WWE vs The Investors

WWE Stock has been on a downward spiral.  WWE’s Stock went down by 40% this week.  It was also reported that Vince McMahon was no longer in billionaire status after losing $340 million in one day.   That’s about a third of his own fortune that is now up in smoke.  This is all following the announcement of WWE’s new deal with NBC Universal.  Bottom line is that the WWE’s investors are not happy.  In fact, it may be a safe bet to go as far as to say that the WWE’s investors are pissed.

Lemelson Capital is calling for the removal of WWE’s Executive Team or even the selling of the WWE itself and it all ties in with the Network.  Lemelson has asked the board of directors for the removal of their executive team following what they called a period of consistent losses as well as WWE’s inability of explaining or promoting of the WWE network and the feeling that the company can lose between $45 to $52 million this year. Lemelson has gone as far as to refer to what’s been going on with WWE as ““material misrepresentations by the company about both performance and operating profit model of its WWE Network, which the company has wrongly labeled a ‘home run.’”

In other words, the WWE lied to the investors.  Vince McMahon lied to the investors or at the very least, tip-toed around telling the investors the complete truth.  I’m not going to be one of those people that are saying this is the downfall of the WWE or the demise of the WWE because it isn’t.  It does go without saying that this is a very bad situation.  Vince McMahon may see himself as invincible after beating  the steroid allegations and even toppling WCW, but the fact is that this is not scripted wrestling and this is not some storyline he cooked up.  It’s the financial world, it’s Wall Street and that is a world that is “Kill or be killed” and “Survival of the Fittest” and it will eat you alive if you’re not careful.  In that world, no matter how rich or poor you are, all are accountable in it and that includes somebody like Vince McMahon.

WWE is trying to think of the long term for the WWE Network and they have a set plan in mind for the long term but only if the set number of subscribers are met.  The key word being “If” because right now, the WWE Network’s subscribers has not even surpassed a million.  It hasn’t even broken 700,000 and it needs that number and 700,000 more because WWE is without PPV revenue now and that’s a good amount of cash that WWE has relied on for some time and they no longer have the ability to rely on.

So, to sum it all up with the WWE’s situation right now.  They promised to have a million subscribers after the launch of the WWE Network, they don’t have it.   They promised to have a new and bigger TV deal, they don’t because their new deal is just the same old song and dance they had before.  What they do have is empty promises that they couldn’t fulfill and goals that they failed to meet.  It’s no wonder why the investors feel lied to and are pissed off.  It would be one thing if this was just Vince McMahon’s money alone, but now you have investors involved in this and it’s their money that is being gambled with here.

A lot of people said that the WWE was in over their heads with the WWE Network and I was one of those people and what’s going on right now is exactly one of those reasons why.  The Network is designed for the hardcore fans and die-hard fans, but with wrestling the way it is these days and facing an uncertain future, who knows how many of those are really left anymore.  The future of pro wrestling is hard to predict right now.  Extreme Rising pulled the plug and TNA with Dixie Carter’s bad decisions, stiffing her staff of their paycheck, and an continuously shrinking roster, are just delaying the inevitable.  Ring Of Honor is on stable ground due to the amount of baby steps that they take and their new deal with New Japan which seems to be working out for them.

WWE and even Vince McMahon himself have simply bitten off more than they can chew.  It’s hard to imagine that they took into consideration the costs of the network and what it would take for it to be successful.  I’m not calling the WWE Network a failure, but it’s definitely failing.   Vince may have been able to overcome a lot over the years, but at age 68 and investors that are pissed off because they feel he’s treating their money as if it were Monopoly money, there is a lot of damage control to be done come the meeting with the investors.  When the smoke clears, it’s gonna come down to how this is gonna effect the current product itself, much like we all pondered the when the network was announced.

