App Alert ASK PWTORCH ALL-STAR PANEL #26: Six predictions on whether Brock vs. Punk 2 will happen, plus why is Triple H Power Trip so dominant, why do some dream feuds never materialize, and has Angle's legacy been hurt by TNA stint?
Sep 23, 2013 - 11:09:03 AM
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Gather around the All-Star Panel because the panel is about to panel...
PWTorch reader James K. asks: You guys are my first stop every morning and last every night. K, here is my question. After watching Raw every Monday and having grown up thru the Monday Night Wars. I don't think that WWE is only taking ideas from the corporate days I think they may be taking a bit from the NWO. In the height of the NWO, WCW never got a win or even a little bit of revenge back at the end of Nitro. It was always Hulk Hogan spray painting some one after a gang attack. Stone Cold always seemed to get his revenge or got to beat up someone and send the fans home happy. Would love to know what you guys think.
John Piermarini (ex-WWE Creative Team member 2009-2010, frequent PWTorch Livecast guest) answers: They're building up the evil empire to an unstoppable point to build up whoever finally takes them down. Whoever does, gains more by defeating an undefeatable opponent. It was why I wasn't a fan if how we would build John Cena opponents. He always stood tall during the build and again at the PPV. If you don't build up your opponent, it means nothing to beat them.
Justin Credible (current IWE Champion, former ECW World Champion, former WWF wrestler in the 1990s & 2000s, www.TheJustinCredible.com and on YouTube here including his ongoing Wrestling 101 Series) answers: You have to get heat on the heals. Real heat, so that when the babyface makes his return, he can clean house and send them home happy. I think WWE is simply trying to get some heat for the Triple H faction. You're on point with you observation.
PWTorch reader Dan E. from England asks: I'd like to ask what guides WWE's motivation in holding off on match-ups that would appear to offer potential money based on the wrestler's styles working well with each other on paper? For instance, Shawn Michaels and C.M. Punk seem like it could have worked well, but I can't remember a major title feud between the two of them when they were both on the roster. To a lesser extent, I also remember a pretty awesome Evan Bourne vs. Mysterio Raw fight that got interrupted as both were face at the time - but the crowd got very into it and, given the quality of the brief glimpse, I was disappointed they didn't turn it in a sellable match. So what holds back the trigger pulling in cases like this?
Brad Stutts (indy wrestling promoter, announcer, manager, show runner) answers: Various circumstantial reasons, but the short answer is usually stuff just comes up. Sometimes you want to wait til you have time to "do it right" or wait for a bigger show with a bigger audience or sometimes you might think it's a great match but someone else in power doesn't or sometimes other stuff gets in the way and it just falls through the cracks and never happens. It's all circumstantial.
Booking as much talent as WWE books for the massive number of shows WWE runs is kind of like that circus act where someone is spinning a bunch of plates and tries to keep them balanced. As soon as you get one thing settled there is something else or sometimes multiple things that need your immediate attention. You just kinda get each thing addressed and each show formatted as well as you can in the time you have. So with that in mind, sometimes you "hold off" on things until you know for a fact you'll have the proper time on the show(s) to devote to telling the story right and selling the matches justly. Sometimes circumstances dictate that as much as you'd love to tell an intricate story in the build up, a match that could potentially draw you money down the road just kinda gets thrown out there without a build-up or issue because you need something for that night and a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
Sometimes you PLAN to do something but one thing goes wrong or gets changed which changes a half dozen other things and then it either gets pushed back or never happens. Let's say for instance Shawn vs. Punk is planned for a major PPV with four weeks of television build. But then Batista gets hurt so Shawn has to fill in for Batista against Kennedy and now Punk needs somebody and not just anybody but someone who can in theory carry four weeks of television build and produce a marquee match for this show. So you gotta pull someone else away from a planned match/angle with somebody else to work with Punk and now the guy THAT guy was supposed to work with needs something because his plan changed too. See what I mean about all the plates spinning and you have to balance them as best you can?
(Follow Brad's indy promotion on Twitter at @cwfmidatlantic and him @stuttsy. Listen to his podcast at www.WrestlingWithOptimism)
Justin Credible (current IWE Champion, former ECW World Champion, former WWF wrestler in the 1990s & 2000s, www.TheJustinCredible.com and on YouTube here including his ongoing Wrestling 101 Series) answers: The creative team doesn't really think like we the real fans. To be honest, I sometimes question their ability to book for a pro wrestling audience. I guess it's more TV sitcom than old school pro wrestling.
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There are plenty of questions that are answered here by All-Stars that are also answered the same week by the PWTorch Staff, so you can get even more perspectives on many of these topics.
