Rewriting The Book presents – An RTB Editorial (vol 0, issue 0)

29 Submitted by on Thu, 15 May 2014, 23:13

Howdy, all.

So y’all liked the book idea, eh? Seriously, I didn’t expect that kind of reaction. That much enthusiasm for a post is usually reserved when Kate Upton’s boobs are involved, so to say the least, I’m flattered.

Well, today, I’m writing for a couple reasons. One, to let you know where things stand for this RTB book idea I have, based on feedback and some preliminary research. Two, to get some more feedback. Because at the end of the day, while I’m writing because I enjoy it, you, the loyal readers, are the blood that keeps RTB’s heart pumping. Your years of support (and patience) have earned you the right to have a say in the book. It isn’t me who’d be putting cash on the barrel head for this.

Okay, so, first, the status update. The general consensus is obviously, and overwhelmingly positive, and I couldn’t be happier. If the idea had crapped out, I had another for a book, a non-fiction idea that will almost certainly be the follow-up to the RTB anthology. And if you think I’m getting ahead of myself plotting my second book before putting pen to paper on the first, I have the third book (also non-fic, but having nothing to do with wrestling for a change) mapped out too. Anyway, so the temperature of the room seems to lead to a couple conclusions:

With a couple exceptions, most everybody wants all new material. Director’s cuts don’t seem to light many fires for people. Fair enough. Make me sing for my supper why don’t ya. Jerks.

Ten bucks seems to be the ceiling most people can conceive paying for this.

So, to that end, my train is thought is to do three to five stories, depending on … whatever whimsical mood I’m in. No, really, it’ll come down to inspiration and the size of the damned thing. If I’m pushing the outer limits of a Tolstoy novel on three, then so be it. And I’m thinking the number of stories will determine the final price. Three stories, maybe six bones. Five stories, a ten-spot. Is this cool? Speak now or forever hold your peace … and even then, I may ignore you.

As for what stories are getting in? Well, so far, I have one idea nailed down. The idea was provided to me by Wrestlecrap’s very own “The Big Cheese” Paul Kraft: what if Ric Flair left the NWA for WWF in the summer of ’88? I thought he was just riffing at first, but it turns out there really was some contact between WWF and Flair around Summerslam that year. The more I thought about it, the more a story started to gel, and the more I knew you’d get a kick out of it. It’s gonna be a real wrestling history geek’s story, so bone up.

Here’s where you come in, though. The rest of the slate is wide open. As longtime fans and readers who frequent the forums know, I have a List (capitalization required). The List, at one time, had somewhere in excess of 200 ideas on it. I guess I thought I’d be doing this on a weekly basis until I was in my mid-sixties? Over time, I’ve whittled away some of the ideas that just didn’t have the legs to make the run … eliminated ideas that might be uncomfortable (mostly those negating deaths like Pillman or Guerrero) or could be divisive (anything involving Chris Benoit in a prominent role) … and yet, I’m still flush with about 100 ideas or so. And that’s not including the virtual library of ideas I’ve been given over the years. A quick look over the comments section of any recent article, or the RTB thread in the forums, probably has another 100 ideas, minimum. I’ve poured over ever idea I can find, and I’ve come up with eleven that give me a little tickle. Now, please, please keep in mind that this is not an official vote. I’m simply seeing what moves your needle. If there’s an overwhelming favorite in the bunch, okay, I might be compelled, but if it’s all over the board, or say six of the eleven get attention and the other five get shade, then at least I have some mile markers to judge distance by, so to speak. So, here’s the list:

What if The Undertaker defeated Bret Hart at Summerslam ’97?

What if the Alliance won at Survivor Series 2001?

What if Andre The Giant didn’t surrender the title to Ted DiBiase?

What if Magnum TA didn’t get in the car accident?

What if Sid and Arn Anderson never had their backstage brawl?

What if Harley Race jumped to the WWF the night before Starrcade ’83?

What if Shane Douglas kept the NWA World Title?

What if the “Mass Transit Incident” never happened?

What if Jamie Kellner didn’t cancel WCW Monday Nitro?

What if ECW got onto another network?

What if Cactus Jack convinced Tommy Dreamer to give up wrestling the hardcore style?

Another thing to think about while you’re mulling over the list: obviously, some of these stories lend themselves better to the non-kayfabe “documentary” style, and some will be more suited to kayfabe. Personally, I prefer the non-kayfabe stories, because it’s a lot easier to write in my own voice, and I get to inject some bits of humor, but don’t let that influence you. If you have a preference, let your voice be heard on this, here or email me at But just know that, if you say “do the Nitro story in a kayfabe style!”, I’m going to assume you had a bowl of crack for breakfast.

