wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Who’s Winning The 2018 Royal Rumble?

October 27, 2017 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina
WWE Royal Rumble - Betting Odds

Hey, welcome to Ask 411 Wrestling! I’ve only now just unwrapped Chandler and hopefully he’s Mumps free.


Well… He’ll do.

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Facts: Most of the factual questions I get these days are the ones that are obscure, impossible to answer, or both.

The Trivia Crown

Who am I? I was on the same card as the one which had the above, in a way. I’m one of the few men who can claim to have worked for 2 “All Big 3”s. I’ve advertised a network on my chest. I’ve been a second man to work a gimmick, albeit with no Jr. or 2 or anything like that attached, hell, the first guy gave it to me full stop! I was part of the first WWE Draft, been part of two parody stables, and the writer of this question is jealous of me for some reason. Who am I?

Rogue had it mostly, I’ll fill in a couple gaps.

Who am I? I was on the same card as the one which had the above, in a way (vs Spike Dudley on Heat) . I’m one of the few men who can claim to have worked for 2 “All Big 3”s (ECW,WCW &WWF, ROH/TNA/WWE). I’ve advertised a network on my chest (UPN logo as he parodied the Acolytes). I’ve been a second man to work a gimmick, albeit with no Jr. or 2 or anything like that attached, hell, the first guy gave it to me full stop! (Dude Love 2.0) I was part of the first WWE Draft (2002 WWF brand extension draft), been part of two parody stables (Blue World Order & Right to Censor), and the writer of this question is jealous of me for some reason (on screen relationship with VIctoria). Who am I? (Stevie Richards)

Who am I? I beat the above in someone’s last televised match in a specific company. Most of my career has been under one name, or at least variations on a theme. The sole exception was when I was under a hood. I was eliminated in the first round by the eventual winners of a title tournament for a title that only 2 teams ever held. I once became a #1 contender to something by beating David Flair, of all people. I’ve won a set of tag titles pretty much by myself, but lost control of them before being stripped of it anyway. I’ve been in a line, a team, a club, a tune, and a five star match. Who am I?

Getting Down To All The Business

Jason has a question.

Why does no one get suspended anymore for beating up people outside of the ring? A lot of these attacks are pretty much televised assaults that should land people in jail. (Running over people in cars Breaking into rivals house & throwing them through windows Hitting them with chairs Sucker Punches etc) It used to be people would get suspended and that would be deemed punishment & police didn’t get involved Now you can do whatever you want wherever you want and there’s no consequences most of the time there’s a reward and you get a title shot for your misdeeds. What happened

There are consequences, it’s just that they are unevenly applied and inconsistent. Shane McMahon got suspended for attacking Kevin Owens, Alicia Fox got fined for attacking a ref backstage, but other actions are let go with impunity.

The kayfabe seems to be that WWE has now embraced the hold-harmless agreement between wrestlers, wherein if you are a wrestler, you sign up and accept that you could be attacked by any other wrestler in any way at any time, but you have the same privilege, but that only applies to other wrestlers. You attack a GM (not in a match), you get popped. You attack a ref, you get popped. You attack an announcer, you get popped. And vice-versa.

The reality, it’s part of the overall movement in WWE to everyone being more impulsive, assuming they’re face. You put in rules and consequences to build tension and make things seem important. Bill Watts banned top rope moves in WCW because he wanted it to mean something when a heel came off the top rope behind the ref’s back. Vince stops everyone blading so that when Brock Lesnar draws blood, it seems real. You say people are fined/suspended for backstage assaults to say that backstage assaults are not good, they’re not normal, and if someone is doing it then they either really really hate the person they are attacking, or they’re not sane, or both.

But, if you want to script backstage assaults all the time because it’s a way to continue a feud without a promo, it’s an easy way to establish that two people hate each other, in-between their seventeenth and eighteenth matches, then dealing with having to keep people off air, or say that they’ve been fined every time, that gets boring. So you just change the rule, like they did when they made closed fists legal.

(Aside: I really think they missed a trick there when that rule got changed, I know they did it quietly, but I wished they’d had Lawler or hell, dig out Ron Garvin and have them immediately challenge the world champ since their punches were now legal and thus they thought they had a shot.)

So yeah, it’s just that they want to do it more often, so they changed the rules to avoid having to explain it. However, there is something to be said for the idea that GMs take their cue from the bosses, and maybe if a Chairman, say, is old and is wistful for days gone by where men were men and women were bitches and/or sluts but he’ll admit that they are now just women and that’s cool, that if the boss likes wrestlers being aggressive, ruthlessly perhaps, showing some attitude, that if the boss likes that and encourages it, why would a GM want to stick to the rules and be by the book? Even if they don’t like the boss…

Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo demands I play soothsayer.

