by Amish Patel - March 13, 2011
The John Report Q&A: Your Questions My Answers #2
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter @johnreport
A month ago I did the first TJR Q&A and now I’m back with the second part after asking for your questions. I answered 96 questions this time. I’m sorry if I didn’t answer your question. I did not answer all of them and I actually closed the thread on Saturday because there’s no way I can get to everything. Some were repetitive or required thousands of words to answer and I wanted to be straight to the point with it. I think these 96 questions and answers should give you the reader a lot of reading material. Let’s get right to it. Reader questions in blue italics. My answers immediately follow.
Which five men do you see carrying the main event wwe banner 5 years from now not named Randy Orton or John Cena?
I think the reality is those two will be there for the next five years since they are only in their early 30s. You can probably pencil in CM Punk and The Miz as well because I think those two have the staying power to be near the top for a while. Maybe Del Rio too. There are probably a few other guys who we don’t even know yet that will come onto the scene and be at that level as well. At least I hope so, especially on the babyface side.
Biggest disappointment wrestling-wise ever? i.e., storyline, wrestler, match, etc, what is your single biggest let down ever?
The Invasion angle in 2001. They should have carried that angle in WWE for four or five years at least. Instead, Vince refused to put WCW over at any time when he should have made them the heels and had them dominate WWE with different stars coming in at different times (Goldberg, Sting, Hogan, Nash, Hall, etc.). It was silly to end that storyline over the course of seven or eight months. The Monday Night Wars were huge for wrestling. The WWE vs. WCW battle should have carried on for years. That’s the biggest disappointment to me.
What do you rate Rock Vs Hogan at Wrestlemania X8 if you watched it on mute?
Haha good question. Obviously you are referring to how the crowd made the match seem better by being so hot for it and that technically it wasn’t great. I have it as a ***1/4 rating, but I think it’s unfair to rate it on mute. That’s not reality. The crowd definitely helped it and elevated it. To Hogan and Rock’s credit, though, they are great at playing off of the crowd.
Will mark henry ever win the royal rumble?
No. Easiest answer to any question! He’ll always be a threat, though. But you already knew that.
If Miz drops the belt at WM, do you think he will remain at the main event level or be another Swagger or Punk from 08?
First off, he will drop the belt at Mania. There’s no if for me. I think he’ll be at the main event level long term. They are really high on him as a performer and he’s somebody that will probably get another title reign within a year of his loss. Hopefully he’s booked better the second time around.
Wrestlemania will have stone cold, the rock, triple h and undertaker in the same building. What interactions would you like to be made? And why?
Don’t forget Shawn Michaels and likely Bret Hart in there too. I think it would be cool if they had Rock, Austin, Hart & Michaels in there at the same time. They can come out there to get big pops from the crowd, then the music of a heel strikes up and he tells them to get out of his ring because he’s the future. Maybe Zack Ryder? I dunno. Then Austin hit’s a Stunner, Michaels hits a Superkick, Rock hits a Rock Bottom and Bret finishes it off with the Sharpshooter. Then they have a beer bash. Great moment. Right?
Do you think “The Social Network” is better than “The King’s Speech?”
I have not seen The King’s Speech, so it’d be wrong to judge it obviously. I liked The Social Network a lot. I’d rate it at four stars out of five. It’s a very fast paced movie. Doesn’t slow down. Good film due to it being based off a true story.
What 5 TNA Wrestlers would you like to see on WWE?
I’d go with AJ Styles because he’s as good as anybody WWE has, Kurt Angle because I want him to have a farewell in WWE, Samoa Joe because he’s ridiculously underused in TNA and Robert Roode & James Storm. I’d also like to see Shelley & Sabin to boost the tag division.
The New Nexus or The Corre?
I like The New Nexus more because of Punk, but they are killing the group before it can even get started.
I know this sounds like a question a kid would ask but, if Mark Henry, The Great Khali and The Big Show had a fight, who would win? (Serious question, so If you say Mark, please don’t say “Henry because he’s gonna drink Kool Aid during the fight and kick their asses like Popeye”)
Probably Big Show. He has had legitimate boxing training and I think that right hand of his would really be devastating. I’m not sure if either of the other two have had any kind of training. They’re just big dudes.
Should John Morrison win Money in the Bank at WrestleMania and cash it in after Miz beats Cena? (If they make a MITB match at WM.)
There’s no MITB match at Mania and Cena is winning. I think Morrison should avoid posting about getting kicked out bars in LA on his Twitter page because the company frowns on things like that. If you’re over 25 and you brag about being drunk on a public place like Twitter it’s pretty lame. I admit I’ve done it a few times too, but I’m also not a celebrity.
Why don’t you like Chyna?
