The Wrestling News Experience: 10.08.12
Posted by Stephen Randle on 10.08.2012
News and thoughts on Hulk Hogan being offered big money for his sex tape, Raw's sinking ratings and what they really mean for the company, a former WWE employee explaining why Linda McMahon shouldn't win her election and more!
Monday, October 8th, 2012
From 411Mania's Canadian offices in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, this is The Wrestling News Experience, with Stephen Randle!
Thou Art I….And I Am Thou…
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Experience. I am Stephen Randle, and man, was it a painfully boring week to watch wrestling or what? I say this as someone who normally tries to avoid it, but I changed the channel sometime during the middle hour of Raw (hint, it was during the debate) and didn't come back for a while, I skipped the end of Smackdown, and, for the first time since I started watching, I basically blew off Impact because it was actually pretty horrible. Does that bode well for this column? Who can say. Wait, I can say. Rest assured, I will put more effort into this week's Experience than either WWE or TNA's Creative teams did this past week. Your mileage may vary on whether that's good or bad.
Plus, it's Canadian Thanksgiving, so Happy Turkey Day! I've been celebrating by eating way too much food to be healthy in any way, or as Americans call it, "a light snack"!
And if you still haven't signed up with a Disqus account to be a part of the new, improved 411 Comments section, well, then you're missing your chance to tell me how much I suck. And I know you just can't resist!
Last week, Raw scored a 2.5 rating, the lowest non-holiday rating in over a decade. So this week, as punishment and because he still goes back to the same answer every time ratings become an issue, Vince McMahon will be on Raw to deliver a State of the WWE Address. Jay?
Anyway, once that gets out of the way we should have at least a couple hours of Raw remaining, so what else have we got? Well, WWE Champion CM Punk has once again declared that he will not face John Cena at Hell in a Cell, and we've got a few more weeks to go until he breaks down and agrees to face John Cena at Hell in a Cell, so maybe we'll get more teases between Punk and Ryback.
Meanwhile, the WWE Tag Team Tournament continues, as we enter the semifinals with four teams remaining in the fight for a shot at Hell No at Hell in a Cell! The first semifinal match goes down tonight, and although WWE hasn't said so, I'd imagine it'll be Rhodes Scholars vs Santino and Ryder. And while tag teams fight each other, one would presume that the tag team champions will continue fighting with each other.
Oh, and Arnold Schwarzenegger will be Social Media Ambassador for the week, which is like the old guest hosts, but they don't actually have to show up. What proof do we have that it's actually Arnie on Twitter, anyway?
Plus, maybe they'll find something equally as enthralling for Sheamus and Big Show to do to build to their match at Hell in a Cell as the debate they went through last week! All this and more, tonight on Raw!
So, Raw was a 2.5, the lowest in fifteen years (On the other side, Impact Wrestling also drew its lowest rating of the year). Not by coincidence, as I mentioned, the shows were pretty bad slash incredibly boring. And so we get stories of Vince being upset with the booking, storylines being slashed without resolution (but how will we find out the exciting results of Josh Mathews' lawsuit over unsafe work environments? Also, did I just type that in the context of a show that's supposed to be about pro wrestling?), and, of course, the Big Cheese himself appearing on Raw tonight for a "State of Raw Address", that will actually address none of the real problems and probably be a fluff segment involving AJ's future as GM (which the Magic 8-Ball says, "outlook is cloudy, because you put her in a role that was originally intended for Ric Flair and then had no idea where to go with her character". My Magic 8-Ball is pretty specific, for some reason). Plus, after a couple weeks off Raw recovering from elbow surgery, John Cena has promised to be back in the building. With all that working for them, Raw should rebound all the way back to a…2.7, maybe even a 2.8!
Cynical? Probably. Oh, I could talk about how ratings mean nothing on a week-to-week basis, and are better charted over longer periods, and how wrestling is so far into a down period right now that it took The Rock himself to get them over 3.0 (and I'm not even sure that's true, but I assume it was). I could list the many reasons why Raw is on a slide, starting with three hour Raws that have less than two hours' worth of real content, and ending with another rant against force-feeding "John Cena, The Greatest Guy In The History Of Great Guys" despite a deeply divided fanbase that hurts the on-air product, but I've done all that before, and frankly, I'm tired of repeating myself. Not that I won't do it again next week, given the chance, but it's Canadian (i.e. Real) Thanksgiving, and the tryptophan is really kicking in right now. So, as a great man once said, let me explain. No wait, there is no time, let me sum up.
- The shows are bad.
- The ratings are trending down.
