Ask 411 02.26.03 – 1987 All Over Again!


Ask 411 February 26 2003

– Greetings once again for your weekly dose of Q&A. Note to several people who corrected the Booker/Benoit series question — Yeah, I forgot about the WCW Saturday Night match because that extra Thunder match threw off my count.

– Your soundtrack is the awesome-sounding and newly re-released remasters of AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, “Highway to Hell”, “High Voltage” and “Dirty Deeds…” Mutt Lange digitally remastered is truly something to behold.

– Another Smackdown: SYM story before we begin. I love this game, in case you haven’t figured it out by now. Anyway, having successfully unlocked moveset #3 (Keiji Mutoh) I found a great CAW version of him (Smackdown’s INSANE detail in the CAW mode, down to minute transformations of the facial features, is the best I’ve ever seen by far) and added the moveset. In a word, it’s PERFECT. Whoever created the moveset is obviously a fan, because everything from his stance, taunts and SIX different variations on the Shining Wizard are in there. I mean, you can literally hit a version of the Wizard from just about any situation — grapple, ground, special, counter, dazed and probably top rope too. In fact, my favorite combo with Mutoh is a standing Shining Wizard (down+O in a grapple), which drops the opponent to a knee, allowing you to hit a standard Shining Wizard (down+O to grapple a dazed opponent) to put them down on the mat, and then hitting your special Shining Wizard (L1 – complete with animation) or else the ground-version Shining Wizard (if you don’t have special – Left+O at their feet) which in turn becomes a pinning combo and usually gets a quick win. I inserted him into season mode and BLEW through the Heat portion, getting entered into Smackdown by June, just in time to win King of the Ring over Tajiri and then capture the Undisputed title from Edge at Vengeance. It’s interesting the way the game forces different players to play different styles, too. With Hogan or Brock I use a very straight-forward power attack, but with Mutoh it’s better to constantly grapple and keep your opponent on the mat, because he doesn’t have the striking or quickness that others do. And since I KNOW someone is gonna ask, here’s the stats for creating your own Keiji Mutoh, via Anyone who asks how to input these numbers gets a Shining Wizard from me.

Cheek: Part: 6
Face Model: 23
Eyebrows -39, -23
Eyes L3: -57, -26 R3: 43, 100
Nose L3: -5, -3 R3: -41, 20
Cheek 29
Mouth: -58, -12
Jaw: L3: 4, 28 R3: -10
Skin: 6
Skin Colour: 5 (-89, -6), 2
Eyes: 44
Eyebrows: 13
Mustache: 13 (78, (-67, -3), 0)
Mustache: 3 (20, (-62, 100), -83)

Upper Body-
Accesories: 28 (-12, (-88, -58), 0)

Upper Body-
Accesories: 26 (15, (-92, -51), -11)

Others: 17

Knee Pads-
Others: 4

Shoes-Blank: 14

Wrist Bands-
Blank: 2 (-69, 82, (-98, -17), 0)

Height: 6’2″

Head L3: -22 R3: 100
Neck L3: -36, -6 R3: -8
Chest L3: 12 R3: 5
Shoulder L3: -62, -19 R3: -12
Abdomen: L3: 12, 10 R3: 43
Arms: L3: -32, -2 R3: -7
Forearms: L3: -44, -24 R3: -88
Waist: 9, -38
Thigh: L3: 5, -11 R3: -45
Legs: L3: 0, -18 R3: -33
Ankles: -47, -36

On with the show…

“Why can’t the WWE just take the loss and buy out Mark Henry and Paul Wight’s contracts? And whats the big deal about making Undertaker job? If he doesn’t want to, buy out his contract also. Just take the loss on their contracts, it won’t be as bad in the long run.”

Paul Wight is easy — because he DOES have value in small doses given the right usage, although they’re paying far too much for him.

Mark Henry is a tough one to justify, but the thing is that you generally can’t just fire someone under contract without their consent. I’m sure if they asked Henry to take a buyout, he might, but you’re paying a HUGE amount of money to get rid of someone who, in the long run, isn’t really taking up that much of the overall payroll. TV and production costs dwarf the salary structure, and keeping Henry around isn’t exactly bankrupting the company or anything. Thus, it’s not worth the legal hassles required in cutting someone with a guaranteed contract. Look at Bret Hart for proof of that. Generally they wait, as with D-Lo Brown, until the contract is ready to expire, and then fire them. So don’t worry, only another 3 years of Mark Henry left.

