wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Would An MJF Jump To WWE Be More Successful Than Cody Rhodes’ Jump?

December 23, 2022 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Cody MJF Image Credit: 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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M.N.M.N.B. counts the stars while the ref counts three:

How many different opponents has Charlotte had since debuting on the main roster?

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that M.N.M.N.B. asked the same question about John Cena and Roman Reigns in the past, so now let’s tackle one for the ladies.

In case you’re curious about what parameters we are working with here, Charlotte had her first main roster match on December 8, 2014 in Greenville, South Carolina, so we are talking about her matches since that time. As of this writing, her most recent bout was on May 8, 2022. In that time, excluding battles royale, she has faced 54 unique opponents, as follows:

1) Natalya Neidhart; 2) Sasha Banks; 3) Becky Lynch; 4) Cameron (Ariane Andrew); 5) Summer Rae; 6) Carmella; 7) Bayley; 8) Alexa Bliss; 9) Dana Brooke; 10) Emma; 11) Naomi Knight; 12) Alicia Fox; 13) Cassie (Peyton Royce); 14) Layla El; 15) Billie Kay (Jessie McKay); 16) Nia Jax; 17) Brie Bella; 18) Nikki Bella; 19) Tamina Snuka; 20) Paige; 21) Enzo Amore; 22) Roman Reigns; 23) Liv Morgan; 24) Antonio Cesaro; 25) Sheamus; 26) Lana; 27) Ruby Riott; 28) Sarah Logan; 29) Apollo Crews; 30) Alexander Rusev; 31) Asuka; 32) Mike the Miz; 33) Mandy Rose; 34) Sonya DeVille; 35) Ember Moon; 36) Jimmy Uso; 37) R-Truth; 38) Ronda Rousey, 39) Lacey Evans; 40) Nikki Cross; 41) Trish Stratus; 42) Kairi Sane; 43) Rhea Ripley; 44) Biana Belair; 45) Candice LeRae; 46) Io Shirai; 47) Toni Storm; 48) Chelsea Green; 49) Kayden Carter; 50) Mia Yim; 51) Shaya Baszler; 52) Doudrop; 53) Shotzi Blackheart; 54) Aliyah

What I find interesting here is that, when we answered this question about Reigns, he had 105 unique opponents following his main roster debut, which came only about two years earlier than Ms. Flair’s. That’s slightly less than double the opponents despite not wrestling for anywhere near twice as long.

This underscores how shallow the women’s roster in WWE is compared to the men’s roster, as Charlotte and Roman are, at least arguably, the top two full-time stars of each division, and Reigns has had far fewer duplicate opponents than Flair.

Let’s go Brad:

Just wondering if this situation bothers anyone else or if it’s just me. Picture tag team members desperately trying to make a tag by reaching toward each other while the legal man is being held back by an opponent. Plenty of times it’s obvious the outside man could actually reach in farther and make the tag, but is pretending to be at his limit. I kind of mentally roll my eyes. Should the legal man make sure to stay father away from his corner, or should I just go with the flow?

This is the kind of situation that would probably bother you a lot less if pro wrestling would enforce a consistent set of rules and if announcers would actually take the time to explain what the rules are instead of pretending that wrestling is anything other than a sport with clearly defined parameters.

See, back in the day, there were generally understood criteria regarding what was and wasn’t a legal tag. The wrestler on the apron had to be holding on to the tag rope attached to the turnbuckle, his entire body aside from his tagging arm had to be outside the ropes, and both of his feet had to be planted flat on the apron. On top of that, the tag had to be a hand slapping a hand, not any part of the two wrestlers’ bodies making contact with one another as appears to be the case now.

Now that we’ve seen years of wrestlers reaching in between the ropes, standing on the bottom rope, and doing any number of other, formerly illegal, things to make tags happen, it’s hard to understand why wrestlers don’t do that every time they’re trying to swap places with their partner.

It’s Tyler from Winnipeg. I know, you’re shocked:

If MJF jumped to WWE, would it be more successful than Cody’s jump to WWE?

I don’t think this can be answered, because you can’t measure how successful Cody’s jump to WWE has been given that he got one feud in and was then shelved due to his torn pec. You would need at least several more months to fairly evaluate how Cody’s jump has gone.

Brian has a long buildup to a rather simple question:

When Kurt Angle won the world title in an impromptu twenty-man battle royale due to Batista’s injury on the January 13th, 2006 episode of Smackdown (taped January 10th and the result was actually revealed on WWE.com that evening): He had lost a dark match following the January 9th Raw to Cena by DQ, he had lost on the air on the January 9th Raw (tagging with Shawn Michaels against Masters and Carlito), he had lost in the Elimination Chamber match to Cena (Masters/Carlito/Michaels/Kane), he did not appear on Smackdown the week before (January 6th/taped January 4th), nor on either of the house shows held that week, he lost a dark match following the January 2nd Raw to Cena (triple threat with HHH), and he won on the January 2nd Raw in a First Blood match with Cena.

