Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.
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This week, we’re doing something different. Those who have been paying attention to the column for a while know that one of our more prolific askers-of-questions is the inimitable Tyler from Winnipeg. Tyler sends in multiple questions per week, and I almost never throw out a question once asked, which means I’ve got quite the backlog from him alone.
Recently, I got a crazy idea.
What if I cleaned out Tyler’s entire backlog?
What if I answered all 99 questions from him that I had in the queue?
Well, that’s exactly what I did.
One column. 99 questions. Here goes.
1. Do you think Stone Cold Steve Austin hurt his legacy by not accepting a penciled in match with Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania XVIII?
No. If anything, I think that Austin rejecting the match helps his legacy with fans who know the backstory, because it reinforces the notion that Stone Cold is a guy who does what he wants to do, when he wants to do it.
2. Will we see another John Cena vs The Rock showdown at Wrestlemania?
I have a hard time believing that. Rock is at a point where, just due to his age, he probably only has one or two matches left in him, assuming the individuals behind his film roles are willing to let him back into the ring at all. If you can get him in for one of those shots, it’s hard to believe the scheduling would align in such a way that Cena could be his opponent, given that both men have remarkably busy schedules in the entertainment world nowadays.
Plus, if you are going to be able to book either of those guys for a Mania, you’re probably better served by having their opponents be full-time members of the WWE roster, in part so you’ve got somebody who is used to wrestling in the ring and in part so that you can give somebody who is a regular performer a rub, which was the point of the original two Rock/Cena matches.
3. Do you think Joey Styles got a fair shake in the WWE?
Yes. Granted, he entered WWE during the era where the television announcers were reportedly over-produced and not allowed a lot of leeway to be themselves, but, by the time he joined the company, that was fairly well known. It’s hard to say that somebody didn’t get a fair shake when they went in with full knowledge of the circumstances they would be working under.
4. Who got the better in the Hulk Hogan vs The Undertaker rivalry?
Taker was the one who walked out with the WWE Undisputed Championship at the end of it, so from my perspective he got the better of things.
5. I’d assume you would agree CM Punk was not the most physically show stopper in the WWE but I would venture to say he might have a pretty good track record of being one of the best in high pressure verbal skills; thoughts?
I would say that he’s one of the best of his generation. If we go back historically, there have been so many excellent promo guys who had to deliver week after week to actually draw money (as opposed to just delivering an entertaining television product) that I would have a hard time calling him one of the greatest in history.
6. What does Stephanie get out of ten for generating boos?
7. Do you prefer the Wrestlemania match or the Survivor Series match between Steve Austin and Bret Hart?
Though both are enjoyable professional wrestling matches, the Wrestlemania bout is one of the single most iconic matches in World Wrestling Federation history, and I don’t know that I have ever spoken to or read the writings of any person who prefers the men’s Survivor Series encounter. My personal preference is in line with theirs.
8. As they crossed paths, who was the better hold for hold, call it in the ring wrestler, Owen Hart or Steve Austin?
I don’t know if I feel comfortable saying who was in the better “call it in the ring” wrestler, as that’s an assessment to be made by other wrestlers who were actively working with them. However, from my perspective as a fan, I’m more of an Owen Hart guy if I want to watch a match in isolation, divorced from any context, but if you’re looking for somebody who can take the emotion of a pro wrestling storyline and infuse it into an in-ring encounter, there are few who have been better than Stone Cold.
9. A bit of a heavy question here, technically wrestling wise is Stone Cold above Chris Benoit or below?
I’ve been watching pro wrestling in some form or another for over 30 years now, and the phrase “technical wrestling” is still a bit of an odd one for me because I’ve never really seen it defined by either fans or somebody within the industry. As near as I can tell, what most people mean when they refer to “technical wrestling” is a particular style of pro wrestling that involves a lot of mat-based offense and suplexes or throws.
If that definition is correct, then Benoit is almost assuredly the better of the two, because that is never really a style that Austin attempted to perform in on a regular basis.
10. Is Hulk Hogan’s body of wrestling work unmatched in terms of eye balls?
No, probably not, because professional wrestling at the time of the Hulkster was based on a model in which people had to pay to see the largest matches, whether it was through buying tickets or pay per view. This created a barrier in which, even for events which were extremely successful from a financial perspective, fewer people were watching than would have been if there was no paywall.
Meanwhile, Japanese wrestling during the height of its popularity had a different business model in which the biggest matches were broadcast on free, over the air television with the promotions making their money from the TV networks. As a result, if you’re just measuring things in terms of pure eyeballs on a wrestler, people like Rikidozan might have an edge.
11. Is Triple H’s biggest career blunder chopping off his ponytail?
12. Overall, who’s a bigger global phenomenon: The Rock or Tiger Woods?
It is hard to overstate how big Tiger Woods was during the height of his popularity. He was white hot and became a household name in a way that no other professional golfer I have seen in my lifetime has. That being said, he had a bit of a fall from grace and mainstream popularity, whereas the Rock has had sustained high level popularity for many more years. As a result, I would say that Rocky is the bigger star overall, even though Tiger may have been bigger at the absolute peak of his popularity.
13. How does Lillian Garcia compare in the ring announcer category to others like Justin Roberts or Howard Finkel or Micheal Buffer?
When it comes to ring announcing for professional wrestling, Finkel is the G.O.A.T., and I don’t even want to hear somebody try to make an argument to the contrary.
Buffer is an interesting one, because his voice and delivery are amazing, and you can’t doubt that “Let’s get ready to rumble” (TM) is an iconic catchphrase that came to define big match situations during the 1990s. However, he always felt somewhat out of place in professional wrestling, like he was there for a paycheck instead of really wanting to be part of the show. (Does anybody else remember Bret “The Hitman” Clark?)
Justin Roberts . . . I’ve never really gotten that excited about Justin Roberts. People seem to like him, and I’ve never seen him perform poorly, but there’s nothing that makes him stand out in my mind, other than the way he used to say “John Cena.”
And that’s about where I would put Lillian, too. I feel as though there are some people who take a dim view of her. Some of that is the fact that she started in the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world with virtually no experience, so there were some flubs early on that unfortunately some fans would not let go of. Also, some people disliked her because of garden variety sexism. She did eventually grow, though, into a perfectly acceptable ring announer.
14. The last time I remember believing almost anything in wrestling was when The Giant debuted in WCW as Andre’s real son. You?
I don’t know that I ever believed anything in wresting was real. When I was in elementary school, I had a friend who was a big wrestling fan when, at the time, I had never watched. The other kids mocked him pretty relentlessly for wrestling being fake, so I never had any misconception about what pro graps was. Even knowing it was not on the level, I still got into it later on when I was compelled by the performance. I had a hard time ever believing anything was real, though, even mistaking some occasional shoots for works at first blush.
15. What are the specifics of a legit fist fight between Vader and Mr Wonderful?
This occurred in 1995, when Vader was working in WCW as a wrestler and Paul Orndorff was also with the company, working as an agent in between in-ring performances. The fight between the two men has been documented in many, many shoot interviews, and somewhat surprisingly for professional wrestling, there actually appears to be broad consensus on what happened in the lead up and the incident.