“For your feedbag: I wish Chris Benoit would retire. It’s not that I don’t like his matches, but I would also like for him to live long enough to see his kid graduate from high school. He just looks like crap these days. Honest-to-God, I cringe every time he goes up to the top rope because I know he’s one missed flying headbutt away from a wheelchair. I don’t know much about his medical history or what he puts in his body, but don’t you wish he’d think about his health longterm?”

Sure, but it’s like a drug for them. Even Dynamite Kid, who brutalized his body in the name of entertaining the fans until he couldn’t even walk, has said many times that he regrets nothing and would still do it if he could. The way I look at it, anyone is one bodyslam away from a broken neck, so worrying about it is only wasting your time. I do wish he’d retire the flying headbutt, but otherwise he doesn’t exactly work a dangerous style or anything.

“Anyway, I’ve got a question that’s been bugging me for a while. If
I’m not mistaken, Bret Hart won his first World title from Ric Flair
at a house show in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. My question is why this
match and title change were not at a televised event or saved for a
pay-per view? Did they really need to get the belt off Flair that
bad, or was there something else at work there?? It seems like this
match/feud could have really drawn given how great they both are.”

As noted by Bret Hart, they would have done it on TV or PPV, but forces were already aligning to undermine whoever the winner of the championship derby ended up being, so Vince and his underlings decided to get it off Flair and onto Hart as soon as possible, to prevent any political coups from screwing things up later. With the steroid trials going on, there was some REALLY nasty politics going on at the time backstage.

“Its no secret that there are a loud of crap wrestlers out there, but what’s the best example you can think of of a guy wrestling consistently badly throughout his entire career, BUT pulling out ONE shockingly good match?”

El Gigante was carried to a legendary *** match by Ric Flair at a house show in 1991, and that was the only match in his entire career that ever broke ** that I’m aware of. There is no footage of the match that I know of out there, and this is all very much speculation and second-hand information, so caveat emptor. As for matches I’ve actually SEEN, the Kane-Albert IC title switch from 2001 still stands out as the crowning moment for both guys and will likely never be duplicated again by them.

“Seeing as how Rena “Sable” Mero and Joanie “Chyna”
Lauer each exploded in a cataclysim of buying into
their own hype after their Playboy pictorials came
out, do you expect the same to happen to Torrie

Well, Torrie seems a little more down-to-earth than either of those examples, plus she hasn’t been pushed particularly hard above the other divas and treated as a star. So I’d say “no”. I’m waiting for the Trish pictorial, myself.

“Any idea who did the entrance music for the alliance during the Invasion? I don’t think they used it much but it was mainly when Steph and Heyman came out.
If you have no idea could you put it in your mailbag because someone might know. To the”

I have no idea, so here’s your plug.

“Anyway, I was wondering what the deal was with Piper and Hogan. I’m hearing now that Piper is saying the two just can’t get along and things like that. But I remember when both(along with Mick Foley and Barry Blaustein) were on Larry King and Piper was just totally praising Hogan and putting him over as the best. So, what’s the story? I heard Hogan and Savage’s on again, off again is also very off. Does Hogan have any friends left in the business not named Ed Leslie? Do any of the current WWE guys pal around with him or just keep their distance?”

Well, I’m convinced at this point that Piper is senile, but his relationship with Hogan has always been cool to say the least. He refused to put him over several times during the 80s (and it took balls to refuse to do the job for Hogan when you were drawing 20,000 people a night with him), but the public image has always been for the old guys to stick together for the sake of doing business. As for Hogan, he’s burned so many bridges with politics over the years that I’m even sure who his friends are anymore. You’ll notice that no one is currently willing to lay down for him in any form, so that should give you a hint right there about what his WCW stint did for his personal image.

“Quick question about the blurring of the WWF scratch logo. During the Raw X show, I noticed they were allowed to use the old block WWF logo. If this is the case, why didn’t they just switch their logo to the block logo, or create a brand new one in order to retain the WWF name. I believe during the X show, they used the term “World Wrestling Federation” in the beginning montage of various WWF/WWE opening packages (i.e. “The World Wrestling Federation…for over 50 years the revolutionary force in sports-entertainment.”) So if the term “World Wrestling Federation” is valid, as is any WWF logo besides the scratch-one, what was the deal?

