wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Who Will Run WWE After Vince McMahon?

September 29, 2017 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina
Vince McMahon WWE Finance

Hello, welcome to the only wrestling column all-in on the idea of a Neville/Braun tag team, Ask 411 Wrestling! Been a very busy week for me, writing this a little later than usual so I got to see Smackdown before I did this for a change! Oh, and if all the 205ers are now barred from getting a title shot because they touched Enzo on Raw, then this has to be where they move Kalisto over, right? Right?

Anyway, got a question for me? [email protected] is where you send it.

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Day One Ish: I’ll admit that my explanation was me reaching, as they’ve not come flat out and said what it means beyond joking. So other ideas, like the one Matt In New Jersey floated, are entirely plausible.

The Broken WM 14 Belt: So I was sent a photo showing the damage discussed last week. I now know what said damage is, and I was unable to find anything, which is weird, since there are supposedly a hell of a lot of Winged Eagle belts floating around, so the only possible thing I can think of is maybe HBK was being a bit of a dick and chose a damaged belt to give to Austin? I dunno, could not find any info on it, if anyone goes to one of those HBK Q&A things ask him for me, would ya?

The Trivia Crown

Who am I? I was involved in one of the specific matches mentioned above. I appeared on PPV for a company after I was released by them the previous calendar year. I replaced an MMA guy in a tournament I had no real business being involved in, and lost to a guy who I’d draw comparisons with, gimmick wise, to my first WWF gimmick, but that would be insulting to Traci and Nadine. I was signed to WWE in the mid 00’s but never made it onto TV. I won tag belts with a ‘surfer’, a ‘bull’, a ‘stranger’, and an Englishman. A guy known for my moves and my body, or at least a part of it, I am who?

Bobby Wonderbread has the answer.

Who am I? I was involved in one of the specific matches mentioned above (Raw 15th Anniversary battle royal). I appeared on PPV (When Worlds Collide/Kollison In Korea) for a company (WCW) after I was released by them the previous calendar year (1994). I replaced an MMA guy (Ken Shamrock) in a tournament I had no real business being involved in (Brawl For All), and lost to a guy (Godfather) who I’d draw comparisons with, gimmick wise, to my first WWF gimmick (Flash Funk), but that would be insulting to Traci and Nadine (the Funkettes are not hos!). I was signed to WWE in the mid 00’s but never made it onto TV (2006, only appeared in Deep South). I won tag belts with a ‘surfer’ (Sandman), a ‘bull’ (Vader), a ‘stranger’ (Bagwell), and an Englishman (Doug Williams). A guy known for my moves (lots of flippy movez) and my body, or at least a part of it (his monster dong), I am who? 2 COLD SCORPIO

Who am I? I lost to the above in a debut match for someone in a specific promotion. I was trained by a man who’s trained multiple world champions. My first title was won off a guy also mentioned above. My first televised match was a win over a guy with a similar name, while my last televised match, so far, involved a celebrity and a political candidate, among others. I’ve turned heel on a swerve, returned and debuted in two different invitationals, and my current finisher is weather related. Who am I?

Getting Down To All The Business

Speaking of the weather, let’s start with Pedro.

Because of the lots of hurricanes in these days, I’d like to ask if, beside Greg Helms, are there any other wrestlers that used the name of Hurricane, in the past??? (I know the name is commonly used in Latin America).

‘The Hawaiian Hurricane’ King Kaluha
Caripus Hurricane (Cyclone Negro)
Hurricane (Jayson Maples)
Hurricane Castillo, Jr. (Jesus Castillo Jr)
Hurricane Chandler (Buddy Bison)
Hurricane Curry
Hurricane Kid
Hurricane Lewis
Hurricane Rivera
Hurricane Smith (Grizzly Smith)
Hurricane Smith (Some Canadian One)
Hurricane Tatum (Chad Tatum)
Hurricane Walker (Bobby Walker)
Makai Masked Hurricane #2
Makai Masked Hurricane (Gran Hamada)
Silver Hurricane (Mile Zrno)
The Jersey Hurricane
The Masked Hurricane (Bobby Lee)

So there’s been a few. Rivera actually comes from Puerto Rico which is unfortunate… Hurricane Chandler sounds cool though. If you want any info on a specific Hurricane, feel free to google it, assuming there wasn’t any actual hurricanes with those names.

*googles*

Oh thank goodness, no Hurricane Chandlers yet.

Moving onto Jon and their hypothetical.

Mat, Mark Cuban- billionaire, owner of a sports arena and TV network- asks you to help him set up his new wrestling fed. You will not be running the book, you’ll be hiring all the people who will make it work on a day to day basis. Go!

