|the Master Brawler
In Defense of Brawling
When I read many online commentaries about certain wrestlers Im always struck
by things like all he does is punch and kick. He cant do a five star frogsplash. He never goes to the mat etc etc etc. For instance in the Hell in the Cell match certain
people choose to focus on technical aspects to call it an awful match instead of focusing on the intensity and drama of the
Thats not to say technique isnt important.
The Hell in the Cell match would have been better had Taker sold his arm better.
But I dont think that was really the problem. I think some lower level
smarks believe brawling is just not good in general. I will say bad brawling
is offensive but I love a good brawl.
When your doing a brawl your supposedly pissed off greatly at your opponent. So trading holds is generally not the wisest thing to do when you are totally pissed
off at someone. When Im mad Im usually not thinking of grabbing a wristlock. The masters of brawling understand how to make you feel their rage or distain. The masters understand psychology.
For instance I always knew how mad Stan was at someone. The key to a good brawl or should I say one of the keys is pacing.
With a brawl its absolutely imperative that the action keep coming. If
it slows it gets boring. If you go to fast and to long you start getting repetitive.
Stan around 1993 knew exactly how to pace so that his matches never got boring but never got old. You only need about 5 credible moves to go along with your strikes really.
The key is to know when to do them. Austin always knew exactly when to
pop out the Lou Thesz press according to how the match was being built. Hansen always knew when the fans needed a lariat tease
to pop for.
The next thing is intensity and charisma.
A good brawler must be someone you dont want to take your eyes off of. Austin was like that. You just had to watch him. He could keep you engaged with
his looks his interplay and his intensity. Austin could get a better reaction
with a flip off then some wrestlers can get with a 450. More power to him for
The next thing is a good brawl should have some sort of story. Such as I outlined in the Rock vs Austin match. They should
play up the hate and let that effect the match. They should make mistakes because
of being to eager. Do things out of desperation and take risk that normally maybe
they wouldnt take. Stan build his classic against Kawada around brutality building to the Lariat. Everyone knew the Lariat would kill Kawada just like it always had.
When he hits it its a powerful one so powerful that Stan flies out of the ring.
He knocks himself out for a bit giving Kawada enough time to recover. The
fans start to sense that maybe just maybe Kawada has a chance this time. Leading
to the amazing finish. Its a brilliant piece of knowing when to do what and how
to do it to draw the crowd deeper into your match. Stan doesnt have to kill his
finisher to accomplish this either.
So what Im saying I guess is that good brawling isnt just punching, kicking, and blading like Ehrens boy New Jack would do. Its
about intensity, psychology, and pacing. These are keys to every match. It is unfair to hold a brawl to the standard of a Benoit vs Angle match. They are different styles trying to accomplish different things.
A brawl must be measured against those standards. When I hear people complain
about a brawl not having enough moves I think the person saying that is ignorant. They
dont understand brawling. Maybe it is ECWs fault for putting out so many
crappy brawls. Still I encourage people to study your Stan Hanson. Rewatch Rock and Austin and see what I talked about. Maybe
you will find something fulfilling out of a good brawl much the way I do. I highly
doubt most of these people are more picky then I am. But being picky should go
both ways. Im picky about what is bad but also what is good.
Scorpio vs Jericho vs Douglas vs Pitbull II
To me this match personifies everything I love and hate about ECW. Its all right their in its glory
and with its ugly warts to see. The first thing about this match is it is a TV title match. Reigning champion
Chris Jericho was about to go to WCW so they needed to get the title off of him (see everything about ECW in one match folks)
and instead of just having Douglas get the title they decide to throw everyone in their so they could make Jericho's leaving
not the focus and instead a big angle.
This is an eliminatin match. In the first fall only two people work at the sametime. Scorpio
was quite good at this point and was working like a madman here. Jericho and he team up with some nice high flying stuff
against each other, bump around like a pinball for Pitbull and do some nice technical things with Douglas.
Douglas is brillant here as the feud with Pitbull had really heated up so he plays up the storyline of being
a chickenshit and refusing to tag in against Pitbull 2. It draws huge heat. Of course Jericho losses first since he's
leaving the company.
With three men in Douglas and Pitbull form an alliance to eliminate Scorpio. Its brillant psychology.
Pitbull wants to get Douglas alone so works with him to get rid of Scorpio. If you don't know the match you may be but
wait I thought Douglas didn't want to face off with Pitbull. See that's what so brillant about it. That's psychology.
Douglas' conduct throughout the match makes total sense by the end the match. He has an ace in the hole against Pitbull
and he knows that so he's willing to get Scorpio out of the way so he can use it.
In the final fall after some brawling Francine (the Pitbull's manager) turns and joins the Franchise pulling
down her skirt to reveal franchise underwear. This is wear the match falls apart and I can rant about what was wrong
with ECW. First lets detail what happened after this then we'll say what was wrong with it.
After Francine reveals her underwear the Pitbulls are quite fine with this. See in theory this is
why Douglas wanted Pitbull alone but... They just casually knock Douglas out of the ring and give her a superbomb
through the table. Douglas then uses some props to finish him off.
God what an awful piece of booking. Here you go Paul here is how you do it. Francine turns doing
something that directly leads to Pitbull lossing. Then she takes off her skirt as Douglas holds the title. Months
later after more screwing by Douglas the Pitbulls finally get revenge on Francine. The booking was totally inane.
Who cares about her stupid turn if a minute after doing nothing but making out the Pitbulls already get revenge. Why
should we care about the next YEAR of the feud? Its probably one of the shittest pieces of booking I've ever seen
and totally kills the match at the end. It was so easy to not fuck up but not only did they fuck up the finish but the
turn as well. Amazing. And isn't that ECW? Great booking buffered by awful work mixed with horrible
booking with good work?
How is Chono doing?
Chono has been head booker of New Japan for at least 7 months and has had huge influence longer then that. To say his
time has been a mixed bag I think would be accurate. He's gotten rave reviews from some such as Stuart from http://www.puroresufan.com
and Brandon from http://www.ichibanpuroresu.com
but some people such as Dave Metzler over at http://www.wrestlingobserver.com
haven't been impressed with him. Chono to me is an example of someone who understands wrestling but doesn't know how
to tell a story.
Chono's run has been a mixed bag financially. He did manage to sell out the Tokyo dome which is a huge deal.
