SEScoops Mailbag for February 4th
(submit YOUR questions to [email protected])
Q: I remember back during WWE’s nWo invasion when Hogan, Hall and Nash came in and they busted a cinderblock over Stone Cold’s knee. How did they do this or was it a case where they went off script? – Cody Short
A: I can assure you that Scott Hall, no matter how drunk he may have been, is not stupid enough to “shoot” on the biggest star in the company by shattering a cinderblock across his bionic knee. It was a planned spot and they used a lighter, more easily breakable material for added effect. It was still really stupid.
Q: Ric Flair wrestled in the Dominican Republic against Jack Veneno and had to lose the NWA World Title on purpose because he was afraid that the hometown crowd would riot. But later, Veneno gave back the title and was never was recognized as NWA champion.. What’s up with that? – Troy, Puerto Rico
A: I believe Ric Flair talks about this story in his book. Indeed, there is some rare footage of this match floating around on YouTube and based on the rabid crowd reaction, I tend to believe Flair was telling the truth when he says he feared for his safety had he won that match. Supposedly, he recognized this and decided to change the finish during the match, shouting at the referee to count three and then left the country without even taking the belt with him. The NWA had Veneno ship the belt back to the States. Phantom title changes were done with greater frequency back in those days and there have been some famous ones, such as Pat Patterson supposedly becoming the first Intercontinental champion in a tournament in Rio de Janeiro (it never happened) or Antonio Inoki beating Bob Backlund for the WWF Title in 1979, a reign that is not formally acknowledged by the promotion. I think WWE may have actually mentioned this in Inoki’s Hall of Fame induction video last year, which if they did would be the first time they’ve ever done so publicly.
Q: In multiple person non-title matches such as Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank, what happens if the guy who was supposed to win gets injured or, in the Rumble, accidentally eliminated? Do they have a backup winner? – J. Walker
A: I don’t believe they make it a point to assign a “backup winner” for the Rumble each year. What they would likely do in that situation is call an audible to one of the many referees at ringside. In 2005, both John Cena and Batista fell over the top and hit the floor in an unplanned spot. In that case, nobody knew what to do and in a fit of rage, Vince McMahon himself left the gorilla position and stormed down to the ring, tearing his quad in the process. It’s not exactly the same thing, but using the most recent Rumble as an example, Alex Riley accidentally eliminated himself early when he fell off the apron and hit the floor. He was to play a role in John Cena’s elimination later on, so they were forced to improvise and thankfully, Miz was already sitting at ringside doing commentary.
Q: Did Vladimir Koslov do something to piss of Vince McMahon big time a few years back? One second he’s in a World title match with HHH and the next he is in the minor leagues (aka ECW). Seems like he was getting a push and then nothing. He’s a tag champ now, but he’s still pretty much a clown. I’ve always wondered if he did something to make someone mad. – Ryan L.
A: Yeah, he pretty much sucked. That’s a surefire way to piss off your boss. His workrate was awful and his promo ability was even worse. They gave him plenty of opportunities because of his size, but like Khali, he just didn’t get better. Putting him in tag matches is a smart way to hide some of those weaknesses.
Q: Am I the only one who’s reminded of a young HHH when Drew McIntyre is in the ring? There’s obviously some fine tuning left to do, but I can’t help but think the kid is on the right track. – War Machine
A: Funny you should say that since Triple H and Shawn Michaels were both said to be big supporters of Drew when he was first getting his big push on Smackdown. Hell, no less of an authority than Mr. McMahon himself came on TV and proclaimed McIntyre to be the golden child. He also reminds me a lot physically of a young Hunter Hearst Helmsley, so perhaps HHH sees a little bit of himself in Drew. Unfortunately for him, he’s rubbed some people the wrong way backstage in the past and an incident last year with his wife where the cops were called didn’t exactly endear him to those in power. He also comes off as a rather bland character (something young Ted DiBiase also suffers from) and that needs to be addressed. He does have a great look and awesome theme music, so at least he has that going for him.
