MAILBAG: Were There Any Post-Mania Plans For HBK in 1998?

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SEScoops Mailbag for January 28th

(submit YOUR questions to [email protected])

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Q: A lot of people say that due to WWE‘s PPV policy, fewer people buy their shows. But they don’t suggest the popularity of live streamings [as a reason why]. Don’t you think this factor is being overlooked? – Anonymous

A: I’m not sure what you mean by WWE’s PPV policy. Are you referring to the policy of requiring fans to, you know, BUY their pay-per-views? I think I understand the point you’re trying to make and while it’s a concern to them, by no means do I attribute the drop in PPV business to live internet streams. They account for a low percentage of views, relative to the actual number of people who typically buy these shows. If a typical WWE PPV (not named WrestleMania) would do 400,000 domestic buys a few years ago and is now pulling in 200,000, there’s a much bigger issue here than live streams. Remember, these streams existed when they were still doing good PPV business several years ago, so I don’t buy that as an excuse.

Q: When did the first ever Steel Cage match take place?. The WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 game says it was in the 1930’s, but I don’t believe it. – Anonymous

A: Well, believe it. The earliest records of anything resembling a cage match date back to July 2nd, 1937 and a match between Jack Bloomfield and Count Petro Rossi in Atlanta, GA where the ring was surrounded by chicken wire. Bloomfield won that match.

Q: I was wondering what ever happened to Maven? He just popped in my head today I don’t know why, but I don’t remember what happened to him. Did he get released? Where is he now? – Brian Collins

A: Maven Huffman, who won the first season of WWF Tough Enough on MTV, was released by the company in July 2005. I always thought he had great potential, but he was rushed on TV way too fast for someone with little experience, which is why WWE is only accepting people with wrestling backgrounds for their latest incarnation of Tough Enough. Maven currently works for the Home Shopping Network as a wellness expert on their morning show, HSN Today.

Q: Vince McMahon has two of the best play-by-play announcers in the world working for WWE, that being JR and Joey Styles. Why in the world are they not using them? Also why do they not focus on calling the matches these days? It’s so annoying having to listen to Matthews and Cole argue. – Anonymous

A: Blame Vince. He produces the announcers and shouts instructions in their ear during the shows. He wants them to be “storytellers” and not wrestling announcers. I’m not as willing as you are to call Joey Styles one of the best PBP guys in the world, but JR would certainly do wonders for their product if they put him back on TV. I’d say even if it was just for pay-per-views, but ideally you would want Ross back on Raw so that he could help sell you on buying those shows in the first place, something he is much better at than Michael Cole. Part of that is a credibility issue, but part of it is also that when you listen to JR, he just sounds so much more emotionally invested in the product. You can’t fake that.

Q: You mentioned in the Jan. 21st edition of “The Mailbag” that Bryan Daniels and The Miz have a history. I have never heard about this. Can you give me a little background as they are two of my favorite performers? Thanks. – Nick Ivey

A: Bryan Daniels doesn’t have a history with Miz as far as I know, but Daniel Bryan does. Miz was his pro during the first season of NXT and the two of them did not get along. In fact, they would often come to blows. When Bryan reached the main roster, he even had a few matches with Miz where he made the current WWE champion tap out to the LeBell Lock.

Q: What would’ve been the plans for Shawn Michaels (and maybe even DX for that matter) had he not suffered his career-threatening back injury in 1998? Would he have continued to feud with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin after WrestleMania XIV? – Jesse

A: There’s no way of knowing for sure because I don’t think they ever had plans mapped out that far for him, especially once they knew Shawn would need time off for his back. I would think it’s a near certainty that he and Austin would have at least had one more PPV match after Mania, likely with some sort of stipulation. The other way they could have gone was have Triple H dump him from DX the next night on Raw and turn Shawn babyface again to have him feud with the new group, maybe even aligning himself with Austin.

