The Postgame (Pregame? Whatever): Why “Don’t buy a ticket” misses the point

This will be an exercise that isn’t deeply rooted in the scientific method. I suppose I might as well call it scientific considering it’s a subject matter in which “psychology” translates to “pretend your arm hurts,” but much like most wrestlers and their so-called psychology, I probably won’t keep the facade up that well. I majored in journalism, not math. Those well-versed in macroeconomics, microeconomics, consumer sciences, game theory, string theory, the Big Bang theory, alchemy or phrenology might be better suited to handle this subject matter than me.


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the divide between what wrestling fans want and what the WWE is willing to give us only seems to be growing. Last week’s mostly failed “Hijack Raw” movement that garnered some attention last Monday afternoon in the leadup to the much-anticipated show in Chicago. It was a cute idea, if mostly unnecessary: they know how we feel. They’re building it into their biggest storyline, after all. 
And it ended up not being much of anything besides a typically top-notch, boisterous Chicago crowd: they deftly handled the CM Punk situation with Paul Heyman’s opening segment, and they mostly avoided a direct hit job on the Authority, Randy Orton and Batista by having them all directly interact with Daniel Bryan- who, in a growing WWE trend of co-opting the insurgence, outright told the fans to, direct quote, “hijack Raw”- in multiple segments. That one didn’t require much mental dexterity on their part, seeing as how it wasn’t a departure from the existing storyline. But they nonetheless avoided the partisan crowd being the story.
What was interesting was the vitriol- the backlash to the backlash, if you will- this attempted insurrection received leading up to that show. Vitriol that, presumably, in large part came from people who agreed with the “Hijack Raw” sentiment. And it mostly boiled down to this:
If you don’t like it, don’t buy a ticket.
As consumer advice, it’s pretty basic stuff. If you don’t like a product, don’t spend your money on it. And there’s plenty to not like about the current WWE product to stop you from spending money you might otherwise have spent.
But that isn’t interesting. What’s interesting is the notion that not showing up and spending your money will enact the change we want to see.
I don’t see it working that way. 
Wrestlemania history shows some outrageous peaks and valleys in the buyrates of the show’s early years, even up to a tripling of the number of viewers from ‘Mania 13 to 14. But in the last 10 years, the numbers have mostly stabilized within a small range; while the study of PPV buyrates is about to change forever with the WWE Network’s arrival, for now it still provides a relevant snapshot of the WWE fanbase. 
The way I see it, three shows in the last 10 years have clearly been sold entirely on the work of the existing, full-time roster without any big returning stars or celebrities: 22, 25 and 26. Those three shows averaged a combined 933,000 purchases and are the only three in the last decade to fall short of one million. Shows featuring mainstream celebrities Hulk Hogan (21), Donald Trump and Stone Cold (23), Floyd Mayweather (24), The Rock (27-29) and Brock Lesnar (29), even in small capacities in some cases, all broke the one million barrier, averaging 1.12 million viewers. 
That extra 180,000 of average viewers in those six shows accounts for, roughly, $50 million. While the huge buyrate for Rock/Cena I makes all the sense in the world given the matchup’s historic intergenerational nature, the idea that anyone would part with 50 to 70 dollars to see Hulk Hogan do basically a Raw segment, Donald Trump and Steve Austin shave Vince McMahon’s head or The Rock host the show seems outrageous on the surface. But I think nine shows is enough sample size to suggest that, yes, that’s kinda-sorta happened. (In reality, these extra viewers likely consist mostly of lapsed fans for whom the big returns or mainstream cache was enough to bring them back to the biggest show of the year of a product they once greatly enjoyed, making the notion of these things drawing money that Punk, Bryan, etc. can’t draw a bit more palatable.)
While Batista isn’t anywhere near the wrestling star or mainstream celebrity as the above names, it’s fair to a)wonder how much Hogan affected that WM21 buyrate, and b)maybe give Batista some credit for the pretty big buyrate that show did, considering he main evented it in the culmination of a hot storyline. This is where we get back to the “this isn’t totally scientific” part: in the last decade, that 933,000 number seems like a pretty good baseline for figuring out what the diehard WWE fanbase is, and how they build upon it.
What it says to me is that no full-time, every day WWE star is really growing the fanbase in the last decade. This is in part by design, of course, but that’s neither here nor there for our purposes today. The WWE has figured out what the baseline is for their existing fanbase, and despite anecdotal evidence or the claims of attention seekers, they know this base is more or less not going anywhere. 
They know that as long as they give us just enough of what we want to see, just close enough to the top, we’re going to stick around no matter how appalled we may be with the main event picture. They’re all but openly telling us that they’re pandering to us, the core base, with half-assed appeasements to our pleas. This is the equivalent of telling a cancer patient that you’re going to make them as comfortable as possible even though the tumor is removable and the disease treatable. 
There might be a breaking point- not a Breaking Point– for the core base, but we’re nowhere near it. If anything, we’re getting farther away. And that’s scary, because the things they’re now giving us in their effort to bring in those extra 180,000 wallets are misguided enough that you’d think cracks in the facade would be showing. I don’t see them. I wish I did. 
If you’re disgruntled with the current product, I absolutely agree that you shouldn’t spend your money on it. Don’t buy the ticket, don’t buy the merchandise. But one last don’t:
Don’t think that’s going to enact the change you want to see. It sucks to know that a product you love doesn’t really care about you, although that’s an overly simplistic view of the situation. Losing their core base will absolutely hurt the WWE. But do you think their solution will be to push the guys the core fanbase wants to see, if the problem is that the core fanbase is dwindling? 
In the long view, this could produce an exciting new batch of stars much like it did from 1996 to 1998. 
Maybe. 
As we know, though, their currency is their stock price, their next TV deal. It isn’t as simple as beating Nitro, like it was two decades ago. Are we confident that, if we decide en masse to protest the current main event scene by not giving them our money, they’re going to respond by creating a new batch of Stone Colds, Rocks, Triple Hs and Foleys like they did the last time their backs were truly against the wall? 
They give us as much as they do of Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and the like- you could even include John Cena in this, though one of their solutions to a dwindling base would probably be even more Cena- because there’s a built-in fanbase that’s showing up for it, and won’t leave despite whatever other bullshit they throw at us.
While they’re already handling the fallout from the failings of their presentation of the current batch of bullshit (in the form of a 45-year old grandfather who dresses like a 25-year old date rapist), it seems unlikely that it’s going to affect their long-term planning if it isn’t even going to affect their short-term ideas.
If you don’t like it, don’t buy a ticket.
But if enough fellow diehards do the same, you probably won’t like the fallout any better.  

