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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling 02.05.14: Laying Down, Blue Dots, Walking Out, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 02.05.2014

Welcome to yet ANOTHER edition of Ask 411 Wrestling! I know, another one, who would have thunk it?

Oh, everyone? All right then.

I am Mathew Sforcina, and some stuff has happened in the past week. We'll be discussing some of it later on, as well as answering a bunch of other questions, since that's the concept of the column.

Just so we're all clear.

If you have a question for me, email it to ask411wrestling@gmail.com and I'll answer it within the foreseeable future!

What is also foreseeable is that BANNER will forever be awesome.


Check out my Drabble blog, 1/10 of a Picture! My mother… Still doesn't quite understand it, to be honest.

Me On Twitter~!

Feedback Loop

Bryan Doesn't Draw: I put the Chandler there, but I probably should have made it a half one, simply because Bryan is popular, yes, but supposedly, by those who look at the numbers, he's not ‘drawing' in the traditional sense. What I mean by that is that if the Meltzers and the WWE sources are right, then while everyone who turns up to a WWE event is chanting Yes, and while everyone says they want to buy his merch, according to reports, he's not making more people come to house shows, ratings are not going up when he's on the screen, he's basically not making new fans, just really delighting those who are turning up anyway.

Which is not a bad thing, by any means. But the WWE has a fairly black and white view of this, which is a valid position to take. Bryan is not, according to the numbers, the guy to build the company around since he merely makes current fans happy, he's not making new fans.

That's the argument WWE is running with, until said audience that was turning up decided to start hijacking shows for their own agenda which is not something I'm too crash hot on, but I totally understand why. I'd counter that every big name the WWE has produced did not start at 100mph out of the gate, but without looking at the numbers it is hard to argue definitively either way.

AG Awesome's Question: Dude, I'll level with you: That question you sent in? That's the single hardest question I have on the list, pretty much. So yeah, that's gonna wait until I'm in a REALLY good mood and/or I have the day off work. Just so we're clear.

Daydream BOliever: OK, of course from a logistical standpoint you can run Bo Dallas as is on the main roster right now. My issue is that trying to recreate the Rocky/Orton deal, the smiling babyface you're supposed to hate, is a tough one to pull off, and to try it when you have John Cena front and center? If you try and convince kids to boo Bo Dallas for doing what John Cena does and gets cheered for… Mixed messages I never like. I mean, tit for tat is fine, but you shouldn't, in my view, have a guy as a heel for beating his girlfriend and then have a face slap a diva around unprovoked later on, or whatever. I just feel that's a bad idea, but it could work, I'm not perfect, believe me. Speaking of…

My WM booking: See the thing is, I don't want to hotshot Bryan winning the belt, and I don't think it needs to be like that. I think a long build, provided it has a payoff, will help him better in the long run. Plus I didn't want to fantasy book where I just do what I want (Hour 1: Victoria returns and does jumping jacks in the middle of the ring for all of it), but rather a slightly more believable "Here's where we are going, get us there" booking. But I can certainly see the argument against that, and a hybrid WM 8/XX ending where Bryan wins the belt and then Punk returns to save him and they pose/celebrate at the end would be pretty cool…

The Trivia Crown

We were the final four in a Royal Rumble match. Between us we have a total of 13 World titles, 14 tag team titles, and 18 secondary titles, plus 16 Slammy Awards. Only two of us have gone by different names and/or gimmicks in the WWE. Three of us were primarily tag team wrestlers for a while; the fourth wasn't, although he has been a tag team champion. Three of us competed in that year's Wrestlemania, although only one of us left with a championship. One of us holds a Rumble record, and is co-holder of another one. Three of us have entered the Rumble at #1—two of us have done it twice—though none of us were the first man in this particular Rumble. And one of us has been involved in two different controversial Rumble moments. Who are we? (And what year is this?)

James!!!!!! (did I get that number of exclamation points right?) has the answer.

We were the final four in a
Royal Rumble match. Between us we have a total of 13 World titles, 14 tag team
titles, and 18 secondary titles, plus 16 Slammy Awards.

Luger (2), Michaels (4), Hart
(7), Fatu (0) – World Titles

Only two of us have gone by
different names and/or gimmicks in the WWE.

