Pick My Brain Interview: Mike Coughlin

Internet Wrestling Columnist

Say what you will about the “star power” name value of Mike Coughlin, but he has been the perfect interview subject for us. Good, funny answers, timely response, reliable, and best of all, he plugs it like there’s no tomorrow.

The numbers don’t lie, and Mike’s first interview was our third most popular interview ever. You want more Mike, you got him.

1. Your last “Pick My Brain” was an unexpected hit with our website, drawing hundreds of new visitors who flocked here to read your brilliance. What do you attribute that interview’s success to?

Well, I’d like to think it’s because I have legions of fans that desire to find out every single tidbit of information they can about me. That’s what I’d LIKE to think. Truth be told, I plugged that interview so many freaking times (much like I shall do with this one) over a two or three week period, that I think people eventually just said, “Fine, we’ll go read the freaking thing, just stop bugging us about it.”

2. Not much has changed in wrestling since we last spoke. Raw has continued its downward trend, and SmackDown has held steady in its quality (Al Wilson storyline aside). However, 2003 looks brighter because of probable returns of Rock, Austin, Goldberg, Hogan, and Nash. Is this just a temporary fix to a bigger problem, or will 2003 begin the full-fledged comeback of WWE? (Note: Keep in mind what happened to WCW after the success of older stars on top ran its course).

If a person had their arm cut off, would you just put a band-aid on it and say it’s all better? Well, Kevin Nash isn’t even a band-aid, and Austin is at best last years drug that the cancer has begun to build an immunity too. (OK, these analogies are getting quite morbid, so I’m gonna stop with them) Nash will be 100% useless when he returns. He’s not even a big enough star that if he puts people over, it’ll matter. I think Goldberg can mean big BIG money, but only for a year MAX. (and that’s being EXTREMELY generous. Given how WWE books, they’ll be lucky if they can get one month out of him) Hogan will do good money with Vince, but after that he’s useless unless used once every blue moon. Bottom line: guys like Angle, Benoit, and Brock need to be headliners NOW! And even they need to be replaced sooner, rather than later, because the burnout period for a top star is so quick these days.

3. As I mentioned last time, many longtime fans have expressed discomfort with your work being associated with Dave Meltzer’s product, which has an extremely high standard of quality. What sort of feedback, if any, has Meltzer given you regarding your writing?

Man, ya’ll make it sound like I’m Vince Russo or something. And even though this is a cop out, whether Dave (or Bryan or Alex Marvez or anyone else with the site) had said something to me; good or bad, I probably wouldn’t say anything specifically. In general terms, I’ve yet to receive a complaint from anyone, and have even received a compliment or three. (and given who gave me said compliment, it really meant a lot)

4. Do any of your friends or roommates seem intrigued by the return of some big-name stars to wrestling this year, or do they not care anymore?

NO ONE cares at all. I think the only person who could spark ANY interest is Goldberg, but I kind of doubt that, because he’s been gone for a long time now.

5. What is your opinion of the possible “new” 4 Horsemen stable, and what is your earliest memory of the 80s/90s Horsemen versions?

My earliest memory is actually from an old WCW Saturday Night show when I was a young annoying reviewer to be, and I saw Arn Anderson come out and the announcer said he was part of the “4 Horseman.” At the time I can recall thinking, “Wow, that’s a really cool name.” Other than that, they were always just there. I will say that my fondest memory (that is, something I saw as it happened on TV, not something I watched from an old video tape) was Flairs return. As for the “new” Horseman, I don’t know. It’s a cool name, and I think if a person had never seen the old Horseman, it would work. But I think they’re hoping it’ll bring in older viewers, and that just won’t happen. On the whole, they should probably just let the name rest in piece. I can’t imagine in 20 years still seeing the NOW on TV, and can guess it’s the same for people who saw the original 4. But having a group similar to that can shake things up, and give some guys a rub. (ok, given that HHH is in the group, I know that won’t happen)

6. On a shoot video from 1994, an SMW-era Jim Cornette complained about how college kids stay up late at night talking about all the problems in the world and how they could solve them all. And sure enough, when “Hardball” does its shows on college campuses, today’s college kids come off as kids who think about things way too much, think they know it all, and don’t realize that they haven’t a clue about the real world because they haven’t lived it yet. Having said that, what is your take on the following social issues (if you’re not familiar or have no opinion about any of these, skip them):

Anniversary of Roe v. Wade: It was just bad law. There is NO “right to privacy” in the US Constitution, which is the basis for the ruling. It should have been left up to the individual states to decide.

