wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Does Logan Paul Expose the Wrestling Business?

April 7, 2023 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Logan Paul WrestleMania 39 Image Credit: WWE

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.

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Will wants you to smash that like button:

I have a question regarding Logan Paul. After watching Paul’s match with Roman reigns at Crown Jewel it got me thinking: Paul has literally had only a handful of matches and he already was involved in a main event level match that most people give at least four stars to. Does this kind of ‘expose’ the business as being not all that difficult to do? What I’m saying is that there is really nothing special about Paul. He is a moderately athletic guy. I’m sure reasonably intelligent but no genius or super athlete. Why are there many wrestlers who train for years and don’t put on such matches? Is it all a matter of the booking and layout of the match? Is Paul really some kind of ‘savant’? It really makes it seem like just about anyone off the street can be a WWE star with a few weeks of training and the right booking.

I think what is happening here is that you have pretty seriously underrated Logan Paul.

Let’s start with “reasonably intelligent but no genius.” I’m a 40 year old man who has probably only watched half a dozen Vines in his life and had heard Logan Paul’s name maybe once before he started boxing. My point is, I’m not a fan of his, and I’m well outside the target demo for the content he produces. Once I became aware of him and looked into what he was actually doing, though, I began to have a lot of respect for the guy, even though you’re still not going to see me watching any of his videos or buying any of his products.

Paul has amassed a tremendous following online and perhaps more importantly has figured out a way to monetize it to the point that he has a net worth of tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, all without any sort of major production company behind him.

You simply can’t do that if you’re an idiot. You can’t do it if you don’t have an uncanny level of talent when it comes to figuring out what audiences want and how to manipulate them into following your every move. That is the very essence of what a professional wrestler is supposed to do. That’s what Flair, Londos, Hogan, Austin, Santo, Rock, Inoki, Baba, and all the greats have done.

If you’ve watched Paul’s matches, it’s not the athletics that make them. It’s that he knows how to time things. He knows how to work the crowd. He knows the perfect facial expression for any moment. This dude is a natural born showman, and showmanship is the name of the game in the squared circle.

Regarding his athleticism, you are correct that he’s not demonstrated himself to be an elite level athlete in sports other than wrestling. He was a pretty good high school athlete in his day, but that’s about where things ended.

But do you know who else was a pretty good high school athlete in his day but didn’t break through to compete at a higher level?

Cody Rhodes.

Ric Flair.

Kazuchika Okada.

You don’t always have to be Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, or a freakishly talented athlete in other sports to become a standout professional wrestler. That doesn’t mean that pro wrestling is easy or that somebody exposes the business if they succeed at a high level in wrestling when they haven’t elsewhere. It just means that pro wrestling involves a different skillset than other sports and/or that sometimes people don’t have an opportunity to showcase their athleticism elsewhere before they become wrestling stars.

Bottom line: Logan Paul is better than you think he is. He belongs here.

Tyler from Winnipeg is crossing the line:

Did Vince McMahon watch any NWA wrestling?

I’m sure he saw some, but every interview I’ve heard with anybody who ever worked closely with Vince (I’m thinking of Jim Cornette and Bruce Prichard primarily) has said that McMahon did not regularly watch any wrestling other than the WWF and would only see what somebody in his orbit would actively show to him.

I see London, I see Paris:

Who is the female “Meng/Haku” of wrestling – as in which ladies have stories about the time Torrie Wilson beat up ten drunk navy seal ninjas and bit off a holy man’s nose in a bar brawl?

It’s Mae Young.

Though she doesn’t have exactly the same “tough guy” reputation that Meng/Haku does, if there is a story about a female wrestler beating the crap out of somebody, particularly a man, it’s usually Young who is involved. With a minimum of googling, I was able to find not just one but two separate newspaper stories from 1949 which report on her arrests for beating the crap out of men and robbing them. (To tell Young’s side of the story, she claims that in at least one of those incidents, the man involved first got fresh with her.) Also, in her obituary in the Wrestling Observer newsletter from 2014, there is a brief allusion to an incident in which she beat the tar out of pro wrestling manager Dr. Ken Ramey in the 1960s.

It’s also noted that this rep and these stories pre-date Young’s spike in name recognition from her late 1990s WWF run. In the June 10, 1991 Observer, a mention is made of a nostalgia show being held that month featuring women’s stars of the 1950s and 1960s. Many women’s names are mentioned in the blurb, but only Mae receives a parenthetical reference reading, “said to be tougher than a lot of the men wrestlers in her day.”

Night Wolf the Wise asks about the Lone Wolf:

Does Baron Corbin hold the record for most times repackaged as a wrestler?


Arguably, he’s never even been repackaged. In my mind, “repackaging” involves a hard reset of a wrestler’s character, usually with them vanishing for a period of time and coming back with an entirely new persona that is unrelated to what they were doing before, though they may (or may not) be acknowledged as being the same human being. Glenn Jacobs going from Issac Yankem to Fake Diesel to Kane – THAT is repackaging in my mind.

