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411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction: Should Edge Have Come Out of Retirement?

February 7, 2020 | Posted by Jake Chambers
Edge Royal Rumble

Welcome back to Round 1 of the 411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction Road to Wrestlemania Invitational Tournament!

I’m your host, Jake Chambers. I’ve gathered together 8 writers from 411mania who have all participated alongside me in the Wrestling Fact or Fiction column over the past few months, and I am pitting them against each other in a battle of wrestling smarts and wits, as they dare to explain what they think is totally factual or completely fiction for statements on pro-wrestling history, culture and current events. No middle ground will be tolerated!

Over the next few months, this single elimination tournament will feature the familiar format we all know and love along with a few surprises along the way. Polls will also be included so YOU can play a part in who advances to the next round (more on the voting at the end of the column). Now, let’s “tourn” it up and meet today’s participants.

Round 1, Week 3

411’s A-list reviewer of bombastic B-movies, Bryan Kristopowitz
vs.
The editorial brains behind the 411 scenes, Jeremy Thomas

Statement #1: It is worth the health risk for former A-level PPV main event-ers, such as Daniel Bryan and Edge, to come out of retirement even if they only end up having B-level status.

Bryan Kristopowitz: FACT – I was originally going to say “FICTION” because to me, a mere mortal, it would seem insane to risk mega serious/permanent injury just to wrestle again (either aggravating the original injury that put me on the shelf in the first place or some new mega serious injury), but then I’m not a pro wrestler. For guys like Daniel Bryan and Edge it does make sense to come back and wrestle. It’s what they love to do. So, after somehow overcoming believed career ending injury to get back in the ring and get a pop and whatever else makes one want to be a pro wrestler, why not do it, even if I’m not quite as good as I used to be? And think about this. Daniel Bryan is just as good as he was before he was forced to retire. Why couldn’t Edge do the same thing? Maybe he will pick up where he left off once he starts doing it all again regularly.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – This is very difficult to answer in a blanket fashion.  I am answering FACT with the specific caveat that if they are coming out of retirement in a major company like AEW, WWE or the like, they have been cleared to compete and are medically able to.  In Daniel Bryan and Edge’s cases, we specifically know that WWE refused to clear them for a long time and they only returned after they were 150% proven to be good to return.  As long as that’s the case, I don’t think it matters what level they have when they come back. The point is not that they need to be at the top of the company, but they want to come back period.  If they’re happy with their positions in the company and they’re keeping healthy — and I have no reason to think they aren’t — then good for them.

Statement #2: If you could see Hulk Hogan in his prime versus one wrestler today in a PPV main event, it would be Roman Reigns.

Bryan Kristopowitz: FICTION – Roman Reigns would no doubt provide a good match for an “in his prime” Hulk Hogan, but I think I would rather see Prime Hogan wrestle someone like Braun Strowman or the current Brock Lesnar (arrogant bastard and in ring killer). The match may end up being short, but think of the epic comeback Hogan would have after getting like eight German suplexes and three F5’s. And Strowman is one of the best big men in the WWE right now, and Hogan against an evil monster that can match him size wise is classic Hogan. Or how about Seth Rollins or the current AJ Styles? Hogan had several great matches with Mr. Perfect back in the day, and Rollins and Styles are two guys that could do the same thing against a prime Hogan. Any one of those guys is more interesting than Roman Reigns.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – Not even a little bit.  That’s not a patch on Roman Reigns or his skills; I’m sure he would hold up fine.  But he’s exactly the kind of opponent that tended to result in middling, forgettable matches with Hogan.  Hogan’s best matches were either spectacle matches against giants and monsters (Andre, Undertaker, Bundy, etc.) or matches were someone with a fantastic workrate got a good match out of him.  In those veins, I would much rather see a Hogan in his prime against Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles or the like.

Statement #3: Jon Moxley should defeat Chris Jericho for the AEW Championship at the Revolution PPV

Special Task: Please write your response within the new 280 character limit for a Tweet

Bryan Kristopowitz: FICTION – AEW doesn’t need a crazy world champion right now. Keep the strap on Le Champion and let different guys chase after him, Make that belt into something truly important in pro wrestling. Only Jericho as champion can make that happen.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – @IAmJericho has had a great run as #AEWChampion, but it’s about time for some new blood in @JonMoxley. Jericho doesn’t need the win at #AEWRevolution or the title to remain on top and it will create new matchups and storylines for #AEWDynamite.  #AEWonTNT

(I’m very sorry for that, 411 readers.)

¡SWITCH!

Statement #4: At Wrestlemania XII, the WWF President Gorilla Monsoon made the right call to allow the 60-minute Ironman match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels go to sudden death overtime after it ended in a draw.

Special Task: Please write your response as if it is an official entry in the WWF(E) rulebook

Jeremy Thomas: FACT

Concerning WWE Championship Matches – Article III, Section II – “Stipulation Matches”

In the case of a WWE Championship Match that takes place at WrestleMania, if a stipulation is assigned to said match by decree of the WWF President, Commissioner, other official with proper authority or by agreement between challenger and champion, said stipulation should not be some bullshit that allows for a non-finish.  Ties or non-resolutions of major feuds at WrestleMania, wherein feuds are supposed to come to an end or begin, are not good shit, pal.  [Jeremy Note: Vince obviously wrote the rulebook, so you can’t tell me that he wouldn’t use that phrase.]  Ergo, in the case of such a bullshit ending, the WWF President, Commissioner, Chairman or other person of authority is authorized to allow for any additional stipulation that adequately eliminates the bullshit ending.

