Ask 411 Wrestling 07.09.14: Cena Retiring, Cena's Titles, More!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 07.09.2014
When should John Cena retire and why did he beat Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules 2012? Should Rey Mysterio be counted as a real WWE Champion? Should Paige and AJ Lee be teamed up? All this and more covered in Ask 411 Wrestling!
I'm really feeling like Jon Stewart here, go away and come back to find the foreign guy who covered for me did such an awesome job that some of you may well not want me back…
But hey, that always happens when I leave so screw it. Welcome to Ask 411 Wrestling, I am Mathew Sforcina, and I'm back to rock your socks not so much off but certainly rolled down a little.
Big, big BIG props, hell, the entire plane to Jed Shaffer for filling in for me last week. Go follow him and then read all his stuff.
If you have a question you want to see in this column and thus fulfil your obligations under the ‘Writer/Asker Act of 2013', you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for answering.
And under the ‘Awesomeness Requirements (Updated) Act of 2006', here's the required awesome of BANNER!
I've been a reptile and I've been a bird. My real name is the same as the gimmick name of a former manager. I won the same award twice using different characters. I've been very successful at matches in which I could've lost something other than a title, including three against former World champions, but my only defeat was a great "victory" for a lady. Among my victories are crowns, bragging rights, a title win against a bullfighter and being inducted into Halls of Fame twice. Oh, and in my wrestling theme song, there is an unintentional reference to a great legend. Who am I?
I'll admit I accidentally left an answer in at first, so I guess Tim, Shark, Matias and LITMnooch only get partial credit…
I've been a reptile (La Lagartija Verde/The Green Lizard) and I've been a bird (Colibrí/Hummingbird). My real name (Oscar) is the same as the gimmick name of a former manager (Oscar from Men on a Mission). I won the same award twice using different characters (Mexico's Most Improved Wrestler as Colibrí and Rey Misterio Jr.). I've been very successful at matches in which I could've lost something other than a title (mask, custody of his son Dominick), including three against former World champions (Eddie Guerrero -twice- and Chris Jericho), but my only defeat was a great "victory" for a lady (I lost my mask in WCW against The Outsiders, in which Elizabeth's hair was at stake). Among my victories are crowns (Triple Crown winner), bragging rights (2010 Bragging Rights Trophy), a title win against a bullfighter (WWC Junior Heavyweight Title against Eddie Colon, now known as Diego from Los Matadores) and being inducted into Halls of Fame twice (Tijuana's and AAA's). Oh, in my my wrestling theme song, there is an unintentional reference to a great legend (Whatcha Gonna Do, like Hulk Hogan uses to say). Who am I?
Who am I? I was part of a special match with the guy who just retired due to a broken neck. Raven once injured me, deliberately even. I debuted in the company now called WWE with a female manager although she wasn't one I'd had previously (and I'd had a couple). My name references an older wrestler although I don't claim any connection to him. My second debut match saw me beat someone no longer with the company, who shares an aspect of themselves with a person I beat in my first debut match. I've played an authority figure, a musician and a bunny. Not Adam Rose's once though. A guy who's also had one of that just retired guy's girlfriends as one of his own, I am who?
Getting Down To Business
First order of business, there's new merch over at the Super Wrestling Heroes Store including signed posters and my VERY awesome kids T-shirt. So go buy!
Tom starts us off properly with a question and a suggestion.
Question - Who was your really hot valet in the video of your awesome choke slam?
As you can just make out in the clip, her name is Harley Wonderland, and she's a pretty awesome wrestler now. You can find her Facebook account to keep up to date with all her matches/appearances rightchere. You should totally tell her to come back and be my manager again, I'm sure she'd just LOVE that.
Suggestion - Why not start a bio and/or video highlight of some Australian talent in each week's column or maybe once a month. I mean Acero has his AJ obsession and Demarco has/had the 'Demarcettes'. Why not the 'Awesome Aussie's' or whatever clever name you can think of? There is a rather large audience in North America you can reach.
