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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling 02.12.14: Finger Bands, Dick Moves, Khama's Weight, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 02.12.2014

So here we are again, Ask 411 Wrestling. I'm Mathew Sforcina, and you are a loyal and loving fan of my work.


Why do I keep opening the column with BS like this? No-one reads this bit, that's why the Banner is there, apart from being all awesome and stuff, it indicates where people actually start reading me. But hey, if you do read this bit, thanks! Appreciate it. And if you don't read this bit, that's cool too.

Anyway, got a question? Good, coz that's the point of the column. Send it to ask411wrestling@gmail.com and I'll answer it, hopefully.

And now the BANNER!


Check out my Drabble blog, 1/10 of a Picture! I intend to add one or two bells and/or whistles to that in the coming days. Maybe. If the code works.

Me On Twitter~!

Feedback Loop

The RickRoll: I did that simply because the videos I found of it all sucked.

WWE wants to destroy me: Hey, if Joey Styles wants me to start doing Ask WWE.com every week, I'm just a tweet or email away. Heck, I'd do it for free minimum wage if I get full and unfettered access to the entire WWE library as part of the deal…

APinOz: Yes, the guy who should probably be doing this rather than me, APin is back with some more info on a couple topics.

Okay, I thought I'd give a little added info before I hit you with questions: Firstly, the Hogan-Goldberg match being on Nitro and not PPV is a really interesting story. The advance ticket sales for Georgia Dome (with Goldberg advertised) were huge. At the time, Hogan saw the advance and proposed putting over Goldberg in a dark non-title match. Cynics amongst us would suggest that in Hogan's retro-history, he could claim credit for the monster house even though it was obvious Georgia Dome was selling out without his name being prominently advertised. Then, when the genie was out of the bottle, WCW knew they couldn't NOT have Goldberg-Hogan take place without the cameras rolling. Hogan had already lost the title once on Nitro, to Lex Luger on the 100th edition, a show that rated very well. WWF had beaten WCW in the Monday ratings since the ascension of Stone Cold at Wrestlemania and Bischoff was driven by ratings. therefore, the call was made to have Goldberg-Hogan go on last as a World Title match, and for Goldberg to win. Hogan could still claim credit for the huge crowd and in booking going forward was promised his win back at Starrcade.

in regard to WCW Australia, from 2 weeks ago. I know you were providing only a sketch outline and given I'm an old bloke who grew up in the period, let me tell you that the promotion was, from 1969-73, one of the hottest territories in the world for the NWA (who OzWCW aligned with in 1969). Weekly shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, at 5-6,000 capacity venues, sold out, along with various regional spot shows, on the strength of the Saturday and Sunday TV tapings, broadcast by Channel Nine at 12 noon. Worth noting that Sunday 12 noon was considered "Prime Time" TV timeslot in the early 70s, and OzWCW rated very highly in the days before Nielsen meters (based on TV phone polling by the networks). The most significant tour of the period was Jack Brisco's tour of about 1971, as NWA World Heavyweight Champion, defending the title against Austro-Asian Champion Spiros Arion.

This time period coincided with one of the bloodiest, longest running feuds in wrestling, between Big Bad John's Army and the so-called "People's Army." Big Bad John was one of the most amazing promo guys ever, check out some of his stuff on YouTube. He had a cast of heels who wreaked havoc on the local scene including Bulldog Brower, The Tojo Brothers, Abdullah The Butcher and Killer Karl Kox (who famously turned face in 1973). The face side of the equation was led by King Curtis (another AMAZING promo man and owner of the most scarred forehead in wrestling history) and included Mark Lewin (before he became satanic worshipper The Purple Haze in Florida under Kevin Sullivan), Spiros Arion, Waddi Ayoub, Ron Miller and Larry O'Dea. This feud packed them in for almost 5 years until Big Bad John lost a loser leaves the country stipulation in late 1974. In the real world, he went home to Memphis and it coincided with the departure of Jim Barnett, who had booked and promoted OzWCW in its hottest time period. Barnett left Australia owing a hefty amount of unpaid taxes and allegedly took videotape footage that would be absolute gold to see again today.