Lex Luger (Narcissist &
Made In The USA) and Fatu (Making a Difference, Headshrinker, Rikishi)

Three of us were primarily
tag team wrestlers for a while; the fourth wasn't, although he has been a tag
team champion.

Hart Foundation, The
Rockers, and The Headshrinkers (Lex Luger won WCW Tag Team Titles with Sting)
Three of us competed in that year's Wrestlemania, although only one of us left
with a championship.

Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna (WWE
Championship), Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (Ladder Match for
Intercontinental Championship) and Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna (WWE Championship),
Bret won his match and title.

One of us holds a Rumble
record, and is co-holder of another one.

Shawn Michaels (First man to
win from #1) (Co-holds the record of most eliminations with 39)

Three of us have entered the
Rumble at #1—two of us have done it twice—though none of us were the first man
in this particular Rumble

Shawn Michaels (95, 03) Bret Hart (88, 91) and Fatu (02)

. And one of us has been
involved in two different controversial Rumble moments

Bret Hart (co-winner in 94,
true winner of 97 if the refs were looking

. Who are we? (And what year
is this?)


I'll give you this week's question.

Who am I? I'm a moderately famous legend of the sport, despite my sole Wrestling Observer Newsletter award being a negative one (PWI has been slightly more generous). I've had tag title reigns with three men in my career, although most people only remember me teaming with one of them. I've had one more male managers than I have had female managers. I've used a piledriver as a finisher but most people know my other finisher better (heck, one guy got a job based on how well he took it!), although the piledriver became useful in a later tag team. I'm currently on a WWE legends contract, and while I don't consider wrestling my main job anymore I do dabble a little in it. A born again Christian, a WWE Hall of Famer, an Evolution Schematic subject, and a guy who once lost a title via a very famous and bloody moment in a cage. Who am I?

Getting Down To Business

Scott has questions on the Network and the Streak.

1) Since the announcement of the WWE Network and it's massive amount of content, I became wodering about what is actually going to be include. For instance, Are the ppv's going to be unedited, or are they going to be like their video/DVD Releases? in other words, Are we going to be able to hear Kid Rock's Legs when Stacy Keilber comes out, or the generic instrumental version? Are we going to see all of the Trish Stratus/Mickie James at WrestleMania 23, or the less provocative version? know that they are going to put disclaimers on footage from the Attitude Era, so that should allow them to air that match unedited.

WWE has said on their website that all their stuff will be ‘uncut and uncensored', but as of yet we don't know how fully true that is. Certainly I expect that Benoit will be in there and left uncut but stuff like editing camera angles to avoid blatant errors and the like, and then stuff like Mickie James grabbing Trish's crotch (if you want to watch that again, click here), we don't know if that will be in it or not.

At a guess, I suspect that they will probably leave stuff like that in. If they start cutting out some questionable content, people will complain. They might still edit out unintended nudity and stuff, but in/famous moments like that will probably be left in.

Music though, yeah that's going to be edited out. If they're not willing to pay for the music to be used on a DVD, there's little chance they'll pay for it on a streaming service, unless they can get it dirt cheap, or they already have the rights to it or whatever. Music is not a dealbreaker, I don't think they think.

2) I think I know the answer to this one, but I don't think it has been asked. Are we going to be able to view the death of Owen Hart? (I know the cameras turned to the audience when it happened) Or what about the rest of the event, are they going to cut out all things Owen about that night? Or because of his widow, Martha, are we going to be able to see any footage of Owen.

WWE have been smart enough to not promise everything. They've given a number of hours of content available, and some reports say they'll be cycling through it, so stuff will leave and come back and stuff, you don't have full access to the entire WWE back catalogue all the time.

So that when they don't play Over the Edge 1999, that's their fallback. They never promised all PPVs, so you can't complain when they, quite reasonably, choose not to show that. Now, they may, but I doubt it. Far too raw a nerve.

EDIT: And then WWE waits till just after I head to work the day after I write this to announce that, in fact, they WILL be showing all PPVs in full (with a couple minor/obscure exceptions at this point in time) including Over The Edge 1999. So ignore what I just said. Moreso than usual.

