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Ask 411 Wrestling: Is Logan Paul One of Wrestling’s Best In-Ring Performers?

November 20, 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.
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.

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Jonfw2 is wearing a $5 Magnemite card around his neck:

Is Logan Paul…

1. A top 10 in ring performer in WWE?
2. A top 20 in ring performer in the world?
3. The best celeb-turned-wrestler in history?
4. The quickest in history to get to his current level?
5. A future world champion?

1. Gunther, AJ Styles, Seth Franklin Rollins, Rey Misterio Jr., Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Ricochet, Asuka, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch. There are ten people off the top of my head who I would say are better in-ring performers than Logan Paul, and I don’t feel like any of those picks would be particularly controversial, so I am comfortable saying that Paul is not among the ten best wrestlers in the company.

However, that’s not meant as a knock on him. He has risen to the occasion in every big match situation that he’s been put in thusfar, and I do not want to downplay how amazing that is, particularly given how little formal training he has had.

2. Nope. Take everybody who I mentioned in the first list and add Bryan Danielson, Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, Will Ospreay, Zack Sabre Jr., Katsuhiko Nakajima, MJF, Kenny Omega, Jay White, and Giulia, and you’ve got twenty people who are better than Logan Paul. They’re most likely not the only twenty, either. They’re just the first twenty names that came to my mind.

3. In terms of in-ring performance, the answer to this one is probably “yes,” unless you would consider Kurt Angle to have been a celebrity before he joined the WWF. Angle was certainly a known athlete before entering pro wrestling, though admittedly Olympians are usually not as well known to the general public as professional athletes or as people in Paul’s position. In terms of being important to the history of wrestling, Mr. T would be bigger than Logan Paul. In terms of understanding how to cut a promo and get heat, I would put Andy Kaufman ahead of Paul.

4. This is possible. Normally when you talk about the quickest people to become elite-level performers and major stars in pro wrestling, the names that are brought up include Owen Hart, Kurt Angle, and Kazuchika Okada. However, all of them had at least a year of training and/or wrestling at a lower level before exploding and becoming the performers we all know them as now.

5. This would not surprise me at all.

Bret wants to know about his co-winner of the 1994 Royal Rumble match:

Why do you think Lex Luger didn’t ever win the WWF title back in Summerslam 1993 against Yokozuna? They were pushing him over the moon with the “Lex Express” all summer and even at Wrestlemania 10. Also why do you think he isn’t in the hall of fame?

Why Luger didn’t win the WWF Title at Summerslam ’93 is pretty well-trod ground at this point. The company originally planned for him to take the belt but thought that they could get a greater return if they had him chase the championship for a bit longer. It turned out to be a miscalculation.

Regarding the Hall of Fame, you have to keep in mind the fact that there were serious hard feelings between WWF brass and the Total Package based on how he jumped from the Fed to WCW in 1995, leaving when people in New York thought they were still negotiating in good faith and giving the fledgling Monday Nitro a shot in the arm from his unexpected debut. That would have kept him out for many years. Granted he is now affiliated with WWE as an “ambassador,”a role he spoke about in a podcast interview just last month. Given that fact, I suspect it’s now just a matter of time until his induction.

Tyler from Winnipeg is doing the hand jive:

I think I saw Bret “The Hitman” Hart flash the wolfpack hand gesture before anyone else; is this true?

No. There are a couple of iconic photos of Bret holding up the old rock n’ roll devil horns, but that’s a distinct gesture from the Wolfpac “Too Sweet” signal, even though they are similar.

RayS wants some unique and special snowflakes:

My premise is this: Dave Meltzer is in your audience with a gun aimed at a puppy. Your task is to put on a guaranteed 5 star match. Promos don’t matter, extracurriculars don’t matter, only what happens after the bell rings. You can choose from any wrestlers currently active whom you trust to deliver the goods. What is your guaranteed 5 snowflake matchup? And same applies to a tag team matchup.

This one is pretty easy, actually. Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada are both still active professional wrestlers, and they have had four matches against each other that Dave Meltzer rated as five stars or higher. Based on nothing more than their track record, they should be able to do it again and spare that little puppy dog.

On the tag team side of things, using the same logic, it’s probably the Young Bucks and the Lucha Brothers. Those two teams have already had two five-star matches against each other, and there was another five-star match in which Pac substituted in for Pentagon.

I suppose I could roll the dice and pair up wrestlers or teams that haven’t met before, but why take that risk under the rules of this scenario?

Paris is burning to ask this question:

Let’s say you could book a legends stable of people who could still go in the ring (at least once in awhile, maybe only four PPVs and maybe some shows). Who would you pick – like maybe Rated RKO and DX form a group managed by Ric Flair?

I would say the ultimate supergroup would be John Cena, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Mistico, the emeritus aces representing each of the three countries in which professional wrestling is most popular, i.e. the U.S., Japan and Mexico.

Davros is for some reason asking about that chicken who married Gonzo:

I’ve been watching a bit of NWA Powerrr recently and was wondering; is there any interest from WWE or AEW in Kamille?

Yes. On an episode of the Pro Wrestling Boom podcast earlier this month, Kamille revealed that she has had two tryouts with WWE in the past.

Also, “Kamille Reveals” could be the name of her “Piper’s Pit”-esque interview segment.

Shaun‘s got the looks that drives the girls wild:

I have a lineal championship question. The last men’s winner of Tough Enough is Josh Bredl. Going from there, who’s the current lineal Tough Enough champion?

For those of you who may be new here or may not recall, lineal championships are a concept that have been part of this column since I took it over five years ago now. It is taken from boxing, and the deal is that you take a title and figure out who its “true” holder is by tracing its lineage through one-on-one matches that end in pinfall or submission. I’ve done several of these over the years, and here’s one prior example.

