The Reflections of a Frustrated Wrestling Fan.

I’ve been watching wrestling since I was five years old. I had nobody in my family that liked it before me, I was the first. Talking about wrestling on podcasts and writing about it, that’s been going on for me for four-five years.  Some people were inspirations to me in regard to how they talked about wrestling. Roddy Piper who may not have been the best wrestler, he was a maestro when it came to the microphone. Jim Cornette is often haled as one of the best managers in wrestling history and also was a great talker. I was always inspired by his “my opinion” segments he used to do. But as good at being talkers as they were, both have their flaws. Roddy Piper nowadays is not as good as in the past whenever he’s on WWE TV to do a segment. Look at the last few times that WWE has had him do a “Piper’s Pit” segment.

All due respect to Roddy Piper, but the guy’s words now sound as slurred as a drunk guy on a bender on St. Patrick’s Day.  As for Jim Cornette as much as his criticisms about wrestling are accurate, he’s unfortunately the kind of guy that if he had his way, wrestling would never have changed. It would still be as it was in the days of Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat at their prime or even the days of Bruno Sammartino.

Unfortunately we are in a time where generations collide and it’s got nothing to do with either the attitude era or ruthless aggression or even the PG era. It’s got to do with generations of wrestling fans. The generation that thinks that things are fine as is and that the WWE is a well oiled machine with a large abundance of life left in it. Then you have the generation that saw the ruthless aggression and attitude eras and the Monday night wars and where that left that generation is seeing that the innovation and evolution in pro wrestling was in fact possible.

Unfortunately that generation is the only one who sees that as possible and that hope has taken hits by the WWE putting the promotion in park and lifted up the emergency break. Nothing is accomplished when moving backwards or standing still, as it’s all about moving forward. All the gripes about the WWE is that it’s standing still. Why? Because they don’t know what their identity is anymore and they’re now trying to compete with everyone except they don’t know how.
Easy answer, you can’t compete against everyone. It’s a winless situation.

Pro wrestling will always have a place but it will never be more mainstream than things such as the NFL and UFC is a good dozen or two country miles ahead of WWE.  What is the answer for the WWE? I don’t have a clue. But then again, neither do they. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad

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Worse Than It Ever Was, Worse Than It Ever Was

The WWE right now STINKS!!!!!  The wrestling business has seen better days.  TNA as it stands right now faces a questionable future.  But I’m not gonna talk about every promotion or the state of the wrestling business itself.  I’m just gonna talk about the WWE and how bad a shape it’s really in.  People are calling Survivor Series “PPV of The Year” all because of Sting’s debut.

Let’s get something straight here about Sting.  Sting’s debut on PPV and showing up in a WWE ring was monumental.  Sting facing off with Triple H and eventually laying him out was epic.  Needless to say, having Sting debut at Survivor Series was a brilliant move.  Of course, that now begs the question as to how the same people who acted so brilliantly in having Sting at the PPV could be the same people who were so stupid as to not have Sting on Raw the following night.

I hadn’t watched Raw in 4 months because of below par programming mixed with tired and/or recycled storylines.  The following night on Raw had one job to do and it failed miserably at performing that task. That task was to be the follow-up to not only the arrival of Sting, but Dolph Ziggler closing out the main event as the sole survivor and winner for his team.  Sting was nowhere to be found and the only thing we got out of Dolph Ziggler was he’s in the main event teaming with John Cena against Seth Rollins, Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury.  For both Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler (I’m leaving John Cena because he’s already established himself), I don’t see how either guy benefits from this and what in the bluest of blue HELLS is Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury doing in a main event other than making themselves and Seth Rollins look like the worst trio to be seen on Raw since The Three Stooges.

One good move since he’s still hurt, was having Daniel Bryan show up and be in charge.  It would’ve been a better move to have him just be in charge until he’s healed so his presence can remain in tact.   But we don’t get that either because apart from we only saw the guy for mostly an hour and a half of those three painful hours, we hear the infamous and ever annoying chime of the laptop of the Anonymous Raw General Manager complete with the podium and Michael Cole getting on the microphone and reading “an email” from the GM.  Funny how WWE seems to forget that they pulled off the reveal that the GM was Hornswoggle just to put that angle out its misery as well ours.   Now we’re back to this all over again with everybody asking the question “Why?”