James J Dillon took the role left by Big Bad John and the promotion stayed hot under the booking of Tony Kolonie for a couple of years but Barnett was the man with the main contacts in the US, and in a familiar refrain, the stars on top weren't getting any younger and new local stars, apart from Miller, O'Dea and Mario Milano, weren't being made. There is a very famous angle from Sydney where Dillon, who always had an unlit cigar, lit the Havana at ringside and ground the lit end into Mark Lewin's eye during a match. Dillon also eventually returned to the US and local heel Steve The Crusher Rackman became the number one heel. There were signs the star power had gone but even in its last season, OzWCW saw NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race tour and wrestle four successive 60 minute time limit draws with local hero (and by then co-owner) Ron Miller. Miller famously pinned Race on the Sunday TV show in 1977 or 78; the only time a World Champion has been cleanly pinned in Australia by a local. Andre The Giant, at the time the biggest wrestling draw in the world, was part of OzWCW's last season, wrestled twice on their last ever stadium show, and was co-holder of the local tag titles with Ron Miller when the promotion wound up.

APinOz ladies and gentlemen, let's give him a hand.

No, wait, that come off sarcastic…

Well now I'm just patronizing him.

Shut up, I like that song.

The Trivia Crown

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?

Matt Boogie has the answer.

-Managed by Baby Doll, JJ Dillon, and Bobby Heenan
-Worst Feud by Wrestling Observer in 1988 (vs. The Midnight Rider)
-Tag titles with Barry Windham (NWA), Gino Hernandez (SCW), and, of course, Arn Anderson (NWA and WWF.)
-Piledriver and slingshot suplex. Spike Piledriver later used with Arn Anderson as a finisher.
-Born again Christian, Legends Contract, although considers his prison ministry as his primary job.
-Lost the NWA US Title to Magnum TA in the "I Quit" cage match at Starrcade '85.
-Hall of Famer as a Horseman.
You are Tully Blanchard.

Although you missed out that Ray Traylor became Big Bubba Rodgers based on how he took the Slingshot Suplex despite his size.

Well, now this is an interesting one from Maravilloso

I've been involved with royalty, the elder, and demonic characters. I've been in USA, Japan, Canada, and in many other countries. A wrestling legend recalled that arguably his greatest match ever was one in which I was part of and did damage to him and his rival. I was a faithful companion of other two legends. Thanks to me, two wrestling relatives reunited (with one of them turning face) and my importance and legacy is so important, WWE, WCW, ECW, TNA and many more companies STILL ask me from time to time to make an appearance. I am. . .

If no-one gets close I'll give a hint or two in the comments below.

Getting Down To Business

Alan has a whole bunch of questions.

Thank you so so much for coming back. I have several questions I hope you don't mind answering:

1) The wrestling world is ablaze with the treatment of Daniel Bryan over the last several months. However, we keep reading that the WWE stock is at an all-time high. My question is, is how can stockbrokers be happy with the WWE when the fans are crapping all over the product right now? The brokers must see the WWE is not listening to their fans right?

The stock's that high?


Well I'll be damned. I'm not nearly as up on the financials as I was when Prag was around.

Anyway, the stockbrokers don't tend to pay attention to the on air product, nor the reaction it gets from the IWC. I mean the IWC is always complaining about something, the fans are never really happy, so that's just white noise. The stock market just cares about the fact that the WWE Network looks to be highly profitable and a good idea and will lead to WWE getting lots of money, and so you should buy stock now so as to get some of that sweet sweet ‘nerd-in-basement' money. Daniel Bryan means nothing to your average investor beyond maybe the fact that he's the reason for these ‘Yes!' chants, which just makes WWE look better, they are getting into pop culture again.

WWE is still a profitable company, and they look to highly increase said profitability in the near future. That's all the market cares about.

2) I've read a lot of stuff on Vince Russo, mostly negative, and always wondered, isn't there some positive things about work he has done? Didn't he help create that attitude era and some shock TV?

Well sure there is, I'm probably the most pro-Russo guy on site. He's got plenty of negatives, by all means, but there are positives. I got asked this a few years ago and I gave this list-

Russo cares about everyone on the roster. Russo has a mentality that if you have someone under contract, you should use them. As opposed to WWE creative, who let people go if it's too much work to think of something to do with them.

Everyone he cares about he works hard on giving them a look, a persona, moves, the lot. Russo's the kind of guy who'll lay awake at night thinking of a midcarder's signature moves, until he gets it exactly right.

