THE WEEKLY PIPEBOMB – 02.25.2020: The Art of The Promo

By Lauren Conrad, Columnist

Promos.  An essential part of wrestling.

To steal a phrase, ‘Then, Now, Forever’.”  A promo is a means of a storytelling bridge.  Instead of match after match to tell stories, the promo bridges that gap in storytelling, taking place of a match and adding to the storyline.  A promo is done so that we don’t have match after match with no reason.  

The promo is lately done in ring, though previously they were done backstage before the show.  A few have been done after the show as well, such as one of the ones we’re going to look at today.  The way this bi-weekly column will cover one promo picked by me, and one picked by my guest columnist Roxie, who if you haven’t met this absolutely drop dead gorgeous woman yet, her twitter is @roxxietoxic.  So lets dive right in. 

The first thing we’re going to cover is a promo that goes down in history as one of the strangest promos ever done by the Ultimate Warrior, dubbed the “Crash the Plane” promo.  Is it the ramblings of a madman?  Or is it something more?  Let’s dive in.

Warrior Crazy PromoFirst up is Roxxie’s view on it:

The thing for me as it’s very hard to critique Ultimate Warrior being a lifelong fan but I intend to do my best.

So here’s the thing: Ultimate Warrior could arguably be either the best or the worst promo cutter of the time and here’s why. During this promo when listened to it in its entirety the tone and way Warrior speaks about Hogan makes you feel genuinely worried for Hogan. Because, it sounds like the man means business. It sounds like (from a Kayfabe POV) a believable death threat to his main opposition of the time. But then again it can arguably be conceived that it could also be the ramblings of a “madman”.  The amount of how times Hogan’s name was mentioned leads me to believe that this promo was completely unscripted and therefore unpolished. The question for me is, could it have been made better if it was polished, or do you believe in the might of its unscripted glory?

My thought is this: There’s a ton of symbolism in this video.  This was leading up to the biggest clash of them all.  A rare title vs title fight.  The IC vs the WHC.  Wrestlemania VI.  Legend vs Legend.

I like that Warrior starts this with a question.  A very, very lengthy question.  A four minute question.  But a question. 

Throughout this lengthy question, one thing stands out.  The warrior basically asks Hogan, ‘Are you going to sit in the back of the plane and comfort people as the plane crashes, or are you going to go in the cockpit and take control of the plane and save everyone?”

The Warrior is basically asking Hogan if he’s going to take control of his destiny, or is he going to just let someone like Vince McMahon control his life, his future, his destiny.  As Hogan is traveling by conventional means to Wrestlemania VI, is he going to make it? 

I don’t feel this is a “threat” at all.  This I believe is the warrior basically saying “Push yourself, don’t be complacent, push yourself to the limits”.  Which these two men would in an epic matchup talked about for decades after. 

“Do you face that challenge that will be even more powerful than you are Hulk Hogan?”  The warrior here is asking Hogan if he can stand up to the Warrior, who by this point in wrestling was stronger and faster than the ageing Hogan.  Warrior was fresh, while Hogan was growing state.  Hogan would leave the company just four years later to jump to WCW in an attempt to revitalize his career, which would fail until he joined the nWo (4 lyfe) before coming back to WWE again.  The Warrior I believe was cutting one of his best promos here, leading up to arguably his greatest matchup.  Two MEGA stars of the company, and Hogan passing the torch to Warrior in the end.  The promo here, I believe was one of the best of all time.  Don’t @ me.

The next one was Roxxie’s pick.  The Miz and Daniel Bryan, which was a fantastic choice.  This one ultimately ended up being a shoot, a legit shoot.  Not a CM Punk pathetic excuse of a promo he called a shoot, or a pipebomb.  This was real, unscripted, raw emotion.  I did some research into this prom particularly because I really enjoyed this promo.  It’s one of the few modern day promos that I almost would call a shoot, and not a promo.

So, what led to this was the night of the famous Talking Smack, the Miz was scheduled as a Dark Match.  Needless to say, Miz was not happy about this.  He lobbied creative to get on Talking Smack, where the shoot took place.  First up, Roxxie’s view, then mine… with some additional insight I gained through research.

In the promo with the Miz on Daniel Bryan, Mike Mizanin was informed prior to Smackdown that night, that he (the current Intercontinental Champion at the time) was to be left off the show due to the debuts of new women’s and tag titles. This didn’t sit well with the Miz and he requested to be allowed to feature on WWEs “Talking Smack” show where he encountered Bryan. This is where logical thought went out the window due to the fact that no one knew what was going on. The passion that Miz has for the IC title and its prestigious history coupled with the Miz’ distaste for being left of the main show, overflowed into what is arguably one of the best promos of the 2010’s. The great thing about this was the fact that for the most part it was unscripted and allowed the Miz to showcase what he could really do. When looking at this in comparison to Warriors (potentially) unscripted promo against Hulk Hogan, it can be seen that passion for what you love to do and natural flair are usually a great breeding ground for charismatic mic work.

Superstar-Category_Superstar_562x408_theMizOk… so Roxxie covered a bit of what I said, but here’s some additional insight from a shoot he did.  A shoot is an unscripted interview, promo, etc.  Miz and Bryan were definitely a shoot.  Miz had just moved to Smackdown, and as Roxxie said, he was scripted in a dark match, and was angry.  He remembers, as I do, when the IC title was a big thing.  Now it’s sort of like the US Championship, it’s sadly become irrelevant. 

