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Ask 411 Wrestling 05.23.14: Randy Savage, Nathan Jones, Jack Veneno, More!
Posted by Daniel Wilcox on 04.23.2014

Good day dear readers and welcome to another edition of the premier online column dedicated to sports entertainment history, trivia and rumour, Ask 411 Wrestling.

The observant ones among you will have already noticed that your regularly host Mathew Sforcina is not at the helm this week as it's his birthday among other things, and as such he's got other, likely more interesting, plans. Attempting to step into those considerable shoes for one week only is yours truly, Daniel Wilcox, author of Thoughts from the Top Rope and frequent Album Reviewer over in the Music Zone.

My wrestling knowledge likely isn't anywhere near as vast as Massive Q's, nor do I have any in-ring experience to brag about, but I do have nearly two decades as a professional wrestling fan under my belt, and I have enough respect for Sforcina and this great column that I shall endeavour to answer questions as thoroughly and as accurately as I possibly can.

Being able to pick out the easy questions helps.

If you have any questions you'd like Mathew to answer in the coming weeks months years then be sure to send them over to ask411wrestling@gmail.com as I cannot guarantee any that end up in my own inbox will be forwarded to Sforcina, because I'm a lazy fuck like that.

With housekeeping done and dusted, let us bask in the glory...


Daniel Wilcox on Facebook!
Daniel Wilcox on Twitter!

Feedback Loop

I'm not going into too much detail on last week's feedback because it's not stemming from my material, but to summarise, there were a number of other house show title changes recalled and a plethora of stiff workers named.

It also took a surprising number of people to work out that Santino Marella's Milan Miracle occurred on an episode of Raw taped in... Milan! Who knew?

The Trivia Crown

Sforcina didn't offer up a Trivia last week, knowing he wouldn't be here to give the answer, but I shall give you a relatively simple one to keep you entertained, because I know that everybody loves Trivia!

Who am I? A well-travelled grappler whose in-ring arsenal is as vast as my championship accomplishments. It could be argued that I'm responsible for perhaps the hottest angle in pro-wrestling history. On two occasions I've won a world title with help from a bitter rival. I have something in common with a Celebrity Inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame and I did something on WWE television way before it was cool.

Getting Down To Business

We'll begin with Ron.

At WrestleMania 7 what was the backstage reason Vince had for booking a retirement match between Warrior and Macho Man? Was Macho Man actually considering retiring from the ring? Is that why he was booked to lose?

By all accounts it was a combination of factors. Firstly, Ultimate Warrior was in the process of having the proverbial rocket strapped to his ass and this point, and when you needed someone to make a new star look good, Vince would frequently turn to Randy Savage. The retirement stipulation was added predominantly for the simple reason that Savage was banged up after six years of being the company's workhorse, and he needed a break for his body to heal up properly for a number of nagging injuries, most notably his back. There were also rumours that Savage and Miss Elizabeth wanted to start a family around this time but I've not read or heard confirmation from anyone involved in that regard. And by using the retirement and the post-match angle with Elizabeth, it allowed Savage to return months down the line as a babyface once again. As best as I can tell, there was no conspiracy theory about Vince and Savage falling out or Savage going to WCW, so it was just a simple case of the guy needing a break.

Axl makes me work.

I have a fact question for you. I was looking at Ryback's pay-per-view record in 2013, and it's glorious: he's been in a match in ten pay-per-views out of twelve and he lost eight times Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber (against The Shield, with John Cena and Sheamus), WrestleMania (Mark Henry), Payback (Cena), Battleground (CM Punk), Hell in a Cell (CM Punk), Survivor Series (Mark Henry) and TLC (Tag Team Fatal Four Way, he was with Axel) had one draw (against Cena at Extreme Rules) and one victory (Y2J at Money in the Bank). So he lost eight times in a year on pay-per-view. (For the record, he also had lost in the three last shows of 2012).

Has anybody else (in WWE) lost so many pay-per-view matches in one calendar year? It seems to me that either you're a jobber and you don't participate in enough pay-per-views to achieve such numbers, or you're at least a mid-carder and you win from time to time. My intuition tells me that Morrison may have had a horrible losing streak in 2011, but I didn't check it.