Consistency and logic. This one is kinda weird, in that it's claimed his totally illogical and yet you can clearly claim he's logical. But regardless of your attitude to his storylines' logic, under Russo people don't get along just because they both hate the fans. Old animosities are remembered and referenced. Shades of Grey is much maligned, but it's a hell of a lot more interesting when done right. (It's just that sometimes he doesn't spell things out in little bite sized chunks and that confuses people.)

First chapters. Russo is probably one of the best opening chapter writers in Wrestling. When Russo starts something, it does tend to be involving, gripping and interesting.

He pushes women. It's a straight dichotomy, that Russo both objectifies women (giving them stripper outfits and gimmicks) while at the same time pushing them (you find a hell of a lot more women running around under him, plus some who are pushed and pushed hard, like Sable).

Starmaking. Perhaps the biggest positive Russo brings that is weirdly totally ignored is that Russo pushes new talent. Edge, Christian and The Hardys all got their breaks under Russo. Foley got pushed to the Main Event due to Russo. Russo understands that you have to make new stars to succeed.

He's honest. Russo is a ratings chaser. He admits this. And that's what people hire him for. He doesn't pretend to be something he's not. If you want buyrates to go up, then leash him. But if you want ratings up, let him go.

But above all, Russo lets the talent work. As opposed to the WWE's current script out everything approach, Russo lets the talent do their own thing, he gives out pointers, not scripts, unless the talent needs them.

That's pretty much the full list of what you can say Russo is good at in terms of skills. In terms of angles and stuff, he was the guy who helped rip of ECW and pushed for WWF to get it's Attitude, and he came up with several key moments (good and bad) of said era. And his WCW run did have some positives buried deep within the mountain of crap.

He's got a hell of a lot of negatives of course, please do keep that in mind. I have to deal with a bunch of people claiming I was horrible for not listing them in a question asking for his positives. Russo is not the guy you want booking your company. Russo is the guy you want on the committee though. You need to put Russo on a tight leash. But if you do do that, then he can be a very useful dog to have.

OK? Russo is still bad but he has positives. Please hold all hate mail…

3) When Kevin Nash came back about 2 years ago, what were the original plans? Was he going to be a full-timer and feud with CM Punk? I cannot believe him fighting with HHH and then inuring him was the ultimate plan.

Goodness no. Now then, the source we have on this is Nash, so using the Yes Prime Minster rules you do have to take this with grains of salt, but he has revealed the plans and why he wasn't medically cleared (a heart drug he was taking as a 50+ year old with a father who died of a massive heart attack at 36).

Supposedly, the plan was, and I quote from the OG Big Guy…

"It would have been Johnny [Laurinaitis]. It would have been Johnny trying to end around and me trying to say that Paul had changed because he was a blue blood now and he wasn't Clique. He was in the McMahon threshold. We were going to get a Johnny Ace clique of guys to try to take over control of the company, that's when Vince would have gotten fired, and then we would have been after Paul and try to take control of the company. You know, good storyline."

The plan called for Nash to put Punk over at NOC also, so the way Punk got screwed was not the original plan.

4) Same question with Kharma. What ever happened to her? She came in to the WWE, destroyed a couple divas, cried in the ring, then left because she was pregnant. Then she came back at the Royal Rumble and eliminated Michael Cole and hasn't been seen since. So what happened after that?

OK, this is a downer, but bear with me.

So ok, she was supposed to come in and do what you'd expect, which is to demolish any and all women in her path and Crush, Kill, Destroy the Divas until she got the belt and so forth. You know, how pretty much anyone with two brain cells would have taken it.

And then she found out she was pregnant, so she takes a leave of absence. Fair enough too. Wrestling's not a job to do while you're pregnant.

Despite leaving for a bit, however, she sadly suffered a miscarriage. And then it all gets a little… worse. She has a bit of a breakdown, which is why she announced that she had given birth to a boy and stuff. She began to fight depression, and gained some weight and basically wasn't good mentally or physically.

So while she was fighting to try and get back to a good place, the Rumble happens, and everyone agrees it's a good idea, so they do it.

(Her sole official WWE match, funnily enough.)

But then after a few more months, she's still not mentally fully right, plus she's still got weight issues, and she wasn't able to get to a point she felt she could return in the time frame WWE gave her. So she left, although she's working hard to get back, she's working on her weight and everything, certainly she's looking slimmer than she was.

Randle was there?

Anyway, hopefully she'll be back at some point to Crush Kill Destroy and all that. I certainly hope so.

