Raw Recall #8

Thanks for checking in for this week’s Raw Recall. When you’re done reading, please consider picking up the new WWE 50 book. In the meantime, here are some random thoughts followed by my “incredibly-prestigious” weekly awards:

 

Seems to me that WWE would want to promote that the Cena-Lesnar rematch was first announced on the WWE Network as much as possible. Yet, when King made mention of the rematch at the very top of the show—when many fans were presumably hearing about it for the first time—there was no mention of the Network.

 

WWE did a smart thing by breaking the news on the Network, but left some money on the table by not citing where the news originally broke. In the sports (and news) world, it’s common to credit which outlet was the first to break a story, even if it was a different company that broke the news. With that in mind, the fact that WWE didn’t cite their own Network as the source at the top of Raw is surprising. At this point in WWE Network’s history, and given the importance of it succeeding, WWE should be breaking the news that the Network has broken news.

 

Speaking of the WWE Network, WWE did do a great job of promoting that a whole slew of new content is coming, including all-new episodes of Monday Night War, the upcoming “Attitude Week” and the first 100 hours of WCW Monday Nitro.

 

Unless Natalya is about to embark on a slow heel turn, I don’t like the idea of her attacking Paige from behind after losing to her clean.

 

The eulogy of Dean Ambrose reminded me of The Rock holding a funeral for Stone Cold Steve Austin … and there’s nothing wrong with that:

 

Jey Uso realizing he hurt his knee reminded me of Marlena checking for her earrings before “passing out” to a Chyna attack. Ironically, Goldust was involved in that match, too:

 

Is the Mark Henry-Rusev rivalry going to happen?

 

Seth Rollins will make Roman Reigns look like a million dollars at a very pivotal time in his career. If Reigns doesn’t come out of this one smelling like roses, he’ll have nobody to blame but himself.

 

If the Stephanie McMahon-Brie Bella rivalry is over, please find something else for Stephanie to do. I’m not sure I’m ready for another Raw without her on it.

 

Quote of the night: “My client is humiliated that John Cena would dare invoke his rematch clause … Are you out of your mind?”
– Paul Heyman to John Cena

 

Tweet of the night

 

Guilty pleasure of the night: Damien Mizdow

 

Match of the night: Goldust & Stardust vs. The Usos

 

Teddy Long memorial decision of the night: The Authority changing the main event to be a six-man tag match

 

‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair on moving from WCW to WWE

With this post, I have finally used all the content I got from Ric Flair from my time spent with him for the 2010 WWE Championship book. Of course, the majority of our conversations can be found in the book, as well as this larger post. But for now, enjoy these final tidbits from Flair:

 

What did it mean to have Bobby Heenan by your side during your first WWE run?

Bobby Heenan is the greatest manager that ever lived, and he and I have been friends since I broke in in 1972. To have the rub to be around him was extremely helpful. They sent Hulk and I out to California; we did Oakland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, then back to New York to wrestle in The Garden. Bobby was with me for three days. And when we were flying home on a red eye, he turned to me and said, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. I hope your hair falls out and comes back red. When I land in New York, I’m telling Vince we’re done.” Traveling with me is a lot of fun.

 

Why did you go back to WCW after your second WWE Championship reign ended?

I left because about a month after I dropped the belt to Bret, Vince told me he was going to change the company around and that he wanted to go with younger guys and that I was welcome to go back to WCW. Bill Watts was the boss then and he was calling me every day. I thanked Vince and told him that I would like to do that because I didn’t want to be sitting there stuck in the middle again. As luck would have it, I went back to WCW and Watts got fired a week later.

 

Is it fair to say Vince helped you get your job back at WCW?

Yeah, he wanted me to be happy. Vince’s greatest saying is, “Ultimately what’s best for you is best for me.” He pretty much handles all of business that way.

 

Which of today’s Superstars do you think best embody what it means to be a World Champion?

There are only a handful of guys on the roster that can pull that off … Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Dave Batista, Randy Orton, John Cena, Edge, Y2J, Stone Cold. Those guys are really passionate, and get what it means to be World Champion. Being champ is a big deal to them. I wish HBK could be champion again. But some of the guys that are in there for a couple weeks and gone, I don’t even think they understand what it means to be World Champion.

 

What was it like to return to WWE after WCW closed its doors?

