Truths And Lies 04.22.14: WWE/TNA Week In Review
Posted by Justin Watry on 04.22.2014
Raw thoughts! Why did TNA Impact lose 400,000 viewers? What is wrong with Cesaro being a Heyman Guy? Are you excited to see Kane vs. Daniel Bryan at WWE Extreme Rules? All this and much more!
First, I have some good news and then some bad news.
The good news is my wrestling columns are still going to be posted here each and every week. The bad news is my wrestling columns are still going to be posted here each and every week. Depending on your stance, congrats! Or not. Easter is now over with, so it is smooth sailing for awhile...
On to the wrestling scene from the past week, WWE is still trying to get their network off the ground by promoting Extreme Rules. TNA Impact Wrestling still exists, and I still want to watch NXT each week but never do. Story of my life, huh? Without any more stalling, here are some social media websites to follow.
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 months later. Here are some of the best from last week!
Panda: If TNA wanted to put the title on EY, they should have done it the week before WMXXX. Then they could say the WWE copied them.
Lonestarr033: if tna were really smart, they would have realized that Daniel Bryan was winning the titles at Mania, and did the title change on the shows before it.
Three problems there. First, they tape their shows weeks/months in advance sometimes. Remember the whole "going on the road bust" from last year? Thus, when the rare "live" Impact happens, it would seem you take advantage of surprising people. The Thursday after WrestleMania XXX was their most recent attempt. Secondly, you are STILL putting the TNA Title on Eric Young on free television. Eric Young! Thirdly, TNA really smart? Is that a joke? Said it before and will say it again: Why does TNA do pay-per-view? Why?
SpankyHamm: Do you think that if the Warrior had died a year ago that they would have treated it the same as the death of Randy Savage? Also, do you think the WWE was taking a risk in publicizing all of the Warrior salutes before his autopsy results came back? What if they came back and it said he had been taking large quantities of cocaine? Would the WWE have continued their salute to the Warrior?
1. Ultimate Warrior would have gone in the WWE Hall of Fame eventually. Maybe not this year because Paul Bearer was already going. Definitely by 2015 though. Apparently, there is some rule now against putting in more than one deceased person per year? Either way, Warrior was already working his way back into the good graces of WWE and does not have a brother/family making ridiculous demands like the case with Randy Savage going into the Hall of Fame.
2. My guess is WWE already knew the circumstances. Triple H tweeted out the news, and everybody followed with confidence nothing was suspicious. Just a hunch: People within WWE either spoke with police or somebody and were given the okay to go ahead with honoring him. If the opposite were true, the tributes and such would be either non-existent or real subtle.
Dave Bauman: I have no doubt that Paul and Stephanie Levesque will steer WWE in the right direction for years to come. That said, anything that keeps "HHH" and his annoying wife off my TV screen is a good thing.
Agreed on the first point. On the second point, Stephanie McMahon plays the 'annoying wife' on television as a character, so I guess that means she is doing a good job?
Matt86: Concerning Paul Heyman:
I think they don't intend to make Cesaro a Tweener, but to put Paul Heyman in the position of a "manager of the best", where he only manages the very best talent, people they want to build, but also people who still need a gimmick, that gimmick being a "PHG" (Paul Heyman Guy). Basically, being managed by Paul Heyman seems like a "King of the Ring"-crown, just that this crown also talks and probably would not feel as good resting on ones head...
Yeah because Heidenreich, Curtis Axel, and even Ryback worked out so well? I am fine with Cesaro getting more of a spotlight, but did he *really* need Paul Heyman to muddy the face/heel waters for fans? Watch Raw when Cesaro had great matches with some of the top names before WrestleMania XXX. Watch his recent efforts with Jack Swagger. Watch WrestleMania XXX when he lifted Big Show up. Cesaro was doing just fine on his own. There was no reason to add a little boost to him with Heyman. Cesaro was on the right track. Now? He is STILL on the right track...but the right track to what? I am just not a fan of the "tweener" role, so maybe that is my hesitation...
Teharistocrat: Because Axel is useless at this point.
He is not useless. Who else is Adam Rose going to defeat in two minutes for his debut match? Come on now.
