SEScoops Mailbag For Royal Rumble Sunday 2016

It’s back! The SEScoops mailbag is back! We solicited questions, you sent them in, and I picked some of the best ones…

From Shades: Which one of the Social Outcasts has the most upside?

Heath Slater, for sure. Yes, even if he hadn’t been cast in a slew of wacky preliminary heel gimmicks for most of his WWE run, he probably never would have been a giant star. Still, he’s a really good, utterly selfless performer who’s never really gotten to show what he could do. Consider what Daniel Bryan kept saying when he was talking about how he wanted to do his own version of John Cena’s open challenge as Intercontinental Champion on SmackDown He wanted to give more guys chances to show what they could do in the ring, and the name he always singled out was Heath Slater. Remember what Bryan did with Santino Marella in the Elimination Chamber? That was awesome! Now imagine him doing that with someone who’s a much better worker than Santino.

Slater was also the guy that they trusted in the ring with Bret Hart in tag team matches during Bret’s weird little return run in 2010. Technically, Bret couldn’t really have anything done to him due to the terms of his and WWE’s deal with Lloyd’s of London pertaining to his permanent disability insurance policy, Still, Slater was the one he worked with almost exclusively, which shows just how highly everyone in WWE thought of him as a safe, smooth professional. On top of all that, he clearly has a knack for talking even if it’s mostly been to make an ass out of himself.

Also from Shades but this is a quick one: Why did Cena come back so soon just to go out again?

It was a total freak thing. He went away to shoot his TV show, came back, and immediately blew out his shoulder.

From Bartz: Brand Split? Yes or No?

Right now? Hell no. In the general sense? It’s a bit trickier.

The problems with the split were always more in the execution than the idea. Favoring one show made the other look terrible, for example, and that happened a lot, usually with SmackDown as the lesser brand. The original idea of having the world champion floating between both shows was fantastic, though, and quickly made the title a lot more prestigious than it had been. That was abandoned way too quickly (as in a few months in) and they never went back to it.

I always thought that the constant “end the brand split” talk was rooted in there being two world titles more than anything, so it really wasn’t that hard to fix in theory. Each show should have had the Intercontinental or United States champion as its top guy, with that guy then in the mix for a world title shot. Instead, the two world titles cheapened each other and reflected negatively on the brand split concept.

Without the brand split, how exactly does WWE handle the simultaneous rise of John Cena and Batista? Does one or the other get lost in the shuffle? The brand split allowed them to develop more stars and position them as main event talent than they could with one show. Which would never happen now, because only a small handful of people are booked to get over.

From UltraManTits Black (that’s a hell of a name): True or False? The internet ruined wrestling.

False. I guess you can argue about kayfabe breaches and that sort of thing in and of themselves, but the internet just did with wrestling what it did with everything else: Communication increased, and more people could access more things, including secrets. I can read Scientology’s secret doctrine with a quick Google search; the magic behind pro wrestling is nothing compared to that when it comes to secrecy. That was an inevitability, and the genie was already out of the bottle to a point, anyway. Plus the problems with things like crowd heat are more symptomatic of things like WWE’s preferred booking and working styles than knowing how the trick is done. When they do something good, like Daniel Bryan’s road to WrestleMania, everyone buys into it like the great angles of the past.

Look at the positive changes we’re seeing now: The rise of Twitter has created a weird globally communal viewing environment for shows, but more importantly, it helps wrestlers cultivate their fanbases. That’s not just Twitter, but it’s an area where there’s really been a huge positive change. Wrestlers are now able to easily sell t-shirts directly to fans, Colt Cabana transformed his career through his podcast, The Young Bucks became legitimate indie draws with zero WWE television exposure…that doesn’t happen without the internet, and there are plenty of other examples.

Yeah, you can argue that there are some things where it might be a negative, but are any of them areas where the change was exclusive to wrestling? I don’t think so.