"I have been reading your columns and find that I really enjoy an almost daily basis wrestling conversation to read. I am a big fan of wrestling, and you share your opinion plus those of others, which I really enjoy because not many others around me enjoy wrestling that much. You give me things to think about as I wait for Monday, Friday, and those big Sundays. There has to be wrestling every day, and your column fixes this for me, and I am sure a lot of other people."
- Jason, wrestling fan
No stalling today. Let's go!
1. Raw Numbers
The Red Brand managed to fight off the NFL game over on ESPN in decent fashion. Raw averaged just over 4 million viewers on average for the three hours. After a "new WWE Champion" was crowned at Night of Champions, I expected more. At the same time, we know football is on the other channel (ended up with over 14 million viewers). Therefore, a trade off was made. For all the viewers interested, there was that same decrease due to the NFL season in full swing.
2. Smackdown Numbers
...and the confusing television ratings for the Blue Brand continues! Last Friday night saw a big jump from the previous week. Smackdown grabbed over 2.8 million viewers for a 1.96 rating. That was the biggest numbers in over a month. My only guess is that Edge brought in those extra viewers. He has done fairly well when treated as a top star. Maybe his one-time appearance worked? We will see in the coming weeks...
3. Total Divas/Main Event Numbers
Remember when Total Divas was getting 1.3 million viewers? Or 1.5 million viewers? Yeah, I bet WWE remembers those good days as well. Too bad new episodes of the Kardashians are no longer on before Total Divas! On their own, over 500,000 viewers have gone away, bringing them to just about one million viewers. Not too shabby, just not much to celebrate either. As for Main Event, I checked in with TVBTN.com and gathered last week's viewership. Main Event scored 1.27 million viewers. Still hanging in there...
4. Wrestling Twice
Craig via email:
"Just a question on why you have an issue with a wrestler wrestling twice on one show? A few weeks ago when Bryan had a gauntlet match, which is essentially 3 matches, you had no issue. Surely matches like Iron Man matches, HIAC, etc. are far more dangerous than wrestling 2 separate 10 minute matches. Unless the argument is that there's enough superstars for this not to happen and it takes away from another wrestler getting a chance, I really don't see the issue."
Just a personal choice really.
It has more to do with the 'start and stop' nature of getting ready. Doing a lengthy gauntlet match is still one match. Wrestling a brutal Iron Man match or Heck on a Deck war is still one match. Having a ten minute match at 8 o'clock and resting for a few hours...only to do it all over again at the end of the night shouldn't happen. Money in the Bank cashins? Fine. Quick two minute 'matches' to waste time? Okay. Putting in full effort after a long rest break is just asking for an injury. Not just for WWE. Outside of rare day/night double headers in MLB, I don't see NBA/NFL/NHL teams having two games in one day.
I played sports my entire life. From a young age all the way through my schooling, it was always one sport or another. Baseball. Basketball. Soccer. Whatever. Only ONCE, just once, did I have more than one sporting event per day. It was for a basketball tournament (which we ended up getting first place for by the way). We had a game in the afternoon and had to play again in the finals a few hours later. Ridiculous, just ridiculous. Outside of that, it was always one thing a day. Perhaps that is just why I feel this way? Probably just me.
5. Corporate Evolution
Jamie via email:
"After watching Michael Coleís interview with HHH on WWE.com, I'm sold on this angle. First off, I thought this was a great idea at Summerslam, but now it's unfolding fantastically. Daniel Bryan is the new baby face of the WWE and was before Summerslam. Now will he replace Cena? Maybe and maybe not, but WWE has created the first wrestler in a very LONG time where the kids, men, women and IWC will cheer for him. Not even my boy CM Punk had that when he was officially a face or a heel (he got some boos and people cheered for Bryan during their matches in 2012, and he got trashed on the internet). So well done to the WWE on developing the Daniel Bryan character.
