Canton’s Corner: TJR Q&A – October 22
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport

Welcome to Canton’s Corner. I’ll be changing it up this week. A few months ago I was doing monthly Q&A’s on thejohnreport.net where I would do a post asking for reader questions and a few days later I’d come back with answers to whatever questions you had. On Thursday I asked for questions and you responded with over 150 that I will sift through to give answers to. I have no idea how many I will answer. I’m giving myself a few hours on Friday & Saturday to write as many as I can. I think you’ll like a lot of the answers as they cover a lot as far as current events to more historical things in the wrestling business.

Last Week’s Poll Results
The poll question was: How many PPVs should WWE have per year? The result after over 2,300 votes:
10 – 31%
12 – 26%
8 – 24%
6 – 12%
4 – 5%
13 – 2%

I voted for 12, which is what it used to be. The most popular choice is 10, which means you’d like to see two months in the year where there isn’t a PPV. That would mean a PPV approximately every five weeks in the year. I wouldn’t be against that. I like the idea of 8 PPVs too. I think six and four are too few while only a 2% like the idea of 13 that WWE has now. I hope somebody in WWE looks at this poll to get an idea of what their fans TRULY want in terms of PPVs.

This Week’s Poll Question: Does WWE Films help or hurt WWE’s image?
WWE Films. The only WWE Films movies I’ve seen are The Marine and Legendary. I didn’t really seek either out. They were on when nothing else was on for me to watch. Most of the films lose money. Most fans laugh at the films. What do you think?

I voted for it hurting WWE’s image. They want to branch out, but this isn’t a productive way. It does more harm than good. It’s money spent on an endeavor that is not putting money in their pockets. Focus on being a sports entertainment company. Or wrestling as some of us know it as. That’s what you are. Be that. Thanks.

Your Questions, My Answers
The questions will be in blue font. My answers will be in regular font. I’m keeping it simple, fella.

Do you think Chris Jericho leaving the company and Edge retiring within the last year helped put CM Punk in the position he is in right now? Especially Edge retiring because I think that’s the main reason Randy Orton is now on Smackdown. I mention Jericho because he was a favorite of the IWC before he left. Punk’s mic skills and in-ring ability have always been great so why did it take so long for Punk to get his major push when he was ready in 2009?
I think Punk’s talent got him to where he is at. That expression about “talent rising to the top” is true in his case. Just like it was with a guy like Steve Austin, who became a bigger star than a lot of people thought just because he was given the ability to “be himself” on screen. Yes, Edge retiring and Jericho leaving opened doors for others to main event, but Punk was also holding the World Title while those guys were around too. The other factor was his contract was up, so they got behind him, he got an extension (as well as a raise) and now he’s a hot commodity that has main evented four straight PPVs with more to come most likely. Remember those promos with Triple H where he said he didn’t have a look of a typical guy that WWE likes to push? That’s why it took so long. Eventually, though, talent does rise to the top.

Have you seen the ESPN special on Scott Hall? I haven’t and am afraid they will distort his story to somehow paint the picture that wrestling is “bad” and Hall is living proof of it.
I think you should see it. I think any wrestling fan should. Yes, it does paint the bad side of the business, but it’s important to know stories like this and to try to help people avoid the things that can lead to these kinds of problems. The more you know, the more you can do to prevent it from happening to somebody you know. Here’s a youtube link to the piece about Hall. It’s worth 18 minutes of your time I think.

Anyone with a brain in their head wishes that Jericho would come back soon… do you see it happening by the end of the year? If he does return, who would you like to see him feud with (besides Punk)?
I think January seems the most likely whether he returns at the Royal Rumble itself or prior to that. It makes sense around then because then it can lead to a WrestleMania storyline with whomever his opponent would be. I think he’d return as a part-timer (similar to Shawn Michaels’ schedule when he was active the last few years) and in a babyface role. As for feuds, I’d love to see him feud with a guy like Dolph Ziggler, who to me is a rising star. I think feuds with Daniel Bryan and also Wade Barrett, which would be a natural feud based off their NXT relationship, would be fun too. It’s Jericho. One of the best ever. He can feud with anybody and make it work. I just want to see him back.

Which TNA original superstar would have a chance at main eventing in the WWE if they were their and why?
AJ Styles because he has the most talent of anybody there. His size hurts him in WWE’s eyes, but if they really got behind him he would be the guy that could main event if they allowed him to show off his amazing abilities.

Which WWE wrestler do you think is the best opponent for AJ Styles?
I’ve seen him against Christian, Daniel Bryan & CM Punk. I’ll go with Dolph Ziggler because I’ve never seen those two in a match together. Could be amazing.

How good was Bad News Brown? Always remember him being cool when I was a kid because of his attitude. Could he have been World Champ material?
I don’t remember that much about him. Looking back on old tapes of him in my adult years, what stood out with him was that he was more of a character than anything. In the ring he wasn’t that good and didn’t have the kind of charisma that Vince McMahon loves. I don’t think he was World Champion material. Maybe I haven’t seen enough of him.

How would you book Wrestlemania 28?
We know Rock vs. Cena goes on last. Don’t have the WWE Title in that match. I’d have CM Punk win the Royal Rumble and my WWE Champion would be Dolph Ziggler, who wins it at Elimination Chamber or perhaps in some kind of match at the Rumble. That’s the WWE Title match, which Punk would win. On Smackdown, I’d put the World Title back on Orton, have Daniel Bryan challenge him and beat him in a face vs. face type of match where Bryan is put over huge. Chris Jericho would be back as a babyface, he faces The Miz. As for Undertaker, I’m not sure. Get back to me on that. Either a Triple H rematch or I guess CM Punk if they don’t put him in the WWE Title match. I would not book Undertaker to lose either.

