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6 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - Jake Roberts drops ass... · 9 replies · +18 points

Well it depends on who you ask. I'm no fan of Tom Billington but I have to be fair in stating there are a lot of positive stories about him from his run with WWE and I'll relate a couple:

1) Bret Hart tells the story that when The Hart Foundation won the belts off The Bulldogs in Tampa in January of 1987, nobody in the locker room expected Dynamite Kid to show up that day because he had a broken back and could barely move, let alone work. So when Dynamite showed up that day to do the honors even though he had to be escorted to the ring by Davey, the entire locker room gave him a standing ovation when he walked through the curtain.

2) There is also the story about Dynamite being one of the first people to embrace Harley Race when he came into the promotion, because there were guys in the back who Harley had heat with from when he was booking in Kansas City. I think it was Honky who needling Race about something and Dynamite quickly put him back in his box which gained him a lot of respect among the veterans.

3) There is also the story from Randy Savage that he was going to a bar one night that was going to be frequented by a lot of JCP talent and Savage was the WWE Champion at the time and realized that he was going into enemy territory with a big target on his chest as World Champion. Dynamite Kid was one of the first to volunteer along with Rick Rude to accompany Savage into the bar that night basically as his bodyguard to make sure that nobody on the JCP side of things tried to make a name for themselves at Savage's expense.

4) Shawn Michaels offers the story that when he and Marty Jannetty first came into the promotion they had a ton of heat with the other boys and it was getting to the point where there was probably going to be some type of escalation of tensions. According to HBK, Dynamite pulled him aside and told him that if he wanted to make things easier on himself, he needed to go around to all the boys and offer handshakes and introductions because word was getting around that The Rockers weren't business or respectful or however you want to put that. Michaels noted that after he and Marty did this, things did get better for them in terms of their relations with the rest of the locker room.

6 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - Wrestler Reportedly As... · 0 replies · +1 points

The whole Harry Smith thing has been building for awhile. I'm not clear on what Jake Roberts said to trigger Harry Smith but a few weeks back on twitter Scott Hall made an off handed remark to a fan that Lex Luger and Bulldog had failures for wrestling careers or something to that nature and Diana Hart-Smith and in particular her daughter Georgia went off on him with an expletive laced tirade. So you could see a confrontation like this building as clearly Bulldog's family was not taking kindly to his former colleagues putting him down. For his part Harry Smith has stated that he initially approached Jake Roberts at WrestleCon about his comments towards his father and requested an apology. Roberts refused to speak with him and then Smith challenged him to a fight which Roberts also declined and swore at him. It was at this point that Smith threw coffee in Roberts' face. Smith also claims that Roberts' daughter tried to fight him and that he has had issues with Roberts going back to 2012 when Roberts tried to turn him onto drugs.

6 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - MR. TITO STRIKES BACK ... · 0 replies · +10 points

Good column Tito. I can honestly see both the pros and cons of Rousey joining forces with the WWE with my overall estimate of the situation being that it is worth the gamble on WWE's part because even if Rousey falls flat on her face, they still have other options moving forward with their women's division. One issue that speaks well of Rousey and her involvement with professional wrestling is that she grew up a fan of the industry. Unlike many others who have parachuted into professional wrestling from other walks of life for the payday or whatever (usually selfish) reasons, Rousey seems to want to succeed in this line of work. That will hopefully lead to her being coachable and dedicated enough to her craft where she is able to contribute to the WWE in some type of meaningful way. For the time being though she is an attraction much in the same way that Andre The Giant, Undertaker (in the earliest stages of his career) and Brock Lesnar were attractions. The WWE is going to use her name value for all it's worth and build her up to be a legitimate superstar within their WWE Universe bubble while exhausting means and methods to hide her shortcomings.