As for footage, Kevin Kelly wrote in the middle of last year that video does in fact exist of the fall. According to Kelly, the tape sits in the WWE Archive in Stanford with instructions "never to destroy, view or duplicate". Unless a legal challenge is mounted somehow, I suppose…

As for Owen Hart generally, the lawsuit with Martha Hart was settled back in April, and by the time it had, she'd long since dropped the "You can never use Owen again!" aspect of it. He's not likely to make the Hall of Fame any time soon since Martha is still anti-WWE, but WWE has the legal right to use Owen on the network. They'll probably not feature him in the ads, just to be safe, but he'll be there.

3) And about Undertaker and his Wrestlemania streak, at what point did Vince, or anybody else, realize it was a streak? You know the first few wins were coincidental, but when did they say that Undertaker is never going to loose at Wrestlemania?

The generally agreed consensus is that it was just a bit of trivia (‘Hey, did you know Taker's never lost at WM?') up until Wrestlemania X7 where it first got brought up, in passing, mainly because the plan was for HHH to beat Taker there, so it was part of the build up. The following year, Taker made a 10-0 gesture of sorts after beating Flair, the first time it was mentioned on air semi-deliberately.

But the real start of the streak becoming THE Streak was WM21, against Orton. That was the first time that the Streak was sold as a prize, as a goal to achieve, that was the first real time that the idea of beating Taker at WM was a thing above and beyond just beating The Undertaker in a match that happened to be held at WM.

Kevin wants to talk about Creative.

My question involves how the creative process works in WWE. We're probably all in agreement that writers have not been a positive for the wrestling business. I'm wondering though how many people actually have a hand in coming up with angles and writing the weekly shows + ppvs. First, I understand there is a "home" and "road" writing team. What is the difference in their jobs? Does the "road" writing team that goes to the show have more power or seniority? Also, do you know if they meet with Vince on a regular basis or is communication mostly done through Steph? One more thing: Do Vince, Steph, and the senior level writers decide strictly who's going to be pushed and the more long-term storylines? Or do the writers also get to pitch ideas on who should be pushed and the development of major angles? I apologize for the loaded question, you don't have to answer all of them, I'm just curious as to how the creative process works as a whole and I suppose what the chain of command is.


See, the problem is that we know what the set up was several months ago, but not now. Plus we don't quite know how it all works in detail. Still, with what we've been told…

Basically the difference between the ‘home' and ‘road' teams appears to be a matter of focus. The home team seems to do all the legwork (all the ‘previously in this venue' and ‘last 5 times the belt was used as a weapon' lists) and will then pitch/plan the basis for the show under Vince, then they'd head to the road team who would rewrite/rework and change. So they both do the same rough thing, it's more a case of where they are on the assembly line.

No idea about seniority, certainly the head writers were on the road teams but that doesn't mean a road team member outranks a home team guy.

Steph used to be running it, but now she's moved into more of a PR role, trying to combat the notion that the WWE starts and ends with Vince. Now Vince is still in charge, but Hunter sits in and is the right hand man/calming voice for Vince. The two of them aren't involved in EVERY step, but certainly Vince is still very much involved, he'll approve the script at various points.

Long term storylines, the situation is kinda murky. They do have long term plans that they work on (they have a rough idea where they are headed, and each month they set the PPV then work towards that) but in the various interviews and the like it's not clear who decides the angles. Certainly the writing team seems to be allowed to pitch for pushes, they have the ability/leeway to think up and work on angles to get guys over and such, but they might be changed/altered by the higher ups. But I would presume that Vince and Hunter would be deciding on the long term plan, but if a writer has an angle idea, they're free to pitch it, assuming they're high up enough.

But again, this is mostly conjecture based on anonymous discussion of slightly unrelated factors. This might all be false. In the highly unlikely event I end up on creative I'll let you know.

Marty asks about Rudy.

Rudy Rudy Rudy Rudy!

Sorry, that song sticks in your head.

Hi Matthew,

Love the column! You continue to impress week after week. Got a quick question for ya... I was trying to identify an actor in the 1993 movie "Rudy" and while scrolling through IMDB's cast and crew list, I was surprised to see a couple recognizable names. Apparently Al Snow and Dan Severn are both listed in the credits. Snow is credited as a Notre Dame football players and Severn is uncredited. Is there any particular explanation for how these two ended up in the movie? Were there any other wrestlers that I didn't recognize in the credits? And then, the power question - any chance of seeing a screenshot of either of these guys?

Thanks and keep up the insanely good work!