Vader was booked to wrestle on a television taping in Atlanta, and he was running late because he had been scheduled for a promotional photo shoot elsewhere in town. Apparently, there was miscommunication about his commitments that day, because, when he arrived at the taping, Mr. Wonderful was furious that he was behind schedule. Words were exchanged and things continued to elevate until Vader smacked Orndorff in the face.
This is one place where different witnesses’ versions of the story differ. To some, Vader’s shot was a sucker punch, though the Mastodon defended himself, saying that he felt threatened and acted in self defense.
Personally, I have to call B.S. on that one, because Orndorff was the older and significantly smaller of the two men, to say nothing of the fact that he had only one fully functional arm due to nerve damage in the other. I cannot imagine that Vader felt legitimately threatened as a result of that.
. . . but maybe he should have.
When Orndorff recovered from the shot, he gave up and delivered a couple of his own, getting Vader to the ground and then kicking him in the head, all while wearing a pair of flip-flops. The two were separated and tensions apparently rose a second time and they tried to get back at one another, but they were separated a second time before more blows were exchanged.
16. I know he’s not Lex Luger or the Steiners, but what about Ahmed Johnson as a WWE HOFer? Not a HOFer top of the class or even second of the class, but maybe a third? He was really over in WWE for a while. If WWE puts together a video package of his highlights from the time period, they could put some shine on his brief but top midcard run. I liked his music, his finish, his look; any chance WWE gives him a HOF?
I’ve answered a lot of questions about the WWE Hall of Fame in the life of this column, and I’ll give the same basic answer here that I give to just about any of them:
There are no real standards for entry in to the HOF, so virtually anybody an get in as long as they wind up on the right side of the person making the decisions in any given year. With that being the bar, sure, Ahmed could get in.
I will say given the the fact that WWE has not yet attempted to cash in on Ahmed-related nostalgia and given that he does not appear to be particularly popular with other wrestlers, his odds do seem lower than those of many others.
However, anything could happen.
17. Did Rick Rude accomplish more with WCW or the WWF?
It depends on what kind of accomplishments you’re talking about.
He was a bona fide main event heel in WCW, and he won a version of the World Heavyweight Championship – albeit one that is not looked on all too fondly by history. In terms of those kayfabe accomplishments, he did more down south than he ever did working for the McMahons.
Yet, given where WWF and WCW were in relation to each other in terms of popularity when Rude was with the two companies, it’s hard to say that he wasn’t better known when he was under contract to the Fed, even if he wasn’t pushed as hard. Some individuals would consider that to be the bigger accomplishment, regardless of what belts you hold.
18. Who wears flannel better: Brock Lesnar or Mick Foley?
Foley. “Country Brock” is a relatively recent refresh of Lesnar’s look, so it still doesn’t look 100% right to me. However, flannel on Foley feels as natural as stripes on a zebra.
19. Who’s the sexiest female WWE wrestler of all time?
This won’t be the most interesting or unique answer, but I have a hard time arguing for anybody other than Trish Stratus.
If you had asked about women who worked for the company more generally, I could make an argument for Sunny or even Miss Elizabeth, but neither of them would consider themselves to be wrestlers.
20. Can you write a few words about John Tenta?
John Tenta was a remarkably talented and agile wrestler for his size. Though he didn’t get to do this as much in the WWF, in other promotions he would throw dropkicks and bust out second rope splashes which were really sights to behold. There was a period of time during which WWE got a bit self-aware and started doing periodic features about their “bad gimmicks” of the past, and for some reason Earthquake always got rolled up in those. I hated to see that happen, because he really was a skilled big man and not just one of these fat goofs who gets a job solely on the basis of his size or marrying Dusty Rhodes’ daughter, which is what the company seemingly tried to portray him as around the time of the gimmick battle royale.
On a more personal note, some who have been involved with wrestling websites for a while might remember that, for a period of time before his death, John Tenta became a big fan of the site Wrestlecrap and did some exclusive interviews with them, even becoming a regular participant on their forums. I was also a poster on those forums at that point, and I remember that in some thread or another I made a comment about certain WWF wrestlers of the 1980s/1990s that, as far as I knew, did not have a reputation as being heavy drug users.
Tenta responded to my post and said something to the effect of, “That’s what you think, huh? How many of those guys did you party with?”
So yeah, John Tenta called me out once for having no idea what I was talking about. (And in retrospect, he was right. I didn’t.)
21. I just watched an outdoors match with Roderick Strong versus Kazuchika Okada. Strong was exceptional in this bout, so why didn’t Roderick Strong become a bigger star like the Rainmaker?
Strong is a remarkably talented in-ring performer but has always been a bit lacking in terms of personality and has never done anything to make himself stand out in terms of his look. It’s the same knock people used to make against Dean Malenko, but I think Strong is more deficient in the personality department than Malenko ever was.
22. What is your favorite Bobby Lashley moment?
It’s the time he forced Simon Dean to eat twenty cheeseburgers.
23. What words can you put in your years long column about the tribute match between Bret Hart and Chris Benoit for Owen Hart on Nitro?
If you can divorce yourself from all the surrounding circumstances and watch it just as a pro wrestling match, you’ll see an excellent bout. If you asked me this question closer to the time that it happened, I may even have called it one of my favorites of all time (though at that point my exposure to puro and lucha was much less than what it has become).
Nowadays, that match has a lot of baggage which would make it almost impossible for me to go back and rewatch, though, largely because:
1. It only happened because Owen Hart died. Granted, that was the case when it first happened as well, but now that I’m a grown man and not a teenager, that has a very different meaning to me.
2. It was, at least arguably, the last great match of Bret Hart’s career. Due to poor booking and general misuse, he only had a handful of even good matches in WCW, so this in some ways is the last gasp of a once-great in-ring performer.
3. Chris Benoit is in it. ‘Nuff said.
The other thing this match always reminds me of is how weird it is that WCW footage wound up in the opening of beloved sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, though if I recall correctly that was a clip from the Bret/Benoit match at the 1999 WCW Mayhem pay per view and not the tribute bout.
24. Do you think Bret Hart should have handled the death of his brother Owen without including himself in the story?
Not really, no. I don’t often use language this blunt in this column, but losing a close family member, particularly before their time, will fuck you up. Bret had some strong personal emotions coming out of the death of his brother, and it was perfectly valid for him to want to talk about those.
25. Why did you decide to start take over the Ask411Wrestling column?
Larry Csonka talked me into it.
When Csonka approached me about writing the column, I was at the nadir of my pro wrestling fandom, as I was watching less and paying attention to the industry less than I had at any other point since I first started. In fact, when I was first asked to helm Ask 411, I turned it down because I didn’t think that it would be fair to have somebody with no idea about current wrestling writing the column.
Larry reassured me that he and the other powers that be at the site wanted to have the column focus more on wrestling history, and, all these years later, here we are.
