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.
If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.
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HBK’s Smile is chasing celebs like a paparazzo:
Is Cain Velasquez the only celebrity to lose a pro wrestling match without ever winning one?
First off, it’s worth noting that Cain Velasquez DID win some pro wrestling matches prior to losing his WWE debut to Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel 2019. Before he made his debut with the E, he was actually wrestling for AAA in Mexico. At Triplemania XXVII on August 3, 2019, he teamed with Psycho Clown and Cody Rhodes to defeat El Texano Jr., Taurus, and Killer Kross (now Karrion Kross). On September 15, he he appeared on an AAA show held in New York City, teaming with Psycho Clown and Brian Cage in another winning effort against Texano, Taurus, and Rey Escorpion.
So it’s true to say that Cain never won a WWE match before he wrestled in that company, but he had won a wrestling match.
Also, just so the record is 100% clear, Velasquez has also been victorious in a WWE ring, as on November 30, 2019 (after Crown Jewel), he teamed with Humberto Carrillo on a house show in Mexico City, defeating Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.
However, we can still take Cain out of the equation and answer the question of whether there are any celebrities who lost a match without first winning one.
The answer to that question is absolutely yes.
There were two names that immediately came to my mind when I read this question, both of them legitimate sports stars who crossed over into wrestling with WCW. Utah Jazz power forward Karl Malone teamed with Diamond Dallas Page at WCW Bash at the Beach pay per view in 1998, where they lost to Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman. That was the only match of Malone’s pro wrestling career. Similarly, Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White lost his one and only professional wrestling match to to Steve “Mongo” McMichael at Slamboree 1997.
Mike Tyson has also technically lost his one and only professional wrestling match, as Triple H and Shawn Michaels defeated Chris Jericho and Tyson on the January 11, 2010 edition of Monday Night Raw, though this was really more of an angle with DX and Tyson setting up Jericho as opposed to a legitimate bout.
Also, if you want to count battles royale for purposes of this question, you can count Drew Carey getting tossed out of the 2001 Royal Rumble match and every NFL player in the Wrestlemania II battle royale with the exception of Russ Francis, who actually wrestled for years during football off seasons, mostly for the AWA.
This is probably not a comprehensive list, but it’s enough to establish that there are plenty of celebrities in wrestling who lose before they win.
Tyler from Winnipeg is seeing double:
I’m watching the 1995 Royal Rumble, Rumble match who and the heck are these Jacob and Eli Blue brothers wearing tan vests with crazy hair. They are massive in stature and seem like capable pros.
Eli and Jacob, the Blu Twins, were Ron and Don Harris, who had a variety of gimmicks and names in a variety of promotions from the late 1980s through the mid-2000s. Early on in their careers, they were called the Bruise Brothers and, depending on the promotion, alternately went by their real names or by Ron and Don Bruise. Notable promotions they worked for as the Bruise Brothers were the USWA, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, IWA in Puerto Rico, and, even ECW, where they were regular opponents for the Public Enemy in 1994. They also had a one-off WCW appearance in November 1994 as enhancement talents, putting over the team of Hulk Hogan and Sting on the c-level show WCW Worldwide.
The 1995 Royal Rumble that you watched was only the third match of a WWF run that begin earlier in the same month, where they were given Uncle Zebekiah (Dutch Mantel/Zeb Coulter) as a manager rechristened as the Blu Twins. They were fairly well protected in the Fed and even opened Wrestlemania XI against the British Bulldog & Lex Luger but finished up with the company by October and returned to ECW, where they remained until August 1996 when they bounced back to the WWF. During this run, they were called Jared and Jacob Grimm, even though, aside from losing Zeb, their gimmick was not appreciably different than what they had done the prior year as the Blu Twins.
The Grimms were gone before the end of 1996 rolled around and largely fell off the radar of the professional wrestling industry until the summer of 1997, when they made their second return to the WWF to join the Disciples of Apocalypse, the stable that Crush formed in the Gang Warz angle that began when he and Savio Vega were fired by the Nation of Domination. The twins were called Skull and 8-Ball while in DOA, and they actually wound up being the final two members of the group after Crush and the other member, Brian “Chainz” Lee departed.