QOTD 114: On Writing…

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
—Allen Ginsberg

With so many of us Blog Otters being creatively minded, or at the least enjoying the idea of putting together articles, reviews, summaries, or thoughts on wrestling and non-wrestling related topics, I figured we’d go with a writing related topic for the second day in a row.

What do you look for in writing? Do you like fiction with a grounding in reality, or high fantasy? Do you look for things like literary subtext and themes, or are ultimately in it for a good yarn that maybe makes you feel emotiony things? 

What about in non-fiction? Do you prefer your sports coverage serious X’s and O’s, or do you prefer a SportsNation / Bleacher Report  model where there’s lists, slide shows, and a lot of tomfoolery while also talking mostly seriously about the given topic? 

If you write, what’s your process? Do you do a single draft, edit for spelling, and push it out? Do you do a draft, let it sit, then come back in a few days? What’s your method, and what do you think your strengths are? 
Naturally there are no set rules, but I generally like low-minded coverage of high-minded things – I like Bill Simmons for this reason, occasionally you’ll get an article out of Bill O’Reilly (or whoever he hired to write his column) that tackles a pretty complex topic in a simple, if not slanted way.

Generally speaking I dislike content that uses a bunch of inaccessible terms or nebulously defined concepts to illustrate a point as they come off as huffy or superior. I read an article about how a Black man asking a white woman friend what she thinks about dating black men. The article went on to use terms like agency, privilege, norms, and a bunch of other sociological stuff I *know*, but if you’re attempting to make a point to the ‘masses’ don’t use words the ‘masses’ have to look up.

On the flip side, I LOVE high-minded concepts and themes tackling silly stuff. I love when reviewers or writers or video personalities dive into an interesting tangent or back story – especially if it relates to continuity. I know this isn’t a written example – but the “History of Power Rangers” stuff that the AT4W did was FANTASTIC in how it took this super fucking dumb kids show deadly seriously for a lot of genuine laughter at the almost…performance art aspect of it all.

Regarding how I approach writing: even after over a decade being mostly creative, I have trouble developing a process. I’ll sit down, write a little, dork around, come back, write some more, and go from there. I like to let a draft hang out for a day if I can, so I can revisit it and eliminate words I don’t need or thoughts that seemed like great ideas at the time.

When the creative juice flows – I like to think I’m good at being…mostly entertaining in my review work. I like to focus more on how something feels versus what it does, especially since I’m not posting to meet release-day schedules.

Thus I tend (or hope) to provide an analysis of a game or movie that’s a little left or right of center. For example of COURSE “Tomb Raider” plays well and is pretty to look at, but the fact it was ultimately hollow at its core and had nothing to say when the opportunity was right to make a statement, was almost unforgivable, so I harped on it.

I do like to inject ‘me’ into reviews, especially because media is a communication channel. You can criqitue a movie’s writing, cinematography, acting, and so on, but the more important thing is what that says *to you*. “Clerks” wasn’t the best shot, best acted, or even best written movie, but because it spoke to a whole group of people in a specific way, it launched “Kevin Smiths” career. 

 If it’s something like a QOTD or some other random endeavor I’m generally try to entertain myself, or stretch creative muscles I don’t use all that often – for example the “White Buffalo” story features something that makes me giggle.

There was a doe-eyed look to her sadness, which maybe I invented from
countless movies, but it was the kind of look that said if I ‘wanted’
her, I could have her – any kind of tenderness would be welcome – even
from a big, bronze medal sorta lug like me. I guess some stupid guilt
complex or lesson ingrained as a kid about not taking advantage of
vulnerable women gave me pause. I wanted her, I didn’t think I wanted
her this way. 



Before I could realize what a fucking
idiotic idea that thought was, the door knocked and three teammates stumbled
in carrying the hot teammate who was high and drunk and crying after
being led on by the Armenian fellow.  After that I still carried a torch
for Jamie, but I knew in my head that stars would likely never align
that properly again.

