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Ask 411 Wrestling: The Tara Edition – Rumbles, Themes, Trivia, Boots, And Ego!

December 29, 2017 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina
Roman Reigns WWE Raw 112717

Fans, for the past week you have been reading about the bad break I gave myself. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been on webpages for 13 years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

Well, apart from when I left the last time, and you all cursed me for leaving, eventually.

And when I messed up you didn’t let me off the hook when that happened.

Plus times when…

Look, anyway, it’s been a long time, but I’m hitting the trail one last time, so yay that. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the Boss Men here at 411, and to all my fellow writers, thank you, and to you, the readers, thank you immensely. If I ever get the itch or need to write long form about wrestling, I may be back, and I may have agreed to do the 2018 411mania Hot 100 Women Wrestlers, assuming a certain blonde Aussie lass keeps up her end of the bargain. We’ll see, that’ll be in June next year.

And no, Lisa Marie Varon won’t be #1. I have a plan to fix that issue.

Anyway, as I said last week, all round good sort Jed Shaffer will be taking over from next week for the foreseeable future, so if you got a question for him, send it to [email protected]

BOTH BANNERS BECAUSE WHY NOT?~!

Really annoyed I never got more of them made. If I was any good at gifs, I’d have made an ECW one, a ROH one, a TNA one maybe… Ah well.

Zeldas!

Check out my Drabble blog, 1/10 of a Picture! It’s where my writing will be showcased from now on!

Massive Q’s Facebook Page! For all your me wrestling needs!

Me On Twitter~! Again, this is the best way to keep tabs on me and my work, I’ll be posting it here. Plus I’ve now got a twitter poll RPG thing going on, which is fun!

WWE Turn Alerts on Twitter~~!!
http://www.twitter.com/411mania
http://www.twitter.com/411wrestling
http://www.twitter.com/411moviestv
http://www.twitter.com/411music
http://www.twitter.com/411games
http://www.twitter.com/411mma

Feedback Loop

Two T’s In Matthew: *looks at his name* No, there isn’t. Not when you spell it right.

*unnecessary T drop*

The Trivia Crown

Who am I? I’m batting 0.500 against the above. A hall of famer, I’ve be credited with causing a heavyweight champion to give up a title due to injury, a title I myself had in the past given up due to injury. I used to use a natural disaster to finish matches, now I use a reference. I also used to be a natural event that is very destructive, but these days I’m a creator. I’ve beaten an unbeatable woman for a type of gold, I’ve wrestled at Starrcade but not Wrestlemania, I am who?

Yeah, it was Nakamura, well done Keldor King. I won’t bother doing the walkthrough or a new one for next week, no idea if Jed will continue this part, it’s his column now, he’s free to alter it how he sees fit. New Doctor, new Tardis and all that.

Is Tardis meant to be all in caps? It’s an acronym but also a name…

*googles*

New TARDIS, who DIS?

Getting Down To All The Business

Ron.

It seems like ten years ago (okay, it was ten years ago), you wrote something for my farewell column. Now, it’s my turn to return the honors.

I remember when it all started, a long time ago. I would write something I thought was funny, and then Mathew (not, as I learned early, “Matthew”) would respond with a better line. One time, I decided I was going to take a week off to go to Origins, and I asked Mat if he would like to write something for me, as a guest host, if you will. Not only was he clear and concise, he also included a review of Munchkin, a card game that I had not played at that time. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one impressed, because Ash Baby and Wids soon gave a young Maffew (oh, wait, sorry) Mathew a new column. You have always given me the Spot of Honor in the Ask 411 column for giving you your start, but that’s all I’ve done. Everything after that first column is all on you, and I’m glad to have been a small part of all of that.

Well, technically they gave me a chance to do a trial column that bombed horribly, and I needed to win a contest on the forums to get a column, but minor details!

I gotta stick in some comedy or else I’ll tear up.

William starts us off with some trivia.

Thank you for your efforts over the years. You wrote a great column.

My question, which would fit a final column well. I love weird trivia, such as the fact that the recording debut of John Bongiovi (later known as Jon Bon Jovi) was a duet with Anthony Daniels (the voice behind C-3PO) called “R2-D2 – We Wish You A Merry Christmas!”

In the wacky world of wrestling; do you have a favourite piece of weird, mindblowing trivia, that you would like to share with us on your way out?

Rellik spelled backwards is Killer.

My default trivia question is to name the four female WWE Hardcore Champions. The answer to which is Bobcat/Ho, Terri, Trish Stratus and Mighty Molly, whose title loss is honestly one of my Wrestlemania highlights.

