13 Things That Bother Wrestling Nerds
It is certainly true that in any form of entertainment, there is always a core of highly dedicated and highly observant fans who cannot help but point out imperfections with the product.
Professional wrestling is no exception. In fact, the truth is that wrestling nerds might be worse than the sci-fi dorks who complain about Han shooting first.
As such, here is a look at various issues that haunt wrestling nerds night and day.
13: Matches That Never Really Happened
By October 1999, Lenny Lane had been WCW Crusierweight Champion for over a month.
Unfortunately, Lane's character (a flamboyant homosexual) was deemed inappropriate by Turner Broadcasting.
So, when fans tuned into Nitro on Oct. 4, 1999, they were shocked to hear that Lenny Lane had been defeated by Psicosis for the Cruiserweight Title at an untelevised house show.
But this was a lie. Psicosis never beat Lenny Lane. The match never even happened.
Would other companies ever dupe fans the way WCW did?
In fact, the very first WWE Champion, "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, supposedly won a tournament for that belt in Rio de Janeiro on April 25, 1963. That match never really happened, either. Rogers was given the belt because Vincent J. McMahon and Toots Mondt wanted him as their champion instead of Lou Thesz.
Something similar happened in 1979 when Pat Patterson became the first Intercontinental Champion...also winning a fictitious tournament in Rio.
Likewise, in 1986, Black Bart supposedly defeated Chris Adams for the WCWA World Heavyweight Title in Los Angeles. But that match never happened either.
Similar occurrences happened in different promotions in different generations... or, that is to say, didn't happen.
12: 'Daniel Bryan' and 'Michael McGillicutty'
During much of the past decade, "The American Dragon" Bryan Danielson was one of the biggest stars in all of independent wrestling.
As the Ring of Honor (ROH) World Champion, Danielson established himself as an incredibly capable in-ring competitor. Additionally, with catchphrases such as "I have 'til five!" Danielson showed that he also had charisma.
Joe Hennig is the son of the late Intercontinental Champion "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, as well as the grandson of AWA star Larry "The Axe" Hennig.
As such, Joe Hennig is a third-generation star, just like The Rock, Randy Orton, Chavo Guerrero and Ted DiBiase Jr.
But, to the chagrin of wrestling nerds, when Danielson and Hennig were introduced to WWE fans through NXT, they inexplicably became "Daniel Bryan" and "Michael McGillicutty."
Despite the fact that both men have been known by these WWE names for years now, the fact of the matter is that, to real wrestling nerds, they will always be Bryan Danielson and Joe Hennig.
11: Michael Cole Doesn't Seem Sure of What a "Huracanrana" Is
Yes, Michael Cole obviously is a bad announcer. But his real inadequacies come to light every time a wrestler uses a flying headscissors takedown.
The above video is a great example.
At roughly 33 seconds in, Essa Rios gives Gillberg the flying headscissors.
Cole's commentary: "Look at the huracanrana by Essa Rios."
Hilariously enough, the very next move that Rios executes actually is a huracanrana.
Rather than Cole pointing out the difference or even just ignoring the move entirely, he actually says, "What a huracanrana again by Essa Rios."
"Again?" He did two different moves, once each.
This old clip is not the only instance of this happening. It currently seems to happen in Rey Mysterio matches.
In fact, the very same thing will take place: Mysterio will do a flying headscissors, Cole will call the move a huracanrana, Mysterio will then actually do a huracanrana, and Cole will call that move by the same name.
Does the man just not see the difference?
The flying headscissors takedown is a more modern variation on a traditional amateur wrestling hold. It involves the attacker being horizontal.
The huracanrana, also known as the Frankensteiner, is named after its original creator, the great luchador Huracan Ramirez. It involves the attacker being vertical and doing a backflip.
It seems like a fairly easy distinction, especially for the main announcer for the biggest pro-wrestling promotion in the entire world.
10: Who Abducted Samoa Joe?
On the Feb. 28, 2010, edition of TNA Impact! Samoa Joe was inexplicably attacked and thrown into the back of a van.
Joe returned to the show less than two months later.
No explanation was ever given. We still have no idea who kidnapped Joe.
TNA should really just revisit this now, three years later, and say it was Aces and Eights.
At least then the nerds could have some closure.
9: What Happened to the 'Hardcore' in Hardcore Justice?
In 2005, TNA launched a yearly pay-per-view called Hard Justice.
Five years later, in 2010, after WWE had cancelled their ECW program and many old faces were showing up in TNA, Hard Justice became Hardcore Justice, which was basically TNA's own homage to ECW, their own sort of One Night Stand.
However, the following year, rather than going back to the name that they had had for half a decade, TNA continued calling the yearly event Hardcore Justice.
There weren't any hardcore matches!