This is the worst that the WWE has ever been.  For months and even longer, all we have seen from the WWE has been laziness, predictability, constant recycled storylines and inconsistency all around from their own product.  They spend so much time trying to plug their network that they forget that the network is an extension of their product and that their product stinks.  WWE spends all their time and energy treating the PPVs, Raw and Smackdown like an infomercial and they don’t even know what they’re selling anymore.

One constant quote I’ve heard is how there’s more people who used to watch pro wrestling than there are people who still do.  I don’t know about pro wrestling in general but I know there are probably more people who used to watch WWE than people who still watch it.  I can proudly admit to being one of them and after all the garbage they’ve produced to have them go back to one of their biggest failures that is the Anonymous Raw General Manager, I’m not watching and not looking back. I’m no longer rooting for things to get better for the WWE and no longer expecting them to get better.  Now I’m to the point where I can say that all I want for the WWE is to crash and burn.  I want the WWE to fail more miserably than a Linda McMahon election campaign.  WWE looks at themselves like they’re the kings of pro wrestling.  It’s about time for those so-called kings to be dethroned.

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.

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.

 

At the Royal Rumble, The Rock Needs To Win the WWE Championship

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Okay, the Royal Rumble is tonight.  There are a few thoughts that I have leading into the PPV tonight.  One is that The Rock vs CM Punk should be the match to close the show.  But of course,  the big question that everyone else is wondering about is whether or not The Rock is going to beat CM Punk and win the belt.  I don’t think it’s a matter of whether or not The Rock should win. It’s a matter of The Rock HAS to win tonight.

Yeah, I know.  I know CM Punk has been champion for over 400 days and climbing.  It’s an accomplishment to say the least, but the fact is that having a champion hold a belt for so long is one thing,  but keeping people entertained during his title reign is another.  No champion is any good at that without competition.  Looking back at Punk’s reign as champion, he hasn’t had a whole of that going around.  He beat Alberto Del Rio to win the belt. He defended it against Del Rio again and The Miz the next month.  Then he Dolph Ziggler at the Royal Rumble and a bunch of filler guys for the Elimination Chamber before taking on Chris Jericho in back to back months, then Daniel Bryan and then Daniel Bryan and Kane and then John Cena and Big Show before facing John Cena again and then Ryback before facing against Cena and Ryback and then Ryback again on Raw.   So if you look at it, in that 400+ days that CM Punk has been WWE Champion, he’s only defended the belt against 9 guys with a good chunk of them he faced off against in multiple months.

The other problem with Punk’s reign as champion and why The Rock must win tonight is the fact that his countdown that he keeps doing is getting old.  In fact, it’s getting rather stale and as pointed out in the last article,  you keep going with this for so long, you’re gonna get to the point that when the guy does lose the belt, what do you do with him? Besides, the way that the WWE is with the Part-Time guys, are they really gonna have The Rock lose?  Yeah I know that they had Brock Lesnar lose in his match with John Cena but that’s different.  The Rock didn’t leave the WWE high and dry like Lesnar did and unlike Brock Lesnar, The Rock actually does love the business which is the least I can say for Brock.

I know that CM Punk has talent and can find a way to manage without the title and he did give us one whole year without John Cena winning the gold like her normally does.  But every champion loses the belt at some point.  CM Punk is no different because as many times as either Hulk Hogan or John Cena held a world title, they eventually had to drop it to somebody else.  CM Punk losing the belt tonight is more salvageable than if The Rock were to lose tonight.  If The Rock actually loses tonight, then what do you do with him from there? If he’s supposed to be sticking around at least until after Wrestlemania, then what are you going to do with him for all the time leading up to the PPV?  Yeah, you could have The Rock win at some point between now and Mania, but it’s little thing called Simplicity.   Don’t complicate things WWE and just keep them simple.  Do the right thing and actually let The Rock win the match because this is a match that could very easily be a classic match and definitely be in the Top 5 of the best WWE matches of 2013.  Don’t risk tarnishing that by having a screw-job finish or some other means that would leave CM Punk still to bore the hell out of the rest of us with his “Counting Down to Who Gives a Rat’s Ass How Long You’ve Been Champion For.”