Can Scott Hall be considered as a true wrestling legend with the likes of Bret Hart? Or is he just a washed up has been? Sorry had to ask this one also due to ESPN.
I saw the special. It was very revealing, but sad to watch as well. I think Hall’s legacy is intact no matter what happens the rest of his life. Obviously it’s sad to hear of all his problems, but that doesn’t mean I will forget what he did in the WWF and how huge he was for the nWo in WCW. That group formed 15 years ago and are still talked about today. He made it cool. I’ll always remember Hall. I just hope he finds a way to clean up his life in a way to salvage what time he has left.

It’s obvious the WWE have a fear of elevating talent to main event status eg, Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger even The Miz have gotten huge pushes, only to be brought back down to the midcard, or in Bryan’s case well below the midcard. What I’m curious to know is that in the long term they are obviously going to have to push some of these guys to the main event long term, but who do you think can sustain such a push and be a commercial success?
If you’re asking if there’s anybody that’s a sure thing I would say no. Look at 2003 WWE. You had Lesnar already main eventing in his late 20s, you had Cena, Orton & Batista all making their mark and look at how they all blew up. I don’t see anybody right now that you can point to as a future top guy and be absolutely right about it. Maybe Cody Rhodes, who is only 26, but I wonder if he has the personality for it. They need to do a better job of pushing guys, sustaining their pushes and seeing who gets over that way. The start-stop method doesn’t work. It’s a lack of long term planning more than anything.

Who do you see having a more successful career, Hawkins or Ryder?
Ryder. I think he has more charisma, more personality and they are about the same in the ring. They’re only 26 years old or so, which means they have plenty of time to get better too. I’m a fan of both.

Has Vince been huffing paint thinner?
Haha yes. I think at 66 years old it’s probably a lot harder to book a wrestling show for Vince McMahon than it was 10 to 15 years ago. That’s why you read all these stories about plans changing. Without long term planning, the shows are going to suffer. It’s been an up and down 2011 for that reason, I think.

John, on recent editions of Raw/Smackdown we’ve seen Christian, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes align with each other, do you think they would make a great heel stable? And will WWE give it a chance? Ross (long term reader from sunny Scotland, keep up the good work!)
Hello Ross from Scotland! It appears as though that foursome was only a temporary thing. I don’t see them being a long term stable. Cody’s done the stable thing. He needs to be on his own. Christian’s great on his own. Swagger & Ziggler have a manager in Vickie. I’m fine with those four guys being their own entity. Stables work best if they’re Evolution style with an established top guy and then others that can be elevated later. With four upper midcard heels it doesn’t work as well.

In all seriousness, what will it take for the board members to really vote McMahon out of his position? I know, we as wrestling fans, are confused by the lack of continuity, but I’d have to imagine at least once person on the board thinks “what is going on?”
You mean literally? Never happen. He’ll either retire or be dead before he is removed as CEO. I don’t see him removing himself as CEO for another decade. He’d be 76 by then. I just don’t see Vince walking away quietly. He’ll always have a hand in the company as long as he’s alive.

If you could completely repackage any dwindling superstar into something else to get them over who would it be and what would you do?
Jack Swagger as an American Hero type of babyface that destroys people with submission moves and that is allowed to showcase his athleticism. The jock gimmick has run its course. I think he’d do a great job as a babyface.

Who would you want as the permanent raw announce team now that it looks like JR is gone for good again?
I’d put Jim Ross with William Regal, who would be a heel announcer. Since Ross is gone, I’d put Josh Mathews with Booker T. as the babyface announcer and Regal as the heel announcer. I enjoy Booker. Not all do. That won’t happen, though, because Cole will be there for another decade and Lawler has another two or three years left in the chair.

Which Celebrity vs. Wrestler matchup would you like to see at some point in the future? I know some people would prefer not to see any but they will happen and can be money matches!
Definitely Shaquille O’Neal vs. Big Show. That would be fantastic. I think Shaq would do it. He just retired from the NBA, so it’s not like he’s too old to do it. He’s also a fan and held his own as the Raw guest host when he was in the spot. I think it would work well. If not a singles match, then do some kind of tag where he would be limited in what he did.

Would you like to see a feud between Jericho and ADR, and who would you put like a heel or face, it would be for a title?
That would be cool. Jericho would be the face. I don’t know if Del Rio would work as well as a face. His character is totally a heel. For a title? No. Jericho’s likely a part timer upon return, so I doubt he comes back to win any titles. Those days are likely done for him.

What’s your take on all the people who hate The Rock? Whether it’s for “selling out” or what he chooses to do for a career? I’ve always found it stupid and unwarranted.
I’m with you. I’m a Rock fan. I was from the moment he started referring to himself in the third person, raising the eyebrow, doing the People’s Elbow and electrifying us with the best promos in the business. It’s like any successful person, though. The majority of the people will like them. Some will hate. They think it’s cool or they truly don’t like him. That’s just how it is. It comes with the territory.

What’s your all-time favorite entrance theme?
Edge. That song, that entrance and that character – it fit as well as any entrance in the history of the business. Also even though I didn’t like him so much as a wrestler, I thought Golderg’s entrance was pretty awesome. The song was perfect for it. The other one that I have to mention is Randy Savage, my childhood favorite. I used to jump every time I heard that song.

What ‘commercial’ songs do you think would make good wrestling entrance music? I’d go for kid rock – bawitabada. And metallica – sad but true.
I think “Thunderstruck” from AC/DC would be perfect. Also “Alive” by Pearl Jam. Enter Sandman from Metallica was awesome for Sandman in ECW. I’m sure there are dozens people can think of.

Who will win NXT Redemption?
Will it ever end? Ha. I guess Titus O’Neil will win. I like Derrick Bateman more than the others. I don’t think they have any idea when that season is going to end or when they will start the next week. It’s been going on for about 7 months now. That’s ridiculous. Whatever happened to “NXT revolution television” according to Vince?

What’s your take on Curt Hawkins? Personally, I think he’s solid in the ring, and young enough that he has plenty of time to improve (26 y/o). And call me crazy, but his mannerisms and facial expressions on the mic are reminiscent of DX HBK. Not his promo talent level, just physicality.
I like his potential. Like you said he’s young, he has been in WWE for about four years now, he’s really good friends with Ryder and he has the passion for the business. He’s a guy that they can use in a tag team or allow to break out on his own to see how good he can be. I hope he gets that opportunity sooner rather than later because you want guys like him who live for the business the way he does.

