Ask 411 02.13.03: McMahon, WM3, Wrestling Network, More


Scott’s Feedback Feedbag – #13 With A Bullet Edition!

– The response and feedback to “Tonight…In This Very Ring” thus far have been overwhelmingly positive and I am of course grateful for all the kind words. Even more so, I’m grateful that it’s currently sitting at #640 on, thus making it not only the #1 wrestling book on Amazon, but the #13 SPORTS book in general there. You may of course order here. For those in Canada, Chapters is supposedly listing March 5 as the release date in stores, although the website lists it as available and shipping, so order it here if you’re Canadian. For those in the UK, good question.

– By the way, as a note on the WCW book proposal — there will be some of it incorporated into the next book if it becomes another wWE book. Mainly comparing the idiocy of Russo & Bischoff in the dying days to what’s been going on lately.

– For those of you who are new to the Feedbags and didn’t follow them when they were part of the Smarks section of this here mega-site, basically this is me answering my mail and giving opinions on a variety of subjects and occasionally straying completely from the topic altogether. Sit back, have some cocoa, relax, unwind. Let’s begin…

“Hey Scott,

I am writing to you about the obvious gap in talent between the two brands.
Its no secret to any onlooker or any man or woman in the WWE that Smackdown
is the superior product, its a fact everyone knows and has to face. However,
if (and this is a massive IF) HHH put over such stars as Booker T (no
chance), RVD (no chance in hell), Jericho (why do I even bother asking), do
you think RAW could match the likes of Benoit, Angle and Eddy who suplex the
living shit out of each other week after week. Could RAW actually be a
scratch on the awesomeness of Smackdown? Of course politics is the
inescapable epitome of us primates, apes, humans, philosophers and indeed
wrestlers, so with that aside, will RAW always be number two? Well, may be
third if you count Velocity. “

Huh huh, you said number two.

Ahem. At any rate, the problem in terms of show quality is two-fold: RAW is being written by someone more inclined towards sitcoms, and Smackdown is loaded with the newer talent working the newer, faster style. Oh, yeah, plus that HHH guy is on RAW, too. Given the right booking and guys who give a shit in the ring, there’s lots of guys on RAW with the potential to hang with Smackdown’s awesomeness, but in the long run everyone just seems like they’ve been broken down and stomped on by HHH one time too many and don’t have the drive to offer anymore. What they desperately need is a fresh face to come in and completely shake up the hierarchy and give everyone a kick in the ass, but all the talent seems to be migrating to Smackdown (surprise surprise).

So, in theory, if you get rid of HHH and overhaul the writing, yes, the potential could be there, but it’s not likely at this point.

“You’ve made a couple general references to Austin’s attempts to kill
Jericho’s Undisputed Title run; I’m curious how he went about doing that.
Triple H’s attempts were quite clear to me, but, somehow, other than putting on
subpar matches, I don’t remember Austin doing anything particularly damaging.
Beyond that, how is Austin’s relationship with Jericho? I actually remember
Jericho saying he thought Austin was one of the more genuinely nice guys in the
locker room. “

The problem was that by the end of 2001 and beginning of 2002, there was a dangerous combination of things going on backstage. First of all, Vince was openly calling Jericho the biggest flop as champion ever. Second, Austin was becoming really paranoid about his spot and if he didn’t have the crowd chanting for him every second of the match, he’d begin taking over the match himself and basically not giving his opponent anything. Third, Austin was further worried because his face turn and upcoming feud with the nWo didn’t really seem to be setting the wrestling world on fire, and thus he didn’t want to be doing jobs for Jericho. This all resulted in their match at No Way Out 2002, with a petty and paranoid Austin going out and killing all of Jericho’s heat week after week leading up to the match. Thus when they got to the match, Jericho couldn’t get any heat on himself during the middle portion because he’d been booked as a total putz for weeks, and the crowd got restless, and Austin panicked and took over the match himself until the whole thing became a huge mess leading up to the crappy nWo run-in finish. Vince lost all his confidence in both guys because of this, and thus Jericho got to be Stephanie’s coffee boy while Austin was stuck with Scott Hall.

It doesn’t have anything to do with being “nice”, it’s about people who are getting older and losing their spot doing desperate things to keep it.

“What was the “real” attendance at Wrestlemania III? Were there more people at Wembley for SummerSlam in ’92?”