26. Who was the best TNA/Impact World Champion?
I’m not the most qualified person to ask because I skipped out on large portions of TNA’s history after getting burned one too many times by dumb booking, but if you make me pick one it would probably be Kurt Angle, since he always seemed to be finding a way to churn out great matches as World Champion even if the storylines around him were laughable.
27. When Jericho did the Broken Skull Sessions with Stone Cold, why did AEW and WWE do that joint project?
Tony Khan has always seemed willing to collaborate with just about any wrestling promotion in the world, even WWE – he’s said as much in interviews. It’s the WWE side that makes this crossover seem so unlikely. They probably gave it the green light because it was a project pushed by the guy who is, at least arguably, the biggest star in the history of the promotion . . . and it doesn’t hurt that they seem to remain on relatively good terms with Jericho, despite his working for an opposition group.
28. Which of the two HBK vs Undertaker Wrestlemania matches is the best one?
Even though in most cases the first iteration of a piece of media is viewed as superior and the sequel inferior, I prefer the Wrestlemania XXVI match to the Wrestlemania XXV version, largely because I feel the first match fell apart momentarily due to the botched spot in which Taker missed a dive on to a ringside cameraman (actually Deuce Shade/Sim Snuka in a flimsy disguise).
29. How many matches has Sting had?
According to Cagematch at the time of this writing, it’s 2,104. I suspect they missed some along the way, but that’s probably as close to a complete number as you’re going to get.
30. Do you think Test was a valuable signing by the WWF? Did the WWF do a good job in that era with Andrew Martin?
I think that signing Test when they originally did was valuable in that he had a solid look and was clearly athletic. So as a young, inexperienced talent to invest in, he was worth a shot. But, after the first couple of years, it was apparent that he had hit his ceiling and was not as good as other people on the roster and would probably never get there. From that point on, I did not have much time for him, and I was really confused when they signed him for a second run in the promotion in 2006 despite the fact that he had done nothing to improve after his initial release in 2004.
It’s a dreadful shame that he passed away as young as he did, but I can’t say as though I’ve missed him as an in-ring presence.
31. I’ve been looking at W. Morrisey’s recent run and I think he’d be a great singles guy in WWE; he reminds me of Edge, do you see a successful fit in WWE with W.Morrisey?
I ran this question immediately after the last one, because, if anything, Morrisey reminds me of Test far more than he does with Edge. He’s a big guy who should have been given a chance to learn wrestling, because, when it comes to his size, you can’t teach that. (Yup, I went there.) However, he was given the opportunity to learn and has proven to be mediocre at best in addition to having some behavioral problems in the past, so I would personally suggest cutting bait on him and moving along to the next big man.
32. Do you think AEW should hotshot a AEW World Heavyweight Championship title change in 2022 on Dynamite?
No. Hotshotting, by definition, is something done without much rhyme or reason other than causing a buzz and an artificial short-term spike in business. It’s a desperation move. AEW in its current position is far from desperate, so I see no need.
33. Could you throw out a couple female wrestlers names who are on the rise who not all fans are aware of?
This is actually a difficult question to answer right now, because every wrestling promotion of any size feels that they need to have a women’s division lest they be called out by “woke” fans online, so just about anybody with a modicum of talent has a deal somewhere – and frankly several people who probably shouldn’t have deals have them too.
That being said, if you haven’t seen her yet, I would recommend checking out Syuri, who is not a new wrestler by any stretch of the imagination (she’s been at it since 2008), but for reasons I don’t understand has not gotten nearly as much buzz from American fans as some other joshi competitors. She first came on to my radar at the same time the wrestler now known as Asuka did, and, when I was first watching both of them, I honestly thought Syrui was the better of the two. She is currently the top champion in Stardom, so it should not be difficult to get your hands on a couple of her matches.
I would also track down some matches from Thekla, who is an Austrian-born wrestler that has spent the last three years working for various Japanese promotions, where she has earned the badass nickname of the “Toxic Spider.” I’m over a foot taller than she is and more than twice her weight, but she’s still got a physique and persona that leads me to believe she could kick my ass twice before I even knew what was happening.
Finally, give a look to AEW Dark alumnus Megan Bayne, also known as the Megasus. She’s developed a unique gimmick based on classical Greek mythology, which is a well that I’m surprised professional wrestlers haven’t gone to more often.
34. Who walks out with the gold: Hangman or Punk?
Got to this one a little late.
It was Punk.
35. What TV rating did the HHH vs HBK title match from San Antonio get which was live on RAW?
For those not in the know, this is referencing a December 29, 2003 episode of Raw. I was not able to find quarter-hour breakdowns for this program, but the overall rating for the show was a 3.73. The average Raw rating for all episodes airing in 2003 was 3.76, so the show was right at the year’s average. Actually, a December 29 episode hitting the average for the year is pretty damn good given that many fans are likely to be distracted by holiday travel and other events between December 25 and December 31.
36. Was Smoky Mountain Wrestling a decent promotion? I know some well known guys spent time with the promotion but as for week to week television was it decent?
I haven’t ever even seen a full episode of Smoky Mountain TV, just assorted matches and promos that have been included in larger compilations. Based on what I have seen, there were some excellent bouts and moments, but I can’t say much more than that.
Through commentary of those who were watching the product at the time, it appeared to be a critical success, despite some occasionally silly gimmicks like Prince Kharis the wrestling mummy and Boo Bradley, the simple, childlike wrestler who Chris Candido controlled with a kitten in a bag.
37. Have CM Punk and Roman Reigns had a one on one singles match ever?
Once and only once. It was a 16 minute encounter on the January 6, 2014 Monday Night Raw from Baltimore, Maryland, billed as “Old School Raw.” Reigns, who was still part of the Shield at the time, walked away the winner, but the match is perhaps better known for Jake Roberts and the New Age Outlaws saving Punk from a post-match beatdown, followed by Jake rubbing his snake all over a downed Dean Ambrose, who could not stop smiling.
38. I don’t ask for star ratings in this column barely ever, but the Razor-Shawn SummerSlam Ladder match; whats your star rating?
For anybody who needs the information, that was Summerslam 1995, an absolutely dreadful card otherwise. I would peg the redo of the Wrestlemania X ladder match at ****1/2.
39. The X-Pac vs Shane McMahon Wrestlemania encounter for the European Championship is free on YouTube, do you give star ratings?
Keeping to the subject of star ratings . . . I guess I’d go ** on this one. It was not actively bad but also not memorable in any way.
40. I rarely ask for a star rating but how about Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon at KOTR?
Rarely, you say?
Let’s go ***3/4.
41. I loved Sunny when she was the most downloaded woman on AOL, do you think if Chris Candino didn’t fall for her to the extent he did, would Chris have achieved the level of a Dean Malenko or a Tajiri?
First off, just to be clear, Candido didn’t fall for Sunny while the two of them were in wrestling. They were a couple when Candido was breaking in, and she followed him in to the wrestling business, putting her own plans for medical school on hold. To the main thrust of the question, I think that Chris’s career might very well have gone worse, not better, if he never had Ms. Sytch with him. Having an incredibly attractive blonde by his side made Candido stick out from the pack of other smaller wrestlers on the independents of the time. When the two became a package deal, you have to believe that many promoters were just as interested in her as they were in him, if not more so.