So, that’s where we are for now. In the meantime, if you’d like to see this column continue for more than just book updates, please let me know. What would you like to see me blather on about? Or should I just get to work on the damned book? 😉

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Guilty of creating Rewriting The Book and The Greatest Night In The History Of Our Sport, and publishing them somewhat infrequently. Father of three, husband, avid gamer, lover of 90's MTV animation. Available for podcasts and children's birthdays at
29 Responses to "Rewriting The Book presents – An RTB Editorial (vol 0, issue 0)"
  1. Zach says:

    I’m more interested in the Shane Douglas, Harley Race, and Jaime Kellner stories. If only because we’ve already had the impossible and kinda stupid “ECW became the coolest, bestest thing ever” story that we’d probably get with “ECW gets a new Network.”

  2. Hulk6785 says:

    “What if Andre The Giant didn’t surrender the title to Ted DiBiase?”

    Hey! That was my suggestion! Yay!

    • Jed Shaffer says:

      Sometimes, dreams DO come true!

      • Hulk6785 says:

        Seriously, I do think that would make a good story. Andre screwing over DiBiase and keeping the title has so much potential. Immediately, you’d have Andre on top with no one who could seemingly stop him, DiBiase pissed off that he spent all that money and got nothing, and Hogan pissed off that he got screwed out of his title. Throw in the Macho Man, who’s star was on the rise, and you got so many potential match-ups.

  3. BeaverCleavage says:

    Do the Nitro story in kayfabe! But from the WWE’s perspective! Bwahahaha!

  4. Emerson Witner says:

    Harley Race. I always wonder how Shane’s career would have ended up had ECW fizzled out and closed within a few months after Shane threw down the NWA Title

  5. Andy says:

    Wow. Not to sound like a jerk, but either get a new column up or get to work on the book. The Flair idea sounds intriguing. Does it include Arn, Tully and Barry all leaving as well or is answering that giving away too much?

    Just one guys opinion, but I’d vote for Race leaving for the WWF in ’83 and Nitro not getting canceled. I don’t know nearly enough about how things worked over there then, but what if Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba became partners instead of rivals and NJPW and AJPW were one company?

    • Jed Shaffer says:

      Uh, I am. Already started the Flair story I mentioned. But I’d like the audience to have a little input in the book, since it’s their hard-earned money that’s going to justify its existence. Did I offend you at some point? Just curious, cause, wow, there’s nicer ways of saying “I CAN’T WAIT FOR NEW CONTENT!!!”.

    • Mister Forth says:

      Toss-up between Taker winning at Summerslam & Mass Transit never occurring.

  6. Autrach Sejanoz says:

    I like the sound of the following three:

    * What if the Alliance won at Survivor Series 2001?
    * What if Shane Douglas kept the NWA World Title?
    * What if Jamie Kellner didn’t cancel WCW Monday Nitro?

  7. Jon Milne says:

    As someone who got into wrestling during the Attitude Era, “Mass Transit” and “Alliance” would be helluva persuasive reasons for me to buy that book. But I’d also like it if perhaps what is to me the biggest and most glaring “What If?” of all time gets a story, and that’s “What If Stone Cold Steve Austin Didn’t Ally With Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania X7?” Because seriously, what followed? Let’s just say that, astoundingly, the next heel turn Austin performed was done helluva better, and that’s saying a lot considering that said heel turn took place during the Invasion Angle.

    • Jed Shaffer says:

      The Mass Transit idea … I actually had two ideas stemming from that incident. One is the one I presented above. The other, after considering it, was just a little too dark. I think you can guess where I’m going with it. Worst case scenario.

      As for your idea … what of it, Crappers? Does it have better legs than what I offered above?

  8. Big says:

    I would go with “what if Magnum TA never had his car accident”. He was definitely being groomed to be the champ and probably would have traded it back and forth with Flair (or possibly Nikita, who wouldn’t have done the face turn). Additionally, it would have likely given a different career arc to a young Sting who, if he had wanted to achieve the stardom that came from his program with Flair, may have been heel (or the potential to heel turn Magnum who was adored by the fans, possibly having him suddenly embrace the Ric Flair lifestyle of jets and $4000 dollar suits). I think that the timelines that emanate from this are endless. Plus, we wouldn’t have had a Ronnie Garvin title run (I know, seventy days and he never defended, but still).

  9. jaime w says:

    here is another one what if eric bishop did not fire steve austin

  10. Sean O says:

    Out of all the ideas on the list, the three I personally want to see are…
    -What if Taker Beat Bret at Summerslam ’97
    -What if WCW Nitro wasn’t canceled
    -What if the Alliance Won

    I think you said this wasn’t your idea, but if there was a way to get the conclusion to the “Bret Hart Leaving WWF on Good terms” story in the book, that be epic too!

  11. Jason says:

    What if Taker had beaten Bret should have it by DQ. Shawn had to ref the match fair, and it wasn’t fair to Taker that some guy trying to attack Bret hit him with a chair. It could be a great smarmy, insincere promo from HBK similar to when he laid down for Trips with the Euro title on the line.

  12. graham says:

    nitro wasn’t cancelled. would have been cool with bischoff back in control and all the ecw guys including steve corino and kid kash starting.