I honestly hadn't thought of that, but I'm concerned that I'll end up tainting the recaps with my personal opinions. And also while I make no secret of the two sides from each other, while I'm open I do both, I kinda like keeping them somewhat separate. I've never tried to ask questions of names when they come over, I try to remain totally professional in those circumstances, and "Aussies On Parade" or whatever… I'm not sure.
Would you guys like this? Not like this? Not care? Let me know below!
Jason asks about theme songs.
Anyway, I've been going through old WWE PPV's, and I noticed that the 2001 Royal Rumble was the first time HHH used his Motorhead "Game" theme at a PPV. I also realized that it has not changed at all since then, which makes it 13 1/2 years that he's been using that theme song, with the occasional "King of Kings" thrown in (but that's never his main theme, more like his Corporate HHH theme now).
I got to thinking, besides Flair using "Also Sprach Zarathustra" basically forever, has any other wrestler in WWE/WCW used a theme longer? The only guy I can think of would maybe be Macho Man, but I have no idea when he stopped using "Pomp and Circumstances" in his WCW run...
See, the issue here is do you count periods where they didn't use the theme as invalidating the previous usage? I mean, Booker T, for instance, has used ‘Rap Sheet', a.k.a "Yes yes yes, No no no" since 1993, but he's also used a few other themes between then and now (Gi Bro, King Booker, TNA's ones, nWo, Self Sung and mash ups). Does that count?
Now, the answer here is yes, since you mention Hunter using other themes occasionally. So, has anyone had a longer run with one basic theme? I can think of a few, but I suspect the winner is this guy:
Shawn Michaels has used Sexy Boy as his default theme since February 1993 through to today, for over 20 years. You can add a year if you include the Sherri version as the same song. He has used the DX theme and the nWo theme as well, but that's been his default. I suspect he wins.
I know I'll be corrected on that below though.
Stromi has a question about a briefcase. Thankfully not the KOTR99 one.
As I have been rolling down memory lane, reading the 80's WWF recaps on 411mania from Adam Nedeff, a gimmick that I have long wondered about came to mind: In 1985, Adrian Adonis returned to WWE in his leather jacket persona, with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist that to my knowledge, was never opened. It had the words "Relax with Trudi" on the front of it. Was there ever any payoff or explanation for this?
So yeah, during the period of time when Adrian got traded from Bobby Heenan to Jimmy Hart, he began to carry the briefcase around with him with that phrase on it, and he gave away his leather jacket to Roddy Piper and such. And then eventually he became ‘Adorable' Adrian Adonis.
Now, here's the thing; we can go back and fill in the blanks here and there's pretty much solid agreement as to what was going on, WWE just never came out and said it. Kinda like the KOTR99 Briefcase actually, but anyway.
The implication is that the briefcase contained for lack of a better term the Adorable gimmick. Or at least his feminine side. Hart talked about people seeing a new side of Adrian, and in the WWF magazine it said something about Hart ‘swapping the leather for ribbons' and such, supposedly. Some people claim he opened the case on an episode of TNT, and inside was a dress and such, but I think they are confusing it with this appearance here.
As you can see in the clip, his t-shirt says Relax, and I presume it was a reference to the ‘Relax; by Frankie Goes To Hollywood gimmick of the time. So yeah, in retrospect it was a symbol of him becoming ‘himself', but it was never actually opened or explained.
Chris has a simple question.
Matthew, love the column. One quick question: did we ever find out who
the masked man was in the Chamber of Horrors match from Halloween
So yeah, a match that ends with Abdullah the Butcher getting fried in an electric chair. What a match.
Now, the match was originally announced as being Sting, El Gigante, and The Steiners against Barry Windham, Oz, the Diamond Studd, and The One Man Gang. But then OMG quit the company so they replaced him with Abdullah the Butcher. On the night, Barry Windham was attacked by Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko and thus was ‘injured'. Cactus Jack replaced Oz as Oz replaced Cactus in his scheduled match against Bill Kazmaier. As for why… Workrate maybe?
Now, the masked men. I know one of the Ghouls was Bryan Clarke, but as for the Masked Men, their identities are unknown at the time and now. The two caskets had guys in them who jumped out and were beat up immediately. Their reason for being there is unknown, but I can give you three possible ideas.