Also, why, when changed to WWE, did they opt for a “WW” logo, leaving out the “E?” Wouldn’t an extra line have been easier, or just extending the red slash?”

My interpretation of why they didn’t just use the block logo is that the actual NAME was the problem, and they needed to change names entirely to satisfy the lawsuit. Switching back to the old block logo (which they had permission from the Fund to use in the first place) would only be a short-term solution. It wasn’t so much the LOGO that was the problem, it was that they CHANGED the logo without obtaining permission, thus violating the terms of the original deal. One way or another, they were gonna have to stop being the World Wrestling Federation.

For the second one, the name of the company was officially changed to “World Wrestling Federation Entertainment” as a result of the IPO in 2000, and the natural new form of the name was to simply drop the Federation portion and be World Wrestling Entertainment. Thus, they weren’t dropping the F and adding an E, they were just dropping the F. So the new logo is WW, which actually makes sense given the logic of the situation.

  1. Why did Ken Patera’s return push fail? Maybe it was just me (in which case I do understand why it failed), but Patera’s whole character of a guy who had a bad night and went to prison, and was sorry for what he had done and was trying to rebuild his life and career seemed like something a fan would want to rally behind. Anything I’m missing here?
  2. One things I notice in a lot of episodes are six-man tag matches with members who are together for no conceivable reason other than having a six-man tag match (Iron Mike Sharpe, Don Muraco, & Bob Orton on one match, Hillbilly Jim, Tito Santana, & Billy Jack Haynes on another.Was the WWF kicking around the idea of a six-man tag title at this point?
  3. Why did Tom Zenk quit?
  4. What did Hulk Hogan do between WMIII and Survivor Series? Aside from heels cutting promos that end with “Watch out, Hulk Hogan” just like every promo in the ’80s WWF, he is NEVER mentioned on the show. No references to angles or feuds whatsoever.
  5. Why was Superstar Billy Graham pushed so hard? I mean, you talk all the time about Scott Steiner is falling apart, but he doesn’t even come close to the obvious deterioration of Graham in 1987. Why give so much airtime to somebody whose body below the waist is a time bomb?”

I’ll be generous and allow one list this time around.

  1. You’re missing how horrible a wrestler Ken Patera became in the time between getting arrested and getting released. He was a much more charismatic and energetic guy when he was high all the time. If you’ve seen one Patera match from 1987, you’ve seen ALL of them, trust me.
  2. It was just a convenient way to merge two or three feuds into one match for purposes of main-eventing the C-level house shows. When I lived in Vancouver years ago, for instance, we got a couple of variations of Savage/Butch Reed/One Man Gang v. Bam Bam Bigelow/Tito Santana/Ricky Steamboat or else varations with Hogan and Bundy in there.
  3. LONG story there, but the short version is that he felt the WWF was dicking him around on the payoff for Wrestlemania III and that Rick Martel was screwing him over behind his back by taking a bigger cut of the house show revenues for equal work. He goes into detail on that stuff on his website — — and his appearances on the old Wrestling Observer Live show were amazingly detailed in terms of discussing how he was mistreated in his view. Of course, Rick Martel has an entirely different (and equally valid IMO) viewpoint on the situation, but that’s the gist of things.
  4. He fought King Kong Bundy at house shows and twice on Saturday Night’s Main Event. That was pretty much it.
  5. Well, Vince LOVED Billy Graham dating back to the WWWF days, so obviously he felt he could recapture the glory of that run. My own feeling is that he was just around to give the rub to Don Muraco, but who knows with Vince.

“I don’t really care if this is printed or not, just wondering what your
opinion is on Hollywood Hogan’s nWo comeback from last year-

Do you think Vince McMahon predicted, foresaw, or had a hunch people
would really, really love Hogan like they did, and seemingly still do,
when he brought Hogan in with the nWo a year ago? Or, is this just how
it happened, and Vince was just bringing the original 3 in and he
simply thought, as many would, that they’d pack more of a punch and
be more complete with Hogan, alongside Nash & Hall? I’m just asking
because it seemed as though, with the promos leading up to, and
especially Rock Vs Hogan I, that Hogan’s immense popularity was quite
the shocker.

Vince is a smart man, some current product not withstanding, and I’m
just curious how much of this popularity going into the Hogan
accquisition/debut. I do know Hogan’s face turn was very sudden, and
not at all expected.”

