Pulse Wrestling Answers #047

Welcome back to Pulse Wrestling Answers, your friendly resident Q&A column. We’ve been gone for longer than planned and are just brimming over with apologies. Honestly, they’re leaking everywhere and messing up the leather of the chair. Events in the Edinburgh, Scotland, area are piling up once again, so the column might well have to go back to a weekly installment instead of the more sporadic updates of recent months. All should settle into a regular schedule soon enough. In the meantime though, keep your questions coming in to the usual address to resolve all your wrestling-related queries.

On with the show.

“Dan Severn was on the list? Dan Freaking Severn? Leaves of grass my ass! That works better with Walt Whitman, but still. He was NWA Champion before Jarrett rented out the belt, right? If you fill me in on that, I’ll buy you as many alcoholic beverages as you please to consume if you ever find yourself in Texas. We’re not so bad; parts of Preacher were set here!

Second, I watch all the WWE shows in the same way that some people read everything DC or Marvel Comics publish; I don’t neccessarily like everything they put out, but I have this strangely overwhelming desire to see what happens next. It’s completionism, which I hate in comics fans, especially the ones that bitch and moan about how bad the comics they read are while not acknowledging that by paying for them, they’re tacitly endorsing more Civil Wars and various Crises. I don’t watch the majority of PPVs, so at least I vote with my dollar if I smell a total stinker, so I have that to feel better about in this comparison. It also helps that I have a lot of free time on my hands and no discernible social life.

I don’t hate the product like so many people seem to, but the glory days of the post Attitude, pre-McMahonopoly days are long gone, so I’m not watching because it’s a great, or even bad but exciting, like Russo era WCW (it’s sad that TNA isn’t even an interesting trainwreck these days; if Russo can’t bring that to the table, what good is he for, and why are they not at least bring in Heyman as on air talent when they’ll sign every other WWE reject, from Shelly Martinez to not Rikishi?). The WWE isn’t bad, I don’t think, at least as long as you don’t expect ROH or some kind of strange work rate Shangrila out of it; it’s just really staid and boring most of the time. They’re too set in their ways right now to shake up the formula like the Attitude Era or how Bischoff did with the nWo, which at least creates a new formula. Scott Keith brought up in that one RAW he recapped that they haven’t changed the format in 10 years. ECW seemed like a chance to change that, but it just got homogenized like everything else. I do find it pretty watchable these days, with Morrison no longer struggling through his Jim Morrison for Dumbies book and Punk as champ, but I doubt I can change your mind on whether it’s an aberration or not. Rob Blatt seems to like it, so there’s that, even if it makes his recaps less entertaining.

As much as I hate to say it, if there is free pro wrestling on, I will watch it. Although if TNA’s shows are just two hours of crap, I may very well finally throw in the towel with them.

Anyway, please plug my blog if you feel like it: thumbtomindseye.blogspot.com, and thanks for the continued enteratining work.”
– Homercutio

Consider yourself plugged. I also have to call you a f*ckhead since you have Halo 3 and I don’t. F*ckhead.

This refers to the list of the longest-reigning world champions in wrestling history, as seen in #044. The updated list would look like this:

01/ Bruno Sammartino – 4,040 days from 2 reigns
02/ Lou Thesz – 3,749 days from 3 reigns
03/ Ric Flair – 3,744 days from many reigns
04/ Hulk Hogan – 3,362 days from 12 reigns
05/ Bob Backlund – 2,138 days from 2 reigns
06/ Harley Race – 1,801 days from 8 reigns
07/ Dory Funk Jr – 1,563 days from 1 reign
08/ Dan Severn – 1,559 days from 2 reigns
09/ Gene Kiniski – 1,131 days from 1 reign
10/ Jeff Jarrett – 1,063 days from 10 reigns
11/ Pedro Morales – 1,027 days from 1 reign
12/ Pat O’Conner – 903 days from 1 reign
13/ Triple H – 875 days from 10 reigns
14/ Jack Brisco – 867 days from 2 reigns
15/ John Cena – 793 days from 3 reigns
16/ Bret Hart – 710 days from 7 reigns
17/ Orville Brown – 692 days from 1 reign
18/ Buddy Rogers – 573 days from 1 reign
19/ Randy Savage – 573 days from 6 reigns
20/ Steve Austin – 529 days from 6 reigns
21/ Kurt Angle – 492 days from 7 reigns [as of 02.10.07]
22/ Naoya Ogawa – 469 days from 2 reigns
23/ Sting – 466 days from 8 reigns
24/ Kevin Nash – 456 days from 6 reigns
25/ Batista – 424 days from 3 reigns [as of 02.10.07]
26/ Terry Funk – 424 days from 1 reign
27/ Shawn Michaels – 424 days from 4 reigns
28/ Dick Hutton – 421 days from 1 reign
29/ The Rock – 394 days from 9 reigns
30/ Vader – 387 days from 3 reigns