42. Was Bret Hart biting Diesel a self defense move or was it written by an agent? Circa 1995, I’d guess.
I believe that you’re referring to a spot in their WWF Championship match at the 1995 Survivor Series, in which Hart ended Big Daddy Cool’s nearly year-long title run. The biting was absolutely a planned spot, because if Bret Hart legitimately bit anybody during the course of a professional wrestling match, wrestling fans would have been talking about it just as much as if not more than the Montreal Screwjob over the last 25 years.
43. Is the WWE building Roman Reigns to be the next Undertaker?
Not really. While the Undertaker did spend a few initial years as a heel, for the majority of his career, he was a conquering babyface. He was also only very rarely a world champion, holding titles on several occasions but always for fairly brief runs. Meanwhile, you’ve got Reigns being positioned more as a heel than a babyface, and he is a dominant champion, with his latest reign having recently passed the two year mark as of the time of this writing.
44. Remember the cage match between Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit in Edmonton, Alberta for Monday Night Raw?
Yes. What about it?
45. I’m going back a long way here, at one time Goldberg I think possibly; was bigger than Stone Cold, I’m from Canada where we only had TBS, not TNT, as apposed to TSN, which was our only wrestling provided but the independent wrestling mags like WOW and PWI which were beautiful full colour 20 page or so super magazines where available in Canadian outlets; was there a time when Goldberg was more the face of North American wrestling for curiosity fringe fans than The Texas Rattlesnake?
There were certainly fans who, due to geography or other reasons, had more exposure to Goldberg than to Austin, and they were neck-and-neck in terms of popularity there for a while. Really, I think the fact that the WWF won the war and, as a result, writes much of professional wrestling history, has resulted in Goldberg’s peak popularity being downplayed in favor of Austin’s, which makes Stone Cold retroactively seem like he was always the bigger star, even though for some some time that were really on the same level.
46. At one point in my wrestling fandom, I personally thought the ceiling on Jeff Hardy was the face if the WWE. Why didn’t it happen? I saw Jeff do things HBK couldn’t. Was he not a political beast as HBK was or was he just not as talented overall; which is a high bar cause HBK had it all in spades. Hope you can really answer this one.
Jeff Hardy has a history of substance abuse problems, and they frequently interfered with his career, particularly at the times when he was being positioned as a top singles babyface in WWE.
Granted, Shawn Michaels allegedly wasn’t 100% clean when he was on top in the 1990s, either, but that was at a time when: 1) the WWF was a far less corporate environment, so more of a blind eye was turned to those issues and 2) the talent roster of the company was far shallower, so even more of a blind eye was turned to those issues.
47. What’s your opinion on Jesse Ventura’s stay in wrestling?
Strictly as a wrestler, I would say his impact on the sport is negligible. He was basically trying to be the second coming of Billy Graham, and not doing it as well as Billy Graham had done. Then he became an announcer, and he became remarkably influential, popularizing if not outright creating the trope of the heel color commentator. On top of that, his 1990s foray into politics helped give professional wrestling some legitimacy as an industry beyond what it previously had . . . though, don’t get me wrong, there is still quite a long way to go.
48. Have you seen the movie The Wrestler staring Mickey Rouke and a cameo with Ron Killings; thoughts?
I sure have. It’s been a while, and I missed it in the theaters, but I saw it almost immediately once it was released on DVD. It’s an excellent film even if you are not a pro wrestling fan, but, if you’ve followed the psuedo sport, watching how the matches were shot and drawing parallels to real life grapplers makes it all the more entertaining.
I would suggest watching it in conjunction with Black Swan. Darren Aronofsky, who directed both films, considers them to be complementary to each other, and there certainly are thematic parallels.
49. Does any movie featuring a wrestler top Man on the Moon? Is there a different Ryan pick for the column?
I’m not just saying this to be a smart alec based on the prior question, but actually The Wrestler is significantly better than Man on the Moon both in terms of highlighting professional wrestling and as being a true piece of art.
50. Do you like One Man Gang’s matches?
I don’t actively dislike them, but I also cannot say I have ever seen a One Man Gang match that I would ever want to go out of my way to watch again.
51. I would suspect this would take a heavy research task. I think Kane, Jericho, or Orton would have had the most TV matches for WWE, but under the most matches category; house shows or whatever, who has the most matches of all time in WWE?
There are a few different sources that have tried to figure this out over the years, and, almost universally, they have landed on Kane as the answer to the question.
52. I’m not going to ask for a number based on inflation but how much cash was lost on the XFL? I think it’s a pretty large talking point for Vince’s legacy.
Assuming based on the context of the question that you are talking about the original iteration of the league, ABC News reported in 2001 that the company lost $70 million.
You didn’t ask for an inflation-adjusted number, but I’m going to give it to you anyway. $70 million in 2001 is the equivalent of over $117 million today.
53. What is Rey Mysterio’s legacy in wrestling and will he be remembered by the current 14 to 21 year olds?
Rey was the hottest star in the WCW Cruiserweight division during the Monday Night War, so the most prominent part of his legacy will be popularizing higher flying, higher risk grappling in the United States and demonstrating that smaller wrestlers could legitimately get over. After Rey, there was no longer a huge push for anybody under 6′ tall to get as large as they could through whatever means necessary.
I suspect that wrestling fans who are currently 14 to 21 years of age will remember him, just like they will remember anybody who they are watching wrestle at this time. However, he will always be bigger to folks my age, because we remember him as a revolutionary performer who was doing things that nobody else at the time had the ability to do. Now that he’s heavier and older, he’s still a standout performer and bona fide star but will not be remembered by the current generation for his acrobatic prowess.
54. What can you tell your column readers about The Mountie and The Dynamite Kid?
It was covered far better in the Dark Side of the Ring episode about Dynamite than anything I could do here.
55. A serious question, HHH had a serious cardiac event, what are the details?
How about if he tells you himself via People magazine.
56. Is the glass breaking, Stone Cold assisting Mankind during all the chaos; defeating the jumpsuit wearing Rock, one of the best ratings WWE has ever achieved to close a Raw show in the final quarter hour?
It was big, but not the biggest. On the June 28, 1999 episode of Monday Night Raw, the closing segment of the show drew its highest quarter-hour rating in history, that being a 9.5. What was the segment in question?
It was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeating the Undertaker for the WWF Championship.
57. Out of everything you’ve watched start to finish, Japan or North America, what is your personal choice for best PPV (insert Jericho Evvvvvvver) you’ve watched?
Some people might be expecting me to pull out a Japanese show, but I’m not going to do that because, even though their major cards do technically air on pay per view, they are not PPVs in the same sense that American shows were, because they were always intended to air primarily on free television with PPV being a sideline.
That being said, I’m going to go with a completely unoriginal answer because, even though it does not display much creativity, it is still an honest response.
