VS. #15 – Danny Cox vs. Paul Marshall

Welcome everyone to the return of the VS. An old Pulse Wrestling tradition finally makes its grand return. Yours truly Mark Allen and my esteemed colleague Pulse Glazer will be co-hosting this version of VS. The format remains the same, five questions, two Inside Pulse writers, one winner. The only catch this time is that the winner will come back next week for another round of action. For this week I will be the judge and scorekeeper to see who comes out a winner.

For our return we look to Popcorn Junkies and Pulse Wrestling DVD review guru Danny Cox and Pulse Wrestling’s flagship RAW recapper Paul Marshall.

Alright now that we know the players and situation, let’s get started.

Question One: Should John Cena regain the WWE Championship so soon after his return? What are the pros and cons? Has Randy Orton made himself a main eventer no matter what?

Danny Cox: First off, let me say that Cena showing back up at the Rumble was a complete and total surprise. Not necessarily a good surprise, but quite unexpected nonetheless. But he should not regain the title so soon after his return especially since so many others have been stepping up nicely: Kennedy, Umaga, Jericho, JBL, etc. What makes me so angry about all this is that the Rumble ending was completely wasted on Cena. He shows up, wins, and cashes in the shot at No Way Out? Are you serious? So now the point of winning the Rumble to headline the biggest show of the year just isn’t that important to him eh? I call horseshit on this because he has totally taken down the importance of winning the Rumble. I was calling for him to lose the belt long before he got injured, and I don’t want to see it back on him now.

There really are no pros to him getting the title back. He is hated by smarts and loved by marks, and it’s going to be that way if he has the title or not. So the question is why should he get it back if it would do nothing to make him more or less popular then he already is? Let someone else move into the limelight for a while, even if it is Triple H again. My preference is of course Umaga and more so Kennedy.

Orton is going to be a main eventer until the day he dies. When he entered the WWE and was mid-carding it for a while; you could just tell the blue-chipper with the longer hair and multi-colored tights wasn’t going to be curtain jerking it for long. He is awful on the mic, but has the “it” factor about him that the WWE likes and he can play the face or heel characters both to perfection. I love this heel gimmick of kicking people in the head. Let him keep doing it, and I won’t mind seeing him on my screen as much.

Paul Marshall: Randy Orton has been viewed as a transitional champion. His first title reign proved this, as he only lasted a month before losing the belt to Triple H. One would have to look back at the crystal ball to October 2007 and wonder what if John Cena was healthy. Would Cena lose the title to Orton at No Mercy otherwise? I seriously doubt it. Knowing the state of mind among WWE Creative, John Cena would had remained champion all the way to WrestleMania.

Cena winning the title at No Way Out only helps the fanboys that buy his merchandise, nothing more. Many people know that Cena shouldn’t be propelled to a WWE Title match three weeks after returning to action. Randy Orton, while still being viewed as part transitional champion, part main eventer…his title reign has had too much left to be desired. He lost the title minutes after winning it, only regaining it an hour later. He defeated Chris Jericho via DQ and beat Jeff Hardy in a lackluster match, despite the epic build to that bout.

John Cena should NOT regain the championship so soon because as of right now, Triple H is loved by the fans and a face v. face title match always leads to trouble and one would know that of the two, Cena would be the heel since the fans like to crap on everything he does. Randy Orton should be the champion come WrestleMania and Cena should be in the Money in the Bank Match. That would keep Cena strong and possibly get himself another title run this year.

Mark Allen: Both brought up good points and agreed that Cena shouldn’t be grabbing the belt so soon after his unexpected return. But I’ve got to give the point this time around to Danny. He brought up the point about Cena cashing in his win at No Way Out lessens the Royal Rumble. I also agree with him wholeheartedly about Randy Orton being a main eventer in WWE until the day he dies.
Danny: 1 – Paul: 0

Question Two: Who is the best heel currently in the business? Who are the major contenders and how do they compare? (Edge, Christian, Orton, etc.) What makes a good heel?

