Q and A
March 21, 2010
Q: I'm currently reading Jericho's book and am fascinated by his stories of working in Mexico and his many adventures there. Since I've only followed your career as a fan since your ECW days, I'm just wondering, did you work in Mexico in your earlier days and if so what have been
your experiences there?
A: Mexico is one of the few wrestling hotbeds I’ve never been to. I’ve never even vacationed in Mexico. I came real close to getting booked there once, but about a month before I was scheduled to go to Mexico for the first time their economy took a big down turn and the drop of the peso made me far to expensive and I my trip was canceled.
Q: What do you think about WWE getting rid of Survivor Series? In a recent conference, Vince McMahon said that Survivor Series was "obsolete and no longer works."
A: They pretty much gave up on the concept of the show a long time ago so to me it was just a name at this point so I am not too upset to see it go. I was a big fan of the 5 on 5 concept when it first started but hopefully what ever they do in November this year will be good as well.
Q: You mentioned wrestling Doug Williams for 1PW. He had a very entertaining singles match with AJ Styles a few months ago. Do you have any thoughts about his wrestling style? I keep hearing the term "European style" - is Williams a good example of this style?
A: I haven’t seen enough of his TNA stuff to say if that is the way he is working now. I think Doug is good enough to adjust and work any style, but I think at his core he is a very good example of European Style. I really enjoyed working with Doug, he has a ton of talent.
Q: What do you think of this WWE NXT show? Were you contacted to be one of the pros training the new talent? I'm not asking if you considered doing it, I think we all know how you feel about traveling, I'm just wondering if they considered you for one of the positions.
A: NXT airs at 3 am on Saturdays here in Canada so I don’t even watch the show. WWE did not ask me about being one of the pros. If you’ve watched the show they incorporate CURRENT stars as pros to intertwine NXT with RAW and SD, using on a retired guy like me would change the show considerably.
Q: What are your thoughts on the end of ECW (or WWECW, as the case may be)?
A: I think the WWE version of ECW pretty much ran it’s course and NXT will likely be a much better format for introducing new Stars.
Q: Any thoughts on Edge's surprise Rumble win and the forming WrestleMania card?
A: Anytime my buddy Edge is back in the mix I’m a happy guy. You make a lot of friends in the business but only a few truly close friends you go out of your way to keep in touch with. Edge is one of my few and I love wanting him perform, so I’m glad to see him back. As for Mania I think the show is looking great and I’m probably going to order the show. I will do my annual Mania prediction commentary later this week.
Q: What was the catering situation like backstage in all the places you've wrestled?
A: Lots of plain chicken breast.
Q: Out of all the movies WWE has had a hand in producing, which one is your favorite?
A: To be honest I’ve only seen one; The Marine. It was on Movie Central here in Canada during a free preview weekend so I caught it for free, so at that price the movie was well worth the money.
Q: In one of your former columns you made mention of a match with Eddie Guerrero, and talked about him calling the in ring match. How is this determined? I can understand in this case with Eddie being the champ or higher up the card, but how is the "general" determined amongst in ring veterans in most cases?
A: There wasn’t really any conscious decision, Eddie just started calling and I respected Eddie more than enough to just shut up and listen. As a general rule of thumb be it in the ring or out, you defer to the more experienced man.
Q: I have read that pro-wrestling business has boom-bust cycles like any other business. I know 2 boom periods in wrestling were in the late 80's and late 90's. I also noticed that wrestling has become less and less kayfabe during the period of 1980-present. Do you think fans would buy into an amateur wrestling style show, where the finish was not decided by the booker? Just like how wrestling first started in the early 1900's. Conversely, has pro-wrestling had to endure a longer bust-period because MMA has captured the first boom period of this millennium?
A: No I don’t think fans would buy an amateur style show, if they did amateur wrestling events would be big business. Just look at MMA, most fans prefer stand up, which is why they have incorporated the stand up rule, when fights stall an the ground. I doubt MMA has any effect on Boom or Gloom in the wrestling business. I do think it has effected wrestling business but it would likely be a consistent percentage of the wrestling fan base be it a boom or bust period in wrestling IMO.