PWTorch reader Brandon asks: Thanks for running the best wrestling website on the web. Your insights are second to none and the Torch is a daily must read. I was wondering if you think Kurt Angle severely damaged/limited his legacy by jumping to TNA when he did?
It strikes me that had he stayed with WWE the past few years would have been the Angle/Cena era rather than the Cena era. TNA has never had a truly memorable angle or created a bona fide star independent of work the wrestler did in WWE/WCW, their title means little and Angle has aged in a company without creating great and memorable moments/matches. On the other hand Angle would have had serious business with Cena, Punk, Orton, Shawn Michaels, and probably a WrestleMania showdown with the Undertaker had he stayed. Love to know your thoughts.
Justin Credible (current IWE Champion, former ECW World Champion, former WWF wrestler in the 1990s & 2000s, www.TheJustinCredible.com and on YouTube here including his ongoing Wrestling 101 Series) answers: I agree. I don't recall the details of what happened, but I think WWE let Kurt go because of Wellness Policy violations. I do believe his legacy would have been enhanced if he had stayed. The feuds with Cena, Punk, and Taker would have meant much more. Now that Kurt is sober, maybe all that stuff can happen. Hopefully it's not too late.
Brian Fritz (host of Between the Ropes podcast, Yahoo! Sports podcast host) answers: I think Angle could have meant a lot more if he stayed with WWE rather than jumping to TNA. I agree that TNA, like as what has happened with others who have jumped there, has not taken advantage of him when it comes to star level and make him into a bigger deal and marginalizing him. Believe it or not, Angle has been in TNA longer than his time in the WWE. But yet, almost all of his memorable moments have been from his days with the WWE. About the only ones that stand out to me in TNA are the cage match against Samoa Joe at Lockdown several years ago and the feud with Jeff Jarrett and I feel like I'm forcing that one a little bit.
In WWE, he had memorable matches with Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho and even Shane McMahon along with great feuds with Steve Austin and The Rock. He even went from being a serious, Olympic athlete to showing a great comedic side. None of that has been used to its fullest advantage in TNA.
I will say this though to be fair. Angle was totally burned out when he left WWE and who knows what would have happened to him if he had stayed. And no matter what, you can make the argument that he was past his prime and slowly starting a downswing since his body was such a wreck. But I've wondered about that too when it comes to Angle.
PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell answers: It's interesting to think about the opponents Kurt Angle would have worked with if he remained in WWE. You mentioned some good ones like an established, top-star Cena and Punk, plus I'll add a rising star like Daniel Bryan. But, Angle had a serious prescription drug problem, he was in a dangerous spot health-wise, and WWE was not giving out part-time or structured-schedule contracts at the end of his WWE run in 2006, so Angle might not have been able to have those matches if he remained with WWE.
I think Angle's legacy regarding jumping to TNA is that he essentially kept TNA afloat by giving the promotion a serious credibility boost working with the likes of Samoa Joe and Jeff Jarrett, who TNA was built around. Health-wise, even though Angle has dealt with multiple personal issues while in TNA (arrests, DUIs, injuries, and rehab), he's been able to wrestle at a high-level for seven years after leaving WWE. I believe it falls on TNA for not maximizing Angle after his initial run with Joe and mid-run with Jarrett, as his recent work has been more of a utility player having good matches, not the centerpiece star. And, if TNA was hesitant to position Angle as a centerpiece star because of his health and personal issues, it probably would have been best to get Angle some help before his latest DUI arrest two months ago.
PWTorch reader D. Wayne asks: When do finishing moves stop being exclusively used by one performer and become a "catalogue" move (i.e. the piledriver, chokeslam, powerbomb etc)? Does a performer such as Steve Austin have a "say" in Santino using a variation of the Stunner? Did Orton "ask" to use the Diamond Cutter? Do the performers pick their own finishers or are they assigned to enhance the performers character? Thanks for your time and site!
Jonny Fairplay (Reality TV contestant including "Survivor," former TNA on-air performer, frequent PWTorch Livecast guest) answers: For most cases it's a decision by the office on who gets to do what move. Scott Hall mentions that he took his fall away slam from one of the Samoans on the Stone Cold podcast and when he got to WWE the move was taken away from the Samoans and was Hall's exclusively.
PWTorch reader Jason D. asks: Do you see a C.M. Punk vs. Brock Lesnar 2 happening? It seems the final resolution of the Punk/Heyman storyline would be Punk beating Brock and getting some final revenge on Heyman afterward. My question is how long would you wait to have their rematch from SummerSlam? Within 2013 yet or 2014 at the Royal Rumble or WM30?
