Ask 411 Wrestling 04.30.14: Keeping WCW Alive, Reviving Studio Wrestling, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 04.30.2014
Did CM Punk have a deal with Marvel to use the Thing's catchphrase? Who has the best record against both Steve Austin and Goldberg? Did Freddie Blassie really get stabbed 23 times? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
… Although now I want it to be a Sting type fake out and Flair helps Evolution win at Extreme Rules…
Anyway, I am Mathew Sforcina, and I'm back from my week off in good spirits, although physically is another matter. But regardless, I'd like to thank Daniel Wilcox profusely for filling in for me on my birthday holiday. I think he did a stellar job, as did the readers so huzzah and so forth. Now you're back to me, and I'm clearly getting back into my groove, which I'm sure you're all over the moon about.
Although sadly I didn't get round to doing the stuff I wanted to do for this column. Have to do it this week, assuming I can tear myself away from Minecraft. But hey, no-one cares about personal lives, right?
I'm not gonna go over last week since, like Daniel, wasn't my work, but one quick thing, since I can't respond to a sole call to change my style since that implies that I HAVE a style…
About the house title changes, the original question was about house show changes that were booked to occur and be known about, rather than accidents and/or changes to occur across a circuit that would end up back where you started at the end of it. So the vast majority I left off fell into either of those categories.
The Trivia Crown
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.
Well now I thought it was Bret Hart too, but apparently that's wrong, according to Mr Wilcox himself. I'm gonna have to ask Daniel to let us know below, because I'm stumped.
Anyway, this week's question.
Who am I? I'm a former World Champion, sorta. I've teamed with John Cena, kinda. I've worked under a mask, briefly, in a famous, kinda, team with two different partners, just. I'm the first man to hold two prestigious (historically) titles simultaneously, but now hold none. I've been a foreign threat (in a way), a egotistical git (aren't they all?) and my worked firing eventually became a shoot one, long term. Who am I, for sure?
Getting Down To Business
Damien gets to go first because I like his question.
Bit of a random question, but I am just wondering is it bad luck having a band play you into Wrestlemania? Off the top of my head Triple H, CM Punk and Randy Orton all had live bands play for them and they all lost. Any others?
Well, let's review, shall we?
The first person to get a live performance when they entered was, surprisingly, Lawrence Taylor at Wrestlemania XI. He got Salt-n-Pepa singing ‘Whatta Man' for his entrance, and he went on to win against Bam Bam, so that's 1-0 for bands.
The first proper wrestler to get a theme sung was Triple H at Wrestlemania XIV, when Chris Warren and the DX Band played him to the ring. Hunter proceeded to defeat Owen Hart, so that's 2-0 on the band front. But then Shawn Michaels also got played to the ring that same year by that same band and he lost to Stone Cold X3, so 2-1.
At Wrestlemania 2000, Ice-T was involved in the opening match, as he rapped for Godfather and D'Lo Brown as they took on, and lost to, Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan, so 2-2.
Motorhead made their first appearance at Wrestlemania X7 to perform something similar to Triple H's theme for his loss to Undertaker. 2-3.
X8 saw two bands perform, Saliva doing The Dudley's theme (they lost) and Drowning Pool perform Triple H's theme (he won), so we are still 1 up in regards to the negatives, 3-4.
But XIX evens it out, as Limp Bizkit performed The Undertaker's (old) theme before he won his Handicap match, 4-4 we go.
At Wrestlemania 21 Motorhead tried again, as they again performed Triple H's theme for him, and yet again Hunter would then lose the match. 4-5.
The next year, P.O.D performed for Rey Mysterio, and he won the World Heavyweight Championship, 5-5 and we're going down to the wire.
(Wrestlemania XXIV saw John Cena get a marching band entrance, which may or may not count, depending on how you want to read the question. He lost there though.)
Seven years after Rey won, and Living Color performs for CM Punk, and he loses. 5-6.