Possible war with Iraq: 60+ years ago everyone tried to “reason” and “appease” Hitler, it didn’t solve anything. Some of these guys are just nutjobs of the highest degree. True story: Saddam, in his spare time, likes to take a metal rod, heat it up to super high temperatures, and then walk around his palace grounds impaling dogs. How the heck do you reason with a person like that? In the end, we’ll go in there, kick his ass, and move on to the next a-hole.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons program: Honestly, I think it’s a bit of a bluff. I think they’re trying to use this “information” as a means to gain leverage in gaining aid. If they do have stuff, and it’s not fully developed, gotta get them out of there to. Hell, America is one the freest nations on earth, full of by and large good, honest, reasonable people, with decent leaders, and WE dropped a nuke. What the hell do you think will happen when lunatics have them?

France and Germany opposing war with Iraq: France! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Does anyone give a crap about their opinion? These two are just angry that America is out there, kicking ass, and they’re not apart of it. Pure jealousy is all. When they see that we’re serious, they’ll come around and jump on the bandwagon.

The possibility that missing 8-month-pregnant Modesto woman Laci Peterson was killed by her husband Scott: It’s pretty damn sick if you ask me. (and you did) If it’s true, the guy should get a lifetime of torture.

Bush’s tax cuts and how they’ll help/hurt the economy: It’s worked every single time it’s been done. More money in peoples hands, the better off they are. But forget the economy for a second. Here’s the truth: I earn my money. What gives anyone the right to take my money and give it away? What I make, I wanna keep. Live and let live.

I just alienated so many readers it’s not even funny. For the record though, I by and large agree with Cornette on this one. I hear so many of these jackasses who’re like, “Just give peace a chance” and I’m like, “Common, that’s never worked.” And they won’t listen to reason. Also, please remember I’m a 19 (20 on 2/11) year old punk, so I’m probably wrong on some of this as well.

7. As of this writing, the Tough Enough 3 finals just aired. Were you happy with the winners (John & Matt), and do you think they have a future in this business?

I think they’re the best choices. When I saw some of the moves John was pulling off, my jaw dropped. That double shooting star press with a twist is just SICK! And Matt seems to have a lot of charisma. I think they might be the two best winners yet.

8. If you’re into football, who is your money on for this Sunday’s big game?

Oakland. Too much experience, too much talent.

9. I’ve been to the ECW Arena, and I live across the bay from Oakland. Who would win in a riot, ECW Arena fans, or Oakland Raiders fans?

Raiders fans. Here’s why: ECW fans would be to busy trying to come up with things to jump off so that they could yell “E-C-DUB!”, while Raiders fans would probably just shoot you.

10. Yes or No, would you want to have any of these wrestling personalities teach your classes one day:

“Dean” Shane Douglas: Only if he promised to scratch the chalkboard.
Vince McMahon: HELL NO! I don’t wanna know what he’d make the class do to earn an “A”.
Paul Heyman: Naw. It’d be years before I ever saw my grades.
John Cena: Only if he rapped every thing he said.
Funaki: “Funaki…NUMBER ONE TEACHER!”
Stacy Keibler: <wipes drool of chin> What? Oh. YES!
Jeff Hardy: He couldn’t teach, he’d, actually, I’m gonna be respectful and say, “No comment.”
Booker T: Yes, only because it would be the funniest class ever.
Pat Patterson: Given the rumors of what happened with that one ring boy, I’d say no.

11. Please explain your obsession with William Regal.

Why does everyone say that? You, the fans, that stupid judge with the restraining order. To be honest (and I’ve said that like 18 times already) I really like his style of work, but I recognize it’s not something most American’s “dig”, and I think his mic skills and facials are near the best in the biz. Plus, he cleaned himself up, and really came from the bottom to get where he is. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.

12. Which do you prefer:

Raw or SmackDown: BWAHAHAHA! Oh, this is a real question. Do I really need to answer this?

CNN or RNN: RNN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Al Wilson’s corpse or Katie Vick’s corpse: Katie Vick’s…. because that angle didn’t last for months.

The Observer or Figure 4 Weekly: LOL, you really think I’m going to answer this one? HA!

Rock as a heel or Rock as a face: Heel.

Your local morning DJ or Howard Stern: I’m not up early enough to listen to either.

Fozzy or the Fabulous Freebirds: Tossup. Probably the Freebirds.

Squats or lunges: Squats.

Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Il: Saddam, because he’ll look better dead.

Varsity Club or Team Angle: Team Angle

Three’s Company with Suzanne Somers or without: With of course.

Simpsons or South Park: Finally, a question that every man has pondered. I think Simpsons is better overall, but South Park can be true gold, and as an obvious conservative, they’re political message is great.

Bryan Alvarez or Brian Gewirtz: LOL. Well, I ripped off Alvarez’s style for awhile (though I do think I’ve come into my own), but Gerwitz has been responsible for some of the best things to make fun of. But I’ll go with my boss, and say Alvarez.

Steiner Brothers or Guerrero Brothers: Guerrero!

13. In honor of Raw X, what is your all-time favorite Raw moment?

Bret Hart v 123 Kid. One of my favorite matches of all time.