I’m picking Wrestlemania XVII, perhaps the greatest capper that the Attitude Era could hope to have.
58. Where would you place Kevin Nash in the top money earners in wrestling history?
It depends on what you mean when you say “top money earners.” Do you mean earning money for himself, or do you mean earning money for the promotion that he is working for?
If it’s earning money for himself, Nash comes off pretty well, because he was able to secure himself some monster contracts in WCW, thanks in large part due to what is referred to as a “most favored nations” clause in an early deal. What is a most favored nations clause? It’s a provision that essentially said that, if anybody in the company was going to make more than Nash, WCW had to renegotiate his deal so that Nash was paid at least as much if not more.
If it’s earning money for the promotion he was working for . . . eh. It’s fairly well-documented that, when Nash was on top in the WWF, their business was in the toilet, particularly when compared to the Hulkamania era that had just ended. Granted, he was in a key position when WCW was the most popular wrestling promotion in the world, but he was never the draw in that era and was behind guys like Hogan, Sting, and later Goldberg.
59. What is the breakdown the Edge vs HHH rivalry?
Fun fact: The first ever singles match between the two men took place on November 1, 1999’s Monday Night Raw when Triple H beat Edge in just under three minutes. That was not meant to be part of a feud, though, just a one-off.
They first became rivals during the fall of 2004, when Edge, Chris Benoit, and Shawn Michaels were the top babyfaces feuding with Evolution. However, that didn’t last for too horribly long before Edge turned heel on Benoit and actually teamed with Evolution members at the ’04 Survivor Series.
Fast forward to 2006, and after D-Generation X cost Edge a WWE Championship match against John Cena, he recruited Randy Orton to be his new tag team partner, forming the idiotically named “Rated RKO” and engaging in a lengthy feud with HHH and Shawn Michaels, continuing through January 2007.
The two would lock horns again during the summer of 2008, this time with Edge as a heel challenger to Triple H’s babyface WWE Champion. This was during the period that Edge was romantically linked to Vickie Guerrero on camera, and the feud featured the somewhat infamous segment in which HHH leaked hidden camera video of Edge cheating on her with their wedding planner, who would eventually be repackaged as Alicia Fox. (And, due to some brief references on commentary, Fox was canonically the wedding planner for the rest of her WWE career – it was explained that she got into wrestling as a result of the experience with Edge and HHH.)
Though Edge lost a championship match to Trips at the 2008 Great American Bash, the Canuk got his comeuppance at that year’s Survivor Series, when he took the title off the Hs in a triple threat that also involved Vladimir Kozlov during the three weeks he was taken seriously as a main event heel. This lead to another triple threat a month later at Armageddon, with Jeff Hardy become WWE Champ against Edge and HHH.
And that’s really it. That was the last time the two men had a televised singles match, and, the way things have gone since, it was probably the last ever.
60. Besides Jackie Fargo being mentioned by Jerry Lawler, I know nothing; any help would be appreciated.
Honestly, Fargo is the kind of guy who deserves to have an entire book written about him, so no matter what I do in this space, it will not do him justice. However, the very short version is that he wrestled for over 30 years beginning in 1950 and his biggest success came in the Memphis territory, where he was dubbed the original “King” of Memphis wrestling. He legitimately inspired Jerry Lawler to become a wrestler in his own right, and the two feuded throughout the 1970s with Lawler getting the better of his former hero and becoming not just the NWA Southern Heavyweight Champion but also the new King of Memphis.
61. What’s your favorite Ray Washington Traylor Jr moment?
Honestly, even though people remember the Big Boss Man’s feud with the Big Show for the segment in which Traylor stole Show’s daddy’s coffin, the far more memorable part for yours truly was the one in which Boss Man invaded Show’s mother’s home and threatened her until she revealed that the World’s Largest Athlete had been born out of wedlock.
Boss Man looking straight into a camera and declaring that Paul Wight was nothing more than “big, nasty bastard” will make me laugh uproariously every single time.
62. I thought for an “outside the box” type of question I’d ask, is there an expensive painting of a wrestler who has sold; the type to hang above a fireplace?
Probably the most famous classic piece of art depicting wrestling is called simply The Wrestlers and is an oil painting completed in 1853 by French realist Gustave Courbet. It has belonged to a Hungarian museum since 1952, so it has not sold in the modern art market for an obscene amount of money as many works of fine art do.
Of course, I should also mention painter Rob Schamberger, who has been popular for the last many years due to his depictions of contemporary wrestlers, even starting an official partnership with WWE that sees prints of his artwork sold through the company’s online merchandise store, WWE Shop.
63. It happened around the I Quit match between Mankind and The Rock. Is it true The Rock had pectoral surgery around this time to remove fat from his pectoral region?
Yes. This was reported on as far back as the February 15, 1999 issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Interestingly, the July 5, 1999 Observer reported that Raven had a very similar surgery that year and suffered a nasty infection from it, with the infection keeping him out of action for some time.
There is no truth to the rumor that Raven had his surgery because he too was hoping to land a role in The Scorpion King.
64. Does Goldberg winning the WCW United States Championship against Raven get enough credit for building Goldberg into who he cemented his legacy into. What about me; what about Raven?
Speaking of Raven . . .
I actually think the entirety of Goldberg’s feud with the Flock was a big help in getting him over. He already had a ton of upward momentum thanks to the streak, but facing off against Raven’s group of miscreants took it to a different level because it created opportunities for him to look like a worldbeater by taking out half a dozen guys in rapid succession as opposed to just winning a singles match.
When Goldberg tasted gold for the first time in WCW, I remember it being quite intriguing to me as a fan, as it lead me to wonder how the company would ever get the championship off of him in light of his status and his streak.
65. I appreciate the word by word verbiage used when you write a column, what is your influence when it comes to the choices of words or/and sentence structure?
I try to write conversationally. This column is me answering reader’s questions. As a result, I like to envision it as though I am having a conversation with the folks who write in, and the written answers that I give are not structured all that differently than what they would be if I were giving them orally.
The other thing that I do is try not to be redundant with the words that I use, because in my mind that makes for boring writing. Instead of referring to wrestling “matches” time and time and time again, I try to mix it up with synonyms like “bout” or “contest.” Similarly – and this comes in large part from listening to Paul Heyman on commentary – I attempt to weave in references to wrestlers’ nicknames and titles rather than just using the same name for them time and time again, because that gets dull.
66. Do you think there is some underlying negative feelings between Jerry Lawler and Bret Hart?
Nope. I’ve never heard anything indicating that there is any real life animosity between the two men.
67. Want to take a crack at Gerald Levin’s impact on pro wrestling? Does he really matter much?
For those not in the know, Gerald Levin was the CEO of Time Warner at the time that: 1) the company merged with America Online; 2) the company decided that it was going to sell off WCW; and 3) the Turner television networks decided that they were going to cancel WCW programming, which effectively killed the interest in any prospective buyers of the company except for the WWF.
