The Wrestling Opinionalist: Reader Mailbag

Ken Napzok

The Wrestling Opinionalist

Reader Mailbag

            I’ve been writing this column since January. This is my twenty-third edition. I figured it was time to open up the reader mailbag and answer some questions.

Hey, Ken-

I remember reading your music related column for Tiny Mix Tapes back in 2002. You sucked then and you suck now. I can’t believe your favorite album of 2005 was Neil Diamond’s 12 Songs. What an idiot. Let me ask you something… do you think TNA will ever get more gooder? I think it won’t. I think it sucks so hard. Dixie Carter is stupid and she should hire Tony Schiavone to run it. I’ve been playing IWA play-by-mail wrestling since 1987 and I’m pretty sure I’ve got a handle on how to book. My guy “Super Destroyer” Bernie Kosar won an IWA record 275 Mountain Regional Championships before I retired him. Any way. They should make Samoa Joe the World Champ because he came from Ring of Honor. Spike TV is going to cancel them.

With love,

Basement Dweller

Dear reader,

First off, Neil Diamond’s 12 songs and the 2008 companion piece Home Before Dark are fantastic pop masterpieces. Just beautiful. Second, I was an IWA stud from 1991 to 1993, until I bought my first car, a 1981 Ford Fairmont, and couldn’t afford to pay for my wrestler’s matches. Third, TNA can get “more gooder” and who is to say it isn’t currently doing that? While TNA often appears to be confusing, unorganized, and misguided, they have been putting some good things up on the screen, trying new things, and putting on a string of decent pay-per-views. The hardest thing for fans to do is to start giving credit… even a small amount… to something or someone they’ve been conditioned to hate. Now, each week I present a segment in which I, a complete jack-ass, give TNA unsolicited advice. Some of the time, I slam them. I do so because I feel it’s more often than not earned and there is a great deal of backstage confusion that bleeds onto the television screen. But, some of the time my “advice” is for the TNA powers that be to KEEP doing some of things they are doing because some of things ARE good. And if you dig deeper into any negative comments made about TNA, you will find a person that wants to root for TNA… as one should. An improving and successful TNA is good for what is left of the wrestling business.

Mr. Napzok-

Do you think that the WWE will ever rebuild their tag team division? If so, what are some of the teams you would like to see anchor the division?

Sincerely,

Ax

Hey, Ax-

Loved your work growing up. No one could half-heartily stick their tongue out before a squash match on Saturday mornings like you. Well, at least until Crush came along. Everyone always asks this question and the answer is simple: No. The WWE will never rebuild their tag team division because it is just not profitable to regularly pay four guys in a big pay-per-view match as opposed to just two. Also, it would be very hard to capture the past glory of such great tag teams like Men on a Mission, New Foundation, and The Headbangers. However, who would I like to see anchor a “new” WWE tag division? Simple: David Otunga and Mason Ryan. That’s a combo we haven’t seen yet.

Ken-

Have you ever had Del Taco Soft Taco’s for breakfast?

- Curious Curt.

Hey, Curt. Has anyone ever told you that your name sounds like a pro wrestling student’s moniker given to him by a grumpy trainer in an effort to prove that it doesn’t matter what your gimmick is, just make it work? Kinda like “Rapid Delivery” Rory Fox. Any way. Have I ever eaten Del Taco Soft Taco’s for breakfast? Dude, I’ve used them as pillows to sleep on, THEN woke up and eaten them for breakfast. So, yes. Yes, I have.

Hello-


I love your column. I read it when I’m supposed to be working or not busying stalking that girl in human resources through her Facebook page. Hey, quick question, how come you don’t cover Indy wrestling as much as you cover the WWE and TNA? Is it because you hate real wrestling?

- “Killer” Keith Krunch, 12-time Greater Altoona Wrestling “World” champ.

Hey, “Killer,”

            No, Mr. Krunch, I don’t hate “real” wrestling. In fact, you could say, Wrestling Matters to me. (Hold on… just got a cease and desist letter from TNA.) I love Indy wrestling. In fact, I am part of that landscape as a manager and occasional Assistant to the Head Booker. I was ringside for most of 2001 where I got to manage “Phenomenal” Phil Lander against guys like Crayz, Hardcore Kid, and a little no name called Frankie Kazarian. Ten years later I returned to the business and have been punched by Rowdy Piper, slapped by Sunny, and knocked silly by “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce. I love Indy wrestling. But, to cover it is a daunting task. I looked this fact up on the Google Machine: There are 4,242 Independent wrestling promotions in the United States alone, half of those run out of warehouses or the parking lot’s BEHIND warehouses. I’m trying to reach a wider audience. I could try to write things like the top ten up and coming Indy Workers who could help TNA or lose to Zack Ryder on Superstars, but only a small segment of readers would connect with that. While some might say television killed pro wrestling (or as it was in the “golden days” of 1979) I believe that without television, there is no business. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a great live show and the almost separate art form it takes to make that work, it just means I need to write about what is being broadcast to the world at large. But, tell you what, I’ll bring back my Why You Should Love Indy Wrestling segment this week, just for you Krunch.

Dear Ken,

This is kind of a Where Are They Now question, but this wrestler was one of my favorites and I’m wondering where he went. He had so much hype going into the start of his career and everyone was certain he would do great things. He had presence, skills, and a great look, but he is currently nowhere to be seen. So, what ever happened to Drew McIntyre?

Sincerely,

V.K. McJr.

Well, I hate to break it to you, V.K, but Drew McIntyre left the pro wrestling business in 2010. He started out with much promise, having been dubbed “The Chosen One” by Vincent Kennedy McMahon himself. After a few unheralded runs as Intercontinental champion and tag champion as well as a much publicized beating at the hands of his now ex-wife, the icy calm Scot has left the business.

