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Ask 411 Wrestling 01.09.13: HBK vs. Owen, HHH as Undisputed Champion, Corporate Ministry, and more!

January 9, 2013 | Posted by Ryan Byers

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am Ryan Byers, still filling in for Mathew Sforcina as he deals with . . . well, he never really told me what he was dealing with. I’m assuming that it’s important, though.

For those of you curious as to how much longer I will be around, I’ve got two more columns after this one, wrapping up my current run on January 23. As always, feel free to send any questions that you may want me to answer to [email protected].

And now, ahem . . .


And what’s a good banner without a good Twitter?




Just a few quick notes from the comment section, which you can check out in full here.

Reader Jarrow made a quick correction to my rundown of Tough Enough alumni (more on that later), indicating that Pete from season two worked at least one independent show, appearing for Jersey All Pro Wrestling on September 20, 2002.

Regarding a question about the heaviest professional wrestling match of all time, MaskedHypocrite indicated that it is likely Haystacks Calhoun vs. Happy Humphrey, with both men being around or in excess of 600 pounds. I would say that he is likely correct. When answering the question, I was trying to think of a Haystacks match with a heavier opponent that could’ve done the job, but I completely forgot about Humphrey, who fits the bill.

Several commenters engaged in a very good, detailed discussion of the pros and cons of Kevin Nash booking WCW and his relationship with Hulk Hogan’s creative control clause. I would suggest going back and checking it out if you’re interested in the subject.

Your Turn, Smart Guy

Last week’s question went a little something like this:

I am a former masked wrestler. I have several sons, and all but one of them also became masked wrestlers. I’m no luchador, though. During the prime of my career, I participated in a feud that revolved around my girlfriend, though she never appeared on camera. Much later in my career, I had a memorable appearance in a steel cage, though I didn’t have a pro wrestling match there. Who am I?

I believe Mark Satrang was the first one to get this, and his correct answer was Bob Armstrong. Armstrong wrestled under a mask on and off during his career as the Bullet, and three of his four sons had masked gimmicks as well. Brad had several, including Fantasia/Badstreet and Arachnaman. Scott worked under a hood while he was in Smoky Mountain Wrestling under the name Dixie Dyn-o-Mite. Finally, Brian (a.k.a. the Road Dogg) had a handful of matches very early in his career as the Dark Secret in order to hide the fact that he was wrestling while still in the military. He wrestled under a mask again in the verrrrry early days of TNA, redoing his father’s old Bullet gimmick.

The steel cage appearance without a wrestling match is another TNA reference, as Bob Armstrong faced Konnan in an arm wrestling match IN A STEEL CAGE at the 2006 version of the Lockdown pay per view. Several people seemed confused about the girlfriend feud, but that was a reference to Armstrong’s heel turn in Southeastern Championship Wrestling (basically his home territory) in the early 1980’s. One of the things he brought up in his promos as a bad guy was Ms. Fanny Mae Tutweiler, a well-off woman who he was having an affair with and was allegedly bilking her out of her money. Fanny Mae, though she was never an on-screen character, would lavish gifts on Armstrong, including fancy cigars and a diamond earring. Eventually the diamond earring got “swallowed” by Armstrong rival Buck Robley when they two got into a heated brawl.

And now, on to this week’s question:

I am a ten year veteran of professional wrestling, and, during my career, most of my major rivals were twice my size. I never wrestled for the WWF/WWE, but I am credited with inventing a finishing maneuver that was used by one of its most popular wrestlers of the 2000’s, and it was even named after me. Subsequent to my retirement from professional wrestling, I married one of my former coworkers, and I began hosting a radio show. Who am I?

Questions, Questions, Who’s Got the Questions?

Kevin K. of the Monday Night War Blog goes corporate:

What was the WWF thinking with the Corporate Ministry? I would argue that this was one of the most poorly conceived angles in history. Too many flips, swerves and nonsense like hangings and sacrifices and the people would be around that show or the next week and it was like nothing happened. The Undertaker was downgraded to a patsy and for months and months it just dragged on, jumping the shark every week, yet it was also one of the most popular in RAW history as the ratings were the highest they had ever been, so I guess it did not matter what they put on the screen as viewers tuned in to that and Beaver Cleavage, short matches and swerves and other nonsense.

