Ask 411 Wrestling 10.11.06: Warrior Warrior's promos, ROH factions, Sid's Bowel Movements and More!
Posted by Steve Cook on 10.11.2006
Ask 411 has a new writer, but still has all the answers YOU want to know!
First of all, 411 Mania wishes Chris Clarke the best of luck in all future endeavors. His departure from Ask 411 & the Fink's Payload is regretted by all, but it opens the door for a new regime for Ask 411...the Cook Regime.
For those of you who have managed to avoid my work until now, my name's Steve Cook, and I write a little thing called News From Cook's Corner that appears every Thursday, and recently started 411's OVW/HWA Recap Extravaganza that should be appearing every Sunday depending on how my weekends go. I also used to recap TNA Impact and have filled in on occasion for a bunch of other columns. Basically, I get around. Just like this column...how many people have written this thing anyway? From Chris Clarke to Gavin Napier to Scott Keith to Craig Letawsky to Brian Cole to probably some people I'm forgetting, Ask 411 has had many different mistresses. But now it's time for Ask 411 to settle down, and I'm just the man to do the job.
I consider myself pretty qualified to do this column for three reasons...
-I've been watching wrestling for 17 years.
-I had no life during most of those 17 years and devoted a lot of time to memorizing useless information, a large percentage of it about professional wrestling.
-I like telling people things they didn't know. It's a major ego boost.
Chris Clarke has been kind enough to send me some of the questions left over from his time writing this column...that should be enough to get me through at least the next couple of weeks or so. Damn, y'all sent him a lot of mail. I'm not sure how many I'll answer per column, it'll depend on how much time I have to devote to it. I didn't have very much this week since I found out I was doing it Monday, so this will be shorter than usual. My answers will be in bold
Gary McLoughlin gets the first answer of the Cook Era, as he wrote in with some errata and asking about Vader....
"Just read Ask 411 and I noticed the letter asking about where wrestlers go to work out while on the road. Well when the WWE was in Dublin 2 years ago, Kane, Triple H and Ric Flair were all working out at very popular Gym call "Hercules" when a freinds grandfather (whos not that old) was working out and spotted them and got them to autograph his motorbike.
And Titan Towers has a Gym where Vinnie Mc supposedly works out.
And as a huge Vader fan I was wondering if the WWE would ever realease a Vader DVD. Vader has a huge cult like fanbase and is huge in Europe and Japan and hey since a Pillman DVD came out so quick do you think we could see a Vader one?
I think we will see a Vader DVD at some point, or him as part of a DVD about stars of the 1990s since he was signed to a Legends contract, but I wouldn't expect it to come out so soon. The Pillman DVD didn't come out that quickly itself, and WWE generally likes to take its time in preparing DVD sets like this. Which is for the best because they usually do a really good job with them.
John Bryant wonders about Punk, Kennedy, & Lesnar vs. Lashley...
"I was wondering, and I hope you could answer this. When do you think The WWE/ECW should move CM Punk and/or Ken Kennedy to main event status? and also: Would a Lashley/Lesnar match be any good?"
Well, there's always two ways to look at pushing younger guys to main event status...if you do it too soon you'll get a backlash like Randy Orton had for a long time, but if you wait too long you run the risk of the fans never seeing a wrestler as a main event level talent. I think Punk needs to get some more competitive matches under his belt before being a main event guy in ECW, and Kennedy needs to excel at the upper mid-card level he's at right now on Smackdown and have some good matches with Undertaker and US title contenders. I think within a year's time both guys have the potential to get to the main event level on their brands, but I wouldn't rush it in either man's case.
Lashley vs. Lesnar...well, it'd depend if Brock brought his working boots. If he did, they could have a very entertaining contest, but if Brock worked like people have said he worked in New Japan, it could very easily stink up the arena. Lashley isn't at the level to carry people yet, he needs to be carried himself. Lesnar had graduated to the point where he could be the top worker in the match and have a good match, but if he's regressed like people say he has, I wouldn't have confidence in him to help Lashley have a good match.
Jesse Nelson has a question about Warrior Warrior's interviews...
