Behind The Ropes: Shoot Interview With B/R Writer, Joe Burgett
One of the better writers on Bleacher Report happens to enlighten the "Pro Wrestling Forum" with his honest opinions and debate-starting articles. Of course, in this instance I am talking about "Pro Wrestling Featured Columnist" Joe Burgett.
Joe has been contributing to the "Pro Wrestling Forum" since August 2008. In that time, he has been one of the many great writers that have helped build this section to what it is today.
I contacted Joe and asked him if he would be interested in answering a few pressing questions. He was nice enough to say yes. We both felt this could be a entertaining read for both his fans and critics.
So, here you go.
Alec Miller: Being a writer for Bleacher Report since August, 2008 do you think the Bleacher Report ‘wrestling forum’ is better now then when you first started? Why?
Joe Burgett: "Well, I do think it has gotten very good. When I first started, there were only a few choice people here that I could look at and say, hey, this guy is good. I think Ron Johnson is a guy who should be remembered. There was a guy named Ryan who I thought worked well here."
"Ross Rutherford has not written a bunch on the site, but he was here before I was and I really like his stuff. I do feel that this time last year, we had some awesome writers and great one’s were coming in."
Did you like the whole article concept ?
"I feel January ‘09 to August ’09 may have been the height of the B/R wrestling section. I helped to build this section, true, but I didn’t do it alone. Many like Jason Le Blanc, Shane Howard, Mina, and even that jackass Ray, who isn’t such a bad guy but can get on your bad side easy, all made heavy contributions to the website that should be remembered."
Alec Miller: Many great writers have written for the ‘wrestling forum’ in the past, who was always your favorite writer? From any of the writers currently contributing to the site, do you have any personal favorite?
Joe Burgett: "My favorite writer of all time is kind of a toss up between Ron Johnson and Shane Howard. Both were awesome, so it’s a tie for me. Shane and Ron are now doing their own thing, but their B/R work was wonderful in my opinion."
"Right now, and I’ve told him this before, so he should know, Ashley Morris, who I call AM, has to be the best here. Far better than I ever will be, Ashley has given out some tremendous stuff that trumps my best stuff."
"He is very talented, and if he started his own website with his stuff, it would be one of the sites in my fav list online."
Alec Miller: Who was your favorite wrestler growing up? Why?
Joe Burgett: "Phew, that is hard. I loved Shawn Michaels, as I thought he was great. Undertaker caught my eye, I loved him. I don’t care for him now, but Hogan was a favorite of mine."
"I loved Lex Luger, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase Sr., Steve Austin, The Rock, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and Vader. It is really hard to pick a favorite out of them. I’m 20, but I watched these men my whole life, so I fell in love with wrestling watching them."
"The Hardys probably got me the most excited to watch when I became a teen though, so I did watch for them at that point. Sorry to be much help with that. But okay, if I have to pick one, give me Michaels. I loved every match he did. So, there ya go."
Alec Miller: What was the greatest match that you ever watched? Why?
Joe Burgett: "Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels, Ironman Match. I loved every minute of it, and it really made me respect the two. Nothing but one pure hour of wrestling."
"How can you not love that as a wrestling fan ? I’ve seen some great ones since, but they all involve Michaels or Bryan Danielson, go figure."
Alec Miller: Greatest gimmick you ever saw in your lifetime not named The Undertaker? Why?
Joe Burgett: "Well obviously Taker is the best, but I’m gonna go Santino for second best. Santino is a real Canadian guy who talks nothing like he does on TV, and plays an Italian character. He is half Italian, but was born in Canada.
He’s just as Canadian as; Edge, Christian, Bret Hart, even Steve Nash. He is hilarious, and although Santino is not World Championship material and never will be, he is entertaining, fans love him, and he works well for the WWE, just as much as Taker does currently. A program with Santino is more entertaining than not, in my opinion."
Alec Miller: Nobody could believe what Chris Benoit did, yet some people still feel that he should still be acknowledged as one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time. Where do you stand on Chris Benoit and him going down as one of the greatest? Why?
Joe Burgett: "Well I hate what Benoit did as much as the next guy, but after hearing he was diagnosed with CTE, I kinda jumped back a bit. With that injury, he could have a drink or two, get a buzz and kill 18 people without knowing it."
"That is how that disease works sometimes. It is one that is trying to be treated, but growing fast. It’s one reason chair shots were taken out of WWE and why headbutts from the top rope have pretty much disappeared. Benoit took a ton of head damage and it’s not a wonder why he had it."
"At that point, I don’t think I can really hate Benoit as bad as I could have if he didn’t have the disease. Still don’t like what he did, so don’t get me wrong. I just can’t really hate on him for it as much as I could have if he just did it without the disease."
"That said, I think that part of his life shouldn’t count when you talk of his wrestling career. His out of the ring troubles mean nothing when you talk best ever.
