Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.
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Much like winter, Night Wolf the Wise is coming, and he’s bringing two questions with him:
1. With Sting signing to AEW recently got me thinking. Is Sting the only wrestler who signed with the most wrestling promotions? Or is there another wrestler who has the most? According to his bio, he’s been signed to 8 different wrestling promotions: CWA, UWF, NWA, WCW, WWA, TNA, WWE, and AEW.
First off, saying that Sting was “signed” with eight different promotions is a bit misleading. When the Stinger was working for the CWA and the UWF it was before the time that professional wrestlers were under contract to the primary territories that they were working for. They were true independent contractors with the ability to come and go as they pleased.
Also, even if you were going to list all of the promotions that Sting wrestled for on a regular basis, the list you’ve given is a bit suspect in a couple of regards. First off, Sting never would have been signed to “the NWA.” He would’ve been signed to Jim Crockett Promotions, which was one company of many that was affiliated with the NWA. (Even thought JCP was by and far the biggest member at that point.) Also, Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW are essentially the same company, with WCW being the new corporate identity for JCP after it was purchased by Turner Broadcasting. I also think including WWA here is a bit specious because they didn’t run anything close to a full-time schedule, even if they were the only place you could see Sting wrestle for a couple of years.
Thus, I think you could really get Sting’s list down to as few as six companies.
However, that’s not really the question. The question is what wrestler has been signed to the most different promotions.
This is difficult to answer. How big does a promotion have to be in order to count for the purposes of the question? As noted above, I think including something like WWA is questionable, but others may disagree. Also, what does it mean to be “signed”? Are you referencing having a true exclusive contract, or does “signed” just mean that a wrestler is working for the company on a regular basis, exclusivity or no? Surely being “signed” for this purpose means something other than working one or two dates for an independent group, because otherwise you would have guys whose lists consist of dozens of different groups.
Ultimately making my best guess as to what Night Wolf was going for, I’m going to assume the “signed” just means wrestling for an at least semi-major promotion on a consistent basis, regardless of whether there was an exclusive deal.
Though I don’t believe a comprehensive analysis of every wrestler’s resume is practical here, I can think of a few folks off the top of my head who would beat the Stinger’s list.
The first name that popped into my noggin was Chris Jericho. During his time in wrestling, Jericho has been a regular for FMW, WAR, New Japan Pro Wrestling, CMLL, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, ECW, WCW, WWE, and now AEW for a total of substantial runs in nine semi-major or major promotions.
You also have to give some consideration to Jericho’s former tag team partner in CMLL, Meng/Haku/King Tonga. He was in Championship Wrestling from Florida when it was a major territory, All Japan, AWA, WWF, WCW, SWS, WAR, CMLL, and New Japan for a total of nine promotions as well.
And what about Christopher Daniels? He’s been in WWC in Puerto Rico, ECW, WCW (under contract but rarely used), Michinoku Pro, New Japan, ROH, TNA, and AEW for eight different promotions. If you wanted to count PWG, you could get him to nine, but that’s a bit indy for my tastes.
Again, those were just off the top of my head, so I am sure that you could come up with a few more. This list is also limited to relatively modern professional wrestling. Back in the day when wrestling in America was much more territorial, it would have been easier for grapplers to rack up entries on these lists.
2. Undertaker spent 30 years with the same company (1990-2020). He has the longest time spent in the same promotion (30 years). Who has the record for shortest time spent with one promotion?
Again, this one is a bit difficult to answer, because there are plenty of wrestlers who have appeared for one night only in major promotions. I can think of two infamously short runs in major promotions, though. The first one is the Rockers’ first stint in the WWF, which lasted for only a few weeks in 1987 and consisted of two matches, the last of which was on June 3 of that year. They were allegedly let go for hard partying but were let back into the company for a second run in May 1988. The Fabulous Freebirds also had a very brief run in the Fed, with their first match occurring on August 4, 1984 and their last match occurring on September 18, 1984.
Tyler from Winnipeg is taking us back to the Invasion. Unfortunately, I don’t have the old guy’s graphic for it:
Did you enjoy the Booker T vs The Rock rivalry?
Not really, though it was through no fault of the performers. I consider myself a fan of both men, and they did well enough against each other in the ring and on the mic, but to me the feud never felt as special or as important as it could have because there was so much reluctance to portray Booker was a guy who was a threat to the Rock. I basically remember the feud consisting of the Bhrama Bull beating Book time and time and time again, to the point that by the time they faced each other at Summerslam 2001 they had to make it a two-on-one match with Shane McMahon seconding Booker T. in order for anyone to think that there was a possibility of he Rock dropping the fall (which he didn’t do). Much like the rest of the Invasion, there was quite a bit of potential here, but the feud ultimately fell short because of the way that it was booked.
Bryan J. is quizzing me about a potential quiz show:
Do you think the WWE Network would or could have a wrestling themed Jeopardy? Well, don’t call it Jeopardy, but some kind of trivia game show hosted by a retired superstar? The only drawbacks I can think are: 1) WWE sometimes acts ashamed of its own history and 2) the people who would succeed at this may not look good on television. What’s your opinion?
It’s entirely possible for a show like this to be put on the WWE Network. Really, they can do whatever they like, since no other entity controls the streaming service’s content. It’s basically their own little sandbox.
Would the concept work? I could see it having some level of popularity if it were done well. The biggest difficulty in my mind is similar to one of the concerns you raise, though it’s not so much WWE being ashamed of its own history as it is WWE not telling its own history consistently. For example, if you look back at the official title histories that the company has maintained, they’ve varied over the years. At some points, they’ve said that the current WWE United States Championship is a continuation of the lineage of the WCW version of the U.S. Title. At other points, it’s been touted as a separate and distinct title histories. On some occasions, they’ve merged the histories of the WCW Light Heavyweight Title and the WCW Cruiserweight Title, but on other occasions they’ve remained separate.
