Ask 411 Wrestling 05.07.14: Backstage Fights, Hogan Failing, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 05.07.2014
What would have happened if Hulkamania hadn't caught on? Did Honky Tonk Man have any big wins at all before he won the IC title? Whose belongings did Randy Orton ruin? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Wrestling!
Hard to talk…. Sore throat…
Wait, this is written. I can be as articulately splendorous as I want.
Hey, welcome to Ask 411 Wrestling. My name is Mathew Sforcina and my tonsils are right up. But that's what they're supposed to do, better them than an infection elsewhere. But regardless, you're not here to hear about my latest medical issue, of which I have oh so many it seems, and instead you're here for wrestling trivia and facts, as well as my opinion. Possibly.
And if you're in that latter section, then you're happy to hear that this will be a Total Opinion Week. And if you're not in that latter section, then you know nice and early about it being one of those, and you can stop reading here if you like, and I'll see you next week.
(And in the event you don't know what that means, it means that I tend to skip over counting questions and complex research questions. Facts will pop up, but it's not quite as detail focused as usual.)
Too Much Filler: OK, I can see the issues raised there. The thing is, the videos are either relevant to the question (most of them) or funny/cool (the middle ones, which are differently aligned to mark them) and I kinda need to do something to stop text block issues. And as for the questions, I include the whole thing simply because I don't like editing people. I prefer to put in all of the email to prevent anyone saying I misquoted them or something. It's a somewhat irrational fear I grant you, but that's my thought process.
But I guess if you, dear readers, want me to start editing stuff more ruthlessly, I guess I could… Where do you stand on this issue?
The Trivia Crown
So the week before last, Daniel Wilcox stumped us, but then he supplied me with the answer. The question was…
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. Who am I?
And the answer…
Who am I? A well-travelled grappler [wrestled in Japan, Mexico, Canada, US and Europe] whose in-ring arsenal is as vast as my championship accomplishments [Man of 1004 holds and held way too many titles to count]. It could be argued that I'm responsible for perhaps the "hottest" angle in pro-wrestling history [heel Trish Stratus]. On two occasions I've won a world title with help from a bitter rival [Stephanie McMahon at No Mercy 2001, Shawn Michaels at Elimination Chamber 2010]. I have something in common with a Celebrity Inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame [same dance partner as Drew Carey on Dancing with the Stars] and I did something on WWE television way before it was "cool" [spat an apple at Terri Runnels way back when].
Who am I? Chris Jericho.
And then last 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?
And the answer, thanks to Matias…
Who am I? I'm a former World Champion, sorta. (former NWA World Heavyweight Champion)
I've teamed with John Cena, kinda. (Member of the Bolin service in OVW with Nick Dinsmore, The Prototype, Bull Buchanan and Mark Henry)
I've worked under a mask, briefly, in a famous, kinda, teamwith two different partners, just. (Los Conquistadors with Nick Dinsmore and Johnny Jeter)
I'm the first man to hold two prestigious (historically) titles simultaneously, but now hold none. (NWA World Heavyweight Champion and NWA World Tag Team Champion)
I've been a foreign threat (in a way) (Member of La Resistance despite being american)
a egotistical git (aren't they all?) (The Con-man)
and my worked firing eventually became a shoot one, long term. (Say if he lose a match he would quit, lose in 21 seconds with jeff hardy, Vince Mcmahon fired him after the match, never wrestled again in WWE)
Who am I, for sure? ROB CONWAY
What am I? I'm a title, whose longest reign was by the person who held me first, but not that first reign. My shortest reign was one day, although it got extended due to taping schedules. I've been won via case obtaining, won in a tag match (despite not being a tag title) and won in a cage. I'm still active today, although I'm not nearly as huge as I once was. I've been held by weather influences, comic book references, rappers and a principal of causality (although that last one at the time they won it wasn't called that). What am I?
The Ask 411 Ultimate Summerslam!
… I need a banner for that.
