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411 Fact or Fiction 04.05.12: Rock Beats Cena, Brock Returns, Taker vs. Triple H, More

April 5, 2012 | Posted by Steve Cook

Hi, hello & welcome to 411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction! I’m Steve Cook, and this week we’re presenting an all-WWE version of the column due to that WrestleMania 28 thing that happened on Sunday. It had a lot of interesting stuff going on, like The Rock defeating John Cena, Undertaker continuing his WrestleMania winning streak against Triple H, Daniel Bryan losing to Sheamus in 18 seconds, CM Punk defending the WWE title against Chris Jericho, Maria Menounos gutting through a Divas match & Teddy Long losing his gig as SmackDown General Manager. The night before was the Hall of Fame ceremony featuring Edge, Mike Tyson & the Four Horsemen.

And with all of that stuff going on…Brock Lesnar stole the headlines.

Joining us this week are two men that have been rivals since they entered 411 together many years ago as Sunday Night Heat recappers. Yes, they go that far back. First, the author of “Don’t Think Twice” and the man who provides us with Instant Analysis of every WWE PPV event, Scott Slimmer!

His opponent left 411wrestling.com in November 2010. He presented the Small-For-All News Report & tons of Great Khali love for five f’n years, and he was in SunLife Stadium for WrestleMania 28. Please welcome back Jeff Small!

  • Questions were sent out Monday.
  • Participants were told to expect WrestleMania-related questions.

    1. The Rock defeating John Cena was the right decision.

    Scott Slimmer: FACT. If you had asked me this question in the moments after the end of WrestleMania, I definitely would have said FICTION. I always viewed the Rock / Cena match as a generational clash very similar to that between the Rock and Hulk Hogan ten years earlier. Just as the Rock was a star in his prime facing a returning icon in Hogan, now Cena was a star in his prime facing a returning icon in the Rock. The connection between the two matches solidified when the Rock and Cena did the famous “stare at the crowd” spot from the beginning of the Rock / Hogan match. And so just as Hogan used his veteran credibility to validate the Rock by doing the job for him, I expected the Rock to do the same for Cena. But when the Rock picked up the win, I definitely thought it was the wrong decision. However, things began to change for me during Raw. When the Rock announced that he would someday challenge for the WWE Championship, having him win a high profile singles match at WrestleMania seemed much more logical. When Cena came out later in the evening and continued his sickeningly upbeat rhetoric despite the fact that he had lost the biggest match of his career, I began to see the beauty in having him lose. And when Brock Lesnar made his triumphant return and left Cena in a heap, it all finally made sense. John Cena has arguably had the worst week of his career, and in many ways that makes him much more interesting than he has been in years. Couple that with the very intriguing possibility of having the Rock in title contention, and I’m definitely starting to believe that letting the Rock defeat John Cena was the right decision.

    Jeff Small: FACT. The Rock winning at Wrestlemania 28 was totally the right decision even if he tends to bring it by satellite. The people in the crowd wanted the Rock to win. The millions (and millions) at home wanted the Rock to win. The members of the intranetz who did not shut off WrestleMania after D-Bry’s loss (which is what I would have done) wanted the Rock to win. So the WWE actually gave the fans something they wanted. For that alone it’s the right decision. Secondly, it makes sense storyline wise. If Cena had won, what would be next for him? He already is on a level that cannot be matched by mere mortals as it usually takes a group of six to even get an advantage on him. So if he had won, he would have reached that level of immortality that only happens in those scam letters I get weekly. It would suck. People would bitch more than they do. And nothing good would have come from it.

    Score: 1 for 1

    2. The Undertaker vs. Triple H Hell in a Cell match was better than their match at last year’s WrestleMania.

    Scott Slimmer: FACT. The Undertaker and Triple H put on an incredible match last year, but they definitely surpassed it this year. Both matches relied on unrelenting brutality rather than technical prowess, but that’s completely appropriate for two guys who truly see themselves as the last of a different breed of professional wrestler. This year’s match was just as brutal as last year’s match, if not more so, but it definitely surpassed last year’s match in terms of storytelling quality. Last year’s match built upon the Flair / Michaels / Taker back story and focused on Triple H trying to end the Streak. It was a great story, but this year topped it in virtually every way. The addition of Shawn Michaels and the Hell in a Cell environment immediately brought both men’s histories directly into play. The Streak was still on the line, but this year the stakes were so much higher. Triple H was trying to end not only the Streak, but also the Undertaker. In turn, the Undertaker knew that the only way to preserve the Streak was to end Triple H. And yet, when each man had an advantage during the match, he hesitated, unwilling to end an opponent he so highly respects and close the door on a generation. Shawn Michaels had numerous opportunities to end the match, but in the end all he really wanted was to do the right thing, no matter how much it tore him up inside. This was brutality on a scale that we won’t see again for a very long time, and it was storytelling of a caliber that we may never see again.

