Ask 411 Wrestling 04.16.14: House Show Title Wins, Vince McMahon's Luck, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 04.16.2014
Does the Undertaker have the longest entrance in wrestling history? How did WWF get to use the Hart Family Dungeon? Was Summerslam intended to be a tag team-themed PPV? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
Hello and welcome to the only column ‘worried' that Raw may be banned in Kansas for blatantly pushing a liberal agenda by telling impressionable young minds to 'Believe In Evolution', Ask 411 Wrestling!
(If you don't like that one, feel free to pretend it's something about how Steph probably can't pull off the Flair look.)
I am your host, Mathew Sforcina, and while I am here this week, I shall not be here next week, as it'll be my birthday, I'll be mentally drained due to what I'm doing over Easter, and there's a specific question that will take hours to do that I want to crack. It'll either end up as most of my return column or a special edition, not sure. Plus I gotta get the Summerslam list ready. So next week Daniel Wilcox will be holding down the fort. Huzzah and so forth.
"NWA World Champ Buddy Rodgers dropped the belt to Lou Thesz in a one fall match, and WWWF didn't recognize the change since it wasn't a 2/3 falls match, so Rodgers was the WWWF champion."
Why the 'd' in "Rodgers"? Is that an Australian thing?
I googled him, thinking maybe that was the real spelling, but it turns out his name was nothing close to "buddy rogers"
That's not so much an Aussie thing as just a ‘My brain went into sleep mode for a moment and trusted spellcheck'. For whatever reason, my computer said Rogers was wrong and Rodgers was right. My bad.
KOTR 99: I double dipped there just because Gunn winning was pointless and stupid since he was never going to be the guy they wanted him to be, and while Dogg probably wouldn't have done much with it, it'd almost certainly have been better. That said though, on reflection, drop the Dogg winning (he should have been in the finals still) and replace that with Sandow cashes in successfully.
New 10th Underrated: Regal/Finlay Uncensored 96 then.
The Trivia Crown
I am an active wrestler. I won something that can remind some people of certain body part. I was trained by someone who had, at one time, a gimmick named in honor of a legendary Hall of Famer. The first time I wrestled for the company I'm working for right now, I used a name that in English is a disease (or a group of stars) and in its original language an animal. He defeated a former WCW star for his first singles title. I may have a strong feeling for someone who, even if it was in a very different circumstance, earned an opportunity somewhat similar to mine and a notoriously grumpy wrestler would like me very much. Who am I?
Matt Boogie has your answer.
-Won something reminding people of a body part: TNA Gut Check
-Trained by "Big Cat" Curtis Hughes ("Big Cat" Ernie Ladd is a HOFer)
-First appeared in TNA as Lupus in 2010. Lupus is a disease/constellation in English, but means "wolf" in Latin
-Defeated Glacier for Vintage Wrestling Heavyweight title
-Obsessed fan of Christy Hemme, who won the Diva Search in WWE
-Grumpy wrestler would like me? Don't Know
You are Samuel Shaw
No question this week since I won't be here next week to answer it. If you really want a trivia question, tell me the exact running time of each WM for that question from last week. Please.
Getting Down To Business
Adam has a bunch of questions.
Hi, I have a series off questions that are somewhat tenuously connected.
1) Summerslam being a few weeks away had me thinking about the early Summerslams, Of the first 4, 3 were main evented by non title Tag Team Matches and the exception, could very easily have also featured a Hogan/Warrior team. Was there any plan at the start to have a tag team main event be a reoccurring Summerslam gimmick or was it just coincidence?
It wasn't going to be like that at first, the original plan was for the first Summerslam to be headlined by Wrestlemania IV Tournament Winner Ted DiBiase dropping the title to Randy Savage. And then after that didn't happen, this show might well have been the formation of the Four Horsemen managed by Bobby Heenan (which would have been just SO right…) in WWF and Flair challenging Savage for the belt, but that fell through to.
However after the first Summerslam, once it was decided to have the top two faces end their feuds with the top two heels, they did begin a tradition, as you say, of having them main evented by tag matches. It wasn't the original plan, but for the first few years it worked, in that you could blow off your two major feuds in one match, and it gave the show a sort of identity, and it just kept working out for the storylines at the time. The moment it didn't become viable anymore, they stopped, so it wasn't as steadfast a rule as it could have been, certainly. But yeah, after the first one ended up like that they did aim for it, until the storylines went another way.
