One of my favorite things about writing these columns for such a large readership is getting to meet new people. People of all age brackets. People of all races. People from all over the world. People of all types of fandom. It always interests me to get to know these people that aren't exactly like me. I know people that are into the same wrestlers and matches that I'm into. I like to meet those of you who can enjoy my work, even though we like different things, hate different things, and have different outlooks on the great sport of professional wrestling.
Perhaps more than any other demographic, I like to know what's going on in the mind of a female wrestling fan. The stereotype of a female wrestling fan, of course, is that they don't really care about who wins, who's a "main eventer", etc. Instead, all they care about is who they think is the "cutest", etc. Every single person reading this right now.. male or female.. knows at least one person like that. Maybe it's your sister. Maybe it's your mom. Maybe it's your wife. Maybe it's you. When a female reader of mine reaches out to me, it's just fun, as I mentioned, to find out what goes on in their mind, in an attempt to defeat the stereotype that has dominated for years.
Picking someone's brain for a little while? By George, that sounds like an idea for a column!
If you associate with myself and the "Twitter Crew", or if you're a regular viewer of our Lords Of Podcast Roundtable live shows, you should know at least a little bit about my special guest today. Over the last several months, she has easily become one of my favorite people to chat with, both about wrestling and about life, in general. She's quite unique, from the way she types to the point-of-view that she generally has, but you'll probably see that. Instead of me doing the talking here, I'll just allow her to introduce herself..
I was asked to do a bio so people get to know a little about me before we get started. My mind was like.. :/ .. because you'll get a fair idea of what I'm like after I answer several of the upcoming questions, anyway, but there are some things I can share here. First off, my name is Bryony, but feel free to call me Brie or Peekachu or even Briekachu. I'm 18, from Australia, and in case you couldn't tell by my name, I'm a girl. I bet I have your attention now. Strangely, that always seems to do the trick. Anyway, I've been watching wrestling since 2007, when I got to high school and my friends were into it. I don't remember too much of my early experiences with watching wrestling, up until I watched my first WrestleMania. If anyone remembers that year, it was the WrestleMania which saw Shawn Michaels face John Cena. I fell in love with wrestling, and with those two wrestlers in particular, at that moment. Since then, I have watched wrestling every single week. My friend had tapes, and I tried my best to watch as much as possible to get an idea of the past. I'm still not too familiar with the 90s, but I've seen most of the 2000s and on. My love for wrestling continues to this day, despite a lot of "lows", especially with WWE.
One thing you must know about me, and something I probably should have brought up sooner, is that I am a HUGE women's wrestling fan. I don't mean the Divas and the Knockouts. I'm talking about promotions like SHIMMER, WSU, and NCW-FF. In other words, real women's wrestling. Before I go any further, I'm not bashing all of the mainstream women in wrestling. I enjoy Beth Phoenix, Natalya, AJ Lee and Layla, but even Beth struggles to hold up against the likes of Sara Del Rey, Mercedes Martinez, Madison Eagles, MsChif, Cheerleader Melissa, Lufisto, and my all-time favourite, Portia "FRICKEN" Perez. If you've seen any of their work, you will know what I'm talking about. Australia's very own Madison Eagles was the top female wrestler for 2011 according to Pro Wrestling Illustrated. A lot of people who talk to me believe me to be a huge source on women's wrestling, and they trust my opinion on the subject, despite my age and how long I've actually been watching wrestling. In fact, I actually got into independent women's wrestling a lot later than 2007. I only found out about SHIMMER in early-2010. I saw footage and matches, and I immediately wondered why these girls weren't in WWE or TNA. I would then turn women's wrestling into a religion. At the time, I wasn't able to watch every event, but I followed every result like I would die if I missed it. I read up on every single member of the roster. I watched YouTube clips. I looked at forums to see what everyone else thought. It's like I breathed women's wrestling. I recently came into possession of the first 42 volumes of SHIMMER shows so that I can watch every single one of them and see what the classic SHIMMER was like compared to the newer SHIMMER that I've already seen. I highly recommend that everyone check SHIMMER out, starting back with the first volume. Here's a music video from the first SHIMMER volume that you'll recognize if you follow me on Twitter, and if you look closely, you might even see some familiar faces in it...