"After having watched The Self-Destruction of the
Ultimate Warrior (a very amusing rental, just don't
buy it)... neither a fan or not a fan of him, I was
still curious. Among one of the many things he is
bashed about are his interview or promo bits. Of
course, they come off as silly, but so did many others
from other wrestlers at the time. Weren't they all
just scripted anyway, or would he (Jim Warrior) have
been allowed to put his "poetic warrior license" to
them? Basically, how much leeway were these guys
allowed in the late 80's/early 90's with their own words?"
Bobby Heenan goes into some detail about this in a shoot interview he did with RF Video...Heenan and I believe Jack Lanza & George Steele were the ones producing the interview segments at that time. There were scripts to a point, but basically they would help the talent by telling them what they needed to get across in their interview and let them do it their way, unless they were just starting out or really needed help. Guys like Jake Roberts & Ted DiBase needed no help at all, and guys like Roddy Piper were really good at doing their own thing. As far as Warrior goes, Heenan says it was impossible to produce him because he was very difficult to work with, and they just let him do whatever while scratching their heads. I will say this though...those interviews made no sense, but they are fucking hilarious to watch now.
Road Warrior Kev asks about John Nord...
"Any idea why John Nord entered the WWE in the early 90s and was initially billed as 'The Viking' for a couple of TV shows before suddenly becoming 'The Berserker' even though he looked and wore the exact same outfit? Copyright infringement over the name?"
Basically, yes, and the fact that they came up with something better. I would imagine that the term "Viking" would have several different owners, in particular the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Plus, "Bezerker" is just a cooler name. It signifies that the person with the name is "bezerk", which is a good thing for a wrestler to be. "Viking" was generic, "Bezerker" was unique and fit the character.
Tarek has several questions for answering...
"Although I do not watch TNA that often I do enjoy it but how come the majority of their talent are not that jacked (big)? I mean Daniels, AJ Syles, Raven and Jarret to name but a few are not as big as lets say Cena or Batista. I know now they have already established stars like Steiner but most look like they dont train. Team Canada for example."
Simply put, if you're on the indy circuit and have a really good physique, WWE will sign you. TNA copes with this by taking more of the wrestlers that work hard in the ring, even though they might not be as big or as pleasing to look at or whatever. The fact that TNA's guys aren't as big does play a factor on what kind of outside talent they bring in...Matt Morgan is a pretty good worker, but there's really nobody in TNA that would match up with him well physically and he'd make most of them look like midgets.
"WWE has introduced a no drug policy but how come some stars are so obviously on the gear and only Masters has fallen victim? Any ideas?"
There have actually been several "victims" of the Wellness policy, though not all of them have been due to steroids. Bryan Alverez suggested that the reason the Raw & ECW drug tests went so well was because Smackdown was tested first, and the Raw & ECW guys realized WWE wasn't screwing around and cleaned up (for the most part). Other victims so far include Randy Orton, Rob Van Dam (due to the arrest), Balls Mahoney, Great Khali, Bobby Lashley, Super Crazy & a couple of developmental workers. And everybody's heard about the Kurt Angle situation by now so I won't get into that too much here. I do know that all of the recent Wellness decisions have been posted in the 411 Newswire, so keep an eye on that.
"I heard that Billy Gunn did a shoot interview where he talked about Triple H not marrying from love but power and how he stabs ppl in the back and politiking all the time. The dvd review says he gives examples of these things but I cannot find anything on it can you tell/find me a detailed account of this interview?"
I haven't seen any reviews of the shoot, but I have seen transcripts of him on radio shows talking about Triple H and unfortunately they don't go into detail. If anybody has seen the shoot, feel free to chime in!
Dreamman0 asks about an early TNA star...
"Long time reader, first time questioner. I just watched a video on YouTube of a ladder match between Sabu and Malice. I know nothing of nor anything about Malice. Could you give me a rundown of his career/ what ever happened to him?"
