It’s time for the third “Hitting the Ropes” Glam Slam mailbag! Once again, thanks to all of you who submitted questions!
OK, let’s kick things off…
Reader: Billy James
“Do you think that Mickie James will cement her place in Women’s Wrestling History as one of the greatest female wrestlers of all time plus silence her critics when Mickie wins the TNA Knockout championship and becomes the 1st Triple Crown Women’s champion? Also when do you see Mickie winning the Knockouts title?”
Mr. G – As a 5-time Women’s Champion as well as a Divas Champion, there is no denying the impact and accomplishments of Mickie James in the WWE. She was a very valuable piece of the Divas division and was involved in some great storylines (Trish’s stalker, obviously, but I also liked her matches with Beth and her recent work with Lay-Cool). But I am not sold on Mickie as one of the greatest of all time. If you are going strictly on number of championships, then that is indisputable. But in professional wrestling we know championships don’t necessarily equal career success (for example, Jake Roberts never won a WWE title but few people were bigger stars at the time.) I think Mickie is an above-average wrestler who is just mediocre on the microphone, and I only love her matches when she is paired with a dynamic opponent. Mickie may win the TNA Knockout’s title in the next few weeks but I still wouldn’t put her in the same category as the true legends of women’s wrestling. (Sorry Billy…)
“The Knockout Tag Team titles have lost a lot of luster the beginning of 2010 (aka the Hogan-Bischoff Era). Do you think that they should retire the titles that have no use right now even with the lack of memorable history.”
Mr. G – No, I would keep the Knockouts tag team titles because I think they are unique to TNA. The titles don’t have a memorable history (as you say) but I still think they COULD be used as the centerpiece of an interesting feud or storyline. I kind of liked when the Beautiful People had all of the championship belts because, to me, that did elevate the tag titles. And unlike the 2 singles championships in the WWE (which proved to be problematic and ultimately uninteresting), I think the concept of female tag team champions is cool. I hope TNA management pays more attention to these belts in the future.
“If you were to create the most ideal diva/knockout ever (even better than Beth Phoenix), what would be her appearance, finisher, and personality?”
Mr. G – I remember Sports Illustrated did this a few years ago when they created the perfect NFL quarterback from the body parts of various players. I’ll steal their idea, and like the kids from “Weird Science”, I’ll use my computer to piece together my perfect female wrestler. Here goes….
Face: Layla (the most beautiful)
Hair: Velvet Sky
Arms: Beth Phoenix
Abs: Gail Kim
Legs: Michelle McCool
Ring outfit: Layla
Confidence: Beth Phoenix
Sex appeal: Eve (minus the dance moves)
Move set: Gail Kim
Finisher: Tara’s Widow’s Peak
Mic skills: Vickie Guerrero
“Who do you think is the most underrated diva and knockout?”
Mr. G – I think this is a tricky question, especially when discussing the WWE Divas. I think it is important to make a distinction between “underrated” and “underutilized”. Everybody knows Gail Kim can work but she is not given the chance to make a huge impact in the ring. In my opinion she is underutilized, not underrated. Same goes for Jillian (before she moved on to be a trainer). I think the most “underrated” divas are actually the Bella Twins. When they are given a chance to wrestle (vs. escorting a Raw guest host) they are smooth and effective in the ring. Very, very underrated. In TNA I think the Beautiful People (in all their configurations) are underrated because, love them or hate them, they have been the critical piece of the Knockouts division for several years and I think people may not appreciate how hard that is to accomplish.
Reader: Frank (Ohiofan5)
“If you could have any actor play the role of yourself, who would you pick and why? Which actors/actresses would you have play the roles of the other Diva Dirt staff members?”
Mr. G – It’s no secret I have a huge man-crush on Chris Harrison, the host of ABC’s “The Bachelor”. I really, really, really wish I had his job. I would be honored if he played me in a movie, and then he could let me be the next bachelor (can married guys apply?) So, either him or Justin Timberlake. I love JT because he has a great music career, a good film career, awesome spots on Saturday Night Live, great Lakers seats, great fashion sense, and a laundry list of famous girlfriends (and to think I thought he was a fool for breaking up with Britney…he’s apparently done just fine since then).
As for the other staff members, I don’t know them very well but from what I can tell, I see the following:
Melanie – Rachael McAdams
Erin – Juliette Lewis
Steven – Kenan Thompson (because D-Lo technically isn’t an actor)
Cryssi – Amy Poehler
Eric – Sean Hayes
Jennifer – Shenae Grimes
Shanti – Jennifer Hudson
Mia Yim – Lucy Liu
And just for fun, Frank, a young Eddie Murphy for you. PS – you asked me another question about the Super Bowl…I think we’ll see the NY football Giants play the San Diego Chargers (who are going to make a huge second half push).