Anyway, we now begin the long task of deciding the ULTIMATE SUMMERSLAM! Everyone who has competed at Summerslam is eligible, so get to thinking of what dream matches you wanna see at the event! (I'll be providing a full list of participants soon.) I've got Jed Shaffer, of Re-Writing The Book on board to make sure it doesn't suck ensure the best possible event for you, the fans! This week, there are two questions. The main one, is The Venue.
There have been 18 different venues over the years. One of them will get to host the Ultimate Summerslam. Which is it?
Air Canada Center, Toronto, Ontario (2004)
America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona (2003)
Compaq Center, San Jose, California (2001)
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana (2008)
Entertainment and Sports Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina (2000)
Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio (1996)
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York (1988, 1991, 1998)
MCI Center, Washington, D.C. (2005)
Meadowlands Arena/ Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey (1989, 1997, 2007)
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York (2002)
Pittsburgh Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1995)
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1999)
TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, Massachusetts (2006)
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan (1993)
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1990)
United Center, Chicago, Illinois (1994)
Wembley Stadium, London, England (1992)
And also, a secondary question. A simple one. Money In The Bank as a concept is now a big deal in WWE. And Summerslam has seen it come into play. So, at this Ultimate Summerslam, Is There a MITB Briefcase Floating Around?
You can cast your vote for either or both of these either by posting a comment below or sending me an email at email@example.com Please don't be dickish and vote twice. Thank you.
Getting Down To Business/One Man's (Important) Opinion
d gets to start us off this week.
Btw great column in just have a few questions
1 why did wwf bring in Billy jack Haynes I know he was a star in the Pacific nw but I don't think he did much
Yeah, his career in WWF was pretty short, but that was due to an abrupt ending rather than a planned short run. The story changes every time Billy tells it, but he either refused to job or changed a match ending in Portland, and got fired over it. He got a decent enough push before that, he worked Wrestlemania III and everything.
As for bringing him in, he was muscular, he could talk, he had a track record of working well in another promotion, and he supposedly got into a physical fight with Jim Crockett when he left there. That's pretty much the check list for getting a contract in WWF at the time.
I mean, you don't expect everyone on the roster to be world champ. A good looking down to earth babyface, you need a few of those for the midcard, and Billy Jack was one such guy. Obviously it didn't work out, but if he hadn't got into issues over jobbing his run would have been longer and maybe he'd be in a better place right now.
2 if hogan doesn't catch fire at the beginning of his run who do u think gets his spot
That's an interesting twist on an old hypothetical, actually. Most of the time people just remove Hogan entirely and ask who would have been next. But if Hogan had failed, what happens then?
I think that it's not a simple case of Vince going with the next on the list, because while Hogan deserves a lot of credit for his talent and charisma helping the WWF become a household name, there is an undeniable element of the marketing behind him being just as important. When Hogan beat The Iron Sheik, he was merely very popular. It took a year or so before MTV came on board and he became a household name. So the thing is, if he doesn't catch fire in that time, then it's just as much a problem with the WWF promotional machine as it is with Hogan.
If Hogan doesn't catch fire, then quite possibly Vince has to change his business model, or at the very least, he needs a stopgap. And so, if Hogan isn't over, then almost certainly Piper wins the belt. Piper still maintains that the heat he and Hogan drew was just as much people wanting to see him get beat up than it was people wanting to see Hogan beat him up. So assuming everyone else is still over, then Piper's your #1 heel, you put the belt on him.
Then you end up with the odd position, thanks to wrestling logic, that the guy most likely to beat Piper and replace Hogan would be… Hogan. You'd probably try again, since that should work, and him beating Piper at Wrestlemania 1 with T in his corner should hopefully put him over the top.