One, they are there for back ups, if something goes wrong with the pyro or something, perhaps they are actually tech guys so if something has to be done to fix something they are there for tech.
Two, just for the shock ala a Haunted House for having them jump out.
Or three, my most likely pick, is that they were there to establish the idea that the Masked Men on this show don't matter. They appear and get beat up, the Creatures come out and get squashed by Big Josh and PN News, so this WCW Halloween Phantom, he's also no-one, right? Right?
For anyone not able to play videos, he unmasked to be Rick Rude, as managed by Paul E. Dangerously, and thus began the Dangerous Alliance, a.k.a the best stable roster of all time and one of the best things WCW ever did.
But again, that's just speculation on my part. WCW did a lot that had no rational explanation…
Matt wishes to be topical and ask about a match from over a year ago. OK then.
I thought I would ask some topical questions as it looks like we are heading towards Cena vs Lesnar for Summerslam.
When I look back at their 2012 Extreme Rules encounter a couple of things strike me as odd.
Firstly, what was the logic for Cena beating Lesnar in that match? Lesnar returning was a huge deal at the time and was considered a legitimate bad-ass after his run in UFC. During the match itself Lesnar absolutely dominated before Cena scored a miraculous win. After the bout Cena and Lesnar did not interact again, what was WWE trying to accomplish by having Cena win?
Ah yes, Cena's Year Of Hell where he beat Brock Lesnar, successfully won several main events of PPVs despite not being champ, winning Money In The Bank, being voted Superstar of the Year, won most of his matches including the Royal Rumble. You know, that Year of Hell.
Anyway, the logic seems to be that Cena needed a boost given the whole ‘lost to Rock at WM' situation, and Brock being a special attraction meant that he should be mostly used to put people over, while also remaining strong as a threat, thus he gobbled most of the offence. And, also, it led into the Brock/HHH and Cena/Laurinaitis programs, since Brock was pissed and thus attacked HHH and Johnny Ace would be pissed since Cena proved Brock wasn't worth what Johnny Ace signed him to and thus blamed Cena.
Now, anyone outside the situation might well point out that if you're building to Rock/Cena 2: Twice in a Lifetime as they thought they were, and thus you'd put Brock over to begin that, but there was logic to it. You can disagree with the logic (I sure as hell do), but you can't claim it was totally illogical. WWE wanted to keep Cena strong after a high profile loss, Brock would end up protected anyway, and they could spin two ‘major' programs out of it. Why not do it?
Second, was the Cena promo following his win over Lesnar planned? At the time it came off looking like a shoot and reports were that Lesnar was not happy about it at all. It all seemed a little weird to me at the time and I can't seem to find a reason for it. Would someone like Cena have the power to cut an impromptu promo?
The reaction backstage was supposedly mostly a work to add to the speculation that Brock would quit and thus it be a surprise when he broke HHH's arm. The promo itself though… Brock knew he was losing well ahead of time, and the original plan was meant to be Brock loses, Cena is stretchered out, Brock loses battle, wins war. But then Cena sits up and talks about time off and stuff…
Until a miracle occurs and Cena does a full shoot interview, I really can't say what was going on. Maybe someone made a call that Cena had to look less weak, maybe he felt his arm go and assumed he had to take time off and was improvising, maybe he got his bell rung… We don't know. I lean towards the ‘Cena thought he had just buggered his arm up' explanation, but I cannot give you a definite answer here, alas. Not until Cena talks.
Botchamania this week because… Well because it's fricking Botchamania!
Nightwolf wants his memory jogged.
I'm drawing a blank here, but who was the wrestler who got their career ended by a vertical Suplex from Andre the Giant?
Well, that makes two of us, since I also drew a total blank here. I don't know anyone whose career was ended at the hands of Andre the Giant, suplex or otherwise. My Google-Fu failed me totally. I'm very despondent. Hopefully there will be an answer below, or else I'll be a total loser.
More so that usual!
Manu Bumb hopefully has something I can answer.