And then just this year, two men got live theme performances, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. Both lost. 5-8
So, overall, yes, a majority of people who got live bands to perform for them lost their matches. It's not a total whitewash by any means, but the numbers are against you. So maybe just go for over the top theatrics rather than an actual band…
Andron talks about debut videos.
I see allot of Adam Rose's promo videos playing to hype his debut into the WWE. Then the question came to mind, how many of these wrestlers that joined the wwe. Had promo videos aired to hype their debut, but actually makes it to the main event? Is it me or does most wrestlers that are in the main event right now never had promo videos played instead they was brought in as part of storylines (Batista was brought in as a security for Devon during this pastor Devon Gimmick, Brock Lesnar made his debut by giving F5 to a couple of cruiserweight wrestlers) i'm sure there's more you can insert there. But how many wrestlers actually turn out successful after?
When it comes to promo videos, people tend to either remember the really bad or the really good ones. The average ones tend to slip from your mind, while the bad ones tend to kill the chances of the guy making it and the good ones either get forgotten if the guy is successful or get even more burned into your memory if they never go anywhere. Like Sean O'Haire, the greatest ever promo videos with the least to show for them since he couldn't do the gimmick live.
That said, there are plenty of guys who debuted via vignette and ended up main eventing. Edge got videos of him running around. Mick Foley got teasers of his torn ear. Triple H railed against the Riff Raff of the WWF. Kurt Angle got videos, Ted DiBiase, Mr. Perfect, Razor Ramon, if you count them as main eventers. CM Punk too for a recent example. So yeah, there are many guys who came in via video and ended up on top.
Manu asks about a subject that was brought up a fair while ago.
Regarding the question about fans literally turning their backs to the match - didn't this happen in the early days of WWECW, the one time they taped the show from Hammerstein? I seem to remember them turning their backs on...Batista, was it?
Sorry if that's already been pointed out. I'm catching up.
They did almost everything to Batista and Big Show on that infamous ECW episode.
And thus ECW never got to run the old haunts again. But no, they did a lot to them, but not actually turning around on it, although they did look away a fair bit. If you wanna count that, go right ahead.
(Admission in case someone tries to call me out on it: I skipped around that video, so if it did happen it must have been for only a few seconds. Sorry if I somehow missed it.)
Cristian asks about copying.
Hey this is my second time asking a question to you guys. the first time was a while back ago i asked about texas tornado wrestling with a fake foot and you guys answered that for me and i appreciate it. my question is in regards to the rock and his promo before the rumble title match. its obvious that he stole that or took inspiration from dusty rhodes hard times promo, but has any one ever done something as word for word like the rock has done before? i have never seen someone just recycle an old promo like that. I'm sure it worked well for the rock since most of the kids who watch wrestling now probably never heard that promo before.
Wrestlers steal concepts, they steal ideas, even lines. This is not new, this is not that shocking, wrestling has been around for a long time and it is rare to find a brand new idea. But copying a promo word for word, that I can't recall ever happening, unless it's a mocking of the other guy. Stuff like the nWo parodying Arn Anderson giving up his spot in the Horsemen to Hennig, that sort of stuff happens, sure.
And also occasionally a wrestler will repeat himself, either because he just cuts the same promo, different city or he's deliberately referencing something else (I know Shane Douglas did a riff on tossing down a different belt a few years back).
But I cannot recall nor find an instance of one wrestler straight up cut and pasting someone else's work for the purposes of stealing it. But perhaps a reader might.
Greg wants to talk about hailing from locations.
Love this column! Quick question: I've noticed that you don't hear where wrestlers are from in their intros that often anymore. Is this something the WWE has dropped?
WWE seems to change their minds about how they want to announce people all the time. One week they decide they want the announcements short and simple, next week they want them full and long. Right now they tend to include ‘Hailing From…' but certainly at the time the question was asked WWE might well have decided against it. But like I said, it tends to float back and forth depending on WWE's whim.
Along those lines, I remember when I was a kid that there were several wrestlers listed as being from "parts unknown". When was the last time they used the parts unknown label?