Cactus: I was very glad to see Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle at WM21 place so high on the overall top 30 WM matches, and at #2 on your list, Watry. It felt for a long time like nobody was talking about it, and it kind of bothered me because it's my personal favorite match of all time and probably the best match purely from a wrestling standpoint WrestleMania has ever had (arguments for Savage/Steamboat are totally valid). I can understand HBK/Taker from WM25 being ranked higher, because the atmosphere for that match was so electric, I was on the edge of my seat before they even made their entrances.
Good stuff here. The list is just MY opinion. For a few years there, Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels was my favorite match. Then The Undertaker started to turn up the volume during his WrestleMania matches. Angle did have a great 2005 though based on solely an in-ring point of view.
Sean: So two comments for you to respond to, good sir:
1. Since you really have no desire to review TNA (and I really don't need anymore on it besides the recap), how about reviewing NXT? It's competent, it's only an hour, no one else has done a non-recap style review on the site, and it could keep you appraised of the future prospects.
2. I certainly respect your opinion on TNA's title, as I feel the belt has been dragged through the mud and no longer feels like a 'World' title. That said, I still call it one because, like WCW 2000, it still technically meets the standards I set for my World-level belts: National touring, title defended on another continent, TV deal on a standard cable network (somehow Spike hasn't fallen out of the basic cable packages, at least with my provider) and PPV events on the dominant televised medium (still TV, though that could change). Yes, it's living on a technicality, but I set the rules for myself and I stand by them. Still, I certainly see your argument.
Well, I will be tuning in to TNA Impact for the pre and post Sacrifice episodes. After that, probably not much for a month or so. As for NXT, I still tell myself to each week but never get around to it. That is my fault. Maybe another live special or something get me hooked for good! Their ArRIVAL show was very entertaining.
That is fine. Even WCW 2000 is light years ahead of TNA Impact Wrestling in terms of television ratings, pay-per-view buys, etc. When somebody asks me if R-Truth was ever a "World" Champion, I say no. If somebody asks about Christian, I say he is a two-time "World" Champion. I do not even count his ECW Title reigns. Same with Ring of Honor and countless guys. Jamie Noble/Xavier/Homicide (etc.) were never a "World" Champion in my book. They were ROH Champion. If you want to feel differently, that is up to you. No problem.
huh: When did Styles bash TNA?
More of the people running it than TNA itself. Just said some guys have no idea what they are talking about, the company was mismanaged, babbled on about his contract offer which he said was a slap in the face, and questioned a bunch of other stuff. Suppose it depends on your definition of 'bashing.'
Chad Perry: Glad to see someone else give some love to Kane/Taker from WM14. For years I have heard everyone say how great the build was and how disappointing the match was. For me it was terrific though and was Taker's first great WM match. I am a bit shocked to see what I classify as my personal favorite (Warrior vs Savage) not on the list. Also surprised to not see the WM20 ME on here. Only match that is not on my list of greatest matches of all time would be Umaga/Lashley.
Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage was in my top 35 but was eliminated from the final draft. Sadly, some did not make the cut. Just how it goes with lists. The WrestleMania XX main event was not included for obvious reasons. Umaga vs. Lashley was there because of the involvement from Donald Trump and Vince McMahon. I mean that match DID help draw the biggest pay-per-view buy rate in WWE history. It had to be mentioned somewhere.
*There were tons of great comments last week. Lots of fun stuff discussed. However, a few choice words made it impossible to warrant an actual reply. Oh well...*
Truths: TNA Impact Wrestling (4/17/14)
Note: My commitment to covering this show full-time ended in January. However, I will watch from time to time. For those curious, I will be tuning in THIS THURSDAY NIGHT and THE FOLLOWING WEEK! Get ready for that.
Truths: WWE Smackdown (4/18/14)
1. The Triple H opening was good. - Did not go too long. Did not do a ton. Did not overstay its welcome. Did mentioned The Shield. Did not mention Evolution reforming. Did mention Extreme Rules. Ultimately, that is what was most important. Triple H had to go out there, run down The Shield, and hype up Evolution for the big six man tag at the upcomong pay-per-view (special event) in two weeks. Solid work but nothing special.
