The John Report: Questions & Answers - June 2013 Edition
It's time for the TJR Q&A column that is a monthly feature right here on this site.
What you see below is the result of a Q&A all day on Friday over the TJRWrestling page on Facebook. I asked for questions. The readers of TJRWrestling delivered. I'm not even sure how many there are, but it's a long read.
The questions are in the bold italics font while my answers immediately follow. The first question was one of the most interesting ones. Let's roll.
If you could take 10 guys from their prime to start your own company, who would they be?
This is cool. Since we're going with from their prime it means there are so many people to pick from. I'm only really going from the last 30 years because I don't feel comfortable picking people before that. I'll try to explain my choices too.
Steve Austin - At his peak nobody did the kind of business he did. One of my favorites ever because of his consistent in-ring work and of course the entertaining promos.
Shawn Michaels - My favorite wrestler and in my opinion the best in-ring performer ever.
Ric Flair - Probably the best heel ever. Most durable main event player ever.
Kurt Angle - Nothing he can't do. Wrestling machine.
Randy Savage - All around talent that made everybody around him better.
Undertaker - You need a true big man. He's the best big guy ever.
The Rock - Huge draw, plus arguably best talker ever. I think his prime in-ring was 2000 to 2003. Liked his matches during that run.
Brock Lesnar - As a heel bully he's such an outstanding performer. Legitimate athlete who can put on great matches.
Hulk Hogan - Not my favorite, but hard to deny his drawing power.
Bret Hart - I need a Canadian, of course.
Last pick was hard. I thought about people ranging from Eddie Guerrero, Terry Funk, Vader, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho and Edge among others.
That's not a list of my ten favorite or who I think are the ten best. It's more about picking people who would best fit together in a promotion.
What do you think the payoff is to WWE advertising the HHH/Bryan argument from backstage on Raw?
They're trying to build up Daniel Bryan's toughness and his belief that he has to overcome everybody to get to the top. Triple H stopping his match on Raw was apparently real or maybe it was an angle that only a couple people knew about. I'm not sure. I think WWE likes to blur the lines of reality and try to keep it private as best they can. In my opinion there's nothing wrong with more Daniel Bryan on the show because he's as good as they come. If it leads to heel Triple H and he puts over Bryan eventually that's fine, but I doubt it's leading to a match with them.
With the Network on Infinite Hold and the Performance Center seemingly the company's main focus at this point, what do you think it will really provide? Just a place for wrestlers and workers or will commentary, on screen, and off screen talent receive training there? Would there be an application process? How would one go about it? How much do you know about it?
I think having a performance training center similar to what NFL teams have in terms of its size and equipment is beneficial to WWE as a whole. My understanding is there's a full weight room, they will have strength & conditioning coaches on a full time basis and with seven or eight rings to practice in they will be able to properly train everybody the right way.
I also think it will be convenient for WWE because if somebody is rehabbing an injury they can spend a few weeks there getting back into ring shape, working with other talents and making sure they are ready before going on the road again. I'm not sure about application process. They likely have info on that on their corporate website if somebody wants to apply for it.
Hi John. What do you think lies in the future for Harry Smith? I was such a fan of his dad, and had great hopes for him, especially when he teamed with Tyson Kidd. Though that team turned out to be a bit of a let-down as they were "gifted" the tag titles rather than winning them, then proceeded to get beaten-down by the Usos - if they were on TV at all. I just thought he has so much potential, but they never seemed to find something for him. He didn't even make it into the extra large 40 man Royal Rumble!
I'm with ya. I'm a huge fan of his and not just because he's a fellow Canadian. I think he's a guy with a lot of gifts because he's a taller wrestler who is athletic and strong. He's also learned from the best in the Hart family. These days he's spending a lot of time in Japan improving his game and I think the door is open for a WWE return. He hasn't appeared in TNA or ROH. He's done some indies of course, but nothing close to permanent. He's still pretty young since he'll be 28 years old later this year. I think a return to WWE in the next year or two is likely. I've had high hopes for him for a while. I can remember watching clips of him ten years ago and a lot of people were saying he would be a top guy in WWE. I think what held him back a bit was his personality, but hopefully that's something he's worked on and he can return one day so we can see him live up to that potential.