That specific label? I mean, Kane doesn't have a hometown, Brodus Clay was from Planet Funk when he danced, Boogeyman was from ‘The Bottomless Pit'.
Although you could argue Ultimate Warrior wins since he was the last one on screen to use it, the last wrestler to use that as a home town and was a regular on WWE TV was Doink The Clown.
Also, have wrestlers ever changed locations? I know the Undertaker was from "Death Valley" for years, but did it change to Texas when he was the American Badass?
Yes, when Taker was in his Biker phase, he went from ‘Death Valley' to Houston, Texas. Wrestlers will change their billing usually due to a gimmick change, John Cena hailed from Area 51 as The Prototype, now he's from West Newbury, Massachusetts (or West Newbarnia, Mexico when he was Juan Cena). If you go from being a second generation legacy wrestler to a down and dirty street thug, you'll change your hailing from. Or change the format, as Jericho did when he went from haling from Calgary to being born in Manhasset, New York.
And hell, sometimes the gimmick is that you constantly change locations. Ted DiBiase got a lot of mileage from having a different residence for each season, or Al Snow representing a different European country every week while being European Champion.
Nightwolf is all over the place.
1. Does CM Punk have a deal with Marvel to use the phrase" It's
When Punk says it, he's referring to both The Thing and a song by a New York punk band, Sick Of It All, it's a way he can reference both at the same time. But he has no permission to use it. Now, Marvel clearly is aware that he uses it, and no lawsuits have been filed or anything, but then WWE did cut it out of the video games. He may have an unofficially handshake about it, but he has no legal ownership or right to the term as such.
2. Triple H was a Face for 7 years( 2006-2013) before turning Heel.
What was the longest a wrestler went as a Face before turning Heel?
What about the opposite?
Some guys have gone their entire career as one or the other, you know. Ricky Steamboat never turned heel, The Iron Sheik never really turned face.
That said, I know I'm going to get this wrong, but Bob Backlund took 20 years to turn heel as MR. Bob Backlund, Freddie Blassie took maybe 40 or so years from turning heel by dropping the Sailor gimmick to turning face as a WWF legend. They're pretty long stretches, but I know someone below will correct me. And I for one welcome said correction.
3. What's the story behind Freddie Blassie being stabbed 23 times by a
Ah, I see the confusion there. Blassie was not stabbed 23 times by one fan, because if he was, he'd almost certainly be dead, unless he had the world's weakest or unluckiest fan.
No, Blassie was, over the course of his career, stabbed by a fan on 21 to 23 separate occasions. Twenty one or so times, a fan got so pissed off and hated him so much that they stabbed him.
He also had acid tossed on him at one point. Blassie was a hell of a heat getter, and he paid for it, with stabbings the least of it. He lost vision to a fan hitting him with a hard boiled egg, which is not the most bad ass way to lose vision, true, but focus on the whole acid and stabbing bit if you must.
Connor asks about the second Rumble winner.
Why did Big John Studd win the 1989 Royal Rumble? he seemed like an odd choice, he wasn't really a popular face either, being a heel for most of his run
That's why he won, to try and get him over as a face. At the time the Rumble was still very new, and not an instant rocket to superstardom like it would become. It was the first Rumble on PPV, and Studd had just come back and was seen as the best choice to get a bit of a rub by beating 29 other guys and reminding everyone he was big and tough and what have you, so that he'd be in a good spot to become the guest ref at Wrestlemania for the Roberts/Andre match, and that would set off the real money maker, Studd/Andre, that looked set to run on the house show circuit for months as a reverse of their feud of a few years ago, with the heel/face roles reversed. Had Studd not left the company early over a financial dispute, had the Studd/Andre feud played out, we'd probably remember the win more fondly as the start of a big feud.
Matthew gets one of his questions answered this week.
Thanks for returning to the column, it's great to have you back. I've got a couple of totally unrelated questions for you, one fact and one opinion. I'll start with the fact one.
