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.

The State of Ring of Honor Wrestling

I read an article off of Wrestlezone where one their writers (I’m not particularly fond of the guy which is why his name will get no plug on here) and in his article, he talked about how ROH is doomed for failure.  The basis of his claim was that the attendance for an ROH show in Pittsburgh recently only had about 500 in attendance.  Just because that was the attendance for one, doesn’t mean that’s the attendance for all.  People have said that ROH is in danger of going under for years and many said that about TNA also.  I have on several occasions said that TNA was doomed to fail, mostly because of acquiring Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan and Vince Russo, but it’s still standing even as I’m writing this.

I’m not saying that ROH is perfect.  It’s not without its faults and one of the biggest problems that it’s had over the years is the internet PPVs.  Technical problems have plagued those shows for the last few years.  Border Wars was the first iPPV that ROH had and they had it streamed from their website.  That was also the first PPV that ROH had streamed that was outside of Go Fight Live which was never able to get past the streaming issues.  Best in The World took place last weekend and a lot of people were able to watch for free as a token of appreciation to the fans and an act of redemption for the technical problems at Border Wars.

The location for streaming their internet PPVs as well as the quality for the streaming was not the only fault for ROH.  Sinclair Broadcasting in my opinion is not fanning out like I hoped it would and probably not like ROH was hoping it would.    The biggest problem is that Sinclair Broadcasting doesn’t have the strongest base on the West Coast.  In other words, even if fans of ROH on the West Coast want to see it, we have to do it through ROH’s site with or without a subscription.   The problem with that is that while it’s still accessible, many would rather watch it on TV and for those on the West Coast, that’s just not possible.  However, going back to my problem with the article that I read, it was claimed that Jim Cornette has been “Brooding” as of late and that Davey Richards has been looking at other work such as a firefighter.  My message to this writer is this: Who the hell do you think you are? Professor X? Did you wiretap the phones of Jim Cornette and Davey Richards? What’s your encore? A timeline on John Cena’s marriage?

I will agree that wrestler past and present that I’ll consider amongst the elite in ROH are guys like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, Davey Richards, Kevin Steen and of course Nigel McGuinness.  There are probably others that I’m leaving out but I’m hoping the point was made with the names that were mentioned.  I get that the article is an opinion piece, but most columnists try to input more facts into their work rather than conspiracy theories.  The bottom line is that this guy knows about as much about the status of Ring of Honor as I do about what ended John Cena’s marriage.  In other words, a whole lot of nothing but it’s what you can expect from washed up announcers.  I don’t know what the status is for ROH one way or the other, but last time I checked, one bad show doesn’t equal a death sentence.

Raw To Become 3 Hours, Like That Worked for WCW

The buzz is all around about Monday Night Raw is going to go 3 hours on a regular basis.  Back then, I might have been excited about this. Back then, you had stories that people enjoyed and that weren’t insult to everybody else’s intelligence.   Sadly, this is unfortunately going to be 3 hours of the same crap that we’ve been getting from Raw for the last couple of years.  And by that, I mean that it’ll be 3 hours of too much talking, not enough matches, the matches we do see for the most part serve little to no purpose, and the same mind numbing stories that has left many of us wanting to punch a hole through our TVs.  The last time that we saw a wrestling company try to add an extra hour to a 2 hour wrestling show, it ended up going under.

WCW tried to make Nitro 3 hours, and that did more damage than good.  The talent was there for sure, but come on. You had Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo running things.  They could’ve been up to their necks in talent and they would still be too stupid to know how to use any of that talent. The second that you saw Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Eddie Guerrero all jump ship in one cluster, you knew that there was nowhere for that company to go other than straight down.  So what exactly does WWE have that will make people want to watch all three hours of Raw?  A better question is if Raw is gonna be 3 hours, what do they need Smackdown for?  What can Smackdown  give the fans that will make them still tune in after watching 3 hours of Raw? How will doing this move not over-saturate the product more than it already is?  What do they have that will attract fans to watch all 3 hours of Raw? More of John Laryngitis or Michael Cole’s oh so brilliant, and unbiased commentary?  Pardon me while I heave.