You've mentioned that the once weak babyface side of the coin is now a strength. I try not to be an alarmist or overly negative, but it seems likes there's still an imbalance, just the other way now. Do you get any sense that they may have over-corrected?
I think it's fair to say that, but also current WWE feels like they are changing a lot of things really quickly these days. So many turns. There have been some returns too. I hope a guy like Randy Orton rejoins the heel ranks. I think that will happen soon although it's been rumored for like a year now!
I think what's happened is WWE has gone through three head writers already this year (Vince, HHH & Stephanie have final say of course) and what we're seeing as a result of that are a lot of changes that are pretty random. My hope is things will slow down a bit post Summerslam, but at the same time it has made for better shows in the last month too.
Hi John. This is something that popped into my head a few days ago and haven't been able to figure out - have you any idea about how WWE goes about working the Royal Rumble match? Does the newest entrant get told what needs to happen for the next few minutes before the next guy come out, does everybody get told beforehand in a big meeting who goes out in what order or is it the referees whispering stuff to the guys that are lying down on the mat? Cheers.
It's hard to know exactly since we're just fans watching it. I think they do go over details as far as who is going to eliminate who and those guys would work out how that happens. Some wrestlers like calling stuff in the ring. Others like planning backstage. They also have the refs all around the ring to relay messages from the back due to the earpieces they have. Basically I think it's a combination of all that. It would probably be a lot of fun to try to book a match like that.
If Eddie Guerrero had not passed away all those years ago, what do you personally feel like we could have seen from him in terms of feuds, storylines and matches? Also, how many more years do you think he could have wrestled for had he not passed? Rest in Peace Eddie!
First off, he's one of my favorite wrestlers ever and I am still very sad that he left this world too soon. He worked hard to turn his life around and then when everything looked like it was going great for him, he passed away. It's one of the saddest stories in wrestling history.
He was 38 when he died, so I doubt he would have wrestled longer than five more years or so. I could see him as a guy that worked backstage in WWE because the wrestling business was in his blood and he could offer a lot of guidance to the next generation of wrestlers. I wish we could have seen a feud with Shawn Michaels. It would have been incredible. That's the one I wanted to see the most.
How would you book the CM Punk v Brock Lesnar angle if you had full creative control?
I'm not a huge fan of fantasy booking, but I honestly think it's an easy story to tell. If they do it at Summerslam they have two months to get there. You can have Heyman deny that he had anything to do with what Lesnar did and then of course it's revealed that he was in on it. Punk could wrestle a guy like Axel at Money in the Bank and go over him although not for the IC Title. Then once Money in the Bank is over, Lesnar could appear more often to set up the match. Heyman could say Lesnar is his favorite, he is better than Punk and so on. Punk will have the support of the fans who want Heyman to shut up. Like I said, it's easy to tell this one.
Are there any wrestling moves that actually make you nervous, or maybe even scare you when you see them performed? The Piledriver is such a move for me. When CM Punk hit Cena with it during their recent RAW match, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. Keep having flashbacks of Owen and Austin, man.
There's always concern when I watch because you never know when something bad might happen. I think what sucks is sometimes people get legitimately hurt and we immediately think it's an angle because we're almost conditioned to think that way. The piledriver is dangerous, which is why they banned it. I think in the case of Hart/Austin the difference is that was Tombstone (front piledriver) and Owen made the mistake of dropping to his ass instead of his knees like the Undertaker does it. Austin's head slipped through and it caused major damage by costing him years of his career plus a year long neck injury that required major surgery. Here's a video of Austin talking about it.
That was really scary. In his book Austin mentioned that he went over the spot with Owen and thought Owen was joking when he said he'd drop to his ass. He trusted him. It's a shame they had that miscommunication. I'm glad that Austin was able to come back from it and I'm sure WWE is happy since he was their top guy, but there's no question that it took years off his career.
