wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Will the FOX Deal Change Smackdown’s Booking?

December 29, 2018 | Posted by Ryan Byers
AJ Styles Smackdown Fox

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?

Night Wolf the Wise would like to ask a question, if he could be serious for a minute:

With Fox’s deal with WWE for Smackdown, they want the WWE to drop the comedy act and for Smackdown to have a more sports feel. Vince for whatever reason wants to keep the comedy on Smackdown because he likes it. My question to you is why? In the 90’s Vince wanted to toughen up WWE’s image because he wanted people to take the WWE seriously. He moved away from guys like Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, etc., and we got Stone Cold, The Rock, DX, etc. So, what changed from the 90’s to now? Does Vince no longer care if people take the WWE seriously?

It think that you’re misremembering quite a bit of what went on during the Attitude Era. There was PLENTY of comedy and dumb angles that that would cause people to not take the WWF seriously during that time. Don’t forget that we’re talking about the period of professional wrestling’s history that gave us Kaientai choppy-choppying Val Venis’s pee-pee, Beaver Cleavage staring down his mother’s blouse, and, perhaps most infamously, Mae Young giving birth to a hand, among other things. Even the main eventers weren’t immune from this sort of garbage, as Steve Austin had to beat up Goldust while the latter was wearing a diaper, the Rock had to slam Davey Boy Smith into a pile of literal dog feces, and D-Generation X wore blackface in the ring.

Yes, those angles were a bit different because they dealt with more (allegedly) “adult” themes, but they were still every bit as goofy as what you saw during the Hulkamania or New Generation eras, if not moreso.

Vince McMahon hasn’t changed in that regard at all over the decades, and I doubt that he’ll be changing anytime soon, because his company is more profitable than it has been at any point in its history and is only poised to become more profitable in the coming years due to increase television rights fees.

In other words, I hope that you’re ready for more of the same from WWE.

Whoomp, here Craig S. is:

Do The Uso’s hold the record of being the longest tag team to stay in one company without breaking up or jumping companies and coming back?

Nope.

I’m pretty sure it’s these guys:

Don’t get me wrong, the Usos have had a pretty impressive, uninterrupted run. They made their debut on the WWE main roster on May 24, 2010, and they’ve been together in the company ever since, which totals up to about eight-and-a-half years now. You can add another seven months to that if you want to go back to their developmental debut, as they had their first appearance in Florida Championship Wrestling on November 5, 2009.

However, if you look at what Jay and Mark Briscoe have done in Ring of Honor, it leaves Jimmy and Jey in the dust. As noted in the video above, the Delaware natives were in ROH on DAY ONE, which was February 23, 2002. However, it would be a bit dishonest to say that the Briscoes have had a sixteen year run with the promotion, because, even though they have been pretty strongly associated with it for that entire time, they did technically leave the company for a spell from 2004 through 2006, in large part due to injuries that Mark sustained in a motorcycle accident.

The Briscoes made a comeback to the promotion on February 25, 2006, though, and they have been with the company ever since, meaning that they are closing in on thirteen years together in the same company without ever having broken up. Granted, there are points in those thirteen years where they have focused more on singles competition than the tag ranks (Jay is a two-time ROH Champion, after all), but they have never broken up in the sense that one has never turned on the other, although they have had occasional singles matches.

Some might argue that that they Briscoes *have* appeared for other promotions between 2006 and present day, but they were always primarily with ROH, and those outside shots were more akin to guest appearances than they were to the brothers leaving the promotion.

I did some digging, and I wasn’t able to find anybody with a better run of this nature than Jay and Mark. The only other team that came close was the Dudley Boys for their run in TNA, which I was able to get to eight years by doing a bit of cheating. They did break up in the middle of that stint when D-Von joined the Aces and Eights Stable, but it was ultimately revealed that the breakup was a swerve and the Dudleys were coordinating with each other behind the scenes all along, even if it looked like they were feuding.

So, sorry Usos, convince the Briscoes to break up and then come back here in about five years and we’ll decide whether you’ve got a record at that point.

Keith wants to run with the zebras:

Aside from Charles Robinson, what are Randy Anderson and Nick Patrick up to?