The “real” attendance issue is one of those bizarre “smart mark v. anti-smart mark” arguments that never ends up going anywhere. The argument goes like this…

A few years back, Dave Meltzer mentioned that the actual attendance for WM3 was not 93173, but closer to 78000, which he found out via a conversation with Gary Juster. Thus smart mark dogma is generally considered to be that WM3 was 78000, not 93000.

Aha, the “shut up and be entertained” faction says in response, but if Juster was working for WCW at the time, how do you know he wasn’t lying to make the WWF look bad?

Well, the smart marks reply, you’re assuming that Dave’s ONLY source on this was Juster, which he never said was the case. In fact, being a journalist, he would have verified the number from other sources before reporting it as such, and really who gives a shit in the long run anyway since Vince cooks numbers all the time and why should this be any different?

The argument generally goes downhill from there, but that’s the highlights. You can, however, make a strong case for either number and defend it to the death in numerous pointless flamewars on the subject on a messageboard near you, should you so choose. Either number can be considered “right”, but I tend to go with 78000 because it pisses off that other group so easily.

As for the Wembley question, there were legimately 82,000 paid fans there, and that’s been verified numerous times.

“Does World Wrestling Entertainment HAVE to blur the old WWF logos on every old piece of footage? I would think the Wildlife Fund would understand that Vince isn’t promoting the WWF name when he inadvertantly shows a cameraman’s “WWF” shirt from a 1999 RAW. Is the logo-blurring necessary, or is WWE just paranoid of another lawsuit?”

They’re paranoid of another lawsuit, but basically the Fund is watching them at all times now to make sure they blur it. It should be noted that the blurring only applies to the “scratch” logo used from 1998-2002. Anything before 97 is fair game to use. Technically it only really applies to international broadcasts, but then you’re getting into a whole huge kettle of legal fish.

“Does the champion always take the blame and/or credit for business? To say simply that HHH can’t draw as champion kind of ignores the fact that RAW has a crappy midcard and a lot of other problems, doesn’t it?”

Sure, but to quote a great man, that’s the business, sweetheart. When you get that belt, you’re getting it with the unspoken agreement that whatever bad happens is going to be on your head, but whatever good happens is going to be on your paycheque. HHH is a special circumstance and we all know why, but for everyone else it’s a level playing field, more or less. Just like baseball teams will ignore crappy pitching and fire the manager, the WWE will ignore the midcard and blame the champion.

“I’ve heard talk, most recently in one of your mailbags, about a 24 hour wrestling network for some time. I’ve thought that this would be a good idea for years now, because of the expansion in cable networks and the WWE’s extensive library and ability to expand their library even more. So, as a little ‘fantasy booking,’ as it were, what would you like to see on such a network if it came about? What old shows, new shows, various programming would you like to see and think would be appealing to fans of such a network? Map out a day’s programming, give your idea of what a random daily t.v. schedule for the network might look like.”

Well, this is just BEGGING for easy jokes, but we’ll assume you want the serious answer.

Sadly, the WWE’s intention seems to be buying up the ECW and AWA libraries specifically so there CAN’T be a 24-hour wrestling channel, so I wouldn’t count on seeing one. If it was the WWE who ran it, they could do so much with it that it’s not even funny. Showing old RAW episodes, starting in sequence from 1993, for instance. Given what they’re going to end up with after the AWA and ECW purchases (and possibly Mid-South, too), I’d run an 8-hour block repeating three times a day. One hour of classic WWF (pre-Hogan), one hour of classic NWA, an entire PPV, one hour of alternating classic footage (ECW/AWA/Mid-South), an episode of RAW (starting with 93 and working up to 1997) and then an episode of Nitro. Or you could have theme days, or Wrestlemania marathons, or whatever you wanted. The possibilities are limitless, but on an average day that’s what I’d sit and watch for 8 hours at a time.

“I can understand everyone saying there is no doubting HHH’s love for the industry. But isn’t his first love HIS position in the industry? True love would be getting the right guys a shot, not stepping on everyone in some ‘roid fueled paranoia. Do you think if for whatever reason, Steph or Vince grew tired of him, HHH would stick around? Is his head so far gone that little promotions, stuck doing houseshows, or even curtain jerking un-televised, would even be acceptable for him? Would he just quit?”