Q: Back in the 80's and 90's there were a few Japanese wrestlers of note in the US, particularly the Great Kubuki and Great Muta; even up through the mid 2000's with Tajiri. Not withstanding the occasional visit of Kenta in ROH there are virtually none. The most recent I can remember is the unsuccessful run of Kioshi in TNA. I understand the language barrier, but some of the matches I've seen many Japanese wrestlers put on - how can a company WWE or TNA not try to bring in some of the talent and pair with a manager or an English speaking partner. Any thoughts and how would you get a non-English speaking wrestler over?
A: Yoshi Tatsu was doing well in ECW and hopefully will continue to in WWE. A Manager could over come the language issue but no one seems to want to utilize managers anymore, which I think is a real shame. It also limits you to using the guys as heels, which I think is a bit to stereotypical. You just need to find the right guys and give them a chance. I think one of the problems is that companies are less apt to take chances on foreign guys because of the added expense and paper work involved with getting work visas.
Q: Your Book Marks was a great way to get fans of yours who like to read open up to different genres they tend to read, I am wondering what is your favorite type of novel?
A: I think if you just take a look at the list of books we did for Book Marks you’d see I tend to lean towards mysteries and thrillers. Even though Book Marks has been shut down I have added My Current Reading List to the page, so there is a constant up date as to what I am reading now, as well as a running list of everything I’ve read thus far in 2010.
Q: I've noticed that a few of the writers you've featured on the now defunct Book Marks have done some comics work and I wonder if you've ever considered checking out some comics? I believe you would really enjoy a book called Criminal. It's a crime story by one of Greg Rucka's former writing partners, a guy named Ed Brubaker. It's a really good crime noir story, no superheroes or anything like that. Anyways, just curious.
A: I’m not a comic fan, and to be honest don’t even know why. Maybe I’m a reading snob and like to stick to true novels. I did read the Captain America series David Morrell put out a couple years ago. I think it was a 6 comic series, but they released the entire set in a hardcover form which I bought (I buy EVERYTHING Morrell rights). My daughter likes the graphic novel versions of the Artemis Fowl series (Eoin Colfer), although after getting into those she just jumped into the novels and is anxiously awaiting (so am I) the summer release of the latest Fowl adventure. Janet Evanovich has a graphic novel coming out soon too, which I will definitely check out. The problem is there are just so many good books and so little free time.
Q: I have been a wrestling fan for a long time and have no credentials beyond that. Can you please ask Vince to hire me as his head writer?
A: I’ll get on that right away, I’m sure he’ll fire his daughter ASAP if he can get someone as qualified as you.
Q: Do you believe that WWE are taking short term gains over long term ones?
A: I think this is far too complicated a question to answer here. I don’t think you can fairly answer this question unless you have all the corporate info.
Q: What's your opinion on R-Truth?
A: I don’t’ know him well, and because I miss more SD’s than I would like don’t see him that often. The little I knew him he seemed like a very cool guy, and he’s a great athlete and performer. I think WWE has dropped the ball on him a couple times, and I’m not sure why.
Q: Did you happen to catch the series debuts of Hiccups and Dan for Mayor? and what were your thoughts? for me I felt they were not up to snuff with Corner Gas.
A: I did make a point of catching the first few episodes of both shows. I enjoyed them for the most part, but I did not enjoy them enough to go out of my way to catch them. I liked them enough that if I am home watching TV when they are on I will watch them, but will not go out of my way to make sure I do. I wasn’t crazy about a few of the supporting cast members.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Legacy feud?
A: There were a couple times over the last several months that I had high hopes for it, but I feel they jumped the shark somewhere and it is no longer a match I am looking forward to at Mania.
Q: How was Shane McMahon regarded in the locker room? Did he earn respect with the bumps he took or would that rub the guys the wrong way?
A: I think the big bumps were more a negative than a positive when it came to respect for Shane. Shane earned his respect from the boys with his enthusiasm and love for the business not his big bumps. Shane was a lot of fun to be around and you could tell he genuinely loved the business. Shane did a house show loop on the road one time, and did it as just one of the boys and that is where he earned the most respect from me. He traveled with the boys, went out and ate with us, made the shows on time like the rest of us, and worked his matches. Apart from buying us all dinner one night he checked his last name and his corporate position at the airport when he left for the trip and just hung out like one of the boys the whole loop and was a lot of fun.