The screw job at the end of Summerslam was needed, as I was thinking before the match what are they going to do with Bryan and the momentum he has if he walks away as champion and I thought him chasing would be still be better for him and so did the WWE. Now we have HHH as the evil boss, which is GREAT! Bryan getting beat up each week makes everyone get behind him more and angry at HHH and Orton. But better than that, this angle has tangents to it, Big Show, Ziggler, Miz, Rhodes and The Shield are getting a rub from the angle. So while Bryan gets lifted to another level, he is bringing everyone up with him! The best bit is as a character HHH believes in what he is saying (watch the interview); he is blinded by Ďwhats best for business.í So it makes it believable. HHH still can pull it off. Oh and I got news for the IWC, he isnít stealing the spot light. Orton couldnít pull off the heel turn by himself and needed the extra edge and push for us to really hate him (actually I think the IWC would boo Orton).
I donít want to keep sending you emails about the IWC but guys COME ON! Look at the opportunities that this has! The reason Bryan is getting beat down each week is to build up the heel machine and once it gets to this almost unstoppable level and Bryan beats it, he will get him over more as WWE champion, and he will have an angle to run with (HHH and Orton trying to get the belt off him). This angle is building and building (and its only been three weeks, THREE WEEKS!), and I see all this complaining that WWE donít build angles anymore, but they are now and you are all complaining like little children that this angle is going too long and Bryan getting beaten down is bad blah blah blah. Hey, if youíre going to compare this to the Austin-Vince angle, then remember Austin got beaten down HEAPS.
I guarantee if Bryan had the title right now he and the WWE would NOT know what to do and his run would be worthless, but now he is at the top of the WWE (even without the title). So anyone who is complaining and threatening to stop watching then DO IT and get off these sites cause me and a bunch of other fans are tired of you and we want to enjoy the product without your crying."
Good old style IWC rant there. Instead of ME replying, I will open this up to the readers. If anybody wants to counter these points, please feel free to email me. The link/address is listed at the end of this column.
Brad via email:
"I`ve just finished watching the John Cena: My Life DVD, and I honestly can`t understand how people can say he can`t wrestle. Admittedly, he`s not the greatest wrestler, but neither was Steve Austin (and that's not disrespecting Steve, he`s one of my all time favorites). John`s certainly not one of my all time favorites but every single time he`s out there in the ring, I know I`m going to be entertained. People really need to start appreciating what he does for the business. One more thing: I think the WWE are doing an excellent job with this whole Corporate story line. My friends use to love Triple H; he use to be one of their favorites, but ever since he "sold out" to the corporate world, they`ve literally hated him. Every week, they tune into Monday Night Raw with the anticipation that this might be the night Hunter gets his comeuppance."
Now, let's hope all of that eventually leads to viewers forking over $50 to see it on pay-per-view. So far, the story line is going well. I know WrestleMania XXX is a long way from now, but I am curious to see if WWE can drag this out until then. As for John Cena, I have never seen that DVD, but maybe I should? It seems like something worth watching.
James via email:
"I feel like the "Corporate Evolution" storyline should last at least until WrestleMania. Rumors are that Vince would turn face and have somebody represent him at WrestleMania against HHH or someone representing him kind of like the "Battle of the Billionaires." I, for one, would love to see Undertaker represent Vince and a young upstart heel in Dean Ambrose or "The Beast" Brock Lesnar represent HHH."
Interesting. Just two replies here...
A) Undertaker is not facing Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania XXX. Even having the Dead Man come back for revenge on The Shield is a stretch. Facing off n Smackdown was one thing in April to write him off television. At the 30th Mania and an expected huge PPV buy rate on the line? Not happening. I am fairly confident with that.
B) While Taker is "above" getting dragged into this corporate story line, your scenario does intrigue me with Triple H choosing Brock Lesnar. How ironic. HHH does what kind of damage The Beat can do. Plus, HHH also knows how difficult it is to defeat Taker at WrestleMania. Thus, he calls up Brock to fight for him...interesting.
Not to beat a dead horse, but Undertaker vs. John Cena OR Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar is really the only choices for WWE come WMXXX. All the while, Triple H can face Daniel Bryan or CM Punk in the pay off to the huge corporate story line.
