Q and A
December 5, 2008
Q: This may be a bit deeper than most of the questions you receive, but I'm interesting in hearing your take because I know you shoot from the hip. The wrestling industry is a unique beast in that it seemingly can turn perfectly normal people into egotistical, sadistic lunatics. Until recently, drug usage seemed to be the norm, and it seems like the backstage area of any wrestling company in the world houses a large collection of dysfunctional personalities. Why do you think this happens? Does the wrestling business attract people with repressed tendencies to just go absolutely crazy, or does being actively involved in the business itself turn normal people into weirdoes? And on the same level, why do you believe that you and guys like Jericho and Edge were able to remain completely normal and functional members of society?
A: I think on the grand scale it isn’t that the business attracts these kinds of people as much as it is that this business creates an environment that allows for people to exercise there inner strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately I think most people have far more weaknesses than they do strengths. I think everyone has a certain propensity for drug use, alcohol abuse, sexual infidelity, etc. When you work in a more regular field there are a lot of safe guards that keep people from falling into traps they might be prone to. When you work in an office 8 hours a day, and have a family you spend the rest of your day with you have far less opportunity to indulge in sex, drugs, and alcohol. You also have many more checks and balances to catch you if you fall, before things get out of hand. In wrestling life on the road provides you ample money (at the top at least) ample opportunity, and almost no one to look out for you and catch you when you fall. Everyone likes to Party, and when you are on the road you have no one to answer to and a virtual buffet of decadence in front of you to enjoy. It takes a tremendous amount of inner strength to not give into weakness when no one is watching.
Q: I read today that the WWE is cracking down on marijuana use, although nothing more than asking wrestlers to stop using it in addition to a $1000 fine. In your opinion, can using a mild-altering drug like marijuana be detrimental or even dangerous when a wrestler is trusted by an 'opponent' for his or her safety in the ring?
A: Safety may not be their only concern, and this is what people have to realize. WWE is a publicly traded company and illegal drug use by the people within the company can reflect poorly on the company. WWE has a right to protect their public image and stock price by promoting a drug free company environment. If encouraging talent to stop smoking marijuana is something they feel is important more power to them.
Q: I just went back and watched Rise and Fall of ECW and during the Al Snow section they showed a short clip with all the fans and Al "head banging" with those foam heads and it looks like you in the ring with him. It looked to be an incredible time. What do you remember of that night?
A: I remember that it was my first PPV Main Event, and that we had to work the match with a huge hole in the ring. That was the night Taz and Bam Bam Bigelow broke through the ring, and to add credibility to it, Paul booked them before us, so we had to do the Main Event with the big hole in the ring. It was a lot of fun as it was more of an angle than a full-blown match. The crowd was amazing.
Q: I often see pictures or interviews with wrestlers at home and they have championship belts on display. My question is - does the company provide you with one when you win a title or are these the same replicas that we can order for example from wwe.com purchased by the wrestlers?
A: I think guys like Austin are likely given their gimmick belts like the smoking skull one, but for the most part the guys you see, buy replica belts and hang them up themselves.
Q: I recently bought the ROH dvd "better than our best" based on you're high praise of the match you had. I really enjoyed you're ROH match which was awesome and i really liked the psychology of the match. The only thing that looked odd was the spot on the top rope where you guys spent 10 seconds waiting to do the bump. Was there a reason for that? The other question I have is what's you're view on these ROH scramble matches where they have more than 4 guys in a ring basically doing spots, little selling, and more spots.
A: I don’t know why Bryan pauses that long on the suplex. The scrambles are designed to please the high spot junkies and they serve that purpose well. It’s not my preferred type of match but I understand why they are booked.
Q: It’s hard to see a great wrestling mind like yours not being utilized with any of these companies. Would you ever want to approach WWE or TNA to be their “storyline/plot editor/consultant”? I’m not saying that you have to write the storylines, but rather, everything has to get your final approval before it hits television. Storylines would make more sense and fans would be more into the product.
A: This isn’t really a job that can be done from here, you have to be at the events, because so much is changed and booked last minute. I think I would be very good as the detail guy (which is a lot of what I did when Paul, Raven, Dreamer, and I booked ECW) but you have to be there to do it.