Remember back when WWF was going to release Stacy Carter, and Lawler left as a result, and then she left him? Was there ever any news unearthed about why they wanted to release her? I mean, she might not have been doing anything meaningful at the time, but at any given point in time, they have plenty of people who aren't doing anything important, and never will, and they keep them around a lot longer than they should, and Stacy was married to Lawler.
Did she have heat on her in the locker room? Did the office know she was cheating on lawler, if she even was at that point in time (or ever, I don't know the details of that split, and not sure I want to)? Did she turn down a storyline with Vince?
It just seemed like a really strange set of events at the time, and still does all these years later.
It wasn't ‘going to', they did release her, and she WAS doing something meaningful.
Back in early 2001, the Right To Censor was, despite the stupidity of the angle, actually pretty over as a heel group, and was just starting an angle with Jerry Lawler and his new ‘group' Right To Nudity. And as part of that, The Kat ended up being forced to join the RTC. This was meant to lead to weeks of comedy where she seduced members of RTC and eventually break the stable up because she has a magic HooHoo or something.
But at the time, one of two things happened. Either Vince decided to end the angle and thus saw no reason to keep her around, which is an idea I've heard but not really seen as legit, and the other that she was becoming increasingly hard to deal with and creative was complaining (and maybe Lawler's pushing for her to get a bigger role wasn't helping, as he was the main push behind the RTC/RTN feud), and so Vince decided to fire her.
According to Lawler, Ross had to break the news that Vince thought she didn't have the right attitude and feared an increased problem if she got any bigger, hence they'd fire her. Lawler then stood his ground and said if she goes I go, so Vince fired them both.
A few months later, Lawler still didn't understand why she was fired, and attempts to bring him back kept hitting the wall of him wanting them back as a package. And then she left him for someone else.
To my knowledge she wasn't seeing anyone at the time of the firing, it was about attitude in general, not moral standing.
Craig asks about title lineages.
My question relates to the WWE title lineage, specifically the time period between July 17, 2011 and August 14, 2011. When CM Punk won the title at Money in the Bank he was the official champion. He took the title with him upon 'leaving the company' and was never officially stripped of the title. Therefore the title was never vacant and Punk was technically the WWE champion for that entire time period. That part is agreed upon in the WWE record books.
The part that I argue and disagree with the WWE record books on is that on the July 25, 2011 RAW when Rey Mysterio and John Cena both won the 'WWE title,' they didn't win the actual WWE title. Since Punk carried the belt with the history and lineage, the belt that Cena and Mysterio won was in essence a brand new championship with a separate identify and lineage. Cena would go on and carry this brand-new, alternate WWE title until it was unified with the real WWE title at that year's SummerSlam.
Does my disagreement with the WWE record books hold water? Shouldn't Cena be credited as a 10 time WWE champ and 1 time alternate WWE champ instead of an 11 time WWE champ
By any outside rational opinion, yes, you should consider the Mysterio and the Cena title reigns as something other than a WWE Title reign. A WWE Alpha or WWE-2 title reign or something. The lineage goes with Punk directly till the unification and then the Del Rio win after said unification. They shouldn't be the same title.
But there's an old saying, he who has the gold makes the rules. And since it's WWE's title, they get to decide how they view it, and thus how it ‘officially' goes. And they say that they had two WWE Champs for a few weeks. Like how there's been two Intercontinental Champions at times, and three tag team champions, and so on. WWE says they are the same belt, they own the belt, it's the same belt. And even if it isn't, WWE Alpha was treated as a World Title so he's still a 15 time champ…
What a Maneuver wants to ask about the NWA booking matches.
This is yet another question about the Flair-Steamboat series of 1989. At the Clash, they advertised matches for AFTER the two-out-of-three falls match, which didn't occur due to time constraints. Then, at Wrestle War, they ended the night with a tag team match, AFTER Flair & Steamboat's third - and some say best - match. Why did they schedule matches to occur after the main event? Especially when these main events ended up being not only epic, but the best matches of the 1980s?
