Ask 411 Wrestling 01.23.13: Undertaker vs. Austin, Royal Rumble, Drug Addicts, More
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am Ryan Byers, and I am here in my last week of filling in for usual column author Mathew Sforcina. It’s been a fun run, but this column isn’t something that my schedule allows me to do on a consistent basis, so next week the reigns go back to Mat.
Thanks to everybody who sent in comments and commented over the last several weeks. You made it all possible, and I’ll try to pay you back by knocking out another good one today.
And what’s a good banner without a good Twitter?
Last week, the big topic of conversation in the comments section was the last question that I answered in the column. That question went a little something like this:
Just wondering if you think Dolph Ziggler has a name so razor sharp that it can cut glass. Do you think that when he was thinking of a name that he closed his eyes and saw his name in blue neon lights. that it was so bright and sharp that the sign just blew up because the name was so powerful.
Plus, do you think that he told Vince McMahon about his name while they were in a hot tub and Vince told him that the angels brought Dolph Ziggler to him?
And here was my response:
Actually, my thoughts are quite the opposite. I don’t care for Dolph Ziggler’s name. I think that it is too cartoonish and gimmicky and does not sound like a name that a main event professional wrestler would have. I would strongly recommend that WWE come up with a way of changing it before giving him a major run with a singles championship.
Also, he was not brought to Vince McMahon by angels. He was recruited out of amateur wrestling after his career at Kent State University.
The comment section blew up as a result of this exchange. Some people just used it as an excuse to make further Boogie Nights references. Some people questioned whether I was being a smartass or completely missed the reference in the original question. Others just assumed that I missed the reference and called me an idiot because of it.
In case you’re curious and want to know exactly what was going on, I was in fact aware of what the individual who asked the question as referencing. However, I decided to have a little bit of fun with it. He was asking a joking question, so I figured I would give a joking response. I predicted it would get a good reaction, because there’s nothing that people on the internet like more than correcting folks who they think have made a mistake, no matter how honest or minor said mistake is. (And I was largely proven correct.) In fact, I got a good reaction off of a similar joke several years ago when Jeremy Piven was guest hosting an episode of Raw that I was recapping, and I referred to him as, “the guy who played Ellen’s cousin on her sitcom twenty years ago” or something similar.
Also, for the record, it is true that I have never seen Boogie Nights . . . just like I’ve never seen the Entourage show that made Piven a household name. I still figured out the Ziggler/Diggler reference, though, because that’s pretty obviously where Dolph’s name came from. My opinion of the name, as stated in the answer, is the truth and not part of the joke.
In other news from last week’s comment section, I would click through and read it if you’re interested in a thorough, well thought out discussion of the merits of Lex Luger as a professional wrestler and a world champion, including comments by Bobsky, New Breed Mark (who I hope was not actually a mark for the New Breed), and WYSIWYG.
Your Turn, Smart Guy
Last week’s question was:
I am a former ECW star, and, in another company that I wrestled for, I was given a ring name that was a takeoff on a popular media outlet of the day. I never wrestled in the WWF, but I have a cousin who did. My most famous rival is Steve Austin, and I am credited for ending at least one man’s career. Who am I?
The only correct answer submitted in the comments came from Big Mama, star of perhaps the least funny series of comedy films ever.
Big Mama correctly guessed P.N. News. News’ ring name in WCW was a pun on the name of another Turner owned company, CNN. (P.N. News = PNN.) Perhaps his only real feud in WCW was with an up-and-coming “Stunning” Steve Austin, and his run in Atlanta came to an end when he botched a spot which allegedly broke the leg and thereby ended the career of the “Angel of Death” Dave Sheldon. After WCW, he was part of the ECW roster, where he joined Da Baldies. The cousin referenced in the question is Mike Hallick, who appeared in the WWF as Mantaur after gaining a level of fame on the European wrestling circuit.
