wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Will Tony Khan Be The New Dixie Carter?

July 26, 2020 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Tony Khan AEW

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.

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Dylan is overstaying his welcome:

Which WWE Hall of Famer has had the most WWE matches after entering the Hall of Fame?

First off, everybody is going to get some BONUS DATA because I initially misread the question as which WWE Hall of Famer wrestled the most matches after being inducted, missing the qualifier of “WWE matches.”

As far as who has had the most matches overall is concerned, the answer did not come as a surprise to me at all, because it’s none other than Jerry “The King” Lawler. According to our friends at Cagematch, the King has had 176 matches since his WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2007. Of those matches, many of them have been with WWE (we’ll get to how many in a bit) and quite a few have been with New England-based promotion NEW, which regularly draws some of the largest independent crowds in the country by bringing in bigger name stars. Lawler’s most recent recorded match took place on January 18 of this year, when he defeated Matt Riviera in North Little Rock, Arkansas to win the major singles title of Championship Wrestling of Arkansas.

Though Lawler coming in first place was no surprise to me, the first runner up was a bit of a shock, as Tito Santana has wrestled 175 times since his Hall of Fame induction in 2004, with Lawler edging him out by just one match. The reason this one surprised me is that you don’t hear about Santana working a lot of indy dates, which makes sense when you look at his record, as most of the groups he’s wrestled for are smaller northeastern groups. Probably the most high profile matches he’s had have been for the Insane Clown Posse at a Gathering of the Juggalos and a legends battle royale that took place on a January 2011 Pro Wrestling Guerrilla show.

Other high-ranking wrestlers for most overall matches post-HOF induction are Jimmy Snuka (155), Jimmy Valiant (143), Greg Valentine (119), and Tony Atlas (109).

Now let’s got on the question that Dylan ACTUALLY asked: Who has had the most WWE matches after being inducted into that company’s Hall of Fame?

. . . it’s actually just Jerry Lawler again, and this time it’s not even-close. Of his 176 post-HOF matches, 44 of them were in WWE. Interestingly, Tito Santana, the guy who has had just one less match than Lawler since going in to the Hall, has not wrestled a single time with WWE since his induction. The next closest wrestlers to Lawler’s record are Jimmy Snuka and Jim Duggan, who each had five matches in WWE rings after earning their HOF rings.

Mohamed has a question that will hopefully lead to my favorite comment section running gag making an appearance:

Will Tony Khan become the next Dixie Carter?

It is technically possible, I suppose, but I have a hard time seeing this occurring.

Granted, there are some similarities between the two, as both have used money fronted by their wealthy fathers in order to run wrestling promotions despite not having any prior involvement in the business.

However, there are also key differences that I suspect will result in the two being remembered differently by wrestling fans when all is said and done. The first is that Khan was actually a wrestling fan before he became an executive in the industry, whereas by most accounts Carter had zero background in or familiarity with the pseudo-sport. The second is that Khan is surrounding himself with advisors who have actually been somewhat successful in wrestling in the recent past, namely AEW’s executive vice president crew of Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks. Meanwhile, the main person in Carter’s ear while she was running TNA was Vince Russo, who was never able to book a viable wrestling promotion without Vince McMahon filtering out his worst ideas.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether those differences mean anything as to Khan’s performance over the long haul, but he has scored major successes by getting AEW on to television in the first place and having it renewed for additional seasons after only a couple of episodes aired, though there is still plenty of time for those early positive trends to be reversed.

The other thing to keep in mind as a distinguishing factor is that, per preliminary reports, AEW is already a profitable enterprise, even though the startup money was fronted by the wealthy Khan family. Meanwhile, TNA during the Carter years bled money and was kept afloat by Panda Energy, not able to stand on its own two feet. Again, AEW is early in its run and it could potentially wind up in just as bad of shape as TNA was, but, for the time being, Khan’s limited track record is better than Dixie’s.