If you consider that Steve Austin and Goldberg were the two top babyfaces of WWF and WCW during the Monday Night Wars, has anyone got a better win loss record over both on TV or PPV than Bret ‘The Hitman' Hart? Bret beat Steve Austin twice at the 1996 Survivor Series and Wrestlemania 13 and I'd also be pretty confident that Bret holds maybe a couple of wins over Austin whilst he was using the ringmaster gimmick. I don't recall Austin ever getting a win but I may be wrong.
The same goes for Bill Goldberg. If memory serves me well, Bret had at least 2 wins over Goldberg, once on Nitro in the World Title Tournament prior to Mayhem 99 and again at Starrcade 99 (though both were screwy finishes). If you also take into account the steel plate angle in Toronto that's 3 major occasions where Bret has had the upper hand on Goldberg.
Surely there can't be anybody with a better record over these two than Bret? Your help please.
Well, it's easier to start with people who beat Goldberg, since there's far fewer of them.
Guys who hold any sort of win over Goldberg, going backwards, are Chris Benoit, Triple H, Randy Orton, Batista, Buff Bagwell, Lex Luger, Mike Awesome, Booker T, Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, Vince Russo, Bret Hart, Scott Hall, Rick Steiner, Sid Vicious, DDP, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan. Most of them were tags, four ways, battle royals and the like. Guys who beat him fairly straight up, one on one, were Triple H, Bret Hart, Booker T, and Kevin Nash.
As for Austin, Triple H beat him 3 times, Bret beat him 3-4 times straight up, Booker ‘once' and Nash not at all. So I'd give it to Bret or Triple H, actually. Hunter got more wins over Goldberg, and while Bret has a better record over Austin, Goldberg lost a lot less so he counts more.
I know how popular these videos in the middle are, so here you go!
I know everyone was buzzing about the other one they put out, but honestly, I'd prefer to see this match…
And this is an awesome ‘match'.
Paul asks about WCW and Akeem The African Dream. I suppose they are related, kinda…
a. Is there any reason that McMahon didn't keep WCW around as a sort of minor league/training center? He could have used it like he used SMW/ECW earlier in The 1990s. If kept alive on a smaller scale as a regional promotion, it might have been profitable.
He didn't keep it around like that because he wanted it to stay independent and become the second brand touring nationally, but he wasn't able to get a TV deal for it in time, coupled with THAT Booker/Bagwell match. WCW was supposed to be the Brand Extension, it was meant to tour independently and be ‘competition' for WWF, and create two companies out of 1 and half.
You could argue making it smaller might have helped, but the fact was that they didn't want small, and they'd probably have rather the attempt to make the InVasion work rather than end up with WCW as a small feeder company.
b. Is it true that McMahon turned The One Man Gang into Akeem the African Dream as a shot at Dusty Rhodes? That seems awful infantile and not very savvy.
Welcome to Professional Wrestling, where what's good business is often ignored for the sake of cheap laughs and proving a point.
Anyway, Dusty seems to think that Akeem was meant to be a rib on him, although at best, honestly, it's probably just a play on the nickname, the whole American Dream/African Dream thing, and maybe he took some of the "Dusty is Funky" stuff. But that's pretty mild, I mean, you want to see Vince make fun of Dusty, that would be Reo Rodgers, Bruce Pritchard doing a Dusty impersonation.
That's Vince making fun of Dusty. Akeem is more a harmless rib.
One Man's (Important) Opinion
Andron had a follow up.
Which brings me to Adam Rose, based on this question what are the chances he's going to actually be something and not another Dead By Gimmick like Santino, Zack Ryder, etc.
Guessing who will and won't be successful in wrestling is very difficult. In a sport, you can make predictions based on past performance and match fixtures and the like, there are a lot of facts you can plug in and then make predictions on. But in wrestling? Adam Rose could get fired tomorrow because he looked at Stephanie funny, or he might win the world title on his first night because Stephanie looked at him funny.
