Q and A
December 31, 2008
Q: I was just wondering, would it be better off me studying tapes to try and learn how to take bumps/perform moves safely, or would that just more than likely force me into the wrong habits?
A: Studying tapes is never a bad idea but I doubt that will be enough to teach you how to do things properly. I certainly wouldn’t start trying stuff based solely on tape watching.
Q: Does it annoy you when fans try to act like they know everything about the business?
A: There aren’t that many who do but in general yah.
Q: Why must TNA constantly re-hash old storylines & gimmicks from WWE & WCW?
A: I think they feel it gives TNA a rub by acknowledging that guys in TNA have worked in WCW and WWE. I don’t agree with that belief but I think that is why they do it.
Q: Is it difficult to work a match on the fly early-on?
A: Not really if you are taught properly it’s sometimes easier than having to remember so much stuff. Matches tend to be more basic but if it’s early on in your career basic is likely a good idea anyway.
Q: Something I've always wondered, when you first start as a wrestler, how do you get bookings? Do you approach the booker or will they approach you?
A: You pretty much have to approach them. If you are just starting out no one knows who you are so they sure aren’t’ going to reach out to you. This is part of the reason why I started the SWA Alumni Network on my site. It should help grads from my school reach out and make contacts easier.
Q: Who was your favourite wrestler growing up?
A: I was a huge Dynamite Kid mark. I also loved the Road Warriors.
Q: Is there anyone you've downright refused to work with?
A: I don’t think I ever refused to work with anyone.
Q: I was just thinking about this the other day, do you agree TNA's Tag Team Division is actually terrible? They have no mid-card (it's really just the ME and the X-Division, which is generally lower-card) and any guys who should be in the mid-card (Strom, Roode, Morgan, Abyss, etc.) are just thrown into tag teams and take the spotlight away from established teams like MCMG and LAX?
A: I don’t think you can just dump this on TNA WWE Tag divisions suck too. The problem is with a TV format of big matches singles programs are always progressed through tag matches on TV, which waters down and kills any potential Tag Team division.
Q: Do all wrestlers speak a carny regularly? Again thinking of a story from Jericho's book, he implies that is the case while discussing his time in Germany. If that's the case, is there some kind of in-joke with Smackdown's Kizarny?
A: I think it is meant as an in joke but Carny is all but dead in the industry and generally only the generation before mine really speaks or uses it at all. I know what it is but have never really used it and very few if any of the guys after me ever even learned it. There really isn’t point to it anymore because we don’t kayfabe anyone anymore.
Q: Do you have any interest in writing a fictional crime novel, much like most of the Bookmarks suggested reading?
A: There is so much work involved and such a ridiculous long shot anything I wrote would ever get published, that I doubt it. Writing is a full time job and I don’t’ really have that kind of time, or realistically talent.
Q: How many different scenarios can fans come up with to ask if you'd consider a job with WWE or TNA?
A: There never seems to be a shortage, and when they run out of new ways they just repeat the old ways.
Q: Did Dutch Mantell help book SMW? Just curious because I know he helps book TNA, which sucks, and I always thought SMW, though a little corny, was pretty good.
A: I don’t think Dutch helped with SMW, I believe that was all Jim Cornette. From what I’ve heard Dutch leaves many booking meetings shaking his head so I wouldn’t dump too much blame on him for TNA creative direction.
Q: Did you ever spend much time around Kevin Sullivan? If so, what is your opinion of him from a booking standpoint?
A: I’m not even positive I ever met the man. I think I was introduced to him once but other then a hello and a handshake that would have been it. He’s old school enough I’d probably like his booking.
Q: What are your thoughts on Jeff Hardy as WWE champ? Though he is small, the fans seem to LOVE it thus far. Will that hold up for an extended period?
A: Fans have always loved Jeff and I’m very happy for him. I have no basis for this but I doubt he will be Champ long. I’d predict not even until Mania.
Q: Did Danny Collins ever wrestle in the US? If so, when and for who?
A: Not that I know of.
Q: Did you ever work with Brian Pillman? Thoughts on him.
A: I never even met Brian Pillman, which is a shame. I was a big fan of his work and really patterned myself after him somewhat as a worker. I saw a lot of similarities between us, as far as size and athletic ability. I was breaking in during his WCW Flyin Brian days.