  13. Sam says:

    Title of the Book: RTB Rewrites the Monday Night Wars

    1. What if the Alliance had won the 2001 Survivor Series
    2. What if ECW got a New Network (unlike what Zack said it would not automatically make ECW the ” coolest, bestest thing ever” they got there in the story he is referring to because the baked off the Outsiders)
    3. What if Nitro never got cancelled

    • George Rose says:

      Here’s a Couple of ideas for you Jed:

      What if Brock Lesnar never left WWE in 2004?
      What if Baitista didn’t leave WWE in 2010?
      What if the Bret Hart/Vince feud in 2010 was done differently?
      What if Edge didnt get injured in 2007?
      What if Bobby Lashley never left WWE?
      What if Ric Flair was revealed as the higher power?
      What if Stone Cold lost at Fully Loaded 1999?
      What if Nexus won at Summerslam 2010?
      What if Cm Punk never cut his Pipebomb promo in 2011?
      What if Goldberg Never left WWE?
      What if mordecai did come to WWE?

  14. Dookie Jackson says:

    I’m very interested in the Magnum TA one.

    I think a minor one that would be excellent to read about is “What if Ricky Steamboat doesn’t ask for time off with his pregnant wife?” The WWF wanted to build long-term around Steamboat as champ, so I wonder what happens to him, Honky, and even Warrior, who beat Honky for the belt.

    I think that a “What if Hulk Hogan’s movie career was successful?” question would be great, too. If there’s no Hulk Hogan in 1994 WCW, who is the torchbearer for the promotion? Before Hogan and friends showed up, it was clear that Dusty Rhodes and Steve Austin were being groomed as THE GUYS in the promotion. Does that happen? Do they keep enough of a sustained push not to jump to the WWF?

  15. Alexander The So-So says:

    Good to hear, Jed! My top picks would easily be:

    -Bret Hart losing at Summerslam ’97.
    -Nitro not getting cancelled.
    -Magnum TA does not have his accident.

    Also, if you’re willing to consider other stories not on that list for the future, I would suggest:

    -What if…Shawn Michaels hadn’t injured his back at the 1998 Royal Rumble?
    -What if…Bret Hart had gone to WCW in the fall of 1996?
    -What if…Hulk Hogan had vetoed the Bash at the Beach ’96 heel turn (Sting is the Third Man instead)?

  16. Chucky U says:

    Kinda late to the party but what about What if Hulk Hogan didn’t leave the WWF in 1993, what if the outsiders stayed in the WWF in 96 (No Austin 3:16 ) what if both of HBK’s feet hit the floor in 1995, what if Stone Cold had signed with Smackdown in 2002, what if Hulk Hogan beat Brock Lesner in 2002.

    as for the story ideas you posted with the exception of ECW getting another network, none of them really appeal to me

  17. Nemo says:

    Here is a very underrated one that I think would be an intriguing line of thought: What if… Chris Jericho’s WWE title win on April 17, 2000 vs. HHH wasn’t reversed and he successfully defended the title at Backlash vs. The Rock?

  18. Anonymous says:

    I got some good ones that MIGHT work.
    What if The Undertaker lost to Jimmy Snuka at Wrestlemania 7?
    What if Steve Austin didn’t break his neck?
    What if John Cena never joined the WWE?
    What if Goldberg vs Lesnar was good?
    and finally,
    what if Bruno Sammartino lost to Buddy Rodgers in 1963?

  19. simongr81 says:

    Here is one. I know World Class is not Jed’s forte, but just to have it on record, “What if David Von Erich Hadn’t Died?” I’ve actually considered doing it myself and who knows, though I have no plan on it, maybe one day I will.

  20. Pete Staiano says:

    Would love to see Andre, Alliance, and Harley. Seemingly tons of possibilities with those (plus the Taker/Bret scenario is intriguing; would Bret still end up going to WCW?) I don’t see much with ECW getting on another network…mostly because I see is as a continuation of the DX Nitro story. Kellner not dropping Nitro almost seems sad, but at the same time, would WCW just end up doing the same old stuff?

    Either way, always love reading these as I’m a sucker for alternate history anything. Keep up the great work!

  21. Noah Martinez says:

    I just started reading some RTBs and have been blown away with what I have read. So far my faves are the CM Punk/ROH angle & the DX/Norfolk Scope incident. But I have a few suggestions on future RTBs.

    1. What if CM Punk had actually left the WWE with the World Championship?
    2. What if The Rock’s feet never touched the floor at Royal Rumble 2000?
    3. What if TNA was bought by the WWE?
    4. What if Vince McMahon pleaded guilty in the steroid trial?
    5. What if RVD never got hurt and never was stripped of the ECW TV Title.
    6. What if WWE went bankrupt?
    7. What if The Dudleys left ECW with the tag belts?
    8. What if Stone Cold had made Bret Hart pass out at Wrestlemania 13?
    9. What if The Rock went to ECW in late 1999?
    10. What if pro wrestling returned to the territorial system?

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