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Ask 411 Wrestling 03.26.14: Illegal Drugs, Illegal PPV, Legal Discrimination, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 03.26.2014



Welcome to the only column trying to work out if the Outlaws being able to directly alter booking via whim is either a very bad sign or else one hell of a clever work, Ask 411 Wrestling! I am your non-party host, Mathew Sforcina, and my pinkie is almost back to normal, which is good.

Now it's my back that's sore. But it's honestly not that bad, so I'll be fine this week.

Got a question for me? ask411wrestling@gmail.com is where you send it. Still looking for WM questions for next week.

And as always, BANNER delivers a ***** performance.



Zeldas!



Check out my Drabble blog, 1/10 of a Picture! Tuesday's one is autobiographical, albeit modified from wrestling to writing. So yeah.

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Flair Wasn't WWF Champ?: A couple people seemed to not quite get what I was saying. Yes, Flair was WWF Champ. But he was champ AFTER he had ‘made' it, and he ‘made' it in NWA/WCW, where they didn't care how big you were. So he doesn't get credit as a small guy because he didn't succeed despite his size in an environment where size mattered. OK?

Foley on Commentary: Honestly, I found him a little dry. Quite possibly that was because he was distracted by Vince in his ear, but I didn't like him too much. But that's just personal preference.

Willie/William the Worker: I don't recall ever getting an answer for Willie's identity. As for my William, it wasn't anyone famous, just a guy who didn't want to be named, and so I made a cute reference instead.

Steroids & Cena: O….K.

I'm not about to get into the debate about performance enhancing drugs and sport overall, that's an issue that is a little beyond the scope of this silly little wrestling trivia column (especially considering the troubles I get into whenever I stray into any mildly controversial territory). But with Cena and steroids (or HGH or any other such performance enhancing drug, I'll use steroids as a catch all in the following) that I can talk about.

Suffice to say that since I've never met John Cena, and since I'm fairly sure that anyone in last week's comments claiming he's on roids has no actual proof, this is all hypothetical. (But hey, if you do have proof beyond ‘Look at him!' then do share…) But I have to draw a line here, in that there is a difference between taking steroids and abusing steroids.

See, if Cena has taken steroids or whatever after an injury, I have no issue with that whatsoever, on the basis that that's what the drugs are for. Steroid use for recovering from an injury is perfectly acceptable. It'd be like calling someone a druggie for taking morphine after major surgery.

The issue is if he then takes the steroids long after the injury is healed in order to get back to the physical condition he wishes to be in. Then he's abusing the drug, and that's where we go into bad territory.

Now, I personally feel that that distinction is fairly obvious, but apparently others disagree, and I apologize for not making that clear. I don't know if Cena has ever taken Steroids, but if he's taken them for any reason other than a credible medical practitioner prescribing them for a credible medical reason, then that's a problem, but otherwise he's fine in my book regardless.

The Trivia Crown



Who am I? I've fought for the ECW Title, been a Hardcore Champion, been beaten by a future Women's Champion, lost to Zack Ryder, helped a bad vaudeville routine be attempted (and on one occasion a genuinely funny show opening), been injured by someone almost half my size, become the first person to do something (only for someone to do it again within a year), injured a GM, and I've never fought against Daniel Bryan. But hey, every one of my tag team title reigns was with a world champ… Who am I?

Daniel has it.

Who am I?
I've fought for the ECW Title - vs. Big Show in 2008
been a Hardcore Champion - beat RVD for the title in 2002
been beaten by a future Women's Champion - Chyna beat Taker and Triple H back in 1999
lost to Zack Ryder - Against Edge and the Edgeheads, handicap match, SD 2008ish
been injured by someone almost half my size - Rey Mysterio broke Taker's orbital bone a few years back
become the first person to do something (only for someone to do it again within a year) - Won the Rumble for no. 30 in 2007 before John Cena did it the next year
injured a GM - Tombstone Vickie Guerrero, there are probably other examples.
and I've never fought against Daniel Bryan - been his partner, never his opponent.
But hey, every one of my tag team title reigns was with a world champ - Rock, Show, Kane, Austin
Who am I? Undertaker


Maravilloso is back for this week's trivia.