Q: How would you rate Morristown, TN as far as places you have lived? Jericho recently said the movie theatre and WalMart were the only things to do. Do you agree?
A: I never actually lived there. During our SMW days I lived in Knoxville with my wife and Jericho lived in Morristown. It was a very quiet place so I certainly would have liked it more than Chris but it sure was a not too much happening place.
Q: Did you ever have a match against the Rock & Roll Express or Ricky Morton in a singles match? If so, thoughts.
A: I never worked with them no. We may have done a 8 man tag with them on a house show or two, but even that I’m not sure of. Ricky was or maybe still is an awesome worker. He’s a great selling baby face. Workers starting out that want to learn how to sell as a baby face need to watch old Ricky Morton.
Q: Who was the most difficult opponent to work with and why?
A: Probably Koji Kitao, a guy I worked with in Japan. He was not a very good worker, HUGE, STIFF, and there was the language barrier on top of that.
Q: Do you personally prefer Jim Cornette's booking or Paul Heyman's? Cornette seems more traditional while Heyman is more cutting edge to me. Thoughts?
A: I agree with your assessment. I lean a little more towards Paul’s booking but both are geniuses in their own right and the business would be a better place today if one or both of them were contributing to booking WWE or TNA.
Q: Have you seen Ricky Steamboat Jr.'s work yet? How would you book him in WWE after he gets a few more years experience (as Steamboat's son or a different persona to take away pressure)?
A: Provided he’s any good (I haven’t seen him yet) I would acknowledge Ricky being his dad. It’s so hard to get new people over, as legit stars today, so not using his family history would be a huge waste.
Q: Can the New Hart Foundation work in WWE? What will it take to make them successful?
A: I think it could work and all I think it would take is a solid push. TJ and Harry are really…really great as a team, and with Nattie involved it takes the appearance of a straight tag team away which I think is key. The tag division is so poor that I would rather see them as a faction that often teams rather than exclusively a tag team.
Q: What would you do (or rather, recommend) to liven wrestling up these days?
A: This is such a complex question. If there was an easy answer it would have been done already. New faces on top would be great but there are so few new faces good enough and experienced enough to really carry it on top and then what do you do with all the “still have drawing power” guys that are on top now? Some kind of conceptual change is needed and that is something that would take extensive long debate between some really knowledgeable people to find.
Q: If you were in charge, what would you do with the possible arrival of Christian cage in the WWE from a storyline / feud standpoint.
A: I’d have Christian cost Jeff the Title at the Rumble and be revealed to be the one who took him out in that Hotel stairwell. Then have him work with Jeff at Mania and do the HHH – Edge program for the title at Mania.
Q: At the last tour through Germany the WWE had back-to-back house shows with the exact same card and the same finishes. What are your thoughts on this?
A: This is pretty standard procedure. They are live events and generally different fans attend each show so everyone gets to see the same show. If a play or stage show travels around the Country it’s the same play each night. They have been doing this for ever it’s just with the Internet people get to compare results and see that they are the same.
Q: In the early 2000 there was so much pure technical wrestling in the WWE. Do you think this art form of wrestling will someday return, I hope some capable New grapplers will emerge because there a great need and interest for that.
A: I’m afraid that is a dieing art, seldom new guys can work that style and with the short match TV style we see so much now there is less interest in learning it and less places to learn it.
Q: Hoping you'd expand on why you think a Jeff vs. Matt feud would fail. I know the crowd hated it back in the day, but that was a while ago and I feel like they've come a ways since then, both in terms of their characters and their abilities. Interested to hear your thoughts.
A: Both are just so loved by fans that I doubt fans want to see them fight. It creates a situation where fans don’t want to see either lose and then there is no one to cheer for or get behind because you have to turn your back on the other. Matches work so much better with a face and heel and this match up just can’t have one. It didn’t work before and I doubt it will again.
Q: Do you think Kimbo Slice has any value/drawing power left as a MMA fighter? If you were a promoter, would you want him on your card?
A: Absolutely, he has more name value than any other non-UFC fighter and likely more than a few UFC guys. He’s far from a great fighter but if you were running a non-UFC show you need all the drawing power and name recognition you can get and he would still likely be one of your biggest options.
