The Wrestling News Experience 5.12.14
Posted by Stephen Randle on 05.12.2014
News and thoughts on Sheamus' potential heel turn and where it might take him, the future of WWE's TV deal and stock price, a preview for tonight's Raw and more!
Monday May 12th, 2014
From 411Mania's Canadian offices in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, this is The Wrestling News Experience, with Stephen Randle!
Where It's Party Time Some Of The Time!
Good morning, and welcome to the Experience. I am Stephen Randle, and welcome to one of the few things not cancelled by the major networks. I assume they just forgot. Also, I don't think I'm actually on TV, that might just be a delusion I have. But I'm pretty committed to it, so I wouldn't try and prove me wrong, because that won't lead anywhere productive.
Last week, a terrible B movie aired in place of Monday Night Raw, where a heroic man and his loud and generally useless wife tried to escape from a masked monster who apparently had at least a working knowledge of disabling vehicle electronics. Seriously, when a plot sounds too ridiculous to be in a Friday the Thirteenth movie, maybe you should re-think your strategy. Unless this is their strategy...but I'm being paranoid. Anyway, hopefully this week we tone down the idiocy and figure out just where we're headed with Kane vs Daniel Bryan. I mean, aside from some sort of rematch at Payback.
Speaking of rematches for Payback, because that seems to be where most of the card is headed, there's The Shield's continuing war with Evolution. Last week, Triple H raised the stakes by putting Dean Ambrose in a battle royal that cost him the United States title, and then put The Shield as a whole up against the dominant Wyatt Family. And since John Cena couldn't overcome the Wyatts, well, what chance did The Shield have? But just to make sure, Evolution hit the ring and made sure that none of Reigns, Rollins, or Ambrose was getting up as Raw went off the air. With Evolution holding both momentum and the power of the COO of WWE, can The Shield manage to find anything resembling an even playing field this week?
Plus, as a result of Triple H's meddling, we have a new United States champion in Sheamus, who had been on a fairly decent losing streak leading up to winning the belt. Boy, I've been able to use that sentence a lot when describing new WWE titleholders. At any rate, both the Celtic Warrior and Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett should be looking for new challengers, and in a crazy thought, what if the man they were looking for were...each other?
Also, John Cena, too defeated from the loss to Bray Wyatt at Extreme Rules to even appear on Raw, made some comments on Main Event, presumably about not giving up or somesuch. It appears that Cena will once more try to defeat your new overlord, for whatever good it might do at this point.
Meanwhile, Rusev tries to live life without a first name, midgets find new reasons to fight each other, and Adam Rose will be in the building, tonight on Raw!
TV Or Not TV...What A Silly Question
With WWE Network out for public consumption and generally running smoothly, and having already tanked the WWE stock by somewhere around a third when it became apparent that the only people who believed all those inflated potential viewer numbers were unfortunately people buying stock in WWE, all eyes have turned to another massive cornerstone of the WWE empire: their television deal. WWE's current deal with NBC Universal is over before the end of 2014, and WWE has been shopping Raw and Smackdown for what seems like months, now. However, at the quarterly financial meeting recently, WWE still had no definite answer about where WWE programming would be airing in the future. Hell, they didn't even have any vague answers, outside of "all will be revealed in the next few weeks".
Obviously, WWE Stock took another hit, because in this instance, no news is not actually good news. Similar to the numbers WWE was using when they were trying to get WWE Network launched (Did You Know: There are potentially fifty million people who might possibly watch WWE Network but probably won't?), the line has been that WWE was looking for big numbers with their new TV deal, and by big numbers I mean multiple billions of dollars. Yes, with a "B". I believe the popular term was "NFL/NASCAR-type deal". And while that may still be possible, it certainly seems unlikely, and any deal that doesn't meet those lofty standards will almost certainly cause some more stockholder concern, continuing to send the stock down from the heights that it had been at mere months ago.
So, what does that all mean? Well, if you're a stockholder, you probably should have sold back when WWE hit thirty bucks, because anyone with even a limited knowledge of WWE and the abilities of Vince McMahon to tell big lies until enough people provide hard evidence to conclusively prove that he's full of shit (and given that he managed to convince the American justice system that he wasn't distributing steroids when he clearly was, maybe not even then) could have warned people that an initial million subscribers to WWE Network was a pipe dream, and getting a TV network to lay out money equivalent to the highest-rated sporting events (well, the NFL is a sport, at least) in America for the "good for cable" ratings of WWE would be the feverish imaginings of a deluded madman (we call him "Vince"). The stock was massively over-valued at thirty dollars, and when all is said and done, it will probably settle back to where it's been for most of its life, somewhere in between ten and twenty dollars a share.
