It's Happening With Ryback, Beth Phoenix Jobbed Out, Jeff Hardy Back To WWE?, Reviewing Wrestling Terminology

Why did WWE have The Miz job to Ryback in under three minutes on Raw?

If you've been keeping up on Richard's Backstage Blog then you read here a couple weeks ago that Vince McMahon was ready to take Ryback to the "next level" despite concern from most workers and officials. As we saw at the conclusion of this week's Raw, it's happening and WWE is ready to start feeding Ryback in the main event. Some are speculating Ryback is the backup plan to work against Punk should John Cena not be able to go but one thing is clear, he's getting ready to get his push at the top. Check out my report from a couple weeks ago for some interesting details that will prepare you for the major push.

Is Beth Phoenix being booked as a jobber because she plans on leaving WWE?

As I discussed in Monday's YouTube report, WWE has made sure Beth Phoenix has "hit her head" several times on the way out the door. Obviously they've known for awhile Beth's contract was coming up and she wasn't intending to re-sign so they wanted to send her out as cold as possible. It seems harsh but it's the way the business works.

With Jeff Hardy's contract with TNA Wrestling reportedly coming up soon, do you see a WWE return in the near future?

Anything is possible, however, TNA's ongoing litigation against WWE has prevented WWE from signing TNA names. When the lawsuit is cleared up there are going to be some "chips to fall" although I don't know if Hardy will be among them. It will depend on WWE's interest at the current time and will likely hinge on their belief on whether or not Jeff has moved on from past problems that have caused him to have two Wellness strikes (that would return with him).

What does being a "mark" mean?

A "mark" is someone that believes a wrestling storyline is real. Generally, marks get legitimately upset at the heels and have a genuine love for the babyfaces. While we're at it let's take a look at some commonly used wrestling terms:

  • Shoot - off-script or legitimate
  • Work - scripted, contrived, preplanned
  • Mark - uninformed wrestling fan that legitimately believes storylines
  • Smark - informed wrestling fan that understands storylines are contrived

Remember questions with proper spelling and grammar have the best chance of being answered. The next installment of Ask WNW will run on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

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  • SDD619

    Well i'm a smark

  • Owen

    I think I consider myself part-mark/part-smark.

    • ken

      Likewise with me!

    • Hillbilly Jim

      Guys, that was a shoot that was worked into a work, with a backside gimmick, reverse za-be-da, Clearly u both are marks……..

    • GODSENT83

      I agree. I usually genuinely love the heels and hate some faces lol

      • John

        I don't know how any fan could like/support a babyface in a PG environment. They have nothing too there characters at all!..Just so boring!

  • nandy05

    You forgot to mention this words

    Fanboy = fan who gets upset when somebody talk trash about his/her favorite wrestler

    Troll = same than above but this one hates John Cena with no reasons

    • Sovikos

      There’s lots of reasons to hate John Cena… Just saying lol

  • Ken

    Ok Rich, here's one for you… is Smark a complimentary or derogatory term, because I always took it as a derogatory term, as in a Smark is someone who knows it's all contrived yet still gets drawn in intensely despite that, as in a really obsessive, nerdy, living-in-mommy's-basement fanboy type who, for example, gets all hung up on wanting Cena to turn heel despite the fact that they should know better since they informed about the business.
    I'd simply call an "informed wrestling fan that understands storylines are contrived" a fan, and I will confess to having a few smarky moments of my own from time to time.

    So… Smark… complimentary or derogatory?
    I go for derogatory. Opinions?

    • Wainwright

      Agreed. I always assumed it WAS a derogatory term. Like a backhanded compliment. “You’re not a MARK, you’re a SMARK”.

    • larry

      And here is a troll. Discuss

      • Ken

        Larry the Troll?
        Was that a cartoon character from some cheesy Seventies show?

        FYI I was asking a legitimate question, because I'd always assumed Smark to be an insult, and was trying to involve the community in a discussion. I just happen to be a person who likes to type/speak clearly to avoid confusion, something sorely lacking on them there Interwebzes.
        (Damian Sandow is one of my fave characters. I'm a lot like him IRL.)

    • C12

      I think thats snark

  • Bigdaddychuck

    Was it just me or was anyone else hoping for the undertaker to be standing right there!!

