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Tossing Salt – Worldwide News: January 9, 2011

January 9, 2011   ·   0 Comments

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
January 9, 2011
Doug Maynard

What should I write about? Decisions? Decisions? I hate ’em! Oh yeah, by the way, this is “Tossing Salt – Worldwide News”, pro wrestling’s most eclectic column. It’s the first real edition since way back in March of last year. I know. I’ve been slack. Almost as slack as the WWE in their use of Gail Kim in the WWE Divas Division over the past two years. Whoa! Rim Shot for me!
I’m Doug and I’m the saltiest guy you’ll ever know. I’m also your ringmaster and guide for the next few minutes. I like jelly beans, muppets and cooked meat. So now that we know who I am, let’s move on to what I’m going to talk about. I still haven’t got a clue. This is what you call “Acting on a whim”, my friends. I’ve got a little free time and the house is actually quiet and peaceful. I’m in the mood to write a little bit about the “King of Sports”. So I sit down at the computer for a brand spanking new edition of Tossing Salt… and the mind is blank.
I’ve got it!
I’ll use an old stand-by hypothetical question and take it from there. The question is, “If money was not an object and I was given the chance to start my own wrestling company, to rival WWE and TNA, who would I hire for my organization? And why?”.
And to make it just a bit more interesting, let’s throw in that I’m only allowed to “steal” four wrestlers that are currently under contract to the WWE or TNA (two from each). So we’re talking about independent wrestlers, former WWE and TNA stars who are not currently under contract, and anyone else that might be available. So that’s the question. And here is the answer.
The first thing, before any superstars can be hired, would be to find a booker or writer to coordinate things and work out a game plan to get things started and keep them moving. The obvious choices would be someone like Paul Heyman, the former owner and booker for ECW, or maybe Gabe Sabolsky, the former booker for Ring of Honor.
That’s the obvious choices, but just because they’re the obvious choices doesn’t mean they’re the best.
I’d probably attempt for a three-man booking team. One person would be myself, since I’m the guy doing all of this. I also have a good head for wrestling (or so I’ve been told) and a good head for story-lines and common sense booking that doesn’t insult the intelligence of the fans or wrestlers. (Anyone remember the fantasy WCW I had going for a while at MySpace?) True that my practical, real life experience is only minimal at best, but the mind is still sharp and I’m the boss. So I’m there. End of argument.
But who are the other two members of our elite booking committee? I prefer an old school style of booking matches and shows, where the main focus is wrestling and the athleticism, rather than the clown antics, so I’d want at least one of my co-bookers to share that point of view.
My first thoughts were of the “Louisville Lip” Jim Cornette. But I really don’t think that Jim Cornette would be ideal for such a scenario at this point in his career. So I’ll go with a man who owes a good deal of his early success to Jim Cornette.
How about Lance Storm? He’s got a great mind for wrestling, but a low tolerance for stupidity. He’s been a top star for ECW, WCW and WWE so he knows how things are supposed to be done, and more importantly how things should not be done. And I think he’d make a great booker for a fledgling wrestling company.
And who would be the third person for our company?
Scotty Levy, aka “Raven”.
Why not? He’s always had a great mind for angles and story-lines and is smart enough and edgy enough to keep things from getting monotonous. The man knows wrestling and he’s a dark personality that would add a necessary grittiness and, dare I say, it, a touch of extreme to the product. Plus, like Storm, he’s also worked for ECW, WCW, WWE and TNA and has a strong knowledge of what should (and shouldn’t) be done to make a company a success.
And as an added bonus, both men have long histories in the business and between the two of them, almost anyone in the business would be fairly easy to contact and only a phone call away.
So we’ve got the three main people in place to set the agenda for the program and get things rolling. Additional writers and consultants could be brought in later as needed, but myself, Lance Storm and Raven would be the main names calling the shot.
We’ll fast forward past the legal mumbo-jumbo and the technical stuff. We get a TV deal with a major cable outlet, book a permanent home for our TV tapings and base of operations. I personally would prefer a smaller venue for the shows, much like ECW did with the ECW arena or TNA does with their home at the Impact Zone. But regardless of where, we find a home for our product. And then it’s time to start hiring talent.
My first hire for talent would be our “authority figure”. I’d want someone who has a long history in the business and would add an air of credibility to our product. Lots of names come to mind, but I think I’d go for a personal favorite of mine, “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko. Larry is a former multiple-time champion in this business, as well as a former World Heavyweight Champion. He’s a great talker, plus he’s still young enough to handle physical activities if necessary.