"Benoit is clearly not the best of all time. He had no mic skills, barely had charisma, didn’t work well in many story lines, and was mainly getting by because of his heart and good skill in the ring."
"If you talk best in ring technicians ever, he is probably in the top 5, behind Mr.Perfect, Kurt Angle, Bret Hart, and Ric Flair. Benoit is only remembered (wrestling wise) because of how great his skill in the ring was, so, that said, I think he is not in the talks for my top 20 best, but easily is in the top 50 of all time."
"When talking the best ever, you have to consider ring skill, mic work, storyline work, what they did for the business, etc. Benoit had one of those down, how could you consider him the best of all time in saying that? "
Alec Miller: TNA isn’t the greatest company in the world, we all know that. If you could offer your two cents to help them out, what would you tell them?
Joe Burgett: "Probably marketing is one thing they need to work on, oh, and promoting what they already have instead of watered down programming from 10 years ago. With many of the same guys, just older.
"Marketing is one of the reasons WWE is as big as it is. Why not get these men on talk shows, TV shows, movies, etc.? Only Hogan has appeared on a big time program’s talk show in the last year or so. And he mainly talked of his book then.
"I think they need to get rid of the older talent which obviously cannot go, then add in that young crop of talent more."
"Also, adding another show would help considering how large the roster is. And where did the Knockouts and Tag Division go? There are only a few teams in TNA now and hardly any knockouts. Depth went down hill fast, eh?
"Bring that back and get the TNA originals in there more. Doing that would help big time. And I am seriously tired of the hate on the WWE they do on TV, be yourselves and forget about the competition, of which blew you out of the water earlier in the year."
Alec Miller: A lot of people like to call The Rock a sellout for leaving the WWE after only six years and going to Hollywood. Do you think he is a sellout? Why?
Joe Burgett: "Of course not. Let me ask you a question, if you had the opportunity to make a larger paycheck, without hurting your body to do it, would you take it? I know I would!"
"Listen, The Rock was one of the best ever, and I for one would love to see him back in the WWE. But he is no sell out."
"He did the wrestling world as long as he could, but everyone has to retire sometime. Do we hate on Lesnar for leaving and ultimately going to MMA and knocking people’s faces in? No! Why hate The Rock? "
"I’d love to see him make more guest appearances, but if the man is busy then the man is busy. If he wanted to hurt his body every week for another 6 years, he would. At one point, he had to do that, but was given a better option. He took it, and everyone else knows they would too."
Alec Miller: All of us on the ‘wrestling section' are WWE fans, but we do have mixed feeling about the “PG” rating. Do you think the PG rating has been good for the WWE and fans? Why?
Joe Burgett: "Well the PG era has been okay as far as programming goes. It doesn’t matter what the rating is, you still have to WRITE OUT A GOOD PROGRAM. People complained before when it was TV-14, so it’s hard to say anyone would be happy all the time. I know I haven’t been.
"Millions still watch weekly, so apparently it’s not awful. Ratings were in the 3s since ‘05, so the PG era didn’t just bring down ratings like many think. They have been down for some time now.
"It’s good for the WWE to do this business wise because they can get into so much more programming throughout the TV spectrum now."
"I feel it would be better if they had a TV-14 show and a PG show, that way they would have the best of both worlds at that point. But, I don’t think that could ever happen.
"I have heard that is the WWE does leave PG, it won’t be until the Mattel deal expires, which is 3 years at least."
Alec Miller: Why do you think other writers and "commenters" on this site feel that you can get too harsh? Do you even think your harsh?
Joe Burgett: "I don’t feel I get too harsh, I just speak my mind. Some may think that, and that is fine. I’ve always said, if you don’t like my stuff, don’t read it. But if you continue to read, it’s possible you care to read what I write."
"I am not the most wonderful writer on the planet, and I know that. No one will stop me from speaking my mind the way I want to."
"If someone doesn’t like what I say, let me know what I said and why in a PM here on B/R. I’ll say the same thing to everyone, GET OVER IT! Ouch, was that harsh?"
Alec Miller: Despite you not saying what people want to hear, you have over 200 fans. Why do you think people love your writing?
Joe Burgett: "I guess they like what I say and how I say it. I am not going to analyze why they do, I would just simply guess they like what I have to say compared to others. Or they simply find my material interesting."
"I never am sure why someone likes my work to tell you the truth, though. I say ask others why they do, that would be far easier."
Alec Miller: Any tips for new writers here on Bleacher Report?
Joe Burgett: "I say be yourself and learn from everything that happens. If someone hates on you, then let it go. If they hate on your grammar, then let that go too and just improve, that is one reason I am as good as I have gotten, it’s not much, but I was far worse.
Listen to everyone who comments, well, read all the comments anyway. Some will be good, some will be downright awful! But take them all in, for they all will help in their own way."
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