OK, I’ll need about $100 Million to get people out of their current contracts.

Once I have that money I fly to Brazil where I mysteriously die in a fire, along with all the money. Some guy who looks like me with a shaved head lives the rest of his life somewhere cold with good internet and a decent pizza place nearby.

The important thing isn’t so much the individual people. By all means there are the key people I’d want to get, Borash, Heyman, RD Evans, but at the end of the day, the key is to ensure that the company is set up properly, with a production team that is young and fresh in terms of ideas on how to film a production like wrestling, a booking team that has experience and knowledge of wrestling on top and a few younger people there to quickly learn so as to take over sooner or later, and agents who have a variety of skill sets and backgrounds. If I’m working face, I absolutely want to work with Ricky Steamboat, for instance. But if I’m heel, I want someone with a long run as a successful heel to advise/help me.

But yeah, the key is a solid set of experienced talent in the head roles, Heyman as booker, Borash as director, Cornette and Russo on the payroll to sit at home and send in their thoughts on each show and never come in nor interact with each other in any way shape or form, and then have a young production team, up and coming smart wrestler talent as assistant/learning bookers, and a talent pool that is almost totally unknown to the greater world.

But above all, the idea has to be to create the atmosphere of being a proper wrestling company, where talent will be allowed to do their own thing, to not have to learn scripts, to be allowed to work in a safe but welcoming environment, to be a place where wrestlers can wrestle. No more, no less, and not to run off half-cocked chasing WWE.

If I can sell that to Cuban, then I find people who agree with me, and go from there.

Jeremy asks if the Freebirds once lost a belt.

Back in their 1989 run as the WCW Tag Team Champions, the Freebirds (Hayes & Garvin) came to the ring with only one title belt for a while. My friends and I always joked they left one of the belts in a bar somewhere. What happened to the other belt? Was it damaged or did they really lose it?

They did? Well… They had two belts at the Great American Bash…

… Oh, right, Clash 8, 31:30 in or so, they come out with just the one belt. Huh.

Gordy wasn’t part of this reign, they kept is just Hayes and Garvin, but maybe they sent a tag belt over to Japan with Gordy? Pretended he was a champ anyway? I mean, the Freebirds were all about mix and matching, three guys holding two belts, so maybe they thought two men should only have one belt.

Oh, ok, I found a couple sources saying Hayes’ belt was stolen at some point and thus they only used one while they had new belts made up. So while it’s possible that it was ‘stolen’ in the sense that it was left in a bar somewhere, the official story is that it was stolen, no sarcasm intended. At least, that’s what has been said, and Hayes hasn’t said anything the two times someone’s asked him on Twitter.

Chris wants to talk about when someone steals Vince McMahon’s last Phoenix Down from him.

There is no denying that Vince has been a marketing genius for his product, but I have to ask if he is as delusional in real life as his on stage persona. We hear about Steph and HHH taking over and there is always the involvement of Shane. How is the stage set up for once VKM steps aside. Does he truly dislike Shane for his other ventures? Is it all a play? Do his kids run it together after he is gone? Thoughts please.

Thinking he’s delusional about his abilities and such very much depends on how you view his views. Obviously he doesn’t think he’s delusional, he thinks that Brock/Roman 2: Fourth/Fifth/Sixth maybe Times’ A Charm at WM will make Roman, finally, while people who think Roman is now pretty much never going to be that guy thanks to the first three/four/five maybe times they’ve tried to make him will think he’s super delusional. I do think that Vince has, for perhaps the first time, adjusted too far in his way of thinking, in that he seems to truly believe that the Cena model of not caring if he’s hated or loved since people come to see him is the way forward, rather than a horrible aberration they made of one of the once in a generation stars they got.

I can’t begin to claim to be able to read Vince’s mind, so trying to understand how the Shane thing has played with him is hard. Obviously now Shane is back, you’d assume that that helps, but it’s entirely possible seeing Shane all the time just reminds him every time about how Shane walked away from him, but he did that because he wanted the same chance Vince had to stand on his own two feet and… It’s hard to say.

But the stage for when VKM does step aside, however that happens, that’s obviously a topic that is (morbidly) thought about by many people, and I’ve talked about it previously, but it comes down to where Vince’s shares go. The company is still clearly being run on the assumption that StepHunter takes over, with Steph being the public face for corporate matters and Hunter running the place and being the face for everything else.

It’s entirely possible that Shane has accepted that, that his contract is just because he wants his boys to see him wrestle and get them immersed in the business, he’s happy to just be an on-air talent.