I like this because I think I write a decent, if not sappy and cliched paragraph, only to subvert it a bit of ‘in hindsight’ regret in the next paragraph that ultimately dooms my chances. I don’t get much of a chance to be sappy or write autobiographically, so it was nice to journey back in my memory to a pungent time in my life.

But beyond that, I have some rules I like to follow, and I’ll post them here:

1. Kill adverbs, I learned this one from Stephen Kings “On Writing”. His general idea is that adverbs are weak, and the context of what a person is doing should be apparent from the other aspects of the given scene. If a character arrives for the first time after 4 years away at war, “They Embraced” is a more powerful sentence than “They Embraced longingly”.

2. 2nd draft = 1st draft – 1/3rd. This is also from Mr. King’s book, but the idea is to keep it pithy.

3. Its = The cat has a mouse in its paw.
It’s = It’s really cold outside! 

It’s about time Paul‘s car got fixed. Its tires are so flat!

4. Put the ending at the beginning. Weirdly – An introduction and final paragraph often contain a lot of the same information, and if you have a great way to end your piece but no way to start it, try putting the start at the end and the end at the beginning and go from there. Works like a charm.

5. I like to close my eyes and write down the first four or five things that come to me about a given subject, no matter how random they are. You’d be surprised the way your brain draws connections.

I’m sure I can figure out a bunch more, but I’m at work where I am not paid to write.

Blog Plug

Hey Scott, this is James from the comment section. I wrote a blog post about the current state of the WWE in 2014 and I'd really appreciate the plug. The site is a primarily a sports blog but we branch out into other areas as well. It's been a while since I've written an extensive wrestling-themed blog, so i'm open to any critiques from the BoD Universe:

Best of luck.

BoD Daily Update

WWE.com RAW Preview

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2014-03-10/five-point-preview-26192632

Cesaro Update

Cesaro, who is in line for a major push after WrestleMania, is also reported to be involved in a major match at SummerSlam.

Credit Bryan Alvarez, Figure Four Weekly Newsletter

WWE Diva Duo Gets a Name

The duo of Alicia Fox & Aksana will be known as “Foxsana.”

Credit Bryan Alvarez, Figure Four Weekly Newsletter

Daily Network Thread – 3/10/14

Not too much on the live stream today that hasn’t already been seen. They’re replaying Wrestlemania XVI, as they build toward this year’s edition. Of course, the RAW pre-show airs 30 minutes before the show tonight, and then RAW Backstage Pass after the show. During RAW tonight, maybe you’ll check out ECW Hardcore TV. Personally, after two weeks of checking this thing out, all the PPV’s are pretty sweet, but I think it’s time to start adding in more classic TV.