The twins finished up their DOA run in the WWF in May 1999 and by November of that year jumped to WCW, which by that point was being booked by Vince Russo, who was playing an unseen on-air authority figure that was, depending on how charitable you want to be, either a parody or ripoff of Vince McMahon’s heel persona. To further that story, the Harrises lost their last names and were called “Patrick” and “Gerald” in allusions to Pat Patterson and Jerry Brisco. Collectively, they were known as “Creative Control.” After tag team gold eluded them in ECW and the WWF, they won the WCW Tag Team Titles shortly after joining the company.
When Russo’s “Powers that Be” angle fell apart, Ron and Don started wrestling under their own names, and they were aligned with the nWo 2000 faction for a period of time.
They remained with WCW until close to the end of the company in 2001. After it folded, they worked the TV tapings for the XWF, the Hulk Hogan/Jimmy Hart startup that never materialized, and they did a tour of All Japan Pro Wrestling, competing in the 2001 Real World Tag League tournament and making it to the semi-finals. They eventually became mainstays in the early days of TNA, wrestling regularly for the company when they were on weekly pay per view and making a handful of appearances when they started taping at the Impact Zone.
Both men finished up their in-ring careers in 2005, though Don worked for TNA in a backstage role for a few years more. In an odd twist to their stories, they’ve recently been involved in Aro Lucha, a lucha libre promotion based in Nashville (no really) that has run only a handful of shows since its founding in 2017 and has occasionally claimed to be on the brink of a major television deal that has never materialized.
It’s probably also worth noting that the Harrises did cause a little bit of controversy in the wrestling world when people realized that they had tattoos of a lightning bolt symbol associated with the SS, a paramilitary security force founded by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. The symbol is also associated with modern white supremacist groups and, in addition to being tattooed on their arms, was seen on a t-shirt worn by one of the brothers on a TNA pay per view.
The Harrises denied any connection to white supremacy or Nazism and said that the lightning bolt symbols on their arms and clothing stemmed from the fact that they did a biker gimmick and that the bolts were popular among bikers. This position seems to have at least some support from the Anti-Defamation League, a not-for-profit dedicated to combating antisemitism, which states on its website that “the SS bolts in the context of the outlaw biker subculture [do] not necessarily denote actual adherence to white supremacy.” However, the group goes on to note that there are many white supremacists in that subculture, making the true intent of the symbol difficult to ascertain in some instances.
So, there you have it – the career of the Harris/Bruise/Blu/Grimm twins.
Jon is writing in to . . . gloat, I guess?
So…did you see the NFL is giving 7,500 free super bowl tickets to vaccinated medical workers?
For those of you missing the context here, Jon wrote in with a question that I answered back in December about whether Wrestlemania should have a live audience made up entirely of healthcare workers and first responders. At the time, I told him that I thought it was a bad idea, and . . . frankly, I’m going to stand by that.
Jon’s original idea, as I understood it, was filling an arena with the vaccinated individuals, which I felt was too close for comfort despite the vaccines, particularly given the other workers that would be impacted by the attendees’ travel and presence at the game.
The NFL is negating one of those factors somewhat. They’re not filling a stadium or arena with fans. They’re putting 22,000 people in a venue that normally holds about 66,000, so there will be some distancing. However, hosting the Superbowl will still result in a lot of unnecessary travel at a time when that should still be avoided, so I’m still saying that this is something that would not happen if I were king of the world.
Tyler from Winnipeg lucked out, because I normally don’t answer two of his questions in the same column, but I didn’t realize I’d done it here until I was editing the column:
Do you know anything about Hogan, Savage & Elizabeth reuniting in WCW for another MEGA POWERS run?
I’m a bit confused by this question, because it’s worded as though you’re asking about a Hogan/Savage/Elizabeth reunion that was rumored but never happened. However, the Mega Powers DID actually get back together in WCW, even though it was short-lived.
When Randy Savage first showed up in WCW, it was shortly before Starrcade 1994, and the angle was that he was going to show up at the PPV to either shake Hulk Hogan’s hand or slap him across the face. We were supposed to tune in to see which one of those actions the Macho Man would take, and it turned out to be a handshake after Savage saved Hogan from an attack by the Kevin Sullivan, The Butcher (Ed Leslie/Brutus Beefcake), and the Avalanche (John Tenta/Earthquake).
That set up a Hogan/Savage vs. Sullivan/Butcher match at Clash of the Champions XXX on January 25, 1995. The good guys won that match, and they also defeated the team of Ric Flair & Vader at Slamboree 1995 in addition to doing some less important television matches.
