IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: Ask Al Laiman #5
By Al Laiman
Jan 24, 2013 - 10:36:51 PM
credit Tom Jenner
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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: Ask Al Laiman #5
Subhodeep Dasgupta from the ILT Facebook Page: Its a question that one of the columnists posted in his column ranking all the WrestleManias, and I would like to know your thoughts on it..
If John Cena was to retire today, what do you think would his legacy be?
Like him or hate him, John Cena is the biggest star of the last eight years. CM Punk is coming close to being able to challenge him, and if Daniel Bryan starts getting to the main event picture again, his amazing ability to get reactions everywhere may start to challenge it. However, it's not even up for discussion. He could retire right now, still very much in the prime of his career, and I think history would be kind to him.
If wrestling has taught me anything, it's that nostalgia creates fondness. Once someone has retired, especially a big name, any mention of them or an appearance is usually a pretty big deal. Think about The Rock. Before he came back in 2011, how often was it lamented that he'd gone without any real send-off, and when would he come back and who would he face? For that one moment in 2011 when that music hit and everyone exploded with glee, before it became cool to hate on him, that is what seven years of nostalgia can do. I don't see John Cena going away for seven years, but you can bet with his dedication to the company, they will utilize Cena nostalgia, and I bet that split reaction will cease to exist.
Jeffrey Matthews from the ILT Facebook Page: If you could manager any wrestler (past or present), who would it be and who were some of your personal favorite managers?
I managed a tag team with whom I was in a stable a few times. Being the "enforcer" of the group led to a lot of that. I have to admit, I really didn't care for it. As a face, it's just basically a glorified cheerleader, and as a heel, while it can be fun to mess with the fans at ringside, I much preferred being involved than being a spectator.
That was of course before I got my back and hip x-rays and realized that being involved in the action isn't always a good thing. Nowadays, if I got a chance to be a manager, I would probably enjoy it much more, even if I had to take a chokeslam every now and then. If given the choice to manage any wrestler past or present, I would manage the guy who in turn was also my favorite manager, Larry Sweeney. We were already basically known as the Sweeney Guys, so a chance to actually get up and do it one time, I'd jump at the chance.
So you know my first favorite manager. Another one of my favorites was the guy who managed me to my first win, PIV. He became one of my best friends in the business during the transition of my heel turn, and is one of the only ones with whom I keep contact, not to mention one of the many people I'll be meeting up with for some ham and beer at WrestleMania. PIV has the over-the-top personality and on-the-spot wittiness that make a great manager. He's flamboyant, knows when to be afraid, and sells like crazy. It was an honor to have him raise my hand when I won my first match, and as my friends greeted me and hugged me on the way back, it was one of the best moments of my life.
Keep in mind I missed the old-school era of managers, so if you're not seeing your favorite here, I do apologize. Paul Heyman, moreso with Lesnar than Punk because he needed the mouthpiece... Stevie Richards, in any incarnation... Harvey Wippleman... and I also think Lita was really great when she joined Team Xtreme.
Tom Jenner from the ILT Facebook Page: I got a question for ya Al: Why does it appear that the current roster will by default need a top title reign to cement their legacy (and possible HoF induction) when guys like Perfect, Roberts, Rude, etc. never held the big one and are still regarded as Top Guys? Has the talent fallen that far or is there just an overabundance of titles therefore making it difficult to truly get over without one?
In my opinion, it's more that the emphasis is placed on championships as a defining career legacy. Sports are the same way. Peyton Manning and LeBron James, for example, are two who were judged as less than great because they didn't have the ring. Previously there were stars like Karl Malone and Dan Marino who didn't have one, but nowadays that seems to be the determining point of greatness. Same with wrestling, the focus has shifted.
Title reigns were longer, so new champions were more rare back then. The titles weren't defended as often, the Intercontinental title had more prestige, the tag titles were a big deal... So not only did it mean more to have a championship, but you didn't necessarily have to have one to be considered a top guy because there were so many less who actually got to have it. Piper is given as much credit for the feud with Hulk Hogan, even though he didn't get the title out of it. Kayfabe was still intact as well, so I imagine that had a lot to do with it.
@RandallMorrison: @AlLaimanLOP if Punk isn't the leader of the Shield, who do you think will be revealed & who would you like to be revealed as the leader?