Unfortunately, Randy Anderson isn’t up to much, because he passed away in 2002. You might recall that there was an angle involving Anderson in which Eric Bischoff, a heel at the time, mocked him due to some health issues he was having and eventually fired him. This was playing on a real life situation, as Anderson had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and was seeking treatment for it. Randy did rally and managed to come back as a ref for a bit down the road, being reinstated in storyline by Ric Flair when the Nature Boy became the president of WCW. However, the cancer did eventually return, and it proved to be fatal.

Nick Patrick, the son of former professional wrestling star “Assassin” Jody Hamilton, jumped to the WWF after WCW was purchased by the company, and he was on the WWF/WWE payroll from 2001 through 2008, when he needed to slow down due to a chronic back injury. Patrick did some independent refereeing for a couple of years after that but now largely appears to be inactive. According to an interview Patrick did on David Penzer’s podcast last year, he is helping to train a couple of young up-and-coming wrestlers, but it seems that he has mainly returned to civilian life.

Uzoma wants to ask his second question in a row about Daniel Bryan:

While Mustafa Ali’s potential WWE Title shot will most likely be on SmackDown due to him just starting as a SmackDown superstar, who will challenge Daniel Bryan for said title at the Royal Rumble?

Nothing has been announced at this point in time, but I would be willing to bet that the Rumble challenger will be none other than AJ Styles. Though Bryan did pin Styles cleanly at the TLC pay per view and a clean pin normally brings an end to a program between two wrestlers, Bryan did win with a rollup, which these days is seen as being less “clean” than decisively pinning your opponent with a finishing maneuver. Plus, Styles was recently featured in an angle in which he knocked out Vince McMahon, and, prior to that punch being landed, it sounded as though Vinnie Mac was attempting to talk up a continued rivalry between AJ and the WWE Champion. Besides, the company is not going to have somebody lay out the Chairman of the Board without there being some significant storyline in the works for him, and, in the grand scheme of Smackdown, there is nothing bigger these days than a feud for the brand’s top championship.

So, there it is. I have no inside information, but, based on booking patterns, it seems like AJ Style is Daniel Bryan’s most likely opponent for the Royal Rumble.

John D. is making up for lost time:

Who, in your opinion, was the best wrestler to ever wear face paint? I was hoping for like the 5 best and 5 worst. Please use your own discretion on the criteria. I think the example I used is that even though, in NJPW, Chris Jericho puts on a bit of paint, I personally do not consider him a painted wrestler. Also, even though Jeff Hardy did not always wear face paint, I would consider him one. Use your best judgement.

I have to say, this is something that I really had not given much thought until I received this question, though it turned out to be an interesting exercise. Below are my five best and then five worst face painted wrestlers, with each of them being evaluated on mixed criteria of: 1) how great they were as wrestlers and 2) how much I enjoyed their face paint designs.

5. Adrian Street: Honestly, Adrian Street is one of my favorite wrestling gimmicks of all time and definitely one of my favorite gimmicks that never got an opportunity to shine on a national stage like TBS or the WWF’s syndication network. He was a flamboyant, effeminate man who played on the crowd’s homophobia, but he was always portrayed as a BAD ASS flamboyant, effeminate man, so you could use all of the slurs against him that you wanted but he was stilly fully capable of kicking your teeth down your throat. Street’s use of face paint was essentially shorthand for him wearing makeup, just shorthand that an entire arena could see. He was also clearly the inspiration for Goldust, who has a claim to being on this list in his own right.

4. Damian 666: Lucha libre’s Damian 666 has been wrestling for over thirty years, the majority of it with an iconic full face of paint that makes him look like something straight out of a horror movie, though I have to say that it lost something when he was in WCW during the Monday Nitro era and was prevented from emblazoning a giant “666” across his forehead. (They also stuck him under a mask as “Galaxy” for a while, but that’s another story.) His look is so iconic that it’s been passed on to future generations, with variations being adopted by his son Bestia 666 and also Demius 3:16, the wrestler who used to portray the “mini” version of Damian but has kept a variation of the face paint even after he lost his association with the larger luchadore.

3. Kyoko Inoue: This was a difficult spot to fill because I knew I wanted to have at least one joshi wrestler on the list, but there were A LOT of them over the years who used face paint to great effect, including Aja Kong, Bull Nakano, and, to a lesser extent, even Shark Tsuchiya. Ultimately, though, I decided to go with Kyoko Inoue because, though she, Kong, and Nakano were all excellent professional wrestlers, I think that I have to give Inoue the edge when it comes to having an iconic face paint design. She looked almost like the Japanese female equivalent of the Ultimate Warrior or surfer-era Sting, though she was a thousand times the in-ring performer that either one of them was.

