Ask the Editor MONDAY'S ASK PWTORCH: Should WWE ban Ziggler's ten elbow drop move? Shouldn't Heyman be managing Kings of Wrestling right now? Shouldn't Cody return as a heel? Isn't today's WWE example of why monopolies are bad?
Sep 23, 2013 - 1:11:57 PM
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Welcome to a new website-exclusive PWTorch feature! I am PWTorch founder and editor, Wade Keller. I've been covering pro wrestling since 1987 when I started the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter while still in high school. Over 25 years later, PWTorch reaches more wrestling fans every week than any other independent brand. When we launched PWTorch.com in 1999, one of the features I enjoyed doing the most was "Ask PWTorch." I haven't done it recently on the website, but did revive it in recent years in an audio format for PWTorch VIP members on my Keller Hotline. We reintroduced it to the website audience at the start of May 2013.
If you have a question you'd like us to respond to, send your question to email@example.com. I, along with the Torch staff, will address you questions.
PWTorch reader and VIP MEMBER Abdou from Chelmsford, England asks: Jerry Lawler said on a recent edition of the Steve Austin Show that Dolph Ziggler's 10 elbows more or less triggered his heart attack one year ago. Infact JBL alluded to this on this week's RAW by calling it the "heart stopper" during his match against Dean Ambrose. My question is should WWE ban now consider banning this move?
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: As a proud VIP member, Abdou, you should also know that Jerry Lawler told me that same thing on the June 28 PWTorch Livecast, which was also transcribed in the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter in July. So not only am I saying that to establish, yes, we had it first, it's relevant in that WWE has had a lot longer to address the issue than a few weeks since the Lawler interview with Austin. So if they were going to do something about it, it's not like it's a new revelation, so my hunch is if they were worried about it happening again, they would have stopped the move months ago.
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: I think this was more of a freak accident, possibly brought on by a combination of Lawler's age, his genetics (his father suffered a number of heart attacks before passing away before the age of 60), and Lawler's diet. So no, I don't think it's necessary to ban the move.
PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill answers: Why would they ban Ziggler's elbow strike NOW, after Lawler and JBL spent a full year getting the move over? I think WWE decided to solve the problem by keeping AARP members with heart conditions out of the ring, and by making sure no non-wrestler characters are put into a match without undergoing a complete physical.
PWTorch reader Evan G. asks: I can't think of any real payoff to the Cody Rhodes angle other than a swerve where he turns heel to get his job back, and becomes the corporate champion. Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan would certainly be a great match... Not sure if it's WrestleMania quality, but the buildup and promotion is WWE's job. Maybe a Survivor Series main event... Cena comes back at Rumble... goes for the strap against a vicious, corporate Rhodes who turned his back on his family. I hate making fake matches for you guys, but I have to admit it's kind of fun. Any thoughts?
PWTorch senior columnist Bruce Mitchell answers: Cody Rhodes wasn't pulled from his mid-card feud getting Damien Sandow ready for whenever he gets to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase to be shot to to the top of the card and hold the WWE Championship. He was pulled to make the Corporation look ruthless. After seven-plus years in week after week mid-card on WWE TV, it's unlikely he's going to break-through now in the eyes of the same management who slotted him in the same place all those years.
PWTorch columnist Sean Radican answers: I think Dustin and Cody are going to be faces when they come back. I don't see them turning heel. It just wouldn't make sense. They're already teasing an angle where they invade Raw on Twitter and go after Triple H, so that's the direction I see the feud going in.
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: I can think of one payoff that makes sense: A babyface Rhodes comes back, through the crowd, and attacks Randy Orton/The Shield/Triple H, and can't be fired or reprimanded because he no longer works for the company. This leads to Hunter re-hiring him for (pick a reason). Rhodes could be a major babyface by that point given how hot the finish of his match with Orton was, added to the babyface heat he'd get by attacking the heels.
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: I don't think WWE would turn Cody heel so quickly after turning him babyface. I think a scenario where he manages to get his job back due to some sort of leverage or special stip is more likely, and he's a babyface looking to avenge Triple H and Stephanie. However, I also think that Cody's firing was done more because he was going away to get married and Triple H and Stephanie saw a chance to get their heel characters over more. The fact that it was Cody who was getting married and taking time off was more happenstance. The same angle might have been done if Zack Ryder or Kofi Kingston were going away to get married. So this may not bode well for Cody Rhodes getting a big push when he returns. However, he did a great job in the angle, so that may force Creative's hand to actually do something when he returns, especially because Dustin and Dusty also did good work.
PWTorch reader Mike W. asks: Can any of you make one solid argument against why Paul Heyman should be managing The Kings Of Wrestling right now, i.e. Antonio Cesaro and Kassius Ohno instead of Axel and Ryback? And isn't it nice to say "so and so should be managing so and so" again? Also, have any of you received a Ribera Steakhouse jacket?
