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By Mike Johnson on 2022-12-16 10:00:00


What do you think is the greatest "What It?" in pro wrestling history?

I don't think - I KNOW what the greatest What If? in pro wrestling history was, because we all lived through it.  It's what if COVID had never hit.

I say that because this is where we were, off the top of my head, in pro wrestling before that the pandemic:

-Drew McIntyre was about to win the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar before 70,000+ fans in Tampa, Florida.

-Billy Corgan's the NWA was about to sign a deal with Live Nation to tour in their venues.

-Ring of Honor was about to launch a live, weekly studio series that would have streamed live and hit a number of Sinclair Broadcast Group affiliates live.

-Impact Wrestling was planning to spin TNA back off into a weekly series on AXS TV.

-AEW had just signed a new extension with WarnerMedia and was poised to tour the country.

-New Japan was going to run Madison Square Garden.

Instead, two years ahead, Drew's title run was nothing like it was going to be as he won the belt in a pre-taped Wrestlemania in the Performance Center, ROH was shut down by Sinclair and is now owned by Tony Khan, the NWA never began touring and that deal with LiveNation was lost, the TNA brand disappeared again off Impact programming (apparently never to return)  and AEW was pretty much saved by the fact that they had locked into a new deal with Warner, only instead of touring, they spent most of their next 18 months at Daily's Place in Jacksonville.  NJPW never got a new date at MSG and when they returned to NYC, they ran a smaller theater in the Palladium in Times Square.

To me, the true tragedy of COVID is obviously all the lives lost and the time we all lost with loved ones, but if you look at pro wrestling through the prism of that time period, the "What If?" of how the business may have evolved and grown, well, it was close enough to see and touch for all these companies, but it's all lost forever and the ripple effects of those losses will be felt well beyond anything we can predict or imagine - and the version of pro wrestling (whether these moments would have been successul or failures in their own right) that we were denied, to me, remains the greatest What If?

What do you think of WWE firing Mandy Rose?  Do you see her as AEW bound?

If they asked her to no longer post that content and she continued, well, I can see why they did it.  My feeling is that like Zelina Vega, after a window of time, Rose could return, unless she's much happier being outside of WWE's auspices.  There's always a possibility of AEW.  She has a ton of upside.  I can see it when her non-compete ends, but that's really up to her and AEW.

Are any of the actors on Young Rock real wrestlers?

Colt Cabana (played Brooklyn Brawler) and Luke Hawx (plays Steve Austin) are, but the others have mostly been actors.  Grayson Waller of NXT played Ric Flair in a sequence in one of the earlier seasons inside the ring.

Who do you want to interview that you haven't yet?

I know this is the ultimate cop out answer, but it's everyone.  Everyone has an interesting path to pro wrestling and they all have a unique story.  So, whether it's a WWE Hall of Famer od an indy talent, I always enjoy doing interviews.

If WWE was private, would Vince McMahon have been forced to retire?

No.  The fact that the company was publicly traded means the allegations against him brought the attention of the SEC and the federal government and the threat of that looming overhead had to have been the top factor in his exit from the company.

Could Vince McMahon still use the Titan Tower gym if he wanted?

Well, he DOES still technically have majority ownership in the building...but no one has ever told me they've seen him coming or going to the gym since he exited his corporate duties.

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