wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: How Does The Broken Universe End?

April 8, 2017 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina

Hello, and welcome to the post-WM edition of Ask 411 Wrestling! I am Mathew Sforcina, and WM managed to mostly exceed expectations, with a couple of obvious exceptions. Certainly it was better than a show that deserved predictions via limerick.

(Although to be honest, that was really done so I could make some extreme predictions and just say I had to do it for the sake of the poetry, unless they actually happened, at which point I look like a genius.)

Anyway, let’s get down to the questions, shall we? Yes, we shall. If you have a question, send it on through to [email protected]

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The Trivia Crown

Who am I? I once acted as a ref for a match with the above on PPV. I was trained by a WWE Hall Of Famer (one not really known as a trainer), supposedly, and I’ve trained people in WWE and ROH right now, definitely. I once lost a title to a man more well known as a manager than a wrestler. I once became a #1 Contender by tossing a guy over the ropes, that guy being famous for being tossed in another context. I’m second to only Lou Thesz in something. Although most famous for working in one of them, I’ve wrestled in WWE, WCW, ECW, ROH, and TNA. I’ve debuted into a title shot, I’m a triple crown champion, and I’ve never worked Wrestlemania. Who am I?

Robert_Frost has the answer, which is impressive given he’s a pigeon and all.

You were a referee for Lance Storm vs Jerry Lynn at November to Remember 1998, were supposedly trained by Mick Foley (actually Sonny Blaze), and went on to train seemingly every New York and New Jersey based wrestler (Zach Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Tony Nese, Trent Beretta, Jay Lethal, etc etc etc), you became #1 contender to the ECW title by tossing Marty Jannetty (most famous for being thrown through a barbershop window, of course), you debuted in WCW in a cruiserweight title match, and you’re an ECW triple crown champion: the Lou Thesz thing is youngest World Champion. you are Mikey Whipwreck.

Who am I? I have an obvious link to the guy just above this question. My last match in my second last run in a ‘major’ promotion was a tag team win that was full of greats. I’ve teamed with a current WWE authority figure, and once lost a title to a current WWE superstar who then lost it to a different current WWE authority figure. A guy who’s finisher is probably not the move you think of when you think of me, and a guy who is currently signed to WWE, I am who?

Getting Down To All The Business

So then. Here’s the thing. I write this column the same time every week. It goes up for your reading pleasure at a flexible time. Thus, occasionally, questions will be sent in before the column is visible, but after I’ve done it.

The upshot of which? Well, let’s see… Jon?

Hey Mat. Thought these might be fun for you and the commenters:

1. What are the five things you’re most excited for at this year’s WrestleMania?

The top five things I was excited for were Jericho/Owens, the HOF, the chance Eva Marie might troll her way to the title, the chance the Hardys could return, and to see just how badly they’d neuter Bray Wyatt.

So a mixed bag there.

2. What are the five things you’d change to improve the show?

Prior to the show, I’d have added Harper to the World title match, made Shane/AJ a Street Fight, made Braun/Show its own match, ditched the concert in exchange for a Cornette interview segment with Paul Heyman, and made JR call everything.

3. What one scenario would you fantasy book differently leading up to make the show better?

If we’re talking the match proper, that Orton/Wyatt match, dear me… Have Harper attack Orton on the ramp, then he attacks Bray, Bryan then makes it a three way, Orton ends up pinning Harper, allowing for Bray to go really nuts since he lost without losing.

Continuing the theme is Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo.

Love the column! Just curious – what order do you think the matches should go on at Wrestlemania this year? Any benefit to, say, Jericho/Owens opening the show? Or Cena/Miz?

If we’re not changing the matches, leave the preshow as is, then do the ladder match first, then HHH/Seth, then Owens/Jericho, then Miz/Cena, Raw women’s, both men’s world titles, SD women’s, Taker/Roman. Start big, then do the story stuff, then have the title matches in a block, end with Taker ending.

Also – is Sami Zayn’s theme song the same as the American theme song to the Office?

Hey, that’s not irrelevant now!

