The Wrestling News Experience: 10.01.12
Posted by Stephen Randle on 10.01.2012
News and thoughts on WWE looking for the next John Cena, the controversy around Raw being cut down to 90 minutes for Hulu, Ric Flair rejoining the dating pool, big names appearing on WWE's new show and more!
Monday, October 1st, 2012
From 411Mania's Canadian offices in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, this is The Wrestling News Experience, with Stephen Randle!
The Days Grow Short. And Too Close Together
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Experience. I'm Stephen Randle, and while this isn't exactly Two Tivos to Paradise, here's a quick rundown of what I think of the new TV shows I've seen thus far. I want to love Revolution, but they're not grabbing me, Elementary is decent, and Vegas is literally an even duller version of Law and Order set in a retro time period, and I hope it gets cancelled quickly. On the bright side, after giving up on it after a single episode last year, I gave in to hype about Once Upon A Time, shotgunned the entire first season in two days, and am willing to admit that my first impression was totally wrong because I love that show. Anyway, you stopped listening about two seconds after I started talking about TV instead of wrestling, so let's move on.
Last week, CM Punk continued to search for equality and respect as WWE Champion, but in his mind, it was in short supply. First, GM AJ Lee refused to fire the referee who failed to notice his foot on the ropes in his match the previous week. Then, Hardcore Legend Mick Foley verbally dressed down Punk, accusing him of being uninterested in being a wrestler who will be remembered for more than just how many days he was champion. And if that weren't enough, after Punk ended the show by assaulted Foley for his words, he was prevented from inflicting further damage by the sudden presence of the undefeated monster Ryback. With Cena still at home nursing his wounds, will things turn for the better for the champion this week?
Meanwhile, the Tag Team Championship tournament continues, with the winner being crowned #1 Contenders to face Team Hell No at Hell in a Cell. The Rhodes Scholars advanced over the Usos on Smackdown, but three more quarterfinal matches remain to be decided.
Plus, The Big Show has been named Sheamus' challenger for Hell in a Cell and the World Heavyweight title, so one would imagine he'll have some threatening words for the reigning champion tonight! And Beth Phoenix continues to face accusations that it was her who cost Kaitlyn her shot at the Divas title at Night of Champions. And maybe other stuff too, tonight on Raw!
The Next Next Big Thing
Word is going around that due to John Cena's recent string of injuries and his public divorce nastiness, combined with his age, have led to speculation that WWE is looking at who will be the next "top guy" that Cena will presumably pass the torch to at some point. Apparently they want it to be someone who is currently in their twenties, and also whomever it is will be the last one which Vince McMahon gets to hand-pick. Does Vince have incurable cancer that's going to kill him in six months and nobody's telling us? Because I'm pretty sure it's still his company until he dies or gets committed.
Anyway, on to the real issue, which is that I have no idea who the hell WWE could pick. Most of their current top guys are on the wrong side of thirty (because nobody in the business ever made an impact after age thirty, right?), and also because when they're talking about "The Guy", they're talking about the next Hulk Hogan/Steve Austin/John Cena Super-Face, because that's the type of guy who WWE always puts on top of the company, given the chance.
So I took some time and wracked my brain, and I have to be honest, given the apparently incredibly tight criteria, I don't see that guy in WWE right now. I mean, I know the next top guy can come from anywhere (in theory), but blind people could tell that Hogan (and Rock after him) was going to be a huge star, Cena (and Lesnar) was being set up to succeed even in OVW (and clearly showed talent from day one in WWE), and while Austin wouldn't have been an obvious choice, he was a great worker with obvious charisma even in his WCW days, and while he managed to luck onto the right gimmick at the right time, there was still a compilation of existing work that you could look back on and say "yeah, he had the talent all along". But who on the WWE roster, or even the FCW roster, leaps out and says "they could be the next huge star of wrestling"? Am I missing something?
A bit of an uproar is brewing over WWE's partnership with Hulu Plus, which I, as a Canadian who can't get Hulu because…well, they've never made it quite clear, but anyway…where was I? Right, Hulu Plus has partnered with WWE in order to provide next-day episodes of Raw on Hulu Plus, which is a big deal because…I don't know, some people still don't have DVRs or VCRs or know about YouTube. Although what my grandfather would be watching Raw for, I have no idea. To carry on, though, as I understand it, there's a fee associated with Hulu Plus, which is different from Hulu in that basic Hulu often has long waiting periods associated with posting things like just-aired TV shows. So, yay, Raw available, in full, every Tuesday on Hulu Plus. That was the deal, and WWE advertised all over Raw about it on Monday.
