FACT or FICTION
The Everyone 4 World Champ Edition
Welcome back, Metalheads and pussies to the non-anticipated and much-overrated return of one of the old staples of good ol’ Lords of Pain dot net, the infamous FACT or FICTION. It’s been awhile since one of these graced the front page here, and we’re excited to be able to bring it back to all of you in full freeform fashion, with your friendly neighborhood Dream Master at the helm once again. I know, I know. I missed you, too. Well, some of you.
Today, we have six people stepping up to the plate for some good old fashioned wrestling discussion. First, at least according to the alphabet, we have Current Big Thing, who is in the midst of a crusade against the spacebar while juggling columnistic duties as a contributing writer for LOP Magazine here on the front page in addition to authoring The Current Big Column in the LOP Columns Forum. Next up we have Degenerate, the only male in North America to be held under a restraining order by Shawn Michaels, and (former?) author of Struggle For Power which used to post on the front page here and now sporadically rears its Puerto Rican head in the LOP Columns Forum. He also recently dusted off his jackboots and has reclaimed his former position of moderator in said forum. Thirdly, which is just about right, we have my favorite Brown Briton, Mazza, who just stepped down from the Main Page to reinvent himself, kind of like a sex change operation, only he had the vagina all along. He now writes a column called Maz Debating (get it?) in the LOP Columns Forum for your enjoyment.
Alphabetically next, though clearly superior to all others is Morpheus, a man who occupies the enviable position of writing about himself in the third person at the beginning of these columns. He also writes the greatest column in the storied history of awesome, Enter The Dream Realm, right here on the LOP Main Page. Next up we have priest who spends his free time writing a column called The Wrestling Virgin in the Columns Forum in between molesting impressionable youths and pandering for money. Last and almost certainly just barely not least, we have Terry who, in addition to being extremely Canadian, attempts (mostly unsuccessfully) to be the one-man cure for stupid as the Lord and Master Administrator of LOPForums.com. Now you know the players, so let’s get on with the game. Fact or Fiction is a go!
Topic 1 (from CBT): Santino Marella is quite possibly one of the most over wrestlers in the WWE right now; over enough to be worthy of a run with the World Title. FACT or FICTION.
Degenerate: Title run? Wow. I seriously doubt the dude can pull off a main-event caliber match, so I say FICTION. Of course, that's not really his fault. He might have the chops to pull off an awesome 20 to 25-minute match with a main eventer, but I wouldn't believe it until I see it. Since day one, the WWE has pushed him as an over-achiever when it comes to wrestling. He truly found his calling as the funny dude who messes up names and stuff, but as far as wrestling, he might become Intercontinental or U.S. Champion solely based on the fact that he's insanely over with the crowd, but it'll most likely seem like a fluke run, which in the long haul really doesn't achieve anything.
Mazza: FICTION. Whereas I can totally understand the fact that Santino is extremely over, he is over because of the character he plays and the character is not a winner. If he was, he would not be anywhere near as attractive to the fans. Remember when he first came in and was pushed as the Milan Miracle? The guy got serious heat. His mic skills got him over eventually but this was not in the Style that the Rock did it. It didn't work because he could back up his words, it worked because he couldn't. He won matches because of Beth Phoenix and got reaction because of his mic work. There is no difference now aside from the fact he is face and not heel. He beat Sheamus thanks to JoMo and it is only a matter of time until the Celtic Warrior pulverises poor Santino. So no, he will never be world champion material and shouldn't be but that doesn't mean he cannot have a very successful career in the WWE playing to his strengths.
Morpheus: When I first received this topic from Ceebs, I about pissed all over my office floor. It just seemed like such a ludicrous idea. I mean, yes, there is absolutely no denying that the man is one of the most over members of the roster thanks to his epic ability at conducting shenanigans. However, the more I think about it, the less ridiculous it seems. Comedy has always been a strong characteristic in top wrestlers in the past, from Stone Cold to The Rock to Kurt Angle, to Ultimate Warrior. Unintentional, but funny nonetheless. I think I am going to SWERVE!~ and call this a FACT based solely upon his performance in SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2011. Guy was gold.
priest: There's no doubt about how over this guy is. There isn't another mid-carder on either roster that can match just how over he is. But WWE Champion? FICTION. That would be a joke. It wouldn't make any business whatsoever. The guy shouldn't be wrestling in the main event of a pay-per-view. Most of us love Santino, but we love him for what he is. Throw him in our faces in the main event and we would quickly learn to hate him.
