wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: How Did Scott Steiner Become a Bigger Star Than Rick?

September 25, 2023 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Scott Steiner Image Credit: Impact Wrestling

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

Hey, ya wanna banner?

Tyler from Winnipeg is your hookup. Holler if you hear him:

Early in the Steiner Brothers’ careers, lots of fans thought The Dog Faced Gremlin was the star of the team. How did Big Poppa Pump have a better singles run?

There are a couple of reasons.

First off, Scott just kept wrestling longer than Rick. There is about a three year gap between their debuts and Scott seemingly held up better physically overall, so he was able to have many years as a notable wrestler without his brother being involved.

However, even before that, Scott had managed to develop a personality that was more marketable in a main event singles role than anything his brother had ever done. Though I’ve got absolutely nothing bad to say about Rick as a performer (emphasis on as a performer given his transphobic tirade earlier this year), you can’t deny that the Big Poppa Pump character played more like a star attraction than the Dog Faced Gremlin.

Of course, a big part of the reason that Scott was given the opportunity to develop that gimmick is his freakish physique. WCW brass were looking for a way to get more out of his appearance at a time when musculature was king in pro wrestling.

Shaun has the looks that drive the girls wild:

Has anyone ever benefited from going into business for themselves on TV?

Well, Adam Page did it and set into motion a series of events that resulted in CM Punk leaving AEW when Page clearly didn’t like the guy, so I guess you could count that one.

The other name that I thought of in response to this question is Akria Maeda, though even that is somewhat arguable. In the mid-1980s, Maeda was involved in at least one and possibly two high profile shoot incidents in which he departed from the plans for matches.

In 1986, Maeda wrestled Andre the Giant in New Japan, at a time when Andre was well past his physical prime. For the time being, we’ll set aside exactly WHY Maeda did this, but during the match he started unleashing a series of legitimate kicks to the Giant’s legs, with Andre being unable to defend himself well. Eventually, promoter Antonio Inoki came out and legitimately stopped the match before it could go any further . . . as it going further probably would have resulted in Andre being seriously embarrassed.

As if that wasn’t enough, in 1987 Maeda was wrestling in a six man tag team match against Riki Choshu when Choshu got a member of the opposing team in his scorpion hold, Maeda broke it up by shoot kicking Choshu in the face and breaking his orbital bone. This is what I referred to above as a “possible” shoot because, while it has been reported as the real deal for years, Maeda has gone on record claiming that it was accidental.

This did result in Akira Maeda parting ways with New Japan Pro Wrestling, which some might argue was not a benefit for his career, since it was one of the two major leagues of puroresu at the time. However, even if it might have been a short-term hindrance to his career, it gave him a dangerous shooter aura that allowed him to become a top star in the newly reformed UWF, which was an incredibly hot promotion for a time and the first Japanese wrestling company to run a show in the Tokyo Dome. Though the UWF’s star burned out rather quickly, Maeda would go on to become one of the bigger draws in the RINGS promotion.

You can argue he would have been better off in NJPW, but his incidents with Andre and Choshu certainly did send Maeda off into a different direction that was incredibly profitable for him.

Greg from Greece is queuing up for a haircut:

Why is Brutus Beefcake so disliked? I understand that his in ring ability was limited and he may have been treated favorably at times due to his friendship with Hulk Hogan, but I don’t see these as reasons to be considered by some as one of the worst wrestlers ever. Again, what am I missing?

I don’t think that you’ve missed anything when it comes to Brutus Beefcake and why he has the reputation he does. His detractors tend to point out exactly the same two things that you do, i.e. that he was not the greatest pro wrestler in the world and that his success is viewed as being primarily a function of his relationship with Hulk Hogan.

That being said, I can agree that the hate he receives for those reasons is a bit overblown. He wasn’t a great in-ring performer, but there were plenty of wrestlers from his era who were worse. If I’m ranking him among his 1980s WWF contemporaries in terms of ability, I’d bet he would wind up solidly in the middle of the pack.

With one exception that I’ll get to in a minute, I’ll say that I’ve never considered him particularly overpushed, either. I have no problem with his Dream Team run with Greg Valentine. When he was a perennial Intercontinental Title challenger, there are certainly other guys who you could have slotted into that position, but it’s not like the WWF had a lot of other upper midcard babyfaces at the time who were lighting the ring on fire. In the early 90s when he was in a tag team with Hogan and finally acknowledged on camera as his best buddy, I view that primarily as an issue of Hogan being overpushed as opposed to Beefcake being overpushed.