2) Speaking of Tag Team matches at Summerslam, during Summerslam 1998 there was a mixed tag match between Jacqueline/Mero & Sable with a mystery partner. The mystery partner ended up being Edge, who had no connection to the storyline before or after and came completely out of nowhere, was Edge always the intended mystery partner, or was he a last minute replacement for someone else?
To be fair, the Raw after Summerslam (a special Saturday edition) Edge and Mero had a match where Gangrel attacked Edge and began that program, so there was a small bit of continuality.
(Plus in the WWF magazine they supposedly hinted at Sable and Edge becoming an item.)
But to my knowledge, Edge was always the plan. He was a newcomer to the company, and having him help Sable solidified that he was a good guy, and thus we knew to cheer for him when Gangrel attacked him. But given that Edge didn't work out so well at first, that plan got changed quickly into hooking him back up with Christian as a team, but the plan at the time was Edge as fiery white meat babyface. Tagging with Sable was the plan.
3) Speaking of Summerslam 1998, there was also a Lions Den match between Owen Hart & Ken Shamrock, which took place not in Madison Square Garden but in the next door theatre. The ring/cage was surrounded with fans. I have always wondered what the deal was with that crowd, did they sell tickets to fans for a single 5 minute match, were these comp tickets, or were they fans from the main garden who just went through an adjoining door?
… Dear lord I found the press release. Released 31st of July, 1998.
SHAMROCK AND OWEN STEP INTO THE LION'S DEN AT SUMMERSLAM--AND TICKETS GO ON SALE TOMORROW (SATURDAY, AUGUST 1)
As a special added attraction to SummerSlam: "Highway To Hell", Ken Shamrock and Owen Hart will step into the "Lion's Den" during the Pay-Per-View on August 30!
This caged, no-holds-barred, submission competition will take place in "The Theater at Madison Square Garden," and tickets go on-sale TOMORROW (SATURDAY, AUGUST 1, AT 10 AM ET) at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets or charge-by-phone at 212-307-7171. Tickets are priced at $18.00. Link to the Ticketmaster website to purchase seats online.
Limited seating is available for the Lion's Den Match between Shamrock and Owen, so order your tickets as soon as you rub the crust out of your eyes in the morning! Those in attendance for the no-holds-barred bout will be able to watch SummerSlam: "Highway To Hell" in its entirety via closed-circuit television! Meaning that you'll witness Shamrock and Owen tearing each other apart inside the Lion's Den, as well as watch the Pay-Per-View from "The Theater at Madison Square Garden"!
As you know, the 1998 King of the Ring became champion of the Ultimate Fighting world in much the same sort of structure. At Fully Loaded, the Calgary native got to fight on his home turf in the Hart Family Dungeon. Now it's time for Shamrock to attempt to tame Hart in HIS "Zone" on August 30 when the two step into the Lion's Den. Due to the aggressive nature of this contest, one of these superstars might have his career cut short at this special SummerSlam match, exclusive to "The Theater at Madison Square Garden"!
GET TICKETS TOMORROW!! (SATURDAY, AUGUST 1)
So yeah, they sold cheap tickets after most, if not all the regular MSG tickets were gone, and you got one live match and then the show on the big screen. Hey, if you missed out on the show proper, this was a good deal to at least get something.
… Have I mentioned how insanely cool the Internet is as times? I mean, really, the stuff on here is just spectacular. All the obscure wrestling info is out there, you just gotta find it. Oh, and shopping and social media and porn and all that. They're all good too.
4) Speaking of Owen Hart & Ken Shamrock's feud, one month earlier at Fully Loaded 1998, they faced each other in match staged in the Hart Family Dungeon. Considering this was less than a year after the Montreal Screwjob, I was amazed that the Hart Family were willing to work with the WWF, Is there any kind of backstage story as to how this arrange was worked out?
I guess I peaked with the press release.
Anyway, I couldn't find any stories about this, but I will say that while of course Owen had an in and respect, Shamrock was, while not part of the family, a friend of the family. He trained with Bret when he first came into the WWF, he'd worked with Bret and Davey Boy, so he was on good terms with the family. I know Dan Severn has talked about the match, but I couldn't find a recap of what specifically he said about it. But given that all three men were on good terms with the Hart Family, they didn't have to ask too many times to get permission.
