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Home » WWE News » Ex-WWE Writer On McMahon’s View On Masked Wrestlers,Benoit’s WWE Title Reign

Former WWE creative writer Dan Madigan joined the We Want Lucha podcast from the hosts of Inside The Ropes to discuss his tenure with the sports-entertainment organization in 2004. Highlights from the interview are as follows:

Chris Benoit’s title reign and if he saw his run as a mid-card champion: “I’ve never heard that term but it really sums up what happened, mid card champion. I don’t think he ever really believed how good a wrestler he was, there was an insecurity there. But in terms of wrestling ability, he was hard to match. But then when it comes to cutting a promo and working on the mic, he’s not as honed as some of the other guys. I think that may have weighed on his head a little. I think he was just a wrestler at heart. I used to work with him on cutting promos. Some guys, cutting promos, it’s just a gift, it comes naturally to them. Sometimes it’s even better to have even better mic skills than wrestling skills. He had trouble with it, but he worked at it. I would say to him “Chris maybe it’s better to say too little than too much. Think about what you’re gonna say and lets make it shorter” He didn’t have the charisma that Shawn Michael did, but who does. Chris got the championship as a reward for years of hard work, but that term, you’re right, mid card champion, he almost got lost in the shuffle. He was almost just like someone holding the belt till the next guy.”

His biggest disappointment during his time in WWE: “I really wanted to create a high octane Cruiserweight division and build it around Ultimo Dragon, and bring in guys he’d worked with in Mexico and Japan like Super Crazy, Juventud, Psychosis. I realised writing my book, that there’s a huge latino community in the US and I wanted to bring a strong lucha libre style to the WWE to bridge the cultural gap. But it didn’t happen. That’s one of the first big fights I had with Vince. The concept of the masked wrestler is lost on the WWE, they don’t really understand it, they don’t appreciate it, unlike Mexico where that’s the focal point. I think in America, it’s a whole different ballgame, the psychology is different. I lost that fight a couple of times in the room. At one point, we lost Ultimo he went back to Japan, and we just had Rey, Vince goes “We have one masked wrestler in the ring, any more of them on the roster and it’ll confuse the fans” I said to him”Vince there’s 10,000 wrestlers in Mexico in masks, no-one’s confused” I looked around the room and I wasn’t gonna win that fight. That was the biggest disappointment, that they wouldn’t let lucha libre be a featured style on the show.”

Alberto Del Rio’s decision to remove his mask upon debuting in WWE: “He took the mask off which was a smart move, a very smart move. If you’re gonna come up from Mexico with a famous gimmick, take the mask off, find a different gimmick don’t lose the reputation, that’s the awful thing. It’s like Ultimo Dragon, he never got the push he deserved because they never knew what to do with him. At one point a few years ago, WWE wanted him to come back but wanted him to take his mask off. It seems like people don’t get how important the mask is in Mexico, it’s like the essence of the wrestler. Mistico, I think Sin Cara now, he made a big splash, now they don’t know what to do with him. Think of merchandising with a masked wrestler, it could be huge. But they don’t understand the lucha libre mentality.”

Ultimo Dragon is the subject of a new graphic novel project involving Madigan, which he discusses in the interview. To listen to it, click here.

  • ddfindl

    Way to cherry pick the one wrestler who made it to the top who just so happens to be cruiser weight.

    The point I was trying to make was that Madigan wanted to push a division so there was some variety in wrestling and there would exist a different style than people are used to. He never contradicted himself by saying Benoit needed to work on his mic skills in order to separate himself from the mid-card, because cruiser weight division is a whole different animal and really doesn’t rely heavily on what they say on television as opposed to how they perform in the ring. The cruiser weight division WAS a mid-card division, whether you like it or not – not because they weren’t talented, not because they didn’t deserve better; it’s just the way it was. Not everyone who is “pushed” becomes a main eventer/world champion.

    And yes, I remember the light heavyweight division. Way to be a condescending know-it-all. You romanticize about wrestling WAY too much.

  • ddfindl

    Way to cherry pick the one wrestler who made it to the top who just so happens to be cruiser weight.

