I actually managed to find a connecting thread in mid-column for this one! Go me!
I was going to do a Piper piece last week for my weekly deal but it just wasn’t working for me, so let’s hit the mailbag instead.
Everything we read is that the backstage argument about Owens is his conditioning and “he’s fat”? But someone just brought up Mick Foley. He was the least WWE/Vince looking guy and he walked in to a feud with Undertaker and WON! He was made instantly and Taker didn’t get the win back for months. Foley feuded with main eventers his entire WWE career including famous feuds with Austin and Rock.
Bret and Shawn weren’t the WWE style big men. Benoit, Jericho, Eddie were the “vanilla midgets”. Recently, Bryan, Punk, and even Ziggler to an extent aren’t the main event mold. So why suddenly are people making Owens’ look such a big deal?
Normally they wouldn’t, but apparently Kevin Dunn has some sort of beef with Owens and thus here we are. Plus Vince has a habit of defaulting back to the Reigns-Batista-Orton musclehead type when business is down. It is what it is.
Hi Scott. I’ve started reading "Titan Shattered" and the foreword got
me thinking about how much better things seemed before everything got
exposed. Do you ever regret having the business exposed to you? I
realize it would be almost impossible to keep kayfabe the way it was
in the old days, but I feel like we would all be a lot happier if it
had stuck around in some way shape or form. Any thoughts? Thanks
I have no regrets about getting smartened up. There’s been many points where watching strictly as a fan would have driven me away for good. 1995 alone almost did it as it is. The business has changed and it’s silly to pretend otherwise.
We may want to file this along with Mayweather/Pacquiao whatever the McGregor and Rousey UFC PPV numbers end up being in the "PPV is Dead" argument.
For those not aware, McGregor talked himself into ONE MILLION buys for that last UFC. Easiest payday of Robbie Lawlor’s life.
And yeah, the whole PPV is dead argument is mostly WWE justifying their own destruction of the PPV industry.
I hate change, but I’m digging the new site.
I spoke with NWA President Bruce Tharpe about NWA Classics 24/7 and ended up learning a ton such as WWE low-balling the Boesch library and how the NWA is somehow still around.
Hopefully your readers will share in my shock.
Thanks as always,
Thanks, I also hate change, which is why I resisted changing back to WordPress for so long.
Kevin Owen’s loss to John Cena at Battleground and his new position in the upper mid-card is one of the most disappointing missed opportunities. A real head-scratcher. Whenever a storyline or feud goes wrong, we like to say because Vince or “reasons” or it’s creative’s fault. But from what I’ve been reading on the guy lately, shouldn’t a lot of the blame fall on Kevin Dunn? It sounds like he’s the one who convinced Vince that Cena needed to win supposedly for the sake of merchandise sales but that he also has a beef with future boss Triple H. If so, who’s REALLY in charge of creative direction over there? I know Vince has the final say, but who’s truly next in line? I always thought it was Stephanie or Triple H but this makes it sound like Dunn has a bigger voice than theirs.
As always, I appreciate your time and input. Sure hope Owens can get past this backstage political maneuvering. Cena has done amazing work with the US title but Owens winning would’ve been fresh, different and entertaining.
Vince always has the final say on stuff, but for some reason he really values and appreciates the input of Kevin Dunn, even though almost literally everyone else in the business hates his guts. I don’t know if it’s a Vince Russo situation where Vinnie Mac is taking advice to the exclusion of others, but yeah, Dunn seems to be a really bad influence on the product being delivered. And as many have noted, HHH actually has made little secret of his intention to deliver Dunn’s pink slip when Vince is gone. At least HHH’s cronies will likely be guys like Nash and Waltman, who have watched wrestling once or twice in their lifetimes.
Hey Scott, i know the UT-Brock angle was really well done an all. But man, im just not feeling it. I cant recall ever being this bummed out over seeing the Undertaker.
Is it just me being a typical bitchy smart mark? Or are they honestly making a mistake here??
Well I mean, if you’re gonna bring Undertaker back, then the Brock match is the biggest one they have. That being said, you’re hotshotting UT to get ratings back to where they were a couple of months ago, and what’s going to happen in the fall when football starts again and the product REALLY goes off a cliff?