She had her moments, but I think the novelty of a woman wrestling a guy wore off quick and it was a little ridiculous to see guys having to sell her moves like she was just another guy. I don’t think a lot of wrestlers enjoyed working with her. They should have kept her as a sidekick. Once she got pushed to the forefront more her ego went out of control.
How would you make the women/diva’s division relevant?
You have to invest in the characters more by giving them characters that are more than just “cocky girl is mean” while “smiling girl is nice” and have stories that develop over time. Use the guys to help progress the stories. Also, they need more than one minute matches. I think back to stories like Trish vs. Lita or Trish vs. Mickie and they actually developed angles that took months to take place. All you have to do is invest time into it. That doesn’t mean 10 minute promos every week. It means character development. Right now there’s very little depth to any of the divas on the roster. It’s a shame.
Giant Gonzalez or The Great Khali? (Who’s worse, not who’s better.)
I’d say Gonzalez was worse. Rest in peace. Khali has at least some redeeming qualities when it comes to comedy.
Will the WWE ever get serious about creating and pushing new stars?
They’ll tell you that they do, but do they really? The babyface side of the roster features the same veteran talent that has been around for years. The heel side has seen more “new” faces in recent years like Del Rio and Sheamus, but the babyface side is seriously lacking.
What championships should WWE bring back?
None. Why use more titles when they barely know what to do with the ones they have? They have enough as it is and they don’t even know how to book the US, IC or Tag Titles properly with actual feuds. I don’t understand why they are so against wanting to put those belts over.
Where do you see The John Report website in 5 years?
I have no idea. I don’t really look at it as something to do five years down the line. It’s more of a daily or weekly or monthly thing to me. It’s amazing that I’ve been writing over a decade although there have been enough stops and starts in my writing career too. It comes and goes. Where will my life be in 5 years? I have no idea.
CM Punk or AJ Styles?
I’m a huge fan of both. I like Punk a little more, though. He’s a great heel and I’ve always been a mark for heels. AJ is very good as a babyface in terms of in-ring and mannerisms. He should never be a heel.
What benefits and disadvantages will hhh bring to the running of wwe?
I don’t know, you don’t know and I doubt he even knows. Vince has been in charge for over 30 years now. All we really know is what Vince’s booking is. So to try to forecast what Hunter might do is naïve on our part because there’s nothing to base an opinion except for random guesswork. That’s not something I’m into doing.
Besides JBL, who would be the second best option for Raw GM?
I’d go with Dusty Rhodes. Could be a lot of fun. And tough to understand sometimes! Maybe his disgusting forehead will start bleeding while he talks!
Was the ‘attitude era’ the best era ever in live crowds? And are crowds these days better/worse or just different? Do you believe a subdued wrestling audience can be a detriment to a wrestling show, or is it more a case of a poorer product is responsible for less audible crowd reaction?
Loaded question! I think the attitude era had the best crowds for sure. The amount of noise in the building, the chants that would be started and the reactions to finishing sequences were off the charts. It’s a different audience today that’s not nearly as passionate as the fans were 10 years ago. That’s not to say the crowds today are bad, but if you look at a Raw from 2000 and listen to the pops that midcard acts like Too Cool were getting you’d think that they were main eventers or something. More people were watching during the Attitude Era because it was a better period. There’s no doubt about that. Doesn’t mean this is a bad period. It just means that was the best one. And the reality is we may never see a time better than that one.
JBL, Ted Dibiase Sr., or Alberto Del Rio? (On Mic Skills.)
I’d put Dibiase first, then JBL and then ADR. I love Del Rio as much as anybody, but he hasn’t been around long enough to compare to guys that have had much longer careers in WWE. Dibiase is one of the ten best talkers ever in my opinion. No, I’m not putting out the list. Not right now anyway.
What are the chances of someone not of a big name so to speak to be in the main event of mania or win the rumble? Meaning shock value, Santino winning the rumble and headlining mania or do you think that wouldn’t make sense because it wouldn’t be a huge draw. I’m pretty much asking how come WWE doesn’t do something like that? “Expect the unexpected.” Hope that made sense.
I think they did it in a sense with Lawler as number one contender, but I assume you want them to do something even more with it. The good thing with doing it is that there’s that surprise factor of a new title contender that may never have gotten a shot before. The bad thing is fans won’t believe that person has a chance. Vince is very predictable in his booking. Personally, I love surprises. The booking in WWE doesn’t like to take those risks, though. They play it by the book.
Why are there no “boyhood dream” moments anymore? My nostalgia or lack of character development?
You nailed it. I think they can tell that story with John Morrison if they wanted to. He grew up being a fan, he got his start with Tough Enough, then he worked his way up from OVW to tag team to IC champ and hopefully a World Champ down the road. It’s not a hard story to tell. You just have to put the effort in to tell it.
What WCW PPVs would you want to see brought back?