Danny Cox: It’s kind of hard to pick just one because there are so many good heels out right now doing it in their own way. Umaga does it with brutality and sheer force. Kurt Angle does it with comedy and being one of the best wrestlers in the world proving he can’t be beaten even though he is a jester. Orton does it with that stare of his and his determination while in the ring. Edge plays the cowardly heel role a bit too much, but he gets inside his opponent’s heads well as is evidenced in his feud with Rey and getting all the Guerreros on his side. You can see how many of them out there are just incredible. Hell, even Matt Striker is a phenomenal heel (without wrestling) in his role as manager of Henry and Big Daddy V, but he just doesn’t get enough mic time. Christian is great, but he’s always just kind “been there” since he jumped to TNA.

The best heel by far right now is Mr. Kennedy. He is fantastic on the mic and that is a proven fact by his work against Batista, Shawn Michaels, and now Flair. His in-ring work is getting better match-by-match, which is also proven by his series against Michaels. But the things that impress me most about him is his constant neglect for the “cowardice” that a hell is supposed to portray. Kennedy will call out anyone and everyone without fear. It doesn’t matter who it is, how big they are, or how big their legendary status is…he will challenge them head on. He is cocky and that’s part of the reason the fans can’t stand it, but he lives up to it. One of the greatest gimmicks I’ve ever seen is him simply calling for that mic and introducing himself. People hate that, and it works.

A true heel is one that can get inside your mind. One that is not trying to be hated, but just does it. There are times they show a bit of fear just to keep the persona and the battle lines drawn of good guys and bad guys. They can get on the mic and go face to face with babyface while dragging the smile from their lips and turning it into a scowl. Their brutality knows no bounds and they’re willing to go after their opponents’ character, strength, will power, family, personal life, and everything they can think of. Don’t just come out, scream, and act all big and bad to be an ass. Come out, spit in the babyface’s wife, slap your opponent in the head, and when you make sure their kids are watching…slam him in the head with a chair as hard as you can. And when all is said and done…get on the mic and announce yourself the winner making sure you’re louder then every fan booing you in the audience.

Paul Marshall: Edge is by far the best heel currently in wrestling. It is au natural for someone like him to be hated. He still hasn’t been forgiven for making Matt Hardy’s life a living hell and most likely won’t be forgiven. However, Edge is good at what he does as a heel. He backs it up in the ring and he gives fans a reason to hate him. He has the ability to talk and wrestle, something that few people in the business can achieve. Edge, however, is closely followed by the likes of MVP, Mr. Kennedy, and even Santino Marella. Note that the list can change at anytime once a certain individual changes from face to heel, but those are your current heels that are worth mentioning.

A good heel does whatever he can do to win matches (by cheating mainly). He also has decent enough mic skills and can say things that can make the fans give him heat. Given the current state of the WWE and TNA, the companies lacks good heels in general. Sure there are heels, but most of them are hated because they simply suck. That isn’t heel heat; that’s “I don’t care” heat. Two people that fall in this category are Snitsky and Big Daddy V.

Mark Allen: Once again, I’ve got to go with Danny here. He backed up his argument on Kennedy being the best heel right now but also brings up points on what makes other top heel contenders so good. Paul does a good job of pointing out why he thinks Edge is the best, but neglects to really explain why he feels the others he mentioned are so good. I do disagree when Paul says that the two major companies both lack good heels. And as a side note to both men: Just be glad I’m doing the grading this week or Glazer may have disqualified both of you for neglecting ROH completely.

Danny: 2 – Paul: 0

Question Three: Does the double Elimination Chamber devalue the Royal Rumble? Why or why not?

Danny Cox: It totally does. As I stated before, Cena won the Rumble and the prize was made a mockery of and wasted on him. There are two theories for the way it should have gone:

A.) Someone from Raw wins the Rumble and goes on to face whomever the champ is at Mania. An Elimination Chamber is held for Smackdown/ECW so that the winner could face the World Heavyweight champion. Simple enough.

B.) Someone from SmackDown! wins the Rumble and goes on to face the World Heavyweight Champ at Mania. An Elimination Chamber is held for Raw and goes on to face the WWE Champ at Mania.

So simple, yet totally screwed up by the WWE because they just made the entire Royal Rumble one hundred percent pointless and useless.

