Recently, I have been asking you, the readers of eWrestlingNews.com to submit editorial ideas or questions to my official Facebook page (Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR). I recently started a Q&A thread on the page and a number of fans have submitted questions that they would like answered, or just offered topics and subjects that they would like to read about. Every once in a while I will dip into the bag of questions and comments submitted on my Facebook page and address them here at eWN.
With that being said, let’s take a look at our second batch…
Jorge Romero asks: What or who got you into MMA or wrestling? (Wrestling or MMA star)
Answer: As far as pro wrestling goes, I’ve been watching since I was in diapers. Almost religiously. Since 1999, I’ve covered pro wrestling in some form or fashion, on the internet. From 2001-2009 I ran WrestleZone.com. Since then, I’ve worked for a bunch of different websites, including eWrestlingNews.com. I watched a little less during the big MMA boom in the early 2000s, but came back to watching it on a very regular basis right around the time CM Punk cut the “pipe bomb” promo.
With MMA, I would rent the very first shows when they came out at Blockbuster in the mid-1990s. I stopped watching during the “dark ages” (when Senator McCain pretty much got the sport banned and kicked off pay-per-view) but came back around in November of 2002 for UFC 40: Vendetta – Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz I. Ever since that show, not only have I watched it on a regular basis, but I’ve covered it in some form or fashion as part of my job. I opened and ran MMANews.com from 2002-2012. Currently, I’m working on a MMA website that has yet to launch with the owners of eWrestlingNews.com. Keep an eye out for it, it’s going to be awesome!
Ian Jones asks: Who is the next “STAR” to take the UFC by storm?
Answer: Well with Georges St-Pierre’s recent “extended leave of absence” and his vacating the Welterweight title, you take that along with Cain Velasquez and Anthony Pettis, two other top Champions in the company missing most or all of the first-half of 2014, combined with the possibility of Anderson Silva being out of the picture as well if he loses to Chris Weidman in their rematch later this month (as he’s rumored to retire if he loses, and possibly even if he wins) then you’re looking at a company in a position where they absolutely need to create new stars. Chael Sonnen is tied up with filming The Ultimate Fighter Brazil opposite Wanderlei Silva, where those two will fight at the end of the season.
Honestly, a lot of star power is going to be missing for the first part of the 2014 year. It will be interesting to see who gets the shove from UFC brass to try and fill those spots at the top of the cards. I know they are working on bringing Nick Diaz back into the mix now that GSP is out of the picture. Johny Hendricks will likely become the new king of the division, at least initially, as I don’t see Robbie Lawler (his opponent for the vacant title) being able to defeat him. Jon Jones is going to have to fight a lot, and even he isn’t a real mega-draw by pay-per-view standards. It’s going to be really interesting.
The short answer to this long-winded response is – I’m not really sure. There’s plenty of guys who are great fighters, but to be a “star” in MMA, as history has proved, it takes a lot more than just winning fights. I will say this — UFC lost Chuck Liddell and Brock Lesnar, two of their biggest draws at the time, and arguably ever, around the same time, and still went on to have overall bigger business years without them, so it’s not like the sport is in danger of dwindling down to nothing, but they are in a position where they absolutely need to create some new stars.
Brian Dennison asks: Who was more over? Bruno Sammartino, [Hulk] Hogan or [Steve] Austin?
Answer: That’s an interesting question because it depends on how you rate being “over.” If we’re talking overall business impact, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin set pay-per-view, merchandise, live gate and television ratings records that were larger than Hulk Hogan’s overall. So technically, Austin was a bigger star in his era than Hogan was in his. However, the the business model was different in each of their era’s. Hogan opened doors for WWE that allowed Austin the ability to do some of the things that he did. Hogan’s impact can’t be short-changed. If you look at the industry before Vince McMahon ran with Hogan during the national expansion in the 1980s, and then after it, it’s almost two completely different businesses.
Bruno Sammartino is before my time, so I can’t really tell you first-hand if he was “more over” than Hogan or Austin, but I know that wrestling was viewed very different in his era than it was during Hogan or Austin’s, so from that standpoint, he was viewed differently. Television was still in its’ infancy and wrestling, while still not viewed as a legitimate sport, its’ top-tier stars were considered somewhat more legitimate athletes, so Bruno was likely viewed in the same vein as a top boxer of that era, more than a top entertainer.
If we’re taking The Rock into consideration, he’s a bigger household name than any of those three, although it’s not completely from wrestling, so I’m not sure how you factor his success into the picture. He’s definitely the biggest star to come out of wrestling.
Did that answer your question? Sorry if it didn’t, I tried!
Tom Nelson asks: How far will Undertaker’s streak go and how will that be handled if he decides to retire at a WrestleMania?
Answer: As far as how will his streak will be handled if he decides to retire at WrestleMania, I’m not sure exactly what you mean by that question. If you’re asking whether or not his decision to retire will impact WWE’s decision on whether to end his streak with him remaining undefeated, or end the streak by having him give the rub in his final match to an opponent of their choosing, that’s a question many people have pondered over the years. What’s the smarter choice? If you ask me, Undertaker is a completely business-first kind of guy. A company guy. That’s why he remained loyal to WWE when Eric Bischoff was throwing insane sums of Ted Turner’s money around in the late–1990s. It’s also why Undertaker has long been viewed as the “locker room leader” in WWE. If you take all of that into consideration, you would think Undertaker himself would like to give his streak “rub” to someone special on his way out. From WWE’s perspective, that streak has taken on a life of its’ own. It seems almost impossible that they would screw with it at this point. Basically, I don’t see the streak ending.
Rishi Patel asks: How likely is it that Sting or AJ Styles will show up to WWE in 2014? Like for real, how hard is WWE trying to get Sting for WrestleMania 30?
Answer: Well reports came out recently that claim AJ Styles has all but signed a new contract with TNA. There are rumors that he has already signed a new deal, for somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000 per year. Whether or not he has signed is kind of irrelevant, because from the sounds of it, he’ll definitely be signing the new deal if he hasn’t already.
Sting is a more interesting one. The last I’ve heard, it looks like he’s leaning towards staying with TNA for another year. Reports came out that indicated Sting has allowed TNA to book him past his current contract. This could mean one of two things: A. he’s giving TNA proper time to write him out of their storylines as a sign of good faith, or B. he’s planning on sticking around. As noted, the reports I’ve been hearing state that it looks like Sting may stick around.
How hard is WWE pursuing “The Icon?” They’re pursuing him. The only thing is, however, they have gone after him multiple times in the past and could never reach an agreement. Sting is the one major star of the modern era who has never worked for Vince McMahon. I think for his legacy, he should keep it that way. The fan in me, however, would absolutely love to see Sting in a WWE ring. Especially at WrestleMania.
If you would like to contribute questions for a future Q&A here at eWrestlingNews.com, add me as a friend at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR and send them my way. If you have any feedback on the above Q&A, you can post them in the “Comments” section directly below.