Ask PWTorch FRIDAY'S ASK PWTORCH ALL-STAR PANEL: Why does Michael Cole get such a bad rap? Is there a real youth movement going on in WWE? Is Cesaro better off as a babyface without Heyman? Is it finally a perfect time for War Games?
Apr 18, 2014 - 9:23:11 PM
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The PWTorch All-Star Panel features an array of contributors answering your questions who have worked in various facets of the pro wrestling industry, plus PWTorch contributors join in. You get an unmatched mix of perspectives including first-hand insights from people who have worked in the ring and behind the curtain.
PWTorch reader Jeff from Michigan asks: When Sting debuts live on RAW, what is the best way to introduce him to viewers who don't know who he is? Does he need a long promo feeding off Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan, or simply a run in?
PROFESSIONAL BROADCASTER Jim Valley (Long time wrestling fan and Torch subscriber. He won a National Edward R. Murrow Award and several regional awards during his 20 year broadcast career. He has done TV announcing for several independent wrestling promotions, hosted his own wrestling radio show, interviewed many top stars and was flown our to Stamford to audition for WWE. He took second to Todd Grisham.) I would do vignettes. I'm willing to bet there are people in WWE who believe a large part of the audience doesn't know Sting and they may be right. TNA's a blip on the radar. WCW has been gone since almost the turn of the century. Many WWE fans weren't even born then. WWE needs to reintroduce Sting and explain why he's a big deal. Otherwise he's a old guy in a t-shirt and make up.
REALITY TV STAR & EX-TNA MANAGER Jonny Fairplay (@jonnyfairplay was also former personal assistant to Roddy Piper and a frequent PWTorch Livecast guest) answers: Less is more with Sting. I could see him coming to the aid of Cena after a Wyatt Family beat down, setting up a match at SummerSlam.
PWTorch reader R. Jack asks: First off, I wanna say I love both Ask PWTorch features. It's fun to read expert opinions. Keep up the good work! Sometime last year, I asked this question: Is there a youth movement in WWE? The Shield had risen, A.J. Lee was on top, Daniel Bryan was gaining notoriety, etc. The answers given were no's. My question now is, do you feel there is a youth movement now? The Shield are in the main storyline, with Daniel Bryan finally champion. Cesaro has become a star. Paige is Diva's Champ after beating another great Diva, A.J. Lee. Alexander Rusev is in, with Bo Dallas and Alex Rose coming. Not to mention that soon to be: the man that beats THE man who defeated the streak. Has the torch been passed?
PROFESSIONAL BROADCASTER Jim Valley (Long time wrestling fan and Torch subscriber. He won a National Edward R. Murrow Award and several regional awards during his 20 year broadcast career. He has done TV announcing for several independent wrestling promotions, hosted his own wrestling radio show, interviewed many top stars and was flown our to Stamford to audition for WWE. He took second to Todd Grisham.) They need to be consistent main eventers before you can say the torch is passed.
REALITY TV STAR & EX-TNA MANAGER Jonny Fairplay (@jonnyfairplay was also former personal assistant to Roddy Piper and a frequent PWTorch Livecast guest) answers: You would think yes but you would be wrong. Daniel Bryan will probably be third from the top at Extreme Rules vs Kane. Evolution is back and will probably get the win at the PPV. And lastly John Cena will be on top of the card. Nothing has changed.
PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR Benjamin Tucker answers: The possibility for there to be a full-fledged Attitude Era-esque youth movement is here now more than ever, but the key, as always, is follow-up. We could be on the verge of another Creative nosedive in quality, or right on the cusp of greatness. If everything holds up like it did on Monday night, then yes, we are definitely in a youth movement.
PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR Jimmy Eaton answers: Thanks for the question. I don't know if any Torches have been officially passed because as you mentioned, we've seen this before and it ends up fizzling out quickly. I will say that we've never been closer at this point to seeing a passing of the torch. Will all of those talent be up to the challenge? I'm not sure, but so far we've seen that at least some of them at very close. Of course that would be Daniel Bryan. It'll be a fun next few months I believe to see who truly is given the torch.
PWTorch reader Jeff asks: Wouldn't it be better for Cesaro to remain a babyface and very slowly turn heel or resist turning heel? Has a heel manager/babyface wrestler combination been done effectively before?