I don't think it'll end up being Punk, merely because that would be too obvious in the end. It could all be a red herring, but with the way things are being booked, I think the Shield may be on their own in their vigilante quest.
However, my personal guess is that Vince McMahon will once again reveal himself to be the Higher Power, because he can never stay face for too long, and pull out some ham with IT'S ME AUSTIN... ER... CENA!
If I had a choice though, I'd like to see someone like Ziggler be the mastermind behind it all. For someone who really needs some direction, that could give him the boost he needs.
@51Sebastian: @AlLaimanLOP Do you think WWE is trying to create a huge wrestlemania event in future as Cena vs Orton, willingly keeping them apart now?
Dear JBL I hope not...
Maybe a few years ago when these two were the top guys, that might've worked. They've done that feud, and I won't say the matches were bad, but the feuds were nothing spectacular. My personal dislike of Orton aside, he's a main eventer, but he's not a top draw. I don't think it would be nearly as huge as the last several to the casual fan. Orton may be thought of highly within the business, but I don't think he has the aesthetic appeal to make for a huge main event like that. I could be wrong though, and Orton turning heel may be just what he needed to do that.
@HustleLOP: @AlLaimanLOP What are your top 20 favorite things about me?
That's an interesting question, but if you insist... In no particular order...
1. You wrote a column back in the day that drew my attention back to LOP.
2. You were consistently entertaining in writing the aforementioned column and helped keep my interest in wrestling during a time where I stopped watching.
3. You wrote every day for JBL knows how long, and for that you have tremendous respect from me.
4. You voted for me for my first Column of the Month on the forum, which in turn got me my first post here on the main page.
5. You helped me get involved with the ill-fated LOPMagazine.
6. You had me on LOPR.
7. You do a killer Charles Barkley impression and it still makes me laugh when I hear the word "terrible."
8. You originated the Lobsterhead rants.
9. When I had an idea for spinning off the Lobsterhead rant, you gave me permission to use it.
10. Whether you actually do or not, you have this aura of caring that you have fans and readers, but not giving a fuck if someone doesn't like you.
11. Whether or not I disagree with your opinions, you're consistent and always explain them well.
12. You've been following Jaded Hope since the very first episode.
13. You were one of my first followers on Twitter.
14. Even though I write a RAW review, I still check yours the first thing Tuesday, just like I did before I was writing columns.
15. Your latest gimmick of the parting gifts to jobbers joke is funny as hell.
16. Too many limes!
17. I'm a District Manager.
18. I drive a Dodge Stratus!
19. The one time you used a Lobsterhead rant to quote Animal House, and I marked out like hell for it.
20. You're Hustle, and I respect you enough that I actually went through with answering this question, even though you may have been being facetious.
EDIT: 21. You reviewed my book. That was awesome of you.
Joshua Pugh from the ILT Facebook Page: Tell me about your comedy influences Al. Your a funny guy. Would love to know what some of your favourite comedies are.
That's a very good question. I planned on doing a Jaded Hope episode on my Top 10 influences, so consider this a bit of a preview.
My first comedic influence was easily my Dad. Not only is it where I got some of my sarcasm and sometimes cynicism, but on Saturday mornings when we were kids, Dad would turn on infomercials and make fun of them incessantly. He also has a habit of making a wise-ass remark during a serious part of a movie that never lets me see that movie the same way again.
My Dad was also responsible for exposing me to a few comedians, which in turn unleashed a huge interest that probably went a lot farther than he thought it would. When I was young, Dad introduced me to an album ... "Toledo Window Box" from George Carlin. Carlin not only became my favorite all-time comedian, but was responsible for transitioning me through an awkward time in my life, and inspired me to speak out and be firm in what I believe. His biggest influence on me, however, lay simply in finding ridiculous things, especially about language, and making fun of them.
Kevin Smith is a storytelling influence on me. I'm lukewarm on most of his movies, but if you've ever seen his Q&A DVDs, I personally find them infinitely funnier than his movies. I love the way he can take a simple question and talk about it at length and never cease to be entertaining. That, and he knows who he is, and isn't afraid of that. I hope some day that one of my projects can turn into a success like Clerks did.
There are two, however, that are responsible the most for the material you see on this column, both filmed and written. Those two are Doug Walker and Patton Oswalt. Doug Walker, for those of you who don't know, is better known as the Nostalgia Critic. Something about that web show just captured me and lit a fire under my ass to start creating things and trying to get my work out there, especially after he started winning awards for it.