The only way that would have been better is if you only saw the lower half of the person getting the pinfall, and then the next night on Raw Paul Heyman introduced the world to the new Hardcore Champion, Brock Lesnar!

(He could toss it at someone once he won the WWE Title in a taped segment after Summerslam or something.)

But in terms of weird trivia… I think the one I like is that Randy Savage is a 6 time world champion and all of his title losses were to either Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair. I’ve always liked that fact for some reason.

How about you guys? Let’s get some trivia in the comments section!

Brainiac asks about boots and repeats.

Was the Rock the first Samoan wrestler to wear boots?

No, although I can’t tell you who was the first, I’m sure there must have been one earlier than this, but there was an angle a couple of years before Rocky started where the Headshrinkers, Fatu (Rikishi) and Samu (Samu) had turned face and as part of that turn, their manager, Captain Lou Albano, tried to civilize the two, which included putting them in boots, with the idea being that they had a hard time wrestling in them. But I presume some Samoan somewhere prior to that wore boots. I just can’t prove it.

In the territory days what are some angles that were used in different territories by the same wrestler(s), not at the same time? I have seen Ric Flair doing the same angle with Barry Windham, Butch Reed and Roddy Piper and it featured an amateur wrestling segment.

There’s a fair few of them, as that was how it used to work. Wrestling used to be a bit like vaudeville in a way. Back in the day treading the boards, you’d maybe have a partner and you’d have a couple acts. You’d have your Hole in the Wall, your Who’s On First, your Dinner For One.

And you’d do that, every night, for 20 years, each time 50 or so miles over from the last venue, swing back around 5 or so years later in each place, new audience, or at least one that has forgotten it. You’d hone that act to perfection, you’d have every line, every aspect of your performance down, and you’d be set for life.

Then came movies, but more importantly TV. And TV would book you to come on a variety show and do the bit. And it’s a booking, so you would.

Then suddenly you couldn’t do it anywhere anymore, as everyone had seen it now. So you were screwed, or you had to suddenly get new material.

Wrestling is very much like that. When you had territories, you could absolutely run the exact same angle with even the exact same people over and over again. You and your partner could come in as a hot tag team, build to a tag title shot, one member messes up, you split, you fight each other for a few months, build to a big blow off, draw well, then leave, go to another territory, start over. You can’t really do that these days.

Of course, before we get too maudlin and Cornetteish, I would like to point out that wrestling doesn’t need that set up to work, in the sense that it’s both simpler than that (two people don’t like each other, and they need a ring to sort it out) and that the need for creativity, while producing misfires, also produces amazing angles that couldn’t happen in the old days. Having a memory and a canon in wrestling overall, in my opinion, is worth more than losing the ability to run the same angle a few times over.

In terms of specifics, as you asked about, I believe the angle where someone has solid abs and gets someone to drop knees off a ladder until that person drops one on their neck instead is one that was done multiple times, and I want to say by Harley Race, but I cannot confirm that. Other than that, examples are kind of hard to come by. Readers?

(Hey, it’s my last week, cut me some slack.)

Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo asks an old faithful.

First, let me be one of many to thank you for your hard work over the years. This column has always been a joy to read when you’ve authored it. Second, thank you for answering dozens of my questions, even inane ones. Third, for old time’s sake – who do you have winning the Royal Rumble this year?

Best of luck in your future endeavors!

I think Asuka is taking it.

Oh, you mean the male one?

Can I pick her anyway?

I know they’re going to go with Reigns/Lesnar, or at least that’s the idea they’ve had for ages, so going with Reigns is the very safe bet. But I suspect they have had plans without the need for a Rumble win for him, especially because he’s got the IC title, so a scenario where Brock costs him that title so Reigns can chase him is a safer bet. Therefore, you would assume that the WWE Title is the one you’d use the Rumble shot on. And with AJ holding the title…

AJ/Nakamura 2: Five Stars Harder

But I don’t think that’s happening.

Nor do I think it’s who I would go with, which is the Miz, because I’m sure as hell not getting off the Miz is the best heel they have right now train anytime soon, and getting him and the Miztourage on SD would help that brand a lot, in my mind.

Cena’s the obvious default choice because CENAWINSLOL. I think if they were to ever go with the NXT call up guy straight to the top, Black would be the guy to do it, and having him win the thing would work well.

And I still kind of think that it wouldn’t be the worst idea if Taker won, Kane wins the Universal Title, then Reigns pins both elimination style at WM to retire them both and firmly put him on top, then run Reigns/Brock where Brock’s the challenger at Summerslam, do a non-finish, then Reigns/Brock at next year’s WM…

But the guy I’m betting on?

AJ.