EX-WWE CREATIVE TEAM MEMBER John Piermarini (ex-WWE Creative Team member 2009-2010, frequent PWTorch Livecast guest) answers: I liked him better with Zeb. I like the dynamic of a babyface with a heel manager and watching that play out. I already feel like any personality Cesaro was building before last Monday has been stripped away.
PWTorch reader Mark of Huntington, N.Y. asks: Hey guys. I know the feelings on Vince bringing War Games in. I also know not everyone is a fan of theirs. Being that matches weren't great. I think the time is right to try it again. Bryan and the Shield vs. Evolution & Kane. Great performers. Good feud buildup. I think it's possible. I feel they could put their own spin on it and make it great. Maybe say if Bryan gets pinned he loses his title. Add some stipulations what have you. What are your opinions? Also what is the likelihood? I just feel IF they are going to do it, you can't get much better than this.
INDY PROMOTER & ANNOUNCER Brad Stutts (Follow @cwfmidatlantic and @stuttsy and listen to his podcast at www.WrestlingWithOptimism) answers: This would be absolutely the best time to do it and Evolution & Kane vs Shield & Bryan are the best teams I have ever heard in the modern era for a fantasy booked War Games.
PWTorch reader Jay Niland asks: I need to ask this, as many wrestling sites do get on the back of Michael Cole. What is the problem? I think he does a great jon, ok hes no JR but hes better then king lawler any day he's not heeling it. Watched him on the HBK - My journey - he was fantastic. So my question is - whats the problem with Cole? Also, is it because he's not J.R. and the smarks don't forgive hime for that?
PROFESSIONAL BROADCASTER Jim Valley (Long time wrestling fan and Torch subscriber. He won a National Edward R. Murrow Award and several regional awards during his 20 year broadcast career. He has done TV announcing for several independent wrestling promotions, hosted his own wrestling radio show, interviewed many top stars and was flown our to Stamford to audition for WWE. He took second to Todd Grisham.) I actually met Michael Cole during my WWE audition. He was very tired from the grueling schedule. From a broadcasting perspective, Cole is a workhorse. He knows how to host a show. From a fan perspective he has a few things working against him. He followed Jim Ross. He is produced by Vince McMahon. His heel turn, his snarky comments come from Vince. I also think if he has any passion for wrestling, it doesn't come across. But I agree, Cole is a solid broadcaster who has, to a degree, been treated unfairly at times.
REALITY TV STAR & EX-TNA MANAGER Jonny Fairplay (@jonnyfairplay was also former personal assistant to Roddy Piper and a frequent PWTorch Livecast guest) answers: 1. A lot of people hated Cole working as a heel. 2. Most fans would rather hear J.R., he’s better!
INDY PROMOTER & ANNOUNCER Brad Stutts (Follow @cwfmidatlantic and @stuttsy and listen to his podcast at www.WrestlingWithOptimism) answers: The "problem" is he isn't J.R. and fans perceive that J.R. was pushed out in favor of Cole while Cole was pushed down their throats. I agree with you that he gets a bum rap I think he does a very good job.
(Send questions for a future Ask PWTorch to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a particular person on the All-Star Panel you'd in particular like to direct your question to, include that in the subject line, but multiple panelists may also answer.)
In case you are new to this feature, let me introduce you to our All-Star Panel…
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.
Jim Valley: Long time wrestling fan and Torch subscriber. He won a National Edward R. Murrow Award and several regional awards during his 20 year broadcast career. He has done TV announcing for several independent wrestling promotions, hosted his own wrestling radio show, interviewed many top stars and was flown our to Stamford to audition for WWE. He took second to Todd Grisham.
Current PWTorch Contributors: A mix of current PWTorch contributors will provide their opinion on today's wrestling scene and modern wrestling history questions, including Shawn Valentino, Michael Moore, Ben Tucker, Jon Mezzera, Brian Leahy, Jimmy Eaton, and Mike Roe.
You can send your questions for the All-Star Panel to the same address as always: email@example.com. We will make sure they are directed to the appropriate panelist for potential inclusion in a published Ask PWTorch feature here on the PWTorch App or VIP Website. You may see your question asked in both versions of Ask PWTorch (the Afternoon original website-exclusive version and app-exclusive All-Stars version) so check both versions. Different groups of panelists may tackle your question on different days, so keep checking back. Because they all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences as both fans and working in some capacity in the business or covering it for the Torch, you're going to get some strong specific points of view from them.
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He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
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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