wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: What is Rousey Doing for Wrestlemania?

January 30, 2019 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Ronda Rousey wwe Raw 71618

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.

Hey, ya want a banner?

Shawn G. is reliable with the ladies:

Where do you think WWE is going with this Rousey/Flair/Lynch feud? I always had a hunch it was leading to an eight-woman tag match at Wrestlemania, and now with Rousey mentioning the Four Horsewomen in a Instagram post, it seems more than a likely possibility, your thoughts?

Ryan’s Note: This answer was written prior to the 2019 Royal Rumble event, but, due to an error on my part, the column is not being posted until after the event.

According to the January 14, 2019 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the current plan, though not “set in stone,” is to do a three-way match between Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch at Wrestlemania. If the Observer‘s sources on that are correct, then, no, we won’t be seeing the eight-woman tag team match at ‘Mania.

Even if that’s not the plan, I don’t think that Rousey and her other Horsewomen facing Flair, Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley makes much sense for a couple of different reasons. The first is that the company is obviously making an effort to feature its top female stars in a manner similar to the way that male wrestlers are featured, and placing their top talents in the women’s division in an eight person match makes them feel as though they’re being shoved onto the show as an afterthought and not truly featured. (There are ways to promote an eight-person match as a featured attraction, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not what matches of that nature have been when they’ve been included on Mania in the past.)

Second, we’re having a women’s Royal Rumble match pretty soon, and the winner of that match is supposed to receive a Wrestlemania title match. If that stipulation is to be followed through on, it means that you’d have to do a Women’s Title match on the biggest show of the year without Rousey, Banks, Bayley, Flair, or Lynch in it, and, at this point, nothing that could be done for the card without those competitors feels like it would be big enough for an event of this magnitude, unless you bring back a nostalgia act like Trish Stratus or Lita. Maybe you could find an opponent for Asuka who would fit the bill, but even that seems like a bit of a stretch.

Bryan J. is going to war:

We have never seen a war games match on WWE card and I’m wondering are their rings too big. Looking back at the WCW/NWA I really notice the size difference. I don’t know the exact measurements but would current WWE rings at their current size be a logistical nightmare for a double ring War Games?

The answer to this question is both yes and no.

You are correct that the rings in WCW and Jim Crockett promotions were smaller than those currently used in WWE. According to a 2013 article on WWE.com, the standard WWE ring size is 20′ by 20′, while JCP and WCW, once standard ring sizes became a thing, used either a 16′ by 16′ model or an 18′ by 18′ model. Another key difference is that WCW’s rings used steel cables for their ropes, whereas WWE’s ropes are, well, actual rope. That’s not really germane to the question, though.

However, I don’t think that has anything to do with the fact that we have never seen a true War Games match on WWE television. If you’ve ever been to a WWE show, you know that there is more than enough floor space at the venues that they typically run to accommodate two rings, and it’s not as though WWE doesn’t have the resources to build a cage large enough to encompass two of its rings. Heck, look at the scope of the custom sets that they build for Wrestlemania every year.

So, I don’t think ring size has much to do with why this gimmick match has never hit WWE’s main stage. I have heard some people speculate over the years that WWE has never hosted War Games because they don’t want to give up the revenue that they would make off of the floor seating that would be taken up by the second ring, but that doesn’t really make sense because either: a) they could simply up the prices on the remaining seats in the building to compensate and b) income from attendance at live events isn’t even really their primary revenue stream anymore.

Really, it seems that the lack of War Games boils down to one thing: Vince McMahon and/or others in the upper echelon of the promotion don’t like the concept.

Tyler from Winnipeg is the next big thing:

Who beat Brock Lesnar in the UFC or Amateur Wrestling?

Lesnar has a 5-3-1 record in mixed martial arts. Of those three losses, his first came in his first ever UFC match against Frank Mir on February 2, 2008. (Lesnar would defeat Mir in a rematch in July 2009.) Brock then lost to Cain Velasquez on October 23, 2010, which is the match that ended his UFC Heavyweight Title reign. Finally, Brock lost to Alistair Overeem on December 30, 2011.

