Ask PWTorch SATURDAY’S ASK PWTORCH STAFF for 4/11: How should WWE cater to Texas at WM32? Does WWE using Sting and Hogan add to chances more TNA wrestlers are hired? Do NXT gimmick wrestlers have a chance? Is El Generico really Sami Zayn?
Apr 11, 2015 - 2:40:29 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 you questions in this feature and also the “Ask PWTorch: All-Star Panel” edition which is also published most days here at PWTorch.
PWTorch reader Tommy from South Philly asks: Adam Rose was super over in NXT; as soon as he gets called up to the main roster, he's a jobber. Bo Dallas was NXT's Champion for so long and a top heel; as soon as he gets called up, he's a jobber. The Ascension are unbeatable in NXT; they get called up to job on Superstars to the least over trio in the history of WWE (New Day). My question is, can we just expect Vince McMahon and the writing staff to ruin every NXT call up and book them completely different then what were use to from NXT?
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: I don't know if this is a situation where the writing team deserves the brunt of the blame. The characters you noted may have worked on the small stage of NXT, but they just didn't get over with the larger, wider-ranged audience that watches WWE. The characters were kept largely intact so I'm not sure you can necessarily blame the writers on this one as much as you can surmise that these were flawed characters to begin with.
PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell answers: I think in all three cases, the NXT writing crew did a really good job of hiding weaknesses and accentuating strengths, then when they arrived on the main roster, a different writing crew - spearheaded by Last Call Vince - did not know how to carry over the gameplan.
For The Ascension, they're really not that good in the ring, but NXT fed them jobbers week after week and focused on their ring entrance to accentuate their strengths. On the main roster, WWE started out with jobbers, but the weak heel promos calling out former tag teams combined with the weak in-ring work doomed them.
For Bo Dallas, he grew before the audience's very eyes from an awkward babyface to a disingenuous heel whom the audience enjoyed watching act delusional and eventually get beat. It was just one of those things that worked at Full Sail University, then worked off/on on the main roster, but Bo has lacked a true identity as a heel or a face on main television. Is he going for laughs, or is the audience supposed to laugh at him? There's never been a clear presentation of the character. Pretty much all of that applies to Adam Rose - quirky character appealing to Full Sail, memorable act and look, but no definition of the character on main television. Was the audience supposed to party along or view Rose as a heel because he was using partying to distract from other wrestlers's matches?
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: I think there’s something even larger at work here. Characters that are created outside of Vince McMahon’s mind and who are developed and cultivated outside of his week to week vision may never get a shot on the main roster. Vince didn’t really “get” Bo Dallas and messed up what needed to be a long-term slow build for his character from an earnest but oblivious do-gooder to a frustrated and ultimately hypocritical egomaniac. Essentially New Day have become the main roster version of Bo Dallas. The Ascension were just a bad copycat tag team that didn’t really deserve to thrive in NXT, much less WWE. Adam Rose was poorly framed on the main roster, but a gimmick like that is pretty much destined to be a mid-card act. In NXT, he had a chance to breath a bit and be a “cult” character, but in WWE that makes him a colorful mid-card jobber to the bigger stars, so he’s pretty much landed where you probably would have expected based on his NXT push. Also, Vince doesn’t care at all, nor should he, whether someone had a big push in NXT or was even the champion for a while. Even going back to his early days running WWE, he looked at wrestlers with largely a clean slate and tried to decide where he felt they belonged on the card regardless of what another booker did with them before him. Bo wasn’t regarded as a great NXT Champion, and I don’t think many people saw him landing anywhere but the second tier of the main roster at best. I think when other NXT wrestlers who are less gimmicky and more clay ready for McMahon to mold will have a better shot. Fully developed gimmicks brought from NXT to WWE will often face issues with the transition and Vince’s reluctance to embrace something he didn’t create and might not even understand.
PWTorch reader Adam A. asks: With wrestlers like Hulk Hogan and Sting in WWE, is there more of a possibility of TNA wrestlers being given a chance?
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: Hulk Hogan and Sting aren't likely seen by WWE (or anyone, really) as "TNA wrestlers." It's apples-to-oranges if you're comparing them to someone like Bobby Roode, who made a name for himself as a TNA wrestler. Sting's and Hogan's names were already made elsewhere before their time in TNA, so I don't think we can really read anything into their time in TNA being a harbinger for others being scooped up by WWE at some point.
PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell answers: Only if a TNA wrestler has a significant presence/career outside of TNA. For Hogan, it was WWF/E and WCW during the Monday Night Wars. For Sting, it was WCW and the Monday Night Wars. For Bully Ray returning at the Royal Rumble, it was a lengthy run in WWE and ECW before TNA. Samoa Joe is a guy who WWE will probably wait on until he gets through the ROH Rebound Run, gets acclimated to NXT, and then runs through Developmental to the main roster. They basically don't want anyone thinking or chanting "TNA" when someone "associated" with TNA appears on WWE television.