    Jeff Small: FICTION. This is a really tough one for me to answer as I have only seen each match live. So going from gut alone, I am picking last year’s match as the better one since I actually thought there was a chance that Taker would lose. So when HHH dominated the match and hit that Tombstone, I really thought it was over. Unlike this year’s match where I knew there was no way that Taker would lose – 20-0 is too comfy not to do and what point would a HHH win have? At least last year if HHH had won it would have led to a rubber match. So while this year’s might have been on TV, live, I go with last year’s match.

    Score: 1 for 2

    3. Daniel Bryan losing in 18 seconds to Sheamus will lead to bigger things for him.

    Scott Slimmer: FACT. *Will* lead to bigger things for him? How about *have already* led to bigger things for him? Yes, Daniel Bryan lost the World Heavyweight Championship in near record time at WrestleMania, and the powers-that-be may have been trying to make him look like a joke. But if that was the case, then the joke is on them, because all they really did was make Daniel Bryan into a martyr. The crowd’s support of Daniel Bryan all throughout Monday’s Raw was unlike that we’ve seen from a crowd in many years. While it is true that Monday night’s crowd in Miami may have been stacked with die-hard fans who are not representative of WWE’s fan base as a whole, I have to believe that those deafening “YES! YES! YES!” chants will have ramifications. More casual fans who were sitting at home on Monday will remember those chants and start them themselves at future live events and television tapings. The powers-that-be at WWE may sometimes be resentful of talent who unexpectedly get over, but they can’t ignore the chants forever. Daniel Bryan will be a world champion again, and ironically enough, it very well may be because the fans resent being manipulated by WWE. Daniel Bryan has become more than just a professional wrestler – he has become a rallying cry. And once you’ve become the face of a movement, bigger things are almost certainly in store.

    Jeff Small: FACT.

    Score: 2 for 3

    4. You’re more interested in the CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho feud now than you were before WrestleMania.

    Scott Slimmer: FACT. When CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship was first announced for WrestleMania, I was definitely excited. Triple H vs. the Undertaker would be a brutal brawl, and the Rock vs. John Cena would be the epitome of sports entertainment, but CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho stood poised to be a true professional wrestling clinic. However, as the storyline concerning Punk’s family became the focus of the feud, I began to become concerned that the storyline would play such a large role in their match that it would detract from their ability to simply put on a great wrestling match. My fears were only exacerbated when John Laurinaitis announced that Punk could lose the title via disqualification. While Punk and Jericho did end up having a great match at WrestleMania, the specter of the storyline and the disqualification stipulation definitely marred it a bit for me. However, as we approach what seems to be inevitable rematch at Extreme Rules, the escalation of the feud on Raw definitely has me excited again. Jericho’s actions on Monday night were a whole new level of despicable, and any rage that Punk may have felt leading up to WrestleMania will undoubtedly pale in comparison to what he must be feeling after suffering such a tremendous humiliation. Having a wrestling match is completely out of the question now. These two men have to fight, and Extreme Rules is the perfect environment for that to happen. Punk and Jericho are two of the best workers in the industry, and I can’t wait to see what they’re able to produce in an extreme environment.

    Jeff Small: FICTION. As much as I love recycled Jake Roberts storylines, I just cannot take Jericho seriously as he has yet to win anything since returning in January. Fine, he won a few matches but man, he really needs a big win to legitimize this feud. The only time I thought he had a serious shot at being Punk was in the Elimination Chamber as he looked SWANK before being knocked out. I love Jericho but he has no chance in hell here.

    Score: 2 for 4


    5. Beth Phoenix shouldn’t have been pinned by Maria Menounos.

    Jeff Small: FICTION. If the WWE does not care and the fans do not care, why should I care about the Divas Division. The best thing they could have done is have AJ win the title before Mania and be a real power couple with D-Bry. But they didn’t. So I don’t care.

    Scott Slimmer: FICTION. I completely understand the point of view of those who believe that a celebrity who is not a trained professional wrestler shouldn’t be allowed to pin a reigning champion at the biggest show of the year. Titles should mean something, and I agree that having a celebrity defeat a champion can cheapen both the champion and the championship. However, there are two mitigating factors that need to be taken into consideration in this situation. The first is that this is WrestleMania, and celebrity involvement at WrestleMania is a long-standing tradition. From Mr. T defeating “Rowdy” Roddy Piper to Lawrence Taylor defeating Bam Bam Bigelow to Floyd Mayweather defeating the Big Show, we have all grown up with celebrities picking up unlikely victories on the Grandest Stage of Them All. We afford WrestleMania an added degree of suspension of disbelief, which is convenient, because it would undoubtedly be more difficult to convince celebrities to step into the ring if they knew they would end up on the losing end of the contest. In addition, the fact that Maria Menounos pinned Beth Phoenix is even more excusable in light of the extremely inconsistent way that Beth has been booked during her title reign. We all thought that she would be the one to begin to rebuild the credibility of the Divas Championship, but she seems to have lost more matches than she’s won. Is getting rolled by Maria Menounos really any more damaging than getting rolled up by Kelly Kelly in a semi-regular basis?

