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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: Ask Al Laiman #1
By Al Laiman
Dec 14, 2012 - 11:00:56 AM

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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: Ask Al Laiman #1

Today I opened the forum to the fans on the ILT Facebook page and had them ask whatever they wanted me to answer in a column today. Let's get to it.

From Mark Adams: What was your inspiration to get into, and out of, the business?

I suppose at first it was the mere idea of being able to fight back against someone else.

For years I found solace in the escapism that was professional wrestling. Going through a troubled adolescence, it would take me to a place where I could do something about what was happening to me. I've written this before, but I identified most with the character of Kane, and that really helped me through some dark times. Getting lost in that world was the first time that I really wanted to be involved with that.

When I started getting older, the main appeal of wrestling was that it combined three things that I love: Performing, being an athlete, and music. Strangely enough, my favorite thing about pro wrestling at the time was imagining entrances and what kind of themes I would use. The wrestling itself was almost an afterthought. It's the spectacle that really drew me in, which is why other sports like boxing and MMA do nothing for me, not to mention why I hate jobber entrances. I'm a theme mark for sure, and I just love the setup that gives a match and a character.

Once I finally became of age to even consider something like that, it was the same problem I had in theater; I didn't want to be in the audience, I wanted to be on stage. I began to attend independent shows and ask the wrestlers advice on how to do it. I was determined that I would get my chance, because I felt wanting it for so long would get me there.

The final push was when I went through a horrific divorce. I lost everything, and really hit rock bottom. At that point, what the hell did I have to lose? I started going to shows, getting training wherever I could, and making three hour road trips to get the chance. It was the right thing for me at the time, as it became the escapism I once sought as a young kid.

As for what got me out of it? First of all, my life changed. I grew up, I got a better job, and things started taking priority. The suitcase life just wasn't for me anymore. That, and I knew I wasn't good enough to get anywhere else doing it. I'll be honest about that; I know for sure that I was not very good at it. I only got the chance at all because I worked my ass off and showed a ton of heart.

The other thing that got me out of it? I got my back X-Ray'd. That was a quick inspiration to not do that anymore. My neck has no curve. My spine is crooked. My hips are out of balance. Likely all of that came from the bumps, especially on the mats with no give. I'd like to walk in ten years, and after seeing that picture, it wasn't hard to make that decision.

As much fun as professional wrestling was, it was simply not that time of my life anymore. I moved on, and I was physically reminded of that every day. It was definitely worth it, but there's no way in hell I could do it again. I have a lot of fun writing about it, and that's enough for me.

From Reece Alan Theberge: What are 10 Independent Wrestlers that you see becoming big stars in other major companies?

You know, to be entirely honest, I can't really answer this anymore. When I first started coming up being a gopher boy for an independent company while I waited to get training, I saw a ton of guys that I thought would make it on the big scene. Now, a few of them are dead, some are retired, and a good deal have already made it. I also stopped following the indies once I got out of wrestling, for personal reasons as much as anything. I'll list a few that I saw that have already made it, and a few that I remember who you might see in the next few years.

Shiima Xion, now known as Zema Ion, is someone who I knew would make it the first time I saw him in 2006.

Sterling James Keenan, now in NXT as Corey Graves, just loves to live in that CM Punk-style sarcasm, and has the ability to make a crowd loathe him, or like him for the exact same reasons.

Chris Hero, now in NXT as Kassius Ohno, is someone I'd heard about for years before finally getting to see him live. The way he can both wrestle on a level most can't even imagine, and have the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, just blew me away.

Jon Moxley, now in WWE as Dean Ambrose, teamed with Sami Callahan when I saw him, and just had that badass edge about him.

Claudio Castagnoli, now in WWE as Antonio Cesaro, just oozed with charisma. It's hard to not yell "Ayyyyyyyyyyyye!" every time I see the European uppercut. This was a character I really got into for a long time, and that's why it's hard to call him Cesaro when I watch RAW.