This was actually addressed in part on an episode of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Radio earlier this week when a listener asked Meltzer what the original plan behind the “higher power” angle was. The answer given by the Meltz was that there wasn’t WASN’T a plan. This was all during the era where the long-term booking of days gone by had in large part been thrown out the window and the WWF flew by the seat of its pants on a lot of things. Chances are good that somebody on the Crash TV-centric writing crew just thought that a mashup of the two dominant heel stables seemed like the next logical step in the promotion’s “Steve Austin vs. the world” motif, so it happened one week without being particularly well thought out. Ditto to a bunch of crap like crucifixions, hangings, stabbings, and various other “dark” angles that were contradicted the week after that they occurred. Ditto to Vince McMahon joining the stable as its leader, given that he had been feuding with the Ministry for months and had just been kicked out of the Corporation prior to the Corporate Ministry forming.

There’s a reason that Vince Russo has the reputation he does, guys. It’s because of things like this.

In last week’s column, I started answering a question from Jake S. in which he asked for a “where are they now” style rundown for every competitor ever on WWE Tough Enough. Due to the insane amount of work and text something like that would take, I decided to break it up over a couple of weeks. Last week, we covered seasons one and two. This week, we move forward . . .

Tough Enough Season Three

John Morrison: Of course, just about everybody knows the story here. John Hennigan originally auditioned for the second season of Tough Enough but didn’t make the cut until season three. He was one of the co-winners and, after a couple of token appearances on WWE TV immediately after his win, he was shipped off to developmental, where he stayed for about a year until his first call-up. He was mainly on the roster in a mostly non-wrestling capacity the first time around, acting as a flunky for Eric Bischoff under the name Johnny Nitro (“Nitro,” in storyline, being selected as his surname as a means of kissing up to the Bisch). After only three months, he was written out of storylines and shipped back to developmental, where he formed the MNM tag team with relative veteran Joey Matthews (later Mercury) and manager Melina. A little less than a year later, the entire MNM act became part of the main roster before being prematurely and unfortunately split up, like most great tag teams over the past decade. Nitro had a lackluster run as a single in the Intercontinental Title mix, broken up by a brief reunion of the team that was interrupted by Mercury’s release resulting from personal problems. After another brief singles run and being renamed John Morrison, the Tough Enough winner was put into a fairly successful tag team with Mike the Miz. Unfortunately, when that duo broke up, Morrison went right back to where he was when MNM broke up, a somewhat popular yet largely unsuccessful singles wrestler who primarily competed for the company’s secondary championships. Despite a couple of attempts, he never connected on a main event level and was not re-signed at the end of 2011. In the past year, it has been rumored that Hennigan is more interested in pursuing an acting career than he is being a professional wrestler, but he is still taking indy dates if the price is right. Recently, he has been announced as participating in two Wrestlemania weekend independent shows, one where he will be facing Akira Tozawa and one where he will be facing the legendary Jushin Liger.

Matt Cappotelli: Cappotelli was the second co-winner of season three, though his professional wrestling career took a decidedly different turn than that of John Hennigan. Cappotelli, like Hennigan, reported to Ohio Valley Wrestling immediately after winning Tough Enough, though he didn’t get called up quite as quickly as his counterpart. He was rather successful there, holding the promotion’s top tag team and singles titles over the course of approximately three years. However, on the February 8, 2006 Ohio Valley Wrestling show, Cappotelli, the reigning OVW Heavyweight Champion, relinquished the championship due to a malignant tumor being discovered in his brain. The tumor was monitored for a while and then successfully removed via surgery on May 2, 2007. Cappotelli made some personal appearances for OVW after the surgery was completed, though he did not wrestle a match beyond that point to my knowledge. WWE did keep him under contract through October 2009. A 2010 article indicated that, at that time, he was working as a personal trainer at a local gym. Also, for a time, he owned and operated Faith Ink., a company selling clothing incorporating themes from Christian mythology. Faith Ink’s website is still online, though it is difficult to tell if it has been updated anytime recently or whether the business is still in operation.