Q: Why is it that referees act so exuberant and become such a big part of a match? I know they're important, but I often get annoyed with the refs when they get into the faces of the wrestlers for stuff they'll never get DQed for (using a closed fist, hair pull, using the ropes for leverage etc). I would prefer if they sat back like an MMA ref and just came into count the 3, 5, or 10 counts
A: I think it’s an attempt to give the matches more credibility, by trying to enforce the rules. I think your UFC ref comparison is way off the mark because they to would be that involved too, if rules were broken in UFC as much as they are in WWE.
Q: What’s your opinion on Manu's place in Orton’s 'legacy' stable?
A: I’m still struggling to get a grip on Manu. His character confuses me and because of that I’m unable to relate to him. He dresses and sort of looks like the Wild Samoan gimmick, he has the name for it, but he doesn’t act or talk or even work that Wild Samoan gimmick, so he’s sort of not a regular guy and not a wild Samoan so I’m left not knowing what he’s trying to be and because of that I don’t know how to react to him.
Q: You mentioned Austin was a big draw as champion, but since Bret Hart and the Rock were in WWE at the time do you think it was also because of them that he drew so well? Also, would you consider Rock/Hart big drawing champions?
A: Technically I don’t think Bret was a big drawing champion, at least not in the US. This isn’t my opinion as much as what I think the numbers would indicate. Internationally I think he did draw well. Rocky sort of piggy backed Austin’s era so it’s hard to really say. He was definitely a mainstream draw but what exact box office numbers you can attribute to him I don’t really know. I do know that whenever I worked with Rocky on RAW, which happened a few times, I was always recognized more in public the couple weeks right after. It was enough of a difference that I noticed so he was that over.
Q: TNA in some ways remind me a lot of WCW, do you see any similarities between the two? Also, if TNA continues booking angles like they have do you see them receiving the same fate as WCW?
A: They are a lot different but there certainly are similarities and unfortunately most of the similarities to WCW are negative ones. I doubt they will suffer the same fate as WCW in that they seem to have a better grip on their expenditures. TNA to me at least is in a solid holding pattern in that their booking (be it good or bad) is what it is, there fan base is pretty much what it is, so I don’t see business changing that much, so as long as they can break even, which I think they did this year or maybe even made a little money, they should be ale to survive at this level. As long as they don’t drastically increase their spending and business doesn’t fall off a cliff (realistically most current TNA fans are pretty loyal) there shouldn’t be any sudden demise in their future.
Q: I've often read that wrestlers earn a percentage of what they draw, which makes sense. But I was wondering about how wrestlers get paid for doing TV tapings, especially for something like TNA's Impact and the old WCW from tapings where the crowd are brought in for free. Where does the money come in to pay guys from these shows? I assume takings at the merch' table wouldn't cover it?
A: The problem is you are confusing two different things. WWE’s business plan is the, earn a percentage format, where TNA and WCW aren’t or weren’t. In WCW I got paid what I got paid regardless of my spot on the card or the size of the gate. With this format you have to have a more solid business plan in that you have to have a good idea what you are drawing as a company and what you can afford to spend on talent. With the WWE pay system their pay roll can go down if business goes down and up when it is up so it’s a more flexibly business plan. The downside to this is that it leads to morale and politics issues. Since you will make more, higher on the card there are a lot more politicking and backstabbing to get those more lucrative spots. Also if someone has a higher down side guarantee than you, WWE will be more apt to push them because they have to make sure that person is in a big enough money program so they can earn their downside. With set payroll your costs are the same no matter where everyone is on the card so you can just book the best show possible with out worrying about covering individual salaries. There are plusses and minuses to both systems.
Q: I'd just like to get your thoughts on Maven. I know WWE tried to push him hard but he never caught on with the fans. Do you think he needed more time to train or was he a
lost cause regardless of how much time he had to get better?
A: I liked Maven and thought he had talent and potential. I think some of the problem was that he progress so quickly at first that he was thrown into the deep end far to quickly and the deep end in WWE is a tough place to survive.
Q: What is Kane like backstage?
A: Kane and I got along great in WWE. He is one of the more quiet guys back stage and a true professional.
Q: Who do you think are the three most talented women wrestlers in the WWE right now?
