Welcome to the latest edition of Four on Four. This week, we have a casual fans theme. We’re looking to peer into the mind of individuals who used to be diehard wrestling fans but rarely or casually watch the product today, or who are happy to watch what WWE has to offer without the distractions of the indies. Let’s meet the panel:
Juan Vazquez: Was stalked by a Velvet Sky loving werewolf at an independent wrestling show. Handheld video game enthusiast.
He doesn’t have a twitter but says you should follow ours: @WrestlingEarth
“Hollywood” Chris Hall: No relation to Hollywood Hulk Hogan, we think. Designer of this glorious website you read. St. Louis Cardinals hater. Bigger Oakland Athletics hater.
Follow him on Twitter: @powerofliberty1
Kelly Marshall: Has half of Mr. Fuji’s cane as her prized possession. Also had her camera smashed by Andre the Giant’s foot when she was 10 years old. Roll Tide.
Follow her on Twitter: @ksm
Andrew Blackett: Enjoys a glass of shandy on a rainy day, but don’t even think about giving him shandy on a sunny day. Feels like he’s finally ready to take a run at his older brother.
Follow him on Twitter: @blacketta
1. Who is your favorite wrestler of all time?
My favorite wrestler of all time… hmmm… this is a tough one. A lot of people would choose a favorite wrestler based on how popular the wrestler is while I base it on how good of a wrestler I think the wrestler actually is.
My favorite wrestler is… drum roll please… Kurt Angle. This guy really knew how to make a match worth watching. His technicality in the ring was amazing. I believe his greatest matches were those against Brock Lesnar. Nobody could have pushed Kurt to be as great as he is if it was not Lesnar in my opinion. Kurt brought a certain type of physical reality that is rare to see in the ring.
My favorite wrestler of all time would have to be The Rock. I got into wrestling because of The Rock. One of the most dynamic characters of all time, he used his limited move set to his advantage, adopting a more athletic brawling style that made for very good storytelling during the Attitude Era years.
Can I have three for my three lives as a wrestling fan? As a little kid, George “The Animal” Steele stole my heart the minute I saw him. I had a MINE doll and I secretly hoped he would win Miss Elizabeth’s heart from Macho Man. Looking back, I probably just wanted him as my own pet.
I would check out every wrestling book and VHS tape my local libraries had to get a handle on the history of feuds and stables. I was mesmerized by early-NWA. I could never find them on my local TV as a kid, but the old VHSes impacted me enough to know that I should be a Sting-head. As my second life as a fan emerged (when Hogan turned heel), Sting was my man. I was so pissed that he just stood in the rafters and watched. I missed out on the best days of Sting, but he still holds a top spot in my heart.
Today, it’s Punk all the way. Those times he was ‘drunk’ at Jericho – best. (I took Jericho to Hooters once with Dean Malenko, Chavo Guerrero and Chris Benoit).
Side note: My favorite referee was Joey Marella, but don’t tell Charles Robinson.
Stone Cold by far. He taught me so much from a young age and was a fantastic role model.
2. What do you most look forward to about watching wrestling, and what about wrestling makes you want to change the channel when you see it?
What I look forward to the most when watching wrestling is a good realistic storyline and great matches. I know these wrestling shows are fake but I like it when they bring that realistic aspect to it. I wanna see realistic storylines which bring bring out how charismatic a wrestler can be and I would like for the wrestlers to be damn good at wrestling.
For me to want to change the channel to see wrestling I need to see the hype behind it. I believe the crowds cheering and their interaction with the matches are what sell it the most for me. When you hear the crowd cheering and roaring with all of these different emotions, you tend to be curious enough to know what in fact is going on.
These days, I look forward to seeing a well done match. I consider wrestling athletic theatre and just like any play, I want to see a good performance. I’m not worried about “workrate” or how many moves a wrestler performs in the match. I want to see a match that has an strong beginning, a captivating middle, and a brilliant end.
As for performers, I look forward to watching CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in the WWE; AJ Styles, Bully Ray, and Gail Kim in TNA; Candice LeRae and Kevin Steen in the indies. What generally will make me change the channel is generally anything related to divas, poor comedy segments, and just weak performers overall.
Today, I look forward to the really special promos. CM Punk and Paul Heyman (and a few others) have a way with the mic and I look forward to hearing just how many ways one can tell another “you gonna lose”. It’s an art and I truly appreciate it. Aside from that, I also really like Santino’s matches a whole lot and I love a run-in.
Back in the day, I most looked forward to the end of matches – when Brutus would chop up a head of hair; Rick Rude would swirl over a lady; Jake would Damien all over someone’s face. The over-the-top displays were SO GREAT. Remember when The Islanders stole Matilda, yet Bobby Heenan was terrified of him? I love the hell out of that kind of thing.