Now, if that fails? Well, WWF fails, but if they survived and somehow the marketing is still strong, Piper gets the belt back once more and then probably holds onto it, if he remains a strong draw, until they build up Orndorff, or maybe Slaughter. Kerry Von Erich is often touted as the logical choice, and Snuka supposedly was the back up, but they tend to rely on Hogan never jumping ship. Hogan failing totally changes the game, and Vince would quite possibly pull back from the superhuman, bodybuilder ideal and sticking to Bruno/Pedro/Bob model of still being a dominant face, but based on skill not physique.
But again, if Hogan fails, he may just drag the whole company down with him…
3 what can Jeff jarretts promotion do to stand out from everyone
But really, if I knew how to stand out, I'd be booking my own company and making money.
That said, right now you have nominally three major competitors, at least in terms of on air product. WWE, which is aimed at kids and families, TNA, which exists only as long as WWE doesn't come back to Spike and which wants to aim for an older demo but be like WWE, and ROH, which is also aimed at an older demo and wants to be more like MMA, I guess.
To be different, I think it needs to, paradoxically, look like WWE and TNA. Doesn't have to be huge arenas, but certainly it can't look as bush league as ROH can look at times. The presentation does need to be different, it has to have a unique look, but as long as it looks professional, that's a major hurdle passed.
But I think the major, biggest thing they could do is something they've begun to. Global Force Wrestling has announced a working agreement with AAA. That's a good start, but they should go after more companies. Bring on board NJPW, or AJPW if New Japan wants to stick to ROH. Get agreements with European companies, Australian companies, maybe even work out a deal with CZW. There is a lot of talent out there that is totally unknown in the US market. And that's good, in that while they should totally go after big guns on the American indy scene, having a roster of totally new faces, while having a hump to get over right away, long term is better since you can't be accused of rehashing your competitors, plus everything is fresh and original.
And then keep the booking simple, but not simplistic. WWE and TNA have issues with going overboard with gimmicks, and ROH has the right idea but poor execution at times. GFW should focus on the in ring product, feuds should start in the ring and end there. Just put on good solid wrestling shows every week, and sadly that'll probably be enough to stand out.
Redde asks a question I can't answer accurately, well sorta...
What percentage of WWE matches do the wrestlers pre-plan the whole match and what percentage of them only have the finish planned, and the rest is just decided in the ring?
Well, the percentage of the matches where only the finish is planned is practically zero. You almost never go out there with only the finish, you normally have a few spots and then the finish.
But in actuality I can't answer the question for obvious reasons, but I strongly suspect that the number is rising of fully planned out. As more guys come in who have been trained just by WWE, the number of guys who can just go out there and wing it is decreasing, and/or the number of those who can wing it being allowed to is also decreasing. More and more it appears that WWE wants to control everything and although they don't write the matches out on the scripts, supposedly it's getting more controlled and preplanned. But that's just scuttlebutt.
Again, going out there totally blind almost never happens. But going out there with just the high points, that's getting rarer and rarer, supposedly. I can't say for sure though, since I'm not there listening to the road agents go through matches.
Manu asks a simple question.
Is Charlotte the Flair daughter that got tased when Ric was fighting with her boyfriend and the cops got called in Chapel Hill, NC?
Yep. Ashley Fliehr got into a fight with her father and her boyfriend in 2008, and when the cops arrived she attacked a cop as well, and ended up being tasered. Four years later, she signs a WWE contract and is now called Charlotte. He has two daughters, Ashley and Megan, Megan is the older one but has shown no interest in wrestling, it seems.
The facts about the fist are pretty cool.
And this is heart-warming, awesome, depressing and just right in the feels, as the kids say…
Bobby asks about in-ring moments.
First of all, I'm a wrestling trainee and it's an absolute intoxicating feeling working towards living your dream. Recently during a practice match, I had my first experience in coming up with something on the fly. The situation: a blown move. We, as fans, have all seen a blown spot or move in the ring that was either quickly moved to something else or left both wrestlers staring at each other wonder what to do next. My question to you is this: do you have a lasting memory of something being blown and you "making the save" and turning a potentially disastrous moment in to an awesome moment?
