wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Who’s The Modern Ricky Morton?

February 15, 2017 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina

Welcome to Ask 411 Wrestling, and congratulations on finding the spirit to keep on going with your wrestling info seeking, after the end of all friendship as well know it on Raw this past Monday. Well done you for soldiering on despite obvious heartbreak.

Anyway, enough praise for Kevin Owens’ dickiness, let’s get down to answering some questions. You got one for me? Why, send it on through to [email protected] my good Sir/Madam/Whatever You Choose To Identify As!

I personally identify as BANNER~!~!

Zeldas!

Check out my Drabble blog, 1/10 of a Picture! Slowly but surely getting back into the rhythm!

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Jackie’s Blackmail: I suspected the answer would be “There wasn’t a plan” but didn’t want to jinx it. Thank you, Iain for slogging through the video to confirm it. Cheers man!

Flair’s First WWF Run: He was ‘misused’ in the sense that they didn’t get to run Hogan V Flair at WM and make more money than physically existed at the time, as was the obvious idea. With Flair being the ‘Other’ World Champ, a unification match between them at WM should, in theory, make all the money. But while many fans did know Flair, many didn’t, and more importantly by the time you would be building up to such a match, it was obvious that Flair was a WWF guy. They didn’t keep his outsider cred up enough. Now, yes, Hogan leaving and Sid being there and all the other reasons all played a factor, but the point here is that if you had wanted to run Hogan/Flair, Flair would have had to stay as an outsider, and they didn’t do that. You can argue they couldn’t, sure, but still…

The Trivia Crown

Who am I? I was involved in the above event. I’ve teamed with a strongman, a god, and a guy who isn’t a former teacher, although I can see the confusion. I once caused a referee to become a manager. I’ve done something only world champions have done, although I myself was never a world champion. I did the loaded injury gimmick, but in an unusual way. I’ve twice been a part of a team or group that was legally sketchy, and that’s without the race stuff. I am who?

Zach has the answer for us (with a couple minor corrections)

Who am I? I was involved in the above event. I’ve teamed with a strongman, a god, and a guy who isn’t a former teacher, although I can see the confusion. (Mark Henry The Godfather and Mr. Anderson Matt Stryker) I once caused a referee to become a manager. (Teddy Long) I’ve done something only world champions have done, although I myself was never a world champion.(held the IC and Euro Titles simultaneously) I did the loaded injury gimmick, but in an unusual way.(protective chest plate after a match where Dan Severn tore my pectoral muscle used to enhance the Lo Down) I’ve twice been a part of a team or group that was legally sketchy, and that’s without the race stuff. (The Gangstas and Aces & Eights) I am who? (D’Lo Brown)

Who am I? I’m on The List. My very first match in developmental was a loss to a guy who has worked for WWE, TNA and LU (Sort of). I was the first something to wrestle in WWE, at least when I debuted, that’s now changed. My first title reign in WWE (and ever, surprisingly), started when I beat a guy who’s held the title more times than anyone else. I’ve lost a title at a live event, a singles title in a tag match, and a tag title to two people who are no stranger to running things. A guy who shares something with the Hardcore title, I am who?

Getting Down To All The Business

Dan starts us off.

In all the elimination chamber matches, what # entrant has the most wins?

Well, there’s been 20 of them. I can count that high…

Entrant #1: One. John Cena (New Year’s Revolution 2006)
Entrant #2: Three. The Undertaker (No Way Out 2008), Edge (Elimination Chamber 2011), CM Punk (Elimination Chamber 2012)
Entrant #3: Two. Triple H (New Year’s Revolution 2005), Jack Swagger (Elimination Chamber 2013)
Entrant #4: Three. Chris Jericho (Elimination Chamber 2010), John Cena (Elimination Chamber 2011), Bray Wyatt (Elimination Chamber 2017)
Entrant #5: Six. Triple H (Summerslam 2003), Bobby Lashley (December to Dismember 2006), Triple H (No Way Out 2008), Triple H (No Way Out 2009), Edge (No Way Out 2009), Ryback* (Elimination Chamber 2015)
Entrant #6: Five. Shawn Michaels (Survivor Series 2002), John Cena (Elimination Chamber 2010), Daniel Bryan (Elimination Chamber 2012), Randy Orton (Elimination Chamber 2014), The New Day (Elimination Chamber 2015)

*: This was the match where Mark Henry entered early, thus it’s possible this was not the intended number.