Let’s give you guys one last brain teaser:
I am from a small European country, though throughout my career I was billed as being from a much larger one. I was a regular fixture on WWF cards throughout the 1980’s, where my parents (or perhaps “parents”) were even once involved in an angle. After leaving the WWF, I was involved in a match to determine the first holder of what some would call an important world championship. Also, I had an unusual hobby with a nautical persuasion. Who am I?
Questions, Questions, Who’s Got the Questions?
Anthler starts us off with a big one:
Who has gone the longest without a PPV win while still appearing on each televised PPV in a match during that period? I’m assuming WWE CM Punk 2010 or WWE Chris Jericho 1999-2000, but I’ll open the question up to any and all PPVs in history from any company.
Before we get to the answer itself, let me be perfectly honest and say . . .
You, Anthler, are my new mortal enemy. This question took so ridiculously long to research an answer for, perhaps more than any other question I have ever had to answer for these columns and definitely longer than the three weeks of Tough Enough “where are they now” blurbs that I have had in the past several columns. As I sit here typing this, I am so ridiculously sick and tired of digging through pay per view results and tracking people’s records.
Sorry, had to vent there for a second.
Anyway, because of the insane workload involved in getting answer for WWE alone, I have declined your invitation to extend its reach to other promotions. I’m sticking with the E. In case anybody is curious, here are a few criteria that I used in assembling this answer:
1) All WWE pay per views are counted. I even included the British-exclusive pay per view events that they ran several years ago.
2) I did count the first Wrestlemania, since it is usually included in “pay per view” records, even though its PPV reach was very limited to the point that it is more accurately described as a closed-circuit television event. I did not include the first Royal Rumble, which was exclusive to the USA Network.
3) Dark matches on pay per views, Free for All matches, YouTube matches, and other similar matches that took place in the arena for a pay per view but were not part of the actual pay per view broadcast were NOT included. Similarly, for the ill-fated “Beware of Dog” pay per view, I excluded the matches that took place but were not broadcast due to the power outage.
4) Because of the way the question was worded (i.e. appearances on PPV without a win), I have included in the wrestlers’ streaks shows where they appeared in a battles royale, Royal Rumbles, or multi-man ladder matches that they did not win.
5) Even though they consist of multiple falls, when it comes to elimination four ways, gauntlet matches, Tag Team Turmoil matches, scramble matches, Elimination Chambers, etc., I am only considering the ultimate winner as walking away with a win.
6) Similarly, for Survivor Series matches, all of the guys who are on a winning team get credited with a win, regardless of whether they are eliminated or survive. The opposite is also true, as all of the guys on a losing Survivor Series team get credited with a loss (or “non-win,” which more closely matches the way the question is phrased) regardless of how many people they might eliminate.
All in all, I was originally surprised by the fact that, relative to the number of pay per views that WWF/WWE has held in its history, there actually weren’t too many substantial streaks of this nature. However, the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense. First off, guys who are perpetual losers likely aren’t going to be pushed strongly enough to consistently make pay per view. Second, if you are consistently making pay per views, chances are good that you’re in some kind of feud, and wrestling feuds are structured in such a way that there is a give and take of victories, to the point that it will be rare for one man to be beaten like a drum.
Anyway, after all of that pontificating, here is the list. Note that, when I say that a wrestler’s streak began at a certain pay per view, that is the first show upon which he appeared and did not win. When I say that a wrestler’s streak ended on a certain pay per view, that is the first show upon which he either did not get booked or got booked and won.