I guess, before we move on, I should mention how I found LoP. It started like most everyone else who has the internet, and I was looking for spoilers. I came across spoilers one day, got hooked, and wanted more. I ended up finding a site, and LoP was that site. I bookmarked LoP, and would go on to visit the site every day for news. I never even noticed the columns, until one day, I saw "Raw Running Diary", which got me interested. We all know who does the Running Diaries for Raw. I read it and I loved it. I started reading Hustle's columns early in his first streak. I believe I was only a month or so late to it. I had never commented on a single column, however, due to me being a shy, nervous wreck. How did I go from that to actually participating in a column here? A friend of mine convinced me to join Twitter, since Twitter is used for following people like a NINJA (which is a word you best get used to me saying). I followed Hustle like a fan girl following her favorite personality, but I actually got a follow back! Hustle and I began talking, and we found out that we had some similar interests and a lot of similar perspectives. Through Hustle, I would eventually meet a lot of other writers and personalities from LoP through the Lords Of Podcast Roundtable shows. If you don't go to these shows, you are missing out! It's an amazing chat, full of great people, hosted by the awesome guys of LoPR. Thanks to Hustle, I finally built up the courage to put this together and see where it leads me. Why? Because I'm Brie "Effing" Lucas, and I am pretty awesome!
Wait.. what? We're not done yet? I thought that was the entire column. My goodness. Well.. I did say she was unique, ladies and gentlemen. That is so much swag, I want to kill myself for not having that much swag.
For the rest of the column, Brie and I came up with some questions to answer, so it's basically like both of us are filling out a questionnaire. There are a variety of topics covered in the questions, so it should be fun to see how much our opinions differ, if at all. Like above, Brie's answers will start out with purple text, so you can figure out who is who. No more wasting time. Let's get it on.
Will Brock Lesnar's impact in WWE be a positive for the company in the long-term?
In the long-term, I'm not quite sure. In the short-term, his impact will be tremendous. Mainstream media will be all over his feuds. ESPN is talking about him. Sports Illustrated is talking about him. UFC President Dana White tweets about him. Simply put, he's a draw. No matter who he's feuding with, he'll be bringing extra attention to the company and to the overall product. I don't have any problem with this move in the short-term, but if you're looking at the long-term, there are some potential problems. He has signed a one-year contract, so there isn't much of a "long-term" with him. If you base things on what we know about Brock and his personality, you can't really expect him to re-sign once this contract runs out. In this year, with the extra eyeballs that Brock will be bringing to the product, the company needs to have Brock elevate at least one person. Bringing in the names from the past is fine, but at some point, all of these names from the past will be too old and/or broken down to come back and wrestle, and there won't be any huge stars on the current roster to help keep things going. Bringing Brock back to feud with John Cena right off the bat could, and should, work, but between the feud with Cena and the rumored feud with The Rock to close out his year-long contract, Brock needs to give the "rub" to guys that could really use it. Someone like Sheamus, for example. Someone like Daniel Bryan. Someone like Dolph Ziggler. I'm not necessarily saying that Brock should be jobbing out to these guys month after month. However, bringing him in to run roughshod over the entire roster for an entire year, only to finally be taken down by another part-time performer isn't helping the company whatsoever in the long-term. What worries me the most is that I can actually see WWE doing something like that, and then really regretting it in, say, 2015, when nobody is buying their top-level guys at all and the overall product continues to see declining pay-per-view buyrates and television ratings.
Even though Lesnar is only around for a year, with the type of contract he has (rumored to be two-to-three appearances, per month, minimum), you have to imagine that he's going to be on television a lot, and there will be plenty of ways to use him. Short-term, you can imagine the ratings getting a slight boost, with older fans and even some MMA fans wanting to check out the Lesnar hype, but what about if that hype dies down in a few weeks? People will start seeing Brock as a regular roster member, and the shock of him being there will be gone. In a few months, you're going to have a worker that is older than a large portion of the roster, and who is only around until WrestleMania 29. At the same time, this worker will remain quite over, even after the initial shock wears off. Some may not agree with this, but if you have someone who is that over and who will only be around for so long, PUT SOME OF YOUR CURRENT ROSTER OVER! I'm not saying to make Lesnar lose all the time. If he really is going to face The Rock at WrestleMania 29, you can't have him looking weak, but at the same time, he shouldn't be undefeated for the entire year, either. Alright, you could, but why? When he leaves in a year, you just had someone come in, destroy your entire roster, and then disappear again. You've built up no new stars, you lost a big name, and now you're back at square one with ratings dropping because a lot of your roster isn't as over as they could be. Lesnar's impact on the product can definitely be felt, long-term, if they book him to help put some people over. This is a prime opportunity to build new names for the future. New Lesnars, new Rocks, new Stone Colds, new Cenas, new Ortons, etc. Even in losing, someone can be pushed and can look strong, so do that while you have Lesnar around to help things. The answer to this question is undetermined right now, and basically comes down to WWE's booking.