Except that's not actually the deal, as it turns out. Anyone tuning into the Raw that was posted on Hulu Plus discovered that, rather than the three-hour show that is presented on Mondays, what they got was a roughly ninety-minute, heavily edited, cut of Raw that eliminated several segments, including full matches and at least one of the Team Hell No vignettes, among others. Understandably, viewers were left confused and more than a little irritated, and since they were wrestling fans, rage quickly ensued. Thrown into the mix, Hulu Plus isn't free, so yeah, apparently people were paying a premium for incomplete content. Not exactly a shining beacon of marketing, there.
But wait, there's more, as Hulu Plus answered an inquisitive e-mail with the following.
Thanks for writing. I'm very sorry for any confusion regarding the availability of the full version of WWE Monday Night Raw. Unfortunately, at this time we only have the rights to stream the 90 minute version. I know it's frustrating to discover that the full episodes aren't available on Hulu.com as you expected.
Our goal is to bring and keep as many videos on our service as possible. However, content availability and retention depend on several factors, including streaming clearances granted by our content providers. We're working hard to bring full episodes of WWE Monday Night Smackdown to the site and apologize for the inconvenience. Let me know if there are any more questions I can answer for you
Yikes. Somebody's getting fired for that little slip of the tongue. It should be noted that Smackdown, NXT, and Superstars are all available in full on Hulu. And while a lot of people have griped that Raw is a perfectly good two hour show stretched over three, I think we'd still prefer that we get to watch the entire show as aired, rather than paying for a hacked-apart version that, if the first show is any indication, was rather random in what was cut.
More importantly, why would WWE be so protective of how much of Raw is aired, given that they replay anything remotely interesting in segments on Smackdown (which, as mentioned, also airs in full on Hulu) anyway?
- JBL posted a Tout video a couple of days ago from the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which is one of those sentences you never think you'll type. Amazing work from the Wrestling God, now hurry up and conquer the rest of the mountains so you can come back and do some more commentary!
- Ric Flair is dating again, and coincidentally, he's selling "Official Ric Flair Halloween Costumes" on his website for $250, consisting of a black robe, sunglasses, a pink boa, and a replica World title signed by Flair. Or you could just run down to Wal Mart and pick up a bathrobe and sunglass for somewhere around twenty bucks. Sure, it won't be signed by Ric Flair, but if you really want his signature, I'm sure it's pretty easy to get a copy of one of his sets of divorce papers. Or police reports. Or lawsuits.
- WWE is planning for "big names" to appear regularly on their new Main Event show. Why, yes, I'm sure they do think the Raw Recap segment counts as appearing.
- Racquel Diaz, aka Shaul Guerrero, daughter of Eddie and Vicki Guerrero, has been removed from FCW's website roster list and may have asked for her release, although nothing has been confirmed and it may all not be true. However, at this rate, the only Diva that's going to be left in WWE by WrestleMania is Tamina Snuka, and that's because I honestly believe they've forgotten she's employed there.
1. Mick Foley
WWE's current demographic is too young to remember Foley as anything but a cuddly old man who writes books, but Monday night reminded those of us who still can remember that Foley is the guy who managed to become a main eventer despite having a body type somewhere around "overstuffed beanbag chair" by a) taking stupid bumps and b) cutting passionate promos that made you believe that he really did give a damn about what he was talking about. And since he can't (and shouldn't) do the first thing anymore, well…there's a reason he's a Legend, and not a statistic, after all.
Well, it would explain why he squashed Miz so effortlessly, but apparently there were no plans beyond "Step 1: Have Ryback be the guy standing there when Punk turns around". One would imagine that the third step, as always, is "Profit". Too bad they keep getting stuck on Step Two.
3. Samoa Joe
Good on TNA for not dropping the TV title, and while Joe should be above this belt, it's much better than leaving it on Devon. At least Joe actually might get TV time. Plus, I believe this makes Joe one of only two men to hold every active men's title in TNA, along with AJ Styles, who held it when it was still the Legends title. Oh, those were the days…
4. CM Punk
Kudos to Punk for going so far heel that he won't even wear merchandise, apparently. Hey, when WWE does their next quarterly conference call, anyone want to place a bet on if t-shirt sales dropped since Punk turned heel? I'm half kidding, if only because Daniel Bryan and the new Sandow shirt could probably help close the gap.
5. Hell No
The greatness of the first segment still outweighs the stupidity of the third segment, so we'll continue to lean positive on the Tag Champions. Plus, they're currently heading up a division that has more active challengers than any other in both TNA and WWE. Granted, that's not a huge number, but when was the last time WWE had nine semi-legitimate tag teams operating at the same time?