Ask and ye shall receive!

That's him in the back.

As for how Al got in, apparently Dan Severn was the guy who set it up, in that one of the other wrestlers who was in the film was there when Dan called Al up. Dan was asking Al if he knew any big wrestlers, as the people making the film needed big guys to be extras as football players. So a bunch of wrestlers made pretty decent money as extras in the film, since they were needed for several weeks to shoot everything.

As for any other wrestlers, you probably wouldn't know them, as they're pretty obscure. Machine Gun Mike Kelly, Denny Cass, Judge Dread, Dave St Onge (one of the Nightmares) and Jack Reno were the other wrestlers in the film, so clearly Snow's the biggest name of the group.

But sorta like how I got a role in a music video, when you want big guys, wrestlers are a port of call for extras.

Wicked Drums talks tickets, Pantera and Irony.

Hey Matt,

* What are my best options for obtaining ring-side seats to a WWE event (TV or House) ? I'm aware that local radio usually gives away packs, but just as as regular consumer, it seems you've got to belong to a club or something? I'm aware of pre-sale codes, and I've actually been on the website the very second they open up for the pre-sale, but the best I can ever get is several rows back from the floor.. What am I doing wrong? I've been attending WWF/E events since 1986, and just once in my life, I'd like to experience being ringside.

Well, you used to just have to hope that if you got to the front of the line and/or were one of the first computers in the line. But now, WWE has taken out the guesswork, as they have "WWE Superstar VIP Experience Packages" and "WWE Enhanced VIP Packages" for certain shows. The Enhanced pack gets you "1 Premium Center Ring Lower Bowl Seat" while the Super-Power-Ninja-Turbo-Neo-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-Multi-Alpha-Meta-Extra-Uber-Prefix Pack is Premium Ringside. You also get a bunch of stuff like the chair and a poster and a meet and greet and a photo with the WWE title and stuff.

Of course, for the record, the SPNTNUHMMAMEUP pack is $600, and it's only for select shows. But if you're willing to shill out the cash, WWE would love to take your money.

*The preceding was not a paid endorsement by WWE VIP Experiences. Should WWE VIP Experiences wish to buy ad space in this column however, that can be arranged for a surprisingly large fee.*

Apart from that, I can't really help you, I rarely go to things I need to buy tickets to, so I have no tricks or anything. I did however end up getting the very last ticket to ‘Weird Al' Yankovic's first ever live show outside of North America, held in a theatre of a casino, next to a Krispy Kreme. That's totally irrelevant I know, but it's my sole ticket story.

Perhaps a reader may have a way to ensure ringside without paying through the nose and/or being Vladimir.

* Pantera, Pantera, Pantera... Dude, I swear sometime between '97-'98, on Monday Night Raw, that I heard & saw a small clip advertising Pantera (the American heavy metal band) to be on the following weeks' show.. Being a huge fan, I was very excited. Next weeks comes and goes and nothing is ever mentioned again. This was kind of before routine 'guests' of that kind would show up, and I clearly remember thinking how rare that was. RVD was using Kilgore's cover version of the Pantera song 'Walk' at the time, but that's the only relation between wrestling/Pantera I can think of... Do you (any one ) remember this?

So not the wrestler El Pantera?

Because that's really the only thing I can think of, I wasn't able to find any record of them going to be on the show then pulling out or anything… Readers? Again?

* Just a random thought to the Chandler.... You had asked us a while back if we could think of another ironic character, and I don't recall anyone mentioning Conan O' Brien.. His shtick reeks of irony.. It actually occurred to me on an episode of Conan, while Matthew Perry was the guest..

Thanks for all you do,

I dunno, Chandler is now pretty much part of the furniture now. I mean, the week someone doesn't ask what the picture means is the week I… Well, the week I don't need to remind everyone what it means.

Plus the thing is, these things are the perfect size. I can just stick one in,

And the flow of the column isn't damaged, it loads quickly… I can just plop,

And be done with it. Plus I kinda want a character, rather than a real person for some reason.

So yeah, Chandler stays now.

If you missed the Royal Rumble, here's the main points of interest.

I totally called that Divas chant, BTW.

And this is an injoke, but a funny one. At least to me.

Jeff wants to talk Summerslam buyrates.