What is your favorite wrestling style = High Flyer, Luchadore, Technical, Big Man, Power Moves, Dirty, etc.
I would say a mix of technical & high flyer. The guys that can do it all in the ring no matter who their opponent is. They are the ones that make everybody around them better. In terms of all timers I mean a Michaels, Hart or Angle – guys like that. CM Punk is like that. That’s what I like.

What do you hope the outcome is between this Rock and Cena feud and how do you think the WWE will look post Wrestlemania?
Cena wins. Post WrestleMania, they will probably look the same way they do now. I expect a huge build up to it, but once May-June-July hit things will slow down unless Rock sticks around for more PPVs as rumored.

Do you see wrestling, either TNA or WWE ever take an MMA-UFC-like direction in the future? Where the product seems more “real” and it’s mostly about who’s simply the better fighter? I believe they should do it because wrestling has never been like that before, where storyline builds up not because of in ring promos and attacks and stuff, but built up by wrestlers’ interviews/vignettes/video packages over the course of a few weeks, kinda like Trip vs Taker WM27. They should also do it because it is something NEW for wrestling, and that’s what wrestling needs, something entirely NEW.
I see what you’re saying. I would say no. I don’t see the business ever changing that much. Professional wrestling is what it is and there’s no changing it at its core. They can change how they build matches, how they use video packages & things like that to promote, but it won’t ever change form being what it is. The business can’t venture too far from what it is because if it does it will lose more people than it would ever bring in.

In your opinion, what are the best and worst WWF/WWE video games? Same question for WCW as well.
None of the WCW games were good. I don’t play that much, but everybody always says No Mercy for N64 for WWE games. I liked the “Smackdown – Here Comes The Pain” game from whatever year that was. I haven’t played much in recent years. My all time favorite is the arcade game WrestleFest. That came out around 1991 when I was 11, so we’d put the quarters into that game and play for hours. Classic.

Why did Road Dogg never get a loooooooong WWE Title reign?
Vince likes the big bodies. He never had one. He was skinny. As a talker he was good, but he went as far as he could with his talent I think. A very good tag team wrestler. Nothing wrong with that.

Given the new group of Swagger, Ziggler, Rhodes, etc…do you see factions making a comeback anytime soon?
Nexus? Fail. Corre? Fail. New Nexus? Fail. They don’t know how to book factions right. I’d rather not see any in WWE for a while. They lose their appeal the more times they don’t work.

When Daniel Bryan returns do you think Vince might give him a push?
He’ll get it in early 2012, we think. I sure hope so.

What is up with the Bengals this season? 4-2? I can’t believe it!!
Sure I’ll squeak a NFL question in! They have surprised me, but they’ve had a soft schedule too. We’ll see how they do against the Ravens & Steelers when they play them. I do like the Dalton to Green combo though. They can build around those two for sure. Not a playoff team this year, but they are headed in the right direction.

What’s your opinion on Chikara?
I don’t know anything about it. I’m sorry. I can’t watch it all.

More a question about the site. Is any of the crew of writers going to review the new WWE video game for the site?
We definitely will have somebody write about the game or maybe do a series of columns about it. I’m not a gamer. Won’t be me!

What do you think Cody Rhodes needs, if anything, to be a full time main eventer? I think it’s kneepads.
He’ll get there in early 2012 I think. He just needs credibility, big wins and the company to get behind him. Like I said before he’s only 26, so there’s plenty of time for him to be built up into a main event level player.

Besides Rampage Jackson (and Lesnar and Lashley) which combat sport competitor (MMA, Boxing etc.) could be a legit star in professional wrestling?
I think Chael Sonnen for sure. He cuts wrestling style promos already. Maybe Tito Ortiz if he retires and wants to give it a go. He did some work with TNA in the past. I don’t think WWE would bring anybody in because Vince & Triple H lack knowledge when it comes to MMA.

Who should Undertaker face for his 20th match at WrestleMania?
Tough call. If CM Punk doesn’t have a good opponent then I pick him. I’d be fine with seeing Undertaker vs. Triple H again because that’s the best match I’ve ever seen in person.

Would it be cool to have it set up like a tournament for the young talent where the winner will go against the streak?
That’s actually a pretty good idea. An eight man tournament to determine who gets to wrestle (and lose) to Undertaker. It could build that guy up really well actually. If it’s a face who loses, Undertaker could shake his hand after. If it’s a heel, he could show that he could hang with Undertaker and then attack him after the match, which would lead to a feud post Mania where the heel would go over. There are a lot of ways it could go.

The Miz vs Jericho for Wrestlemania 28 if Jericho does sign by then…what do you think and how would you build it up?
I would love it. Easy to build it. Go off their real life relationship where Jericho has been known to mentor Miz. Miz has copied some Jericho things by wearing the suits and doing some of the mannerisms as well. Jericho’s the face. Miz is the heel. I think they’d have some great promos together.

Hey John, which superstar(s) do you think work better as a face and which superstar(s) do you think work better as a heel? Thanks.
If you’re talking all time I think faces are guys like Ricky Steamboat, who was never a heel and Sting, who only briefly went heel in his whole career. I think Ric Flair was always better as a heel. He had some face runs along the way, but he was usually better in the heel role. I enjoy Kurt Angle more as a heel. He thrived in both roles although to me he was more natural as the arrogant heel with some comedy mixed in. Triple H was always a much better heel to me. He bores me as a babyface a lot of time, especially doing his “nobody can hurt me” babyface act. The guys that are truly the best can thrive in both roles like Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock & Bret Hart to name a few. Guys like that.

Do you think WWE has commitment issues? After Brock Lesnar walking out on them they seem to pull their trust away from any superstar in case they get hurt again?
Yes in some ways. However, in the past couple of years you can point to Alberto Del Rio & Sheamus as new WWE talents that were pushed to the WWE Title. None of them are the unquestioned top star like Lesnar was because Cena is there, but at least they are pushing new talent in some cases.