As for a few I think you might see sometime in the future?

Ryan Mitchell, who had a run in OVW before a knee injury. He's just got the look of a Jericho/young Triple H-type wrestler, and I'll be damn surprised if he doesn't find his way to the main roster sometime.

Johnny Gargano was a guy I saw at a very young age, and his personality and in-ring talent is just undeniable. He's also the kind of guy who will add you on Facebook and actually talk to you.

John McChesney, who appeared in one of the Umaga jobber matches and nearly killed himself, is just a great all around talent. He was one of the first Indy wrestlers to whom I actually spoke, and I'll always be pulling for him to make it.

Ray Rowe, who could be a modern day Taz if given the chance. I saw him wrestle Samoa Joe and go blow-for-blow with him. He throws a mean suplex and is deceptively powerful.

Now for a few I thought would make it and didn't.

Low-ki, who is one of my favorites of all time, just was doomed from the start when they put him with LayCool in NXT2. Then they banned chops because of Ric Flair or something, and that was one of his trademarks. Regardless of the circumstances, I think it was a wasted opportunity. I would've rather seen his ghetto thug gimmick as opposed to the Kaval thing, personally.

Delirious, who moved on to becoming a booker and a trainer. What a unique and entertaining character he was. If you ever want some entertainment, just YouTube a promo of this guy, he was unreal.

Larry Sweeney, who passed away before he got his chance to make it to the big time. Rest in peace.

From Erick Michael Waitforit Cordero: How would you book Royal Rumble, specifically the WWE title match and the Rumble itself?

I don't try to play fantasy booker too often, but if I must, I'd much rather see CM Punk get a screwjob finish on The Rock and face him with the title on the line again at WrestleMania. Maybe that could be where The Shield is finally confirmed to be working for him or something. I don't know, but I'd much rather see those two continue a feud than see Rock vs. Cena II.

As for the Rumble, I'll be damned if it's not wide open for the taking. There are a few midcarders who are just on the cusp of making it to the main event, and that's who needs to win it, as opposed to giving a main-eventer another title shot. Kofi, Dolph (if he doesn't win with the briefcase), Barrett, Claudio/Cesaro, or possibly a wildcard like Damien Sandow. This could also be an opportunity for someone like a Daniel Bryan to get back into the main event.

What I want to see out of the Rumble is clear WrestleMania feuds and a Rumble winner who needs it. The last thing we need is another Alberto Del Rio title shot.

From Geed Lightfoot: I'd like you to talk about the current pay per view schedule. What 12 events would you schedule for the year. For example, I'd go rumble, elimination chamber wrestlemania, backlash, king of the ring, night of champions (kor winner getting title shot), great American bash, summerslam, fall brawl, Halloween havoc, survivor series, Starrcade.

If I had my way, there'd be more like eight Pay-Per-Views, but I'm not stupid. I know that's not going to happen, so I'll live with 12. No more than 12 though. I remember a while ago when there was a Pay-Per-View every two weeks for six weeks. Too much.

I don't see a lot of the current gimmicks changing anytime soon. If we have to keep the match theme Pay-Per-Views, I'd keep TLC and Elimination Chamber and lose Hell in the Cell and Money in the Bank. Put MITB back on WrestleMania and use Hell in A Cell to cap off a feud, not just because it's October.

I'd be in favor of King of the Ring coming back for sure. I don't see that many WCW-themed Pay-Per-Views making a return though.

I'd also enjoy if some of the older Pay-Per-View names were brought back, such as Backlash. Unforgiven was a name I always loved. Vengeance was a good name too.

So I guess I wouldn't change a whole lot, but I'd definitely want to be rid of the aforementioned gimmick shows and have them replaced with some of those names.

Well that does it for the first edition of Ask Al Laiman. Thanks to those of you who submitted, and maybe I'll do this again sometime. Add the Facebook page at the top of the column and you can catch it the next time.


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