Q: My brother swears that when Kane was first introduced into WWE, someone else played the character and, if so, was it Abyss? Please set him straight. – Joe Rampage

A: You sure your brother wasn’t doing bricks of cocaine with Charlie Sheen the other night? No, the character has always been played by Glen Jacobs. There was one time when Undertaker was revealed as wearing the Kane outfit on Raw and then, years later, they did the fake Kane angle with Drew Hankinson playing the role (aka Festus and Luke Gallows).

Q: I was watching the UFC “Fight for the Troops” special and kept noticing that the fighters rarely if ever take their opponents legs when they have their guy grounded and they’re kicking up at them. Would any pro wrestling submisson holds like the Boston Crab or Texas Cloverleaf work realistically or am I just living in a fantasy world? – Andrew

A: Stick to an arm bar (one of Chris Jericho’s famed 1004 holds) or sleeper hold. Any sort of leglock like a Sharpshooter or Boston Crab is pointless because it requires cooperation from your opponent, and because it would very easy for them to simply reach back and grab your leg in order to cause an imbalance and break the hold.

Q: What’s REALLY HOOD MY G! Anyways, yo, I understand dat ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair is a ‘RECOGNIZED’ 16x World Champ, however, Bob Backlund ISN’T ‘RECOGNIZED’ as a 3x WWF Champ, Harley Race ISN’T ‘RECOGNIZED’ as a 8x NWA World Champ, so ‘UN-OFFICIALLY’ how many World Heavyweight titles has Ric Flair won?! I count 17-19 (I use PWI’s mags & almanacs for my info). What says you?! – Slic Ric

A: Flair recognizes himself as a 21-time World champion, so that’s good enough for me. Belieeeee-dat!

Q: I was looking at the Title History page on WWE.com and was wondering, would it be better if instead of wrestlers winning titles numerous times if they would just stay champion for longer periods of time? For instance, instead of the Hulkster winning the WWF Championship five times, he was just champion for 5 years before losing it to someone else. Do you think the fans would be OK with this if it was the case today, even if it means that most likely Cena would still be our champion since 2005? – Brock Benningfield

A: Wait, Cena HASN’T been reigning as champ since 2005? It sure feels like he has. With Cena, they actually did give him a very long title reign (by modern day standards) back in 2007 and I think it brought some prestige back to the belt, so I would concur that longer reigns are more effective than the quantity of those reigns in getting titles over. Given the use of your Hogan example, it’s funny to note that he did have a four-year reign as WWF champion (1984-1988) and yet he still went on to win the title four more times. God bless the Hulkster.

Q: Has WWE lost faith in Drew McIntyre already? It feels as though he has been downgraded to the lower card, or are they just trying to get Trent Barretta over? – Trust Sakupwanya

A: They are not trying to get Barretta over. There have been times where WWE had big plans for Drew, but they’ve always been hesitant to pull the trigger. A former WWE writer who recently posted a blog that was quickly taken down noted that Drew was originally slated to win the Smackdown “Money in the Bank” match in July, but when they realized that there were too many heels already winning on the show, they decided to go with a babyface in Kane instead (funny since they immediately turned him heel). At another point, Drew was to be revealed as the person who buried The Undertaker alive. I think it’s a combination of bad luck and a bad rep backstage for having a chip on his shoulder. It doesn’t help that his wife (former diva Tiffany) also has a big mouth, which may work out great for him between the sheets, but not so much when she’s spouting off on Twitter and radio shows bashing the company her husband works for.

Q: Does WWE have control over the closed captioning for their programming? Whenever Michael Cole starts to speak, it comes up as Jim [Ross] or JR. – Ryan B.

A: I’m not sure if WWE provides the closed captioning folks with a list of character names, but regardless, they do not have control over it. At least, I’d like to think they don’t as I’ve seen some rather sexually-suggestive and downright hilarious captions in recent years that are more entertaining than the shows themselves. As an experiment, I urge everyone to watch an episode of Raw with the captions on. It may not be the same for everybody, but when Randy Orton makes his entrance, if the caption for the start of his theme music should read “I ate poison, now I’m dead”, then you’ll know it works. I’ve also seen it as “I have oysters in my bed” and “I have boys in my shed”, which is downright disturbing.

Keep those questions coming to [email protected] and remember to include your name!