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Ask 411 Wrestling: Is Triple H Going to War with Vince McMahon?

March 17, 2019 | Posted by Ryan Byers
WWE Raw Triple H 2

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 whole 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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Night Wolf the Wise has two questions this week, but we’ll answer the first one now and the second one at the end of the column. You’ll see why I chose to structure it that way in a bit.

A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that Triple H butted heads with Vince McMahon over the sudden call up of Ricochet, Allister Black, Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa and the fact that Ricochet and Black and Ciampa and Gargano are teamed together. It was also reported that Vince McMahon brought back Bruce Prichard because He wanted a “Yes Man”. Could this be a sign that there’s going to be a power struggle between Vince and Triple H at some point? I would assume Triple H is furious that Vince McMahon called all four of those superstars up and decided that they weren’t over enough and was going to put them in a hole to dig themselves out.

First off, I don’t think that Vince McMahon and Triple H will be on Power Struggle. Granted, it’s currently March and Power Struggle doesn’t normally happen until November, and a lot could change between now and then . . . but I don’t see any series of events that would put HHH and Vince on a New Japan card anytime soon.

Okay, that lame joke is now over.

All kidding aside, I don’t think that we’re ever going to see a power struggle between father and son-in-law for a couple of different reasons. The first is that the corporate structure of WWE sees Vince McMahon as an incredibly important piece of the company’s success. If you take a look at WWE’s stock filings with the U.S. government, there is a section in which they are required to disclose any events that could have a significant effect on the company’s profitability, and one of the things that they list is the unexpected passing of Vince McMahon. They think he’s THAT key – so key that the Securities and Exchange Commission needs to know that the promotion may be in trouble if he suddenly vanishes.

Triple H is a smart guy, and he has to know that trying to make a power play against a man who is that strongly entrenched in the promotion is foolhardy. There is no possible way that he would win.

Another reason that we’re unlikely to see Trips challenge Vince anytime soon is that, to put it bluntly, Vinnie Mac doesn’t have that much time left in the grand scheme of things. He’s 73 years old. According to the Social Security Administration, the average life expectancy for a man born in 1945 (as Vince was) is 72.2 years old. Though McMahon would reasonably be expected to exceed the average life expectancy because he’s wealthy and has access to prime medical care, the odds of him retaining full control of WWE’s creative direction ten years from now are pretty darn low.

Again, Triple H is a smart guy. He’s well aware of the fact that, though his father-in-law may frustrate him somewhat, all he has to do is bide his time. He’ll be in the driver’s seat soon enough.

Regarding Bruce Prichard, a lot of what I’ve read/heard seems to indicate that the original reports regarding him being brought in to re-join the created team were a bit overstated. According to Dave Meltzer (a name I know that my readers love hear), he’s a consultant and will still be doing outside projects like his “Something to Wrestle With” podcast. He’s primarily being brought in because not many people in WWE these days have experience being with the company during a promotional war, and the top brass is circling the wagons for a potential war with All Elite Wrestling.

Bryan J. is taking us back to the Silverdome:

I saw the reviews of “Matches Dave Meltzer gave 5 stars” year by year, and I was reading 1987. It had one glaring omission. Savage vs. Steamboat wasn’t on there. Everyone talks about that being one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches ever, but is there some elitist bias against it because it wasn’t in Japan and it was a WWF event?

I don’t think that there’s any bias against the match. For the record, Meltzer gave it ****1/2, which is not a bad rating and certainly not a slight against the two performers. A four-and-a-half star rating still means that you’re watching an excellent match; albeit one that has some marginal room for improvement.

Though star ratings are always a matter of personal preference, in my opinion, if you take a look at the other U.S. matches that were getting the full five from the Observer in the late 1980s, they legitimately do edge out Savage vs. Steamboat. We’re talking about matches like Flair vs. Windham from the Crockett Cup, the Flair vs. Steamboat series, the Flair/Funk “I Quit Match,” and the Sheepherders vs. the Fantastics. I personally have no problem saying that those are better than Mania III’s IC Title bout, though I’m also not going to fault you if you watch all of those matches and come to the opposite conclusion.

The other thing to keep in mind is that, when we talk about Meltzer’s 4.5 star rating for the match, he was watching it and giving that rating contemporaneously with when the match was taking place. He’s not like many online commentators of today who go back and assign ratings to “retro” matches outside of the context in which they initially occurred. Thus, that rating really does take into account how the match stacked up to the entirety of what was occurring in professional wrestling during that era.

