WWE Network: Thomas Lynch reviews WWE Countdown - The Coolest Catchphrases edition
By Thomas Lynch
Hello everyone my name is Thomas Lynch. I am a lifelong fan of pro wrestling, in particular WWE, so it’s an honor to be reporting to you guys at Prowrestling.net as a proud VIP member of the site. In the midst of finishing graduate school, starting a new job as a manager of a company, and time spent with the girlfriend, I’ve been doing all I can to catch up on the WWE Network. I love the network, as for one of my term projects in college for an advertising class, I designed an all wrestling channel, some ten years ago. To see this fictitious product become a reality is pretty surreal. One thing I’ve enjoyed about the Network has been the original programming. In these articles, I’m going to be breakdown the "Countdown" show. I welcome any feedback and conversation on my twitter over @BoxieNigma, as I update my daily escapades and thoughts throughout the day.
The WWE Network launched two weeks ago today and with the launch of the network came the beginning of some new original programming from World Wrestling Entertainment. Some of these Originals include Wrestlemania Rewind, This Is NXT and WWE Countdown. In this weekly article, I’m going to breakdown one those shows, WWE Countdown. WWE Countdown is a top ten countdown, voted on by fans of the WWE and counted down by the WWE superstars. I would stop reading if you have yet to see the program, if you don’t want it to be spoiled for you.
WWE Countdown is of course produced flawlessly with the tip top production we’ve come to expect from WWE. Countdown is a one hour long documentary show that blends past clips nicely with talking heads of the superstars WWE past and present, as well as some B level celebrities that, to me added to the importance of the program, as well as, the magnitude of how WWE transcends the pop culture world.
Tommy’s Two Cents: The show reminds me of the old VH1 shows like best week ever or even some of the VH1 Classic shows that would feature past musicians talking about the 100 greatest artist in Hard Rock history. I really dug the show as it was nice to see the WWE Superstars having a good time and discussing a fun topics such as this week’s "Coolest Catchphrases". It was a refreshing program in that it was light hearted look about the professional wrestling world that is often times taken too seriously.
The show starts off with, and this is something I would probably change, literally a montage ten catchphrases featured on the countdown. From here you had a number of talents including, Chris Jericho, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler and Beth Phoenix, among others going over the qualities that make a catchphrase an important part of being a WWE Superstar. They explain how the explosion of catchphrases really started with the attitude era and Chris Jericho probably says it best when he says "The best catchphrases as probably those that a superstar says one week and then the following week you see signs for it already."
Tommy’s Two Cents: One thing that becomes apparent, right away is that while some of the interviews with the talents have been filmed recently, some of the interviews are taken from recycled footage. While sometimes you can’t really tell, like the Miz back when he was sporting a faux hawk and too much makeup in one scene as opposed to his more rugged look of today, there are other talents in which this becomes a bit confusing. Namely, there are some talking heads featuring Daniel Bryan in the long haired look we all know and love today and then in other scenes he has the crew cut and short goatee he was sporting back in the beginning of 2012.
From here, the talents go over some of the more memorable catchphrases that did not make the show. Anything from The Miz’s I’m Awesome to Mankind’s "Have A Nice Day and Val Venis’ "Hello Ladies" is covered here. The first catchphrase that is spent a little longer on was Randy Savage’s "OH YEAH! As they showed a number of talents doing their best Macho Man. Zack Ryder is also given a bit of time here to plug both his "Woo Woo Woo You Know It" and his " Are You Series Bro?"
Tommy’s Two Cents: Bit of CM Punk alert here, I know he was not show in the hype to the WWE Network once he walked out on the company but his comments are still a part of the programming. I enjoyed the quick glance at some of the older catchphrases. I would have also enjoyed a quick look at some of the catchphrases that were as cool. I think a minute dedicated to Funaki’s "Indeed!" or The Boogeyman’s "I’m Coming To Get You" would been a nice add on to the program.
Alright let’s get onto the countdown…
10. Hulk Hogan’s " Whatcha Gonna do…": Hulk Hogan kicks off the countdown here with his most famous catchphrase. This is a really fun look back on Hogan’s WWF late 80’s- early 90’s run. The play a bit of Hogan’s "Real American" theme and shows different clips ranging from fans of the era going Hogan crazy and even a bit of "Hulk Hogan’s Rock N Wrestling" cartoon of the 1980’s. Everyone from George "The Animal" Steele to Vince McMahon, himself, praise the charisma and the impact that Hogan had on the WWF at the time.
