Scott’s Mailbag of DOOM! – July 6 2008

First up, a question via MSN, as blog reader Cheeselog remembers Randy Savage & Sherri confronting Elizabeth during an interview segment after Wrestlemania V, but I don’t.  Can anyone else recall this and have YouTube footage, perhaps?

On with the mailbag questions…

Hi Scott
I’ve recently been investing far too much money in dvds of of older WWF stuff. Things I’ve heard of and kinda know all the headlines from (or thought I did), but have never actually seen. I’ve been working my way through them all and just got up to Wrestlemania VIII. I’m just wondering why it wasn’t Hogan-Flair for the title. It seems pretty clear that they were building towards a match with those two – Flair’s ‘real world champion’ thing and just the fact that it’s the obvious big money match (I was excited about it from 16 years in the future).
The whole thing seemed painfully mishandled. Taker’s two-day title reign seemed a bit of an excuse to get the belt off Hogan and onto Flair via the title vacancy and Rumble match. I kinda put that down to Hogan’s ego – not wanting to job to Flair – and that it at least saved the match for Mania… Was there some backstage politicking reason why WM didn’t have Hogan vs Flair? I assume it would’ve had Hogan winning the belt back from Flair and finally proving himself the undisputed ‘real’ champ so I don’t see Hogan being against it…
Apologies if this is common knowledge for most people

There was no deep political reason behind it, they just thought that Hogan-Sid and Flair-Savage would be a better draw than Hogan v. Flair as a single match.  Believe me, to this day that one ranks as one of their bigger boners of that era, since WCW took the same match two years later and actually made pretty good money off it.  I guess Vince just never saw Flair as a guy on the level of his 80s superstars.

Hi, Scott, I wanted to pick your brain on something. I just finished reading Bret Hart’s book and he casually mentions the infamous incident on Nitro where Medusa trashed the WWF Women’s belt on live TV as one of the possible reasons why the whole Montreal Screwjob happened the way it did. I’ve always thought that the Medusa thing was a much, much larger part of the Montreal Screwjob than I’ve ever heard anyone say. Could Vince even have imagined one of his champions going on the rival show and dumping a title belt in the garbage before Medusa actually did it? Or do you think Vince was still sure that WCW was fuming over Flair showing up on WWF TV with the Big Gold Belt and Bischoff would of paid Bret millions to do the same thing with his belt? Also, is there any other incidents of title belts from one promotion showing up in a rivals promotion without the original promotion knowing about it or giving permission (and shown up on television, of course.)

There was actually a fear from both sides over belts showing up after the Madusa incident, because everyone was lawsuit-happy and the usage of the WWF Women’s title on WCW TV triggered some nasty letters from the WWF’s legal department.  In fact, Bischoff specifically said that he wouldn’t have let Bret come onto Nitro with the WWF title for exactly that reason, and further when Mike Awesome was ECW champion, WCW was panicking about him potentially showing up with the title and getting them sued.  Generally the promotions would trademark the belts, so that bringing them to a rival promotion would be grounds for a lawsuit, so it’s not the kind of thing that happened often.  Generally, outside of the lovely Ms. Micelli, if you see a belt on another show, it’s an angle.

Hey Scott,
Longtime reader here, just wanted to get your thoughts on how a couple of storylines may have gone had injuries not interjected themselves.
First is Austin/Rock/HHH at Survivor Series ’99.  I’ve always thought it was pretty sleazy of the WWF to promote Austin in the main event right up to the event knowing he wouldn’t be able to compete, but where do you think they would have gone had Austin been healthy?  I remember hearing rumors around that time that they were planning on turning Austin heel, which is almost believable since Rock was even more over as a face at the time than Stone Cold.
Second is the Invasion storyline.  How do you think HHH would have fit in?  Could he have been the top level face to play off of Austin?  My hunch is it would have been HHH instead of Austin turning on the WWF at Invasion and then leading the Alliance, but that wouldn’t have been very cerebral of him, since his team wouldn’t have been able to win in the end.

