SEScoops Mailbag for February 11th
(submit YOUR questions to [email protected])
A: Because showing people like Yoshi Tatsu, Zack Ryder, Tyson Kidd and Tyler Reks doesn’t exactly scream starpower, now does it?
Q: Will WWE ever go back to the completely random drafts where they roll the cage and pick out a superstar like in 2004, or will they keep this pre-arranged draft? – Rory
A: I think they should just ditch the draft altogether. Explain to me what the point of having a draft is when Smackdown guys are showing up all the time on Raw and vice versa? It drives me insane. I actually have no problem with it, until they start talking about a draft again each year and it makes me tremble with anger. It would be the equivalent of the New York Jets drafting Tom Brady out of college (hey, we can dare to dream) and then just letting him show up one week and start playing for the Chargers. Either do a draft and keep the brands completely separate or just end the brand split and unify the rosters.
Q: I’d like a proper answer on what the deal with Desmond Wolfe. Where is the poor bastard? – Jovan, Australia
A: He has been sidelined with an undisclosed medical condition. He’s ready and waiting for TNA to put him back on television, and they even shot some vignettes for his return several weeks ago, but then decided against airing them for whatever reason.
Q: Do you have any insight on the Royal Rumble that saw Lex Luger and Bret Hart tie? Was that the planned ending? This seems like something they had to work on a lot, kind of like Morrison’s move this year. – Trey Fowler, Atlanta, GA
A: I’m not sure if they actually rehearsed going over the top rope before the show, but yes, that was the planned ending to the 1994 Royal Rumble. It was done as a way for the WWF to gauge crowd reaction to both Luger and Hart after the match. As you may recall, they first announced Luger as the winner to a tepid response from the fans. Then, as the referees argued further, Bret Hart was announced as the winner and the fans in Rhode Island went crazy. It was at that point that Vince McMahon likely decided Bret Hart was getting the title back at WrestleMania 10.
Q: At WrestleMania 23, Mr. Kennedy won the MITB [briefcase], only to lose it to Edge later on. I also noticed that Edge was wheeled out of [Mania] that night and Kennedy’s MITB storyline lacked depth as he didn’t do the normal things a heel would do. Was Edge meant to win that night but couldn’t due to being injured in the middle of the match? It just seemed like a waste to have Edge lose, along with his [Mania] undefeated streak at the time, just to have him obtain it anyway. – Adam Meads
A: No, Kennedy was scheduled to be the winner all along. Undertaker, who was hurting bad at the time and in need of surgery (this is my shocked face) for a torn bicep, was the World champion and they had to get the belt off him fast. The original idea that Kennedy would begin a countdown to cash in his title shot at the following year’s WrestleMania was tossed out in favor of him taking the title from Taker, but then Kennedy suffered an injury himself. It was believed to have been more serious than it actually was, so instead of needing surgery and being out for several months, Kennedy was only out for a few weeks with a bad bruise. Unfortunately for him, by the time they figured that out, it was too late. They had Edge beat him quickly on Raw for the briefcase and cash in on Taker the next night to win the World title.
Q: In 2004, they had that storyline where John Cena was stabbed in a nightclub. Was there any realism to that? It seemed like they pushed it pretty hard because they even mentioned it on Raw. – Ryan
A: If you’re asking me whether or not John Cena was really stabbed, he was not. The storyline here involved Carlito, who was feuding with Cena over the U.S. Title at the time, allegedly having his bodyguard, Jesus (played by Aaron Aguilera), stab Cena in a nightclub. If they pushed it pretty hard, it was because the idea of someone getting stabbed is not your typical, run-of-the-mill wrestling angle. If they wanted to get it over, they had to go for the hard sell.
Q: How come they’ve never given Vicki Guerrero an entrance theme? – Nate
A: She doesn’t need one. As soon as you hear her screeches of “Excuse me!”, she garners ATOMIC heat from the crowd. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Q: I just finished reading Mick Foley’s “Countdown To Lockdown” and I noticed he and Edge kind of have the same pre-match talk with their opponent(s) about certain bits of their match and never go over anything permanent, so it got me wondering. I know it’s scripted with who will win, but do they go over [the entire] match or just make it up as they go along. I have always wondered, even though it’s probably a silly question. – Karl
A: It depends on the people involved. A veteran like an Edge or Mick Foley is not going to script out a match move for move. This doesn’t mean there aren’t people who do this. Randy Savage was adamant about mapping out his match with Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania 3 right down to the exact move and it was something they memorized for months in advance. My sense is that most wrestlers, at least in WWE and TNA, know the outcome and how to get there, plan a few key spots that the office wants them to include, and they wing the rest of it.