6. Rhodes Scholars
We've been harping on it for what seems like forever, but this is why a healthy tag division is so important. Have two guys who have decent skills and you want them on TV, but no real active feuds available? Put ‘em in a tag team! All the exposure in half the required segments!
Also, like I said, Sandow's new shirt is awesome.
7. Dolph Ziggler
Hey, turns out Dolph can both wrestle well in long matches and even beat someone. Who knew. I mean, then they sent him out on Smackdown to feed the Loch Ness Monster in another failed ambush, but hey, at least he can beat Kofi Kingston on a regular basis! At this point, he pretty much must cash and must do it very soon, before they get bored and start jobbing him again.
8. Bully Ray
"Don't shoot me walking away. But if you're going to, shoot my calves!" Who is this guy, and why did it take so many years for him to become a huge star?
9. The Big Show
While I'm not exactly salivating over a Show-Sheamus match, it does carry one important factor that pleases me a little: he's not Alberto Del Rio.
10. Wade Barrett
He's winning matches, so I guess he should be mentioned, but I'm not entirely sure he's getting over at all, which is a shame, because he clearly has the skills, look, and capability to do well. It's just not translating into anything good right now.
Inactive List as of 09.24.12
- Alex Riley, out indefinitely as of September 20th (knee and elbow surgeries)
- Evan Bourne, out indefinitely as of March 19th (foot)
- Christian, out indefinitely as of September 1st (elbow)
- Mark Henry, out indefinitely as of May 1st (surgery)
- Ted Dibiase, out indefinitely as of March 7th (ankle)
- The Great Khali, out until November as of July 24th (surgery)
- Bray Wyatt, out six months as of July 4th (torn pectoral)
- Chris Sabin, out 6-9 months as of June 14th (ACL)
- Jesse Sorenson, out at least one year as of February 12th (spine)
- The Pope, out 2-3 months as of August 12th (broken collarbone)
- Kelly Kelly, RAW, released from her contract
- Skyler Moon, NXT, out indefinitely as of September 27 (rehab)
WWE Champion: CM Punk
- 316 day reign, defeated Alberto Del Rio on November 20th (Survivor Series PPV)
World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus
- 183 day reign, defeated Daniel Bryan on April 1st (WrestleMania XXVIII)
- Next title defense: vs The Big Show, Hell in a Cell PPV
WWE Intercontinental Champion: The Miz
- 70 day reign, defeated Christian on July 23rd (Raw 1000)
WWE United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro
- 43 day reign, defeated Santino Marella on August 19th (SummerSlam PPV)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Kane and Daniel Bryan
- 15 day reign, defeated Kofi Kingston and R-Truth on September 16th (Night of Champions PPV)
WWE Divas' Champion: Eve Torres
- 15 day reign, defeated Layla on September 16th (Night of Champions PPV)
WWE NXT Champion: Seth Rollins
- 33 day reign, defeated Jinder Mahal to become the inaugural Champion
TNA Heavyweight Champion: Austin Aries
- 85 day reign, defeated Bobby Roode on July 8th (Destination X PPV)
- Next title defense: vs Jeff Hardy, Bound For Glory PPV
TNA World Tag Team Champions of the World: Christopher Daniels and Kazarian
- 95 day reign, defeated Kurt Angle and AJ Styles on June 28th Impact
- Next title defense: vs AJ Styles & Kurt Angle and Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez, Bound For Glory PPV
TNA X-Division Champion: Zema Ion
- 85 day reign, defeated Kenny King, Mason Andrews, and Sonjay Dutt in an Ultimate X Match on July 8th to claim the vacant title (Destination X PPV)
TNA Knockouts Champion: Miss Tessmacher
- 46 day reign, defeated Madison Rayne on August 16th (Impact)
- Next title defense: vs Tara, Bound For Glory PPV
TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions: ODB and Eric Young
- 207 day reign, defeated Gail Kim and Madison Rayne on March 8th (Impact)
**NEW** TNA Television Champion: Samoa Joe
- 4 day reign, defeated Mr. Anderson on September 27th Impact to win the vacant title
And I have the latest edition of TWNE After Dark, wherein I muse about tag teams, Daniel Bryan and Kane, talent leaving WWE, and whether Aces and Eights can be more than just another ripoff of the nWo. Click the banner!
411 will have live coverage of Raw tonight starting at 8 pm EDT.
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Here it is, your Moment of Buddy
Buddy And Oreo Are Like Sherlock And Watson
Only Without The Crime Solving Or Morphine Addiction Or…
Actually, We're Nothing Like Them.