Five PPV Streaks: There are several men who had streaks of five PPV appearances with no wins. They included Jacques & Raymond Rougeau (Wrestlemania IV through Summerslam 1989); Ted DiBiase, IRS, and Rick Martel (Royal Rumble 1992 through Wrestlemania IX); Razor Ramon (In Your House 2 through In Your House 5); D-Lo Brown (Royal Rumble 1998 through In Your House 22); Al Snow (Capital Carnage through Backlash 1999); Perry Saturn (No Way Out 2000 through King of the Ring 2000); Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley (Wrestlemania 2000 through Fully Loaded 2000); Tajiri (Summerslam 2001 through Vengeance 2001); Kurt Angle (No Mercy 2001 through No Way Out 2002); Ken Kennedy (Survivor Series 2007 through Backlash 2008); Chris Jericho (Wrestlemania XXVI through Summerslam 2010); CM Punk (Royal Rumble 2011 through Capital Punishment 2011); and Daniel Bryan (Wrestlemania XXVIII through Summerslam 2012).
An interesting footnote to this list is Hercules, who had a five PPV streak (Wrestlemania II through Survivor Series 1988) and followed it up with a four PPV streak (Royal Rumble 1991 through This Tuesday in Texas), essentially making him the most consistent pay per view loser of his era.
Six PPV Streaks: The string of six consecutive pay per view appearances with no wins is more rare, but there are still several, including Fatu & Samu (Royal Rumble 1993 through Wrestlemania X); Chris Jericho (Backlash 2000 through Unforgiven 2000); Matt Hardy (Rebellion 2001 through Backlash 2002); Jack Swagger (Backlash 2009 through Breaking Point 2009); and the Miz (Extreme Rules 2011 through Hell in a Cell 2011).
You will note that Jericho was also on the streak of five list above in addition to appearing on the streak of six list, so he and Hercules should probably form some sort of support group. Well, if Hercules wasn’t dead, I mean.
Seven PPV Streaks: A handful of men have appeared on seven consecutive WWE pay per views without winning. They are: Mr. Perfect (Royal Rumble 1990 through Survivor Series 1991); Diesel (In Your House 4 through In Your House 8); Mick Foley (In Your House 21 through Survivor Series 1998); Rikishi (Summerslam 2000 through No Way Out 2001); Batista (No Way Out 2007 through Summerslam 2007); and most recently Sheamus (Night of Champions 2010 through Wrestlemania XXVII).
The Batista and Diesel streaks were particularly interesting to me, because they were both tip top guys when those were going on, and the constant losing really did not seem to hurt their credibility or popularity all that much.
Also, isn’t it ironic that a guy named “Mr. Perfect” has a big losing streak?
Eight PPV Streaks: There are only two men who have been unfortunate enough to appear on eight straight WWE pay per views without picking up a win. They are MVP, whose bad luck started at Cyber Sunday 2007 and ended at One Night Stand 2008 and John Morrison, who started losing at Bragging Rights 2009 and didn’t stop until Summerslam 2010, when he was part of the WWE team that defeated the Nexus.
Nine PPV Streak: And this is it. This is THE LONGEST streak of WWE pay per view appearances without a single victory. Only one man has achieved this goal, and his identity might surprise you. It is Wade Barrett, who started his losing streak at Survivor Series 2010 when he failed to win the WWE Title from Randy Orton, and did not end until Summerslam 2011, when he got an out-of-nowhere victory against Daniel Bryan.
So, that’s it, Anthler. After hours on end of work, your answer is Wade Barrett. You destroyed my weekend. I hope you’re happy with yourself.
The Royal Rumble is just around the corner, and Jaked is going to get us ready with a Rumble question:
I was trying to figure out what single Royal Rumble had the most “returns” to the WWE/WWF in it. Not so much “debuts” but wrestlers that were gone from the WWE for a period of time and made their return via Royal Rumble, i.e. Goldust, Mr. Perfect, etc. Also, what participant had the longest gap between their last WWE match and their return in a Rumble, i.e. Kevin Nash/Diesel?
I actually think that you came very close to answering your own question. The 2002 Royal Rumble was built around the fact that it had a lot of returning wrestlers in it, with Goldust, Val Venis, the Godfather, and Mr. Perfect all coming back from absences of varying length.