And just for nostalgic purposes, I’d give him an assistant, Baby Doll, who was one the NWA’s top valet and based on my observations not so very long ago, is still a hot mama and a definite “Perfect 10”.
Let’s steal a few people now. Time to look over the WWE and TNA rosters and decide which four people (two from each company) would be of the most benefit to my company.
From WWE, my “steals” would be CM Punk and Jack Swagger.
Punk is an obvious choice. He’s a good wrestler, a great talker, and he knows how to work his character to get the desired reactions from fans. He’s as close to an old school heel as you can find in today’s product because he’s so sincere in what he says, even though he’s twisting the truth the entire time. He’s not as flashy as, say the Miz or Randy Orton, but he just has that “it” that is so hard to find with today’s wrestlers.
As for Swagger, he’s young and talented and a diamond in the rough. With his amateur background, he reminds me a great deal of Kurt Angle. And with the proper, controlled push, and maybe a manager to act as his spokesperson and mentor, I think Swagger has the ability and potential to be a major star one day. And if I had the company, I’d love to be the one to give him the chance.
As for TNA, my “steals” would be Matt Morgan and A.J. Styles.
Morgan is a great talent that I personally feel TNA has really dropped the ball with since signing him. WWE blew it and TNA is doing the exact same thing. He has size, good speed and enough ability in the ring to have a good match with almost anyone. He reminds me of a modern day Kevin Nash, but with far more actual wrestling ability in the ring. He was discovered by Jim Cornette, so you know he has to have an old-school mentality to his style and persona, but he’s young enough to understand the modern methods of “sports entertainment” and can mix and match the two mind-sets to be a more well developed and accomplished wrestler.
As for AJ Styles, he’s a veteran of almost fifteen years, but he’s still a young man. He can wrestle with the best and brawl as well. His size might be a bit of a problem, but I don’t think it would. He’s a good wrestler, a good talker, and well rounded enough to have a decent match with anyone. He’s probably one of the best guys in the business today and TNA doesn’t seem to appreciate what they have, but I most definitely would.
As for the rest of my roster, it would hopefully be a mix of “names” from the WWE and TNA, such as Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, Sonjay Dutt, Trevor Murdoch, Shawn Davari, Chuck Palumbo, Elix Skipper, Mike Knox, Rob Conway, etc. Pretty much I’d be looking for the guys who showed talent and charisma while in the WWE or TNA, but for whatever reason, were never considered by the powers-that-be as main event level stars, but that had impressed me or that I’ve heard nothing but good things about.
The nine men listed above would be a great start to round out the roster and get things rolling. The rest of the roster would come from either wrestlers that I know from the Independent circuit here in NC or else from different Indy shows that either myself or my two co-bookers had observed and came away impressed.
A few Indy names that come to mind right away here in my local area are Chris Steele and Scott Powers, aka “The Main Attraction”. A hot young team that gets better and better each and every time out, Brad Branson and Derk Douglas, aka B.D. Productions, would be at the top of my “must hire” list as well. And finally, from the local arena would be a gentleman who goes by the name of Ethan Storm. He’s an amazing talent and if the territories were still alive today as they were twenty years ago, I can assure you that all five of the men I just mentioned would be household names. Yes, they are that good.
That gives me fourteen top level players, which is nice, but not enough for a national company. So go find a few veterans who are old enough to help teach the younger guys and act as leaders in the locker room, but no so old that they’d be an embarrassment to themselves or my company, (as Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan have become at TNA.)
Booker T would be a good man to fit this role. Jerry Lynn would also be a great person for a role like this, where he’s not the top guy for the company, but can work the main event mix and mainly be a role model and leader for the rest of the locker room.
So that’s sixteen top names for the company to keep the main event and mid-level matches booked up.
But wait… what about the ladies? I would insist on having a Women’s Championship, as well as a strong roster of talented women who not only can look good, but can actually wrestle too. It wouldn’t be as deep or receive as much attention as the main (men’s) roster, but there is a place for the women wrestlers. I’d look to hire two or three ladies to act as the “stars” of the division, who can wrestle and attract the fans, but also help train the newer female wrestlers as they come into the company. I think my headliner woman, if we could get her, would be Lita.