Because booking back then, hell even today, isn't quite as simple as most make out. See, yes, today you would put the world title in the main event, but at the time, you're putting a heel over for the world title and then turning him face via a sneak attack. The feeling seems to be that that isn't a good way to end a big show, you gotta send the fans home happy on a major show. So you send out the Road Warriors to get a pop then finish with a good luck title win. That way they don't leave upset that the heel won, be it the heel they came in hating (Flair) or the one they leave hating (Funk). So they put the matches out there so the fans don't leave shellshocked and on a downer. WWF would do the same if a heel would win the big match at the same time period as a rule.
Now, as for Clash, the reason they had matches announced was because they didn't know how long the title match would go for. Sure, it had an hour time limit, but since it was a contest and not a show, it might end in 5 minutes, who knows? So matches were prepared, just in case. And since Steamboat was keeping the belt, they didn't need to have one more match with a face win afterwards.
Rahil has a nice, simple question.
What`s the first ever wrestling PPV ?????
Hey, I never said it had a nice, simple answer!
See, assuming you don't want to be pedantic and argue that every live event is sort of a PPV since you have to pay to view it, it basically comes down to how you define a PPV. Is PPV any large/important card you have to pay to watch on a screen, or is PPV specifically something have to get via your cable or satellite provider? Or can it be both?
If you mean a PPV to be just an event you gotta pay to see on a screen, then the answer is the NWA Starrcade 83: A Flair for the Gold event, November 24, 1983, where Flair won the NWA World Title from Harley Race, as viewable on closed circuit television at various locations around Southern USA. (Starrcade 84 was the same.)
If it can be both, then Wrestlemania 1, March 31, 1985, where Hulk Hogan and Mr. T battled Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff in the main event, that was mostly available via closed circuit TV, that's how the majority of people saw it, but in select areas it could be seen via PPV into your living room. (And a week later in at least one city, it got shown on TV due to the connection not working).
But, if you want strictly on PPV only and nowhere else, then WWF's The Wrestling Classic, November 7, 1985, where The Junkyard Dog won The Wrestling Classic over Randy Savage in the finals is the winner. You could see it on PPV and nowhere else.
One Man's (Important) Opinion
Michael asks if two women should hook up.
… PG people!
Just wanted to know if you think WWE should pair Paige with AJ Lee to help develop her promos and her in ring character? She seems to have the in ring skills actually more skills than most but she almost seems shy when on the mic.
In an ideal world no. She should be given more time in the ring to do what she's good at and you could give her a manager to talk if you needed a promo to be cut. Not everyone HAS to be able to wrestle and perform and talk and everything, you don't need fifty total packages on your roster. If you have that many then by all means celebrate your bestest ever roster of all the times, but it's not essential.
However, in the real world, absolutely the two should work a long program so that Paige and develop the skills WWE insists she have and AJ can wrestle someone who can not only keep up but is ahead of her in the game, and so everyone wins. Although, of course, that requires the two get some time in which to wrestle and to talk. Not sure that's gonna happen, but hey, we'll see.
Brian wants to talk about the Rhodes Boys.
Isn't the name "The Gold Dust Duo" just insider enough of a nod for them to name Cody's new pairing?
For those late to the party, the Gold Dust Trio are the three men who basically invented professional wrestling as we understand it today. In the early 1920's, Champion Ed ‘Strangler' Lewis, his manager Billy Sandow, and fellow wrestler Joseph "Toots" Mondt were the three men who took Mondt's basic idea of turning the slow, serious catch-as-catch-can style of grapping and turning it into ‘Slam Bang Western Style Wrestling', which is basically what we have now, with strikes and finishes and no-contests and the like. Mondt was the ideas guy and the training partner of the draw Lewis, and Sandow was the manager and talent scout.
Now, all this led to Goldust using that name when he debuted in WWF, since it both played into his history, and also referenced the past. And that's kinda why I'm not totally sold on it being their team name. While it is brilliant, it's too focused on Goldust, as I think the idea is to set Cody up for the future. The Dust Duo is okish and sort works… I mean, I'd probably gonna call them the Gold Dust Duo now myself, but still, from a booking standpoint I'd have a slight concern about that.