I'm sure there's someone out there with a worse record than that but it's going to take some finding.

So I started out by checking your John Morrison theory. In 2011, he lost at Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, Extreme Rules, Night of Champions, Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series for a total of six losses. His only wins came at WrestleMania and Summerslam, and he missed a handful of shows for various reasons.

CM Punk, despite two big victories over John Cena, had a miserable 2011 on pay-per-view, losing at Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, WrestleMania, Extreme Rules, Over the Limit, Summerslam, Night of Champions, Hell in a Cell and Vengeance for a total of 9 losses on pay-per-view for the calendar year. There were 13 shows that year though and he wrestled twice at Summerslam.

Both Morrison and Punk had a miserable 2010 as well, with Morrison losing seven times and Punk losing eight.

You can pretty much eliminate anything from 2003 through 2006 because the shows were brand exclusive, it's incredibly unlikely anyone even participated on enough shows to hold the record. Although Eddie Guerrero managed seven pay-per-view defeats in 2005 before his passing, largely thanks to a losing streak against Rey Mysterio. Everyone seemed to just be trading wins back and forth in the Attitude Era Kurt Angle had 8 losses in 2000 despite spending the last three months as champion. The Rock had 8 pay-per-view losses in 1998, but plenty of wins as he progressed to the King of the Ring and Deadly Games finals.

I thought Chris Jericho may have had a couple of really bad years, but nothing worse than Punk's 2011. Dolph Ziggler comes close in 2012 but again, not as bad as Punk.

So to answer your question, yes, people have had years as bad as Ryback in terms of the number of pay-per-view losses, including The Rock and Kurt Angle. CM Punk is the only name I can come up with who has suffered more losses (9) in a calendar year (2011) on pay-per-view than Ryback though. I don't want to definitively say that's the worse record ever though, as I may have overlooked someone.


Brian Garber asks two questions.

1. Why does it seem like fewer and fewer WM matches are being offered each year? They've spent a lot of time developing the Usos and the Real Americans, and even with adding two additional teams and having a 30 man schmozz, it can only limp onto the pre-show? LAME.

Because Kid Rock.

Did I use that right?

If we're talking over the course of WrestleMania history, there's a number of reasons but first let's look at the facts.

Average number of WrestleMania matches [excludes pre-show and dark matches]:

WrestleMania I-X: 10.6
WrestleMania XI-XX: 9.0
WrestleMania 21-XXX: 8.3

So decade by decade there's been an obvious decrease in the number of matches on offer. By the same token, you're average match length is going to go down. In the late 80s and early 90s, that's not much of a problem because the majority of people were watching because of the over-the-top, ,cartoony aspect of the show. Most of the performers were limited in the ring and worked best when they were out there for just a few minutes.

With the arrival of the likes of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, among countless others, there was more emphasis on the in-ring product and thus matches tended to get longer to tell a decent story.

The last decade still puts the emphasis on the athleticism and physicality on show, but it also coincides with the move to stadiums every year and the growth of WrestleMania in terms of Axxess, WrestleMania Week, celebrity involvement and the likes. Yes, some of these things were around at the start, but not on the same scale. So you have to make room for more video packages, interviews and cameos, a few minutes of pyro going off around the stadium as well as the Hall of Fame trotting out bit and the National Anthem or whatever. WWE loves to pat themselves on the pack and WrestleMania gives them a great opportunity to do that.

If you're just talking about more recently, here are the number of matches, again excluding pre-shows and such;

WrestleMania 21: 8
WrestleMania 22: 11
WrestleMania 23: 8
WrestleMania XXIV: 9
WrestleMania XXV: 8
WrestleMania XXVI: 10
WrestleMania XXVII: 8
WrestleMania XVIII: 8
WrestleMania 29: 8
WrestleMania XXX: 7

So over the last decade, the mode and the median average is 8. The mean average of WrestleMania 21-XXV is 8.8, while the mean average of WrestleMania XXVI-XXX is 8.2, hardly a significant reduction.