Anyway, the Dan Severn title reign came at basically the beginning of the end for the NWA World Heavyweight Title. Shane Douglas had just ditched the vacant title in favour of the ECW belt and a second tournament that year led to Chris Candido becoming the NWA’s champion. He and Tammy Sytch were regulars in Smokey Mountain and USWA, so the title spent a lot of time there with them. However, their double act soon caught the attention of the WWF, which was basically using those two promotions as a developmental spot at the time, and they were soon snapped up and turned into the Bodydonnas. He dropped the title to Severn on 24 February 1995 and it stayed with him till 14 March 1999. Severn had been a successful amateur wrestler in college and had competed in a number of international tournaments, holding the US record for pinfall victories between 1976 and 1992 with 112 wins. He then turned his attention to mixed martial arts and the then-fledgling UFC group. He had already made quite an impression there by the time he became the NWA champion, which no doubt attributed to their decision to put the belt on him in the first place. After all, a stable guy like Severn with serious athletic commitments was unlikely to flake out on them like Douglas, whilst the UFC connection must have seemed more in keeping with the NWA ethos than ECW’s free-falling style. Severn won the UFC championship in 1995 as well and to this day is the only person to have held a pro-wrestling and MMA title simultaneously. The idea at the time was that Severn would mark a return to the travelling champions of yester-year but since the NWA had no significant territories left by the mid ‘90s, his UFC commitments became his priority instead. They could have moved the belt onto someone else but they had nobody with his high profile, such as it was. Instead they turned to the WWF and tried to establish a working relationship with them in 1998. That led to the ill-fated NWA stable led by Jim Cornette, which not one single person in the WWF audience gave a shit about. Bear in mind this is the year when everything was geared towards Stone Cold, DX, Sable, Val Venis and the like. Hardly an appropriate time to embrace the NWA’s old-school attitude. I think it’s fair to say in retrospect that they did miss out by not doing more with the MMA aspects of Severn and Ken Shamrock, and then later incorporating this into guys like Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle, but in 1998 the WWF’s radar was focused solely on WCW and remained blissfully ignorant of the UFC. In many ways they still are but that’s another rant. Severn did stick around the WWF long enough to compete in their version of MMA, the Brawl For All. He beat the Godfather in the first round but then realised the whole thing was shit and withdrew from it, which gave a bye to the Godfather, who went onto beat Scorpio in the next round before losing to Bart Gunn in the semi-finals. Severn didn’t like the round structure of the contests, the fact that competitors had to wear boxing gloves and that the judging was being done by people who didn’t really understand MMA, not to mention taking place in front of an audience that largely didn’t care about it.

I think at this point we should all refresh ourselves by watching Butterbean f*ck up Bart Gunn’s life:

Anyway, the NWA went back to consoling itself on the scant territories of the late ‘90s until Naoya Ogawa, Olympic silver medal winner in judo, won the title to try and freshen things up a bit whilst Severn delved back into MMA. This helped elevate the NWA’s presence in Japan a little bit, with Severn winning his second NWA title on 9 March 2002 by beating Shinya Hashimoto in Tokyo. It was built around a controversial angle with an American referee using a fast count to give Severn the win, yet this went nowhere as TNA was starting up and wanted exclusive use of the NWA world title. Severn couldn’t make their inaugural event so the title was vacated and wound up being won by Ken Shamrock. The rest is history and contains a lot of Jarrett. Severn went on to do some more MMA dates and currently runs Price of Glory Wrestling as part of his Michigan training camp. He’s got a weekly newsletter at his website if you’re interested.

And as a fellow comic book nerd I can completely agree with your completionism theory. Thankfully I don’t suffer from it and have never been able to empathise with people who shell out money on Amazing Spider-Man or Fantastic Four every month even though they don’t enjoy reading it anymore. Maybe if they had been collecting every single issue since the very start it would be rather hard and possibly foolish to stop by this point but mostly they’re just wasting their money and not helping to bring about change. It’s the same in wrestling. Vince McMahon doesn’t give a shit about any of you but he cares deeply about your money and how much of it he can clutch to his bosom. The internet can give you plenty of great wrestling matches for free, so why waste money on a system that you don’t agree with? Like my grandmother always used to say, why buy the cow when you get the sex for free? Personally, I get more of a kick out of the backstage processes than the on-screen product most of the time these days and that stuff doesn’t cost anything.

And this seems as good a place as any to plug my Comics Nexus return with Howard the Duck review.