I will also say that, even though Savage/Steamboat is an excellent match by just about any measure, I think that it has been overrated somewhat the further away that we have gotten from the year in which it actually occurred. Wrestlemania is now a much bigger show and spectacle than it was in its first ten or fifteen years, which has caused WWE and its fans to retroactively ascribe the same level of importance that today’s shows have to the Manias of the past. In order to sell that narrative, you have to tell the story that a match of absolutely legendary quality occurred back in those days, and Savage/Steamboat is the only thing that comes close to fitting the bill until you get to Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin roughly a decade later. Thus, I think that Savage/Stemaboat – even though it is a very good match – does get talked up more than it deserves as part of the effort to establish Wrestlemania’s legacy.

Big E Langston stole Doug‘s gimmick:

I thought it appropriate given the man’s recent passing to ask if there were ever any record of any of King Kong Bundy’s opponents kicking out after a 3-count but before a 5-count. And, if so, how was this situation handled?

It absolutely happened. Specifically, on September 10, 1983 in Mid-South Wrestling, Bundy faced the Junkyard Dog in a match in which Bundy had to win via five-count. The big man from New Jersey appeared to have the match won with what today we might call a World’s Strongest Slam, but JYD did manage to kick out at four. From there, the whole thing turned into a big ole’ schmozz with multiple run-ins.

You can actually see the finish to the match, at least for the time being, on WWE.com.

John D. is bustin’ that buffet:

My question today will be about big men in wrestling. Who on the main roster of the WWE is the best big man? Next who do you think is the best big man in all of wrestling currently? And lastly, best big man of all time?

Regarding who the best big man of all time is, I actually wrote a column for 411mania back in 2010 in which I counted down the top ten super heavyweights in wrestling history, with the term “super heavyweight” being defined as any wrestler weighing over 350 pounds. If you’d like to head back into the archives and read that, you can do so here.

If you don’t want to click through the link, my answer to the question was Vader. Looking over the list that I generated all those years ago, I honestly don’t think that I would change it much if at all were I to write it again today.

As to who the best current “big man” is – both in WWE and elsewhere – that actually becomes a difficult question to answer if I’m using the same criteria that I did in 2010, because wrestlers on the whole are smaller than they were twenty and thirty years ago, so there aren’t too many guys left breaking that 350 pound mark. Even though he’s a bit physically limited compared to what he used to be (and somewhat tired as a character), I think that the best current WWE wrestler in that category is still the Big Show, who I had at number three on my all-time list.

I also really don’t know that there’s any 350+ pound wrestler better than Show in the world at this point, so he’s your answer there, too . . . though it’s almost by default. This is a division of wrestling that could use a shakeup.

Mohamed wants to talk to us about his new startup:

Will AEW become the next WCW or will it all come crashing down in a few years’ time?

Honestly there are so many unknowns out there that it’s impossible to say at this point how well AEW will do. There’s an outside chance that it could become a legitimate number two promotion right out of the gate, but it will far more likely be something that lands in between the current popularity level of Ring of Honor and TNA’s popularity level back during tis Spike TV days.

The biggest issue that will determine the fate of AEW is the sort of distribution deal that they are able to secure for their content. Even though more people seem to be following professional wrestling on the internet now than ever before, the fact of the matter is that we’re still in a landscape that will make it impossible for All Elite to come anywhere near close to the level of WCW or even Spike-era TNA without television distribution on a cable channel that reaches several million homes. Broadcasting shows on Twitch, YouTube, or even Netflix likely won’t be enough to get the job done.

The other factor to consider will be the risk and loss tolerance of the Khan family, who are fronting the money necessary to star the company up. Will they want to see a company that is profitable in the near-term, pulling the plug if money doesn’t come their way almost immediately? Will they be like Bob Carter and Panda Energy, who financially floated TNA for over a decade, despite its reportedly losing millions of dollars a year? Will they be somewhere in the middle? A billionaire with money to lose could easily keep a struggling wrestling company in business for quite some time.

It will be interesting to see what AEW is capable of accomplishing, but we have almost no barometer by which to project their success at this point. However, I’m certainly willing to take the ride with them.

Simon has titles on the brain:

Do you think having more titles would help WWE right now? Back in the attitude era just on Raw we had, WWE, IC, Tag, Hardcore, Light Heavyweight, Women’s and European, which gave a lot of the guys something to do and feuds meant something.

No, I don’t think that more titles would help WWE in any respect. If anything, I think that they have too many titles in the company right now. Even if you put NXT aside (because it is only watched by a small percentage of the overall fanbase), there are ten active WWE championships at the moment: 1) Universal Title; 2) WWE Title; 3) Raw Women’s Title; 4) Smackdown Women’s Title; 5) Raw Tag Team Title; 6) Smackdown Tag Team Title; 7) Intercontinental Title; 8) United States Title; 9) Women’s Tag Team Title; and 10) Cruiserweight Title.