That third hour that Nitro added to itself might as well have been the final nail in the coffin for WCW.  Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t think this way with the WWE, considering the crap that they’ve been giving us lately? Their PPV’s keep losing money yearly and that same money seems to be going towards UFC & MMA.  WWE should try and find a way to freshen up the product and compete against UFC, but the problem is the fact that all these years after WCW went under, they forgot how to compete. They’ve forgotten how to actually put an effort into their product.  Why else would we get the same stories that we’ve seen time and time again? TNA and ROH are nowhere close to being a competitor and WWE is seemingly focused on the little kid demographic, and yet ignoring the demographic that has been the core of their popularity.  Eddie Mac on “We Want Wrestling” said it best that the little kids aren’t the ones that are buying the PPVs or the merchandise. They have to go through their parents or whomever to get those things and in most cases, it’s people that have been fans longer than the little kids.

What reason is there to be excited for a 3 hour Raw on a weekly basis?  The last couple times that we’ve seen a 3 hour Raw, it sucked and you always had one or two hours that were worse than the other.  Other scenarios are to have the first hour start strong and then decline the rest of the way.  Back then when Raw was something to watch, you had stories that excited people and made them want to tune in every week.  Now, you just have lazy booking which is one of the only explanations that anyone could probably think of as to why an off-camera suit is now getting pushed above everybody else that actually contributes something in the ring.  It’s bad enough that you’re going to have your franchise guy in John Cena possibly put over a guy who was so bad as a wrestler that to be called “mediocre” would’ve been a step-up.

John Laryngitis is not a strong enough character to carry a 3 hour show. He’s not even acceptable to carry a 2 hour one.  People are bored to tears and annoyed whenever he talks.  The whole concept of “People Power” is stupid as hell and nobody’s buying into it.  He’s your typical heel authority figure and that’s the problem.  The WWE has milked that type of character for all it’s worth and it’s to the point where there is nothing they can give us that we haven’t already seen or heard before with that character.  John Laryngitis is a one note character and that’s all he’s going to be.   He can’t give us anything we haven’t seen before and the heat he gets is not a good thing.  Even the good heels found a way to get the crowd to hate them, but still attract the crowd and not repel them.  WWE’s going to make Raw a 3 hour show, than give us something that will actually make it worth watching.  Otherwise, I’d suggest to start shopping for a burial plot, maybe right next to WCW.

 

New Champion is Crowned, New Era Begins

 

KILL STEEN KILL!!!!! KILL STEEN KILL!!!! KILL STEEN KILL!!!

You might as well get used to those words because a new era has now begun in Ring of Honor.  At Border Wars 2012, a new champion was crowned.  “The American Wolf” Davey Richards fell to “Mr Wrestling” and “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” Kevin Steen.  One Package Piledriver and that was all she wrote as Kevin Steen ended the title reign of Richards that lasted nearly a year.  I had written last week about how this needed to happen. I said that Kevin Steen needed to win this match and not only am I happy that it did happen, but I can’t think of a guy who is more deserving of holding that belt than Steen.  The last time that Kevin Steen had a shot at the World Title was when he wrestled Nigel McGuinness, only to not come out on top in that match. That was not the case this past Saturday as this was meant to be Steen’s only title shot against Richards, but clearly one shot was ALL that Kevin Steen needed.

I have nothing against Davey Richards. I really don’t and I was happy when he won’t the belt last June. The only problem however, was the fact that while Richards was the face of the company, he also wasn’t there a lot.  In fact, for a guy who held the world title for almost a year, he only defended the belt nine times.   Considering that the Sinclair deal was reached last year and first impressions usually count for a lot in wrestling, it’s not the best move from a business standpoint to have the guy you deemed as the face of your company always touring overseas.  Whether you like him or hate him, the fact is that Steen was there on a more regular basis than Richards.  All the touring overseas damaged his credibility as a champion.  It’s not to say that Richards was a bad champion or that he put on bad matches because neither of which is true. We know the guy can wrestle and we know that he can put on great matches, but we need to see it a lot more and don’t want to hear about him touring overseas all the time.

Back on the subject of Kevin Steen, the popularity for Kevin Steen hasn’t diminished one little bit.  The chants of “Kill Steen Kill” only got louder and louder from the crowd about as much as the “YES!” chants for Daniel Bryan.  ROH needed something new in terms of the World Title picture and having a heel champion might just be the right move. Given, they had that at one point with Roderick Strong, but the last time that ROH had a strong heel champion was Nigel McGuinness.  Having Steen as the champion leaves the door open for so many possibilities and options for challengers.  Jay Lethal can move up and go after the World Title or have Eddie Edwards back in the hunt again.  Of course, you can also have El Generico and Kevin Steen resume their old rivalry.  We saw how good that feud can be when it’s the two just fighting because they hate each other.  How good would that fight be if you had those two fighting not only because of the history between the two, but to have the world title on the line?