Hey, give the guy credit — he was completely shit on in 1996 and he stuck around. I think he’d definitely hang around and re-solidify his power base again. He’s a smart guy and he knows that once you get past the point of main event no return with Vince, he’ll keep giving you chances until you either screw him over too badly, or die.

“How would you handle/book the inevitable Austin/Bischoff feud? Do you think they could do it in a way to make it seem the least bit fresh instead of just rehashing the Austin/McMahon feud? If they could work in a bit where Austin brings up Bischoff canning him in 95 because of the “guy in black trunks and black boots isnt marketable” comment then that could maybe help explain, at least to the marks, Austins bitterness towards him. Knowing WWE though I’d doubt they would make mention of anything like that happening from the old WCW in an angle. Your thoughts?”

I’m pretty sure Austin and Vince are both obsessed with redoing Austin-McMahon in a million different permutations, and this feud will be no different. It’d be pretty cool if Goldberg attacked Austin at No Way Out, however.

“I’ve always wondered if Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels were/are friends in real life…also was Marty ever part of ‘The Kliq’. I’ve heard that back in 1996 HBK only agreed to drop the belt to either Sid or Marty, and since HBK agreed to job the belt to Marty, then why did WWF treat him like such a jobber. I know he was addicted to drugs and stuff, so why did HBK agree to job to him in the first place….also I know Justin Credible was part of ‘The Kliq’, and I just wondered why WWF always treated him like a jobber and never gave him the slightest push…I know he wasn’t over and had a horrible gimmick to boot, but he could’ve easily changed gimmicks if WWF wanted to push him….”

Marty and Shawn were friends up until a certain point, but they split both on-screen and in real life in 1991 when Marty’s problems and attitude became too much for Shawn to deal with. Shawn never would have agreed to drop the title to Marty in 1996 — I think you’re thinking of 1993, when he dropped the I-C title to him on RAW, and even then he knew that it was good for business. By ’96, Marty was running on fumes and even the WWF knew it.

As for Justin, he was never part of the Clique, he was more like Sean Waltman’s friend and thus an “associate member”. The only times he was ever given anything remotely resembling a push were when Waltman had power. If Nash or HHH gave a crap about him, he wouldn’t have been fired.

“Sportz Entertainment Question 1: When reading the internet “rag sheets” you’ll hear many wrestlers saying that the death of kayfabe has ruined wrestling. You will also hear many that say the exact opposite, especially Vince himself. I have a small amount(translation: I am not an expert) of experience performing on the stage, and while different from wrestling, there are many similarities. One of the cardinal rules for us as stage performers is that, during the show, you NEVER EVER let the audience see you out of character. After the show is over it is a different story, but during the show it was a mortal sin to break character. The idea is that if you break this rule you are destroying the illusion. Couldn’t the same be said for wrestling? Sometimes I feel that when they get overly ridiculous or do these cheesy reality angles, they are basically rubbing the “It’s just a show” right into our faces. To me that destroys the illusion.”

I agree, but at the same time it’s Vince who let that particular genie out of the bottle because he was too cheap to pay for proper medical care. Vince says whatever is making him money at the time — if public sentiment suddenly swung towards shootfighting and amateur wrestling, he’d be all over the media talking about how breaking kayfabe is the death of wrestling as we know it and thank god he’s not doing that sports entertainment crap anymore.

Look at it this way — I know 24 is fake and Kiefer Sutherland is an actor, but damn if I wasn’t actively cheering him on when he was giving Ali the once-over, and sitting on the edge of my seat when he had the little kid shot. Suspension of disbelief is everything, and good storylines and storytelling will overcome any amount of broken kayfabe. As long as you don’t cross certain storytelling lines (ie, electrocution angles and necrophilia) I’m perfectly willing to follow the workers within the context of whatever they throw at me, and most fans feel the same way. It’s when the stupid stuff overwhelms the simple stuff that there’s the problem. My knowledge of the inner workings of the business don’t mean anything in that case, it’s just bad writing in action.

“When The Hart Foundation defeated The British Bulldogs for the titles, was Dynamite Kid really injured? If so, or not, were the Harts supposed to lose the titles anyway?”

Yes and yes. Dynamite Kid had a serious back injury going into that match, so much so that Davey Boy literally had to carry him piggy-back to the ring and stand him on the apron. Vince wanted them to drop the titles to Sheik & Volkoff, but Dynamite refused to job it to anyone but the Harts. They were going to lose the titles anyway — Vince never had real confidence in them as champions to begin with and didn’t want to put the belts on a team that spent as much time in Japan as they did.