But it all comes down to where Vince’s stock goes.

Shane, I believe, sold all his stock back in 2013, but the stock held by Vince, Linda and Steph is all still Class B, 10 times more powerful stock. So if it all goes to StepHunter, then of course they win, but if it all goes to Linda and then she sides with Shane, or it’s split in some fashion between people and everyone else sides with Shane over StepHunter… There’s a chance of a power struggle, sure.

Maybe Shane and Hunter can work together, but I doubt it. Maybe Steph and Hunter have a falling out and it goes back to Shane, but I doubt it. Maybe Linda surprises us all with someone, but I doubt it. I think StepHunter is going to win, and it’ll be a fairly orderly, calm switch over.

Up until they sell out to Disney or NBC or whoever…

Neal asks about how long it took to film stuff.

Back in the 70’s up to the national expansion in 1983, how long did it take the WWF to tape the individual promos that had to be cut for each location they toured. Keep in mind they used to run a different promo for each week as the event grew near. (Example, Backlund in 3 weeks, at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Backlund, next week I’m gonna get a hold of you) I imagine it took hours. I imagine it was done on the same day as tapings starting early in the morning.

It was something that was done in the day before hand, sure. But I don’t think it started at like 6am or anything, I think that sort of runtime would get talked about more often. But yes, by most accounts they would film these sorts of things in the few hours prior to a show happening.

But it helps that, since these only appeared in one place, you could redo them. Often times you’d cut pretty much the same promo a half dozen times for the various places in the loop, so you’d hopefully knock them out pretty quickly. Even famous promos like Hard Times were done more than once for various levels of syndication. Or hell, if you had a video to play over it, you could use one opening then just splice in the half dozen finishes, one per place.

So while I don’t think they started very early in the morning as a rule, yes, these were filmed on taping days prior to the show, and yes, they would spend hours in total doing them, but it wasn’t like some insane slog to get through them. Being able to redo promos, or in a rush just film one generic one and be done with it, there were tricks to make it go easier.

But if anyone does have a shoot interview where they mention how long it would take, do let me know.

Brendan asks why two specific cities seemed to be the place to cross-promote.

So in perusing thehistoryofwwe.com, I noticed from the 60s until the early 80s (before WWF went national) that St. Louis and Toronto often had cards with both WWF and NWA wrestlers. There are cross promotional shows here and there in other cities, but it’s consistent with these two. Why did the WWF and NWA agree to have so many cross promotional shows in these two particular cities?

Because there were two powerful promoters there able and willing to pay for them.

Before Vince Jr. took over and began the takeover of all things, although Vince Sr. (and Gagne) had issues with the NWA board, and ended up not accepting the NWA World Champion and having their own champs, they were still in the NWA, and worked with other promotions if/when it helped them. And although most people only know about McMahon, Crockett and Gagne, there were other power players at the time.

Toronto was Maple Leaf Wrestling, run by Frank Tunney, Jack Tunney’s uncle. Tunney was a major part of the NWA Committee, serving at various points the role of chairing the grievance committee, being part of the championship committee, Vice-President and then President. Maple Leaf Wrestling had its ups and downs, but it was a popular, solid promotion, and since he had friendships and relationships with several key people, Tunney was able to book Bruno, Crockett guys, and other big names would do tours in Toronto, it was a prestige, big name promotion at the time.

Likewise with St. Louis, the home of ‘Wrestling At The Chase’.

Sam Muchnick, the promoter of St. Louis, for lack of a better term, was the man who spearheaded the formation of the NWA, and would run monthly cards as well as produce the famous ‘Wrestling At The Chase’ weekly TV show. Muchnick didn’t have a set roster, as such, he would fill his programs with some local talent and then guys he’d bring in from all over, as he would be honest, up front and play fair with talent, as well as pay them in cash, and at a much higher rate than most other promoters at the time. This, coupled with his, you know, running the NWA, meant people wanted to work for him, so he had little trouble booking high quality talent all the time.

So those two cities were the homes of two promoters people wanted to work for/with, and were both making money, so they could afford to run constant intermixing shows. Other promotions might occasionally work out a deal to promote one cross-brand match, but those two cities, they happened all the time because of politics. Everything in wrestling really is politics, when you get down to it…

Connor asks one of those simple but stupidly open ended questions.

Has there been many tag team or 6 man tag main events? the few I can think of are Wrestlemania 1, King of the Ring 95, King of the Ring 2000, Fully Loaded 98, Bash at the Beach 98 and Road Wild 98

I assume you mean PPV main events there.