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: I think Kassius Ohno and Antonio Cesaro better fit the "Paul Heyman Guy" type than Ryback does, but Cesaro already has a manager and Ohno has been tasked to get his physique in order before WWE even thinks of calling him up. Ryback had a good thing going with his new bully character, and while I don't think being paired with Heyman is going to hold back that aspect of his character, I do think we're watering down the notion of the Paul Heyman Guy. And no Ribera Steakhouse jacket for me. Never been to Japan and I wouldn't be respected enough in Japanese wrestling circles to earn one.
PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill replies: (1) Because the NXT people think Ohno isn't spending enough time in the weight room, and because the McMahons think Cesaro is "boring." Oh, wait. You wanted a solid reason. Seriously, I think Axel needs Heyman more than the former KoW's would.
(2) No, but I received a Longhorn Steakhouse gift card last year for Christmas. (Keep that in mind if you're sending me presents. I'm not difficult to shop for.)
PWTorch reader Tony in Bowling Green, Ky. asks: After watching Raw for the last few months and listening to each of you talk about the problems with the main storyline, the lack of focus on much of the undercard, and after Jim Ross was fired for a silly reason, my question is, isn't this the problem with monopolies? While other companies exist, WWE is really the only big wrestling company. Couldn't a better competitor drive WWE to be a more thoughtful product, and curb firing one of the greatest non-wrestlers in the history of the business?
PWTorch senior columnist Bruce Mitchell answers: While it's true that WWE did their biggest business ever with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the face of competition from WCW, when WWE had to push a guy like Austin because there was big money in him and couldn't afford to push him the way they originally planned (i.e. not much) WWE has now taken over the entire business and is in the phase where they are making that clear to their employees, business partners, and clientele. If they are successful in dictating terms they will be able to take larger and larger chunks of the pie as they expand. A better competitor might change that, but it's a moot point now.
PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill answers: Pat McNeill replies: You have mentioned a big problem with a monopoly. There is a lack of competition, and a lack of any outside impetus to improve the product.
There are other problems with a monopoly.
(1) A monopoly can set artificially high prices. (Enjoy WrestleMania in HD this year!)
(2) A high barrier to entry. Do you know how much it would cost to create a competitor to WWE? A lot more than it did twenty years.
(3) Zero product differentiation. All wrestling looks the same, because it's all run by WWE.
There's more, but I'll save it for the next edition of Ask EconTorch.
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: It only makes sense that true competition brings out the best in all companies involved. The Monday Night Wars and the competition presented by WCW at the very least contributed to the Attitude Era in WWE. While I believe part of Vince McMahon enjoys being the only game in town and doesn't have to worry about looking over his shoulder (though, corporately speaking, all versions of entertainment are competition for WWE, not just in the pro wrestling realm), part of him also likely misses the adrenaline rush of trying to out-do a competitor. Without that competition breathing down his neck, there is little incentive to come up with any new, revolutionary ideas (other than to make more money, I guess).
=== VIP EXCLUSIVE ===
PWTorch reader Jason318 asks: I read your suggestions for a TNA revamp with interest but I also have some of my own which would drastically cut costs and improve the product in my opinion. I would like your thoughts on these suggestions...
(1) Could TNA make a one hour show per week work? Tight booking, hardly any recaps, solid matches, one on one interviews - just a crisp clean one hour show (taped back to back or back-to-back to back) at the same home base venue each week. The show wouldn't be too long or too short.
The money TNA would lose on revenue for two hours they could help offset that loss by cutting a lot of dead weight (not to mention flights, accomodation etc) and then plan booking weeks in advance with a non complicated writing team.
Plus, it could help keep talent fresh and in theory not overexpsoure them.
(2) Remove themselves from PPV all together and just focus on building to a live two hour PPV like event on Spike TV once every eight weeks in a different city. So in essence the two hour special would be like their current PPVs but people wouldn't pay for them (no real loss of income, no embarrassing buyrate number, and quite possibly 30 to 40 times the audience).
I believe with these changes people will have far more tolerance to watch the product and leave them wanting more.
(3) Change their name to IWF (Impact Wrestling Federation) and call their show Thursday Night Impact. If some old school people confuse them with the World Wrestling Federation thats great because it's the audience they are after! (unlike their current acronym)...
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: (This is part of the VIP-exclusive portion of Ask PWTorch. I am now adding a segment exclusively for VIP members to this article as a bonus for VIP members. I will select questions sent by VIP members to my VIP Ask the Editor email box that I usually answer on my VIP Keller Hotline during the week and writing a text answer. To go VIP and get all PWTorch VIP content on our app and our website and our Audio RSS feed, www.PWTorch.com/govip.)
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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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