I've had crowns on my head for while, but not many people liked it. Sadly, one of my wrestling trainers passed away not long ago. I've had experience in movies and TV series and I certainly have no love lost for turkeys. In the wrestling promotion where I've had my biggest success, I've won all the major singles titles and biggest one-night tournaments, except for one. Few people may know this, but I was born in a sector of a very important city. That sector's name, if it was written in Spanish and translated to English, will remember MANY fans of a wrestler I had my most satisfactory win against. Who am I?

Getting Down To Business



TheLordHighEmperor has two questions here, and two more in the opinion section.

Long time reader, first time writing in yada, yada, yada.

A few random questions. I hope you know the answers:

1. JBL? If his real name is John Layfield, where did the name Bradshaw come in? I only ask because my real name is Bradshaw & I used to think it was cool that someone with my family name was on WWE programming, then he went in the JBL character direction and I suddenly hated the connection.


It debuted as his name when he debuted in the WWF back in January 1996. He had been John Hawk in Global Wrestling Federation, and when he eventually got the contract to WWF he became Justin ‘Hawk' Bradshaw, a tough cowboy/mountain man, with a name to match that also referenced his past name, back when WWF still did that all the time. And through his various incarnations, Blackjack, Acolyte, into the JBL era, Bradshaw has stuck. So where did it come from?

Unfortunately Bradshaw has yet to do a shoot interview, nor do I have a copy of his book, and thus I don't have an answer for this. It's possible the name was taken from the Bradshaw Mountains, someone in creative at the time thought it was a good name for a mountain man, maybe John came up with it on the spur of the moment, it's impossible to say until he himself comments on it. I'd ask him on Twitter but that's a good way to get blocked, so sorry, can't really help you here.

3. Why don't they bring back the brand split? I remember when the brand split happened. It kept certain people on RAW and others on Smackdown! And it actually worked pretty well. If you wanted to see drama / comedy with a little wrestling mixed in, tune into RAW. If you wanted to see wrestling with a little drama / comedy thrown in, tune into Smackdown! Why is it treated as if this can't be done again?

It could be done, sure. Just like WWE could treat the Women's Division with respect, or they could push Zack Ryder, or they could do a Raw in Sydney or hire me or put every belt on HHH, there's plenty they could do.

Now, the ‘official' reason, as provided by Stephanie McMahon in an interview in 2013…

"We are all telling the same stories. And digital and social offer the ability to continue storylines 24/7 so our fans can consume the content anytime, anywhere on the device they prefer."

But the real reason, according to most reports, was that the single brands weren't drawing. The idea was that with 2 and then 3 brands, you could run 2-3 house shows a night and each would draw and each would be successful and no-one would complain that John Cena wasn't at the SD show, or that Orton wasn't on the Raw one. And also with 2 brands you might be able to capture the two companies fanbase from the Monday Night War era, which was a pipe dream but an attractive one. And you had time to develop new talent and you could sell more stuff with multiple versions and dream matches could be built since guys wouldn't fight and a whole lot of reasons that all failed to eventuate.

Regardless of the reasons why (the brand split was almost never actually booked that well) the split didn't make the money they wanted, and worse, near the end, Smackdown was rating very poorly and drawing less, so they started to dismantle the split in order to shore up Smackdown, to try and get things back on track. And eventually they just went whole hog and ended it.

So, overall, it was a case of a good idea executed poorly that ended up being executed with a shovel after it was deemed too costly to survive.

Paul has a couple questions.

Hello Mr. Q,
I was in and out of Smackdown a few years back but recall seeing a returning Chuck Polumbo (sp?) as a biker/mechanic who was w/ Michelle McCool. He seemed to get some good face pops and then suddenly turned heel on Jamie Noble and McCool and then was gone. What brought him back? Did his pops catch the people in charge by surprise and they didn't know what to do with him? It just was..well, odd.


I will point out that Chuck Palumbo got good pops on Smackdown. Anyone can get good pops on Smackdown, given that the show is sweetened more than Honey Smack covered Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts swimming in Coca Cola.

That said, the gimmick began back in 2004 when, after Chuck and A-Train were traded to Raw for Rico and Jackie Gayda, he was kept off TV for a bit and then came back with the basic gimmick, and a nickname of Custom Chucky P. He mostly worked Sunday Night Heat.



But then he was fired, worked for some Indies, and then came back in 2006, although he didn't make TV until 2007 when he debuted on Smackdown as full blown Biker dude. So why was he brought back? There's a few theories, that his brother being a Purple Heart recipient was part of the reason, the fact that he was brought in on a WCW contract so they waited till they could get him cheaper, but I think the most credible theory is that he worked hard and JBL put in a good word and he impressed in his tryouts so they brought him back. And then had nothing for him. Which was about as much reaction as he was getting without Smackdown's computers helping him.