Q: Do you consider Randy Orton to be a “cool heel”? Been hearing a lot of RKO chants.
A: I wouldn’t consider him one no, I think the RKO chant might be more do to him being fresh coming back and booked strong. They may also be considering turning him face.
Q: I'm all for a showdown between Lesnar and Nogueira, but wouldn't some part of you like to see Brock get a shot to avenge his loss to Mir, especially since Brock has improved exponentially since that fight? I know that would mean a Frank Mir victory when him and Nogueira meet and I would really love to see Nogueira stretch the shit out of Mir and make him tap out like the whiny d-bag that he is, but I'd rather see Lesnar get the opportunity to shut Mir up. You just know Mir would be running his mouth during the whole build-up to the fight, and having Lesnar ground and pound him would just be so satisfying. Do you agree?
A: I just love Nog based on his performance on TUF, so I want him to kill Mir. There will be the Brock - Mir rematch at some point regardless so I will get to see him kill Mir even after Nog beats his ass.
Q: Kurt Angle has been talking of jumping into MMA. I feel that he could do very well in MMA, he seems like one of the toughest guys out there and skill isn’t even a question. How do you think he would do?
A: Honestly I think he would get killed. His neck is way to messed up to be doing legitimate combat sports. I’d be surprised if a commission would even license him. Do this back in his prime it would be a completely different story.
Q: If Ted Turner had employed Paul Heyman to run WCW instead of Eric. Would that company still be here right now, in some form? By this I suppose I mean would Paul E have spent Ted’s millions differently and more effectively?
A: I can’t answer this question, there are just too many factors to consider, especially when you consider Paul’s motivation behind ECW was his hatred for WCW. The wrestling world would be a very different place but who knows if for the better.
Q: If you could please visualize this scenario. Royal Rumble match. No competeirs left except two guys, approaching number 30. Now these two guys eliminate each other. Number thirty enters arena. The two guys who have elimated each other continue to fight it out outside the ring. Number thirty walks into the ring, Number 30 is now the number one contender. Two instant feuds and a whole lot of instant heat for the winner. Now my question is could this scenario work?
A: NO it can’t. First off I don’t see two feuds. The two guys that eliminated each other is no big deal, guys eliminate each other all the time in the match, so unless they had an existing issue, who cares? What other feud could there be? Also an undeserving winner is a horrible idea, especially in the just walk in and win manner you suggested. This guy goes on to headline WrestleMania, so you’ve booked the biggest match of the year around a dude that did nothing to get it and doesn’t deserve it; how does that draw money? If he’s a baby face challenging the heel, he’s a cold baby face that won’t get over because he doesn’t deserve to be there, and if he’s a heel challenging a face champion he is no threat and then again no buys.
Q: Are there any gimmick matches you refused to do or hated doing?
A: There are a bunch of stupid hardcore matches that I would refuse to do.
Q: Do you think TNA will eventually rely on their younger talent to be in the main event? Or do you still think there is the possibility that 5 years from now we'll still see Sting, Steiner, Nash etc as their main event guys?
A: I doubt those guys will be around in 5, the real question will be, will TNA start pushing someone else before they leave, or will they kill everyone off and be left with nothing at that point.
Q: Is there anyone from ECW that you wanted to wrestle, but didn't have the chance to?
A: I think I pretty much worked with everyone who was there at the time.
Q: I know you wrestled Mike Awesome in WCW.I enjoyed your pay per view match in Vancouver, besides the whole Canadian Rules gimmick, how would you have done the match differently if you were to have wrestled in ECW?
A: We did wrestle in ECW.
Q: Excluding cities in the US and Canada, name a city WrestleMania should take place in.
A: There isn’t one.
Q: With the ratings dipping below 3.0 for RAW, does the main event deserve the blame for the low rating? Or should everyone take the blame?
A: The blame should fall on creative; the over all show is their design. If the guys on top are the problem it’s creative’s job to book other people on top.