I respect and admire what wrestlers do. It's very hard to do what they do and I think sometimes as fans we take that for granted.
Why did they pull the belt off of Ziggler do quickly and do you think he'll get it back anytime soon?
I think it's a case of WWE changing their minds a lot and not sticking to a plan long enough. They also listened to the fans because when Ziggler cashed in on Del Rio he received a huge ovation. I think that told WWE officials that it might be best if they turned him babyface. So how do you make him a face? Get the title off him by turning Del Rio heel.
I think Ziggler will get the title back soon. People think that they are going to book these guys to have 6 month runs all the time. They don't have to. Ziggler can win it back at Summerslam at a major event and it would be a big deal with the crowd supporting him. At Money in the Bank they could have Del Rio escape with the title in the rematch. It's fun to watch a babyface chase a title, so by having Ziggler chase it sets up a different dynamic than what we've seen from him.
What do you think was the most successful feud in WCW?
From a financial standpoint it was clearly Hulk Hogan and the NWO against Sting that culminated in Sting beating Hogan for the WCW World Title at the end of 1997. I wish the match was booked better, but that was definitely a high point. The problem was after that feud ended they didn't know what to do or how to make stars again except for Goldberg.
I think in terms of best WCW feuds the one that sticks out the most to me was Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page. That showed the greatness of Savage because he was the veteran heel that put over Page in a huge way. After that, DDP moved up the ranks and became a World Champion. The feud with Savage certainly helped him a lot.
Do you think the shield will add another member or do you think they will stay a trio?
Trio. I don't think another member is necessary. If you have too many people it waters it down. A fourth member wouldn't be bad if it was somebody like Kassius Ohno for example. I don't think there needs to be a "leader" for the group either. They are doing great as it is.
Why is The Iron Sheik so angry and vulgar on Twitter?
I honestly think it's just a gimmick to get attention and it works, so he keeps doing it. My understanding is it is really him doing it or saying stuff, but he also lives with a family member that helps him deal with the pain he has to go through in his everyday life.
What do you think RVD's iMPACT! (pun intended) will be once he returns to WWE? Do you see a world title feud in his future, or more of a Jericho role, helping the young talent?
I think it will be more of a Jericho role where he's working with younger guys and new opponents. I wouldn't put a major title on him. He's 43 years old this year. He doesn't need titles. There are too many guys that should be built to hold major gold and he's not on that list, in my opinion. I think he has value and he'll come into WWE as somebody that's fresh too. If he gets a title maybe the IC Title or US Title as a way to drop it to a younger guy, but other than that I doubt he holds the WWE or World Title.
If TNA went out of business tomorrow could you actually see the WWE picking up much of the the talent? I mean, considering that they've had several chances in the past to pick up talent like AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe and Robert Roode I just don't see the WWE being interested if they become free agents again. The only wrestlers I could see going to WWE are guys like Hogan, Angle or Hardy or anyone else once affiliated with them. Don't get me wrong I'd love to see all these guys back in the WWE but I just don't see it happening.
I think Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy for sure. Hogan? I don't know anymore. They realized he wasn't a draw anymore after the HBK feud in 2005. I know that WWE passed a lot of TNA guys, so it's hard to know who they would target. I would hope that those guys you mentioned would be given a look. I'm not sure, though.
From a female standpoint, I would hope that Mickie James would be brought back. There are a lot of fresh opponents for her that she could have some good matches with.
Who are some people that you feel should have been given WWE(F) title reigns that never had one? I was always disappointed that they never let Ted Dibiase or Rowdy Roddy Piper hold the title.
I would definitely go with Ted Dibiase and Mr. Perfect. I love those guys. I'm not a huge Hogan. I've read over the years there were plans to put the WWE Title on both of them at various points, but Hogan prevented that from happening. Who knows if it's true? Piper's probably the biggest name to not hold it, but my understanding was he didn't want it. Piper's weird in the sense that he didn't want titles (he did hold the IC Title briefly) and rarely lost matches by getting pinned. He's very old school.