Q: If Stone Cold had not walked out in 2002, how much longer do you think he would have wrestled before having to retire anyway? I heard that at WrestleMania 19 against The Rock he was in a lot of pain, so it had to be his last match and he was relieved when it was over – Michael
A: I think he would have made it to the next Mania anyway, but there’s no way of knowing for sure. Part of the reason Austin left was lingering neck issues that were bothering him (not just the creative stalemate involving Brock Lesnar). He knew when he came back in 2003 that he was on his way out. That’s why they fed Eric Bischoff to him in an easy slaughter his first match back and rarely, if at all, had him wrestle before his battle with The Rock. The man knew when it was time to move on. You have to respect that. If only more wrestlers could learn from this.
A: Del Rio against Ziggler? You lost me there. That said, Miz and Del Rio are likely to make it there, so you should be happy about that.
Q: I remember the heart punch being one of the most feared finishing moves back in the day, but now it’s all but disappeared. I researched it online and came up with nothing about the heart punch being banned anywhere. Just wondering why we don’t see it these days, specifically in the WWE or TNA. – Bill Rigsby
A: Is it bad that my only memory of a wrestler using the heart punch as a finish is Crush? I know others used it, too. I assume it’s not used because it’s not as flashy as many of the finishes used on TV today, but I would have no problem with someone using it. So many guys on the WWE roster alone seem to have the SAME finishing maneuver, it really makes you wonder what ever happened to creativity. As a matter of fact, in the same span of a week that Ezekiel Jackson made his return on Smackdown and Mason Ryan debuted on Raw, I believe they BOTH used the same uranage slam! Within days of each other! I’m begging for someone to bring back the powerbomb, but the heart punch works too.
Q: Just read on your site that Kevin Nash made a verbal promise to Dixie Carter to return to TNA, but clearly lied. Didn’t he do the exact same thing to Vince McMahon before jumping ship to WCW many years back? – Ryan
A: I don’t recall things going down that way, but I admit, I may not be privy to all of the details. If I remember correctly, Nash informed Vince in February of 1996 that he would be accepting a more lucrative deal from Turner to jump to WCW when his contract expired in May of that year. Oddly enough, WWF posted this as a news item on AOL (remember the days when keywords actually meant something?). Even more odd, after Diesel lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 12, they named him top contender to HBK’s newly won championship and put Nash in a PPV main event against his friend less than a month before his departure. Granted, it was done to help put over the new champion and make Michaels look like a legit badass (similar to their mentality more recently having Miz beat John Morrison in that Falls Count Anywhere match), but if that were anyone else, the last thing they would have done was keep him on TV, let alone on PPV before jumping over to the competition.
Q: Will pro-wrestlers ever be able to draw the kind of reaction ”Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock got from the crowd? Hell maybe I’m setting the bar too high. Will the likes of Sheamus, Ziggler, McIntyre and Del Rio ever be able to draw the kind of reaction Booker T and Diesel got at the Royal Rumble? – Trust Sakupwanya
A: Yes, someone will come along at some point (where it’s any of those four guys or not) and be the next big breakout star. You could even argue that John Cena is already that guy. That said, make no mistake about it. What Booker and Nash got at the Rumble were pure nostalgia pops. Go back at the end of each of their last runs with the company and tell me if they were getting those kinds of reactions. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Hell, even I popped big for them when they came out, but it’s not like they would be getting reactions even half of that if they were still wrestling on TV a month from now. Ten years from now, if Sheamus was out of the company for a while and made a big return at the Rumble, he too would get a big pop.
A: Maybe he suffered from constant bloody noses? I don’t really know. I do recall JR possibly saying something about it referring to Taker’s red hair.
Q: I read a section in last weeks “Mailbag” and it talked about closed caption mess-ups. I noticed a couple of weeks ago when I accidentally turned ON the captions during RAW that Michael Cole came up as Vince McMahon??? What the hell? – Jake Hack
A: Uh oh, have we uncovered the true identity of the anonymous Raw GM?
Keep those questions coming to [email protected] and remember to include your name!