The SmarK Rant for WWF Smackdown–08.25.99

The SmarK Rant for WWF Smackdown – 08.25.99 And back to the very first episode of Smackdown we go, although this isn’t the pilot episode where the Corporation merged with the Ministry and all that bullshit. This would be three days after HHH won the WWF title for the first time and then never let it go. This was the tail end of Vince Russo’s run, as he was beyond burned out and losing whatever shred of continuity and logic that he had. Taped from Kansas City, MO. Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. The set is interesting, actually, as RAW was all angles and lines and this one is all ovals and curves. HHH joins us to start, but he doesn’t do the water spit entrance yet. When DID that start, anyway? So, and here’s some irony for you, HHH is bitching about the office holding him back, but don’t worry, because he crammed it down all our throats anyway and won the title. The Attitude belt remains awesome, by the way, and deserves a nostalgic return. This was the start of HHH’s classic Neanderthal grunting interview style that everyone mocked him for online for years, by the way. “I beat Stone Cold-uh, and Mankind-uh…” So the Rock interrupts and challenges him to a title match TONIGHT. HHH tells him to get lost, but Rock wasn’t done speaking. Rock is just in his glory here running through the catchphrases and controlling the crowd effortlessly. So this brings out Commissioner HB-Shizzle to make the match official…with himself as the referee to ensure fairness. This brings out Shane-O-Mac to appoint himself second referee, but Shawn points out that he just had a “four star match” at Summerslam and so he’s a wrestler now, which allows Shawn to book him against Mankind instead. And so we get a giant brawl as Rock destroys the Mean Street Posse and HHH escapes. Convoluted booking and multiple levels of authority figures aside, this was a fun start. Jeff Jarrett v. Billy Gunn Gunn quickly gets a powerslam for two, but Debra uses her boobs to distract him, allowing Jarrett to get an armbar takedown. They head to the floor and Gunn gets run into the post. Back in, now Chyna heads out, having switched from heel to babyface in ONE SEGMENT. Jarrett is distracted and gets rolled up for the pin at 3:00. So there you go, distraction finishes weren’t unique to today’s product. And then Chyna turns on Gunn as well, because Vince Russo. * Meanwhile, Al Snow is distraught over the treatment of his beloved dog Pepper by Big Bossman. Meanwhile, Howard Finkel polishes Chris Jericho’s boots. WWF tag titles: Undertaker & Big Show v. Kane & X-Pac v. The Acolytes Undertaker does commentary instead of wrestling, because he’s showing tough love to Big Show. It’s quickly a three-way brawl and Show gets dumped. Undertaker notes that this is leading to a big plan and he’ll reveal it when the time is right. Of course, it went nowhere and Undertaker disappeared for months before returning as a biker in 2000. Show fights off the Acolytes with chokeslams, but Kane saves and slugs it out with Show. The Acolytes beat on Kane, and Show finishes X-Pac with the chokeslam at 3:38. Rushed junk. ½* Big Bossman joins us to threaten TERRIBLE THINGS for Snow’s dog if he doesn’t get the Hardcore title RIGHT NOW. Hardcore title: Al Snow v. Big Bossman As promised, Bossman brings the vicious Chihuahua out (with a muzzle on it) for safekeeping at the announce table. Bossman as the world’s most cartoonishly evil heel is kind of funny in a way. Bossman slugs a distracted Snow out of the ring, but Al comes back with the standard cookie sheet and ladder. Snow goes to check on the dog, but Bossman nails him with the nightstick to win the title at 2:25 and then kidnaps the dog again. DUD Things would not end well for that poor mutt. Road Dogg v. Chris Jericho As noted several times tonight, this is the in-ring debut for Jericho. Road Dogg trying to do the NAO routine solo is just so very sad. Also, he wants to make Jericho into his prison bitch or something. Dogg dumps him with a clothesline, but gets sent into the stairs. Back in, Finkel sprays Dogg with whatever horrifying radioactive-yellow energy drink they were shilling that week and Jericho takes over with a backbreaker. He grabs a table for some reason, but Dogg makes the comeback with the shaky leg kneedrop for two. Jericho powerbombs him through the table for the DQ at 4:30. JR posits that we’ll never forget Jericho’s Smackdown debut. I have literally already forgotten about it. * Meanwhile, Jericho sics Finkel on Tony Chimmel, complete with Ultimate Warrior’s music. So we get a ring announcer brawl, which sadly is only the second-most embarrassing thing on this terrible show thus far. Ken Shamrock v. Val Venis No match, as Shamrock brawls with Chris Jericho in another angle that went nowhere. But then Shamrock v. Jericho would have been the trainwreck to end all trainwrecks at this point in Jericho’s career, so maybe it’s for the best. Instead, Stephanie McMahon comes out to answer Test’s marriage proposal. She says yes, although Vince Russo didn’t actually know where the storyline was going and they had to basically rewrite the whole thing when he left. Shane and the Posse come out to break up the happy couple, but Mankind saves with a chair and wants the match with Shane right now. Jesus, SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. I’m watching this show and I feel like I need 5 seconds to digest something that happens, and instead I’m constantly bombarded with stuff. Mankind v. Shane McMahon So I guess this is the match? They brawl around ringside with no ref and the Posse ends up fighting with the Stooges. In the ring, Mankind quickly dispatches Shane with Mr. Socko, but now Chyna distracts him and HHH puts Mick down with a chair, as Shane triumphs. What the fuck kind of drugs were everyone doing at this point? Chyna has now turned three times in the same show. DUD Meanwhile, Ken Shamrock threatens to kill Finkel, who craps his pants in fear. Also, Tori may be naked for some reason. More updates as they come. Evening Gown match: Ivory v. Tori Tori wants to be naked, but Tony Garea forces her to wear a shirt. Tori quickly attacks and starts ripping the dress off, winning at 0:50. Yeah, OK. Tori disappeared from the sport in 2001 and apparently teaches yoga now. No big loss. WWF World title: HHH v. The Rock Oh god the tiny shorts! I had blocked Shawn’s referee attire out of my mind and now I can’t unsee it again! They quickly trade finisher attempts and HHH gets a clothesline and chokes away in the corner. Rock tosses him and they fight up to the entrance for a Rock suplex on the stage. Back to the ring, they slug it out and Rock dumps him again. This is what people meant by “main event style” back then, as guys would fill time in the match by brawling out of the ring with no rhyme or reason. Chyna gets involved and Shawn sends her away, which distracts him long enough to miss Rock DDTing HHH. But now Shane joins us at ringside as they keep adding more and more STUFF to the match. HHH takes over with a suplex and kneedrop for two. Rock fights out of a chinlock and puts HHH down with a stungun, but now Shawn is distracted with Shane. Rock takes out Shane, hits Rock Bottom, but walks into a superkick from Shawn to allow HHH to retain with KICK WHAM PEDIGREE at 9:40. ** What a car wreck. And then Shawn’s heel turn was never mentioned again or followed up on. The Pulse You can tell Russo was approaching critical mass because this show was STUFFED with his worst instincts all fired at the screen one after another with no time to breathe in between segments. Not to mention the numerous angles and storylines started that ended up never paying off in any meaningful way. Thankfully once he left things slowed down a lot and started moving at a more natural pace again, but this was pretty awful.

Lockdown 2014

Lockdown
2014
Date: March 9, 2014
Location: BankUnited
Center, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Tazz
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s been five months
since the last pay per view so this isn’t something TNA is used to
anymore. We have a double main event tonight with Magnus defending
the World Title against Samoa Joe and Team MVP vs. Team Dixie in
Lethal Lockdown for control of the company. The Lethal Lockdown
match also has Jeff Hardy returning for the first time in a few
months. All of the matches tonight are in the cage so let’s get to
it.