    • Wainwright

      Holy Shit, that’s Excatly who I thought it would be. I quickly ram threw in my head who would have to be there for Punk to react like that that would make sense story wise (i.e. Kane wouldn’t make sense, Show wouldn’t make sense, not even an unhurt Cena would make him flinch like that) and Taker was who I came up with. Only to be Sorely disappointed….

      • Ken

        Hey, they're building up a new character. Cut them some slack for God's sake.

      • Risendevil

        The likelihood of it being Taker would be extremely low concidering his health issues

    • Charles

      That’s exactly what I thought at the time as well!

    • Sovikos

      I thought it’d be Trips.

      • Moose666

        …and he was reacting to his haircut?

    • Tom

      When Mick mentioned he needed one more moment, Taker was the one name that made sense to me considering it's Hell in a Cell and Cena is hurt. If they really want to put him against Rock at the Rumble and Austin at Wrestlemania a recent Hell in a Cell win over Taker could keep him hot through the rest of the year.

      I was planning on going to the rumble, if Ryback were to win the title first I'd cancel my trip.

  • Mike Brailsford

    Spoke to so many who made out they were smarks but more often than not are total marks. eg, those who like to tell you 'it's not real', then ask you, 'was he hurt' badly.

  • Streamroller

    So Ryback's gone from squashing two local jobbers/Jinder Mahal for months on end, straight to Cena's temporary replacement in the main event overnight? If Vince was keen on Ryback, he should have used the time to gradually build him up into a believable main-eventer.

  • Joey

    I'm a work.

  • aeaton45

    Nobody likes snarks or marks its ppl like them that try to ruin wrestling for the rest of us just because the holy “Internet Wrestling Community” wants things done this way or that way. If these same imbeciles were the actual writers for WWE and TNA the programming would rot to pieces. We would have title changes and heel/face turns like it was the flavor of the month.

  • Mike

    I considered myself nothing more than your average marj until I found WNW.

  • Nick

    I wonder who came up with the term mark? Why not Greg or Steve? Or Floyd?

    • Wainwright

      It’s a “con” it an old carnival term. You “Mark” someone that you know you could take advantage of. Usually someone else would let the “swindler” know who was easy pickings by circulating the crowd and acting like “one of the people”.

  • LeftyTosser

    Richard, is Vince not concerned that Ryback will actually hurt another worker being as "rough around the edges" as his work is right now? I know his moves and finishes are pretty elementary, but there have been several times that it appears he has just missed in hurting someone for real.

    • Voice_of_Wrestling

      stop complaining or I will feed you to Ryback

  • Sjenttivensventa

    I can call the punk vs Ryback match if it happened in order to keep Ryback undefeated punk will get himself disqualified

    • Jason

      One issue with your theory. It's a Hell In A Cell match, which means there are NO DQ's.

    • Voice_of_Wrestling

      in a hell in a cell?

  • wate incy

    hey richard may you please define the term kayfabe, i dont have a full comprehension of the definition…still a little confused…help me out would you???

    • Richard Gray

      In professional wrestling, kayfabe is the portrayal of events within the industry as "real". That is, the portrayal of professional wrestling as being genuine or not worked

      • wate incy

        thank for that richard that makes sense appreciate your help

  • Guy Landau

    Quick correction, Richard – Marks don't necessarily believe storylines are legitimate, they just use them and the characters as the determining factor in regards to who to cheer and boo. They know it's a show, but react like my hatred of Theon in Game of Thrones – I know it's a scripted show, I just can't stand that character (in a good, "love to hate" kind of way.) If marks actually believed it was real they would never accept face turns as quickly as they do.

    Also – fun tidbit, from a wrestler's perspective usually the IWC (mostly self-professed "smarks") is looked down upon by wrestlers moreso than the regular fans, as the regular fans at least admit to not understanding the unseen workings in the world of wrestling. The IWC usually THINKS they know all (or most) there is to know about wrestling, according to the confidence in which they spout "Cena Sucks" chants and their derogatory view of "marks", but the fact is they know very little more than marks – oftentimes because of their so-called "knowledge" they miss the point more than marks who like the big men to dominate according to their size's dictations, for example. This is evident by the ROH cult following – whereas nowadays (and save a couple of great wrestlers that have been there in the past) ROH has little more than illogical spotfests to offer. What is considered "great" matches by ROH faithful, for example, is – according to most of my wrestler friends and myself – at most a brutal unnecessity as the matches have stiff moves… and nothing more. No psychology, no story, nothing. Just a very crisp performance of overly intricate holds and moves in succession, and the subsequent selling of said over-intricacy – usually climaxed in the 3rd act of the match by 5 something-that-ends-the-match-eventually-but-by-all-means-is-no-longer-a-finisher "finisher" near-falls, before the match concludes with one person coming out on top. That does not a meaningful match make; not at all.