Sartaj via email:
"Do you think the blood/blading stuff is sometimes essential for better storytelling and how about continuing with the chair shots to the skull, but by using specially designed very thin metal chairs that don't hurt?"
They will hurt no matter what kind of metal is used. It is just not worth the risk. I feel the same way about blood. Yeah, the scene at the end of Raw would look viscous if Daniel Bryan was bleeding all over the place and Shield were beating on him. The crowd would be going wild! However, as we saw on Monday night, you don't need to cut your forehead for that kind of reaction anymore. This is not the late 1990's or the ECW Arena. Bryan was getting pummeled for weeks and weeks. When the locker room finally came out to help him, the arena exploded! No blood. No chair shots to the head. Just a well told story...
Now enjoy the next Jim Ross commentate the ending to Monday night's Raw:
9. TNA Impact Wrestling Discussion
My, oh my. Where do I begin? First off, I will NOT be watching Impact this Thursday night. Secondly, there are so many things going on with TNA right now it would be impossible to discuss them all. If any of you really care to send me an email about TNA, please do so. If not, let's start off with Prowrestling.net breaking some news this week:
TNA officials have discussed the idea of pulling the Impact tapings from the road and returning to a single location for the television tapings. Multiple sources report that Las Vegas and Orlando are under the strongest consideration.
Sources feel it's a foregone conclusion that the tapings will eventually move back to a single location, and one source predicted it will occur early next year at the latest. Obviously, this would be a cost cutting measure.
Once again, that was from ProWrestling.net right there. To add to the mess, PWInsider added that Las Vegas would likely not be an option, and all of this may go into effect in February 2014 after their UK Tour.
Wow. This whole "going on the road" experiment sure is going well, huh? It has been six months. Maybe they should go to Monday nights. Or change time slots once again. Or go live every week. Or leave the Impact Zone. Or...or...or whatever other excuse is left to use. I wrote about this at the beginning in 2013. I wrote about it again in March. I touched on it even MORE times during the past few months. If TNA wants to act like the big leagues, this kind of stuff can't happen!
Going on the road and filling up half an arena can only go on for so long. Paying high dollar talent like Hulk Hogan, Sting, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Mickie James, Eric Bischoff and others with no return on investment can only go on for so long. Selling just 1,500 tickets for TV tapings (like they did in St. Louis) can only go on for so long. In other words, spending, spending, spending, spending, spending, spending, and more spending can only go on for so long unless you see profits being made. Clearly, that is not happening with TNA Impact Wrestling.
Now, to the obvious question: What is next?
Well, PWinsider tells us that TNA drew poorly the last time they were in Vegas, so that option is out. WWE has all but taken over Orlando. I can't imagine TNA trying to get near that city anymore. Plus, isn't the actual Impact Zone building now rented out to a different attraction? Hey, it may even become the WWE Hall of Fame structure someday. Think of THAT wild turn of events!
Okay, so what is left?
Nashville? Run an arena there. Maybe some place like OVW twice a month? However, would the venue charge admission? TNA needs to get money SOMEHOW, right? They already cut 8 of their 12 pay-per-view events. Their live event draw terrible numbers. As noted, their TV tapings are not doing much despite all the spending. While this entire scene is going on, contracts are coming due and talent are being asked to take pay cuts. Unbelievable.
The worst part?
Last week, I received some information on my own. As of Tuesday night, NO 'dirt sheet' has reported anything on the matter. Everyone is talking about their television shows going to one location. Everyone is talking about Mickie James. Everyone is talking about Hogan/Bischoff. Everyone is talking about the usual nonsense. Me? The rumor I was told involves none of this. It is even MORE bad news for TNA heading into 2014. I will give the 'dirt sheets' a few days. If there is nothing reported by Friday, I will spill the beans. Until then, keep your eyes open...
10. Ask 411 Wrestling
Just posted! Feel free to check out 411mania.com and my columns there. Enjoy:
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