And speaking of odd..where are Tyson Kidd, Brodius Clay and Tensi? Its been a good month since we saw them on RAW or Smackdown. Thanks again.

Tensai is now Jason ‘Tensai' Albert and is doing color commentary on NXT. Brodus "The Main Event Playa" Clay is also in NXT now, having wrestled a couple matches to be broadcast soonish, assuming they make air. And Tyson Kidd is also on NXT as he's still getting back into ring shape/waiting for creative to call him up, I believe.

Joe asks about the Spanish Announcers. And no, it has nothing to do with the table!

Hi Mathew,

I was wondering something recently while watching some PPVs on the netWWErk. At the beginning of each PPV, Lawler & Co. spend a minute or so introducing the Spanish announce team after which, I assume, if you're watching in a Spanish speaking country, they switch the commentary over.

My question is whether or not the Spanish announce team repeats Lawler & Co verbatim (as a sort of translator) or if they provide their own commentary. If it's the latter, is their commentary better, worse, or on par with the normal crew? I'd assume that with the long tradition of Luchadors in Mexico and Central America (and considering how terrible Lawler & Co. are) that the announcers would bring something different (and probably better) to the table. However since my PPV feed is only ever in English, I have no idea.

Thanks!


I believe, he said, unsure as to if he was fully correct or not, that it's their own commentary, although they are roughly saying the same thing. They are parroting the same story points, so they'll say something akin to what the English announce team says, but they won't get so bogged down in as many side diversions I believe.

As for quality I can barely speak English, and I did Italian in primary, a little French and German in high school and then one full year of Japanese in high school simply because the teacher was hot. So I do not have a clue as to how good the commentary is. I would hope it's better than Cole/Lawler/JBL but I can't tell you. Perhaps a reader who hasn't been insulted by me yet who is bilingual can tell us if it's good, bad or indifferent here. And if I'm totally off base and one of them is doing a JBL impersonation…

Wrestlemaniamania VI: Something about Miami?



Wrestlemaniamania VII: … Screw it.



And Rumble eliminations!



Tangentially related but funny.



Very related and cool.



Nick asks the question that's gonna take up most of my time this week.

Hi Mathew,

Thank you for answering my previous questions.

I've recently been wondering about the development and expansion of wrestling across the world. Obviously some efforts have been made by wrestling companies to try and expand into the growing economies, but I would like to know:

What is the background of wrestling in China? Is there much of a history of professional wrestling and are there any major companies operating there? I'm sure WWE have/do tour there, are these tours successful? Would they host a PPV there? Is it a relatively untapped market? Why hasn't WWE tried to emphasise it more by doing something like getting a Chinese wrestler on the roster?


First of all, screw you Dramatic Dream Team Wrestling. You made me waste too much time trying to find New Beijing Pro Wrestling.

Anyway, the background of wrestling in China is pretty much non-existent. New Japan has run some shows there in the 90's, but the first TV wrestling in China appears to be in 2007, when WWE signed deals with ten Chinese provincial TV stations, as well as content deals with video sites Tudou and Youku, two of the biggest Chinese video sharing sites (which have merged since then). WWE has since grown consistently in popularity in China, with the first tour taking place in 2010, and another tour in 2012, and another one set for later in the year. AJPW and NJPW also did a joint show in 2012 in Taiwan.

China has no actual wrestling companies there full time, according to my research. As for WWE's tours, the first was all free, but now that they have a following, they have had some success. The shows aren't sold out, but they are hot and very popular, only way is up and all that. They wouldn't hold a PPV there, simply because WWE pretty much refuses to hold a PPV anywhere they can't get their huge ass stage to nowadays, plus the time difference issue. I mean there's nothing stopping them, if China decided they really wanted a PPV, and would pay, WWE would do it. But I don't see it happening. A TV taping… Maybe. In a few years. If China goes nuts for them.

It is certainly an untapped market, as WWE would love to have a billion people watching and buying their products and services. And they've been shooting up every year, according to their marketing. And, from that same marketing, they've said they'd love a Chinese wrestler, but it's not something essential, since the WWE International VP points out that John Cena's more popular than any local guy anywhere. And a Chinese fan interviewed for a Reuters article agrees, saying a Chinese guy would be awesome but John Cena's their favorite.