    Score: 3 for 5

    6. Teddy Long is done as a WWE character.


    Jeff Small: FICTION. The day Teddy Long is done as a WWE character is the day the Great Khali loses a match on Indian television.

    Scott Slimmer: FICTION. Teddy Long has been a staple in this industry for more than twenty years, and he’s been a mainstay on WWE programming for more than a decade. He is undoubtedly the most prominent General Manager in Smackdown history, and he has the unique ability to play the role of a face authority figure without becoming boring or invisible. While it is true that Teddy has been displaced from his role as Smackdown General Manager by John Laurinaitis, I have to believe that the situation is only temporary. Allowing Laurinaitis to run roughshod over both Raw and Smackdown while becoming drunk on his own power will be a fun storyline for a few months, but ultimately it’s not a sustainable storyline. The only reason to build up such an unlikable authority figure it to eventually tear him back down, and when that happens, Teddy Long will be the natural choice to once again take the reins on Smackdown. Let’s not forget, Teddy lost the Smackdown General Manager position to Vickie Guerrero in 2007 only to regain it in 2009. The Teddy Long character is a survivor, and I absolutely believe that he will survive this setback just as he has so many in the past.

    Score: 4 for 6

    7. Edge deserved to go on last at the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

    Jeff Small: FACT. People actually think Arn Anderson should have gone on last? That motherfucker got a heel turn in WWE ’12. What more does he need? In all seriousness, Edge is one of the first present day superstars to be inducted as his career ended earlier than expected. To many young fans, he means way more than the old timers that preceded him in the show. Plus he got paid to have sex with Lita in front of an audience. Beat that OMEGA jabronies!

    Scott Slimmer: FACT. There’s not even a shadow of doubt in my mind that Edge deserved to go on last at the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The three big names for this year’s Hall of Fame class were the Four Horsemen, Mike Tyson, and Edge. They were the right choices to be featured on the televised special, and you knew that one of those three would be going on last. Tyson may be the biggest of those three names in the world of sports, but he simply can’t match up with the other two in the world of professional wrestling. I can see how someone could make a case for him going on last in order to cash in on his celebrity, but that would honestly be nothing less than disrespectful to the enormous contributions that the Horsemen and Edge have made to this industry. With Tyson out of the way, that only leaves the Horsemen and Edge as choices to go on last. While the Horsemen’s legacy is undeniably enormous, their best days were decades ago. Today’s fans are much more familiar with Edge than they are with the Horsemen. In addition, while getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is an emotional experience for every inductee, you simply cannot deny the emotional power of Edge getting inducted less than a year after his career was unexpectedly cut short. Edge’s popularity with the current generation of wrestling fans, coupled with the emotionally compelling story of the last year of his life, definitely made him the right choice to go on last.

    Score: 5 for 7

    8. Brock Lesnar’s return on Raw had you marking out like a schoolgirl.

    Jeff Small: FACT. Let me just say my pants shattered when they hit the ground. YES YES YES YES YES. Semen jokes are back. Small in 2014. Fuck you Slimmer!

    Scott Slimmer: FACT. YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! Sorry about that, I get caught up in the moment sometimes. But seriously, who the hell wasn’t marking out like a schoolgirl when Brock Lesnar returned on Raw? Brock just seems to have that effect on people. He was immediately a big deal when he debuted in WWE in 2002. He was in instant box office draw when he debuted in UFC in 2008. And now that he’s returned to WWE, the Next Big Thing still seems like, well, a big f’n thing. However, in addition to the mark-out power of Brock himself, he was inserted into a perfect mark-out situation. The Rock and John Cena have been talking for more than a year. They talk. And they talk. And they talk. Sure, they finally got in the ring together on Sunday, but on Monday they both went right back to the talking. And that’s fine, I suppose. Great mic work is a hallmark of every legend in this industry. But a year’s worth of promos for one match seems more than bit excessive. But then Brock made his way down to ringside on Raw and instantly stood in contrast to a year’s worth of promos from Rock and Cena. He didn’t saw a damn word. All he did was kick John Cena’s ass, letting his actions speak for him. And that sure as hell had me marking out like a schoolgirl. However, at some point Brock will have to take the mic and address his return and his future plans. And when that time comes, I may just mark myself to death if Brock enlists the services of his former mouthpiece, Paul Heyman.

    Final Score: 6 for 8

    The bitter rivals agree far more often than not on recent WWE events. It is obvious that the joy of WrestleMania brings everybody together, even people like Small & Slimmer that have hated each other for years. What are your opinions on these issues? Does Jeff Small need to come back to further spread the Gospel of Khali? Thoughts on these and any other issues would be appreciated down in the comment section. Thanks to Scott & Jeff for participating, and we’ll see you back here next week for more Fact or Fiction!

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