Q: What is your opinion on Vince Russo's booking, and the philosophy behind his booking? Plus, would you ever hire Vince as a booker if you had a company?
A: I assume this question is an attempt to induce a rant. I can’t believe there is anyone who doesn’t know my take on Vince Russo at this point. I disagree with almost everything Vince Russo puts on TV, although I do believe Russo could be an asset in the creative department. Here is my take on Russo without ranting. Russo is a very creative person who doesn’t understand or even care much for the wrestling business. As long as he is only a creative idea machine with no control or power, I think he could be an asset like he probably was during his WWE run back in the 90’s. In my opinion if you have good strong wrestling people above him filtering out all his bad ideas and fine tuning and bringing logic to his better ideas he could be an asset. If he has left on his own, things are very very bad. If I had a company though I would not even hire Vince Russo as my idea man, I would hire Don Callis. That is if I could afford the ridiculous price he would no doubt try to charge me.
Q: You have been working out and lifting weights for a long time now. Based on your experience, does lifting heavy weight cause hair loss in men who maybe predisposed to it?
A: I have been lifting weights for 28 years now and I do not believe there is any connection to hair loss. Steroid use can cause hair loss, which may be where this theory comes from, but let’s be honest, a ton of men who don’t lift weights or take steroids go bald. One side of my family is very prone to hair loss, and none of them lifted weights, and the other far less of the men are bald and they were mostly weight lifters. I think it’s just a crap shoot genetically speaking.
Q: Do you find it a little odd the WWE took Hulk Hogan and Jeff Hardy out the intro video after they signed with TNA but Ric Flair is still in the video?
A: I think they’ve taken Ric out now too haven’t they?
Q: I read in your last Q & A, that you were stunned they haven't put out a dvd set on Jericho.
I believe it might be because of the "Benoit factor". Do you think Jericho himself has turned down a dvd set that would leave out all Chris Benoit clips or stories? And do you think WWE will ever allow a film to remind the WWE universe of Chris Benoit?
A: No, Jericho has not turned down doing a DVD. Guys make a ton of money from royalties off these things, not to mention the fact that they are a great collection piece of their career. Jericho might want to include footage of Benoit but could put out a solid set without any. IMO WWE will NEVER put out a Film/DVD that promotes or mentions Benoit. The thing wrestling fans seem to keep forgetting is that Chris Benoit murdered his wife and child; WWE is not going to want to even appear to be making money off of promoting anything to do with Chris Benoit.
Q: The Michaels vs Taker match will again be the highlight of this years WrestleMania, but I just cant see Shawn losing again! Do you think the streak will be ended and if so why Shawn and not an up and coming star?
A: If it is Shawn I’m okay with that. I think the problem is that too many up and coming stars don’t pan out long term, and giving up the streak to a young guy who then quits or leaving the company like a Lesnar or Lashley, as an example, would be such a waste of the streak.
Q: At the rate TNA is going do you really expect them to challenge WWE in the future? What do they need to do to achieve this?
A: I do not expect them to Challenge WWE, nor do I think they should even be trying to. WCW survived for so many years just being a good #2, and I think that should be TNA’s goal. Be a good and successful company and grow their own business. I think they need to get back to Thursday’s where they don’t have competition and focus on a slow steady build. They should fire pretty much everyone involved in their creative process, starting with Vince Russo, and get a few wrestling people in charge of their product. Focus on wrestling, no more hotshots, invasions, struggle for control of the company, all that crap has been done to death. Use the amazing talent roster they have and promote good solid wrestling.
Q: Is it just me or do you think the years Wrestlemania has an element of "same old" to it? I mean Shawn v Taker has been done, as has Jericho v Edge as has Cena v Batista. Do you think they are struggling to get new talent over as major stars?