Would shutting down WWE Studios be a better option for the overall product?
This should be a quick answer. WWE movies aren't doing anything productive at all, are they? Last I heard, they're losing money, not making money, and that's obviously bad for business. There's no questioning it. I won't say that all of the WWE movies are bad. There are some good ones, but when they're losing money and becoming a drain on your product, what can you do? Keep making movies until you run out of money? It's a waste of time to be putting all of this effort into something that isn't making money, and that seems to be declining in quality, as well. I didn't watch The Chaperone because it looked bad, even by my standards. If the movies are making a profit, keep them. A business needs that profit to keep growing, and if the movies are popular, it only means more exposure for the overall product, providing more viewers and keeping everything moving uphill. I say that, if this return to R-rated movies doesn't work out, shut it down and stop the bleeding of your money. There are probably some people that think WWE has an infinite amount of money, but really, that's a foolish thought.
I don't know about all that, but some better decision-making needs to start happening when it comes to the company's movies. Choosing Randy Orton to star in The Marine 3, with his notorious history as a real-life Marine? Choosing to relaunch the Leprechaun movie series, placing Hornswoggle in the starring role? Those just scream "bad idea", and make me question the people that are in charge of these things. Apparently the company has decided to branch their movies out a bit, and will be putting out all sorts of things, instead of the PG-rated family movies. I guess that's a start. They don't have to pigeonhole themselves with a certain type of movie now, and can do anything.. a family movie, an action movie, a horror movie, etc. Maybe we'll see some sort of romantic "chick flick", in an attempt to pander towards the female wrestling fan. It's a start. I guess.
Is it better to be a "mark" or a "smark"?
I might surprise a lot of people with this answer, but I think it's actually better to be a "smark". Hear me out. I like to be "with knowledge". I like to watch pro wrestling and understand what's going on, but even that only goes so far. I wouldn't want to know everything. Just what I currently know is good. I don't have to stop and ask questions about why this is happening, who that person is, why that person is doing this, what that means, and what this person said. I've watched a lot of wrestling through the years with people that would be considered a "mark". You know the "go-to" line of thinking about how "smarks" can't sit back and enjoy a wrestling show like a "mark" can? That isn't even close to being true, unless that "mark" is a little kid. The "marks" I've watched shows with always end up asking the questions like I mentioned earlier. They can't watch 30 seconds of a wrestling event without having to stop and ask why something is happening. How is that "sitting back and enjoying"? That seems entirely too stressful for me. I hate watching a television program that I can't even come close to understanding. That's the main reason why I stopped watching Lost after a season or two. I couldn't go through a scene without wondering what the hell was happening on the screen, and you'd get ten new questions before you'd get one new answer, so it would just get worse and worse. I'll gladly deal with having at least a rudimentary understanding of wrestling, what happens in the ring, what goes on backstage, etc.
Mark, easily. As entertaining as wrestling is to me these days, nothing compares to when I first started watching and wasn't even looking up anything wrestling-related on the internet. I didn't know any backstage news. I still felt it to be real, and I just got lost in the world of wrestling, cheering my favourite wrestlers on with all my heart and even getting upset over heel turns. Nothing compares to that. These days, I am on LoP every morning, checking the news, and a lot has changed. I've noticed that I've actually become a lot more critical, but that's not completely a bad thing. I still enjoy wrestling to a large extent, and I still get emotional from time-to-time as I did when I was a mark (Daniel Bryan VS Sheamus at WrestleMania 28, for example), but I find myself spending more time criticising WWE for their every move instead of simply enjoying the product the way it was meant to be enjoyed. I will never give up on wrestling, and while being critical isn't totally a bad thing, I think most people can agree it was better when you were oblivious to everything around you and you simply became trapped in the world of wrestling. That seems to be a lot harder to do when you read all of the backstage news, but really, who can resist looking it up?
What is your favorite moment in wrestling?