Big fan love the new blog
I thought last night was horrible. instead of using lesner, who is over as a monster, to make rollins for good, rollins is made to look like a chump. In the span of a year they made all three members of the shield look weak, ruined bray, ruined Ziggler even more and are on their way to ruin Owens leaving taker brock HHH and cena as the only guys any one cares about
Is there any reason to keep watching at all?
John Cena v. Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 32, brother!
When Paul Orndorff turned face and fired Bobby Heenan for a second time, Did the WWF have plans for him long term beyond the feud with Rick Rude?
I remember an episode of Superstars in early 1988 where they hyped the blow off match between Rude and Orndorff and when the match happened it was announced Orndorff "no showed" and Ricky Steamboat took his place.
Would he have maybe got a run chasing Honky for the IC title had he stayed?
I’d have to say they probably didn’t have anything for him, given that even as a kid at the time I could tell that he was being jobbed out. Plus Paul was having a lot of injury problems at the time due to his neck and didn’t really re-emerge until, what, 1990 WCW? They knew during the Hogan series that he was in pain as well, but, you know, money. I doubt they’d be making big plans for someone falling apart like that.
Do you think that his "punishment" is just bullshit that the WWE has made up after the fact? Because, other than not winning the 96 King of the Ring, what was the punishment, exactly? The curtain call happened in May of 96, he won the IC Title 4 months later, which still meant quite a lot back then, lost it to a guy that they clearly had big plans for in Rocky Maivia after a decently long reign, won the blowoff to his feud with Goldust clean at Mania 13, won King of the Ring in June 97, and then started DX in September, at which point it was onwards and upwards for him. Even if he was on TV every Monday jobbing between June and October of 96, that was back when they only had an hour. He would have still been a featured guy every week, and most guys would kill for that kind of exposure nowadays. Doesn’t really seem like much of a burial to me. What gives?
Uh, you kind of skipped over the entire burial in your description. Him winning the title in October WAS the end of it. You don’t consider him going out and doing literal squash jobs to guys like Sid for five months to be enough of a punishment? Also, by that definition, Barry Horowitz was a "featured guy" every week. This argument is NO BUYS.
Starrcade 1996 & Bulldog……
So what the shit was going on at Starrcade ’96 in the main event? Piper v Hollywood had the crowd on their…..ass. Sitting down. It was silent in there. Piper got a pretty nice pop with the sleeper finish, quite the surprise actually. But prior to the PPV was this pimped at all as non-title? And what was the storyline explanation for the belt not on the line? Was the feud drawing/popping ratings?
How close was the Bulldog to joining WCW as the 4th or 5th nWo member? I actually kinda dig Davey Boy being in the group. Would you have liked the move of putting him in the group? Or did he choose correctly staying with Vince with the Hart Foundation, which btw was complete awesomeness as a faction.
Thanks much & as always much like Iran & Russia, the BOD is #1
And P.S. are seeds getting planted @ Battleground for Taker v Sting finally? I don’t give a shit how old they are I’d still love to see it on spectacle alone.
Messaged you with some questions a few times but I think the real question I would like to ask you is this:
How did you become such a great/compelling writer?
See, now THIS is the kind of well thought out material that the blog has been looking for. Give this man a job immediately!
Why on Earth did they have Rusev win the triple threat if only to pull the Owens angle??? Why on god’s earth wasn’t that Cesaro winning and getting screwed to set up a monster face run OR a triple threat with Cena? The crowd pops for every move the guy does and after an awesome 25-minute match he jobs to a kick?! To a guy feuding with Ziggler?!?! To set up nothing at Battleground?!?! Cesaro could be the next D-Bry as he has the organic fan support and sympathy with using injured Kidd’s moves. Meanwhile Cesaro (with 3 **** TV matches) and Ambrose (in main event at MITB) have NO matches for Battleground. For every 2 steps forward, this company takes 3 back. I don’t get it. Do you think there are any plans for Cesaro at this point or should I just hope he’s fired and in next year’s G1?