We see Magnus arriving
earlier today.
The opening video talks
about being alone with your greatest enemies inside the cage.
Bad
Influence/Chris Sabin vs. Great Muta/Sanada/Yasu
Daniels and Kazarian
come out in Great Muta garb circa 1989. Sanada took the X Title from
Austin Aries a week ago in Japan. Sabin and Sanada get things going
and fight over hiptosses before Sanada grabs an abdominal stretch.
It’s quickly off to Muta to drop some fast elbows on Sabin followed
by a crossface hold. Daniels makes the save but we get the Green
Mist from Muta.
Back
to Yasuyuki

who gets taken into the wrong corner with Daniels dropping him with a
belly to back suplex, setting up a slingshot legdrop from Kaz for
two. Daniels suplexes Kaz onto Yatzu, setting up a springboard
moonsault for two from Christopher. Back to Kaz who misses a top
rope legdrop, allowing the hot tag off to Sanada.

He
cleans house until Bad
Influence hits a quick High/Low for two. Daniels takes Sanada down
for a second but a hot tag brings in Muta to really clean house with
dragon screw leg whips all around. The Mist puts Daniels down and
there’s the Shining Wizard, setting up a moonsault from Sanada for
the pin on Daniels at 9:22.
Rating:
C. Not a bad match and a good
choice for an opener, but it’s also a good example of what’s wrong
with the all cages gimmick. The cage added absolutely nothing here
and there’s no reason for the cage to be there at all. The fans
reacted well to the Japanese guys so it certainly wasn’t a terrible
idea.
Here’s
Spud to introduce Dixie as real royalty. She calls herself a real
queen, unlike that stupid King James. Dixie rants about how MVP and
the people have driven her to do something she’s going to regret.
She built this company into the international success that it is.
Earlier this week she went to New York to get a little insurance
policy to ensure victory tonight. Jeff Hardy walked out on this
company and therefore breached his contract. Therefore, he’s banned
from the building tonight and now we can enjoy the rest of the show.
Velvet
Sky and Eric Young are answering internet questions. Eric thinks
everything changes after tonight.
We
recap Shaw vs. Anderson. Shaw is obsessed with Christy Hemme and
Anderson is protecting her from harm. Samuel thinks this means
Anderson is preventing him from being with Christy and has been
attacking him as a result.
Mr.
Anderson vs. Samuel Shaw
This
is escape only. Before Anderson comes out, Shaw climbs to the top of
the cage and says if Christy doesn’t come out, he’s going to
professionally end it all. Before he can jump though, Anderson comes
out and points out the obvious: the cage isn’t high enough to do a
lot of damage. All that will do is break his ankle and make Shaw
look even goofier. Anderson offers to beat Shaw up a bit and then
take him somewhere really high to jump.
We’re
finally ready to go with Anderson taking over for a few moments but
running into a boot in the corner. Christy
is at ringside now. An
early Mic Check is blocked but Anderson takes him down with a
gutwrench suplex. Shaw
chokes Anderson in the corner but can’t quite get over the cage.
Anderson goes after him but gets rammed face first into the cage a
few times and knocked down to the mat. Shaw still can’t climb fast
enough though and Anderson runs the corner for a belly to back
superplex.
Shaw
sends him face first into the cage but Anderson sends him into the
cage door, knocking it open and drilling Earl Hebner in the process.
There’s the Mic Check to Shaw and a second one sends him face first
into the buckle. Anderson calls him a frickin weirdo and climbs the
cage but Shaw reaches through a hole in the cage and pulls Christy
in.
Shaw
starts crawling on the mat ala Kevin Sullivan at the 1988 Great
American Bash. Anderson makes it to the floor but there’s no
referee. Mr. gets the key from Hebner and opens the door for the
save but Shaw hits Anderson low and chokes him out before leaving for
the win at 10:12.
Rating:
C. I liked this a lot more than
I was expecting to with Shaw getting creepier and creepier every
week. The longer this story goes the more likely it seems that
Christy joins Shaw at some point, but it doesn’t have quite the
impact since she and Anderson are just friends. Not much of a match
but the story and characters are good. It’s very nice to see someone
like Anderson go from one feud right into another like people did
back in the day instead of just floating around and doing nothing at
all.
Team
Roode isn’t sure what the insurance policy is and argue about who
will own what percentage of the company after they win.
We
quickly look at Ethan Carter III injuring Kurt Angle, putting Kurt
out of the match tonight.
Here’s Ethan who has
issued an open challenge for Angle’s spot. Ethan talks about growing
up wanting to be the best and to beat the best. In 1996, Kurt Angle
was the best and Ethan took him out twice now. The fans say he can’t
wrestle but Ethan comes back with chants of “I’m very good” and
“I disagree.” By the way this is our third promo tonight and
it’s getting clear that they’re stalling, despite having eight
matches. He asks anyone to come out here but warns the fans not to
hijack this show.
Ethan Carter III vs.
Bobby Lashley
Well that’s a surprise.
Ethan insists that Lashley isn’t on the roster but Bobby powerslams
him down and hits a big spear. There was no bell so it wasn’t a
match, meaning Ethan is still undefeated.
Kenny King’s King of
the Night promo.
Magnus says he’s all
alone tonight but he’s used to that. He has to battle against Joe on
his own tonight and he’s fighting a lone crusade. Something doesn’t
sit well with him tonight because everyone is talking about what Joe
is going to do to him. No one has asked what Magnus is going to do
to Joe. Tonight, Joe bows down to the reign of Magnus.
Manik vs. Tigre Uno
Pin/submission to win
here. Tigre Uno is Extreme Tiger from AAA. They trade some very
fast wristlocks to start before they both go for dropkicks and crash
to the mat. Back up and they miss each other a few times until Tigre
dropkicks Manik down. Manik comes out of the corner with a
headscissors before throwing him to the top rope, only to have Tigre
catch himself on the cage. A moonsault gets two on Manik but Tigre
misses a charge and goes flying into the steel.
Manik gets two off a
belly to back suplex and drives some knees into Tigre’s back.
There’s a surfboard hold from Manik and he drops Tigre backwards for
two. Manik gets two more off a dropkick and a backbreaker gets the
same. Tigre comes back by jumping up to the top rope and coming down
with a hurricanrana.
A spinwheel kick and
running DDT drop Manik again but he can’t get a sunset bomb off the