WrestleMania XXVI featured 10 matches, but only one of those broke the 20-minute barrier and one more just passed the 15-minute mark. There wasn't much in the way of filler, as opposed to WrestleMania 22, which featured 11 matches including a Boogeyman squash match and a Pillow Fight and a World Championship match that went nine minutes. Again, on that show only one match went 20 minutes. By contrast, WrestleMania XXVIII and 29 had three matches that went 20 minutes and Mania XXX had four of its seven matches hit that mark.

You also have to factor in the part-time stars that have returned over the last few years if you have the likes of Undertaker, Lesnar, Rock and Triple H working the same show, on top of your John Cenas and CM Punks, you're going to give those matches significant time because those guys are one of the main reasons people will plonk down their hard earned cash to watch the show. Not many people are going to pay $60 for the Usos and Real Americans, as much as we might enjoy them.

Furthermore, WWE loves promoting social media so it makes sense to have a fairly well-built and significant match on the pre-show as opposed to a completely meaningless battle royal, especially if they're promoting WWE Network.

So to summarise, it boils down to a long-term shift in focus to the in-ring product, the growth of WrestleMania as an entertainment juggernaut, the return of part-time stars and a desire to get eyes on the pre-show. There are obviously lots of factors, but I'd rather performers get time to tell a good story than see filler and Pillow Fights, as ludicrous as that might sound.

Was anyone really that disappointed that the Brodus Clay match got cut last year?

2. Are they seriously having Reigns feature the Superman Punch in solo matches and the 3x Powerbomb in group affairs INSTEAD of the spear simply because Batista is back? That's awful, and makes me even more annoyed with Big Dave if that's the case.

No, not at all. Roman Reigns spear has been featured regularly since Batista returned as is still used as his primary finishing manoeuvre. The Superman Punch is merely a signature move to pad out his in-ring arsenal a little bit more. Reigns speared the hell out of Triple H on Raw a couple of weeks ago and was throwing out spears left, right and centre against Kane and the Outlaws at WrestleMania. Either you've read some ill-informed online gossip or simply missed a plethora of spears on television lately.

David also has two questions, about Ken Shamrock no less.

Shamrock always applied the Ankle Lock submission crouched close to the mat usually on one knee but Angle, Swagger et al apply it standing up. Is there any kayfabe or actual advantage to the standing preference? I would have thought the lower centre of gravity Shamrock had using it his way would make it harder to escape by dragging to the ropes or flipping over, which personally I preferred since it gave the hold a finality- when applied there was no escape. Of course maybe that's why it isn't performed that way now if it gives more scope for drama if you can escape it more easily. But then since it's successful 90% of the time it's applied anyway, it doesn't make any difference. Thoughts?

From a kayfabe perspective, I think you're right in so much that it's harder to counter the hold if the aggressor is in a knelt position, certainly. It would definitely make it harder to crawl to the ropes or turn onto your back to kick the opponent off. On the other hand, from a standing position, you have more leverage and can drag your opponent to the center of the ring if they start to make it towards the ropes. And from the standing position, it's easy to drop down into the grapevine position that Kurt Angle usually uses. Jack Swagger uses the standing version but rarely grapevines the leg, because he's a bigger, taller dude and theoretically wouldn't need to because he's got all the leverage in the world.

In terms of non-kayfabe, Angle originally just wanted to differentiate his version from Shamrock's. He did occasionally lock in the hold while kneeling though, more frequently in the first couple of years he used the hold. And as you say, it's easier to counter the move from a standing position so that adds drama, as does applying the grapevine. So with Shamrock's version, you only have one instance of drama to pop the crowd, when the hold is first applied. With Kurt Angle's, first he applies the hold and gets a pop, then there's a couple of counters that Kurt can block to get another reaction, and then he can grapevine the leg for one last response. Watch the end of the Michaels/Angle match from WrestleMania 21 for a perfect example.

Or just watch it because it's awesome.