A: I hate just picking three because that would exclude some I think are talented.
Q: What women wrestlers do you think have the most potential in the future? I like how Maria, Kelly Kelly, and Michelle McCool are coming along.
A: Michelle is a great athlete so she likely does have a very bright future.
Q: Why do you think WWE creative is booking Kane as always losing to guys as big or bigger than himself? I used to be the biggest Kane fan around but I stopped when he got on this nonstop losing streak against Great Kahli, Big Daddy V, Batista, and Mark Henry. He seems to be the most professional person around and for myself; he's just one step above enhancement talent.
A: I think you are way off base here. I think the reason he loses to guys as big or bigger than him is because the office wants to keep him strong so he only loses to big guys they want to do something with. Kane has been around a long time so his drawing power is likely going to be the same win lose or draw, so they can use him to try to get new big acts over without damaging him too much.
Q: Besides Ballz, who was the worst guy you had to work with?
A: I wouldn’t say Ballz was anywhere near one of the worst I worked with. This is one of the downsides of the Internet in that people don’t pay close enough attention and comments get blown out of proportion and eventually facts are so misconstrued that people end up not knowing what they are talking about. I likely mentioned that Balls I hated his chair shot and that he hurt my elbow, but that does not mean that I think he’s terrible or one of the worse guys I’ve worked with. He certainly wasn’t my favourite but he was far from the worst.
Q: My question is " Do you like your fans"? If so, why do you condescend, talk down to, and/or insult us when we ask questions? We are only asking for you to share your knowledge of a sport you love with us. We ask those "silly" questions because we simply want to know the truth. Perhaps you are unaware of it but many of your responses can be taken as a real disdain for your fans. And we are your fans. The ones who paid money to see you perform, paid PPV charges to watch you, paid for your merchandising and paid to go to your wrestling school. I just think we deserve just a little understanding and respect for being your fans.
A: I think this is a two way street. The same way you may think my comments sound like real disdain for you, I find some fan questions sound like arrogant disrespectful questions. You also need to keep in mind that for every “questionably offensive” question that makes a Q and A there are countless I delete. If I get several delete able ones in a row the next one that makes the Q and A might get a harsher answer. That’s just the way it is, I say what I feel at the time. That’s what I think is great about this website, when you read stuff here it’s the truth, it’s me saying what I feel at that moment, and you as fans or just readers who enjoy my writing have to accept that. I am a person who at times is very patient and at others is more fed up. If you want me to filter my comment to caudle and please everyone, the vast majority will lose out on what I think they like most about my comments. I am blunt, even a smart ass at times, but at least you always get the truth and you always get the real me, good or bad. Your closing few sentences for example sounded almost like a threat or demand, like I somehow owe everyone one something for paying to see me wrestle or attending my school. Again this is a two way street, yes you paid to watch me wrestle but I in tern busted my ass for your entertainment. You guys got what you paid for and I was paid for what I did. We owe each other nothing. I spend money to keep this website up and devote many hours to keeping it updated and answering peoples questions. If me being honest and answering how I feel like at that time (I have good moods and bad) isn’t good enough for everyone, there isn’t anything I can do about that. For every one complaint I get (I got three from the last Q and A) I get numerous praises (I think between 12 and 15 this time out). You can’t please everyone and to be honest if your goal is to please everyone you can no longer be honest and say what you feel and I think that is what the majority of fans want from me.
Q: Just watching Raw and noticed Jericho still has his "Save Us" entrance video and pyro. Shouldn't they have changed that to something more heelish by now?
Do they ever design a new entrance prior to the actual in-ring heel or face turn?
A: They did change it from Save Us to Save Me.
Q: I was watching a couple old clips of you and Team Canada and then remembered your run with the UnAmericans. My question is, with which group did you feel the most comfortable or have the most fun working with out of all the groups, teams or stables you were apart of?
A: It’s really apples and oranges. I had a lot of fun with the Impact Players in ECW because I had a lot of creative input and Justin, Dawn and I were really tight. Team Canada was also fun because WCW was a fun relaxed time for me. With the Un Americans there was a lot more pressure so it wasn’t as much fun likely but Christian and I are such good friends it too was fun.
p.s. This was only half the Q and A I finished. I’ll post the rest just after the New Year.