Wargames of course because it was a lot of fun. Nothing else. There are a lot of bad ideas from that company.
With Undertaker getting surgery a little too late, when do you think he will retire for good?
I think it will be after WrestleMania 28 next year when he goes 20-0 at the big event.
How would you push (if you would) a group like the Corre? We have seen the destruction of the New Nexus as it has dwindled down to just Punk and “Batistwo.” However, Barrett has tremedous potential along with Garbriel. We know how Vinny Mac feels about big men (so Zeke is safe). Slater could be the odd man out for now.
None of the guys in The Corre excite me too much. This feud with Big Show & Kane isn’t very good. Whatever they are trying isn’t working very well. Barrett should be on his own. The group thing has been done too much with him already and they need a different push for him.
What is your favourite non ‘Big 4′ WWF/E PPV?
Of the current crop I like Money in the Bank the best because two matches of that quality on one card makes for a good show. I also don’t mind the TLC one either. Before they did the gimmick PPVs I always liked Backlash because they had a lot of rematches from Mania except they usually had stips to them, so it helped with the quality of the matches. It’s essentially what Extreme Rules is now. If you’re talking about favorite PPV that wasn’t one of the big four then I’d go with Backlash 2000 or Vengeance 2003.
Random poll run-in!
Where is Kong?
She’ll probably debut after WrestleMania or maybe at Mania if they do some kind of battle royal. They like to hold off debuts until after Mania.
How many pro-wrestling shows have you been to? Any fun stories or moments you care to share?
I’ve been to anywhere from 40-50 wrestling shows. I’d say about 25 WWE ones ranging from PPV to Raw to Smackdown to house shows. Never been to a WrestleMania. Maybe this year. I went to 3 WCW shows and been to 2 TNA shows. Then the other 10-15 would be indies although this was about ten years ago and none of those promotions are really around now. Best experience at a Raw show was bumping into Shane McMahon as I was coming out of the bathroom. He wanted to watch the main event closer to the ring, so he stood in the aisle way. It was near the hard camera. I talked to him for about a minute. He was friendly. Everybody thought he was going to do a run-in, but he wasn’t on TV at that time. This was in August 2004. That was a cool experience. And yes, I did wash my hands. Always!
HBK vs. Bryan Danielson, or HBK vs. AJ Styles, whichever u pick how would u book their feud building toward WrestleMania, and who would win?
I’d go for HBK vs. Danielson because HBK had a hand in training him over a decade ago. I’d put them together as HBK mentoring him, then Danielson would turn on him because he feels like HBK was holding him back and then he’d beat HBK at Mania to elevate Danielson. It’s an easy story to tell. The key is not rushing it. Let it run over 6-8 months. Too many things in wrestling are rushed. I wish we could have seen that match with a proper build. Even if they did it babyface style to see if Danielson could beat him would be cool with me.
Hey John, as a fellow Ontarian, I was wondering if you watch Right After Wrestling on The Score? If you haven’t seen it it’s pretty much a wrestling shoot show.
Yeah it’s a pretty good show. I have had plenty of interactions with Arda and Renee too. Good people. They do a great job of covering WWE for fans up here in Canada.
Could do you do a column on the NHL playoffs like you did for the NFL season?
Sorry. I don’t really watch hockey that much. I’m a backwards Canadian. My favorite sports are NFL and NBA. Obviously I watch a lot of WWE too.
We all know Vince likes to push the big men and most of us agree most big men are not very good, yes there are some like Taker but the majority stink. So big man after big man after big man that keep failing yet Vince keeps pushing them my question is WHY??? Does he know something we don’t? Do the PPV buyrates stay the same? Does the big men’s merchandise move well? I just don’t understand after all the big men who failed and all the smaller guys who have great ability why does uncle Vinny keep shoving the big guys down our throat?
That’s a good question. I guess the reason is because they consider wrestling to be like a circus where you want your customers to pay for people that are abnormal, which in this case would mean giants. They think that if they can find a big guy that can stink around and be a draw then that person has more value to them then the 6’0″ 220 pound guy that is very common in wrestling. Undertaker and Andre The Giant have both been big draws, but never the biggest in the entire business. Austin and Hogan were. In Hogan’s case he was a large man at 6’6″ 300 pounds while Austin is not small, but at 6’2″ 250 pounds he wasn’t enormous either.
Why did you stop doing “Talking Smack?”
It’s tough to find the time and the desire to write on Saturdays. I think if Smackdown was on Thursdays I’d write about it on Thursday nights. It’s not, though, so by the time I see it sometimes it’s Saturday afternoon or Sunday and I’d rather not write about it. Now my buddy Christian Michael gets the review posted on thejohnreport.net on Friday nights, so it works out. Plus it allows me to write other stuff like this column. Writing two show reviews a week is boring to me. One a week, plus PPVs, is enough. I’m writing The Raw Deal plus other stuff and putting out work two or three times a week. I think that’s plenty.