As to the longest gap in between Royal Rumble appearances, I actually answered this question when I did a guest spot writing the Contentious Ten back in 2011. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan had a seventeen year stretch between Royal Rumble appearances. His last run in the Rumble before he left the WWF for WCW was in 1992, and he didn’t return to compete in the match again until 2009.
You know you’ve written too many columns about wrestling on the internet when you can start citing to yourself as a source.
Drew actually sent this question to me before I started this cycle of filling in for Mat. I don’t know how or why.
At the opening of No Mercy 2002, there was a bit where Undertaker was in the back looking at his injured hand from Brock Lesnar and then suddenly Kane came in and was very serious (he was in that god awful storyline with HHH over Katie Vick) and asked how Undertaker was doing. What I’m wondering is was this a one-time thing just to remind the audience that they’re still brothers, or was their some potential planning for Brothers of Destruction vs. HHH and Lesnar that just never surfaced? I ask because it looked and felt like launch platform for that match with both Taker and Kane in very personal feuds with both Lesnar and HHH, just the two of them conversing while in their feuds seems like it could build it. Of course the following week Big Show took out Taker and Kane’s feud had other people thrown in for the Elimination Chamber, so it could have been one off. Can you find anything?
I think that it was, ahem, a “one-shot deal.” Yes, WWE has a little bit of a reputation for not booking long-term and changing some of its plans on a dime, but I doubt that was the case here, because they almost never engage in this sort of tomfoolery with the Undertaker. Plus, you have to keep in mind that this was in the fairly early days of the WWE brand extension (it had just occurred in March of the same year), and they were, by and large, keeping the Raw and Smackdown rosters separate. They most likely weren’t going to comingle the rosters for a program so quickly after they were split apart and instead just wanted to get an easy pop out of the crowd from a brief interaction from two popular characters who had a history but hadn’t interacted in a while.
Michael J. is raising eyebrows and dropping elbows:
I was just watching Survivor Series in the good old UK. One of my friends watched the Rock winning with the People’s Elbow and asked is that a finishing move? I remembered Rock winning the WWF title in a six man match in 2000 (pinning Vince), but how many times has Rock won major matches with the people’s elbow?
The definition of “major match” can be a little bit squirrelly, so what I decided to do was look at the Rock’s pay per view defenses of the WWE Title to see how many of him he won with the People’s Elbow. That might not necessarily be all of his “major matches,” but I figured that it would at least get us a good, solid sample upon which to base an answer.
In all of the Rock’s PPV defenses of the WWE Title, he only used the People’s Elbow to win once, pinning Triple H with the move in order to finish off the three-way match the two of them had against Kurt Angle at Summerslam 2000. This would seem to indicate that he won a relatively small number of “major” matches with the move.
Mike R. takes us back to the 80’s and 90’s:
What on earth was the logic behind Jimmy Hart turning face and becoming Hogan’s manager? And, especially, why did WCW keep him on as Hogan’s manager? It seems to me that it makes Hogan look worse to add a manager to the mix (and an incredibly weak one, at that) after he had so much success for so many years without one. Were they already planning the turn, Three Faces of Fear, Dungeon of Doom, and all that mess?
Conveniently enough, before I received this question, I recently re-watched the angle where Jimmy Hart was turned face from the early days of Monday Night Raw. I think that the entire purpose of turning him was to get over the idea that what Money, Incorporated was doing to Brutus Beefcake was something so detestable that even Jimmy Hart, who had been the biggest snake in the grass in the company for the bigger part of a decade, couldn’t tolerate it and attempted to call his men off. If Hart, mega-heel that he was, though the actions of DiBiase and IRS were over the line, then we fans knew that it was several shades worse than what the company’s run-of-the-mill bad guys were doing.