Vince had no idea people would take to Hogan, even in the days leading up to Wrestlemania. Had he known, it would have gone on LAST, trust me. Hogan was always intended to be a heel and the face turn was improvised by Hogan and Rock during the match, to hear Hogan tell it. Sometimes these things just happen — unfortunately, Vince not only missed the boat on the face turn, but milked it FAR too long afterwards and killed the drawing power again. C’est la vie.

“I dont think people make a big enough deal on how wrestlers make their
opponents look. I remember HHH wrestling rikishi on a raw or smackdown main
event years ago. HHH make kish look like a million bucks, a real killer, up
until HHH kicked out of yokozounas finsher. They fed rikishi to HHH, but
not many guys could have made that match look so good. Can you think of any
wrestlers that people like but cant carry someone to a decent match? Maybe
thats why they are down on edge?”

They’re not “down” on Edge, that was just for a week after the Armageddon PPV.

Booker is liked by many but hasn’t had a great match in the WWE yet or shown he can carry lesser opponents. Jeff Hardy is beloved by the front office but needs a Chris Jericho to hold his hand through a *** match or else he just repeats his signature spots ad infinitum and jumps off ladders.

Other than that, pretty much everyone perceived as a good worker right now is equally adept at making their opponent look good.

“I hadn’t watched a full episode of RAW or SmackDown in months until last night, and when Steph walked into the room for her skit with Angle, I didn’t recognize her. When she was walking away from the camera her back looked a lot more broad than the last time I saw her. I wonder if she isn’t hitting the weights with HHH and using some of his “supplements”. Thoughts?”

I think HHH is taking longer to get over Joanie than anyone thought.

“I was looking on the OVW page and noticed one show that had pics of the Undertaker. He was riding his motorcycle and was wondering if WWe transports that bad boy all over the coun try for him?”

No, I’m pretty sure he drives it around himself if possible. He’s a fanatic bike fan and that’s the sort of thing that would be right up his alley.

“And also, why do I keep hearing the phrase “the audience has been conditioned to accept short matches”? Wrestlers say it, writers say it, and yet the short-matched WWE style isn’t exactly pulling in an avalance of praise and ratings right now. It seems we aren’t that conditioned after all.”

It’s less conditioning towards short matches than it is conditioning against long matches. Anything past about 8 minutes tends to lose the audience’s attention if not booked properly. That’s more the intention of the saying.

“what direction do you think the lex luger “made in the usa” character would’ve went in had he opted to stay in the wwf in 1995???? would he have ever been given another big push??? or would he have simply been putting over mabel and british bulldog???”

Given Luger’s build and look, Vince would have kept pushing him until he got over.

“While watching the Rock’s interview on Smackdown this week, I got to thinking. With the fourth wall in wrestling shattered, do people now boo a heel because he’s being a heel? Unlike before, when fans booed a heel because they actually hated his guts?”

I think they’re booing Rock because they realize it’s part of the act now and it’s more fun to play along with it. Given the reaction to Scott Steiner lately, people are still very much exerting free thought with regards to who they cheer and boo for. It’s not that people HATE the Rock, it’s like classic Ric Flair where it’s just so much fun to boo him and thus set him off on a hilarious heel tirade. The fourth wall on TV may be shattered, but wrestling is still very much an artform best experienced in the stands, and people are just gonna boo who they want to.

“What’s up Scott ? LOVE the book! I have to say I agree with most of what your opinions are on Hogan. My question is do you admire or respect ANYTHING Hogan’s done? I know he’s old and he’s held down talent, hey I’m still pissed he didn’t give Bret the big match back in 93. But at the same time I do give him his props for what he has done in the business. Bottom-line is do you have anything positive to say about Hulk Hogan?”

He has very good taste in entrance music.

“Why didn’t Butch Reed ever become a top star?”

He had various personal problems in the 80s that left the WWF sour on him and in fact cost him a run with the IC title in 1987. He was scheduled to win the title from Ricky Steamboat, but no-showed and Honky Tonk Man got the match and the title in his place. He recovered somewhat and did pretty well with Doom a few years later, but he was never pushed as a serious contender again.

Speaking of that era…

“I have a question about the Steamboat post-mania III de-push. Why was
Hogan only upset with Steamboat for upstaging him? Why wasn’t Savage
(who was equally over with the crowl albeit in a heel capacity) punished
for upstaging Hulkamania? Was it simply the fact that Steamboat was the
face in the match?”