Side note to anyone wanting to be a pro wrestler: DO NOT make excuses why you can't do it. It's better to try and fail then to regret not trying at all.
Hmm. I certainly remember the first time I blew a spot, wherein I got speared and didn't move. Although I suppose that could be considered all right considering how big I am, but the other guy covered nicely and did it again. I guess that's why I tend to oversell spears now.
But wherein I managed to recover and turn it into something awesome… Most of the stuff I remember tend to be the creative moments. Like wrestling against The Illusionist, putting him in the corner and demanding a magic trick. Since he couldn't (due to my beating him up) I then said I'd do one. Now you see me, *eye rake*, now you don't. Or when someone called out that my boot was untied, doing it back up with my foot resting on my opponent's neck.
I guess the best situation is where my opponent forgot his place and went for a crossbody where he shouldn't have, and I just let him bounce off me then dropped an elbow. Sadly I don't have any heroic saving moments. I keep wanting to use the ring ropes when they break but every time they do it's near the end of the match (and shockingly, it's never me on the ropes at the time…). But yeah, most times I either am the cause of the problem, or the solution isn't awesome (Vader Attacks are cool and all, but not awesome.)
HBK's Smile has a few questions.
Mad props as always, Mat. Here's some more questions.
1) Two similar questions I'll combine into one. What significant pinfall/submission victories did Paul Orndorff have before he started his huge 1986 program with Hogan? IIRC, at most, he may have pinned Bob Orton (and I'm unsure about even that). Similarly, what significant pinfall/submission victories did The Honky Tonk Man have in the WWF? I remember his WM3 win over Jake Roberts and his IC win over Steamboat but that is all.
I said no research! Grrr…
OK, Orndorff debuted for WWE in 83. Looking for big wins from then to the Hogan turn…
83 was jobbers and being watched by managers…
84 began with Piper as his manager. Lots more jobbers, as well as some draws with Bob Backlund and a couple wins over Chief Jay Strongbow and Eddie Gilbert. He did win some 6 man tags over the WWF Tag Team Champions Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson teaming with various people. B Brian Blair lost to him… As did Rocky Johnson in solo matches, as did JYD.
85… Tony Atlas, Bret Hart (although that wasn't big at the time…), then he turned face. He did beat Bob Orton a bunch of times, and a couple non pinfall/submission wins over Piper (accidental escape of the cage).
86, more Orton wins, more cage wins over Piper, a win over Hercules and then the turn.
So while he didn't have many wins over big names, during these years he appeared many times on TV squashing jobbers in decisive fashion. Almost every taping saw him beat a couple of jobbers on it in short, vicious matches. Plus working with Piper and Hogan, as he did, also helped, regardless of his track record against them.
Turning to the Honky Tonk Man, he debuted in 86. He had mostly squashes as well, against guys like Steve Regal (not William), and Jimmy Jack Funk, then turned heel on the house show circuit before the turn aired, his biggest win post that was Koko B Ware. In 87, he did manage to pin Pedro Morales a few times, as well as Koko a few more times, then Jake at WM, a few wins over Cpl. Kirchner, and then the title win.
And with Honky, the whole point was that he was a lucky stiff who didn't deserve the belt. The original intent was to use him as a transitional to Jake, according to the stories, and then they just kept running with it, and the story was ‘he shouldn't hold the belt'.
2) Referencing a Q&A from your 2/12 column, King Kong Bundy lost to 53 year old Fritz Von Erich, yet got a major push a couple years later in the WWF, breaking the record for fastest win at WM1 and then main eventing WM2. Did Vince believe the viewers of the day were unaware of the Von Erich match? Or did he just feel he had rehabbed Bundy's image sufficiently to put him in these spots? Also, looking back at the WM2 match from a 2014 vantage point, it seems so obvious that Hogan would win, but was there legitimate doubt back in 1986?
