411 Fact or Fiction Wrestling: Lesnar as Champion, TNA Ratings Disappointment, WWE G1 Style Tournament, More
Posted by Larry Csonka on 08.14.2014
Will Brock Lesnar win the WWE Title at Summerslam? Should TNA be disappointed with last week’s Impact rating? Is the loss of Alberto Del Rio a major one for WWE? 411's Jericho Ricardi and Jeremy Thomas debate these topics and more!
Welcome back to the latest edition of 411 Fact or Fiction, Wrestling Edition! Stuff happened, people loved/hated it and let everyone else know. I pick through the interesting/not so interesting tidbits and then make 411 staff members discuss them for your pleasure. Battling this week: First up is the one and only Jeremy Thomas! He battles Jericho Ricardi!
Questions were sent out Monday.
Participants were told to expect wrestling-related questions, possible statements on quantum physics and hydroponics.
1. You are excited for Sunday's WWE Summerslam PPV.
Jeremy Thomas:FACT - I think "excited" may be pushing it just slightly, but I'm definitely interested. I think that while they've been forced to deal with both Cena's and Lesnar's limited schedules, they've done well in promoting it and Lesnar is one of the guys who really legitimately makes you question whether Cena will escape. Jericho vs. Wyatt shouldn't disappoint a second time and I'll say the same about AJ and Paige. Sure, there's a match that I couldn't care less about--Rusev vs. Swagger--but Miz vs. Ziggler should be solid and Ambrose vs. Rollins should be a lot of fun despite the silly stipulation. And Stephanie vs. Brie won't be a good match but it'll be fun in an overbooked way. They've done a solid job here and that's enough to intrigue me.
Jericho Ricardi:FACT - Brock Vs. Cena is one of the few big matches they've got left at the moment, and the fact that it's for the title gives it intrigue despite that we've already seen the matchup. As far as the undercard, Ambrose Vs. Rollins (for real this time?) should be an insane match. Paige Vs. AJ Lee is a cool feud. It should be a good show across the board. At least, I hope so, after the snooze-fests that have been their last few PPVs since the amazing WM30.
2. Losing Alberto Del Rio is a big loss for the WWE roster.
Jeremy Thomas:FACT - This isn't to suggest that Del Rio was essential to WWE; far from it. But whether we like him or not, the man was a reliable upper midcarder who could be counted on to deliver when needed. I don't disagree with his firing at all; I don't care what someone says to you, there are clear rules in WWE's guidelines about how to deal with prejudicial behavior and they certainly don't include the lines "you are allowed to strike that person." If you hit a co-worker, expect to be looking for a different job. WWE will elevate someone to Del Rio's position, but that's going to take time because they've done such a poor job of building up their midcard guys and in the meantime that is a hole in their roster. So yes, it's a significant loss to the roster.
Jericho Ricardi:FICTION - Alberto Del Rio has pretty much hit his ceiling in WWE, and wasn't adding much of anything to the show. Maybe he can get a new angle on his character in TNA and become interesting again. Then again, I don't think anyone in TNA needs the "rub" from him or that there's much of a spot for him there at the moment either. There might be a way to make him interesting, though. Since he was rumored to be irritated with WWE for most of his tenure with the company, TNA may want to bring him in to cut a blistering anti-WWE promo right off the bat. That would get people talking. Have him talk about how he was Cena/Orton's bitch when he wasn't repeatedly pinning whoever had the Intercontinental Title in non-title matches.
3. Brock Lesnar SHOULD and WILL win the WWE World Title at Summerslam.
Jeremy Thomas:FACT - Paul Heyman made an interesting point, and I don't fully agree with it but there's some merit: if Brock doesn't defend the title every PPV, that's not a bad thing. Defending the title less makes it a little more special when it happens and it means less need for "filler" opponents or several rematches. It's not like the belt has been defended every show as it is, and the title hasn't lost any prestige for it. You put him on four PPVs including WrestleMania and that'll be fine. What's more, if he doesn't win the title than his win over Undertaker at Mania is rendered pointless. Give Brock the belt and it'll be a boon to the company overall; if he defends it less than by the time it comes for him to lose it, people will be begging for it to happen and they'll get behind Reigns, Bryan or whoever they throw up against him all the more.
Jericho Ricardi:FACT - I was one of the few people who liked the outcome of their 2012 brawl; It made sense to me that Cena go over. He had just lost to The Rock, and his entire reign at the top had a feeling of "he's only there because Brock left". Cena winning put that to rest, and Brock dominated him so much that the match actually benefited him too. Also, Cena winning back then means it's less harmful to him to lose now, when it counts more. Cena winning this match would be a terrible outcome from a storytelling point of view, and part-timer or not there's a LOT that they can do with Brock as champion. ...if he actually shows up for a reasonable amount of shows. If he's only there once a month, that'd be a WCW-like situation and I won't be amused.
4. Following all of the hype and promotion from the company, TNA scoring 1.4 million viewers for the big Dixie Carter table angle has to be looked at as a disappointment.
Statement was set out before TNA's press release, claiming 1.6 million, which included DVR numbers.
Jeremy Thomas:FICTION - If it was a vacuum than I would say that it is a disappointment for sure; the show was up just 2% in viewership, 7% in the household rating and down a tenth in the demo rating. But in this case--and I know for some this is an excuse, but it's a legit one--the heavier competition hurt it and that qualifies the very modest gains. Football came back and that takes a significant chunk of the wrestling audience (we see that with Raw too during the NFL season). There were multiple games in major markets including New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston so you have to take that into account. I'm the first to point out when TNA's ratings sink is significant (or WWE's, for that matter) but I think that in this case the competition was a valid reason. If anything, I would say TNA's mistake was scheduling their big event for this particular week but the ratings weren't that disappointing to me.