8: WWE's World Heavyweight Title IS the WCW Title
In December 2001, Chris Jericho became the first Undisputed WWE Champion when he unified the WWF Title with the WCW World Heavyweight Title.
As such, the WCW World Heavyweight Title supposedly ceased to exist.
However, when Eric Bischoff became the General Manager of Raw, he created a new, supposedly completely different World Heavyweight Title that looked identical to the old WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
For over a decade, WWE has insisted that their World Heavyweight Title does not share the lineage of the WCW World Heavyweight Title.
Of course, this was all completely undermined by the fact WWE themselves put out a DVD in 2009 called The History of the World Heavyweight Championship that directly traces their title's lineage to WCW.
So, please, can we drop the act already?
7: The Existential Dilemma of Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon
Part of what makes wrestling different than other forms of media is that the distinction between character and actor is a lot less clear than is the case with a movie or a play.
When Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left the WWF for WCW in 1996, Vince McMahon simply decided he would get new actors to fill their roles as Razor Ramon and Diesel.
So, while Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were running wild with the nWo on Nitro, Rick Bognar and Glenn Jacobs (aka Kane) were playing their old characters on Raw.
Besides just being weird, it raises a lot of deeper questions about wrestling.
After all, why not simply replace old wrestlers with new ones all the time? If Terry Bollea is too old to be Hulk Hogan, can't we just find a new guy to rip his shirt and do the big boot?
And, actually, it has happened quite a lot.
At the same time that the WWF was parading Fake Razor and Fake Diesel, WCW was actually featuring a gimmick where an impostor Sting (Jeff Farmer) had joined the nWo.
The Undertaker (Mark Calaway) wrestled a fake Undertaker (Brian Lee) at the 1994 SummerSlam, just as the unmasked Kane (Glenn Jacobs) wrestled a masked Kane (Drew Hankinson).
Jay Lethal made a name for himself by doing "Macho Man" Randy Savage's character in TNA.
How many men have portrayed Doink the Clown?
Where is the line, exactly? Where does the performer stop and the character begin?
6: The Liontamer / Walls of Jericho Is Not Just a Boston Crab
Perhaps this is part of the reason Michael Cole gets confused about names.
For some reason, during the second half of the past decade, Chris Jericho's finishing maneuver, the Walls of Jericho (a.k.a. the Lion Tamer) simply changed.
For years and years the move had always been an inverted Boston crab with opponent is bent at the neck.
Then one day, the move simply became a standard old Boston crab, where the opponent is bent at the hips or even at the knees.
The inexplicable change causes many a nerd to wince at the end of Jericho matches, "That's not the Walls of Jericho. That's a Boston crab."
5: Moolah Was Not an Undefeated Champion for 28 Years
Former NWA Women's Champion Yukiko Tomoe. Photo courtesy www.prowrestlingdigest.com
According to WWE, the Fabulous Moolah was Women's Champion for nearly 28 years between 1956 and 1984.
And while WWE is completely free to recognize their own championship reigns, it is somewhat dishonest to depict Moolah as being an undefeated champion.
The Faboulous Moolah first became the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Women's Champion on Sept. 15, 1956, after winning a battle royal.
However, since Moolah was not on good terms with wrestling promoter Billy Wolfe, she was not universally recognized as NWA Women's Champion until after Wolfe's death in 1963 and former champion June Byers retired in 1964.
Furthermore, Moolah actually lost the NWA Women's Title on several occasions:
- vs. Bette Boucher in Seattle on Sept. 17, 1966
- vs. Yukiko Tomoe in Osaka, Japan on March 10, 1968
- vs. Sue Green in Madison Square Garden (the WWE's home arena) on Feb. 2, 1976
- vs. Evelyn Stevens in Dallas on Oct. 8, 1978
As such, Moolah's 28-year title reign was really more like five separate reigns, the longest of which was, at most, 10 years.
But when WWE left the NWA for the second time in 1983 and purchased Moolah's title, they decided to retroactively recognize her as having been champion consistently since 1956.
It was then that WWE created the longest title reign of all time, as well as one of the most dubious.
4: Ric Flair's Last Title Reign(s)
Many of Ric Flair's 16 world title reigns were record-setting and historic.
But the last two definitely were not.
Following David Arquette's 12-day run as WCW World Heavyweight Champion in the spring of 2000, the actor lost the belt at Slamboree to Jeff Jarrett.
Roughly one week later, Jarrett lost the title to Ric Flair.
Yes, at the age of 51, Flair won his 15th world title.
But there was a problem.
On the following edition of Thunder, Flair collapsed. While it eventually turned out that Flair had an issue with his inner ear causing him to lose his balance, fans had feared that Flair had either had a stroke or a heart attack.
So what did WCW do?