A little of both. The Von Erich match is one of those things that while I dislike it and think it was bad, I can see the logic. Von Erich was over, it was his retirement, home town, huge cheers… The fact that Bundy lost to someone over 50 and all that at the time wasn't viewed as a huge stumbling block or anything. I over sold it a bit, but then I do often have issues with bookers who are talent, but that's neither here nor there.
But yes, the Von Erich match was somewhat regional, and when Bundy came in he looked and was booked strong, so after some squashes, he was over. The fact that he lost one match to an old guy wasn't nearly as big a problem as I implied.
As for Wrestlemania 2, I can't say for sure what fan sentiment was, being I was 4 at the time. But from what I've heard, there was enough reasonable doubt that you wanted to watch/attend to cheer him on. Hogan was fairly invincible, but he did look as if he was in such pain in every match, so maybe this time he could lose? It obvious was obviously enough of a hook to work well. So Bundy was another in a line where Hogan came in with an injury, and a cage match… He might lose, but he probably won't. But still…
And that still… sold tickets.
3) Fast forward to now (and this may be an opinion question). This past RAW, commentators referenced Randy Orton as the first WWE World Champion. Aside from being patently untrue, what motivation is there to push this as fact? It hardly makes Orton look any better, but it is something that could be mentioned to bolster the (sooner or later) likely returns of Jericho, Hogan, Undertaker, and the Rock as well as the omnipresent HHH and especially the lurking Brock Lesnar. And there isn't an "unuseable" name on the list.
That's it for now. Thanks.
Ooooh, see technically it's not untrue. The WWE Undisputed Title was the unification of the WWE and WCW titles, although the WCW title was renamed the World Title for a month it isn't the same title as the World Heavyweight Championship… Or at least it wasn't supposed to be, until they unified them and suddenly it was.
But even with that, WWE will argue that since it's the WWE World Heavyweight Championship rather than the WWE Undisputed Title, Orton was the first champ.
Either way, if you can name someone as the first or the youngest or the longest or anything with a title, if they a hook, you use it. When Jericho comes back they can say he was the first Undisputed champion, but Orton being the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion in their mind is different and since he is the first, since he's the guy who unified them, it's a hook to push. Doesn't really help him, sure, but it doesn't hurt him, and even if it makes him that tiny bit more important in someone's eyes, it's worth it.
Michael wants to delve into the backstage stuff.
I have some wrestling locker room questions..ok, what exactly caused the infamous Jericho/Goldberg & Booker T/Batista fights?
Legal Disclaimer: We here at Ask 411 Wrestling do not know everything. We rely on backstage gossip, shoot interviews, dirtsheets, message boards and various other sources for information that cannot be verified or have guarantees over accuracy. Thus, any and all statements of the nature that follow, regardless of how strongly they are presented as fact are not, and in fact are merely the best interpretation of events as sourced from various unreliable narrators. Ask 411 Wrestling, 411mania.com, Mathew Sforcina, the Internet and Australia make no claims nor take any responsibility for the truthfulness and/or influence the following statements have.
Jericho/Goldberg: The two had some underlying resentment after Jericho's ‘feud' with Goldberg in WCW, where either the Goldberg was a dick and refused to work with Jericho or Jericho was miffed when the front office didn't trust him to work a PPV main event against their champion when he was an untested cruiserweight, depending on who you side with. Either way, there's a bit of anger there.
So fast forward to Goldberg coming into WWE. Jericho is well established there, and then one day he comes back from the ring and Hurricane is there, and he eggs Jericho on about how Goldberg was talking shit about Jericho, about how he won't sell and stuff. Jericho then gets miffed at this, goes and finds Goldberg, and asks if there's a problem. They exchange words, Goldberg grabs Jericho's throat, they tussle, Jericho grabs a front face lock and holds on until they are broken up. They shake hands before leaving the building, end of story.
Booker T/Batista: In 2006, several wrestlers were gathered to film a commercial for the upcoming Summerslam PPV. In the lead up, Batista has done some interviews talking about how after he moved to Raw a year previously, Smackdown's ratings are down. Then, on the day, he mentions how the SD roster is ‘lazy' and how he's better given how quickly his rise to the main event was. Or something like that.