Jericho Ricardi:FACT - I was expecting a bigger ratings pop for this week and last week's heavily hyped shows. Instead, the ratings went up like 10% from their usual numbers. It's definitely a disappointment. Thing is, the vast majority of their potential audience can see the big table angle on TNA's Youtube channel the minute the show ends (or have already seen it via fan-recorded videos), so why tune in if they aren't already regular viewers? I'd like to see their ratings spike, but unfortunately it isn't the late 90's anymore and wrestling ratings seem to be etched in stone. If this week's events didn't do the trick, it's possible that nothing will short of a very long run of high-quality shows that really build positive word of mouth. Then again, it's difficult to build positive word of mouth on the Internet when everyone's still talking about poorly received angles from 2010 and Victory Roadgate from 2011. The Internet's treatment of TNA is about as ridiculous as if people criticized WWF 1999 for how stupid WWF 1995's gimmicks were.
5. Monday's episode of Raw was an effective show in terms of making you want to watch the Summerslam PPV.
Jericho Ricardi:N/A - I haven't seen RAW yet. I'm actually two weeks behind on it because the show was literally boring me to sleep. However, I hear Brock actually showed up; if so, that's pretty much all they needed to do to make the show interesting and give Summerslam the last-minute bump. However, I already want to watch Summerslam by virtue of it having matches that I want to see and a main event that sells itself. So... FACT for still wanting to watch Summerslam, despite RAW being intensely boring most of the time?
Jeremy Thomas:FICTION - It was a middling episode that didn't do a lot to suck me in. Two days after the fact, what is everyone talking about? The stupid Brie/Stephanie thing and Hulk Hogan's birthday, the latter of which doesn't contribute to SummerSlam. I think they tried to make it interesting but this one was just a swing and a miss. I'm interested in SummerSlam anyway, but not because of this
6. If WWE does move Smackdown to Thursday nights, and TNA remains on Spike TV, TNA should do everything in their power to move nights and avoid going head to head with WWE.
Jericho Ricardi:FACT - I don't think Smackdown will hurt Impact as much as a lot of people are expecting. As I said before, wrestling ratings are largely etched in stone at the moment. Impact's audience will keep tuning in, while Smackdown's audience will follow it. No, I don't believe that there's a whole lot of overlap between the two, but I may be wrong. That said, I go FACT on this one because I think Impact should change nights regardless. Shaking things up might be a good step for their new direction. As far as growth potential goes, Tuesday Night Impact could well be the next best thing to Monday night without having to go against the RAW behemoth. Added pressure from Smackdown on their current night could be a good incentive for them to examine the feasibility of jumping to Tuesday nights.
Jeremy Thomas:FACT - While both shows have their individual audiences, you can't deny that there is a significant shared audience. Look at how hard Impact's ratings dove when they went head-to-head against Raw. Now obviously they won't be hit as hard if they go up against Smackdown, but there will be a hit. There will be one to Smackdown too, but that's neither here nor there because Smackdown can take the hit. Impact is in the middle of tenuous negotiations and if they stay on Spike, they'll find themselves in serious trouble if they take any sort of significant drop in ratings because having a contract doesn't mean that you can't get cancelled. Just to play it safe, they should move nights.
7. WWE should look into doing a yearly tournament like the NJPW G1, placing all tournament matches on the WWE Network.
Jericho Ricardi:FACT - I like tournaments. How about bringing back King of the Ring for one night (or week) every year? It could help build to Summerslam, which used to be the case. If they focus on the upper-midlevel guys, it could be a fun way to build up a new star. Speaking of tournaments, its too bad Impact Wrestling has apparently ditched the Bound for Glory Series concept. Hopefully it returns in the future if the company is still around. I liked the idea of having the final four in a tournament-style "playoff" during the No Surrender show in September, with the winner getting the champion in October.
Jeremy Thomas:FICTION - It would be an interesting idea and might work, but I also have to wonder two things. First off, when would they find the time? The schedule is already incredibly wearing on the talent; adding something like this could risk more injuries. I'm of the opinion that the less that their talent need to work, the better off they'll be. And second, I don't think that such a thing fits within the company's broadcast vision. Would this be an "out of continuity" thing like the One Night Only PPVs basically are for TNA, or would it fit within. I know how it works that way for NJPW, but WWE has to figure out how it would work for them and I just don't know how it would play for them.
8. Spike TV President Kevin Kay attending the final set of TNA tapings in New York last week is a positive sign for the TNA TV negotiations.
Jericho Ricardi:FACT - I can't say it'd make much sense for him to be in the audience for a show if the program were already cancelled as has been so widely reported. I'm expecting them to announce a new deal in place, possibly with a new timeslot, some time in the near future. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. I don't know, and if no one else does either, then we shouldn't be talking about it like the cancellation is a done deal. That kind of reckless reporting hurts Impact's bargaining power if they do indeed need to look for a new home, which is likely why Spike won't make the announcement either way. Still, it'd make little sense for Spike to cancel their highest-rated (the majority of the time) show, even if it is costly to produce.
Jeremy Thomas:FICTION - He could have been there because he is talks with Dixie, but that's not likely because all reports suggest that United Talent Agency is handling the negotiations with Spike (and UTA is certainly not on the road with Impact). More likely he was there to make a determination on how the product works, or perhaps to give suggestions on what needs to change/stay the same/improve. How good has TNA been at implementing changes on other peoples' suggestions in the past? It could be a good sign but we simply don't know enough about it other than "he was there." If we could learn more than it would be easier to make a call on this.