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Reaction to Raw, Fallout from SummerSlam 2014

I feel bad for Jack Swagger. I’m trying not to be negative when I write wrasslin these days… but honestly I don’t like how guys do jobs, then crowds around the country get behind a guy when he gets booked stronger… then that guy feuds with a guy with more of a long term creative direction. He loses evrytiem. Then he goes back to doing jobs or not appearing on TV at all until people forget about him. Hi Zack Ryder!

Swagger came out and took a clean loss to Cesaro. Who, I’ll remind you, was getting over as a babyface while working heel. Then his direction teased a split with Colter. Then they slapped the Heyman Guy label on him before taking it back. Then he was trying to join The Authority a couple of weeks ago. Forgot about that? Yeah. Anyway… so, to demonstrate “creative has nothing for you, guy” they had Swagger do a job for another guy creative never seems to have any concrete plans for. It stinks.

I’ve found a positive spin on Brock Lesnar as champion and not making many appearances. We’re going to get AJ and Paige main eventing. The IC and US titles will main event. The tag titles will main event. They can do tournaments to determine who Brock kills next. We like tournaments. Grudge matches like Ambrose and Rollins will main event. Speaking of which, I fucking hate falls count anywhere matches that happen mostly in the ring. I understand on the one hand the ring is the safest place to bump, and in terms of crowd heat, having everyone have to watch the match on the tron can be a crowd killer. Again. No point to that stipulation if 90% of the match is going to occur in the ring. THEY WENT FARTHER FROM THE RING IN A MATCH DESIGNED TO KEEP THEM IN THE RING AT ALL TIMES! That complaint aside, it was a highly entertaining match.

Another complaint: is Kane going to help Seth Rollins win EVERY match against Ambrose? These days in WWE you rarely see monster heels like Brock Lesnar, but even rarer than that is the cheat to win heel that does it all by himself. It seems like when a heel is getting that lil extra to win a match, it’s not an eye rake, low blow, grabbing the tights, feet on the ropes etc, it’s always “the numbers game”. Thing about that is… look at what that did for Randy Orton when he feuded with Daniel Bryan. Hell… his whole time on top as champion or fighting for the championship. He may have won one match clean that whole time. WWE seems to overprotect guys like every clean loss just destroys their credibility. While having midlevel guys take mad losses with no story.

Anyway… I’m looking forward to seeing what creative has in lieu of building a main program over the world title. Instantly, just now… it occurred to me you can have a tag title match at Hell in a Cell, in the cell. Minimum of four teams. Say… Usos, Wyatts, Show and Henry and Gold/Stardust. That would be hella interesting. And yeah… I’d expect Henry or Big Show to slam someone through the Cell and an Uso to jump off the top. That’s an idea that’d never occur to me if I thought Lesnar would make all the PPVs, so I can only imagine what the many people that comprise WWE creative can come up with. As much as we shit on them, I’d say they do a decent enough job, as most of us keep watching.

I knew they were gonna go the ‘you always tried to compete with me’ route for Nikki Bella, but it’s still retarded, purely because her logical response to getting beaten up for weeks because her sister had beef… was to help the person that ordered the beatings. Also… AJ and Paige’s program is sooooooo much Trish Stratus = AJ; Paige = Mickie James. For the longest time Mickie was the crazy person obsessed with Trish, then Trish started impersonating her and went over. This is going in that direction. Now AJ loves Paige. And Paige gonna die. I cri. It’s unfortunate that as many Divas exist on the roster, they only get to have one or two programs and you forget the rest of them exist.

Last bit of griping: Why was Rusev’s ankle so hurt but he could explode suddenly and do a wheel kick, or splash etc? Next night, Ziggler’s knee is so hurt but he can do the Zig Zag? Guys gotta adjust their work for the injuries they’re selling like, when Ambrose is selling how hurt his shoulder is, he can’t do Dirty Deeds with that arm, so he does it with the other one. You can sum up all my complaints as: the devil’s in the details.

One Day Later: IMPACT Wrestling On the Move!

Brace yourself...IMPACT Wrestling is moving to a new night near you! | Photo: www.HighTouchMoving.com

Brace yourself…IMPACT Wrestling is moving to a new night near you! | Photo: http://www.HighTouchMoving.com

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 13, 2014) – The Aug. 7 episode of IMPACT WRESTLING, TNA’s flagship program airing Thursday nights at 9/8c on Spike TV, drew 1.6 million viewers (P2+, +3 Rating), the largest audience since mid-February of this year. The episode was also up against six nationally or regionally televised NFL pre-season games, the first of the NFL season.

