Truths And Lies 02.11.14: WWE/TNA Week In Review
Posted by Justin Watry on 02.11.2014
Raw thoughts! How great was Smackdown on Friday night? Is The Wyatts vs. The Shield worth the $50 price tag? Are The Undertaker and Hulk Hogan returning to WWE soon? All this and much more!
It is hard to believe, but the NFL season is over. I do not care for the draft speculation very much, but that is the next big event coming up for football fans. After that? Training camps and pre-season nonsense. No thank you. September is seven months away, but that time can not come soon enough. Let me know when actual games begin.
Lucky for us, wrestling has no off season and runs year round. The Elimination Chamber pay-per-view is almost playing secondary to the WWE Network launching one day later. Thus, Raw and Smackdown are stuck in neutral until then. Oh well, things will pick up in a hurry. Then it is off to the races.
Note: I will happily respond to comments, as long as they do not have insults or cuss words. Sadly, most still do not grasp the very simple concept. Here are some of the best from last week!
Steve: WWE runs this site
Very well could be true. I just write columns. Nothing more, nothing less.
Punk sucks: Totally agree with you on every point. Punk can be a total schmuck and this time he gets called out on it. I guarantee if Bryan walked out he would get a pass from the internet kids too. Total double standard.....
Yep. A two week notice? Nah, just quit hours before Raw. Contract expiring in July? Eh, just quit without any warning. At least be written out of the story line to cover all bases? Nope, just quit and go home. Yeah! Go Punk!!! He is the greatest, and WWE are the bad guys!!! Good thing he came from the indy scene - that is really all that matters. Anybody else that quits on the spot though? Oh boy, how unprofessional and wrong. Not Punk though, no. He is amazing.
Dr. Rockter: Probably the one that breaks the law that is somehow accepted on the internet because of avatars and fake usernames behind a computer screen.
Why do I get the feeling that a while ago Justin signed up to a forum using his real name and (after his CHARMING personality endeared him to the userbase) got utterly wrecked by a serious of people using fake names + avatars so now...he hates them forever?
Sorry, you have the wrong person. My platform to reach an audience is through columns. No reason to even bother with forums or comment sections at all. Zero reason. Not for me. I must say it is cool to have a real life doctor commenting on this column. I mean, you are really a doctor...right?!?!
Dhruv Chouhan: I loved when people chanted punk's name in bryan's match. Now bryan fans will get how others feel when they chant his name in every match.
Pretty much. When the fans hijack a Randy Orton vs. Sheamus match or Batista promo at the arena, the online folks think it is cool and funny. When it disrupts a Daniel Bryan main event match or people call Bray Wyatt 'Husky Harris,' HOW DARE THEY! Such a disrespectful crowd. Gotta protect those internet darlings at all costs...
HEY! HEY! HEY!: Last year in early 2013, Antonio Cesaro was stuck in the middle of the pack not doing much.
Last year, in early 2013, Antonio Cesaro was months into a reign as United States Champion, feuding with The Miz and defeating him cleanly.
I stand by my original comments.
French311: Watry's Daniel Bryan takes: Spot On
Yeah, the new "burying" must mean main event matches and constant attention on Raw and Smackdown. Same with supposed "doghouse" and "backstage heat" in WWE.
ZigZag987: I think Watry gets so much hate because he's living the dream of all these commenters. Getting paid to troll in each article he writes. (No offense to either side)
Jealousy can be a terrible, terrible thing.
Dan: So, this REVIEW of the weeks wrestling consisted of >3600 words of Watry replying to comments or getting us to "ask ourselves" without really REVIEWING anything and just over 1200 words of an actual REVIEW. Would it be possible to actually REVIEW more and ramble less
This was covered already. My first few editions had a bunch of content for my reviews. However, it was almost TOO MUCH, so I cut it down. Of course, there used to be TNA Impact Wrestling reviews as well to pump up my word count. Tough to find a balance. Of course, you could always just click those pesky, little links and read my other columns. Crazy thought, I know. If you have any suggestions that are more specific, feel free to email me.