But his tours have done week buisness and New Japan gets embarrassed everytime it enters the Tokyo market with the exception
of the 5-7-02 Dome Show. This is despite the fact that New Japan puts on really solid wrestling shows. In fact
that has to be considered Chono's top strength as a booker the fact that the show's are very well constructed. He puts
people together who can have good matches with each other and then gives them the right amount of time. Its very solid.
The problem is while Chono seems to be a great man for the details he hasn't yet in my oppinon shown himself to be a
good big picture booker. Flaws pop up all over the place in his booking when you start looking at the big picture.
The first problem is the ace and champion of the promotion Yuji Nagata. Yuji is a hell of a wrestler but if he has it
to be a successful ace or not I just don't know. He seems to have that Benoit syndrome of just not having the charisma
to put on anything more then great matches. Plus the way they made him the ace was just to sudden. One minute he was
everyone's favorite loser, the guy who couldn't win the big match, then the next he was the confident Misawa like ace ready
to defeat anyone. YOu can't go from those extremes in one match and expect the fans to buy it but Chono tried and now
he has the worst drawing champion in the history of his company on his hands.
The next thing is the top heel group has been team-2000 and the top heel is Chono. They seem to be moving away from that
for the equally dumb Yasuda invasion. Yasuda doesn't draw so him being the focus of the company is just amazingly dumb.
Chono leading a heel group has been done for 5 years now and hasn't drawn in at least 3. No matter how hard you push
them you can't reignite a fued that has been dead for that long. Plus despite what all of his apologist say when they mistake
him hiding smartly in a tag for stepping up for a big match Chono just doesn't have it in the ring right now. His offense
is a joke, he can't bump hard, his strikes look like he is auditioning for smackdown. Yet he books himself as the top
heel, winning the G1-climax for no reason at all. Team-2000 needs to die and Chono needs to come up with a new top angle
that doesn't focus around the worst main event worker in the company.
When Chono took over the book Kensuke Sasuki was a hot property. Since then he has failed repeatedly and no longer
has heat. Tenzen has failed to take a step forward. Nagata is a total failure and may be hurting any chance of
ever becoming a draw with this disasterous title reign, Nakinishi hasn't made a step or beat anybody he couldn't beat
before, neither has Nishimura and he and Nak have failed to make the next step as a tag team. So it seems the only guy
who has really benifited from Chono's booking is Chono. And this guy is doing an EXCELLENT JOB!!! I don't believe
(This column in progress please keep checking the main page to find out when it is completed.)
Is it Kojima's time to win the triple crown from Tenyru next month?
My original thought was you keep the belt on Tenyru to set up for a Kawada vs Tenyru match at the October Budokan.
Well if the news about Kawada from puroresupower is accurate that is not an option. Keeping the title on Tenyru till
Kawada is ready for the big money rematch is just not smart buisness. Putting the title on a man who is wrestling as
bad as Mutoh, who is as over without it as Mutoh, and with knees as fragile as Mutoh is not a good option. So honestly
while in a perfect world it would be nice to spend a year building to a Kojima win that just may not be the wisest decision.
This is not a comparable situation to either Misawa or Kawada. With Kawada Misawa was still in his prime (Tenyru is
at the age where the right injury could get rid of him forever.) Plus I don't think the plan was ever to make Kawada
the ace of the promotion as he was the same age as Misawa. It was pretty much known Kobashi would probably take Misawa's
spot (and he would have and maybe did but then you know his body broke down.) And if he couldn't they had the great Akiyama
prospect to go to which didn't pan out but we didn't know that till later. So they could take their time with
Kawada because Misawa had time and they had other people. When Misawa was being built for the triple crown they had
the man in Jumbo, a great gaijen draw in Hansen, and another established gaijen draw in Gordy, In 1990 it looked like
Jumbo and Hansen both had 5 or more years left in them and Gordy probably had 10. Obviously Gordy and Jumbo didn't get
their (which should show us the danger of these plans.) Fortunatly Misawa got elevated successfully before Jumbo and
Gordy fell through. However with Misawa they also had Kawada, Taue, Kobashi, and Williams all ready and able to step
All Japan today just isn't in that kind of a situation. They have four people who have proven they can draw.
1. Kawada- Out till April 2003 evidently, in his late 30's and is becoming increasingly injury prone which
could be a sign of a physical breakdown.
2. Mutoh- Knees are already shot in his late 30's as well. Notoriously lazy, but except for his knees
doesn't seem to be injury prone.
3. Tenyru- He should be studied by scientist. A freak. YOu don't know how long freaks can last
but at his age it can't be long.
4. Steve Williams- Just shot.
To support Kojima they just have Kea as opposed to Kobashi, Kawada, Williams, and Taue and later Akiyama.
So we know Kawada isn't an option, Tenyru needs to lose it at least by October probably. You also know that if
Tenyru isn't going to be able to credibly put people over for much longer in all likelyhood so if he's going to elevate someone
it needs to be soon. So you really have two choices Tenyru should drop it to Kea or Kojima. Kea isn't ready Kojima is.
So Kojima should be the next triple crown champion by process of elimination, Now the question is when?
Now or latter. Will he draw against Tenyru three times in a year. Its more complex then it seems. If Kawada
is out of the picture it may be time for All Japan to swallow hard and say Kojima is the future and the future is now.
post 2 in reply to someone who wasn't sure and said it felt like WWE and Brock Lesnar.
He is the best wrestler in the promotion probably and in that way is clearly deserving (with Kawada out only Tenryu
is close). He also connects easily with the fans who genuily react to whatever he is doing be it comedy, heel, or face.
So his character isn't the problem as he does have the charisma neccesary. As far as drawing power goes so far the Budokan
show he's maining is selling at a very good pace with all the good seats already sold out according to Zach. Plus he did the
very evidently financially successfuly camoflauge show where he was the only draw on the card. As far as age and experience
goes Kojima is 31 and has been wresling for 11 years. Misawa was 30 and had been wrestling for 11 years when he became
ace. According to strong style spirit he first challenged for the IWGP title 6 years ago. He was part of the best male
tag team and most dominate one since Kawada/ Taue probably. Does the comparision to Brock hold up still?
