SLAM! Wrestling staff chat
The SLAM! Wrestling staff with Dave Meltzer when he came into our Toronto offices in November 2001. From left: Greg Oliver, John Molinaro, Dave Meltzer, John Powell, Jon Waldman, Stephen Laroche.
Good day everyone. Thanks for joining us today. Feel free to submit your thoughts and questions to us and we will do our best to answer them. The SLAM! Wrestling staff here participating are John Powell, Greg Oliver, John Molinaro, Jon Waldman and Stephen Laroche.
The guy playing "The One Billy Gunn" is not the same as
"Bad Ass Billy Gunn" is it? It sure doesn't look like
him...if not the same guy what happened to the "Bad Ass"
Wrestling Staff: John Powell (JP): Actually, the guy who played "Bad Ass" Billy Gunn
is now Kane. Heh. Heh. I am just messing with your head. "Bad Ass" and "The One" are the same guy. It shows you what a haircut
can do. Thanks for the question.
Do you think the upcoming split of rosters in the WWF will
work?? Do you think it is a viable business decision on the
Wrestling Staff: Jon W: I think it's actually a very smart business move by the WWF. Right now they have a lot of talent that is either sitting at home doing nothing or are in OVW or HWA when they belong in the big league. Having the split roster also means that both of the shows will mean something, forcing viewers to watch both shows not just one per week.
What ever happened to Rikishi?
Wrestling Staff: Jon W: Funny you should mention that, Rikishi will be making a return to television REALLY soon. Let's just say that Vince will have a close enounter with Mr. Phatu.
Why is the Rock so popular when he's so one-dimensional and
does not have any talent?
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: Rememebr Hulk Hogan? One dimensional and didn't have any talent. The Rock is so popular because he has the help of the Vince McMahon hype machine behind. Say what you will about The Rock - and I agree with your comments - he's over because he is so one-dimensional. Mainstream fans, for whatever, reason like his shtick and think he's entertaining. Lord know why, because if I have to hear him refer to himself in the third person one more time I'm likely to shoot my brains out.
What is the likelyhood of TAKA Michinoku returning to work
Japan full time and why is his first name spelled in all
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: Very good. He's back in Japan right now trying to start up his own indy promotion with guys he's trained. I think once he's overcome his injury, he'll be back in the ring.
You guys have been doing a great job with this site so
maybe you all can answer this one. Will the XWF survive
with all those big names or will they go bust? Do they
have a TV deal yet?
Wrestling Staff: Jon W.: In all honesty, I think the XWF has a legitimate shot as long as they don't try to be another WWF. If they can get a television deal that is NOT syndication then they should do quite well. If you look at startup leagues like the AWF who went straight to syndication, they did not last long.
As far as the wrestlers, you have to look at the future grapplers like Chris Daniels who are just getting mainstream exposure. I would not be shocked if the WWF goes on a talent raid though, especially if many of the wrestlers have an out-clause on their contract like Lawler did.
Is Mick Foley really done with wrestling?
Wrestling Staff: SL: Is anybody REALLY done with wrestling when they "retire"? History usually repeats itself...
Where is Jimmy "Super Fly" Snuka these days?
Wrestling Staff: SL: Superfly is currently working with the XWF and indy promotions.
Simple question: Whatever happened to BASTION BOOGER?
Wrestling Staff: SL: Bastion (Mike Shaw) currently resides in Michigan, and that's about all we know. I tried getting in touch with him after Rhonda Sing died as they worked together in Stampede in 1987-88.
Who do you believe is being wasted in the WWF or elsewhere?
Also, do you think it is a good idea to split the two
Wrestling Staff: John Powell: You think? The WWF is misusing A LOT of wrestlers.
In my opinion, Raven, Saturn, Lance Storm, Tazz, Kidman, Al Snow, Justin Credible and Haku. Just kidding about Haku. Heh. Heh.
These guys will continue to ride the bench until the WWF drops
the focus on the "sports entertainment" aspect and puts their
attention back on having great matches with great wrestlers.