Big Daddy is watching his family fade out of the photograph:

Did The New Breed (Sean Royal/Chris Champion) create a paradox? We never got to see a 2002 debut in the mainstream timeline and Dusty Rhodes never became president. Did their time traveling cause a disruption of these future events or were they from an alternate timeline altogether?

For readers who may not be familiar with the backstory here, the New Breed were wrestlers Sean Royal and Chris Champion, who formed a tag team in 2002 but ultimately decided that they were going to travel back in time to 1986 and wrestle in Jim Crockett Promotions to destroy the wrestling robot Lazer Tron, who himself had traveled back to ’86 from a later period in history. They told JCP fans of the 1980s several things about the future that awaited them in 15 years, which, yes, included Dusty Rhodes as president of the United States as well as advanced artificial intelligence.

However, the New Breed did not last long in Crockett, in large part because Champion, who was used to operating flying cars, was involved in an accident in a terrestrial vehicle, severely injuring his arm in the process. Though he attempted to make an in-ring return, things were never quite the same, and the duo vanished not long after. There are claims that Champion later wrestled under the name Yoshi Kwan, but that is untrue. Kwan did look similar to Champion, though, as he was the result of a bizarre cloning accident that occurred during an early version of the time travel experiment that, once perfected, rocketed the New Breed back to 1986.

The problem was that, when the New Breed were sidelined due to Champion’s injury and did not accomplish what they were supposed to do when they traveled back in time, which was becoming insanely popular and kickstarting the Monday Night War eight years early before ultimately facing each other in a match that unified the WWF and NWA World Titles, their entire timeline unraveled and was sent careening on a far darker path. In the new timeline, Norman the Lunatic became president instead of Dusty Rhodes and started implementing all sorts of inane, regressive policies, including setting up child detention camps on the Mexican border, banning Muslims from the United States, and removing transgender people from their posts in the military. Norman’s stranglehold on the presidency ultimately undid United States democracy and launched World War III, which culminated in Los Angeles being nuked by Saudi Arabia, who ironically purchased its nuclear warheads from the U.S. government during the Norman the Lunatic administration.

Fortunately, that timeline did not come to pass either, because, after L.A. was bombed out, the last few remaining Americans gathered together and sent another professional wrestling tag team back in time to set right what once went wrong. Those men were Chad Fortune and Erik Watts, who traveled back in time from 2009 to the WWF in 1995 under the name Tekno Team 2000. Though they never actively stated that they were time travelers (so as to prevent any further ill effects on the timeline), they were ultimately able to correct many of the problems that the New Breed’s botched trip through the chrono-stream caused, ensuring that World War III did not take place and that no U.S. president would ever run the country the way that Norman the Lunatic did.

Bryan is freaky fast:

Does the WWE get paid by Jimmy Johns sandwich company due to Brock having the restaurant logo on his shorts? Or is this something directly between him and JJ?

My understanding has always been that the sponsors on Brock’s ring gear are a result of deals that Lesnar himself worked out and that he keeps all of the revenue from them. When he negotiated his deal with WWE in 2012, due to his status elsewhere in combat sports, he was able to convince WWE to allow him several concessions that most of their wrestlers do not receive, which included the ability to wear sponsored gear and retain the revenue, similar to what fighters were able to do in UFC during most of Brock’s time there.

Donny M from Tamaqua has Miss Elizabeth’s face on his tights:

Have you ever heard of any concrete reason on god’s green earth why Ravishing Rick Rude and Macho Man Randy Savage never had a WWF program? That would have been epic. You had Miss Elizabeth and the World Title. How did the office miss all that?

The answer is that the timing just didn’t work out. If you’re wanting Savage and Rude to feud over the WWF Title as the question implies, Savage first won the title in 1988 and held it as a face for most of that year. Also during that time, Rick Rude was embroiled in his legendary feud with Jake Roberts, which I can’t imagine any wrestling fan wanting to do away with. By the time Rude and Roberts got done with one another, it was more or less time to turn Savage heel to head in to Wrestlemania V with Hulk Hogan, and you weren’t going to see Rude as a babyface against Savage (or anybody else for that matter).