How would you feel about a feud between Daniel Bryan (the dork) vs Sheamus (the bully)?
It looks like we are getting it now. It would be cool. Any feud for Bryan is fine with me. Just give him something, ya know?
Do you think the NFL needs an 18 game season? Do you think Zedeno Chara should have been suspended? Most importantly were you happy with the ending of LOST. I thought it was great I had to watch it a second time to really enjoy it but in the end I did love it and am glad it came full circle
A) I think the NFL season is fine at 16 games, but if they want to go 18 games that’s cool with me. I love the NFL. More games for me to bet on (and hopefully win) as well as play fantasy football, which I love. B) I think Chara deserved to be suspended. He knew exactly what he was doing. And the guy he hit is going to be out a while. How is there no punishment? Lame. C) Lost’s ending was cool. I saw it twice. I liked it more the second time too. I’m not sure what people were expecting for an ending. Are they dead? Are they alive? Is it heaven? It’s all up to your own perception. I like that ending. Leave it up to the viewer. More Kate in a black dress, please.
I heard you like the tv show Survivor, my question is who are your top 5 favorite Survivor contestants, and favorite season?
I enjoy it and have watched every season except for two or three. Favorite season was the first time Russell was on. A couple years ago. He’s an awesome character for that show. He should have won too. Top five players would be Russell, Boston Rob, Johnny Fairplay (a great Survivor heel who made $600,000 to work for TNA for a handful of appearances – vintage Dixie blowing money), Stephenie that was in for a couple of seasons and Tom the fireman dude that won one of the seasons because everybody else on that season was an idiot. I would love to be on that show.
What’s your overall view on MMA?
I watch MMA, mostly just UFC though. I like it as a sport and I think people that hate it for being too violent really have no idea. There are worse injuries in football (American) or boxing where you are repeatedly getting hit in the head a lot more. I don’t really watch The Ultimate Fighter anymore and I mostly stick to the UFC PPVs although I don’t watch every one either. I’m a fan, but I’m not a hardcore fan that knows every fighter or anything like that. As a Canadian of course GSP is my favorite. He’s a God up here. Similar to Bret Hart 15 years ago.
How big are the Trailer Park Boys in Canada? Not many people know of them here and I live in Rhode Island which is just a few hours from Canada. Did you like the show if so who was your favorite character…Bubbles rules.
It was a good show. There’s not a lot of great writing diversity, but it worked. The show was made in Canada on a very low budget and became a cult hit here. Now it’s being shown in America, so they’re getting some more notoriety. I like Ricky as my favorite character although Bubbles is classic too. I’ve gone as Julian for Halloween since I’m a rum & coke guy as well as having a similar look with the goatee.
Baseball season coming up soon what are your thoughts/predictions for the upcoming year?
Phillies over Red Sox in the World Series. Good luck to the rest. Last year’s World Series with the Giants beating the Rangers was a nice change of pace, but it’s back to the high priced teams this year.
I know you stopped following tna but do you think jay lethal is stuck in x-division purgatory that he’ll eventually have the most reigns with the title?
I still watch it. I just don’t write about it. They won’t push him above that level, I bet. Lethal’s a very good talent and held his own in the ring with Angle as well as in promos with Flair. Where’s the follow-up? There isn’t one. That’s why TNA is what it is.
Why did triple h say that everyone besides taker is not a real challenge to him?
Because they are the two biggest legends actively wrestling in WWE and they want to convey themselves as that. His promo on Smackdown this week was better than on Raw last week when he buried a lot of the roster by what he said.
do you think nexus could have been one of the great factions like dx, nwo, four horsemen, or evolution if it wasn’t constantly buried by one person during feuds?
No. The talent isn’t nearly as good as what those groups had. CM Punk is the only one that’s an elite talent. The others are not really ready to have good matches. I don’t know if any of them will ever be good enough.
Do you think Cody Rhodes could be developed into a main eventer within the next year or two?
Yes. Absolutely. I think two years is more likely although it could even be this year. He’s on the right path, though. He’s the most improved performer in the company in the last year.
Who would you most like to see debut in WWE who has never worked with the company before?
I’d go with AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Robert Roode & James Storm. I don’t know if any of them could or would leave TNA, though.
If they started doing the Raw Guest Host thing again, what celebrity would you wanna see a guest host?
None. Use celebrities once in a while if they are a big name, but don’t do it regularly. I absolutely do not miss the guest host era.
Oh Charlie Sheen. I’m glad that people aren’t talking about Charlie Sheen as much at least for a week.
Will we see any more fantasy booking articles from you on here John? I loved the one leading into last year’s WrestleMania. Also if you travel to WrestleMania where is the TJR party being held?
