Scott’s Mailbag of DOOM! – July 2 2008

BREAKING NEWS!   Several people e-mailed me the Mr. Perfect DVD lineup, and it’s not terribly exciting.  The Bockwinkel match is a good inclusion, although at 60:00 it eats up a big chunk of the DVD time.  But really, THREE Bret Hart matches?  The Uncensored match was just on 24/7 and it’s nothing special.  Still, it’s only a two disc set because Hennig isn’t the A-list guy, so you can only expect so much here.

 

Curt Hennig vs. Eddie Gilbert
Madison Square Garden (21/11/82)
Curt Hennig & Scott Hall vs. Steve Regal & Jimmy Garvin
AWA Championship Wrestling (26/11/85)
Mr. Perfect Hall of Fame Induction
WWE Hall of Fame (31/03/07)
“Rap is Crap” Music Video
Vignettes
# Billiards October 1, 1988
# Golf – Perfect Putt October 1, 1988
# Darts October 8, 1988
# Bowling October 8, 1988
# Chess October 15, 1988
# Basketball October 15, 1988
# Ping Pong October 28, 1989
# Diving November 4, 1989
# Golf – Perfect Drive November 4, 1989
# Horseshoes November 24, 1989
# Baseball with Wade Boggs December 26, 1992
# Football – Perfect Passer with Steve Jordan February 13, 1993
# Basketball with Felton Spencer February 27, 1993
# Hockey with Mike Modano March 13, 1993
Stories
# Curt Loved Karaoke
# Lifestyles of Mr. Perfect
Disc 2
60-Minute Time Limit AWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Curt Hennig vs. Nick Bockwinkel
AWA Championship Wrestling (15/11/86)
Curt Hennig vs. Terry Taylor
Commentary By: Michael Cole & Mick Foley
WrestleFest (31/07/88)
Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart
Madison Square Garden (24/04/89)
WWE Championship Match
Mr. Perfect vs. Hulk Hogan
Madison Square Garden (15/01/90)
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match with Special Referee Roddy Piper
Mr. Perfect vs. The Texas Tornado
Madison Square Garden (24/11/90)
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect
SummerSlam (26/08/91)
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Mr. Perfect vs. Shawn Michaels
SummerSlam (30/08/93)
Curt Hennig vs. Bret Hart
Uncensored (15/03/98)

On with the questions!

This one really puzzles me.

Angle/Rocky from No Way Out 2001.  They’re having a five-star match.

Out comes Big Show.  Chokeslams for all, including the ref, then he walks back.  And that’s it.

He wasn’t in the main-event picture at the time.  He had no angles going with either guy.  They didn’t follow this up with anything. 

Was this an example of the WWE calling an audible from the back to change the finish or something, or simply a brainfart booking choice?  And where does this rank in ‘most random’ moments during matches in your book?

I don’t even KNOW where they were going with that one, man.  I guess building to a three-way would be the logical answer, but as you noted, it was never followed up on.  I can tell you from a quick glance at my RAW rants from that time, that there were doing a mini Show-Rock feud where Show kept attacking Rock and then defended the Hardcore title against Rock and Angle the night after No Way Out, but other than that there was no mention of the feud, so I dunno.  Vince is just funny that way sometimes.

Hey Scott,
I’m a long-time reader, never sent in a question before but I’ve been wondering about this for a while so I thought I’d ask.  I never really followed WCW when I was younger (We didn’t have TBS at the time) and by the time I did, it was past it’s prime.  From watching stuff later on and reading about it… DDP was basically a guy who came out of nowhere and got over, correct?  Did he get himself over?  Was he pushed down the fans throats?  Did the fans just arbitrarily choose to cheer for him?  I always thought he was a really neat character that got wasted by WWE.

Ah, DDP. This is one of those stories where it’s so bizarre that it could only happen in pro wrestling.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there’s three distinct phases of DDP’s career in WCW — manager / shitty wrestler, super over Diamond Cutter-delivering babyface, and obnoxiously overpushed THREE TIME THREE TIME THREE TIME World champion.  He’s what you’d call one of those 10 year overnight success stories, because when he came into the promotion in the early 90s he was just the manager for the Freebirds and they had zero plans for him otherwise.  Sometime after Scott Hall dumped him and left for the WWF, he decided he wanted to be a wrestler, and so he trained at the Power Plant and by god he was one of the worst workers in the history of the promotion.  I mean, if you were unfortunate enough, like I was, to be forced to sit through endlessly awful (and I mean, REALLY AWFUL) DDP matches on Worldwide while he was learning, you’d have never guessed he’d even be a good wrestler in the future, let alone World champion.  So since it was the Wild West as far as midcarders go at that point, he was stuck in a tag team with fellow shitty midcarder Kevin "Vinnie Vegas" Nash and they were left to pretty much do whatever they felt like.  Then Nash got signed by the WWF and DDP (at an age where any sane person would have just given it up and worked as an accountant or something) just kept slogging through opening match jobs until he discovered the two keys to getting a push:

1)  A hot wife

2)  A killer finisher — the Diamond Cutter

So by 1995 he was a passable worker and got put in a feud with Johnny B Badd for the TV title, and to the amazement of no one, night after night of working with a good worker suddenly made DDP into a guy who could do a decent match on his own.  So then they did a pretty good angle where he won a several million dollars at Bingo, but ended up losing the money, his title, his wife, and then his "career" before returning in 1996 thanks to a mysterious benefactor.  The payoff was clearly supposed to be Ted Dibiase debuting as his manager, but then the nWo happened and suddenly took over all the storylines in the promotion, leaving DDP with nothing to do and Dibiase in the nWo instead.  I think they later retconned the storyline into Kimberley changing her mind and bankrolling him, but I can’t remember and WCW didn’t care much anyway.