“Did the result of that match also influence the Danny Davis turn from referee to wrestler? I remember him being suspended in the next week or so…..and then become a wrestler. I could be wrong, but some years later I saw Danny Davis return as a ref. Was his return ever explained? Wasn’t he “suspended for life”?”

Yes, and Mick Foley “retired” in 2000 before coming back two weeks later, what’s your point? Seriously, though, nothing is ever “for life” in wrestling (especially the nWo), and everyone figured he’d be back reffing again. There was a half-hearted explanation given by the announcers about Davis apologizing and being allowed back as a ref again, but it wasn’t a big deal. In storyline terms, yes, the match was set up for Davis to transition to being a wrestler, and in fact they pulled out footage of Davis reffing Savage’s I-C title win over Tito Santana in order to give Davis an opponent in Tito. That was actually a pretty clever bit of retroactive booking. Davis was actually a masked jobber for years (the imaginatively named Mr. X), subbing for various injured wrestlers where needed for house shows.

“First off, one that has been bugging me for a while. A pescado is a slingshot bodypress to the outside, a plancha is a running pescado, and a tope is a no-hands plancha, correct?”

AAAAARGH. No more lucha libre terms, please god!

A quick search on Deja finds a list from RSPW in 1996…

Tope: The wrestler executing this move will grab on to the top rope and
swing over the ropes and onto his opponent with a cross bodyblock

Plancha: To execute this, a wrestler will dive between the middle rope
and top ropes onto an opponent standing outside the ring

Tope con helo: To execute this, a wrestler will run up the ropes, dive
outside the ring and flip onto his shaken foe

Plancha con helo: Same as a plancha, but the wrestler will also do a flip
before crashing into his foe

Pescado: It’s similar to the plancha, except to execute this move
correctly, a wrestler must hurdle the top rope and use a cross-bodyblock
on his opponent

La Tapatia: Similar to the “surfboard” submission hold, except the victim
is lifted high into the air {aka the Rito Romero special}

Caballo: Another name for the “camel clutch” perfected by Gory Guerrero

I’m terrible for mixing a lot of these up and I just use them interchangably these days to be a jerk BECAUSE I CAN, but this should get you through casual conversations with your friends.

“Regarding the finish to Team Angle/Guerreros: You have to be the legal man to pin the opponent, but you can pin either of the opponents, if he’s legal or not?”

Rule #14(b): The referee shall ignore who the legal man is following

the “Hot Tag” and count the pin on whomever is being pinned by whomever

is pinning them, so long as a title change shall not result, unless it’s

on pay-per-view in which case only the legal face may pin the legal

heel, while the illegal heel may pin whoever he damn well pleases.

That’s about the only rule I’ve ever been able to pin down for these things, so I suggest writing it down somewhere and keeping it handy.

“Anyway, there’s two moves I read
about all the time that I’m not sure exactly what they are by name, so I
wonder if you could just describe them for me. One is the quebrada, and the
other is the pescado. As much wrestling as I watch I’m sure I’ll know the
moves, I just don’t know them by these names. A year ago, I didn’t realize
that Eddy Guererro’s “swanton from the apron over the top rope” was called a

The pescado we covered earlier in this feedbag.

A quebrada is pretty easy — it’s a moonsault from the middle rope, either done in the ring (like the Lionsault) or from the apron (like Ultimo Dragon’s Asai Moonsault).

“Why did Shawn never jump to WCW? He had to have been asked, and most of his other friends were there, and (at the time) doing quite successufuly. I mean, it’s not like he was particularily loyal or kind or anything, so how come he never jumped to (potentially) greener pastures?”

Because he was locked into a long-term iron-clad contract and he quite simply was never able to get out of it. Simple as that.

“Okay, we all know why the Invasion angle failed: because of Vince’s unwillingness to push ANYTHING from WCW.

But we also know that Vince McMahon has a BIG MAN FETISH and will push anyone taller than 6’6 to the moon.

With that said, do you think that if the WCW back in 2001 had HOSSES in it’s ranks for the Invasion angle, Vince would have pushed them? If so, do you think giving credibility to those WCW workers would have been enough to save the angle?

