411 Fact or Fiction 11.15.12: Miz, Linda, Fandango, More
Hi, hello & welcome to 411 Fact or Fiction! I’m Steve Cook, and it’s been quite the week in the world of professional wrestling. Survivor Series is coming up on Sunday, and wrestling fans everywhere have varying degrees of excitement about it. The Miz joined up with Team Foley on Raw, and folks are wondering whether this will lead to Miz becoming a face or screwing Team Foley over at Survivor Series. Jerry Lawler returned to Raw, but many of his fans were unsettled with some of the footage used on the show. (Oh, and there was the whole thing with Punk cutting a promo on him, but everybody saw that coming. I hope.) Fandango is coming to WWE and wants to know if he can cut in. We’re wondering if the gimmick will cut the mustard. Linda McMahon lost her second run for the U.S. Senate, and fans everywhere are wondering if she’ll blow more of Vince’s money on another run. Jeff Hardy’s TNA contract is expiring in January while AJ Styles won’t be getting a TNA World Title shot until at least Bound For Glory 2013. Finally, the 411 Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2012 was inducted, and this column wouldn’t be complete without some shameless self-promotion.
I’ve invited two 411 veterans to discuss these topics. First of all, the man that will spend the next few weeks organizing the 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards. Introducing a glutton for punishment…Scott Rutherford!
His opponent was only allowed to participate if he didn’t mention the San Francisco Giants. I’m still a little bitter about that. Please welcome Tim Livingston!
1. You are interested in this Sunday’s Survivor Series PPV.
Scott Rutherford: FACT. I usually have some interest in any WWE PPV because there’s usually something that is interesting to me. On merit this could be a sleeper PPV but it all depends on what is given time and what the booking is. The WWE Title match interests me because it seems that John Cena was added for the purpose of being the designated jobber. Considering he’s the guy you’re tapping to headline WrestleMania against The Rock it certainly is an interesting choice. I’m guessing Ryback gets the pin honors as a win over Cena would theoretically give Ryback the rub. The World Title match should be a good ol’ fashioned, smash-mouth donnybrook. The classic Survivor Series match always comes down to time and booking and if the WWE wants to dust off the stench of loser from Dolph Ziggler, him winning the match after being left against three opponents and running through them all would be a fine start. I’ll certainly be checking this one out.
Tim Livingston: FACT. Right now, Punk has a chance to make true history in a modern era that seems to want to jump back and forth between champions, and also while being in an era where the title doesn’t necessarily mean much as being the “Top Guy.” I’m also really interested in seeing if Cesaro gets more than five minutes with Truth and whether or not the traditional Survivor Series sees the heels go over. There’s nobody strong enough on the heel team to really put over one of the faces, so I could see something like Dolph/Miz being the final pairing and have Dolph eek something out. That being said, Miz probably is the favorite in that match. With it being one of the “Big 4” PPVs, there’s something big that has the potential to happen (most likely in the Triple Threat match) so that element of surprise is enough to reel me in, as well.
Score: 1 for 1
2. The Miz could get over as a top babyface.
Scott Rutherford: FACT. To qualify this answer I should say that anyone can get over as a top babyface as long as they are booked accordingly based on their strengths. I’m not sure how many people remember Eric Embry from the dying days of World Class but this guy was pudgy and not very attractive dude yet he was a huge babyface and the spearhead into the change over to the USWA. Here’s a taste…
Miz himself is a great promo and his personality is that of a natural asshole but the mark of any great wrestler is the ability to work either face or heel and I think Miz can do that. I remember before his in-ring debut he would often do interviews with the crowds on Smackdown and while he had those classic Miz traits he also come off as a likable guy. If the WWE positioned him right and protected him booking-wise I’m sure the fans would get behind him.