A: I think you are way off base. For starters Edge and Jericho has not been done; they have never had a singles match on PPV, EVER. Dave and Cena I believe have only worked a singles PPV match ONCE, that being Summer Slam over a year ago. Yes Taker and Shawn is a rematch from last year but apart from that match last year, they haven’t worked with each other in YEARS. If you want to argue that WWE should focus on pushing new Stars go ahead but complaining that these three matches are same old same old is ridiculous, and if anything WWE should be commended for having HHH all the way down in the midcard, working with a new guy.
Q: When a long standing tag team negotiates contracts, do they do it together or separately? For examples, when Team 3D's contracts are up, will Buh Buh Ray and D-Von have separate contract negotiations or would they both negotiate as Team 3D? And not necessarily just those two, but tag teams in general.
A: Every case is different, and truthfully is there a long standing tag team in this business apart from Team 3D? I assume they did their contracts as a pair, but would imagine everyone in WWE has a solo deal and even a team like Beer Money would likely have separate deals, because they started with the company at different times and weren’t’ always a team.
Q: I was watching 24 the other day, and the episode was kind of bland. Anyways, I wasn't interested much in watching the next weeks episode until, as most shows do, at the very end they showed the "next week, on 24" commercial, so to speak, where they showed short clips of what the next episode was going to contain. After seeing that, I was really pumped to see the next episode. My question is, with shows being taped in advance, do you think wrestling programs could benefit from having "next week, on ____" commercial showing actual clips of the following weeks show instead of just the generic commercials we generally see throughout the week?
A: The problem is even the taped shows are meant to be treated as if they are live. In wrestling generally announcing matches for next week should be enough. If the performers and angles are good, knowing you are going to see “Vince and Bret sign their contract” for example, should be sufficient, which it was the rating was up from the previous week. This is something TNA is really dropping the boat on in that they almost never build towards or announce what will be on next week, and coincidently their ratings have been going down. They didn’t tell us ahead of time that RVD was going to debut, or that Jeff Hardy was going to wrestle AJ styles. Both of those things should make people tune in.
Q: I just watched Impact from Monday night (on YouTube...I miss both shows live thanks to my fave show 24). For the most part, I liked what I saw. The in-ring stuff was good, except for the opening segment. However I can't believe they buried RVD like they did, despite all the hype of his return (whether they tried to hype it or not). Did you see the show? If so, what did you think?
A: I saw the show and thought the handling of RVD was ludicrous. He was not promoted as being on the show and then he as beat down and left as an afterthought to the Sting Hogan angle. Even the follow up the next week had him attacking Sting and then just disappearing with the focus left on Hogan and Sting. IMO RVD needs to be a Main Event focus, not the backdrop to someone else’s angle. Hell even if you didn’t give him an angle and just let him have 10+ minute matches on TV every week. I’d tune in just to watch those.
Q: I had a quick question for you. Do you believe that is someone is used/booked in the best possible way, that anyone can get over as a legitimate world champ? Obviously being used best can mean different things to different people, but theoretically, if someone like Hornswoggle for instance, was booked well enough, long enough, could he be a believable World Champ (not a David Arquette World Champ), or do you think that some people simply have it and some people don't?
A: I think if booked properly most people can get over to some extent but not everyone can be a credible World Champ in my opinion, and actually drawing money as World Champ is even tougher.
Q: Dude, thank you so much. Everytime I see one of my questions on your Q & A posts I pop big time! I don't usually post stuff on the internet forums, etc but whenever I ask a question you seem to answer it and I thank you so much for that. I completely agree with you regarding TNA. I try to watch every once and awhile but within 10 minutes I have to change the channel as I just can't stand it. One of the reasons I try is that they now have Ric Flair on, but every time he comes on I just feel sad as I feel that Hall of Fame speech he gave and the send off a couple years ago that WWE gave him was so huge that this just tarnishes that. I understand your mindset about not going back out on the road but I also understand that some of the guys have a hard time giving it up. Do you ever get discouraged or disheartened by seeing some of the "pioneers" of the industry try to extend their stay?
A: I am amazed at some of the people still out there working. It seems strange when I see people who were big in the industry when I was a fan in high school, who are still out there now after I’ve retired. Some are still deserving of their spot and on top of their game, while some are over staying their welcome either because they don’t want to give it up or can’t afford to financially.