Headed in to Clash of the Champions XXXII in January 1996, the Mega Powers were set to take on Ric Flair & The Giant, where Miss Elizabeth made her debut in WCW to counter the heels’ manager, Jimmy Hart.
However, the full-fledged reunion was short-lived. At the SuperBrawl pay per view on February 11, 1996, Elizabeth turned on Savage and cost him the WCW World Heavyweight Title in a singles match against Ric Flair. Liz actually became Flair’s second valet at that time, as Woman was already in his corner on a regular basis. They’d eventually be joined by a third woman, Debra McMichael, when her husband Steve joined the Four Horsemen.
Though they no longer had Elizabeth, Hogan and Savage continued to team together throughout 1996, with the most memorable of those matches – for all the wrong reasons – being the Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored, when they defeated the eight-man team dubbed the Alliance to End Hulkamania.
Richard U. swoops in with another one of his high-quality questions that the folks in the comment section love:
It’s been talked about for twenty years since Bobby Henning’s comment during the Gimmick Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 17. Doesn’t an Iron Sheik appearance at Wrestlemania 37 need to be a highlight this year?
When Wrestlemania happens in early April of this year, we are still going to be in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, as I’ve pointed out to Jon. Though hopefully vaccination efforts will have significantly ramped up by that point, I suspect things will still be dodgy enough that I would not want to see the Iron Sheik, who by the point will be 79 years old, take any unnecessary risk of infection by traveling to a pro wrestling event, even if it is the grandest stage of them all.
Lee‘s email address tells me he’s from this U.K., but this question briefly made me think he was from Philadelphia:
Which pair of real life siblings is the greatest in wrestling history?
Normally when I get a question about “who is the greatest ________,” I can think of three to five answers that you could make a case for.
However, I think there’s one cut and dry answer here:
It’s Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk.
They are the only brothers to ever both hold the NWA World Heavyweight Title, both of them were major stars in both the United States and Japan, both of them had careers that spanned multiple decades, and both of them – particularly Dory – helped train numerous other high level professional wrestlers. I cannot think of another set of siblings that even comes close to them.
Some people might try to make an argument for Bret and Owen Hart, but I think the Funks get the nod over the Harts because Terry and Dory were singles stars of equal importance whereas Bret was always a couple of notches above Owen. You could say the same for Jack and Jerry Brisco who are probably also contenders.
If you expand internationally, I could maybe make an argument for Los Villanos given their importance in Mexico, but again that’s a situation where one brother (in this case Villano III) outshines the others. Plus, they were only major players in one country while the Funks were major players in two.
If you think I’ve completely missed somebody, feel free to drop it in the comments, but I’m pretty confident on this one.
Brian dislikes your local sports team:
WWE can pump the modern narrative that we are beyond the point of having heels and faces, but there is at least one element they seem to have forgotten that continues to brand most of the talent in one camp or the other. Teasing/ criticizing the members of the live crowd is still an element of many wrestlers’ promos. While perhaps all heels don’t engage in it, I don’t know of any faces that do. Do you have any examples, save for when someone was in the process of transitioning, OR when someone plays face in a certain city/country but elsewhere is not?
Can I think of a time when a babyface directly insulted the audience?
Not too often.
The only example that I was able to come up with – and even this is borderline – was from the September 10, 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw, when the show was emanating from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Around that time, Montreal had developed a reputation for drawing fans who would almost universally give wrestlers the opposite reaction to what WWE was hoping for. This lead to the city being referred to as “Bizarro World” backstage, and eventually that backstage nickname crept on to camera.
Though most of the on-camera references were made by the announce team, on that 9/10/12 show it was spoken by a wrestler in a promo, and that wrestler was . . . John Cena.
Of course, Cena was the company’s top babyface at the time, even though there were several cities (beyond Montreal) in which he was vociferously booed. The “Bizarro World” comment by Cena could be seen as a slight against that audience, as I don’t know that comparing an arena full of people to the infamously stupid doppelganger of Superman could be taken in a positive light.
Granted, this isn’t quite as severe as Cena directly coming out and telling the audience that they suck, but that’s why I said it was a borderline case. However, it’s still the one that I can think of which comes closest to matching what Brian was looking for.
If anybody else can come up with a more clear cut example, I would be glad to entertain it down in the comments section.
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].