Brucey: Quick question, this is something that has bothered me for a while. We always hear the term "IWC" and are told it is just a very small percentage of WWE's audience, but how is that the case? It's the year 2014, I would guess that the vast majority of people in North America are on the Internet, whether it be at home, school, work etc. Even the WWE Network panders to the Internet crowd so why would they do that if the demographic is so small?
In 1998 the "IWC" might well have been small but fast forward to now and I feel it is a large part of the viewing audience? Correct me if I am wrong.
Yes and no.
Obviously, technology is far more advanced and popular these days. Obviously. However, not necessarily in the terms being used.
I know friends and family here in Wisconsin that have no idea what PWTorch is, no idea what WrestleZone is, no idea what 411mania is, no idea who Dave Metlzer is, no idea who Emma was before the past few weeks, etc. No idea! I know friends and family here in Wisconsin that still think Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are just married on WWE television, not in real life. I have friends and family here in Wisconsin that have no clue what the "IWC" stands for. I have friends and family here in Wisconsin that (to this day) have no idea CM Punk has left, and they saw the Royal Rumble event. I have friends and family here in Wisconsin that do not know what kayfabe, heat, face, heel, or any other insider word means.
Yet, those same friends and family members use the internet daily and would be considered casual wrestling fans.
That is the difference. Just because you use the internet and watch wrestling does NOT make you a member of the IWC. As outlined above, all of those people use the internet...but do not read any dirt sheets whatsoever. They have the internet. They watch WWE. But are not in the IWC at all.
StrawberrySwing: Re: The "You must PAY to complain" argument, Watry.
Does that not ring a little hollow? I mean, your argument is that the only way to send a message to Vince McMahon is in dollars and cents. Which I get, and respect to a certain extent. However, how does one send a negative message to the WWE if they AREN'T happy with the product? Isn't 'not watching' and 'streaming illegally' the same level of protest?
Now, if you're talking about people who have always streamed it, fair enough. However, how does that relate to people who switched to streaming illegally because they didn't want to pay for a product that was disappointing them? Surely just paying for it month after month won't prove a thing (using the same logic that always NOT paying for it removes your right to complain)? (this is, of course, ignoring the ethics of streaming stuff illegally anyway but that's a whole different matter. If you can, please exclude that part from your response).
Well, you can not just ignore the obvious illegal aspect. Here, let me try that!
Yeah, go steal a brand new vehicle. The monthly payments for a shiny red corvette are too expensive, so that justifies car theft! Oh, but just forget the fact it is stealing. Go grab a few DVD sets and run out of the your store without paying. You know, stealing. Hey, just ignore the police and security chasing after you. Yeah, just ignore that stuff. Who cares? I want a product and do not feel like paying, so that makes it okay!
Anything in between is just as an excuse. Can not afford the $50 per month? Fine, turn off the laptop on Sunday night and find something to do. Then read the results LEGALLY after the show ends. Do not like the current product? Fine, then turn off the laptop and find something to do for three hours. This goes back to last week's discussion about people watching regardless of all this supposed anger and protest. If something "sucks" so bad, why are you devoting hours and hours to it every single day/week anyways, much less stealing the content? It is the same with CM Punk quitting. People just will come up with anything under the sun to try and justify it to push off the blame. Just laughable. He quit. Stealing content is illegal. Simple.
Steven via email: Hey Justin,
Not sure I understand why you get some of the hate you seem to, but I enjoy reading your stuff. Anyway, as to your column, you said that people just don't stop watching. Unfortunately, I think you're right. I used to write for a wrestling site, but towards the end of last year I couldn't do it anymore. Just couldn't bear to watch. I still kept up with WWE and TNA because my 9 year old watched, but now even he's gone off the product, so I don't watch at all. We have some good indy promotions where we live (in Australia, and one of which I used to wrestle for, so I guess I'm coming at it from a slightly different perspective), but the interest is gone. However, all of my friends and colleagues who watch wrestling and complain about the product still watch. They can't understand why I don't watch what I don't enjoy. I guess I don't understand that sort of thinking.
However, I have recently been shown some of ROH's stuff from the second half of 2013, and I could see myself getting into their product. What do you think: any chance of ROH becoming a legit number 2 promotion, or have they burnt too many bridges with some of their errors in the past?
Thanks for the question.