I'm sure we can rattle of names all day, but Perfect and Dibiase are always the two that jumped out at me the most.
You've mentioned before (jokingly, but still) about how much you want a 'Best of the Spanish Announce Table' DVD. I agree. My question is: what is your favorite Spanish Announce Table moment (or moments)?
King of the Ring 1998. Mick Foley. I don't think anything could ever top that one. It's the most memorable one that is entrenched in the minds of WWE fans forever. Bret Hart started it, Shawn Michaels topped it by going off the Cell and then of course Foley topped him too.
There's actually a WWE produced video that they released late last year featuring a lot of famous bumps through the Spanish table. Jeff Hardy's Swanton off a ladder through a table that had CM Punk on it was pretty incredible too. Here's the video:
"Good god almighty! With God as my witness he's broken in half!" It's arguably the most historic call in Jim Ross' Hall of Fame career.
If it came down to it, do you think that WWE would legitimately fire a significant member of the roster for a third violation of the wellness policy? Someone like Randy Orton I believe is already on strike two. Would WWE legitimately fire someone like for a third offense?
I think they would depending on the person. Somebody like Randy Orton? I doubt it. I think even if some big names fail a test they could cover it up. It's the wrestling business. It's not like they are honest about everything all the time.
What was the more entertaining dance entrance: Alex Wright das Wunderkin or Akeem the African Dream?
Finally a hard hitting question! I'm going with Alex Wright because he actually moved his whole body when he danced. Akeem basically just wiggled because he was a 400 pounder who couldn't move very well. Congrats Alex Wright - you just won something!
What's the difference between a good wrestler and a great wrestler?
I think Daniel Bryan is great. He's as good as anybody in the world. I think The Miz is just good. That's nothing against him. I just think Bryan is exceptional in the ring. It's one of those things where you have to judge it for yourself or read opinions from guys like me who try to give you as much info as we can when we write about this wacky world of wrestling.
So Kurt Angle is the 1st member of Sting's Main Event Mafia... except that Angle is just as guilty as anyone for leaving Sting out to dry at Slammiversary. That's the whole reason for the MEM to come back according to Sting...so how does that make sense?!?
It doesn't make sense. It also sums up TNA at the same time. I don't know how else to answer it. Please just let Angle go back to WWE so I can see him against Bryan and/or Punk before his body breaks down.
Are there any past WWE Superstars or Divas who you think could've had potential to be major stars had they received a good push?
A guy like Sean O'Haire had so much potential and just didn't work out. Ken Doane was really good at a young age. I think his ego got in the way. I don't know. There are probably others I could name if I really went deep into it, but I'm more interested in the diva part.
I think for divas the two I think of the most are Kharma and Serena Deeb. I think it's unfortunate that Kharma's WWE run was cut so short. As for Serena, I don't know exactly why she was fired. I don't like it, though. Talented woman. Very pretty too! I hope that both of them can come back to WWE.
I first started watching wrestling when I was 7 years old, and my favorite wrestler was Ravishing Rick Rude. I used to imitate him, with the hip gyration and even managed to teach myself how to flex my butt cheeks like he did. As you can imagine my mom was thrilled when her 7 year old boy showed her that particular talent. Anyway, my question to you is, do you think Rick Rude is HOF worthy?
Yeah he's Hall of Fame worthy. With that said, it's not like credentials are that necessary to be in the WWE HOF. He's a way bigger name than Koko B Ware, who's the name I always bring up when criticizing the HOF. I'm not sure why Rude isn't in yet. It will probably happen. He was a very good performer for a long time even though I'm sure WWE wasn't too thrilled when he left them for WCW the way he did.
What are the legitimate odds that you think we'll see Kurt Angle back in the WWE? I'm a huge Angle fan but I'm having trouble seeing it happen.