There have been lots of great moments in wrestling. I could go with WWE in an instant, but I want to go with something I bet most of you have not seen, just so I can share something new with the readers. Yes, it's a women's wrestling moment, but please don't stop reading! It's a moment that happened not all that long ago, and features my two favourite women in wrestling today. 2010 was the year, and NCW-FF was the promotion. A tournament was being held to crowd their first-ever champion. There were some big names involved, but it all came down to two names. Two names that I couldn't choose between. Portia "Frickin" Perez VS Lufisto. This match might be my favourite for that very reason, I'll admit. It may not be a five-star classic, but it was a nice mark-out moment for me. With every near fall, I was excited, and I don't even know if I was cheering or booing each one. I don't even know what sounds I was making. I was just excited. I'm going to show a YouTube clip that features footage of the match, so maybe you'll see why I love the match so much. If I recall correctly, Lufisto was coming off of a pretty serious injury, and this was shortly after she made her return, and the emotion after the match is wonderful. I was overwhelmed with emotion watching this, and although I will admit to being a pretty emotional girl, it just goes to show how good and marketable women's wrestling can be, which is why WWE or TNA need to get working on that, so we (or just me) can see more moments like this.
I decided to stick with moment, and not with match, because I've already discussed my favorite match on several occasions in previous columns (Steve Austin VS Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13). The moment I've decided to go with is something that brings out various emotions in me. When I watched it live, I cried. Openly wept. They were tears of joy, yes, but I'm not afraid to admit that I sat there and let the water works go. In the years since, I can still cry when I see it, but now, those tears are actually a mixture of joy, sadness and anger. Some of you have already figured out what I'm referring to, but for everyone else.. my favorite moment is the post-match celebration between Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero at WrestleMania 20, after Benoit had just won the World Title. As Benoit celebrated, with tears streaming down his face, his best friend appeared in the ring with tears streaming down his face. I'm actually getting emotional just sitting here recalling it. Both men had been through the ups and downs of the industry together. They had been victims of backstage politics. They had been told, for years, that they'd never be World Champion material because of their size. Yet, there they were.. Benoit as the World Champion, and Guerrero as the WWE Champion.. on top of the world's largest wrestling promotion, on wrestling's largest stage, in wrestling's most important city. It was such a set of raw, real emotions that both men were going through at the time. They were exhausted, but they had finally made it, and they made it together, just like almost everything else they had accomplished in their careers. An amazing moment, without a doubt. A mere 20 months later, Eddie Guerrero was dead. A mere 19 months after that, Chris Benoit was dead. Just over three years after the magical moment at Madison Square Garden, neither man was with us anymore, and that's incredible to me. I can still watch the celebration, to this day, but as I did, it just brings out various emotions in me now, but it still brings out emotions, period, so I had to include it here. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to move on, because my heart is getting heavy with the more I think about this topic.
What five WWE wrestlers would you promote and center the product around if you were in charge?
Would it surprise anyone that I'd go with John Cena to start? Like I said in the LoPR Fantasy Draft breakdown.. if I'm going to be the one in charge of things, wouldn't it make sense to go after the biggest full-time name in wrestling today? Someone that is guaranteed to get a reaction, positive or negative, from crowds all over the planet. It just makes sense to me, and if it doesn't make sense to you.. well.. I don't know what to tell you at this point. My other four names would be CM Punk, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan. There shouldn't be a single person that is reading this right now that has an eyebrow raised. Nobody I listed should come as a surprise. With Orton, you have someone else that is incredibly marketable. With the other names, you have the diversity in the ring that I like to see and would be glad to build a company around. It wouldn't matter who else is on the roster when you have guys like Punk, Ziggler and Bryan that they could play off of. I went with the marketing giants, and I went with the ability giants. If you're centering the product on those five names, it makes everything else much easier. Of course, you'd still need a semi-competent Creative Team to help put everything else together, but I guess that's a different discussion for a different time. I've already covered a lot of this in previous columns, so I'll just leave the door open for Brie to get her shine on with this one.
There are a lot of names that I like and would love to centre the company around, but I will try to remain as unbiased as humanly possible. That should be pretty easy, because I'm very unbiased. *cough, cough* Let's go with a list...