Of course, WWE really wants someone from everywhere. They want a Chinese star. They want a Japanese star. They want an Australian star (or rather, they want an Aussie Stereotype…), they want someone from every major market. Ideally their roster has someone from everywhere, so everyone has a hometown hero. But finding guys like that…

(And in case anyone is curious, I've never met either Matt Silva/Buddy Murphy nor Emma. They're both from Melbourne, so while we almost certainly know some people in common, we never crossed paths).

And, of course, there being no Chinese wrestling companies means that there's no Chinese wrestlers coming up any time soon. Although that's an open market for someone to exploit…

Similarly, what are the prospects of wrestling growing in other developing economies like India, Brazil, and Nigeria? Does there seem to be a market for it?

Thanks for the answers.

Regards,


India: On one hand, India does have a wrestling school. On the other, it's supposedly VERY expensive ($40,000!?!) and is not very good. But Ring Ka King proved there's some market there, and it is another billion people waiting for entertainment. WWE has broadcast and toured there, in fact it nearly killed William Regal. But sure, it's ripe for exploitation marketing.

Brazil: There is a history of wrestling in Brazil. Originally called ‘Telecatch Montila', later ‘Os Reis do Ringue' (The Kings of the Ring), there was televised pro wrestling from the 60's through to 1980.



And today there is the Brazilian Wrestling Federation going ‘strong'.



And, of course, WWE has toured there. Although I'm never going to get my Wrestlemania/Carnival merger…

Nigeria: The Great Power Uti! All Hail Power Uti!



Anyway, the Nigerian Wrestling Federation has existed for a while, and wrestling has been going on in Nigeria for many years, with their own Hulk Hogans as the video says, and surprisingly WWE doesn't seem to be in the discussion there. And while that seems like it should be a market for them, everything I've heard says that WWE is probably best to leave it alone for now. Nigeria seems a tough nut to crack if you're not local, but that just might be due to the stories I've heard so who knows.

Still, 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

Connor turns to a man.

Whatever happened to Savio Vega? he was a good underrated talent that could put on good matches, he had a great feud with Steve Austin too

is there a chance he would ever go back to the WWE?


After the Gang Wars angle petered out (he did win the blow off though), he had a couple more matches before entering the Brawl 4 All which marked his last appearance on WWF TV, losing to Droz in the quarterfinals.

He moved into semi-retirement, working for IWA back in Puerto Rico as co-owner despite having no actual shares in the company. He'd wrestle on many occasions, but mostly worked as an authority figure. He still does that today.

But also during this time, in 08-09 he worked as a road agent for TNA, ending up as head of (and unofficial trainer) of the Knockouts, before he was let go, then brought back a couple years later to work on Ring Ka King, helping to train the Indian wrestlers for the project.

So I think that if he was to go back to WWE it would be as an agent or trainer in NXT, which would be a good place for him. He did know what he was doing after all, and WWE can always use more trainers and road agents who know what they are doing.

Ed brings up a topic that has been in the column the past few weeks.

You've talked a lot about the difference between some wrestlers wanting a lot of leeway when planning out a match and other who like working out every detail, i.e. Steamboat preferring his matches with Flair instead of Savage. Recently you said that it all comes down to the guys in the match and you said hopefully a guy that likes to plan it all out doesn't get paired up with someone who likes to call it on the fly. This got me thinking about Flair and Savage. They had a lot of matches against each other and a great rivalry. We both know they had vastly different ways of calling matches so how did they manage to have those matches when they had such different ideologies when it came to planning out a match?

Flair has spoken about this in the past, especially right after Savage passed on. He's very complimentary to his WM match with him…

"That was a huge day for me and my first dance at WrestleMania, of course. It was just a tremendously well-written program. It was like he was married to Liz back then and she was a huge commodity and a huge star with the WWF, or that's what they were called back then, of course. And the thing was, ‘She was mine before she was yours.' It was well-written and done and Randy worked hard at it and I worked hard at it. We had a really good match. Curt Hennig, God rest his soul, managed me and Liz managed Randy and we gave them a hell of a show and it was awesome. That was my first Mania and one of the finest memories of my career."

And as for Savage in general…

'I think he was such a competitive guy. Randy had a really hard time relaxing and I feel bad. I think about the times I used to say to him, ‘Hey man, just calm down and don't worry about this and this and this… whatever happens is going to happen.'