Like i say if All Japan had an viable options i'd say let Kojima chase but they don't. Kojima is the best option and
you know what he's got the talent and unlike Nagata his credibility isn't dead so he might just be able to hit home run
if given the chance. He'd have several natural matches to defend against. One against Mutoh with nice back story
espiecally with them having traded wins and Kojima being Mutoh's student. Williams vs Kojima has never been done really
that I know of so that might work once to seal his credibility. If Choshyu comes in him going for the triple crown for
the first time against a young gun like Kojima could do one Budokan sell out (Choshyu as a wrestler is good for one or two
his first TC challenge and/or his first match against Kawada). You have the future of All Japan match up with Kea vs
Kojima then you have the future of the company (Kojima) vs the past and maybe present in Kawada for another. If Tenyru
stays healthy you could probably squeeze him in their. And surely eventually one of these athletic monster gaijens will break
through and could challenge Kojima. That's a lot of appealing Triple Crown matches that would be totally fresh.
Who in the promotion has that many truely appealing matches? Kojima could show growth from a vulnerable champion at
the start to a confident ace at the end of his reing just like Misawa did from 92-94 (he became Ace when Jumbo got hipetitus,
a several months after winning the TC and then had to start wrestling like it immediatly and what probably would have been
a regular length reign became the longest ever.) Also don't forget the perseption since All Japan needs to attract more
young talent people like Tenzen who they couldn't get. I don't think they'll get Tenzen but who knows the perception
such a reign could create for a guy like say Takao Ohmori and others in fear of Coffee boy or the chin.
Quick Roster Analysis of All Japan Part One: the Top Card
All Japan is pissing me off a good deal. Between Mutoh's stupidity and Tenyru's stupidity its very frustrating
to watch espiecally since there talent roster doesn't totally suck anymore. I don't know if I would call it deep as
they still need people. Not closing the deal on Tenzen and lossing Tanaka really hurt. Although it should be noted
on Masato that they were right not to push him when they had him. Its been proven many times that only a stupid person
pushes someone they don't have under contract. They should have signed him but until they did they shouldnt' have put
him over anybody he wasn't clearly above. So onto the analysis with no knocks on the idiots who are booking this crap.
Keiji Mutoh- The big plusses are he's a big draw. Right now though he's not wrestling well at all. Partly because
of his knees are shit and partly because Mutoh gets lazy. The main problem as it goes is he doesn't have much time left.
His knees are on borrowed time and he just isn't the guy to be building around. He may have one year, two years, maybe
even three years left or he could have 1 day. So you can't build around him. He's also not good enough to be your
Toshiaki Kawada- Probably still the best wrestler in the world but he is getting up there in years. I can't
see him having more then 5 years left. At the moment though he is the best choose for ace. The guy for the younger
lions (which they don't have enough of) to shoot for. Kawada is better for the role because he can actually have consistently
good matches with them and is better at showing how they progress.
Genchiro Tenyru- Still a shockingly good wrestler. One injury could be devastating at his age though.
So they probably need to start him on elevating people soon. They should build to the big Kawada vs Tenyru match for
the October Budokon and then in the next year he should probably put over Kojima and Kea. He's just to that age where
if you don't get the elevations now you arn't going to get them.
Satoshi Kojima- I would peg him as the future ace. My timeline is for him to win his first triple crown at
the October 2003 Budokon. Just an excellent wrestler with excellent charisma and a good sense of humor.
The fans just seem to really take to Kojima. His only problem is occasionally he lets his body get away from him and
gets a bit fat. If he can avoid that he is the best guy for the future on your current roster.
Steve Williams- He's still the top Gaijen. I'm actually not as down on him as I was last year as he seems
to have tried to step it up recently. Still he is done. Even with him trying he's only a passable wrestler.
His only value is to elevate someone else. Hopefully not..........
Mike Barton- He seems to be their hope for future top gaijen. This is a really stupid plan. Barton
is only okay at best in the ring and at his worst well can just plain suck. Plus he lacks charisma and doesn't connect
with the fans at all. He has a good look and I can see him in a midcard role. I just have an impossible time seeing
him as a main event guy.
Taiyo Kea- Kea has one big negative. He just can't seem to connect with the fans. It makes some sense.
Fans like to watch you grow struggle and develop. Kea was never in the public eye really until suddenly in late 2000
he was elevated to the main events. Kea who doesn't have a great deal of natural charisma and the fans didn't have much invested
in just struggles to build that connection. He's got time though as he is 27. In the ring again Kea
shows some inexperience. He's got an excellent aray of moves and his strikes are simply awesome. However he has
trouble selling throughout the match and its questionable if he has a firm understanding of psychology yet. I usually
find his pacing to be quite enjoyable. He's coming along a bit slower then some thought but about what I would expect.
Let's give him some time I think we'll be pleased with the end.
Another name that has to be mentioned is Riki Choshu. John Williams over at TOA wrote up today over at http://www.otherarena.com
what Choshu brings to the table. Basically JDW said that the booking sucks and Choshu might actually have some idea
how to elevate the young guys up as he did in New Japan with the three musketeers. As far as the wrestler Choshu its
not clear yet if he will come but I expect him to land on his feet in All Japan. Choshu also has many friends who might
follow him so to me with that and with John's point I am a little more positive on the thought then i was before. The
wrestler Choshu brings one sure fire Budokon sell out. That is against Kawada. Its never happened with the right
build up I have no doubt it would do buisness. Other then that Choshu has value putting over a guy like Kea and Kojima.
You might give him a victory over Williams (a match I don't think has been done) and maybe Mutoh or Tenyru to keep him strong
sense he'll be lossing to Kawada, Kea, and Kojima. They probably wouldn't put Kea over but we can hope.
Well All Japan has more main event depth then you might think at least at first glance. Counting Choshu they have
8 guys the can throw into a main event. This would allow them to rotate guys around and to create many different match
ups. Also if they want to give someone a nice push they can sacrifice guys now to elevate them. Now the problems
and boy are their many. First off Kea and Barton arn't that over. Kea may get there but Barton just doesn't have
main event heat to go with his main event push. Then there is the problem that Barton, Williams, and Choshu arn't
very good in the ring. So any matches with them and espiecally between them are not going to make people flash back
to the glory days of all Japan. Then the biggest problem Kawada, Mutoh, Tenyru, Choshu, and Williams are all old and
any of them could be gone in a year. So if your building around any of them it just could be so dangerous.
The Hall of Fame
This is something Ehren, Justin, JD, and I have done just for the hell of it. Its something we all had to agree
on so these arn't neccesarily my picks. Some of them I wouldn't use at all (Kerry Von Erich I'm looking at you.)
But anyway since Ehren's write up really sucks I thought I would do an infinatly superior one.