The only Beefcake run that really made me roll my eyes with how ridiculous it was came when he got to main event Starrcade 1994 with Hogan in a WCW Title match. The issue between the two men was nowhere near hot enough to headline what had been the promotion’s biggest show of the year, and Beefcake had been established for years as a guy who was beneath the level of the world title.

However, I don’t feel that one show is enough to paint his whole career as being hot garbage. I’d go as far as to say that people who call Brutus Beefcake “one of the worst wrestlers ever” are overstating their case.

Barry is asking a question based on nothing more than wordplay, which I can respect:

We’ve all heard the phrase “X-Pac heat,” but how many times did X Pac actually appear on Heat?

By my count, there were 33 X-Pac matched on Heat, if you include episodes of Heat that only aired internationally due to the show being pre-empted in the U.S.

For those who may want more details, his first Heat match was on the second-ever episode of the show, where he beat TAKA Michinoku. His final Heat match was on the program’s 200th installment, which was a victory over fellow hyphenated wrestler D-Lo Brown.

Last week, I answered a question about the legitimacy of Native American gimmicks in wrestling. This caused rf on Disqus (hopefully not Rob Feinstein) to pose a follow-up question:

What about Joe Lightfoot, who appeared in GCW around 1983-84?

To ease any confusion, that’s GCW as in Georgia Championship Wrestling, not Game Changer Wrestling. Appearing for Game Changer in 1983-84 would be a helluva trick.

Regarding Joe Lightfoot, he was an Italian guy from Montreal. Add him to the long list of wrestlers who were just pretending to be native/First Nations people.

Speaking of last week’s column, a question was asked and answered about the most recent year which featured no matches from currently active wrestlers. I said the answer was probably 1973 owing to the still-active Atsushi Onita making his in-ring debut in 1974. However, Toofy offers a good counter-point:

I have this keen new theory called “Lucha Libre Doesn’t Exist”. Last week’s CMLL 90th Anniversary show – that was strangely unreviewed by this website – featured a PRETTY DARN FUN veteran’s match of Atlantis, Blue Panther & Octagon vs. El Satanico, Fuerza Guerrera & Virus, where the median age in the match was about 63.

El Satanico is 73 years old, possibly the greatest living wrestling trainer on Earth, and recently celebrated his 50th anniversary as an active wrestler. If you’re pulling data of cagematch it’ll show older matches than 1973, but cagematch is not a perfect database by any means, specifically when it comes to Mexico (the UK has it worse), and “El Satanico” is/was a genric enough name that I think some of those 60’s guys weren’t him. But if he says 50 I absolutely believe he meant 50. And I’d also believe that the 1970’s matches cagematch lists from Naucalpan made TV if not tape, and luchawiki has records of him winning apuestas matches in Guadalajara in 74 that likely did the same, especially since Mexico City and Guadalajara are the EMLL/CMLL home bases Satanico has always worked and trained out of. So yeah, I think Satanico likely edges Onita by a year.

Yeah, I fully admit that lucha is a bit of a blind spot for me. For what it’s worth, I did attempt to include Mexican wrestling in my answer by reviewing the AAA and CMLL rosters as listed on Wikipedia to see who might have debuted many decades ago, but Satanico isn’t actually mentioned there, for whatever reason.

If you count Satanico, we would get back to at least 1972, as Toofy points out.

Also, pull up your damn pants.

Michael is sweeter than a German chocolate cake:

Who did a worst job at announcing, Art Donovan at King of the Ring ’94 or Superstar Billy Graham at Summerslam ’88?

Art Donovan, and I don’t think this is particularly close. Don’t get me wrong, nobody is going to mistake Superstar Graham for Gordon Solie, but I didn’t think that his commentary on Summerslam 1988 (or any of the several other shows he did that year) was legendarily bad. Hell, Graham at least had some charisma unlike the cavalcade of personality-less announcing drones that WWE has pranced out over the course of the last decade or so.

Night Wolf the Wise may be the head of his pack, but he’s not quite the Tribal Chief:

For nearly 50 years the Anoa’i family has been synonymous with WWE. From the Wild Samoans to Roman Reigns, the USOS, Nia Jax, and Ava Raine, nearly every member of the Anoai family ( With the exception of a few) has wrestled for WWE at some point. Now that WWE has been sold, is this end of the Anoai family always having jobs with WWE?