Q: How is the new job with PWA going? I see that you list upcoming events but I don’t see results from the show. Also, you never talk about whether you like it or not.
A: I’m really having fun with the PWA gig, and feel the shows have been really good. I haven’t been posting result because they just seem flat if you weren’t there. Just saying that Dillon Knight defeated Chucky Blaze, and Super Wild defeated The Nightmares, seems to be info that can’t mean much unless you go to the shows, and trying to explain all the angles and what is going doesn’t do the show justice. On April 10th in Edmonton we have Booker T and Samoa Joe coming in which should make for an awesome show, and on April 17th in Calgary we have the return of Johnny Devine.
Q: What is your opinion on Davey Richards?
A: I think he’s a very talented guy. He has awesome matches.
Q: Why don't people steal old finishers more often? Moves like Lesner's F5 and Goldbergs Jackhammer where both really over when those guys did those moves, and now both have been gone for years and no one has tried to steal the moves. Do you think younger wrestlers should be more willing to use older, unused moves or do you think that there is a reason people don't copy these other moves? (Other then, of course, them simply not liking the older moves).
A: Every case is different but I would imagine to a certain extent guys don’t want to use a move that is too associated with someone else in fear that people won’t identify the move with them but with the former user of the move.
Q: I'm sitting here watching RAW and cannot figure out why they continue to bury great mid card guys like Evan Bourne or Kofi Kingston to put over top tier guys like Batista or even Sheamus. I mean having Batista destroy Kofi does nothing to enhance the Cena feud in my mind. At first WWE seems to be pushing these mid card guys and grooming them for bigger things and then we get to see them torn apart by the "monsters". What a waste. What happened to the real "jobbers"?
A: This happens every year and comes down more to selling Mania more than the individual guys. Guys who aren’t on Mania always get sacrificed to put over guys who are on Mania. Now in the case of Evan and Kofi, they are on Mania, but MITB is more a draw as a concept than it is on the drawing power of those involved so guys get sacrificed. At least Evan just got jumped before the bell and beat up, rather than getting squashed cleanly in a match.
Q: Who are your top 5 wrestling interviewers/announcers of all time (all promotions) when you now watch older wrestling matches/programs? I always enjoyed Gorilla Monsoon, especially when he was teamed with Heenan. I also think Larry Nelson was pretty good in AWA. He shined in interviews with other wrestlers, because it looked like he showed actual fear from the some of the heels.
A: Boy this will be tough, especially since I favour announce pairings more than just individuals. Jim Ross is #1, he’s the easy pick. Gorilla and Ventura as a combo were great back in the day. I still love Joey Styles and Don Callis as a combo (or Styles just on his own). The dude who called All Japan back in the 90’s was awesome too. I had no idea what he was saying but the way he called and sold near falls was amazing. If you’ve ever heard him you know what I’m talking about. JBL on SD was fantastic, Bradshaw added a lot to that show.
Q: Recently, Chris Jericho posted on Twitter a list of things that people threw at him during a recent match, including beer, popcorn, ice, quarters and D-size battery (which he said “left an awesome welt”). How often did fans throw things at you during matches, and what was the worst thing anyone threw? Did you ever suffer any injuries from debris thrown by fans?
A: In WCW I used to get stuff thrown at me all the time, especially during the Canadian National anthem. I took a bic lighter in the chin in Amarillo, Texas that hurt like hell. I also managed to dodge a huge tape ball the size of a grapefruit on that show as well. During my UnAmerican days in WWE I had a glass beer bottle shatter between my feet when I was walking up the ramp on RAW. One of the worst things I ever saw was on a WCW show in San Francisco where Jeff Jarrett got hit in the forehead by a full unopened can of Pepsi, thrown from the crowd. It almost knocked him out.
Q: Do you believe Hogan has the power to get Vince Russo fired?
A: Yes I do.
Keep those questions coming, and remember to please keep your email short and to the point. My daughter edits Q and A email for me and does not want to have to read through lengthy email looking for your questions. Please just stick to the questions, because to quote my daughter, “I hate when they go on and on, because you don’t read these and I don’t care.” Not hard to figure out that she’s my daughter is it?