He serves an important purpose in the product the WWE offers right now. Hornswoggle isn't doing much these days, so Santino is some light relief. But that would all change if we were supposed to suddenly start taking him seriously. Leave him where he is.
Terry: Fiction. As entertaining as it would be having Santino as the WWE or WHC I can't see the WWE giving him a title run. If he hadn't been used to look so weak for most of his WWE career then I could've seen a short title reign, maybe, but that's a big maybe.
Current Big Thing: I think this is a FACT. I know, I know, he's a comedy character, blah blah blah. Here's the thing, though. Do you know who else was a "comedy character"? Mankind. Mankind was a fully full-on comedy character and he went all the way. Santino is just absurdly over; I'd even go as far as to declare that the "Cobra" is this generation's "Mr. Socko". Come on, Internet. What do you think they were doing when they had him go over Sheamus real quick a couple of weeks ago? Testing the motherfucking waters, Internet. That's what.
Topic 2 (from Degenerate): With Undertaker having surgery and possibly not being able to be ready to go come Wrestlemania 27, his absence will make for a less memorable event. FACT or FICTION.
Mazza: Once more I have to go with FICTION. I am tired of every WrestleMania being about "the streak" and I am sure Mark probably feels the same way too at times. Sure, it is his legacy but the fact is that the streak limits the storyline potential for The Undertaker come Mania time. Sure, he and Shawn put on great matches the last couple of years but for me the result was never in doubt and there is nobody he could come up against this year that would make me think the streak was in jeopardy. Simple fact is that knowing the results before hand makes wrestling less fun to watch and if we can have a WrestleMania without a major, yet inevitable "the streak continues" storyline, it will not be a bad thing and will hopefully give some of the fresher talents a more high profile match on the card.
Morpheus: I am wondering if The Streak has jumped the shark this year. It is featured as one of the Road to WrestleMania stories in SvR2011. Everyone is abuzz about it nearly six months before the event comes to pass. The fact is that Taker has missed a WrestleMania before, and his Streak was still waiting for him when he came back. I'd rather see him 100% ready for the event than push it and not be able to deliver. Honestly, which is worse: Undertaker missing the show, or Undertaker making the show and either giving a shitty performance or hurting himself further because he came back too soon? Although, the statement says Memorable, not Good, so I will say FACT on this one. The build for the Streak will be good as usual, and if my worst case scenario comes to pass, what would be more memorable than Undertaker tanking a WM performance? Exactly.
priest: Firstly, I don't think there is a chance in hell he won't be on the WrestleMania card. Even if he's not 100%. He's hardly been in the shape of his life the last few years anyway.
But, assuming he isn't at 'Mania for the purposes of the question, the key word here is 'memorable'. And for that, this makes it a relatively easy answer. Love him or hate him, The Undertaker's match is the one that creates the most intrigue every year as we look for someone to end the streak. He's still the biggest draw in all of wrestling right now, and if this match with Lesnar does take place, then that WILL be truly memorable. But so will be his other possible opponents. Would his absence make for a less entertaining event? That's up for debate. But there is little doubt his absence and the mythology surrounding the streak would make for a less memorable one. FACT.
Terry: FICTION. First, Undertaker has missed a few WrestleManias ( #10 & #16). Second, the event itself has over shadowed who's on the card. It would be nice if he's on the card, but his absence won't make it less memorable. As Shakespeare once said, "The Play's the thing."
Current Big Thing: I think this is FICTION. WrestleMania was plenty memorable before the Undertaker came about, and I don't think the Georgia Dome will fall apart just because he isn't there. It could even be argued that to those who have come to assimilate WrestleMania with the Undertaker might consider the event more memorable for the Dead Man's absence. Either way, all signs point to FICTION.
Degenerate: I brought this topic up, thinking that I was certain of what I was going to answer. However, the more it's on my mind, the more on the fence I am. On one hand, I truly believe that one single person does not make a show. Remember the first nine Wrestlemanias? I bet that if you told a WWE fan around 1988 that Wrestlemania would not only survive after Hulk Hogan was gone, but that it would thrive and reach even greater heights, they would have laughed at you. But on the other hand, you have a superstar whose match has really taken a life on its own. Six months before Wrestlemania, we've already had multiple discussions on who 'Taker's next opponent should be, and columns of "X superstar should break the streak" appear in the CF on a regular basis.