Interestingly, Lesnar also suffered only three losses during his collegiate wrestling career, though they’re not likely to be people that you’ve ever heard of. The first was to a wrestler from Iowa State named Trent Hynek. Then, later that season, he went down at the hands of Stephen Neal, who defeated Lesnar in the 1999 NCAA finals. Neal had been the NCAA heavyweight champion the year before. Finally, during the 2000 season, Lesnar was defeated in regular season competition by a gentleman named Wes Hand, though Brock would get his revenge by defeating Hand in both the Big 10 Championships and the NCAA Championship finals that same year.

Of those three men, only one had much of a sports career after defeating Brock, though it wasn’t in wrestling or MMA. Stephen Neal played in the NFL for the New England Patriots from 2001 through 2010 despite never having played college football. In a 2017 interview, Hand noted that he is now a medical supplies salesman. I wasn’t able to find anything about what Trent Hynek is up to these days.

Chris G. is a cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater:

Iron Mike Sharp had the wristband, Tajiri had the green venom, Iron Shiek had the loaded boot, Mr. Fuji had the salt to the eyes. Other than these, what were the greatest cheats to victory? I think Ric Flair’s eye poke might be in there too. Moves that for some reason the ref never saw.

The items that Chris listed are pretty good ones, though I feel the need to clarify that the green mist (among various other colors) was popularized by the Great Kabuki and the Great Muta before it made its way to Tajiri. Also, in addition to his eye poke, Ric Flair had a couple of pretty memorable ways of hitting a low blow, one being an uppercut and the other being a mule kick while he had himself positioned in between the referee and his opponent.

That being said, I’ll give a quick list of my five favorites (in no particular order), other than those that Chris already brought up:

Fire: Several wrestlers have thrown fire over the years, but, in my mind, it is most closely associated with the original Sheik and with none other than Jerry “The King” Lawler. There is certainly an art to pulling off this illegal maneuver, as it looks great when it is done properly but can bring a match to a grinding halt when it is executed poorly . . . just ask Hulk Hogan, who threw an infamously terrible fireball at the Ultimate Warrior during their 1998 match at WCW’s Halloween Havoc.

Bob Orton Jr.’s Cast: Given Chris’s references to Iron Mike Sharpe, the Iron Sheik and Mr. Fuji, I’m a bit surprised that he omitted this one. “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Jr., a.k.a. “Ace” Bob Orton, Jr. had a nagging broken arm that wouldn’t go away for years and years, no matter what treatment he tried to obtain for it. Unfortunately, his opponents also had a nasty habit of ramming their heads into the cast, even though Bob always tried to be very careful and protect them from it. I also have to give a tip of the hat to Owen Hart, who did the same gimmick for a bit in the mid-90s.

Abdulla the Butcher’s Fork: When you weigh in excess of 350 pounds and your mobility is shot to hell but you don’t want to stop wrestling, you have to find something that you can rely upon to pad out your career. Abdullah the Butcher was in need of such a gimmick, and what he came up with was a dinner fork. Abby “wrestled” “matches” for well over a decade which saw him do almost nothing other than jab his opponents with his deadly tines. He wasn’t the world’s biggest star during that time, but he managed to make a living, so somebody was buying it. Homicide picked up the same gimmick in the early days of ROH, where the announcers somewhat racistly referred to the utensil as a “ghetto fork.”

Takashi Iizuka’s Iron Fingers: I love the iron fingers mainly because they’re so ridiculous. With a fork or a cast or most other professional wrestling weapons, you’re dealing with a real-world object that you can imagine a wrestler obtained through legitimate means and decided to sneak into ring. The iron fingers, meanwhile, have no legitimate purpose and are not a product that exists anywhere else in the world (at least that I know of). This means that Takashi Iizuka had to go to an iron worker somewhere and specifically request that this metal glove be custom made for the sole purpose of allowing him to cheat in wrestling matches. See also Kevin Sullivan’s golden spike, which is the same basic concept.