I think he’s going to lose the title via Bryan turning heel at the Rumble to put Owens or maybe even Zayn as the champ, AJ then takes their spot in the Rumble, wins, AJ wins the title back at WM.

It’s ass backwards enough to fit their current booking style while still giving us good matches, and it’s a massive surprise for the #30 spot because they love doing that now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m putting my money on Reigns, but I’m staking out the AJ spot as my Cello prediction.

(I will almost certainly be live-tweeting the Rumble PPV as I have done the past couple years, and I might do NXT the night before, we’ll see.)

Jorge from Puerto Rico, who I hope is ok right now, has a couple more.

I was also watching an old WCW PPV, I think it was Slamboree 92 or 93 in which Harlem Heat were known by other names, when were there names changed to Booker T and Stevie Ray?

Yeah, when they were first brought in, the idea was that they would be wrestling prisoners won in a card game by Col. Rob Parker, Booker was Kole and Stevie was Kane. That was how they intended to get around the fact that they could dress them in slave wear, with ankle and wrist shackles, but not technically be slaves.

Well, not slaves in terms of the legal standing of America these days, but I’m not blowing up a big argument about prisoner rights and the status of the US penal and justice systems these days. Especially as Australia isn’t that much better.

Anyway, the shackles never made it to air, but the rest of it pretty much did. The change over occurred in mid 1994, when Sherri Martel began to manage them, and they changed their names back at their request, Sister Sherri taking them as clients being the justification for it, I believe.

Although looking through the 94 WCW results, the name change might have occurred at the start of that angle, where Harlem Heat had a cellphone they were talking to their adviser with… Although maybe not, as the original ending for that was their manager being Johnny Attitude, but that never made it to air, as instead they debuted Sherri at Clash of the Champions XXIX instead.

Adrian has one last question.

Sorry to hear you’re finishing up on ask 411, its always been the highlight of the online wrestling week for myself and I’m sure countless others, best column by miles and biggest loss to the site since John Meehan Meethinks.

Anyways a last question. I recently revisited via a podcast the Horsemen reformation 1998 with Ric Flair coming back after several months out. The host mentioned that Ric contacted WWF around this time but they didn’t have a slot for him. This seems bizarre that a company couldn’t find a place for the one of the greatest of all time, while also sticking it to the opposition by stealing one of their top guys. Do you know any more on this story ?

It almost happened, albeit with a giant legal issue waiting to happen.

There were two issues, there was the tiny legal problem that at the time Ric Flair was still under contract to WCW, albeit right after Bischoff had gone off on Flair for not being available for a random Thunder to reform the Horsemen because months earlier Flair put in for leave to watch his son wrestle. So while Flair had every reason to hate Bischoff and WCW right at that moment, and they were about to enter into a long legal fight that, had he dug in on it, probably could have gotten out of his contract, got a big fat payday, and then he could have jumped to WWF after that. But Flair loved to wrestle, and so eventually he went back to WCW and it was amazing for 15 minutes.

Now, the other side of the coin is that while Flair as the Corporate Champion, or at the very least as the exact opposite of Austin would have naturally been an amazing feud, especially given that Austin would have liked it and worked hard at it, Ric was nearly 50 at this point, and while I’d probably bet that Flair’s healthier even now compared to me, his age would have been a sore spot to some people in the company. Maybe certain up and coming wrestlers who are looking for their chance, who think they’re destined to be the Evolution of this business, that they alone will be the backbone of the company for years, they can just smell it, that they’re called Triple H.

Oh, wait.

Any big name coming in that wasn’t universally loved by all, whom I’m not sure there would be anyone like that, they were going to face some resistance, and a guy like Flair, who can obviously take a top spot and make it work for years on end, without dropping, a guy who can main event every night and keep it fresh, if you’re trying to main event, that’s a threat. Plus Vince didn’t like the age thing at the time…

Had Flair come in clean, with no legal problems, had he actually been fired by WCW, Vince probably would have snapped him up and pushed him, sure. But the fact he was never on the table, legally, that would give Vince pause, and with pause, suddenly you’re having trouble finding a spot for him.

Connor has a simple enough question.

Why was Paul Roma a horseman?

Because Tully Blanchard had an ego/healthy self-respect, basically.

See, the idea was for a reunion of the ‘Original Four Horsemen’, and then to continue on with Flair/Arn/Tully as the workers, Ole do the occasional appearance as a manager, and then add in a four guy later as their protégé, it seems. All well and good, bring back a group people like, use it to get a new young guy over, everyone wins!