In my mind, however, I think that despite The Undertaker having a great deal to do with the Wrestlemania mystique, especially in the last 6-7 years, having him not be on the card won't make Wrestlemania any less special than it can be. FICTION.
Topic 3 (from Mazza): Kurt Angle will hold World Championship gold in World Wrestling Entertainment before he hangs up his boots or drops dead. FACT or FICTION.
Morpheus: This is a prime example of how turnaround time can hurt the column-writing process. Kurt's post denouncing a possible return would seem to preclude the potential of this happening. However, Kurt works for TNA right now, and he needs to keep them happy to keep his position good. Plus, as we all know, when things follow a clearly cut and logically stated path in TNA, they will immediately swerve 90 degrees to the left at the last minute for no apparent reason. This of course means that Kurt will likely end up in a WWE ring again, but I think it will ultimately be too late for him to hoist gold again. FICTION.
priest: Well, according to his recent twitter post, this question answers itself. He has ruled out a return to the WWE, saying TNA is his 'home'. The real reason is, though, he doesn't have what it takes to be on the road for 300 days a year. If they came along and offered him a contract working a much less intense schedule, then maybe. Otherwise, this is FICTION.
Terry: FICTION. He's never coming back to WWE as a active wrestler.
Current Big Thing: FICTION once again. Reason being? I'm not sold that Kurt Angle would win another WWE World Title even if he did return to Titan. Add that reasonable doubt to the fact that Angle has, according to the dirtsheets anyway, extended his agreement with TNA, and I extra-special don't see it coming to pass.
Degenerate: Unless the WWE can offer Kurt Angle a limited schedule, like TNA's, this is FICTION>. I'm sure he's making a shitload of money with the company for the amount of work he puts in it. Yeah, Christian went back, but Christian is definitely not Kurt Angle. I'm sure part of Christian's reason to return was because he had hopes that being TNA World Champion would make him a World Champion in the WWE. Kurt Angle has already been there before, so that's not incentive for him. Why risk potentially ending your life for some more exposure and some extra zeros on the paycheck? Those are the only things the WWE can offer anyone over TNA, and considering that Angle already had his taste of that, he doesn't have any reasons to go back.
Mazza: The wishful thinker in me has to go with FACT. I have no doubt that Kurt Angle has not made his last appearance on WWE programming but my only worry is that it will be too late for him to still perform at the top level by the time he returns. That said, an "on his last legs" Angle could still slaughter most talent in the ring in my opinion and if any animosity between Kurt and WWE can be squashed (which history tells us is likely) then I can see him holding world championship gold in the WWE once more if he comes back in the next few years.
Topic 4 (from Morpheus): With William Regal having just announced his impending retirement, it is clear that the WWE missed the boat on a potential successful run with Regal as World Champion. FACT or FICTION.
priest: I know I'm British. I know I am biased. But this is FACT.
He may not have sold as many t-shirts as some others, but Regal could have served an important purpose in the main event of the WWE. It's a shame his drug suspension came when it did, as his work during his King of the Ring run was some of his best ever. Regal can go into the ring with practically anyone and make them look like a million dollars. I could have seen him in a similar role to Kane, in that he is the guy who if you can beat cleanly, proves you are a major player in the WWE. Given that Kane is a two time champion, I don't think it would have been too much to ask to give Regal half of this. The time was when he was the King, as the heat he was generating then was on another level to anything else he has had during his run with the company. Never mind, us Brits are used to having our sporting heroes as nearly men....
Terry: FICTION. William Regal dropped the ball by abusing his body with drugs and alcohol. Could he have been a WWE or WHC?? Yes. He has/had all the qualities for sure, and who knows maybe just maybe they may give him short title reign.
Current Big Thing: This too, no matter how vehemently ChrisBear may disagree, is FICTION to the twelfth power, if for no other reason than the syntax of the statement. The fact of the matter, as I understand it, is that if anyone missed the boat, it was Steve Regal, not WWE. The WWE Champion Ship was in port, moored, and awaiting his Lordship's arrival. The sea was calm and the skies were clear. But Regal's pee-pee wasn't. That was his one shot at the top of the card, and he missed it by that much.
