds were tight, and Hayes was promising a ‘surprise present' for the Von Erichs that night. The arena had sold out to see the hometown boy make good, and everyone knew that the Freebirds would make sure the Von Erichs for the NWA World Title that night.
Turns out that the gift was that Hayes brought Terry Gordy to the ring with him, which seemed to make Flair's odds go from bad to worse. Kerry Von Erich, in a cage, with two refs and Gordy on the outside guarding the door? Flair was screwed. But, he was champ, so he threw down. The match was physical and violent, and bloody. And Hayes did his job, as he would get involved and separate thew wrestlers physically, showing no favouritism, he treated both men fairly. Thus it seemed like a matter of time till Kerry won the belt.
But then David Manning got knocked out. And it all went to hell.
Hayes and Flair got into an argument, and Hayes proceeded to deck Flair. He then yelled at Kerry to cover Flair. Kerry, being a forthright and honest young man and all that is good and wholesome, refused to do so, not wanting to win the richest prize in the game in such a fashion. Hayes tried to force the issue, throwing Kerry onto Flair and starting a count, but Kerry rolled off, and again refused to win like that.
Kerry then headed for the door, and then it happened. Gordy slammed the door into Kerry's head. Manning was up at this point, and he banished the Freebirds from the ring, but the damage was done, and soon he had to call for the bell, as Kerry, who was barely able to stand before the door shot, was losing far too much blood. Flair kept the belt, the hometown boy did not make good. And it was all due to the Freebirds.
And that was it. One angle, one one hour TV show, was enough for a feud that lasted on and off for over a decade, although the really hot period was from 82 through to September 84, that was where any combination of Von Erich V Freebird would sell out an arena.
Funny how the business has changed. One single slamming of a steel cage door led to years of matches. Today, you need a dozen or so people doing two dozen things to have a feud… Shame really.
(I really wanted to include a video here, but couldn't find a good one. Darn my Google Fu failing me…)
Self Promotion 6: Column Under Siege!
And here's some more Flair vs Hogan, because it's awesome and I haven't been including him at all. My bad.
And this is topical!
Fantazmo Crackalackin Hippopotamus Slamjam, after I recover from that name, asks about Sable on Nitro.
Shortly after Sable left WWE in 1999, I remember her showing up on Monday Nitro in the crowd. Did WWE not have a non-compete at that point, or did she technically not violate anything because she was just in the crowd and did not actually participate in the show?
June 14th, 1999, she was indeed front row at Nitro. For about 15 minutes, as after she got a nice long close up she seemed to vanish during the following break.
Any non-compete clause she may or may not have had (this was during a weird time when they were still working out how iron clad contracts could be, it seems), the lawsuit kinda overrid that. She turned up to slap WWF in the face/get some publicity and so forth, I believe and if WWF had complained she could have just said "I was there to see some friends" (her story at the time).
I've read she had one that was valid, but again, she was suing WWF at the time, that was the least of her concerns. But also why WCW wouldn't have touched her, if she was there looking for work.
Craig wants to talk about Bobby Heenan. That I can do.
Hi Mathew long time reader first time questioner
1. In the pre-Raw Primetime Wrestling Days there were a few weeks where Bobby Heenan accompanied his wrestlers ringside while wearing a bulky headset and conversing with someone. Gorilla (and whoever was calling the matches with him) speculated about it but never got answers. In the studio Bobby refused to provide any information. And then just like that it was done and never mentioned again. Was this supposed to lead to something?
Presumably yes, it was meant to lead to something. Most things in wrestling are meant to lead to something, with the possible exception of Bad News Barrett.
That said, I could only find two matches where he was doing the headset gimmick, both recorded on a single night, and it didn't go anywhere at all. I suspect it might have been leading to some sort of new wrestler or something, or possibly leading to an angle where him being on a headset would be helpful (like a blindfold match, where he could talk to his guy via a secret wire or something) but it never eventuated. But feel free to speculate, dear readers…
2. Who were the Rosatti Sisters anyway?
Actually they were just a couple of really big wrestling fans (in every sense of the word) who Vince liked, so he used them from time to time. Nothing more than that.