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Dixie Carter: Spoiled Rich Brat of Wrestling

This past week, we saw AJ Styles pipe bomb on TNA and especially towards Dixie Carter. Then we saw Dixie Carter show her true colors as a spoiled rich brat mooching off of daddy and trying to act as though she actually knows what she’s doing when the truth is Dixie that you don’t know shit about pro wrestling. Jerry Jarrett in an interview had some interesting things to say about the state of TNA. Here’s what he had to say regarding Dixie “background” on Inside The Ropes “Let’s Get Creative” show:

“You’ve got to have an unabiding respect for the business or it’s impossible to be successful. When I was in the wrestling business, me and the wrestling business were intertwined. I ate it, slept it, dreamt it. The wrestling business was my mistress. Dixie saw her first match after she had ownership, I think and I know for a fact she has little regard for the tradition or the history of the business. So, if you don’t know what brought you to the dance, how are you supposed to learn from it and build on it. After all this years, it’s pretty obvious that I’m right. TNA today is as closed to being a non factor in the business as you can get.”

And regarding TNA’s future:

“I am amazed, because when I was there, Bob Carter called me at least two to three times a week and said “I can’t lose any more money, Jerry” and I said, “You’re needing to talk to your daughter, not to me. She’s running the place.” So I’m amazed that they are in business. I think at this point, it’safe to say that TNA will continue to be subsidized by Bob Carter until he dies. Then I think TNA will go the way of ECW and the territory days.”

Now what does what Jarrett and what AJ said on Impact have in common? Not one bit of what they said wasn’t true. When I watched TNA the first time I got to bear witness to the likes of Low Ki, Amazing Red, Petey Williams, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, Samoa Joe, Alex Shelley, in short I witnessed the future. I witnessed the X-Division. I witnessed what TNA banked on as their crown jewel. The X-Division, Ultimate X, The Six Sided Ring, the Six Sides of Steel, the King of the Mountain match. I witnessed TNA when it wasn’t trying to be everybody else. I witnessed TNA when it was trying to be something different. But no, Dixie Carter couldn’t have that. She couldn’t stand that. She didn’t want to stand out. She wanted to be amongst the boys. And instead, she brings in Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Ken Anderson, Scott Steiner, Matt Hardy, Sting, all the guys that either left WWE, never went to WWE after WCW went under, or that WWE threw away. And that wasn’t enough. You brought in Bruce Pritchard. Vince Russo and finally you brought in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. You brought them in hoping they knew what to do. And yet everything you had them try failed.

Went head to head with WWE on Monday Night: Failed

Taking Impact on the Road: Failed.

Making Jeff Hardy the face of the company: Failed.

One Night Only PPVs: Failed

Having a ramp way like old WCW: Failed

The “spend money to make money” approach: Failed

Making sure the talent was paid on time and that contracts were being kept track of: Failed, Failed, oh god almighty Epic Freaking Failed!!!!!

And what did it cost you? What was sacrificed?

The six sided ring, Six sides of Steel, King of The Mountain, Jeff Jarrett, Petey Williams, Sonjay Dutt, Jay Lethal, Amazing Red, the old impact stage, the Impact Zone, the X-Division, the tag team division, the knockouts.

And for who? For what? For Bischoff? For Hogan? Your stupid Twitter account? Or maybe you just thought Dixie “it’s okay, daddy will fix it?”

Truth is Dixie is that without the X-Division, TNA dies. Without guys like AJ Styles, TNA dies. And I know some people disagree with me but I don’t give a rats ass because I’m still gonna say that. And can’t remember the last time that AJ Styles had a 5 star match? You obviously didn’t watch when he took on Austin Aries last week. And marketing gimmick you created? Horseshit. You know why he’s the Phenomenal AJ Styles? Because he claimed to be and when we questioned why, he backed it up. He showed exactly why he is and he earned it every damn time. And since you were so apologetic Dixie, I’m sorry too. I’m sorry that I ever complained about Jeff Jarrett because that company was in way better hands with him, his father and Dutch Mantel. Yeah I said it. I would have much rather Jeff Jarrett stayed as the top heel and was always getting the belt cause at least he knew what the fuck he was doing. Yeah Eric Bischoff created the NWO but what has he done lately? When was the last time he came up with a good idea? He hasn’t come up with shit in almost 20 years. Hulk Hogan contributes absolutely dick and can barely walk to the ring much less wrestle and the only one who did less and contributed less than him was his daughter Brooke.

