Hustle Is Posting Right Now - Ask Hustle, Volume 1
Aug 29, 2012 - 11:50:45 PM
"They askin questions.."
If you've been a reader of mine for a while, you probably remember my old Ask Hustle series of columns. It's where I opened the floor to the people that read my columns, and let them ask me questions to be answered in my columns. To add a little bit of variety, I would open it up to questions about anything, not just wrestling. People would ask me questions about MMA, sports, music, movies, love, life and whatever they could think of. Then, with the rise of sites like Formspring, I decided to put the idea on hold for a while.
Well, Formspring isn't as popular as it was, so I figured this would be a good time to bring Ask Hustle back. I reached out to my Facebook friends and Twitter followers for some questions, and they gave me more than I was expecting them to. They gave me enough questions to last through a handful of Ask Hustle columns. Even before I get to the questions, I'm officially opening it up to questions. Send me questions in all of the normal ways you can leave me feedback for my columns. They can be serious or not-so-serious, and again, they don't have to be about wrestling. They can be about whatever you want them to be about. I don't know how regularly I'll post Ask Hustle columns, but I'll definitely be back with future editions. Let's get on with this edition, though. I have a bunch of questions to answer.
Which NXT wrestler has the brightest future?
I've gone back-and-forth on that over the last year or so. At some points, you'd be sure that Seth Rollins would be the choice. At some points, you'd think it was Richie Steamboat. While Antonio Cesaro was there, there were times that you'd think it was him. Kassius Ohno? Dean Ambrose? Husky Harris/Bray Wyatt? The developmental system has been incredibly loaded for a while now, which gives me a lot of hope for WWE's future, both of the distant and not-so-distant variety.
If I'm being forced to choose, I'm going to have to go with Seth Rollins. While I realize that the "popular" picks would be Ambrose or Ohno, I think the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes. Yes, Rollins has been in developmental for a while, but look at what he's done in his time there.. a reign as the FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion, a reign as the FCW 15 Champion, a reign as a Florida Tag Team Champion (with Richie Steamboat), and the current and inaugural NXT Champion. He's the first FCW Grand Slam Champion, and now has an interaction with CM Punk to add to all of that. It's pretty clear that someone with some sort of say is a fan of his, and that's why I'm picking him. I think he's being groomed nicely for a run on the main roster, perhaps following the trajectory that Punk had, at least for the beginning, allowing Rollins an opportunity to prove that he deserves more.
What is your secret to success in SongPop?
First of all, for those unaware, SongPop is a Facebook/phone game that is similar to the Name That Tune game show of the past. There are numerous genres of music, and after picking one, you get a set of songs. You only get to listen to up to ten seconds of each song, and you have to answer the question about it. Sometimes you have to pick the title of the song from the choices given, and sometimes you have to pick the song's artist from the choices given. You compete against an opponent (not "live", though), and the point is to pick the right answer quicker than your opponent. The genres range from things like Modern Rap to Classic Rock to Metal to Electronic to 1960s Hits, and everything in between, with new genres being added all the time.
If any of you have played me in SongPop, chances are you've lost and lost on a regular basis. As you can tell by any of the playlists I've included with my columns over the years, you'd see that my musical taste is really diverse. That's my "secret" to success. R&B is my favorite musical genre, but I can listen to Jay-Z, Slipknot, The Beatles, Marianas Trench (thank you, Rosa), Damian Marley and just about anything in between. I try not to listen to the same thing too often, and I like to switch it up a lot. On top of that, I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and have gone through several "eras" in music history. When it comes to SongPop, I've heard all of these songs, for the most part. I have most of them in my MP3 collection. I've had the CDs. I even had a lot of them on tape (shut alllll the fucking way up, bastards). That's what helps me win so often.
What is your current opinion of the TNA product?
TNA has been in a very interesting position over the last several weeks. Their overall product has been exponentially better than it has been, and has been consistently better than WWE's product has been, but at the same time, they were putting forth one of the dumbest storylines in wrestling history with that Claire Lynch nonsense. It would be one thing if the product sucked and they delivered the Claire Lynch crap, but to have so many things being worth watching, and then having that at the same time, is as odd as it gets.
It all starts at the top, with Austin Aries. While I was a fan of Bobby Roode and his reign, Aries allows for more movement, and presents a better opportunity for better matches. The fans love him, and he makes his opponents look like a million bucks more often than not. Along with Aries, we have the Bound For Glory Series heating up, making things exciting and having the entire main event scene looking good. There are a lot of directions TNA can go with the main event of Bound For Glory, and just about all of them would be great ideas.