Ric Flair- Really nothing needs to be said. Flair was one of the top wrestlers in the world for a near 20
year period. He was NWA champion 9 years out of 10 in the 80's. He was a powerful drawing card both regionally,
nationally, and internationally. Succeeded in the NWA, WCW, and the WWF. Remained a major ratings draw well past
his prime. Many consider him the greatest wrestler ever (I don't).
Hulk Hogan- Probably the number one ticket seller in the history of American Wrestling. His influence is tough
to gauge but his drawing card and historical importance are unquestionable. He holds the US attendance record for Mania
3 and the buyrate record for Mania 18. He was the vehicle Vince McMahon used to go national and hense destroy wrestling
Terry Funk- Has had several different careers. His first career reached it epoch when he won the NWA championship.
He and his brother Dory formed the top tag team in the world for many years. He Retired for the first time in the early
80's after a highly successful stint in All Japan mainly teaming with Dory. Had a marginally successfull run in the
WWF in the 80's and a memorable fued with Ric Flair in 1989. Then he went to FMW and along with Onita revolutionized
hardcore. He helped put ECW on the map in the 90's although some people exaggerate how much Funk was responsible for
Jerry Lawler- One of the greatest regional drawing cards ever. He drew for almost 20 years in the same venues.
An absolutly amazing accomplishment. Gained major main stream prominance do to his brillantly WORKED program with Andy
Koufmann (although it didn't draw great crowds toward the end.) Known for his great punch and excellent promos.
He now uses one of those skills in the WWF.
Bret Hart- The top man in the WWF from late 1992-1997 wither Vince wanted him to be or not at times. Probably no
WWF wrestler had more excellent matches then Bret Hart. His greatest gift to the WWF though was helping get Steve Austin
over. Will always be remembered for the Montreal Screwjob. He's the only man to ever hold the WWF World IC, and
Tag titles as well as the WCW World, Us, and Tag titles. His drawing power was never considered very strong although
he did do quite well as an opponent draw (meaning people would pay to see him wrestler certain people)
Mick Foley- For better or for worse Mick changed wrestling. He set the bar for huge bumps and physical punishment.
He was also very influetial in forming what is now the WWF main event style. He had a very successful main event run
from Over the Edge 1998 to No Way Out 2000. His success was due to a combination of his suicidal tendancies and his
Kerry Von Erich- Shouldn't be in. Average wrestler with a great ROIDED body who got put over every one because
he was the booker's son. Drew well in Texas and was always over though. His WWF run was hampered by the
fact that everyone knew he was a suicide risk and Vince didn't want bad publicity. Became a terrible wrestler after
lossing his foot.
Jushin Liger- The kingpin of New Japan's Junior division for over a decade. No light heavyweight has had
more great matches with as many different opponents as Liger. He is one of the best carriers in the history of the buisness.
An excellent flier and technician. A master of psychology and a hell of a booker. One of the best Junior Draws
ever as well.
Randy Savage- Career was hurt by always being in Hogan's shadow. However he was one of the best IC champions
ever (maybe the best). He had a couple of successful runs as champ. During his peak was one of the 5 best wrestlers
in the WWF. As late as 1996 his fued with Ric Flair turned WCW's house show buisness around. During his peak he
was known for his over the top character. Later in WCW he had a good deal of success playing a madman.
Shawn Michaels- Only Bret Hart and Steve Austin can equal his body of work in the WWF. Shawn was known as
one of the best ever at carrying big stiffs to good matches. Or putting on the Shawn Show, he wasn't considered
as good at having give and take matches with equals. Never really drew very well but as with Bret the WWF was in the
doldrums when he was given the chance. Many young wrestlers name him as their chief influence. His legacy is marred
though by his weak drawing power and back stage problems.
Vader- A holder of the IWGP, WCW World Championship, and the Triple Crown. Was a successful main eventer
in WCW, All Japan, and New Japan. His run the WWF was a failure for many reasons. For his size he may have been
the best wrestler ever. Its according to wither you put Stan Hansen in the same weight class as him.
Ricky Steamboat- An amazingly balanced wrestler. Never a great draw but much like Bret a great opponent.
He was a great carrier and a class act. Always was in Flair's shadow although in the ring he was much closer then many
people realized. Yet Flair was a much better promo man and draw so hense the higher historical postion. Had a
great arm drag and for his time was considered a great high flyer.
Dynamite Kid- Almost every Canadian wrestler patterns themself after the Kid. Benoit completly models himself
after Dynamite. His fued with the Tiger Mask revolutionized junior heavyweight wrestling. He also invented several
moves such as the snap suplex, the top rope superplex and he made the diving headbutt a major move. Also one of the
best bumpers of his era which eventually caught up to him.
Andre the Giant- One of the more famous wrestlers ever. He was kind of a side show freak and hense rarely
stayed in the same place for long due to the fact that his act would get old. However whenever he entered a territory
he drew. Never was a good wrestler and I've only seen one good match of his. Drew record crowds with Hulk Hogan
at the end of his career. It had more to do with Hogan but Andre definatly was Hogan's best partner as far as drawing
Kenta Kobashi- One of the most gifted wrestlers ever. Probably had the most devastating offense I've ever seen
A crazy guy though who has wrecked his body before he's even turned 35. He was never the draw the Misawa was but he
did draw quite well. Had a great work ethic and was known to give it all everytime out. Worked two years with
a crippling knee injury before he finally had to take a year off. Like I say a crazy guy but a great wrestler.
Stan Hansen- In my oppinon the greatest brawler ever. He was also the top gaijen Draw in Japan from the 1980-1988
(with Brody) and from 1989-1993 was without question the top gainjen draw. An amazing wrestler and very underrated.
He popularized the lariet and to this day that move is one of the most over moves in wrestler (espiecally in Japan.)
In the US he was AWA champion and did quite well several times but is mainly known for his work in Japan.
Mitsahara Misawa- For a time in the 90's was probably the top draw in the world. Without question was the
the top man in All Japan from 1993-2000. In 2001 he started his own promotion Pro Wrestling NOAH. Also a great
wrestler who had some legandary fueds with Kawada, Kobashi, and Tsuruta. Probably had the best elbow strikes ever and
was a very inovative wrestler pionerring several holds.
Jumbo Tsuruta- The top wrestler in All Japan from 1983-1992. When I think of what an ace should be a think
of Jumbo. One of the greatest wrestlers ever without question, probably top three. Connected with the crowd
probably better then any wrestler in All Japan ever did. Probably played the asshole better then any wrestler ever.