Oh, wait, no he’s on WWE Superstars every week. Sorry. My bad.

So, there you go. I love hearing directly from the wrestling fans. You are why I get to do this. Please keep them coming and we’ll do this again sometime. Just tell spell check to ignore the curse words. As always, you can write me at wzkennapzok@gmail.com.

Rankings (That don’t really matter)

1.) CM Punk, exiting “wrestler”- Once again he was one of the most talked about performers in the business.

2.) The Internet, Matt Hardy’s friend- Have you ever stopped to think that, besides free porn, where would the Internet be without Pro Wrestling?

3.) Kelly Kelly, Champion of the Barbie Dolls- She’s really going to enjoy these next sixty days.

4.) Randy Orton’s head, concussion proof- That’s a mighty fine job of recovering from a brain related injury.

5.) Raw’s dedicated viewers, good sports- You’re winning– because next week Raw goes back to a much more watchable two hours. Two hours means there will be a lot less time for a “dance off.”

The “Unsolicited TNA advice” of the week:

Convince us why Desmond Wolfe had to be released.

This does not mean releasing him was wrong or not due to unforeseen reasons like an injury. This does not mean Desmond Wolfe didn’t want to leave or that he wasn’t backstage poison. This does not mean me or anyone on the outside is owed an explanation regarding company business. This doesn’t mean anything other than we all would love to know why it didn’t work out. Wolfe, or Nigel McGuinness to the Ring of Honor faithful, is one of those “can’t miss” talents. The type promoters, bookers, and wrestling fans with impressive website forum signatures drool over and peg for greatness. Wolfe has battled “undisclosed” injuries and personal issues during his TNA run, but when he was in the ring he delivered and showed that promise. After a long absence he was brought back on May 16th as the commissioner of TNA’s Xplosion. Now, he’s gone. And with it a lot of promise that TNA will get pegged with dampening, unless they can prove otherwise.

The “Why you should really love Indy wrestling” award of the week:

Where else can a wrestler dive onto his opponent and his manager from high atop a ring hand delivered on the back of rusty trailer pulled by a 4 X 4 pick-up truck and knock them back into a row of plastic chairs that were just seconds earlier occupied by paying customers who had just been told to “move” by the opponent and his manager; causing them all to fall to the ground and break apart a plate of potatoes skins that had just been purchased by one of the wrestler’s friends who came out to celebrate his birthday by watching pro wrestling in a bar and grill?

You can’t buy that subtext gold in the WWE.

Fast Count…

The way I see it… we have all just been handed a gift with CM Punk leaving. Whether or not he’ll ever return is not the question or the concern. What’s important is that the fans will get to enjoy a solid month of “Honest” Punk with nothing to lose. It reminds me of King Theoden speaking to Aragorn in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers when he says, “If this is to be our end, then I would have them make such an end as to be worthy of remembrance.” CM Punk for the World Title in his final match (this time) on the WWE stage will absolutely be worthy of remembrance. I’m buying on July 17th.

I would totally love it if… Gunner calmed down! Days after I again pointed out his named was “Gunner,” the former Phill Shatter went on a rant against the IWC. Jeepers. The people over in TNA really spend too much time on their laptops reading the things they hate. Relax, Dude. We all WANT you to succeed. We all NEED you to succeed. Without Gunner reaching the top, the IWC won’t be able to point out his name is GUNNER… and what fun would that be?

I gotta think… the upcoming Ring of Honor world title match between champion Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards at “Best in the World” will be a barn burner, but I’m hoping RIchards doesn’t capture the title… yet. His coronation as world champ needs to be a televised event. He’ll get there. He deserves to get there. He just deserves the biggest audience ROH can get, limited cable deal or not.                                 
                                                                                                                                  
I must confess…  that the little tidbit of a rumor that placed the Kings of Wrestling, Hero and Castagnoli) at a recent Smackdown taping and IN a WWE ring got my hopes up. It also, though, made me wish it was the mid-80’s, where Vince wasn’t “creating” his own Superstars, because I would only be happy if they showed up on WWE TV as the Kings of Wrestling. Kings. Reign. Supreme.

Come on, admit it… you overreacted to the all this Vince hates Zack Ryder and the Internet stuff. I mean, just this past week Zack got to show his wares in the NXT main event… against Titus O’Neil… and Hornswoggle bit his ass… and NXT is still only available through your computer screen. OK. Maybe it wasn’t an overreaction.

Seriously… the ability to talk and draw interest and/ or heat to your character is a cornerstone of professional wrestling yet it continues to be an aspect of this business that so many young and talented independent wrestlers are so willing to overlook. Throw an improv class into your wrestling lessons. Knowing how to turn an armdrag into something called the Swinging Dragon Claw Lock is only going to get you so far.

Sure… the WWE is saying there was a mistake with the online voting results on the Power the People Raw, but don’t buy it. Sin Cara was “supposed” to face Evan Bourne? Really? So, you’re expecting me to believe it was a mistake that Mason Ryan took to the ring? Fine. I can buy that. WhatI can’t buy is that Mason Ryan would be allowed to call a match on the fly on a live Raw. Or even be part of a match called on the fly.

Quick… how many of you caught a glimpse of Shane McMahon at the U.S. Open and mistakenly thought you were watching a WWE vignette touting the return of Barry Darsow as Pain Stewart? No? No? No one? Just me then… that’s cool.  

Ken Napzok is a writer, comedian, and pro wrestling manager living in Los Angeles.  He did not vote for any one or anything during Power to the People. He can be followed online at twitter.com/Kozpan and twitter.com/TexTunney or contacted at wzkennapzok@gmail.com.

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