After Joe, though, who else would be a candidate, hypothetically speaking? MVP probably would be since he had a memorable run in WWE. Perhaps even Drew Galloway if he returned to the company after this current run finding himself as a wrestler. But, would a guy like Bobby Roode, whose entire mainstream career is tied to TNA, draw interest? That's a tough one. Joe had the lengthy ROH/independents run prior to TNA, which separates him from a guy like Roode or, say, Eric Young, although WWE would probably bring in EY as a comedy act and not a serious wrestler, and give him a new identity that would be completely separate from TNA. So, either someone in TNA who has enough non-TNA exposure/career experience or someone who could take on a completely new identity going from TNA to WWE.
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: The short answer is Hogan and Sting being used by WWE literally has nothing to do with any other TNA wrestler being considered for being hired. Hogan and Sting are big enough names, TNA isn’t used against them. Their time in TNA has nothing, pro or con, to do with WWE hiring them this time, so it has zero to do with the chances of any other TNA wrestler getting hired. The way WWE sees it, there are dozens of wrestlers not on the main roster who are roughly equally qualified to fill a spot on the main roster, and they’re going to pick “their guys” from NXT or non-TNA wrestlers before they even consider a wrestler from TNA. And there’s not really a downside to that policy unless someone in TNA showed huge drawing potential, and there really isn’t anyone there now who seems like an obvious difference-maker. Jeff Hardy is a possible exception, but he’d be seen as a top WWE star returning, not WWE acquiring a “TNA wrestler.”
PWTorch VIP member Envoye from France asks: I read on occasion among the IWC that Sami Zayn is not El Generico. Can you clarify that he in fact was El Generico.
PWTorch columnist Sean Radican answers: El Generico is in Mexico taking care of orphans. Sami Zayn is someone totally different that is in NXT. If anyone ever asks you if Generico and Zayn are the same person, you can tell them this!
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: Sami Zayn was, in fact, El Generico.
PWTorch reader Sid S. asks: I am a lifelong wrestling fan, or as we say here in Texas, ‘rasslin. I know that the WWE is trying to really make a statement with next year’s WrestleMania. Here are a few suggestions for them:
1. Hype up that Steve Austin got his start right here in Dallas, Texas
2. Hype that the Undertaker also wrestled early in his career in Dallas, Texas
3. Where does HBK live… Texas
They already own the WCCW library so they can use old footage and build up the matches… Now here is the Grand Finale. Now this will take a lot of doing, but if done correctly and if they start now, it can happen by next year…
1. Sign Kevin Von Erich’s boys to contracts. Maybe even Lacy Von Erich as well.
2. Start out slow, having them have a little success in the ring. Then build up that WM is going to be in Dallas. Show some footage of the old “Feud”…
3. Bring in Doc Hendrix, have him revive Michael P.S. Hayes. Put together a couple of young “nobodies” to be his “nephews” and maybe bring in a niece for Lacy to feud with…
BOOM! The New Freebirds vs. the Young Von Erichs. There you have it, one of the greatest feuds in wrestling history revived for a younger generation. Plus people my age (43) still remember the original feud. I would buy a ticket or PPV if this thing is done right. Basically they could almost fill a whole card with WCCW stars and feuds of yesteryear. So my question is, will it work?
PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell answers: Hey, I'm as big on Texas Wrestling and a local flavor for WrestleMania 32 next year as the next guy, but this is too "niche" for WrestleMania. Michael Hayes inducted into the Hall of Fame is a good possibility, but I don't see WWE going for a long-term angle centered on the Freebirds vs. Von Erichs. Maybe a brief deal/mention, but WWE is shooting for 100,000 in AT&T Stadium, so they're going to be thinking national/international appeal, and then look for a local tie-in, such as native Texas/current residents Undertaker, Sting, and Shawn Michaels potentially involved in significant ways.
PWTorch editor Wade Keller answers: If WrestleMania was just a show that took place in Texas without cameras, this would still be a bad idea. If you wanted to fill a small Sportatorium like venue for a nostalgia show, then maybe you could go this route and aim for the over 40 crowd. The location of WrestleMania usually has zero impact on the line-up. WWE is an international company with a uniform presentation of their product worldwide. They don’t cater to each market, especially based on a non-WWE regional promotion that got hot for a few years in the ’80s, 30 years ago. That’s not how WWE operates and they’re right not to operate that way. The wrestlers and matches at the top of the WrestleMania 32 line-up should the wrestlers and matches they’d have at the top of the card whether WM32 is in Dallas or Minneapolis or Miami or Vancouver. WWE also shouldn’t promote wrestlers based on their parents. They should push the wrestlers who are the most likely to be be top stars and draw regardless of whether they have parents who were hot stars 30 years ago. It’s not fair to wrestlers in the developmental pipeline who are working hard and show great promise but don’t have parents in wrestling to have inferior wrestlers leapfrog them because 30 years ago their parents were in wrestling.
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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.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
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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