Hi there,

I was wondering, why is this year's Summerslam buyrate considered low when two years ago it got the exact same buyrate… Sure, it didn't get the big one from last year with the return of Brock, but still… I don't remember the 2011 Summerslam, headlined by Cena vs Punk, as having a low buyrate.


Summerslam 2013 Buyrate: 298,000
Summerslam 2012 Buyrate: 350,000
Summerslam 2011 Buyrate: 301,000
Summerslam 2010 Buyrate: 350,000
Summerslam 2009 Buyrate: 369,000

So yeah, it's about the level of 2011, which was seen at the time as a low number, and that threw shade on CM Punk as a main eventer, given that he took the blame for the low number, just like Bryan did this time round. I mean, if Money in the Bank or Payback or whatever had made 300K, that would be awesome, but the supposed second biggest PPV of the year, those numbers are low. Punk did get some heat, but on the other hand, half of that show wasn't announced until the day before, practically.

But WWE meters out blame however it wants, and it viewed 11 as a failure, and 13 was a failure too. The best angles in WWE often seem to not translate to success at the box office for some reason…

Jorge talks Hogan in WCW.


Hey Matt,

Great to have you back. A couple of questions:

I was watching the Goldberg DVD, surprisingly entertaining by the way, and came across Fall Braw 1999. On that PPV Hogan laid down for Sting, has there ever been an explanation as to why?


Next question…

Actually, I might need a new macro, like my InVasion one. Like a board with Leia Meow and "Russo. Just Russo." or something…

Anyway, few years back Hogan said this on Twitter:

"those were wack times. That was the old Russo and the old me.it was all stupid"

And then from the Death of WCW book…

"And then there was Hogan versus Sting, which never took place. The idea Russo wanted to get across was that he told Hogan to lose the match and Hogan didn't want to. So Hogan went out in street clothes, whispered something to Sting, then lay down so Sting could pin him and win the WCW Title. Nobody watching had any idea what in the hell was going on, the cameras quickly cut away, and the announcers never bothered to try and explain it. They attempted to explain what was happening in the main event, saying Goldberg versus new WCW Champion Sting was a non-title match. A few minutes later, Goldberg pinned him and was handed the WCW title. The show ended with everyone in a state of utter confusion."

Hogan needed/wanted time off, and so instead of having Sting, who was heel at the time in one of those things Russo did that I do see the kernel of an idea but the execution just plain sucked, instead of him, I dunno, injuring Hogan with a sneak attack or getting DQed or something, Russo decided to try and work the internet because that's how you make money, swerving 10% of the audience, right?

Although really if you need that one…

Why do you think there was never a Hogan Goldberg match on PPV?

Because the plan didn't go through. The original idea that Hogan pitched/agreed to was that he put over Goldberg and then he gets the win back and the title back and ends the streak at Starrcade. But then Nash got the book and he and Hogan and Bischoff (‘supposedly', he said knowing it was true but having to maintain a level of professionalism) cooked up a plan to quell unrest by having Hogan leave, Nash make peace then bring back Hogan and the nWo in one fell swoop with the Fingerpoke.

So that's why we never got Hogan/Goldberg 2. As for why 1 wasn't on PPV? There's a bunch of reasons, depending on how much you dislike Hogan and/or Bischoff. These range from the fact that the next PPV, Bash at the Beach, had a main event of Hogan/Dennis Rodman V DDP/Karl Malone, and that was far too important to tamper with. Or that Bischoff was so bloody minded about the ratings he was willing to sacrifice lots and lots of money just to pop one buyrate. Or that Hogan agreeing to job is such a rare occurrence you should take it whenever you can.

But honestly? I don't think this was a bad move. Simply because at the time WCW was starting to have issues with credibility in storytelling, the fans were growing tired of the same old same old. So by having Goldberg win in front of a HUGE crowd, live on TV for all the world to see, it meant the maximum number of eyes saw a crowd all blow up as Goldberg became Da Man.

I probably would have done the same thing. The rise of Goldberg was pretty much perfect. It was the follow through that sucked.

(And hey, could have been worse…)

Ste wants to talk about Rob Feinstein.

Double Yay.

Hi Mat, and welcome back. Its not been the same without you.