A number of the talents are seen here doing their best Hulk Hogan impression, the Big Show by far doing the best and Santino doing the worst. They also show a couple of clips of Superstars doing Hogan impressions from past shows. They show Edge doing his best Hulk Hogan right before he and Hogan won the tag titles and they show the Rock doing his best Hogan from under the Rocky statue back in 2011.
Tommy’s Two Cents: If you have time to only watch one part of this show make sure it’s the four minutes or so spent on Hogan. It’s a nice reminder of the great, sometimes incredibly crazy and corny promos that Hogan used to deliver. At times here, Hogan’s promos are so off the wall they remind me of the Ultimate Warrior’s promos from the Rise and Fall of the Ultimate Warrior documentary. The best gem here was a clip they show of Hogan right before Wrestlemania 8 where he says "You’re gonna have to deal with my backstroke" and then proceeds to backstroke off the screen. Great stuff, go check it out.
9. Booker T's "Can You Dig It, Sucka?!?!?!" Booker T makes the countdown here with his most popular catchphrase. They go into a bit of history here as Booker explains how he got the expression from the movie "The Warriors" and they also talk a bit about Booker’s time as a part of Harlem Heat and how he used to say Sucka quite a bit back in WCW.
From here The "Spinarooni" is profiled as is some of Booker’s time with Goldust. Jericho is back with some more great analysis saying that in order for a catchphrase to be great, it has be an extension of the superstar’s real personality. He adds that Booker really is the wide eyed intense guy you see on TV just that the character is cranked up to that next degree.
Tommy’s Two Cents: Nice, and a little surprising, to see Booker on the countdown here. I would have expected Randy Savage to make it over Book, or even the New Age Outlaws, but I guess they really stuck to the fan’s voting here. It really added to the pieces when you actually had the talent who made the catchphrase famous talk about the phrase and Booker really adds to his piece here.
8. Bret Hart: "The Best There Is, The Best There Was And The Best There Ever Will Be!" Here we start off with a number of talents explaining how the expression only worked for Bret because he lived that expression and truly believed that he was the best. CM Punk is great here stating that he got "Best In The world" as extension of Bret’s phrase and they show a promo from an old Raw in which Punk explains to Jericho that they both got their expressions from Bret.
As a bit of history, Bret explains that one of his favorite movies is Robert Redford’s "The Natural" and that the movie is where he stole the expression from. He continues that he debuted the expression as something to say at the end of the Hart Foundation’s promos to give their promos a little oomph at the end. Here they show a clip of the Hart Foundation on the set of the old "Tuesday Night Titans" talk show saying the catchphrase for the very first time.
Tommy’s Two Cent’s: Another great piece for a historical perspective as well as a look back at the impact Bret had in the late nineties WWF. Matt Striker, of all people, is great here saying that Bret wasn’t only the best in the ring but as an ambassador for the sport at that time. I appreciated the look at Bret traveling to different countries, where he remained a hero even during his heel turn back in 1997.
7. The Undertaker's "Rest In Peace" Glad to see Undertaker didn’t go unnoticed here. We get our first celebrity comment here as, rapper, Flo Rida mentions how "Everybody fears death so you have no choice but to fear the Undertaker." This is another great piece that features many of the talents trying to duplicate the Undertaker’s eye roll to the back of the head, Randy Orton actually does it quite well.
Mick Foley is the best in this piece stating "The Undertaker has scared multiple generations of my children." He also goes on to talk in depth about how his matches with the Undertaker changed his career as clips of the infamous Hell In The Cell match are shown. This is also great in also showing how the Undertaker has evolved through the years. From his time when he’d work in the graveyard preparing for a match with Kamala to his Wrestlemania 25 classic with Shawn Michaels, they show how the Undertaker truly has transcended time.
Tommy’s Two Cents: This is a case where I think recording some of the interviews years ago may’ve not worked. When they are showing Undertaker choke slamming people through caskets, Natalya adds "When you saw the Undertaker, you knew someone was probably going to end up in a casket and it probably wasn’t only going to be Paul Bearer." Probably not in the best taste when you consider Paul only died about 9 months ago.
6. D-Generation X's "Suck It" Shawn Michaels kicks off the historical perspective of Suck It here by explaining how "Suck It" was something the cliq was simply saying to each other, horsing around in the back. Over time, when DX launched, they decided to put it on TV. They show how one of the first times DX put it on TV would be during one of their classic encounters disrespecting Sgt. Slaughter.