Admittedly, a very large chunk of the overall product is being filled up by the BFGS, which means the company only has a short amount of time until they need to fill out the rest of the show, but right now, I'm enjoying more things about TNA than I'm not enjoying. I'm enjoying the idea of the Aces & Eights storyline, even though some of the group's beatings have looked bush league, but at least I'm still wanting to see who is revealed to be a part of the group.
Right now, if you aren't watching TNA, I suggest you give them an opportunity. Now that the Claire Lynch storyline is mercifully over, things can hopefully continue moving forward, and they can continue winning people over. Time will tell.
Do you think Gabe Sapolsky could help the WWE product?
You'd think so, wouldn't you? He's been one of the top bookers in wrestling over the last decade, and while he isn't perfect, he continues to have a lot of really good ideas with his booking.
However, there's a major problem with having Sapolsky on board as a WWE booker. As numerous people have indicated in shoot interviews and things of that nature, it's very difficult for WWE bookers to really have any "say" unless they're in Vince McMahon's "inner circle" and have been there for a while. If Gabe Sapolsky was brought on today, chances are that he'd need to be there for a while, letting a lot of his ideas fall on deaf ears for months, maybe even a couple years, before he could really grab hold of the booking duties, and why would he leave his job with Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE for that?
For the sake of argument, though, let's say WWE signed Gabe to a contract today, and then let's say Vince is giving him full booking power, with a booking team to work behind him. Do I think he could help? Absolutely. He wouldn't be the savior all by himself, and he would still need a lot of help, but it's a step in the right direction. I've said, numerous times, that WWE could really benefit from having more wrestling minds on their Creative Team. There have been far too many Hollywood soap opera writers coming and going, and none of them really seem to understand the business and what makes it special. Gabe Sapolsky would at least be a wrestling mind, capable of understanding how the business works. He's been around for a while, being a part of ECW during its prime and seeing the Monday Night Wars change everything. He helped to take Ring Of Honor to their greatest heights of success, and the company has literally gotten worse since he was fired. He has helped to build Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE from the ground up, turning them into two of the top indy promotions in the country. With all of that success, it shows that he knows what he's doing. If he came to WWE, had no handcuffs on him, and could do as he sees fit, there would definitely be a shift in the way the product is presented.
We'd see more of a focus on the younger guys. We'd see more of a focus on the hungrier guys. Gabe has always done a good job of listening to what the fans want, as far as who should be pushed is concerned (although, admittedly, he can sometimes push them to titles and keep the titles on them for too long, causing fans to turn on the wrestlers, but hey, it's still a start), so the fans would get more of what they want and less of what they don't. He would help, but again, I highly doubt this scenario will ever happen. As long as he's having success elsewhere, and has free reign to do what he wants, I don't see why he would give that up to be told what to do all the time, even if it is WWE.
What are your thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks naming Russell Wilson as their starting Quarterback?
If you follow me on Twitter, you might remember back to the NFL Draft, when the Seahawks drafted Wilson in the first place. I said that Wilson was going to be named the starting QB sooner than later, and maybe even from the start. I didn't care that Seattle had just signed Matt Flynn and gave him $20 million, $10 million of which was guaranteed money. Wilson was an absolute stud QB in college, and if he was taller, he would have been a first-round pick.
Other than his height (just a shade under 5'11"), Wilson brings everything to the table that you want in a QB. He's got solid arm strength to go along with, perhaps, the best accuracy of any QB in this year's class. He's a natural-born leader who teammates love going to battle with. He's fast, able to make plays with his feet, both when he wants to and when he needs to. He's one of those "first to practice, last to leave" type of players, always doing something to improve.
Some people seem to subscribe to that outdated line of thinking that shorter QBs can't succeed in the NFL, conveniently forgetting that Drew Brees is listed as being just an inch taller than Wilson, but I think that's generous. Brees is closer to 5'11" than he is 6'0". I don't know about you, but I'd say Brees has done pretty decent for himself in the NFL. As a fan of Seattle's division rival San Francisco, I can't say I'm too thrilled about the possibility of Russell Wilson being around for the next decade or so. Thankfully, Seattle still has a bunch of question marks elsewhere on the roster, so San Fran's reign atop the division should continue for a while.
What would have to happen to make you stop watching wrestling altogether?
That's a good question, considering how many low points I've sat through as a fan, only to come back for more. Terrible storylines, bad decisions, eras where money wasn't being made.. I've been through it, and I'm still here.