I know people like reading fantasy booking, but I don’t really like writing it. I guess I could do one down the road, but it’s not a priority or on my short list of things to write. As for Mania, I’d probably just ask people to check out my twitter or facebook because I’ll likely update those if I’m there. Obviously I would write something too.
Did you ever watch any rvd vs jerry lynn matches from ecw?
Yes. They were great matches. They were always around that four star level (out of five) for me.
Did Kurt Angle get clean, make them tap victories over Hogan, Austin, Undertaker & HHH?
Off the top of my head I believe he did get clean wins over Hogan, Austin (Unforgiven 2001 for the belt although he lost it back a few weeks later) & Undertaker (No Way Out 2006), but not Triple H.
Do you think John Morrison’s weakness on the mic is due to creative writing his promos for him?
I agree with that. Part of it is the writing not being very good because there’s little depth to his character. Part of it is him not being a natural talker. But he’s not a bad talker. You can work with him. They should have the focus be on his in-ring work though. That’s what makes him stand out.
This is more of a request than a question. Will you write an article on what you would do if you were in charge of creative? I.e. changes you would make, storylines and the length they would go, etc.
That would be a big topic and I’m not sure if I’d be capable of writing something that encompasses the whole company. I’d have to talk to a lot of people and do research on it because otherwise I’d be talking out of my ass for some of the things I really don’t know about. I did write my 20 Ideas for WWE to Consider column last year that I think is significant as far as changes go. That could be a massive column for me to write. Maybe I’ll slowly work on it and see what happens? I don’t know for sure, though.
If WWE were to go back to TV-14 and creative tried more what feud would you like to see?
I’d turn John Cena heel, elevate the likes of John Morrison & Daniel Bryan due to Cena turning heel (maybe he joins up with Punk as an ally) and use Cena’s heel run to push other people in the company that deserve it. The use of stronger language as well as blood would help it too. You would have to reinvent the character in a lot of ways. He can’t look or act the same. Change it up.
Who, in your opinion, is the best worker and the best talker to never hold a major belt?
Curt Hennig aka Mr. Perfect. He should have been WWF Champ. Owen Hart and Ted Dibiase as well.
Out of current superstars, who do you see being Hall of Fame Heads of Class? This is a real honour, which HHH, Taker, Edge, Orton & Cena are likely to receive, but who else?
That’s the list of them. I would say maybe Mysterio, Big Show and Kane as well although they could be the second biggest names. I’m not exactly sure. It depends on retirements and how they want to do it. The Rock hasn’t wrestled in 7 years and he’s not in it yet. There are no rules for WWE’s Hall of Fame like there are in pro sports. It’s all up to Vince.
How do you feel about Chris Jericho being on Dancing With the Stars?
It’s a good way for him to get exposure to a different audience. I don’t watch the show, though. I didn’t watch when my favorite quarterback ever, Kurt Warner, was on it and I will not watch Jericho on it. It’s not the show for me. I hope he gets back to WWE when it’s over.
What gimmick of “heel or babyface” from the WWF 1980′s could you see getting over 100% with the fans if it were introduced into 2011.
The “Macho Man” Randy Savage. He would have been able to thrive in any generation. That’s why he’s one of the all time greats.
Why hasn’t the WWE taken advantage of the “American Dragon” moniker? Seems like a missed merchandising opportunity.
What Daniel Bryan was in the indies doesn’t matter to them. They are their own company. That’s how they think, right or wrong.
Do you think Christian is just being fed to Alberto Del Rio or do you think both men will get a push? (Christian possibly getting a title shot at maybe Extreme Rules or later on.)
Christian is a good opponent for him to have good matches with. After ADR wins the belt at Mania he can wrestle Christian. Maybe Christian will turn heel on Edge after that. I’m not sure. I don’t see Christian being a future World Champion this year, though. I hope I’m wrong on that.
Do you think Vince has dreams about a Rob Terry – Chris Masters tag team?
I’m sure he does. I don’t want to be anywhere near Vince McMahon’s dreams.
Do you see Summerslam ever getting big enough to be held in sites such as Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium where it’s too cold to host Wrestlemania?
They might do that. The problem is they might not sell out or come close to selling out and if that happens then it looks bad on the broadcast. I think one dome show a year at Mania is enough.
who is gonna be that next great superstar as far as in ring ability, looks, attitude and mic skills go? the next rock, jericho, austin, triple h type guy.
I think CM Punk is the best in the business right now. I’m not sure about anybody else being that elite right now. That’s the problem with WWE. They really don’t have that guy you can point at and say “he’s the future.” In 2003 you knew it was Cena and Orton. Right now who is it? We don’t know.
Is there a logical reason why they’re giving Cody Rhodes more of a push than Ted Dibiase?
They have a better gimmick for Cody. He might be the better performer too. It’s not like Dibiase has had much of a chance to show his stuff, though.