1. CM Punk: Maybe not the answer some would expect here from me, but it seems pretty easy to base a company around Punk as your lead. He has the IWC in the palms of his hands with his "pipe bombs", and the live crowds love him, as well. That's something that isn't all that common, since the IWC seems to prefer hating the people that live crowds love most of the time. Punk has everything going for him. He's over, is very talented in the ring and on the mic, and even does well ON COMMENTARY! Throw in the fact that he's Straight Edge, and that works well with being a role model, which is a benefit for the "poster boy" of the promotion.
2. John Cena: This one isn't so surprising, I bet. John Cena is my favourite wrestler on the roster, and I have loved him since I first started watching wrestling. People seem to beg for a heel turn for him, and I don't see it ever happening, but it's funny to see the teases of a turn happening time and time again, just to see people get upset when it doesn't happen. (Editor's Note: Shut up, Brie.) Cena is someone you want your promotion centred around because of how hard he works, how dedicated he is, how loyal he is, how he's willing to do anything for the business, how he's a great role model, and he's a lot better in-ring performer than people give him credit for. He participates in numerous quality matches. Stop using excuses, people. He knows what he's doing.
3. AJ Lee: No, I am not being biased. I'M NOT! For those that follow me on Twitter, you know how much I love AJ, but I am picking her strictly for unbiased reasons. Realistically, she's a great role model for girls everywhere. I'm 5'2" and 90 pounds. It would be great to see someone small like me and just as "geeky" (I love video games) take on a competitive sport and win, showing that you can accomplish anything if you put your heart into it. She can play a great underdog if you have her go up against someone like Beth Phoenix or Natalya. There is so much potential with AJ given her size and gimmick, it would almost be stupid to not do anything with her. I don't see why WWE didn't push her sooner, and I'll be severely disappointed if they do nothing with her now.
4. Dolph Ziggler: I see nothing but big things for Dolph, and I hope everyone else sees it, too. It's funny to look back at him playing a male cheerleader, and then see what he's like now, but he has improved so much in the ring and on the mic, and he's arguably the best seller on the roster right now. He can take a simple move and sell it like a Fatality (video game references for the win). The biggest selling point, to me, is that once Dolph really gets over, he can use his abilities to put people over rather easily. It's a way to continue building more and more stars. There is room for improvement when it comes to Dolph, but isn't there room for improvement with everyone? Either way, Dolph has a great future, and I would make sure of that.
5. The Usos: Who are they? I know some of you are asking that because they're never on television, and that's unfortunate. I also say that because live crowds don't seem to know their names, either. When the Usos yell out "UUUUU!", the crowd is supposed to yell back "SOOOO!", not repeat what they said. I know these guys aren't really over, and I know that tag teams seem to be dead, but this is who I would centre the WWE product around. You need a tag division, and if done properly, this could be a tremendous division. I also believe they have the "it" factor to eventually get themselves over big. They seem like a risky pick here, but I'm taking them, anyway.
I know there are a lot of people I missed out on here. At the top of that list is Daniel Bryan Danielson himself ("YES YES YES!"), who I love, and would easily make a top ten, but I'm trying to do something a little different here to see what could happen. We can't all do the same thing, right?
If you create your own custom gimmick match, what would it be?
This isn't about an opinion at all, and will probably show how little creativity I have. The match is pretty simple, and if you have WWE '12, you might have already done it if you've played with the match creator. A Fatal Four Way Best-Of-Three/First-To-Two Falls Match. I know, it's not exactly creative, but I made it on WWE '12, and it was a lot of fun. It seemed to add a little more to matches, especially when you're more exhausted, but to be honest, I don't see how it can be done in the real world. I know, but it's all about fun. It was either this, or a Three Stages Of Hell Fatal Four Way Match that would include cages, ladders, tables and so on.
This is actually much more difficult to come up with than I thought it would be, so I'm just going to go with the first thing that comes to mind, even if it doesn't necessarily make a whole lot of sense. I took a few of the ways you can win a wrestling match.. by pinfall, by submission, and by knockout/stoppage. Now, let's use John Cena and CM Punk as examples, to make this explanation easier. You'd have Cena VS Punk in a match where the result is to be the first person to gain by fall by pinfall, submission and then by knockout/stoppage. It would go in that order, too.. pinfall, submission, knockout/stoppage. You'd have to get a pinfall, and then a submission, and then a knockout/stoppage. It has to go in that order, no matter what, so if Punk gets a pinfall and then a submission, he's close to winning the match, but Cena still has to follow the pinfall, submission, knockout/stoppage pattern to win. The biggest potential downfall to this is that you're looking at a match that could end up with a total of five falls from beginning to end. That either means a really long match, or it's one of those ridiculously-booked matches where the pinfall happens at 7:11, then submission happens at 8:24, the next pinfall happens at 10:07, and so on and so forth, with everything just bunched together. Whatever. Like I said, this was just off the top of my head. It doesn't have to be a perfect idea.
