Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
November 9, 2014
Yes, I know it’s been a while. Do you even remember me? I (admittingly) got a bit caught up in politics and our local Sheriff’s election (WE WON!) and the wrestling stuff kind of went on the backburner for a little bit. I haven’t even watched a single edition of RAW all the way through in over a month. Getting a corrupt and shady public servant who served only himself out of office took precedence. But I’m back now and it’s time to play catch up. So let’s do this…
I’m Doug and this is pro wrestling’s most eclectic column, “Tossing Salt – Worldwide News”, going strong since 2002. And we’ve got a full agenda for the day with lots and lots of stuff. How about some “Fact or Fiction”, mixed with some Q&A and a lot of random thoughts and comments sprinkled in for good measure? Does that sound like a plan or what? It may get a bit confusing along the way, but then again, it always does. Let’s get this baby started with some random thoughts and comments.
Thoughts & Stuff…
Big news on the “Woo Woo Woo” Broski himself, Zack Ryder. It looks as if Zack will be taking time off for surgery due to a torn rotator cuff. A bad break for Ryder, but then again, it could also be a blessing in disguise. Ryder, away from the house shows and television, could use this time to re-invent himself. Out of sight and out of mind, right? And then, when he’s medically cleared to return, we could get a new and improved, more serious Zack with nothing but winning and championships on his mind. I hate to see anyone get injured, but much like Bo Dallas, who’s currently nursing a foot injury, Zack’s become one of the top jobbers in the company and he deserves better. Maybe this will give him the opportunity to work those political strings, make nice with the powers-that-be and the so-called “Creative Team” and make a new, fresh start. Zack Ryder as a future WWE World Heavyweight Champion? Woo Woo Woo – you know it! (I’d like to see it anyhow!)
I just saw where Smackdown will be moving to Thursday nights in January. I guess there’s a big need to fill the void that was left on Thursday’s by the departure of TNA Impact!, which was moved to Wednesday night by the powers at Spike TV. This is actually a good move, I think, for the WWE and SyFy. Friday nights are great and all of that, but the audience that WWE is aiming for (besides the kiddies) is the 18 – 34 group and on Friday, if they have any money left from paying the bills, this crowd likes to go out and party. It’s club night and movie night and walk around the Wal-Mart making fun of other shoppers night. Friday is NOT a big night to stay home and watch TV. On Thursday though, people stay home because they generally have one more day of work (or school) to deal with and thus, they watch more TV. Remember the massive ratings that Smackdown used to draw in the early years? That was on Thursday nights. They did it then and they can do it now. Of course, the show was generally jacked up back then with hot matches, fresh storylines, great characters and lots of energy and excitement. I guess some things have changed. But it’s still a good move in my opinion and should help get the WWE’s overall numbers up a bit with more viewers.
Jim Ross speculated in his blog yesterday that he thinks that the move to Thursday night will not be the only changes for Smackdown and suggests that maybe a new announce team might be possible as well. Ross seems to think that the team of Michael Cole and JBL is over-exposed and I have to agree with him. I like JBL, but RAW and the pay-per-views, plus Sunday morning on Fox News as part of the “Bulls & Bears” panel, is generally enough. And that leaves me wondering, if they do replace JBL and Cole on Smackdown as the announce team, who would take their spot? Renee Young is definitely top favorite and she would be excellent in the role of lead announcer for Smackdown. And for her announce partners, I would suggest Alex Riley and William Regal. Riley has really grown as an announcer since his transition to that role and is improving every day. As for Regal, the current “NXT General Manager”, he has proven time and time again that not only is he a general inside the ring, but he’s one of the most knowledgable and entertaining announcers as well. Why he hasn’t been moved to RAW or Smackdown as part of the announce teams yet is a good question because there are few (and this includes Lawler, JBL and Booker) that are truly in his league. So replace Cole & JBL with Renee, Riley and Regal and I may even start watching Smackdown again. So there you go.
Speaking of Smackdown, I heard that this past week, Adam Rose turned heel on The Bunny. I’m so sorry I missed that… NOT!
Happy Birthday to Chris Jericho, who turns a whopping 44 today.
Let’s move along now and knock out that “FoF” thing. Are you ready? I said, ARE YOU READY? It always seems so easy when DX does it. *sighs*
Wrestling Fact Or Fiction…
As per usual, the questions come from my friends over at 411mania.com/wrestling. The answers come from me.
1. The fact that the WWE opened up the Network to 170 countries and could only raise the number of subscribers from 700,000 to 731,00 is a huge disappointment.