Jumbo just knew how to do it all really. Also had good success in America even touring once as AWA champion.
Antonio Inoki- The hulk hogan of Japan. Founded New Japan. Was the top draw for New japan for almost 20 years.
Was famous for putting himself over shoot fighters. He actually did shoot with Ali in a boring as all get out fight.
To this day is amazingly over anytime he appears in Japan.
Tatsumi Fujinami- Inoki's protege. For a time during the 80's was thought to be maybe the best wrestler in
the world although looking back I don't think he ever was. After Inoki steped down Fujinami took up the mantal long
enough to pace it to the three Musketeers of Chono, Hashimoto, and Mutoh. Still active and still winning titles.
Steve Austin- Probably the made more money faster then any wrestler ever. Almost solely responsible for the
WWF's turn around in the late 90's. Austin more so then Hogan or Inoki truely earned everything he got by being one
of the best wrestlers and promo cutters in the buisness. His character totally changed the way people looked at faces
and heels and hense he is presently the most influential wrestler of the past 25 years in my oppinon because unlike Hogan
and Flair you can see Austin's influeince literally everywhere.
Toshiaki Kawada- In my oppinon the best wrestler of the last 10 years and another one fo the top 3 wrestlers ever.
Also probably one of the stiffest wrestlers ever as his kicks are absolutly vicious. 4 time holder of the triple crown
although that title is usually associated with heartbreak for him. Probably the best storyteller in wrestling history.
His matches with Misawa are considered the best ever.
Ted Dibase- I think Ted got in last time but I could be wrong. Either way he should be. He was the
top draw in Mid South for a couple of years. He was the top heel in the WWF for a couple of years and always drew well.
He was also a fantastic wrestler and one of the best all arounds wrestlers ever. A guy who could literally do it all.
I may have forgotten someone but here are some guys who should be in who arn't. Rikidozan, El Santo, Lou Thesz,
Gory Guerrero, Mil Mascarras, El Hijo Del Santo, Perro Aguayo, Atlantis, Blue Panther, Negro Casas, Buddy Rodgers, Gorgeous
George, Akira Meada, Nobuhiko Takada, Akira Hokuta, Jaguar Yokuta, Terry Gordy, Lioness Asuka, Bull Nakano, Aja
Kong, and Chigusa Nagoya.
With the WWF set to do another potentially terrible long term move I thought it was a good time to look back at other times
a promotion has made crazy moves. On the AAA one I rely heavily on a Bruce Mitchell column on AAA that can be found in the
best of Mitchell archives http://www.pwtorch.com . Everything else I know enough about to do without quoting a source.
Konnan in AAA- Mid Ninties. To sum up what Mitchell said with some more stuff I will say. AAA became the hotest promotion
in the world in the mid 90's. They had an exciting mix of lucha legends and superb young talent. Konnan had enough sense
to mix these two together so Santo would lose to Psichosis and then Psichosis would lose to Rey. Legends lossing to up and
comers and working fueds how novel! AAA got so successful that it was outdrawing the WWF and WCW in certain markets in California.
Then Konnan went to ECW. He saw how hot and loyal those fans were to the company. He wanted his fans chanting TRIPLE A!
Konnan didn't stop to think that his company was selling out 50,000 seat arenas and ECW was selling out 1000+ seat bingo
halls. So Konnan made the product more hardcore, more violent, more racy etc. The crowds were super hot, but much smaller.
AAA never really recovered from lossing all the fans it turned off and went into being a distant second in Mexico.
Kevin Nash in WCW Last 1998 Early 1999. This is probably the most famous company suicide. For a year WCW had been booked
basically poorly. They had done great harm to their midcard by elevating no and burying people as soon as they started to
take off. Yet on the strength of the Goldberg Phenomenon and the Return of Ric Flair WCW's buisness was at its peak (even
though they were lossing to the WWF.) So the first thing Nash does as booker is take the title off Goldberg by putting himself
over. Then do a heel turn to "feed" him opponents. Instead Goldberg is shunted down in non main event fueds and
everyone in the NWO is basically a face in months. Hogan never draws as a face. He also took all the love and respect of
Ric Flair and flushed it by turning him heel and then humilating him constantly. He pissed off the midcarders by putting
over his friends and insulting workers he promised a push (see Benoit/Malenko as the Vanilla Midgets). He failed to capitalize
on the mainstream publicity and face heat created by Wrestling with Shadows by keeping Bret Hart a heel and off the television.
Then he said he wouldn't push Bret because "he just wasn't over enough". The heel turn of Nash and the finger
poke of doom finish killed the WCW title belt as a draw. Russo would be just as bad but the product was on life support when
he got it (and killed it). Nash took it from the peak to near death in less then a year.
Vince McMahon and Company
from 1993-1996- There is a common myth that during this time Vince McMahon built around Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. WRONG.
Vince tried everything he could to not have to build around these two problem was the only time during this whole period
where buisness would stabalize and rise was when Bret Hart was the champion. Every other time it was down hill basically.
Vince first tried to give Hogan another shot and it didn't work. then he created Lex Lugar as the next Hogan and it totally
bombed and buisness was sinking fast. After the Lugar and Yoko push so bombed Vince had no choice but to go to Bret. Bret
basically stopped the bleeding then the buyrates of Summerslam and Survivor Seriest show a positive trend at the end of Bret's
run. Then Vince tried Diesal. Diesal becomes the worst drawing champion in WWF history. Then again Vince comes to Bret
and again Bret stabalizes the situation and acutally draws a few good buy rates and the WWF makes money again. Finally Shawn
gets his shot but flops because three of the WWF's top guys are gone during his reign (Hall, Nash, and Bret). Finally Vince
decided build around Bret, Austin, Shawn, and Taker. Bret and Austin took off huge and Austin took off large enough to save
the company and make it bigger then ever. So basically the moral is Vince went three years looking for the next Hogan when
the fans didn't want to see that before finally going with the guys who could perform and hense saved his company. (Undertaker
at the time was carriable.)
In previous columns I wrote about what our Stephie bear did to drive buisness down in
mid 2001. I could discuss how Austin's heel turn was botched but no need. There are three examples. Basically all of them
involve a couple of shared themes. Not treating the talent the fans love right and ignoring what the fans want. Going back
in time also usually doesn't work. How many of these will apply to the NWO angle. If none do it could work. If one or more
do it could be doomed you decide.