Historically, IMPACT WRESTLING ratings are highest during Q1, however in Q3 2014, IMPACT WRESTLING has experienced a steady increase in total viewership and key demos that are exceeding ratings from Q1 2014, and rivaling Q1 ratings from previous years. To date, Q3 2014 ratings have attracted more viewers in the highly sought after Men 18-34 demo since Q1 2012, and the highest ratings for P2+, P 18-49 and Men 18-49 since Q1 2013.

This was the headline touted by associates and fans alike who boasted proudly of IMPACT Wrestling’s recent ratings success during the past month.  For at least one whole week, a wrestling fan would have to have been living under a rock to have not been privvy in some way, form, or fashion to this blockbuster news.  With so much negative press surrouding the company and the rumored demise of its television deal with Spike, it was quite spectacular to hear that TNA’s New York tapings were garnering more viewers than they have in the past five months, but also that they were absolutely smoking the stiff competition (FOOTBALL!!!) they faced on Thursday nights a 9PM Eastern, 8PM Central Standard Time.

And then this happened:

Photo: ImpactWrestling.com

Photo: ImpactWrestling.com

Speculation on both sides of the argument (pro-TNA or anti-TNA) ran rampant on why such a decision was made.  Some suggested that the mere thought of WWE moving its B-show Smackdown back to Thursday nights caused TNA to preemptively relocate their flagship program in order to avoid another sound thrashing from the world’s most prominent wrestling promotion, while others countered that the move is reflective of the recent ratings success and the possibility that Spike has indeed renewed the promotion’s contract.  Unfortunately at this time, neither one of those things can be proven as a fact or reality.

Through the very words of their president, TNA has given us some insight as to why this move is happening.  Per TNA President Dixie Carter via ImpactWrestling.com,

 “Moving IMPACT WRESTLING to Wednesday nights gives existing fans and new viewers an opportunity to enjoy both wrestling and live sports even more throughout the week.”

That makes sense; IMPACT Wrestling was moved to Wednesday nights so existing fans and new viewers (not fans; those are two different demographics, trust me) will have the opportunity or option to enjoy wrestling AND live sports … i.e. THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL!!!  This is very considerate of the minds in charge at TNA headquarters; to actually think about fans and viewers in order to provide them with a product that allows them to watch both wrestling and football is something that TNA’s competition would probably never ever do.

But one can’t help but to point out the massive pink elephant in the room … if TNA enjoyed so much ratings success on Thursday nights, consideration be damned why in the hell are they moving the program to Wednesday nights?!?!

That’s just it: at this crucial moment in time where “negotiations are ongoing”*, TNA cannot stand to lose any viewers if they are lobbying, through United Talent Agency, to renew their deal with Spike or land a new deal with another network, especially if their leverage lies within the fact that they can get and maintain 1.6 million viewers (and not fans) per week between now and late September.  It would clearly be suicidal in regards to landing a new television deal to keep the show up against football and its much more rabid fan base.

The risk in this move, however, lies in whether or not the 1.6 million viewers from last Thursday’s episode of Impact Wrestling, and the 1.4 million viewers they get consistently, will make that move with IMPACT Wrestling from Thursday to Wednesday nights.  We always assume that people will make those types of moves easily, but we cannot assume or speak on the viewing habits of 1.4 – 1.6 million people; just because we may make that move doesn’t mean that all of us will be easily inclined to do so as well.

Also, given that one climactic moment from last week served as the hook for the episode, how sure are we that those same 1.6 million people tuned in last night and will also tune in next week without some sort of major or landmark hook?  TNA has to ride the momentum of last week’s show into next week on a completely different night, and I’m hopeful that the suits on their executive board know way more than us fans about the competition they face on Wednesday nights; let’s hope that those same 200,000 new viewers from last Thursday are not preoccupied with other shows or events on their Wednesday nights.