So, after lobbying Creative, Miz got put on Talking Smack, and that’s where all hell broke loose.  Nothing was scripted in this.  It was pure passion.  Daniel calling Miz a coward and soft is what set Miz off, and the results were amazing.  Miz was pissed, and rightfully so.  Bryan promised us time and time again he would be back, and time and time again Bryan wouldn’t come back.  Miz said he set out to try to get Bryan to punch him, but instead, in my opinion, the TRUE coward got up and walked up.  Daniel Bryan walked out.

So let’s break this promo down a bit, and I’m going to point out a few things that show it was unscripted.

If you would like to follow along, I will be putting timestamps in the article so you can see exact moments I’m discussing.

The video I saw starts with Bryan saying “There’s no easy way around it…you wrestle like a coward.”  Clue #1 is when the camera cuts to Renee Young at 10 seconds in, who you can see a total “This is awkward” look on her face, and you can tell things are about to heat up.  Even Maryse is sitting there looking equally awkward.  Bryan was honestly really insulting at the beginning of this.

At 33 seconds, Miz makes a fantastic point.  He wrestled day in day out 10 years straight without injury.

Clue #2 is when Miz jumps up at 52 seconds, and he bumps Maryse who quickly moves, as Miz just explodes.

At 1:08 Bryan does make a valid point that if they would let him come back (This was 2016 mind you) he would.  For those that watch that trash show Total whatever, I was pointed to a segment where Byan said sometimes he’ll be holding something in his hand, and just lose all feeling and drop it.  So I can understand his frustration at this point, but Miz is relentless.

At 1:20 Miz really lays it on Bryan, telling him to quit, go back to the bingo halls and his indies friends and wrestle.  This is where things get out of hand, and Renee even steps in to try to intervine (Clue #3) saying this isn’t what the show is about.  However, Miz just keeps berating Bryan over and over again, even telling Young “This is between me and the GM, we have this.” (#4)

20200117_SD_DanielBryanBackstage--bbffa9d6313194f81074a95cf5f154f1At 1:34, you can see the frustration on Bryans face as he gets up and walks away.  Young is shocked, and we can’t see Maryse’s reaction in all this, but Bryan walking off is another HUGE hint that this was NOT supposed to go this way. 

At 1:56 we finally get a look at Maryse, and I want to point out her body language.  Standing at the edge of the table, straight up whereas before she was sitting or leaning, it was hard to tell.  She’s ready to move in at a moments notice, or perhaps move out.  I can’t tell in the few seconds, but it appears she’s looking at Renee with an apologetic look, while Renee is looking down like “What the hell is going on…” which leads me to believe she was just told to let it happen.

The rest of this is Miz yelling Miz things, pointing at the belt, saying how its prestigious etc etc.  So, here we’re going to look at the 4 clues I listed, and break down just why this, to the uneducated masses, especially those that think the Bellas belong in the HoF (Yeah, I went there), is a REAL Pipebomb, a REAL shoot, and not that shit CM Punk claimed was one in his famous SCRIPTED promo.

#1: The look on Renee’s face.  She’s a professional!  But you can clearly see the awkward look and a glance offstage, I assume to a producer to get some sort of direction.

#2: Miz jumps up and bumps Maryse.  Subtle, but it’s there.  He bumps Maryse, who you ALWAYS see him being very gentle with, and she jumps up and moves away.  Had this been scripted, WWE is very detail oriented about things, or rather they were in this era.  She would have moved just before he jumped up.  But he was so lost in his passion he didn’t even notice.  The love and adoration he shows her all the time leads me to believe he would have turned and apologized to her if he had notice. Because that’s how Miz is; he’s a gentlemen when it comes to his wife.

#3: Renee attempts to intervene saying “This isn’t what this show is about!”  THAT is a HUGE clue right there.  Again, Renee is a professional.  She’s done this a long time, so her needing to set Miz straight to me is a huge clue that this thing went way off the rails. This leads right into #4

“This is between the GM and I” Yeah…that’s when you know shit got real insane….

Miz is very passionate.  I used to hate him when he first came on the scene.  But now?  Now he’s awesome.  He’s had some hilarious runs, like when he had Damien Sandow as his stunt double (You could tell they had a lot of fun with that), to fighting Shane over his father.  The Miz is hands down the best IC champion the WWE has had in a long, long time, and we need him to have this belt again soon.

Next week we’ll look at the fall of Ryan K Boman, and how I took over the Gorilla Position and ousted him as the owner of the site, and why he failed…

Oh wait, wrong paper.  Um, scratch that…

Next week, we will look at something.  I don’t know what.  I’ll figure it out.  

Maybe something on Bray Wyatt, or maybe more senseless ramblings about how Tiwtter is a racist homophobic platform that denies all free speech and reminds me of Hitler.  Or maybe we’ll go back in the TARDIS and look at something old.  Maybe I’ll talk about what a piece of crap Carbuckle is.  Who knows!  What I DO know is in 2 weeks time, Roxie and I will be looking at two more promos, including the famous ‘Whoo Off’.  If you don’t know what I mean, look at Jay Lethal and Ric Flair, you will not regret It.  

In THREE weeks time, I will be covering EVOLVE 148 from Chicago IL as well.  So, stay tuned.

As usual, you can find me on twitter when I’m not suspended for speaking my mind, @LaurenCR3 or @HeyItsLaurenCR3 if my main account is suspended yet again.

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