Also, to what extent would the show maintain the WWF/WWE’s kayfabe as opposed to focusing on genuine trivia? Would they pretend that nobody bodyslammed, much less defeated, Andre the Giant until Hulk Hogan did it at Wrestlemania III, or would they acknowledge that many people did it in the years prior? For that matter, if we’re talking about Wrestlemania III, would they use the legitimate attendance figure on the inflated number that was announced on the show?
Don’t get me wrong. There are ways to get around that. You could just avoid questions based on topics that are, ahem, “murky” in those ways. However, it would certainly complicate the process.
As far as the comment on the looks of potential contestants are concerned . . . you’re right that there are certain stereotypes out there about hardcore wrestling fans. However, stereotypes are just those – stereotypes. No matter how deeply held they are by some, you can always find plenty of people who buck them.
Mohamed has one for the ladies:
With how hard WWE has been pushing the women’s revolution do you ever believe they’ll draw to the same extent as the men or even Chyna did?
It’s entirely possible. All you need to create a draw is having the right personality at the right time, regardless of gender. This has been proven multiple times in combat sports, including with women’s wrestling in Japan having sold out major arenas in its heyday (though not as of late) and Ronda Rousey having been one of the biggest draws in the history of UFC and a legitimate hall of fame caliber star there.
Marcus has another question about gender equity, oddly enough:
I thought of a question watching NXT and the new faction called The Way that’s composed of Johnny Gargano, Candice LaRae, Austin Theory, and Indi Hartwell. Can you think of any other faction that consisted of two male wrestlers and two female wrestlers? To expand on this, any factions of 4 or more people with an equal number of male and female wrestlers? To narrow the possibilities, I’m not including valets or managers, just people who were active competitors.
This has happened at least once before in wrestling history that I can recall, namely in 2011 and 2012 in TNA. The stable of Mexican America – which I honestly thought was a version of LAX until I went back and did a bit of confirming research – consisted of two men and two women. The men were Hernandez and Anarquia (a guy with a real “blink and you’ll miss it” career), and the women were Sarita (better known as “Dark Angel” Sara Stock) and Rosita (more recently known as labor instigator Zelina Vega). In fact, not only did the stable consist of two men and two men, it also held both the men’s and women’s tag team titles, although the two reigns did not overlap.
Though it’s a bit of a stretch, I think that you could also use the WWF’s Pretty Mean Sisters – also known as PMS – as an answer to this question. Active in 1998 and 1999, PMS started off as an alliance between Jacqueline and Terri Runnels. Eventually, they added Ryan Shamrock and a male wrestler named Meat (Shawn Stasiak). Terri and Shamrock were exclusively valets during this period, so there were an equal number of male and female wrestlers: one each.
IMissMarkingOut wants to ask, appropriately enough, if I am missing out on marking out:
Have you ever stopped watching pro wrestling cold turkey and if so, what moment/match/story got your attention back?
I completely stopped watching wrestling during the buildup to Wrestlemania XXXII. It was the Undertaker/Shane McMahon angle from that show which totally turned me off. I’ve never been a fan of Shane, because his entire act is based around falling off of things on to crash pads and throwing the world’s worst punches, and there are legitimate, trained professional wrestlers who can do both of those things significantly better than him. He’s not even that great of a character to make up for his shortcomings in the ring.
I was already annoyed that Shane-o-Mac was taking up space in what was essentially the biggest angle leading int to the show, but then the storyline itself sucked too, as Vince McMahon put his son into a Hell in a Cell match with the Undertaker as some sort of punishment for slights against the elder McMahon. As soon was I heard this, I thought to myself, “Why would the Undertaker, a babyface, go along with this plan by the heel Vince McMahon?”
I waited for an answer to this question. And I waited. And I waited. And I waited. Then after a few weeks of waiting, I realized the answer never coming, and it dawned on me how poorly written this story was. It was a slight against my intelligence that they wouldn’t take the thirty seconds necessary to fill this plot hole that a five year old should have been able to identify.
So, I turned off Raw, which in turn lead to me turning off all other wrestling programming.
The question wasn’t what got me to shut off wrestling, though. The answer is what got me to come back.
And the answer is . . . nothing, really.
There currently is no professional wrestling product that I watch on anything approaching a weekly basis. Not Raw, not Smackdown, not NXT, not AEW, not NJPW . . . nothing.
I can see the Disqus comments lighting up now: “If you’re not watching wrestling, why are you writing this column?” the commenters ask.
If you’re asking that question, I’ve got two words for you:
I was completely out of wrestling and not even really paying attention to what was going on in the wrestling news from the build to Mania 32 in 2016 until April 2018, when I got an email from Larry Csonka asking me if I wanted to replace Jed Shaffer writing Ask 411 Wrestling. I explained to Larry that I was totally unplugged from wrestling and didn’t feel comfortable writing the column as a result. I suggested that maybe he wanted to move on to somebody else. Larry wrote back saying that my lack of keeping up on the current product didn’t really bother him and that he could see Ask 411 being something that focused more on old school wrestling than what’s on television these days. After some more cajoling from the bossman, I finally agreed to give it a test drive, and here I am two-and-a-half years later.
Like I said above, there is still no wrestling show that I’m watching on a regular basis, but I’ve plugged back in to following what is going on in the industry through sites like 411 and the Observer, and I will track down individual matches or segments if they sound particularly interesting or if I feel that they are something I need to watch for this column.
So, there you go. The thing that got me back into wrestling after I stopped cold turkey was writing for this site, as facilitated by Larry.
That will do it for this week’s installment of the column. We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected].