The SmarK Rant for WWE Stomping Grounds 2019–06.23.19

The SmarK Rant for WWE Stomping Grounds 2019 -06.23.19

Live from Tacoma, WA in the “cavernous” Tacomadome. It would be less cavernous if they had a full crowd, I bet.

Your hosts are Michael Cole and his merry band of idiots, who were REALLY annoying tonight.  Corey Graves just needs to learn when to SHUT UP already.

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for WWE Stomping Grounds 2019–06.23.19

WWE Random Name Generator

You've joked in the past about the WWE Random Name Generator giving new wrestlers their goofy ass new names. I understand it (make their own copyright), but thankfully they've lightened up on that & let guys use their old gimmicks.

Are there any of these re-brand names you can think of that actually doomed the wrestler, in a "they will never get over with this name regardless of how good" way? Or is there always a case of a wrestler can get any name over?
I tell ya, Kerwin White was a kiss of death right from the get go.  A lot of them are really, really bad now, though.  Especially the new guys in that NXT tournament.  WOOF.  One of them actually had to change his name to Dexter something, right?  Or Eric Bugenhagen is now named after boogers.  I suppose you can overcome it, but I don't trust them to be allowed to do so anymore.

Wear A Raincoat


So Fyter Fest is this weekend, and Moxley/Janela is really interesting to me.


How brutal do you think they'll be allowed to go, knowing that it's the first fully free AEW show for the general public being played in front of a crowd that's mostly there for a gaming convention?

Keep in mind that Renee Young reported that Mox was watching Necrobutcher tapes a few weeks ago.
I'm hoping they go the fun brawl route, but especially with Janela you never know.  I think they are aware that it's not much of a "wrestling" crowd there, though, and it won't be anything too insane. 

Fwd: Pro-Wrestling: EVE Plug

Hey Scott,

It'd be super cool to get a plug for EVE's WrestleQueendom II show that's coming up June 30th at 16:00 BST (that's 8:00 PST, work it out from there). It's just 10 bucks a month for their subscription service and they produce some absolutely great wrestling if you're looking for a real alternative to the humdrum of WWE.

If you're unaware of what they're about, they're an all-woman British wrestling promotion that has been the launching ground for a shit-ton of top-notch female wrestlers. EVE has helped the careers of Paige, Nikki Cross, Toni Storm, Piper Niven, and basically the entirety of the women on NXT: UK.

Thanks for the plug and I hope to see some of us here for that show.

I don't think I can make it, but there you go.  People might like a link, tho.  

I think we should talk about Women’s Wrestling

We live in a world where a WrestleMania that had 2 heavyweight title bouts and Brock Lesnar, a legitimate All-World athlete, yet it featured a novice pro wrestler who was barely a year into their training and the 4th wheel of NXT’s women’s division. For someone in my age group, who grew up on the WWF product as it was, the Women’s Brand of Professional wrestling has come a long way since April 2, 2006.

Read moreI think we should talk about Women’s Wrestling

Stomping Grounds 2019

Stomping Grounds 2019
Date: June 23, 2019
Location: Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Washington
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips, Renee Young

It’s the show that no one was asking for, featuring a bunch of rematches from the show that fans didn’t want to watch in the first place. The big question here is who will be the guest referee in the Universal Title match with Baron Corbin challenging Seth Rollins. I’m not sure what to expect here, though everything outside of the main events doesn’t look too bad actually. Let’s get to it.

Read moreStomping Grounds 2019

TJR Retro: WWF Raw Deal 06/26/00 Review (The Rock vs. Kurt Angle vs. Triple H)

The King of the Ring 2000 PPV saw The Rock become the new WWF Champion and Kurt Angle won the King of the Ring tournament. Edge and Christian also won back the WWF Tag Team Titles. This Raw signified a change in direction for WWE. The heel McMahon-Helmsley group had dominated TV for months, but that was about to change. I’m excited to go through the second half of 2000 again. I remember a lot of good things happening.

The synopsis for this episode on WWE Network is: “Shawn Michaels returns to introduce the new Commissioner of WWE. Plus, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, and many more in action!”