Admittedly, Corbin has had several different phases to his career, starting as plain old Baron Corbin before becoming Constable Corbin before becoming King Corbin before becoming depressed schlub Baron Corbin before becoming Happy Corbin before becoming whatever he was with JBL. However, every phase has progressed in a somewhat natural way from the one before it, so in my book it feels like he’s never truly been “repackaged.” He has just been playing one character that has evolved over time.

Even if you do count everything I’ve outlined above as a repackaging, you’ve got six different personas over the years. That’s still fewer than the man who went from 1) Dizzy Hogan to 2) male stripper Brutus Beefcake to 3) “Barber” Brutus Beefcake to 4) The Mariner/Furface to 5) The Butcher to 6) The Zodiac to 7) The Bootyman to 8) The Disciple. (And that’s not even counting switches in which he had different names but was doing basically the same gimmick, e.g. Dizzy Hogan versus Dizzy Boulder.)

Bebi from Puerto Rico makes their Ask 411 debut:

I have a question regarding finishers. My question is who was the first to use each of these finishers, and in your opinion who did it better?

Sharpshooter/Scorpion DeathLock: Riki Choshu invented the hold and for my money is the person who did it best the most consistently. I will give props to Natalya, though, who has been apply to apply some absolutely sick looking Sharpshooters when she has small, flexible female opponents that can basically bend themselves in half while in the hold.

Piledriver: “Wild” Bill Longson, a St. Louis-based wrestler whose career peaked in the 1940s, is widely acknowledged as the person who first executed to piledriver. The best piledriver, for my money, still belongs to Jerry “The King” Lawler.

Tombstone: The earliest execution of this move that most people can find record of was performed by Karl Gotch. This will probably be somewhat controversial, but I think the best person who I have seen pull the move out is Fit Finaly, who used it as his finisher during the Monday Night War era in WCW.

Diamond Cutter/RKO: I feel like this one is pretty widely known. Current step-father to the Bella Twins, John Laurinaitis, came up with this move while wrestling under the name Johnny Ace for All Japan Pro Wrestling. Over there, it was called the Ace Crusher. Of course, American wrestling fans have seen it done far more often by Diamond Dallas Page and Randy Orton. In some respects, Page and Orton made the move more interesting, because both of them came up with variations that allowed them to hit the maneuver “out of nowhere.” When it comes to the basic version of the move, not hit “out of nowhere,” I actually prefer Ace’s original, because he he added a little extra torque that made it appear he was jarring his opponent’s neck all the more.

Stunner: WWE actually released a “birth of the Stunner” video last year, and, in it, Michael Hayes takes credit for coming up with the maneuver, though it was first executed by his Freebirds partner Jimmy Garvin because Hayes was injured at the time. Steve Austin acknowledges that Hayes is the one who taught him the move when they were both in the WWF. Who does it better? Steve Austin’s iteration is iconic. As great a performer as Kevin Owens is, his version of the move is an obvious imitation.

Superkick/Sweet Chin Music: A superkick is the worked equivalent of a real life kicking technique. It’s called the yoko geri kekomi or side thrust kick in karate, and I suspect that there are similar kicks with different names in different martial arts disciplines. Thus, the superkick predates professional wrestling by a fair amount. “Gentleman” Chris Adams of World Class Championship Wrestling is typically considered to be the guy who brought it into pro wrestling on a regular basis, and I would be lying if I said anybody other than Shawn Michaels was the best at it.

F-5/ Attitude Adjustment: I’m not 100% sure why Bebi paired these two together, because they’re really two different moves. Let me take the F5 first. There is some disagreement regarding what the F5 is even supposed to be. Early in his career, Brock Lesnar appeared on WWE Confidential and explained the move. He described it as a form of DDT, and he said that Johnny Ace helped him create it when the two were working out in the ring one day. However, many people will tell you that the F5 usually looks more like a facebuster out of a fireman’s carry than a DDT out of a fireman’s carry – though frankly those two moves are similar enough that I’m willing to consider them as having originated in the same place. That said, the DDT out of a fireman’s carry predates Lesnar’s time in wrestling by at least a few years, as Brian “Crush” Adams used it in WCW when he was part of the tag team Kronik, as did independent wrestler Scotty Sabre, who made a handful of appearances in the WCW cruiserweight division during the company’s dying days (under the name Scotty O.) and later signed a developmental deal. I can’t quite tell whether it was Adams or Sabre who used the move first.

Regarding the FU/Attitude Adjustment, it is really just a sanitized version of the Death Valley Driver, with the person taking the move being flipped flat on to their back instead of being spiked more on the head and/or shoulders as in a traditional DVD. Japanese female wrestler Etsuko Mita is the person who is credited with hitting the first Death Valley Driver. It’s also worth noting that Cena isn’t even necessarily the first person to use the safer DVD variant that became known as the AA. Back during the Attitude Era (coincidentally enough), the Godfather also used a more flat-back version of the DVD that he called the Pimp Drop.

