Q and A
July 8, 2008
Time to dip into the mailbag once again. Keep those questions coming because I try to do one of these every month. StormWrestling@shaw.ca
Q: I know you must be extremely busy. However, if you are planning a commentary in the future I was wondering if you could discuss what happens if an injury happens during a match.
A: There is no set protocol because it all hinges on how bad the injury is. In almost all cases we try to finish the match, but obviously that is the call of the injured party. You generally try to stall and give the person enough time to gather himself (or herself) together enough to decide how badly they are hurt. From there you can change, shorten, or outright end the match depending on how the injured party feels.
Q: What do you do all day when you arrive for a TV taping? I mean after you have planned out your match and spoken to the agents? And do you have to be there just as early for a house show?
A: Once you’ve got everything ready for the actual show you are free to do what you want, but you do have to stay in the building. Guys generally, listen to music, talk on the phone, eat in catering, work out in the ring, take a nap, you name it.
Q: What do you think about other wrestlers who say in their promos how much the belt means so much to them and then you see them using it as a weapon in one of their matches later on in the night. I used to see that all the time during the Lesnar/Angle feud.
A: This seems like an odd question to me. I would assume when guys talk about the Title meaning a lot to them they mean actually being the champion, not that the specific belt is of value and thus should be physically protected from damage.
Q: How would you handle someone who is being too stiff with you? And would it make a difference if it were JBL or an Indy guy? Or would it be the same response?
A: It would be the same response. I’d tell them to lighten up, if they didn’t I’d hit them back. Getting stiffed is not a big deal.
Q: If you could wrestle anyone in the main event of WrestleMania who would it be?
A: Chris Jericho. I would then permanently retire and my career would start with a match against Jericho on a dump Indy show and finish against Jericho and WrestleMania. In the words of Carlito, “Now that’s cool!”
Q: After Corner Gas what is your next favourite show?
A: Boston Legal. It’s the only other show I watch religiously. Denny Crane is TREMENDOUS.
Q: Since you helped work with a lot of the ladies in WWE, how do you feel that they match up compared to the TNA women? It seems that the TNA women often have matches that are just as good (and sometimes better) as what the men put on.
A: I think the Knockouts in TNA are fantastic and TNA is doing a better job of highlighting their women’s division than WWE right now. I think the Knockouts also stand out more on Impact because their segments seem to be far less over booked than a lot of the other stuff on the show. Who ever is agenting the Knockouts is doing a fantastic job, as are the women. I think Kong is great, I’ve always been a fan of Gail’s and I really like Angelina. Taylor has been a great addition of late as well. I first saw her on an NCW show in Montreal (in 2005) and told her she had the talent to make it then.
Q: Sean O' Haire was a guy who was destined to be a major player with his run in WCW in 2000-2001. Even WCW seemed to see the potential, booking him stronger there towards the end. Then with the WCW purchase, he disappeared soon after he and Palumbo were squashed by Undertaker and Kane. He reappeared for a few months as a heel then was seemingly gone for good. Seriously, what brought this guy down so fast in WWE? Was it the fact he was a WCW guy, his look or did he not fit the WWE style? If WCW had survived, do you think he would've rose to the top of the heap?
A: WWE was very high on Sean, because he had the look and the size they loved and was a great athlete. Sean was his own undoing unfortunately and had several conduct issues in WWE. I think the straw that broke the camels back for him in WWE was his tendency to get into fights. O’Hare like to fight and picked them often (outside of wrestling) which lead to a lot of problems.
Q: In your June Q & A, a reader asked you whether there is a difference between wrestling opponents who are left-handed and those who are right-handed. You responded that it is a pain in the ass. Do you know of any instances in which a wrestler said "Do I have to work with that guy? He is left-handed!"? Being a lefty, myself, I would like to know.
A: It’s not that big of a deal, no one would refuse to work a left hander, but it is different and makes little things annoying.
Q: How surprised were you that Jimmy Wang Yang failed a Wellness Policy test? I guess when you think of people violation the Wellness Policy you don't usually think of Cruiserweights, although Funaki did fail it as well.
A: This is something I’ve been very outspoken about and people need to realize that cruiserweights are often as big if not bigger violators of the wellness policy than heavyweights. That being said the wellness policy is about far more than just steroids and Jimmy could have failed for a lot of things that have nothing to do with size or steroids.
Q: What is your opinion on people using moves similar to or the same as someone else's finisher in the same promotion? I ask because a) this has always interested me, and b) I remember something like this happening last year or so with Test and Sylvain both using TKOs as their finisher.