In a certain respect, you could say that Levin is responsible for all of this because he was the CEO, i.e. the top dog in management, and everything that happened underneath him is attributable to him in some way, even if he didn’t directly make the call.
However, I’ve seen some people argue at length that Levin actively killed WCW, but that’s an overstatement.
The reason that WCW was positioned for sale was that it was losing money hand over fist. Gerald Levin didn’t cause it to be a money loser. The people within WCW proper who mismanaged it terribly did that. If WCW was as profitable in 2000 as it had been in 1997, nobody was going to rationally propose a sale.
Even if you want to blame a Time Warner/Turner suit for WCW’s demise – which I still don’t totally buy – you should be blaming Jamie Kellner, not Gerald Levin. Kellner was the one in charge of programming for TNT and TBS who decided the stations no longer wanted professional wrestling. Without the TV deals, WCW’s value to buyers plummeted, particularly with other cable channels not wanting to touch wrestling at the time.
Again, though, this all comes back to the people who were actually running WCW, not higher level executives in the Time Warner organization, because if WCW was a cash cow, people above Kellner most likely would have exerted pressure on him to keep the television deals going, no matter how much he personally wanted to take TNT and TBS in another direction.
68. Just for devious fun; can you please provide us with The Rock’s WORST two appearances? The guy has hit so many home runs but there’s gotta be a couple strikeouts!
The first thing that I thought of was Rocky’s appearance on the 20th anniversary episode of Monday Night Raw, on January 14, 2013, when he hosted a “Rock Concert” and serenaded Vickie Guerrero. As you would expect, he made some brutal comments about her appearance and her weight. Even though she was a heel, something about the remarks felt over the line, and looking back almost ten years later, it feels REALLY bad given how sensibilities have changed regarding body shaming. I’m sure Eddie Kingston in particular hated this segment.
The second moment that I’ll tag is the August 23, 2004 Raw, which came at a time when the Most Electrifying Man in Entertainment was not a regular performer for WWE. So, when he made his triumphant return to the show, what did the company have him do? They had him host a segment in the Diva Search, of course! For those of you who weren’t around for the first few Diva Searches, the segments were death, as they featured individuals who had no experience performing on camera attempting to anchor a television show on the world’s most popular cable station, to say nothing of the demeaning situations the contestants were put in. It was so bad that, somehow, even the most charismatic performer in professional wrestling couldn’t save it.
Did I mention the segment concluded with Christy Hemme proclaiming that her “butt was hungry” before she sat on a cream pie?
69. Thanks for not only answering everyone’s questions but also the video links! Do you have a Kurt Angle vs John Cena video link you could share in the column?
70. What was the exact moment or spot that HHH tore his quad for the first time?
May 21, 2001, Monday Night Raw. Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit are teaming up against the “Two Man Power Trip” of Steve Austin and Triple H. Towards the finish of the match, Jericho has Austin in the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring, and HHH runs in to blast Jericho from behind, making the save for his partner. In running across the ring, the Game tears his quad but proceeds to tough it out and finish the bout.
71. I’d like your personal wrestling memories of Stevie or Steven Richards. Besides being Raven’s lackey or Right To Censor leader or having his nose broken by Chris Masters . . . anything else to add?
I’m pretty sure that I’ve linked to this one before, but perhaps my favorite Stevie Richards match of all time was his encounter with Luna Vachon at ECW Heatwave 1995 inside of a steel cage. I don’t know if this says more about Luna or Stevie, but it is the single most believable intergender match I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something given that there are plenty of others who have tried to make intergender wrestling work over the course of the intervening 27 years.
72. How would you detail Hunter’s King of the Ring run?
It was fine, I guess, but really forming D-Generation X with Shawn Michaels later the same year did so much more for his upward momentum than winning the KOTR tourney did. Take the kingship out of the equation and he probably winds up in exactly the same place.
73. I asked you before in this column about Todd Gordon-esque moles being signed to AEW. I remember your answer; the boys are the boys now, they talk about everything. With Regal and Joe being fired recently, if you were Tony Khan, would you still bring in those two specifically without fear that AEW day to day operations would just be leaked back to Hunter?
Here’s another question that I held on to for a bit too long, as it was asked back in January 2022. It appears that there have been no negative repercussions from William Regal and Samoa Joe switching sides to AEW.
74. Was Mr. Kennedy the original plan to be Mr McMahon’s son? What is the backstory to Hornswoggle? There must be a good story here.
Yes. It was pretty widely reported at the time that Kennedy was going to be in the spot, and, earlier this year, Kennedy himself confirmed it in an interview on Sportskeeda Wrestling’s UnSKripted podcast. (Yet another instance of journalists like Dave Meltzer reporting something when it happened and WWE fanboys claiming Meltzer is full of it only for the individuals involved backstage to verify Meltzer’s story later on.) In any event, Kennedy lost what could have been the role of a lifetime because of a suspension under the company’s Wellness Policy as a result of his being revealed as a client of Signature Pharmacy, an outfit that was sending steroids and other drugs to clients who, allegedly, did not have a legitimate prescription for the same.
Word on the street is that WWE took a particularly grim view of Kennedy’s suspension because, just a few months earlier, he was one of the wrestlers that the promotion sent out on the cable news circuit to try to defend the company’s reputation in the wake of the Benoit double murder-suicide and a boatload of steroids being found in the Benoit household. Kennedy flatly denied using steroids in those interviews and claimed he had been tested by the E multiple times, which left the company with quite a bit of egg on its face when the Signature story broke.
As far as Hornswoggle is concerned, he was really just the guy selected when everybody was scrambling to come up with a new direction after Kennedy was bumped out of contention.
75. Did Abdullah The Butcher not declare he had Hepatitis C and, knowing he did, pursue and encourage a match with another wrestler in which also involved blading? If so why?
Yeah, so Canadian independent wrestler Devon “Hannibal” Nicholson first gained a name for himself circa 2014, when he he won a $2.1 million judgment against Abdullah the Butcher in civil lawsuit filed in Ontario. Hannibal’s allegation was that he contracted Hep C from Abby in a match in which both of them bladed, and the courts apparently agreed.
Why would the Butcher do this? I don’t know that he’s every really gone on record with a detailed explanation, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that the guy had made a decades-long career out of wrestling in incredibly brutal and bloody matches, and he was not going to let a little thing like having a serious disease transmissible through body fluids slow him down.
Also, though Hannibal was a sympathetic figure in this original story, it’s worth noting that since then he’s been discovered to be a prick in his own right, for reasons that have been detailed a couple of times in this column.
76. In his prime in regards to cutting promos, where does Vince McMahon slide into category/tier wise?
I would say he’s in the top 20% of performers.
77. When it came to Hogan dropping the WCW World Championship to Lex Luger compared to Hulk Hogan dropping the WCW World Championship to Sting; I think the Luger fall was better, how did this come to fruition?
The company realized that Luger was on an incredibly hot run at the time, and they wanted to do something unexpected to help pop ratings for Nitro during the Monday Night War. Put those two factors together, and the decision was made to do a quickie title change to get people talking, even though it would be reversed with the belt going back to Hogan about a week later.