Degenerate: I'm very, very far from being a Regal fan. Not that I dislike him or am wishing a curse fall on him, but I don't share the same love affair as the rest of the IWC seems to have with him. I view him as a reliable wrestler, but not a main event guy. He does have some charisma here and there, but to me, it seems that all these tools have never really clicked in a way that warrants a push to the top. There was never a time when I thought "Man, the WWE missed the boat on Regal during that period" or something along those lines, as I have with others. So this, to me, is pure FICTION.
Mazza: Successful is the key word here. Regal would have made a great world champion in the eyes of the IWC without a doubt but that would not necessarily translated into the Hogan-Austin-Cena merchandising definition of success. I guess all I can say is that it would have made for some absolutely golden television and so I have to go with FACT. This may seem strange seeing what I said earlier about Santino given the fact that Marella and Regal share a similar role on the card, but the fact is that Regal is much more adaptable and has a believable level of badassedness.
Morpheus: I am honestly surprised to see so many people respond with Fiction on this, as I was sure it would be a hands down Fact-fest. I like Regal and all, but this is where Morph turns heel. Read this carefully, people. William Regal is NOT World Championship material. I think he is one of the best in-ring talents, and he's decent on a microphone, but nothing I have ever seen from him has sparked anything in me. Ever. He is a hell of a ring technician, but that's not enough. He's great, but he's not exciting. Benoit, Eddie, Bret, even Bryan; all men who were/are excellent technicians, but were also exciting to watch. They could move people in the ring. I've never been moved by anything he's done, and that's the honest truth. And while I'm sorry to my British friends for saying this, being British isn't a unique enough quality to put him over the top into that next level. Unless your name is Wade Barrett. Blatant FICTION in my eyes, and your eyes too if you stop sucking at the demoncock of the IWC and really take in his work for a minute instead of bandwagoning all the way home.
Topic 5 (from priest): Kofi Kingston is good, but he will never win a World Title in the WWE. FACT or FICTION.
Terry: FICTION. I think he could be WWE champion. Kofi will, as his career goes on, adapt his style as he gets older. Look at Rey, HBK for examples. (Hopefully he doesn't turn into Shalton Benjamin.)
Current Big Thing: This, I think, is a FACT. Maybe I'll be swayed at some point, but right now, I just can't picture Kofi in the upper echelon. I just can't. I kinda like his matches and all, but to me, he's Shelton Benjamin in a Godfather wig.
Degenerate: FACT. It's unfortunate that I think Kofi won't grab the proverbial brass ring and reach the top. The WWE seemed to have missed the boat with Kofi, and it will most likely not come back any time soon. Remember that show in Madison Square Garden last year, when he was in the midst of a feud with Randy Orton, and he put Orton through a table? I remember that show, because I was about 10-15 feet away from where Kofi hit the Boom Drop. But more importantly, I remember the crazy pop that got, and how everybody in that arena went bananas. Why wasn't the momentum carried over? I truly believe it's tough as hell to reach the point of being over that Kofi reached during that period, and if it didn't get to anywhere then, I doubt it will happen again.
Mazza: I would never say never on this question but right now I would have to go more with FACT. The problem is, during his feud with Randy Orton, he was on the verge of becoming a main event player and then it all went south. That feud did add some aggression to his game but he still needs that x-factor to make it to the top and I think he will probably never have that. Still, nothing wrong with a nice long career in the midcard.
Morpheus: Kofi is an interesting case for me. I think he's exciting to watch and can do some cool shit in the ring. However, his music makes me want to punch him in the face, and I think the most interesting thing he does outside the ring is high-five himself for no apparent reason, and that's only interesting in a confusing way, which isn't good. In his present state, I have to say FACT, but if he can somehow reinvent himself and move away from the image of being Lenny Kravitz's vertically challenged little brother, he might have a shot at the big one. Maybe.
priest: There's no doubt there are going to be spots in the main event in the coming years. Undertaker, HHH, Edge, Jericho and Kane are just a few of the names who will all probably be gone within 2 years. But there are only so many spots.
The likes of Cena, Orton and Sheamus will still be around for years. Then you take into account guys like Barrett and Miz who are pretty much guaranteed to be in the main event in the near future. Sure, Kofi is good. But so are the likes of Del Rio, Ziggler, Bryan, McIntyre, Morrison and Swagger. The upcoming King of the Ring tournament will give us a much clearer indication. But this could be the most open tournament ever, with tells you exactly how keen the WWE are to push the younger guys. Kofi had his trial run with his feud with Orton, which we are led to believe he failed. With the likes of the names we just mentioned, I don't see how he can climb his way back up. FACT.