I honestly don’t know where the Austin thing was headed at that point.  I don’t think they were desperate enough to turn him heel, because why waste your top babyface, even if Rock was more popular? If I had to guess, I’d say they were building towards Austin winning the title back from HHH at Wrestlemania 2000, but that’s not based on anything.

The Invasion was such a hastily-booked mess that it’s hard to say much about where things might have gone, but the Two-Man Powertrip stuff was a pretty obvious build to one of them turning face to lead to the breakup.  So again, Austin v HHH for the title seems like the final destination.

Hey, Scott, it’s Michaelangelo from Popcorn Junkies again.  I was wondering, what in your opinion is the single greatest match featuring the worst wrestler you can think of?  And no gimmick matches, otherwise Sid in Wargames would qualify.  No, I’m talking just a one on one or tag match.  Maybe even a triple threat.  Just straight up wrestling that left your jaw on the ground that someone of such crappy caliber could have such an awesome match.

Well, Ric Flair got *** matches out of a ton of weird guys, but getting one out of El Gigante in 1991 probably stands as his greatest achievement in that department.  There was also a tag team title tournament match on Thunder in 1999 with Benoit and Malenko against Bryan Adams and Horace Hogan that was shockingly good as well.  Those would be my two picks off the top of my head.

Hey Scott,
Just a couple of things I fancied your musings on..
1) I’ve been re-watching some 95 WWF recently, and despite some of the awful gimmicks, for actual match content, I’m finding it a breath of fresh air over the current crop of stuff. I mean, I’m chuffed as hell CM Punk is the World Champion, but working WWE matches has turned him into such an uninteresting wrestler that I’ve run out of reasons to convince people why he deserves it so much. However, obviously at that time the company lost money hand over fist, whereas now they’re raking it in playing to a formula. Would you rather live in a world where the matches were less cookie-cutter at the expense at the survival of the product, or do you find new joy in a great match slipping through the cracks in WWE’s system (These tend to have included Flair, Michaels, Angle and Jericho)? I don’t loathe Triple H with a passion like some, but he can lock the WWE style down so tight, he’s practically a different wrestler (inevitably a more boring one too) whenever Vince’s whims about what makes a great match change.
2) This a similar vein of questioning, but it seems that when the Clique had booking power and stroke in the WWF/E, the business was badly down, despite them being able to deliver in the ring. Michaels, Kid and Hall in 95 were outstanding, Michaels and Nash (while he was still there) had a tremendous 1996 and even in the interim 93/94 days of the unit, they were all the best performers in the company not named Bret. Now, they will all claim they wanted what was best for the business, and we all know that’s part-bullshit, but fair play, they did all put on numerous great matches, even when they weren’t programmed against one another. However, this didn’t draw jack shit, so you couldn’t really say it was ‘best for the business’ at all. Are you/were you tolerant of their selfish behaviour because they could get it done, or was their flagrant abuse of politics and power too much to stomach as ratings and buyrates went down the toilet?
Sorry they were long winded, as usual, look forward to your thoughts.

1)  Well, it’s Vince’s money,not mine, so I’d always vote for a more interesting product over the WWE machine making another successful quarter for investors.  And really, the dull WWE Main Event Style used to be exciting, when it too was new and different and the people involved were exciting.  It’s more a problem of the same people wrestling against the same people than the actual style being "wrong".  Generally they make sure that if you get to the main event, you’re going to deliver in main event matches.  One of the problems with WCW, and TNA today, is that you never know what you’re going to get when you mix up the various styles and workers on top of the product.  So I’d say that yeah, I wish the product was more interesting, but just remember that for every potential ****+ match there’s just as likely a DUD when things aren’t "locked down".

2)  I’m tolerant of anyone’s bullshit behavior as long as they entertain me.  That’s why I can deal with HHH as long as he’s not injured or bloated.   And again, it’s Vince’s money and not mine, so whether they drew or not doesn’t really matter to me as a fan.  As a smartass, sure, but not when I’m watching the actual shows.

Until next time…

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