Okay, one real question, as you are the expertise behind the evolution schematic concept: when we step back to consider the forest for the trees in regards to Cody's career starting post-legacy breakup, will this time period resemble something tangible outside of the generic "finding out who he really is"? Or will it be more endemic of WWE writers stop-start booking?
It very much depends on if Stardust is here to stay. If this ends up being some sort of giant mind game to turn on Goldust, then we're left with a career that keeps jumping between moderate singles success and tag teams he ends up breaking up badly with. If he just drops it after an injury or time off then he just had a bad trip for a few months.
But if he sticks with it, then it plays out fairly well actually, as he basically has spent that time lost and directionless, for all his talent and ability, he kept looking for something to be ‘normal'. He tried to be Dashing, tried to punish those who hurt the face, tried to be a good partner, tried to be a hero, even tried to calm down his brother but in the end, he couldn't deny that he was just like his brother, and he's found that now.
(I will say this for Cody, regardless of what you think about the gimmicks, he dude commits, which is what you look for in a talent.)
Regardless of the Evolution Schematic interpretation, it will come down to either WWE blowing a talent (if he doesn't find the right gimmick in the next couple of attempts) or just WWE trying until they hit the right one if they do find it. If you eventually succeed, the failures get downplayed. If you end up failing then the failures get focused on more. So it comes down to what happens with the career from here. I do hope Stardust sticks though.
Oh, unrelated: Are you a footy fan and if so who are you pulling for of the remaining teams?
I presume you mean Soccer.
I call it Soccer, always have, always will. I totally understand why that pisses off most people outside Australia and America, but here's the thing: In Australia we have four football codes that are all at various levels of huge. Australian Rules Football, Rugby League, Rugby Union, and Soccer. So talking about ‘Football' here isn't a universal thing, you have to specify.
I suppose that's the argument in America, since they have American Rules, but one other code is hardly enough to justify that, given that other nations have three and manage. Four is excessive.
(Plus, as well, I think it's arrogant to assume you can use the generic term just for you just because you're the biggest. WWE doesn't get huffy if you call TNA/ROH/etc as Wrestling…)
Back to the subject at hand, I'm not a fan of any sport really, certainly not enough to call myself a fan. I can watch sports without complaint, but I don't seek it out. As for the four teams left in the World Cup as of writing, I'm pulling for Germany I guess on the basis that I'm something like 3/8's German or something. I worked it out once and due to German being on both sides the family it was the biggest share, unless you count the UK as a whole. And yet the Italian name won out, go figure.
And finally a wrestling question so I don't end on a non-wrestling note… Chris?
John Cena, the man is 37. How much long do you see him in the ring barring catastrophic injury and such? Does he call it a day at 40
or does he continue well into his 40s and possibly 50s like Flair/Hogan etc. unable to step away from the spotlight?
I don't think WWE will let him walk away from the spotlight…
I think John Cena will continue to wrestle and continue to be a source of annoyance and IWC rage until he physically cannot wrestle any more. The dude is constantly paid a lot of money, gets to do a lot for kids, gets lots of money, is the focus of the company, is paid a lot, gets his pick of storyline and angles, gets a lot of cash, does what he loves, is well compensated, has a generous pay packet and has money thrown at him a lot.
Plus there's the money. I mention that?
John Cena isn't going anywhere, short of major injury, major psychological snapping, or one HELL of a better offer that isn't coming. There's just no reason outside of selfless ‘Really Best For Business' reasons why he shouldn't stick around as long as he can. Yes, WWE over-relies on him. Yes, his character is at best mismanaged and at worst killing future drawing power of many of his fellow wrestlers. Yes, Cena V Orton has been done enough times that redoing it is surely against the Geneva Convention. Yes, for every reason that doesn't impact Cena, he should step away at some point.
But he won't. Why should he? Unless he can't do the job, why shouldn't he do the job he's good at and is well paid to do? Screw the consequences.
And I don't blame him one iota.
On that, I bid you goodbye for this week, see you all next week for more Ask 411 Wrestling, huzzah and so forth.