Do you think the Brooklyn Brawler should be in the WWE Hall of Fame?
No. Easiest question so far haha!

you always say the top three cities for wrestling are Toronto, New York, and Chicago. I agree those are great cities, but I think Boston (yes im bias I live near there) should be on that list as. we gave a huge pop to Nash at the RR this year and the ice cream bar chant was done in Boston. do you think its at least in the top five, if so what would be the fifth. long time reader, great site, and keep on doing a great job.
Agreed. Boston is pretty great so it can be my fourth. For a fifth it’s between Philadelphia, which has a lot of wrestling tradition, and Dallas. I can always remember Dallas having hot crowds. Obviously any big city is generally going to have good fans because there are more people, which means more hardcore fans going to these shows.

Do you think anyone on the WWE roster would be legitimately better off in TNA?
Money wise, no. In terms of a push, maybe guys like John Morrison or Drew McIntyre. That would only be short term, though. They are both young enough that they can still get significant pushes in WWE. Morrison may be free to leave soon. We’ll see about him.

Hi John, when Daniel Bryan cashes in on his Money in The Bank contract who do you think it’s going to be against and will Bryan be heel or face?
I would keep Bryan as a heel. He’s good in the underdog role. I think it will be Randy Orton in a face vs. face match. I’d love it to be Christian as the heel champion, but I doubt that happens. It could be Sheamus in a face vs. face match too. There are a few viable options.

Also, assume for a moment you need to future endeavor 10 performers. Who would you cut? Would your list change if they consolidated Raw and Smackdown?
This is always a tough question. I’m not a fan of “who should you fire?” because the reality is they need to have as many people as they have. People don’t think about the house show business. It’s important to WWE. You need 20-30 people to work house shows on each brand. You need the others in case there are injuries. Even though you don’t see somebody on TV, you can see them on house shows. It’s not like they employ people to do nothing.

Can you please explain to me what everyone sees in Jack Swagger? Is it just because he’s a decent worker with an amateur wrestling-background? Because I can’t see much substance there.
To me, Swagger has talents that not all guys his size have. He’s legit 6’5″, weighs 260 pounds and he’s one of the most mobile guys I’ve ever seen at that size. He can move around the ring at a fast pace, keep up with the quicker guys and hold his own with the power guys. The issue is his gimmick is stale. Like I said before he’s been playing the “jock heel” character since he first debuted. He’s got that goofy grin on his face all the time that people are not going to take seriously. I think by saying he has a legitimate sports background (they do embellish it a bit) it puts over the fact that he’s a credible athlete. Think about how many guys are his height that can’t move or don’t know wrestling holds other than clotheslines? Look at Mason Ryan. Look at Ezekiel Jackson. They are limited performers. Yeah they have big muscles, but once the bell rings they don’t have good matches. Swagger is as tall as any of them, yet he can have good matches. He can keep people interested. That’s where his value is. He’s a big guy with in-ring ability. They need to reinvent him, though. Like I said before a babyface turn could do the trick although I have no idea if there are any plans for that sort of thing. I hope that answers the question for you. I’m a Swagger fan. I always have been.

John, do you believe it is very likely that John Cena will beat Ric Flair’s record of 16 World Championships at the end of his career?
Definitely. He already has 10 WWE Title reigns and two World Title reigns, so he’s only four behind Flair at this point. Cena’s 34 years old, meaning he’s got another five years in the main event scene as long as he wants to be there. I have no doubt that Vince McMahon wants to make him the “greatest champion” in not just WWE history, but wrestling history as well. Even though championship wins are the result of booking (too many title changes in the last three years), it will go a long way with some fans to say that Cena is the greatest champion in wrestling history. That will happen soon, I think. The question is will Orton beat him? I’m not even joking. He’s had nine total reigns (World Title x3, WWE Title x6) and he’s three years younger than Cena, so he’ll likely pass Flair too. Having two “World” titles has certainly made it easier for both of those guys too. I think Cena finishes with the most combined World Title reigns ever.

Do you see Wade Barrett having the potential to be a top heel in WWE again?
For sure. He’s got the size that we know WWE likes, he’s an above average talker, he’s capable in the ring and at 31 years of his age his future is bright. He’s already been to the top in the sense that he headlined PPVs with guys like Cena & Orton, so that showed a lot of faith on WWE’s part. I think it’s just a matter of building him back up again as a singles entity rather than the leader of a stable. Before the year I said he’d win the World Title in 2011. I was wrong. It doesn’t look like that would happen. I’ll carry over that prediction to 2012 because I think he’ll hold the WWE or World Title next year.

The prestige of the WWE Championship is the lowest it has ever been due to the short 2-3 week title reigns we’ve been getting. Do you believe they should retire this title for a new World Championship?
No. I think that perhaps they should get rid of the now outdated Spinner Title in order to bring back the one winged eagle title of old. As far as booking the title, they need some longer, more credible title reigns for people in order to not only build the talent up, but build the title up. The Miz held the WWE Title from late November until end of April, yet it was not a great reign because he was booked as a cheap champion that could barely beat the 60 year old ring announcer.

Despite recent reports of WWE saying they want to push CM Punk, do you actually buy into it considering the egos behind the scenes and Punk’s recent treatment and place in the main event?
He’s been pushed pretty hard sine July, main eventing four PPVs in a row. I’m not sure what people want or expect to get out of a “bigger push.” His merchandise is apparently the top seller, which is a great sign too. The thing with these “reports” about him getting a push is how much farther up can he go? He’s held the WWE Title recently, he’s main evented four straight PPVs and he’s obviously a top babyface now too. I guess the “bigger push” means holding the WWE Title at WrestleMania, which seems like a distinct possibility. Punk is not an issue with a stale WWE. He’s the best overall talent in the company. The issue is in the booking.