Read moreTJR Retro: WWF Raw Deal 06/26/00 Review (The Rock vs. Kurt Angle vs. Triple H)

ECW on Sci-Fi 05/19/2009 #154

Judgement Day 2009: Christian vs. Jack Swagger (ECW Title)

Uh oh, we’re in the European Title Match No-One Asked for slot on the PPV but luckily Christian gets a tremendous pop that is far bigger than the brand he’s representing.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi 05/19/2009 #154

I mean, honestly…

Hey Scott! Thanks for taking the time to answer e-mails, hope you're well. 

When I look over the schedule of the upcoming G1 Climax, I can't help but be struck by the staggering amount of great wrestling we'll be getting over that month or so. And the most astonishing part is that there's going to be great wrestling going on everywhere else in the world too.

The worldwide talent pool has become so deep and so diverse that it really does feel like The Best Time Ever to be a Wrestling Fan. Access to the art (both in a logistical and economic sense) has never been easier or more widespread. The demand for professional wrestling is so great that AEW looks ready to do gangbusters as a second major North American promotion.

So…is right now, in fact, the best time ever to be a wrestling fan? The only counterargument I can think of is that the "main" product of the largest promotion in the world is consistently terrible…and perhaps the fact that said promotion is strangling Indy wrestling in Europe…and also that they're in bed with murderous fascists…but hey, things are pretty great otherwise!

All the best!
It's pretty staggering how much content there is to watch on the WWE Network alone.  And as you note, if you get tired of their product, there's always NXT and NXT UK on there.  Or New Japan World and their staggering library of classic content.  Or hell, there's tons of free stuff on FITE.tv and YouTube.  It used to be the that tape traders had to trawl all over the internet for glimpses of the hot new thing.  Now I can type "Orange Cassidy" into YouTube and get a highlight reel in 10 seconds.  
However, I'd still have to vote for 96-2000 as the best time overall.  There was a sense of thrill and excitement to the Monday Night Wars that I don't think we're ever gonna see again. 

Fantastics/Sheepherders

Watched Crockett Cup 86 and really enjoyed the Fantastics vs Sheepherders brawl. 

Was there ever any consideration for this version of the Sheepherders to appear in the WWE instead of the kid friendlier version?

Is size the main reason The Fantastics never had a run in the WWE. I feel cheated we never got a Hart Foundation vs Fantastics match.

Also, Bruce Pritchard was doing the ring announcing for this show. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

God, I gotta watch this show.
Yeah, Bruce started out as a ring announcer.  
Fantastics were definitely too small for Vince.  I don't think they even got a call from the WWF. 
And no, the Sheepherders were always envisioned as the wacky comedy act.  They were quite happy to collect the merch money and have easier matches night after night, from what I understand. 

Lost Matches


Hey Scott, any chance we see the Benoit tryout match vs Owen Hart match? I think it was a Raw taping in 95. There is also a Shotgun Saturday Night match with One Man Gang and Terry Funk winning the US title from Jarrett in Texas that would be cool to see.

They're not adding any more Benoit matches to the Network, or probably Owen matches for that matter.  I'm not really clear on what your second sentence is trying to say, to be honest.  

Bret Hart in 1996

When Bret Hart was gone from the WWF after dropping the Championship to Shawn Michaels at W.M. 12 for several months before coming back in the Fall of that year, was he not under contract to the company?  I seem to remember on a live episode of Raw them playing up if Hart was going to re-sign or go to WCW.  I recall when Bret said he was staying, they cut to Vince McMahon on commentary who had a "Whew!" expression.  I'm assuming this was storyline mixed with a little real life?  I couldn't see Vince giving him a live mic just to announce he was going to the competition if he wasn't already signed with him.  

Man, you need to watch Wrestling with Shadows.  It will blow your mind.  

The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling–03.22.85

(Unfortunately the WWE Network was down on Saturday night when I went to do a rant for this morning, so we might as well carry on with Mid-South because I had already done the next episode, back when they first started adding the Watts footage to the Network in 2015.  I can only hope it’s still down on Sunday night for the PPV.) 

The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling – 03.22.85

Taped from Shreveport, LA

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Joel Watts

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling–03.22.85

Cheap and Lazy Sunday Thread

The WWE Network wasn’t working for me on Saturday night as of this writing, but luckily I had already written the rant for the next Mid-South episode, back in 2015 when they were added to the Network, so you get that instead.  Otherwise I had been planning on the episode of Superstars after Warrior left.