Q: Is it any type of benefit or easier to work a match when the TitanTron is up? I mean, I know its just up for TV and PPV and not at house shows, but when I was watching HBK vs. Jericho a few weeks ago on Raw, and I saw Michaels look up at the screen and brace himself for a chop block from behind from Jericho. Obviously great matches happen with or without it, just wondering if you or the other wrestlers preferred having it there to reference.
A: I’ve never much though about it but I have used it on occasion.
Q: When a wrestler with WWE is injured on the job, do they still get paid? And if they do, since they are "performers" or whatever the hell they are called now, the WWE can still require them to be on air personalities, right?
A: Yes you get paid when you are off hurt, albeit not as well as you get paid when you are working. A lot of people while off injured still end up doing appearances provided it doesn’t hamper their recovery.
Q: What are your thoughts on tattoos on up and coming wrestlers? Would you advise your students not to get large tattoos ala Batista, Randy Orton or Mr. Kennedy? I've always felt some wrestlers can make it work such as Undertaker, Batista or Brock Lesner (except that chest thing), but with others (Mr. Kennedy, Randy Orton) it seems out of place.
A: I would advise against getting major tattoos, if you are just starting out in wrestling. You never know what role you will be asked to fill and if you make a permanent decision with your look like a large tattoo it could cost you a job. There was one guy who had a dark match and he had a HUGE Iron Cross tattoo on his back and the second I saw it I knew he would never get a job in WWE. It looked way too similar to HHH signature iron cross design for him to ever be employed by WWE. Unless he comes up with a gimmick that requires him to wear a shirt, he killed his career with that tattoo.
Q: There's a video somewhere on YouTube showing part of a match you had with William Regal where he ended up with a bloody nose. The rest of the video shows him doing what looks like very stiff shots to you, which someone's been trying to say was him giving you a receipt. Personally I don't think he'd be that unprofessional and he just appeared to be working stiff because he can just make it look good.
A: I love this match. Everyone assumes I broke Regal’s nose with the drop kick and he in turn beat the hell out of me. Truth be told, his Lordship had nose issues for a long time and was getting nose bleeds daily back then. I barely touched him on the drop kick and his nose just started bleeding on it’s own. The office wanted to get Regal over as very aggressive in the match so everything that happened was planned a head of time, we just have really good chemistry together so everything looked good. He didn’t stiff me once in that match, nor I him, with the drop kick. We’re just that good together. So whoever’s been saying he was receipting me, got worked. I guess they aren’t as much of a “SMARK” as they think they are. (LOL)
Q: We hear about PPV bonus all the times, but are they really a good chunk of change? Like lets say someone was the main event at WrestleMania, are we talking $5000.00 or $50,000 or more for a bonus?
A: Bonus isn’t the right word. In WWE you get paid a portion of what you draw, so you get a portion of the gate and a portion of PPV revenue. The money from the PPV companies comes in a few months after the events so the PPV “bonus” is really just your delayed cheque for the show from PPV. Since PPV revenue is a large portion, PPV “bonuses” can be quite large.
Q: I assume you still get random checks in the mail from WCW/WWE have you ever got a check for like under $5-$10? I know some celebs said they get random $7 dollar checks from movie companies on tv deals, dvds and random stuff.
A: Random cheques would be a bad way of putting it. I get a quarterly merchandise cheque from WWE, but thankfully none of them have been that small. I remember a story from WCW where I think Dave Taylor got a $0.00 merchandise cheque sent to him. They actually wrote and mailed a cheque for $0.00. WCW was great for that. They sent Jericho and empty Fed-Ex envelope once. He signed for the delivery, opened it up and there was nothing inside it.
Q: What does Lance want for Christmas this year?
A: Under Armour clothing.
Q: Do you still go out to the movies any? You use to do reviews sometimes and I enjoyed them. If you caught some movies lately, which ones and what did you think?
A: I don’t get out to the movies much. With a wife and 2 kids the opportunity does not present itself often. The last movie I saw was High School Musical 3. I mentioned I have kids right!!!! (LOL)
Q: Last time you ate at a Cracker Barrel was?
A: FAR, FAR too long ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Keep those questions coming and please put Q and A on the subject line.