How do all of you feel about the recent death of Ed Whalen?
Wrestling Staff: Greg Oliver: Well, Ed Whalen's death affects us all differently. Some of
us remember him from Stampede Wrestling, others knew him in Calgary as
a great humanitarian, others know him from the Calgary Flames or as
a sportscaster on TV or as a columnist in the Calgary Sun. What else can you say about him that hasn't already been said? A great man that will be missed.
F.F from Toronto:
I've been visiting this site for almost four years now and
you continue to do a great job. But I think its about time
you guys change the design of this site. Thanks
Wrestling Staff: Greg: A SLAM! Sports re-design is a huge undertaking, a much bigger thing than just SLAM! Wrestling. It will happen by the end of 2002 -- I promise you! In fact, before I took a much-needed vacation at the beginning of November, we had started the back-end part of a re-design. It has to be consistent with SLAM! Sports while still having an identity of its own.
Who do you guys think is the best wrestler out there right
Wrestling Staff: Our favs are Waldman: As of today, Chris Benoit (wrestler), Shawn Michaels
(sports entertainer), Stephen Laroche: Chris Jericho (wrestler),
Hulk Hogan (sports entertainer), Greg Oliver: From the past, Ric Flair (wrestler),
The Garvins (sports entertainers), John Molinaro: Ric Flair
(wrestler), sports entertainers...none, John Powell: Ric Flair and
MachoMan Randy Savage (wrestlers), Chris Jericho and Roddy Piper (sports
entertainers). Thanks for asking.
Frank - NYC:
Do you think we will see any more documentaries on the
business like Beyond The Mat?
Are they good or bad for the industry?
Wrestling Staff: Greg Oliver: Yes, Dan Denton formally from ECCW and All-Star and Winnipeg has screened a work-in-progress at Sundance, and expects to have the final version done soon. There's also apparently a backyard one out there on the circuit now.
Of all the interviews you guys have done, who has been your
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle. John
Powell: Booker T., The Undertaker, Rob Van Dam, Mick Foley and Owen Hart. Stephen
Laroche: One word...Kamala. John Molinaro: Sharon Valentine, Mike
Teney. Greg Oliver: Too many to mention. The memorable ones have
come back to haunt me.
Hi! I was wondering if any of you knows were Macho Man
Randy Savage is right now. I saw him this year in an
episode of "Nicky" and that was it. I know that a return is
a no-no because of his injured knees but still, he's kinda
missed. P.S.: Molinaro: love your international articles
but hate your negativity.
Wrestling Staff: Greg Oliver: Just yesterday, I got the Savage update from a promoter. He is happy to be out of wrestling at the moment, and is hawking Slim Jims on a full-time basis. Many have asked him to be involved in their promotions, like the XWF, but it isn't going to happen. Of course, we'll also see him in the Spider-Man movie next year.
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: I make no apologies for being a cynical bastard who finds very little entertaining about today's wrestling scene as it bears NO resemblance to the sport I grew up with.
When is the WWF going to drop the "Kiss My A**" storyline.
Vince is destroying wrestling and it is a shame.
Wrestling Staff: Stephen Laroche: Whaddaya mean, when are they going to drop it? This is the SINGLE GREATEST THING EVER TO HIT WRESTLING!!! To paraphrase Tony Schiavone, this is the greatest angle ever!!!
Seriously though, the sooner the better... watch Smackdown! tonight.
Five years from now, who do you think will be the top wrestler
in the buisness?
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: Will there still be a business? I think if the WWF can stay on top, then I'd say either Jeff Hardy if he can remain healthy or Chris Daniels. Stephen Laroche: Kurt Angle. John Molinaro: Triple H, just because he's a master manipulator and a scheming bastard. Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy.
Are you guys drinking beer in there?
Wrestling Staff: Yes, can't you tell by this chat? Bring more beer please! [Editor's note: It was actually Christmas party day at CANOE.ca, and hence the beer. We really don't drink on the job ...]