The "easy" answer would be if and when I have children, but even then, that might not happen. If I have a son, I would love to pass my love for wrestling on to him. It would be a great bonding experience to sit around and watch Raw with him, and when he gets older, if he wants to, we could even watch wrestling from "my day" together. If I have a daughter, that complicates things a bit. I'd love to watch wrestling with my daughter, but as many of you are aware of, little girls aren't as easily impressed with pro wrestling as little boys are.
If I have children and none of them are interested in wrestling at all, that would certainly cut into my watching time, but I'd probably still check out the occasional show on television, and would certainly make time to watch Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, etc. At this point, though, I have to assume I'll always watch somehow. Even if mainstream wrestling pisses me off to the point where I can't watch it anymore, there's independent wrestling all over the place to pick up the slack. I've been watching wrestling for 26-27 years now, and like I said, there have been some bad, bad times during those 26-27 years. It didn't faze me then, and now that there are infinitely more options, I don't think it'll faze me too much in the future.
If you could send a WWE worker to the indies for "seasoning" before bringing them back, who would it be?
I think my answer is someone that might catch a lot of you by surprise, but if I can explain myself, I think it will start to make more and more sense, and you'll start to agree with me.
I would send The Miz on the indy tour. For one, it's pretty clear that he has the potential to be a big star with mainstream crossover ability. That's incredibly important in wrestling, and if money can be made because of the guy, you'll want to keep him around. Right now, I think his biggest problem is that there isn't a lot of room for growth with his in-ring skills. He has trained in a certain style for pretty much his entire career, and he has nowhere else to go. Sending him to the indies would help him out. He would be able to work with different opponents, and the different styles can be beneficial to him. Working with these different people, and even training in their styles, could really help him for when he returns to WWE. If you really wanted to test him out, send him to Japan and let him train in the dojos out there. That would toughen him up like nothing else could, and I can guarantee you that he would be a completely different worker when he came back to WWE. I'll also bet you that the dojos would beat the stupid faces right out of the guy.
If you bring Miz back with a higher ceiling for his in-ring skills, then you can better capitalize on that mainstream crossover ability. Then you can send him to Hollywood, for example, as a higher-card worker. Putting WWE Champion Miz in a movie sounds a lot better for the company than putting Miz who hasn't been on television in two months in a movie. It's all about trying to maximize that money.
Who's going to the Super Bowl?
Let's start in the AFC. The popular pick seems to be the New England Patriots yet again. That offense is going to be scary good, with Tom Brady getting to throw to Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker again, but now that the team has added Brandon Lloyd to the mix, the offense gets even more potent. Someone that I need you all to look out for is Jeff Demps, who just signed with the team a couple weeks ago. Demps was a part of the USA 4x100 meter relay team in the Olympics this year, which means he's faster than the fastest player on your favorite team. Once he fully learns the offense (he has been focusing solely on training for the Olympics over the last several months, which puts him slightly behind his teammates right now), don't be surprised if he turns into a Darren Sproles-like player for the Patriots, as a Running Back who can also make plays in the passing game and will be a weapon in the return game. Perhaps more than any one player in the entire NFL, I'm looking forward to seeing what Demps can do. I've been a fan of his since his first game in college.
I think I'm going to pick the Patriots over the Houston Texans. I really, really like what Houston is putting together. They've built an impressive offense, led by QB Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson, and can put points up with ease, but now, they have almost quietly put together one of the best defenses in the league, with LB Brian Cushing, DE JJ Watt, LB Connor Barwin and CB Johnathan Joseph leading the way. Houston has two things working against them, though. One, inexperience. They've been "next" for a few years now, but have never been able to get over the hump. Can they actually do it this year? Two, injuries. Every year, they seem to be cursed with injuries. Schaub, Cushing, Mario Williams (who is no longer with the team), Foster and Johnson have all dealt with injuries in the last couple years. If they can stay healthy, they have the talent and the easy schedule (fourth easiest schedule, on paper, in the league) to do a lot of damage. Of course, if we're talking about strength of schedule, go ahead and guess who has the easiest schedule in the league. That's right.. New England does. If Houston stays healthy, they'll make a couple steps forward, but I still think New England's offense will be too unstoppable, and that's what will take them back to the Super Bowl, which would be their sixth trip to the big game in the last 12 years.