Malice (real name Jerry Tuite) got his first major break in WCW, where he debuted as The Wall, bodyguard for Alex "Berlyn" Wright in that short-lived gimmick. Wall eventually became Sgt. AWOL in the Misfits In Action along with General Rection, Corporal Cajun, Major Gunns and company. Unfortunately Tuite became addicted to drugs during his WCW stint and it's reported that he nearly lost his life then. After WWF bought WCW, WWF bought out Tuite's contract and signed him to a developmental deal. The drug problems continued though, and WWF released him and told him he could come back when he cleaned up. Whether he cleaned up or not is not known, but Tuite hit the independent circuit and when TNA debuted he was signed there and wrestled under the name "Malice" as part of James Mitchell's Disciples of the New Church. Tuite wrestled for several other promotions during this time and eventually ended up spending most of his time in All Japan Pro Wrestling as "Gigantes". Sadly, Tuite passed away on December 6, 2003 as the result of what was reported as an acute heart attack. He was 36.
Brian from South Philly asks about a quirk in Rock's matches...
"I bought the History of the WWE Championship DVD, and there were a lot of matches with The Rock on it. I was watching wrestling at that time, before the rock, in fact, but i guess i never realized then what I saw in these matches on the DVD. in EVERY SINGLE MATCH The Rock was in, it involved him using someone else's finisher, or someone else using the Rock Bottom. The Rock stunned Stone Cold, Chokeslammed Big Taker (he definitely was big around the time of the triple threat with Rock and Angle). Also, Angle, Lesnar and Austin all gave him a Rock Bottom. I was wondering:
why everyone was using each other's finishers back then, as I don't see it happening now. I really thought it took away from the quality of the match, especially when it happened three times in one match."
I think it was just something that the people booking WWF matches at that point liked to do, and Rocky himself liked to do. It's very remisicent of Japanese matches, where wrestlers will hit several high-impact moves that you think would get the win, but don't. Basically, it's a good way to get heat from the crowd, though if you do it every week the crowd will pop less for it.
Tyler Kelley asks about ROH factions...
"I always enjoy the column and appreciate your work for your readers entertainment. I've been getting into Ring of Honor more lately, but since the DVDs I order are from all differnt time periods, it's really hard to understand the storylines in the matches. So here are my questions: 1) is there anyplace to go look for ROH storlyine summaries and histories other than the show results (which have the matches and not much else) and 2) Could you talk a little bit about the ROH factions like Generation Next, the Embassy, Special K, the Second City Saints and the Rottweilers? Who are their members, who has joined and left the group, why was each group formed and what were they trying to accomplish. Thanks"
You're in luck, Tyler...I've become a pretty big ROH fan over the last couple years, so I have a pretty good handle on what's gone on with their factions. Let's go through them one by one...
Generation Next: GN was formed on the show titled "Generation Next" in May 2004, where Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Jack Evans formed an alliance at the beginning of the show and pretty much took the whole thing over. Their goal was to take the top spots in ROH & lay waste to anybody in their path. Their plan worked, as Aries became the ROH Champion in December 2004 by defeating Samoa Joe, and Shelley, Strong & Evans solidified their spots on the ROH roster with impressive matches and big victories. Shelley was booted out of the group in late 2004, and while it was thought that Gen Next would remain heel and Shelley would be the babyface, but in July 2005 Shelley joined up with rival faction The Embassy, and Gen Next became their babyface opposition. After helping Aries & Strong win a 6-man tag against the Embassy in Dayton, Matt Sydal became the fourth and final member of Generation Next. They feuded with the Embassy for the rest of 2005, and the group split up without any personal problems in July 2006 because they had all gained their spots and had nothing further to prove. Their last show together was the aptly named "Generation Now" in Cleveland on July 29, 2006. Jade Chung & Daizee Haze were both briefly involved as valets for the group.
The Embassy: Prince Nana formed the Embassy in order to dominate ROH. To say their success was mixed would be an understatement, as they were pretty much seen as a joke for most of 2004 and early 2005. Here's a list of Embassy members according to OWW & myself:
Prince Nana, Xavier, Josh Daniels, Jimmy Rave, Fast Eddie Vegas, Vanessa Harding, Jade Chung, Petey Williams, Killer Kruel, Oman Tortuga, Diablo Santiago, Angel Williams, Ricky Morton, John Walters, Excess 69, Alex Shelley, Abyss, Sal Rinauro, Daizee Haze
It should be noted that the majority of women were used as footstools by Jimmy Rave, and some members like Morton & Petey were members for one night only. The Embassy gained more credibility after the Crown Jewel Jimmy Rave had some success in feuds with AJ Styles & CM Punk, and it helped that most of the riff-raff was gone and replaced by Alex Shelley & Abyss. They spent the second half of 2005 in a bitter feud with Generation Next, and in 2006 they tried to wrest the ROH title from Bryan Danielson, but were unsuccessful in doing so. Also hurting the Embassy's cause was the loss of Shelley & Abyss, and in the last days of the Embassy the group consisted of Nana, Rave, Sal Rinauro & Daizee Haze. After Nana left the company just a couple of weeks ago, the Embassy was officially disbanded. The futures of Rave, Rinauro & the Haze remain to be seen...