A: I think moves similar to other guys finishers should be avoided if you are in the same company. I pretty much gave up using the Super Kick as soon as HBK made his return to the WWE. It was Shawn’s move before mine and it’s not like I couldn’t just use something else.
Q: What is your opinion on renaming moves between promotions? For example: WWE calls it a Powerbomb, and TNA has called it a Powerslam (amongst other names).
A: That may more be an issue of incompetent move calling rather than changing names. Was it Frank Trigg who called it that? In MMA anytime you throw your opponent to the mat it’s called a slam so if a guy did it hard he would naturally call it a Power Slam, perhaps not thinking there is a specific move in wrestling called that.
Q: What do you think about wrestlers having the same initials or similar names in a promotion? For a fictional example: A company has Mark Henry and recently hired Marshal Henry. Both have the initials M.H. and the same last name. Is it made out to be a bigger deal than it is, or is it because of marketing issues?
A: You obviously don’t want any confusion when it comes to marketing guys so in that case I would certainly rename Marshal.
Q: Where would you rank Shawn Michaels in an all time list, and what are some of your favorite HBK matches? Also, what was he like backstage?
A: I don’t like doing specific ratings. Shawn is definitely on the all time greats list, but where exactly depends on your tastes. I loved a lot of Shawn’s earlier Rockers stuff personally. They had great SNME matches with The Brain Busters and the Hart Foundation that I though were awesome. A lot of Shawn’s big singles run was when I was on the road and not watching WWE programming as much.
Q: Why is "the office" in every major company so reliant on the crowd reaction being what they want as oppose to adjusting to the crowd reaction? You made the point that if WWE wants Cena to get cheered but his opponent is getting cheered, then they'd more than likely not put that guy against Cena again because it makes Cena look bad. Isn't it obviously time to replace Cena with the guy getting the better reaction?
A: This industry is a business, and Cena generates a ton of revenue as a baby face, and from what I understand also a model employee behind the scenes. If the office feels business is better with him on top as a face they will do what they have to, to keep it that way.
Q: I’m just curious on how foreign wrestlers like Rey Mysterio, Christian, Eddie Guerrera, Bret hart, Kahli and you; who are not American citizens got a working visa? Did the promotion help you to get it?
A; Most of the guys you listed are American citizens, but yes the office applies for and gets the working visas required by foreign talent. They do however (at least in my case) bill you for the costs incurred while getting it for you.
Q: How do you think smaller wrestlers should be booked against larger wrestlers, should it always be an underdog story or just two athletes going against each other and not make much about the size difference?
A: I don’t think it has to be an under dog story, as I would think Rey would be the favourite in a match against Mike Knox but you should always make use of the size difference. Why ignore the most obvious difference in a match. If they ignore the size factor their match becomes the same as everyone else’s. It’s always best to tell a story with a match, and the size story is one of the best and easiest to tell.
Q: In your Bad News Allen commentary from last year you mentioned that when Don Callis clubbed your jammed neck, in a match in Winnipeg, it was one of only two times in your career that you got hot in a match. What were the details of the other time?
A: The other time was in Smokey Mountain Wrestling and was in a house show match with Balls Mahoney (then Boo Bradley). In the match Balls tried to put me in some kind of weird arms bar and twisted my elbow severely. I was just sitting on the mat expecting a simple arm bar and he completely F’d up my elbow. I was so mad I actually cussed him out loudly during the match. I completely lost my cool. After the match he explained that he had saw this arm bar on a Japanese tape and thought he would try it. I have problems to this day with my left elbow because of it. A word of advice to any aspiring wrestlers out there, when you want to try something new ask the guy first and try it in the back, when the guy knows what the hell you are doing.
Q: I was just wondering, do you think that Tommy Dreamer will ever get main event status? Also do you think he will ever be drafted away from ECW?
A: NO. I love Dreamer but WWE will not be moving him to RAW or SD as a Main Eventer.
Q: How comes when some wrestlers vertical suplex someone it looks smooth and painful, yet when other guys do it, it looks like the really have to work to get the guy vertical. Is it strength or momentum type manoeuvre?
A: It’s just about skill, both on the part of giving the move and taking the move. Some guys go up like a load of cement while others can make themselves feel light as a feather. There is also proper technique, which can help you execute the move better that not everyone understands. There is a lot of physics behind what we do.
Q: I was just curious to know. In your entire career, was there ever a person(s) you outright refused to work with in the ring? Whether it was because you thought they lacked the required skills, had a bad temper, or whatnot? And if so, what was involved. Of course, I'm not asking you to name names. I'm just curious to the circumstances, and whether it's happened before either to yourself, or anyone else.