But by all means, dear readers, if there is a story about this, do share…
5) Speaking of the Hart Family, Why hasn't Jim Neidhart ever been seen in the WWE alongside his daughter, considering the length of time she has been in the company and the rest of the Hart Family appearing at some point since Bret Hart returned, his absence seems strange.
Thanks for answering the questions.
Yeah, that's a little odd, although they did once put out a Tout of Natalya calling him to say she'd won a #1 Contenders match. Whenever Natalya has been with a family member, it's been Bret.
But then you look over the past couple of years, Jim's been in trouble with the law, he's been battling drug addiction, and he gained a fair bit of weight over some months. He's doing a lot better now, he's done some NXT work and such, but it would appear that basically he hasn't been in the right state to make an appearance in the past. Perhaps now, that he's looking a lot better, perhaps we'll get an appearance. But so far it's been less about Nattie and more just that WWE isn't too keen on putting him on air, it seems.
Frank has questions about stiffness.
1. In the Video you posted with Angle vs. Roderick Strong it looks like Angle is "working stiff" with the "home town hero" and from what I can remember at that time most if not all of Angle's Invitational challengers were all treated the same way. Was there a reason for this did Angle not like the story line or was he working stiff to make the bouts seem more "real"?
… And people say Strong has no charisma?
Anyway, I looked over a few other ones, and yeah, he was pretty vicious for the most part. And I think it was just to make him that much more of a dick, since the end result was going to be Eugene.
To my knowledge he didn't have a problem with the angle, he was just playing the role given, and that was a bully. Plus Strong pretty much got the worst beatdown out of all of them, and Strong's a guy I say who can handle it, so they probably worked that out between them. ("Can I beat you up kid?" "Sure!")
But as always, I'm more than happy to be corrected by you, dear reader, if you have better info.
2. In the vein of working stiff, Who are some of the guys who are notorious for doing so.. Obviously guys like Angle, Hardcore Holly, Ahmed Johnson have all been given this label, who are some of the more notorious stiff workers?
Vader. Always Vader.
But there's basically three types of stiff worker.
There's the guys who can work stiff, but can also work safer. The guys who can turn it on and off. Guys like Regal, Finlay, Angle, Benoit, guys who can stiff you if they chose to, but only do so if you agree to it.
Then there are guys who are stiff because they are not great at what they do. They range from the horrible (muscular rookies) to just being unable to pull their punches (Goldberg, Johnson) or because they think it makes the matches look realer and that's better (a variable percentage of the indy scene at any one time).
And then there's the ‘bullies'. The ones who stiff you because they can and they find it funny or they think you need respect or they don't like you or whatever. Often guys are hated because of it (Bradshaw, Holly by some people) but sometimes guys get away with it (Andre, Funk at times).
It's always an issue, because the point is to make it look legit, but if you're hurting your opponent beyond bruises then you're ignoring the first rule of wrestling.
I tend to view it nowadays like this. The occasional stiff shot by accident is fine. Working snug to stiff if both guys agree is fine. Stiffing for the sake of stiffing isn't good, stiffing consistently indicates a problem, and if you stiff others while complaining about getting stiffed then you're a worst bloke.
But then I'm biased on this, I'm like 90% marshmallow in there, beyond the occasional strike/elbow drop and stuff I almost never get comments about hurting guys and I'm not eager to get injured. I very much fall into the "stay safe" side of the pool. So other guys may have other opinions.
Oh, and which stiff workers should I be mentioning here people?
Nantucket Swingline SonofaGun, who I haven't answered in a while I don't think, has a rule question.
Harry Smith indicated in an interview recently (seen on Youtube) that WWE has a rule in the tag team division that the illegal partner is allowed to pick a save at a pinfall/submission attempt one time, but if its done a second time the team gets disqualified. How long has this rule been in place? I don't recall up until last week on RAW a team getting disqualified for breaking up a pinfall (The Shield on 8/5 Raw). Has the WWE at any point addressed this to the fans? Harry says that they have not, but I would assume they would have had to at some point.