Special K: Ah, Special K. Basically, Special K was a group of rich kid ravers who spent all their parents' money on drugs and cared more about having fun than wrestling. Here's the official list of people who were Special K members at one point or another according to OWW:
Abyss, Angel Dust, Becky Bayless, Brian XL, Cheech, Cloudy, Dana Dameson, Deranged, Dixie, Elax, Fred the Elephant Boy, Hydro, Hijinx, Izzy, Jody Fleisch, Joey Matthews, Krazy K, Lacey, Lit, Mellow, Mikey Whipwreck, Slim J, Slugger, Yeyo
Frankly, there could have been more. To sum up their history, Special K started out feuding with the SAT & Carnage Crew, and won a hell of a lot more matches than you would have guessed against them. Oddly enough, after Rob Feinstein was booted out of ROH Special K went on a very long losing streak, and eventually split up because of problems between their valets Lacey & Becky Bayless. The Special K name was finally abolished in March of 2005, and pretty much the only member of the group you'll see in ROH these days is Lacey. Not that I'm complaining. The member of Special K to attain the most ROH success would have to be Hydro, who left the group in June 2004 and went on to be Pure Champion as Jay Lethal.
Second City Saints: The Saints consisted of CM Punk, Colt Cabana & Ace Steel, and their association was pretty simple to explain: they all hailed from Chicago and Steel trained Punk & Cabana to be wrestlers. Punk & Cabana had feuded for a long time on the indy circuit, but at the Night of Champions in March 2003, Cabana turned against one-night-only tag team partner Raven and helped Punk beat him down. After Punk's feud with Raven ended, he & Cabana turned their attention towards the ROH tag team titles & the Prophecy, driving Christopher Daniels out of ROH in January 2004 and winning the tag titles from the Briscoe Brothers in April 2004. While having two reigns as tag team champions and having many matches with the Briscoes & leftover Prophecy members Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer, Punk feuded with Ricky Steamboat & Cabana was his usual goofy self...Steel usually only made appearances in the Midwest, though he would appear in the Northeast when absolutely necessary. The Saints turned babyface while trying to keep Generation Next from taking their spots & defending Ricky Steamboat in the summer of 2004, and most of them have remained that way ever since. Cabana & Steel still team on occasion as the Second City Saints, but of course Punk has left for ECW. Lucy & Traci Brooks both served as valets for the Saints while they were dating Punk (not at the same time, as far as I know).
The Rottweilers: In 2003, Homicide started to bring in some elements of his gang life outside of ROH into the promotion, most notably his manager Julius Smokes. His friend Low Ki was not happy with this because he believed that ROH was about honor and respect, and gang life did not fit into that. Early members included Slugger & Grim Reefer, but the Rottweilers really became a force to be reckoned after the rebirth of ROH in April 2004, with the introduction of the Havana Pitbulls (Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero) and the return to ROH of Low Ki...siding with the Rottweilers. Reyes & Romero mostly competed in the tag team ranks while Homicide feuded with people such as Bryan Danielson & Samoa Joe, and Low Ki was pretty much a dick and got suspended on several occasions (which oddly enough coincided with times where he didn't want to work for ROH anymore). The Rottweilers have pretty much disappeared lately, with Ki out of the promotion, Romero working as Black Tiger for New Japan, and Reyes only making occasional appearances.
As for your first question, I don't know of any good places off the top of my head, but I would certainly recommend reading the Column of Honor if you don't already, or look at Stuart Carapola's columns chronicling the history of ROH.
Isaac Slogget has 3 questions...