Do you believe that stars can have a slow build to their main event status (i.e. Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Chris Benoit, etc.) or will we always know rather quickly who they see as future stars?
I love the slow build to that level. It works. It feels like they can do that with John Morrison, who I’ve written about already in this column.
Why didn’t they do Hogan vs Flair at WM 8?
I didn’t know the official reason, so I googled it. Found this on a wrestling forum: “On the DVD of SNME, 2 months before WM 8, McMahon and Ventura regularly mention during the Feb 8 92 match of Hogan & Justice vs Flair & Taker that Hogan & Flair will wrestle at WM. But this match never happened and it ended up being Hogan vs Justice & Flair vs Savage.”
I’ve read more about it and the reason seems to be that it didn’t draw well at house shows and maybe they didn’t like their chemistry. It’s odd that it didn’t happen, though. There must be some other reason. You would have thought they would do it. I guess Vince had another vision. I’m not complaining because I loved the Flair-Savage feud. Then WCW did a lot of Hogan-Flair in 1994. They wrestled for months, Flair retired, came back dressed like a woman and it continued. That image of Flair was awful.
Do you feel the WWE dropped the ball on a HBK/Jericho feud in 2003, following their stellar match at WrestleMania XIX? I don’t recall any real follow up.
I loved the feud. The feud was good, stretching over the course of a few months. They didn’t follow up much after WM19, but that’s okay. Shawn was still a part timer for much of 2003 and I don’t think there was ever a plan to follow it up. Lucky for us, we got the feud again in 2008, which was the feud of the year while also giving us the match of the year in the ladder match at No Mercy 2008. I loved all their matches.
Shelton Benjamin: hall of famer? 10 year career in WWE, never in TNA, multiple tag and mid-level title owner.
Who knows? It’s not a legit HOF. His career is better than the likes of Koko B. Ware, Jim Duggan and some of the others that are in.
Ultimate worst name in wrestling and why?
Wow. There are so many. Let’s go with Man Mountain Rock, Shockmaster and The Zombie. Why? Because they are awful names. That’s enough of a reason as to why.
If paul heyman and jim cornette were best friends and started their own wrestling company (let’s just imagine that they had mcmahon money) do you think it would be a success?
I think so. Two of the best minds in wrestling history. I think both would say if they had McMahon money they wouldn’t be in wrestling, though. I’d say the same thing!
If you had the power, who would be world champion and wwe champion going into summerslam/fest’11 and whom would their challengers be?
On Raw, CM Punk is the WWE Champ and he loses the belt to Daniel Bryan. On Smackdown, Alberto Del Rio is the World Champ and he loses it to John Morrison, who would be in his hometown of Los Angeles. Those would be fun, fresh matchups. I doubt either one happens.
What do you think of Booker T on the announce team? Why did he replace Striker?
I’m not sure if there’s a reason to why other than they wanted a change and Booker was always somebody they saw as a future announcer.
Do you think WWE should try to slow down their angles to try to draw more out of things or did the era of fast and crash TV bookings doom that from ever happening anytime soon?
Yes. Slow down. They rush angles far too much and it hurts the quality of the stories they are trying to tell.
Do you see the WWE holding a Wrestlemania in Mexico City?
I don’t think so. Way too many US markets (and Toronto) that are more of a priority for them. I don’t think a Mexico City WrestleMania will ever happen.
How would you book Mistico’s debut?
I’d make his debut match against Kofi Kingston for the IC title. The IC title is barely booked well anymore, so let’s give him a title shot right off the bat. Give them 15 minutes on Smackdown, the top of hour two. Mistico wins the belt in his first match in impressive fashion. Post match, they shake hands and if the crowd is as appreciative as they should be they will give them a standing ovation.
WWE pushed a few non-traditional, foreign superstars into the spotlight over the past year: Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, and Sheamus (excluding his current de-push). In today’s WWE, do you think these men (or other non-American/Canadian superstars) can be main eventers AND babyfaces at the same time, or does WWE seem particular in highlighting their potential title runs as heels only?
They definitely like to make the European guys heels. That’s been a common thing in WWE for a long time. Of course the British Bulldogs had babyface runs and Davey Boy Smith did as well, but usually they keep them heel. I guess it’s one of those things where they just think fans are more prone to booing a guy with an accent when he talks. I feel like quoting Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV with his speech after he beats Drago.
Do you think wrestling will ever hit the boon again as it did during the hogan era or the austin era? Or did the coming of mma, spoilers, and chris benoit’s legacy ruin the popularity of pro wrestling of ever becoming as hot as it once was?
I don’t think it will ever be as big as the Austin era or the Hogan era. However, I don’t know that as a fact and we’d be naïve to think we can predict the future also. It’s going to be hard to overcome the things you mentioned. You never know, though. All it takes is one or two guys or a hot angle to really shake things up. I don’t know who they are or what that angle might be. It could happen, though.
