WWE Forever puts classic rivalries in the spotlight for a bigger than life special issue, and features superstars like Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, Junkyard Dog, Razor Ramon, Million Dollar Man, IRS, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan just to name a few. We had a chance to talk to writers Lan Pitts and Arune Singh about their respective stories, and first up is Lan's story featuring Razor and the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.
The two superstars had quite the memorable match at SummerSlam 93, but their promos might have been even more entertaining, and that's in large part to their contrasting personalities and backgrounds.
"It's the tale of old money vs new money," Pitts said. "You had DiBiase, which in a way, represented the yuppie class of the '80s, kinda like a Reaganite. Somebody who never really had to pull himself up by his bootstraps and had this air of superiority about him that you loved to hate. Razor was a cornerstone of the aptly-titled New Generation of superstars, while DiBiase still represented that last bit of residue from the classic age so wanting to see the beginning of this feud made so much sense to me, especially since it was Razor who put the Million Dollar Man out of the WWE."
Hit the next slide to find out more about WWE Forever's take on Razor vs DiBiase as well as a deep dive into IRS and the creation of Money Incorporated!
When you read Pitts' version of Razor, you'll immediately be transported back to a classic era of wrestling, but you'll also remember just how over the top Razor's accent was (he wasn't Spanish after all), and Pitts certainly watched more than a few promos to get it perfect.
"Tons of them, Matt! Tons," Pitts said. "There's actually a collection of them on the WWE Network and, man, are they gold. I wish WWE would bring back this sort of model for superstars now. Who was the last guy to really do that? Del Rio? Kofi? I can't really remember, but they're so efficient. And you're right about Scott Hall playing Razor and being 0% Hispanic in any form whatsoever, but you know, it happens. We did change a few phrases around, I think Chris Rosa really loved the idea of him calling somebody a chavala (a lass) so we put that in as I believe I just called him an invalido (which kinda means old-fashioned or archaic). I took seven years of Spanish so I wanted to pull out some lesser-known phrases while still very much being Razor."
One of the big sticking points in the feud was Razor working his way up the ladder and earning what he got, while DiBiase just had money to make everything happen. One thing highlighted here though is Razor might not be as rich as DiBiase but doesn't mean he's hurting for money either.
"I think it's a well-known fact that Razor was based off Tony Montana in Scarface," Pitts said. "He was a working man, but that's where him and DiBiase differed: Razor had earned everything he had and wanted to keep it. There's that restaurant vignette where he talks about how there's nothing too good for Razor. Good food, good drink, good chicas, etc, so here's a guy who clawed his way to the good life and he's not going back! I think them having that old money vs new money kind of fight. DiBiase would have this one method of trying to win, while Razor would be evolved in a way to know better. Ted just throws money at problems while Razor would probably be a bit more hands-on.
The spot-on dialogue gets a big boost from the art of Carlos Magno, who genuinely makes this feel like a vintage backstage segment you would've seen on TV.
"Man, you're telling me," Pitts said. "Chris put me together with Carlos and just nailed this old school comic look and feel, especially with Doug Garback on colors. I didn't give Carlos any real notes aside from my usual script details about expression, but there's this one panel where Razor turns around to talk to DiBiase and it's utter perfection. You can check out Carlos' stuff now with Invaders from Marvel if you want to see more (trust me, you do). I loved how he constructed Razor's face to where it's not like a dead-on look but just cartoony enough that accentuated Hall's features. And how he did Million Dollar Man? Incredible. While I did have another artist in mind while I wrote it, getting to work with Carlos became a dream."
One of the favorite past times of WWE fans is armchair booking, especially a rivalry like Razor vs Million Dollar Man, and we asked Pitts what he would do differently if he could recreate it today.
"I'd have to say it was almost one-sided for the most part, so when you have Money, Inc already on the prowl, have IRS look into Razor's finances, do some blackmail, don't have all of the tension in the ring," Pitts said. "There's so much you could really do with all this money flying around. Knowing what we know now though? Maybe even work with Jesús' father. That's a WWE deep cut, I know, but there's no reason why WWE shouldn't bare the once held mantra of 'it's all connected'."
The WWE ranks are full of crazy characters, but for Arune it was what we didn't know about IRS that drew him to the character.
"I’ve always been attracted to those characters - in comics, wrestling or anywhere - who always seem to have a layer of unexplored history or motivation," Singh said. "If we’re making a Marvel comparison, it’s why I’ve always been so much more interested in John Walker (US Agent) moreso than Steve Rogers."
"So with IRS, I saw a character with an incredible look and incredible catchphrase and a really incredible motivation," Singh said. "Who doesn’t want everyone to pay their fair share? So I wanted to really dig into that idea and see how we could explore him as the hero of the story - or at least the protagonist."
While he got to dive in a bit, Singh does hope to explore a more. "I’d love to do more with IRS’ backstory in the future - Kendall and I have lots of fun plans for the story of why he left the IRS to become a wrestler," Singh said.
One of the funniest parts of the story is actually on the first page, where two henchmen are watching wrestling but one knows absolutely nothing about it, and his commentary is hilarious.
"The honest answer is that it was the very last page I wrote because I had ZERO ideas how to start the story," Singh said. "I just knew the page two reveal needed to be IRS in the chair and I was trying to figure out how I could get there."
"And even more honest is that I had an original idea which I soon realized was the kind of funny that wasn’t natural to me, so I pivoted to a chat I remember having with my brother about some of the stranger WWE characters," Singh said. "Family inspired a lot of my favorite moments in the story. Kendall absolutely knocked it out of the park with his art and Jim Campbell’s lettering really gave it that extra punch."
During his day son the WWE roster, IRS wasn't exactly an open book and didn't let many more personal elements into his character. Here though we get a glimpse into that world, including finally learning the meaning behind that trademark briefcase of his.
"Like so many wrestling fans, I love obsessing over the details and asking questions that never need answers. So while that briefcase was clearly a prop, it also felt like an opportunity to be something more - because no character is two dimensional if you dig down deep enough."
We see here that the briefcase is tied to his son, and for Singh that brought things full circle.
"Family had to be the motivation for IRS - so many of his old promos are about that too," Singh said. "And with his sons as popular WWE superstars, it seemed like a natural to touch upon that so newer fans could connect to his story."
While he didn't get to see much of their run first-hand, Singh remembers the concept and how compelling it was.
"To be honest, I wasn’t allowed to watch a ton of wrestling as a kid (despite being in Toronto and Bret Hart being a national treasure) so I didn’t see much of their partnership," Singh said. "But I played with the action figures and loved the simplicity of two money-oriented characters teaming up."
As for who could carry a Money Incorporated torch these days, there are a few options. "I think we’ve seen teams like Miz & Sandow or the Fashion Police who’ve effectively done what Money Inc did - blending gimmicks with some similarities to form a real cool team that anyone can understand," Singh said.
Money Incorporated was huge when they first hit the scene, but could they be that way if they were introduced in today's WWE environment?
"I think they would be HUGE today," Singh said. "The idea of “paying your fair share” would be especially resonant given the current social climate. And that’s without even looking at the genius of Mike Rotunda & Ted DiBiase. They’re transcendent talents who would be top stars in every era. I’m blessed to get to give back to them in this small way with this story."
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Interview: 'WWE Forever' Writers Talk Razor Ramon, IRS, Million Dollar Man, and More
المصدر: أهم الأخبار - comicbook