I think it will happen in about two years. Apparently he's got under two years left in TNA. Not much else for him to do there. He can go back to WWE, work part time, have a few big matches and retire. Then he can work backstage in one of the two companies.
Will Monday night go down as the most memorable night in Mark Henry's career? Or will nothing beat his hand child?
Hand child thing was a joke that we can always laugh about. I think his segment on Monday is probably the best non-wrestling moment of his career. His best wrestling moment would be winning the World Title against Randy Orton at Night of Champions in 2011.
Are there any titles you think should be brought back by WWE?
Not really. I'm happy with the amount of titles they have in WWE right now. I just wish they booked midcard champions to lose less in non-title matches.
As a relatively newer fan, I didn't witness Hulk Hogan's heyday in WWF, but it seems to be common knowledge that he had a ton of backstage power. Were there any instances of wrestlers winning championships that got nixed by Hogan?
I believe Mr. Perfect was supposed to win the WWE Title, but Hogan nixed that. In 1993 it was thought that he would put over Bret Hart. That didn't happen. It's hard to know what's fact and what's fiction. Hogan had a lot of power, though.
In WCW it was likely even worse because he had full creative control, which allowed him to book himself in the NWO even though he was originally against it apparently. When it comes to Hogan who knows what's true? He's one of the biggest liars in wrestling. He just denies anything bad and acts as if nothing is his fault.
If The Undertaker were to retire soon, do you think that would make any chance of Sting jumping to WWE impossible? It seems like the only chance of Sting having a match in WWE is if he were to wrestle The Undertaker and as much as I'd love to see that match, I think there are several other options that would be just as entertaining. I for one think a match against either Randy Orton or CM Punk could be amazing.
I think if Sting wanted to be in WWE he would have been there already. That Undertaker match would be the big one, but I don't think Sting is that interested in doing it. He says every year that his deal is up in January, so we'll see what he does this year. I just don't think he wants to go to WWE to wrestle Undertaker or anybody else.
With a lot of the young guys stepping up, do you think WWE should bring back the brand extension that guys like Sandow, Cesaro and Rhodes will be in a higher place on the card?
As a fan I'd like it. I don't think it's realistic for WWE to do it again, though. It's been many years now. I don't think the brand extension is coming back.
What is one thing you would have done differently with the Invasion angle?
I would have booked WCW guys to win more matches early on to make them threats. They would have drawn major heel heat if they were booked as winners. I also would have paid guys like Hogan, Nash, Hall, Goldberg, Flair and maybe even Sting to come to the company in 2001 instead of letting their contracts run out. They had deals with Turner, so if WWE wanted them they had to buy them out. It would have cost WWE some money, but I think they would have been profitable out of an invasion angle that felt more real than what we saw.
If you could go back in time and be on the Creative team during one angle, what would it be? What would you suggest they do differently?
The Katie Vick angle. I'd say "what the fuck are you doing" and wonder why they thought it was a good idea. That's a bit of a joke answer. My real answer is the Invasion angle in 2001 because I think that was a major angle that was rushed too quickly.
Do think Kane deserves one more World Title run before retirement?
I don't think so. Been there. Done that.
Would Sheamus be better suited as a heel?
I'd be in favor of that. I don't get the sense that he's about to turn heel in the near future, though.
What happened to the Swagger/Colter thing? Swagger isn't even on TV anymore and Colter has moved onto Cesaro.
Swagger has a hand/arm injury. He'll be back in August. He can manage more than one guy. It's a smart move.
Hey John....what opponent do you look forward to RVD working with after he comes back the most? I heard a lot of talk about RVD vs. Punk, but I'd much rather see RVD vs Bryan. Who do you want him to see against the most?
I'm not craving RVD matches because I saw him not giving a shit in TNA for the last two years. At least in his first year he did give a shit. One guy I think would be a good matchup is Seth Rollins. Two great athletes who can use their speed to put on an exciting match. Of course you can always pick Bryan, Punk or Ziggler because they're the best. Rollins is a guy I'm a big fan of too.