top. Instead Manik dropkicks him in the back and gets two of his own
off a sitout powerbomb. They trade standing switches and Tigre tries
a capture suplex, only to drop Manik down onto his head. A quick
Sabretooth (moonsault into a 450) Splash is enough to give Tigre the
pin at 7:48.
Rating:
C+. Take two guys and let them
fly around the ring for eight minutes. It worked every night in WCW
and it’s going to work every single time you use it in wrestling.
Tigre Uno looked good out there and will be a nice addition to the
division, bringing the roster up to what, five people? Good stuff
here but this show needs something that matters soon.
We
recap Gunner vs. Storm. Gunner took the Feast or Fired briefcase
from him and Storm was livid, eventually turning on Gunner to cost
him the World Title match against Magnus. Tonight it’s last man
standing.
James
Storm vs. Gunner
New
music and long tights for James tonight. They start fighting on the
ramp and Storm gets in a good shot early. Gunner rams him into the
cage and suplexes him on the floor before going to get some chairs.
He throws three
of them into the cage but Storm sends him into the steps to slow
Gunner down. Storm sends him into the cage and slams the cage door
on Gunner’s head. He demands a count and we get the opening bell
followed by a four count.
Storm
wedges a chair into the corner and takes Gunner down with a jumping
DDT for five. Gunner tries to get up but gets choked down by a tag
rope and dropped throat first across the top rope. James ties the
rope around Gunner’s throat and ties it to the rope but Gunner rips
it away, only to be taken down by a low blow. Gunner no sells some
ramming into the buckle and rams his own head into the same buckle
for good measure.
Some
running knees including one to Storm’s head have Storm in trouble and
Gunner pulls the top of the steps into the ring. A hard shot to
James’ head gets eight but he comes back with a quick Closing Time
(Codebreaker) before ramming Gunner into the chair in the corner.
James blasts him in the back with the chair but Gunner is getting
that look in his eyes. He fights up and scores with a spear and an
F5 as the fans think this is awesome. Storm tries to grab the chair
but Gunner stands on it to thwart the Cowboy’s plans.
Gunner
slams him down again and goes up, only to have Storm throw the chair
at Gunner’s head on the way down for seven. Another hard shot to the
back gets five and Storm sets up some chairs in the ring. He loads
up the Eye of the Storm but Gunner gets to the ropes in the corner.
Both guys climb to the middle rope and ram each other into the cage
until Gunner superplexes him through the chairs for the win at 12:02.
Rating:
B. Good but not great last man
standing match here as they beat a lot of tar out of each other.
Gunner getting a win over a former world champion on pay per view
isn’t going to hurt anythin gbut I just don’t see a top level guy in
him. The ending spot and chair pelting spot looked good and the
match was a lot of fun, which is what matters here.
We
look at Dixie’s promo again because that’s what we do in TNA.
Team
MVP is ready for revenge but don’t like the idea of being patient.
Richards wants to get Aries for injuring his shoulder but MVP tells
him to keep his composure. MVP promises to unleash the Wolves and
the hunt will be on.
We recap Gail Kim vs.
Madison Rayne. They used to be best friends but titles came between
them. How many times has TNA used that story for this division in
recent years?
Knockouts Title: Gail
Kim vs. Madison Rayne
Rayne is defending.
Gail quickly takes her down to start and chokes with a boot but
Madison gets a quick rollup for two. Kim fakes her out on a middle
rope cross body and tries to leave, only to have Madison get above
her and use her legs to ram Gail’s head into the cage. Madison gets
pulled off the cage and down to the mat in a crash for two but she’s
still able to make a save as Gail tries to leave.
Kim bends her over a
knee for a backbreaker but Rayne stretches her legs up for a kick to
the head. Madison sends her face first into the cage and drops her
with some forearms and a low dropkick. Both girls climb the cage but
Gail brings her down with a neckbreaker in a big crash. Madison
makes a save to prevent an escape but gets leveraged into the cage
for two. They both climb again and Gail is sent down, setting up a
top rope spear for the pin to retain Madison’s title at 8:55.
Rating:
C. Madison is getting better in
the ring and is of course very nice to look at so the match wasn’t
all that bad. The cage added something with the collisions here but
it’s still nothing that blew me away. The division is dying for some
fresh stories but that’s been the case for years now.
Joe
says he’s dominated the last few months to earn this shot. He once
considered Magnus to be a brother but now Magnus has thrown that away
for the quick and easy path to the title. Joe will make the pain
tangible and bash it into Magnus’ skull over and over again.
We
recap Joe vs. Magnus which was already covered in Joe’s promo.
Magnus was part of the Main Event Mafia but joined Dixie Carter to
become champion. Tonight it’s knockout or submission only to win.
TNA
World Title: Samoa Joe vs. Magnus
Magnus
is defending. Joe gets in the first offense with a hard kick to the
thigh but the champion takes him down with a headlock. In a unique
move, Joe grabs a wristlock and headbutts Magnus’ hand before putting
on a hammerlock. A hard back elbow to the jaw drops Magnus again and
Joe peppers him with right hands in the corner. Joe chops him down
in the corner and hits the Facewash.
Magnus
avoids the running backsplash and hammers away before raking Joe’s
eyes. The champion misses a charge and goes into the cage so Joe
rams him face first into the steel over and over. The ramming draws
blood and Joe goes right after it but misses a charge, allowing the
Englishman to send him face first into the steel over and over. Now
Joe is busted open and Magnus locks on the Figure Four.
Joe
turns it over but Magnus immediately lets go and puts on a camel
clutch. That’s powered out of as well but Magnus slaps on a sleeper.
Joe picks him up into the air and drops Magnus down onto his back,
putting both guys down. Magnus loses a forearm slugout but gets a
boot up in the corner to stop a charging Samoan. Joe comes right
back with a slam and the backsplash followed by a cross armbreaker.
Magnus
rolls out and heads up top and shoves Joe down before dropping the
big elbow. Joe gets back to his feet and wins a slugout with his
hard slaps before crotching Magnus down on the top. There’s the
MuscleBuster and the Koquina Clutch but Abyss’ hand comes up through
the ring and pulls Joe through the mat. After a few seconds, a