PWTorch contributor Jon Mezzera answers: Yes, I see Punk vs. Brock 2 happening. It has to and it has to be the culmination of the Punk-Heyman storyline as you say. The second part of the question isn't as easy to answer. The long term plan was supposedly (and I believe Rock confirmed this himself) for Brock to take on Rock at WM30. That is now in doubt. Who else would make sense for Lesnar? Undertaker? But, if that's the case, then Lesnar really needs to win every match before then to drive home his threat to the Streak. So, you can't have him lose to Punk before then as far as I'm concerned. Cena? No thank you. Nobody else on the roster seems to make sense to me, so Punk would probably make the most sense. Can they string together a group of Paul Heyman Guys starting with Ryback to stretch this out until then? Do they want Lesnar to wrestle before then? If so, no other opponent makes sense, so that would almost mean you have to have Lesnar vs. Punk III at WM30 as a rubber match with the rematch having happened already. So much depends on how often they want Lesnar to wrestle before then.
Justin Credible (current IWE Champion, former ECW World Champion, former WWF wrestler in the 1990s & 2000s, www.TheJustinCredible.com and on YouTube here including his ongoing Wrestling 101 Series) answers: I think Brock will probably do something around Royal Rumble, but I don't see it being with C.M. Punk
Jonny Fairplay (Reality TV contestant including "Survivor," former TNA on-air performer, frequent PWTorch Livecast guest) answers: My guess is Punk gets his win and big match at WrestleMania against Brock. It's still not the main event.
PWTorch contributor Jimmy Eaton answers: Thanks for the question Jason. I can definitely see that match happening. I wouldn't be one to vote for it happening at WMXXX, but the Rumble does seem like a possible option. I think the only problem with the story is that they go from Lesnar to Axel, which of course is a step down. Ryback now is fitting in which makes sense, but the Lesnar piece does seem a bit unfinished. So is it possible? Sure, but will it happen? I think it's unlikely due to the fact that I can see Ryback getting a month or two, and by then will people get sick of Punk-Heyman? WWE may think so. But would I be sick of it? Nah. Bring on Punk/Brock II!
PWTorch contributor Benjamin Tucker answers: I've been thinking about a Brock-Punk re-match as well, but at this point I don't think WWE will have the match take place. They've completely removed Lesnar from the story at this point, and he isn't really needed with another monster heel in Ryback joining forces with Heyman. The match would draw some extra PPV buys, but one of the two in a rematch would have to lose definitively or else the finish would make the feud feel like it was going backwards. This scenario just doesn't work considering that WWE would be trying to avoid a Punk loss with him trying to stay strong in the number two face position in the company, and Lesnar is still reeling from his respective losses to Triple H and John Cena. Why reduce the credibility of one of the two wrestlers when they never really have to face off again? And as it stands, the Heyman-Punk saga can't be lasting too much longer. Reinserting Lesnar in the equation won't do much to alleviate the fact that the story is several months old by now.
But, let's say that Punk-Brock two does happen. In that case, it would have to happen relatively soon, maybe with having Punk face Lesnar at Hell in a Cell with the stipulation of if (when) Punk wins, he'll fight Paul Heyman in a cell match afterwards. It's the best way I see to use Lesnar, even though it does result in another loss for him. But while I doubt it will happen, I will admit that it would probably be pretty awesome to watch.
PWTorch contributor Shawn Valentino answers: Thank you for your question, Jason. I absolutely see a second match between Punk and Brock. I was at Summerslam for their first bout, and I think it was the best performance of Punk's WWE career. The storyline has continued since then, and thanks to the fact that Heyman is such a brilliant performer, they can further the feud without the presence of Lesnar. With the latest chapter taking place at Night of Champions, it cements the fact that Punk needs revenge. I am a huge fan of feuds that take a long time to build, even if it is simmering for a few months. Lesnar's schedule helps him seem like a bigger deal, despite the fact that he is on television much less than other superstars. Punk and Heyman have great chemistry, and we may see another match between those two before Brock comes back.
As far as the timeline goes, ironically, I think that all depends on somebody not involved in this story at all, and that is whether The Rock will return. If WWE finds out with sufficient advanced notice that Johnson will come back for Wrestlemania, then I believe he will wrestle Lesnar at Wrestlemania. If not, I can foresee this Lesnar-Punk build leading into the Grand Stage, with an encounter at the Rumble. I love when storylines are sparked or enhanced in the Royal Rumble match, and I think that can be an intriguing moment that will really make their rematch a blockbuster attraction. If Rock does return, I see Lesnar and Punk having a main event match at the Rumble, in a similar position to the Rock-Punk match this year. Either way, we can only hope that they can live up to the high standard they set in their first encounter.