2. This show lacked a spark. - Fine, Daniel Bryan is on his honeymoon. I can live with that. John Cena was not on. Fine, he hardly is anyways. No Brock Lesnar (obviously). Then it all went down the drain. No Kane. Nothing from Randy Orton. No members of The Shield. No Bray Wyatt. No Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. No Big Show. Nothing from The Usos. No Cesaro. The Blue Brand had a rough night for star power with many already overseas or just off the road. When El Torito vs. Hornswoggle is your top of the hour main event, there is trouble.
3. I appreciate the effort from Hornswoggle and El Torito, but... - ...but I have no idea what WWE was going for with this "match of the century" as billed by JBL. You have to give the two guys credit for trying. The match actually was surprisingly pretty crisp without much fault in itself. However, the over the top hype, huge spectacle, video promo, tale of the tape gimmick, and even being placed at the top of the second hour was just so puzzling. Yeah, the whole thing was done tongue in cheek and as a comedy. I just wonder why soooooooo much attention was given to this, instead of taking two minutes and getting it over with.
4. Paige is doing well; Rusev will need more work. - Lana is the best part of the Rusev act right now. When you take away her and the cool entrance, he is your standard heel villain that has been seen for decades now. There MUST be an added touch or something. So far though, so good. As for Paige, she defeated Aksana and looked good doing so. Another clean win always helps a newcomer. Tamina delivered a short promo video cut-in to remind viewers of her impending Divas Title match at Extreme Rules. Nothing fancy, just solid hype.
5. I still am hesitant on the Cesaro/Paul Heyman pairing. - Okay, there was an online report that dropped last week trying to explain the mess that is Cesaro being with Paul Heyman. I appreciate the "backstage scoops," but it just is not resonating on my end. Cesaro is set up as a face character to break away from Paul E in the future, yet he just willingly admitted to being a Heyman Guy. However, there is the heel manager yapping on Smackdown about Brock Lesnar ending The Streak to loud boos. All the while, Cesaro is wrestling heels and does not even have theme music anymore. Seems like a big mess to me trying to cute with the ridiculous 'tweener' nonsense. Cesaro was doing just fine before all of this started; just let him go out there, do his thing, and be cheered. Hopefully, WWE can prove me wrong and make it work. If anybody can, it is Paul Heyman.
Lie: Batista vs. Sheamus was NOT entertaining. - Fun main event. Highlight of the show. Best part was Batista won the match clean. Heels are supposed to be bad guys, but they still have to find ways to win fairly once in awhile. Well, that happened here. The heel beat a well known face after a quality hard fought battle. Kudos to both Sheamus and Batista for elevating a rather lackluster Smackdown episode.
*Basically a filler show with a very good main event and opening promo. I was hoping for more Evolution build though. Maybe them all in suits and sunglasses cutting a promo. Maybe a Ric Flair cameo. Maybe short video clips of their best moments. Something, anything! There is still two weeks until Extreme Rules, so I hope WWE reminds us all how great Evolution was to get us pumped for their showdown with The Shield. Other than that, you can skip Smackdown this week.*
Truths: WWE Raw (4/21/14)
1. Kane had to look strong tonight. - If anybody was going to care about the WWE World Title match at Extreme Rules, Kane had to absolutely destroy Daniel Bryan on Raw. There was no other way around it. That was exactly what happened to kick off Raw. I would have left Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella out of the opening, but they were just role players here. Tough to watch Bryan out there knowing his father just passed away.
2. The IC Title tournament served its purpose. - It ends next Monday night with a Rob Van Dam vs. Bad News Barrett matchup in the finals. Originally, Cesaro seemed like the favorite in my book, but what we saw on Raw actually works better. Barrett can win the tournament next week and (hopefully) beat Big E for the IC Championship at Extreme Rules. At the same time, Mr. Cesaro can focus on Jack Swagger.
3. Evolution felt like Evolution again! - The mini-reunion last week was great but was not done full board. This week, WWE went all-in. We got the limo. We got the expensive clothes. We got the theme music (like last week). We got the bragging and over the top promos. Seth Rollins rambled a bit, and HHH had something funky going on with his voice. Other than that, this segment was enjoyable. It felt like Evolution from ten years ago which is a positive. The Shield did their part as well with fans wanting to see the two stables fight! Good. Keep building that tension. All that I ask for now is a Ric Flair cameo at Extreme Rules.