Jonah Adelman: I remember Jonah being a fan favorite while Tough Enough III was running, but, unfortunately, he had some personal problems that kept him from maintaining a professional wrestling career after he was not successful on the show. Adelman wrestled on the independents throughout 2003, mostly in and around New England. He also got himself one WWE dark match and a booking on the February 19, 2003 TNA weekly PPV, where he lost to Mike Sanders in a short match. During this time, he was keeping up his training with the wrestling school operated by Killer Kowalski. Unfortunately, things started to fall apart for Adelman not long into his career. He got hooked on the painkiller OxyContin and started dealing it in addition to taking it, ultimately being arrested and being sentenced to three years of probation. A news article about him attempting to turn his life around between his conviction and his sentencing is archived here, and it also provides some additional information on the charges against him. That is the last thing I was able to find about Jonah’s life, as he’s apparently kept a low profile since.

Scott Chong: Chong was a Korean immigrant who, on the show, was portrayed as being undersized but having a lot of heart. His story after Tough Enough is pretty much the same story as a lot of his fellow alums and, frankly, I’m having a hard time telling the same story a thousand different ways while making it interesting. So, here goes: He was an independent wrestler in the Northeast for about a year after Tough Enough wrapped up and then he moved on, presumably to get a real job and not give wrestling a second thought. His notable matches included his debut, which was for a no-name group but was against H.C. Loc, who would go on to fame as part of the Carnage Crew in Ring of Honor, and a CZW bout in which he teamed with Z-Barr to take on the Rockin’ Rebel and Tough Enough season one alumnus Greg Matthews. He also did a one-shot with Ring of Honor, where he showed up as a hanger on with the raver stable Special K at 2003’s installment of Death before Dishonor.

Chad Angeli: After the show, Chad went back to school to finish his MBA (which he started before the show), according to an interview from shortly after Tough Enough that is still online. He did not seem to have any immediate desire to continue in wrestling, and I have found no record of him doing so.

Justin: I found a record of Justin working exactly one independent show, in July 2003 for a group called Hardkore Championship Wrestling out of Davie, Florida that also featured Jonah and Scott. Presumably he also wrestled on some other shows, but I cannot find records, mainly because I cannot find any indication of what this guy’s last name was, which makes searching difficult. Googling “Justin the Wrestler” just doesn’t get you anywhere.

Nick Distelbrink: Like Chad, there is an interview with Nick from not long after the show’s completion floating around online. He doesn’t really talk about what he was doing at the time, but he doesn’t state that he has any interest in continuing in wrestling, either.

Eric Markovcy: I do not believe Eric had any ties to wrestling after the show ended, despite the fact that he was a season three finalist. However, I have been able to find records that indicate that, as recently as last fall, he was working as a strength and conditioning coach in the athletic department of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

Lisa: Lisa has one of the more infamous Tough Enough related stories, as she was removed from the show due to a “breakdown” that she had in the house one evening while the rest of the cast was out partying. She was reportedly slamming herself into walls and at one point climbed up to the roof, threatening to jump. This story was not covered on the show itself, but it was widely reported elsewhere. After she was removed from the show, she allegedly attempted to get in to the backstage area at various WWE events and at least one OVW show, though she was never successful. Her current whereabouts are unknown.

Jamie, Jill, and Kelly: To my knowledge, these individuals had no connection to wrestling once the show ended, and there is no information I could locate regarding their whereabouts.

Rebekah: I also couldn’t find any additional information about Rebekah post-Tough Enough, but I gave her a separate entry to note that, if IMDB is to be believed, in addition to TE she had a bit role in a 1998 horror movie named Pep Squad.

Interestingly, former WWE star Melina Perez auditioned for the third season of Tough Enough and made it to just before the final cut. It was during this process that her romantic relationship with John Hennigan/Morrison began, which continues to this day to my understanding.