Is this (four matches) is the longest losing streak prior to winning a big title?

No. I don’t have a comprehensive list to run down, but I can think of one example off the top of my head that smokes this:

Jack Hart.

If you don’t know Jack Hart, it was an alternate name used by the guy more widely called Barry Horowitz in several different territories in the 1980s. In late December 1984, Hart/Horowitz started wrestling in the Florida territory. He lost every match he had from December 26, 1984 through March 3, 1985, when he eked out a win over Larry Hamilton. He then went right back to his losing ways on March 10 and went on another losing streak that continued through July 2, 1985, when he defeated fellow low card wrestler Mike Allen and the won a second night in a row over Hector Guerrero on July 3. Hart then lost eight consecutive matches throughout the month of July before somehow being placed in a tournament for the territory’s top title, the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship. In the one-night tournament, Hart first upset Cocoa Samoa and then did the unexpected when, in the finals, he defeated Mike Graham to become the new NWA Florida Champion.

As champion, Hart won a few more matches than his norm but actually lost a surprisingly large number of non-title matches for a champion. (Or perhaps not surprising, given his track record.) He then dropped the championship to Kendall Windham at September 1985’s Battle of the Belts show.

It’s worth nothing that, even though Hart won a few matches on small spot shows along the way, the territory promoted him as having never won a match prior to picking up the belt. That’s contrasted with Angle, the source of Brian’s question, who was a major star and wasn’t even portrayed as having a losing streak on television before his championship victory.

Mike Inferno is traveling a well-traveled road:

Was it possible to successfully wean Nick Dinsmore off the Eugene character and turn into something better?

In my mind, I always had it that at Summerslam 2004. You have Eugene defeat HHH and then Benoit retain against Orton (sure it muddles up the Evolution break up storyline but work with me) and then the next night on Raw you have a mini tournament to determine Benoit’s next challenger and by “fluke” Eugene outsmarts his opponents via subtle heel shit and ends up winning and challenges Benoit at Unforgiven for the title. The match itself is hard hitting and after a while when it looks like Benoit might actually win, that’s when Eugene really cranks up the sad face and “antics” to emotionally manipulate Benoit (since they were friends in storyline) and that’s when Eugene would maybe catch him in a schoolboy pin while grabbing tights or the rope and Benoit loses the title that way. While celebrating his win, Eugene no longer acts like a mentally disabled wrestling savant and it turns out it was all an act to get close enough to the top guys to fast track his way to the title. Pretty much the match ending with Eugene going from Verbal Kint to Keyser Soze. Next night on Raw, Eugene comes out dressed in a suit (maybe no longer calling himself Eugene). While I’m 100% sure it will be received as being in bad taste, at least for the moment you have a fresh new heel character that is champ and while certainly be booed for stooping so low to be champ and most importantly Nick Dinsmore isn’t pigeonholed in a career killing gimmick.

Am I over thinking it or was that gimmick doomed from the start?

This is basically what every fantasy booker on the internet wanted to happen in 2004 to the point that it became cliché to bring it up and there started to be a backlash against the idea. Could it have happened? Sure, it could have happened. I don’t know that I would be too concerned about any sort of blowback, because the storyline of “wrestler pretends to be intellectually disabled to win a title” is really no more offensive than the gimmick of “intellectually disabled wrestler” in the first place. (Even if it worked for Eric Cartman.)

Would it ever have happened? That’s where we have a problem. If WWE wanted to push Nick Dinsmore as a serious wrestler, then WWE would have pushed Nick Dinsmore as a serious wrestler. They didn’t. The will just wasn’t there. The Eugene gimmick was awful, but if you think that it didn’t allow a guy who looked and wrestled like Dinsmore to get far more exposure and fame in the company than he ever would have otherwise, you’re kidding yourself.

If I’m Nick Dinsmore and my main goal is to make money in professional wrestling, I’m saying “yes” to Eugene every single time, and I’m running like hell anytime anybody suggests that I do something else on the main roster.

Edward is looking for that Maivia bump:

How many wrestlers has the Rock “made” into main event guys? Obviously, Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar come to mind. I would guess he gets a half point for Y2J as well.

Here are a few other names that are worth taking into consideration:

Triple H: Oftentimes when we think about one wrestler “making” another, we think about it in terms of a more experienced star giving a rub into an up and comer. However, sometimes two newer wrestlers who are on the rise have a feud in which both men create names for themselves, an iron-sharpens-iron sort of situation. This is what we saw with Rock and HHH when they were working their way up the card and helming the Nation and DX, respectively.

Goldberg: Granted, Bill Goldberg was already a huge star in the professional wrestling world by the time he made it to WWE and worked with the Rock. You have to remember, though, that there was not a total overlap between WWF/WWE and WCW fans, and some of those individuals who solely watched the WWF during the Monday Night War were not going to accept Goldberg as a top star. Rock putting the former WCW Champion over clean in the middle of the ring in their first and only singles match signaled to those WWF fans that this guy was a force to be reckoned with.