3. Lots of matches on Primetime had commentary referring to events earlier that night in whichever venue the match was held without ever showing footage or following up on Superstars. One time (between WrestleMania IV and VII, sorry can't do better) Bobby Heenan joined commentary at ringside livid about something Mr. Fuji did. It seemed there had been a confrontation between their wrestlers and Heenan was threatening to beat the "eggroll" with his own cane. Sound familiar?
July 1st 1991, WWF had a show at MSG, shown on the MSG network. During the show, Haku and the Barbarian (Heenan clients) teamed up against Mr. Fuji and Kato, as the other half of the Orient Express, Pat Tanaka, was away due to his father passing. During the MSG show, Barbarian blamed Fuji for his last lost in MSG.
Then, during the match, Fuji did the salt throwing gimmick and threw some salt at Heenan, who was doing commentary. After Haku pinned Kato, Heenan wanted Fuji in the ring. Fuji responded with salt to everyone's eyes, and so Heenan then went backstage to find him, leaving Monsoon to call the main event with Lord Alfred Hayes.
Although the show was shown on the MSG network, matches were also cut up and used on Prime Time, so that is where the Heenan thing would be shown. As for why, it was just a little angle to explain Fuji being face for one night, a storyline that ran through the show to explain an absence and maybe make something interesting out of it. But it was just a one night thing.
4. When Steve Lombardi debuted the Brooklyn Brawler gimmick by KOing Gorilla Monsoon with a stool, we saw that the big buy was wearing white socks with black shoes. Would that pass muster with today's WWE dress code?
Sure. The clothing has to be neat, presentable and of a certain level of decorum. Nothing in the dress code says it has to be stylish. You want to wear a green and pink pinstripe suit? More power to you!
Dapper Dan Man wishes to talk about a certain super fan.
Just a quick question: any idea what happened to this guy?
Apparently, his name is Vladimir, but I used to just know him as That Guy Who Was At Every Major PPV in the 90's. And he always had amazing seats. Was he just a super-fan? Was he rich? Was he connected. I mean, according to that video, he was on Piper's Pit! Anyway, haven't seen him in awhile, so I was just wondering.
Ah, Vladimir. The first big Superfan who most people remember, since he came around during the rise of TV and since he's local to New York, he popped up again and again. His last major appearance was ECW One Night Stand 2005, although apparently he's attended every Wrestlemania apart from 9. Just hasn't appeared on screen.
Anyway, no-one really knows for sure, he's been in WWF magazine and a few people have tried to interview him, but from what I've gathered he does have some sort of inside source, although he's cagey about it, and he doesn't attend nearly as much as he used to (time and money), although he's also been to ROH, WCW, TNA and even $5 Wrestling, apparently. You don't actually need a super amount of money to be a superfan, in that WWE Sign Guy is just a regular guy who spends most of his disposable income on wrestling.
You ditch the video games and eating out and just bought wrestling show tickets, you too could be a superfan.
But yeah, if you see him at WM or any wrestling show in the greater New York area, tell him to drop me a line. I'd love to interview him. Hell, most anyone would…
From obscure to obscure, KS asks about a guy I've never heard of.
Hey there. Here's a question for you.
Back in 1993 WCW there was a tag team called Thunder & Lightning. I know Lightning was played by Jeff Farmer who went on to become Cobra and nWo Sting. Who was Thunder? Whatever became of him?
*loads up cagematch*
Thunder was one Clark Hainess, from Atlanta. After they left WCW, the team had a VERY brief stint in GWF before splitting.
The next time he turns up is in 2000, where he had what I assume was a tryout on NWA:OVW TV, a dark match where he lost to Crowbar. But he apparently stayed wrestling, as he was ranked 308 in the 1999 PWI 500.
Beyond that… Clark? You out there?
rapscallion13 continues the run of questions I can't rightly answer.
