Hey Rey, it’s CB. Last year, I did this Taking YOUR Wrestling Pulse series where I interviewed Pulse readers/columnists, and I’d love to bring it back by interviewing you!
What do you say?
I’d love to do the interview. I’m super down.
Awesome Rey, so here’s the first question:
Why does WRESTLING MATTER to you?
Wrestling matters to me because it’s a place where good and evil do battle and good eventually always triumphs. The real world doesn’t work that way. Plus, as an entertainment medium, the majority rules and feedback is instantaneous. What we like, we get, unless something heinous happens. Plus Plus, unlike the major professional sports, there are no droughts. I’m a die hard Knicks fan but the Knicks haven’t won a playoff series since 2000. In wrestling though, guys like Daniel Bryan and Mark Henry can reach the pinnacle. Most of all, every now and then a performer will come along that inspires and motivates. In the 80s Hulk Hogan made me fight for what’s right. In the 90s Stone Cold made me stun the world by being myself. In the middle of the last decade, John Cena helped me to try to make my time now. And right now The Rock has me bringing it at the gym and putting boots to asses at work.
Speaking of The Rock Rey, did you realize that when you made your big comeback to Pulse Wrestling late last week that you would generate such a wide range of feedback from all of the readers and your fellow columnists? What was that like for you on both a personal and professional level?
Truth be told, the columns I’ve written on The Rock and Cena have garnered a pretty wide-ranging response. They’re the two biggest mainstream Pro Wrestling stars out, they’re galvanizing, and they’re the hot topic right now. That’s just a fact. The bit that is different from me is that I really, really try to stay away from “Here’s what they SHOULD be doing” columns. I *hate* stuff like that. People complain about what wasn’t there rather than what was there, and regardless of what it makes me, I just don’t get caught up in that. So, given that I try not to critique the story itself, I try to comment on what they contain in their three walls. It’s why my columns are all so emotional. Wrestling is all about that. You want this guy to win. You want this guy to lose. You love this guy. You hate this guy. I’ve never forgotten that. So, you’ve got my emotional take on it, and people react to it whether they agree or not. This most recent column though… Just an overwhelming and humbling amount of responses. Good, bad, ugly–the Pulse readership chimed in. I didn’t know it would be that big and lead to that much discussion.
The other thing is… I wrote the column and submitted it Thursday evening. Before I even knew it was posted, I saw these two tweets that are attached to this e-mail. I’ll pause for now until I know you’ve seen them.
The Rock Tweets to Rey Mundo:
The Rock Tweets Rey Mundo again, this time about his Pulse Wrestling Column:
Wow Rey. I know I am the one doing the interviewing here, but I am speechless. I can only imagine how you felt when you received these tweets from one of your wrestling heroes if not your biggest wrestling hero. Lucky for me, I don’t really have to imagine since I can ask you!
So, Rey, how did THAT feel?
I saw the one about Shiners Shine and I freaked out. I saw the one about him seeing the column and I lost my mind. Unbelievable. Like… He actually saw it, and read it, and reached out to say he appreciated it. Mick Foley generously and charitably gave me some incredibly comfortable furniture but those tweets from The Rock mean even more. I love Mick and appreciate his generosity but he’s proven himself to be genuine and altruistic and awesome. The Rock reaching out when he didn’t have to proves he’s right on Mick’s level in terms of fan appreciation. Overwhelmed in the best way ever and I had ZERO delusions Rock would see my column. Not one.
That’s really incredible Rey, but alas, we must move on to other topics.
I know you are firmly entrenched as a member of TEAM BRING IT, my question is, can you take both me and all of our readers through your emotional history with John Cena the wrestler?
Hmm… Cena… He came to power when I was on a hiatus from Smackdown. I worked on Thursday and Friday nights and missed all of the Thuganomics era. I got the gist of it overall and I applauded the way they tried to make him a credible rapper and in my opinion they pulled it off. By the time he got to Raw though he was at the very end of his good graces with the fans. They loved his heel character but got burned out of him feuding with Umaga (RIP) and The Great Khali. The younger fans loved it. The older fans hated it. Tale as old as time.
Thing is, I enjoyed his character for a while, a couple of years actually. When he came back at Royal Rumble 2008 I freaked out in my living room. I hated that people were so vitriolic about the guy. I defended him time and time again and I rooted for him and that was that…
…until Southern Accent John Cena came along. That was the first time he really got on my nerves. I thought it was pandering. He lost his edge and seemed like he was just emotionless. Sure, he’d get riled up and scream and yell but the pandering and the “…and then John Cena wins” became really grating on me. Still, I enjoyed his performances overall, with the heavy lifting of that done by how he stepped his game up in pay-per-views and his charity work. Still, the staleness of his character and the inevitable outcome wore me down and when the Nexus angle devolved and went down the “…and then John Cena wins” path, I was juuuust about done.
Then The Rock came back and I was riding with The People’s Champ.