Will the WWE Divas or the TNA Knockouts ever come across as a serious division?
I'm going to cheat and say both "yes" and "no". Both divisions will eventually be viewed as more serious as they are now, because both are viewed as nothing more than a joke at this time. It's sad to say that when Beth Phoenix is the current Divas Champion, but it is what it is. These things tend to go in cycles.. we'll see the Divas and/or the Knockouts look relatively strong for a while, and then they'll look pathetic for a while, and then they'll go back to looking relatively strong again. However, the "no" comes into play because mainstream wrestling audiences have been force-fed a certain type of women's wrestling for decades now. That can't just change with the snap of your fingers. As good as the women of SHIMMER are, if you were to take two of them and put them on Raw this week for a 25-minute match, the crowd would shit all over it. They just wouldn't be prepared for something like that, after seeing one thing over and over again for years on end. It would take a lot of time and effort to condition the current mainstream wrestling fans to view women's wrestling as something legit, and because it would take so much time and effort, I'm just not sure either WWE or TNA would be willing to have the patience and make it happen.
In reality, it's difficult to say "never", especially when it comes to wrestling. However, it's very difficult to say if the WWE Divas will ever become a serious division. It's not that the division is completely talentless, but the division is booked as a complete joke. WWE has had numerous chances to turn things around, including the Divas Of Doom storyline, but that turned out horribly. It just doesn't seem like WWE will ever take the booking of their Divas seriously, even when it comes to the truly talented ones they have like Natalya. The Knockouts are a different story, because at one point, they actually were a great division. I really enjoyed the Knockouts, but that went downhill quickly, and now I have very little faith in them, too. I do believe the Knockouts have a better chance at redemption than the Divas, but even then, my hopes aren't very high. To TNA's credit, the Knockouts are booked well, which is a good sign, but the overall talent level of the division is still incredibly weak at the moment. They need to get better talent in the division, and it's not like the indy scene is empty. There are plenty of good names out there. TNA should know, because they've gotten rid of a lot of those names over the last few years.
If The Rock became a more regular roster member, would it change the negative feelings towards him?
I believe it will help a lot of the negative feelings towards Rock, especially when it comes to members of the WWE roster. I know that it's only "anonymous" reports, more often than not, but there seems to be a lot of negative thoughts about Rock backstage when it comes to him working a part-time schedule. If he does show up more often, I can see the locker room lightening up a bit, and some of the IWC might even see him in a more positive light. However, I don't think it will change things completely, because a lot of the negativity also has to do with his mic work in the last few months. I wasn't watching wrestling during The Rock's prime, but I've seen old clips and footage of his promos, and I think, based on what I've seen, that Rock isn't as great as he once was. It has nothing to do with me being a John Cena fan. If you look at the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, I just feel that Cena was clearly winning the verbal war. People often say that Cena isn't the best promo man around, and that he's quite repetitive (although these same people tend to like Rock's promos, which is contradictory), but what if Rock was having a promo battle with CM Punk? Anyway, to get back to the question, I can see a lot of opinions changing if Rock became a more active wrestler, but it won't change everything, especially for those who feel Rock is overrated.
Absolutely, it would. It would change some of the negative feelings that a lot of wrestling fans have. It would change some of the negative feelings that a lot of the boys in the back have, whether they're willing to publicly admit to it or not. It's basically the same complaints that people have, whether you feel it's right, wrong, or you're completely indifferent to the whole thing.. Rock doesn't make enough appearances, Rock is only out for himself, Rock doesn't associate with anyone else backstage, blah blah blah. I don't think it takes multiple college degrees to figure out that Rock making more appearances would solve the "Rock doesn't make enough appearances" problem. Everything else is really on Rock himself. He can appear on every episode of Raw, every episode of Smackdown, every episode of Superstars, every episode of NXT, every pay-per-view, every episode of every WWE YouTube show, etc.. if he doesn't want to associate with his co-workers, that's on him, and it's still going to lead to negative thoughts and opinions from others. On top of that, we'd all be pretty foolish if we thought Rock didn't have a lot of "say" in what happens with his character's booking during his return. I'm not saying he has full, WCW-style "Creative Control" in his contract, but I'd be willing to bet a lot of money that he has the ears of those who matter, and that they'd listen to anything he had to say about the way he's booked. If he doesn't want to put anyone over, again, that's on him. He doesn't have to put anyone over. However, if he doesn't, that also isn't going to change some of the negative opinions people have of him, but getting him to make regular appearances more often would be a great start to changing the "image" that he seems to have built up over the past year.