The first clash of the champions saw the famous Sting vs. Ric Flair time limit draw. There were 5 judges at ringside who were supposed to score the match and choose a winner in the event of a draw. When the decisions were read, one said Flair won, one said Sting won, and the third said it was a draw. The ring announcer then said it was a draw. Why didn't they ever read the other judge's decisions? If both said Sting or Flair, we would have a winner by a vote of 3-1-1. Why allow one of the votes to be a draw if the judges were there to pick a winner in the event of a draw? I understand the match was booked to be a draw, but if that is the case, why bother with the whole charade of having judges? It just bothers me that they went to the trouble of presenting it as a match that will not be a draw only to have it be a draw. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.
Yeah, they had five judges, Gary Juster, Sandy Scott, Jason Hervey, Patty Mullen, and Ken Osmond.
No, it's not that important to know who they were. Although Patty Mullen, hey there, call me.
Since she's clearly a big wrestling fan and thus is reading this.
Anyway, the two TV ‘stars', Hervey and Osmond, their votes were not read out. I can only assume that they were running low on time. The match was originally booked to go to an hour, but they had already shortened it to 45 minutes, so I can totally see a director giving a wind up signal to the announcers and him skipping two votes. They would certainly have been one for Flair one for Sting, so the end result wouldn't have changed.
As for why have the judges and still make it a draw, that one still bugs me too. A time limit draw gives you the same result without the bait and switch of saying ‘There must be a winner!' and then having to say there is no winner. Plus, with all due respect to the people involved (seriously Patty, call me. I have a killer script idea for ‘Frankenhooker 2: Red Light Special' I wanna pitch), just making it a time limit draw doesn't make you look so bush league with that dismal judging panel.
That said, I guess the logic is that they wanted Sting to lose on a super-technicality. Flair running out the clock is bad enough, but Sting had a back up, and that failed thanks to one judge's decision!
Well, two since someone had to vote for Flair.
Three if they did it properly.
But yeah, it was a silly move there overall.
*sits by phone, waiting for call*
One Man's (Important) Opinion
Brendon asks a hell of a question.
With all the rumors of superstars returning for wrestlemania, I've been hoping that they would do an old school vs new school mania. Something like:
I guess ryback/Goldberg
This probably won't happen. But, something that would be possible and very cool would be a battle royal, where a wrestler from each wrestlemania is represented. The weeks leading up to the event, they could do a video package on that mania and show highlights from that persons match. So, it would obviously be a 30-man battle royal. WM30 could be represented by someone like Reigns or Big E representing the future.
So, here's the question. Who would you pick from each Mania that is physically able to compete and would have a realistic shot of appearing in a battle royal? This would be a great way to showcase Hogan without giving him a singles match. I really want them to do this!!
Oooh boy. That's a big ask for some WMs. And honestly even using the Iron Sheik logic I'm not sure about this as a concept. Someone over on Scott Keith's blog suggested Hogan second Rey/Big Show in a tag title shot against the Real Americans which I think is a much better idea. Still, let's give it a shot…
Physically capable is a flexible term, and a bunch of these guys are semi-retired at best, but this should be technically possible. My 30 man WM Battle Royal (with picks being because they were a main event, or significant, or because I like them (TULLY!) or just because there wasn't anyone else)…
WM1: Tito Santana
WM2: Ricky Steamboat
WM3: Hulk Hogan
WM4: Greg ‘The Hammer' Valentine
WM5: Tully Blanchard
WM6: ‘Hacksaw' Jim Duggan
WM7: Sgt Slaughter
WM8: Jake Roberts
WM10: Razor Ramon
WM11: Bob Backlund
WM13: Sycho Sid
WM14: Taka Michinoku
WM15: Road Dogg
WM16: The Big Show
WM17: William Regal
WM19: Booker T
WM22: Rob Van Dam
WM23: Tommy Dreamer
WM25: Kofi Kingston
WM26: Dolph Ziggler
WM27: The Miz
WM28: Zack Ryder
WM30: Damien Sandow
That would be a mix of old guys who can just about go, a bunch of current jobbers who won't get matches any other way, and guys like Christian, Big Show and Regal to keep it all together. Certainly I didn't go for the big names, but that actually could happen. What about you, dear readers? Who did I exclude that you should include?