5) I am sorry if this question has been addressed but who was the original Doink the Clown? I heard it was the same actor who played Repo Man (they even had the same sounding voice) but at the 10 year Raw anniversary, they were in the same gimmick battle royal. Also, if it was the original Repo Man, wasn't he in Demolition with the wrestler who became Crush

Not at all, if you have a question I'm happy to answer it.

Anyway, the original Doink the Clown (and the best) was Matt Borne, real name Matt Osborne. You probably only know him in that role, although he was Big Josh in WCW.

When he gained a second Doink to help him, that was Steve Keirn, also known as Skinner.

Other Doinks were Steve Lombardi on the occasional house show and such, and then Ray Liachelli who was the main ‘face' Doink. And then Nick Dinsmore played him in 2003 for a very brief period.

Anyway, no-one involved in Demolition was ever a Doink, but you are correct in that Repo Man (the only one) was indeed originally a Demolition member, although he was Smash. Crush was Brian Adams, a.k.a the KroniK member who is no longer alive.


6) What ever happened to the model Rick Martel? Did he continue wrestling after his WWF run?

Sure he did. After leaving WWF in 97 (right before a re-debut with Don Callis as The Supermodels which… Wow, that would have been a hell of a thing) he went to WCW and began one HELL of a comeback. OK, so he wasn't pulling out six star matches or anything, but his work with Booker T and Perry Saturn over the TV title was pretty damn awesome.

Sadly Superbrawl VIII cut it short and led to his retirement.

7) This one may be tough, but who was the oldest full-time wrestler to regularly compete? For regularly, we will say on an almost weekly basis. To narrow it down, it includes WWF/E, WCW, ECW, and TNA. Also who is the current oldest full-time wrestler that is currently wrestling (so no Sting)? Also, who is the oldest known wrestler to have actually wrestled in a match? It can include a tag match but they would have actually have to have physically competed for it to count. Finally, who is the oldest known Champion of all time (same companies)?

Thanks for all your hard work.

… So yeah, AG, you're not this week.

Anyway, the oldest wrestler to compete regularly isn't in the big leagues. He was one Dave Kidney, who at age 81 is still wrestling in the Scottish School of Wrestling company in the UK. He has been unopposed British Featherweight Champion for over 50 years, or at least was in 2009. He may have lost the belt since then. He is oldest of all time that was regular. Mae Young has the all time record for oldest, as she was nearly 88 when she ‘wrestled' LayCool on the 2010 Old School Raw.

As far as current full time wrestler on the big leagues, I suppose if you want guys on the big league it's Lawler, sort of, since he's still working indy shows… In terms of actually working on the shows, Kane is 46 right now and he's working, just edging out Angle at 45.

And the oldest champion in the big leagues you mentioned? Vince McMahon, ECW Champion at age 62.

So yeah, that answer everything? If not, dear reader, tell me what I missed. My brain is swimming in ages right now…

I should have included this last week, since it was put up over a week ago. Not totally wrestling related, more gaming, but I like the guys involved so to hell with it, let's see Yahtzee Croshaw win the European Title and wrestle a bunch of dead guys.

This is amusing.

And I'm happy Eric is getting attention, his work is good.

And finally, some self promotion.

Rockefeller Captain Stan Wonkavision Goatboy gets one question answered this week. The next one is next week.

Do you have any idea why Randy Orton wears a different colored twine/rope like ring on his right ring finger? Last week it was a purple/pink color, and tonight on RAW it was a turquoise color. Any idea?

He wears one of his daughter's hairbands on his finger when he wrestles.


That's… Really cute actually. Better than Rikishi slapping his butt.

Raza asks about the WWE Title.

Thanks for responding my previous questions, over the years I have noticed that there is a definite discriminatory pattern followed by the WWE for making WWE Championship in a way that either only those are made WWE Champions who WWE Creatives think have a longtime future with the company or those who are not old. For example Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Kane, Mick Foley, Steve Austin, Big Show are never made WWE Champions for the last twelve years because they were unlikely to continue for that many years due to their age and fitness issues (I feel Shawn Michaels could easily had been put-over Cena at WM23 for WWE Championship). All those who were made WWE Champions in the last 12-13 years are still with WWE except for Eddie Gurrero (his death), Edge (retired) and Jeff Hardy and Batista (left due to their mutual consent). Triple-H is an exception for obvious reasons.