There’s a similarity, I suppose, but no, they are different songs. The Office theme was written specifically for the show by Jay Ferguson (relation to SexTex unknown) while Sami’s song is by CFO$.

Moving onto questions coming out of WM now, with The Lone Boner standing out front.

Ahem.

I’m writing this before Wrestlemania, so perhaps Taker has a couple more years left in him, but it has looked these past few months like he’s on his last legs. What happens to the Undertaker after his eventual retirement? Legends return all the time, but it is hard for me to see the a 60+ year old Taker being taken seriously if he comes out with the DONG and the black duster and the whole thing. Do you think he’ll stick with it or go with something closer to the American Bad Ass? And how would you even “book” a retired Taker? Make him an authority figure of some kind, a once-a-year return for a promo and a pop, or something else?

Well WWE has said he has retired, so I guess we’re all going to find out one way or the other. But to a certain degree it depends on Taker. And not just in the sense that Taker has enough respect where he can book his own stuff, but just how he ends up physically.

He’s clearly not looked too crash hot in the lead up to WM, nor at the event to be fair, and part of the reason for that is that he’s needed surgery to fully replace his hip. He had surgery on it last year as a stop gap, as reports said that he wanted to wait until he’d retired before getting a full replacement done, so as to not damage his new hip, which is fair. Given that by all accounts he I done now, that’s going to happen at some point, so there’s a good 6 months, probably, where he won’t be around even if he wants to be.

So there will be a longish gap before he could return. And a long gap can give you options, but honestly I don’t see Taker becoming on air talent again. Especially if goes into the Hall of Fame, that seems like something Taker would do as himself and then never come back.

Taker has always been protective of the gimmick, and I just don’t see him coming back once that is done. So maybe he’ll appear on big shows as a shock/intimidation thing, but I kinda feel he’ll be gone until he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame, he’ll do that, and then he’ll be done for good.

Now watch as he starts a podcast next week and shows me up…

Jeff wonders how WWE planned stuff without the participants.

We all know that the WWE likes to have their matches well-scripted nowadays, particularly for a huge event like Wrestlemania. The Hardy’s wrestled for another promotion on Saturday and then at Wrestlemania on Sunday. I know there were big gaps in the match where the Hardy’s weren’t involved but there were some huge spots with them, and they won the titles. I know that negotiations have been going on for a while (tampering be damned), but how did the WWE get this match put together with the Hardy’s not around?

There’s a few options, depending on how confident the other guys were, and how long the deal has been agreed upon. It’s entirely plausible that the four teams have known about this for a while, and were able to keep in touch via the wonders of the internet along with the agent/s assigned to the match. You can plan matches online, especially if you’re experienced at them.

Alternatively, you can also put together a ladder match in an hour or so, if everyone involved has been thinking of spots and ideas prior, you just get together, people pitch in ideas, you work out the order and then wing it.

Or, perhaps, the match had been planned out as a four team all along, they just had a different team as the fourth. New Day or Revival or something, they’d be involved in the planning, and if the Hardys fell through, or were seriously injured in the ROH match or something, you go with the other team, else you just switch a couple moves around and you’re done.

The match wasn’t an intricately arranged game of chess, it wouldn’t have needed months to plan, and when you’ve got the Hardys who could do a ladder match in their sleep… It’s workable, even if they’d gotten to the building 30 seconds prior to heading out.

What A Maneuver wonders if there are leaders among us.

This is a question about crowd reactions. Right now I’m watching the hashtag Raw after WrestleMania and the whole crowd seems to have agreed at once to boo Enzo & Cass, who up until now were the most over tag team on Raw. We’ll all find out soon enough why, but here’s the question. How does a whole crowd decide, out of nowhere, to unanimously boo or cheer someone? Do they have “crowd leaders” or something sprinkled throughout the arena?

The term is plants, and like any trick in wrestling, WWE has done it in the past, but isn’t automatically doing it every time. But then so have other companies, TNA had a running gag where they had obvious plants in the audience, usually attractive young women, but the director didn’t seem to be clued in and would shoot them as crowd reactions. You could tell when they were plants as they’d go out of their way to turn around and not look at the camera.