My question relates to Rob Feinstein. I'll be careful how I phrase it but I think by now we all know what happened. People who do that sort of thing are usually ostracised from polite society (I should probably clarify im not talking about sexual orientation, just in case anyone gets mistaken), yet I watch the occasional RF shoot and all of the wrestlers seem to really like the guy. It just seems at odds to me with how these things usually go down in real life. I'm not trying to be reactionary and suggest he needs to be burnt at the stake but it puzzles me that nobody seems to have an issue with what went down. Any thoughts on the subject? Have I completely misunderstood what happened?

Some guys did at the time, and still do. So you obviously can't paint with a wide brush. I also don't want to speak for other people, but it seems to come down to two main issues.

1) He technically didn't do anything illegal, and/or there's enough leeway and confusion about the whole thing that people are willing to overlook it for the second reason, that is:

2) He pays good money for videos.

The thing about wrestling is that you often have to work with people you don't like, or that you have disagreements about, or that aren't exactly upstanding moral citizens. You may not like it, but you do it. Especially if it pays well.

But again, I don't want to speak on behalf of anyone else, but certainly from where I speak that seems to be the basic gist. He pays well, and so whatever, it's in the past. And/or for some guys, they've known him for years.

Moving onto other topics now…

One Man's (Important) Opinion

Nobody wants my opinion about the big stories of the week.

Wait, no, sorry, let me try that again.

Nobody wants my opinion about the big stories of the week.

I have a follow up to all the Daniel Bryan stuff from last column. Frankly, I'm more interested in this on screen as well as the discussion online than anything since the "Pipe Bomb."
What is your opinion of the whole situation real or perceived? Do you agree with what we are seeing or are you opposed? If the latter, why do you suppose it happened and where do you pinpoint where it all went wrong? If you could go back to that point and make a change what would you do different and where would it go from there? If you are fine with how it has played out thus far, what would you do as the weeks and months go on? I know you touched on this already, but maybe you could expand on top of that.

This is one of those things that you can get a whole column out of, and I'm sure many, many people have and will do so. But I think the main problem with Bryan is that this whole thing isn't really about Bryan, it's about The Authority, and in a broader sense, the WWE doing away with Heels and Faces.

Do you remember that, a little while ago, where Vince apparently told the writers that there isn't faces and heels anymore? Now, see, on one level, I can see the argument, in that Russo style shades of grey, done right, can make for good wrestling. If you provide two interesting and captivating characters, and they have a logically built issue and they fight over it and the promoter lets you decide who to support? That can, in theory, work. Certainly on the Indy scene you find that more, where guys are on a sliding scale of face/heeldom based on who they fight any given week. I might be teaming with another fat guy as a strong heel team but against a couple of teams I'm the good guy.

But the thing about shades of grey that Russo, and seemingly WWE right now, never seemed to grasp is that shades of grey needs to be consistent. It does not just mean guys acts like face one segment, acts like heel in next and then back again. Unless they are playing a manic depressive or something, I guess.

And that's my main problem with The Authority. They are far too inconsistent. HHH comes out one week and makes fun of the fans with baby talk, the next week they're leading the fans in the Yes chant and saying how maybe Bryan is the face of the company material.

See, wrestling fans… OK, don't take this the wrong way, hear me out: Wrestling fans don't really know what they want, or rather, they never ask for the right thing. Every time you see a tweet or a post about how Cena should turn heel already, that's (almost certainly) really saying that they want Cena to be compelling and interesting again, they just assume a heel turn's the only way to do that. The constant chanting for Bryan is because we can tell he's been screwed, but we're not exactly able to put our finger on why, since it's a meta screwjob. I mean, Bryan had his shots at the belt, then he got shunted to the side and moved down the card. Now it all flowed in a somewhat logical way, but it wasn't what we as the fans wanted, but since Bryan wasn't directly and overtly screwed by The Authority (HBK superkicking him didn't lead anywhere after all) we can't rally behind a catchcall or a moment, and they don't seem to be resolving it to our satisfaction.

The Authority held Bryan down, and now just the WWE as a whole still is, and we want resolution, and that means him as champ. Because right now Bryan is 100% face and that's an understandable storyline, it's just that the other side is now a nebulous concept rather than a direct heel we can boo, so all we can do is cheer for Daniel Bryan.

That's why I went out of my way last week in my booking to establish that The Authority are out of touch 1%ers, to provide a context and a clear ‘This is the bad guy' for Bryan to fight against. Because right now, he's fighting the industry as a whole, and that can't go anywhere.