14. You expressed discomfort at the notion of Sean O’Haire’s vignette knocking religion. What are your personal feelings regarding WWE’s use of this gimmick?

I’m not sure yet. I’m Catholic and all, but I’m not some crazy moron who’s like, “OH NO! Don’t do that! That’s EVIIIIIIIIIIIIIL…..indeed.” Mostly, I think they’re just treading on water they don’t need to. I think they just want controversy, and religion always equals controversy.

15. Over here at nearby San Jose State University (Dave Meltzer’s alma matter), a student just died as a result of a fraternity house brawl. While I witnessed tons of fights in high school, I never ever saw one in college. How violent are the students at your university?

Probably just like anywhere else. That does remind me of a story though. Last year I was waiting to catch a bus back to my dorm. While I was waiting, this guy came out of no where and just started screaming at this girl standing there. The poor girl was scared to death, and obviously had no clue who he was. He was just being vulgar as all hell. So eventually I stepped up and told the guy to cool it and chill out. So he takes a swing at me out of nowhere, I should mention he was drunk as hell at the time, so I ducked it, double legged him down, and put a kimura on him. After he calmed down I left. I tried to hit me again, but just fell down. This year some jackass found out I was into brazilian jiu jitsu and thought he was tough as hell and challenged me. About 10 seconds after being in my guard, he tapped to an armbar. Let me note now that I’m FAAAAAAAAAAR from a “badass” and barely competent at basic jiu jitsu.

16. You’re in a dark alley with that guy who keeps sending you email viruses. What would you do to him?

I’d beat the living hell out of him. He’s the only person on earth I would start a fight with. These morons who send out computer virus’s are just pathetic dorks who never got a date in their life, so they try to ruin everyone else’s computer for some retarded reason.

17. What is the outlook in 2003 for each of these WWE superstars?

Chris Jericho: He’ll be where he is now. Entertaining, underused, and completely buried.

Bill Goldberg: It’s a toss up. He’ll probably do two or 3 big matches, make a ton of money, and then leave.

Rock: He’ll come back, and despite being the biggest star in North America (mainstream wise) will do the right thing and put over everyone he’s asked to.

HHH: Will do the exact opposite of the Rock.

Brock Lesnar: Will probably evolve into one of the better “strong guy” wrestlers in awhile.

Kurt Angle: Sadly, I think Angle will either a) continue to be the greatest all around performer on earth or b) get a bad injury.

Chris Benoit: Same as Angle, but I’m hoping he finally gets to the next level. Rock could help him get there.

Steve Austin: He’ll come back, work hard, have great matches, and then Vince will probably do something stupid and drive him away. (seriously, look at Raw X and see how many former stars they had that Vince has alienated)

Scott Steiner: He’ll be nothing within 4 months.

John & Matt from Tough Enough: They’ll get rushed to TV, do OK, but after about 5 matches, the greenness will show. I think they both have bright futures overall though.

18. What is the best wrestling book you’ve ever read, and why?

Foley’s first one. Forget the fact that it’s about wrestling, it’s just a very well written book in general.

19. In 1996, I took a class in college called “Introduction to Japan,” and did a major paper on Japanese wrestling. The TA loved my rough draft, but then I was assigned a new TA, who really had it out for me. He gave me a B-, claiming I didn’t cite enough sources for my knowledge (which I learned just by reading newsletters for so many years). I then cut a promo on him, via email of course, to “get my own heat back.” By the way, none of these TAs (who were all white) with supposed expert knowledge of Japan had any clue about Japanese pro wrestling, and no clue who Antonio Inoki was. Anyway, every wrestling fan does a school project of some sort on wrestling. What was yours, and what kind of grade did you get on it?

Well, so far I’ve only used Hogan and Inoki as the basis for a paper on the idea of how the public perception can sometimes be horrible skewered regarding talent. In my journalism classes, I’m already getting bonus points for my reviews, as the prof said that it’s valuable real world experience. (unlike some readers, who apparently wish I’d go away and hide under a rock) This semester I hope to do a project, possibly in my French class, on MMA.

20. I heard from some recent grads that these days, college students take notes using laptops and Palm Pilots. What the?? Whatever happened to simple pen and paper? How are kids taking notes in your classes?

Ya know, I’ve got a laptop, but only so when I’m on trips I can watch movies. I still use the good old fashioned pen and paper. (besides, you can’t doodle on a laptop) I do see the kids with the laptops, but can’t imagine lugging that thing around all day.

21. And finally, please give us your opinion: Will Bret Hart ever work for Vince McMahon again?

Nope. I think he’ll show up and give a farewell address of some sort, but I’d be shocked if he worked in any kind of program. (that having been said, I would not be shocked to see Vince pull something during said farewell address).

Thanks to Mr. Coughlin for a great interview Be sure to check out his weekly Raw and Velocity reviews on WrestlingObserver.com.