Arn Anderson on Punk’s pipe bomb, knowing when Cena is promoted as the guy, Vince, more

Apr 2, 2020 - by Steve Gerweck


6:40 Arn on CM Punk pipe bomb: “Most of the final decision stuff, then and now, comes from the boss in the big chair. I was probably there for a lot of the discussions as far as just the breakdown of the match, not all, but some. I had a little input on that but mostly those guys, Punk knew what he wanted to do, he knew where he was heading. Cena knew what he wanted to do, he knew where he was heading and where he was positioned and most of that stuff was over my head as far as final decisions go. The pipe bomb promo just simply came from a guy being given free rein to be himself, which is the way it should always be. The inability to allow a talent to do what he feels is going to inhibit his production, always. Punk is a prime example of when you turn a guy loose and let him say what he feels and within parameters, you have to have parameters, this is a PG product and live television, and he got over big time and you saw the results.”

29:30 Arn on knowing when John Cena is promoted as the guy: “There was a meeting Vince had, I don’t remember what year that was, but it was time to make some changes. We were coming out of the Austin-Rock years…you had to create a huge gaping hole as far as personalities and talents that were not only bigger than life, but bigger than the business at the time. They had exceeded everything that had been done before. The Rock and Austin when they were at their peak, my God, you know you can say Hogan put them in that same deal, but these guys were different because they were 20-30 minute performers. Hulk had his deal and he had his fans and there were Hulk Hogan faces on everything, but Austin and Rock, that was something special. We had a production meeting. Vince suggested we were going to move on. The four guys we need to look at were Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, maybe it was just 3 guys. This needs to be one of these guys or all these guys, but these are the guys we are going with. I think they were pretty good choices. They were very very green. Randy was a natural, so he was going to come along a lot quicker as far as work rate that Dave or Cena, but Dave on Smackdown when he was the face of Smackdown, Dave was the man. He was red red hot, as hot as anybody. Cena, when they finally decided he was going to be the guy because he wasn’t going anywhere, there was no negotiation issues with him. He was going to be there if they wanted him to be there and he ended up being the face of the company, being a babyface and staying a babyface. ”

58:30 Arn on people sneezing in front of Vince: “I thought it was a rib at first because the look the person got, it was like ok, so I’m not in on the joke, they are setting me up because if you could have saw fire or a dagger come out of somebody’s eyes, it would have come out of Vince’s eye. As I saw a person coughing or sneezing or maybe they just came in the door and just looked bad, they were sweating, they were pale, or whatever. The looks they got, I had a whole different mentality thought process on that. He would look at these people like he wanted them dead. It’s like good God, get him out of here, throw him out in a trash bin and put it on fire. It should have been looked at like these people who are sick as they can be have drugged themselves in there to a meeting and so that you never miss a shot, that’s the rule in our business, you always make the show no matter what.”

1:03:00 Arn on Bobby Rude & Chad Gabel vs the Revival: “That house show loop, I gave those guys whatever time they wanted, take whatever you want and I reported back from the first time I saw that tag match until I got to television. It was the best tag match I had seen in probably 15 years. It was the best match on the card. It was something that our audience deserves to have on television. When we got to Grand Rapids for television, at the meeting, I told Vince this. I spoke up and I said there is a match you have to see, but you got to give it enough time. You have to give this thing 25-28 minutes so that it can play out. You can’t just give it a 10-minute segment or something. He gave them some extra time and those guys went out, and I’m a big fan of Bobby Rude and Chad Gabel. Chad Gabel is an Olympian, but he is a great worker as well. Bobby Rude looks like a million dollars, great head on his shoulder for the business, and these guys went out and they tore the joint down. Now at the meeting, I told Vince that and he looks around the room and said OK, well we will make that happen and why hasn’t anyone else brought that to my attention. He looks around the room at everybody, and of course, silence. But the fact is, I’m sure most people are scared to open their mouth when you work there because if you say something on the wrong day, or the wind is blowing the wrong way, it could cost you your job. What’s ironic, it wasn’t after they had that match and he saw it and enjoyed it, he told the talent how much he enjoyed it, they finally got their due, it wasn’t much longer that I was no longer there. So, I’m not saying that one has to do with the other, I’m just saying the irony of the way things happen in this business.”

(thanks to CHRIS SIGGIA for the recap)

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