Well, let’s see, there’s the 34 of them that are part of this Sporcle Quiz on WWE PPV, which ends in late 2014. You add to that The Beast in the East 2015, NXT TakeOver: Chicago 2017, then you add in for WCW the shows that ended with Wargames (GAB 87, Wrestlewar 91, Wrestlewar 92, Fall Brawl 93, Fall Brawl 94, Fall Brawl 95, Fall Brawl 96, Fall Brawl 97, Fall Brawl 98), Wrestlewar 89 technically, WCW/Japan Supershow 2 92, Beach Blast 92, GAB92, Beach Blast 93, Slamboree 95, Uncensored 96, BATB 96, Uncensored 97, Slamboree 97, BATB 97, Slamboree 98, BATB 98, Road Wild 98, BATB 99.

ECW had, just counting PPV, Heat Wave 97, CyberSlam 98, Living Dangerously 98, Heat Wave 98, November To Remember 98, both FMW supershows, Heat Wave 99, and N2R 99.

So yeah, been a few.

(Another) Matt asks about belt color.

Why was the red strap ditched on the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship? I thought that color looked really good on it and made it stand out. When it was switched to the standard black strap, it just seemed like it lost its individuality.

Well now, Malenko’s first title reign seems to be the switch over point, I couldn’t find any photos of Dean with a red strap, he’s got the black one. Although he won the red one.

Oh wait, he lost it to Scotty, it was red.

It was black a couple months later, at least.

I cannot say for sure, but something that has come up in the past when discussing title belts is that colored straps tend to discolor over time. The IC being purple strapped in 98, it began to turn black, and when they redid it for the WWF logo switch, they made it black then. So while the red stood out, it’s possible that it was staining from the sweat, baby oil, tanning products etcetc, so they redid the strap.

I wasn’t able to find anyone talking about it though. So that’s just a guess.

Stuart asks about procedure.

What is the process for a wrestler to get to the WWE once they’ve shown an interest?

… I finally get to use this story. Huh.

Anyway, the system seems to go like this, for full bore signings. If you’re on WWE’s radar for whatever reason, you go to a tryout, which is around three days worth of stuff, starting with Death By Cardio and then work outs, promos, maybe a match or two, just a lot of testing and driving you to your best and so forth.

Assuming you don’t die and they like what they see, they give themselves 6-8 weeks to decide, as well as going through procedure of checking with whoever you are working for at the time to see if there’s a contract issue, and/or to give them some notice that they’re thinking of signing this person. Mainly the first part I believe, they want to make sure no-one will turn around and sue them for breach of contract.

Then, just signing the contract isn’t enough, then there’s a lot of paperwork, getting top of the line medical checks, and intense background checking and such. This is where a lot of people get caught up, as wrestlers who otherwise are on their way in get caught on having bloodwork issues, or concussion problems, or heart issues and so on. If you have a medical issue, you won’t get in.

But likewise, they will check into your background and past behaviour. This can get you tripped up as well.

See, there’s someone I shared a locker room with once, who I’ve kept in touch with via the social medias and such (and who said I could share this assuming I stripped everything identifiable from this story), they actually got interest from WWE at one point. And they managed to get caught here, as WWE managed to dig up an appearance on a podcast that probably five people heard and that has since been deleted, but where this person for the purposes of comedy said something a little risqué/off color. WWE knew it was being said in jest, were totally understanding of that, but still, that was enough to scutter the interest. It could be taken out of context and all that.

Now, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, as the assumption has always been that if you’re up front about past appearances and the like, they are willing to accept some things. There are custom wrestling match sites where you can book your own personalised match and for various fees the wrestlers involved will wrestle in their underwear or work a style of your choice or get involved in lots of submissions and such, all of which is, in part, for fetish purposes. For example, one half of you current Raw Tag Team champions, Seth Rollins, has appeared in some of said videos. Assuming he was up front about their existence at the time, that’s fine, as were Lana’s nude photos, so on and so forth. But if someone WWE was interested was involved in a hardcore porn shoot or something, that’s more questionable. And if someone had done one of those fetish things and not said anything, that would come back to bite them, probably. Moreso if that was the fetish.

(And for the record, I’m not trying to kinkshame anyone here. I’ve got no problem with people wanting those sorts of videos, or appearing in them, or anything like that. It’s just a case of WWE wanting to cover themselves as a family company and all that.)

But anyway, assuming you pass all the physicals, your background check is clear enough, and you file all the paperwork they need for insurance and tax and such, congrats, you’ve signed onto WWE, report to the Performance Center.

Oh, and for the record, that background check? That’d catch me up to, thanks to, well, what you’re reading right now. And so on that sad note, goodbye for now, see you next week!