"The Rock has a new movie coming out and it seems like several on deck. Soon it looks like he will be dropping "the Rock" moniker altogether also. The weird thing is that Vince and WWE really pushed him and helped him get into movies, only to have him walk away from wrestling for good as a result. Why does Vince keep trying to get his men into movies then, since if it takes off, they will leave in a heart beat. It doesn't at all seem wise to me to book Kane, and especially Cena into movies, since if they realize they don't need wrestling anymore like the Rock, they're gone. Where is the motivation long term? Doesn't this seem rather short sighted from Vince's end?"
Well, I think Vince is guessing that not everybody is going to reach the level of stardom that Rocky has. As far as Kane goes, he's been rumored to be retiring for well over a year now, so if he does make it big in movies it would be a great thing for him to transition into and WWE probably won't lose out on a lot there. Cena is a more interesting case, but for now he's adamant that if he does become a movie star he would still wrestle. Time will tell, but that's what he's been saying in recent media appearances.
"I remember a house show way back when in Niagara Falls Ontario around 1987 or so (the Bulldogs were the champs). Anyway, I remember them hosting a "King of the Ring" battle royal as the main event. Davey Boy won the match and at the end the Fink announced him as the new King of the Ring. This of course never ended up on TV in any way that I know of. Was this an experiment of sorts? It's weird because it predated the KOTR tourney by years and was even before Harley Race had his WWF run."
WWF actually held several early King of the Ring tournaments on house shows to test out the format during this time period. I remember them briefly mentioning them in an article on WWE.com or in the WWE Magazine, but none of the winners of those were recognized as KOTRs. But yes, they were an experiment to see how well the concept would get over.
"I've heard rumblings about a WWF match in which Sid Justice quite literally shit in his tights mid-match. Something about him climbing the ropes and then accidentally dumping in his drawers on the way, then having to actually finish the match with a "vicious" log intact. Any word on the truth of this? My friend says he's seen the tape. What's the story?"
I've heard this rumor so many times...I've never seen it myself, but it is rumored that it took place at WrestleMania 13. Since I don't focus on Sid's ass, it's tough for me to tell. I might be opening a can of worms with this one, but if any of you have seen it and can name the show, send it in!
Ray Tugman asks about a famous mid-80s WWF angle...
"When Randy Savage crushed Steamboats throat in 1985 (unsure of exact year), what was the real story? Thank you."
I believe the story was basically that they were building up the feud between Steamboat & Savage, and that was the best way to do it in late 1986. And boy did it ever work. I don't think Steamboat had any major injuries or anything going on that absolutely required he take time off, but I could be wrong on that.
Scott Kuczkowski wonders whether the IWC knows what they're talking about...
"Most of the IWC has bashed the WWE and Vince McMahon mercilessly for quite some time, and I guess they/he sometimes deserve it. Despite all the criticisms, the WWE still manages to draw pretty good ratings, and has even started a 3rd brand (ECW). My question is this: Is it possible the IWC are the ones a little out of touch with things? The IWC likes to tout that the WWE doesn't cater to the wrestling purists, and that they are too much show and not enough wrestling, but their ratings are still pretty good and they must still be making money. Now, maybe it isn't like the boom we all enjoyed in the 90s, but they still do pretty well. Is it possible Vince knows he is giving the fans (who are paying for the product) what they want, not what a bunch of IWC writers expect? It could be argued that lack of alternatives keep the WWE alive, but TNA, and to an extent UFC, are alternatives to the WWE product. Both are doing well, but they don't seem like they caused the WWE to lose any fans. Is it possible the WWE knows what the fans want more than the IWC?"
Oh, that's definitely a possibility, Scott. From a personal perspective, I have no problem admitting that the things I want to see are by and large not what most of the WWE fanbase, or most people in general want to see. My favorite television shows aren't usually among the most popular. I know I have weird taste, and there's a good chance a lot of people in the IWC do as well. Though it should be noted that while television ratings for Raw aren't necessarily that far down since UFC has boomed, and Smackdown ratings can be explained due to the instability of their network, domestic PPV buyrates have plummeted while UFC's have skyrocketed. So while WWE can still get people to watch their TV, UFC is having more success at getting people to pay to watch their shows on TV, which doesn't speak well for WWE's television product.