But what about the wrestling fans who didn't feel like owning a very (very) small piece of the biggest wrestling company on the planet? Well, for you not much will change. The stock drop will affect the pocketbooks of the shareholders and to some extent, the McMahon family, but WWE as an entity will remain exactly the same no matter what price the company is trading at. In the end, Vince and his family own the majority of the real, voting stock, and the one traded on Wall Street is what might be generously called "vanity stock". Oh, it's worth real money, albeit less than a couple weeks ago, but it carries no ability to actually affect change within the company, and if it ever dropped low enough to be an issue, Vince would probably just buy it all up and take the company private again. On a side note, I don't know if that's actually possible, I have no real knowledge of how that would or could work, I have no actual financial expertise. But at any rate, WWE has enough money rolling in that no matter what TV deal they finally accept (and with NBC Universal having a right to match any offer, I'd suspect that WWE will end up right back on USA, and indeed, that appears like it will be what gets announced at the cable upfronts this Thursday), they will continue to be profitable roughly sometime until after the sun implodes. Yes, they lost money this financial quarter, but that was due to Network start-up costs, and the fact that they had no PPVs featuring The Rock wrestling in the main event. In fact, WWE even managed to reverse their biggest money pit this quarter, with WWE Studios finally showing a profit thanks to Halle Berry. If they can make money off their crappy B movies, they should be able to make even more off their wrestling show that spent last Monday ripping off a crappy B movie, right?
Wait, I already did that bit in the Raw preview.
The point is, not having a TV deal announced is hurting WWE in the stock market, but in the end, they'll sign a deal, probably with NBC Universal, and the stock will settle back to the usual level it's always been at. I mean, unless Daniel Bryan really is the harbinger of a new wrestling golden age, and given that they're giving him main events against Kane, I'd suspect that might just be wishful thinking.
- Hey, you know that part of Raw where Sheamus decided to actually win the battle royal and the United States title, because, you know, he's a wrestler who wanted to win the match he was in and become a champion while doing it? Apparently that was a heel turn in the minds of WWE Creative. I mean, I'm sure if that's true, they'll work on it more in the upcoming weeks, but as turns go, it isn't exactly throwing your partner through a window, is it? Odd timing on it as well, since WWE is set to head off on a European tour, where Sheamus will likely get cheered anyway (and since Barrett is IC Champion, both secondary champions could be walking into hero's welcomes while still being heels). But hey, they got that Sheamus heel turn they were planning before Mania! Ironically, now we'd actually prefer he be fighting Daniel Bryan, rather than what we're getting.
- Turns out that all the rumours that Batista was planning to leave before Payback are not true, and especially false would be the rumours that he wanted out early because he'd rather not lose to Daniel Bryan. Instead, it seems he might just be pissed about WWE jerking him around with their creative plans, and hey, he's probably not alone there. At any rate, none of that stuff was true, and I just wanted to mention it because I said that very thing on my podcast, TWNE After Dark, last Wednesday. I always knew Dave was a jam-up guy who would have no problem losing to Bryan. Who are you to doubt Dave Batista?
- Speaking of both Sheamus and Evolution, when Batista does eventually head out for his promotional work for Guardians of the Galaxy, there is talk of adding another member of Evolution, and known workout buddy of Triple H himself, Sheamus, is apparently being tabbed as a new potential member. While I would argue that someone with the recessive redhead gene might not exactly be a poster child for any sort of theory of evolution, what's being missed is an opportunity to put a new face in the spotlight. After all, Evolution has always been about the past (Triple H), the present (Batista and Orton), and the future, and you know, if you want to make the most out of your future, all you have to do...is Bolieve...
- And Kurt Angle, just back from surgery, is out again for surgery on his ACL, once again fueling speculation that he will return to WWE once his contract expires with TNA. Which is a very real possibility, assuming that he's done wrestling. Which is to say, it's not going to happen, because Kurt's going to want to wrestle, and WWE isn't going to want him to die while under contract with them. Besides, they won't need another headliner for the Hall of Fame for a few years yet, they've still got to induct Taker, Triple H, and Sting. Oh, and I don't think they ever officially inducted The Rock, just his father and grandfather. So, yeah, Kurt Angle to return to WWE in 2020 or so.
HOT: Bray Wyatt
It's not enough that he beat Cena at Extreme Rules, but then the Wyatt Family went and beat The Shield on Monday Night Raw as well. I'm fairly sure the list of people who've accomplished those victories on consecutive nights is short indeed. While Bray may have Payback coming (had to be done), at this point in time, he is making a case for being the deity he claims to be.
NOT: Adam Rose
Blame the crowd, blame uptight security, blame a generally middling show, or if you're like me, blame the Kane segments for sucking all the air out of the arena, but Rose's long-awaited debut came off with a decided lack of enthusiasm. We're not going to all turn into lemons right away, but the Exotic Express needs a better second week before it gets derailed (seriously, I can't help myself this week).