Shamrock vs Chris Jericho had been announced for Unforgiven 99 but was replaced by X-Pac vs Jericho because of 'injuries' after the World's Most Dangerous Man lost a First Blood Match to Jericho on Smackdown 23.09.99, which was his final appearance in WWF. I know he asked for his release and was apparently actually banged up at the time but I've always wondered if the bump off the PPV was his decision to leave ASAP or spite from management for leaving by denying him a bigger pay day.

The pay-per-view match was cancelled because of Shamrock's injuries, it was decided he couldn't go, or more accurately, Shamrock decided he wasn't up to it. The plan was always for him to come back down the line but while Shamrock was on the sidelines he decided he wanted to go back to the world of MMA, which was always his first love. I'm merely speculating, but one would have to assume Shamrock knew he wanted to leave before he actually took the time off. So Shamrock's contract expired in late 1999 and that was it. There were talks of a return in 2001 but that never materialised and he ended up doing a short stint in TNA. As recently as last year, Shamrock expressed an interest in returning to WWE but there doesn't seem to be an interest on their side. As of late 2013, Shamrock was working as part of 50 Cent's entourage.

I don't think there was any ill-feelings on either side outside of disappointment that Shamrock may not have been entirely open about his plans. Back then, wrestling was much bigger than MMA so you had MMA guys trying their hand at wrestling (Shamrock, Severn, Abbott) but Shamrock was always going to go back to MMA at some point. Nowadays you get more pro wrestlers going into MMA (Batista, Lashley) and more often than not, failing miserably.

Jon asks about Rock/Hogan.

Thanks to the Network, I went back and watched not only Hogan/Rock at WM18, but also the Raw build up to it. Rock at least once flat-out refers to it as the "main event". The announcement of the match is given the big time treatment on Raw while on the same show, the world title match is still up in the air. And the crowd on Raw is already clearly more into this than any of the other Mania set up stuff.

So why the hell wasn't it the actual main event of the show? Have Hogan or Rock ever commented on that?

To the best of my knowledge, neither The Rock nor Hulk Hogan have commented on the issue but then why would they? Everyone knows that that match should have gone on last. They wouldn't have an issue with it because in the end they showed up the main event, the title match.

Triple H and Chris Jericho, the participants in the title match, have commented on the issue though. In Jericho's book Undisputed... he says that Vince McMahon told him he wanted the title match on last, because it was the title match. Jericho claims he didn't want to follow Rock/Hogan. Triple H has made contradictory comments on the issue in two different DVD releases. On his own DVD, The Game, Triple H said he wanted to go on last so as not to devalue the importance of the title. Years later on The True Story of WrestleMania DVD, Triple H says neither he nor Jericho wanted to go on last. So obviously there are inconsistencies with Hunter's version of events, but it's not made clear whether he insisted the title match closed the show or not. At the end of the day, Vince would have made the final call.

The thing is, we look at this in hindsight. If Jericho/Triple H had had a build up that didn't revolve around Jericho being Stephanie McMahon's bitch and a dead dog, then people would likely not have minded the match going on last. You may have needed more of a buffer between the two, but it would have worked had the title feud been more of a blood feud.

People also say Undertaker/Michaels should have gone on last at Mania 25, but again, that's hindsight. Randy Orton was the hottest thing in wrestling at the time and his feud with Triple H was excellent. And there was no guarantee that Michaels/Taker was going to be the classic that it turned out to be. As things transpired, Orton and The Game were hindered by a terrible stipulation and couldn't have the match they wanted, and as such a crowd that was already exhausted weren't offered enough to get back into the main event of the show that night.

So in theory, the idea that the title match should go on last is a solid one, but if there's another big match on the card, the competitors in the title match have to deliver big time to match it.

Kent wants to know about Nathan Jones.

My question deals with the booking of Undertaker at WrestleMania XIX. I recently watched all the matches from Taker's streak and this one just really stuck out badly. I mean the battle with Giant Gonzales was bad, but as a kid, it at least intrigued me why El Gigante had hair all over him yet still could not move properly. But Albert in a handicap tag match with Taker at Mania!? Not right, even the original tag match idea seemed out of place.