Tim Livingston: FACT. I like Miz as the wisecracking face more than the heel because for a heel to get over like that, he has to back up what he says, and the majority of the time, he didn’t. This also seems as one of the last things WWE can do with Miz due to him fizzling out as a heel, and considering he can transfer over pretty well to a face, I like him eventually becoming a top face. It will take a while, however, probably not until after WrestleMania.
Score: 2 for 2
3. WWE filming Jerry Lawler being treated backstage after his heart attack was in poor taste.
Scott Rutherford: FICTION. The only thing I can say to defend this position is…what else would you expect from pro-wrestling? The list of less than moral actions from almost every major wrestling promotion in history is long and scummy. But you’re talking about an industry that has carny roots and using whatever fate lays in front of you to bring people through the doors and pay their hard-earned to see you perform. Is my position right? Unlikely. Should Jerry have been filmed? No, I don’t think so. If I were the owner of a major wrestling promotion would I film anything that’s happening just in case you need it later? Yup, without hesitation. If Lawler had died that night we would have never seen the footage and we wouldn’t talk about it now. I’d be confident Jerry approved its use since Jerry knows the value of using the footage. It’s really much ado about nothing. Oh, I would also think the filming may have been done for legal reasons. If some litigious person maybe wanted to sue WWE if Lawler did die, then that footage would come in handy as a way to show everything they did to save him.
Tim Livingston: FICTION. It’s too long to list here, but go back and read over a lot of the angles that Jerry Lawler did in Memphis wrestling before becoming a WWE full timer in the early 90s. There were plenty of things done in “poor taste” in his stead. WWE filming Lawler I think was just something that they felt was necessary at the time and was a spur of the moment decision. Considering the enormity of the situation at the time, I really don’t blame them.
Score: 3 for 3
4. Fandango will be a short-lived gimmick.
Scott Rutherford: FACT. I think any gimmick has a shot to make it if it’s done correctly. At this point Fandango will likely fail because as is its want, the WWE has lost site of one of the golden rules of wrestling…characters sell tickets, gimmicks sell t-shirts. If you presented this as Johnny “Fandango” Curtis and have him sell what the idea of what Fandango means as a character trait, you’re heading in the right direction. By just calling him Fandango and acting a certain way means nothing. Gimmicks can work…even back at the start of the 1990’s if someone said out loud that they were going to get a near 7-foot guy, dress him all in black, give him purple gloves, call him The Undertaker and have him managed by a guy named Paul Bearer the reaction would be much the same as it is today for Fandango. I guess this goes more to creative and the writing team because I have zero faith they know how to create a proper wrestling character because most members of those committees are have zero experience outside of writing for sitcoms and soap operas.
Tim Livingston: FACT. I can’t write a sentence short enough for comparison without proving my point shorter than this one.
Score: 4 for 4
5. 5. Linda McMahon will run for public office again.
Tim Livingston: FACT. Because she’s foolhardy and the McMahons continue to make money hand over fist. The problem is that considering the current political climate, her ideals will have to change in order for her to be successful again, but with 2016 showing an uncertainty in the electorate due to there having to be a new president, she might give it the old college try again the next go around.
Scott Rutherford: FICTION. Highly unlikely. Word in the ‘hood is that Republicans are PISSED about how she ran her campaign at the death by putting up advertisements with Linda and Barrack Obama being on the same side and basically painting her as a Independent. The McMahon campaign burned some serious bridges with that act and will be oppose on any Republican ticket in the future and likely cost them any stroke they had with the party when it comes to being sympathetic to the WWE’s needs. She could run as an Independent but she now has the stench of a two-time loser on her and this campaign was fought on political grounds not so much on her past involvement with wrestling and she went backwards.
Score: 4 for 5
6.Jeff Hardy should sign a new contract with TNA.
Tim Livingston: FACT. This is the second time that Hardy has made a comeback after a long-time off where, as a top hand, he’s proving to be somewhat reliable. He took the belt off Austin Aries, and now he’s looking like he wants to prove that he can be a top guy again, and more power to him. I don’t think going to WWE right now would be a good idea considering the travel might make him go back into his old habits more than his current situation would allow him, so for him to work regularly, have exposure, and be on top, TNA seems like the right place to be.