Savage was punished — he was jobbed out and humilated on TV repeatedly throughout 1987 until the fans turned him face late in the year and Hogan apparently mended fences with him long enough to give him the rub.

“I was curious about what you though of the big DC comic “angles” of the earlier 90’s like the Death of Superman and the Knightfall ( Breaking and rebirth of Batman). I feel that the Batman stroylien was much better done you? “

I thought Knightfall was completely retarded with the worst kind of deus ex machina ending (Bruce’s back miraculously heals — great message to send to the parapalygics out there, guys), but it DID produce Azrael, which was one of my favorite titles before I quit collecting in 1996 completely.

The Death of Superman was a good storyline up until they completely lost track of the direction of it somewhere in the middle of the Reign of the Supermen and just got lazy and had the real deal emerge from a cocoon. Of course, the Mongol subplot in turn led to the downfall of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern and thus led indirectly to all SORTS of nasty side-effects later on down the line, so overall I’d call it a draw in terms of which was better.

Neither can approach the idiocy of the Spider-Clone fiasco, however, which was the storyline that ended my relationship with comics for good.

“I remember buying Survivor Series 89 back in the day, mainly to see Barry Windham in action aswell as the Brain Busters. Both were advertised. WHAT A BORING CROCK OF SHIT that pay per view was aswell as blatant false advertising, as both were advertised on the back of the video to be in matches and the only person out of the three who was featured was Arn Anderson.
Now I know Tully handed his notice in and took off (hence why Heenan and AA looked pissed off) but I never heard why Barry Windham wasn’t there. Do you care to enlighten me?… On another note, if I’d bought that video today I’d have demanded my money back!”

Ah, the days of false advertising. If you think that’s bad, you should have gone to a WWF house show around the same time where you thought you’d be getting Big Bossman v. Rick Rude as your main event.

Anyway, Windham, as was his problem during that period, was injured and thus had to no-show. They eventually just got rid of him because he was too much trouble to be worth the push and the money.

“I just received a best of Dynamite Kid comp and from
watching it I have a few questions. Which wrestler do
you like better, Dynamite Kid or Chris Benoit, seeing
how they are pretty much identical? Also, I seem to
remember from my youth the return of Dynamite Kid as a
heel with a shaved head kicking Davey Boy’s ass. Did
this actually happen and if so, did it go anywhere?”

Dynamite was the innovator, and Benoit is the guy who uses those innovations to advance the artform further. I wouldn’t choose between them any more than I would choose between my children, if I had any.

Anyway, yes, heel Dynamite absolutely happened in the dying days of Stampede, and it didn’t go anywhere — the real-life friendship of Smith and Kid ended at that point, and they never spoke again. Dynamite and Johnny Smith formed a team called the British Bruisers, left for Japan, and Stampede shut down soon after.

“I’ve heard that there’s an unwritten rule among wrestlers that when working the leg, you should always work the left, never the right. Why is this?”

Etiquette. Same reason we all shake hands with the right hand — if you’ve never met someone before, you don’t know how they prefer to do things, so you just establish one universal standard that everyone follows, and thus reduce the chance of f*cking something up during the match. Of course, in Mexico they work either leg, so not every plan is 100% effective.

“”Hey Scott, first of all I want to start out by saying the book kicks ass. It had me up to 4am in the morning reading it. I like the first chapter the best when u said the whole WWF story was a lie, and then you went on to explain it in great detail as what happened. Anyway, here’s my question. The WWE has all of these jobbers lying around that are just scraps off of the table. Now lets face it, alot of these guys are never gonna get a shot at the WWE World title. So my question is to you: Should the WWE create more titles for the jobbers and mid-carders guys who are never going to get a shot at the WWE title”?

Well, they DID have a bunch of titles for jobbers and mid-carders, and they were called the Intercontinental, European and Hardcore titles. And everyone pretty much complained that they were just a bunch of a titles for jobbers and mid-carders, and thus they were eliminated last year. And we’re better off without ’em. Well, the IC title not so much, but the Euro and Hardcore belts were useless long ago. Titles are only as valuable as the bookers make them, and having a bunch of secondary titles laying around for the sake of giving guys something to do just makes them look second-rate. They would have been better off concenrating on making’s HHH vanity belt worth something.

And on that note, we’ll wrap things up for another week.