There have been reports and interviews where the topic has come up, and sure, WWE will occasionally use them. Although you do have the special case of WWE Sign Guy, who according to rumor and what have you, does encourage cheering and booing along WWE approved lines. And on occasion during commercial breaks, they’ll be blatant about trying to encourage a chant, they’ll have an announcer or talent get on the mic and say that they’d like to hear X chanted. Jerry Lawler tried to get one started right after William Regal joined the Kiss Vince’s Ass club, but it didn’t take. That was in a botchamania, not sure which.

Of course, do not underestimate the mob mentality. If a crowd is into the crowd experience, if they’re hot, you don’t need too much to get them to go somewhere. You can’t be sure any one idea will take off, but a small, dedicated group of fans who, in this case, hate Enzo, start booing. Those around them don’t care enough to challenge, and since they want to make noise, they also boo. Soon everyone is. It does happen, chants can take on a life of their own, without preapproval.

But yes, plants are a thing in wrestling, and not just in WWE. Hell, I try to get my sister to every show I’m on, she’s always loud and acts as encouragement for noise making.

Looping back around to the Hardys now, with Adrian from Ireland

not really a question but more your opinion. After their Wrestlemania match the Hardy Boys were interviewed and they went on about how it was great to be home in the best wrestling company in the world. Okay, fair’s fair, they’ve both done well over the past year or so and earned their way back into WWE, but it bring up a real gripe I have with this situation and others in the past. A lot of these guys who started off in WWE and when they’ve been cut loose TNA was there to hire them, shoot them to the top of the promotion over home grown TNA wrestlers most of the time, and yet when WWE comes calling they can’t wait to go a running. I’m talking about guys like Foley, Nash, Booker, Flair, Christian, Hogan, Dudley Boys, the list goes on. It seems they can’t wait for that call from Hunter or Vince and they go crawling back…and TNA is usually mentioned as a bad experience by these guys…that’s if TNA is mentioned at all. I just think they should show a little gratitude, TNA gave these guys national exposure when WWE showed them the door. Sorry for the long rant but it really grinds my gears at times. What do you think of this whole situation ? Thanks and keep up the great work

Hand that feeds. When you’re signed to WWE, you have to toe the company line that they’re the greatest and your time elsewhere sucked, just part of the deal. Impact (it’s going to be a long time to fight the urge to write TNA) is technically the nearest thing WWE has to a major competitor overall, and why on earth would they want to promote or even acknowledge a competitor? Of course if asked, people working for WWE will say TNA sucked, or whatever.

That said, I do need to point out that your timing is a little off, in that in most of those cases, their contracts with TNA were up, and either WWE offered them a better deal or TNA didn’t offer them a satisfactory one. Christian, for example, left TNA because he was working a WWE level schedule for them and not being paid WWE money, TNA wouldn’t give him that, so he left and WWE hired him. TNA let the Hardys go, WWE hires them. WWE isn’t stealing these guys from an unsuspecting TNA, they’re leaving on their own accord. And if they ARE leaving, obviously they’re not completely happy, else they’d stay…

But again, WWE employees won’t compliment anyone who is too close to being competition. Impact is just that.

Brian wonders about something yet to happen when I’m writing this, but for you has happened. Temporal!

Quick prediction: Smackdown is also in Orlando on Tuesday. Brand split and live show in consideration: Will we have a Wrestlemania Live! like we do RawAfterMania? Specially hyped crowd, unique chants, bonus surprises?

I think that now SD is live, I think so, yes. One of the main reasons RAM is a thing now is that people who travel in for WM tend to get package deals. Not just with flights and accommodation and such, but also with tickets to WM, and Raw, AND SD. Locals who want to be part of the event will go to WM itself, the Raw and SD are the hardcore inflying fans, and that’s why they’ve become a thing all themselves. With SD being live, and if the rumor is true and SD becomes much more violin heavy, then yes, I think Post WM SD will also become a thing now.

At least I hope so.

Yohannes once again brings us back to the Hardys.