It doesn’t matter how it came to be or when it started, but what is important is the fact that Kevin Steen has a following and attracts a crowd a lot better as of late than Davey Richards.  It’s not to say that the guy can’t become popular again, just wrestle more for ROH than you do overseas and the problem is solved.  Steen is over with the crowd and even though he’s supposed to be a heel, he’s the kind of heel that you kinda love to hate.  The guy comes off as crazy as hell, but you almost want him to get that crazy and beyond.  The crazier he gets, the better the match will be because fans of Steen love to see the guy act as crazy, sick and downright psychotic as possible.   Kevin Steen promised in a promo before Border Wars that when he wins the belt, the true payback begins towards Jim Cornette, Cary Silkin and ROH itself.  I look forward to seeing what transpires and hoping that at the very least, we’ll end up with some of the best damn title matches we can imagine to come out of the title reign of one Mr Wrestling.

Why Kevin Steen Must Win the ROH World Title

 

With Border Wars on the horizon, there’s a lot of speculation with the world title match.  This is a match that many have been wanting to see, myself included and I’ve had a lot of time to think about the match.  I’ve talked with a lot of people about who will come out on top.  I’ve said numerous times that Kevin Steen will walk out as the ROH World Champion.  It has gotten to the point for me that not only do I think it will happen, but right now Ring of Honor needs to have that happen.

I was rooting for Davey Richards to win the belt in the first place.  Ring of Honor picked him to be the face of the company in the dawning of the new era with Sinclair Broadcasting. The problem is that at the same point when this happened, he was doing all the tours in Japan.  That hurt his credit as a champion considering he only defended the belt a total of nine times. Whether it’s in boxing or MMA/UFC or in pro wrestling, people will always be more attracted towards a fighting champion.  Davey Richards can put on great matches, nobody is going to deny that in the least.  The problem is that he’s not there on a more frequent basis. When you’re the face of the company and the first year under a new deal with a new owner is always crucial.  When you don’t have your top guy there on a more frequent amount of time, that damages the appeal of that top guy and of the company.

That leads to Kevin Steen and why not only will he walk out with the belt, but why he needs to walk out with that belt.  Kevin Steen has been there more frequently and he has a tremendous following going on right now.  It hasn’t died down and that is good news for ROH.  I’m a believer in striking while the iron is hot and the iron hasn’t cooled down for Kevin Steen.  The guy doesn’t know how to put on a bad match. All the times where the guy has called himself Mr Wrestling, there’s been a reason for that.  He’s one of a select breed that believes in the craft of pro wrestling and one of those guys that go out there to prove that it’s a craft that still exists. Setting aside that you have Steen with the home field advantage, you also have the fact that by having him win the belt, you’re left with so many more options for who to have him take on as champ.  Having a top heel as champ adds more options for feuds and rivalries with contenders like El Generico, Jay Lethal, Eddie Edwards and others.

I’m not raining down on Davey Richards in the least.  I was for him winning the belt, but he picked touring in Japan at the worst possible time.   I get that it’s part of the business to tour overseas, but the fact is that having him overseas and defending the ROH belt against few opponents and fewer times damages credibility in being a fighting champion.  People know how good a wrestler and fighter he can be, but they want to see it.  The one upshot is that this match is finally happening because I don’t think ROH could’ve afforded to have this match happen any later.  Whether it’s MMA/UFC, Boxing or Pro Wrestling (keep in mind, leaving the realistic factors aside), people look at championship matches and expect to see a fight.  Luckily, this match has all the elements to be just that, so let’s see if ROH can give the fans what they want, in more ways than one.

Even if “Over The Limit” Sucks, CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan Won’t

This past Monday it was made official that Daniel Bryan will take on CM Punk for the WWE title.  However, the reaction for it has not really been positive.  The biggest reason for this is because the PPV where these two are going to be fighting is Over The Limit. For the most part, Over The Limit has been one of the crappiest PPV’s and it was definitely had the least PPV buys of any PPV last year.  This match alone will not make the PPV, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this match will be good regardless of the rest of the PPV.

We’ve gotten a taste of what these two can do in the ring.  Both of these guys are Ring of Honor alumni and both seem to be really comfortable with each other’s styles in the ring.  The matches on Raw and Smackdown between these two have been great and no real decisive winner has been determined.  So, since Over The Limit tends to suck, why have this match on the PPV? First off, I think those of us that have seen both these guys in ROH and have watched both matches with the two in WWE have to agree that this match is too big for Raw or Smackdown. This match has PPV caliber written all over it. And also, just because these two are fighting on a B-rated PPV, don’t think that this is the only time that we’ll see this match.  As much as we bash the WWE, myself included in that, the WWE is not that stupid.  This match is another test for the two of them.  Though Punk has leveled off, he’s still impressing the higher-ups to a degree. He has to be if he’s still got the belt and Daniel Bryan’s popularity and the “Yes” chants just seem to get bigger and bigger.