Paul Marshall: That is the $64,000 question. Honestly, since the brand extension, the Royal Rumble has been devalued because while one title match is set, another one gets added through the use of the one Pay-Per-View that rarely gets watched. WWE Creative obviously knew what they were doing while they kept Cena under the radar. Cena winning the Rumble complicated things. I can understand that he was out of action and he wanted to regain the title that he lost…but you can’t overlook tradition. The first Royal Rumble was to crown a World Champion, every year after that, the winner went to WrestleMania to main event. Since the brand extension, a lot of things happened, like Shawn Michaels gets into the main event of WrestleMania by signing Benoit’s contract to face Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Does Cena electing to use his title shot at No Way Out devalue the Rumble? No, it doesn’t. Neither do the two Elimination Chamber matches at No Way Out. One of those matches as a sure fire bet due to the fact one brand would need to have a challenger for their brand’s title at WrestleMania. It just plays into the line WWE likes to use: “Anything can happen in the WWE.”

Mark Allen: I was digging Paul’s answer this time but I have dock him for incorrectly saying that the winner of the first Royal Rumble won the World Title. It was actually the fifth Rumble when Ric Flair won the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Danny’s answer was simple, to-the-point and logical, although I disagree in his statement that this year’s Rumble was “one hundred percent pointless and useless.” Paul would’ve won but his glaring oversight on Rumble knowledge knocks him this time. I’m a Rumble mark so misquoting information in regards to it hurts his chances.

Danny: 3 – Paul: 0

Question Four: Is this “Stone Cold” Shark Boy gimmick in TNA just harmless undercard fun? Or does it make TNA look bush league or like a small time indy promotion?

Danny Cox: This is absolutely awful and makes TNA look like they did when they first came into the business. It amazes me that promotions like ROH and FIP are not being able to be in the limelight, yet this crap is taking up close to four hours of television time every week. The Jay Lethal thing where he imitates Randy Savage is hilarious and done to sheer perfection. There is nothing wrong with it because it had build up. Lethal was hanging around backstage, hanging with Nash, did the imitations and all that, and then turned it into a character after a while. Not to mention that he’s brilliant at doing it. I mean the imitation is uncanny.

Shark Boy acting as Austin has no purpose, no reasonable advantage to be gained, and is just stupid. Lethal did the full transformation into Savage. Shark Boy still looks like Shark Boy but drinks beer, changed his music, and tries to talk like Austin (not in voice but in words). Lame. Some in the forums have wondered why the WWE hasn’t stepped in and stopped this. I wouldn’t stop it either if I was Vince. TNA has been digging their own graves for close to a year now and Vince Russo is a big part of the reason. This Shark Boy Austin thing is taking up close to fifteen minutes of TV time a week and making them look even worse. If my biggest competition was doing whatever they can to fold, then I’d let them do it too.

Paul Marshall: The “Stone Cold” Shark Boy gimmick is a major waste of time. TNA strives to be an alternative to the other companies, yet they try to mock a company that could buy them out many times over. You can already tell that they aren’t even trying, given the latest spoilers of Shark Boy losing a match on a future episode of Impact. The move doesn’t make TNA look like a small time indy promotion and calling them bush league would be considered a compliment. Vince Russo’s booking TNA and his vision is to copy whatever WWE is doing. While WWE was doing a DX reunion, TNA comes up with Voodoo Kin Mafia and they challenge DX to a match that obviously never happened.

The issue with Shark Boy…he has talent, but having him do a “Stone Cold” knock off is taking away from his actual talent. Let the man do what he has done since starting out in TNA. He has already gotten himself over…there’s no need to try to mock a winning formula. “TNA: We Are Wrestling.” I say prove it.

Mark Allen: I’ve got to go with Paul here. He brings up a good point about the Stone Cold knock-off taking away from Sharky’s actual gimmick and talent, and the fact he was already over based on his original gimmick. I also liked his line about “calling them bush league would be considered an improvement.” Danny did have a nice about McMahon not stopping the mockery, because there really isn’t any purpose in stopping the damage they’re causing themselves.

Danny: 3 – Paul: 1

Question Five: With reports of ROH cutbacks, what can they do to improve business? Where did they go wrong?