”In re: masked wrestlers

Okay, how did both of you forget Psicosis? One Night Stand (Original Recipe), once he takes his mask off, the fans start chanting “PUT YOUR MASK ON!” Although to be fair, he wasn’t exactly repulsive.”
– Jason Siedzik

Honestly, I am drawing a complete and utter blank when trying to picture Psicosis. I remember the Mexicools had the one with the greasy mini-afro that’s still employed and the one that wanted to touch Dwayne’s johnson and that there was a third guy but… nope, can’t remember his face. Maybe it was just that ugly, so much so that my mind has chosen to forget it and preserve whatever sanity remains.

I feel we are forgetting one of the most important ugly masked wrestlers of all time, jolly Jim Neidhart, who looked a little like this until he changed his name to a question and put on a yellow gimp mask in 1994:

When did this column turn into rating the attractiveness of male wrestlers anyway? I feel the need to overcompensate:

Then there’s Jim Neidhart’s daughter, who looks like this:

Kind of like Chloe from Smallville, really.

“Ohhhhh crapsicles. Now CENA is out too?? Here’s a simple question for you – WTF????”
– DDTom

I agree. The real question is – now what? Perhaps making generous donations to every major religious organisation, backed up by some scrumptious sacrifices to the surlier pagan gods, might help protect the wellness of Mysterio, Batista, Undertaker and the Hs, since they really can’t stand to lose any of them again at this point. Hiring a classy young lady for Orton to mock and defecate towards so he gets it out his system and doesn’t pester the real world couldn’t hurt either. Most importantly, they need to use this opportunity to bring back the real WWE Championship belt instead of the f*cking Kinder Surprise version, although I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it modified a la Edge, with an ‘RKO’ or ‘Y2J’ spinner on the front. And that leads us to the most problematic point of all – who the hell is the champion? Let’s take a look at the possibilities…

Hornswoggle! Er, no.

The lemonade-from-lemons scenario would be John Cena recovering in time to headline WrestleMania 24 and reclaim his title there. For various reasons WWE only seemed to have Edge/Taker and Hs/ROLF in mind for Mania, whilst the only thing they vaguely had in mind for Cena was a why-the-hell-not dream match against Batista. Cena/Batista would get a lot of heat but since it pretty much is the only dream match WWE can do without bringing in or rehiring a big name from elsewhere, it’s the kind of thing they should build towards over the better part of a year rather than just jumping to it out of lazy booking. So now there’s an opportunity for Cena to actually get a major match with a decent program for the biggest show of 2008. Bully for him. The obvious opponent for him would be Randy Orton, with whom he still has umpteen unresolved issues. It might not have been Orton who put Cena on the shelf but he could still take the credit for it, accuse Cena of milking the injury because he’s too scared to face the Legend Killer and fears the headlock. The undefeated, unjustly title-less champion returning to take the belt from the arrogant heel champion is a wrestling classic. In this case it would provide closure to a major program that has been dominating Raw since August, not to mention that there’s still a whole other side of the Cena Sr aspect to be explored – Cowboy Bob, anyone?

So, if they were to go with that, Orton’s got to win the title at No Mercy and not drop it till Mania. However, there’s no point in pinning all their hopes on Cena being fit by that point. His recovery time is given at 6-8 months, so he might not actually be back until Vengeance. Truth be told, it’s best if he isn’t back until then because we’ve all seen how short-term recoveries lead to long-term problems that are even worse than the original injury. They probably won’t be able to get an accurate fix on how long Cena needs until the turn of the year, so they’ll need a contingency plan. Thankfully, they just spent an awful lot of money buying one. Its name is Jericho.

OMG SPOILER. C’mon, if you hadn’t figured out from the get-go that save_us.222 referred to Jericho and that he’ll be back at No Mercy then you’re probably still cowering in a non-electric bunker awaiting the fall-out from the Y2K virus to dissipate and it becomes safe to go outside again. There are a lot of people who think that Jericho should go straight into a title match at No Mercy and win it. He probably will. Still why? There’s no need to gasp and stumble and clutch at the reset button when the unexpected happens. That’s what TNA is for. Moving the title onto Orton is an organic development from everything that’s been happening on Raw this year. Hell, the guy now not only gets to take credit for ending the careers of Rob Van Dam and Shawn Michaels but for doing the same to Cena. It’s a shame they can’t get Booker back for a brief program with Orton so he can add King T to his list. Bear in mind that I don’t actually rate Orton as anything more than a competent worker with a mighty headlock, it’s just that this is the sensible way to progress events.