What would win? Vince’s love for big guys…or Vince’s hate against WCW?”

Both. He would have repackaged the big guys as WWF talent, had them completely separated from the WCW brand, and then buried WCW anyway. All indications are that Vince was gung-ho to kill the brand from day one, so no amount of fantasy booking would save it.

“I’m sure you get loads of mail like this, but I thought I’d ask anyway. I’m a big fan of the rants you write, but a couple of things confuse me.
1. What is Canadian Violence? I’m sure it’s something more than just a Canadian pounding away, but other than that, i have no idea.
2. Pier Six Brawls. I’ve pretty much worked out that these are when everyone hits the ring in a tag match in an eruption of violence, but what’s the origin of the phrase? My poor uncultured brain can’t find where the reference is from….”

1. Canadian Violence is just my goofy reference to Canadians doing chops, with the joke being that it’s so cold up here that all you can do in the winter is chop each other to keep warm.

2. The origins of the phrase lie with Gordon Solie, and as far as I know it has to do with sailors brawling down by the pier. Why the sixth one is particularly violent and uncontrollable I know not. Maybe Terry Funk hangs out there.

“With the recent passing of Curt Hennig, it got me thinking about other recently deceased wrestlers, namely Daveyboy Smith. I was wondering what you thought were some of his best matches, and am very curious about what you thought of his SNME match with HBK, where HBK won the IC title going into Survivor Series 92.”

Sadly, we here in the hellish arctic zone that is Alberta didn’t get FOX until a few years ago, and thus I’ve never seen that match or the equally epic Sid/Hogan v. Flair/Undertaker classic that it shared the show with. I’ve heard it’s about ***1/2, but anything more than hearsay I cannot share with you.

“I remember hearing something about Scott Steiner shooting on Ric Flair on a certain edition of Monday Nitro. If I’m remembering correctly and this is true, please elaborate.”

Yup, he sure did. Basically he was squabbling with management over whatever, so when they sent him out there to cut a promo about his upcoming match at the PPV, he changed his mind in mid-interview and decided to rant about Ric Flair and how he was old and washed up. It served absolutely no purpose and they tried to suspend him over it, but lawyers got involved and Steiner was never punished for it.

” I remember reading the Wrestling magazines as a kid and loved reading about Ric Flair and the great matches he had with wrestlers that were either tag-teamers (Hawk and Ricky Morton) or nobodies (Wildcat Wendell Cooley always comes to mind). They always made these matches seem fantastic. So this brings up two questions, was Flair really able to have great matches against Hawk, Cooley and Morton? And second question if Flair could make them look like they had a chance to win the belt and have great matches with them why was it bad booking to put him in matches with these guys?”

I wouldn’t say his matches with Hawk were “great”, but Flair had a winning formula and he could work it with ANYONE, literally. The matches with Morton were pretty good, but Morton was always the one getting the beating in tag matches, so it hurt the territory more than helped because no one bought him as a threat. Thus, Flair had to do a job to him in order to build him up as one, but then you’re just weakening your champion in order to build up an iffy program with a tag wrestler. That cycle got really bad later on when he was doing it with guys like Michael Hayes who weren’t even perceived as MIDCARDERS, let alone World title threats. Plus, no one else besides Flair was willing to do jobs for guys like Morton because he was so small, so the whole thing was basically an exercise in futility and helped kill the promotion. I liked the matches, though, so that’s all that counts in the long run.

And Wildcat Wendel Cooley was NOT a nobody — he drew darn good money in Alabama and was a pretty solid worker. He also had a run under another name that I can’t recall at the moment.

“I recently heard about interactions, cross promotions, and early Vince evil promoter acts in USWA in 1993. What the hell is all this about, and did it really happen?”

It certainly did, and I have the tapes. Basically it was a talent exchange during the period when Jerry Jarrett was running the WWF with Vince on trial. Vince always had it in his head to be play an evil promoter, so he would send down guys like Tatanka and Randy Savage and act as manager, cutting super-creepy heel promos that freaked out those who were lucky enough to see the shows and still thought of Vince as this wussy nice-guy announcer. Trust me, if you can track down Vince’s heel promos from that period, don’t hesitate to do so, because you’ll get a preview of Mr. McMahon, beta version.

And on that evil note, we’ll close up the Feedbag for another week. Until next time, remember — together we can out-sell Hogan!