The Million Dollar Tough Enough

It appeared that Tough Enough III would be the last time that the show would air as a regular reality television program, as MTV cancelled it. WWE attempted to revive the concept in late 2004 but could not find a television outlet and instead made it a part of their existing Smackdown program. In addition to the format change, the casting was handled differently, as the individuals who made up the “cast” were specifically recruited by WWE as guys who they might want to sign to developmental deals as opposed to being kids from off the street who sent in audition video tapes in the style of The Real World. As a result, you see a lot more involvement of this crew with WWE after the season comes to an end.

Mike the Miz: Prior to Tough Enough, Miz first made a name for himself as part of the cast for the 2001 season of the aforementioned Real World, where his love of wrestling and desire to join the business was part of his character. He was on numerous MTV reality shows afterwards, while simultaneously dabbling in independent wrestling training and shows, most notably for Rick Bassman’s Ultimate Pro Wrestling in southern California, where in 2004 he got a surprisingly big match relative to his level of experience, teaming with Diamond Dallas Page against Big Babi Slymm and a man who would go on to bigger things, Adam Pearce. After losing on Tough Enough, Miz spent a little over a year in Ohio Valley Wrestling under a developmental deal before becoming part of the main roster in March 2006, first as a “host” for Smackdown and then later as a wrestler. His wrestling career lead him to where he is today, a former WWE Champion and Wrestlemania main eventer who is probably one of the bigger overachievers in recent memory when you compare what he’s accomplished to his level of talent.

Daniel Puder: Aside from Matt Cappotelli, whose career was put on hold due to medical issues, Puder is probably up to this point in the show’s history the WWE Tough Enough winner who had the least impact on the promotion. Outside of Tough Enough, his only real appearance on WWE television was his entry into the 2005 Royal Rumble match, where he was ganged up on and eliminated by a crew of veterans in a bit of a worked shoot “hazing.” As a result of winning Tough Enough, Puder had earned a $250,000.00 per year, four year contract, and this unfortunately worked against him in terms of remaining with the company. He was under that contract from January 2005 through September 2005 and honing his skills in the developmental territory OVW, when WWE essentially fired him because they didn’t want to pay a developmental guy so much money (despite the fact that, you know, they agreed to do it at the outset of Tough Enough IV). The company offered Puder the chance to re-sign with a normal developmental deal, which would have come with a significant pay cut. He told them to take a long walk off a short pier, which I can’t blame him for given the circumstances. After leaving WWE, Puder returned to MMA. He had one pro fight prior to Tough Enough and, once his WWE days were over, he had seven more, ultimately retiring from the sport in 2011 with a perfect 8-0 record. He also had some brief flirtations with pro wrestling post-WWE, working a handful of matches as a special guest of Ring of Honor in 2008 and doing one tour with New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2010, as well as a one-off match with the Inoki Genome Federation the same year. Despite apparently being done in professional wrestling and MMA, Puder has a lot of projects going on these days, including owning and operating his own gym, coordinating an anti-bullying campaign, and running a not-for-profit organization that donates workout equipment to schools and youth organizations.

Ryan Reeves: Reeves was signed to a developmental deal immediately after the close of Tough Enough and stayed there through the fall of 2007, when he was cut without ever being brought up to the main roster. Reeves decided to stay in wrestling and started wrestling for Ohio Valley, which by this point was no longer a WWE developmental territory, in 2008. He continued to hone his craft there and, in the last few weeks of 2008, WWE re-signed him to a developmental deal, bringing him through Florida Championship Wrestling before calling him up to be a member of the cast of the inaugural season of NXT. Originally called Skip Sheffield, he was part of the Nexus angle but was taken out of it early due to an unfortunate ankle accident. Once he healed, he was repackaged, and now we all know and love him as Ryback. Interestingly, the “Ryback” name is one that he came up with himself and first used when he was part of the OVW roster, not under any sort of WWE deal.