RD in Newfoundland:
Why does Kane wear a mask?? Does he really have a 'problem'
with his face? I think he's a talent that's not used to his
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: He was burned in a fire! How much more do you need to know? Actually, he has continued to wear the mask because he is too recognizable otherwise as his past gimmicks (Isaac Yankem, Fake Diesel). We think he should move on, and team up with Kevin Nash when Diesel comes back.
Lawrence - WPG:
Do you think Hardcore Holly will ever get the push he
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: He IS getting the push he deserves.
Did a wrestler other than Mark Calloway play The
Undertaker, other than in the Taker vs. Taker match?
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: For the last time, Calloway has been the only Undertaker. The fake Undertaker was Brian Lee, and they are the only two to ever don the uniform. As well, before anyone asks, Jim Hellwig was the only Ultimate Warrior.
Are you as traumatized as the rest of the world by the
release of Essa Rios?
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: Rios is a talented wrestler that was criminally misued in the WWF. If The Fed ever got off their asses and started this light heavyweight division they're always talking about, Rios would have been somebody to build the division around. He was one of the best fliers in Mexico when he debuted a few years ago so I anticipte him going back there.
I'd like to find out from Mr. Molinaro which promotion
(past or current) best defined professional wrestling as
he'd like it. I think the WCW Nitro era (pre Russo) was a
great thing for the industry & wish things would revolve to
at least that ideal.
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: hard to pick out one. I would say Jim Crockett Promotions from mid '70s to 1988. It had the perfect balance of wrestling and angles. New Japan Pro Wrestling for the way it revoluionized pro wrestling. For a long time, it was the archetypal wrestling company. All Japan in the 80s and 90s for providing the best damn main event matches I have ever seen, bar none. Mexico's AAA from 1992-1995 when it was the hottest and best promotion in the world and the way it changed Lucha Libre forever. They were so hot at the time they made WCW and WWF look like a friggin' joke... which, granted, is no big task, but still.
How long do you think Joanie Laurer's career will last now
that she's out of the WWF?
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: What career? According to my watch, she's a the 14:45 mark of her 15 minutes of fame! The WWF made her and wihout them behind her, she'll quickly fizzle out and fade away. Wouldn't surprise me to see her turn to doing porn movies with midgets and freaks. Good luck, Joanie. A more useless, pile of crap that ever graced the ring I can't imagine... except maybe Kevin Nash.
What was the #1 killer of WCW? Was it Russo and Bischoff?
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: The biggest problem with WCW was that there were too many people with creative control. There was no one person in charge, and as a result, too many wrestlers like Hogan were allowed to say that they would not "job" for x-wrestler. The talent was there, the backstage was not the absolute worst stuff, but it was backstage politics that was killed WCW.
Peter Traverse, Newfoundland:
If you could have 5 wrestlers to start a wrestling
organization, who would they be and why?
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: Rob Van Dam, Steve Austin, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, and Chris Jericho. I think though you would need to throw in a tag team or two though.
Luca B from Woodbridge, Ontario:
Hey yo! Is Scott Hall ever going to join the WWF?!?!?! Forget Nash
bring on Hall and the drinking angle! Also is X-pac going to get his gimmick refurbished? Keep up the Good Work!
Wrestling Staff: Stephen Laroche: The Bad Guy will probably never be seen on WWF TV anytime in the foreseeable future. He's too much of a risk...
X-Pac will probably be reworked somehow. Personally, I'd love to see a return of the 1-2-3 Kid. Okay, maybe not that...
Is there any one superstar or a number of superstars that
can pull wrestling out of the slump that it is in, in
regard to the ratings being down. What would you do to
bring up the ratings?
Wrestling Staff: Stephen Laroche: That's a tough one. I don't think there's any one wrestler who can do it.
Would Rick Rude have been a better WWF champion than the
Wrestling Staff: Stephen Laroche: Of course he would have... Rude carried the Warrior around like a suitcase during their matches. However, he would have only been a transitional champ at best.