I liked that they went to some of the younger talents who explained the cultural impact that DX had. Being 27 years old, I can relate to AJ Lee when she said "It’s probably not the best thing that as a 9 year old girl in school, "Suck It" was a part of my every day vernacular. Furthermore, Seth Rollins was funny here stating that he probably told wo of his teachers to Suck It . He also made a great point of explaining Mike Tyson (who’s also interviewed for the piece) never did the "Suck It" correctly. It was just nice to see the superstars being interviewed as fans.
Tommy’s Two Cents: It’s interesting to see that while Shawn Michaels took over the "And If You’re Not Down With That" from Billy Gunn during the PG Era DX comeback, they never once show him doing that here. It’s as if he took it over when Billy was on the outs with the company but that once Billy returned he’s really taken that back, even in the history books.
5. The Rock's "If Ya Smell What The Rock Is Cookin" When they did the voting for this countdown, this was the only catchphrase of the Rock’s that you could vote for. If that wasn’t the case you could have probably filled the entire top ten with the Rock’s catchphrases. This piece really echoes this sentiment as this is more of a best of the Rock’s catchphrases. This piece also contains, by far, the most superstars and celebrities (namely Maria Menounos) doing their best Rock impressions and waving their tongues proudly in the process.
In a cool twist they show how the Rock has changed and adapted through the years and how back in the day people would go around saying his expressions and today, they trend on twitter. They also showed how the Rock brought his character out into the pop culture world, showing him on TRL and on different talk shows back in the day. In a nice tidbit, they show Booker T jokingly showing a bit of frustration in saying he used to say "Ya smell what I’m cooking" to people in his life all the time and the Rock beat him to using it on TV. Also ironic because of the similarities between the Bookend and the Rock Bottom.
Tommy’s Two Cents: I’ll be honest I thought the Rock was going to be number one on the list because when I think catchphrases, I think The Rock. I know their time here is limited but this was the only piece I would have liked to see a little more from. I would have liked to see how even when the Rock was a heel, he couldn’t get the crowd to stop cheering with him and then show clips of "This is not sing along with the Rock". There also could have been a bit more history on the actual "If Ya Smell What The Rock is Cookin" expression by explaining how it used to just be "Do You Smell What the Rock is Cookin" as the beginning of his old theme.
4. Stone Cold Steve Austin- "Gimme A Hell Yeah" Another piece that is more of a profile piece on the many different catchphrases of Steve Austin. Everything from "That’s The Bottom Line" to "What" is covered here. The piece does a nice job of showing the evolution of the Austin character profiling his time as an up and comer attacking announcers through his time battling with Vince McMahon and then ending with his time driving a four wheeler as Raw General Manager.
What I liked here was that they really stress how much of a factor Austin was in crowd participation. Daniel Bryan explained how the Austin 3:16 shirt was so popular upon it’s release that there are still people who wear it today. Randy Orton adds how "Hell Yeah became the battle cry for the "WWE Universe". Finally, Christain added that basically right after the King of the Ring 96 "Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass", everything Austin said became a catchphrase.
Tommy’s Two Cents: To me they got it wrong with Steve Austin. When I think Stone Cold, I think "That’s The Bottom Line", "Austin 3:16" and even "What?"(which is still said at every WWE event 15 years later) all before I think "Gimme A Hell Yeah". I do find it odd that they didn’t include anything on the history of where "What?" came from, as Austin has told on other documentaries that he started leaving Whats on Christain’s voicemail and he told him to put it on TV. Then again this wasn’t a profile on "What?"
Next Up, they took a break from the countdown to add one catchphrase that went "Above and Beyond" and that was Vince McMahon’s "You’re Fired". They start with the beginning of the "You’re Fired" catchphrase which happened on the start of an episode of Raw in 1998 in which Vince McMahon was in a wheelchair following an attack from the undertaker and Kane. Vince addresses the entire WWF roster and explains that from that day forward, a new catchphrase would be sweeping the nation, that being " You’re Fired!!!"
From here, you have a number of WWE talents claiming that Donald Trump stole the "You’re fired" from Vince McMahon. (While, it’s tough to say Trump stole it from Vince before, Trump’s show, "The apprentice" didn’t debut until 2004 and Vince, obviously started using "You’re Fired" on Raw in 1998.) The piece ends here with everyone explaining that in order to do the "You’re Fired" like Vince you have to use the Vince strut and do the over the top facial expression complete with redness and a good amount of drool.