    The point I was trying to make was that Madigan wanted to push a division so there was some variety in wrestling and there would exist a different style than people are used to. He never contradicted himself by saying Benoit needed to work on his mic skills in order to separate himself from the mid-card, because cruiser weight division is a whole different animal and really doesn’t rely heavily on what they say on television as opposed to how they perform in the ring. The cruiser weight division WAS a mid-card division, whether you like it or not – not because they weren’t talented, not because they didn’t deserve better; it’s just the way it was. Not everyone who is “pushed” becomes a main eventer/world champion.

    And yes, I remember the light heavyweight division. Way to be a condescending know-it-all. You romanticize about wrestling WAY too much.

  • http://retrorevelations.blogspot.com/ Jesse Moak

    Actually, Chet, Dragon is fluent in both English and Spanish. Just so you know. The fact of the matter is, WCW nor WWE ever put a mic in his hand, so you wouldn’t know it. And mic skills don’t mean shit when we’re talking about a healthy, awesome CW division. That is based around in-ring work, not mic skills. The “mic skills” BS was when talking about “top guys”, main event, world champion guys.

    Vince is a moron, and wasted one of the single best/biggest cruiserweight wrestlers in history. Rey vs. Ultimo at WM20 for the CW belt could have been huge. Instead, they had that shitty, rushed gauntlet thing, where each guy had like 30 seconds to be in the ring. What a waste.

  • CC

    Yeah, Rey Mysterio, what a mid carder.
    Cruiserweight is only mid division if you have no idea what you are doing.
    Look at TNA. When their X Division was at the top of its game, it meant more than the heavyweight title to the fans, and even meant more to guys like AJ Styles.
    Is it any surprise that now the focus has moved away from the X Division that there has been so much negativity towards the company?
    The cruiserweight, and light heavyweight divison (remember that division? ya know, the one that the likes of Jericho and Eddie could compete in) back in the day could easily have been main event.

  • CC

    Yeah, Rey Mysterio, what a mid carder.
    Cruiserweight is only mid division if you have no idea what you are doing.
    Look at TNA. When their X Division was at the top of its game, it meant more than the heavyweight title to the fans, and even meant more to guys like AJ Styles.
    Is it any surprise that now the focus has moved away from the X Division that there has been so much negativity towards the company?
    The cruiserweight, and light heavyweight divison (remember that division? ya know, the one that the likes of Jericho and Eddie could compete in) back in the day could easily have been main event.

  • ddfindl

    Cruiserweight division IS mid-card… ?

  • ddfindl

    Cruiserweight division IS mid-card… ?

  • CC

    The guy is so contradictory in some respects. He says Benoit was a mid card champion because of his lack of mic skills, then says he wanted to push a bunch of guys like Ultimo Dragon who dont speak English.
    Now dont get me wrong, Dragon is great and I would have loved a great cruiser division, with luchas added, but if he feels that someone who wasnt great at promos was mid card as a main event champion, what the hell would a guy who cant speak any English be?

    Benoit was Benoit. People knew his promos were not flashy or big, they were what they needed to be. Concise and intense. Just the same as Brock Lesnar. Does that make Brock a mid card champion.
    Undertaker has made a career out if intensity, and has spent long periods of his career barely uttering a word.

    You can have your Rocks, Jerichos, HBKs and Flairs, and still have your Benoits as you need a balance and counterpoint, otherwise everyone ends up sounding the same.

  • Ted Danson

    That makes me a little sad to read that Vince turned down such an amazing idea.I would have love to see that. Vince says the crowd would get confused with all the masked wrestlers, does Vince think we are all idiots? That doesn’t surprise me at all with Vince turning down a good idea. I bet you could write a book bigger than Foley’s first book about all the good ideas he turned down and the crap he gave us instead.

  • Ted Danson

    That makes me a little sad to read that Vince turned down such an amazing idea.I would have love to see that. Vince says the crowd would get confused with all the masked wrestlers, does Vince think we are all idiots? That doesn’t surprise me at all with Vince turning down a good idea. I bet you could write a book bigger than Foley’s first book about all the good ideas he turned down and the crap he gave us instead.

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