Danny Cox: ROH and the original ECW are two very different promotions yet similar in so many ways. I really have never gotten the opportunity to see much of ROH, and actually barely any at all. But I’ve read a lot about them and seen a few matches on youtube and reviewed a DVD for FIP recently that had a lot of ROH guys on it. It would be horrible to see this up and coming promotion go down the drain simply because they don’t have the money to support it. Without getting a major star or a big name promoter to come in and help with money problems though, I can’t see it lasting for the long run.

With the WWE giant that now exists, a promotion starting from the ground up with all new stars is not going to make it. TNA has only lasted this long because it has all of the names the WWE didn’t want any longer or who simply wanted to try something new. The money and cooperation is there to make it work and make it last. ROH doesn’t have that big name that was once famous and has a big enough bank account to help matters out. They went wrong absolutely nowhere, and that’s the problem. By trying to do everything the way they wanted to: new stars, focusing on wrestling, delivering 5-star matches nightly, and being what the big name promotions are not…they ended up failing themselves. That type of promotion will not succeed in today’s wrestling industry and it’s a shame it has to be that way.

If ROH can keep doing exactly what they are doing without changing a thing…BUT find some sort of financial backing, then they can succeed. The fans are there, the events are there, the talent and drive is there; but without the funding, the promotion with the most promise won’t succeed much the way ECW didn’t.

Paul Marshall: Where to begin? I’ve only seen one ROH Pay-Per-View and one DVD, so I’m not highly qualified to really answer this question. However, that isn’t going to stop me from trying to dissect this, so here we go. ROH is your third rate promotion that has arguably the best stars in all of North American Wrestling. Take a look at CM Punk and Samoa Joe, two great ROH veterans. Both are making more money in WWE and TNA respectively. That is one problem that ROH has, making enough money to be able to pay their stars. Another problem is the fact that they exploded on the Pay-Per-View scene way too early. Sure, their Pay-Per-Views are usually taped so long in advance, but trying to attract the causal wrestling fan to buy your show is hard to do. WWE does buyrates in the hundreds of thousands, TNA has buyrates about 10% of what WWE does on their lowest rated Pay-Per-View. ROH probably falls somewhere between 2500 and 5000 buys, and those numbers may be too high, considering that in Canada they are lucky to pull in less than 50 buys across the entire country! In fact, you can say that going to Pay-Per-View as early as they did was a costly mistake. They aren’t known like TNA and WWE are and if TNA is having trouble getting their 1 million viewers to spend $30 on one of their shows, ROH should be in deeper trouble for hitting Pay-Per-View when they did.

ROH makes their majority of money through DVD sales and the diehard fans in the cities they run. With running Pay-Per-Views, they run a higher expense. They aren’t making additional money, so that is where they are cutting back…by not even flying certain superstars to their shows that they tape for DVD. In order for ROH to even survive beyond 2008, they need to do more to promote their product. The Internet can only do so much and ROH is in no position to even try to get a television deal. The $10 price for their shows is what TNA used to charge for their weekly Pay-Per-Views before they went to TV and the price is right for most people that pay $40 for a WWE Pay-Per-View and felt that they got ripped off. ROH needs to find ways to advertise, even if it means paying advertising partners to get a 30 second commercial during a WWE event or TNA event. Once they get that, they might be able to see an increase in their viewership for Pay-Per-Views and DVD recordings.

Mark Allen: Paul came through in spades in this one with the numbers and figures he brought to the argument. I commend both men for their answers as neither man admittedly is a ROH follower. I don’t really agree with Danny’s analysis that ROH needs a big time promoter or big name to keep them afloat. I think TNA has proven that big names don’ necessarily equal success. I do question both men in the fact that they don’t really see ROH lasting very long or lasting through 2008 when they’ve gotten this far on their own merits. Ring of Honor isn’t on their money deathbed, they’re just being a little smarter with finances than ECW ever was. ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky was an understudy of Paul Heyman. I’m sure he’s picked up a thing or two on how to run a fledgling wrestling company.

Danny: 3 – Paul – 2

So there you have it guys. Danny wins the comeback of VS, three falls to two. I thank both men for taking their time to contribute answers and be a part of our little game. Danny Cox will now come back next week where he will await a new challenger to the VS. crown.

For everyone else this Mark Allen, I would like to thank you all for stopping by and good night.

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