Well, on the following Nitro Vince Russo, Jeff Jarrett and David Flair took part in a mock funeral for the Nature Boy. The wrestling legend was then stripped of the World Heavyweight Title, which was awarded back to Jeff Jarrett.
On the following Thunder, Jarrett was defeated by Kevin Nash for the title.
And on the very next Nitro, Nash simply handed the belt back to Flair.
How long did Flair's 16th title reign last?
Well, only about two hours, since he lost the belt to Jarrett at the end of that same show.
Yes, believe it or not, there were officially six different title changes in WCW during the month of May 2000... the month that started with David Arquette as world champ.
3: What Happened to TNA's Ranking System?
On April 26, 2010, TNA announced a brand-new ranking system that would actually let the fans' votes decide the rankings of the Top 10 contenders for the World Heavyweight Title.
There immediately a major problem, however, when nearly a quarter of the online voters picked... Desmond Wolfe?!?
Yes, Desmond Wolfe (aka former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness) was received more votes than other top TNA stars, including Jeff Hardy, Ken Anderson, Kurt Angle and even Sting.
Since TNA had hyped the rankings and the results were visible to voters, they had to go through with it and actually book Desmond Wolfe vs. Rob Van Dam for the TNA World Heavyweight Title on the May 3, 2010 edition of Impact! (the same night that TNA also announced the show would be moving back to Thursday nights after trying to go head-to-head with Raw).
The ranking system was then quickly adjusted where fans' votes were only part of the equation.
On May 20, it was announced that a Championship Committee comprised of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Dixie Carter had ranked the wrestlers based on their win-loss record, championships and supposedly fan votes.
Despite Desmond Wolfe consistently getting large online support, he was ranked No. 8! Out of 10.
By doing this, TNA made an enormous blunder. They first told fans (especially online fans) that their voices mattered, then retracted that sentiment once it became clear that they didn't want to actually let fans do the booking.
2: The Anonymous Raw General Manager
That's how long WWE kept fans in the dark about the identity of the Anonymous Raw General Manager.
For all that time, wrestling nerds wondered: Who could it be?
Was it Mick Foley? Was it Roddy Piper? Was it Triple H or Stephanie McMahon? Was it "Stone Cold" Steve Austin?
No. Not even close.
After two years the Anonymous GM storyline was finally resolved with a joke segment between Santino Marella and... Hornswoggle!
Yes, the person controlling Raw, booking the main events and the title matches, was Vince McMahon's "illegitimate son" (later revealed to Finlay's son), who also happened to be a mute leprechaun.
But, you know, in some ways it did all make perfect sense.
After all, the Anonymous Raw GM was without a doubt the most thoughtless, shallow, one-dimensional, bumbling excuse for a storyline in all of WWE history, one that enveloped and epitomized the entire PG Era.
So, really, what better way to have it end than with one absurd, nonsensical, cartoonish joke involving WWE's two silliest characters?
Yes, the Anonymous Raw GM storyline completely embodied the spirit of WWE booking over the past few years:
"Meh, whatever. Who really cares?"
The nerds do, guys. The nerds really care.
1: WCW Deserved a Better Last Storyline
In early 2001, AOL Time Warner decided that they no longer wanted wrestling on TNT and TBS. As such, they cancelled WCW programming and sold the company to the WWF for a mere $3 million.
There was, of course, one major problem.
All of WCW's top stars had not been signed with WCW. Instead, each one had their own individual contract with AOL Time Warner.
So, when the WWF thought about launching a WCW Invasion in mid-2001, they were left with Sean O'Haire, Chuck Palumbo, Shawn Stasiak, Buff Bagwell, Hugh Morrus, and the like...hardly the folks who had embodied WCW during the glory days of 1996-1998.
As such, these WCW mid-carders were paired with former ECW talent, who formed the WCW/ECW Alliance. Yet, even this wasn't enough, so they soon also got "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Kurt Angle to join their side...again, not the guys you think of when you hear "WCW."
By Survivor Series, the storyline was over. The Alliance had been defeated.
What really stinks is that it was just then that major WCW talent actually started arriving in the WWF. That same month, Ric Flair showed up. Then, in February 2002, the nWo ("Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) arrived.
Additionally, in May 2002, the World Wrestling Federation was forced to change their name after losing a lawsuit to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.
Why couldn't the WWF have adopted the name of WCW instead? After all, very shortly thereafter Eric Bischoff showed up on Raw.
And even permitting the less-than-perfect booking of 2001-2002, why couldn't WWE have rehashed WCW years later like they did with ECW?
Why didn't WWE do a tribute to WCW with their Hall of Fame inductions during WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta, which had been rumored about for months?
Even now, over a decade later, real wrestling nerds are still plagued by this thought above all others: Why didn't WCW get the proper send-off that it deserved?