No, because the people who are making the decisions about day-to-day operations in WWE have not changed despite the sale – with those day-to-day operations decisions including who to hire.

The powers to be in the company will still want to have a relationship with the Anoa’i family as long as the Anoa’i family is still producing quality pro wrestlers or at least individuals who can be molded into quality pro wrestlers through the WWE system.

Davros is the president of the Tony Jones fan club:

What’s the story with the independent guy from Beyond the Mat who ran the promotion Mike Modest and Tony Jones worked for?

I think his name was Roland? Any info on this dude’s story?

Yup, that’s Roland Alexander.

Alexander was based in the San Francisco bay area and was a huge fan of the Big Time Wrestling shows that Roy Shire ran there in the 1960s and the 1970s, headlined by guys like Pat Patterson and Rocky Johnson. According to the obituary of Alexander (spoiler: he’s dead) that ran in the November 6, 2013 Wrestling Observer Newsletter, he did eventually train to become a wrestler and had some independent-level matches. However, if there are any surviving records of when and where he wrestled, I was unable to locate them for this article.

Though he did not take off as a wrestler, Roland gained a fair amount of regional success in the sport when he opened a wrestling school in 1991. That school grew into having its own independent promotion, which ultimately would come to be known as All Pro Wrestling.

Probably the two biggest stars to come out of Alexander’s gym in Hayward, California were Erin O’ Grady and Matt Hyson, who would go on to become Crash Holly and Spike Dudley, respectively (and who would feud with each other on WWF television, actually). Prominent female wrestlers Cheerleader Melissa and Sara Del Rey also owe their careers to Alexander, as do Michael Modest and Donovan Morgan, who had some success in Japan.

Aside from that (and his appearance in Beyond the Mat), Alexander’s biggest contribution to professional wrestling was probably the King of the Indies tournament held during the weekend of October 26, 2001, which saw All Pro Wrestling fly in independent stars from all over the country for a two-night tournament won by Bryan Danielson. Rob Feinstein saw this show and thought Alexander was on to something with these indy supercards, leading the impresario of RF Video to found a little promotion called Ring of Honor.

Sadly, as referenced above, Alexander passed away in November 2013 due to longstanding issues with heart disease. He was only 59 years old.

Josh has a song in his heart and a question on his mind:

We all know the reason that wrestling promotions like WWE and AEW prefer to use created in house music for wrestlers themes is due to licensing fees they are required to pay to use outside artists music. I have a couple questions regarding this.

First do these copyrights only apply to here in America? For example, whenever Togi Makabe enters the arena to Immigrant Song, the NJPW stream either goes silent or blasts canned music to cancel out hearing the song. How is NJPW allowed to play this at their show but not people watching on the stream aren’t allowed to hear it?

My second question is if you know if college or professional sports teams have to pay these same fees when using them as well? We all heard Tony Khan say that he spent way more than he should have to get rights to Final Countdown, yet this was the song that the Bad Boy Era Detroit Pistons used back in the late 80s. Did the Yankees have to pay Metallica everytime Mariano Rivera would enter to Enter Sandman to close out games while the real Sandman in WWECW had to use some generic ripoff because Vince didn’t want to spend the money to use it.

I think most of what you are seeing here comes down to the difference between playing a song live in an arena for a sporting event and broadcasting a song over television or over a streaming service.

Most major sports or other event venues pay blanket license fees to the companies that manage the rights for record labels. This gives them the right to play almost whatever they want whenever they want for their live audience – and for their live audience only.

If any of those songs are going to be broadcast or incorporated into a video recording, though, the arena’s licensing fee isn’t going to cover it and the entity responsible for the broadcast or recording is going to have to pay additional, higher fees to license the music for those purposes.

In fact, even the licensing deals and fees to play a song during a broadcast and to use it later in recordings of the broadcast are different, which is why sometimes songs that were properly licensed for the original airing of a wrestling pay per view are edited out on later home video or archived streaming versions. It’s also why Tony Khan has made a big deal out of his recent music licensing being “perpetual,” meaning those songs should be present in releases of those AEW shows from now to the end of time and the nerds who care about that sort of thing won’t write Tony mean tweets.

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.