Smackdown Slog

Hey Scott–

I asked you a while back if you would keep reviewing ECW on TNN because it seemed like such a slog to you. You clarified that it wasn't a slog, it was just a shitty show, and that the numbers your reviews were doing on the blog justified continuing it.

Where does Smackdown fall right now? Would you classify it as slog or shitty show? And whichever one it is, does it move enough numbers that you should keep on with it (especially when the World Series is giving you a week off?)

The last two weeks have been what I’d call a slog, yes.  Mostly I was rolling my eyes at the booking and camera work during the show.  Makes it hard to enjoy.  
That being said, yes, the numbers more than  justify keeping it around.  HECK YEAH.  Dynamite even more so.  

Seth Rollins refers to AEW as the minor leagues

For those who need something to overreact to this morning:

Do we not have a counter where we can track how long it’s been since Rollins said something cringe worthy?  
Also, apparently Randy Orton has a post on Twitter where he’s pointing to an “Elite” sign and captioned it “tick tock”.  So i guess not everyone thinks it’s the minor leagues.  

The First Ladder Tag

How much of an impact did the Terry Invitational Tournament (T.I.T.) have on the WWF's personnel decisions in late 1999? They signed a bunch of high workrate talent after The Hardys and E&C stole the show at No Mercy, so it's hard to imagine it wasn't related.

Absolutely, the TIT was big.  Clearly though, there was no direction for the Hardy Boyz or E&C leading up to the TIT, and it wasn't until the show that the TIT was firm and round.  

OK, I've milked this one as much as I can this morning.  

Nikkei article on NJPW

Hey, they needed a narrative, I guess.  
Here's more details from the Observer site on the invasion of the US by Japan:
Can I also add how hilarious it was that Vince decided to combat this by throwing money at various Japanese promotions with no understanding of the culture or the landscape?  Like, what was gonna do with NOAH or All Japan?  You don't even get the rights to the video footage!  

Lynch/Rollins Reationship

I've noticed that they've dropped the whole Becky Lynch-Seth Rollins real life romance on the air.  Do you think they realized how counterproductive it was to both of their characters, or was it something else entirely?  
Obviously it was just so hot and passionate that whenever they were on screen together, USA was unable to maintain the TV-PG rating and started getting complaints from parents groups.  In fact, that's why there's been the run of breaking up on-screen couples recently.  Becky and Seth have so much chemistry that anyone else is unable to compete with how hot they are together and thus need to be broken up in humiliating ways.  Really, it had to be ended for the good of TV. 

Alternate Universe Magnum TA

Hey Scott–

We talk all the time here about how much money would have been drawn if Nikita Koloff had jumped shipped to feud with Hogan in 1986.

What about Magnum TA? Let's pretend he never has the car accident and Vince poaches him. Could they have run the "Hogan and Magnum are pals/Magnum gets jealous/Magnum turns on Hogan" program? Or would it have been similar to the WWF trying to program Jake Roberts and Hogan and the fans would have "reacted incorrectly"?

I think Magnum would have been a huge star for WCW, but he probably wouldn't have had an avenue into the WWF upper card and would have ended up like a Barry Windham or Arn Anderson.  

What were they thinking?

Wasn't it a really dumb idea, one week after debuting on a new network with a huge promotional push and presumably new viewers, to suddenly remove several of those stars from the show with the idiotic draft? You're telling those new viewers who might have stayed for the second week that they'll never see these people again on this show. 

Well on the bright side, not a lot of them actually did change shows.  But the draft was a stupid idea from the start in general and was only because they wanted to pop a rating without any thought given to what they were actually going to do with it.  

Options For Smackdown?

Just playing devil's advocate;  If Smackdown's ratings continue on a downward spiral for another month or two, could you see Fox moving the show to Thursdays or Tuesdays?  If not that, I could envision Vince McMahon coming on and instituting another "Wildcard Rule", thus making the Brand Separation worthless for the 2nd time in the same year.  

I think worst case they get moved to FS1 permanently and reign as the number one show there for the rest of the contract term. 

Well as expected…(Smackdown viewership)

Hour One: 2,390,000

Hour Two: 2,493,000

Average: 2,441,500

Hour One 18-49: 0.7

Hour Two 18-49: 0.8

Down from an average of 2,899,000 last week. FOX must be THRILLED!