What did you think of the gimmick battle royal from WrestleMania several years back? Fun match to see some of the old guys again or sad display of how these guys have broken down physically?
It was basically a comedy match on the best PPV ever - WrestleMania 17. I didn't mind it at all. Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan were great on commentary too.
Do you think after Kaitlyn and AJ's good performance at Payback, that WWE are starting to put more thought and time into the Divas, or do you think by Summerslam, it'll be back to two minute matches with models and no back story? I hope it's the first one.
I hope so too. It was encouraging to see that very good Kaitlyn/AJ match at Payback, so let's hope that kind of booking continues in the future. Speaking of models, that's how they found Kaitlyn. She's worked hard at her craft, though, so she should be applauded for that.
So right now it looks like they are doing Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena at Summerslam. If he doesn't win the title there, does that crush the push for D-Bry?
It's a rumored match. Plans are always changing. I think if Bryan lost to Cena it wouldn't hurt him that much because a lot of people lose to Cena. They can have him lose only to keep coming back strong and eventually winning the WWE Title. As long as Bryan remains a babyface I'll be happy.
Do you see the McMahon/Helmsley drama leading to Vince having one more match... in... that... very... ring?
I hope not. He's a grandpa! He should be playing with grandkids? That Stephanie speech was so silly. Anyway, I'd love it if Vince didn't wrestle again because he's nearly 70 years old and I doubt doctors would recommend a guy his age having a match. Of course if he wants to do it who is really going to stop it?
With that said, I think he will wrestle again. I don't think it's a good idea, though.
Do you think the introduction of the Wyatt Family will lead to a collision course with The Shield? If so, could a face turn for The Shield be very far off?
I hope not. I don't want The Shield to be babyfaces. Like I've said many times lately the babyface side is getting full with guys like Cena, Punk, Bryan, Ziggler, Sheamus, Orton (for now) and others. Those are a lot of big names right there. I'd rather see The Shield stay as heels to compete against them. Turning them face is too early. It hasn't even been a year yet. Let them keep doing what they're doing. It's working. As for Wyatt Family, they'll fit in somewhere lower on the card. You can't push everybody at once.
I see Jerry Lawler is allowed to work whatever independent dates he wants as long as they don't interfere with his WWE schedule while the other talent under contract are not. Why do you think they allow him to do this?
Because he's been doing it for so long and I don't think Vince McMahon minds too much. It's not a big deal. Lawler can't be filmed on an indy show as per his contract, but other than that good for him for continuing to perform if that's what he wants to do. Nothing wrong with staying active to make some more money.
Best Canadian talker of all the wrestlers from the great white north?
I think it has be Chris Jericho. I know some Americans reading this will say he's American because he was born in New York state, but he's from Winnipeg an considers himself a Canadian. He's my pick. I also think Edge was pretty damn good as a talker too. Bret Hart had his moments, but I think as a talker Jericho is better. Roddy Piper? Does he count? He's kind of the opposite of Jericho because I think he was born in Canada and grew up in the US.
What specific event, PPV or otherwise, held the best crowd in WWE history?
One of the more recent ones that jumps out at me is Money in the Bank 2011 in Chicago when CM Punk beat John Cena for the WWE Title. The whole show was loud and it was one of the best crowds I've ever seen.
Another one that stands out is the ECW One Night Stand event in 2005 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. That was outstanding. Also ECW One Night Stand 2006 had an outstanding crowd too.
I'll pick a Canadian one too - Canadian Stampede 1997 in Calgary. I love that one too. I could pick so many, but those are three that I remember fondly.
Of course the crowds on Raw after WrestleMania 28 and WrestleMania 29 were both outstanding too. It's become a tradition the night after WrestleMania now.
That's all for this month. It's over 5,500 words this time. We'll do this again in July.
Be sure to visit the TJRWrestling page on Facebook because we link to every column on there and my buddy Ed Eastin Jr. (aka Edswoggle) does a great job of posting funny memes on there. We also have a lot of caption contests as well.
Thanks for your support as always.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org