At any rate, this leads into the second phase of his career, as Jersey dirtbag DDP becomes an unlikely babyface by turning down the nWo’s offers, and getting beat up nightly as a result.  However, he developed a new schtick of running and delivering a Diamond Cutter to an nWo guy, which instantly got him over and redefined his character as a plucky babyface rebel.  And he rode that one note into a feud with Randy Savage that suddenly made him into one of the better workers in the promotion,and eventually to the US title.  And everyone was happy for him and he was making tons of money with his catchphrase and hot wife and having good matches third from the top, and that’s probably where they should have left well enough alone.

However, that phrase has never been in WCW’s vocabulary, so in April of 1999, DDP suddenly got put over Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Sting in a four-way match, winning the WCW World title.  And everyone was like "What the FUCK happened there?"  And yeah, he was having really good matches, but it was totally apparent to everyone watching (except for those booking the shows) that no one was buying him at that level for a second. He quickly dropped the belt to Kevin Nash (who was booking the promotion at the time), but in 2000 everyone either left the promotion or got injured, so DDP got the title back again as a part of the Bischoff-Russo super-team era and got to be the guy to lose it to David Arquette and feud with Jeff Jarrett over the belt.  Even worse, Bischoff had signed him to a rather lucrative guaranteed contract, so they pretty much HAD to push him to justify the investment.  By that time there was a LOT of backlash from fans who felt, quite rightly, that DDP was getting pushed way above his station with no return on the investment, simply because he lived next door to the boss.

So anyway, the moral of the story and the answer to the question is that DDP is a guy who was horrible to start, but was allowed to take time and develop because he had a guaranteed job anyway no matter how awful he was.  Anyone else in the sport who was as pudgy and terrible as Page was would have been made into a jobber and left for dead, and DDP’s success is really a series of one-in-a-million lucky breaks combined with favouritism. That’s not to say he didn’t become a good-to-great worker at times, but his portrayal of himself as the guy who worked hard and clawed his way to the top is just self-promotion.

Dear Scott,
So; if I have this right; the WWF sued WCW because in 1996 Scott Hall was basicly doing the Razor Ramon gimmick (cuban accent, greased-back hair, vest, toothpick, etc).
Fair enough; but why didn’t WCW counter the WWF’s accusations by simply pointing out that the Razor Ramon character was pretty much variation on their own Diamond Stud character to begin with? I mean; Scott was in WCW doing that character as late as 1992; which was only 4 years prior to 1996.
That seems like a very logical argument to be made against the WWF in that regard, no?

No. The difference is that the WWF took the time to trademark the Razor Ramon character, which is something that WCW never quite got the hang of.  They weren’t saying "This guy is playing a character he played in the WWF," they were saying "This guy is using the likeness of a character that we have the legal rights to use exclusively", which is a whole different kettle of fish.  That’s one of the reasons for the Fake Razor Ramon character, because they were demonstrating that the trademark was still in use and thus valid.  That whole legal fight ended up getting really ugly and was settled under secret terms, so who knows how effective their strategy really was, but WCW merely saying "He’s just playing the Diamond Studd" wouldn’t have worked because he was clearly not The Diamond Studd.  Had they just called him The Diamond Studd and been done with it, they probably would have avoided the whole thing, in fact.

I know you get a million Bret Hart questions.
What kind of role do you think Bret would have played in the WWE had Montreal never happened? I know HHH and Shawn didn’t think that he fit with the times, but he was still having great matches with just about everyone. Do you think that Bret was too much of a "Pure Wrestler" type to fit into the over the top Attitude Era? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Well yeah, his problems with the Attitude stuff were part of the reason why things got as ugly with Shawn Michaels as they did. Plus the contract he signed would have given him significant booking power, which was another reason why Vince wanted to get rid of him and thus clear the way for Steve Austin.  And yeah, he was having great matches then, but his disappointing WCW run showed that they probably cut him out at the right time as far as his in-ring work went.  WCW really was the best choice for him, it’s just that they fucked it up so badly.

Hope you’re doing well. Thanks for doing these mailbags again as your answers and the resulting wars they start on your blog are always entertaining. My question pertains to wrestling autobiographies. Is there someone out there you REALLY wish would write one? My personal pick would have to be Ricky Steamboat as throughout the boom of wrestling books and the death of kayfabe, no one has anything less than utter praise for the guy but I’d love to hear his take of the 80s and early 90s wrestling world such as matches but also the wrestling party lifestyle as it would be an amazing account from one of wrestling’s true gentlemen. Rick’s always kind of been seen as a good guy of the sport and kept much of his life a mystery so If he did a detailed memoir like Bret Hart’s, I’m sure it would be a hit.

I dunno, man, Ricky’s such a nice guy that I don’t think he’d have the tell-all zingers that others might have, plus he wasn’t really part of the party lifestyle anyway.  I think that Jim Cornette would be the holy grail if he can write as well as he tells the stories.   Maybe Paul Heyman but you’d have to automatically discount 40% of it as bullshit judging by what others have said about his credibility.

Until next time, remember:  Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right either way.

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