    Excuse me for turning this thing that was supposed to be a little tidbit into a tirade (not my first tirade in the comments section, I'm aware), but the hubris of some eventually gets to me to the point where I have to voice it out, and I don't want to abuse the fact that I write a blog here for that. For those that have read this far, thank you.

    • Bault16

      How was that quick?

      • Guy Landau

        The correction was 😛

  • Sovikos

    Wellness strikes come back after you sign a new contract? Or like leave the company and come back years later? With the 3rd strike it’s automatic firing and a year suspension from resigning with the company correct? You think if someone has been gone for over a year, the would start fresh.

    • Richard Gray

      Here it is from the WWE Wellness Policy itself (online here:

      Does a WWE Talent who leaves WWE with a strike or strikes retain those infractions if they return to WWE?

      Any WWE talent who leaves the WWE for any reason with a first or second violation on his/her record will maintain those strikes if he/she returns to the WWE.

      Is a WWE Talent who is terminated for a third strike able to return to the WWE?

      A WWE Talent who is terminated by the WWE for a third violation will be prohibited from returning to the WWE for at least one year. Before a possible return, the WWE Talent must test negative for all prohibited substances under the Policy during a pre-contract screening. If they pass the pre-contract screening and are approved to return, the WWE Talent must undergo mandatory unannounced testing for at least one year after the execution of the new contract. The WWE Talent will return with two strikes on his/her record.

  • The Breaker

    The thing I don't like about Ryback is that, with the way he's been booked, he can't be in a main event feud without making his opponent look incredibly weak.

    If Ryback actually gets a match with Punk on RAW, maybe they'll have Big Show run out to interfere. A Ryback/Show confrontation is something I think Vince would just love. And I would take that over Ryback getting further involved with Punk in any way.

  • Jennifer Fuqua

    I don’t understand how they can take Ryback, whose mostly fought jobbers and has never been in a main event, and put him in the main event of HIAC. I really have my doubts.

  • BigMike

    First off, I hope Ryan Reeves/ Ryback finally gets his shot he has been lounging in obscurity ever since ToughEnough. Second of all I do not use labels for fans; I am a lifelong wrestling fan I started watching the AWA in the late 70's/early 80's when I was growing up in Colorado, Every Sunday morning was the AWA then I later moved on to WWF and I watched the old UWF when JR was on commentary there then NWA and WCW I remember seeing Sting as a heel after the Blade Runners when he was still "every man's Nightmare" I love watching it i love meeting them I know it is scripted but pain is pain athletes are athletes and I respect that

  • xChristenLynnx

    It's weird how you say WWE wants Beth gone but other sites have reported she is on good terms with them. Now reports are going around saying she is denying the rumors of her retiring.

    • Richard Gray

      I never said WWE "wants Beth gone." This is completely false and really a downright lie. I said WWE has made sure she leaves as cold as possible. Take a look at how she's been used lately. The one thing that differs from what we have reported compared to the unreliable NEWZ sites is I've seen it reported she is gone at the end of the month. We're under the impression she's under contract through October because she's booked for shows through October 22nd (Raw in New Jersey…)

      • Yo Soy Fiesta

        Richard, you are one sensitive dude

  • JasonGaza

    idk why, but when i saw punk made that face the only person i expected standing there was The Rock

  • stoney

    With Beth gone, Natalya and AJ are the only divas left that can actually wrestle but ones a GM and the other ones a jobber

  • Matt

    Ryback is green as a clover leaf

    • Bault16

      He’s been in the Biz for 8 years

  • junior3rd

    So saying ryback is cena’s “alternate” pretty much gives away that punk is not losing at HIC cause there is no way they are giving ryback the title so storyline must already be for punk victory

  • Aldo T

    I'm probably either going to get thumbed down or be called a derogatory name for this.. But what is "IWC"?

    • Alex Barie

      The internet wrestling community.

  • Sebastian

    Mark or not, can’t we just enjoy a good wrestling show? Leave the titles to the nerds with nothing better to do, you’ll find the rest of us at the bar.. Party Rock!