And now you’re so in over your head you can’t afford to pay the people you have on the roster on time. You got everybody worried from the wrestlers to the referees to the production crew all the way to the guys that put the cheese on the nachos worried about if they’re gonna their paycheck a month or two late. Ric Flair on Stone Cold’s podcast believed the end is near. Jerry Jarrett believes that as well. It’s to the the point Dixie where all can see it but you. You’re no innovator or aviator or any of those things. You’re just the spoiled brat that got everything she wanted from her daddy. You didn’t even care what it was or what it did. You just pointed your finger and said “Daddy I want that. Buy it for me. Now. And I want another pony too.” It’s being reported that the segment with Dixie and AJ was a sign of creative change for TNA. I call it more like a last resort. Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo and Hulk Hogan are known and will be known for crippling WCW to the point of oblivion. The blood of WCW is on their hands. The end comes for TNA, the blood of that company will be on the hands of Dixie Carter and no amount of Poppa Bob Carter’s money is going wash that away.

Hulk Hogan: How Exactly Has He Helped TNA?

The more things change, the more they seem to stay exactly the same.  In this case, I’m talking about Hulk Hogan and his inability to not give himself a filter when it comes to running his mouth.  So according to an interview that Hogan did with a newspaper in the United Kingdom, he said about Dixie Carter the following:

“Is Dixie Carter really in the wrestling business, or is this just a hobby? You either run with the big dogs….Or stay on the porch.”

Now, here’s where the hypothetical comes in.  If this was WWE and not TNA and it was Vince in charge and not Dixie Carter, then anybody that said this would be fired faster than you can say Bruno Sammartino.  However, reality setting back in here, we have to remember that one difference between Vince and Dixie is that Vince is not afraid of being a bastard, or of being cold-blooded. It’s unfortunately the one thing that Dixie Carter has yet to learn or embrace in the wrestling business in that sometimes you have to be cold-blooded and vindictive because when you don’t, you’re just a doormat and you’re letting the inmates run the asylum.  In this case, it’s not so much the inmates that are running the asylum in TNA.  It’s only one inmate in particular and that unfortunately is Hogan.  Not just Hogan himself but his entourage as well.  Where Hogan goes, his groupies follow and by groupies I mean Eric Bischoff, Bubba the Love Sponge at one point, The Nasty Boys, Bischoff’s talentless schlub of a son, and more recently Brooke Hogan. Hell, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if they add in Brutus Beefcake and Hogan’s spoiled snot of a son onto Impact.

Here’s a recap for you Dixie.  Since Hogan has come in, the following has happened with TNA:  The ring that separated your product from the others was taken away, the cage match that went so perfectly well with that ring is gone, matches that were made for TNA such Ultimate X, Elevation X and King of the Mountain have pretty much become extinct. Guys have been in the company and proven they can be stars in AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, James Storm, Samoa Joe and others are pushed to the way side for WWE Table-Scraps with the blind hope of making them something bigger, something that never happened (Bobby Lashley, Mr Anderson, The Pope) and the X-Division has become nothing more than a memory as well as the Tag Team division.  In other words Dixie, You let desecrate and pillage your own product. And for who? For what? Kevin Nash said when criticizing Aces & Eights that history repeats itself.  Looking at TNA, history has already been repeating itself because right now, you’re looking at Hogan & Bischoff bleeding another company dry.  And no, WCW wasn’t killed by the AOL/Time Warner deal, all that deal did was put WCW out of its misery.  So the million dollar question here is will Dixie Carter do as the Briscoes say and “Man Up” or is she simply waiting for something to put TNA out of its misery? All for the mistake she could’ve avoided by bringing in the guy responsible for making TNA and the very meaning of the word “Impact” disappear.