Via email too! Amazing. This website never produces many clean, quality emails. The other websites I write for do all the time. Must be something in the water. As for the hate? It must be hard to accept the truth sometimes. That is part of why I picked the title you see every Monday night. For some, it stings to hear the facts and a cold does of reality. Has to hurt. I said from day one I would be honest with everybody. Love me or hate me. Thus, there is going to be some backlash and uneasiness - only natural to feel that way. However, after six years of doing this, I am used to that response. Either that or everybody loves me. Since a comment last week referenced the song, HIT IT!
Okay, moving on. About the Ring of Honor question, I am the last guy to answer that. Not my expertise. Thus, I asked for help from the one and only living legend himself Ari Berenstein! Since the reply was so well written, it deserves it own section. Look for that towards the end of the column. Great content there.
Truths: TNA Impact Wrestling (2/6/14)
If anybody cared about the episode, please feel free to discuss in the comment section.
Truths: WWE Smackdown (2/7/14)
1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane does need to happen, just not at WrestleMania XXX. - This is where things get tricky. With the story being told, it is obvious we will get a Daniel Bryan vs. Kane match. That is fine. However, if CM Punk comes back to battle Triple H, that could mean Bryan vs. Kane...at WrestleMania XXX. No thank you. As much as I think Punk will come back at some point, this is where I want him to stay OUT of the picture. Let Bryan do his thing. Punk went home. I know who I want to see get a big WM match/payday against Triple H. Here is a guess: It is the guy who actually shows up.
2. Sheamus vs. Ryback was entertaining. - Do not laugh folks. If you have not seen this yet, go do so. This was only six minutes long, but it may have been the best six minute bout on WWE television in awhile. Sheamus has always been able to hold his own, as has Ryback in the right situation. The only downside is that this could have EASILY been held off until a pay-per-view. Simply throwing this out there on free television right now was not necessary. If this develops into an actual feud, give them 15 minutes and make it a street fight. Guaranteed to deliver.
3. Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro happened. - Seriously, what else do I need to say? It is Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro. Yes! Yes! Yes!
4. Randy Orton defeats Christian. - These two had some memorable matches back in 2011. Now, in early 2014, they have not missed a beat. Going into next week, Orton still has to face John Cena, Antonio Cesaro, and Sheamus before the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. I look forward to all of them, but it is going to be a tough challenge in topping his matches against Christian and Daniel Bryan from the past week. Good luck to everybody involved!
5. The Shield vs. The Wyatts is building nicely. - Good. Keep it going. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose defeated Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler in a fun tag match with Seth Rollins trying to keep the peace. A backstage promo from The Wyatt Family followed. Later on, Bryan Wyatt pinned Goldust before showing a Shied promo backstage. Love it! We do not have to see the guys brawling all over the arena each week. Save it for the PAY-per-view. That is the goal here. Get people excited enough for this showdown that they will actually plunk down money for the match.
Lie: AJ Lee is interesting. - Eh. The Divas division is getting stale again. AJ Lee as the champ is the right choice. Really, it is the only choice. However, is anything ever going to happen with Tamina? Or the Total Divas cast? Or maybe with Emma? Great, AJ beat Nikki Bella in two minutes. Great. Tell me WWE has something in mind for Mania. Please?
*Good show. All you have to do is look at the run down of matches. Sheamus vs. Ryback was a hard hitting slug fest. Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro says it all. Then the main event was Randy Orton vs. Christian. Sprinkle in some hype for the WWE Network and a few filler matches, and the two hours is complete. Smackdown grabbed over 3.2 million viewers for this epsiode. It was well deserved too! Props.*
Truths: WWE Raw (2/10/14)
1. Lita is an excellent choice for the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. - I thought last year was the best class of inductees ever. This year is shaping up to be even better. The Ultimate Warrior was a big star. Jake The Snake Roberts deserved the honor. Now we get (maybe) the second greatest women's wrestler of all-time inducted. I love it. WWE has been right on the money the past two years with their HOF.
2. Batista was handed well on Monday night. - I still do not care about watching him wrestle Alberto Del Rio at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. He all but crushed him tonight anyways. However, everything else was good. He did not bumble around with a long promo. He was not placed in a bad spot against a fan favorite. The dude just came down to the ring and destroyed. That is all he needs to do.