So you want to be one of the last two in, although there’s no ‘unlucky’ number. Every number has had a winner, but over half of them have been won by the last two in. Which makes sense, obviously.

Rico wonders why WWE didn’t redo something.

Why did the WWE so blatantly ignore the chance to use Cody Rhodes in a repeat of Hard Times? When he was punted by Orton, at WMXXVI, he only sat at home for a month or so before coming back and having a feud later in the year as “dashing Cody”. Wasn’t this the WWE’s chance to make CR a star? Come out 4 months later and do a modern hard times promo, talking about how when Orton’s mentor Flair had put his dad out of action and Cody had lived in second-hand clothes, been bullied at school, watched his mother cry etc., and now 25 years later Orton had put hard times on him again. Use loads of Dusty and videos of the original promo, maybe even some vignetters of Cody’s visa getting rejected at the supermarket….then return and get the new promo right and you have a great angle with a huge blow-off main event and this time the Rhodes get the clean finish.

Hey, any excuse to repost it.

That said, there’s three reasons why they didn’t do this.

One, WWE doesn’t like referencing stuff on their shows that they didn’t do. If they can make fun of something, sure, but to bring up and make parallels to Hard Times, even if they do own it and it shouldn’t matter, they don’t like to do that. They prefer their own history.

Two, I don’t think Cody would have been on board with it. Cody’s relationship with his father was strong, obviously, but from what I’ve read of his statements on his father and wrestling and such, while he’s not ashamed of his father by any means, he does appear to want to make his own way, as a wrestler. Redoing one of his father’s most famous promos… I don’t think he’d be on board with it 100%, and while he obviously was able to commit to Stardust despite hating it, trying to do this without real emotion… No, wouldn’t work.

And third, the circumstances are all wrong. Hard Times worked because Dusty was a beloved hero coming back from adversity to challenge the most hated man in the wrestling world. Cody was a heel who’d been put out by a face, who was still a face when Cody came back. You’re flipping one of your major stars to take a punt on getting over a guy as a main event face when that’s not something are clamouring for, and who’s best work to date has been as a heel.

Plus, honestly… I really don’t see it working anyway. It just does not play in my head at all. Maybe everyone could have knocked it out of the park, but I really don’t see it.

Paul asks about being the best at being not the best.

Thinking about playing Ricky Morton since they may go into the hall of fame. Who, currently, is the best at playing Ricky Morton? Enzo has to do it because he is portrayed as the weak link of his tag team. But Morton wasn’t played as a weak link. He just took the heat. Who does that well these days in your opinion?

It is an important distinction, there’s a difference between ‘playing Ricky Morton’ and ‘playing SD Jones when he was teaming with Andre The Giant’. The team should be presented as roughly equal, it’s just one guy gets beaten down a lot.

I want to say Chad Gable is really good at it, but I’m not sure how much of that is on him and how much is Jason Jordon being really really good at playing Robert Gibson. Not that you’d know it given the current state of them on SD, but still…

Eh, I’ll play it safe and go with Johnny Gargano for WWE. Outside WWE, it’s hard to find teams that really go the consistent old school babyface route, they tend to trade off a lot in terms of who plays what, I find. So Gargano probably wins overall as well, by default I guess. But what of you, dear reader? Who do you think is the best at getting beaten up?

Jeff asks a surprisingly complicated question.