 

Nature of the Beast

I’m nearing 2 years that I’ve been doing this for whether it’s on PW Journal, my own blog or on the podcast show.  I’ve come to learn something when it comes to the nature of the beast.  A few days ago, I had a little bit of a spat between myself and former ECW alum/WWE wrestler and announcer/current TNA announcer in Taz.  I had said on my Twitter account that Taz’s commentary since his heel turn and joining Aces & Eights has become painful, even Michael Cole painful. Needless to say, Taz didn’t take too kindly to it as he replied with telling me to mute the TV, in follow him (guessing he meant unfollow) and to go jump in a lake.

Now, am I writing this as an attempt to attack back? No.  Reason why?  When you become an editorialist on a blog and/or podcast, you accept certain outcomes will more likely happen.  One is that you’ll have a greater chance at people disagreeing with you than agreeing with you. Hell, you’ll probably piss off a lot of them too.  The other outcome you accept is that you’ll likely make more enemies along the way than you will friends. You accept that when writing your opinions or broadcasting them is what you want to do.

My track record as it stands in the 2 years I’ve been doing this for:  I’ve traded words with other writers.  Hell, one of them still thinks I’m an asshole for calling him out on his journalistic credibility and sounding off on another writer. I’ve pissed off a promoter for him getting me an interview and failing to mention his indy promotion and pretty sure I pissed off that wrestler I interviewed for the same reason. I’ve sounded off on another specific topic and pissed off a podcaster whose show I used to call in on, so I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m a dick.  And now, you can add pissing off a retired wrestler/current announcer to that list.

So, am I writing this as an admission of guilt or regret? No. Am I writing this as an apology? No.  Am I writing this as an admission of pride and saying I’m proud of it? Of course not.  I’m simply saying that I’ve come to understand and accept the nature of the beast as described.  Because I also remember that when I said I was going to do my blog and what I do on my podcast, I was going to do it my way and wouldn’t settle for anything less.  I speak as a wrestling fan because that’s simply what I am is a wrestling fan.  I don’t do what I do on here or on my show as anything less than that.  So the whole point in what I’m saying here and this goes to others like myself, B-Dub Brian Waters, Dwayne Allen, Riley Ross, Mayer Nation and others.  We are wrestling fans. This is who we are and this is what we do when we talk wrestling.

 

What Does “Best In The World” Mean?

Certain titles and names have been thrown around a lot over the years in the world of pro wrestling.  One of them is the title of “Best in the World.”  Chris Jericho calls himself the best in the world at what he does.  Bryan Danielson aka Daniel Bryan called himself that and the fans in ROH and the indies chanted that when he came out.  Davey Richards has been called that and CM Punk even calls himself that.  He even sports it on his shirts.

So the point of this pipe bomb, who exactly IS the best in the world or better yet, what does the term even mean? From my standpoint, the term “Best in the World” represented a certain group of wrestlers and not just one individual.  To me, it represented a new breed on the rise and that includes the likes of guys like Kevin Steen, Bryan Danielson, Michael Elgin, Roderick Strong, Adam Cole, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, El Generico, Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero, Eddie Edwards, Tyler Black, Dolph Ziggler, and the list goes on and on.  The very definition of what defined the best world has changed.  Back in the days of guys like Ernie Ladd, Gorilla Monsoon, Freddy Blassie and Bruno Sammartino, it was the bigger the better and getting the crowd to cheer you or hate you.  Then the next generation came where you had guys like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Sting, Ric Flair and then past that to The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and others in creating figures that were larger than life.

Now, we have the guys that I mentioned earlier as part of the new breed who do moves that defy belief and put on matches that leave the crowd chanting “that was awesome” or “we want more” adding a new element of athleticism to the dynamic of pro wrestling.  You can make an argument over who is the best in the world and the answers will always differ but despite the rules of the game being changed, one rule that is etched in stone no matter the changing eras is putting on a show for the fans, to entertain.  Even if some places have forgotten how to do that.