Addendum to Article III, Section II: We the WWF Board of Directors certainly hope that the ability to add last-minute stipulations won’t come back to bite us in the ass.  However, as we enter what people seem to be ready to refer to as “the Attitude Era,” we have confidence that Mr. McMahon will use such authorization fairly.  We also trust Ric Flair not to turn on us though, so what do we know?

Bryan Kristopowitz: FACT – In a normal match, the referee’s decision, regardless of how wrong it may be in retrospect, should be final. But when the match in question is the main event at the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania, it is unacceptable to have the match end in anything other than a winner and a loser. So, when it comes to the main event of Wrestlemania XII, the 60 minute Iron Man Match between champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart and challenger “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, the referee needed to have his “draw” decision overruled and the match needed to be restarted. You just can’t have the main event on the grandest stage of them all end with no definitive winner. That’s not what the WWF, the worldwide leader in sports entertainment, is about.

Statement #5: The Mount Rushmore of Pro-Wrestler / Actors is: Roddy Piper, The Rock, John Cena, Dave Bautista

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – All due respect to John Cena and Dave Bautista, but they’re not even close as of yet.  Piper and Rock are obvious choices; they’re undisputed crossover heavyweights in that respect.  But Bautista, while doing well in acting, still hasn’t proven himself as a potential lead star.  His first mainstream film that relied on his name value to carry it was Stuber, which while mildly fun was a box office failure.  And while Cena has certainly found a level of success that I don’t think people expected, he still has to make a bit more of a mark that could well come soon.

No, the true Mount Rushmore of wrestler/actors is Piper, Rock, Hulk Hogan, and Jesse Ventura.  We can laugh all we want about Hogan’s film work, but he paved the way for wrestlers to even cross over into acting in the first place.  If not for Rocky III, No Holds Barred, Thunder in Paradise, and Suburban Commando (Okay, mostly Rocky III but still), most of the other people on the list wouldn’t have gotten a shot.  And Jesse Ventura, while he doesn’t have the longest resume, earns his spot with his roles in Predator, The Running Man, and Demolition Man.  Big Dave and Cena will eventually earn their spots, and likely displace Hogan and Ventura, but not yet.

Bryan Kristopowitz: FACT – When it comes to the Mount Rushmore of wrestlers turned actors, the most important factor, at least to me, is longevity. Out of all of the wrestlers turned actors, Piper, The Rock, Cena, and Batista are really the only ones that were able to do it and do it for a long time. The Rock started with a bit part in a The Mummy sequel and is now one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Cena started with several action star vehicles that were, at best, moderate hits (The Marine and 12 Rounds weren’t gigantic hits, but they were good enough to generate several low budget sequels for other wrestlers to star in. That should count for something), and it looks like Cena could be on the verge of becoming an in demand big deal actor (he’s done several different kinds of movies, too, just like The Rock, so he has appeal across multiple movie genres). Bautista continues to find roles in all sorts of movies, from big budget Marvel movies to low budget action movies like Bushwick and comedies like Stuber. And Roddy Piper made all sorts of interesting movies over his career, from the classic They Live to stuff like Jungleground and Alien Opponent. Yes, it’s true that Piper was never the big deal, A-list star that the other three are, but Piper showed that wrestlers could act, that they can have an appeal that other performers can’t duplicate, and that wrestlers can do things other than action movies. Piper is the one that really paved the way for the other three.

Statement #6: YouTube views are the best indicator of the kind of content the majority of WWE fans want to see.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – YouTube views are a good indicator of what people want to see, but not necessarily specifically WWE fans.  The big thing about social media platforms, which includes YouTube, is that people interact with things they wouldn’t necessarily take the time to watch.  You can see a quick clip of the Lana/Lashley wedding on YouTube without having to invest yourself in WWE, and the viral nature of YouTube means that it’s very likely to spread to non-wrestling fans.

To be clear, I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing.  But in relation to this question, it’s not an indicator at all of what most WWE fans want to see because we don’t know who’s viewing it.  WWE has a much better idea, but they are financially obligated to spin it in a PR way as “the WWE Universe loves this video.” Ultimately, I think WWE Network viewing numbers, which of course we don’t have access to, is the best indicator because it shows what those people who are actually invested in WWE are watching.

Bryan Kristopowitz: FICTION – I think YouTube views should be taken into account when assessing what it is WWE fans want to see, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that matters or the most important. The quarterly hour ratings breakdowns should matter just as much, as well as the arena crowd reactions to whatever happens. And Twitter comments should matter, too. Because, really, what kind of content is going to “work” on YouTube? Spot fest segments, botches, and “big” moments, like the Bobby Lashley-Lana wedding. That whole thing was terrible, but it was fun, in the end, to watch the car crash again and again on YouTube to understand fully how bad it was. I don’t want McMahon and company to try to deliberately replicate that kind of thing again. So, yes, take YouTube views into account, but don’t make them the ultimate indicator. That seems like a recipe for disaster.

Voting

To determine the victor in each round, the SIX other participating writers will cast a secret vote, along with a SEVENTH, and potentially tie-breaking vote, that will got to the winner of the reader’s poll below.

Anybody can, of course, vote however they like, but I’m introducing these criteria to help guide everyone’s decision:

Persuasiveness = ability to convince you that the writer’s Fact/Fiction choice was the best opinion

Knowledge = demonstration of the history and theory of pro-wrestling (even if not an expert on the topic in the statement)

Use of language = eloquence of the written word; creativity, imagery, comparisons, tone, voice

Plus = mastery of the “Special Tasks”



Another crazy week of quality responses; these writers are bringing it for the tournament!

Thanks to Bryan Kristopowitz and Jeremy Thomas for participating, and good luck to them on the Road to Wrestlemania and their quest for the coveted 411mania Invitational Tournament championship title!