That is…not good.  So now they've burned through the old people show with Brock Lesnar winning the title, and then the draft show, and there's not much more they can hotshot now.  And they've already fired Bischoff!  

Still watching 1998-1999 WCW

Another late 90s WCW question for you.

I had always heard that the Fingerpoke of Doom was the beginning of the end for WCW, but watching it now they really seem to have screwed up Goldberg's title run before that. 

So he wins the title in July, and they only have him defend it twice on PPV before dropping the title in December, and only one of those was the main event. 

Was he injured during some of this time? Or was this all backstage politicking by Hogan to stay in the main event even without the belt? Because in retrospect putting the title on your hottest act and then putting him lower on the card than Karl Malone and Jay Leno seems pretty dumb. Is this just a "because WCW" type situation? 

Yeah, although also it was contractual stuff with Hogan where he pretty much had to be promoted in the main event of whatever he was on because he was getting a piece of PPV revenue.  It got to be a real catch-22 once Hogan's drawing power was gone.  

Strangest Employment Situation In Wrestling?

Is the Eric Bischoff hiring and firing as "Creative Director of Smackdown", who didn't really do anything except "observe", the strangest employment situation in pro wrestling that you can remember?  The only one that comes close for me was when the WWE brought back Vince Russo in 2002 to helm the creative team, but then he was demoted after a day or 2 to "creative consultant" before leaving for start-up TNA a few months later.   
Bischoff doesn't even scratch the surface of weird booker hirings and firings in wrestling.  Buzz Sawyer alone is a discussion that would take days. 

Glenn Jacobs.

Hi Scott. 

So, as we all know, when Kevin Nash left the WWF and went to WCW. Glenn Jacobs took his place. 

Shouldn't they have called his character Petrol? 

Perhaps it could have been the fake Diesel that caused the fire that disfigured Kane's face? 

The WWF: Deep man! 

Now where's my tablets. 

"Petrol" isn't a thing outside of Britain.  Sorry to ruin your hard-earned joke there.

Return of Super Cuts on FOX

The kick off episode of Smackdown on FOX had a noticeably different shooting-style. Was Kevin Dunn supposed to learn and execute the video style and has just failed? 
I don't know, but Dunn's directing was over the top obnoxious last night, especially with anything involving Roman Reigns.  Zoom, shake, cut cut cut cut cut cut cut cut.  Also noticeably during the women's match where they were trying to disguise their stuff or something, I dunno.  It's also really bad from a technical standpoint because FOX broadcasts the show at a lower framerate than USA did, so it's a very off-putting visual experience to combine that with Dunn's shaky-cam.  Hopefully the network takes control of that aspect, but I doubt it. 

What should Vince do with NXT on USA?

The company line is "it's a marathon not a sprint" but finishing 30th in the demo with no sports feels like a pretty epic failure for NXT. Especially considering AEW isnt exactly setting the world on fire. 

So if you're Vince, what would you do?

1- Move the show to Tuesdays

2- Keep the show on Wednesdays but take it on the road

3- Keep the show in Full Sail on Wednesdays but add more "stars" from the main roster

4- Take your medicine & move it back to the Network to focus on Raw/SD

Again, we don’t know what USA wants out of this.  I think Vince should definitely get on the road with it, but maybe USA is happy drawing less than 700k viewers?  Really it’s all for their benefit anyway.  

Wrestling Storylines That Didn’t Age Well?

Are there any storylines in wrestling that you think haven't aged well when you look back on them?  I think most of what the nWo storyline did in WCW falls into this category for me.  
Most storylines in wrestling aren't really meant to age well.  They're a product of their time meant to draw money in the immediate future and then be forgotten.  So yeah, a large majority of what was awesome 20 years ago doesn't look great today without context.  

Hall of Fame

Not that anyone should care about the WWE Hall of Fame in the least, but is it weird that the last few years have seen inductees that were persona non grata due to Vince’s petty grudges – Jarrett, Angle, etc – welcomed back to the WWE family… And now, assuming AEW succeeds long term, we’re likely to see a whole new cold war where a guy like Jericho will probably never go in? What if someone else of prominence leaves? It’s just weird that WWE was filling in all the history it used to choose to ignore, and now there’s something in America they really don’t or can’t control. 

That's a terrifying thing for Vince, for sure. I think he's still on good terms with Jericho and understands that it's a business decision, though.