3. Betty White is not my cup of tea. - Yes, that joke was intended. She has her fan base and has a show to promote, so whatever. It did not waste a bunch of time. The New Age Outlaws had their fun but also teased a showdown with The Usos for the tag straps. I am more than ready for that title change to take place. Veterans returning and part-timers showing up is okay, as long as it does not become permanent...or drag on. Well, we are near that point with Billy Gunn and Road Dogg. Back to Betty White, she did have the line of the night. I must admit.
4. It was time for a new United States Champion. - It could have been anybody really. It could have been Big E Langston (IC Champ too). It could have even been Roman Reigns. Regardless, Dean Ambrose was doing nothing with the belt. It almost became a joke that he never defended the title. Thus, Mark Henry was a solid pick. What, expecting Rob Van Dam or something? Huh, must have been one of those lovely online reports. Hook, line, and sinker every time. Instead of moving on though, The Shield interfered causing a disqualification. Ambrose keeps the straps. Too bad; tonight was the correct Raw episode for a new champ. After Reigns took out Henry, The Wyatt Family came to the ring for a massive staredown with The Shield. No brawl. No physicality between the stables. Good! Keep doing that. You want to see them fight so bad? Then WWE has done their job building up the PAY-per-view match. You know, PAYING to see guys wrestle?!?! What a novel concept.
5. John Cena and Randy Orton delivered. - They always do. Sold out building and L.A. only added to the atmosphere. Two of the best here.
Lie: Elimination Chamber is getting major hype. - Right now, the PPV hinges on The Wyatts vs. The Shield. There is no reason for Batista and ADR to even being wrestling. The Chamber match should be entertaining, but that story is all over the place. Sheamus and Christian winning a tag match was okay, but I doubt anybody believes they stand a chance no matter what is done between now and February 23rd. All the while, WWE is making it seem like Bryan vs. Kane will take place at the PPV, even though it will not. Very interesting way to sell this event to the general public.
*Pretty good show. Not everything is set for WrestleMania XXX, but you can definitely see it all being laid out. I was a little surprised there has been no mention of Hulk Hogan or The Undertaker yet (assuming they are appearing on Raw in two weeks). However, maybe they will be surprises? Or not even returning then? We shall see. WWE is doing more and more promotion for their network launch, but that is expected. Smackdown got some mentions to continue their ratings momentum with Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro, as well as a big eight person tag. Fine effort all around here.*
The next time you read an online report, ask yourself if the story actually makes sense...or is your typical gossip with no truth whatsoever. Just from the past week or so, let's take a look:
WWE wants to keep the John Cena eye injury quiet. - Five minutes later, John Cena tweeted about his eye injury. Yep, real quiet.
Fans chanting for CM Punk were kicked out of the arena last Monday. - Great! Except multiple reports then came in saying those people were lying. In other words, it was a bunch of clowns making up stuff because they are bitter that...their favorite wrestler QUIT AND WALKED OUT ON THEM. Makes sense, right?
Eric Young 'blows up' at John Gaburick. - Eh. I am sure a lot of TNA wrestlers want to yell at the creative team right now for one reason or another.
WWE has sold over 60,000 tickets for WMXXX so far. - Not a single match has been announced. The power of WWE able to sell their brand name...amazing. For those who (continuously) think the company is in trouble or need to change their ways anytime soon, get a grip. Nothing is changing.
Extreme Rules will be held in New Jersey. - Well, that is not Seattle, Washington which is disappointing. However, Jersey is known to be a wild live crowd. No matter what happens at the pay-per-view, fans will be very vocal.
Alberto Del Rio could leave WWE when his contract expires. - WHAT?!?! A guy waiting for his contract to expire before leaving or giving a two week notice like normal people? I thought quitting on the spot and walking out was the cool thing to do! Guess I was wrong. Either way, ADR has teased retirement for years now. I remember writing about it in 2011. Would not surprise me if this were true.
Batista and Brock Lesnar feuding later this year? - Truth be told, that always felt like a Summerslam kind of main event but not a WrestleMania main event. Just a guess though. The two will wrestle at some point.