John Cena: Similar to Goldberg, Cena was a made man in WWE before he ever stepped foot into a ring with Rocky, but the program between the two men still made the Dr. of Thuganomics in a sense. It turned him from a main event professional wrestler who was a big name among fans of the “sport” into a figure that transcended professional wrestling, had recognition among the mainstream, and was able to cross over into numerous Hollywood projects. Rock took Cena to a completely different level, which is why, if I were Roman Reigns, I would chew my own left arm off my body if it meant getting the Rock/Reigns match that WWE reportedly wants so badly for Wrestlemania XXXIX.

Michael knows that them’s the breaks:

When both the Hart Foundation and Rockers broke up, was it WWF’s decision for both or was it Hart and Michaels respectively that made the call or was it a mix?

According to shoot interviews with Marty Jannetty, including the MWF’s “Party with Marty” back in 2020, the breakup of the Rockers resulted from a situation in which Michaels and Jannetty agreed that they were going to put in their notice with Vince McMahon and leave the promotion together, only for the future Heartbreak Kid to later go around his partner’s back and tell management that it was only Jannetty who wanted to exit the promotion.

In Bret Hart’s shoots, he has essentially said that the Hart Foundation came to an end because the powers that be contacted them one day and said that they wanted to push the Hitman as a singles wrestler. It makes sense that the Hart Foundation was taken apart solely by WWF if you think about it, because they were put together solely by the WWF in the first place.

Paul clearly has his favorites:

When Becky Lynch was first drafted to Smackdown, the WWE made her the first champ in the new SD Live Women’s Division. However, her reign was brief. Was there any reason why Becky had to put Alexa Bliss over so much in angles, dropping the belt in a tables match, in subsequent rematches, at Money in the Bank, etc? There was even a match on Raw where Alexa didn’t do the job because they did a fake injury bit and Nikki subbed in and did the job. I ask because it seems Alexa never returned the favor. Is there heat between the two?

There’s no heat. The answer to this question really ties back in to the Charlotte Flair question that I answered back at the beginning of this column. The women’s roster in WWE has never been particularly deep, and, when you have such a limited roster, there are going to be points where a particular wrestler is being pushed hard and their rival is going to have to wind up on the losing end of things more often than not. That’s all that happened here.

Rex has got his 2×4 and his American flag:

Why hasn’t Hacksaw Jim Duggan been in any WWE games other than NES, Sega, and SNES? does he have heat with WWE?

First off, it’s not entirely true to say that ole’ Hacksaw has only been on games on the NES, Sega Genesis, and Super Nintendo. He was actually in the first-ever licensed WWF video game, which was called Micro League Wrestling, released all the way back in 1987. The MicroLeague game was available on home computer platforms of the time, including Amiga, Atari ST, and the Commodore 64. It was a turn-based strategy game in which players could choose to reenact one of three specific matches, with the graphics being still photos from said bouts. One of the playable matches is Duggan versus “King” Harley Race.

Duggan’s next WWF video game appearance was actually in arcades, as he was part of the roster for WWF Superstars in 1989. This was the company’s first-ever arcade game, focusing on tag team matches with Duggan being one of the individuals you could build your team from.

In 1990, Hacksaw made his home gaming console debut as one of eight wrestlers (in addition to a ninth self-insert character) on the NES’s Wrestemania Challenge, the sequel to the prior year’s WWF Wrestlemania, which had marked the company’s first outing on Nintendo.

It would be three years before we would see Duggan in a WWF game again, when he popped up in that year’s Royal Rumble game. The Rumble was released both on the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo and, for reasons I still don’t totally understand, the games were more or less identical except for the fact that they had different rosters. It’s not as though the only difference was the size of the roster with one system having more characters due to a memory issue. They had comparable numbers of characters, just different characters. In any event, Duggan was only on the Genesis version.

Also, though some may call it a stretch to classify this as a video game, the completist in me wants to note that Duggan was front and center in 1994’s Royal Rumble pinball game as one of nine wrestlers that had to be “collected” by the player in order to enable high-scoring jackpots.

From there, it is true that we had a Duggan drought in WWF video games, as he didn’t show up again until 2009, when he appeared on Legends of Wrestlemania, which was released on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

Most recently, Duggan showed up in 2014’s WWE Supercard, where he had cards released in Seasons 1 through 5.

Finally, though the question only asked about WWF games, I feel the need to note that he was also present in two of the three video games in the Legends of Wrestling series, those being Legends of Wrestling 2 and the numeral-less Showdown: Legends of Wrestling.

I will admit that Duggan has not been in nearly as many video games as one would expect from somebody who has had such an enduring in-ring career. It is really odd that he didn’t appear in a single WCW game despite being there for many years at the company’s peak. However, he has been in more WWF games than Rex suggested. His omissions are likely not the result of any heat and probably just a series of odd coincidences.

Hey, Dino Zee, if you’re reading this, hook a Duggan up. He deserves those royalty cheques.

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.