As far as WCW is concerned, I would imagine that they kept Hart and Hogan together initially for purposes of storyline continuity since the two were together the last time they were seen on television together but then turned Jimmy shortly thereafter because, quite frankly, he works much better in that capacity. I don’t know if the specifics of the Three Faces of Fear/Dungeon of Doom were planned out at that time, but, if you thought that the gameplan for WCW was anything other than “create army of heels that the Hulkster can easily and singlehandedly overcome,” then you hadn’t watched too much of his work in the WWF.
While we’re at it, did the WWF ever acknowledge the friendship between Brutus Beefcake and Hogan aside from when they teamed against Zeus and DiBiase and leading up to Wrestlemanias XIII and IX? Hogan always seemed to have a posse, whether it was Mr. T and Jimmy Snuka, Orndorff, Savage, Tugboat, or whoever, which to me made it even weirder that all of a sudden in 1992, Ed freakin’ Leslie is his “friend til the end.”
To my knowledge, they did not really acknowledge an on-camera friendship prior to the feud with Zeus. However, there was a logical storyline to establish Hogan and Beefcake as friends and partners whereas previously they had not. Beefcake had his own, separate rivalry ongoing with Randy Savage, and Savage enlisted the services of Zeus to punk out the Barber. This turned into a tag team rivalry between the Zeus/Savage and Hogan/Beefcake teams, which lead to the two babyfaces becoming friends in storyline for the first time. The friendship was thereafter maintained through the duo’s last run together in the promotion in 1993.
I know that many wrestlers in the 80s were heavily into cocaine or other hard drugs. I haven’t listened to many shoot interviews or read books or anything, but I don’t remember hearing much about rehab or any other ways that guys on such a crazy schedule managed to quit (if they did). Anyone on record about it or otherwise confirmed? Tully Blanchard and Shawn Michaels are the only two I can think of talking about getting over drug addiction more or less publicly, but I remember hearing rumors about Jim Duggan, Iron Sheik, Hogan, Piper, and most of the WWF roster from the mid- to late-80s using cocaine.
Yes, other guys have gone on record about their drug use, although less so about the specifics of their rehabilitation. Here are a few examples, beginning with Roddy Piper and Del “The Patriot” Wilkes talking about substance abuse in the sport from a 2003 episode of HBO’s Real Sports program. Vince McMahon is even interviewed and goes on record stating that there was a significant amount of drug use in the 1980s (even implying that he took part in it himself) before completely flying off the handle when it is implied that his company may have something to do with many wrestlers’ premature deaths . . .
You might also be interested in checking out this ESPN 360 feature on Scott Hall:
A few other notable examples off the top of my head would include Eddie Guerrero, who was somewhat open with his drug issues in his WWE-released book and corresponding DVD prior to his death; Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who is caught in a hotel room doing crack during the documentary Beyond the Mat (though Jake has disputed this) and is currently cleaning himself up in a recovery process being lead and documented by Diamond Dallas Page; and William Regal, whose book was primarily about his recovery from addiction.
If you blink, you’ll miss Tyler Hope:
Quick question for you. There have been MANY failed gimmicks over the years, but which one was debuted on TV and dropped the fastest?
I don’t think that it would be possible for a gimmick to be dropped any more quickly than that of Hirohito. In 2004, WWE signed Japanese wrestler Kenzo Suzuki to a contract, and there was a gimmick devised under which he would be known as Hirohito, the name of the Japanese emperor during World War II. It is not entirely certain what this gimmick would have consisted of. Some reports said that it would have just been a generic foreign heel, while others have claimed that it would go as far as having Suzuki claim that he was either a descendant or the reincarnation of Emperor Hirohito. The biggest reason that we don’t know what precisely the character would consist of is that it only appeared on television one time, in the form of a fifteen second video package showing several ostensibly Japanese images (though never showing Suzuki itself) followed by text indicating that Hirohito was coming. No further vignettes aired and the character never showed up, either, as Suzuki just wound up wrestling for WWE under his real name.