Yes, I said Lita and not my one true love and beloved, Ivory. I would want Ivory there as a trainer and maybe working the occasional match, but I think, from a business sense, Lita would be the ideal lady wrestler to build a women’s division around. It’s only been a few years since her time in the public eye, so she’s still fresh enough in the public eye to draw in fans. And she’s actually quite a good wrestler. And a fair talker too.
So I’d hire Lita to be my “main Diva” for the company. I’d also hire Ivory. Why? Because she’s Ivory and anyone who knows me knows that if I have a wrestling company, Lisa Moretti, aka Ivory, will definitely be a part of it. And I’d round it out with Jillian Hall, formerly of the WWE and currently on the Indy scene. She’s quite a capable wrestler, even though you’d never know it by the way WWE used her. And she knows how to get a reaction and work a crowd. She took a gimmick that should have been the kiss of death and kept it going for almost five years. That’s talent and that’s what I’d be looking for.
So we have three main Divas in Ivory, Lita and Jillian. Plus five stars of the NC Indy scene who deserve to be part of the big time. And eleven other stars who were once part of either the WWE or TNA and could be my main talent pool. That’s a great start, but we’re missing one more thing that I think would be essential to having a top tier wrestling company… and that’s managers.
I’d want at least two top managers or agents or whatever title you prefer, just to help out the talents who aren’t quite as proficient on the microphone or need that little extra shot to get them to the next level. And two of the best of the past ten years are currently free agents. That would be Armando Alejandro Estrada, who worked for the WWE as the manager for Umaga, as well as playing the role of GM for the WWE version of ECW. And of course, James Mitchell, aka The Sinister Minister. Why he is not a part of the WWE or TNA right now confuses the heck out of me. If anyone was made to be a wrestling manager, he’s the one. If I had the opportunity to hire either of these guys and put them to work, I would do so in a heartbeat. Put Estrada with the more serious wrestlers, and let Mitchell handle the “monsters” and more unusual performers.
Managers do nothing but add to a performer if he’s not necessarily great on the mic or just needs that extra small push to get him over, and I would insist on pairing the best managers I can with the wrestlers who have most of the tools, but just need that extra boost. It works wonders and can really help get the crowds and fans motivated.
Also, if he’s available, I’d attempt to grab a certain non-wrestling entertainer, a gentleman I know very well by the name of Andrew Singer, to be a part of my company. Perhaps you know him better as the Jewish White Gay MC, Soce the Elemental Wizard. (http://www.greathiphop.com). The hip-hop spell-caster / comedian knows how to work a crowd. And he’s a long time fan of the world’s greatest sport. So I’d throw some money his way and bring him in as a manager / commentator / consultant. It would only be a major positive for the company and the guy would be a major asset, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
So that covers the bookers, wrestlers, divas and managers. What’s left? Oh yeah, the announcers, who would be the face of our product and call the action. I’d want an experienced former wrestler who’s also a great talker as my color guy. “Dirty” Dutch Mantell, who worked the color position for early WCW events and Smokey Mountain Wrestling, comes to mind for that role. Or if he’s willing and available, John Bradshaw Layfield would be another great option.
As for the lead announcer, I have a few people in mind on the local scene here in NC that I know could fill that position, but I’d want to be fair about it and not just giving people the jobs just because they’re friends. So it’s be an open talent search to find the best play-by-play guy I can to fill the role of lead announcer. Most of the best talents I know are either far too old (Bob Caudle, Lance Russell) or else under contract to someone else (Joey Styles, Taz) to work for an upstart company. Jonathan Coachman would be a great name to consider, but he’s got that great ESPN gig going on. I don’t really have anyone in particular in mind for this job, so it would be a look and see routine to fill this role.
And that’s it. That’s the basics for an upstart wrestling company if I had unlimited financial resources and a home on basic cable which would allow us to compete with TNA or the WWE.
And I guess that’s it for me for today too. Not too flashy or exciting, I know, but hopefully I didn’t bore you too much. Remember, I’m just getting back into the swing of things and this is “baby-steps” for me. Anything else to ramble about before I close this out?
Oh yeah, TNA has a PPV going on tonight. A PPV means that I can do some predictions. What fun! Happy happy joy joy! Which one is it? It’s TNA Genesis. So let’s do some predictions. Yay!