In the NFC, you have no idea how badly I want to pick my San Francisco 49ers to make it to the Super Bowl. They have a great chance, but I almost feel like picking them would be putting the jinx on them, so I'm going to go in another direction. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and make myself a hypocrite. Remember how I said that Houston's inexperience was something I felt was working against them? Well, my pick for the NFC Super Bowl representative is a team that has been to a Super Bowl in recent years (a losing effort), but a whole lot of the current roster (especially on offense) wasn't with the team then, so inexperience is something that this team is kind of dealing with, as well. This may surprise a lot of people, but I'm going with the Chicago Bears here. Year in and year out, Chicago puts forth one of the best defenses in football, but they're getting older, and their championship window is closing. Their offense has often been a question mark, but not anymore. Matt Forte is one of the best Running Backs in football, but now, the Bears look like they'll have a really good passing game. Jay Cutler needed weapons to throw to last season. Forte was the team's leading receiver, catching 52 passes in 12 games. Johnny Knox and Roy Williams had the most catches from any Wide Receiver, with 37 each. Now, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are there to save the day. Marshall is reunited with Cutler, who he spent two seasons with in Denver. Marshall's stats in those two seasons? 206 receptions for 2,590 yards and 13 touchdowns. Jeffery has been one of the top WRs in all of college football for the last couple seasons. The biggest road block for Chicago is the division they play in. They have to play both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions twice this year, and both teams are popular picks for the Super Bowl. Overall, Chicago's schedule isn't that tough, but you have to imagine that the four games against the Packers and Lions are going to take a lot out of the team, and it wouldn't be stunning if they went 0-4 in those games. Of course, it wouldn't be stunning if they went 4-0, either.
Either way, that's my prediction.. New England VS Chicago.. and if that happens, I have to go with Chicago. They have the type of defense that will get in Tom Brady's face, and that's when Brady starts getting frustrated and he starts to play differently. There you go, Bears fans.
How long do you think CM Punk will keep the WWE Title?
In a bit of a continuation from a recent column of mine, today (August 29th) marks Punk's 283rd consecutive day as WWE Champion. Night Of Champions is still 18 days away, so he's going to top the 300-day mark unless WWE decides to swerve the world and have him drop the title on a random episode of Raw.
The more I think about it, the more I think that John Cena's recent "if you don't defeat me in my hometown, then your entire reign means nothing" promo was something we should all be paying to. Cena had a point there. Through all of the wins Punk has had, and all of the days he's been able to hold the WWE Title, if he drops it to Cena in what will be billed as, perhaps, his toughest challenge (even though Cena doesn't really have the home field advantage, since he gets some boos in Boston, too), that will be viewed as being "bigger" than the previous 300 days. The way I look at it, WWE has put this much time and effort into giving Punk this kind of lengthy title reign, and having him drop it to Cena in what amounts as just a "regular" match is counter-productive and makes the last ten months almost a waste of time. I think he retains at Night Of Champions, and he moves forward as the champion.
When does he finally drop the title, though? Honestly, I think he's going to the Royal Rumble, where he loses to The Rock. I get that The Rock is a big selling point all by himself, but WWE knows that Punk having a 14-month title reign makes him a bigger and better "name", making the match against Rock even bigger and better in the process. Punk dropping the title, and then winning it back before the Royal Rumble, as I've seen some people predict, only cheapens things. You need to make the champion look as strong as possible if he's going to be going up against The Rock. In the eyes of many, Rock will be the favorite to win, no matter how long CM Punk has held the WWE Title.
So, there you have it. My prediction is that Punk makes it to 434 days, but then drops the WWE Title to The Rock at Royal Rumble. A 434-day reign would be the sixth-longest reign in the 50-year history of that particular title. Longer than anything John Cena has done. Longer than anything "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has done. Longer than anything The Rock has done. Longer than anything Triple H has done. Longer than anything Shawn Michaels has done. Longer than anything The Undertaker has done. Longer than anything Bret Hart has done. That's simply insane to think about.
As of right now, what do you think the Wrestlemania main event will be? If you want, you can predict a double, triple or quadruple main event.
Whether we want to see it or not, I think the company is aiming for a rematch between The Rock and John Cena at WrestleMania 29, but this time, with the WWE Title being on the line. Besides, I kind of have to go for this, since I've already used this column to predict that we'll be getting CM Punk VS The Rock at Royal Rumble. Rock wins, the Royal Rumble winner is from Smackdown and goes after the World Title, leaving the winner of the Raw Elimination Chamber in February to get the title shot at WrestleMania. Cena wins, we get the rematch, and we get even more mixed reactions from people about the entire thing. I'd rather see The Undertaker VS John Cena, but eh, this is about what I think will be the main event(s), not what I want the main event(s) to be.
