I told you guys I was going to do more of these and today I was lucky enough to score an interview with Youtube's premier Wrestling Reviewer Brian Zane owner of the channel Wrestling With Wregret. If you're a huge wrestling fan like me but haven't watched wrestling legit for years but still keeps abreast of what's going on, Brian Zane is the guy you wanna watch. He reviews current events, looks at the past and also talks about other wrestling related topics. If you're not subscribed to him, subscribe! Here's the interview!
What's the story behind the name Wrestling with wregret ? You already have a stage name, Brian Zane.
I wanted to come up with a show title that had nothing to do with my name. When you're just starting out and don't have an audience, it doesn't make any sense to name your show after yourself because, "who the hell are YOU?", etc. Maybe if I ever have an in-ring interview show ...
What inspired you to start reviewing wrestling?
I fell in love with Wrestlecrap back in college, so that was a big inspiration to me. I've always loved reviewers like Nostalgia Critic, AVGN, Phelous, Todd in the Shadows, etc., and a while ago I noticed that while people were doing reviews in that style for movies, comic books, music, etc., there wasn't really anyone out there doing that kind of format with wrestling. I had a background in creative writing and video production, so I decided to give it a try.
Who inspired the idea of adding a somewhat storyline to your videos, with Triple H randomly appearing and subjecting you to torturous reviews?
Triple H as my foil just started out as a device to get me to review WWE's handling of Eddie Guerrero in storylines after his death. It was a flimsy premise at best but I needed something to prompt it, and I got a kick out of doing it anyway. Now he always seems to be the harbinger of my "new seasons" out of coincidence. My terrible impression of him, combined with my portrayal of him as a type of "Dr. Claw" character, makes it a secret favorite of mine.
Do you think wrestling has to stick to the same old Heel vs. Face narrative? Or is it possible to have a feud between 2 Faces or 2 Heels? Does someone have to get booed? As an example, Nakamura faced off against Finn Balor but they were both Face. That wasn't a feud but it was a match and a great match at that. Are wrestling promotions missing great matches because they stick to this Heel vs. Face formula?
You don't always HAVE to have a face/heel dynamic but it sure as hell doesn't hurt. I always believe that the mind naturally creates a good/bad dichotomy in everything, in real life, in the shows and movies you watch, and even in sports. Even if you're watching a random game on TV and you aren't fans of either team, a lot of times if you watch long enough you start to root for one team over the other. A good wrestling match should make you want to root for one person or the other to win and dividing them up by "good guy/bad guy" is a perfect way to do it.
You once said in a video that there are too many champions? Is this because there are too many titles or too many people who held a title?
My issue back then wasn't just the existence of two world titles, or that too many people got a shot with them; it was an issue that once any champion not named John Cena, Triple H or Randy Orton was done holding the belt, they would often plummet into obscurity soon afterward. I think that having more than one "main-event" level title can work, as long as everyone involved has a good post-title angle or two lined up.
What comes first, The Title or Legitimacy of The Title? If you look at The WWE Universal Championship we have a unique opportunity to see the pedigree of a title develop. Did it mean something upon creation or will it eventually mean something based on who holds it?
Obviously the title doesn't mean much now because it's so early in its existence, but the company will have you believe it is on par with the WWE Championship. It has a lot of catching up to do but the hope is over time, it can become a prestigious championship.
What makes a good match?
A good match is one that keeps the crowd interested and emotionally invested. It doesn't really matter how it gets done in terms of move sets or spots or gimmicks, it's all about simple storytelling.
Aside from botches, what makes a bad match?
The inverse of my previous answer, which is poor storytelling or none at all. A match is kind of like a meal; fill it up with delicious fats and sweets (spots that don't make sense and don't mean anything) and people will get sick of it after a while. Fill it with some hearty meat (telling a story and employing good psychology in the match) and it will stay with you longer.
Are transitional champions good for business? For example, Bray Wyatt was WWE Champion but it was clear they've been setting him up for Randy Orton. In my eyes Bray Wyatt was a transitional champion and therefore wasn't given the title because "his time had come" but because Randy Orton needed a storyline.
Transitional champions are a necessary evil of the business, I don't see a problem with it.
These days the word "buried" is thrown around a lot. What makes a burial?
In my opinion, you're "buried" if the booking goes out of its way to make you look like an idiot. Losing some matches here and there is not a burial, but when you lose the majority of your matches, look foolish in promos, and the company props you up as a loser, that is closer to a burial in my eyes.
Is there a such thing as a "Cool" Heel & "Lame" Face?
Yes to both, and both are bad. You don't ever want your good guys to come across as lame but statistically that ends up happening. The nWo popularized the "cool" heel but those are essentially babyfaces and every indy guy wants to be one and it's dumb.
It's pretty clear to everyone that Roman Reigns is being groomed to be The Next John Cena. There's a lot of hate for this idea but how would you push Roman Reigns?
I would allow him to let his natural wit and charisma come out in promos, and not try to make him the next John Cena. I would also have him win a lot of matches. Sounds crazy but that's how you make stars.
Does there need to be a "story" going into a wrestling match? Why isn't it just a battle to see who the better man is?