furious Joe slowly comes up through the ring and chokes Magnus in the
corner. Abyss comes up through the hole and hits Joe in the stomach
with Janice before a Black Hole Slam sets up the Koquina Clutch from
Magnus for the win at 19:28.
Rating:
B-. Well the Authority has its
Kane now. I don’t think it was a big surprise that there were
shenanigans at the end but the question was what would happen. Abyss
being the corporate monster gives him something to do but it’s not
exactly something new. Then again, this is TNA where we have to have
an evil alliance on top of the company because that’s almost all they
know how to do.
Post
match Eric Young asks Abyss what he’s thinking but Magnus says get
him out of here.
Dixie
sends Spud to get the insurance policy.  Roode comes in and says
he’s nervous but Dixie says there’s insurance.  They tell each
other not to screw this up.
We
recap Lethal Lockdown with both teams fighting for control of the
company.  Aries swerved MVP to join Team Roode but MVP brought
back Jeff Hardy to even things out.
Team
MVP vs. Team Roode
MVP,
Wolves, Jeff Hardy
Bobby
Roode, Bro Mans, Austin Aries
It’s
Lethal Lockdown, meaning WarGames and
the winner gets control of TNA (Roode is fighting for Dixie and
gets 10% ownership if his team wins).
Two men start for five minutes followed by a member of Team Roode
(due to winning a match on Impact) enters for a two minute advantage.
After two minutes a member of Team MVP enters to even things out for
two minutes. This alternates until all eight are in when a roof with
weapons is lowered and then it’s one fall to a finish, including
pins.
Aries
and the hometown boy MVP
get things going with MVP kicking Aries in the face. Austin comes
back with a bulldog and the Last Chancery before laying on the ropes.
A missile dropkick doesn’t work as MVP catches him in an exploder
suplex and the Ballin Elbow but Aries takes him out before it lands.
Aries hits a running dropkick but MVP slams him down and hammers
away. Austin escapes an arm hold but misses an elbow drop as Robbie
E comes in for the advantage after four minutes.
MVP
immediately drops him on his face but Aries gets in a cheap shot and
the heels take over. A top rope ax handle puts MVP down and E drops
a middle rope elbow to the face. They talk trash to MVP until Eddie
Edwards ties things up. Eddie cleans house as you expect a fresh man
to do in a Lethal Lockdown match. DJ Zema Ion tries to interfere but
gets knocked off the cage wall in a big bump. The good guys control
for a bit until the clock runs out with Jesse Godderz giving Team
Roode a 3-2 advantage.
The
Bro Mans take over without much happening until Davey Richards and
his bad arm ties things up. Davey of course gives his team the
advantage again with the fast paced double team offense as the
WarGames formula is firmly in place here. Stereo half crabs have the
Bro Mans in trouble until Aries clotheslines the Wolves from behind.
Roode and his awesome sleeveless coat makes it 4-3. The captains go
face to face until Roode takes MVP down with a spinebuster.
The
heels take complete control until the clock comes on and it’s Willow
(Jeff Hardy’s new gimmick, which
looks like a black and white
Ultimo Dragon mask and really high pants)
to tie things up and complete both teams. He
comes in as the lights are out and dives off the top of the cage. If
they don’t want us to know he’s Hardy, they might have wanted to give
him a full body suit to cover the big green tattoo. Thankfully Taz
and Tenay drop hints about who it is as the roof with the weapons
lower…..and here’s Dixie.
She
introduces the insurance policy as the special referee: Bully Ray.
As in the guy that spent a
year and a half trying to destroy her company. Team MVP waits for
Ray at the door but Team Roode jumps them from behind. The weapons
are brought in with Ray finding a table under the ring. Dixie
sits in a chair on the stage to watch the carnage as it’s all Team
Roode. Bobby puts Davey’s bad arm in the Crossface with Bully asking
if he wants to give up and talking trash at the same time.
Team
Roode all has front facelocks on their opponents but a triple
backdrop breaks them free. Richards is broken out quickly and MVP
makes sure to hit the Ballin Elbow on Roode. The weapons are used
more extensively and Willow loads up a powerbomb on Aries but throws
him face first into the cage instead. Robbie is tied up in the Tree
of Woe as Ray is just standing in the corner watching. The Wolves
set up a trashcan in front of Robbie’s face for an AWESOME double Van
Terminator.
Aries
is sat in a chair and kicked over and over until he grabs Richards
for a BRAINBUSTER THROUGH THE CHAIR. Willow breaks up the save but
Aries puts him on a trashcan, only to have Willow move before the 450
only hits the can. A Twist of Fate and Swanton gets a very delayed
two on Aries as Roode makes the save and sends Willow into the cage.
The table is set up in the cage but Ray gets in the way of the Roode
Bomb to MVP. Ray and Roode stare each other down until Ray gives him
a Bully Bomb. MVP hits a quick Drive By on Roode for the pin at
26:53.
Rating:
B+. The match started slowly
but those big spots at the end were great. MVP winning is the right
call and fairly obvious (I don’t believe heels have EVER won Lethal
Lockdown) but at least there was some drama in there. I don’t get
the point of having Hardy be Willow if they’re going to just
acknowledge he’s Hardy in a costume. Good main event and a match the
show needed.
Dixie
and Spud go to the cage but Spud pulls her away from Ray. Bully puts
Roode through a table to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
B. The show was
entertaining but the ending didn’t do much for me. The New York
thing was pretty obvious if you thought about it long enough and
Lethal Lockdown was the same as it always was. Overall
it wasn’t bad, but like everything else with TNA it didn’t feel like
it made things better.
The
company is still in the same place: a promotion with a not bad story
but nothing all that exciting because it’s most of the same guys just
being rotated into different spots with about one new guy being added
to the main event every year. At
least the Authority is broken (for now) and we don’t have some evil
owner. Then again this is TNA so I give them until June to have
Dixie back on TV and in power.
Results
Great Muta/Sanada/Yasu
b. Bad Influence/Chris Sabin – Moonsault to Daniels
Samuel Shaw b. Mr.
Anderson – Shaw escaped the cage
Tigre Uno b. Manik –
Sabretooth Splash
Gunner b. James Storm –
Superplex through two chairs
Madison Rayne b. Gail
Kim – Top rope spear
Magnus
b. Samoa Joe – Koquina Clutch
Team
MVP b. Team Roode – Drive By to Roode