I don’t have a personal FormSpring account, but I enjoy poaching questions from the other Diva Dirt writers.
(No name) How important do you think entrance music [is] when trying to get the crowd interested in a “new” wrestler? Mr. G – I have always thought entrance music was a critical part of a wrestler’s persona. I grew up in the Rock N’ Wrestle 80’s and music was really starting to be utilized to enhance the wrestling experience. So whether a wrestler is a “new” or veteran performer within a company, I think music is essential and I still sing many of the old theme songs. (“You’re a Jive Soul Bro…a Jive Soul Bro…and you’re always lying to your friends!”) I think it is funny my 2 favorite wrestlers of all time, Bret Hart and Beth Phoenix, feature theme songs without words. I am pretty good at humming them but that’s not as much fun.
(thatleeburton asks:) What was your first favorite match? Mr.G – My first favorite match was the WWF tag team championship match on Saturday Night’s Main Event in May 1986 between the champion British Bulldogs and the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. The match was fought under “European Rules”, essentially 2-out-of-3 falls, and the challengers won the first fall but then dropped the last two allowing the Bulldogs to retain the belts. I was (and still am) a big Sheik / Volkoff fan and I was outraged that the referee didn’t see the Bulldogs cheat to win the third fall. It was a travesty of justice that still gets me fired up, and even though it angers me I loved everything else about this match.
(No name) “If you could bring three things on a deserted island, what would they be? And to make this harder, one cannot be your phone….dun dun dun.” Mr. G – OK, I’m assuming I can’t bring my family (or Mila Kunas), so if I was packing for a 1-way trip a deserted island I would bring a laptop (with WiFi), a camera, and a deck of cards. Oh, and lots and lots and lots of food. I’m not very good at hunting, growing, or catching things (I would definitely be the first person kicked off “Survivor”).
(No name) Do you think the divas division has benefited or suffered from the addition of a second championship? Mr. G – Obviously I saw this a few months ago before the WWE retired the Women’s Championship but I thought it was an interesting question. In general I think the division suffered when the Divas title was introduced because the booking became very lazy, essentially storylines were reduced to “who is challenging for the belt this week?” Be unifying the titles theoretically we should be given 1 strong feud centered on the championship (Lay-Cool vs. Natalya, for instance) and then more creative booking for the other girls (the tension between the Bella Twins, the Aksana-Goldust union, Vickie and Kaitlyn). Championship belts are not necessary to make a match enjoyable as we saw from the excellent match on Superstars recently between Alicia Fox and Gail Kim, one of my favorites in a long time.
(No name) “By the end of 2010 who will be the Women’s Champion and who will be the Divas champion?” Mr. G – Again, obviously a question that I saw a few months ago, but as we put 2010 in the rearview mirror I think Lay-Cool will still be co-Diva’s champions going into 2011. I hope that Natalya wins the championship at Survivor Series, but if she doesn’t then Lay-Cool probably remains champions until Beth Phoenix returns from injury or they finally break up Michelle and Layla’s friendship. I hope by the middle of 2011 we have some other girls more involved in the title hunt.
Reader: Mr. AJ Lee
“Ok let’s say both Trish and Lita officially came out of retirement, and the WWE has rehired Lita and TNA has hired Trish. You have creative control. What would be storylines you would like to see? What would be your dream match for both?”
Mr. G – I actually think Lita would be a better fit in TNA, and I can’t see Trish ever going anywhere except back to the WWE. She is the quintessential Diva. So if Lita signed with TNA I would like to see her tag with Daffney to create a real hot, vibrant team. I would like to see them wrestle the Beautiful People. My favorite storyline though would be Trish and Lita coming back together, putting aside their past differences, and then taking on the current Divas, starting with Lay-Cool and then wrestling Beth Phoenix and Natalya at Wrestlemania.
Reader: Mr. AJ Lee
“If these women were not athletes, but celebrities, who would you imagine they would be? In my opinion I think your very own Beth Phoenix would be perfect as Jillian from the “Biggest Loser” (only blonder). And I think Alicia Fox would be a great Tyra Banks LOL.”