Nope, they haven't said that to the fans at any point. And it's a fairly simple idea to grasp, in that the first time you do it you get a warning then the second time it's a DQ. That makes sense, but the thing about wrestling rule changes is that if you bring them in you need to have a few matches where the rule is applied to get it over. If WWE suddenly decided that you could win a match via Riverdance, you'd expect a few matches over a month or two to end via Riverdance to solidify that in the watching public, that it was now a viable match victory condition.
Now, as for David Smith's comments…
He agrees with me that they should be telling the fans this. Now, I get the logic behind making this rule, like how Bill Watts outlawed top rope moves to make them mean more, saving your partner is now a one shot, so when do you play it the card and so forth, but again, you gotta tell people.
I don't know when this rule came into place, but I assume it was back in 07 when they were beefing up the refs in the sense of telling them to count the falls as is, despite knowing the finishes they were to treat the match as a proper match and, supposedly, if you ended up getting counted out that's your fault, not the ref's. Just an assumption though.
Willy Dope has a few questions.
super late to the party but welcome back Massive Q...glad that I can finally look forward to logging onto 411 Wednesday mornings again!!!
Watching the 2005 ECW ONS PPV and was wondering why did Sabu seem so furious after the match with Rhyno? Alot of it seemed abit directed at Bill Alfonso, am I reading too much into it, was this just a dynamic between the three (Him, Bill, RVD) that I may have missed?
Yeah, that's pretty much how the trio always were. Back in ECW, RVD was the laid back but braggadocios head, Fonzie was the annoying loud prick, and Sabu the silent straight man who was always on the verge of snapping and kicking both of their asses.
Possibly he was also hurt during the match, and/or he was annoyed about some aspect of the match (despite his place in the Botchamania HOF, he's very much a perfectionist about his matches). But it was more the relationship the trio had in ECW I bet.
also, what are the precautions (if any) taking place for if something were to go awry when a wrestler dives into the crowd, or one is making an entrance or brawling within the crowd?
Depends on the scale of your organisation.
If you're the WWE or some huge company, you'll have security in place to keep people back, or plants in the spot to catch you or whatever, you plan everything carefully and try to ensure there's as little risk as possible.
If you're in the indies? You wing it and hope people are smart enough to get out of the way. And/or your opponent will clear the path for your dive, moving the barricades and such if need be.
Lastly, seeing Sandman's entrance at that same show again...does that go down as the longest entrance by a pro wrestler? If not then who?
Sandman's entrance was about, oh, five minutes or so.
Which is about the same level as Undertaker entrances.
But the longest entrance by a wrestler I found? Paul London once had a entrance that clocked in at almost nine minutes.
So unless someone below has a better answer, Taker had the most consistently long entrance, but London wins, technically.
And hey, if Maffew wants to become ‘Shoot Story Guy' too, that would be awesome!
And this wasn't Maffew but it's still cool.
Jay asks about original plans.
Just a random question.
I have always wondered what the original direction was going to be for Lex Luger in 1990 after Sting was tossed from The Horsemen. Was Luger supposed to remain a heel, but Sting's knee injury caused Lex to be turned babyface to feud with Flair? Or were they planning on turning Luger face all along?
The booking plans of WCW back then were somewhat fluid, they changed from day to day, but Sting V Luger for the belt was a fairly safe bet. Sting was going to win the belt from Flair no matter what (apart from major injury, which did happen), Luger was going to remain a heel unless Sting got severely injured, and running Sting V Luger over the summer seemed to be where they were going.
A question that is sort of the opposite of a question last week:
You thoroughly covered house show title changes that were not meant to be acknowledged for story lines. How about house show title changes that WERE meant to be acknowledged? As an example, I seem to recall a WWE title change a few years ago (maybe the tag titles?) due to a coming wellness suspension. I'm sure there are other examples where a promotion, for one reason or another, has to get a title off of someone before the next televised show.
All right then. I'm going to ignore title changes back in the old days when most shows were non-televised. Once the title began to change hands on PPV/TV, roughly, is when I'll start counting. Where possible I'll give reasons why said title change occurred (if I miss one, do let me know). WWE only for now. You want other companies? Send me an email.