When I came back in 2001, I was only supposed to be there to talk. I wasn’t there two weeks before they asked me if I wanted to wrestle Vince at the Rumble. I said, “I’m not here to wrestle.” Sure enough, though, I was back wrestling. Then came Undertaker. Undertaker was great for me at that WrestleMania in Toronto. That was awesome.

Raw Recall #7

Thanks for checking in for this week’s Raw Recall. When you’re done reading, please consider picking up the new WWE 50 book. In the meantime, here are some random thoughts followed by my “always-prestigious” weekly awards:

 

  • The way Dean Ambrose made Seth Rollins take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was the most subtle use of pop-culture WWE has ever done.
  • Speaking of subtlety, the new fonts used for the “Live” and hashtag bugs are gold.
  • Why do they only do the “big match” ring introductions for select Intercontinental Championship matches?
  • Erick Rowan slammed Big Show. That’s an accomplishment and should be treated as such. I would’ve liked to see the announcers make a big deal out of it. Seems like a lost opportunity to really push Rowan’s strength.
  • One of the best things coming out of Brock Lesnar’s SummerSlam win is that we no longer have to see John Cena wear the titles around his neck. I understand that the business is ever-evolving and that the more contemporary way of being a champion doesn’t include wearing the title around your waist. But there was something about draping the titles around the neck that just seemed a little disrespectful. Call me old fashioned.
  • Can we get a new championship unveiling for the Tag Team Titles too?
  • If I never see a heel authority figure interfere in a match again, it’ll be too soon.

 

Line of the night

“What? It’s for charity.”

- Dean Ambrose to Seth Rollins after dousing him with a bucket of ice

 

Match of the night

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

 

Understatement of the night

As Paul Heyman said, every title defense of Brock Lesanr is now must-see and can’t-miss.

 

Guilty pleasure of the night

Watching Stephanie McMahon “Yessing” on her way to the ring.

 

Fashion statement of the night

Natalya’s new ring gear

 

Tweet of the night

 

 

Sycho Sid on being WWE Champion

It’s hard to believe, but I still have plenty of unpublished content from interviews I conducted for the 2010 WWE Championship book. Here’s some answers from Sycho Sid that didn’t make the book.

 

In the years leading up to your first WWE Championship, did you ever think that becoming champ just wasn’t in the cards for you?

Sid: You make somebody World Champion because that person needs the belt to make them look better. So a person like myself isn’t going to have the belt 14 times. I drew without a belt. So I didn’t have the title that much.

 

What was the feeling like when you were first announced as World Champion?

Sid: The whole deal with Shawn … I was told it was me, Shawn and Vader. I was going to put Vader over in Indianapolis and the winner of that was going to go face Shawn at WrestleMania. Vince McMahon or one of the agents said they wanted me to put Vader over because when we went back to MSG, he was going to beat Shawn for title and we want him to look strong. I said, “sure, no problem.”

 

Me and Vader had a pretty good match. When I walked back after the match, I saw Vince standing there in that spot he stands in all the time and I knew right then … you can ask Bob Holly, I told him and a couple other guys that Vince changed his mind that night in Indianapolis and that at MSG I would be the next champion. I knew that. In Indy, Vince came up to me and said, “hey Sid, we changed this, we are going to put you over.” I told him I already knew that was going to happen. I called it.

 

 

In that match against Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series, a lot of fans were cheering you over HBK, despite you being the heel. Why do you think that was?

Sid: In the northeast part of the country, the wrestling fan is a little more advanced than the rest of the country, especially the south. They seemed to lean more toward the heel a little bit. So that wasn’t that uncommon. If you worked with someone like me in that area and some other areas like Philly and L.A. a little bit, you knew those things would happen in those matches.

 

Who is the greatest WWE Champion of all time?

Sid: If I had to answer really quick, I would say Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund. But I know nothing about their reigns and their business. The reason I say that is because I heard these guys had the belt for 20 years. To me, I think the championships probably meant more then too.

 

The last World Champions I remember are Harley Race and Ric Flair. But if you were to ask me who the biggest money drawers in this business were, I would put my name up there. That’s what matters in this business. It’s not about how many belts you won, it’s about what you did when you had the chance to take the ball and run with it. I think when I was given the ball I did as well as anybody did.