 

CM Punk: Over 400 days as Champion, and yet still Nothing

So, CM Punk battles The Rock on Sunday.  His promo while good was more of the same. Best in the World this. Best in the World that. And rehashing his lines from his promo where he said the people don’t matter.  The interesting part, especially after The Shield attacked The Rock was that Vince, who botched his line, said that if The Shield interfere in Punk’s match, CM Punk will be stripped of the WWE Championship.  The part that made me laugh was when Punk said the belt was prestigious again since he’s held it.

WRONG!!!!!!!

That belt has not been prestigious in years and CM Punk sure as hell hasn’t helped it any by holding onto the belt for over a year.  Yeah 428 or whatever number days as champion. Impressive but there’s one slight problem and that is what are you gonna be saying when you lose the belt? Are you still going to call yourself the Best in the World? It didn’t really work for Chris Jericho. Because the fact is that once Punk loses that belt and once he’s the FORMER Champion, those 428 days are gonna mean precisely dick.

Chris Jericho was the first undisputed champion, but as the years went on, it became nothing more than just a little blip on the screen, nothing more than a pebble falling to the ocean and making zero impact.  The biggest problem with CM Punk’s character right now is that without the belt, without his championship reign, his character is useless.  It’s about as useless as a jar of Slim Fast to Vickie Guerrero.  As much time and energy I guess as WWE has put into CM Punk, they might have put Punk himself in jeopardy.  The Miz was in the main event at Wrestlemania two years ago. Look at him now, he’s trying to rebuild himself but still, he’s nowhere close to where he was years ago.  Is this what we’re going to have to expect with CM Punk?  Is the guy that keeps calling himself the Best in The World going to be reduced to where the only thing he’s best in the world at is being an after-thought.

 

 

Man-Jaw quits, New Champion Crowned, Divas Division in Jeopardy

Okay.  So Eve “Man-Jaw” Torres has now quit the WWE. This is following when Kaitlyn, the future Mrs Shark, won the Divas Title from Eve.  Reportedly Eve has wanted to leave for a while now since she’s engaged to one of the Gracies of UFC/MMA fame and seems to be pretty committed to a self-defense program for women.  I’m not exactly missing Eve simply because all that time spent with graces and you still could only master two moves in the ring. You’re like the female equivalent of John Cena.

I can’t help but wonder about something here.  Stacy Keibler goes on Dancing with the Stars and is released.  Maria goes on The Apprentice and is released.  Ashley goes on Survivor, appears for a little bit and is released. Torrie Wilson goes on I’m A Celebrity, Get me… oh who gives a rat’s ass and is gone. Or maybe after her time in the WWE, who can tell?  Eve goes on some military reality show that I didn’t care enough about to even know it’s name and has now quit.  What is with reality TV shows being the preverbal bullet for WWE Divas?  At least Maria found her way back in wrestling by going to Ring of Honor and is now engaged to Mike Bennett.  Stacy Keibler is or at least was dating one of the biggest actors in Hollywood so you can’t say she’s having it rough.

The casualty here in all this unfortunately is the Divas Division.  The only veteran Diva you have right now is Layla and she’s barely seen these days and Natalya is too busy hanging around with Team WTF that is herself, Khali and Hornswoggle.  And before you say I forgot about Tamina Snuka or Rosa Mendes or Alicia Fox, no I didn’t.  You barely see either of them doing anything.   To those that are saying that this is gonna hurt the Divas division now that Eve is gone, it’s been hurting.  It’s been hurting since Mickie James left, Maryse left,  Melina, The Bellas, Kelly Kelly and especially Beth Phoenix.  Top that off with Kharma being a complete bust due to her getting pregnant, having the miscarriage, and being a pain in the ass reportedly in the developmental territories. Let’s hope to hell that we start seeing some new faces coming out of NXT and any other developmental territories because otherwise, everybody start getting shovels so we cant start planning a funeral.