A: I never refused to work anyone but there was one dude on an local show I worked in 1995 that was so bad I walked up to the booker after the match and said, “If that guy is even on another show, I quit.” I was back the following week he was not.
Q: I was wondering in your opinion do your think that the Undertaker is actually done wrestling or do you think he will come back sometime later this year or next year.
A: There is no way in Hell The Undertaker is done with WWE. If he were there would have been a HUGE deal made of his departure and retirement. The Undertaker is a WWE institution and will go out with much fan fair when his time does come. I have no idea why this angle came together so last minute and has been made out to be so insignificant.
Q: I was reading an old commentary and I was wondering if you could explain the Lex Luger approach of keeping a straight face?
A: I only ever told this story once, and this is seriously what I used to do. I would visualize a Lex Luger match in my head and think about how much more money this guy made than me, and after that nothing seemed funny anymore and I could maintain my somber expression with relative easy. The idea first came to me in WCW thanks to Fit Finlay. Luger and Buff worked a PPV match with Sean O’Hare and Chuck Palumbo, and had a stick fest of a match. The next day on Nitro Mike Awesome and I worked O-Hare and Palumbo and had a far better match with them. When I came through the curtain Fit came up to me and said, “You and Luger should just switch money. He’d still be over paid but at least you’d be getting what you are worth.”
Q: My question Lance is, are moves actually "banned"? Is there a list backstage somewhere that says, "Do not use the following moves"? Are wrestlers at their own discretion to keep their moves safe? I'm more inclined to think that wrestlers have to ask to do something potentially dangerous like a Shooting Star Press, but I have no idea how these things would go down.
A: There is no official banned list; at least there never was when I was there. There are a few moves that are considered taboo to use, and unless you clear them you risk getting heat over it. Obviously top guys are given more lea way when it comes to certain moves. When they first started banning moves in WWE I suggested just banning shitty workers rather than specific moves but that did not go over too well.
Q: What is your professional and personal opinion on Scott D'Amore? Do you think he should be put back in charge of TNA's Creative Team? Also, how was your experience with Border City Wrestling?
A: I think the first thing they should do with Scott is make him shave before letting him do any more personality profile segments on Impact. I’ve known Scott a long time although not really well. We are friends more through mutual friends than from time we’ve spent together. I don’t know what all he booked when he was part of the creative team so it’s hard for me to fairly say whether he should be “in charge’ so to speak. I think Scott has a very good understanding of this business and has a lot to offer. I think he is responsible for a lot of the Knockouts stuff, which for the most part has been excellent. I worked Border City wrestling once and had a great time. I even wrestled Scott on that show. I like working Scott he makes me look very lean!!!!!
Q: I hear Don Callis is VERY cheap. Is this true? Also, why does he always say "tremendous" and "uh-huh"?
A: I’m not sure it’s him being cheap as much as it is just him liking to be a pain in the ass. Why does Don say “tremendous” and “uh-huh”? Why does Dave Meltzer say, “You Know”? Why do I say, “It’s just one of those things”? I guess it’s just one of those things!
Q: I'm sure I'm not the only one who would be quite interested in hearing your reaction to William Regal's recent 60-Day suspension for violating the Wellness Policy. In fact, one of my first thoughts upon hearing about it was to wonder if you would comment since it was someone you consider a friend. Considering your commentaries about the Wellness Policy in general and Jeff Hardy in particular, it would be nice to hear you sound off on the issue again.
A: I guess I never did write on William’s suspension. I talked about it in a Figure 4 Weekly audio interview, which I now do every other Thursday, but never actually wrote about it for my site. I was obviously very disappointed because I have a lot of respect for Regal and consider him a friend. I assume he failed for steroid issues rather than other drugs, or at least I hope so. William Regal had huge drug issues in his past, which he wrote about in his book (a must read) that I believe he’s put into his past and I hope that is where they stays. If it was a steroid infraction I certainly understand it. I’m not condoning it but I understand it. Regal was up for a very big push, which relates to a lot more money. When the office is considering giving someone a big push there are always those trying to convince them to push someone else instead. In these cases they generally point out shortcomings in the other selection in hopes the office will agree and go with their selection instead. Physique is the only flaw in William Regal so I understand his motivation to improve it by any means possible. If this was the case it was obviously a mistake that I hope he and others learn from.
Q: Did you ever hear Michael Hayes make racist comments or jokes?
A: I never have no. I worked with Hayes as an agent quite a bit but it was always in matches where Hurricane and I worked with the Hardy Boys, which really lead to more small-town North Carolina jokes.