The problem is that outside of that bubble, she more than likely has peaked as a pop culture figure and that more than anything else speaks of WWE's inability the court talent when they are at the height of their fame. It's been mentioned many times before but bears mentioning again that WWE is not a destination location for talent that has established itself outside of the industry. Instead it is a stepping stone for talent within the industry hoping to branch out into other forms of entertainment. Nobody riding the crest of their fame is going to put their hand up and say "I want to sign a long term contract with WWE" because it represents a step back in terms of overall visibility. Instead it's people like Rousey whose options are beginning to become limited in terms of where they were at the peak of their pop culture relevance who seek out WWE either for a quick payday, reputation rebuild or both. Another issue with signing outside talent that has already peaked in terms of pop culture relevance is that they aren't going to be able to bring in eyes from outside the "WWE Universe" bubble to the product because quite frankly they just don't captivate the eye of the general public as they once did. That's bad news for WWE or whomever happens to be signing the paychecks because without consistently luring in the general public, the expected "non-wrestling fan" ratings bump won't be there. That said I expect WWE to push Rousey heavily over the next twelve months at least so they can get a gauge on what they have here. They've clearly invested money in her and WWE will understandably exhaust all options in terms of getting a return on that investment. I do believe however, that they will also afford themselves the means to pivot away from Rousey if necessary in the next twelve months if they believe she's not performing up to expectations. So if anything I think wrestling fans should be able to hang their hat on that.

6 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - MR. TITO STRIKES BACK ... · 1 reply · +8 points

"I would also recommend having Brie Bella as his valet to cheer him on at ringside. SELL that he's a family man and proud husband."
I'd be careful with that recommendation Tito. I understand where you are going here but since you much like myself are a champion of wrestling history, it's worth pointing out that this is the exact strategy that basically killed Ricky Steamboat's career. In 1989 when Steamboat returned to the NWA for a program with Ric Flair, the fans were ready to embrace him as wrestling's hottest babyface but then he started bringing Bonnie and Little Ricky to the ring with him on daily basis and the promotion started selling that he was a family man and proud husband and that was pretty much the death knell of his career as main eventer. It's funny as much as society has evolved since 1989, the idea of pushing Steamboat as a family man is still routinely derided by folks like Jim Cornette and Ric Flair who have gone on record as saying the idea of presenting a main event talent in that light was one of the worst ideas in the history of the industry as it completely killed any momentum Steamboat had going for him as a top babyface and the involvement of Bonnie and Little Ricky eventually caused fans to turn off Ricky and really turn on for Flair who at the time was the promotion's top heel. Essentially in a strange way we have Bonnie Steamboat to thank for the Flair babyface turn and the resultant Flair/Funk rivalry of 1989 because she absolutely killed her husband's career as a top drawing babyface which I'm guessing was not the long term plan when he was brought back to the NWA in early 1989.

6 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - MR. TITO STRIKES BACK ... · 1 reply · +6 points

Well as both a long time reader and someone whom you could consider a contemporary of yours as both of us are around the same age and ironically started watching wrestling in a serious manner in 1988, I'm going to take you at face value when you ask "Why do matters like these all of the sudden matter now?" It's a bit of a slippery slope to be sure as I'm going to wager that most folks are not exactly pleased with having to live in the 100% PC world that we live in today but in spite of that, if truth be told we all still have certain issues that go against our grain which we rise up against without fail when we see them occur in society. Essentially we all pick and choose our battles and for a number of folks, clearly the Moolah issue was one worth going to the mattresses for.