Great column, as always. Never too early to ask questions about the Rumble. First, who wins this year? (Half a Chandler, but I am asking). Also, in retrospect, how odd was some of the booking at the most recent Rumble? Baron Corbin eliminating BRAUN? That Goldberg/Lesnar were eliminated so quickly? If you were given the book for 2018 with complete free reign (meaning Vince et. al couldn’t “correct” what you did), how would you book the ’18 Rumble?

I’m guessing they would probably pull back the Corbin/Braun thing, but Goldberg/Lesnar was on track, the point was Goldberg kept showing Brock up quick smart, so when Brock finally got him, it meant something. There was no point keeping Goldberg in there longer than it took to take out Brock, and there was no point keeping Brock in there longer than it took to get taken out. Braun they didn’t see getting so big, nor did they see Corbin having an opinion about brain injuries not working out so well.

So, as for who wins this year, CENAWINSLOL is a cliché, is a joke, is a punchline, is so what’s happening. Cena’s 17th at WM by killing Jinder and AAing a billion Indian fans at once because America is amazing and awesome and FUCK YEAH AMERICA IS GREAT AGAIN USAUSAUSAUSA!!!

If I’m given the book but only for the Rumble (because if I’m given the book full stop, the Rumble winner is pretty low on my list of things to fix), having Jinder actually kind of helps, because you could, in theory, put over anyone and you could buy them as a threat because if you can dispel the Singh brothers, and then avoid Khallas, then you’re golden.

So, to that end, I think it’s time to have someone jump the queue, as it were, and Massive Q Drew McIntyre, winner of NXT’s spot in the Rumble, ends up winning the darn thing and fighting his former bandmate, Jinder goes down to NXT to help Adam Cole (Baybay!) win the NXT title, maybe have Heath Slater got slotted in as special guest ref for a payday (since, you know), have 3MB explode at WM as the opener while you have a main event of-

Oh, right, I don’t control the rest of the card, yeah.

Sigh. Roman Reigns against Brock Lesnar, for the Universal Championship live in the main event of the biggest event in sports entertainment etcetcetc…

Richard asks who is the anti-Undertaker.

I recently found a cardboard box filled with wrestling magazines from the mid 1980’s. I pulled out an issue of “Inside Wrestling” from November 1985. In it, it mentions a wrestler named Jack Hart. He was known, at the time, as a wrestler who went 0-131 before getting his first win and had just beaten Mike Graham for the Florida Championship.

Has there ever been a wrestler who went his entire career winless? A man who became a fan favorite for being a loser? Somebody who the fans desperately wanted to lose no matter who he was wrestling? A wrestler who would come “justthisclose” to winning on a regular basis only to lose every single time in unique ways to the great delight of the audience?

You know, somebody with the ultimate anti-streak.

There’s a local guy, Big Fudge, who in Newcastle Pro Wrestling is winless, has yet to win a match. Despite his being a PWA Tag Champion, a multi-time Wrestling Go Watermelon champion, you can argue he’s an Anti-Taker.

(One of the three things I can claim as being awesome wrestling things I had a small hand in bringing to the people, as the ten bell salute gimmick there was my idea. The other two are Shazza McKenzie’s career and this.

Oh, and-


That said, on a major stage, I don’t know of anyone who got over with a jobbing gimmick. There are jobbers who were liked, The Mulkeys, Barry Horowitz, The Hardy Boyz before they were important, and you’ve got stuff like Mikey Whipwreck who would get beat up and then win improbably due to other people, but someone getting over with a jobbing gimmick who the fans got into because of the jobbing? I mean, MAYBE The Job Squad, but not really? I don’t have anyone that really got over as a jobbing gimmick. People were over despite it, or people were over and got jobbed out because they weren’t supposed to be over, but a long term jobber who people wanted to see lose… Nope. Readers? Am I missing anyone?

The first person who says Curt Hawkins is over can just leave right now.


What are the chances of wwe using the old wcw battlebowl event

A lot better than they used to be. A combination of HHH gaining more power, Vince mellowing out in his old age about this sort of thing, a generation of people in positions of power who don’t automatically hate WCW because they never worked for/against them, a need for gimmicks to fill big shows, and just the fact that it’s a fairly simple idea that lends itself to easy storytelling, albeit storytelling that you have to tell right or else it either gets repetitive, phony-looking, or both, and thus is something that could be very easily messed up… Yeah, I’m expecting it as an NXT event next year, honestly. If we get Wargames back, why not Battlebowl?

Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo has a good point.

In kayfabe, why would Daniel Bryan loan out AJ for TLC? Werent the two brands in fierce competition?

The Royal Rumble has Raw and SD guys in there, fighting each other, dude. Plus Wrestlemania often has Interbrand… Whatever.

Anyway, this is rarely been written during/after SD aired, so I have the luxury of saying that Shane is the one who OKed the AJ lending and then sprung the trap, not Bryan. And it makes sense, in that if you knew, somehow, that Raw V SD was going to be a thing at Survivor Series, and you were, as Shane says there, intent on delivering the first blow, you’d want your opponent weak, and not expecting it. So, by lending AJ, he made Kurt think that Raw and SD were golden, all buddy buddy, and this Raw V SD thing would just be friendly competition between friendly rivals, best man and/or woman win, just healthy competition that will be fought under rules and everyone is happy and oh no my roster is dead now.

So yeah, Shane pulled a fast one to make Kurt unprepared for attack. Before you punch someone in the head, you can point behind them and ask if that isn’t their crush getting their kit off and then wait for them to turn around to hopefully see their desired man/woman/other disrobing before applying fist to back of head.

Mal Machine also wants logic explained.

Thanks for not only answering my previous questions, but also for being an all round entertaining guy. My question is about special referees. I know how referees are weak ordinary saps like me. I can see how they can be knocked unconscious at the slightest of bumps. But why does the same happen for actual professional wrestlers when they don the black and white referee stripes? I have seen the likes of Austin and HBK be knocked out for minutes at a standard bump that would not have caused any harm if they were actually wrestling. I find it hard to suspend the old disbelief when this occurs. I know the special refs in question are sometimes a bit older and are retired, but they are still revered as bad asses, then they wear a referee shirt…..

I fully agree that it shouldn’t happen, or at least should only happen with moves that would knock a wrestler down usually. I mean, if their opponent gets out of the way, and something like HBK’s Superkick, or JBL’s Clothesline, or even something like Santino’s sock puppet, I guess, something like that hitting you as a ref, sure, sell that.

But a simple lariat, or getting squashed in the corner, or any other ‘normal’ ref bump, a wrestler selling that, that’s not a good idea.

However, to try and defend it, a hypothetical situation for you. Find a friend, a very good friend, and tell them you’re going to punch them in the arm. Give them an exact time, maybe describe the blow you’re going to give them, and promise to get them something they’d like or get them a ticket to that thing they love. Then, at the time, give them the punch in the arm as you described it.

Assuming they believed you, they probably prepared for that blow, they wore padding, they trained their arm a bit if there was a long time, they got ready for the blow, and while it might have hurt, they’ll get over it quickly, all things considered.

Now, as the counter to that, just walk up to them and punch them in the arm with no warning or hint it’s about to happen. They’ll be shocked, and in pain, and wonder what the hell is wrong with you, but the main point is that it’ll hurt. A lot.

That’s the best explanation I have, in that you don’t expect to be hit, and even a trained wrestler still gets thrown and stunned by a shot they’re not expecting. Same way getting hit by someone not in the match hurts more than being hit by the guy or girl or other you’re wrestling, you weren’t expecting a blow from that direction so it hurts more.

Also, to be fair, even if a wrestler does prepare for a blow before they head out to be a ref, unless they jump around the ring doing gymnastic routines into their counts, unless they do a cartwheel into a sideways lay before they hit the mat, by the time you might well get a hit, you’ll have cooled down a little, so there’s that too.

But yeah, unexpected shots hurt, even to us big tough wrestlers.

Chris asks a question I can’t answer in too much detail.

I know that when we watch wrestling that we are supposed to suspend belief and during those few hours the laws of physics cease to exist, but, has WWE/WWF ever drawn the line on something that was too extravagant even by their standards? I seem to remember The Hurricane not being allowed to use the chokeslam as a finisher because of the absurdity of the size of the people he did it to. (I guess superhero powers weren’t taken into consideration) But yet they allow the birth of a hand. Where or when else have they said, this is too much, even for us.

I know a couple of examples, but for the most part ideas that WWE rejects tend to be forgotten and fade into the ether. They’ll get pitched and shot down and then everyone moves on. Maybe it’ll come up in a shoot interview later on, but there’s no grand resource of rejected WWE ideas, that I know of. It’d be cool, but it doesn’t exist.