Now I wasn't watching WWE at the time, so I wondered if you could explain the booking and how it all played out? I heard about and saw Nathan Jones in the match, but that was the first time I ever heard that name. I took quite a few years off from wrestling before coming back around 2008, so could you explain who he was and how he (for the time) climbed to or near Taker's level?

Jones was a legit badass that had spent time in high security prison for a series of armed-robberies before embarking on a mildly successful career in the world of powerlifting. After a failed career in mixed martial arts, Jones tried his hand at pro wrestling as quickly snapped up by WWE due to his imposing size and reputation as a straight up bad ass. He was rushed to the main roster in 2003, playing the role of Undertaker's protege. Taker was feuding with Show and A-Train at the time so the tag match made sense, but it was decided that Jones wasn't ready for such a grand stage so they ran an injury angle and had him do a brief run-in at the end of the match to give Undertaker the victory. Jones hadn't wrestled on WWE TV up until that point and had his debut a few weeks later against Bill DeMott, below. Jones was then taken off of TV to go to OVW to improve his skills and was brought back up six months later as a heel, but a month after being brought back he decided he wasn't a fan of the ravel schedule so he went home to Australia. Jones officially retired from pro wrestling the following year and has taken on several minor roles in movies for the last decade, notably in WWE Studio's The Condemned starring Steve Austin. Bottom line, the guy had a killer look and a past to sell him as a legit threat, but when push came to shove the guy absolutely sucked in the ring. He was atrocious, in all honesty.

Our next question is from pr.

If Carlos Colon, from Puerto Rico, is getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, what are the possibilities WWE can induct Jack Veneno, from the Dominican Republic, as well?

Jack was as good (if not better) than Carlos both outside and inside the ring; a cultural idol in his country and for his people. Is this criteria valid, or does WWE simply not take this so seriously?

I would say it's incredibly unlikely. The major difference between the two is that Colon has not only worked in the US and for WWE (back in the 60s and again in 1993), but he also has a good relationship with the company through his family (Carlito, Primo, Epico), whom he helped get developmental deals a while back. Veneno is only really known outside of his native country as one of several guys who had a phantom NWA World Heavyweight Championship reign following matches with Ric Flair that came close to causing some ugly riots in the Dominican. Flair discussing these matches is one of the highlights of his autobiography. Victor Jovica is a similar case, who was absolutely massive in Trinidad but a non-entity elsewhere. The WWE Hall of Fame, great as it is, is yet to induct some cultural icons in Japan and Mexico so I'd be shocked if they ever get round to honouring the likes of Veneno and Jovica. It's not happening, I'm afraid.

Robby has one that I don't actually have to research!

I was wondering why Triple H transitioned from trunks to compression-like shorts in 2003? I thought I had read in the past that this was because of an injury, but I can't find confirmation of it.

It late July 2003 Triple H suffered a groin strain in a non-televised match with Goldberg. The injury meant Triple H did not fly out for the company's tour of Australia in August and he was a doubt for Summerslam that year. Obviously Triple H took on a reduced in-ring role but did work through the injury and used the longer tights for a few months. You'll also notice that this was the time Triple H really started to gain weight. Obviously he never rehabbed the injury properly, nor was he able to continue with his usual exercise regime. Arguably Triple H hasn't been the same in the ring since this time period.

Sticking with Triple H, it's Kevin up next.

Despite his buddies including Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Shawn Michaels and the Outlaws, Triple H seems to have stayed away from the substance abuse problems those guys battled. Or did he and I missed it? Did Hunter just have that kind of will power?

Triple H has admitted to the use of steroids in the past. In an ESPN Radio interview in 2004 the Game originally denied using steroids before correcting himself and admitting that he was prescribed certain steroids when rehabilitating his torn quad injury in 2001. In previous interviews he has condoned the use of steroids if prescribed by a doctor, but condemned the use of unprescribed steroids.

That said, there's no doubt that Triple H would have been a regular user in the late 90s. The vast majority of guys were. But we've also heard from plenty of people in the business, including the man himself, that Triple H was never really into drinking and smoking, making him the designated driver for the Kilq. So obviously that helps. We know the guy usually takes care of his body and would be mindful of what he puts into it. The guy even wrote a fitness book. So yes, he does have a great deal of will power in terms of staying away from unhealthy substances, but he's not whiter than white either, not that he's ever claimed to be.