And by that I mean I took his side in the feud and never looked back. I respect John Cena for all of his Make A Wish work and for his commitment to the job, but now I pretty much hate the character and don’t want to see him win anymore in this incarnation. If he keeps this attitude up, maybe gets his ass handed to him so he has something other than hate to rise up, maybe *gasp* loses a match or two, I’ll change my mind. I don’t need a Hell Turn. I need believable passion.
I think you hit on something here, with John Cena we have the SAME INCARNATION of the character for YEARS now, and I am not so sure a few weeks with The Rock will be able to undo all of that.
After all, if Cena wins at Mania, it’s “Super Cena wins again so we hate him and he sucks.” If he loses, it’s “Cena sucks and will always suck and The Rock will always be better.”
Kind of a lose-lose, no?
Also, one reason I love a guy like Chris Jericho is because he is BRILLIANT for changing things up every time he comes back, giving us the same guy who puts in the same effort in the ring, just with different shades of his character. Your thoughts on that?
First off, I cosign the Cena-At-Mania outcome theories. That’s why I choose the Apter Mag approach in these things. People will take issue with it regardless. The third wrinkle though? “Oh Great, Vince. Bury your only real draw!”
As for Jericho… I love that he could’ve come back as a super-face and rode the wave but chose to use the Welcome Back motivation to turn heel. He’s fearless and knows it’s harder for him to work as a heel. The people want to love him. He’s hilarious and charismatic. But! As a heel he’s so damned good. Just a brilliant villain that, really, isn’t a villain at all. I don’t think he’s in the wrong with Punk, per se.
My problem is that the same people who were booing Jericho Monday night are the same people who drank the John Cena kool-aid that Punk railed against. Jericho is awesome but because it’s cool for people who don’t have the context for Punk appreciation, or can tell the difference in his work and approach in matches in comparison to other wrestlers, to root for Punk, Jericho is vilified. Those fans who jeer Jericho should appreciate him for the EXACT SAME REASONS THEY LIKE PUNK. But I guess my issue is more with the fans. Chris Jericho is incredibly talented and deserves applause, dangfernit. He’s on his fourth or fifth major incarnation and all of them have been stellar.
Do you have a favorite Jericho incarnation? I personally loved his “conspiracy theorist” gimmick in WCW when he went to research loopholes on how to get back one of his belts that he lost (think it was the Cruiserweight Championship).
As for the fans, do you think you are being a little hard on them with Punk-Jericho? I mean, the “general masses” have to boo someone, right?
Meanwhile, do you have any thoughts on Daniel Bryan’s heel turn or his upcoming WrestleMania match with Royal Rumble winner Sheamus?
I absolutely LOVED Chris Jericho in his “Wife hittin'” Feud with Shawn Michaels, and again in his feud with the WWE Legends. Tremendous work there. He was 100% right with his observations and I thought he made a tremendous amount of sense. Mick Foley said something about a heel needing to believe in what he’s saying and doing, and dangit, Chris Jericho and I were in agreement. Such a great villain that let his jaded bitterness overtake him.
The fans do need to boo, that’s true (yay for rhyme time!) but it bothers me that they’re not booing him because he did anything wrong or insulted them badly. They’re booing him because they like Punk. I might be being hypocritical there (I’d have to check the archives), but you shouldn’t boo someone because you like someone else, you should boo them because they’ve done something heinous.
I like that his heel turn is being more focused now. Weaselly champion willing to use his super-hot girlfriend to win matches and keep his belt is old school and fun, but the seriousness in which the angle was originally handled took the fun out of it. It’s better now, and D-Bry really does play a great smug jerk. The Vegan Stuff, to me, is just cheap heat. The meat’n’potatoes is his arrogance and the fact that he’s playing poor A.J. As for his match with Sheamus, I went from despising The Celtic Warrior’s “Rocket up his arse” push to appreciating him now. I think Bryan can put on a great match with anyone and I just hope Sheamus can keep up with the pace Daniel Bryan sets. It’s a bit of an afterthought, but I’m happy that Daniel Bryan has a championship match at WrestleMania even though I honestly hadn’t heard of the guy ’til NXT.
My favorite Jericho-Michaels moment was the head through the Jeritron, which was kind of like an inverse to Jannetty going through the Barber Shop glass, so I liked that the circle was completed there :)
Now that we got the major WrestleMania 28 matches out of the way … oh, wait … any thoughts on Taker-HHH?
I remember really liking HHH-Taker 1 at WrestleMania 17. I enjoyed last year’s match quite a bit, especially with the very humbled, very meek tapping out by Hunter. The Game is rarely ever shown as Human, but last year did it and it gave The Undertaker his closest call yet.
As for this year, I have a feeling that we’ll be in for a more traditional match than we’ve seen from Hunter in his last two go ’rounds, albeit with the cell as a prop/backdrop/weapon. This won’t be the long, meandering walk and brawl we saw against Nash and Punk, nor will it be the demolition derby of last year’s match against The Undertaker. I expect this to be brutal and maybe even bloody. I wouldn’t be surprised at all of Taker won, but I can also see HHH winning. The real issue is: When does this match go on? Rock vs Cena is the finale, but do you put Punk and Jericho before or after Hell in a Cell? I think it should be Cell, Diva Match, WWE Title, Rock vs Cena.