Tommy’s Two Cents: Strange to interrupt the countdown with this here. To me, I think they were probably just looking for a reason to include a piece on Vince because they already had a good amount of interview content from the superstars. However, it is possible, with Hogan now in the good graces of WWE, they wanted a reason to include the Hulkster on the list at number 10 so they moved Vince here. As an interesting side though, it’s pretty ironic to hear CM Punk commenting on Vince and saying "Can you believe this guy, he’s just walking around and firing people".
Back To The Countdown…
3 John Cena- "You Can’t See Me" This starts with a great piece of history as Cena explains how "You Can’t See Me" actually started from his brother. Cena explains that he and his brother started recording rap songs and, joking around, his brother started doing the dance from 50 Cent’s "In Da Club" music video. He continues that from there, his brother dared him to put it on TV and so Cena did and just simply modified it a bit. He explained further how "You Can’t See Me" means that you can’t see me on a professional level and that Cena is on that next level. The superstars added that the "You Can’t See Me" is one of the last remaining parts of Cena’s rapper gimmick.
From here they mentioned the cultural impact of "You Can’t See Me". Cena mentions how sports stars do it all the time and, in particular, the entire LSU Defense is doing it. They then show Michael Irvin, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, in the front row of Raw doing the "You Can’t See Me". In the end, the superstars interviewed agreed that while they think the "You Can’t See Me" is pretty stupid they respect Cena for how happy the kids, and make A wish kids, get while seeing him do it.
2. Daniel Bryan's "Yes" They really go through a great deal of history breakdown on this one. They actually argue whether or not the Miz can be credited for Daniel Bryan utilizing the "Yes" to get over. They show highlights from NXT and show how the Miz told Daniel Bryan that he should try a catchphrase because it may get Bryan to the next level. They show NXT rookie, Daniel Bryan, explaining how he doesn’t need a catchphrase to get over but, low and behold, now he has the most popular catchphrase in the company. They have the superstars debate whether Daniel Bryan makes the "Yes!" or if the "Yes!" makes Daniel Bryan.
From here, they explain how the Yes started when Bryan won the World Heavyweight title and he got up in the face of Michael Cole screaming "Yes!" in excitement. From here Bryan turned heel and screamed "Yes!" as a way to be obnoxious while running to the ring. Bryan explains that it was really a Wrestlemania 28 when the entire front rows held up "Yes" signs that it started to get over. They then show clips from the Raw the night after Mania 28, where the crowd was so rabid with "Yes" chants they gave John Cena no choice but to join in while he was giving a serious promo following his loss to the Rock.
Tommy’s Two Cents: There is no doubt that they took the fan votes legitimately here if WWE would put Bryan’s catchphrase above the likes of DX, The Rock an John Cena. I have to be honest though, I wonder if Bryan scoring so high on the countdown is a result of the time period in which the countdown took place. No question, Bryan’s catchphrase is the most over now in the company, but I have to wonder if the catchphrase has staying power 10-20 years down the road.
1. Ric Flair's "Woooo" Hard to argue with the choice for number 1 here with the Nature Boy himself. We end here with a bunch of the different superstars doing their best Ric Flair impressions. Chris Jericho, I’ve said his name a lot and he is great here, mentions how Flair first used the Woo as a placeholder when he ran out of things to say. The superstars further explained the staying power of the "Woo" adding how even today the entire crowd "Woos" after every chop.
They also show a good collection of Ric Flair promos over the talking heads here. Everything from "To be the man" to "Limousine riding.." to scenes from WCW in which Ric is standing in his boxers in the ring as he drops elbows on the rest of his clothes is featured here. Really a testament to Flair that he is still on the top of this list after all these years.
Closing Tommy’s Two Cents: In the end the first episode of "WWE Countdown" was a lot of fun and I think it will be a nice addition to the WWE Network programming. It seems like the superstars also had a great time debating the different topics and giving their personal reflections as well. I feel like there are so many other topics they can do with this show and it’ll be interesting to see if, moving forward, they’ll keep it light hearted or make it a bit more serious depending on the topics. While, they didn’t give the next topic being covered at the end of the episode, they did show some other countdown categories in the opening montage. Some of those included greatest managers, best factions, craziest moments and greatest divas. I look forward to the rest of those and I hope you guys do to.
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