Smackdown – August 6, 2015

Date: August 5, 2015
Location: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, California
Commentators: Jimmy Uso, Tom Phillips, Jerry Lawler

Summerslam is mostly set at this point so it’s time for another supplemental show that can help firm up the midcard a little bit. We aren’t likely to see much in the main event scene tonight after everything we saw on Monday, but that’s what Smackdown does these days. The show has been fun lately so hopefully that keeps going. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – August 6, 2015

New E-Book: NXT – The Full Sail Years Volume I


In today’s wrestling world, it’s very common to see the exact same formula over and over with very few changes. A lot of fans are looking for something fresh and it’s hard to find that anywhere. However, one place that you can find it is outside the top level. Down in Florida in the WWE developmental promotion, there is good, old fashioned, week to week wrestling and it’s some of the best stuff going today. I’m sure you’re familiar with names like Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Neville and Charlotte, but how did they get their starts down there?

In this book, I’ll be looking at every the first year and a half of NXT, starting with their arrival in Florida at Full Sail University and wrapping it up just before they head over to the WWE Network. NXT started fast and quickly became one of the best wrestling shows around and it will be interesting to see how they got to where they are now. As usual I’ll be providing play by play, context and analysis of every show.

The books runs over 400 pages on a Kindle and only costs $3.99, or the equivalent in other currencies. If you don’t have a Kindle or e-book reader, there are several FREE apps you can use to read it on pretty much any electronic device. You can find those from Amazon here.

You can pick up the book from Amazon here.

From the UK Amazon here.

From the Canadian Amazon here.

Or if you’re in another country with its own Amazon page, just search “NXT History” and my book will be the first thing that pop up.

Also you can still get any of my previous books on the WWE Championship, Monday Night Raw from 1998 and 2001, Monday Nitro from 1995-June 1998, In Your House, Summerslam, Starrcade, ECW Pay Per Views, Royal Rumble, Saturday Night’s Main Event, the WWF and WCW pay per views from 1998 and Clash of the Champions at my author’s page here.

I hope you like it and shoot me any questions you might have.


Pushed vs. Organically Over

Hi Scott,

The question you recently answered about what the fans perception of a wrestler’s position on the card does to their drawing power was an interesting one and got me thinking about the nuances of general fan responses and drawing power.

My primary question is, to what extent can WWE, as a well-oiled machine of a brand at this point, succeed in making a wrestler a draw by sheer will of a push? By that I mean when it comes to the conversations we’re constantly having about guys the fans want to root for vs. guys the company wants to push, how much success can be had by forcing somebody down our throats? Maybe the best recent example of this is Bryan vs. Reigns, but it’s tough to argue we’ve seen the end result of that.

Looking at older examples, it’s clear that a plainly inorganic push rarely gets over. Sheamus, for instance, didn’t become a draw no matter how hard WWE has tried with him. With guys who started getting over and then saw resistance, however, their have been big successes- Cena being the obvious one. So how much of Cena’s success in terms of drawing power can be attributed to the fact that he’s been pushed relentlessly for a decade, regardless of how crowds respond to him?

I know this is a complex one, but I suppose the heart of this issue is the question of whether or not Cena would draw the way he does if he had, say the marketing structure of 1990s WWF behind him, as opposed to the powerhouse he has behind him now… Would he be a true top draw as Austin and Rock became, or would his divisive reactions limit him to being a temporary fix kind of guy, the way Bret was? It’s worth pointing out that while Cena’s been the top draw for a decade, and while he’s been a (the?) central part of top drawing events like WrestleMania’s 29 and 23, the business as a whole has basically only declined in terms of pop cultural cache during his tenure.

Can Reigns become as successful even if he’s destined to never escape the Let’s Go Roman/Roman Sucks zone? Conversely, how seriously effected is the ceiling of the likes of organically over guys like Punk and Bryan, given that neither ever seemed particularly interesting to the WWE brass?


Quite the loaded question.  I think actually if this was still the 80s, Cena would have gotten over like gangbusters in the NWA, whereas Sheamus would have been the big star in the WWF in the Rick Rude/Ted Dibiase/Don Muraco top-ish heel slot.  Strange as it sounds, I think Cena would have been too small for 80s WWF, and probably wouldn’t have gotten a second chance without a Paul Heyman to fight for him.  And regardless of the marketing behind him, people pay to see Cena and react to him as a top guy, so eventually if you push a guy like that the momentum becomes a kind of perpetual motion machine, ya know? 

As for Reigns, I have no idea anymore.  It seems like they think they can have him tread water for months and then re-heat him by winning the Rumble again and then finally winning the World title at Wrestlemania, but obviously this was misguided the FIRST time they tried it and Reigns, although becoming more accepted as a babyface by the fans, has lost whatever momentum he once had earlier in the year. 

In short, who knows, man?

Smackdown – July 9, 2015

Date: July 9, 2015
Location: Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Jimmy Uso, Jerry Lawler

We’re back after this Monday’s classic of Cena vs. Cesaro and Lesnar squashing a Cadillac with….maybe Cesaro and Rollins if we’re lucky. My guess is we’ll get more of a focus on Reigns vs. Wyatt, which is a far more interesting story than the World Title situation. Hopefully the wrestling will be good. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – July 9, 2015