Andy is up next.

This question may be extremely broad but here goes:

After rewatching a few old DVDs and seeing a few matches use the "lets trade each others finishers" towards the end of big matches, has anyone ever been pinned with their own finishing manoeuvre? Obviously I'm leaning toward major fueds/events as that seems like something a bad guy could use to really stick it too someone or a big "Take that, I've shown you dastardly bad guy" kind of story.

For the life of me I can't think of anytime it's actually happened!

There's plenty of instances. The most famous one is of course the Montreal Screwjob, if you choose to include it. Bret Hart "submitted" whilst Shawn Michaels had the Sharpshooter applied. But there's plenty more valid instances of this happening;

Bret Hart beat Bob Backlund with the Crossface Chickenwing at WrestleMania 11.
Chris Jericho pinned The Rock following a Rock Bottom on his way to becoming Undisputed Champion at Vengeance 2001.
Owen Hart got a pin over Triple H after a Pedigree in a 6-man tag at Over the Edge 1998.
AJ Styles forced Kurt Angle to submit to the Ankle Lock at Hard Justice 2008.
Doug Williams beat Styles with a Styles Clash at Final Resolution 2010.
Ric Flair submitted to Jay Lethal's figure four at Victory Road 2010.

I'm also sure Christopher Daniels has beaten Styles with the Clash in the last couple of years. And Flair has submitted to the Figure Four on numerous occasions, notably against Dusty Rhodes. Outside of these examples, you have instance where wrestlers share the same finisher. Hogan's beat Yokozuna with a leg drop, Undertaker has beat Kane with a Tombstone, Roddy Piper beat Adrian Adonis with a sleeper and so on and so forth. And I'm sure our readers can name plenty more instance. So yes, it does happen.

What a Manoeuvre causes me to speculate.

I have a question about the 1991 Royal Rumble match. WWF television and publications advertised a mystery participant, but there was not one to be found. Who was it supposed to be, and why was the idea scrapped?

OK I spent a good amount of time trying to work this one out. I can't find anything from TV advertising the mystery man, but the December 1990 edition of the WWF Magazine did. The same magazine also advertised Andre the Giant, Honky Tonk Man and Buddy Rose as participants in the match, so obviously there wasn't much in the way of communication between creative and those putting the magazine together. Of course the Royal Rumble 1991 is the one where Randy Savage no-shows because, presumably, he's running scared of the Ultimate Warrior after Savage screwed him out of the title in a match with Sgt. Slaughter earlier in the night. But that angle seemingly had nothing to do with the issue. The only wrestler who appears in the match that wasn't previously advertised is... Brian Knobbs. I have no idea why that would be kept as a surprise. The '91 Rumble was pretty thin on the ground so I don't know if there was an attempt to bring someone in that didn't materialise, but if that was the plan all along then that is pretty weak. Readers, any info on this?

Rahil asks about Casket matches.

Upon looking on YouTube I saw Undertaker vs. Vader in an untelevised casket match, which brings me to the question. I'd like to know when all the casket matches have occurred, the participants and the winners?

The match you found took place at a house show in Madison Square Garden on March 16th 1997. Vader went over Undertaker, who unsurprisingly has lost and won more casket matches that anyone else. He was also he one the brought the match to WWF, although the very first casket match occurred in 1980 when Dusty Rhodes beat Ivan Koloff. Back then it was known as a "Coffin Match." A full list of casket matches is available here.


Johnny Marquez asks about an unfamiliar manager.

Hello, I've had a question that I've been wondering about for a long time. At SummerSlam 88, The Powers Of Pain had a manger by the name of The Baron. You never really get to see the face, so I was wondering if you knew whom that was? And what happened to him due to Survivor Series of that year, he wasn't with them and Mr. Fuji ended up turning on Demotion and The Powers Of Pain won their tag team elimination match and walked out with Mr. Fuji.