The 2004 Smackdown period had a couple of gimmicks that almost occurred but didn’t end up happening, like Booker T going full bore into a Voodoo shaman after taking on the Undertaker, or Heidenreich being Baron von Bava, an unfrozen 1940’s Nazi as managed by Paul Heyman because comedy. He’d have been in a tag team with Kenzo Suzuki, as Hirohito as the Axis Powers, I guess? Mark Magnus could have stayed Italian and been Musclelini!

OK that was bad, my apologies.

But yeah, most of the stuff WWE rejects isn’t because it’s too far down the impossible path, just that it’s not going to be good. Tugboat becoming Sheik Tugboat isn’t impossible, just very stupid, you know? But perhaps the readers below can suggest times WWE rejected an idea as being too ludicrous.

San-Eye, maybe?

Joe has two questions that are based on the same central concept.

Hey long time reader first time asking a question have 2 actually. Firstly, why does WWE no long have videos on wrestlers entrances? Is it a cost cutting thing. Second on the same subject, I just noticed watching raw this week that they no longer show the action in the ring on the titantron. Is this also something to help cut costs? Thanks keep up the good work

I don’t believe they are cost cuts, it’s not like pyro where there’s an obvious, clear saving to be made. I mean, if it was because of them downgrading the number of camera operators, that might explain it, but I haven’t heard of anything about that.

I think that this is something of an overhaul, in that WWE tried to overload the shows with audience reaction shots in the hopes that people would react how they wanted by showing them the ‘correct’ reaction, plus also maybe bump up attendance via the ‘Hey, I might be on TV! I should go!’ factor. But that experiment didn’t really work, so they pulled back on those shots, and with it went the watching the crowd watching backstage stuff. Also, the tron’s changed somewhat, and it’s more complicated in terms of which part is where, so without a main, central video that is the only focus, having a video as part of the entrance chyron is a little pointless, so they removed it. There might be a slight saving, maybe, but I doubt it. It’s more about changing the look as the tron evolves, and trying to guide the audience and giving up when they stay steadfast in their convictions.

Natan would like a list.

In the RAW Retirement Ceremony for Ric Flair, many past and present superstars were brought to the ring to honor the Naitch. Can you explain the relationship between those who were brought to the ring with Ric? Why them specifically? Some are of course obvious (HHH, Batista, Horsemen) but why Chris Jericho? Why Cena?

You can pretty much divide the list up into a few categories.

You have the Horsemen, both the Best Set and Deano, Horsemen, Flair, obvious choice.

Likewise you have Evolution, HHH, DAVE, no real need to explain those.

And then there’s the family, if you need that explained then I’m not sure what to tell you.

Then there’s the rivals, Steamboat being the one with whom Ric had a couple of good matches here and there with, Race being a guy Ric traded the world title with a bunch of times, and Valentine being both a rival and Flair’s first major tag team partner. Well, ok, technically Rip Hawk was the first, as he brought Flair in as his ‘nephew’, which I think means Hawk was an Anderson as well? Maybe? But anyway, Valentine was a long time friend of Ric.

The two off air, Taker and Vince, both obviously respected Ric, both wanted to show their respects, but had to wait until it was off air so as to keep the gimmick up/run the damn show.

HBK was obvious, as he was the guy who Ric picked to retire him, coupled with the need to continue the angle that eventually ended up as HBK V Best In The World Jericho, the GOAT Jericho.

But speaking of him, him and Cena, those are the two odd names out, what were they doing there? They were there because Ric wanted them to be. See, there was discussion between Ric and Vince about who would get an entrance and to be in the ring, Jericho was asked about getting to be part of it a few weeks after it happened and he said, and I quote…

That (being asked to take part) meant a lot. There was only a select few that were invited into the ring, so it was a real honour for me. I’m not going to say it surprised me because Ric and I have become real good friends over the years, but I didn’t realise that the powers-that-be felt that way as well. It was a truly great honour to be standing in the ring with Ric Flair, the Four Horsemen and Ricky Steamboat – one of my all-time heroes. It was a night I’ll never forget.

Presumably John Cena was in the same boat, Ric wanted him there because he’s friends with the guy, and WWE was cool with him being involved. Whereas a guy like Big Show was relegated to leading the mass of everyone else for whatever reason.

Sometimes wrestlers the fans like are friends with the wrestlers people don’t like. Just one of those things.

And on that note, I better leave, Chandler’s looking a little mumpy. See you next week!