Nick Mitchell: Mitchell was also immediately signed to a developmental deal after Tough Enough concluded. He reported to developmental and remained there through 2005 and 2006, eventually being called up to the main roster when he was recruited to be part of the Spirit Squad under the name of Mitch. Due to a knee injury that he suffered originally in developmental and aggravated on the main roster, he was the member of the group that saw the least actual in-ring action. The entire stable was written out of the promotion’s storylines in November 2006, and Mitchell was released from his WWE deal in May 2007. He had a several year relationship with Torrie Wilson, which came to an end in 2011. After leaving WWE, Mitchell attempted to start up a clothing boutique with Wilson, called “Officially Jaded.” However, neither the brick-and-mortar store in Texas nor its online presence lasted too horribly long. Mitchell also tried to start up an MMA career. He has an 0-1 professional record and a 1-1 amateur record, with his most recent fight (his amateur win) coming in February 2012 on a show in Mississippi.

Dan Rodimer: Rodimer was also signed to a developmental deal not long after the Tough Enough wrap. There were persistent rumors that he was a favorite of Stephanie McMahon and even some brief talk that he might be involved in a stable similar to Evolution, but nothing ever really materialized for him in WWE. He made a handful of appearances on Heat under the name Dan Rodman but had mixed success. In an odd note, in what might have been a precursor to a major push that never materialized, he did receive a WWE Title match against John Cena on a June 17, 2007 house show. He was released from his deal later that summer, though, reportedly at his own request. In researching this article, I saw some vague references online to him attending law school at present, but I have not been able to confirm or deny these rumors.

Chris Nawrocki: According to this 2011 article, Nawrocki wrestled on some small independent shows around his hometown after being cut from Tough Enough. He apparently used the stage name “Habitat.” The article also indicates that he was offered a WWE developmental deal but turned it down, deciding to work a real job instead.

Justice Smith: Smith has bounced around between a lot of different jobs in his life. I can find a record of only one post-Tough Enough match for Smith, a six man tag team for the WXW promotion in Pennsylvania that is associated with the training camp run by Wild Samoan Afa. The fact that he had this one match indicates that he probably had at least a few more, but I can find no indication that he performed on any higher level. Smith also has experience in both kickboxing and mixed marital arts, though he has only a handful of pro fights and hasn’t done either on a high level. Interestingly, his only pro kickboxing win is over former WCW and WWE star Sean O’ Haire. Justice’s most high profile job outside of WWE was a spot as a gladiator on the 2008 version of American Gladiators on NBC (where, interestingly, one of his fellow gladiators was Tough Enough II alum Matt Morgan). He has also had a handful of small television roles on other shows.

As with prior years, there were also a couple of folks on the casting show who were noteworthy despite not surviving the final cut. The first was Marty Wright, who was supposedly cut for lying about his age. He was ultimately signed to a developmental deal and made into the Boogeyman, a character with its own special cult following. Also cut before the show officially began was John Minton, Jr., the real life son of “Big” John Studd, who to my knowledge never wrestled. (He’s not to be confused with “Ron Studd,” who was Ron Reis using Studd’s name because they worked together early in Reis’ career.)

And that does it for this week. We’ll be back NEXT WEEK, where we finally wrap up this insanely long answer.

Eric “Rapid Fire” Maldonado asks about Marty Jannetty. Damn, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about him lately:

Looking over Marty Jannetty’s Wikipedia, I was actually stunned to read on how many opportunities the WWE gave him only for him to squander them away each and every time. I counted at least 6 times. Which brings me to my question: has any wrestler been given more chances with one single promotion than Marty Jannetty?

I think that the only one who comes close is Dustin Rhodes, who has had quite the hot-and-cold relationship with the WWF himself. He was originally with the company in late 1990 and early 1991, only to leave at the same time his father did. He re-signed in 1995 and became Goldust, then jumped ship to WCW in 1999. He was back with the WWF/WWE from 2001 through 2003, signing once more in 2005 and getting canned in 2006. Rhodes resurfaced one more time in the Fed in 2008, and he remained there until May of last year, where he was let go again, allegedly for inserting a spot that was “too dangerous” into a Prime Time Players match for which he was acting as agent. That’s five separate runs with the promotion, making him a close second to Jannetty’s six . . . and, given that his brother and father are still WWE employees, he’s probably much more likely to get another contract from the E than Marty is.