You talked recently about face/heel turns with giants because WWE struggles at finding multiple storylines. Aside from face/heel turns and just looking at in ring abilities, is the Big Show the best pound-for-pound athlete ever in the WWE? With all these reports about Big Show losing weight and getting in shape and then videos of him taking F5’s vs. Lesnar at house shows it got me thinking. Big Show has been a big dude his entire career and over time got bigger. But he never stopped taking bumps and making smaller guys look impressive. Think of how many times Big Show has taken an off-the-shoulders finishing move. For a man that large, it’s damn impressive his career has lasted this long. So then I was thinking, overrated or underrated, for his size and longevity, the Big Show has to be the best pound-for-pound athlete in WWE history. How would you rank pound-for-pound athletes and is it even comparable to compare/rank the athleticism of the Big Show to the athleticism of AJ Styles?

First of all, for the record, taking an over the shoulder move doesn’t really say much about the person taking it. At least, not automatically. As much as you can help or hinder the guy carrying a big guy on the shoulders, it’s still up to them to support your weight. Now, if Big Show was routinely being press-slammed or something, maybe you’d have a point there, but your main point still stands regardless, just clarifying that.

The problem with using pound-for-pound in wrestling is that it’s somewhat meaningless, in the sense that the point of PFP is that you compare people who can’t directly fight because of the differences in their weight. Is Manny Pacquiao better than Evander Holyfield? Is BJ Penn better than Cain Velasquez? They could never fight in a ‘fair’ match up, so you have to compare them pound-for-pound, at which point you become subjective.

But in wrestling, you can and indeed should be fighting people all different shapes and sizes. You might wrestle a guy a foot shorter and 50 pounds lighter than you one night, then a guy who has nine inches and 100 pounds the next night, then have a run against a woman half your weight but slightly taller than you on the weekend. So trying to compare pound for pound is, supposedly, pointless, since anyone can fight anyone. But of course,

So the question comes back around on itself. How many flips does a small guy have to do to match a bigger guy doing one? How hard a bump does a big guy have to take to make up for little guys being able to land high on the neck? Is Big Show on par with AJ Styles?

Personally, it might be because I’m viewing this from the other side of the ropes,

But I tend to approach this less on what they can do, and more how they can fit into a style of match. What I mean by that is that I value being able to wrestle different styles more than sheer athletic prowess. Now that does tend to favor smaller guys, in that it’s easier for a guy like AJ Styles to be able to wrestle an ECW style brawl than it is for a guy like the Great Khali to be able to wrestle a Lucha spotfest…

Just picture that for a few moments, if you like.

But on the other hand, bigger guys don’t need to be as athletic, and so if they are even moderately flippy or what have you, that counts more. So it evens out, in a way.

To drag this back to the question at hand, Big Show’s had a hell of a career, yes, and he’s maintained a decent level of ability and such during it, but I wouldn’t put him on par with AJ, no. And honestly I’d say guys like Vader and Bam Bam were better pound for pound in that they could brawl just as well as Show but could also fly more.

But overall, the best pound for pound athlete in WWE history? The guy they tended to say that about on commentary. Shawn Michaels. Shawn could wrestle almost any style of match you could name well, and regardless of his issues behind the camera in his first run, and his slowing down in the second, I would find it hard to justify putting Big Show above him, pound for pound. Not a knock on Big Show, but Shawn’s the best WWE guy ever, in terms of athleticism.

Or maybe Eddie.

Rahil asks about an inter-promotional angle that didn’t quite happen.

I`d like to know more about the BATTLEDOME/WCW angle, all i have seen is t-money vs rick steiner and the ddp promo with the battledome guys at ringside, what else happened ?????

Oh dear lord… OK, let’s go back to what introduced Terry Crews to the world outside Football.

So Battle Dome was a syndicated show that was basically American Gladiators, but with full blown wrestling style gimmicks for the ‘Warriors’ as opposed to just having funny names. If American Gladiators was sport with a dash of wrestling, this was sport with a cup of wrestling. The show went for just two seasons, starting in late 1999 and ending in early 2001.

WCW… Well I’m assuming you already know about them. Right? If this is your first ever time reading about pro wrestling, welcome to the fandom, we’re mostly ok, most of the time, you’ve got a lot of cool stuff to find, but maybe this isn’t the best place to start. Maybe start here and work down instead.