By the time of Savage’s second run as the WWF Champ, Rude had departed the company and was kicking around WCW with the Dangerous Alliance. So, yeah, it was just a matter of timing.

For what it’s worth, the two men actually did feud with one another, though it was in the Memphis territory in 1984. Specifically, Rude and his tag team partner King Kong Bundy did a series of matches against Savage and his partner Jerry Lawler. They had a singles match in that feud on September 3, 1984, with Rude beating Savage in the Mid-South Coliseum. They went on to have three singles matches in the WWF, though they were all on house shows. The first was a twenty minute time limit draw on November 10, 1987 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the second was Savage retaining the WWF Title over Rude on December 12, 1988 in Phoenix, Arizona, and the third was the same championship bout five days later in Louisville, Kentucky.

Barry can’t stand the pain anymore:

Back when I started watching wrestling in the 80s, to submit, you had to actually say to the ref that you submit, then as the 90s went on and MMA became popular, you could “tap out.”

How did they actually introduce tapping out to the fans? What was the first match in which someone tapped out?

It didn’t take a lot to introduce tapping out to the fans. You have a guy do it in the ring, you have the announcer mention that is a means of submitting, and you move on with your life. It’s not like fans back then were so dumb that we needed a twenty minute long promo to explain it or a detailed flow chart.

As far as how tapping out showed up in wresting, you’re correct that it was 100% MMA’s influence that brought it around. The first time that I saw pro wrestlers tapping out in the United States was when Taz decided that he was no longer going to be a barefooted savage and was instead going to be a fake shooter, with tapping out coming when he had victims locked in the ka-ta-hajime, also known as the Tazmission. Early on, sometimes the tapping was called out by Joey Styles on commentary, but sometimes it wasn’t and just like an opponent oddly flailing his arm a bit.

Of course, during this period of time, ECW was viewed by a relatively small percentage of the wrestling fanbase, so some might want to know when we first started seeing people tap out in the WWF or WCW, the two national promotions at the time. Tapping out really started to take off in the WWF when Ken Shamrock arrived in the promotion in 1997 and brought a bit of the UFC with him, while the match that I’ve often seen cited as the earliest instance of somebody tapping in a WCW ring is in the opening match of the 1997 Great American Bash, where Ultimo Dragon submitted Psicosis with the Dragon Sleeper, with Mike Tenay on commentary noting that a tap is the universal sign for submission.

Tyler from Winnipeg wraps us up with a trip to the Cole Mine:

Do you think Micheal Cole will be remembered fondly by fans and how much longer do you think he’ll be a voice in the WWE?

I think that there is a certain segment of the fan base who will remember Michael Cole fondly, namely those who got into wrestling during this current era and have always known them to be the voice of WWE – because people are almost always nostalgic for the wrestling that the grew up with, even when those in other generations thought it was lousy. However, if you look at the television ratings of WWE programming these days, the demographic where they draw the best viewers is older Americans, i.e. over the age of 50, not those younger folks. So, though I suspect that there will be a portion of the WWE Universe that winds up being strongly pro-Cole, they will be the minority.

Of course, there’s always a chance that he could wind up being remembered better by fans than he currently is if the person who winds up replacing him is somehow even worse at the job, but let’s hope for all of our sake that is not the case.

As to Cole’s continued longevity, that’s difficult to say because, at some point in the next ten years or so, we’re going to see a major shift in WWE as Vince McMahon is finally forced to give up control of the company, one way or the other. Though we can probably all make a good educated guess, none of us know for sure how the power structure in WWE will stack up once Vinny Mac goes out. However, I’ve never heard word of any of the prospective heirs to the throne having any ill will towards Cole, which means my best guess is that he will have a WWE on-camera role for as long as he wants it.

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

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Ask 411 Wrestling, Ryan Byers