Ten championships is simply too many.

I have long heard some people argue that having a lot of titles is helpful or even necessary because it gives wrestlers “something to do.” However, my opinion has always been that, if you can’t come up with something for wrestlers to do in a storyline other than chase a title, then you’re not a very good writer. There are plenty of other things for wrestlers to feud over, as was evidenced twenty-five-plus years ago when most wrestling promotions got along fine with less than half of the number of titles that we currently have kicking around WWE.

If you want wrestlers to have something to do, book them in feuds that stem from personal issues. Book them in feuds that revolve around becoming the number one contender to a championship as opposed to becoming the champion. Book them in feuds that relate to who the better wrestler among two particular competitors is. There are any number of ways that you can do this.

If you could bring back a title which one or would you create a new one?

As noted above, I would prefer not to add any titles to WWE at present. However, if I had to add or revive one, I think it would make the most sense to create a championship that adds something to the product that currently isn’t there. We don’t need a c-tier singles championship for guys who are below the level of the IC or US Titles, and we certainly don’t need another set of tag team titles when there’s not much productive going on with the ones that currently exist.

My addition would be something similar to a concept that Jim Cornette used in his Smoky Mountain Wrestling territory back in the 1990s. Cornette’s company had what they referred to as the SMW “Beat the Champ” Television Title. The idea behind the belt was that the man who held it would defend it each and every week, but he could only hold it for a maximum of five weeks. If he successfully defended the title in each of those five weeks, he would receive a check for $5,000 as a reward, and the title would be vacated before being put on the line again in a match between two top contenders.

However, I would alter this formula a little bit for my championship. I don’t think that the reward for five consecutive title defenses being a cash prize works too well these days, because fans don’t suspend their disbelief quite as much and won’t care about whether their favorite wrestler receives an extra payday. Instead, my thought would be that anybody who defends the title for five consecutive weeks would receive a shot at either the Universal or WWE Champion as a reward.

This could be used in a variety of interesting ways, including having a brand new wrestler debut and win the TV Title almost immediately, which could then lead to him being a legitimate world championship contender in less than two months’ worth of time on the main roster.

And now, to take it home, let’s go back to Night Wolf the Wise:

Looking at the current WWE and NXT roster’s, how many wrestlers are actually WWE home grown talent and not from the indies?

As with many of the statistical questions asked in this column, some of the answer depends on how you’re going to choose to define things. What does it mean when a wrestler is “from the indies”? Are we including wrestlers who worked a few months for a couple of largely unknown independent promotions before being snapped up by developmental, or are we only talking about those wrestlers who had years of indy experience in places like ROH and PWG? Also, it’s interesting to note that there are a handful of wrestlers who were originally developed by the WWE system but then left to gain experience elsewhere before returning to the company that started them off (e.g. Bobby Lashley). What do we do about them?

Ultimately, I decided to use a very broad definition of what is meant by “being from the indies.” If a wrestler had any independent matches at all that I could find record of before joining WWE, I counted them as being an independent wrestler who the E signed up as opposed to being a homegrown talent, even though some fans might not think of them as indy guys. I also left those wrestlers who started in WWE, left, and came back in the category of WWE products.

Using those criteria, I would say that there are currently 45 pure products of the WWE system between the main and NXT rosters, whereas there are 157 wrestlers who started elsewhere. This means that only about 22% of the wrestlers in the promotion never trained or wrestled anywhere else before signing with McMahon and company.

And, because I had to gather up a bunch of raw (no pun intended) data in order to answer this question, I figured that I might as well share it with you the reader as opposed to just tossing it in my recycle bin. So, here it is, a list of everybody currently in NXT or mainline WWE and whether they started with WWE or elsewhere.