2. The Road Warriors: Oh, what a rush. The Road Warriors weren’t the first wrestlers to paint their faces, but it’s hard to say that they weren’t the wrestlers who popularized the practice in the 1980s and the 1990s. Without Hawk and Animal donning their iconic looks (which had a couple of different incarnations over the years), you wouldn’t have the Powers of Pain, you wouldn’t have Demolition, and you wouldn’t even have Sting and the Ultimate Warrior, because their origins were in the Road Warrior knock-off tag team known as the Blade Runners. For inspiring an entire sub-genre of tag teams and even some singles wrestlers, the Roadies have definitely earned their spot on this list.

1. The Great Muta: I have to admit, it took me a bit to decide whether I would give the Road Warriors or the Great Muta the number one slot on this list. Ultimately, the call to give Muta the nod came down to two factors. First, Muta was, straight up, a better professional wrestler. Hawk and Animal were good for the role that they were brought in to play, but Muta was a bona fide legend of an in-ring performer. Second, if we’re looking at face paint, I feel like Muta had more success with more of a variety of looks over the years than the Legion of Doom did. Yes, the Warriors changed things up from time-to-time, but Muta’s appearance was much more varied, and his designs were usually much more intricate and were often tailored to particular matches or situations. In my mind, that makes him the greatest face paint-wearing wrestler of all time.

And, as the old cliché goes, what goes up must come down . . . so here are the worst face painted wrestlers, in this humble columnist’s opinion:

5. Pogo the Clown: This one is a bit obscure, but I feel that it is still worthy of mentioning. Pogo was the alter ego of wrestler Joe Applebaumer, who used the face painted persona primarily in XPW in the early 2000s. Applebaumer was a bad wrestler, though not a legendarily bad wrestler. What really lands him here is the tasteless nature of the gimmick. For those who do not know the story, Pogo the Clown was originally a name used by serial killer and pedophile John Wayne Gacy. I get that XPW was trying to be “extreme” and they were run by a very unscrupulous individual, but, still, this one should not have seen the light of day.

4. The Ascension: Their gimmick – literally and unequivocally – is that they are a third-rate rip-off of the Road Warriors. I don’t think I owe you any more explanation than that.

3. The Boogeyman: As an in-ring performer, the Boogeyman is one of the single most limited wrestlers that I have ever seen in my life . . . and I’m including Diva Search contestants when I make that statement. His character was unique and had its entertaining moments, but his run was always going to be a short one because, even though somebody in this role doesn’t have to be Kenta Kobashi in between the ropes, he was totally incapable of having a passable match. As far as his face paint is concerned, Boogey’s design was actually pretty cool, but the fact that the wrestler wasn’t going anywhere made that badass design a case of wasted potential. Give this character to an even slightly more athletic wrestler, and he wouldn’t be anywhere near this list.

2. The KISS Demon: I have nothing against Dale Torborg, who was tapped by WCW to play the Demon after the original man behind the paint, Brian “Crush” Adams was reassigned to other duties. Instead, the KISS Demon makes the list because it was an embarrassingly tone deaf attempt to cash in on the fame of a band that, based on all ratings information we have from the experiment, had virtually no crossover appeal with the wrestling promotion’s fan base. There was no reason for the character to continue appearing after his original appearance went over like a lead balloon, but we had to keep seeing him, including in one “special main event” match at Superbrawl, simply because of contractual obligations to Gene Simmons and his crew. The least that they could have done was give him an original, KISS-inspired face paint design, but instead they just took the easy way out and made him up exactly like Simmons.

1. The Renegade: I feel guilty listing this, because Rick Wilson, who was hired by WCW to play the Renegade, killed himself via gunshot in 1999, and there were claims that one of the issues that pushed him over the edge was how his professional wrestling career turned out. However, I don’t think that you can or should blame Wilson himself for the fact that the Renegade was an all-time terrible wrestling character. Almost everybody reading this knows the story, but the short version is that WCW ran a series of promos that made everybody think that the Ultimate Warrior was coming in, only for the big reveal to be Wilson, who was doing his best Warrior impression . . . and his best wasn’t that great. The whole thing was embarrassing, as proven by the fact that it was over in short order.

Speaking of things being over, 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, FOX, WWE, WWE Smackdown, Ryan Byers


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