That was James Raschke, better known as Baron von Raschke. During his in-ring career, Raschke worked most notably for the AWA where he won the tag team titles. He's also known for being the first NWA Television Champion. He had a very, very brief stint in WWF in 1988 as the Baron but was released, apparently because he was getting face heat when he really shouldn't have been so they decided the character wasn't working. Since then he went back to AWA briefly and made a couple of appearances for WCW doing little of note. The most recent info I could find on him is that he ran a bric-a-brac shop in the late 90s, which he has since sold, and he starred in a play about his time in the AWA in 2007.

Eric Wooliver asks about the recently reformed Evolution.

Why didn't they just call Evolution the 4 Horseman?

I think there's two key issues here. First of all, in a non-kayfabe sense the idea of the group was to take two young guys in Batista and Randy Orton, and use the knowledge and wisdom of Triple H and Ric Flair to mould them into stars. Ric Flair was the past, Triple H was the present, and Orton and Batista were the future, hence the name Evolution was perfect. Secondly, if Triple H was going to be the leader of a new group, there was no way he'd want it to be compared against the greatness of the Horsemen from the outset. Evolution was Triple H's brainchild and while there were similarities to the Horsemen, they didn't want it to just be a case of re-inventing the Horsemen. Personally, I think Evolution stands alone as a truly great stable and it certainly served its purpose.

One Man's (Important) Opinion

Nightwolf asks about Brock Lesnar's Hall of Fame credentials.

Brock Lesnar ended the Streak. Does that now solidify him as a future WWE Hall of Famer?

No, because in my opinion Brock Lesnar was already guaranteed a spot in the Hall of Fame. Even during his original two-year stint, Lesnar became a 3-time WWE Champion, headlined WrestleMania and beat the likes of The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle and tons more. He was also the youngest ever WWE Champion, and still is. That's Hall of Fame credentials. Breaking the Streak is merely icing on the cake for Lesnar. And if Lesnar's credentials weren't Hall of Fame standard, WWE would likely put him anyway because he's one of few names that attracts casual viewers and he's a proven pay-per-view draw, in and out of wrestling so they'd want him on TV as much as possible. The guy's a Hall of Famer, first ballot.

Jason Duncan ponders the potential of Bully Ray.

Do you think Bully Ray could make it as a top heel in WWE. I hope we at least get a chance to find out.

It's difficult to say. Bully Ray would have been a top class heel in the 80s or earlier. The problem nowadays is that he's so damn good at what he does that a large amount of fans respect him too much for his ability to truly hate. Kind of like how Randy Orton was acting like the biggest dick in 2009 and still getting face pops. But by making that comparison it suggests that there could be a place for Ray, even if it was a brief run.

Of course right now, the circumstances are all wrong. WWE has so much great young talent that they are building that they have no interest in bringing in talent that they've already worked with, unless they are a major draw (eg The Rock). People constantly talk about the likes of John Morrison, Carlito, MVP and Shelton Benjamin coming back, but there's just not the room right now and in a way that's a good thing.

So yes, I think Ray could make a heel run work in WWE, but it isn't going to happen unless a plague wipes out half the WWE locker-room.

And to finish, Willy Dope asks about an awkward backstage skit.

What was the thought or reason behind Vince using the N word when talking to Cena and were there any type if backlash to him saying that?

To the tape!

I've lumped this in with the opinion stuff because I would imagine plenty of people will have plenty of different fews on it but we shall see.

There was no thought behind it outside of thinking it would get a laugh. The incident occurred in late 2005 at the Survivor Series. In terms of backlash, there was none really, outside of some fans complaining about McMahon's low-brow sense of humour. The phrase clearly wasn't used in a way that was intended to be offensive and I don't think many were. It was more a case of shaking your head in disbelief that they would even bother to go there. Even if it was just for laughs, it was cheap laughs and was it really worth the risk?

At the end of the day though, if the word can be used so freely in movies, TV and music then professional wrestling shouldn't be slated for using it. WWE has done things that are much more offensive than this but certainly this was a moment best left forgotten.

That'll do it for this week. Hope I did OK. If not, Sforcina's back next week so stop your complaining.

Thanks for reading.


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