Abelardo asks some ratings questions...
"Yo man,I was just wondering,with Vince remiinding us how proud he was of the XFL and all,what type of ratings did XFL pull?? Specifically the debut.
Also,while we're in the ratings discussion,what ratings were WWE pulling during the attittude era??A range would be fine,no need to get specific.If possible,what ratings did Heat pull??
and finally,what Non-Wrestlemania PPV had the highest buyrate(WCW included)"
The XFL debut did extraordinarily well, scoring a 9.5 rating which would be the high-water mark for their run. Within weeks the ratings would plummet, and the XFL would set the record for the lowest rated prime time television show on any major network with a 1.5 rating on March 31. That record would stand until July 2006, when an ABC reality show called "The One" scored a 1.3. However, as low as the XFL ratings ultimately went, they were still better than NHL ratings for their one year of existence. Take that, hockey fans!
During 1999, it was normal to see Raw get a rating over 6.0, it stayed that way through 2000 with some stretches in the 7s before the move to TNN combined with product stagnation sent the ratings down to what they are now for Raw. Heat started out getting ratings in the 3s and the 4s before Smackdown debuted on UPN and the show was de-emphasized. The highest Heat rating was on January 31, 1999, when Halftime Heat match pitting The Rock against Mankind in an empty arena match scored a 6.6 rating.
Technically, the highest buyrate for a PPV not named WrestleMania goes to the 1987 Survivor Series, which scored a 7.0. Since the percentage of PPV purchasing homes was far smaller back then, it's tougher to judge numbers from the 1980s and early 1990s. More recently, the 1999 Royal Rumble got a 1.88 buyrate, which was the highest of the Attitude Era outside WrestleMania. The highest WCW buyrate during the NWO Era was 1.90 for the 1997 edition of Starrcade.
Billy M. asks about crowd plants...
"How often are plants-- people who work for the organization-- used at pro wrestling events? Are they even used at all? Are they there to help start chants or to make the crowd cheer or boo a wrestler? Does WWE use them? Are there any interesting stories involving plants? Do they even exist? Help me out here, Pumkin Pie."
Crowd plants are used pretty commonly in wrestling, WWE has used them in the past but TNA has a more recent past of using them, most notably during their recent Jarrett vs. the fans storyline where the girl he beat up was actually a trainee of Dory Funk Jr. known on their television shows as "The Claw". Usually whenever you see a wrestler beating up a fan, it's a plant. If anybody comes out of the crowd to accept an "open challenge"...plant. They've also been known to plant hot chicks in the audience to either use in crowd shots or in an angle involving whoever the ladies' man of the promotion is at the time. The most notable "crowd plant" I can think of off the top of my head would be Lawerence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble, when he was put at ringside so Bam Bam Bigelow could shove him down and start their feud for WrestleMania XI. Oh, and the time Jake Roberts' wife Cheryl was put in the front row of a Superstars taping so Rick Rude could hit on her and start the feud with him and Jake. Zack Gowan also made his WWE debut coming from the crowd if I remember correctly. I have heard stories of Jeremy Borash starting crowd chants at the Impact Zone, but haven't actually seen it myself. There are countless stories, but we'll probably never really know all of them. And I'm not going to ask why your nickname for Clarke is Pumkin Pie. The less I know about these things, the better...
That'll be all for this week. Like I said earlier, Chris Clarke has been kind enough to forward me all questions left over in his inbox, so I'll be going through those for at least the next couple of weeks or so. But, I do have a feeling that eventually I'll run out of those and will need some fresh questions.
That's where you guys come in. E-Mail me at email@example.com and ask me anything you want to know about professional wrestling or anything relating to it. The only rule I really have is that since this thing will be posted Wednesdays at 3:00, I won't be answering anything that shows up...let's say after Raw on the Monday the week that the column is posted. You can send it, but it won't be answered here until at least next week. Oh, and make sure you have something about "Ask 411" in the subject title, so I know you're not one of my online girlfriends wondering when I'll be coming through their town or something.
And if you have any corrections, feel free to send those in too, but make sure to mention in the subject title that it is a correction so I can be sure to include it in the next edition.