Reportedly, the gimmick was dropped because folks with in the company realized that they were doing pretty good business on tours of Japan at the time, in addition to their television being carried there. Due to Japanese sentiment regarding anything related to World War II and to the emperor in particular, the character likely would have offended many and brought an end to that overseas business.
Regardless of the reason, though, I don’t think that you can find a gimmick that got less air time than Hirohito’s fifteen seconds of “fame.”
jayzhoughton has quite the pair:
What the hell happened to Maryse? I don’t remember seeing much on the story at the time of her leaving, was it cost cutting, did she quit or did she do something dumb? She seemed like one of the most popular Divas at the time and I remember it seemed quite shocking but I couldn’t find much information at the time.
As is the case with a lot of the female performers who have left WWE over the last several years (most recently including the Bella Twins and Eve Torres), Maryse just decided that she didn’t want to be a professional wrestler anymore. It wasn’t for her. She suffered a hernia, she took some time away, her contact came up for renewal, and she decided that re-signing with the company was not what she wanted to do.
It’s similar to what happened when Brock Lesnar left WWE, except fans didn’t irrationally start calling Maryse a “sell out” and badmouthing her at every opportunity for no apparent reason, as they did with Lesnar for years.
More of an opinion question than fact (that’d be asking a bit much), which two wrestlers have had the most matches between each other, both within the WWE and in general?
I appreciate the fact that you’ve made this an opinion question so that I don’t have to pull my hair out scouring the internet for some factual basis for an answer aside from what is already rattling around in my head. If I had to take a stab at it, my educated guess would be that the answer is probably Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee. These two have been feuding in Memphis on-and-off (with much more “on” than “off”) for literally almost forty years and, when the promotion was at its hottest, there were major shows on a weekly basis in addition to smaller spot shows in the towns surrounding Memphis. Readers should feel free to drop their suggestions for wrestlers who have had the most matches against each other down in the comment section, but my gut reaction is that it’s got be Lawler and Dudnee.
I suppose we may as well use that to transition in to the pure opinion questions . . .
My Damn Opinion
Kevin K. of the Monday Night War Blog is all up in my area:
What is your opinion on WCW trying to inject some “hipness” into Nitro with Riki Rachtmann, DJ Ran and the Summer of Music (at least some actually went with the program like Megadeth and Goldberg)? I am baffled as to why they put KISS up against a RAW title match and thought it would draw!
My opinion is that, for the most part, it sucked. I’m sorry if you were looking for something more detailed or profound, but I don’t think that there’s much else to say. History has proven time and time again that, generally, professional wrestling fans do not want to see concerts in the middle of their wrestling shows, whether it’s KISS performing on Nitro or Fozzy and Kid Rock performing on Monday Night Raw. Even if the acts being used are major stars (which they are usually not, because few to no a-listers will lower themselves to appearing on a wrestling show), it’s just not what the audience tunes in to rasslin’ to see.
As far as DJ Ran is concerned, you don’t have to look any further than what happened in the Master P/West Texas Rednecks feud to see how much of a positive effect that one had. No matter how popular it may have been among other segments of the population, the integration of rap music into the shows did NOTHING for the majority of WCW’s mostly-southern fanbase. Plus, Ran may have had the most obnoxious catchphrase in professional wrestling history. I do not want to hear a fat, sweaty man yell about how he’s ready to “get all up in my area.”
Rachtmann wasn’t that bad, all things considered. He was just another backstage interviewer. I would imagine he probably got paid entirely too much for the work that he was doing, but he didn’t actively hurt the product.
Jon has a uniquely specific question, also involving Steve Austin:
I recall there being a column written quite a while ago by another 411 author about what their top 5 or top 10 Undertaker vs. Steve Austin matches were and there wasn’t even an honorable mention to the match between Undertaker and Austin at In Your House: A Cold Day in Hell from 1997. I can’t help but think this match was overlooked by that certain columnist. I argue this because both Austin and Undertaker are at prime age and condition here and I personally found this match to be very enjoyable from its range (from brawling to mat wrestling to reversals), the commentary (King and J.R worked very well off of each other at this point), the presentation (simple stage and lighting), and the story (Austin/Undertaker plus the Hart Foundation).