Now that Ric Flair is back in the WWF, do you think that
they will consider starting up the 4 Horsemen again? I
think a great line-up would be HHH, Benoit, Jindrack, and
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: Could be. Maybe when WWF splits into two groups in January I could see it happen. I don't know about Jindrak and O'Haire, though. Maybe HHH, Benoit, Jericho and Lance.
Do you have any news or updates from Dusty Rhodes'
Turnbuckle Entertainment? They seem to have some really
good matches and feuds (Rhodes/Windham). But I never hear
about results at their cards.
Can you help me?
Wrestling Staff: Stephen Laroche: The best thing to do is check out www.dustyrhodes.net. There's also a great glossary of Dusty-isms.
So who do you guys think will headline WM18 in T.O.? And who would you like to see in the main event?
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: I would love to see Triple H battle Steve Austin, but in all likelihood it will be Rock vs. Austin.
When is the Undertaker going to ride off into the sunset?
Quite frankly, I miss the old Undertaker, this new gimmick
is NOT the real Undertaker.
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: I would definitely like to see the Undertaker go out as the original Lord of Darkess, but it looks like he will leave as the American Badass. It does not look like he will be retiring for a while though, but I'd expect him gone by 2003.
Do you think there is too much WWF on tv, With two big shows
a week, and a pay-per-view every month? Do you feel that is
a reason why the ratings are going nowhere?
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: That's one of the reason, yes. I remember when PPV's were special shows and there were no more than 5 a year... now they're produced in a cookie-cutter style with an assembly-line like fashion. Less TV could make fans hungrier for the product as the WWF is horribly over exposed right now.
Whom would you guys consider the all-time greatest 'heels'
in the business?
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Triple H. Stephen Laroche: Kamala, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper. John Molinaro: Bruiser Brody, "Love Machine" Art Barr.
What do you think of the new catch phrase "What?"
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: On the surface it looks lame, but you can't deny the popularity it has. I think you'll see it break the mainstream like "Suck it" did pretty soon.
Who are some of the stars of Ontario independent wrestling
to look for in the future?
Wrestling Staff: Greg Oliver: It's getting tougher and tougher to get noticed. Developmental deals are drying up. Still, Larry Destiny down in Windsor is great, and has had a couple of tryouts with the WWF -- but he also has a real job, which is essential for any indy wrestler. Scott D'Amore is really solid, but I can't see him going to the WWF either. Down the road, some may find work here or there with smaller promotions, or overseas.
Contrary to reports, Sting is NOT retired and is
considering a comeback in 2002, where will will Sting land
next summer- WWF, XWF, WWA OR MECW?
Wrestling Staff: Greg: I don't think we'll ever see Sting wrestle again, to be honest.
Do you see a return of managers instead of valets in the
WWF? Some of their most "entertaining" in-ring guys lack
mic skills. The Hardyz, RVD, Lynn, etc... Someone like
Heyman or even Bobby Heenan could help get these guys with
this by being a mouthpiece.
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: No. Valets sell sex, managers like Heenan don't. Sex and T&A is what it's all about in today's werstling
Do you think there will ever be an All Canadian wrestling
show on TV like Stampede and the old All Star Wrestling
from BCTV. Those were classic shows.
Wrestling Staff: Greg: Good question. Yes, I do think that with the explosion in cable and digital cable that someone will try it. Unfortunately, they will try it with no money behind them, cheesy production values and a lack of stars. Will I watch -- probably. I used to love the old All-Star out of Vancouver BECAUSE they had no money, cheesy production values and a lack of stars. The Aborignial People's TV network has been teasing a few Canadian promoters with the possibility of being seen on a national basis. But it's basically just been flirting from all I have seen. Nothing consummated.
Why is Test still on TV, and the one person the WWF has
that makes me laugh, the Hurricane, is not? To paraphrase,
What's up wit dat? And also, why was the best wrestling
entrance ruined on a wreslter the caliber of Gangrel?