FACT: It has to be a shock to the WWE that so few people decided to jump aboard the WWE Network bandwagon. I know I’m shocked. With 170 countries, it would be logical to expect well over a million subscribers by now and I don’t get it at all. Wrestling fans are a fickle bunch to be sure, but with this, especially at the next-to-nothing costs that the WWE is charging (all together now – $9.99), I was definitely expecting to see them doing much better. It’s crazy!
2. You have no desire to see Rey Mysterio wrestle in WWE again.
FACT: To be honest, Rey has never been one of my favorites and while he’s a talented guy, he just doesn’t do it for me. Let Rey semi-retire and go back to Mexico where he can make an impact in helping new wrestlers and enjoy his legacy. As for the WWE, it’s time to move on and find new talent and stars. Rey Mysterio just isn’t it.
3. Following the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie and reports that his contract has been extended for several other films, Dave Batista will never wrestle for WWE again.
FICTION: “Never” is the key word here. I do not think we’ll ever get Batista back in the WWE on a full time basis, but that’s quite okay with me. Much like Rey Mysterio, Batista has never really done it for me either. I think Batista will ride the movie success and do well and in a couple of years, when he needs to promote a movie or starts hitting a slump, he’ll come back to the WWE for that one-shot appearance every so often… and yes, that includes a match or two. He’ll never be back full time, but in wrestling, no retirement is permanent and he will never truly go away either.
4. You have faith in WWE that they will be able to rebuild Ryback and succeed this time around with him.
FICTION: This is the WWE. They will build Ryback and succeed for a while and then they’ll get distracted or someone will play politics backstage and it’ll all fail once again. Ryback is a bit too one-dimensional thus far for any long range plans or long term success. He can be a strong mid-card talent to be sure, but where’s the personality? Where is the character? Until we start seeing those aspects as well, he will never truly succeed for long.
5. WWE offering special and exclusive matches like Rusev vs. Sheamus is exactly the kind of extra content they should be delivering on the WWE Network.
FACT: Absolutely. Make the Network special and make the fans want to subscribe and tune in. Offering exclusive matches and maybe even Network only special events is definitely the way to go. The Network should be “must see” and however they do it, that’s what the WWE needs to do.
6. With about eight weeks left in 2014, the fact that TNA has not announced a new TV deal is a horrible sign for the promotion.
FACT: If they don’t announce something soon, you may as well just go ahead and stick a fork in them. They’re done! ‘Nuff said!
And there you go. That’s the end of the “Fact or Fiction” segment. Now let’s move on and answer a few questions that I’ve had sitting around in my mailbox for the past few weeks.
Stephon Woodson: What any 5 people would you choose for your Wargames team?
So are you talking about current wrestlers or are you talking about legends and old-school wrestlers? If I had to make up a team of wrestlers from today’s product to lead into a War Games match against… let’s say “The Authority”, my team would probably be from the current WWE roster, Dean Ambrose & Christian. And I’d bring in (back) Carlito, Chris Masters and Drew McIntyre to round out my team. If I had the chance to build a team using legends, it would be Arn Anderson, The Masked Superstar, Larry Zbyszko, Chris Benoit and Bobby Eaton w/ Paul Heyman coaching from ringside. And just for the hell of it, if I was building a five man team using guys from the NC Indy circuit, who are great wrestlers and just as talented as anyone in WWE or TNA, my “War Games” team would be Ethan Storm, The Main Attraction (Chris Steele and Scott Powers), “Phoenix” Mike Youngblood & Timber the Lumberjack as my team with Jaysn Kross and Joey Nuggs as the ringside generals / managers. And if you don’t know who any of these people are, you should. Look them up!
I just had a thought and I know it won’t happen, but wouldn’t it be nice if the WWE decided to up the stakes one more time with their traditional 5 on 5 Survivor Series match between Team Cena and Team Authority and turn it into a “War Games” match? They want to get the ratings up and the subscription rates up for the WWE Network, then this would be a great way to do it. I doubt it would ever happen, but it’s a thought. Maybe we’ll get a “War Games” rematch between Team Cena and Team Authority somewhere down the road. I’d love to see it.
Edward J. Kirkland: (In no specific order)…Layla, Brooke Tessmacher, Mickie James, Trish Stratus, Gail Kim. Yeah, that’s my personal top 5 all-time hot female wrestlers. Yours…?
My top all-time 5 favorite female wrestlers? That would be, in no specific order: Lisa Moretti (Ivory), Lisa Marie Varon (Victoria / Tara), Sherri Martel, Beth Phoenix and Molly Holly.
Matthew Christopher Maida: What manager / wrestler combination, be it single wrestler and manager or stable and manager did seem to actually legitimately enjoy being around each other.