‘I didn't always agree with Randy. I'm not gonna lie to you. I didn't sweat things out like he did. But I wasn't… I didn't have to fight like a dog in that race they had to be whoever they were in the eighties in that show, where everybody was fighting for position everyday of their life. I didn't have to evolve from that. I never had personal differences with him, nothing about lifestyle. It was just about business and it doesn't stop my opinion (of him) — he always did favors for me. He came in and opened some of my Gold's Gyms.'

‘We were great friends. He and I clashed in business but outside of the ring we were great. He could drink beer and have a good time. And I made him laugh and helped him take his mind of things that bothered him. We got along great and had a lot of fun together.'


So yeah, they probably did clash a little. But the thing is, Flair had been in Savage's spot, kinda, before. Flair during his broomstick period, he'd do roughly the same match, just plugging in his opponent's moves. So unlike Steamboat, Flair had experience working roughly the same match over and over. You can argue it's a limitation of Steamboat, or that it's just a virtue of Flair or just one of those things, but although I'm sure Flair is like Steamboat in the sense he'd prefer to go out there and just work, unlike Steamboat he was more at home with the planning, at least enough to go out there and work with Savage.

See, although everyone is different, if you keep it simple, and don't try to do a million moves, someone who prefers to call it can work a structured match. I've done it. I've pretty much done little working the crowd because of it, but certainly if the spots are simple and the match well laid out, a caller can work a planned match much better than the other way round. Of course, the risk is that if you overcomplicate it, then it all goes to pot, and then the planner gets lost if/when the caller goes rogue and improvises.

No Name, No City asks a PPV legal question which I think he'd probably have wanted answered a while ago, sorry bout that…

Hey Q-
I've been in the bar business for awhile now. We don't generally get these questions about wrestling, but every time there's a UFC or major boxing PPV, the phone rings off the hook asking of we'll be showing the fight. Well we aren't, and the reason is that we (the bar's commercial cable account) don't get the PPV for $50 or $60 or whatever. We have to pay according to our occupancy. Which may mean thousands of dollars. I don't blame the cable companies, they assume we'll charge a cover and somehow profit off their product. And maybe we could, and maybe we'd make a profit, but to ensure we don't take a bath, that would mean people paying up front, hitting a certain number of people, and keeping track of it all. It's a gamble, and a pain in the ass. It's easier just not too show it. Big chain places like Hooters have deals in place with cable companies about this sort of thing, but corner, neighborhood places do not. But, now that it's easier to get things like this on a computer, and it's easier to hook that computer up to a tv... After all that, my question boils down to, what's to stop me from hooking my laptop up to a tv and showing Wrestlemania? Is that illegal? What would happen to me and my business if I got caught?


OK, so, three questions.

What's to stop you hooking your laptop to a TV and, via the WWE Network, showing WM on a big screen to your customers? Nothing, if you can work out the logistics on getting the vision onto the TV, there's no technical issue there.

Is this illegal? Absolutely. WWE lists on their website that, quote:

Anyone who displays, reproduces, copies, creates derivative works or sells our textual, photographic, video or audiovisual programs for commercial or non-commercial purposes without permission from WWE violates the copyright laws and is liable for copyright infringement.

That includes showing PPVs at bars, as it would also cover showing a PPV at your home if you charged people to see it. (Technically it might also mean you can't invite ANYONE over, but that's a road WWE won't go down unless you invite 1,000 people over or something). To show a WWE PPV at your venue, you legally have to enter into a venue agreement.

What's the damage if you get caught? Depends on the specifics. If you intercept a satellite signal, the fine is $10,000 per violation, with the option to up that to $100,000 if it was done ‘wilfully' and for ‘commercial advantage'. If you can show that you genuinely weren't aware of this law, they can reduce it down to $250. Getting it off cable is also $10,000 minimum, but the most is $50,000.

Plus, the copyright owner, in this case WWE, can also sue for copyright infringement, for a maximum penalty of $150,000. So it can add up.

Although the majority of people end up settling for less than that, lawyers tend to go "Look, settle for $10,000 now, this other guy paid $150,000, you want to pay that?" and get quick settlements.

So, in conclusion, you're running a risk if you do put WM up onto the big screens without becoming an official WWE Blast Area (their term for licensed venues). On the other hand, I know at least one place that is run by a certain woman who may or may not be a goddess of a certain writer who may or may not be writing about this topic that is showing WMXXX but is not an official venue, so clearly there is wiggle room if you've worked there…

James has a simple question.