Update on Sting possibly going to WWE! - Getting closer.
The Undertaker to return later this month? - Any time now. He is due back any time now. If the rumored date is correct, that is cool news for my Green Bay friends. Looking back, WWE has delivered some memorable shows to the live Green Bay audience during the past few years. With the network starting that day, I expect TONS of big stars/legends to appear on the February 24th edition of Raw. Should be fun.
Hulk Hogan to return during that same Raw as well? - Personally, I would hype up Hulk Hogan for his first appearance back in WWE to occur at WrestleMania XXX. That is the ultimate event with the most amount of profit (PPV buyers) to be made. That would be MY scenario. However, the company NEEDS a successful launch of the WWE Network come February 24th. If that means The Hulkster shows up in Green Bay during Raw, so be it. As noted, that night will be fun.
Another "anonymous letter" from WWE blasts CM Punk - As usual, we are working under the assumption this is from a real person in WWE and not just click bait, made up junk from a website. With that being said, it is funny how the first letter was perceived, but once CM Punk is blasted? Whoah. Must be fake this time unlike the first letter. My favorites MUST be protected! Rip on Alberto Del Rio, Batista, Sheamus, Triple H, etc. Go wild! Once you bad mouth internet darling CM Punk (or Daniel Bryan), then the perception is completely flipped. It never fails. Oh and complaining about the person being anonymous behind a computer screen with a fake username and avatar? Smooth. Keep the dream alive folks. Keep the dream alive.
Smackdown draws over 3 million viewers for three straight weeks. - Last Friday grabbed over 3.2 million viewers. The hot streak continues for the Blue Brand. For WWE looking to make some major bank on their upcoming TV deal, this can only be great news for their side of negotiations.
New match for WMXXX-Triple H discussed! - *looks at the original source* HAHAHAHAHA! Wow, where is the National Enquirer or The Examiner when I need them? Good grief. Must be a slow news day...
The USA Network cancels Psych. I never watched it, but they average around two million viewers per episode these days, peaking well above that years ago. Last year, USA canceled Necessary Roughness which would average nearly four million viewers per episode. In 2012, USA canceled Fairly Legal that grabbed under three million viewers per episode. Why did I post this in a wrestling column? Just remember folks: TNA Impact Wrestling is on Spike TV for a reason. Always, always remember that.
Have any more examples? Please share them below in the comment section. Until then, just remember the next time you click on an article to ask yourself first how much will be truth and how much will be fiction.
Ring Of Honor As The #2 Promotion?
As teased above, here is the one and only Ari Berenstein discussing ROH possibly being the #2 wrestling promotion:
The idea of Ring of Honor rising up and becoming the number two American wrestling promotion has been discussed for many years, but throughout the various eras and ownership periods, you'll hear a similar answer-that is not the priority or objective for ROH. Ring of Honor has tried to find the niche for their product and make money that way-both on the independent level and now under corporate ownership. Even in recent interviews, current Sinclair Broadcast Group (parent company of Ring of Honor) executive Joe Koff has stated that while (he) believes the product is as good as TNA, it is not their objective to take over their position in the marketplace, but simply find their own way.
Regardless of intent or objective, could this actually come to pass? What would it take for ROH to become the actual number two promotion?
The ultimate factor that would allow ROH to attempt climb up to the second largest North American wrestling promotion is (in my opinion) Sinclair Broadcasting Group. This would be for two major reasons. The first reason would be that Sinclair gives ROH its annual spending budget. The more money in the budget, the more ROH has flexibility in trying to grow-whether through talent acquisitions or improving the production (which has been occurring steadily over the last few years) or advertising the product to a larger audience. Free agent acquisitions alone won't be enough, but will help make ROH feel more "big league." For example, AJ Styles is booked for the company on many dates throughout the first four months of 2014. His presence already helped to make ROH's debut in Nashville, Tennessee a success with crowd turnout and buzz for their television show (ROH doesn't release specific ratings information, so it is hard to tell right now if he is a difference maker in that regard). However, using Styles isn't enough to move ROH up over TNA- not even if he signed an exclusive contract. Kurt Angle's debut in TNA in 2006 helped put more eyes on that promotion and increased their business in the short term (by matching him up with Samoa Joe on several Pay Per Views), but he was not enough to make TNA jump over WWE in popularity.