So, I have a question about Broken Hardys’ Expedition of Gold storyline. First, what do you think is the original planned of outcome for all this ? They win some of the indy’s tag team championship, then what ? It would make more sense if they use it as leverage to get #1 contendership for TNA Tag Team Champion, however back then they already their tag team champion! So I don’t really understand what is the original purpose of this storyline.

There would be two different outcomes, the on air, and the backstage.

On air, I think what would have happened is that the Hardys would have added more and more tag team gold to their pile, until they ‘combined’ all the belts into one title that they used for their ‘Screw You TNA!’ video.

But then, all the companies they won belts from, they would insist on a chance to win them back, and you’d need to have a big match to settle that, maybe a whole edition of the show, Total Nonstop Deletion 2: Delete Harder, for instance, with another Tag Team Apocalypto (2: Electric Bugaboo Pram?) for all the titles. But then the Hardys would be betrayed by Reba or poisoned or the Deities would desert them or some such, and all the companies would get their belts back in one big go.

Backstage, the idea must have been to foster agreements between all these companies to try and fight Vince by joining forces. Impact would like to be able to use the best talent from every company not under the WWE umbrella, and so they were using the Hardys as a Trojan horse, let these companies get a taste of the hottest act in wrestling, and then get them to agree to talent sharing once they see how lovely Impact now is.

Because as we all know, Vince died at the hands of Pro Wrestling USA back in the mid-80’s.

… Well that’s the most obvious one I’ve done in a while.

Second, how do you think they are able to convince some of those indys to let them “borrow” their Tag Team Championship. Without any specific goal in mind, it could be at least some time until they can have their tag team title back. While their titles are being hostaged by The Hardys, they can’t have a Tag Team Championship for their feds for quite some time! I don’t see why they are willing to do it except for a very little national TV exposure. And now that The Hardys are gone from TNA, I don’t know how they are going to justify doing it in the first place.

Getting to latch onto the hottest act in wrestling probably helped a lot. Right now, yes, they’re probably feeling a little played, unless the Hardys will go back and drop the belts, which is possible, Drew McIntyre will be finishing up his Galloway dates through the month, so perhaps the Hardys contract with WWE includes a couple dates to go back to Crash and so on to drop matches.

But I do presume they had some idea of an end game, they probably weren’t just pitching to these guys for their belts to be taken indefinitely. A TND2 show was almost certainly pencilled in for some point in the future where all the titles would end up going back, and hey, maybe they’d get a couple of Hardy dates out of it…

Let us have one of the greatest tag teams in history, who right now are hotter than anyone else, win your tag titles and thus give them credibility and your promotion airtime on international TV, and then at this later date, you can have your choice of new champs come in and win them back, once again on international TV. I can see plenty of companies biting on that.

Third, how do you think they would return the title back ? Now that The Hardys are gone, are they going to tour back to those indy feds and then drop the title belt by losing the Tag Team Championship match to whoever the #1 contenders from those feds when the storyline concluded ? Or just simply vacate it and returned it without any further storyline continuation ?

Wouldn’t surprise me either way, I can see the Hardys being upfront enough to insist they go back and drop the belts, but I can also see the companies, seeing the whole Broken legal fight, and pulling the plug and saying that tag teams who teleport can’t hold their belts or some such and getting the belts back that way. It depends on if the legal fight involves the Expedition or not. We’ll find out in the coming days, you’d assume, companies would make announcements once they know.

Fourth, it’s a shame that The Hardys are gone from TNA without proper closure of Broken Universe storyline. If you can book the closure angle, how are you going to book Broken Hardys storyline ?

I don’t know if it has to close, if the Hardys win the legal fight, or WWE pays out or something. Matt Hardy is being mostly normal right now, but there’s a hint here and there of the Broken. I think what might happen, regardless of the outcome of the legal issue, is that slowly Matt will go mad, after they lose the tag titles, he’ll say that he tried to be what WWE wanted, but he can’t do it, he’s Broken (if they win) or Matt Hardy Reborn (if they lose) and do a soft reset and do the WWE version of the whole thing all over again.