Scott Rutherford: FACT. While I would love one big last run with the WWE and especially a feud with C.M. Punk for Jeff’s long term mental and physical health being in TNA will suit him much better. Going back to the WWE on even a reduced schedule would be tough just because of the increased commitments outside the ring will demand more of him. I’ve always been a fan of Jeff Hardy and especially the fact he willed himself into a main event position when so many in the WWE management wanted firmly in the mid-card. He’s proof positive you can reach the too if you don’t quit. For Hardy however, the eight inches between his ears has always been his biggest hurdle and the propensity to get himself into trouble is legendary. While I’m sure the lure of big money in the WWE is attractive, I think he’s best off staying put.
Score: 5 for 6
7. AJ Styles will hold the TNA World Championship again.
Tim Livingston: FACT. I like AJ as someone down the road getting another opportunity to run with the belt as the guy who has been there from the beginning and him having to stave off someone that is trying to destroy what TNA has built. I’m not saying it’s going to be something he’ll hold for a long time or anything, but considering what he’s done since TNA started back in 2002, to not let him hold the belt again at some point would definitely be a weird decision.
Scott Rutherford: FACT. TNA seems to move in cycles and at some stage AJ will get to the top again. Why? Because he can have good matches with just about anyone, is bulletproof over, can work both sides of the crowd, is loyal to a fault and is a believable champ in the eyes of the crowd. While he be the guy to break TNA into the mainstream? Not at all. If you’re TNA and have managed to pull off a singing coup and get say…Randy Orton to come in would you transition the title to AJ Styles and have him drop it to Orton as a way of getting the best possible match you can? Oh heck yes.
Score: 6 for 7
8. Each member of the 411 Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2012 deserved their induction.
Tim Livingston: FACT. This is the most loaded question perhaps of all time in Fact or Fiction. To run down the list:
-The biggest draw in United States history (Austin)
-Another icon in United States wrestling who drew even better post-career threatening injury than before (Michaels)
-One of the ten biggest names in the history of Japanese pro wrestling (Misawa)
-Without question one of the greatest heels of all time (George)
-The runner of perhaps the most successful territory of all time before the national expansion, also known as “The King of Madison Square Garden” (McMahon, Sr.)
Yep. Kinda deserving, there.
Scott Rutherford: FACT. Mind you, you’re getting this opinion from a guy that actually defends James Dudley and Koko B. Ware being in the WWE HoF so take this with a grain of salt. My opinion has always been that since wrestling isn’t a real sport then you shouldn’t use real sports criteria to a wrestling HoF. I personally believe if you were a wrestler for an extended period of time, made money for whomever you worked for (even if it was for a fleeting moment) than you have done enough to get in. Considering everything you have to do to just become a wrestler especially “back in the day” let alone make money…you are one of the chosen few. However, if you choose to view this in a more conventional way and you bring up the names, Austin, Michaels, Misawa, McMahon Sr. and Gorgeous George I define ANYONE to make a case against them. Or put it this way…
Austin: One of the two biggest wrestling stars ever. Likely the biggest money earner.
Michaels: The greatest modern day performer and probably top 5 ever.
Misawa: See Austin and Michaels combined and place it in Japan.
Gorgeous George: The greatest heel ever and THE inspiration for Muhammad Ali and his persona
McMahon Sr.: One of the most successful and respected promoters in history.
I say well played 411mania, well played.
Final Score: 7 for 8
Lots of agreement on the pro wrestling this week between Mr. Livingston & Mr. Rutherford. They only disagreed on Linda McMahon’s political career, which isn’t really a wrestling question. We thank them for their participation & invite you to chime in with your thoughts down in the comment section. Join us next week for more Fact or Fiction!