Do you watch any other sports besides football? If so, who are your favorite teams in each other sport and who do you think will win the Stanley Cup? (If you like hockey, figure you would cause ur a fellow Canadian.)
Football’s my fave and my team is the St. Louis Rams since I was a kid and they were in Los Angeles in the 80s. Eric Dickerson was my hero. Then he got traded. I didn’t care. That was my team. NBA is next favorite with the Lakers being the team I grew up on, but I like the Raptors more now. Then I like MLB where the Jays are my team. Two titles in 1992 & 1993 and no playoffs since. I hate being in the AL East. In NHL it’s the Maple Leafs. Not much to speak of recently. The older I get the less I like hockey. I’m a backwards Canadian. I might get deported.
Hey mate, long time reader. Just a quick one, what happened to the Santino/Kozlov sitcom pilot that was filmed??
They filmed a few episodes. Beth Phoenix was in it as well. My guess is they probably shopped it around, nobody picked it up and it may never see the light of day. They could put it on wwe.com if they wanted.
How big of a star do you think Jeff Hardy could have become in WWE if not for the drug charges?
He was the clear #2 babyface behind Cena and could have been number one if he was on the Raw brand. The guy is very good in the ring and has a lot of charisma. However, failing drug tests and getting charged with drug possession definitely hurt him. I don’t think he would have revolutionized the business or anything. I just think WWE could have really used him in the last year. He’s a very talented guy. No question about that. In TNA he has a lighter schedule and their drug testing program is essentially a joke.
Do you know the site wrestlecrap.com? And if yes, what are your thoughts about?
Of course I know about it. It’s been around for a long time. I’m a big supporter of that site and a regular visitor. I think it’s great that they can poke fun at wrestling like that. You can’t take the wrestling business too seriously and that site is a great reminder of that.
With the expected retirement of HHH in the next year, do you see anyone in the future passing Ric Flair’s record of 16 world championships? Or do you think that’s a number that will never be reached? I always thought HHH might be the one, but I don’t see that happening now.
I think Cena will pass it. He’s got another 5-7 years as a top guy if he wants to keep doing it, which I think he does. He’s also had enough reigns under his belt to seriously go for the record. I think WWE will want one of their guys to have that record rather than somebody that left WWE to go to TNA like Flair did.
What is your opinion of Jim Cornette?
He’s somebody with a great mind for the wrestling business that has probably been underused in his career because he should be booking in WWE or TNA right now. I think he rubs people the wrong way with his opinions sometimes because he’s not shy. Personally, I’ve always been a fan and have so much respect for him. He’d be a great guy to talk to about this wacky business called pro wrestling.
What do you think was/is the biggest “pop” ever in the WWF/E, excluding returns?
I personally favour Bulldog/Bret at Summerslam 92. The crowd jump to their feet on the 3!
That’s up there. I think Hogan slamming Andre at WrestleMania 3 is probably the biggest ever. There are other things like Savage reuniting with Elizabeth at WrestleMania 7 and the Hogan-Rock face off at WrestleMania 8 that are pretty huge too.
John, At 29 years old, I was too young for most of the “rock -n wrasslin” era, saw all of the “new generation” era, marked out for Val Venis in the “attitude era” and now don’t care if I watch at all during the “pg” era. I realize that “wrasslin” is not for my demographic anymore and the market is for children who will buy masks, toys and t-shirts. I don’t feel it’s a lack of competition that has changed WWE, but more a change in brand. Do you feel that in 7-10 years, when the current demographic (children 8-13) turn to their late teens/early 20s (as I was during the attitude era), the product will shift again toward a pg-13 + rating? In that time you will have a ton of miles on Cena (who in 7 years may be done), Trips running the show and mostly guys we’ve never heard of yet. Thanks for the blog, much love.
How can you really know what might happen in wrestling in 7 to 10 years? Your guess is as good as mine. Ten years ago after the Attitude Era was so successful did you think WWE would go back to a kid friendly product? Probably not. We don’t know what it will be in a decade. Neither does WWE. You look at the state of the business, look at trends and try your best to determine the right path for your company. I think people overrate the idea that PG is why WWE isn’t as good as 10 years ago. The talent isn’t as good. That’s the biggest factor.
In terms of individuals, what would you put down as the best year anyone ever had, and why? For example – Triple H 2000/01, based on his catalogue of matches and the ability to make anyone look a million dollars (his match with TAKA).
I’d go with Triple H in 2000, Steve Austin in 2001 and Ric Flair in 1989 (NWA) as the three that stand out the best to me. I also think 2008 Chris Jericho was incredible. It’s hard for me to pick just one year for guys like Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle and Bret Hart.