A couple of things I disagree with you here Rey:
1) THE STREAK will never end, ever. Under any circumstances. Period.
2) Hell In A Cell will be the third to last match. They will do all the heavyweight title matches before it, and in between HIAC and Rock-Cena they will either do a Divas match (like Trish-Beth or Kharma-Beth, hopefully) or some sort of backstage or in-ring segment. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, a perfect filler between HIAC and Rock-Cena would be having the newest Hall of Fame class come out to get some cheers from the crowd, maybe talk for a couple of minutes, and then that can transition to Rock-Cena after they leave. Doing this would give the crowd a chance to decompress after HIAC but still have something to rally behind before Rock-Cena.
OK, NOW that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, it’s time for our lightning round!
–who is not in the WWE Hall of Fame that you think has been snubbed to this point?
–the sidehowbob question: if you could only watch one wrestling DVD from now until the end of time, what would it be?
–favorite live event experience
–favorite ring entrance of all-time
–favorite theme song of all-time
–favorite tag team of all-time
–favorite finishing move, both now and all-time
1) Allow me to retort in the most brilliant and dazzling way ever: Yeah, but still.
2) Yeah, that’s probably the move–‘Taker vs HHH, H of F, then Rock vs Cena. With it being The Undertaker’s last match potentially it has to be.
I’m gonna go inside the questions posed to answer the lightning round (which will then become the 1-2-3 Round, then Syxx-Round, then X-Round…)
–who is not in the WWE Hall of Fame that you think has been snubbed to this point? Well, the obvious answer is the Macho Man, but if I had to pick someone outside-the-box, I would have to go with The Brooklyn Brawler. Seriously. He’s everyone’s Go-To Jobber when they play the “Name an Obscure Wrestler” game. It would be a crowd pleaser for sure.
–the sidehowbob question: if you could only watch one wrestling DVD from now until the end of time, what would it be? Wow, my commitment is totally getting exposed right now. I haven’t seen a lot, so I’m gonna go with a DVD of Melina vs Alicia Fox.
–favorite live event experience: SummerSlam 2002. Even with Rock losing to Brock Lesnar (who I absolutely despised), the energy for Triple H vs Shawn Michaels and their street fight match was incredible. At that point we thought Shawn was held together with rhinestones and the Force, so every move he took had us super concerned, and HHH played his part brilliantly.
–favorite ring entrance of all-time: Excluding pretty much every Undertaker entrance ever (because seriously, all of his entrances are really cool), I’d have to go with… John Cena’s “The Real Slim Shady VMAs 2000″ entrance. The “Basic Thuganomics” intro with all his doppelgangers, then into his current entrance music and his now-traditional sprint down the entranceway.
–favorite theme song of all-time: ba da da da dadadada WHEN IT COMES CRASHING DOWN AND IT HURTS INSIDE… The greatest entrance song of all time. I won’t even debate it.
–favorite tag team of all-time: Demolition. I loved Demolition. Smashmouth wrestling, cool outfits, great entrance music. I think every Royal Rumble should have a tag team beating the hell out of each other because of how muthafuckin’ gangsta Ax and Smash going toe-to-toe was. (and yes, I had to cuss to illustrate the level of Gangsta)
–favorite finishing move, both now and all-time: Right now, I think it’s the R.K.O., but I love The Cobra because I believe in The Cobra in the way you have to have faith to use a crucifix on a vampire. My All-Time favorite is the Stone Cold Stunner, but I wish people would sell it like it hurts instead of trying to out-do The Rock’s flip-sell of it. When Stone Cold Steve Austin stunned people back in 1997, that move was devastating.
I thought Shane McMahon sold the Stunner pretty brilliantly too.
OK Rey, it’s crazy how this happens, but we’re actually out of time, or I’m simply out of questions ;)
Seriously, though, thank you for letting me Take YOUR Wrestling Pulse.
Do you have any final thoughts to share with me and our readers?
Thank YOU for talking to me!
My final thoughts: Stop wondering where stuff is going and just enjoy the ride. This is supposed to be fun! Also, #TeamBringItStrong
CB’s Slant: You won’t find a wrestling columnist more passionate than Rey Mundo, and the pure emotion he pours into his writing is really incredible. I also like Rey because whether or not you agree or disagree with him about The Rock or any other number of topics, you can’t help but admire how much he believes in his opinions.
That’s what happens when you allow your feelings to permeate through in your written work, and I personally wouldn’t want Mr. Mundo to approach his pro wrestling fandom in any other way than he already does: with true belief that begets brilliance, or, at the very least, a stunningly wide open dialog……….
For previous installments of Taking YOUR Wrestling Pulse, check out these links below and let us know what you think:
Blair A. Douglas
That’s all from me — CB.
Tags: CB's World, chris jericho, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, Demolition, HHH, Hulk Hogan, john cena, Mark Henry, pro wrestling, pulse wrestling, Santino Marella, Shane McMahon, Summerslam, taker, Taking YOUR Wrestling Pulse, The Rock, the undertaker, triple h, undertaker, wrestlemania, wrestlemania 28, wrestling, WWE