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EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION: By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
Thanks to Pat McNeill and Anthony Jeselnik for the name of this feature. Just as "CSI" spawned "CSI: Miami," "Ask PWTorch" spawned "Ask PWTorch: All-Star Panel." Only without David Caruso. In any case, we are excited to present to you a new cast for the Ask PWTorch spinoff, which is available exclusively on the PWTorch App (or, for VIP members, on the VIP website too). You are reading this, so you are either a VIP member or have already downloaded the free PWTorch App on your phone or tablet. If you aren't a VIP member, why not? With VIP membership, you gain full access to both Ask PWTorch features on all devices you use to visit PWTorch - our App and our Website.
The "Ask PWTorch All-Star Panel" edition is scheduled to be published first thing in the morning (although not necessarily every single day, like the afternoon website-based Ask PWTorch is; we'll see about that as we move forward). It will feature an entirely different panel of experts and analysts than the afternoon Ask PWTorch does. We have assembled a wide range of contributors, which may expand or change over time, with the goal being to give PWTorch readers new perspectives from people who have particular areas of expertise. Along with our All-Stars from outside of PWTorch, several of our PWTorch contributors (but not the main staff who contribute to the website-based original Ask PWTorch!… you will be quizzed on all of this, so take notes) will also be regularly contributing, especially to current-events-related questions.
Let me introduce you to our panel…
Justin Credible: Current pro wrestler and former ECW Champion and longtime WWE wrestler in the 1990s and 2000s, Justin Credible (P.J. Polaco) currently is the IWE Champion. He travels as indy champion from Maine to Mexico with the title. He posts new Wrestling 101 YouTube videos at www.TheJustinCredible.com or on YouTube at his YouTube Channel.
John Piermarini: Ex-WWE Creative Team member who will provide a behind-the-scenes perspective from his years working for WWE including alongside Vince McMahon, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and John Cena. He has been a frequent PWTorch Livecast guest and was the subject of a comprehensive five-hour Torch Talk interview several years ago about his experience with WWE for most of 2009-2010.
Greg Oliver: SLAM! Wrestling reporter and wrestling book author (and hockey book author), Greg will provide a Canadian perspective on many wrestling topics. If you are a fan from Canada or have Canadian-related wrestling questions, Greg can help you. He is a wrestling historian who published a wrestling newsletter during the boom period of insider wrestling newsletters starting in the late 1980s. We were pen pals in the early 1990s and first met at a 1989 wrestling convention in Chicago run by Jon Gallagher of the Wrestling Forum (the first insider wrestling newsletter I ever received in the mail in early 1987).
George Schire: Author of "Minnesota's Golden Age of Wrestling," former Pro Wrestling Focus radio cohost with me in the early 1990s on KFAN, former contributor of history pieces to the PWTorch Newsletter, and multi-time guest on PWTorch Livecast "Interview Friday," he will be providing a historical perspective to Ask PWTorch.
Johnny Fairplay: Reality Star and Wrestling Manager, perhaps best known as Pat McNeill's Regis Philbin. He was an old neighbor of PWTorch senior columnist Bruce Mitchell who watched PPVs at his house long before he became a contestant on Survivor twice. He has been on many reality TV shows, the PWTorch Livecast numerous times, and follows wrestling very closely. You can read more about him on Wikipedia.
Brian Fritz: Host of the long-running "Between the Ropes" podcast, and now working for Yahoo! Sports radio, he also has been a guest on the PWTorch Livecast (and I've been a guest on his podcast), he brings years of reporting on wrestling including on-site interviews with wrestlers at major press events over the years. He follows today's wrestling and will provide his perspective and take on your questions.
Mick Karch: An early PWTorch Newsletter columnist over 20 years ago, Mick has been an announcer for virtually every national wrestling promotion other than the WWF, WCW, and TNA in the last 25 years. He currently works as an announcer on Minnesota indy wrestling shows. He got his start in wrestling running the Nick Bockwinkel Fan Club in the 1970s and is known for his sense of humor, strong opinions, and tremendous insight into wrestling's past dating back many decades, but he also watches today's wrestling regularly and can provide valuable perspective as a result of that span of time following and participating in the industry.
Brad Stutts: He has worked behind the scenes in wrestling in many roles, including taking jackets to the back, setting up and tearing down rings, running websites for indy promoters, running lights and music at live events, and performing as a manager, announcer, wrestler, and promoter. He currently is the lead announcer for CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling in North Carolina.
Current PWTorch Contributors: A mix of current PWTorch contributors will provide their opinion on today's wrestling scene and modern wrestling history questions, including Michael Cupach, Shawn Valentino, Michael Moore, Jon Mezzera, Brian Leahy, Jimmy Eaton, and Mike Roe.
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