Bret Hart over Ric Flair, October 12, 1992. (Was a taping but the match wasn't meant to be part of a show and done to get belt off Flair ASAP. If you don't count this, ok.)
Diesel over Bob Backlund, November 26, 1994. (To recreate the Hogan magic.)
ECW Title (WWE):
The Mountie over Bret Hart, January 17, 1992. (Angle to set up Hart/Piper and/or if Hart didn't renew contract)
Shawn Michaels over Marty Jannetty, June 6, 1993.
(Razor and Jarrett swapped the IC title around in 95, weren't really mentioned at time but now official. Feel free to include if you desire.)
Edge over Jeff Jarrett, July 24, 1999. (Edge was tossed in to replace Shamrock due to travel issues, crowd reaction so good they let the title change stand.)
Christian over Booker T, August 10, 2003. (Back Injury)
US Title (WWE):
WWE Tag Titles (Original/World):
Money Inc over The Legion Of Doom, February 7, 1992. (Hawk failed a drug test)
The Natural Disasters over Money Inc, July 20, 1992.
(Money Inc and Steiners swap belts few times in 1993, end up with belts on Steiners as new champs, but every switch not mentioned at time.)
The Quebecers over 123 Kid and Marty Jannetty, January 17, 1994.
Shawn Michaels and Diesel over The Headshrinkers, August 28, 1994.
The Godwins over The Bodydonnas, May 19, 1996.
La Resistance over William Regal and Eugene Jonathan Coachman, January 16, 2005 (Injury to Eugene)
Miz and Morrison over Punk and Kofi, December 13, 2008.
WWE Tag Titles (Newer/Unified):
Primo and Epico over Air Boom, January 15, 2012 (Bourne Wellness Policy Violation)
Nunzio over Juventud, November 15, 2005. (Italy, home town boy.)
Light Heayweight Title:
Spider Lady (Fabulous Moolah) over Wendi Richter, November 25, 1985. (Original Screwjob)
Sensational Sherri over Fabulous Moolah, July 24, 1987.
All of them and yet none of them, at the same time.
Any other belts?
One Man's (Important) Opinion
Jason Helton, Canada's Fifth Favorite Son, has a couple questions.
Do you think it matters that no one knows why the Shield was helping Punk beat Ryback it's kinda like the Black Hummer deal in WCW
WCW did explain the White Hummer thing (Bischoff), and WWE did explain the Shield thing, in that the night after the 2013 Royal Rumble, they revealed that Heyman and Brad Maddox were working together and paying The Shield to do their dirty work.
So, yeah. The fact that people don't remember it is ok though, since now Shield and Punk are good guys and Ryback is a bad guy and so in retrospect we don't mind that due to their current alignment.
How lucky has Vince McMahon been? Owen Hart died during a ore taped segment Brian Pillman and Eddie Guerrero died of heart attacks with Pillman dying 16 hours before PPV. Droz was paralyzed on a house show. How do you think wrestling would have changed if one of those men died on TV instead of in a hotel room
Droz was injured on a Smackdown taping rather than a house show, although it's much of a muchness since they could just edit it out and never show it to anyone.
That said, the thing about live TV is that it is not, in fact, live. There's a seven second delay at least, so if someone did die notably, there's a chance they'd avoid showing it. Plus if the incident didn't occur right in the middle of the ring as the focus of attention, they could shoot around it. Look at the job they did to avoid drawing attention to Lawler having a heart attack on Raw.
So the odds of an actual death on air are pretty low, in that it has to be a medical emergency mid ring, or a suicide. If the first happens, then they avoid showing it outside of "This stuff is dangerous" and they go on a PR campaign. If it's a suicide they never show it and they pull a Benoit.
As for Vince's luck, I'm sure he considers himself unlucky since he's had a few people die while under his employ. Wrestlers dying elsewhere are bad enough but to have several people die while directly employed by him, even if none of them are on live TV, he still considers himself unlucky over that.
But if Owen's death didn't cause a major shift in wrestling, short someone pulling a gun or something you probably won't find much change if someone dies due to injury (Wrestling is intense and difficult and only for trained professionals, kids.) or due to medical issues (Get your heart checked people!). WWE would survive, they can talk their way out of it.
Brian talks music and merch.