Do you think Shane McMahon will ever work for WWE again?
Yes. Right now he’s working for some sports management firm and doing other type of work. He has a lot of money from his WWE days already. I assume he still has a lot of stock in the company as well. I’m not sure when he’ll be back, but I would imagine the day comes where he misses the business and wants back in. That’s just a guess. Hopefully the family welcomes him back with open arms.

Is Daniel Bryan’s lack of a push recently a big fuck you to all the ‘Internet marks’ or is it to build him in a way that, when he wins the world title after cashing in MITB, people will think it’s a bigger deal?
I’m not sure. What would WWE gain by sticking it to internet fans? They chose to put the MITB briefcase on him and say he’s going for the World Title at WrestleMania. It’s their investment. To me it’s silly to have a guy lose all the time that they are trying to build up. My guess is they are doing the losing streak gimmick to make him a more sympathetic type of babyface, so that when he goes on his roll and starts winning matches the fans can get behind him even more than ever. At least that’s what I hope.

Along with Punk, Ziggler and Sheamus, who else has been the breakout star of the year?
I’m not sure if I agree with those choices because Punk and Sheamus won major titles in previous years. To me, Punk’s breakout was 2009 when he turned heel on Jeff Hardy and had the best feud of that year. I think Cody Rhodes has been a breakout star this year. Daniel Bryan as well, although the losing streak gimmick has certainly hurt him since his surprising Money in the Bank win.

I watched an interview recently with Hulk Hogan where he called Vince a “genius” and said that Vince plans his storylines a year in advance and he feels like this HHH/Punk storyline is going to be huge. Do you believe that storylines are booked so far in advanced? Or do you feel like they are booked on maybe a week to week basis?
The storylines are not booked so far in advance. Are you kidding? There are stories of WWE changing their script four or five days on the days of shows. Maybe they were booked a year in advance in 1989 when Hogan was there and there were only four PPVs, but not in the days of Raw, Smackdown and 13 PPVs in a year. I wouldn’t pay attention to what Hulk Hogan says. He’s a proven liar with an agenda. I respect what he did in the business during his prime. Those days were long ago. His credibility has disappeared along with his hair.

Would WWE work better as a whole if they went back to both brands having a PPV each, every two months so it gives both brands enough time to develop storylines and characters? It’d also give all champions a chance to defend and make the titles look believable.
Yes. It won’t happen. There are no numbers to really prove that separate brand PPVs were worse for WWE. It’s just a McMahon feeling that he should have John Cena, Randy Orton and every top guy on every PPV. I liked the separate brand PPVs. There were some great brand exclusive PPVs like Smackdown’s Vengeance in 2003 or Raw’s Backlash in 2004. Now the brands don’t really matter, though, so those days are long gone.

Why do people give Mason Ryan heat when he said himself that he was still green and didn’t think he was ready to be FCW champ and a member of the RAW roster? He said those words himself before we saw him on TV.
We can give heat to the bookers too then. They are pushing him because of his size, which is why some people may have an issue. That’s why there is heat.

If you were to start your own ideal wrestling company and could draft any 15 guys in total combined from the current WWE and TNA roster, who would it be? Which ones would you like to have for the Canton Wrestling Federation?
I would be here all day if I really thought about this, but I have over 100 questions waiting to be answered. As a top five I’d probably have CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler (with a name that’s better than Dolph Ziggler), AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Daniel Bryan. That could probably change if I thought about it some more, but I think those five talents would be a part of it for sure.

How do you rate the Mankind/Rock I Quit Match at Royal Rumble 1999? And how do you rate the Beyond the Mat documentary?
It’s a painful match to watch. It was less painful when I was 18 years old back then, but now when you know so much more about concussions it’s sickening to watch so many unprotected chairshots to the head. In terms of star ratings, I’d give it something like ***1/2 for being an intense match that told a good story. I liked Beyond The Mat. It’s funny how they feature a Terry Funk “retirement” match from like 1998 on that and he’s still wrestling today. Jake Roberts’ story is a sad one, but he’s still alive and hopefully doing better than he was. As for the Foley-WWE parts, I doubt you’ll ever see Vince McMahon give that much access to a documentary again unless it’s one paid for by his company.

Many of us complain about the creative teams failure to make the mid-card titles relevant again. Ziggler and Rhodes seem to be two guys who could help return the titles to prominence (Ziggler has had a long reign, despite rarely defending; and Rhodes is a star on the rise who gets extra points for bringing back the old timey title belt). With this in mind, why are so many people clamoring for Ziggler and Rhodes to drop the belts and be pushed to the main event level? Wouldn’t it be better to use their collective talents to rejuvenate the prestige of the IC/ US belts? What do you think WWE should do to accomplish this?
In Ziggler’s case, he had the IC Title a lot while he was on Smackdown. Remember the endless feud with Kofi Kingston? He went to Raw, got the US Title and is doing the same thing on the different show. He did have that brief World Title feud with Edge where he had the World Title for half of a show, but that was it. He’s ready for the main event. In Cody’s case, I’d love to see him hold the IC Title for a full year. They can push him to the main event level while he does it. Why not? Perhaps he can hold both titles at once. It would feel fresh. There’s a lot you can do. It’s just an investment of time in a talent as well as putting over the title. They need title defenses, they need to talk about how much the title means to them and things like that. The more you keep it fresh in people’s minds the more the fans will care about it.

Do you think it’s a good idea to turn Daniel Bryan heel as a response to his losing streak and go on that way to his WrestleMania match, or keep him as a face?
Keep him face. He’s already smaller than most of the guys, which makes him an underdog in a physical sense. He’s a great seller. His submission finishers “out of nowhere” are good for popping the crowds. I hope the losing streak means that it leads to him being more aggressive while the announcers put over how serious he is taking the losses. They need to let him cut some promos to get over more too. I think you’ll see more of a push now that Survivor Series is close and there’s more thought going into WrestleMania 28 plans.

Do you see WWE turning John Cena heel anytime soon? I say they do it at Survivor Series.
No. They should think about it either before WrestleMania or right after. I think it would be good for business. With CM Punk showing he can be a big time top babyface they finally have somebody to “replace” Cena. I’m not sure if Vince would do it or if Cena wants to do it though. It would have a huge effect on business I think and get people talking. The promos would be a lot of fun especially.