Who is the most overrated wrestler on the WWE or TNA roster?
My pick is going to be somewhat of a controversial choice, because this person is a general favorite of the internet fans. I'm going with Cody Rhodes. Now, to clear things up, I don't hate Cody Rhodes. I don't even dislike him. I just think the IWC has gone out of their way to overrate him. He's a solid worker. That's it, though. He's just solid. He isn't phenomenal. He isn't amazing. He actually doesn't excel at anything. He's a below-average sized worker (6'2" and 215 pounds, but I think both of those stats are generous), and when you're that size, you generally need to really stand out in something. John Cena is shorter than that, but he can bench press 813578763423435 pounds. Daniel Bryan is shorter and smaller than that, but he might be the best technical wrestler on the planet today. AJ Styles is shorter than that, but he can fly around with the best of them. CM Punk is about that height and size, but he's also one of the best technical wrestlers alive today, and is probably one of the best promo men on top of that. Cody can't bench what Cena can. Cody can't wrestle like Bryan or Punk can. Cody can't fly like Styles can. Cody can't speak like Punk can. Again, he's above-average-to-good at a lot of things, and that's the type of thing that leads to an incredible midcard career. Guys are in the WWE Hall Of Fame right now because they're above-average-to-good at a lot of things. That's nothing to be ashamed of. However, if you listened to a lot of people in the IWC, Cody should be a multiple-time World/WWE Champion by this point. No. Where he's been at is probably where he should be. He's doing just fine for himself.
This is a hard one. There are quite a few people you could pick here, but when I stopped to think about it, one name immediately came to mind, and I imagine this name is going to raise a lot of eyebrows. Before I say who it is, know I am a fan, and before you send any fiery arrows my way, just read my explanation as to why I picked him. My pick is..
"EFF YOU, BRIE!"
Hey, stop it! Let me explain. I know it's unfair to pick him because he has yet to actually do anything since making his return, but I do have my reasons. I realize that Brock is MASSIVELY over right now, but like I said, he hasn't actually done anything. People want him in main events. People want him to destroy everyone. People are in love with Lesnar and what he might do, but can he do it? Does he still have "it" in the ring? My selection of him here really comes down to whether or not he still has it, so in a few weeks, I might change my pick without a problem. For now, he's over with a group of people that don't really know what he's capable of at this point. Just in case Lesnar still has "it", I will name someone else here, but I won't go into too much detail because it's fairly obvious to a lot of you as to why this person would be overrated. How about Randy Orton? It's a "safe" pick for overrated, I know, but I figured I should play it safe after calling Brock Lesnar out. If you want me to mention a TNA wrestler, I'd probably go with either Mr Anderson or Jeff Hardy. I'll go on record right now and say I never bought into the Mr Anderson/Kennedy hype. I've just never liked him, unlike Hardy, but he's been heavily praised by a lot of people as someone who WWE missed out on and someone who could have been WWE Champion, and I just never saw that. Maybe I'm blind, but Mr Anderson is simply overrated...
Who is the most underrated wrestler on the WWE or TNA roster?
Wow, this is difficult. Once again, there are a lot of options for this one. Dolph Ziggler or Austin Aries, who both could be/should be main eventing? Santino, who doesn't get the credit he deserves for his in-ring ability? Darren Young, for being John Cena's twin and for knowing what a girl wants ("But... I got a reservation at McDonalds!")? I could even go with an endless amount of women on the independent scene who deserve praise for being talented even though most people don't know who they are. I could even say John Cena himself, for being better than people say he is, but I think my pick is going to be...