At the root of the issue I think aside from the atrocities which Moolah has been accused of is the idea that wrestling fans in 2018, have just about had a gut full of the "WWE narrative". You know what I'm talking about. The way the WWE either enshrines or castigates/shames former wrestling talent based upon their relationship with the company. For example, Moolah for the entirely of her wrestling career was in the good graces of WWE and was thus promoted as a living legend and the cornerstone of women's wrestling. While this is not exactly a truthful reading of wrestling history (read Penny Banner's critique of Moolah as a wrestling talent if you want an alternate perspective), wrestling fans by and large lived with it because it wasn't that huge of a deal and because they really had no choice. It wasn't until the accusations of Moolah's misconduct outside of the ring came to light in the late nineties, when the worm began to turn against her in the public forum. These allegations have been out there for two decades now with most wrestling fans our age being aware of them and while Moolah denied them, she really didn't offer up any hard evidence to disprove them either. In the end Moolah passed away around a decade ago and I believe sleeping dogs would've been allowed to lie in this matter if the WWE didn't try to once again foist their narrative regarding Moolah as a living legend/positive influence on pro wrestling this past week. The problem that WWE ran into this past week (as you noted in your column Tito) is that we have this little thing called the internet now which has grown to serve as a virtual custodian of history both good and bad. It allows folks to both access and share information that decades ago would've been relegated to the dead letter files of society and given how quickly information is shared these days, change is brought about much quicker now than it was even a decade ago as evidenced with the turnaround regarding the Moolah situation this week.

As to why Moolah's situation was viewed differently by society than Hogan or Warrior's? Well there is that "WWE narrative" thing I've been driving home but also there is a marketable difference between someone saying something inappropriate and someone conducting their affairs in a way where it negatively impacts the lives of others which is what Moolah has been accused of doing across many forums for over two decades now. That's really it in a nutshell from my vantage point.

6 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - WWE Changes Name of Th... · 2 replies · +5 points

Maybe this doesn't bother anyone else but is anyone else just a tad bit disappointed in the current roster of women's wrestlers that are employed by WWE for not attempting to nip this issue in the bud before it ever went this far? These are the same women whom at every opportunity make it their business to publicly state how important the women's wrestling revolution is and how proud they are to be role models for young female wrestling fans. But yet when they were presented with a legitimate real life opportunity to stand up against something that was fundamentally wrong regarding the industry that they profess to want to affect in a positive manner, they not only chose to remain silent but many of them capitulated and followed blindly along with public professions of support.

I mean is that basically what this all comes down to in a nutshell and if it is I can't see how the situation can be looked at with anything else besides disappointment. I mean I'm not naive enough not to understand why not one member of the current ladies roster said anything against this but are they really going to try and sell that line about how the WWE women's division is based upon the notion of empowerment? Because not a single one of them stood up against this which flies directly in the face of how they present themselves individually and collectively as a roster to the general public. They had an opportunity here to take the reigns and do something truly remarkable that would be in line with the image that they put out there time after time and they failed.

6 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - Triple H Speaks to WWE... · 0 replies · +1 points

Simply put, this is one of the many payoffs for all the work the WWE has been doing over the past decade and a half since they decided to put an end to confrontational and subversive programming and instead choosing to cater to the mainstream while becoming more socially acceptable and responsible. I dare say up until the WWE cut ties with traditional wrestling audiences, no university in the land would've even thought to have anything to do with the industry. But now since they present themselves as a publicly traded, globally known entertainment company there are doors and opportunities open to them that simply weren't there before. Think of it as a give and take proposition. You have to turn your back on one side of the fence in order to court the other.

6 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - WWE Hall of Famer Bobb... · 0 replies · +13 points

Utterly Heartbroken as professional wrestling has lost it's greatest all around talent. The brilliance of Bobby Heenan can be stated simply by understanding that he was a man who within the span of seconds could take an audience from being on the edge of their seats wanting to throttle him to literally breaking down in happy tears and laughing until their sides hurt. There simply are not enough superlatives to credit to this legendary performer. RIP Bobby, may you find happiness in a better place where there is no longer any pain or discomfort for you to deal with and plenty of humanoids for you to harangue, entertain and inspire. Peace out Bobby.