On the other hand World Heavyweight Championship are assigned to mid-carders like Mark Henry, Jack Swaggers, Christian, Khali, old timers like Kane, Taker, Michaels, Booker-T and a guy like Bill Goldberg who WWE know not likely to have very long and conducive future business relations.

My question is that why Kane, Michaels and Takers have not been WWE Champions for the last 14-15 years when they were in the were in good shape in the late 1990's (except Shawn) and particularly their strong association with the company even at the time of Monday Night Wars when majority of Michael's and Takers fellow choose to left for WCW?

Each of them has a different reason.

Michaels didn't want it. He was happy to not be champ, as being champ puts you under a lot of pressure, and he was not back to win titles, he was changed since the last time and so he didn't need it for his ego. He was there to work with the new guys, and make up for the last runs.

While Michaels was above the belt, Kane was below it. Kane was/is upper mid card, he's the guy that if you need a main event match he can slip in and seem logical and in place, but likewise if you need a midcard feud, Kane can do it and it still makes sense and is not out of place. So him winning the main title, just doesn't come into it, he's just not in the right place to be the champ for anything other than a transitional, and they have enough of those to go around.

Taker, it's simply that he worked mainly Smackdown in that time, and Smackdown had the World Title during the periods he was winning the title. Had JBL not had his run, and/or had Cena not switched to Raw, he'd have won the belt a few times I'm sure.

Keith asks one of those simple but hard questions.

Hi Mathew,

Welcome back, you were missed. Quick question you or someone else may have answered before, but why did Ric Flair use a variation of Also Sprach Zarathustra during his 91-93 WWF run? Wouldn't that song at that point be public domain and free to use (like Pomp & Circumstance for Savage)?


The only thing I can think of (beyond the "We're WWF/Vince, I know better") is a copyright issue, but the numbers don't match. 60 years is the max it could be, and the thing was written in 1896, so it was out by then.

All I can think of is that it was cheaper for WWF to get a knockoff than it was to pay for the rights to use a recording of the song with a full orchestra. Sure, the song itself is free, but the rights to a specific recording aren't. You gotta pay for a full orchestra to get it right, so why not go the cheap option?

But to be fair, that question has popped up a few times, and I've never had a good answer for it. Maybe this time someone below does…

Michael has me trawling my archives.


Occasionally if I'm bored during lunch at work I'll look up old "ask 411 wrestling" columns( i.e around 2006-2008) and today, being the day after Xmas, is such a day!

While reading one of them I found this section in a response you sent to someone also named Mike asking about King Kong Bundy:

Bundy held the WCCW's top belt, but after a while (and perhaps the single biggest dick move ever done by a promoter just to put himself over), Bundy left WCCW. He wrestled in the AWA, and the NWA, mostly as a heel (although Jake Roberts brought him into Georgia as a face in a brilliant angle).

So my questions are:

1) What was the "dick" move ?

2) What was the Roberts' angle and why was it so brilliant?

The dick move was that Fritz Von Erich beat King Kong Bundy to win the American Heavyweight Championship.

Sounds simple enough, but take off a layer or two…

See, King Kong Bundy, with his full head of hair, was the Champ of the region, and was getting over as a massive monster heel. Fritz was promoter of the region and hadn't wrestled much, if at all, leading up to his ‘retirement' show 6/6/82. There, he had a falls count anywhere match for the belt against Bundy, where he no-sold a bit and made Bundy look like a moron, before smacking Bundy with a chair, and pinning him to win the title. His celebration was rather over the top, and worst still, since he then retired, the title was returned to Bundy, who now lost all his mystique as he was made to look like a jerk, losing to a 53 year old and then getting his belt back without winning it, just so we all know who the ‘real' champ was.

OK, so there have been plenty of dicker moves in wrestling history, and certainly you can defend this one, but I don't like it.

As for the Roberts angle, I'll try and do that justice. Basically they ran promos announcing King Kong Bundy was coming to Georgia Championship Wrestling. And Gordon Solie would talk about how if The Legion Of Doom (Paul Ellering leading the Road Warriors, The Spoiler and Jake Roberts) had King Kong Bundy, it would be the death of the company. After a few weeks of this (Vignette, Solie telling us all we're fucked), Paul Ellering came out. Solie was all "Here to gloat about how you're going to destroy civilisation as we know it?" and Ellering went off on a rant about why would he want a fat bastard like King Kong Bundy on his team? Why would be want a guy like that with his athletes?