WWE Products
1. Akam
2. Baron Corbin
3. Bo Dallas
4. Bobby Lashley
5. Braun Strowman
6. Bray Wyatt
7. Brock Lesnar
8. Chad Gable
9. Dolph Ziggler
10. Kurt Angle
11. Mojo Rawley
12. Rezar
13. Roman Reigns
14. Titus O’ Neil
15. Alexa Bliss
16. Alicia Fox
17. Dana Brooke
18. Liv Morgan
19. Nia Jax
20. Ronda Rousey
21. Big E Langston
22. Jimmy Uso
23. Jey Uso
24. Shelton Benjamin
25. Carmella
26. Charlotte Flair
27. Lana
28. Mandy Rose
29. Naomi
30. Sonay Deville
31. Maryse Mizanin
32. Maria Kanellis
33. Angelo Dawkins
34. Montez Ford
35. Riddick Moss
36. Tino Sabbatelli
37. Biana Belair
38. Jessamyn Duke
39. Marina Shafir
40. Tianara Conti
41. Xia Li
42. Brie Bella
43. Lars Sullivan
44. Nikki Bella
45. Tucker Knight

Started Elsewhere
1. Apollo Crews
2. Batista
3. Bobby Roode
4. Curt Hawkins
5. Curtis Axel
6. Dash Wilder
7. Dean Ambrose
8. Drew McIntyre
9. Elias Sampson
10. Fandango
11. Finn Balor
12. Goldust
13. Gran Metalik
14. Heath Slater
15. Jinder Mahal
16. Kalisto
17. Konnor
18. Lince Dorado
19. Lio Rush
20. No Way Jose
21. Rhyno
22. Sami Zayn
23. Samir Singh
24. Scott Dawson
25. Seth Rollins
26. Sunil Singh
27. Tyler Breeze
28. Viktor
29. Zack Ryder
30. Bayley
31. Ember Moon
32. Mickie James
33. Natalya Neidhart
34. Ruby Riott
35. Sarah Logan
36. Sasha Banks
37. Tamina Snuka
38. Aiden English
39. AJ Styles
40. Axel Tischer
41. Andrade Cien Almas
42. Big Show
43. Antonio Cesaro
44. Daniel Bryan
45. Epico Colon
46. Eric Young
47. Luke Harper
48. Jeff Hardy
49. Karl Anderson
50. Kevin Owens
51. Killian Dain
52. Kofi Kingston
53. Luke Gallows
54. Matt Hardy
55. Mike the Miz
56. Mustafa Ali
57. Primo Colon
58. R-Truth
59. Randy Orton
60. Rey Misterio, Jr.
61. Erick Rowan
62. Alexander Rusev
63. Samoa Joe
64. Sheamus
65. Shinsuke Nakamura
66. Sin Cara II
67. Xavier Woods
68. Asuka
69. Becky Lynch
70. Billie Kay
71. Peyton Royce
72. Zelina Vega
73. Akira Tozawa
74. Ariya Daivari
75. Brian Kendrick
76. Buddy Murphy
77. Cedric Alexander
78. Drew Gulak
79. Jack Gallagher
80. Humberto Carrillo
81. Mike Kanellis
82. Tony Nese
83. Drake Maverick
84. Adam Cole
85. Aleister Black
86. Bobby Fish
87. Cezar Bononi
88. Danny Burch
89. Dominik Dijakovic
90. Fabian Aichner
91. Hanson
92. Gunner
93. Johnny Gargano
94. Keith Lee
95. Kona Reeves
96. Kyle O’ Reilly
97. Marcel Barthel
98. Matt Riddle
99. Oney Lorcan
100. Raul Mendoza
101. Ricochet
102. Roderick Strong
103. Ray Rowe
104. Shane Thorne
105. Steve Cutler
106. Velveteen Dream
107. Tommaso Ciampa
108. Wesley Blake
109. Aliyah
110. Candice LeRae
111. Dakota Kai
112. Deonna Purrazzo
113. Io Shirai
114. Kairi Sane
115. Mia Yim
116. Shayna Baszler
117. Vanessa Borne
118. Amir Jordan
119. Ashton Smith
120. Dave Mastiff
121. Eddie Dennis
122. Morgan Webster
123. Kassius Ohno
124. James Drake
125. Joe Coffey
126. Jordan Devlin
127. Joseph Conners
128. Kenny Williams
129. El Ligero
130. Mark Andrews
131. Mark Coffey
132. Mike Hitcman
133. Noam Dar
134. Pete Dunne
135. Sam Gradwell
136. Saxon Huxley
137. Travis Banks
138. Trent Seven
139. Tyler Bate
140. Tyson T-Bone
141. Walter
142. Wolfgang
143. Zack Gibson
144. Isla Dawn
145. Jinny
146. Killer Kelly
147. Nina Samuels
148. Rhea Ripley
149. Toni Storm
150. Xia Brookside
151. Ethan Carter III
152. John Cena
153. Kane
154. Lacey Evans
155. Nikki Cross
156. Otis Dozovic
157. The Undertaker

That will do it for this week’s installment of the column. We’ll return in seven days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected].

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Ask 411 Wrestling, Ryan Byers