Jim Cornette’s Tennis Racket: There’s a simple brilliance to Jim Cornette’s tennis racket. It’s something that you can swing hard and hit an opponent flat with without doing any actual damage, while the announcers put over the fact that it’s loaded. Meanwhile, if you swing the racket at an angle and catch somebody with the edge, you can legitimately do some damage to them, which helped Corny and the Midnight Express battle their way out from mobs of southern ‘rasslin fans who wanted to murder them.

Nathan in Leeds wants to help us get ready for the Royal Rumble with some sweet, sweet statistics:

After watching the last Royal Rumble and all the facts and stats promos and other stats thrown out during the match, a few stats were not mentioned. Can you help?

That’s why I’m here, though I wish I was answering these questions in 1994 instead of 2019 . . . there would be a lot fewer Rumble matches to go through. Let’s take each of Nathan’s requests one at a time.

Most/fewest entrants still active when #30 hit the ring.

Ryan’s Note: This answer was written prior to the 2019 Royal Rumble event, but, due to an error on my part, the column is not being posted until after the event.

The difficulty in coming up with this figure is that, even though the stated rule is that a new entrant comes into the Rumble every two minutes, the intervals are almost never consistent. Thus, in order to truly answer the question, I would have to go back and watch every single match and count the competitors in the ring, and, well:

So what I’m going to do is give an estimate that ought to be close enough, namely the number of wrestlers who were in the ring at the 56:00 minute mark of the match, which is when the thirtieth entrant SHOULD be coming into the ring if the match’s rules were strictly enforced. (There are thirty competitors, but the first two enter at the 0:00 minute mark, so 28 x 2 = 56.)

Also, keep in mind that the 1988 Royal Rumble only had 20 competitors whereas the 2011 Rumble had 40 competitors, so, for those two events, I will be counting how many men were left in the ring at the time the final entrant should have come in, not the thirtieth entrant.

We also have to adjust the formula for the 1995 Royal Rumble match, because, due to an historically thin roster at that point, wrestlers were coming out at a rate of about one per minute as opposed to one every two minutes.

Taking all of that into consideration, the number of men in the match at the time of the last entrant for each Royal Rumble would be as follows:

1988: 8
1989: 8
1990: 4
1991: 10
1992: 9
1993: 8
1994: 11
1995: 9
1996: 7
1997: 10
1998: 10
1999: 9
2000: 5
2001: 6
2002: 6
2003: 6
2004: 7
2005: 5
2006: 7
2007: 3
2008: 3
2009: 10
2010: 4
2011: 6
2012: 4
2013: 6
2014: 5
2015: 8
2016: 7
2017: 8
2018: 7 (men); 8 (women)

So, there you have it. The answer to the question is 1994, where 11 men were in the ring at the end of things. However, it’s really not that much of an outlier, as there were four years during which 10 men were present at the end, and quite a few years where 7 to 9 wrestlers occupied the ring at the time of the 30 slot.

Longest/shortest time between #30 arriving and the end of the Rumble.

Again, I’m going to base this on the assumption that number 30 comes out at the 56 minute mark, with 1988, 1995, and 2011 being outliers.

Because of the way WWE fudges the numbers for the entrances, there are actually quite a few Royal Rumbles that run less than 56 minutes, which is the minimum length that the match should technically run, assuming that there are 30 competitors.

That being said, if you look only at the matches that run a proper amount of time and go over 56 minutes, the 1993 version of the show wins the title of match that went the longest after the last entrance, with 10:35 of additional ring time. The 1995 match actually runs 10:41 after the last entrant, but, with only one minute intervals between entries, it’s a totally different match structure.

The 2007 version of the show has the shortest duration following the 56 minute mark, as it was timed as running 56:18. However, that’s not because there were only 18 seconds of action after the last man entered. It’s because they fudged the entrances but the shorter version of the match still ran over 56 minutes.

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].

article topics :

Ask 411 Wrestling, Ryan Byers