I hate to admit this as I like to consider myself a big ole feminist, but I change the channel on any Divas match : (
I think the OMG moments are the best. I love it when there is a big return or a dramatic turn to the show. Dolph Ziggler cashing in was a huge highlight and it’s moments like those that make me want to keep watching. The last ‘moment’ I had for this was when Cena chose Daniel Bryan for Summerslam. WWE does such a good job to keep letting you down and convince you that “nahhh, that won’t happen!” and then when it happens you literally start shouting in front of the TV.
What makes me change the channel is usually an undercard match with 3MB or something. I miss the days where you had great story lines for the undercards, like Val Venis stealing Kai En Tai’s lady friend and having his pee pee chopped off, or stealing Ken Shamrock’s sister. Even DX, who weren’t main eventers, were still really entertaining.
I think the boundaries for these guys have been made smaller, but I feel there is still more they could do then having 3MB having meaningless matches and the Real Americans holding back Cesaro from being amazing. Even with a big card name like CM Punk, he has such a crap storyline right now. Why can’t we have him bury Heyman alive and film Heyman in the hospital with CM Punk dressed as a nurse? WHY.
3. What exposure have you had to independent wrestling and what do you think of it?
My exposure to independent wrestling has been pretty much decent. Some of the independent shows I have been to were better than others. My favorite independent wrestling experiences were the ROH matches at the Hammerstein Ballroom/Manhattan Center in New York City.
When you are there watching the match, you feel energized and have the feeling that you are about to see something special. I guess it is due to the atmosphere. The Manhattan Center is bigger, hundreds of fans surrounding the ring, the spotlight is on the ring. All of these factors and a few more make the atmosphere ten times better than if it were being held in a gymnasium.
I’ve generally followed Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla over the years. I like independent wrestling due to the fact that it really captures the essence of what a wrestling experience should be for the performer and for the fan.
However, I think a lot of wrestlers, promoters, and fans in general would benefit if there was a little bit more cohesive working relationship to where angles could carry over from different promotion to promotion.
I have had three lives as a wrestling fan. As a child, I went to every event that came through Birmingham – even the tiny matches at the fairgrounds. I didn’t really know the difference between independent and ‘big’ companies, so I just enjoyed all of it.
My second life was right before the nWo invaded the WCW, and a friend was trying to make a name for himself on our local Indy circuit. I much preferred the pomp and flair of the ‘big guys’, much to the dismay of my friend.
My current wrestling fan life happened when @tomblackett introduced me to Wrestling Road Diaries. Holy shit. I became a Colt Cabana fan 4 life (and was also amazed that Daniel Bryan can sneeze with his eyes open!)
I haven’t invested enough time into the back stories of everyone in the indy world yet – it’s hard enough catching back up with why HHH is now a corporate guy – but I think I would make the perfect Southern ROH fan.
I’ve had very little exposure to independent wrestling. I recorded a Ring of Honor show and was unable to get through the first match. I think this is due to me simply not caring or wanting to care.
Watching an actual wrestling match isn’t that fun for me. I only enjoy it when I am invested in the character or storyline. I also love the scale WWE is at. Having 16 thousand people in a different city, every week going nuts for wrestling makes me happy and Ring of Honor or the other independent wrestling scenes, just don’t do it for me.
My idea of going to an independent show would be a bunch of guys my age or older who have just come up from the basement for the first time in 3 months to watch wrestling and being super awkward. NOT MY THING MATE, NOT MY THING.
4. What main event for Wrestlemania 30 would draw your interest in most?
There are rumors I’ve heard are saying that we might see The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar. That’s one of the matches I would be looking forward to. The match they had at Summerslam a few years ago was decent though The Rock was overpowered by Lesnar. Now that The Rock is in the best shape he has ever been in I am hoping this time it will be an amazing match up.
There is also Undertaker‘s Wrestlemania streak on the line. Honestly I feel that his streak should end. It should have ended a few years back. It should have ended with the Shawn Michaels match-up. I do not see any new wrestler that would be able to end the streak well. Possible ideas at who could end it would be Brock, Randy Orton or CM Punk. Those are the only ones who I believe could end it.
A huge main event for me would be a title unification bout for the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships.
Nothing draws my interest more than the possibility of a Colt Cabana run-in during a CM Punk match. I mean, I bought every PPV for a year hoping for just that! (I don’t read those “sheets” y’all talk about.)
Barring anything like that, I’d like to see a DDP “Crib of Accountability” match with Scott Hall & Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts vs. Jim Neidhart & Ultimate Warrior – the winner gets to keep eating all the fresh farm-to-table food he can stand. The loser has to live with DDP.
Undertaker vs. Cena in a career vs. career match. I think this would be an amazing stipulation for a main event. People would genuinely not know who would win this and every close pin fall would be lived and breathed by the adoring universe.
– Follow us on Twitter: @WrestlingEarth.