Well now the problem is that they’ve seemingly written Ziggler off of the show for some reason, so Rusev is also suddenly lacking in an opponent. I think if there’s a silver lining, it’s that ratings are going to continue bottoming out until finally Vince will wake the fuck up and start pushing new people for serious this time, because obviously the current set of guys isn’t getting it done. Which isn’t a knock against them, but they’ve clearly ruined Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt and even Brock Lesnar as potential top draws and something’s going to have to happen soon.
Was Strike Force always meant to be broken up the minute they got together? They certainly didn’t last very long despite being popular. Plus, it’s not like pretty boy tag teams were going out of style at the time (hello Rockers). Or was Vince that in love with with the model gimmick that he felt it was worth the sacrifice.
I know it’s hard to believe with the intense buildup and well-crafted interviews that they gave to set up the team ("We’re gonna STRIKE with lightning FORCE!") but yeah, poor Tito was always just the designated goober who Martel was turning on. But I mean, it’s just Tito Santana and it was easy for him to get himself back to the previous level he started at anyway.
> All this talk about Drawing Power made me wonder about how Cena will be viewed when all is said and done. He’s been the top star in the company for over a decade, while the audience and ratings have been essentially cut in half since the attitude era ended. I don’t recall him really ever having a run of Sold Out live events, yet he has moved a ton of merchandise and made the company a lot of money.
> Do you think he’ll be remembered as one of the all time greats or will his title of "WWE Poster Boy" hurt his stance with fans?
I think he’s already an all-time great. He just had the misfortune to come along 5 years too late to cash in on it like Rock and Austin were able to.
Maybe they should turn him heel.
John Studd returned in late 88 to the WWF as a face to feud with the Heenan Family and renew his rivalry with Andre The Giant. Were there any major plans for Studd before he abruptly left the company in the early summer? He was gone within 8 months of coming back. Was money an issue for his giving notice?
There was actually lots of reasons. He was promised a big push (which is obvious from the Rumble win) but wasn’t making the money he wanted, and he had enough saved up to where he didn’t need to play the game any longer. Plus he was getting roles in Hollywood, but also suffered a hip injury after a motorcycle accident and didn’t really want to be on the road any longer. According to his Observer obit, the accident combined with years of HGH use probably triggered the disease that eventually killed him.
On a somewhat related sidenote, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man is an underrated 80s cheeseball action movie, and Studd was pretty great in his role in it.
Hey, Scott. I’m actually a fan of yours writing this all the way from China (where I’m now teaching English). That’s irrelevant, but I wanted to mention it.
Okay, is there any heel character that better captures WWE’s aimless booking than Bray Wyatt? The formula for him never seems to change.
Step 1 – Bray cuts a series of really vague, borderline incoherent promos backstage for a few weeks uttering some meandering bullshit about topics like pain and hopelessness.
Step 2 – Bray interferes in a match and attacks a random babyface, thus revealing who his random target was all along.
Step 3 – Bray cuts more nonsensical promos to "explain" why he targeted said babyface, with the motivation always including no more than random tangents about nihilism , etcetera that lack any substantial content and which could apply equally to any character on the roster.
Step 4 – Bray finally loses to the babyface and quietly moves on by repeating the first step.
Even better, all of his opponents have gone on to do really well for themselves after feuding with him! Bryan, Cena, and even Ryback all went on to become champions after feuding with Bray, and Undertaker and Ambrose were both unaffected by him afterwards too. He’s totally useless and ineffectual.
Yeah, Bray is a really a guy who could have benefited from going to another territory for six months if this was still 1985. I know we talk about how overexposed that Cena has become, but Bray is a guy where the curtain has already been pulled back multiple times and we know there’s nothing back there. He’s 1995 Undertaker wrestling IRS over and over, which is an OK position but it’s never going to be a top one. The Wyatt Family was a main event act, Bray is just a guy.
Is WWE.com giving you a nickel for every click when they use one of the saying you made ubiquitous? They should be.
Eh, I’m well aware that there’s people on the WWE site that are fans of mine, so it doesn’t bother me that much. Now if Cena started putting that on a t-shirt and making money off it…