Do you think Wrestlemania has suffered over the last few years due to the fact that there has been no first time champs crowned in the main-event? I know Miz was in the main event this year, but he was defending champ, the last 1st time champ I can think of is Cena/Batista 05.
I think you are right although you are forgetting Rey Mysterio’s first World Title win in 2006. In that case, though, it was only a 9 minute match and wasn’t treated as the main event of the PPV. When Batista beat Triple H it was huge. When Benoit beat Triple H the year before that it was huge too. Cena beating JBL was okay as a first time win although not the main event of the PPV. If Daniel Bryan wins his first World Title at WrestleMania 28 it will be cool, but with other matches on the card being bigger it won’t be as big of a deal as the others. You raise a good point. Thanks for bringing that up.

Why does WWE test (and fine) their performers for using steroids and HGH if the business classifies itself as entertainment. Is it more a performer welfare issue in relation to the side effects of the drugs? Or is a lot of it due to the fallout of the WWE steroid trial? It can’t be because it provides a competitive advantage like the NFL or MLB as the outcome of matches are controlled.
After Eddie Guerrero died, they put the Wellness Testing policy in place. They should have always had drug testing, but we know how the wrestling business is. Bigger is better in a lot of cases. It’s not like they have to report to anybody or like you said it’s not like it’s a competitive sport. I guess their reason for having it now is for the safety of their performers. The Wellness Testing found a heart issue for a guy like MVP that may have saved his life. It saved Roddy Piper too. However, up until a few failures this year, they didn’t suspend anybody for like three years. That’s unrealistic to me. I think it’s a convenient thing for WWE to say to their stockholders and the press that they are testing people, but there are some people in the company who I question how they can pass any of those tests. I’m not naming names or accusing anybody. People can see with their own eyes.

Will they ever book Cena vs. Undertaker at a Wrestlemania?
Doubt it. Frankly, I’m surprised they booked Cena to lose at WrestleMania 24 and 27 because otherwise he’d be 8-0 right now instead of 6-2. I thought it would have been a good idea to have him be undefeated going up against Undertaker one of these years. Obviously next year’s WrestleMania is a no go since it’s Rock vs. Cena. After that? Your guess is as good as mine. Undertaker may not have another WrestleMania left in him after this next one when he likely goes 20-0. It would be a fresh matchup because they haven’t faced off much at all since Cena’s been a top babyface. I doubt it happens now, though.

What’s the best way to build a face vs. face feud?
Each guy goes on a winning streak. They don’t cross paths for months at a time. In the days of Raw & Smackdown when the brands mattered it could have been done really well. Now everybody crosses paths on a weekly basis, so the appeal is gone. That first Cena vs. Batista match a few years ago when they were both babyfaces was well built I thought. Remember Hogan vs. Warrior? That’s the best example of how to do it. The problem is nobody has the patience to let a story take that much time to develop anymore.

It’s not easy to find new credible finishing moves and I think that is something missing about guys like Punk or Miz. What do you think if some current superstars start to use some moves from recently retired legends. Imagine if Punk starts to use the Stunner or Switch Chin Music, do you agree with that?
Absolutely not. Those guys are still a part of the WWE family. They still appear on shows a few times per year. When Randy Orton started using the RKO, made famous by WCW’s Diamond Dallas Page when he did the Diamond Cutter, it was acceptable because DDP wasn’t on TV anymore. If guys start busting out the Stunner or Sweet Chin Music it would hurt the appearance of whoever did that move because they would look like a ripoff of somebody fans are too familiar with. I’m okay with Natalya or Tyson Kidd using the Sharpshooter because of their ties to Bret Hart (Natalya is his niece while he trained Tyson), but some moves are off limits.

Why does the IWC hate Rey Mysterio? He puts on top matches against all comers yet he still gets bad press from the IWC.
I don’t hate him. Never have. Never would. He was probably my favorite performer in WCW in the mid 90s because he was doing stuff I’d never seen before. I think people may dislike him because he wins a fair amount of matches even though he’s the smallest guy. I don’t get it, though. It’s theatre. It’s art. He’s one of the best performers in the ring that I’ve ever seen in 25 years of watching. Why complain a guy that puts on consistently great matches for 15 years? I would never do that. I feel sorry for negative people that do. Would they rather see Big Show vs. Kane? No thanks.

Do you think the lack of play by play commentary will affect the younger fans appreciation of the in ring aspect of pro wrestling? I know I learnt a lot about basic in ring psychology from listening to JR when I was younger, allowing me to appreciate more a performers ability to tell a story in the ring. I’m probably over thinking it a bit.
You’re not overthinking. You are absolutely right. Anybody that grew up with Jim Ross announcing on wrestling shows can say “that guy made me enjoy the product more” because he did his job the right way. Now they care more about putting over stories or making the announcers into ridiculous characters. The generation before us loved Gordon Solie. We had Jim Ross. The next generation has to suffer with Michael Cole as they grow up as fans. That’s a damn shame.

I know he wont BUT theoretically if Undertaker was to lose the streak at WM28 do you think that would be the biggest possible push any star could receive and out of all the up and coming talent who would you pick to beat him? My pick is Drew Mac.
It would be a big deal for sure. It would help “make” a guy for sure. I think it’s unrealistic, though. As for McIntyre, I like him, but obviously WWE isn’t high on him anymore for whatever reason. If you ask me to pick a name it would be Ziggler. Again, I’m mentioning him a lot. That would do wonders for a heel like him because he would brag about it endlessly and get over more.

Who do you want to win the Royal Rumble 2012?
Santino! He got second last year. I think CM Punk should win. Looks good on the “this guy is a top guy” resume. By the way, screw WWE for likely holding the Rumble in St. Louis rather than Toronto. Evil.

Should Mark Henry be WHC all the way to Wrestlemania and then lose the title and retire?
No that’s too long. I’d fall asleep from his matches. He’s great until the matches start. Then the crowd dies and people realize “oh yeah it’s a Mark Henry match.” Why do you think it took 15 years to get a push?