Another rematch that I think we'll be getting is Triple H VS Brock Lesnar. The company has some interesting months ahead of them if they want to build towards that rematch, though. Trips asked for the first match, and Brock declined. It was only after Stephanie McMahon basically bullied Paul Heyman that Heyman angrily accepted the match on behalf of Brock. With Brock winning the match and injuring Trips for the second time, it wouldn't make sense (in kayfabe) for Brock to want a rematch. I've seen people say that Brock would be willing (again, in kayfabe) to accept a rematch if Triple H put his career on the line as a stipulation, but Trips has basically been pushed to retirement after losing the first match. It's not like he's wrestling random people on Raw. I've also seen some people say that both men could put their careers on the line, but there's two issues with that. First, why would Brock put his career on the line after already beating Triple H once? Two, the reports are that Brock will be negotiating for another one-year WWE contract, with similar "perks" to the current one. If that's the case, wouldn't that mean Brock would win the rematch, too? If he's just going to beat Triple H again, and this time, send him into retirement, why not just do it the first time and really make it mean something? I'm sure the company has thought of something if they're planning a rematch, WrestleMania or otherwise. I'd rather see The Undertaker VS Brock Lesnar, but eh.. well.. you know the rest.
If The Undertaker isn't going to be facing The Rock, John Cena, Triple H or Brock Lesnar, do I even have him listed to compete on the grandest stage of them all? As of right now, no, I don't, but I will say this.. if Taker isn't going to be facing any of the aforementioned names, I'd love to see him take on Punk. That would even fit in with Punk's desire to be respected. If he still feels disrespected after battling the likes of John Cena and The Rock, what better way to demand respect than to try and be the only person in wrestling history to beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania? As a matter of fact, I think I've talked myself into it. Put that match on the card, too. I just can't see WrestleMania coming and going without a match involving Taker.
For the fourth and final "main event", I guess I have to go with the World Title match. I'm wondering if WWE can hold off on having Sheamus VS Randy Orton in a legit one-on-one pay-per-view match until then. Alberto Del Rrrrrio is getting the title shot at Night Of Champions, and after that, Orton is supposed to be taking off to film the sequel to 12 Rounds, and he might not be around for Hell In A Cell, or at least not in time to really be involved in the top Smackdown match. Survivor Series can see the World Champion involved in a tag match of some sort, and maybe even a traditional Survivor Series elimination match. That leaves TLC to get through. Orton can win the Royal Rumble, unless the company wants to be especially ballsy and have Sheamus win the Rumble in back-to-back years. If that happens, Orton can win the title in a Triple Threat or something at TLC. Either way, the World Title can be defended in Smackdown's Elimination Chamber, which would finally allow for the one-on-one between Orton and Sheamus at WrestleMania. The return of Mark Henry at some point can help to keep those two apart in a one-on-one setting, as can Dolph Ziggler floating around the World Title for as long as he remains in possession of the Money In The Bank briefcase.
- The Rock VS John Cena for the WWE Title
- Triple H VS Brock Lesnar (Career VS Career, possibly)
- The Undertaker VS CM Punk
- Sheamus VS Randy Orton for the World Title
That's what I'm thinking we're looking at, but I feel like I have to clarify, once again, that I'm just answering the question of what I think we will end up seeing, based on where things are on this particular day, and not what I'd like to see. If that was the question..
- The Undertaker VS John Cena
- The Rock VS Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title
- Sheamus VS Randy Orton for the World Title
- CM Punk VS Brock Lesnar
That's relatively close. I just think Daniel Bryan has done everything that has been asked of him, and continues to be one of Raw's only bright spots on a weekly basis. After what happened to him at WrestleMania this year, I think it would only be right to give him a reward for next year. He wouldn't even have to beat The Rock. He would just need to hang tough and take Rock to the limit. That's all I'm asking for. I'm not asking for Bryan to beat Rock in 17 seconds to make up for his own 18-second loss. That's certainly not asking for too much.
Alright, that will wrap up this volume of Ask Hustle. Again, it's now your turn to send the questions in. I'd like to do one or two of these columns every month, but that really depends on the amount of questions I get, and how good they are. If you've already sent me a question and I didn't answer it today, don't worry. I'll get to the questions in future editions. Let's make this a fun staple of the LoP main page, ladies and gentlemen.
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