Weekend mailbag: TNA Countdown shows, Bruno Sammartino, Rock, Punk, Chief Jay Strongbow

Hey Guys

I was watching some episodes of TNA Before the Bell, these are some really good countdown shows. Do you think Spike will ever put these shows to run a few times a week during the week of PPVs.

Even if TNA gets an additional 10,000 buys its better than what they have today?



Best Regards,


Orville Broomes

 DM:  If TNA gets an additional 10,000 buys they'll be dancing in the streets.  For whatever reason, Spike has chosen not to air this programming.

Hi Dave.

I wanted to ask when you first realized The Rock was going be a big draw.  When was the moment that you said :Yep, he's going to be huge" 

And do you know if The Rock will be on the RAW 1,000 ep LIVE?

Thanks and as always great show.

Michael Ervine

DM:  Actually I expected it before I ever saw him wrestle because a few people in WWE whose ability to judge talent I respected told me days after his dark matches with Steve Lombardi and Chris Candido.  When he want to Memphis, Lance Russell told me that he was going to be a big star.  Before he even was in the 1996 Survivor Series and the videos introducing him you could see just in training how he moved well, had a great look and spoke well.  So a star, from the beginning.  A real big star at the level he became, maybe the ladder match with HHH.  I was on the phone that night with the booker of a rival promotion and the conversation was how HHH won the match and was the hand-picked star because of who is friends were, but the other guy was the one who got over in losing and was going to be the bigger star.  No idea if Dwayne will be on that show.  He's really booked up with one movie after another next few months.

What is the origin of the place names of moves in use by current wrestlers?  I.E. who popularized the Irish Whip, Side Russian Leg Sweep, Alabama Slam, Japanese Armdrag, etc?

DM:  Irish whip was popularized by Whipper Watson, although it probably came before him.  Don't know about the Russian leg sweep.  Ron Starr was the first guy I saw do it.  Albama slam was a lucha move that rudos used to do.  Japanese armdrag or Mexican armdrag as the move was called, I never saw in either Japan or Mexico.  First guy I remember seeing do it was Ricky Morton, but I'm sure it came before him.


Hello Bryan and Dave:
Just let me be the 5 millionth person to thank you for today's show with
Bruno. I enjoyed it very much. I think I could listen to him talk -- on
any topic at all -- for several consecutive days.
I have been a subscriber (an Empire member) for many years now and I was
a print Observer subscriber off and on before the merger and I am
continually impressed by the amazing amount of content that I get for my
As always, thank you both for your consistent hard work and top notch
product. I know that I plan to keep my subscription going well in to the
future and I know that I am not alone in being a big fan of the website.
Kudos to both of you, and Vinny, and everyone else who makes it all
Thanks again --
Steve Zamonski
Lakewood, NJ

Hi Dave,
I just finished listening to the Bruno Sammartino interview you and Bryan did and wanted to thank you for it. I'm 23 and from Scotland, so growing up I never really knew much about Bruno. However, after listening to the interviews he has done with you, I have become a huge fan of him and love hearing his stories and perspective. Much like many other people on the site, he is by far my favourite guest that you have had and I was very happy to see a new show with him announced.
You and Bryan do a fantastic job with the site and I plan on continuing to subscribe for years to come. Keep up the great work, it is very much appreciated, and thanks again.
David Kehoe

Hi Dave,

I am just writing too you I didn't get a chance to send in a question for the Bruno show but I have heard it mentioned various times by you and others that Bruno was the biggest draw in the history of the Australian Territory, My question too you is what were some of Bruno's landmark matches in Australia and is their any idea of crowd figures from the times (I know rating on channel 9 were amazing).

I have spoken to Spiros Arion a few times in person as he is a member of my local golf club and he has stated numerous times that Australlia was his favorite and best paying territory I am trying to compile as much history on Australian wrestling as I can just because it is so hard to come by.

Do you have any idea what caused the decline and virtual disappearance of the Australian territory?

Thank you for your help Dave.

DM:  Jim Barnett, who promoted the territory, told me Domenic DeNucci was the all-time biggest babyface draw and Killer Kowalski was the biggest heel draw.  He also said the biggest short-term draw was Sammartino, and how he had to pay a ridiculous amount of money to Vince Sr. to get Sammartino for several weeks out of the U.S. (Australia was the hottest territoty in the world at the time) at a time even though he was champion and that it was always financially worth it.


A father that  I work with brought his son to the cubs game for one reason and that was to see CM Punk. he idolizes him. Punk was taking pictures with fans (Elderly peeps, adults and kids). So as his son waited and waited for the line to die down he went to ask for a photo or if he can give him an autograph and he looked right at him, shook his head and with a grin on his face said “NO WAY!!”


True pro that CM Punk. Tells people to kill themselves on twitter and denies young kids pics/autographs


Again please don’t list my name


As always, incredible.  As someone who was 13 when Strongbow was born in the WWWF, I only knew about that half of his career.  Yes, he did headline at Sunnyside Garden on Queens Boulevard against Blassie (one of the smallest crowds ever at that old small arena) and others.  He was the classic small club main event guy.
Candidly, watching his matches was frustrating, just watching him sell and the eventual war dance.  Usually, a backwards bump over the top rope against a heel he needed to be counted out against.  But, the fans would always be egging on the war dance comeback with the "woo woo woo" chants.  After he passed away, I went to youtube to watch many of his matches.  Once you got past the comeback, which was really fun, he really did suck in the ring.  He was a one man tag team, selling forever and then making his own hot tag.
As for MSG, he was indeed often in the "send the fans home happy" last match against a heel who was on the way down after losing to Morales or Sammartino or Backlund.  As a result, I often missed his matches, which were inconsequential to the monthly storylines and gave me a chance to catch an earlier train back to Queens.  One time, pretty sure he was still in the last match, I ran into Jesse Ventura as he left the MSG employees entrance/exit on the 8th Avenue end.  Never short on chutzpah, I went up to Ventura and asked him if he needed a ride to hotel, which was then the Ramada or Holiday Inn on 8th and 50th.  He said yes!   In the car, I said that he was great on the mic (which was true, while he sucked in the ring).  Jesse replied, "Oh, that's the easy part.  Talking has always come easy to me!".
Truth be told, Strongbow was a terrible interview, had no physique, and did virtually nothing in the ring during that part of his career.  Just an amazing gimmick which worked for many years, go figure.  While I didn't get to see it often, he was a bleeder at the small clubs, some of which were weekly like North Attleboro, Mass, which needed to have return matches.
I heard the stories from many of his peers about his overly frugal ways.  While they laughed at that, and said he was not the only frugal guy in the business, they really resented the fact that he was a stooge for the office.
The anecdote about Owen Hart was hilarious, and I laughed out loud when I read it.  Can't help but cracking up again just thinking about it, lol.
I remember the first pinfall loss at MSG to Patera.  Just a few days later, I met Patera at the Orange Bowl, where I interviewed him before we went out drinking all night, closing down two bars.  I still have the cassette tape, where Patera said, "I sent Strongbow back to the reservation."  I guess it was somewhat monumental at the time, as he was indeed protected for years.
When looking back at his career, you have to wonder if a gimmick character like him, if properly protected, could ever get over in the current landscape.
Great job.
Jeff Bukantz

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