Reggie and his full effect take us to another Intercontinental Champion, the Honky Tonk Man:

At the 1987 Survivor Series, the Honky Tonk Man came out and challenged Hulk Hogan to a title for title match and accused him of being jealous. At the time, the Honky Tonk Man was the most hated wrestler in the WWF (possibly wrestling), and Hogan of course the most popular. How come they never went ahead with a small feud between the two, especially over the titles? In the context of time, it would have made a lot of sense, and I’m sure a lot of money for the WWF considering both wrestlers placement during that time. Plus, Honky was still feuding with Hulk’s newly formed Mega Power ally Randy Savage which would have added more fuel to the fire.

I think the answer is that, contrary to your assertion, it wouldn’t have made any money for the company. I’m a fan of the Honky Tonk Man, but the fact of the matter is he wasn’t booked in such a way that anybody at the time thought he would have a prayer against the likes of Hulk Hogan. Fans could buy him cheating to win and retain his IC Title over the likes of Ricky Steamboat or Brutus Beefcake, but the average wrestling fan of the day probably would’ve pictured a Hogan/HTM match as an absolute slaughter, and squash matches aren’t exactly renowned for drawing a lot of money.

Plus, during the time period that you’re referencing, Hogan was the WWF Champion and Honky was the Intercontinental Champion, and you almost never saw champion vs. champion programs in that era.

Whether you like it or not, Eric Boone is the best thing going today:

I was watching the Ric Flair and the Four Horseman, for the umpteenth time, and I don’t know if this question has ever been asked, but here goes: Why was Larry Zbyszko never put in as a Horseman? In my opinion he would have fit in and looked a lot better than Sid.

I think that the problem with Zbyszko being a Horseman is that he was just too similar to Arn Anderson. They were brunette, middle-aged looking guys with almost identical physiques and even body hair who worked relatively slow (yet solid) matches and cut believable, no-nonsense promos. It was better for the stable to have a little bit of variety in its lineup. Sid was incredibly over with the fans, and, despite being completely awful, he looked like nobody else in the Horsemen and wrestled like nobody else in the Horsemen. He was a pretty good fit all things considered, because he brought a few qualities to the table that nobody else in the stable did, while the other members of the stable obviously had qualities that he lacked and could help mask his shortcomings.

Jay Z (not that one) wants to talk about a commissionary position:

Back in the day, WWE (WWF/WWWF) had to have doctors at ringside to appease state athletic commissions. Did the athletic commissions know that wrestling matches were predetermined? If so, when did they find out? One would think that they had to know, but isn’t it their job to regulate matches? For example, if the UFC were to start fixing matches (and I’m by no means suggesting this is the case) isn’t it the athletic commissions’ responsibility to act as a governing body and to make sure that the sport is on the level? If they did know that matches were predetermined, when did they find out and what was their response? When did the WWE sever its ties with the athletic commissions? And was severing these ties the reason “sports entertainment” came to be? (I believe I heard that because they didn’t want to continue paying the athletic commissions they invented the phrase sports entertainment to say look we’re not a sport we don’t need a commission.) How did the athletic commissions react to the WWE leaving?

The knowledge that wrestling is worked goes back a lot longer than modern fans realize. There are references (granted, some of them are veiled) to wrestling being fake in newspaper clippings that date all the way back to the last turn of the century. So, unless they’re run by complete buffoons, state athletic commissions would have to have known of the predetermined nature of the match outcomes literally for almost as long as state athletic commissions have been in existence.

Why would the state continue to regulate a “sport” that it knows isn’t actually a sport? There are a couple of reasons, and the truth is probably some mix of the two. First of all, even though wrestling is worked, the dangers are real, as the PSAs tell us. So, there is at least some argument that the state has an interest in implementing regulations for the competitors’ safety. Second, one of the big activities of athletic commissions is levying taxes on the events that they regulate. As long as wrestling promoters were paying the taxes that the government was laying down on them, the commissions weren’t going to meddle too much with wrestling, because that would be cutting off a pretty nice revenue stream.