Year End Awards
Wrestler of the Year
1. Steve Austin- I really cant go with anyone other then Austin here.
A case can be made for Mutoh but a strong case can be made against Mutoh so in the end it has to be Austin. In a terrible
year for the WWF Austin was one of the few bright spots (and the only consistent bright spot.) A truly remarkable comeback
from a genuinely career threatening injury (no one ever thought HHHs was career threatening so dont buy the hype on that one.)
2. Momoe Nakinishi- Just for making me excited about watching a promotion again. Thats a feat as I was becoming very
cynical about every promotion. Now I have AJW to carish and Momoe was the first one to catch my eye. Kaoru Ito may actually
deserve this spot more but Im being biased here so fuck off.
3. Keiji Mutoh- Top draw in Japan and had a really good
year in the ring. Hopefully he wont screw All Japan with how he drops the belt to Kawada.
Best Wrestler who was
the best in the ring
1. Toshiaki Kawada- Still the man in every sense of the way. Is maybe the only wrestler on
the planet who can have a 3 star + match with an opponent who is just out and out not cooperating. That takes a cool head
and a great talent.
2. Yuji Nagata- What a talent, what a waist.
3.Momoe Nakinishi- What a string of matches.
So far Ive seen 5 of her matches from this year with varying opponents and none of been below *** 1/ 2 stars.
of the year
1. Antonio Inoki, Genchiro Tenyru, and Vince McMahon vs Logic- Nothing else comes close so nothing else
gets mentioned here. Ive detailed in previous colums how many different terrible things these three have done as have other
Worst Fued of the Year
WWF vs Alliance- Nothing comes close. The WWF blew this one so bad it actually
hurt business where the WWF was counting on it to recover all the ground they had lost after mid 2000.
of the Year
1. Mutoh vs Tenyru 6-8-01- Just an absolutely stunning match for two men in their condition. Its also
a match without a glaring flaw which is hard to find these days. Both wrestlers stayed within what they could do and that
made this match one of the smarter worked matches your going to see.
2. Mutoh vs Nagata G1 Climax- This match SHOULD
be number 1. It was the most dramatic match Ive seen in years. Every move at the end mattered and sucked the viewer in.
The pacing and timing were incredible and Nagata really did put in the performance of a lifetime to justify his elevation.
Yet two problems. One Mutoh didnt do anything during the mat segment, and Mutoh didnt really work that hard to sell cumulative
damage. The delayed selling of the wrist clutch exploder is a bad spot but not bad enough to penalize the match to much.
All that combined though to make what should have been head and shoulders the match of the year into second.
Ito vs Manami Toyota 9-8-01- Ill go with a strange one for my third pick because nothing truly stood out as the clear third
best although Benoit vs Austin on Smackdown was very strong. This match shocked me as I didnt think Manami had a match on
this level left in her. She proved me wrong though. Here she didnt do any of the stupid shit that drags her matches down.
The match had an interesting story as Manami (the former ace) took on Kaoru (the present ace) and they just took it to each
other like two people in that situation should. Awesome match.
1. AJW- Quite simply the
only promotion that entertained me with every show. AJW has a few issues that dont affect the quality of the shows but could
hurt them long term. One is their style is so demanding physically that injuries are bound to pop up. Two is that they really
dont have a deep roster although honestly almost everyone on their roster puts on a hell of a show.
2. EMLL- The best
big show company in the world right now. If you buy an EMLL pay per view I can basically guarantee youll get a good show.
Also a deep roster with legends who can still go, polished midcarders, and exciting young superstars. If EMLL doesnt stay
strong for years to come it will simple be because they refused to elevate people.
6 hrs of 1950's Wrestling and what I thought
Anyway I don't feel comfortable doing this in review format sense
its so different from what I'm used to. Its hard to rate this stuff because many of these matches were probably 4 stars at
the time. In fact one i'm pretty sure would have been. However honestly if that match happened now I'd tear it apart. So
I try to reach a happy medium espeically appreciating the different style that was used way back in the day. Anyway onto
quick match bites before a larger overall commentary
All the following are from a Buffalo show
vs Adrian Balasiran 1 3/4 stars- This is the original Bobby Orton father of Bobby Orton Junior who in 1984 evidently was
significantly better then Jumbo Tsuruta according to Meltzler. Anyway they have a dandy little match which even features
a bulldog from Adrian. Bobby is new in town so cheats like a mofo to make sure the fans know he is a heel. Crowd boos him.
Lowaski Brothers vs Farmer Townsend/Lord Layton 1/2 star- No course class tensions but townsend takes 2 piledrivers and
is dead. Layton protest that the piledriver is illegal but to no avail
Roy Mcclarty vs Tony Marino 1 star- The announcer
gives Marino a major blow job during the match as one of the top up and comers. So I was suprised when he lost. Not offensive
Bobo Brazil vs Hans Schmit 3/4 stars- Ahh the days when wrestling was simple and you could say I hate Hans
because he's a german who cheats. Decent match until Bobo goes psycho and cocoa butts the ref twice and gets dqed. I figure
this was one of those get a big main event to fill the house but protect both guys deals. See Vince Russon didn't invent
lame finishes he just perfected them.
The following matches are from Hollywood.
Great Bolo vs Great
Garbo- Two masked guys to short to say much.
Lord Blears/Lord Layton vs Joe Pazendak/Mr. Moto- 2 1/4 stars- This is
a 2/3 falls match under Australian rules (4 15 minute rounds a round ends when there is a fall or 15 minutes expires.) Layton
and Blears get a big pop by tagging in and out quickly to confuse Pazendak (I bet you Chris Benoit wishes it was that easy.)
I like tag matches much better then single matches during this era because they keep the action coming instead of laying on
the mat so much. Match ends in a draw.
Larry Hamilton vs Don Arnold- no rating. Arnold uses an airplane spin for the
win. Boy does the announcer put over the airplane spin.
Freddie Blassie and Warren Bockwinkle vs Joe Pazendak and Mr
Moto 2/3 falls aussie rules. 2 1/4 stars Bockwinkle??? I bet no wrestler could ever get over with a name like that! Anyway
Blassie is a young babyface with jet black hair at this point. He does some think where he scoots out of submission holds
on his ass that gets a huge reaction. Good solid match with everyone playing their roles. Blassie does a swanky neckbreaker
for one fall( i'd say its almost as good as Rude's).