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: Very good question. Probably because Test in a huge monster and Vince is a noted mark for the big guys. Helms is ten times the worker Test is but doesn't have the size and look that Vince likes, that's why he isn't pushed to the level of Test -- or Kevin Nash Jr. as I like to call him. As for Gangrel, I don't really know.
I was wondering if Ken Shamrock will ever go back to the
WWF? He would show Kurt Angle who's the master of the
ankle lock submission. I heard Shamrock moved his Lion's
Den as well.
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: Ken has in fact moved his "Lion's Den". There's been on and off for years now about his return, but in the forseeable future he will not be returning.
You mentioned the glut of PPVs on these days. With a
possible split coming up, is it possible they'd split the
PPVs as well? Maybe all the former "In Your House" spots
could alternate between WWF A and WWF B (or whatever
they're going to call them), with the major PPVs being
Wrestling Staff: Greg: Well, the glut isn't the total issue here. It's the lack of meaning behind the PPVs, the lack of issues. It used to be that they built and built towards payoffs at PPVs. Now, it's week-to-week booking. Still, I do see a market for cheaper PPVs, one-offs of sorts. Why not bring back the light heavyweight title with a $9.95 PPV, let the stars go nuts and see how it does.
What are your thoughts about the 8 wrestlers that were
released yesterday? Which ones do you think should have
been kept & who do you think should have been released that
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: Jimmy Yang, Essa Rios should have been kept. I have no problems with the rest to be honest. I think they should do more housecleaning and get rid of the clutter in mid-card like Hardcore Holly, Tommy Dreamer, Albert.
Do you think that the WWF may go back to doing shows in
smaller cities like they did in Ontario for many many
years, now that they are the only real game in town?
Wrestling Staff: Greg Oliver: Well, if the WWF can go to Bathurst, NB, then it can certainly come back to London or Kitchener at some point. With the split shows, I can see it happening at some point, especially leading up to WrestleMania in Toronto. But with our dollar stinking out the joint, who knows...
Your version of Bret Hart (especially regarding Vince and
the WWF): righteously angry, or just miserably bitter?
Wrestling Staff: Molinaro: Somewhere in between. I think he had every right to be angry because he was screwed and was lied to, no doubt about it. But it's been four years now and he comes across like a big crybaby. I think if he had just kept his mouth shut he would have garnered WAY more support from fans and colleagues alike.
Is the Rock seeing any one?
Wrestling Staff: The Rock is married, lives in Florida with his wife Dany and they recently had a baby as well. There's a photo of them together in our Rock Gallery:
Moderator: We'll take three more questions. Stay tuned for our upcoming Q&A page coming soon on SLAM! Wrestling.
Are you ever going to update your video clips section of
the site, and also what are your current opinions on the
state of the WWF after the finsh of the alliance angle, are
they going in the right direction?
Wrestling Staff: Greg: The video clips are very time consuming, and a pain to do in our office. Plus technology has been going on and on, and we're still stuck doing the .mov files. The streaming video stuff is beyond our capabilities at the moment.
what do you think is the best indy fed in canada right now?
Wrestling Staff: Greg: Well, from my perspective reading through the stuff coming in for the Canadian indy pages, by far the shows I wish I could be at the most are Border City Wrestling outside Windsor. Big name talent mixed in with newcomers. The Young Lions promotion in Calgary sounds interesting, and Real Action is fun out East. Winnipeg has too many promotions, which weakens everybody. Stampede had about 50 people last show, from what I was told, so they aren't a factor anymore. ECCW out west can be fun too.
Nick in Toronto:
Will we ever see another Piper's Pit?
Wrestling Staff: Jon Waldman: Piper has been rumoured to be doing a "Piper's Pit" interview segment with the XWF. Hopefully we will see it on television, because it definitely was a classic segment. As far as those type of segments on WWF television, it's not going to happen as long as there are opening 20 minute mic segments.
Moderator: Thanks to everyone who submitted questions. As we mentioned, we'll set up a Q&A page for next week and answer some of these questions 'off-line'. Happy holidays to everyone. Send your feedback, and future questions to firstname.lastname@example.org