So I got into reading sports columnists through my buddy James almost 10 years ago, and one of the guys he always talked about was Bill Simmons. I enjoyed his writing style a great deal, as he wrote from the perspective of a fan while breaking down every narrative in real time and where it fits in a historical sense. I went back and combed most of his archive and noticed he had a lot of great column styles.
One of his best “gimmicks”, fitting since I write about wrestling, was the mailbag. His readers usually emailed him serious, funny, or even terrible questions and he answered them in column form. I’ve decided, in the grand tradition of Pro Wrestling to STEAL THAT GIMMICK for my own usage. Yes, Simmons, you barely use it anymore, you’ve got The Ringer to run. I’ll be taking that!
Let’s get to the questions from…
People that actually read my columns!
Questions In Blue
What are your top 5 Summerslam Matches? – Simon C. – Chicago.
Well, Simon, you submitted the first question ever to my mail bag column, so you’re way more special than the first ever winner of the CWC, TJP. For me, the list goes like this.
- Bret Hart vs The British Bulldog
Tremendous technical match. Bret Hart strung together a masterpiece in his first huge main event while Bulldog was reportedly in an “altered state.” One of my favorite stories from Bret’s book was when Bulldog said, “Bret, I’m Fooked.” As he didn’t remember the moves or sequences they laid out prior. Still awesome every time.
- John Cena vs AJ Styles
The new big move standard match in WWE, Styles, and Cena from a year ago was an instant classic and probably should have been the real main event. These guys went on 4th or 5th and made Barclays Center a holy ground to which their art was displayed. Then they arguably topped it at the 2017 Royal Rumble.
- Bret Hart vs Owen Hart – Steel Cage Match
The Big Blue Cage was the final big match in the Bret vs Owen Saga of 1993-1994. Because of the return of The Undertaker, this got pushed out of the main event, and Bret and Owen made sure to make them regret that decision as Taker vs Faker went over like Bill O’Reilly at a Civil Rights meeting. The escape laden match, although a bit lengthy, captures the entire rivalry between the younger and older brother, and I personally think Bret Hart cut his best babyface promo ever before the match. “I’m gonna beat you brother…the the only question is, will you be able to live with it?” I freaking love this match.
- John Cena vs Daniel Bryan
In my opinion, this is the greatest Summerslam Main Event of all-time. It was John Cena’s last run as an untouchable guy who never lost clean, which he did this match. It was the first match Daniel Bryan reached the mountaintop in, after an electric summer in which he became the fans choice to be the man. He also debuted the running knee finisher in this match, because as hot as Bryan was, he wasn’t getting a Yes Lock submission on Cena.
- CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar
The Greatest overall match in Summerslam history had to be Punk vs Lesnar. It went down as Punk’s last great match as he gave Lesnar his best match since coming back to WWE. Heyman was caught in the middle of both of these guys as they brawled all over the arena, and traded finishers and MMA style submission holds. Punk’s exit allowed the rise of Bryan, and this night where both of these matches happened ended one era while starting and although short lived, memorable time in my wrestling fandom.
Do you think Corbin and Strowman sit in a dark basement and make their ring gear pants together since they are basically the same thing? Lol.” – Nicholas, Kansas.
Yes! They do. Bray Wyatt is actually the guy that owns that basement, and unfortunately, because of the dim lighting they often craft similar looking pairs. I hear that Strowman is a perfectionist that always goes on about not being finished with the pants or something.
Do you think that this Bayley injury could be a huge work dedicated to turning Bayley heel? – Jarrod L. – Chi-raq. Chi-beria, Chi-Town
Either she was really hurt, or Bayley is one of the best workers (she is) that I’ve ever seen. What gave me cause to believe is how she just let the arm hang after throwing a few punches with it. It’s almost like her arm said, “nope” afterward. As far as the heel turn, I don’t see it. That’s Sasha’s spot all day. Besides if Bayley turns heel, I’ll have to spend an entire episode of One Nation Radio talking James out of riding to Stamford to challenge every member of the creative team to a fist fight.
Best Royal Rumble Win, and build that WWE blew their load on with a terrible Wrestlemania match? – Jeremy L., Tampa
One immediately jumps out. Randy Orton vs Triple H at Wrestlemania 25 and the 2009 Royal Rumble come to mind when factoring in a good win and subsequent terrible match to follow. After dominating the Rumble with Legacy, and a build which featured Triple H breaking into Randy Orton’s house with an ax, they proceeded to fart all over the Wrestlemania main event.
Instead of a wild brawl, we were treated to a no champion’s advantage stip, for the babyface Triple H. The funny thing is we got the same stipulation with CM Punk and Chris Jericho a few years later and they did just fine. Orton was on fire and we had to have The Game uhhhhh, standing tall over Randy Orton one more time in his career.