It is true that one of the big reasons behind Vince McMahon and the WWF coming out and outright making the statement that professional wrestling is “entertainment” was an attempted end run around the athletic commissions and taxes related to sporting events. It was successful in a lot of regards, too. However, some athletic commissions do still have some level of involvement in wrestling right up to present day, particularly on the independent level.

Why so serious, Marcus?

I was watching Legends Roundtable and they spoke poorly of every Doink, but Matt Bourne. What happened with Bourne? I remember watching him in Portland and he was awesome. Also what was the ORIGINAL plans for Doink if Bourne had stayed?

Bourne was fired by the WWF during the middle of his original run as Doink because, frankly, he had a lot of drug and alcohol issues that the company was tired of dealing with.

What was the plan for the character if Bourne stayed? Actually, I think that we SAW the plan for the character if Bourne stayed. A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that Matt Borne never played Doink as a babyface, but that is not true. It was Bourne as Doink who wrestled Bret Hart at Summerslam 1993 for Jerry Lawler, and Doink’s failure to win that match and subsequent heat with Lawler is what caused the face turn. So, very early in Doink’s run as a good guy, the character was in fact still played by Matt Borne. This leads me to believe that there really was not a substantial change in the character’s direction as a result of Borne’s departure from the company.

Bobby wants to take us back to 2001 with two questions:

1) Recently, I was watching through some older episodes of RAW, namely some involving the Two Man Power Trip. My question is what would the booking have been for them had HHH not gone out due to his quad injury? I figure they were eventually going to build to another Stone Cold/HHH feud after the team implodes, but was there anything else they were going to do with the team?

No, that’s pretty much it. They obviously would have continued feuding with the top babyfaces of the era for several months, but the plan from the very beginning of the Power Trip was that they would eventually implode and we would have a rekindling of the Steve Austin vs. Triple H feud that was still going strong about six weeks before they teamed up in the first place.

It makes sense, if you think about it. For just how long would YOU be able to forgive a guy who orchestrated a scheme in which you were run over with an automobile?

2) The other question I had deals with the Undisputed Championship matches at Vengeance. Had HHH not been injured would he have taken Jericho’s spot in the angle or would Jericho still have been involved in the angle?

The title unification was not really a long-term plan. It’s not as though the WWF booked the WCW Invasion and said, from the beginning in the early summer of 2001, “this is all going to be done by November and we’re going to unify the two titles come the December pay per view.” They had intended for a much larger feud to carry on, and the fact that it all ended when it did was a result of just how poorly it had been booked and just how little the WWF had really given the “invaders” in terms of credibility. So, the title unification was really just a hastily slapped together coda to the story.

In other words, when the title unification angle was conceived, Triple H was on the shelf and it was clear that he was not going to be back until after the unification was completed. So, you can’t really say whether or not he would have been in Jericho’s spot if he was healthy, because the angle was never contemplated while he was healthy. It was conceived and executed entirely while he was hurt.

Ben blurs the line between reality and fiction:

In 1997 at the DX PPV owen hart attacks HBK after the match with shamrock. My question is that it looked to me like owen was really rough on HBK, first with the push and second with the punches to the head was this anything to do with the heat on shawn for survivor series? or was it all just a planned work? i mean looking at the footage shawn looks a bit shocked afterwards and i guess its about the time owen wanted out of the wwf cause of survivor series but vince wouldnt let him leave.

It’s a work. Does Owen look like he’s laying it in? Yup. Does Shawn Michaels look surprised? Yup. Does that change the fact that it’s a complete and total, 100% work? Nope.

Micahels and Owen were just two of the greatest performers of their era, and they managed to get you caught up in the story.

That’s it for this week’s Ask 411. If you can’t get enough of Ryan, follow him on Twitter here.

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