On and on he went, until finally Solie pointed out that they hadn't gone to a promo, they were live… And Bundy was there. And off they went with Bundy as a face, which at the time, in that persona, was totally new and original.

One Man's (Important) Opinion

APinOz is in this section because of reasons.

Why does WWE "blame" Daniel Bryan for Summerslam 2013's supposed low buy rate? Why not John Cena, Brock lesnar or CM Punk, who were all prominent in the booking of the PPV? And why compare the same PPV from the previous year when analysing the ratings? Why not compare a spread of PPVs over the course of the same time period?

They compare the PPV to the last one because that's a nice clear easy number to compare with, and the assumption is that the number of PPVs bought in any one time frame is comparable, with the changes being the card rather than the event.

But why blame Bryan? Because it reinforces the story they tell themselves, that relying on Cena and Orton will lead to the land of chocolate and beer and free sex and will never ever go badly for them ever.

That said, there's conflicting reports as to who WWE ‘blamed'. Vince in the quarterly investor call said that the PPV was sold on the ‘attraction' and that the ‘attraction' didn't work, ‘swing and a miss'. So that could mean anyone or no-one…

But the point, supposedly, is that Bryan was the new guy. He was the guy with no record of drawing that they ‘elevated' and took a chance on, the hot new babyface who they were pushing. So since the PPV didn't go well, and he was the new guy, he gets the blame. Because Cena, Orton, Brock and Punk to a degree have a track record and thus they must automatically make money now.

But then this leads into your next question…

Is there any such thing anymore as a "ratings/PPV draw?" Unless an entire PPV is booked around only one announced match (feel free to insert obvious joke there), how can any one wrestler's drawing appeal be measured on the strength of PPV numbers?

As far as PPV goes, WWE will blame whoever the hell they want to blame, but the logic is that the big matches are what sells the thing. The WWE assumes that no-one will buy or not buy Elimination Chamber if AJ V Naomi is or isn't on the show. But the Elimination Chamber will be the match they presume people buy or not buy the show for, and probably, if one is cynical, they'll praise Cena and Orton or blame Bryan and Christian…

Ratings on the other hand, that is quantifiable. WWE has ratings down to segments, they know what does and doesn't gain and lose viewers. That's part of the issue with Bryan, when he's on screen he doesn't move the needle. Austin moved the needle. Cena moves the needle. Bryan, not so much. Now, of course, you can argue about the weight you should place on these numbers, but WWE will always claim numbers when they defend booking choices. And given that we don't have full access to them, hard to argue the point.

(Although it'll be very interesting once PPVs are on the Network, since I assume WWE will be able to track numbers on that, about who watches what…)

In your opinion, what was the single hottest year for in-ring action in North America in wrestling's recent history? For me, 1989, 1997 and 2000 were amazing.

Thanks Mathew

That's a very subjective question, because what you pick will depend on what you want from wrestling and what you judge as ‘quality'. I mean, 2000 had WWF's best ever year in terms of in ring work, but everyone else kinda sucked. And anything before 89, you have all the territories…

You know what? 98. WWE was hitting it's stride as Attitude was taking off, WCW wasn't quite dead yet and had the best undercard ever, and ECW was gaining ground and traction. Each company had better years, but all of them had a decent year that year. I think that just wins. But what do you guys think?

Alan had one more.

8) What do you think of the following names for the HOF: Rick Rude, Tatanka, Lex Luger (is it too much of a stretch?), Ted Dibiase, and get this: The Spanish Announce table (for all of it's contributions to great matches)

BlahblahblahVince's Limo DriverblahblahblahKoko B WareblahblahblahDoesn't Mean Shitblahblah.

Anyway, with that out of the way…

Rude: Sure, although given his death, he'll have to wait in line for a bit, I'd wager. There's a few other dead guys that WWE would probably want to include first. But hey, if/when they do a Rude DVD or a Rude month on WWE Network…

Tatanka: He wouldn't be near the top of my list by any means, but I guess so… Would give you some color I suppose, and/or the next time WM is in New York or Phoenix or something…

Luger: Former WCW World Champ, former Rumble Winner, almost Face of the Company. Nah, he's not a stretch.

Ted Dibiase: He went in in 2010. Unless you mean Ted DiBiase Jr, in which case hell no.

The SAT: No, I don't think so. Not until they induct the Winged Eagle, the Urn, Mr Socko, and as a stable, Table, Ladder and Chair.