I guess I just want to know how you, especially being a pro wrestler yourself, would rate this particular match on your list of favorite Austin v. Undertaker contests and why you rate it where you do.
Honestly, I do not remember this match at all. I was a fan at the time, and I saw the match at the time – as is the case with the majority of the Undertaker/Austin matches – but I have not watched it since and do not remember it from the first viewing. I think that this just goes to show that, no matter how good a match may appear from a “technical” perspective when you watch it outside of the context in which it originally occurred, the fact of the matter is that the atmosphere, storyline, and build for it are in many ways far more important to its overall place in history. If I’m remembering correctly, Austin and the Undertaker were really not involved in that intense of a personal issue going into the Cold Day in Hell pay per view, which was the case with several of the “In Your House” main events. It was just a match for the sake of a match, featuring two acts that were fairly hot. It’s not the kind of thing that would stand out or be memorable. Compare this to the heavily-promoted Summerslam 1998 match between the two men, which I DO remember well despite also probably not having seen it since the time that it originally aired.
So, because I don’t remember Austin/Undertaker from Cold Day in Hell, I guess I would have to put it in last place among the Austin/Undertaker matches.
Jar Jar Binks, which I think is some kind of pop culture reference, has the following two questions:
1) How did CM Punk get Vince to agree to letting him do his shoot promo? I know that CM Punk had intentions to leave, but was it enough for McMahon to let him do what he wanted? I mean, a shoot promo is very rare in WWE and Punk was basically a JTTS before his feud with Cena.
First, I would actually disagree with your characterization of Punk as a jobber to the stars before the Cena feud. If you go back and look at the several weeks of television leading up to that promo, he had actually been winning some fairly significant upper card matches, working his way back up from several months where he had a less than stellar pay per view win-loss record.
I actually doubt that selling McMahon and the rest of the WWE creative team on the promo was all that difficult. Yes, the “worked shoot” is rare in WWE, but I don’t think that it’s rare because they’re afraid to do it. I think that it’s rare because they realize that, if you do it too frequently, it completely loses its effectiveness. They have had no problem pulling the trigger on promos like these where circumstances call for them, whether it was Paul Heyman going after Vince McMahon for stealing all of ECW’s ideas as part of the Invasion storyline or Joey Styles walking out on the Raw announce team to help launch the ECW brand. (Notice how many of these involve Paul Heyman, by the way?) It was something that the creative team probably saw as provocative and timed far enough apart from other, similar angles they’ve done in the past that they figured it would sell some pay per views and get people talking . . . which it definitely did.
2) Is Bryan the only wrestler to spend so little time between being a jobber and being a world champion? If not, then who is it? Some people say it was Arquette or Swagger, but Arquette was not a regular wrestler, and Swagger, I think, was a midcarder.
It’s not necessarily a “world title” by the modern criteria, but, if you want to talk about a guy winning the most important championship in a promotion after being a complete and utter jabroni, then the best example probably comes from the old Florida territory in the early 1980’s, where a wrestler by the name of Jack Hart made his debut and promptly went on a losing streak that reportedly saw him rack up over 100 defeats. Subsequent to that, he got what was his very first win (in terms of this storyline, anyway) by capturing the NWA Florida Heavyweight Title. He also turned heel in the process, dubbing himself “The Winner” Jack Hart, despite the fact that his record to that point had been the exact opposite of stellar.
Jack Hart would later go on to compete in numerous other territories under his real name of Barry Horowitz, in many instances doing variations on his “Winner” character from the Florida territory.
That’s it for this week’s Ask 411. If you can’t get enough of Ryan, follow him on Twitter here.