No, not DA BYSICKLE~! I'm actually talking about Hunico. The guy that was Sin Cara for a few weeks. It was actually a toss-up between him and Sin Cara, to be honest, but I already saw Hustle's pick, so I figured why not? Hunico is pretty good in the ring, but he never really seems to get a chance to show that. Did anyone really pay attention to his feud with Ted DiBiase? Anyone? Raise your hand if you even know what I'm talking about. Exactly. The feud was horribly booked, but I feel WWE missed a big chance with Hunico on several occasions. Unfortunately for him, his first big feud disappeared with Sin Cara's injury, but there were other opportunities to capitalize on Hunico. For example... the group with Epico and Primo. They started one week, and I was excited for the possibilities, but what happened? Hunico was dropped from the group, and would then go on to feud with DiBiase, while Epico and Primo would go on to become one of the most forgettable Tag Team Champions in a long time. Hunico's "gangster" gimmick isn't a difficult one to get over as a heel if it's booked right, and it just goes to show you the current state of the WWE booking situation. I would love to see him on television, in a match where he can actually show off what he's capable of, like when he was playing Sin Cara. Perhaps when Sin Cara comes back, we can get the feud that never really got going in the first place, and both men can be elevated because of it. For now, Hunico has the talent and the gimmick to, at least, make it over as a midcard talent, and yet, he sits on the sidelines with DA BYSICKLE~! Other notable names for this category would include Tyson Kidd and Kofi Kingston.
Initially, I was going to select Santino here. He's a good choice. However, so many people are jumping on the "Santino is underrated" bandwagon that he's actually getting close to shifting all the way to the other side of the page into being overrated. Instead, I'm going to go with a name that most people wouldn't think about because he hasn't been seen on television in months. I'm going with Sin Cara. People are laughing at this very second, I know, but that's fine. Look at all of the problems Sin Cara had to this point in his WWE career.. only the Wellness Policy violation can be blamed on him, and even then, he still says it was a mistake, and that he wasn't aware that he was taking something that is a violation of the policy. He's currently out with a serious knee injury, and people hold that against him, but it was a freak injury. Those happen to pro athletes all the time. Those happen to regular people all the time. He also had some communication problems with a variety of opponents, which led to botches and awkward moments in the ring. That isn't his fault, either. That's WWE's fault for doing such a mind-numbingly stupid thing. You can't just take a wrestler from Mexico.. one who doesn't speak English, mind you.. and throw him into a WWE ring right away. For one, he didn't have time to learn the "WWE Style" that the company likes to push as being so important. Two, he was being put in the ring with people that wouldn't be able to talk to him in the ring to go over spots and transitions. By the time someone backstage was smart enough to come up with the idea of placing Sin Cara in matches with people who speak Spanish (or to place him with a referee that could speak Spanish), it was too late, and the majority of the WWE Universe, "mark" and "smark" alike, saw him as nothing more than a joke. The company hasn't released him, which indicates.. to me, at least.. that they intend to keep using him. With his time away, the company had better be pushing him to learn English. He doesn't need to know enough to cut promos on a weekly basis or anything, but he should definitely know enough to communicate with his opponents so that if they say "Crossbody off the top", he knows what the hell they're saying. Also, when he's medically cleared to return to the ring, he most certainly had better be heading to FCW. It doesn't even have to be to actually wrestle official matches with FCW, but he needs to put more time into training and trying to learn the aforementioned "WWE Style". All you need to do is hit up YouTube and search for "Mistico" to see what he's truly capable of when he's comfortable in the ring and there aren't any types of communication issues taking place. Definitely an underrated worker.
Yeah, I think it's time to start wrapping this one up. My second column of the day, and this one is as long as several columns all by itself.. oh, and by the way, I'll be posting the new Hustle Madness write-up in a few hours. I need to get on out of here. Before I wrap things up, I'll turn things back over to Brie for a moment. Say goodbye, kiddo.
I really can't believe I just did 50% of a column. Wow. I have wanted to do one for a while, but I've been really nervous, so a big "thank you" to my host for allowing me to do this with him. As a long-time reader, this meant a lot to me, and I hope your readers had fun reading this and don't think any less of you for my below-average writing skills and wrestling knowledge. This has been a lot of fun, so once again, a BIG "thank you" to Hustle for this. Maybe, one day, I'll try something like this again, and enough of you will have enjoyed this to give me a shot when that day comes. Just because the third time is the charm... "THANK YOU, HUSTLE". I've done something I was really afraid of, and I feel like I've really accomplished something today.
No, thank you for the inspiration and all of the ideas you helped with for this column, and for helping me get back into writing again. I have a sneaking suspicion that these people will see you again sooner than you think.