1. I know you're bummed about the "Network" (maybe they should bring back that Palmer Cannon guy from 2006 era Smackdown in his same role again) not being available down under. But trust me, with as much awesomeness as there is (Countdown, for example, is produced like "Best Week Ever" and is not as repetitive as I would have expected) there's a bunch of garbage you end up watching just because it's there and you're paying for it. For example, I watched all four episodes of "Slam City" this morning (yes, they're like 2 minutes long a piece).
Anyhow, for as much as I write to you, I never thought I'd be the guy to write your bi-weekly "how can we turn/change/freshen up Cena" email, but on Slam City the superstars theme music is very prevalent, as a loud snippet is played each time they appear.
We're coming up on the 9th anniversary of Cena using "The Time is Now". I think many of us, waiting for that Cena heel turn, have been hoping the day arrives that he signifies it by coming out to "Basic Thuganomics" instead of "The Time is Now". However, we all know by now that fabled heel turn isn't happening, or at least for quite some time.
But why not have Cena record a new theme? For starters, I can't believe that a 9 year old song that's played twice a week is selling like gangbusters on ITunes anymore (i hope you have that in Australia?), so I don't think there's much risk in terms of theme song sales, but a new song could hit the charts, could make the morning talk show rounds, even might get play on satellite stations like Shady 45 or on the club scene as a remix. A new theme would still be supported by just as much of the dedicated "Cenation", and would have the potential to be supported by some of the doubters. I enjoyed the "TTIN" when it first came out, I wouldn't automatically hate on a new song like I would any other piece of Cena gear. It could freshen the character, could help inspire his next five catchphrases and/or merch logos. Plus, and I can't believe I went full circle on this, if you ever did want to refine his character (which has CLEARLY occurred during the time the song has been in rotation), the song could contain aspects that one could build on to get him there.
Even if it completely backfired, you could always go back to the old theme, ala Orton during that one year. It would also force the booers and Cena suckers (great name for his fan/hate club btw) to find a new rhythm or cadence for when in the opening they want to do this.
The thing is, Cena doesn't really rap all that much any more, plus the song is pretty sold in terms of audience recognition. Unless there's a gimmick change or a massive turn, you shouldn't be messing with a theme too much if it is THAT iconic.
I get what you're saying, I can see the argument, but past a certain point you change a theme song and it rarely works out well unless there is the clean reason to do so.
I dunno, this is one of those cases where wrestling logic and standard business logic run at cross purposes. Often times in wrestling, you have to do something that from a business point of view is the wrong move (like ending the streak, for instance) but wrestling logic says you should. Part of the reason wrestling is a unique art form and unique business. Standard rules don't always apply…
2. Found these t-shirts at Walmart this weekend. I think if anyone doubts that the PG era is here to stay, I feel like the Ryback shirt is the perfect example of how the 'E expects to sell these guys to the current generation.
But as for that WM30 shirt, sure we can all make jokes about Punk being on the shirt, but we all understand why/how that would happen due to his abrupt departure. But why RVD? I understand is unique deal would probably allow him to return at any time, but they haven't had him on TV since October if I'm not mistaken, they should have known pretty much where they were going with him--for example, he wasn't even in the Rumble. There are plenty of guys that were more of a slam dunk for WM they could have put on there, including Ryback, or Cody since his brother is on there even. (Do we stick a 1/10 Chandler about Cody being a lock for WM since they've been booked so blase over the last two months?)
Now it could be just a case of them putting who they think will sell and they have under contract, but I suspect it's a case of hoping before something was locked in. See, RVD's last contract was for 90 days, and while that's not a set limit, he does seem to be looking to only have short runs. He wants time off to go do other stuff, then when it's convenient to him and WWE, he will come back for another shortish run, and then leave again. He was interested to come back for the WM period, but out of spite over him not signing an extension last time, or due to not being able to lock him in through to Extreme Rules, or whatever the reason, he didn't come back till the night after WM.
So maybe the shirt was designed while he was still around, certainly the lack of Brock, DAVE and Bray indicates the shirt was designed months ago. At the time he was working for them and was an upper mid face, so he got on the shirt. You gotta do this sort of stuff months in advance in order to have it ready, after all.
And on that oh so slight cop out, I bid you all goodbye for two weeks. I'll go enjoy myself and do a whole lot of counting. See you then, dear readers!