78. On NBC’s Saturday Night Main Event, how many year’s later, what was the deal with the screwy finish where Andre gave the WWF title to the Million Dollar Man?
It was an innovative way to get the WWF Championship off of Hulk Hogan without actually beating him, thereby setting up the tournament that was the main draw of Wrestlemania IV.
79. For the big names (Hulk, Flair, Hart) who produced their HoF WWE induction shows? I dont know much about the “producer” role.
Kevin Dunn is WWE’s television producer and has been for the entire modern history of the company.
80. What’s D-Lo Brown up to nowadays?
He was working as a road agent for TNA last I heard.
81. Do you remember seeing Rikishi’s big bump of the cell? What did you think of the spot and the match?
Yes, I remember it. For those who do not know, we are talking about the Armageddon 2000 pay per view, when Big Kish fell off the side of Hell in a Cell structure and into a flatbed truck during the course of a six-way HIAC match for the WWF Championship.
I was not really a fan of the spot or the match. Having the truck at ringside made the bump come off as overly fake, since the only reason to have a truck there in the first place was to give the big man something higher and potentially softer to land on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he should have splatted on the arena floor; I’m saying that you just shouldn’t have done the spot at all if it was going to look that phony.
As to the match, six guys in HIAC is overkill and, in my opinion, dilutes the gimmick. The Cell should be be built up as something that is ominous, impressive, and special on its own with just two competitors entering.
82. I’ve heard Eric Bishoff talk negatively about Bill Goldberg, is he in some way just cautious to put him over due to his obvious bromance with Hulk Hogan?
I’ve actually heard the exact opposite coming from Bischoff. There was an episode of his 83 Weeks podcast late last year during which he put over Goldberg’s athletic accomplishments – in both football and wrestling – as being phenomenal and said that the former WCW Champion probably did not receive all the credit he deserves.
83. I know you are a big of fan of current international stars; I don’t know anything about this Will Osprey, where should I start?
I legitimately don’t think that there is such a thing as a bad Will Ospreay match, so in some respects you can start just about anywhere. I will say that, in particular, Kazuchika Okada seems to bring out the best in him, but Okada has a knack for doing that with most of his opponents.
They had a match during the G1 Climax this year that equaled if not exceeded anything they’ve done together before.
84. As far as triple threat matches go, any thoughts on The Rock vs The Undertaker vs Kurt Angle?
Not really. That’s the problem with triple threat matches. With a couple of exceptions, they never seem to stand out and make an impression in the same way that singles matches do.
85. Which was the best Batista vs Finlay contest?
I would go with the match that they had on the December 8, 2006 episode of Smackdown taped December 2 from Florence, South Carolina. As far as I know, that is the televised match they had which got the most time.
They never did have a singles match on pay per view as near as I can recall, so I don’t know that they ever truly had an opportunity to pull out all the stops against each other.
86. Do you remember watching the cage match between Steve Austin and Vince McMahon at St Valentines Day Massacre in real time whatever year it took place? If so, was is ultra spectacular at the time?
It was 1999, for the record. And, no, I don’t remember watching it happen in real time, because I missed that particular pay per view on the live airing. I do remember sitting in an AOL chatroom and everybody freaking out when the Paul Wight made his debut, though the bigger reaction of the night seemed to be for Vince’s bump off the cage, because nobody was expecting him to do anything that risky.
87. What was the relationship, in your own words, start to finish; between Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Eddy Guerrero and Chris Benoit?
My understanding is that Guerrero, Malenko, and Benoit would have first crossed paths with each other when they were working for New Japan Pro Wrestling’s junior heavyweight division in 1992. Chris Jericho was a later addition to their group. Really, Jericho wasn’t regularly working with Guerrero/Malenko/Benoit until they were all together in WCW, because they kept just missing each other in other promotions. When the other three were meeting up in NJPW, the Japanese promotions that Jericho was working for were FMW and WAR, and Jericho also missed Guerrero/Malenko/Benoit in ECW by a year or two.
(And, yes, Jericho and Benoit did wrestle each other in the 1995 Super J Cup, but note that above I said “regularly” working with each other. That Benoit/Jericho match was a one-off brought on by Benoit being loaned out to WAR by NJPW for the tournament.)
As to Jericho and Misterio, they had a couple of matches together in WAR in the 1990s, but, again, WCW was the first place they were working together on a regular basis. This is true even though Jericho spent just as much of his early career in Mexico as he did Japan, because Jericho and Misterio were working for rival promotions south of the border, with Rey being a AAA guy and Jericho being an EMLL guy.
88. You’ve covered Hulk Hogan’s water sports injury that lead to a mysterious black eye; didn’t RVD also have a mysterious water sports black eye at one time?
Not that I can recall. There’s always a chance that I missed something, but the only news story that I can ever think of involving Rob Van Dam and water sports is his then-wife Sonia breaking her leg in a jet ski accident in Florida in 1999, when RVD was still riding high in ECW. About six months later, Rob suffered a fracture of his own, breaking his ankle on a baseball slide in a match against Rhyno.
Hey, speaking of . . .
89. I don’t think you’ve touched on Rhyno much in your column; any words fit for print?
Good hand, solid persona, but I don’t think that anybody has ever been able to book him as believably as a monster wrestler as Paul Heyman did in the original ECW. He’s actually somebody who I think could have had a good run during the WWE reboot of ECDub had he not been tied up with TNA at the time. He had the bona fides of being with the first incarnation of the promotion but was much closer to his physical prime than guys like Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, and Sabu.
Also, though I can’t think of a terrible Rhyno match that I’ve seen, I can’t think of a particularly great one, either. He’s just a guy who can provide serviceable, competent action, particularly when it is in shorter bursts.
90. Why didn’t Kenny Omega go to WWE after his Japan deal was finished?
It’s because, at the exact same time his contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling was expiring in January 2019, All Elite Wrestling was in the process of forming, and ultimately he decided that he would rather go to work for AEW, where he would be an Executive Vice President and a driving force behind the development of their video game, as opposed to WWE, where he would likely just be another guy on the roster. Plus, he had been part of the WWE system once before, as he was under a developmental deal and competed in Deep South Wrestling in 2005 and 2006. Chances are good that his prior experiences with the company also contributed to the decision.
91. When Kane unmasked during the main event of RAW, what is your opinion of the look which was unveiled including the following weeks alterations?
Honestly, I was on board with it. I remember some people being critical of the creative decisions here because they did not like retconning the previously established “fact” that Kane had been badly burned by a fire in his childhood. However, if you were going to unmask the guy – and unmasking him probably was necessary to freshen up the character at that point – you couldn’t have maintained the burn victim story in any believable way. Putting some sort of makeup on him each and every week was not feasible, particularly given that you would run the risk of it melting away or otherwise sluffing off has he wrestled. Thus, the story that the burns were psychological as opposed to physical was about as good as you were going to do.