And finally, JJ has a few opinion/fantasy booking questions. You have been warned.

Hi Mat,

Love the column - my favorite read of the week. Have a few opinion questions for you.

Would the WWE Universe have cheered Batista at the Royal Rumble if his return had been a surprise?

Possibly. I mean, a part of the anger and frustration at that show was, I think, because it was so telegraphed and blatant, so if there was more mystery about it, that might have helped, sure. But I do think that when #30 came out, even if it was DAVE, that would have gotten a negative reaction, probably. But who knows, certainly WWE probably wishes it was like that…

How would you repackage Zack Ryder, or at least get him any (forward) momentum?

Zack Ryder is in a unique spot right now, in that he has the single most logical, brilliantly simple heel turn justification in the history of this business. In my view.

Think about it. The guy that no-one thought was good enough, the guy that was seen as a joke as he put on great matches on the third brand, until the fans began to cheer for him, taking over segments with legends to chant his name, the internet rallying behind him to get the WWE to give him a chance (and merch) and then WWE pulled the rug right out from under him. Sound familiar?

Basically, Ryder would just have to claim that Bryan stole his career. He was supposed to be the guy who did it, he was meant to be the People's Choice. He reached for the Brass Ring, guys like Punk and Cena spoke for him, and then he got the ring and… Everyone bailed on him.

Cena stole his girl, the front office screwed him, Punk called him a whiner, and the internet just moved on. But when Bryan got screwed, the IWC blew up, everyone was saying it was a travesty, when Bryan lost you chanted for him harder, WHY DIDN'T YOU PEOPLE KEEP CHANTING FOR ME!?!

So, have him come out and screw Bryan out of something as he becomes the Corporate Puppet, as he becomes what they want Bryan to be, the merch seller who does what he's told, while trying to take out Bryan for stealing his career. Logical, plays off history, plus if Ryder can't work with Bryan then he shouldn't be there anyway.

(And for the record, I am not saying Ryder is equal to Bryan in terms of talent. Merely that the stories are so parallel that the feud writes itself.)

Same question for the Miz.

Well… that's a little harder.

OK, making him a corporate puppet slimy heel would work, but then that would work with almost anyone…

This is where the old territory system would be useful, in that you'd send him off to another company and then maybe he'd work something out and then you could bring him back…

All right, two options. Option 1: Hire John Morrison, reunite Miz/Morrison as babyface duo against The Authority. Default option for 6 man tags with Bryan and what have you, as Miz realises that he has to stop complaining and get on with the job of being Awesome and his old running buddy can help him do that.

That's the quick and easy option.

Option 2, that's a little trickier. What I'd do if I couldn't hire anyone, would be to have Miz basically spiral into madness. Every week he complains about something, egged on by Bad News Barrett or The Authority or any random legend, every week he goes a little more paranoid and complains about wilder and more crazy things. Basically you drive him to the point where R-Truth seems sane in comparison, where he's coming out during the Divas match and yelling about how WWE isn't putting his good photos with the US Title belt on their app, just random stuff like that, pull stuff from the news, whatever. This will not be popular, so it has to be quick and during other stuff. Some weeks it is in the background of other stuff, stuff like that.

Then, eventually, you have a tag match going on in the ring, Usos V Real Americans say, Miz wanders out with a mic and before he can say anything, Colter tells him to take his crazy butt backstage.

Miz slams mic into Zeb's head.

Swagger drops down to attack, Miz beats him down too.

And then Cesaro.

And then the Usos.

And the ref.

And the announce team.

And the road agents.

Basically be a one man Nexus riot. Raw comes to a halt as Miz requires cops to subdue him. You then hold him off TV a couple weeks, have Hunter mention him in passing in an interview that he's being ‘looked after' until he suddenly reappears and screws over Orton in a match as he now goes neutral crazy bastard.

Not my preference, by any means (Morrison or at worst Maryse returning is better) but it's the best I can do to tie together his recent actions and current angle into something vaguely interesting. Would ruin him for TV appearances though…

Daniel Bryan, do you think the time is right for him to get a new theme song that incorporates the word yes?

No, Flight works well enough and is connected to him, although if they want to go the Flair route and have the song start with a ‘YES YES YES!' that would be logical, I guess.

And on that note, I will end this column there. Agree or disagree with anything I've written here? Do tell me below, and we can discuss it over tea and crumpets next week. Until then, dear readers…


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