Booker then took exception, and the two got into an argument. Although Rey Mysterio and others tried to act peacemaker, Batista kept pushing it until the two began to fight. What happened in the fight is debated, given how quickly it was over and when blows were thrown (and if Sharmell got involved) but in the end they were separated and supposedly DAVE was surprised when no-one backed him up over it.
Also, I hear wild stories about guys abusing all sorts of drugs. What are some of the wildest, most unbelievable wrestling drug stories you know of?
Huh. You know, this isn't a cop out because I'm trying to defend the industry, but I'm sort of drawing a blank, in the sense that I can think of dozens of wrestlers who have drug problems, and certainly I can think of situations where guys got into trouble over drugs, but wild and unbelievable, that tends to be more the film and music industries, stuff where you don't need to be physically fit to perform.
See, stuff like Bulldog being high at Summerslam 92, or HBK getting sent home before Wrestlemania X7, or half the stuff on the IWC Sleaze list, that's more just sad and/or irresponsible. I mean, I know I'm something of a wet blanket, but I don't really like drug stories, they tend to depress me. I guess the heydays of the Horsemen, but that was less illegal drugs and more booze and broads, with some drugs tossed in.
But yeah, drug stories aren't wild in my mind. Apart from Juventud Guerrera getting arrested down here in Brisbane, when he was naked and claimed to be Jesus Christ and then ended up being arrested and charged with three counts of assault, indecent exposure, obstructing police, disorderly conduct, and possession of a drug. I guess that's wild, I suppose…
Perhaps you, dear reader, have a better story here?
2 questions about ribs. Is Alex Riley in the "dog house" because he overreacted to a "rib" pulled on him by Cena?
Supposedly. It was widely reported back in 2012 that a major part of the reason Alex Riley went from "hot young babyface having turned on Miz" to "Bad NXT Announcer" was that backstage, Cena was ribbing him verbally and he reacted angrily, and that was viewed as breaking the locker room code and thus he got buried. When asked on Twitter, Riley said "I'd rather not comment about this… At this time" which sounds like confirmation to me.
Now, thing is, no-one has ever said what was the rib. I've been on record as saying that the macho BS stuff with ribs and stuff is stupid and I don't like it, but I understand why it exists and more importantly you do need a thick skin. I'm not saying that if someone tears up your gear that you should laugh it off, although according to the code you're supposed to if the person doing it is higher on the totem pole than you are. But, wrestlers talking shit about each other, that's gonna happen. You have to put up with swearing and jokes, sometimes unfunny ones, but they will happen. I'm not condoning racial or sexually offensive jokes, nor am I condoning ignoring them, but someone talking shit about you, that you're meant to laugh off. Certainly not fly off the handle. But without knowing what was said and what ‘reacting angrily' means, it's hard to say.
And can you explain the "Orton shitting in Amy Webers bag incident"? Thanks. I was so into this column back in like 2003-2004 and recently got back into it. Great job guys!
OK, you remember the Diva search? Where the WWE suddenly brought in a bunch of new Divas who had no previous experience or in many cases interest in wrestling? Well that didn't quite work out well in some cases.
One of women brought in was Rochelle Loewen. When she came in, she apparently didn't immediately recognise Randy Orton. This annoyed Randy, and then he apparently was "inappropriate and verbally abusive" to her further in the day, and then at the end of the day she discovered her belongings had been ruined with a mixture of self tanning lotion and baby oil smeared across her things. He apparently has had issues with beautiful women in the past, according to Rochelle.
These details didn't come out till later though, and it sort of came out in dribs and drabs and somehow became "Orton shat in Amy's bag" at the time. That's about iut really, Orton was a bit of a dick to a woman who was just getting into the business.
And on that note, we end this week's edition of Ask 411 Wrestling. Don't forget to vote in the Ultimate Summerslam questions, and I'll see you all next week, hopefully feeling better.