- Your alleged top star just had another surgery and, audience reactions aside, is clearly overworked and getting run down from years of a full schedule
- You have nobody waiting in the wings to take over Cena's main event spot should the worst happen unexpectedly, and you just turned your #2 draw heel
The bottom line, is that something has to change now, before the worst does happen and you're forced to change without advance notice. Remember, Stone Cold could wrestle every day right up until he suddenly couldn't anymore, and you were left without your biggest star almost overnight. Hey, I hear history likes to repeat itself because people weren't paying attention the first time. But I'm sure that's just crazy talk.
2.5 isn't the end of the world, it's not even the beginning of the end. It's really just another signpost, a warning of tough times ahead. And if you ignore enough warning signs, eventually, you're going to find out that you've run out of road.
Take The Money, Hulk!
Well, I don't know if you remember or not, but there's a Hulk Hogan sex tape out there, and now, thanks to the infinite power of the Internet and people who want nothing more than to have you gouge out your own eyes, there's a Hulk Hogan sex tape available online! No, I don't know where. No, I wouldn't tell you if I did, I'm already going to Hell for enough reasons, I'm not giving them a reason to pile on extra burning maggots. Anyway, legal actions are almost certainly ensuing, but one website may have found a better way to deal with Hogan: offer him a shitload of money.
Yes, Sex.com, which I recall from university being a website with so many pop-up ads (before every browser came with a blocker, obviously) that the common prank for unguarded computers in residence was to set it as the victim's homepage and giggle like an evil schoolgirl when they went web browsing, has offered the Hulkster an "open checkbook" for the rights to put the sex tape on their site. Truly, Hogan's sex tape could be as profitable as Paris Hilton's, and arguably, since Hogan was a star before the sex tape and didn't become one for making it, he'd probably do a bit better.
In my opinion, Hulk should totally take the money. The video is already out there, and no matter how you try and suppress it, you will never succeed. Plus, didn't your ex-wife clean you out of a bunch of your fortune? Might as well get a little back, and if it's for having sex with someone, so much the better for you, right? After all, Linda ditched you for a guy less than half your age, what better way to say "hey, I've still got it where it counts", eh? Besides, it's not like it's any more degrading than doing Rent-A-Center ads. Those things are just sad.
And the fact that the woman in the tape is apparently Bubba the Love Sponge's lady? Just…I mean, you can't write a story like this, people wouldn't believe it.
I apologize for not covering anything really important in favour of this story, but come on, how could I resist?
- A former WWE photographer has written a very well-constructed argument as to why Linda McMahon is totally unqualified to hold a Senate seat. Sadly, that kind of reasoned discourse has no place in American politics!
- As of right now, Chris Jericho is not planning to be in WWE for WrestleMania XXIX. I assume we got this straight from Jericho himself, and he has a long history of never lying to the Internet, so I feel completely secure in reporting this as a fact.
- Dana White has said that he would welcome Brock Lesnar back to UFC in a heartbeat. What is it about Brock that so many people are willing to fall over themselves to give him large amounts of money? And can it be learned?
- Shaul Guerrero (aka Raquel Diaz from NXT) has gone home from developmental, but has not been released by WWE. Apparently she has become bitter and disenfranchised with the wrestling business, which puts her about ten to fifteen years ahead of the normal pro wrestler timeline. At this enhanced rate of development, experts are predicting that she'll be signed to a Legends contract sometime next week, and cutting "respect" promos against Punk by November.
- Spike TV will be airing Walking Tall as the lead-in to the Bound For Glory pre-show. If they really wanted ratings, shouldn't they air a Rock movie that people actually watched?
- And Jeff Hardy did an interview where he claimed that he's never suffered from the physical symptoms of drug withdrawal. Thankfully, there's a simple medical explanation for this: Jeff Hardy is Superman. Or he never stopped doing drugs. But my money is on Superman.
1. Sting The
No, not regular Sting, I'm talking about the guy who, like John Dorian, trusts too much. He trusts so much that he ends up hurting himself. On a regular basis. At the hands of the very tag partner he was sure that, this time, totally had his back. Dammit, I've missed Sting the Giant Idiot. It's always so much fun to watch the moment where it dawns upon him that maybe he shouldn't be trusting people who, up until a short period ago, really hated him a lot and aren't above lying to him in order to set up a scenario where he gets his ass kicked. But hey, I'm sure Bully Ray is a completely different story, right, Sting the Giant Idiot?