Top Ten Finishing Moves

I decided to come up with my now top ten list of finishing/signature moves.  I graded these moves as I will explain for each of them based on style, impact, and history regarding the moves. I went with the moves that I felt were the most meaningful and personal favorites and not all time favorite moves.  So without further delay, here’s The Shark’s Top 10 Finishing moves.

10.) The 3-D/Dudley Death Drop (The Dudley Boyz) : To this day, the fact that there have only been two people to actually kick out of this move shows you something.  When the move debuted in ECW, it was considered as devastating as an F-5.  It was known for several things in its history such as breaking up The Eliminators, breaking up The Gangstas, putting the Sandman in the hospital, putting Beulah out of wrestling, and the fact that Chris Sabin and Masato Tanaka have been the only guys to ever kick out of that move, just shows how much of an impact that move has made in wrestling considering that except for those two guys, everybody else who was hit with that move was down for the count.

9.) Sweet Chin Music/Superkick (Shawn Michaels) : The very sound you hear when that move just cracks against somebody’s head, you’d expect the head to go flying off. Look at Bret vs Shawn at Mania where we saw HBK take an announcer out with that move outside the ring. Yeah it’s not really a new move, but the fact that we’ve seen HBK make the crowd ooh and ahh over every single time he has connected with that move says something.

8.) Doomsday Device (Legion of Doom/Road Warriors, The Briscoes)- Let’s face it, LOD were the ones that got the ball rolling with that move. But the fact remains that the legacy among that move being used in Tag Team wrestling is carried on by The Briscoes.  Whether it’s using the springboard method like Mark Briscoe used to do or just going with the traditional, the fact is the move still works and still wows the crowd.

7.) The Spiral Tap (AJ Styles)- The first X-Division championship match, we saw AJ Styles beat Jerry Lynn with that move.  The timing and the precision use gave us a glimpse as to what AJ Styles was capable of in the ring and how he earned the title of “The Phenomenal One.”   You don’t see many guys pull off that move and that just kinda adds to the ability of one AJ Styles.

6.) The Diamond Cutter/RKO (Diamond Dallas Page, Randy Orton)- Randy Orton has made a habit with the RKO to hit that move from any point, any position and any time and he’s made it work because it does do its job in dazzling the crowd when he pulls off that move. But DDP was the one that kickstarted that with the move.  He was wowing people with that move on Nitro long before the move came to be in the WWE.  DDP always said that when it came to the Diamond Cutter, you never saw it coming.  He was good at pulling that off just as Orton is now with the RKO.  But no matter who owns that move or what name its had, it has laid out plenty.

5.) The 630 Splash (Jack Evans)- To this day, I’ve only seen Jack Evans pull off this move.  It was one of the things that made me take notice when Wrestling Society X debuted on MTV.  I’ve seen both the normal version and the Phoenix 630 Splash and much like with the Spiral Tap, the amount of timing to get the move to look right takes skill.  Not enough spinning, it just looks like a 450 Splash and that move is hard enough, but the guy pulls off the right amount of spins like it is second nature to him, is just talent.

4.) The Top Rope Brainbuster (El Generico)- I’ve seen this move and every time I see the move, I keep wounding how the hell somebody’s neck hasn’t snapped from doing that move.  A Brainbuster is dangerous enough as is, but you’re dropping the guy’s head on the top turnbuckle for god’s sake.  The only thing that has amazed me more than that move is that guys are still walking after it’s done.

3.) The Muscle Buster (Samoa Joe)- There have been people that gotten out of submission moves, especially from Samoa Joe but very few if any have been able to kick out of the Muscle Buster. The Muscle Buster has been one of those things that just add to why Samoa Joe is as good as he is.  There is risk with the move as the wrong landing could seriously cripple somebody, but last I checked, whenever Joe has gone with the pinfall option as opposed to submission following the Muscle Buster, very few people if any have kicked out of it.