They had been in negotiations for a few weeks. Tully was working as a preacher at the time, and WCW wanted to bring him in for the reunion and then start working house shows in June, as a face tag team with Arn. WCW offered him $500 a night. Tully wanted an old school yearly contract instead. The negotiations broke down because Tully was insulted that Johnny B. Badd, Jim Neidhart, and Tom Zenk were earning/offered more than he was. WCW, on the other hand, thought that someone who hadn’t wrestled in three years should be grateful for any offer.

So Tully passed on the deal, and WCW just kept on advertising he would be there, right until the moment above where they admit he’s not here. And so instead, here’s the new Horseman, Paul Roma!

WCW’s booking committee saw a big future in Roma. He was young, good looking, well built, and seemed to be a can’t miss prospect. He might well have been the guy in mind to join the Horsemen down the line, or maybe not, but either way he was the guy chosen to make up for a lack of Tully, and then didn’t do too well in the role anyway. So yeah, Tully having self-respect and/or an ego gave us Paul Roma, Horseman.

I hope he’s happy with himself.

Seriously, I love Tully, and I hope he’s happy.

JCL is hoping for some math.

There’s probably a tricky mathematical answer to this, but how many stables or “managerial factions” should a company have? It seems to me that even if you go back to the “Gang Wars” era of the WWE or the crazy NWO opposition angles whenever you had more than three, things seemed to sort of get convoluted. I always remember growing up Bobby Heenan had a lead stable of heavy hitters that often were put against Hogan, Jimmy Hart was always great with tag teams and mid-card guys, and Slick sort of rounded out the bottom tier.

There were other managers too, but in terms of stables this generalization always seemed like a solid one. What are your thoughts? Is it more dependant on the number of people you have in a company? Hours of TV?

There’s no hard and fast rule with these sorts of things, it’s very much dependant on a bunch of factors. How many talented managers do you have who can talk? How many wrestlers do you have, who can or should be working in a stable? How much air/ring time do you have to play with? What storylines do you want to tell?

The storylines is probably the biggest factor. If you have no plans for any interaction beyond occasional matches against each other, then ideally you’d have as many stables as you have good managers, get as many people a good manager as possible.

If, however, you want to run a Gang Warz or a Stable Wars or something, then you need a fair few of them to run up against each other. You need more groups to produce more conflict and more drama.

However, ideally, as far as I’m concerned, you’d probably one main event heel group, a midcard heel group, and maybe a opener heel one, with a loosely affiliated main event face group and a solid midcard face group, so you can run the midcards against each other for drama, you have faces who can beat the heels but aren’t close knit enough to really take them out, the midcard faces can take a run at the main eventers, get a bit of a rub but lose, and the opening group can be the ineffectual comedy ones. That would be my default aiming point.

Jeremy asks about themes.

What are your favorite musical themes/sponsors for PPVs all-time?

Well, in my mind themes are usually linked to video packages. But my fave theme of all time is Deadly Games.

And then there’s the greatest hits…

How about you guys?

And finally, I look back to the very first Ask 411 Wrestling I did, and I’ll pick a question from it to re-answer because symmetry. Dom?

In your opinion, who is the greatest wrestler of all time. When I say that, I mean overall, a guy that does everything (mic skills, in ring work, story telling, and psychology). This will also win another bet (hopefully).

The first time I answered it, I said this:

Ok, so who was the real total package in the ring, is what your asking, which is good that you laid that out, because I have half a dozen answers to this question based on the half a dozen or so criteria that the question can mean. My answer for Greatest Wrestler ever when dealing with drawing ability (Flair) is different to my answer for the best wrestler ever in terms of charisma (Hogan), like it’s different for pure in ring (Angle), best promos (Piper), or just my favourite (Foley).

But under that definition that you have listed… Shawn Michaels. Flair would be a damm close number 2, but I just think that Shawn has a very, very, VERY slight edge in versatility, as opposed to Flair. But that answer might change in a day or two.

Or maybe a bit over three thousand days, because my answer has indeed changed. Because today, under that definition, I think Flair’s my #1, with Cena coming in second.

Yes, yes, Supercena, CENAWINSLOL, Bad Cena is trash, all the usual bitching, but at the end of the day, when he wants to, Cena is one of the best wrestlers ever.

I just wish he wanted to more often in his run.

And speaking of runs, this one is up now. Again, I want to thank 411mania for putting up with me, everyone who ever wrote in a question, or read an answer, everyone who sent in kind words, insults, whatever, being able to type words about wrestling and inject them into your eyeballs and maybe, just maybe, teaching you something or showing you a new way of looking at this crazy thing called Pro Wrestling, it’s been an honor. But it’s time to go now. Like tears in the rain.

Chandler, sing me out! Maybe something about drinking?

Close enough.

Story of this column really…