So, although Eric Bischoff had wanted to do an inter-promotional thing for years, despite sort of doing one with the nWo, this was an angle presumably thought up by Russo or Bill Banks/Ed Ferrera, as Russo stepped away from booking around this time. Or perhaps it was brought to them by Mike O’Dell, one of the Battle Dome guys who was married to Midajah at the time. Anyway, it was meant to be a ratings boost via having both audiences start watching the other sort of thing.

There really wasn’t much to it. WCW came to a Battle Dome event, and messed up their show…

So on the next Nitro, the 6th of November, the Battle Dome guys turned up on Nitro.

The angle was talked about on the Thunder following, and then on the next Nitro, which was from London, the Battle Dome guys brawled with WCW wrestlers backstage, which obviously happened in London and wasn’t at all taped the previous week in America.

Then Rick Steiner stole the Battle Dome belt, and had it on the November 20th edition of Nitro, when the Battle Dome guys then stole back, and then it was restolen in the back… And that was it. They never appeared again.

I’m not sure exactly why it was ended, perhaps cooler heads prevailed, perhaps the angle wasn’t working, who knows. But there really wasn’t all that much to it.

On the plus side, it does mean that Terry Crews is technically eligible for the WWE Hall of Fame. That’s something!

Stu asks about when Raw wasn’t on.

How many times has Monday Night Raw not been shown in a particular week? I know it used to be pre-empted for the Westminster Dog Show but was it off-air on those weeks?

OK, so I’ve used this site, and listed dates that don’t seem to have shows. There were a few weeks where Raw was moved to a Saturday or a Thursday, but most of the time with the Dog Show and Tennis and such, they would just not show it.

Feb 8, 1993
Aug 23, 1993
Aug 30, 1993
Sep 6, 1993
Feb 14, 1994
Mar 14, 1994
Jun 13, 1994
Aug 29, 1994
Sep 5, 1994
Feb 14, 1995
Aug 28, 1995
Sep 4, 1995
Dec 25, 1995
Feb 12, 1996
Aug 26, 1996
Aug 25, 1997
Sep 1, 1997

So basically, the ones in February are the Dog Show, then the ones in Aug/Sept were the US Open, with the occasional other show skipped for other reasons. But by my count, there were only 17 weeks Raw wasn’t shown.

That took a little too long, let’s get simpler with Connor

Why did Rikishi get rid of the sitout piledriver as his finisher? It looked quite nasty. You could even use it in the Smackdown 2 video game

Ah yes, the Rikishi Driver.

… Rikishi… Driver…

My God.

IT WAS IN FRONT OF US THE WHOLE TIME!!!

Eh, old joke.

Anyway, simple enough reason why he stopped using it. 2000 was the year WWE banned the piledriver, unless you had special permission. The Rikishi Driver was a piledriver variation, ergo it was banned. Which is odd, I always viewed it as a gutbuster, I never really got that it was meant to be a sitout piledriver. But anyway, it was one, ergo it was banned in 2000. So Rikishi switched to the Banzai Drop.

High Speed Egg McMuffin Fall Foliage Bellyflop asks about tights and career pushes.

Is it just me, or is there a recurring pattern in that when a primarily mid-card performer wears long tights to the ring, and then changes his gear down the road to short tights, that person then goes on to improve their careers in establishing themselves as “more” of a main event player?

Examples: Triple H, Chris Jericho, The Miz, Booker T, JBL, Jeff Jarrett

This is all I have for now. Can you think of any others? Or the opposite, can you think of some that had short tights, but became more succesful with long tights? I personally can’t think of any….