Apparently Step Two is "be the guy who saves Jim Ross from total humiliation in Oklahoma for once, but then revert back to squashing opening match guys on Smackdown for some reason". Ryback's real problem right now is that, no matter what happens, the WWE Title has a date with the Rock at the Rumble (and presumably Cena after that at Mania when Rock wins), and I don't see them pulling a huge deviation in their one solid plan, not even if Ryback manages to pull a Batista somehow and get so over that they have no choice.
3. CM Punk
Punk is so good at being evil that it's a shame, because if he wasn't so good at it, we wouldn't be where we are right now. Bullying legends will go far towards getting even smart crowds to play along with the act, but if Cena returns this week, the mixed reactions will more than likely come with him.
4. Damien Sandow
I'd feel bad for Cody Rhodes, who seems destined to be the Jannetty of yet another tag team (remember when they thought Ted DiBiase was the talented one?), but like all Rhodes', I'm sure he'll find a way to stick around for years. Anyway, Sandow put his wrestling chops on display with Sheamus, and if a tag title reign isn't in his immediate future, the possibility of singles titles in the distance is starting to loom large.
5. Heath Slater
This is the most hilarious collection of assorted random guys since the J.O.B. Squad. I mean, seriously, it's a Scotsman, an East Indian, and a hick from West Virginia. If they one day walked into a bar, half the joke has already been written for you. This whole thing is made even better by the fact that Slater clearly still is a jobber, but he has amassed a couple other jobbers to rush the ring to make sure he only loses by DQ now.
6. Antonio Cesaro
I don't think anyone expected Clay to go down so easily and cleanly, but it does give a certain amount of hope that they really do have big plans for the Swiss Superstar who speaks five languages (well, words from five languages, anyway).
7. Hell No
A good move to cut out the vignettes for the week, letting Bryan and Kane show their stuff in two main event tag matches. Fortunately, the act doesn't suffer when constrained inside a ring (what a concept), and not only that, the team won both times, beating David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, and WWE Champion CM Punk this week. That's not a bad bit of work.
Sure, it was the MMA equivalent of squashing a jobber (at least, it was supposed to be), but winning your first fight, at Dave's advanced age (which everyone seems to forget) to boot, is good news no matter how you look at it. Unless you really missed Batista in WWE, in which case, yeah, you're boned.
9. Samoa Joe
I know every match on Impact was short, but in Joe's case, it's probably more acceptable. Plus, the guy he squashed like a bug was RVD, which, as bugs go, is a pretty main event-level insect.
10. Persona 3: FES
Hey, I had more fun playing this than anything I watched involving wrestling this week, that should count for something. Plus, it's good for crossover with the Games Zone. Persona 5, get made quickly, please!
Inactive List as of 10.01.12
- 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)
- Skyler Moon, out indefinitely as of September 27 (rehab)
- 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)
- Curt Hawkins, SD!, out indefinitely as of October 8th (multiple surgeries)
WWE Champion: CM Punk
- 323 day reign, defeated Alberto Del Rio on November 20th (Survivor Series PPV)
World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus
- 190 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
- 77 day reign, defeated Christian on July 23rd (Raw 1000)
WWE United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro
- 50 day reign, defeated Santino Marella on August 19th (SummerSlam PPV)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Kane and Daniel Bryan
- 22 day reign, defeated Kofi Kingston and R-Truth on September 16th (Night of Champions PPV)
WWE Divas' Champion: Eve Torres
- 22 day reign, defeated Layla on September 16th (Night of Champions PPV)
WWE NXT Champion: Seth Rollins
- 40 day reign, defeated Jinder Mahal to become the inaugural Champion
TNA Heavyweight Champion: Austin Aries
- 92 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
- 102 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
- 92 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
- 53 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
- 214 day reign, defeated Gail Kim and Madison Rayne on March 8th (Impact)
TNA Television Champion: Samoa Joe
- 11 day reign, defeated Mr. Anderson on September 27th Impact to win the vacant title
And this week's edition of TWNE After Dark features discussion about Raw's dismal rating and the obvious reasons why, plus a look at if women's wrestling matters even a little bit. Go ahead, guess! Then click the banner!
411 will have live coverage of Raw tonight starting at 8 pm EDT.
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That's our show, Marsico is in tomorrow, I will be back next week. Plus, don't forget to look for Four Player Co-op in the Games Zone on Wednesday, and the TWNE After Dark podcast at 10 pm EDT this Thursday as well!
Here it is, your Moment of Buddy
Buddy Doesn't Need Tryptophan To Be Sleepy.
But If You Happen To Be Offering Turkey,
He'll Totally Have Some.