4. The Usos vs. Cody Rhodes/Goldust was not just filler. - I admit it. When the tag match started, I almost immediately started to lose interest. However, this turned out to be worth watching. Ryback was entertaining at ringside watching. Curtis Axel was...there. Not sure WWE fans are really clamoring for Ryback/Curtis Axel vs. The Usos? More importantly, Cody Rhodes and Goldust seemed to tease a breakup after losing to the tag team champs. It is about time we see the inevitable Cody vs. Goldust collision. Been a long time coming...
5. Paige and Rusev keep winning. - Paige defeated Aksana in a match that got some time but completely lost the live crowd. Rusev defeated Sin Cara, but the live crowd was having none of the bout. Think about it. What is Bo Dallas going to do upon his arrival? What is Adam Rose going to upon his arrival? The same Paige and Rusev? Just win short matches to 'get over' their characters? Okay. Look at Xavier Woods. He will tell you all about going to the main roster without a GOOD plan in place. Introducing new talent is wonderful. Doing it just for the sake of doing it is not.
Lie: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt is getting stale. - It is a tough call. Does John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt close the feud at Extreme Rules inside a steel cage? You would think so. At the same time though, I would not mind another battle. WWE should keep both men away from the title picture for awhile. They may as well just continue going at it. The promos are entertaining. The match at WrestleMania XXX was entertaining. No doubt their cage match will be entertaining. Feel free to debate in the comment section. Keep the feud going or end it before the whole thing starts to drag?
*Pretty good show. Much better than last Monday night! Extreme Rules is a nicely built card. John Cena and The Wyatts did their thing. The IC Title has some relevancy right now even without Big E, thanks to the great in-ring action. Daniel Bryan and Kane did the best they could but are fighting an uphill battle to get fans into their feud. Plus, I really want to see The Shield vs. Evolution. All in all, the three hours were far from perfect but enough to get a solid B- grade.*
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:
Ring of Honor returning to pay-per-view in June - Good for them. The press release mentions a $25 price tag for standard definition. This move was expected with the cable companies looking to replace WWE money with other wrestling programming. May as well give it a try.
Raw drew 4.77 million viewers last week. - Raw the night after WWE WrestleMania XXX averaged over 5 million viewers for the full three hours. Obviously, that would not stick, and the next week would drop a bit. Even so, trying to keep the number above 4.5 million viewers each week will be a challenge. Likely to decrease some more during April and May.
Sting update! - More guessing. More copying. More pasting. Still...no facts. Hey, he appeared on the WWE Network. We are making progress.
The Shield vs. Evolution set for Extreme Rules - Fair enough. Seems like that could potentially close the show. Daniel Bryan vs. "insert opponent" may get slotted into the second hour. If so, I sense a round of complaining and whining to commence immediately after.
Paige vs. Tamina set for Extreme Rules - I know some are wondering where AJ Lee is, but I am not. Even before WrestleMania XXX, I was writing that she either needed time off or was joining CM Punk to relax in Chicago for awhile.
Edit: Well, there is a report now out that AJ Lee is indeed taking time off. Go figure.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane set for Extreme Rules for the WWE World Title - Nothing too exciting here. If there is a silver lining, it is that Daniel Bryan will most likely win clean, get past another legend, and keep the WWE World Championship for another month. There may not be a match of the year coming or amazing feud invloved, but Bryan winning and extending his title reign is fine by me.
Hugh Jackman on Raw next week! - He was great last time. As long as his segment(s) are kept short and simple, why not? I have no problem with celebrity guest hosts. The problem is when they start to take up a bunch of time or have no idea what is going on. With Hugh Jackman, I trust him out there.
WWE tells current and former talent to say away from Nancy Grace's television show? - No offense, but what did Diamond Dallas Page really expect? Come on, he is smarter than to go on Nancy Grace and think it was going to be fair. Obviously, Nancy Grace is in the wrong here (as usual), but DDP had to know what he was walking into.
WWE releases WrestleMania XXX numbers. - I wrote about this in depth last week (on another website). If you care about financials and things like that, click on the links at the end of the column for Jay's Ways.
Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger will take place this Friday night on Smackdown. - Hopefully, that changes. No reason to have that match on Smackdown at all. None! Put it on Extreme Rules, and give the two some time to work.