Over the past few months we’ve seen lots of changes with the authoritative power in WWE. So who’s your all-time favourite on-screen authority figure, and why? (GMs, commissioners, CEOs, etc, from any promotion/time period.)
Good one. I think heel Vince McMahon in the late 90s was the absolute best. Then he got stale, but at the peak of the Attitude Era he was fantastic in the role. From 1998 to 2001 or so you could say he was one of the best heels ever. I also thought Eric Bischoff & Paul Heyman were great as heel GMs. As much as I love guys like Michaels, Austin & Angle (my three favorite wrestlers ever), none of them were ever that good as commissioner, sheriff or GM when they were in those spots.

I know you hate the concept but in an ideal world (where they must happen!), if you had to pick 5 guest hosts (obviously separate weeks) for RAW, who’d you go for?
It’s hard to say. It depends on if they had knowledge of the WWE product. Sometimes a guy like Jerry Springer comes in, he obviously has no idea what he’s doing and it sucks. Hugh Jackman was great because you could tell he had some kind of knowledge of the product because he said he watched with his son. Shaquille O’Neal was great at it. I’m not going to say bring in George Clooney because he could bomb out there since he’s not likely a wrestling fan…although he is currently “dating” Stacy Keibler. Jeremy Piven was an awful guest host, but apparently he banged Kelly Kelly soon after so I’m sure it was a great time for him. It’s hard to list 5 names because I don’t know who is an actual fan. I’d love to see Chris Rock there, personally. Funny guy. But is he a fan? I have no idea.

Why does Justin Roberts announce John Cena’s name with much more enthusiasm as opposed to some of the others? It feels like a 30 second introduction compared to most of the other wrestlers.
John Cena is the top guy. He’s probably told to make him seem like a bigger deal by announcing his name the way that he does. It’s all about the presentation.

I think an awesome stable would be Mason Ryan, Zeke Jackson, Brodus Clay, and maybe even Mark Henry as a ”monster heel” unstoppable force. Do you think a group like that could work?
They would suck. Who would work the matches? They’re all limited in what they could do and would be boring to see. Sticking four big dudes together hurts each of them because they are surrounded by another big guy. To stand out you need to mix them with smaller guys in a stable.

Who do you think has a better chance at being a future main event star, as well as what is the highest belt they will achieve, during their respective careers? Brodus Clay? Husky Harris? Johnny Curtis?
I don’t know that much about any of them aside from their NXT careers and brief WWE runs. Out of those three I’d pick Brodus just because he’s a big guy that has good agility. Has a good look too.

Do you think it’s fair to compare Orton and Cena (ring style, character wise) when they are absolutely nothing alike?
They are alike in terms of rising up the roster at the same time, being big time babyfaces right now and generally being booked in similar unstoppable ways. They don’t look alike or portray the same characters, but there are a lot of similarities with how they are presented to the audience.

In your opinion, will Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, or Batista ever wrestle again in WWE? And if so, who on the current roster would you like them to feud with upon their return?
Angle in a few years maybe try to come back and have a few more matches although who can tell where his head is at. Lesnar likely has a match or two left once his UFC time is done. Not a full timer. Lashley’s likely done with WWE. He wasn’t a big money guy like the others. Batista will likely be back within a year or two I think. He’s in his early 40s, he’ll likely want one more serious run at the top. Out of those four, Batista’s the only one that I would see returning as potentially a full timer. Unless I know when they are returning exactly it’s pointless to say “they should feud with this guy” because what if that guy is gone too? If you’re forcing me to I’d love to see Angle vs. Punk or Bryan, Lesnar vs. Cena just because it would be a huge deal now and nobody jumps to mind for Batista. I don’t think about Mason Ryan matches. Sorry.

Do you think the Vince pushes big guys argument is overused? Besides Khali, what “big” guy got any world title pushes or multiple IC/US reigns the past 10 years? Lesnar, Batista, Cena, Sheamo, Edge, were all over. Big guys like Zeke or Ryan get midcard pushes but if they get no reaction they go away.
The World Title match at Vengeance is Mark Henry vs. Big Show. Kane got a World Title reign last year. Wade Barrett is a big guy that got a main event level push as a big guy. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that the theory is relevant.

Do you follow wrestling outside of WWE/TNA?
Not really. Between those two that’s six hours of watching per week along with three hour PPVs a few times per month, plus I’m balancing my writing, my site, Facebook, Twitter, watching random stuff on youtube, DVDs and trying to maintain my sanity while doing it. Plus there’s my personal life, my work and other stuff to balance. I have seen every ROH show since they’ve been back on TV. I DVR it on Saturday nights, then watch it before NFL games start on Sundays usually. I used to watch more, but I didn’t have as much responsibility in those days.

I’ve read recently in an interview that Kurt Angle did in which he believes Randy Orton to the best professional wrestler in the business today. Also David Hero of the Pro Wrestling Report happens to say it on almost every episode. Do you think that with people hating the way WWE books Orton & Cena they are oblivious to how great he is in the ring? Thanks.
It’s an opinion. They are entitled to it. I say CM Punk is the best WWE performer followed by Christian. When I did my roster evaluation column a few weeks ago I had Orton in third. I also gave him the Johnny Award in 2010 for being WWE Performer of the Year, so obviously I’m high on him too.

Do you think John Morrison will ever be a main eventer? I don’t even mean hold the title, just main event and actually get to showcase his talents in a match that means something? Same question for Daniel Bryan. These 2 can have incredible matches; just they aren’t given the shot. Instead we’ll see Mason Ryan.
I’d love to say yes to Morrison, but I doubt it. They’re down on him for whatever reason. I think Bryan is a main eventer. They put the Money in the Bank briefcase on him and are giving him a World Title match at WrestleMania 28, so obviously they have a lot of faith in him.

Will the WWE die when Vince McMahon passes away?
No. They already have the succession plan in place with Stephanie & Triple H being in executive positions and a huge staff surrounding them.