Granted, it’s a little bit odd to trace a lineal championship for a title that was never intended to change hands in the ring in the first place, but I was bitten by a wild Mat Sforcina, which cursed me to answer every question that is sent in during a full moon, so here we go . . .

As identified in the question, Josh Bredl won the most recent incarnation of Tough Enough, and he entered WWE’s developmental program, where he was renamed to Bronson Mathews, because why would we bother using the name he was actually known by when he gained some degree of notoriety?

In his first match in NXT, Bredl/Mathews is defeated by Dylan Miley at a house show for the company in Tampa, Florida on March 18, 2016. For those not in the know, Miley would become better known under the name Lars Sullivan and given his look was once considered to have big things in store for him in WWE, though he burned out quickly.

At another NXT house show, this time in Venice, Florida on May 20, 2016, Miley is defeated by future street profit Angelo Dawkins.

Dawkins’ time as our lineal Tough Enough Champion is limited, as Andrade Almas beats Dawkins on June 2, 2016. This is on the rare NXT house show that takes place outside of the state of Florida, instead occurring in Evansville, Indiana.

Angelo Dawkins becomes the first two-time lineal Tough Enough Champion, as he defeats Andrade on another NXT house show, this one occurring in Highland Heights, Kentucky, a town that I had never heard of before.

The very next night in Jim Cornette’s hometown of Louisville, Hideo Itami – better known as KENTA – picks up a victory Angelo Dawkins and the Tough Enough Championship.

In a rematch of a bout that originally took place in Ring of Honor in 2006, Austin Aries pins KENTA/Hideo Itami on September 17, 2016 at yet another NXT house show, this one taking place in Omaha, Nebraska.

The very next night in Minneapolis, the NXT house show tour continues, and Hideo Itami starts his second reign as Tough Enough Champion by going over Aries.

This second reign for Itami lasts a good long time, not coming to an end until April 20, 2017, when he is defeated by Bobby Roode in Tampa, Florida on another NXT house show. Roode was NXT Champion at the time, not only retaining that belt but also unifying it with the lineal Tough Enough crown.

The Tough Enough Title follows the NXT Championship when Drew McIntyre defeats Roode for both honors at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III on August 19, 2017.

And once again, the NXT Championship and the lineal Tough Enough Championship change hands simultaneously, this time at NXT Takeover: Wargames, when Andrade Almas goes over McIntyre in Houston, Texas. This makes Almas a two-time lineal Tough Enough titleholder.

On March 4, 2018, the NXT and Tough Enough Titles separate from one another, when Johnny Gargano defeats Andrade Almas in a singles match on a house show in Indianapolis with the NXT Championship not on the line.

Of course, Gargano’s career in NXT is largely linked to one other performer, and that person, Tommaso Ciampa, deals him his next clean loss at NXT Takeover: Chicago on June 16, 2018, which is actually held in nearby Rosemont, Illinois. On July 18, while holding the lineal Tough Enough Championship, Ciampa defeats Aleister Black for the NXT Championship, reunifying those two distinctions once more.

Due in large part to an unfortunate neck injury, Ciampa goes for a very long stretch without suffering a singles loss, even having to vacate the NXT Championship. When Tommaso does drop a fall again, it’s in a November 27, 2019 match taped for NXT television against Finn Balor.

The next month, NXT Champion Adam Cole successfully defends that belt against Balor on December 18, 2019 in a match taped for NXT television, also reunifying the Tough Enough and NXT Titles.

Speaking of unifications, at the 2020 NXT Great American Bash, Keith Lee defeats Cole in a match in which both Lee’s NXT North American Championship and Cole’s NXT Championship are on the line. They didn’t know it at the time, but the lineal Tough Enough Championship was also on the line, giving Limitless Keith three things to crow about.

In the grand scheme of things, Keith Lee is a short-lived NXT Champion, as Karrion Kross puts him down for that belt at NXT Takeover XXX at Full Sail University. Man, is this fake title ever going to leave NXT?

Somewhat infamously, in his Monday Night Raw debut, Kross is defeated by Jeff Hardy on July 19, 2021 in Dallas, Texas, so there’s the answer to my question about whether the lineal Tough Enough title will ever leave NXT. I swear I didn’t go back and edit that question into the column. This match just happened to be next after I was wondering when it would be happening.

Karrion Kross gets his win and his Tough Enough Title back a few weeks later, pinning Hardy on August 9, 2021 in Orlando, Florida, also on a Raw taping.

However, that wasn’t part of a new huge undefeated streak for Karrion, as Samoa Joe takes him down at NXT Takeover 36 on August 22. This match is also for Kross’s NXT Championship, so those titles continue to go hand-in-hand.

Joe’s NXT Title win goes nowhere fast, though, as he vacates the title in part due to illness and in part due to a change in the creative direction of the developmental brand. Before he gets defeated again, Joe also gets released by WWE and picked up by AEW, so the lineal Tough Enough Title has left NXT for only the second time in its existence.

This leads to Adam Cole becoming the Tough Enough Champion for the second time and for the first time in AEW, as he beats Samoa Joe on May 29, 2022 at the Double or Nothing pay per view in the finals of the Owen Hart Foundation tournament.

Because of injuries and because AEW’s top guys really don’t wrestle all that much if you think about it, Cole does not suffer a one-on-one loss again until August 27, 2023 when Maxwell Jacob Friedman bests him at All In: London. With MJF’s AEW World Title also on the line, the lineal Tough Enough Title and the AEW Title are now unified.

And that’s it. As of this writing, MJF has not lost a match since All In, so he’s wound up with our fake belt . . . or I guess it’s actually a trophy.

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.