WWE is 'incredibly amused' by Eric Young winning the TNA Title. - Yep. I believe this story. I can just picture the crew laughing their heads off when reading the results of Impact. That was my reaction after the initial face palm.
Robbie E signs new TNA multi-year deal - *sighs* What is the point? Kudos to the talent for getting as much money as possible, but TNA...oh TNA...you will never learn.
Rockstar Spud signs new TNA long-term deal - Goodness gracious. This has to be a joke. Speaking of jokes...
Vince Russo back with TNA Impact Wrestling? - Straight from PWInsider, not Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer. Put the pitchforks down TNA conspiracy theorists! Weekly gimmick matches on FREE TV for no reason. Weekly title matches on FREE TV for no reason. The usual illogical nonsense in TNA. All the while, NEWSFLASH, there is a pay-per-view in less than a week which asks fans to spend $40 on a three hour show. Vintage Vince Russo!
Eric Young winning the TNA Title drew a 0.93 main event quarter hour rating; lowest of the show. - I am not surprised, nor should anybody else be. There are two points to make. First is the obvious: Eric Young going after Magnus for the top prize. That is not going to entice potential casual viewers in 2014. Second is that there is no longer any added appeal to seeing a TNA Title match on free TV. Three weeks straight with a TNA Title match. Who cares now? It is no longer special. They happen WAY too frequently to really register. That is what happens when every other week is filled with gimmick matches or "big" title matches. After awhile, the well runs dry. Those are supposed to be on PAY-per-view. However, we have established for years now there is not much of a PAYING audience for anything TNA related.
Edit: More gimmick matches. More title matches. More of the same...for a loss of over 400,000 viewers. That junk does NOT work. There is a TNA PPV this weekend, right? It just baffles my mind people are willing to spend $40 on this product after everything is handed to them for FREE! Please somebody tell me they are legally buying TNA Sacrifice.
Dixie Carter posts on Twitter a picture of Eric Young pointing up, Eric Young in a big beard, and uses the #Yes hashtag on Thursday night. - It really is a shame. That kind of low rent garbage publicity stunt is expected from a small indy promotion looking for attention, not one with cable television. This is the person in charge of a wrestling company folks! Not clever. Not funny. Not cool. Not being a great 'trolling' heel. None of that. TNA is simply a parody of a real wrestling promotion at this point all led by Dixie Carter entertaining herself for giggles from online fans. It is just so sad. So sad.
Ink Master and Bar Rescue on Spike TV drew over 1.4 million viewers last week. With double the specific main demographic advertisers like than TNA Impact too. Oh, and COPS reruns on Spike TV Thursday night were able to jump into the Top 100 cable shows of the evening for the main demographic but not TNA Impact. Think about that. Spike was better off airing a bunch of COPS reruns than Impact. That is where TNA sits right now with they Spike TV television deal about to expire - absolutely zero leverage for a new contract. Zero! I assume WWE stays with NBCUniversal and TNA stays with Spike. I have thought that all along, but it is FAR from a guarantee at this point.
Impact loses 400,000 viewers from last week. - Third least watched episode in the past few years! Welcome to the Eric Young era folks. As predicted last week, that small ratings "pop" was NOT going to last. Just ask Chris Sabin about that nonsense. A mere seven days later, the numbers plummeted in a dramatic fashion WITHOUT any major television competition. Let me run through the usual handbook of excuses: NFL? Nope. NFL Draft maybe? Not yet. Big NBA game? Nope, no games on. NBA Playoffs? Did not start yet. NCAA March Madness? Remember that excuse last month? Not on. Am I missing anything? This falls ALL on TNA folks. How about we stop looking for excuses every time viewership drops to new lows and point the finger where the fault belongs? You know, like making Eric Young TNA Champion or giving even 5 seconds of screen time to Dixie Carter for starters...
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.
Everybody should go check out my interview with Mathew "Massive Q" Sforcina from last week right here. Stay tuned for my next announcement...
*NEW POST ADDED ON MONDAY*
My sister just started her own fashion blog. Everybody should go check it out immediately. Click it. Read it. Love it. The brand new Twitter account to follow is right here! The actual website is right here!
Ink Master On Spike TV
Another successful week. So far, so good.
Finally, here are some "ME!" plugs for all of you...