Ask the Editor Ask the Torch: Savage vs. Michaels as all-time greats, Michaels's character, Jericho's future, OVW access
Aug 24, 2005 - 4:52:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
Editor's Note: It's been a busy summer, but I'm going to try to get back to updating Ask the Torch more frequently from now on, so keep the questions coming and thanks for your patience!
PWTorch.com reader Tristan Forrest asks: I am hearing such good things about OVW and it is all thanks to Paul Heyman who should be the head writer for Smackdown. But when does OVW come on TV? I live in Canada so does it come on a American channel? I would really like to hear the answer for this. Thanks.
WK: OVW is only available in the Louisville, Ky. area. It isn't meant to be a national show and isn't syndicated anywhere outside of that region. Many OVW fans who watch it on tape have suggested WWE might draw some good weekend ratings by putting it on instead of or in addition to some of their weekend shows. That was never likely considered, and now that they're cutting back to one weekend show, it's not in the cards at all. With Paul Heyman injecting new energy into the promotion, there should be a greater demand for buying tapes of the TV shows, which can purchased at OVWwrestling.com.
PWTorch.com reader Allie asks: I was just wondering. I was watching Raw the other night and I just want to ask, is Shawn Michaels a face or a heel?
WK: I guess it depends on how much you like Hulk Hogan. If you're a huge Hulk Hogan fan, you probably don't like him much this week for making fun of Hogan's mobility in the ring. Michaels's promo on Monday was his way of getting in a "receipt" on Hogan for playing hardball behind the scenes during the planning of their feud and some shots Hogan took at Michaels during mainstream media interviews. Since Michaels did the clean job to Hogan, he was worried that some of his fans would think he sold out for a payday with Hogan. To try to redeem himself, he took some digs at Hogan. Some people within WWE think Hogan and Michaels worked together to create a feeling that there was legitimate tension between them (including taking digs at each other during mainstream media interviews leading up to the match and even leaking stories about tension during the planning of the match and the negotiating of the finish of their match), but our sources insist that Hogan and Michaels really didn't get along and Michaels really was frustrated with how things went, and that what he said on Monday was a case of him venting about it. Although he took digs at Hogan, when Chris Masters came out, that was meant to be his official confirmation that he was back to being a babyface. This week's Torch Newsletter covered this situation in great detail, including what was discussed about a possible rematch in a cage next month.
Kenny Jones of Blackwood, N.J.: Was this Jericho's swan song in the WWE or will he go to Smackdown? I seen some people saying he's going to TNA. What's the truth?
WK: I don't think he's going to TNA. As we've been reporting for weeks now, Jericho asked to take an extended leave of absence, at this point at least through the end of the year, to spend more time with his family, explore opportunities in Hollywood, and have fun with Fozzy without wrestling dates getting in the way. He's been on the road almost non-stop, mostly injury free for years and just needs a breather. He's got a lot of money saved up and is still young enough to really enjoy it at this point. His contract ran out in August, he signed a short-term extension through this Monday, and is now not under contract. Unless he signed a pledge with WWE about not going to TNA, he presumably legally could sign with TNA if they made him a big offer. However, WWE sources say they aren't at all concerned Jericho is considering TNA and expect him back sometime in 2006, probably in time to be part of WrestleMania 22.
PWTorch.com reader Marcus Crawford asks: I have a sincere question and I'm hoping someone will take the time to respond back. A couple of friends of mine have been arguing with me over the fact that Macho Man Randy Savage shouldn't go down as one of the greatest wrestlers ever. I say he should. After all, before Shawn Michaels came along, no one put on more WrestleMania classic matches than Savage ( Wrestlemania3, Wrestlemania5, Wrestlemania7, Wrestlemania 8.) What's your take on this? Also, where do you rank Shawn Michaels on the list of all-time heels?
WK: First of all, Shawn Michaels is high on my list of all-time great wrestlers, period. I had the opportunity to see his early tag team matches in the late-'80s in person in the AWA since I am based in Minneapolis, as was the AWA. He showed early signs of greatness in the Midnight Rockers tag team. Then he had a great run in the '90s as a WWF heel. What's most remarkable is his comeback from his retirement forced by needing back surgery. He's been better than ever. As for Savage, he had his moments to be sure. There were times in the '80s where he was one of the top ten wrestlers in the country, easily. He was also a great character. He didn't have great range - what you saw is what you got - but it was one of the great all-time characters for its time. Unlike Michaels, Savage's last few years as a regular weren't nearly as spectacular as his early years. Savage also had a rep for being a bit formula (although not as much as Hogan) in non-televised matches. But as an overall package in terms of marketable persona, distinctive interviews, great natural athleticism, and really good matches at times, he deserves to be considered in the second tier of all-time greats. He just doesn't have the body of work over enough years to be in the same class as Michaels even though, historically, Savage may end up being more recognized by the mainstream majority than Michaels.
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