Q: The first one regards your feud in SMW with the Heavenly Bodies. After recently watching the match where Jericho wrestled with a broken arm, I began to think about something. When Chris was busted open, was it planned that he'd get THAT much blood, or did he accidentally cut too deep?
A: Take a look back at the finish and you tell me. The finish involved a ref stoppage due to blood lose. Would that finish have made sense if he bled only a little?
Q: You're a guy who is adamantly against short matches (3 minutes or so). I heard Steve Corino say that when doing a dark match for WWE a couple of months ago, he was told to do a 6 minute match. Corino told them that wasn't long enough for him to tell a story. So, I was intrigued on what you think is an appropriate match length.
A: I don’t like nailing down a time. I think the best case is when you go out and do the match the length the crowd wants it to be that night. When you react to your environment and let the match grow naturally that is when things are at their best.
Q: Thoughts on Kofi Kingston and do you think that there is any chance that he will be a main eventer? I really like his work and it seems that the crowd is getting behind him.
A: I think it is WAY too early to be thinking Main Eventer for Kofi. He is a great young kid who is fun to watch but there are miles of road for him to cover yet. I hope they haven’t jumped him ahead to quickly already.
Q: What are your thoughts on Kidman? I always thought WWE killed a lot of his momentum that made him a consistently growing star in WCW. He proved there that he could be a decent player in at least the upper midcard scene, why do you think they pushed him down?
A: I think Kidman’s downfall in WWE was his size. Billy was doomed because he was too big to be a cruiserweight yet considered to small to be a heavyweight. He had that cruiserweight label in WWE, which is never a good thing but was close to 230 lbs so he was sort of lost in the quagmire of no man’s land.
Q: Of the finisher you used in your career, which was your favorite? I personally thought your springboard missile dropkick was great.
A: I was never really a move guy. I didn’t care much which move was my finisher.
Q: During the Invasion were you surprised the WWE paired you with the Hurricane rather than reforming the Impact Players with Justin Credible?
A: I wasn’t surprised WWE gave Justin and I a chance as a team on house shows early on and unfortunately Justin didn’t have his head in the game at the time and blew the opportunity.
Q: Not being a professional wrestler I'm not aware of the reasoning but I have a question. Why does a wrestler have only one finisher? It seems that depending on what part of the body someone is working on, one would need more than one match ending hold. I've also noticed that some men do have a submission move as a secondary finisher. Should this not be somewhat of a standard so they could be recognized as a multi level threat? I ask due to watching matches where a man works on one body part over and over, hits the finisher on a different area, and that will still result in the pin. It just seems a bit illogical.
A: I agree with you completely in theory. I avoided having a set finisher for years based on this same logic. I liked the logic behind having to beat different people different ways. That being said, in wrestling, fans react better to established moves and finishers. You will generally get a far better reaction teasing and hitting established finishers than you will hitting different moves every match. It’s just one of the entertainment elements of the Sports Entertainment business that you have to relax logic for a little bit.
Q: Any chance you will revive the TV Thoughts section on your site for on a semi-regular to weekly basis?
A: I update it when I can. There are some weeks I just don’t’ feel strongly enough about the show to say much. Other weeks I feel I would just be repeating myself. I do it only when I feel I have something strong to say.
Q: How much control did you have over theme music: indies, ECW, WCW, WWE? Was your WWE theme music made available to you in disc form?
A; Top guys are given more control but I pretty much had none. In ECW Paul asked me to pick between 2 or 3 songs that were going to be on the ECW music CD, and I picked the Rob Zombie tune that I ended up using. In WCW and WWE they just told me that was my music. They did not make a copy available to me. Perhaps if I asked for one they would have given it to me, but hearing it 4 times a week was enough for me.
Q: Sorry if this question has been addressed, and I am really asking out of genuine curiosity, but I was wondering how your autobiography was going. I have been a huge fan for years. I had stepped away from wrestling for a short while because of the way the women were being treated, but sites like yours brought me back. Anyway, I hope to get my hands on the book soon (I also am a big reader) and will keep reading your site.
A: I get asked this a lot and to be honest I’m making no effort to even get the thing published. I doubt there would be much interest from a publisher seeing that I haven’t been of TV for almost 5 years and was not the biggest name to begin with. As great as I think my story would be WWE could release the Santino Marella story and likely sell more copies based solely on him being on WWE TV promoting the book. That is not a shot on Santino I just wanted to pick a fairly new performer who likely doesn’t have that much of a story to tell yet