But I digress. Back to Jericho. He would apparently be keen to ‘save us’ or to see you ‘saviour_self’ but does he need to win the title to do that? Would the locker room really be happy about some guy who got bored with the business and quit it for two years coming back and winning the title straightaway while they’ve all been there and working through the most troubling period in company history? For all his many faults at least Orton has been present. If Jericho really wants to ‘save’ WWE then this means saving it in the eyes of the fans, which in WWE terms means saving the fans from the McMahons. Oh, yes. Have him return to beat the ever-lovin’ shit out of Vince. Let him do the same to Shane. Let him rip Stephanie a new one, for old time’s sake. The basic hook is that Jericho has actually been planning his return for the better part of the year and has been playing agent provocateur, trying to push Vince over the edge so that he would crack up and leave WWE once and for all. He has been calling in favours from contacts both in wrestling and in the media, forging internal memos, planting evidence, dropping anonymous hints, conspiring with others, doing whatever it took, which could involve any of the following – getting Donald Trump to confront Vince; turning the other McMahons against Vince; getting some accomplices (possibly revealed at a later date to include Paul London) to talk rather loudly in all the right places about how best to fake one’s own death; leaking confidential documentation to Congress; hiring a lawyer to pursue a fictional paternity-suit against Vince; calling in a favour from his ol’ WCW buddy Finlay to borrow his leprechaun to stress Vince out even more…

You see how it goes. From this point onwards Orton can easily segue into a title feud with the Hs (perhaps even with a Shawn Michaels cameo) and then against Bobby Lashley, who is due back in December. Meanwhile, the irate Vince can send his trademark hired-gun Umaga against Jericho in a Loser Leaves Town match. Jericho emerges triumphant in his comeback bout and so, as planned, Umaga goes over to Smackdown to feud with the Undertaker. Irate, Vince turns to his next best pick, Mark Henry, and tries to do what he can to make Jericho’s life a living hell. Jericho wins that one as well, which brings us to the crossroads

By this point we’re in January and should know if Cena would be able to compete at WrestleMania or not. If he is then run with Orton/Cena for the title and have Jericho face Vince’s favourite son, the Hs, as Hunter finally turns heel and they acknowledge on-screen that he is in fact a McMahon via marriage to Stephanie. It would be in keeping with the Jericho vs the Company theme, reinvigorate the Hs tired face character and give them a chance to finally put WM18 behind them. If Cena is not fit, however, they can just run with Orton/Jericho instead. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch at all for Vince to get in the corner of the reigning champion, especially since, in kayfabe, he’s put so many others on the shelf in recent times. That would leave the Hs free to still build to that Ken Kennedy match. I know a lot of this plan leaves Kennedy out in the cold but, really, how many chances can young ROLF be given considering how few of them he has genuinely earned?

Let me also just say yet again that if they need to play for more time on the Cena front then they can wait until February to settle the WrestleMania title contention issue by having a Smackdown guy win the Rumble and doing an Elimination Chamber at No Way Out. Hell, that’s something they ought to start doing on an annual basis anyway. Meanwhile they can just run with Edge/Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Title like they’re so keen on doing. I’m not too sure what they could do with the rest of the Smackdown guys, though I like the idea of continuing to build on the Hardy/Porter feud all the way through to Hardy winning the US belt at Mania itself. Shove Batista and Mysterio into the Money in the Bank match or have them spend the evening watching Bond DVDs and doing drunken commentary on them for WWE.com, whichever people prefer. As for ECW, well, there’s an interesting idea on the forums for a Punk vs Flair feud that practically writes itself given the youthful Punk’s lifestyle and how Flair’s lifestyle is affecting him in old age. They could mimic Steve Austin calling out Bret Hart in 1996 to start things off, with Punk determined to prove a point by beating a former great. Flair eventually does return and somehow gets a fluke victory in a non-title match, which prompts a full-on heel turn from Punk. From there it’s an easy build to a title match at Mania, with Punk earning a hard-fought victory and the two shaking hands afterwards to give Punk the rub and Flair one last standing ovation before retirement.

So, that would leave WrestleMania 24 including the following:

WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs John Cena or Randy Orton vs Chris Jericho

World Heavyweight Title: Edge vs The Undertaker

ECW Title: CM Punk vs Ric Flair

United States Title: Montel Vontavious Porter vs Matt Hardy

Hs Match: Triple H vs Chris Jericho or Triple H vs Ken Kennedy

Money in the Bank

Some stupid Divas thing.

Lob in a couple of extra matches involving the likes of Batista, Mysterio and Lashley and you’ve got yourself one pretty decent card all things considered.

So, to answer your question, WTF?

Spider-Man 3: How It Should Have Ended

If you have a question you’d like to pester us with, send it here. Honestly, you’ll receive pleasure.

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