Patton Oswalt is probably my favorite living comedian, although Louis CK, Bill Burr, and Christopher Titus aren't far behind. Patton has a way of combining sarcasm, cynicism, and nerdiness, and if you've read my work, you can probably see where that influence came from. But it was meeting him in March 2011 that truly sparked a lot of this. He told me to get my work out there, to get out as much as possible and never stop. Afterward, I emailed him on Facebook, and he took the time to respond, which so few people in his position do. Two years later, recently as a matter of fact, I wrote him back to tell him how much progress has been made since he gave me advice, and while it was a short response, he still took the time to do it.
I do like some comedy movies, and occasionally a sketch show like Whose Line, but a majority of my comedic taste lies in standup comedy.
@lahiem11: @AlLaimanLOP Do you think there will be a bigger name then Mick Foley going into the Hall of Fame this year?
If there was, I think we would've known by now. The normal process of announcing the Hall of Famers is starting at the top of the card and working their way down. Not to mention, they're probably saving a big splash for WrestleMania 30. I also don't think they'll want anything to steal the spotlight from Foley, who has earned his spot after a long time away and what he has given back to the business itself. I think you won't see any names bigger than Foley or Backlund.
@SOSfrom305: @AlLaimanLOP What is your favorite finisher currently being used in wrestling? What's your least favorite?
You don't see it on TV, although Cesaro uses a version of it, but I love Low-ki's Ghetto Stomp. If you've ever seen it in person, it looks freaking devastating. Not just the top rope Warrior's Way version either, because I've seen him roll out of hurricanranas and land it, as well as using the tree of woe or straddling the corner ropes. I've been witness to some amazing matches between him and John McChesney where a lot of those aforementioned took place. It's a sick-looking move every time it hits.
Least favorite currently being used? Is anyone still using the Pumphandle Slam? I went on a rant about that one before. I'm sure there is somewhere, so I don't need to go on that one again. Fuck that move.
@Wilki1993: @AlLaimanLOP what do you think the key quality is in making a main event level face and why is it so hard to keep faces over?
The key quality in being a main event face has been pretty well documented. The most successful faces in professional wrestling have been versions of the person playing them with the volume turned the whole way up. People can identify with that, but with the increase in the... dare I say... HAM... it represents the spectacle that is pro wrestling to a T. Being someone with which the crowd can identify and giving them a reason to get behind you is easily the key in that department.
Why is it so hard to keep faces over? The Internet generation isn't allowed to like anything. It's cool to only like someone until they get popular, and then be snarky about it. But the Internet just loves to hate in general, and with this ADD generation having the patience of a squirrel on cocaine, it's hard to keep up with what they want when even they don't know it sometimes. It isn't of course a blanket statement, as I have plenty of great readers here who don't fit those qualities, but as a whole, it seems to be "uncool" to like things. And when you can't give people what they want without them not wanting it after you give it to them, it's hard to want to cater to them.
Chris Spiker: Do you think The Rock vs. CM Punk is a bigger deal than Rock/Cena?
CM Punk has become a big star, and it has only grown with the deeper he gets into heeldom, so to speak. He has challenged the Great One in a way that no one in a long time has. While Cena and The Rock made fun of each other, it was a respect battle. You get the vibe in this feud that Punk and Rock hate each other, and with Punk getting the one-up on him several times, it makes it more anticipating.
It also makes a difference that Punk is a heel. Face vs. Face matches can work, but a good guy vs. bad guy where a lot of people like the bad guy works too. I'm loving it so far, despite the one Voldemort promo we won't talk about. These are two of, if not, the best mic workers in the business right now, and we're getting to see them face off. When Punk gave Rocky the GTS at RAW 1000, we all anticipated what those two in a verbal battle could be like. I am not disappointed.
This could not only be a bigger, better match than Rock/Cena, but it could put Punk permanently on the Cena level. We were talking earlier about Piper... Punk with the right rub could be the top heel that has been sorely missing since... I'd have to say Triple H. That could happen here, and I think that's far more interesting, even if it doesn't have the same mainstream appeal... yet. If they do the rematch at WrestleMania, if this lives up to the expectations, it could be.
That does it for this week's mailbag! I know what you're waiting for, and here it is! Thanks to everyone for posting and reading!
IN CASE YOU MISSED JADED HOPE #96