6 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - MR. TITO STRIKES BACK ... · 0 replies · +6 points

The second half of Tito's column is spot on. If you ever read interviews with current or talent under legends contracts, you will clearly see that WWE talent is by and large muzzled. What I mean by that is that is to begin with whenever they are interviewed by mainstream media they are reportedly accompanied by a WWE liaison whose job it is to make sure that the interview stays on course and that the talent in question isn't lobbed any hardball questions. For example you never hear current talent grilled on hot button topics such as Chris Benoit or steroid abuse because if those questions were posed, they liaison would immediately shut the interview down. Instead interviews are focused around the more positive side of WWE with questions usually focused around kayfabe matters or WWE's work in the community and with special interest groups.

In addition to this it is quite obvious that when WWE talent is interviewed, they are either instructed or compelled to present life working for the WWE as nothing less than a bowl of cherries. You will rarely (if ever) hear a WWE talent use the public forum to complain about a lack of a push, backstage politics or the qualifications of another wrestler. Around ten years ago after being left off of "Wrestlemania 22", Carlito took to the media with his grievances about not being featured on the show and his WWE career wasn't long for the fall after that. So coupled together with the Dolph Ziggler incident, Tito mentioned it's painfully obvious what happens to contracted talent who present an alternate narrative about WWE than the one they want out there for public consumption.

That said, it's worth noting that there is talent out there that seemingly don't give a damn about the narrative WWE wants out there. Two names that instantly come to mind are Mick Foley and Bret Hart both of whom have been highly critical about certain aspects of WWE despite being featured on WWE programming regularly in the past several years. Foley was extremely critical of the WWE's handling of Daniel Bryan and Hart was likewise critical of the WWE's inability to retain the services of CM Punk. Hart has also been very candid regarding his feelings regarding the propensity of injuries that have occurred in WWE at the hands of Seth Rollins. These are all examples of narratives that fly directly in the face of the WWE's public image. So while the majority of talent does toe the company line, it is worth noting that there are some like Foley and Hart that more times than not remain true to their own convictions.

7 years ago @ LordsofPain.net - Former WWE/NWA Wrestle... · 1 reply · +11 points

Another fantastic character from nineteen eighties wrestling, Ron Bass began his career as a protege of Mae Weston who had herself a stable in the early seventies which evoked the popular television show "Bonanza" and the stable was known as The Bass Family. Mae was the matriarch of the family under the name of "Maw Bass" and I believe Ron Bass portrayed the youngest boy in the clan. Bass would later go on to achieve both tag team and solo success in JCP, teaming with fellow renegade cowboy Black Bart and feuding with a young Barry Windham. At the time the duo was managed with J.J. Dillion who in his early days affected an accent and demeanor similar to Colonel Harlan Sanders, both of which mysteriously vanished when he became the head of "Tully Blanchard Enterprises" (must have been something that Tully put in his contract). Bass eventually turned on Dillion and Bart and worked babyface for awhile as "Cowboy Ron Bass" forming an alliance with Dusty Rhodes and Sam Houston.

Of course Bass, is most remembered for his run in WWE where he feuded with the likes of Brady Boone, Junkyard Dog and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. To this day, both himself and Beefcake hold the distinction for one of the bloodiest moments in WWE history when Bass gauged Beefcake's forehead with "Brett & Bart" (his maverick spurs) causing Beefcake to bleed copiously on WWE television at a time when excessive blood-letting was just not seen on the family-friendly WWE. I believe according to Bass, much of the blood-letting was exacerbated by Beefcake who continued to gouge his own forehead in the aftermath of the attack. Beefcake would have his revenge though, shaving Bass bald on SNME resulting in Gorilla Monsoon referring to Bass as "baldy" ever there after. One interesting bit of trivia regarding Bass is apparently he is the only notable mid-late eighties WWE heel not to have a featured match against Hulk Hogan. For one reason or another Hogan and Bass never hooked up while they were both in WWE. In the end Bass was a prime example of someone who dedicated his life to wrestling until wrestling was no longer his life. He got into the industry, worked hard, exited and was able to carve out a life for himself outside of the industry. RIP Outlaw Ron Bass and please leave Miss Betsy and Brett & Bart at the pearly gates before entering.