Quick comparison as an example: when WWE launched the WWE Network, they promised stock holders and tons of other folks that they expected to get 1 million subscribers by the end of the year in order to recoup the money dumped into the project.  It was only a month or so ago that they reached 700,000+ subscribers, also accounting for those that initially subscribed and eventually dropped the network.  With hundreds of thousands of hours of content on the Network, as well as the ability to view each monthly pay per view as a part of the $9.99 package, it shouldn’t have been a problem for WWE to land 1 million subscriptions seeing as their viewership for RAW alone always teeters between 3.5 and 4+ million viewers, good or bad episode.  Extra incentives and shameless plugging can’t get them to 1 million subscriptions; are we that positive that the viewers will just simply flock to Wednesday nights?  Fans will watch the show no matter what night it comes on, but viewers are fickle and one is justified in believing that TNA can expect at least 100,000 viewers to drop from the move alone.  The WWE Network subscription numbers show us that “fans” pale in comparison to “viewers,” and I for one am not too sure that all of IMPACT Wrestling’s “viewers” will readily shift to a new night and time in a week.

All in all TNA is once again stuck in a seemingly unenviable position: the move to Wednesdays frees them from facing the competition of live sporting events, but at the same time there’s no solid proof (that we’re privvy to) that says they will keep their numbers by moving to a new day.  It is confusing as a fan to celebrate the success of their first set of New York City tapings by moving the show to a whole ‘nother night.  But, it is what it is.  As was stated before, we can only hope the fans will follow along … because it just seems as if TNA can only go up from where they are now.

 

*Has anyone else noticed that when commenting on the situation between TNA and Spike, the only thing being said by anyone – including the wrestlers – is that “negotiations are continuing”?  I get that it’s standard given there situation, and even the most legal thing they can comment about it, but it just seems weird that they have to add that phrase “negotiations are continuing” verbatim to their responses about the future of the promotion instead of simply saying, “I have know idea of what you’re talking about.”  But I guess if they said that, THAT could be used against them by detractors as well.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t … 

 

 

Two Weeks

I’m tired of WWE trying shit for two motherfucking weeks. That, just might could be why most of the roster can’t get over. We all speculated that Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E were forming a new Nation of Domination. Maybe they wouldn’t call it that. But… Xavier Woods didn’t have shit else to do. Kofi is jobber to the stars. Big E is… there. And now we should just forget it ever happened.

Remember when WWE built up Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatt Family for months… then he turned on them after two weeks and then everyone was happy? I still go back to that point and say they should have stayed with that. That story was never really about Bryan being a heel, and the Wyatts have always been cool heels from the jump. It was just easy for people such as myself to bitch that WWE didn’t want Bryan over as a face so they turned him heel to dampen his heat. And I FIRMLY, to this DAY believe that was partially why it happened. And this is confirmed by the fact that they undid the shit in two. weeks. Because the Yes Chant was going mainstream.

That sort of booking is… short sighted as fuck. Haven’t seen Xavier Woods on TV in about two weeks. Big E and Kofi still being enhancement talent to the stars. But let’s have a moment of silence for that two weeks before where we thought, maybe, just maybe WWE was gonna give a bunch of black dudes a push.

Ok that was enough.

The problem with WWE is they refuse to acknowledge this is WRASSLIN. They gotta try to do lame comedy with midgets and dancing gimmicks, who or whatever Sandow dresses up as (which was cool a month or two ago, but now… it’s just clear he’s purely there to do jobs) and so on and so forth. It would be visionary and revolutionary if Sandow started cutting promos about being fed up. Hey remember those weeks… where he WAS that guy? LOL. Fandango gonna just keep losing matches cuz his old hoes dance outside the ring. This is not entertainment.

I watch SmackDown every week and *USUALLY* come away from it thinking it flowed better and told a better story than anything that happened on Raw. And that may or may not be because they aren’t thinking and overthinking every aspect of every angle. It just FEELS like less time is spent on the b show and it bees better because of that. I am consistent with my complaining. I just want to see this shit make sense and tell me a simple story.

Last episode of SmackDown was mostly about the feud between Ambrose and Rollins. Ziggler was there to be enhancement talent for Rollins. Orton was there to do The Authority’s dirty work. Then Rollins caused a DQ and left him laying. My only complaint here was… a lumberjack match? Ambrose COULD have made this a MITB ladder match, or a match for MITB. Also… no mention was made of how, you know, Ambrose tore up the contract, so either Rollins is no longer Mr MITB or he got a new one, or whatever. These little continuity things matter. WWE slacks on the small details. Which sucks for a company so vaunted for its production values.

Best thing that happened on Raw was Stephanie dropping the Bellas with superior Pedigrees to the ones her husband does. Glad to see Paige getting some character development. That we should all forget about when her time in the main event picture is done. Hi Alicia Fox! Maybe WWE will stop dropping angles if they stop trying to be all things to all people. But they can’t stop. Won’t stop. Uh uh.

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