If Zack Ryder can evolve his character to a more serious person do you see him holding a World Championship?
Sure. Like I said before he’s only 26 years old. He has plenty of time to get better. He’s a wrestling lifer living the dream. It’s easy to get behind a guy like that who obviously has a lot of the creativity needed to get there too. It may be a few years down the road, but I believe he can get there.

Morrison to TNA and Roode to WWE, do you think these moves would help or hinder their careers?
I don’t think Roode would leave if he could. Maybe it would help him in terms of money and exposure, but I doubt WWE would push him as a main eventer. Morrison’s future is up in the air. Apparently his deal is expiring soon. Either he sticks around and toils in the midcard or jumps to TNA, where he’d likely get a push because they love ex-WWE talent. Is going to TNA something that betters a career though. Was Christian better off in TNA? I’m not sure about that.

Can’t wait for the CM Punk movie next year John C.?
I don’t care either way. I’m not a fan of the WWE Films and I don’t see how that’s a perk of working there.

Favorite Seinfeld character besides George, Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, or Newman?
I would have to go with George’s dad Frank Costanza played by Jerry Stiller. The Manzier (or Bro) & Festivus episodes alone make him a television legend. Also the Soup Nazi was fantastic. He was staying at the same hotel as me a few months ago. I had a good chat with that guy. He has Soup Nazi merchandise too.

What happens to all the questions from the “Ask John a question” box on the main page?
They go to Formspring.me/johnreport where I’ve answered nearly 9,000 questions over the last two years. If you ever need hours of reading try sifting through all of that. I answer those questions periodically.

Do you think guys like Colt Cabana and Chris Masters will even re-sign to WWE?
I think it’s possible with Carlito. I can see Masters ending up in TNA very soon.

The Greatest Match in WCW history & why?
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio from Halloween Havoc 1997. A five star match that is wrestling perfection. That’s why. Watch it.

I’m going to stop there. There were 165 posts on the post where I asked for questions and I stopped on the one that was #109 in the comments. I did skip a few, but I’m guessing I responded to 80-90 questions. Does somebody want to count? Anyway, it was a fun way to kill two hours and write this column for you guys. I hope you enjoyed it. I’m likely going to return to doing the Q&A on a monthly basis as a monthly column on thejohnreport.net, so be on the lookout for that. You can also check out the TJR Q&A if you’re interested in that. Usually I do this on weekends when there aren’t PPVs. I may ask for the questions on a Friday and then post answers on the Monday. This time I did it in Canton’s Corner because I wanted to give you an idea of what I do with these columns.

Random Clip of the Week
I’m not sure when the official beginning was, but I know it was in 2001 when the “WHAT?” chant began. I’m a huge Stone Cold fan so I’ve always enjoyed it. Sometimes live shows can be boring. A “WHAT?” chant can make it fun just like throwing out a random “Woo” when things go quiet. We need to entertain ourselves sometimes. Here’s one of my favorite video packages that looks over the “WHAT?” chant in a humorous way.

That was fun. Or annoying. Up to you to decide.

Melo Out with Steve Melo

Hello everyone. Hope you all had a great week. Just kidding. I don’t really care to be quite honest. Why am I in such a rotten mood you ask? Well if you tuned into Monday night RAW again this week and read John’s review of TNA’s Bound for Glory pay per view (not to mention watched Impact), then there is your answer. Sure Raw was a step up from the brutal episode from the week before. Sure it’s great that TNA finally put the title on a guy like James Storm. But you know what continues to suck? The shows themselves. Where are the compelling and unpredictable storylines that got me hooked as a teenager? Where are the quality wrestling matches (yes TNA, I’m talking about you here in particular)? Now I’d be lying if I said I was a regular when it came to watching Impact Wrestling. I don’t keep up with it because the odd times that I have tuned it on, it was nothing but boredom and, quite frankly, not that entertaining to me. When you read or hear about Hulk Hogan deciding to not give Bobby Roode the title because he doesn’t think he is ready (but he believes Jeff Hardy is the future on TNA). Then you see that he and Bischoff are insulting the fans that they have left by claiming there is a bigger picture, even though the booking is done on the fly and last minute changes are always being made, you can’t help but be infuriated with wrestling, especially when you take into consideration what all the bullshit that WWE has been pulling as of late.

I was so mad this week that I even took to Facebook and vented my rage towards WWE. The following is what transpired (click on graphic for it to expand – that’s what she said):

Ok so obviously that never happened, but I thought I can either be mad about all this or make fun of the sad state of wrestling at the current moment, a state that we all assumed would have evolved into something beautiful and wonderful, but sadly here we are.

Lastly, I know I talk about the Divas of Doom a lot. I like them. Bite me. But I promise I won’t be talking about them anymore. Why you ask? Well, maybe you didn’t ask that but for those of you who did, I won’t be talking about the Divas of Doom anymore because quite frankly I can’t. They no longer exist. They are still a tag team, but they are now referred to as the Sisters of Salvation. The Sisters of Salvation. Are you kidding me with this one? What exactly are they here to save? The Divas division? I would have believed that had they been booked right from the start along with the whole CM Punk angle, but I don’t anymore. I don’t believe anything anymore! It WAS real to me dammit. But ya, long story short, I hate that Sisters of Salvation name. My guess is copyright issues or some bullshit.

Well that’s all the time we have this week. Until next week, sit back, relax and Melo Out… cause that’s what wrestling is all about.

Steve “The Melo Man” Melo
Twitter: @MeloOutTJR

—————

Steve, I think you need to Melo Out. Anger! Ha.

That’s all for me. I think I’ll be covering Vengeance live on Sunday night at TJR because the NFL game should be a blowout with the Saints crushing the Colts. If I miss it live I’ll write about it on Monday like I usually. Then on Tuesday I’ll be back with The Raw Deal as always. I’m working on some big columns on the road to Survivor Series too, so there’s a lot of content coming from me in the near future.

Have a great weekend.

John Canton – john@thejohnreport.net
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