So as to what I would change in the past, I'd just keep the Authority as the bad guys and then, if the heat for screwing Bryan didn't transfer to them but stayed as pro-Bryan heat, then I'd probably be planning on Bryan winning the belt at WM or EC just like WWE.

And if I got plopped into Creative right now? Again, make The Authority consistent, make Batista into their new centrepiece and build to Bryan beating him at some point to win the title. And slap Vince McMahon and tell him to pull his head in, wrestling is and forever will be built on good guys and bad guys, just different flavours…

Additionally, what are your thoughts on CM Punk apparently walking out at least in part because of Batista's role at Wrestlemania? Do you think he deserves to be in a title match? Does any wrestler "deserve" anything?

Well in some reports Punk doesn't mind Dave like he did mind Rock since Batista is coming back for a full time run, Punk, according to reports again, hates part timers, not just any returns.

But Punk is a big boy, and if he wants to sacrifice the money to make a point, or if he needs the time off more than the cash or whatever the justification, up to him. I don't blame him for doing so, just like I wouldn't blame him for sticking around for the WM paycheck if he had done that instead. He can do what he likes.

But as for Big Dave… Frankly ‘deserving' a title run or a push is a rather silly concept. A title shouldn't be a reward for loyal service, or a measuring stick, it's a storytelling device, and should be used accordingly. It should be used to tell the best or most profitable story possible. That's what wrestling is, storytelling for the purposes of making money. So Dave doesn't ‘deserve' to be in the title match, but then neither does Punk automatically, although I'm sure he disagrees. No-one deserves to be there in of itself, it should be the most compelling and interesting characters and/or the characters involved in the most compelling story, that should be who is in the match. Now clearly at this point that's not Dave, sure, but that isn't automatically because he's just come back or who he is as a person, just his work so far as a wrestler and a character.

But then Batista negotiated the Rumble win and the title match at WM for the money, I'm fairly certain, and if so, I don't blame him for that. If he felt he could get away with that, which he clearly did, more power to him. He just had horrible timing is all…

So yeah, titles should be based on storytelling, not ‘star power' or anything, but really, you're never going to separate the two so why bother…

Lastly, feel free to omit this one if necessary, do you feel there is too much "gossip" about backstage happenings and planning online? With seemingly daily updates that completely change or contradict previous ones things can get muddled. It it too much or is the discussion or fantasy booking that results all part of the fun of being a fan? Do the writers or copy/pasters of these stories need to be called to task for misinformation? Would it bother you to have your work publicly questioned (other than potential criticism in the comments section)?

That's all I've got. Feel free to answer, or not. And thank you for returning this column to its former glory and for treating your readers with respect,

My work gets questioned all the time, sometimes even by myself. And I welcome that, both for fact checking purposes and also because I don't claim to be some all knowing genius of wrestling. I'm just a wrestler, a fan, and a guy with Google-Fu. People now seem to respect my opinion and I certainly appreciate that, but I always welcome questioning my logic. I'm sure the stuff above will be questioned below.

As for the gossip and stuff… It's really a moot point, because that genie flew off a long, long, LONG time ago. Would I like to know less about wrestlers' private lives? Yes, personally I would. But wrestlers are stars, and gossip mags are around for every other sort of public figure, why not wrestling as well? My personal preferences are not law, they're just what I want.

As for fantasy booking and the like, I've done my fair share and so it would be hypocritical of me at the very least to speak against it. Discussing backstage gossip is not my favourite part of writing this column, least of all because it's impossible to verify at times, but again, it's going to happen, that's the modern society, so no point crying over it.

But yes, I would like a little more of taking people to task for reporting lies and misinformation. I correct myself in the feedback section if I mess up, and I think other writers should as well… But the thing is, the vast majority of the time, they're reporting rumors. And the only people who talk about wrestling rumors more than wrestling news sites are wrestlers themselves. So you're never going to solve that problem.

Basically, the overall IWC is muckier than I'd like it to be, but as clean as it can be, so just hold your nose and jump in.

And on that tortured metaphor, I bring this column to a close for another week. See you all next week where I try and work out what I meant by what I just wrote.

And/or deal with people complaining about the Mickie vid.


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