Tonight is…sigh…Stomping Grounds.  Just accept it.  Betting lines on Meltzer’s star ratings aren’t looking too encouraging.

Looks like Avengers is gonna finish up about $30 million short of #1 overall worldwide.  So close!

Have a great day!

Smackdown – January 20, 2005

Smackdown
Date: January 20, 2005
Location: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s time to get ready for the Royal Rumble and so far that means focusing on the Smackdown World Title match. JBL, Kurt Angle and Big Show have been playing mind games with each other and I don’t see that ending well. Other than that, John Cena is still looking for anything to fill his time before he can get to the World Title scene. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – January 20, 2005

WWE Leaving Sky TV In UK

Scott,


Not sure if this is on your radar but WWE switching UK programming from Sky TV to a rival sports network called BT Sport will happen in early 2020. WWE/WWF has been a fixture on Skys subscription channels since 1989 but their relationship has soured recently
over falling ratings and Sky obviously not making what they used to from carrying pay-per-views.


Sky has around 9 million subscribers but Raw and SmackDown UK ratings are at modern era lows of 40,000 to 50,000 per show. Shows like Progress etc are gaining weekly on WWE ratings too. BT Sport only has around 2 million subscribers,further cutting down potential
WWE ratings.


I suppose my question is: how truly low have we sunk when Sky,who have stood by the WWE for thirty years and have happily used it as a selling point/part of their identity now just think "no thanks,no more"?

Also interesting because obviously before now, all their TV deals have been giant amounts of free money, and this is the first one in a while where they're going from a position of strength to a substantially weaker one, presumably for less money too.  

Question on “Boring” Heels

Hi Scott,

Can I ask what your thoughts are on modern-day heels?

I know that the consensus seems to be that Shane McMahon and Baron Corbin are "Boring", but I feel it's far more complex. I believe we are in a new era that WWE is surprisingly aware of.

Back in, let's say 1998 and 1999, Shawn Michaels was able to be a funny, cocky bad-ass and Triple H was a wise-cracking, ass-kicking heel. They each had great lines, likable charisma, and were a joy to have on TV. However, we were able to have this because the babyfaces they opposed were Stone Cold and The Rock. As funny as Shawn and HHH were, they couldn't hold a candle to the charisma and popularity of those 2.

This day and age, whether it's the fault of the superstar or the writing, there's no way I am getting behind bland AJ Styles or Seth Rollins when Kevin Owens is throwing out golden one-liners and Samoa Joe is a phenomenal and compelling bad-ass.

If a heels job is to get the babyfaces cheered, is it fair to say that "Boring" Shane and "Boring" Corbin are effectively doing their jobs? I mean, we had "Roman" chants on Raw this past week, for crying out loud.

Also, can I please throw in a cheap plug for my new blog: https://jobbertothestars.blog/

I've been a fan of you since you were jabbering back and forth with CRZ in the RSPW days.

Thanks,

"Cowboy" Bob

I think the problem is that the fanbase is so different now that they're not booing the heels, they're actually resentful against the promotion for booking them.  Which is why it's so baffling that Corbin and Shane would continue to be pushed as top heels while the ratings for both shows are actively dropping to record lows.  It's a pretty clear correlation that people don't particularly want to tune in for Kofi and Seth getting treated like second-class guys to the owner's fat son and his personal waiter.  

Mike Bennett-Maria re-signing with the WWE

Where you surprised Mike Bennett and Maria re-signed with the WWE after asking for their releases just a few months ago?  Vince McMahon must have paid them well to be on a show few people watch.  If so, kudos to them.  
Vince's current policy is to sign EVERYONE and sign them to long-term soul-crushing deals so that there's no chance of AEW embarrassment again.  So on one hand, guys are making record-breaking money if their contracts are up at the moment.  On the other hand, it's probably going to be causing some regret, like joining the Columbia Music Club or signing a cell phone deal for an iPhone that you drop the next day and still have to pay out.  

WWE STOMPING GROUND!!!

Amirite or amirite?

Swear to god, if they manage to stretch this thing out to four hours tomorrow, they're gonna have to distribute oxygen tanks to the lower bowl.  On the bright side, at least there's lots of empty seats for people to stretch out and take a nap.