The only thing that didn’t make a lot of sense to me was why he appeared to be burned or scarred on the very first day he unmasked only for the look to change seven days later. That part was never fully explained to my satisfaction. Are we to believe that he hadn’t washed his face for years and that, after he took his mask off, somebody finally introduced him to soap?
92. Can you please briefly summarize or highlight the winners and losers as it pertains to wrestlers on Family Feud? Thank You!
Normally this is the sort of thing that I would be all over, but the fact of the matter is that the website Uproxx already beat me to it, covering all of the pro wrestling appearances on Family Feud that I’m aware of through the time of the article’s publication in 2015.
There are two updates that I have to the article. The first is that, on the July 25, 2021 episode of Celebrity Family Feud, a team lead by David Arquette faced off against a team captained by noted WWE fan Paul “Pee-Wee Herman” Reubens. Of course, Arquette has his own history in wrestling, but his team did as well, as they were all grapplers from the SoCal indy scene, many of whom have shown up on AEW programming in recent years. They were “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry, “Pretty” Peter Avalon, Dalton Castle, and RJ City.
As of the time that I am writing this article, there is another episode of Celebrity Family Feud set to air on August 29, 2022, which will see Rey Misterio Jr. and his family (including Dominik) compete against Mike the Miz and his family.
93. How come The Giant/The Big Show cut his long hair? When exactly did this happen?
He went from long hair to short hair between the Royal Rumble pay per view in 2000 and the No Way Out pay per view the following month. I don’t know that there was some great reason for it other than refreshing his look, which is something all wrestlers do – or at least should do – from time-to-time.
Show then went fully bald in September 2004, in an angle in which he was attacked and shaved by Kurt Angle and his cronies. There was actually a callback to a similar angle a couple of decades earlier in which Andre the Giant’s hair was cut, with Michael Cole stating that the heels had “raped the dignity” of Andre, echoing a line that Vince McMahon used during the earlier angle. At that point, there was some noticeable thinning in Show’s coiffure, so he probably went with the Mr. Clean look to help hid his aging.
94. What comes to your mind when publishing words for Savio Vega’s long career?
One of my favorite types of wrestler has always been “stocky guy who is surprisingly agile,” and I always appreciated Savio as one of my first exposures to that genre. Granted, he was not executing a lot of top rope moves or throwing a bunch of unnecessary flips into his offense (look up the SoCal luchador Super Boy for that), but watching this dude throw spinning heel kicks, sometimes going over the top and to the floor in doing so, was pretty fun because you almost never expected it.
I remember that, in the late 1990s, when he was no longer with the Nation of Domination and Los Boricuas had largely fizzled out, he was made somewhat of an associate member of DX. I was a bit disappointed that the WWF never went further with that affiliation, because I thought Savio could work well in the group as the silent badass who stuck up for his more juvenile buddies when they ran their mouths too much and got in trouble with a face.
I’m also amazed that he’s lasted as long has he has, particularly with his style being as physical as it has been at points. He had his first match in 19-freaking-85, before I even started elementary school, and he is still wrestling on a somewhat regular basis today. This man is nigh unbreakable.
95. Back when we had sold out attendance, with all the signs from the crowd, how many of those signs were planted by someone who wasn’t a pure fan but was holding up a sign for business reasons?
Particularly back in the 1990s, there did seem to be a handful of people who would bring signs to promote their favorite wrestling websites or online personalities (Sushi-X, MiCasa, Scoops), but true plants seemed to be pretty rare in major promotions.
By the way, after almost 20 years of writing on the internet, you’d think that there would have been at least one Ryan Byers sign that made it on to camera, but nothing. Get on that, guys. “Ryan Byers fears Total Divas” or something like that. It might even get you on Botchamania in that segment where people bring Kingdom Hearts signs to wrestling shows for some goddamn reason.
96. A lot has been said and written about The Undertaker’s demeanor and Shawn Michael’s demeanor regarding the big Wrestlemania in Boston when Stone cold Steve Austin was anointed THE GUY for the beginning of The Austin era. What was Steve’s demeanor that night? Throw in your thoughts on Mike Tyson’s involvement per the demeanor category as well.
I’ve never heard anybody say that Austin was focused on anything other than showing up, doing his job, and moving on to the next show.
As to Tyson, well, let’s just wait for the episode of his new Hulu show that covers the night in question.
97. Do you have any insight on Jamie Noble as an agent to the stars?
Not really. For all the backstage dirt that we get about professional wrestling these days, I feel like there’s not a lot of commentary out there about which agents are great and which agents stink. However, Noble has reportedly been doing the gig with WWE continuously since 2009, and they’re probably not going to keep you around for 13 years if you’re not doing the job well.
98. Can you educate everyone on three really good road agents besides the famous Pat Patterson?
As noted above, there is not a lot of information that is made publicly available about how well different agents perform, so I don’t know that I will be telling you who the best agents are here as much as I will be telling you a hand full of stories that I have heard about agents performing well over the years.
The first name that I will mention is John Laurinaitis. Most fans are familiar with his backstage job in talent relations, but, when he first retired from wrestling in Japan and started working in an executive role, it was as a road agent for WCW circa 2000. During that time, he developed a reputation for being a strong “finish guy,” meaning that he could help wrestlers develop ending sequences for their matches, particularly cleaner finishes that would allow one competitor to defeat the other with the loser not losing a lot of momentum.
The second and third names that I will use are Fit Finlay and Dustin Rhodes. In the early and mid-2000s, the WWE women’s division featured a lot of ladies who flat out didn’t know what they were doing. Many of them were models with no athletic background and minimal wrestling training being thrown on to national television just because of their look. However, Fit Finaly was the agent assigned to the women’s division, and he apparently had a knack for making lemons out of lemonade, because he would come up with spots that just about anyone could do and basically idiot proof match layouts so that people like Candice Michelle and Kelly Kelly would have some television matches that, while not mat classics, would work out surprisingly well. When Finlay was no longer serving in that capacity, he was replaced for a period of time by Dustin Rhodes, who also received praise for his work in the role.
Side note: What I consider to be one of the worst-constructed matches I’ve ever seen is Michael Cole versus Jerry Lawler from Wrestlemania XXVII, and word broke fairly quickly after the show that the assigned agent for that bout was Dean Malenko. That just goes to show you that the best in-ring wrestlers are not always the best agents.
99. Who is this Jim Londos wrestler who Jim Cornette claims drew more money than Hulk Hogan?
Jim Londos is a wrestler who drew more money than Hulk Hogan.
Seriously, though, Londos was a Greek immigrant to the United States who became a professional wrestler circa 1912 and continued in the business through the mid-1950s. His peak years were in the 1930s and 1940s, a time when there was no such thing as television, let alone pay per view or streaming, meaning that the only way that wrestlers were drawing money was ticket sales to live events.
There was a brief blurb about Londos written earlier this year by the Greek Reporter, and you can find quite a bit more information about him if you read Lou Thesz’s autobiography Hooker, as their careers had some significant overlap.
And that’s it. I’m exhausted, and I’m going to go eat some poutine or something to unwind.
We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.