Therefore, the second and far more important reason Sinclair Broadcasting will be THE key in whether or not ROH ever becomes the number two wrestling product can be found in SBG's ongoing purchase of affiliates and networks all around the country. Sinclair had a measly 22% penetration into United States television markets when ROH was purchased by SBG in 2011. Three years later, Sinclair is up to 38.7% with 167 stations in 77 markets (according to their website http://www.sbgi.net/). That's still not terrific when compared with other major companies, but certainly improved from three years ago. They have been buying up stations with no sign of relenting and ROH becomes a part and parcel of the programming that is presented on those stations. The increase in availability of Ring of Honor programming in television homes leads to increased exposure of the promotion and new viewership in those markets. The more ROH is available for potential fans to see and enjoy the show (creating potential new customers for house shows, DVDs and other merchandise), the better the chance ROH can grow and make it to that number two slot.
Do I see ROH eventually unseating TNA? Nah, probably not. it's not the idea of "burning bridges" that is the problem. Here I'd assume the reader is referring to the multiple Internet Pay Per View debacles that resulted in ROH stopping the sale of those shows and shifting exclusively to providing Video-on-Demand. Obviously, those prior mistakes and resentment by fans do not help future attempts to sell internet Pay Per View. However, those injuries will fade away somewhat with time and continual positive reviews of future events, and ultimately wouldn't play a major role in ROH becoming or not becoming the number two promotion in the country.
Sinclair would need to continue to purchase new affiliates and put the ROH show those markets, but specifically they need to get into at least some of the major markets they have avoided, such as New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. It is amazing that SBG has no television presence in New York City-what has been one of their best markets for years. If Sinclair sticks to buying minor and mid-level markets, that's all well and good, but avoiding the major population centers (where there are also larger amounts of wrestling fans and potential customers) is a huge limiting factor in the potential for ROH to overtake TNA.
Finally, what will continue to prevent ROH from replacing TNA is quite simply, the existence of TNA. TNA already beats them with television penetration and although their contract with Spike TV is up later this year, one would assume that the status quo would remain in place with a contract renewal. TNA has national cable presence and international touring. Most importantly to its continued survival, It has its own corporate backing like ROH, but with a major and critical difference: The Carter Family. Sinclair sees ROH as a corporate asset to help drive advertising sales for its networks and affiliates, but their Board of Directors do not have family reasons to keep the promotion around. Sinclair would sell ROH if absolutely necessary. I am doubtful that the Carter's backing of TNA would end-especially when learning that the recent sale attempts went bust because the Carter's wanted assurances that Dixie Carter would have a place in any new ownership. They are going to keep TNA around as long as possible because of the family ties and the company's importance to Dixie. The only way ROH really gets to be the "Number Two" (for whatever that is worth in today's wrestling world), is if TNA no longer exists, but that is very highly unlikely.
Thanks to everyone for sticking around and reading that large piece. You can listen to more of my thoughts about Ring of Honor with my Podcast of Honor and ROH Retrocast audio shows available through prowrestlingponderings.com or on the PWP iTunes and Stitcher feeds. BROOKLYN!
Ink Master On Spike TV Hype!
Exciting news for residents of Wisconsin: The upcoming season (starting in two weeks) of Ink Master on Spike TV will feature a tattoo artist by the name of Melissa Monroe. Not only was she in my class/grade through middle and high school, I know friends and family who regularly get tattoos done by her. Always top notch work. Wish her well on the show!
For the first time ever, I will be live tweeting during WWE Monday night Raw on February 24th, 2014. First time ever. Every single time Raw/Smackdown/PPV/whatever else is on television, my laptop and cell phone are off. However, all rules have an exception. Mine is for the sure to be epic Raw/WWE Network launch date in two weeks! Thus, be sure to join me on Twitter for all of the festivities. If all goes well, who knows? Maybe it will be a bad experience and ruin the show for me. Maybe, just maybe I will enjoy all of nonsensical fun for three hours? We shall see. Exciting times await...
Finally, let's get some "ME!" plugs out there for all of you!