Ask the Editor SATURDAY’S ASK PWTORCH STAFF: Has WWE celebrated two separate 50 year anniversaries? Is Bryan’s main event WM30 an “I told you so” moment for Triple H? Was Vince upset at Punk sitting with Dana White? Why do babyfaces win at house shows?
Mar 29, 2014 - 1:03:38 PM
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Pro Wrestling Torch was established in 1987 by Wade Keller. One of the primary traits PWTorch has been credited with over the years is assembling the best and most diverse staff of columnists with broad knowledge, but also areas of specialty where they have a particularly strong grasp of history. Every day PWTorch.com presents that team of writers answering your questions, some of which are fact-based and others of which are opinion-based. Either way, we've got you covered with Bruce Mitchell, Pat McNeill, Sean Radican, Greg Parks, James Caldwell, and Wade Keller. Collectively they have over 80 years working for the Torch, writing about wrestling and studying industry history and trends.
If you have a question you'd like us to respond to, send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. I, along with the Torch staff, will address your questions in this feature and also the “Ask PWTorch: All-Star Panel” edition which is also published most days here at PWTorch.
PWTorch reader Will S. asks: When Bryan was being held back and “screwed,” the Torch guys were highly critical of WWE and particularly Triple H’s handling of Bryan, and also saying Bryan had no chance of being the top face of the company. What are your thoughts now?
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: Are you contending that he wasn’t screwed? Storyline-wise, he was screwed over four PPVs in a row. In real life, are you contending that management didn’t have tons of doubts about him being a top tier guy they should invest in?
Bryan is the main event of WrestleMania 30, not because of a master plan by management, but because:
(1) The real-life pick to be the new top babyface alongside John Cena, Batista, was rejected by fans.
(2) C.M. Punk walked out, leaving Triple H without a logical WrestleMania rival.
(3) Despite six months of undercutting Bryan and demeaning him - under the guise of it being just a storyline and nothing more, when it reality it was a reflection of management’s real feelings and doubts - fans stuck with Bryan.
(4) The crowd totally rejected their attempt to divert him as a sorta-heel in the Wyatt Family storyline and popped bigger than they have for anyone else in a long time when he turned Bray Wyatt’s way earlier than originally planned.
So basically, fans persisted in telling Vince and Triple H they wanted to cheer Bryan in main events, not Batista, and a series of other unlikely events put Vince and Hunter in a position where there was nothing else they could do but give up on their resistance to Bryan and move him into a key babyface main event money spot at their biggest show of the year. And it’s just a bonus that some people think it was part of some master plan because they always know best.
PWTorch columnist Sean Radican answers: I still feel the same way about the way WWE booked Daniel Bryan beginning with the build to SummerSlam. Triple H's comments about Bryan on television were a true reflection of the companies feeling about Bryan and the way they booked him to lose on PPVs was counter-productive in that fans never got the payoff on any of the PPVs where Bryan had a shot at the WWE Championship.
I think circumstances have forced WWE to change their plans and insert Bryan into a match with Triple H at WrestleMania with the winner going on to the WWE World Championship match. If Punk hadn't left WWE and Batista hadn't bombed upon his return to the company, I don't think WWE would have altered their plans for WrestleMania. I want to see how WWE handles Bryan after WrestleMania if he does go on to win the title before making a final judgment on what they are currently doing with him right now.
PWTorch reader Jeff from Michigan asks: If the C.M. Punk situation isn't a work, does it infuriate Vince to see Punk sit next to Dana White at UFC 170?
PWTorch columnist Sean Radican answers: No.
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: Considering Vince McMahon tipped into the Billionaire Category again around the time Punk sat next to Dana White at a UFC event, I suspect Vince McMahon didn’t care much at all. I think between the new TV deal, the launch of WWE Network, and the soaring stock value of his company, McMahon truly didn’t care who Punk hung out with after walking out early on his contract.
PWTorch reader Shawn D. asks: Great site. Thanks for all you do to keep me in the ‘rasslin loop. My question is in regards to the booking of WWE Live Events. Is it a financial necessity for them to book the babyfaces to win 95 percent of house show matches because of an uptick in feel-good merch sales? And could WWE script an explanation for the drastic difference in outcomes between live and televised events? Like... maybe the good guys do better when the cameras aren't rolling because they don't feel the enormous pressures of being a role model for millions of TV viewers.
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: House shows are generally populated by families, so sending them home with feel-good babyface wins only makes sense. These shows don't "count" for anything, so what would be the advantage of having a lot of heels go over? WWE doesn't even acknowledge house show results on TV, so why would they have to come up with reasons why there are differences in house show results vs. TV results? Generally, the only people who care enough about house shows to follow the results online already understand the logic behind faces going over on house shows and thus no explanation is needed.
PWTorch reader Ryan P. asks: I've seen it stated numerous times that the WWE Hall of Fame isn't a "real" Hall of Fame, just a marketing tool. Aside from a physical location that can be traveled to, what makes their HOF any less legitimate than any other HOF? I'd argue that the baseball HOF and the Rock & Roll HOF are just as political, yet they're considered legitimate by most people. So what is it that makes WWE's not worthy of the credit?
PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell answers: Great topic. Don't get me started on the Baseball Hall of Fame, as the stakeholders have managed to turn that into a farce. WWE's Hall of Fame actually looks legitimate compared to baseball's.
But, isolating WWE's Hall of Fame, I think there are three main reasons why it's not viewed as a legitimate HOF. (1) One person decides who gets in - Vince McMahon. There is no "committee" of experts asked to weigh merits and evaluate careers, then decide who gets in. (2) There is no criteria to be selected. It's why Koko B. Ware is included and Randy Savage is not. (3) It is a marketing tool. Granted, the other HOFs are marketing tools to get people to come visit their physical location, but WWE generally selects HOF candidates based on either selling tickets for the HOF ceremony, packaging a DVD together, or trying to draw additional WrestleMania PPV buys. It's marketing first, then recognition second. Whereas, the other HOFs try to recognize first, then market second.
PWTorch reader Ben H. asks: My favorite part of the site is Ask PWTorch. I just love it. Recently I started feeling like I had heard “50 Years” before with the WWE as they continue to roll out WWE 50 stuff. Watching the WWE Network, In Your House #1, I was reminded where I had heard it before. “WWF: Over 50 Years of Sports Entertainment.” If they are pushing this year as being the 50th anniversary, but they claimed that in 1995… what’s the deal? I know WWE likes to re-write history and all, but over 20 years later saying it’s been 50 again? Hoping you guys can break down what’s going on. Thanks and keep up the good work!
PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill answers: Jess McMahon and Edward McMahon began promoting pro wrestling shows in New York state in 1932. That's where WWE got that "for over 50 years" line when they redid the opening to their television shows in the 1990s.
In 1963, Vincent J. McMahon and Joseph "Toots" Mondt broke off from the National Wrestling Alliance and formed the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). WWWF is the precursor to the current WWE. That's how the McMahons can (factually) claim WWE has been in business for over 50 years.
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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
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He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
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