2.) Canadian Destroyer (Petey Williams)- Yet another move that I’ve very rarely seen people kick out of and there is plenty of risk with that move just as there is for any piledriver. The speed and timing of the move is key and I remembered when WWE tried to have Trevor Murdoch do the move and bombed at it, just shows that there are only certain people that can do that move the right way. The only person I’ve seen do the move or a variation of it is Teddy Hart when he did the Double Arm hook-up first and then the move.

1.) The Package Piledriver (Kevin Steen)-  The reason that this move gets the top spot is one word: variation.  Steen has done the move in the ring, on a chair (flattened and folded out), on tables, on both chairs (folded or otherwise) on top of a table, off the top rope and off the ring apron onto the outside.  And the move looks brutal every single time he does it.  The way is move is done is one thing, but the style in which Steen uses that keeps the move looking fresh, new, and an impact maker to the point where every time he does the move, you don’t think the guy is getting up and in the rare occurrence where you see the opponent, it adds to the drama as you are left wondering how the hell that person kicked out. For that reason among every other, that is why the Package Piledriver stands above the rest.

What Does the Title of “Icon” Even Mean Anymore?

There has been a lot of talk about where or not Sting is an icon.  Wrestlezone’s own and also member of the bleacher report Justin LaBar has gone as far as to say that Sting is not an icon and that somehow indicates that the fact that Sting has not been part of the WWE is what is keeping him from truly being one.  You know before WCW went under, there was a point where WCW was good and was watchable.  There was a time when a 3 Hour WCW show wasn’t called Monday Nitro, it was called Clash of the Champions and it was done once a month except on the months when a PPV was taking place. At the time, that was the closest thing to WCW having monthly PPVs and they were doing it before WWE/WWF did.  And long before Hulk Hogan showed up in WCW, there were two things that were always at the top of the mountain top in WCW and that was Ric Flair and Sting.

Sting was the top baby face in WCW and was the considered by many to be franchise and the flagship of WCW.  The difference between Sting and Hogan was that Hogan had his spot in WCW handed to him on a silver platter while Sting worked his way up to earn it and had no problems holding the title belts that were below the World Title picture such as the tag team titles, TV Title and the U.S. Title. When did you ever see Hogan where either of those belts during his time in WCW? Sting didn’t have a problem with that because he was about doing what was best for that company.  Sting carried that company on his back to the end and when WCW was bought out,  the WWE acquired a lot of the names from WCW but the only one that they couldn’t acquire no matter how much money they tossed to him was Sting. Yeah, Sting ended up going to TNA eventually, but prior to that, the guy was happy with having a life outside of wrestling.

Last year there was all the talk about whether Sting would go to the WWE and be the one to take on The Undertaker at Wrestlemania.  Sting didn’t do that and ended up re-joining TNA.  Now, here’s the big question. Since WHEN does going to the WWE have to the deciding factor of whether or not a certain wrestler is an icon? Jerry Lawler is still hailed as the icon and pretty much a god in Memphis for his contributions to the sport.  Bret Hart is still considered an icon for his contributions to technical wrestling as many compare technical wrestlers to him. So why is Sting not worthy of being called an icon?  Much like Tommy Dreamer was called the Heart and Soul of ECW or Bryan Danielson was called the Heart and Soul of Ring of Honor, Sting was the Heart and Soul and everything else that there was for WCW.

You’re not called an icon in wrestling just because of where you were. You’re called that because of what you’ve contributed to the name of pro wrestling.  In WCW, you had 3 names that came to mind when it was in it’s purest state. Those three names were Ric Flair, The Four Horsemen and Sting.  Hulk Hogan for better or worse is called an icon but people remember most when he was WWE/WWF and not WCW. For the most part, a lot of people have and myself included linked Hogan’s stint in WCW being one of the things that lead to its downfall. Bottom line is, Sting did more for that one company all the way until the end than anyone else did.  That alone is what makes him an icon.  Is he THE icon as in the one that is at the top of the mountain? Probably not, but his contributions to wrestling are more than enough to make him an icon.