That’s because Vince prefers short tights, he views them as more serious. The Miz gave an interview where this came up, and I quote:

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always liked wrestling, and I’ve always liked the people who looked different. I always liked The Rockers. They had the tassels, and Shawn Michaels just always had something cool about the way he looked and what he wore. The Hardy Brothers, I always liked what they wore. I never liked the tights, I never liked the trunks. So when I was coming up, I decided to wear something different. I wanted to wear shorts, but I wanted to spice them up a little bit. I didn’t want to look like John Cena. I didn’t want to look like anybody. I wanted to stand out from the crowd. So I made my first pair of shorts myself, then I moved on and had the seamstress start bedazzling my shorts. I added a fedora, a bandanna, and I looked absolutely loud and obnoxious. Then I got moved to Raw and started going singles until I got banned by Jeremy Piven. … Who gets banned by a Hollywood actor?! So I had to come back, but how do you come back?

I had to look completely different because I had to fool everyone, so I wore a mask, but everyone knew that if I wore shorts or if I wore tights, people would know it was me because they know my body frame and my mannerisms. So I wore trunks, and nobody knew it was me. Maybe one or two people who really study WWE knew it was me, but for the most part, they had no idea. So I go out there, win my match, win my contract on Raw back, and I figure I’m going to go back to my shorts the next week. But walking back from the ring, Vince McMahon stops me and says, ‘You look great in trunks, kid. You’ve got great legs. You should be wearing trunks.’ I’m like, but I don’t like the trunks. I want to look different. I want to stand out. And he said to me, ‘You already stand out enough. Now we’re going to make you serious.’ I really didn’t want to do it, but when Vince McMahon comes up to you and tells you that you have great legs and that you need to be wearing trunks, well, you’re wearing trunks.

So I have the seamstress making me some trunks that are a little different than everyone else, but they’re still trunks. I like looking different than everyone else, and I will look different, but at least I know Vince likes my legs.[laughs]

Thus when guys in WWE are set to get a push, they tend to switch to trunks because that’s what Vince likes. I’m sure there are more guys who have switched that way.

Going the other way? AJ Styles is the only one off the top of my head, although Hogan switched from trunks to tights and did ok out of it…

Readers? Any obvious ones I’m missing?

Evil Jeff asks about Perfect Flair.

This one is kind of a two-parter – Watching Summerslam 1992 I was really enjoying how great Flair and Mr Perfect were playing their roles and how well they worked together in the classic oldschool ‘Complete Dick’ badguy roles (it’s a lost art – these days all bad guys want to be cool and cheered by ironically-minded fans). Whats as the actual kayfabe reason behind the whole “which corner will Mr Perfect be in” plot, and did it really go anywhere? Hennig was essentially retired as an active wrestling at this point, and I don’t believe Flair ever got a title shot out of it either.

The kayfabe reason for Flair and Perfect being there is that Flair and Perfect were dicks, and they wanted to sow confusion and distrust around the WWF Title, and then use that confusion to injury the champion, Randy Savage, which they did. Flair then used the leg injury to win the title from Savage a few days later, back in the United States.

Hennig was Flair’s partner in crime at this point, although the two of them did get help from Razor Ramon in the match.

Out of kayfabe, you’re getting into the whole “Was Warrior Going To Turn Heel” issue. But in kayfabe, it did go somewhere. It went to Flair’s waist.

On the same subject, with Flair and Perfect working together (I thought) so well in their roles, did they ever work together much either before or after that? I always thought it was a real shame that Hennig only stayed in The Horsemen for an hour or so because he was a PERFECT (hee hee) fit.

Well sure, they’d been working together since late 1991, when he’d become Flair’s ‘executive consultant’ when Bobby Heenan had to give up being Flair’s manager as he wasn’t able to handle the job due to his neck. They stayed as a rough group, obviously, but Flair and Hennig stayed together through to just before Survivor Series 92, when Perfect turned face and joined forces with Savage to fight Flair and Razor, which then led eventually to Perfect sending Flair out of the WWF.

That was pretty much it, other than the short stint as a Horsemen, they feuded in WCW a bit, or rather Hennig feuded with the Horsemen for a while, but they never teamed up again. And yes, he’d have made a great Horseman. Although I still maintain the greatest loss was Heenan never managing the Horsemen.

And on that sad note, we bring this week to a close. Join us next week for more wrestling discussion and trivia, why don’t you?

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