I would say that Brock Lesnar is, in fact, the person who perfected the F5, as his looks dangerous and out of control in a way that others don’t (even tough in reality it’s perfectly safe). On the DVD front, I was also partial to Louie Spicolli’s verison of the move.

Figure Four Leglock: Most sources credit the original “Nature Boy,” Buddy Rogers, with inventing the move. However, there are also some sources that note a luchador, El Enfermero (which translates to “The Nurse”) started using the move at around the same time. It is known as La Cruceta south of the border. I have to give best Figure Four honors to Ric Flair, though Johnny Valentine is reputed to have had a pretty good one as well.

Crossface: Word on the street is that Dean Malenko came up with this move and then handed it off to his buddy Chris Benoit, who popularized it. Though I don’t like giving him credit for much of anything, Benoit probably had the best version of the move as well and had a knack for applying it from many different angles.

STF: Most sources credit Lou Thesz for “inventing” this move as it relates to professional wrestling, though it’s always hard to determine whether Thesz truly invented something that he is credited with, because in many ways he ties modern wrestling to an earlier era and it’s entirely possible that he was copying or modifying something that he saw elsewhere which has just been lost to history. However, he’s probably the closest we’ll get to an inventor of this hold. My personal favorite version of the move is the one utilized by Masahiro Chono, who himself was a protege of Thesz.

Spear/Gore: The spear is really just a football tackle, and wrestlers who have football backgrounds have been tackling opponents in the ring for as long as there have been wrestlers with football backgrounds. That being said, the “spear” with the attacker’s shoulder landing squarely in the opponent’s abdomen and the opponent folding in half and being guided into a flat-back bump was really popularized by Mr. William Goldberg, who was also the first to use it under that name. I favor Rhyno’s version of the move, as he’s a smaller wrestler to do it but always manages to make it look devastating, whether he is wrestling a larger opponent or a smaller opponent.

Downward Spiral/Sister Abigail: Current New Japan Pro Wrestling booker, manager, and occasional wrestler Gedo was the first person to bust this out, referring to it as the “Complete Shot.” I think that he is the wrestler who has consistently hit it the best as well, as Gedo’s version regularly looks like he is dropping his opponent on his head, whereas I have been critical of the move when performed by guys like Edge and Chris Kanyon, because it often appears that the person allegedly hitting the move is taking something akin to a Rock Bottom from the guy who is allegedly being hit with the move.

Scorpion Death Drop: The Scorpion Death Drop is an inverted DDT, so technically you could take this back to the inventor of he original DDT, luchador Black Gordman (who was using it for a least a decade before Jake Roberts). Who was the first one to flip the move? Honestly, this is the one entry on the list that I’ve had trouble finding a somewhat definitive answer for. The earliest instances of the move being used that I can find come in the 1980s, when Steve Keirn would hit it while wrestling as half of the tag team The Fabulous Ones with Stan Lane. (He would also use it as his finish later on in the WWF when he was Skinner.) However, even though Kein is the first person I could find referenced as using the move, I’m not able to find anything that makes the claim he invented it. He receives our credit here by default, though. The best version of the move is more clear in my mind. That goes to the elevated version occasionally busted out by Prince Devitt / Finn Balor.

Powerbomb: Like the STF, various sources credit this move to Lou Thesz, with some even claiming that it originated as a botched version of a piledriver. However, Thesz himself went on record saying that the powerbomb was actually a Greco Roman wrestling hold, meaning that it almost certainly predates Thesz by centuries, even if he is the guy to bring it from legitimate wrestling to worked pro wrestling. There have been many, many wrestlers to use the powerbomb in years since, but my favorite remains Vader, who slammed opponents down with so much impact.

Crucifix/Razor’s Edge: This one is a little bit muddy. Back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, a female wrestler named Kyoko Inoue began using a move she called the Niagara Driver, which was a variation on a sitout powerbomb. What made Inoue’s version of the hold different than other sitout powerbombs is that she held her opponent’s entire body over her right shoulder before slamming them down to the mat as opposed to most powerbombs, in which the victim’s weight was distributed across both of the attacker’s shoulders. This positioning more often than not resulted in Inoue positioning a hand under each of her opponent’s armpits and steadying them over her shoulder before releasing. This made her move look like a prototype for the crucifix powerbom. However, she didn’t typically hold her opponent over her head by their arms for several seconds as seen in the version of the crucifix powerbomb that Scott Hall first dubbed the Diamond Death Drop and later the Razor’s Edge. The forward-falling, non-sitout version popularized by Hall is usually attributed to Dan Spivey, though when he adopted it is unclear to me. Whether you credit the original to Inoue or Spivey, my favorite version is the Border Toss used by Hotstuff Hernandez.

Chokeslam: All Japan Pro Wrestling’s Akira Taue is widely credited with being the first person to utilize a chokeslam. For my money, the Undertaker’s version is the best. Even though Taue was the innovator, Taker took it to another level and made it look significantly more impactful, likely helped by his great height.

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.

article topics :

Logan Paul, Ryan Byers