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WON Awards…

Scott,

What was with the WON Awards hating on WWF/WWE throughout the years with their awards?  
I'm gonna go with "They thought the WWF sucked most of the time."  Although revisionist history has WCW doing everything wrong all the time, it was WWF that gave us greatest hits like the Gobbledygooker, Bob Backlund as champion for six years fighting Samoans every night, and the XFL.  Not necessarily in that order.  

Question may or may not be for the blog

Why did Stan Hansen not get a run in the WWF in the 80's as heel fodder (or even an ally) for Hogan?  I just find it odd that he did not get a run during that time YET he has a prominent role in "No Holds Barred"  which was a WWF produced movie. Its like SO he is good enough for our Hulk Hogan movie but no good enough for our company (territory).

He also costs a lot of money and like Bruiser Brody was not particularly keen on doing a bunch of jobs when he could stay in Japan and make more money.  Hogan-Hansen would have been a hell of a run, though.  I'm actually surprised WCW got him to lose to Lex Luger at Starrcade, in fact.  

Daniel Bryan vs HHH

Hi Scott,

There's no way that HHH beats Daniel Bryan in their Wrestlemania match, right? Is there a worse possible thing that they could do than put HHH over? I'd like to think that there is no way Bryan isn't winning, but nothing surprises me with WWE anymore.

We should just let it play out and see where it goes.

TNA Lockdown Thread

Here is the card:

STEEL CAGE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Magnus vs. Samoa Joe
STEEL CAGE LETHAL LOCKDOWN
Team MVP (MVP, Jeff Hardy and The Wolves) vs. Team Dixie (Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, The BroMans) 
STEEL CAGE KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim 
STEEL CAGE MATCH: LAST MAN STANDING
Gunner vs. “Cowboy” James Storm
STEEL CAGE MATCH
Mr. Anderson vs. Samuel Shaw 
STEEL CAGE MATCH
Manik vs. Tigre Uno 
STEEL CAGE MATCH
Bad Influence & Chris Sabin vs. The Great Muta, Sanada and Nakanou


Also, ECIII has issued an “open challenge” on Twitter.