Mr. G – Fun question. I love Beth as the trainer on that show (although Kaitlyn looks more like her), and Alicia makes a great Tyra Banks. How about these other possibilities:
Melina: Jennifer Lopez
Daffney: Avril Lavigne
Maryse: Gweneth Paltrow
Angelina Love: Angelina Jolie
Madison Rayne: Jennifer Anniston
Chelsea: Evangeline Lilly
Layla: Eva Longoria
Velvet Sky: Shakira
And just for you, AJ Lee: Natalie Portman
“How do you feel about the way Sexy Star was treated by FCW talent scouts?” NOTE – According to a recent issue of ‘Wrestling Observer Newsletter’, AAA Women’s Champion Sexy Star was panned by WWE officials after taking part in a tryout at FCW a couple of months ago.
Mr. G – I have read the Observer report and it sounds like most of the girls who tried out in Tampa aren’t going to be brought in to the WWE. Some of the girls are good technical wrestlers, but it was made clear that the hiring standards place a high value on looks, and anyone falling short in that department wouldn’t interest the WWE. Personally I don’t have a problem with WWE’s hiring process because that is their prerogative, it is their company. Really, they are no different than Victoria’s Secret or any other modeling company (or TV studio, or film studio, or music label…looks are important). These companies have well-defined standards, and if they want Playboy models (over actual hardcore wrestlers) on their roster that’s fine. It’s fine because we have the choice as viewers whether to watch the WWE or to watch some other organization. We’re the consumer. The responsibility falls on us to make our own decisions. What I do hope is that they communicated this information to Sexy Star (and the other ladies trying out that day) in a professional, non-judgmental manner.
“In your opinion, do you think that there could be two successful divisions if the wrestlers were evenly balanced on both shows?”
Mr. G – In general I don’t think two divisions can work for the Divas because there aren’t enough girls on the roster to build an appropriate division on both Raw and Smackdown. Theoretically you should have a champion and a #1 contender, and then the other wrestlers are working each other to climb the ladder and get a shot at the title. This requires a certain “pecking order” so when the WWE pushes a girl, the story makes sense and fans watch her progression to an eventual title opportunity. The male roster is deeper so 2 divisions work fine, but not with the number of Divas currently under contract (although maybe the NXT girls can help in the near future). I actually like TNA’s model…1 singles championship and 1 tag team championship. I would have 1 Divas division, spread across all of their programming, as they fight for those two titles.
Recently I was asked to contribute to a “HIT THE ROPES” round-table discussion. Here was one of the questions and the subsequent answer I provided:
“The PPV buy rates have dropped significantly for WWE and TNA’s numbers are less than appealing. Can this problem be fixed?”
I love pay-per-view. I love the whole concept. Always have. I grew up in the 80’s when PPV was just coming into its own as both boxing and pro wrestling were moving away from closed circuit broadcasts and towards individual television sets. I remember getting so excited for the big night to arrive, feeling like I was a part of something special. I can still hear Mean Gene Okerlund telling me to “pick up the phone and call your cable operator now!” Of course back then, as a big WWF fan, I only had 4 PPVs to look forward to. Each one seemed so important and was filled with high-profile matches. I had to beg my parents to let me order them. And I didn’t mind begging because there was a tangible belief that if I didn’t watch Survivor Series I would miss out on the most important show in the history of the world…at least until the next Royal Rumble. Now? I really couldn’t tell you the names of all the 2010 WWE pay-per-views. I have no idea when the “Elimination Chamber” or “Fatal 4-Way” shows will be broadcast. I can’t remember who has WWE “Bragging Rights”.
I understand that pay-per-view is a huge revenue stream for the WWE and TNA, but there are now simply too many PPVs each year. The current structure has hurt how wrestling storylines are developed because they are designed to spike once a month instead of letting them build and build over several months. Growing storylines over longer periods of time ultimately raises the viewer’s interest to the point where he or she will open their wallet. Now, given the current state of the economy most people don’t want to fork over $30-$50 a month for a wrestling show (and if they are a fan of both promotions that dollar figure doubles.) And here is the dirty little secret: people find other ways to “watch” the shows. Once file sharing became popular during the Napster Era people have become very savvy in acquiring music, television shows, etc. without paying for them. That has to hurt the overall pay-per-view buy rates and I don’t think that will ever be fixed. You can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube.
Recently I recorded my second Glam Slam reader profile, this time with Peter Rupal, a.k.a. Mr_McKay_86. I enjoyed hearing his thoughts on today’s Divas and many other topics. Enjoy!
[slaudio:http://diva-dirt.com/download/hittingtheropes/Peter Rupal Interview.mp3]
I hope you enjoyed my third mailbag! Send your mailbag questions to [email protected] and I’ll answer them next month and feature another Diva Dirt reader!
— Mr. Glamazon