Greetings! Love the article. I only have one question -

Why did Sgt. Slaughter begin using a noogie as his finisher in the early 90s?


Because he didn't want to use the Cobra Clutch while he was a heel, so he changed to something else that was more heelish. He never actually beat any major names with it, he did put away jobbers though.

Why the noogie? I can't tell you specifically, just that it IS a dick move and, if the announcers can put it over well enough, it can get over. Obviously they didn't, since the Atomic Noogie is still laughed at today. But had they called it the Jaffari Nerve Block, taught to Slaughter by Saddam's personal physician as a way to painfully incapacitate a foe by disrupting the nerve endings in the brain or something… Might not have sucked as much.

One Man's (Important) Opinion



As promised, TheLordHighEmperor is back.

2. Does the WWE have an issue with race? Most non-Caucasians only rise high enough to be mid-card champions or tag team champions. And if they do get to main event level they only get in the hunt for the #2 championship, the World Heavyweight Championship . . . which is now kinda defunct with the unification of the belts. Is it that they feel nobody of color is deserving of a top title or that they don't want to develop anybody into that role?

WWE will say absolutely not. Many people would say they do. The answer is… Well there is no hard and fast answer, since it's pretty much an opinion thing, and not really about WWE but rather about race relations generally.

I mean, there have been 44 men in history who have been WWE Champion. Most of them are American Caucasian, absolutely. But they've had a Puerto Rican, multiple Mexicans, an Iranian, a Frenchman, an Italian, an Irishman, a Samoan portraying a Japanese (sort of), Canadians a plenty and The Rock. It's a better track record that US Presidents so far.

The WWE argument has been that prior to Attitude, the belt didn't jump around that much, so few guys got to hold it, while afterwards it's just been a matter of timing and luck, but The Rock's been champ lots of time, that makes it all all right, right?

*3/4 Chandler*

WWE has tried to get guys of color up to the main event, it's just that every one they tried either didn't work out as a main event talent (Faarooq, Kamala), self-destructed prior to getting there (Johnson, Lashley) or… Who knows why. (Benjamin).

But on the other hand, there have been people who claim that there's institutional racism, guys like Kamala and Court Bauer claim that it does exist, and certainly the number of times WWE hasn't capitalised on talent of color is not small.

So what's the end result? I'm kinda stuck on the fence, in that I don't think there's a deliberate idea to push Whitey and screw Darkey, but there have been some very puzzling instances of guys getting derailed for seemingly no good reason. It could just be simple incompetence, sure, but maybe not…

Or, perhaps, it's a case of WWE unconsciously tipping the scales a little. If you set out to find a guy to push and you set guidelines that they have to be clean cut and mass marketable and can talk and can work and can go on TV and be a cross-promotional star… You might find yourself ruling out guys not because you're overtly racist but that you've drawn up guidelines that unconscious racism will knock them out on.

But then again, if WWE is being racist, who exactly have they held back? Which superstars didn't they push hard enough? It's all well and good to look at the list and say that there's not enough color, but who should be there that isn't?

I dunno, I've never been a part of the WWE selection process, so I can't say for sure if they are or aren't. I'm sure many people below will say one way or the other.

4. TV Title? Why doesn't the WWE create or reactivate WCW's TV Title? It would be a great reason to do a KOTR tournament to crown a new champion and a great way to get a rising Superstar some exposure. It would require that the Superstar perform on all shows and give an opportunity to get NXT participants on the main shows to see if they can hang.

Thanks in advance for answering these questions.


Certainly some agree with you. And I can certainly see how it could work and be good. Thing is, WWE seems to generally prefer to have titles representing regions rather than concepts. The Hardcore and Cruiserweight titles aren't around any more after all. Plus they seem to be reducing belt numbers, not increasing them, so I don't think WWE is gonna bring in a belt from WCW any time soon.

However, once they unify the IC and US titles into the IC belt, WWE will need a tertiary belt, if only for Grand Slam status (I'm still not sold on MITB being an acceptable entrant). And honestly? I'd prefer the European title came back. If only because I want Sandow as first champ and weekly lessons in European Culture. I want Sandow and Aksana doing Romeo and Juliet one week!

And on that bizarre fantasy booking, I bid you fare thee well in thy travels, and may by fate we meet again.

Next week, hopefully.





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