Ask PWTorch THURSDAY'S ASK PWTORCH STAFF: Will Cena get booed at his Hall of Fame induction years from now? What has Roman Reigns done to earn future top star status? Was Jericho supposed to become champion 2001? Cena vs. Bryan?
Apr 24, 2014 - 3:02:20 PM
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Pro Wrestling Torch was established in 1987 by Wade Keller. One of the primary traits PWTorch has been credited with over the years is assembling the best and most diverse staff of columnists with broad knowledge, but also areas of specialty where they have a particularly strong grasp of history. Every day PWTorch.com presents that team of writers answering your questions, some of which are fact-based and others of which are opinion-based. Either way, we've got you covered with Bruce Mitchell, Pat McNeill, Sean Radican, Greg Parks, James Caldwell, and Wade Keller. Collectively they have over 80 years working for the Torch, writing about wrestling and studying industry history and trends.
If you have a question you'd like us to respond to, send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. I, along with the Torch staff, will address your questions in this feature and also the “Ask PWTorch: All-Star Panel” edition which is also published most days here at PWTorch.
PWTorch reader & VIP MEMBER Austin H. asks: Over the last few months it seems like the consensus has become that Roman Reigns is the next huge breakout star in WWE to the extent that people are actually predicting that he will main event Wrestlemania 31 and beat Brock Lesnar next year. I have to ask: What has he done to justify this perception? As far as I can tell he's an average-at-best worker and below average on promos. Despite steady improvement he's still very raw. He's never even been asked to carry his end of a major program. Has he ever cut an in-ring promo longer than 30 seconds? Sure, he has a great look, but so do plenty of guys who have flamed out. He's benefitted greatly from being part of a cool and heavily pushed faction and it just seems like he's at least a few years away from being a top, top guy. Am I taking crazy pills here or do you really think he's going to take that next step this quickly?
PWTorch columnist Sean Radican answers: I see way more in Reigns than you. I think he's really improved over the last 3-4 months. He's building a connection with the crowd and if you compare his ability to connect with the audience during a match now to even 5-6 months ago you can see a huge difference. I've liked his promos lately on WWE Main Event and his post-WrestleMania press conference showed he can hold his own on the mic. If Reigns keeps improving at this pace, I can see him main eventing WrestleMania next year. He's not ready yet, but I'm encouraged by what I've seen lately from him.
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: Most are betting on Roman's "potential," though, as you pointed out, he still has a ways to go. I think all the signs are there that point to him being a star of the future, especially if he's a guy WWE really invests in (which they will). He's got the look, he's good enough in the ring at this point and really, he's been wrestling for less than four years so for his experience, I'd say he's ahead of the curve. Promos remain to be seen but I'd disagree that he's below average - he's done what's asked of him in that department, and done it well. As long as he keeps improving, and there's no indication he won't, he'll be a main event star someday.
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: There is reason for caution before declaring him a sure-fire bet to be the next successful big star. What we have been reporting on and reacting to is the fact that top management has him pegged as the best bet of the current lot. Steve Austin told me two weeks ago on the www.PWTorchLivecast.com that he sees great potential in Reigns from what he's seen. Those who have watched him at the training center believe he has all the tools both physically and in terms of attitude and work ethic and natural charisma. This is a case of people who evaluate wrestlers' potential almost being unanimous in seeing him as one of the best all-around bets to come around in a long time. He is like a no. 1 draft pick who has a lot to prove, though.
PWTorch reader Adam from Nottingham, U.K. asks: Great site, and always my first stop for all wrestling news! My question is this: When Chris Jericho won the Undisputed Title at Vengeance 2001, was he always the first choice to become said champion? I only ask because Triple H was out injured at the time and if four-man tournament was going to be held, surely he would of been a part of it, along with Steve Austin, The Rock and Kurt Angle. Jericho wouldn't have been a part of it, let alone win it!
What are your thoughts? Thank you, and keep being great!
PWTorch senior columnist Bruce Mitchell answers: Chris Jericho was the choice all along, the idea being he would be like the Honky Tonk Man - a clearly unworthy champion bragging about how he was the greatest.
PWTorch reader Keith from Virginia asks: Thanks for the audio guys. Makes car rides go much faster! I've heard you guys take to task the WWE for their mishandling of Daniel Bryan (which I agree with). However, I've also heard you guys defend their treatment of John Cena as the top guy and I'm curious: What's the difference? One could easily argue that they're two sides of the same coin. When fans began rejecting Cena as the top babyface, they dug in their heels and said that this is our guy whether you like it or not. What's wrong with doing the same and saying Daniel Bryan is not our guy no matter how much you want it because we just know better?
PWTorch senior columnist Bruce Mitchell answers: There's more to measuring how over a wrestler with the fans than how they cheer him on TV. Babyface John Cena generates substantially more money, in all the ways money can now be generated, than any other wrestler.
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: Because their reasoning for not wanting Bryan to be the top guy is based on criteria that I disagree with, primarily that their top babyface has to be taller and look more like an action figure along the lines of Batista, Randy Orton, John Cena, Hulk Hogan, or Brock Lesnar. They are hung up on something their fan base isn't, and if they'd just get behind Brian without plugging their noses or sabotaging him through an apologetic, flawed push, they would actually find out his true potential instead of going through this self-fulfilling prophesy by pushing him a secondary level champion despite being the WWE World Title holder. Fans watching Bryan on TV aren't standing next to him backstage noticing "how short he is" like the 6-5 Triple H and 6-4 Vince McMahon do. Fans aren't obsessed with bodybuilding physiques like McMahon and Triple H. Fans identify with Bryan in ways that McMahon and Triple H don't relate to, and they are losing money by still being somewhat resistant to getting fully behind him. Giving him the title win was a positive, but how they push him from here is going to influence whether he succeeds as champion or is positioned to fail or fall short of their expectations.
PWTorch reader Eric C. asks: Love the site. Favorite wrestling source by far! Do you think John Cena will be the first (I'm not sure if this has happened before) and the only person to get booed when inducted to the Hall of Fame? Even during his speech? Or will the "WWE Universe" honor the way he gave back to the community (Make-A-Wish)? Again keep up the great work!
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: It may depend on how long Cena's been out of the game so-to-speak when he eventually gets inducted. The longer he's away (if he ever does go away, that is), the better the chance he'll get cheered at the HOF. Even if he does get booed, I don't think it will bother him or WWE, given that reaction is/was a major part of the bulk of his career on top.
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: I think if he gets booed, it'll be done by fans who are just playing into the tradition. By the time he's inducted, the good memories will override the bad memories or resentment. He also, likely, will be cheered by his fans who still loudly cheer him today. Hogan was booed in the years leading up to his heel turn as fans began to reject his act, but now he's adored as a legend and nostalgia act fans look back on fondly. I expect the same to happen with Cena.
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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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