I think that Jim Cornette and his team of the Midnight Express, Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane, truly enjoyed each others company. I think that Paul Heyman and CM Punk were legitimate friends as well as on-screen partners, as are Heyman and Brock Lesnar. I know that Baby Doll and Tully Blanchard got along great both on and off-screen. And Bobby Heenan and Ric Flair seemed to really have fun together too.
Paul Tarango: Do you think we will have General Managers back on Raw and Smackdown? If so, who you would you like to see as GM on both shows?
I believe that we will definitely be seeing General Managers back in the WWE, sooner rather than later, especially if “The Authority” disbands as I expect them to. As for who I’d like to see fill the roles of GM for both shows, I’d go with Sting as the GM for RAW and with William Regal as the GM for Smackdown, if he’s not assigned to the announce team instead. If Regal isn’t available, I’d go with JBL as the Smackdown General Manager.
Brian Green: Favorite old school champions? (80’s and earlier) Mine: Nick Bockwinkle and “Superstar” Billy Graham.
If you’re talking about singles wrestling champions, my favorites would be the great Harley Race, Mr. Nick Bockwinkle and multiple time U.S. Champion Blackjack Mulligan. And if we’re going with tag teams, only two teams stand out in my mind as the best of the best of the best. Ray Stevens and Pat Patterson are one team and the other, the men who set the standard for tag team wrestling, the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Ole and Gene Anderson.
Let’s move on once more.
Thoughts and Stuff Part II…
I was listening recently to a shoot interview with Lisa Moretti, aka “Ivory” and she is truly a legitimate fireball of entertainment mixed with wrestling knowledge. Why has this woman not yet been featured on one of the many, many wrestling podcasts out there. Can you picture Ivory and Stone Cold Steve Austin sitting down and sharing a beer? How about Ivory and Chris Jericho talking about “The Invasion”? JIm Ross hired her for the WWE so I think that they would be able to have a very insightful conversation together. She has so much energy and has seen so much over the years, from her days at G.L.O.W. to the WWE and the Attitude Era. She was a wrestler, a valet, an announcer, etc. I want to hear what she has to say. Hell, give her her own podcast and let her interview folks like Jacqueline, Sable, Mark Henry, her partners from Right To Censor like Godfather, Stevie Richards, Bull Buchanan and D-Lo Brown. Don’t say that you wouldn’t listen because you know you would.
I’ve heard rumors that Stephanie McMahon may be pregnant. This would explain why we’re getting the possible break-up of The Authority and why Steph hasn’t been quite as physical lately on WWE TV as she was only a few months ago. I don’t know if it’s true, but if it is, congratulations to Stephanie and HHH.
Where has Fandango vanished to? At least we get to see Heath Slater as part of the “Slater Gator” team with Hornswoggle and Titus O’Neill and Adam Rose has reappeared on Smackdown, but our resident “Dancing Fool” has vanished into wrestling limbo. I haven’t even seen him mentioned on the house shows. As The Hurricane would say, “Whazzup wit dat?”.
Rusev is the new WWE United States Champion. Isn’t it about time for Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger to go out and start recruiting some new “Real Americans” to help bring that title belt home?
It looks as if Kurt Angle will be staying with TNA for at least as long as they stay in business. Kurt’s desire for a part-time contract didn’t mesh too well with Triple H’s offer of a full-time or nothing deal and thus, no deal was reached. Me thinks that HHH and Vince didn’t want to deal with Kurt’s ego or baggage and thus, only offered the deal they knew he wouldn’t be able to accept. Part of me hates this because I’d love to see Rusev and Lana in the ring trashing America and have their promo cut off by the return of the Olympic Gold Medalist. The pop would be awesome and it’d make for great TV. But part of me also remembers how much of an ass Kurt was with those “Tough Enough” kids back in the day and tried to take advantage of them on live TV (only to have it backfire when Daniel Puder fought back and humiliated Kurt with that keylock… lol). Kurt has some good points, but I think the negatives are there too and WWE made the right call in just saying “NO!”.
And I think that it’s time to wrap this up and call it a day. I’m looking at my notes and I still have several other things to address, but this is getting a bit too long. Besides, I need to get off my butt and go to the store. We’re out of caffeine and Dougie without his Pepsi is NOT a good thing. So I am out of here, my friends. Questions and comments can be sent to Doug28352@yahoo.com. And if you’re on Facebook (and who isn’t), visit my page at facebook.com/saltpalace. And of course, I’m on Twitter at @doug28352.
Thank you for reading and I will be back, sooner rather than later. Count on it! I really do need a Pepsi now. Take care and always be a fan. And to all the Shep Jones supporters out there (you know who you are), WE WON! GO TEAM KERSEY! (I’m sorry – I just couldn’t resist!) As the great Baron Von Raschke would say, “Dat is all de’ people need to know!”. I’m Doug and I’m down and I’m gone. See you next time.