However, the gimmick is fairly new and unique, WWE seems to like it, considering how quickly he's getting a debut, and he's not horrible in the ring, so chances are he'll get as good a shot as anyone could hope for. If the gimmick catches on, he'll be fine, although there's only so far you can go on gimmick. If he craps the bed in the ring, so to speak, then his days are numbered. I don't expect Adam Rose to be WWE World Champion, but he'll probably have a spot on the roster for a few years.
Ben asks about an old school type of wrestling.
I just read that TBS is considering bringing wrestling back to its network. It got me thinking. Could "studio" wrestling ever make a comeback, at least at some level?
Studio wrestling, the type of wrestling show held in a small soundstage type location, with perhaps a small live audience, is very much an old school style of wrestling show. While WWF went for the showy, big arenas to tape their shows, Crockett had WCW on TBS, filmed in the WTBS studio (well, eventually, Black Saturday and all that). Could this sort of wrestling program work today?
I would think that it would be unlikely that you could get a major, national company going using a studio show. There is now a certainly expectation about how a ‘major' company is supposed to run, is supposed to look. TNA has spent years chasing that look on and off with various success. The Universal Studios Impact Zone you could argue was a studio, I suppose, but that's stretching the term somewhat.
However, a regional company could totally pull it off. If you're gonna appear on TV, you need to look professional, and ideally successful. So if you can't sell out a big arena, run a smaller one and looked packed. Running out of a small studio means you can get good video, and a small audience can fill the place up. A small company running in just one or two states, they could do it and make a go of it. Heck, even something like the Chikara on Adult Swim idea I've banged on and off about, that could be a studio show and work very well.
But again, there's a limit to how big a studio wrestling show could get in today's market. WWE is held as the gold standard, and if you want to run on that level, you either look like WWE or come up with a good excuse to look different. Studio wrestling theoretically fills that criteria, but it still seems bush league without a hell of a sell job…
Jason probably should have gotten his questions answered earlier.
After hearing most of the details regarding the WWE network, i have come to realize how much this is a game changer. So I wanted to pick your brain with some questions.
1. How many subscribers do they need for it to be a success?
They set 1 million as the break even point, so clearly more than that is profit, in theory. I'd wager they'd consider past 1.1 million as the start of true success.
2. How many do you think they will get in the 1st 24 hours
More than they ended up getting. Honestly, they should have held off announcing until 48 hours before they went live, or gone live sooner. Everyone was drooling when they announced it, had they opened sign ups then, they'd have gotten a lot more than they ended up with.
3. Are they going to have every PPV on their at once or will they have so many at a time like netflix does movies?
We know that now, all of them (almost). Which is cool.
4. Is this considered a risky move?
It was and still is seen as a calculated risk. The markets see this as the way of the future, this is how media is heading, everything is becoming mobile and on demand and so on and so forth. But, there is still hesitation about how ready the consumer is for such a service. There is still almost double the number of homes with cable than there are homes using Netflix, depending on the accuracy of the data, and so WWE going this hard this early is something the market is watching carefully.
5. I know the big selling point is getting all the PPV's a month but if this does somehow flop how big of a loss would it be really besides the PPV buys?
If the Network somehow fails totally, the WWE loses a lot of credibility and bargaining power. Right now PPV deals are just running out the clock, as WWE is banking on getting all the moneys, so if they have to enter back into agreements after the network fails, cable providers will probably strike a hard bargain. Plus the stock price will plummet, and with less exposure every department loses value. The company probably would survive, but it would be much worse off.
6. Is the ultimate plan to have Raw, Smackdown ext stream exclusively on the network?
Enjoy you column
No, because they make far too much money to sink into the Network. Even if you double the price (which will happen eventually), that still doesn't make up for the fees they get for Raw and Smackdown. WWE doesn't get what they want, they don't get all the money they think Raw is worth, but they get a lot.
What will probably happen is that eventually any show that isn't live ends up like Main Event, you get it first on the Network and then it gets shown on TV a day or two later. They lose a little money on fees, but sell you the network as early access to your content. But Raw will never become Network exclusive.
And on that note, I bid you all goodbye. I'm off to continue counting wins and losses…