TNA Genesis 2011 PPV Predictions…

#1 Contenders Match to Challenge for TNA World Championship
Matt Morgan versus Ken Anderson

Two good performers, but doesn’t it seem that this story-line has dragged on forever? I’m tired of it and I’m pretty sure most of the fans are by now as well. Kennedy needs to go ahead and get his title match, concussion or not, and give TNA us all a break. They (TNA) need to take the title off of Jeff Hardy soon, due to his legal problems, and Kennedy makes more sense at this point than Matt Morgan does. (And RVD makes more sense than either of them… just saying!) Morgan goes nuts and gets disqualified. Anderson moves on to face the champ as the new number one contender.

Winner by DQ: Ken Anderson… Anderson
TNA World Tag Team Championship Match
The Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money

For the record, I still think the MCMG’s have one of the stupidest names for a team I’ve ever heard. But they’re good wrestlers and have some great skills in that ring. But Beer Money is one of the top teams of the past couple of years and has major skills as well. And it’s been quite a while since they’ve held the titles. So I think it’s time for the cash to fly and the beer to flow. Yeppers, it’s time for Beer Money to regain their titles and once more dominate the TNA tag team scene.

Winners and NEW Champions: Beer Money
Rob Van Dam versus Jeff Hardy’s Handpicked Mystery Opponent

Who will be the mystery opponent? I would say the obvious choice is recent WWE defector and Jeff’s fellow team-extremer, Matt Hardy. But there’s a little thing called a ninety-day no compete that would most likely prevent that. So I’ll go with the less obvious choices. It’ll either be the monster, Abyss or maybe even Samoa Joe. Nah, it won’t be Joe. So let’s go with Abyss as the handpicked opponent. Doesn’t really matter anyhow, because RVD wins and his quest to regain the TNA title continues.

Winner: RVD
TNA X-Division Championship Match
Jay Lethal (c) versus Kazarian

This should be a great match and will probably open the show to get the fans riled up and get the energy flowing. I like Kazarian, but I don’t think this is going to be his time. Jay Lethal is a great performer and has been doing a great job as the X-Division Champion for TNA. I expect that he’ll remain the champion for a while longer.

Winner and STILL Champion: Jay Lethal
TNA Television Championship Match
AJ Styles versus Douglas Williams

If I understand this correctly, Eric Bischoff has told AJ Styles to regain the title or else. And AJ is determined to regain his place in Fortune by bringing back home the gold. So naturally, that means that Williams gets the win and keeps the title. And we get to see Eric come out and trash-talk AJ Styles until Styles lays the smackdown on Eric’s candy-ass. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Winner and STILL TNA TV Champion: Douglas Williams
TNA Knockouts Championship Match
Madison Rayne (c) versus Mickie James

Madison is good, but this is Mickie James we’re talking about. She’s no Tara (and certainly no Ivory – damn, I miss her!), but Mickie is head and tails far more important to the TNA roster and management than Madison is. Better in the ring too. We have a new Knockout’s Champion.

Winner and NEW TNA Knockouts Champion: Mickie James
MMA Exhibition Match
Jeff Jarrett versus Kurt Angle

Jeff Jarrett has been hilarious in this new gimmick and has really reinvented himself in a major way. It’s the best that Jeff has looked in quite a while. And Kurt Angle…? Well, he’s Kurt Angle and we all know that in a real MMA match, Kurt could probably tear Jeff apart. It’ll work the same way in this wrestling match too. Jeff will stall and delay and pull shenanigans. Kurt will chase and play the mind games and in the end, Jeff will tap… tap… tap. ‘Nuff said!

Winner: Kurt Angle
Bully Ray versus Brother Devon

From what I understand, Ray and Devon have been planning for this match for quite a while. That being said, it will probably blow the roof off the impact zone. Ray and Devon have been friends and partners for so long, they are capable of anything and everything in their attempt to steal the show and make a match for the ages. Do I think that this is the end of Team 3D? Not really. I think it’s going to be a great brawl that just sets the stage for bigger and better as the feud continues. As for this match, look for Devon to take that trip to the pay window.

Winner: Brother Devon

Looks like it should be an okay show. There is nothing that really stands out as must-see, except for maybe the match between the former Dudley’s, but there aren’t really any bad matches either. Are my predictions correct? We’ll know later tonight, I guess.


And that’s it, my friends. I guess I’ve written enough for one day. Thank you for reading. Questions and comments can be sent to Doug28352@yahoo.com. Any story ideas for future columns are welcome too. Help a brutha out!
Come visit me at Facebook at www.facebook.com/saltpalace .Add me. You know you want to.
I’m Doug and that’s another edition of “Tossing Salt – Worldwide News” in the books. In other words, “dat is all de people need to know!”. Until the next time, I’m down and I’m gone. Ubuntu!


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