Q: In the previous mailbag, you mentioned in reference to Stone Cold in 2003: he ‘knew when it was time to move on’ and that other superstars could learn from this. Can you expand upon this? There are some obvious candidates (Flair, Hogan) but could you pinpoint a date, match and/or storyline that should have signaled the end for some superstars? Any that left the business/retired too early? – Dustin S.
A: I see you already mentioned Ric Flair, but I’m going to mention him anyway. Flair probably should have retired from in-ring competition in 2004. There were rumors for a brief time of Flair wanting a singles match with Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania 20, which never happened, but that would have been a fine way for him to hang up the boots. If it wasn’t going to happen that way, then he should have stayed true to his word and retired after Mania 24. He got the greatest sendoff a pro wrestler has ever received over the course of that 3-day period, but he just couldn’t help himself. Mick Foley is another great example. When he “retired” in 2000, only to be coaxed back just one month later into the Mania 16 main event, that was a mistake. He did have a great match with Randy Orton in 2004 and that would have been another great opportunity to step aside with his head held high and his body still (mostly) in tact. Another example would be Terry Gordy of the famed Freebirds, who was a fantastic worker, but was never really the same after the OD that caused him to lapse into a coma in 1993. He continued to wrestle until his death many years later, but his run as The Executioner in the WWF was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. As far as people that retired too early, The Rock has to be at the top of the list. He retired in 2004, but had many, many more years of great matches left in him. He wanted to fade away quietly and pursue other things in his life and I respect the hell out of him for it.
Q: In 2005, we saw Batista beat Cena in the Royal Rumble and win the WHC from HHH while Cena won the WWE Title from JBL. Then Cena lost his title in January 2006 while Batista had to forfeit his WHC a couple of days later due to injury. Was Batista meant to be the face of the WWE over John Cena? And if not, why did they have John lose the Rumble match if he was gonna be the face of WWE? – Justin S.
A: What makes this all rather funny is that it was neither of those two men who were figured to be “the man” at that particular time, but rather, Randy Orton. When Orton was kicked out of Evolution and turned babyface, it was assumed he would be wrestling Triple H in the WrestleMania main event the following year, but what ended up happening is his turn was handled so poorly and he dropped the title so quickly, it took him years to recover. Meanwhile, the fans started to get behind Batista in a big way and he essentially took that spot. By this point, yes, they realized they were going to go all the way with Cena, but until he shifted over to the Raw brand, he was always going to be #2 by virtue of being on the perceived “weaker” brand.
Q: There’s been a lot of talk about facial expressions as being key for wrestlers lately. I recall someone talking about how guys with short hair have to be better with facial expressions to make up for the fact they don’t have long hair to fly back when they get punched. Of course, they use facial expressions to sell a lot more than punches. Punk used them pretty nicely at the end of Raw to sell the bit where Lawler handed a chair to Cena, who subsequently cleared the ring leaving Punk on the floor. Do you have any comments or observations on facial expressions in the wrestling business? – Bill Rigsby
A: First off, while whipping your long hair back on a punch does make for a nice visual effect, there have been quite a few wrestlers who have done well for themselves without long hair, if any hair at all, regardless of their facials. Steve Austin says hello. That said, facial expressions and mannerisms play a HUGE role in wrestling. You can enhance a character or create a memorable moment simply by smirking or raising your eyebrow in a certain way. The best thing that ever happened to Dos Caras Jr. was being forced to take off his mask while in FCW because that signature smile and wink is such a big part of his current Alberto Del Rio persona. Kane losing his mask was a mistake, in my opinion, but the one thing about him now without it that’s so great are his fabulous facial expressions. Lastly, one of the all-time classic WrestleMania moments involved a bloody and demented Vince McMahon outside the ring peering up over the apron during his match with Hulk Hogan. No words were said, but that image is still etched in my brain to this day.
Q: I was wondering who you think is the most underrated tag team in history? I say Haas and Benjamin, and maybe Harlem Heat. – Chase
A: The Jumping Bomb Angels. They don’t get nearly enough recognition for their talent. Seriously, look up some of their matches on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean.
Keep those questions coming to [email protected] and remember to include your name!