Sockeye McDonald/Wild Red Berry vs Freddie Blassie/Wilbur Synder
2/3 falls 1 3/4 stars. The announcer puts Synder over huge as a guy who will one day take the world title off Lou Thesz(didn't
happen.) However the star of this match is clearly Blassie who just had it folks. He has real fire as a babyface and the
fans get way into him. His charisma is his strenght though as he just knows how to get the people fired up. He does things
like bounce the ropes so his opponents can't tag in properly and just steals the show no wonder he became possibly the biggest
draw in California wrestling history. They built to the finish well to.
Mr Moto/Crippler Carl Davis vs Wilbur Synder/Sandor
Szabo 2/3 falls 3 stars. You read that right this is probably the best 50's match I've seen. Great psychology for instance
Mr. Moto wins the first fall with a sleeper and then goes back after it in the third fall to send the crowd into a tizzy.
The announcer does a great job putting things over. He emphasises what a test this is for Synder and Szabo as champions
and what a great team Davis and Moto is. He puts over all the holds and the storyline. This is good booking, good storytelling,
and good announcing. We could learn something from how affective this is. JR watch this tape damnit and learn to put a match
over AGAIN because you used to be great at it now you just put over the goddamn McMahons.
the following matches
are from Buffalo
Pat Frielly vs Pat McGill 3/4 stars nothing special nothing offensive
Paul Bunyan vs Man Mountain
Montana dud- The bill Paul Bunyan as being 8 feet 2 but I highly doubt it. I've heard 7 feet 7 but I don't know. He's really
tall though but he sucks. Man Mountain actually beats the giant rather quickly which must mean he was really awful.
Lawoski vs Edward Carpantier 1 star- Carpantier wows the crowd with hand stands and such and back flips. The match of course
doesn't hold up well, but the announcer sure acts like this is revolutionary stuff.
Gbobby Brown vs Dick Beyer 1 1/4 stars-
Dick Beyer is a legend. If anyone has his stuff as the destroyer please let me know for a trade. He looks good but the
match is to clipped up to tell.
Frank Bozo vs Ricky Star no rating its just so funny. Star does a ballet gimmick and
just has the whole audience rolling. You definatly have never seen anything like this. I'd say this may be the funniest
match I've ever seen. Of course Star plays up a few balled stereotypes that you could never do now but remember society was
different back then.
Helio Ipola vs Hans Schmit- The evil German bastard is back and has a good match. Cheap finish
Schmit was a great heel. Of course the announcer tells all the fans about what a nice guy he is outside of the ring for some
reason. The booking and announcing was very confusing to me but not everyplace can be as cool as California seemed to be.
Following matches are from chicago
Roy Mcclarity vs Verne Gagne 2 1/2 stars 2/3 falls- Verne was already going
bald. Decent little match here with pretty good patience and build to the big spots. The chicago fans are brutal booing
both men at every chance even the announcer has to say how hard the fans are. The fans enjoy the match but hey just boo any
punch or kick or anything. Its like the pta board of pro wrestling.
Don Leo Johnathon vs Tiger Jack Moore- Your basic
squash for Johnathon.
Anyway good tape here for the historians. Wrestling has changed so much but you can really
learn about things from this tape espiecally the california matches. I just nodded my head throughout and said yep that's
right, yep that's a good idea, yep good commentary. Also a chance to see several legends. Bobby Orton is the first of three
generations of Orton's so if you can't get ahold of those Randy Orton tapes you can see his granddad. But if you get this
tape keep in mind this isn't all japan or even the WWF or even the ECWA super 8. Get it if your patient and want to know
about where things developed, for instance is Hans Schmit the inventor of the German suplex? I don't know but it would make
sense he is German and he does a German suplex food for thought.
MY THEORY ON STARTING A NEW AMERICAN PROMOTION
I think everybody is going at this the wrong way. The WWF does what
the do very well. Their production is amazing and they have a good wrestling style. No one can compete with them without
looking bush league and we all know bush league won't sell, at least Vince McMahon should after the XFL.
only way I can logically see a new promotion working is if they present a totally different concept then the WWF. This is
where the culture clash comes in as Lucha and Japan both have many ideas that would help you differentiate between yourself
and the WWF.
First with Lucha. Lucha has legitmate babyfaces. Not just guys who the fans cheer but guys who actually
do the right thing wither it benifits them or not. I don't think this is the only way for faces to be booked but I do think
you should have some faces who won't cheat, won't accept a win if someone interferes, and most certainly will never strike
a woman! So that's one thing we will have that the WWF doesn't: honor.
Now one thing that drives all fans nuts are
the overwelming amouts of cheap finishes. It seems like a match never decides anything, look at the Kurt Angle/Steve Austin
fued which has yet to have a decive winner in any match or the HHH/Rocky fued which since 1997 hasn't had a clean winner in
any match. UWF in Japan showed that you can book a show with all clean matches and succeed. Occasionally I understand doing
a schmooz finisher or maybe a double DQ but I would say only do this like two times a year so it is always a huge angle or
a massive change in a character.
Now the style of wrestling is important as well. I would focus on a stiff, high
flying, with shootstyle matwork style. Kind of like battlearts but more action packed with more flying. The perfect example
of this style is Minoru Tanaka. Once again this puts you against the WWF which is heavy weight and not at all stiff.
Now you have to get the talent. Fortunatly their is a great deal of talent available for this sort of promotion. I'll
list them in no particular order. Christopher Daniels, Chad Colliyer, Low-Ki, American Dragon, Michael Modest, Donovan Morgan,
Crowbar, Reckless Youth, Simon Diamond, Jason Jett, Juvi, Scoot Andrews, Ace Darling, the Briscos, the SAT, Justice Pain,
and Steve Corino would all work though some of them due to retirement or Japan might not come. Their are also WWF developmental
talent you might be able to cnvince to come such as Kaz, Shannon Moore, Nick Dinsmore, TAKA, among others. Then you could
try to work with Japan maybe do talent exchanges with Toryumon, or if you have the money just buy off CIMA, SUWA, Magnum,
Genki Horiguchi, and Sasumi Mochizuki. Here is the beauty of this none of these guys are going to break the bank for you.
Some of them most notably CIMA have amazing charisma which you could build around.
Now with the fact that everyone
will job clean you will have to have an ace. This will be determined by fan reactions. The guys I could see fitting the
role would be Daniels, Modest, or CIMA. But if the crowd really took to someone then you'd be flexible. The main thing is
to work as an alternatative. Get a style that Vince will be very reluctant to steal, which we would have, book it logically
with deep layered storylines and characters (no gimmicks) people could identify with that have some depth. Don't challenge
the WWF because you'll fail they have their shit down to a science.