Again, the WWE is not stupid. They know that these two can put on a good match. They’re counting on it at Over The Limit. My theory is that they want to see what these two can do on a PPV stage. That means no commercial, no time restraints or at least the kind you would get on a two hour TV show.  On a PPV, you run a good chance at getting a 20 minute long match, possibly longer than even that.  The goal for having these two in a match is to see how well they can deliver with minimal to no restrictions on a PPV.  I will make a guarantee here that they deliver on this and the right people in the powers that be of the WWE like it, then we’ll see these two collide on one of the major PPVs.  These two are too damn good to not be on one of the big PPVs. Bottom line is we got what we wanted in seeing these two collide on PPV.  The bar has been raised and simply after this match, it’ll be time to raise the bar even higher.

Interview with ROH’s own Nigel McGuinness

Not too long ago, I had the honor and privilege to talk briefly with a man who holds a record  as being one of the longest reigning world heavyweight champions in Ring of Honor history.  He is now one half of the announce team that provides the voice for ROH TV in Nigel McGuinness.  Here’s how the interview went:

THE SHARK:  This is “The Shark Attack.” I am Sean Williams and I’m talking to a man who holds the record as being one of the longest reigning world champions in Ring of Honor history.  He currently provides the voice for Ring of Honor TV with Kevin Kelly and the master of “The Tower of London” and the Lariat. I’m talking of course about Nigel McGuinness. Nigel, it’s truly an honor to be talking to you. Thank you so much for your time and welcome to the Shark Attack. How are you?

NIGEL: Great.

THE SHARK: You’ve been back with Ring of Honor for quite a while now. How has the transition been for you thus far from in-ring competitor to broadcaster?

NIGEL: It’s not easy. But I get a little more comfortable each time. And working with Kevin, Jim and Delirious is awesome and helps me out no end.

THE SHARK: Over the years, the definition of a “heel” in wrestling has changed in most companies   Having spent a lot of your career as a heel, what has been the secret for you in being a heel and in your opinion, why has the definition of a heel changed?

NIGEL: Be yourself, well the part people don’t like. Everything has evolved since the eighties. Wrestling was just last to evolve.

THE SHARK: Is there a part of you that misses being in the ring and if you could wrestle one more match, who would you want your opponent to be out of anyone in the ROH roster right now?

NIGEL: I do miss it sometimes.  I was lucky enough to wrestle Eddie on my retirement tour. Either him or Roddy or Ciampa or Bennett or Jacobs.

THE SHARK: If circumstances were different and you were wrestling right now in ROH, would you have loved to win the ROH World Title one more time and break the record of your previous title reign and the title reign of Samoa Joe?

NIGEL: Hell No. I’d never have survived.  🙂 

THE SHARK: You left Ring of Honor to join TNA (aka Impact Wrestling) and became Desmond Wolfe. How did that environment compare to the one you left in ROH?

NIGEL: It was more commercial. Less of a family. But still welcoming as I knew so many of the guys there already. I was really happy to be there at first.

THE SHARK: Your first PPV match in TNA was against Kurt Angle. Was there pressure in having your first match be against a wrestler the caliber of Kurt Angle?

NIGEL: I never feel pressure for my big matches because I’m confident of my opponent’s ability. Kurt was as better than I could have possibly imagined. The Best.

THE SHARK: If you had stayed in TNA, what is something you would’ve loved to do that you weren’t able to do while you were there?

NIGEL: Punch Hulk Hogan in the face. Just kidding. I wished I’d have had a Title Shot on a PPV.

THE SHARK: How much of the opposition such as TNA and WWE do you watch at the moment and who are your favorites to watch?

NIGEL: I can’t watch WWE or TNA. For different reasons.  But I read about them and hearing about my friends makes me happy.

THE SHARK: As mentioned, you had one of the longest world title reigns in ROH history.  Why do you think that these days, most wrestling don’t seem to favor having anything long term whether it’s title reigns or rivalries?

NIGEL: Its what people learnt in the Monday Night Wars I guess. But the effects are being seen now. 

Check your local listings to find an affiliate of Sinclair Broadcasting to find Ring of Honor TV.  Big thank you to Nigel McGuinness for taking the time to answer my questions.