Steel wonders if we're too hard on Mr. McMahon…
Why do people Honestly feel that Mr. Vince McMahon owner of WWE, is the same as his Character Mr. McMahon on TV. and for whatever reason cannot separate the two of them. It seems everytime something happens on TV, Behind the scenes, etc. People automatically call Vince an Asshole and say he is power tripping, he is out of touch with the fans etc. when since he purchased the WWF from his father, has been quite successful and isnt going out of business anytime soon. I still say the IWC and Dirt sheets are also partial to blame as most stories seem to suggest that VKM is the one in the same with the character he protrays on TV
Vince McMahon is, without question, one of the greatest minds in professional wrestling history. And you would be VERY hard pressed to argue that he isn't the greatest.
But that does not mean he's infallible, or that every idea he's had is good. The fact is that he does not have his finger on the pulse of the current fanbase, or at least the fanbase that is reading this column. Kids… Debatable. But Vince McMahon is out of touch with pop culture, there's been constant feedback about that.
And that's fine. Dude is busy, you can't expect him to know everything. But in that position you have to rely on people who are, and trust that a reference they want to make is topical.
But I don't think that many people are getting Vince McMahon the guy and Mr. McMahon the character mixed up. He's a figurehead, yes, whenever something goes wrong people do quickly blame him, but on the other hand he is the boss. The buck stops with him. So for better or worse, right or wrong, he takes the blame whenever something happens we don't like.
Vince is very successful. But that does not mean he's infallible. Far from it. Some criticism is unfair. But for the most part, I think people are honest about him, they just don't tend to talk about all he does right since, you know, that's the good stuff. You only criticize the bad…
Michael finishes us off this week with a hypothetical which may or may not turn out to be true…
If Daniel Bryan were to wrestle the Undertaker at WM 30, and lose in a hard fought match, how do you think his fans would react? Since his fans get worked up when he loses to Orton wouldn't you think they'd be angry that he lost to a guy who wrestles once a year and, if they don't get angry, would that make his fans hypocrites? After all, beating Taker would be bigger to a lot of people than him winning the World title…
Yes, beating Taker would be bigger than winning a world title. But Bryan could win a world title. He ain't beating Taker.
NO-ONE is beating Taker. The streak isn't ending. Period. Outside of heart attack or other misadventure, Taker's winning at WM no matter who he fights. Cena's the big dream match everyone wants to see since CENAWINSLOL is the only force strong enough that it's not a blatant certainty and even then, STREAKLIVESLOL.
Now, some fans would be pissy that Bryan didn't end the Streak, sure. And I suppose that's consistent. But not being upset isn't a matter of hypocrisy, it's about having a brain. Most fans of Daniel Bryan who complain about his booking, outside of ROHbots and the like, tend to be the sort who complain about bad booking overall, with or without Bryan. With Bryan it's more personal, but also a bigger misstep since he's clearly so over, supposedly.
Plus, and this is key, losing to Taker at WM in a hard fought match would be better for him than what happened with Orton, simply because he got so badly treated out of that angle. The whole point of the angle was that Bryan wasn't wanted in the main event by the Authority, that they wanted their guy/s on top. And what do you know, they won, since they have Orton V Cena now. Bryan's nowhere near the world title, they won.
If the bad guys win, which they have to on many an occasion, it needs to be in the build up to a big good guy win. Bryan ain't winning this one, not without a severe and illogical U turn somewhere along the lines.
Basically no, calling WWE to task for the Bryan V Authority angle but not doing the same for a Bryan V Taker angle is not hypocritical, just a matter of viewing things with a little perspective.
And on that note, I bid you all a goodbye for now…
I may have to call in a pitch hitter in a couple weeks for this… We'll see. But I'll see you all next week regardless. Until then, dear readers…