But if they stuck around in TNA? I’d let them do their thing for a while longer, until it was just starting to lose some steam. I’d then have the Hardys lose a couple big, important matches, and then the Hardys would have a serious time to reflect on their futures. You’d bring in anyone from their past not under contract to come in and film little vignettes about their careers, Gangrel, Terri, Shannon Moore, so on and so forth.

Then, Broken Matt Hardy would gather the universe together, and declare that the Deities have revealed their final message, that it is time for the final great reincarnation, that the time has come to Delete the Broken, and embrace the future. They all walk slowly, confidently, into the lake. And then Reborn Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy etc all walk back out, all confused as to where they are, and the fact that a few years seem to have passed.

Unless, of course, the Hardys had a better idea.

Bill thinks a move is worse than the Canadian Destroyer. Them’s fightin’ words!

For some people.

Thanks for your work, best column, only reason to come to the site, blah, blah blah. (Seriously, keep up the good work). Every now and then, I’ve seen discussions about wrestling moves that give away the business by being so obviously fake that it wrecks the suspension of disbelief. One of the worst of these moves never gets mentioned: the float over. Wrestlers use it every now and then, but I have never seen one where it doesn’t look like crap. I think it’s worse than the Canadian Destroyer. I guess it’s supposed to be a surprise move, but the guy running in *always* has to duck to an absurd degree to get under the “floating” wrestler and make it to the corner. Was there ever a time when the move actually look good? Why is it still part of the wrestler repertoire?

… I’m not entirely sure what you’re referring to here. I mean, float over usually indicates jumping over or around someone in order to get into a position, for a DDT, for instance. But for someone to run into it and end up in the corner underneath someone… Huh? Maybe my brain is dead due to it being 3:30am, but I’m drawing a blank as to what exactly is being described here. Readers? Anyone smarter than me on this one?

However, to attempt to defend the move without knowing for sure what it is, in wrestling a main goal is to avoid landing or hitting things in ways you’re not prepared or ready for, to take a shock you’re not in control of. The reason a missed dropkick hurts, while hitting one means it doesn’t, is that you’re jumping and assuming that you’ll hit the move, so you’re ready to compensate for the exchange of energy, and thus land a certain way. You miss the dropkick, the balance is off, and your landing now hurts.

If someone is jumping into the air, running into them, no matter how minor a collision you might think it would be, is a risk. It might jar you unexpectedly, or maybe they’ll grab you and hit someone you’re not expecting. So, of course you want to avoid contact. Ducking really low to avoid a flying or floating wrestler is better than hitting them and possibly taking damage. It’s a low risk, but why not take the smaller risk option if it’s there?

Andron wonders who could be the face of the blue brand.

I read a article about Dean possibly turning heel then my mind Wonder if Dean turn heel and I consider him to be the face of smackdown right now. Who else on the roster has the potential to being a good face of smackdown. I’m not talking about no one who been the face of WWE for the last generation like John Cena. I mean a fresh face the way Roman and Rollins has a good possibility to being the face of raw.

With the shakeup, it’s entirely possible it will be Roman or Rollins or some such right now.

But on the roster of SD right now? AJ. AJ all day, all night. Dude’s the best wrestler in the world right now, of course he could be the face of the brand. Assuming the rumors are true, Nakamura will probably make a strong claim to the spot when he debuts on the show you know the results of, dear readers.

With some severe character rebuilding, and a hell of a wind behind his back… Maybe Zack Ryder could get there? But that ship has almost certainly sailed.

However, with SD right now, I honestly think the best bet for the brand is not to have a face of it as such, but rather have a heel of the brand. Miz should be have that title welded to his waist as soon as is practical, and have him keep it for months and months. Have Raw be the home of the all conquering ‘hero’ Roman Reigns as your centrepiece, while on SD, Miz is the focal point that everyone else tries to take down, but he just keeps finding a way to sneak out wins, have the two brands contain a clear difference in presentation, with one show built on the ‘hero’ being the guy, and the other on the chase.

And on that #4553 claim Miz should be the champ from me, I bid you all goodnight and good luck, and I’ll see you next week for all the emails about how I’m an idiot for not knowing basic wrestling moves!

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