It seemed like Sheamus was becoming another Del Rio since his return, doing a whole lot of not much and putting some other talent over cleanly, which suggested he wasn't anywhere near title contention. Turns out he was closer than we thought, but what it means for the US Title and Sheamus himself is really anyone's guess.
NOT: Dolph Ziggler
Talk about a guy who just rips the heart out of the crowd every time something bad happens to him. Dolph was on a nice little run during the US Title battle royal, and it all came to an abrupt end at the hands...er...sock puppet...of Santino Marella. I'm not saying Ziggler should have won the title (he totally should have, though), but after putting on a show, would it be too much to have him eliminated by a non-comedy act?
She gets her own personal ring introduction, entrance music, and does all the talking for Rusev. Is it any wonder that she's getting all the reactions? If she can wrestle at all (although I'm not certain she can), she'd be a big hit in the Divas division.
He lost his country, his first name, and it's becoming quickly apparent that the ceiling of Rusev's talent is approaching rapidly. Squashing jobbers can be a recipe for success, but Rusev isn't really showing anything that impressive while he's doing it, and the Accolade is not a submission move that will get anyone over. Hell, we made fun of Steiner for it, and he was far scarier than Rusev.
Seriously, WWE.com, would it really hurt to update these guys' profile pictures to their current gimmick? 3MB is not a new thing, you know.
NOT: Kane vs Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
Well, this whole thing seems determined to die a slow and painful death, dragging us kicking and screaming into the darkest pits of despair, accompanied only by the screeched of Brie Bella. Was the thought process behind the angle on Raw "Hey, it didn't work for Zack Ryder, but come on, what are the chances it doesn't work this time?"
Really this award should go to Sara Del Ray, because apparently she can churn out female wrestlers at a ridiculous pace. Few will remember that Charlotte had next to no wrestling ability when she entered NXT (and before someone brings up genetics, ask David Flair how that worked out for him), but now she's clearly improved by leaps and bounds. I saw someone refer to NXT women's wrestling as "women wrestling as opposed to women doing women's wrestling", and I think that's exactly why it's made the NXT Divas division a must-watch.
NOT: Jack Swagger
Well, Jack had better hope ol'Zeb never abandons him, because it looks like he won't be winning another important match for a very long time, if the outcome of his feud with Cesaro and his upcoming one with the debuting Adam Rose are any indication. It's really a shame, they brought him back and might have given him at least a short run with the World Title before he got in legal trouble, and the Real Americans broke up without ever tasting tag gold, despite being probably one of the best options to dethrone the Rhodes Brothers at the time. What could have been, Jack.
WWE Inactive List as of 05.05.14
- AJ Lee, out indefinitely as of April 14th (R&R)
- Christian, out indefinitely as of March 25th (concussion)
- Darren Young, out 4-6 months as of April 13th (ACL)
- Evan Bourne, out indefinitely as of March 19th, 2012 (foot)
- Rey Mysterio, out indefinitely as of April 15th (hand)
- Adam Rose, made WWE main roster debut on May 5th Raw
- Alexa Bliss, made NXT debut on May 8th NXT
- Dasha Kuret, signed to an NXT developmental contract
- Dani Jackson, signed to an NXT developmental contract
- Kalisto, made NXT debut on May 8th NXT
- Lina Fanene, signed to an NXT developmental contract
- Sakamoto, reportedly re-signed to an NXT developmental contract
WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Daniel Bryan
- 36 day reign, defeated Randy Orton and Batista in a Triple Threat match on April 6th (WrestleMania XXX)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett
- 8 day reign, defeated Big E on May 4th (WWE Extreme Rules)
**NEW** WWE United States Champion: Sheamus
- 7 day reign, won a battle royal that included former champion Dean Ambrose on May 5th (Raw)
WWE Tag Team Champions: The Usos
- 70 day reign, defeated The New Age Outlaws on March 3rd (Raw)
WWE Divas' Champion: Paige
- 35 day reign, defeated AJ Lee on April 7th (Raw)
WWE NXT Champion: Adrian Neville
- 74 day reign, defeated Bo Dallas in a Ladder Match on February 27th (NXT ArRIVAL PPV)
- Next title defense: vs Winner of Tyler Breeze vs Tyson Kidd vs Sami Zayn, NXT Takeover
WWE NXT Tag Team Champions: The Ascension
- 215 day reign, defeated Corey Graves and Adrian Neville on October 2nd NXT
WWE NXT Women's Champion: VACANT
- former champion Paige vacated the championship on April 24th NXT
- Next title match: Tournament Finals, NXT Takeover
On the latest After Dark, I mock the very foundations of the Kane-Bryan feud, and explain why while Dave might be a bad guy, he may not be a bad guy. Plus, whether Bray Wyatt can bounce back after an inevitable Cena victory at Payback, and why I don't see Rusev going very far through the WWE ranks!
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