What’s Your Favorite G1 Match so far? – Jeremy D., Tampa.
I’m going to write this before I watch Kota Ibushi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, but so far it’s been Naito vs Ibushi. I listed it on the matches I was most excited for, and I was happy to see these guys had a blow away match on night 1 of the A Block. They meshed so well and raised the stakes as the closing minutes approached, going as far as pulling off a piledriver from the second rope. Those guys are crazy. Okada/Omega III is coming though.
What can be done to save the Cruiserweight Division? Ben S. – Tampa
Call me crazy, but I don’t think saving the Cruiserweight Division is something that currently has to happen. Neville ALREADY saved it, and they have been putting foundation blocks in place to raise some of the other acts to his level. They are handicapped by typically having 1 spotlight match on a PPV, but what that has done is let the blow offs on 205 Live like Alexander vs Dar move at their own pace. As long as it took to get there, the match WAS worth it. If I could do anything though, I’d give them spots on NXT Takeover events, and look into tag titles to fill out anyone not BENDING THE KNEE.
You started your fandom in late 1995. What match have you viewed from before you were a fan that stands out as the best/your favorite match? What sets it apart? – Joshua – St Pete, FL
That’s an interesting question. I’ll go back to the Bret and Owen series, but choose their Wrestlemania X match, which for the longest time was the quintessential opener of any big show, and an absolute clinic, in athletic fast paced wrestling combined with character work and a shock ending. Not watching this live as it happened, I imagine people were flat out shocked Owen got that win, which looking at it, was probably the biggest win of his career. Before that Owen wasn’t a player, and he was made for life after that match. It also holds up very well today and resonates as my favorite style of wrestling. What did anyone think I would say? Hogan/Andre? LOL.
Why yall hate me so much? – Brian J. – Stamford, CT
Because you don’t have the juice like that…dogg.
In honor of Cena and Nakamura on Smackdown, what’s the best TV match you’ve ever seen, and what’s your favorite? – Rance, 5th Ward, – Houston, TX
There are literally thousands of TV matches to choose from, and this is probably a revolving answer but here they go.
The best TV match I’ve ever seen:
John Cena vs CM Punk – Winner faces The Rock at Wrestlemania 29, Feb 2013.
I felt like these guys had the Wrestlemania main event a month and a week early, as it ended up being the last Punk vs Cena match we would see. It capped off their year and a half story as Cena was finally able to vanquish Punk. I remember them getting at least 24 minutes and even though we all knew Punk wasn’t going to beat Cena, this was where they gave us the match that many fans remember about early 2013. WWE got their Rock/Cena II main event, while the rest of us got Punk vs Cena the final chapter, piledriver included. A match you can see that could have main evented anything, except the next big show apparently.
Favorite TV Match:
Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton – Street Fight, June 2013.
This was the match that started everything that followed for Daniel Bryan. He and Orton beat the hell out of each other with creative weapon offense that blew away anything they ended up doing later in the year on PPV. Of course, those matches all had screwy endings. But there’s a special feeling when you feel like a star is born, and when he submitted Orton, that was the biggest win of his career at the time. He had arrived.
Is the Fashion Police’s attacker AJ Styles? His beautiful flowing hair rejected to be part of the team?
Missed Opportunity or not: The Million Dollar Corporation needed a valet…Who should it have been and why? – @JCoolLOP
At this rate, the attackers could be anyone. AJ Styles? Renee Young? Kevin Sullivan? Nathan Jones? I don’t even think WWE knows who’s been messing with everyone’s favorite cops. Personally, I wouldn’t mess with the cops, because you know… nevermind.
As far as THE MDC, I want to say Dibiase and Sherri were affiliated at some point, but if we’re talking someone else. I’m making Sunny the executive manager of Mr. Dibiase’s money. Even though she blocked me on twitter for clowning her over her use of the N-Word, Sunny was my favorite diva growing up, and giving her a spot with all those guys with the money gimmick, they could have done a lot better than they did. She’d dress the part like normal, and eventually plot on the Million Dollar Man’s money, turning Dibiase face because you know how they liked to portray women in wrestling back then.
Why do you think so many people vastly overrate Cena vs Bryan @Summerslam ’13? – Dave Fenichel, NY
Dave, these are fighting words. But I will address your blasphemy professionally.
Let’s say it was overrated.
One COULD say, there weren’t enough near falls for a modern PPV main event.
One COULD say, no one saw the finish coming.
One COULD say, it just felt like an exhibition match.
One COULD say, it was lost in the cash-in that took place after.
One COULD say, they thought it was slow.
One COULD say, all those things, and they would be wrong.
How big is Batista’s Dick? – Caleb B. – Oklahoma.
There had to be one.