Special Topic (from Terry): Name one way the WWE can improve its image in the U.S. Media.
Current Big Thing: The only thing I can think of would be for them to somehow get Vince elected president. Vince is a Republican, and Republicans tend to blindly jump on the cocks of all other Republicans more powerful than they. If Vince were President, Fox & Friends would recap Monday Night Raw, that one guy would "Follow The Money Trail" to Ted DiBiase Jr., and Bill O'Reilly would be the revealed as the 'NonyGM.
Seriously, I think that we marks have already come as close to mainstream acceptance as we were ever going to get. I don't think it's realistically in WWE's power to substantially improve their image. The general public will always perceive the product as low-brow and the audience retarded, no matter how many physics professors or software developers line our ranks. That's just the way it is.
Degenerate: I really don't think the WWE can do anything to improve its image. They've done a lot of things that really can't be classified as 'evil', when it comes to corporate standards. They've been in business for decades. They've toned down their product to make it family-friendly (which, although almost all the IWC doesn't agree with, go to any WWE live event and see the huge smiles on kids faces - when I have a family, I'll damn sure take my kids to wrestling events). From all accounts, they give more to charity than any other large corporation that I know of. They seem to have good ties with Hollywood, which not many corporations have to begin with.
However, they have one huge thing going against them - They are in the professional wrestling business. That, alone, will never make them darlings in the media and sort of ensures that they'll always be viewed in a negative light. Regardless of what the WWE does, they'll invariably get screwed over by the narrow-minded media who view wrestling as low-brow entertainment, now and forever.
Mazza: The fuck do I care how WWE is perceived in the US media.
Morpheus: How do I follow that? With this: They are already on the right track. I might be the only one who thinks this, but the Stand Up for WWE campaign had an additional benefit aside from sticking it to the CT Senate race. It was an opportunity to show the real people who are WWE fans. We got to see people who are relatively eloquent stating their opinions and giving their own testimonies. These people certainly didn't have the stereotypical White Trash aspect that is so commonly assigned to wrestling fans. They spoke in an intelligent manner. No "Hide Yo Kids" moments there.
In addition to this, the Wellness Policy has gone a long way to showing that the company is reaching out and caring about the welfare of its performers, which is a huge step forward. The change to PG programming, which I will again go on record as being fully in support of, will help to stave off the "immorality" crowd, and a new generation of kids can grow up watching the product with their families. I honestly believe that they are on the right track for this, and it is simply a matter of how much the media's stereotypical biases cloud their objectivity in what is presented to the audiences. Unfortunately, those biases have a history of strongly blinding the media to the truth behind the stereotype, but one can hope.
Yeah, I'm the Physics Professor Ceebs was talking about.
priest: This is a difficult question to answer, because the issue is more to do with American culture. The media is just the voice of society. That said, I think the PG era is a massive step in the right direction. If the company wants to be taken more seriously this is the way to do it, by providing a product for the whole family rather than a specific segment of the market. WWE can do with distancing themselves as much as possible from UFC, as if their respective products are compared, UFC's realism and continued growth will become a major threat to the company. More than this, society will continue to reject WWE as an acceptable means of adult entertainment.
They have taken major strides in recent years with the Wellness program and the PG era, but I don't see WWE wrestling improving its image in the near future. Perhaps the only way will be to give time. Once the distinction between sports and sports entertainment is made clearer, the WWE has a chance of being a more credible entertainment outlet for young males. It may take a generation or two, but the clean up of its image has to begin now. The last two decades have been damaging to its credibility, but if done one step at a time, the WWE can be what it once was in the eyes of American society, and in turn in the eyes of the American media.
(Morph's Note: Mad props and kudos to priest for taking the time to research the subject and respond with a well-thought out answer. The Brit kid done good.)
Terry: Allow more access to the inside of the WWE. Show WWE from up close & behind the scenes rather then from a biased distance.
And that about does it for this month’s edition of Fact or Fiction. A big thanks to everyone involved and another big thank you to those of you who took the time to read it. Agree? Disagree? Don't give two shits? If you have any thoughts, feel free to send them our way at the email addresses below, or be lazy and (ab)use the Facebook Comment option even further below. In the meantime, Stay Metal, and I’ll catch all you non-gender-specific fuckers at a future juncture.