What do you think was the best match (in terms of setup/working/promos etc.) in WWE/WWF history?
Tough to pick just one, but my answer is Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13. I just think it’s the best mix of promos, storyline, build up and execution of any match. There are a handful of other matches that I’d consider for the spot too. Everybody is entitled to their opinion.
As an English wrestling fan who checks your site daily, I read all your NFL columns without really understanding them. I also stayed up to watch the Superbowl but spent most of my time confused. What is the best way to learn the rules?
I’m not sure. I’ve known the rules since I was about 6 years old. I’m sure there are helpful tools on the internet both in terms of websites and videos on youtube. There are a lot of complexities to the game, but once you learn them you can appreciate it for what it is. There’s a science to it once you really understand it. It’s not just a bunch of dudes hitting eachother. Just like pro wrestling. Once you understand what it’s about you can appreciate it that much more.
How did you rate the Survivor Series 98? The one with the “deadly game” title tournament on it. I remember really liking it at the time but haven’t seem it since and thinking about it now I think it seems far too overbooked.
I loved it. It was overbooked a bit, but instead of pushing Rock as a babyface they turned him heel and it elevated him. They also did a great job with the Shane McMahon swerve on Austin. A lot of it was really fresh at the time. It did become a Vince Russo booking staple, but that was only known years after. It’s not great in terms of matches. It was historically significant, though.
If Christian hadn’t left for TNA do you think he would be a multiple time World Champion by now?
No. I don’t think Vince McMahon sees him as a World Champion. I hope I’m proven wrong on that opinion.
What happened between Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino?
Bruno doesn’t like the way Vince has booked WWE and the direction he has taken it. He’s made his voice heard about it many times. Just google “Bruno Sammartino Vince McMahon” and read up on it. I don’t think he’ll be in the Hall of Fame anytime soon. It’s Bruno’s call.
Has any one incident made you stop watching WWE for any length of time?
The Benoit murders in the summer of 2007. It was tough. He was a personal favorite. It’s not like I was punishing WWE by avoiding it. It was just weird to watch it without him around and to know what he did made it difficult to pay attention. I barely watched any WWE for the second half of 2007 aside from a few good matches here and there. I did read up on it. I came back around the time of the 2008 Rumble. I missed the business. What can I say? Lifelong fan.
TNA is terrible. Which 3 people need to go, and which 3 people need to come in to make it work?
The ones that need to go are Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo. I’d throw in Dixie too, but she’s the President of the company, so that may be hard. Three to come in are Paul Heyman, Jim Cornette and me although I don’t think they pay very well. What I’m getting at is that TNA has booking issues more than anything else. It’s not a talent thing.
It seems your site (and especially the lists of WrestleMania) seem to downplay most things before the attitude era? Why do you think this is and what is your fav mania. From the early years and why? (Also curious what if anything happened between macho man and Stephanie)?
I think because we’re in our 20s (or in my case 30) and those earlier Mania’s don’t resonate as well with us. I mean we’ve all seen them, but you have a better appreciation for the ones you’ve seen live. That’s just how it is. You favor the ones you know more about. Plus, the last ten WrestleMania’s have been much better than the first ten. No doubt about that. My fave Mania from the first 10 is WrestleMania 8. Great show from top to bottom. Also WrestleMania 3 is pretty damn good too. The Savage-Steph thing? The rumor is he had sex with her when she was still a teenager. I don’t know if it’s true.
Isn’t all the hate on Cena by the “old school” fans hypocritical?…Last I checked Hogan was awful in the ring and his face character was more G than PG, Austin to me was the greatest but his in-ring skillset wasn’t tops so why all the hate on Cena?
Austin’s a much better worker than Cena. And a large part of Austin’s career was done on really bad knees as well as following a devastating neck injury that shortened his career. If you don’t think Austin is a superior work to Cena then you really need to watch more Austin matches. If the internet was around in the 80s I think Hogan would be absolutely hated by “smart” fans too. No doubt about that.
Thoughts on Hogan?
He should have signed a pre-nup. What? His wrestling career? He’s very intelligent and made a lot of money because of how smart he is. One of the most charismatic people in wrestling history, if not the most charismatic. He’s also very selfish in a lot of ways. I guess you need to be that to be successful in the wrestling business. Oh and now he’s taping episodes on Eric Bischoff’s Micro Championship Wrestling show about midget wrestling. Wow.
That’s all for this month. I’ll be back next month for the next batch. Look for a post asking for your questions in April. In the meantime you can always ask me a question on Formspring because I regularly answer stuff on there. Nearing 7,000 answers. Lots of random stuff too!
You can check out the TJR Q&A RIGHT HERE. I’ll be back this week with The Raw Deal and a column on John Morrison later in the week. Let’s end this randomly with an awesome youtube video I stumbled upon today. Tell em The John Report sent ya!
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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