John Pomfret of “That Wrestling Group” put forth a great question for the group last night. What Mr. Pomfret inquired was this:
“Quick question while I’m thinking about hitting the hay. If you had to form a promotion with you as the head and then one of each of these using anyone in the business…retired, active, dead, etc…who would you choose? Booker? Top Face and Heel? Top Female Face and Heel?
Top Tag Team, both Face and Heel (Female too if you want). 3 Managers? 2 Commentators? 2 Special/Wildcards (basically workers you could throw into any situation above and they could probably thrive.) (Note: if they are male they wouldn’t go for female gold and vice versa).”
I started to quickly give my answers, but then I realized that the majority of my answers, in a 2015 enviroment and a world dominated by “sports entertainment and the WWE”, probably wouldn’t be as successful as one would hope. So I decided to change up my answers a bit and although, as you will see, the majority of names I picked are “old school”, I’m trying to think as both a fan and businessman and who would be able to do the best job in filling each role, even in today’s world of short attention spans and overly politically correctness. And I think I’ve come up with a solid group that are essentially ageless and would work both in their prime as well as in today’s enviroment. Let’s do this.
The Booker: You’d want someone who knows the business, knows how to put together a story and make it work, and who can see the coming trends and get ahead of the curve as to what is hot and what won’t work. Someone who can work with the wrestlers and hide their weak points and make everyone look strong. While personally I prefer the more straight forward booking styles of Ole Anderson (ran both the Georgia and Mid-Atlantic territories at the same time and both were thriving) or Jim Cornette, I know that in today’s world of cable and national touring and exposure, their styles wouldn’t work. I would try to hire them on as assistants with Ole running the house shows and live events and Corny helping with promos and putting together the TV. But as the top guy, the head honcho, the main man where the decisions stop and go, it’s pretty obvious who the ideal person would be and that’s Paul Heyman. Just don’t let him near the checkbooks.
Top Face and Heel: Now it’s getting a little harder because there are so many great stars out there, especially when you’ve been watching and enjoying wrestling as long as I have (close to 40 years) that just picking one name for each role is a rough call. So I’ll forget about my personal favorites and go with the names I think really stand out above all others in each role and have proven it week in and week out by doing what matters most, putting butts in the seats. For top face, a man who can seemingly do anything and the fans will still cheer, I’ll go with former WWE Superstar and current podcast phenom, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. I was going to choose Hulk Hogan, but no matter how successful he was, I have never been and will never be a Hulkamaniac, brother! So “Stone Cold” gets the nod as the top, beer drinking, hell raising, baddest S.O.B. face in the company.
As for my top heel, I want someone who can just get under the skin of anyone and everyone without even trying. I want someone who’s a natural ass-clown and just makes you cringe in anger each and every time you see him perform because he really is that damn good and you know it and so does he. Roddy Piper from the early 80’s keeps coming into my mind, as does Honky Tonk Man, who sucked as a wrestler, but could really piss everyone off just by being there. It’s a hard choice so I’m just going to jump ahead to current times and pick the man who is known for the “pipe bombs” and even though he’s been out of wrestling for close to two years now, still manages to piss off wrestling fans the world over just by being there. For my top heel, let’s go with CM Punk.
Top Female Face and Heel: For the women’s division, I’d get Victoria (Lisa Marie Varon) as my top heel woman wrestler. I keep remembering the great job she did as the psychotic, crazy bitch during the WWE Attitude Era, with Stevie Richards as her associate and ally, a role he excels at, and even now, I keep wishing WWE would bring her back and let her work with the new talents. She was (and is) that good. So the psychotic Victoria gets my nod as the top heel.
As for my top female face, my personal pick would be Ivory because… well, because she’s Ivory. Anyone who has listened to my ramblings for the last thirteen / fourteen years knows that she’s my beloved and I would even go straight for a chance to enjoy her majestic presence. But this isn’t about personal choices so much as it’s about who would work best in each role and get over in a promotion I control in today’s world. Ivory would be part of my roster for sure, but as the top female “face” of the company, I think I’d go with Lita. She’s a good wrestler, the fans connect to her and she can play face or heel with equal success. Yeah, Lita, at least initially, would be my top female face.
As for tag teams, now we are going old school. My top heel tag team is pretty simple. They didn’t really break the rules so much as just plain out-wrestle everyone in a tough, by the numbers, dominating fashion and everyone hated and feared them because they were just that damn good. My top heel tag team is the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Ole and Gene Anderson.
As for my good guy / face top tag team, there is mainly one team I think of when I think about top baby-face teams and although personally, I’m not crazy about either man, I will give credit where it’s due. The fans love them and they are the definition of what a good guy tag team should be all about. So for my face tag team, I’ll go with Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, the Rock & Roll Express.
Three Managers: Gary Hart, Bobby Heenan and the late, great Sir Oliver Humperdink. No explanation needed – these were three of the very absolute best by any standards.
Two commentators: So who would I get to be the A-team faces of my television, calling the action and presenting my product to the world. Well, my main voice and lead announcer would be the man who hosted World Wide Wrestling in the Mid-Atlantic region back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and did a fantastic job in my opinion. He’s vastly under-rated and left the business to sell cars, I believe. But I’d find him and bring him back, the one and only Rich Landrum. As for the other man to call the action, I realize that he wasn’t quite everyone’s cup of tea, but the knowledge is there, the talent is there, and since I already have my other two favorite color guys in other roles (Jim Cornette helping with the booking and Bobby Heenan as a manager), I’d go with “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko as the color analyst.
As for my two “Wild Card” wrestlers who I could use in almost any role and they would do well, I’ll go with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Flair is too good to not have somewhere in the roster. He can play heel or face with equal enthusiasm and glee and is arguably the best all-around performer in wrestling history. So he’s my top “insert star here” performer. As for the second spot, I’m kind of torn between “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman or Barry Windham. Both had that energy and enthusiasm that is hard to find. Pillman had that “it factor” in major bloom and if he was in the room, he’d be the one everyone was watching. But Windham just had so much raw and pure talent in that ring. He wasn’t really great on the mic, but he got the point across and when he stepped into that ring, he never failed to deliver a great match. Aw, damn it all. My secondary “wild card” performer would be “The Beast” Brock Lesnar. As he’s proving time and time again in the WWE, you might not like him but you WILL respect him. And he draws fans, makes money and puts butts in the seats so what more can you ask for?
So let’s do a quick recap. My booker is Paul Heyman. My top face and heel are Steve Austin and CM Punk. My two top female stars are Victoria as my heel and Lita working as the face. My top heel tag team is the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Ole Anderson and his brother Gene. My top face tag team are Ricky & Robert, the Rock & Roll Express. The managers that I’d working for me are the great Gary Hart, “The Brain” Bobby Heenan and Sir Oliver Humperdink. The men who would be my A-team announcers would be Rich Landrum & “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko. And my “Wild Card” stars would be “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and “The Beast” Brock Lesnar.
So there you go…