Sometimes it can be that easy, and plenty of fans can watch a wrestling match with no context and be happy with it. But for me personally, if someone sends me a match featuring two people I've never seen before with no backstory, I will not care about it.
The Attitude Era is look on with rose colored glasses but it was a strange time where nearly EVERYONE was over with the fans, why do you think that was?
Because not only did everyone have a gimmick, everyone had a storyline as well. And that was BEFORE we had 10+ hours of TV a week!
Can Hulk Hogan recover from the scandal?
Time will heal things up eventually, but it's not like his career had a lot of shelf life left to begin with. Make him an ambassador and move on.
How much control should a wrestler have over their gimmick?
I think they should have some level of control over their character, as long as it doesn't overtake the need to make good booking/business decisions. Ideally, it should be a collaborative effort between the wrestler and the booker.
Can you make a competent top baby face without making them win every match?
Sure, but you can't have them LOSE a ton of matches either because then why should we keep caring? A lot of it has to do with gimmick/personality and being able to relate to crowds. But if you want a top guy, you have to have him win more than lose, definitely.
Aside from Lex Luger's "victory" over Yokozuna, can you think of a time where a top baby face lost a big match?
Not off the top of my head!
I heard a lot wrestler's with their own podcasts talk about the fans and their reaction to certain booking decisions; namely John Cena and his lack of "putting guys over", The Big Show on Stone Cold's podcast stated that Cena had made more stars (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdRcNmc75WM) We have evidence of John Cena clearly destroying The Nexus but can you think of a person John Cena made into a main evener?
Off the top of my head, over the years, Cena elevated guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and AJ Styles (and yes, he main-evented elsewhere, but that rivalry was AJ's official "top guy" coronation). Years ago he also helped build Brock Lesnar up when they were both coming into their own. Guys like Punk and Bryan, we obviously know how their stories ended up, but not all of that can be pinned on Cena.
Many people want The Attitude Era back and many others want The Indie Darlings to get main event pushes. What do you think will give pro wrestling another Boom period?
I would argue we're in a boom period already, because there are a million different options for wrestling fans to get their fix now. There's WWE, Impact, ROH, NJPW, Evolve, all the UK feds, CZW, AAA, Lucha Underground, Wrestle Circus, etc., not to mention a bajillion other indy feds out there that have some kind of deal on FITE TV. The cream of the crop have a LOT of places to hone their craft. Now, is everyone making tons of money? Is wrestling "cool" and "mainstream" like it was in the late 90's? No to both. If *WWE* wants to get into a ratings boom again, there are lot of changes that need to be made from a creative and philosophical standpoint that are too meticulous to get into here.
On camera, a manager is the mouth piece for wrestlers who may or may not have good mic skills but is otherwise great in the ring, but off camera what does a manager do?
Back in the day, lots of managers actually DID manage the day-to-day lives of the wrestlers they worked with, but now, at least in the indies, most managers are just booked alongside a guy or two and they work together. It's kind of like a tag team where one guy does the bulk of the in-ring work. Managers can help build matches with the guys, though, if they're good enough at it.
Can wrestling survive without kayfabe?
I think wrestling is doing a fine job of it right now. Everyone knows that Hollywood movies are fake and that's a multi-billion dollar business.
Undertaker & Kane are the last of the "Over The Top" gimmick wrestlers, now with The Undertaker retired, do you think there will be others who can pull off those kinda gimmicks?
WWE's business practices today are such that it's very difficult to have "over the top" gimmicks because part of the job description is to have a very public life with social media, etc. I'm sure people could DO them, it's just a matter of, will the company allow it to happen.
Who does Brian Zane watch on Youtube to get a 2nd opinion on matches?
I really don't watch anyone else in terms of takes and opinions on wrestling, not because it's not worth my time, but because I don't even want to have the slightest risk of stealing a joke or an observation. I like my thoughts to be 100% my own, so that in the event that I make a very similar joke about something, it's only due to coincidence and the fact that two or more funny people can make the same joke, and not because I was directly influenced by it.
Whose career do you get the most requests to look at the same way you did Tazz's?
Right now Scott Steiner in WWE is a hotly-requested topic.
One of the biggest let down for me in the WWE was the usage of The Ultimo Dragon. What wrestlers do you feel have been woefully misused and what would you do differently?
I think WWE dropped the ball with Raven. I didn't really care one way or the other for Kaval (Low-Ki) when he was in WWE, but I was flabbergasted when they cut him after he did almost nothing except win the 2nd season of NXT.
|I think we can all agree here.|
What does Brian do when he's not watching wrestling?
Work on other aspects of my show, and hang out with my wife and kids. I also occasionally work out.
Who besides you and What Culture would recommend for more wrestling videos?
I dig the opinions of Joe Cronin and JD From NY. Botchamania is always good for a laugh. And Oli from Wrestletalk TV is great too.
Who's better, The nWo or DX and why?
The nWo, because they came first.
What makes a good stable and how many members is too many members?
A good stable has a healthy balance of people who all play certain roles. There often should be a leader, official or otherwise, with a pair for tag teams, then a lower-card guy who can be a goon or pursue a secondary title. When you have people in the group who aren't doing anything, that's when there are too many members.
What do you use, equipment wise for editing and what not?
I shoot on a Canon T5i and I edit everything with Adobe Creative Suite.