Austin vs Mutoh for Wrestler of the Year
It's strange sometimes how little respect StoneCold Steve Austin gets.
I think its something to do with fans wanting to be cool. Steve Austin is possible the most over man in the history of the
buisness so praising him isn't really cool. Austin's 2001 campaign; however, has been so strong that almost everyone has
had to give credit where credit is due. Yet even having one of his best years ever people, for the most part, are taking
it for granted that he should come in second for wrestler of the year. Now personally at the moment I to am giving the nod
to Mutoh however Austin can easily pass him because this should be one of the closest years ever.
for both is relatively straight forward. I'll start with Mutoh, who will almost certainly win. Mutoh is a shoe in for comeback
wrestler of the year. Last year the calls were almost universal for him to retire. Everyone thought he was to broken down
and to lazy to be anything more then a man living off his legend. What happened next is well known and summerized in my history
section. Who knows what has gotten into Mutohbut we all hope it stays there for a long time.
In the ring Austin
has not had a year as good as Mutoh I don't think. A great deal of this has to do with the homoginization of the WWF style.
Where as Mutoh has worked many different types of matches against many different opponents. Austin has worked very well in
one style, the WWF main event brawl style. This may or may not be all his body can do but he has done this style very well.
Austin shouldn't be penilized for the fact that he hasn't wrestled opponents as good as Mutoh has. Kawada and Nagata in particular
are actually better wrestlers then Mutoh. Only Benoit is as good as those two and against Benoit, Austin had the American
match of the year.
The main knock I can make against Austin's case is that Austin has been the top guy in the WWF
this year, but as a hole the WWF's buisness has went down. Austin has drawn very well for the WWF though. Drawing big buyrates
for No Way Out and Mania. Then drawing a shockingly good one for the poorly booked King of the Ring and then the biggest
Non Mania buy rate ever at Invasion, although that can't be totally credited to him. Austin is still the number 1 draw in
the buisness and in America he's had the best year as far as matches and as far as promos go. His promos have been some of
the best ever. In particular a promo on Smackdown after the Benoit/Jericho vs Austin HHH match strikes me as being the promo
of the year. His what routine is brillant. It shouldn't be considered Austin's fault that the WWF booking team is totally
incompetent and is wasting one of the deepest talent rosters ever.
Basically if this were a horse race Mutoh might
have a neck lead over Austin but it could go either way. If Mutoh sells out the budokon on 10/27 and has a match of the year
canidate at indicate of the next that will significantly strenghten his case. If Austin has another match of the year canidate
and then draws one of the biggest buyrates ever for the inevidable unification match against Rock that will significantly
strengthen his case. It's been a great year though I think for both.
Who in the WWF could learn from Jumbo Tsuruta?
Well the obvious answer is everyone. Jumbo is one of the greatest
and classiest wrestlers ever according to almost universal oppinon. He gave to the buisness, worked one of the most real styles
ever, gave everything to every match, and was genuinely liked by fans everywhere. Jumbo Tsuruta in the late 80's was already
a legend and still being one of the best wrestlers in the world didn't need to change anything to be the top man in All Japan.
Yet Jumbo did creating one of the great character's in wrestling history-Cranky Old Jumbo.
For some odd reason
at some point in the late 80's loveable fan friendly Jumbo just got really pissed off at the world. He started to take this
out on young punks who thought they had a right to challenge HIM! Who did these people think they are challenging the Jumbo
Tsuruta I'll show them Jumbo said figuratively. Jumbo started to smack these punks right in the mouth, kick them in the head
and just all around stiff the hell out of them and look like he was pissed off that his hand had to make contact with such
filth. Jumbo's facials during this period were among the best in wrestling history a perfect example is in his triple crown
title defense against Misawa from 91. Misawa has the never to slap Jumbo in the face like Jumbo liked to do to punks Jumbo
gives him a look of intense hate that is so perfect and then they proceed to smack the taste out of each others mouths for
our entertainment. Jumbo could roll with the punches note his second match of his legendary series with Tenyru. The ending
of the match was a devastating powerbomb from Jumbo. The problem was that the powerbomb got a little bit away from Jumbo
and hense knocked Tenyru out cold hense ending the match cold. Jumbo didn't look around confused he gave a disgusted look
to Tenyru like "I'm glad i almost killed you" took his belt and left. The crowds reaction is classic as they literally
watch the whole thing in stunned silence. After that anytime Jumbo teased or delivered the powerbomb it got a huge reaction
and it also established that Jumbo would do anything to keep his belts.
The differences between the real life Jumbo
and the cranky old Jumbo couldn't be more different. Cranky old Jumbo hated young punk wrestlers. Real life Jumbo became
Cranky old Jumbo to gain sympathy for the plethora of young talent that All Japan had. Real life Jumbo then went out of his
way to make these young stars including putting over Misawa totally clean to make him and start up the legendary Misawa vs
Jumbo fued. Jumbo unlike many older wrestlers went out of his way to learn how to work younger wrestlers which is why Misawa,Kobashi,and
Kawada all had their breakout singles matches against Jumbo. You see many times in the past few years bookers have booked
the old legend vs young up and comers match but it has never taken off like it did for Jumbo. The reason is simple Jumbo
changed to become unsympathetic and vicious so the fans would get behind the young guys and Jumbo was willing to let them
steal the show and occasionally get the better of him. A poignant clip of his memorial cermony shows Misawa and Kawada both
known for their stoicism fighting intensly to hold back tears. That's the kind of respect being a guy like Jumbo gets you.
Two WWF wrestlers could greatly improve from stealing the cranky old Jumbo character. One is Commisioner Regal.
His match against Storm is proof that he could pull this off. All kinds of young punks could make snide remarks or offend
him and Regal would be more the happy to Fit Finley them. Just imagine a Chris Jericho playing his 1998 character in a match
against Cranky Commish. I have no doubt it would be better then their other series of matches.
The other one is
the Undertaker. Honestly Jumbo may be the only man who can save Deadman Inc at this point. Undertaker would have to change
his style to a stiffer more brutal style but I think he could do it. He would also have to basically become a heel and he'd
have to sell for the young guys who would attack him. If he could do those simple things Undertaker might be able to salvage
one more big run out of his careers. He's got the legend part and occasionally he can channel the cranky part he's shown already.
If he just brought that to the ring with the attitude of getting over his opponent I think he might be able to get off the
retire already list.......... Maybe.