Can it get worse for WWE in Saudi Arabia?

You bet!
The NY Times just posted an insane article with the ugly details of Saudi Arabia’s government torturing & killing a journalist:
At this point, is there any good way out for WWE? Theyve waited too long to do anything. 
I mean – this show can’t happen, right??
Look, let me explain in the wise words of JBL:  They have to go over there because they’re trying to encourage change from within!  Also, they ran a show right after 9/11, and that’s totally the same thing!
Anyway, for those of us in the real world, the insanity factor was upped even more this morning on Observer radio, because now analysts are saying that they’re only going to make a couple of million dollars in profit on these shows, although it’s not clear if that just means this year’s shows due to startup costs, or if it means there’s escalators in the money as the deal goes on.
Also, in case it wasn’t crystal clear from my stance on the show in general, there’s no fucking way I’m reviewing or even watching this show.  In fact I wish I hadn’t wasted four hours on Greatest Royal Rumble.

The Wednesday Wackness

Oh man, today was pretty important in Canada.  For some reason.  Can’t really remember right now.

So, uh, tonight has…shows.  Or something.

Haha, just kidding, I’m actually a huge narc and my only addiction is Rockstar Punched and to a lesser degree the WWE Champions mobile game.

Last night Smackdown actually beat RAW in the ratings for the first time in forever.  Today is the launch of WWE NXT UK on the Network, which Tommy has a review of already.  Tomorrow I’m catching up with two episodes of Mae Young Classic.

Chat about stuff here!  Try not to do anything that isn’t legal in Canada.

Tuesday Night Thread

It’s SMACKDOWN 1000, which admittedly sounds like an As Seen on TV product.

They’re still pushing ahead full force with going to Saudi Arabia, so there’s that.

Baseball playoffs!  Hockey!  Basketballs!  Lots of stuff going on tonight.  Talk about it here!

The SmarK Rant for WWF Smackdown–12.02.99

The SmarK Rant for WWF Smackdown – 12.02.99

So here we go with the replacement for Heat here on the blog, as we’ll do 1999 RAW during the week and then Smackdown on Sundays.

Now, to do what I do best and make it about me: I have no recollection of what the TV situation for this show was in Canada, but I definitely was recapping it for someone for the first few episodes. Maybe CBS Sportsline? UPN was definitely available in Canada, if you subscribed to the movie channels or had…other means…which we definitely did in the days before digital cable ruined it for hard-working Mexican electronics exporters the world over. So I probably watched it. But I don’t remember.

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for WWF Smackdown–12.02.99

2019 Hall of Fame

Who do you see headlining the 2019 Hall of Fame?

While I think there should be some ECW guys going in this year, none of them are headline guys. Dreamer, Taz, and Bigelow I could see going in this year as lower level guys and the obligatory local dead guy.

If you look at WCW, who’s left? Scott Steiner won’t be given a live mic, much less headline. Luger is less than half the size as he was when he in the business. Although I think an illness also contributed to his shrinkage, getting off the juice is a big reason. I think they want to avoid showing him on camera. What about Sid? Definitely should be in, but more of a solid co-headliner, eh? Could you see him in the top spot?

Attitude Era has Christian that isn’t active but that’s not a great class leader as far as name value. Big Show, Kane, Jericho, Taker, Triple H and Rock are all active or rumored to be active soon. Of course, Angle is in and becoming an active wrestler but I think they at least try to make it non-active guys. Ruthless Aggression Era has Brock, Orton, and Cena that are all consistently still performing. Batista could get the itch to make a short return after Smackdown 1000.

So who’s left? NWO group introduction? Vince McMahon? CM Punk as the "holy shit, hell froze over" candidate like Bret, Bruno and Warrior?

They really should have put Vader in before he died, so this is probably where they’ll get around to it. I can see Sid headlining, or maybe Luger since they’re on good terms now. Hopefully they let Sid write his own speech if they induct him, that’s all I ask.

Mayor Kane Still Planning on Saudi Trip

"Mayor Jacobs won’t speculate on Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance.
However, he and his family are in the mayor’s thoughts and prayers."

Between all of the monitoring and prayers, I feel confident in saying

Whoops, sorry about stealing your line. But don’t expect royalties.

I feel like they’re trying to wait until this blows over, even though they now have US senators openly calling for them to pull out, and they’re just gonna wait too long and start losing sponsors. THEN you’ll see some quality flip-flopping from Vince and probably a special video package about how they were literally held at gunpoint and made to take the money for the first show.

Strong Style Saturday Thread

The weekend is here!  I’m working all weekend so it’s basically immaterial to me, but others might enjoy Saturday and Sunday as a concept.

Senators are urging WWE to “rethink” the Crown Jewel event.  Yeah, but what about all the humanitarian work that WWE is doing by very, very slowly helping the Saudi government accept women as sports entertainers?  WHY WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF SASHA BANKS?

Chris Jericho announced that his cruise show will be airing on FITE and Honor Club, which is pretty sweet because I’ve still got about $50 in credits saved up from All In, so I can check it out!

Here’s a free ROH match from a few years back, featuring Christopher Daniels against some guy named Kevin Steen.  Whatever happened to him, I wonder?

The SmarK Rant for WCW Clash of the Champions XXIX

The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXIX (November 1994)

Back on the horse, and WHAT a show to pick things up again with. Yeesh. This is one I’ve never actually seen before, as Hulk Hogan’s title reign had driven me away from the promotion and Flair’s “retirement” sealed the deal. So there’s a chance that Hogan/Sting/Evad v. THE THREE FACES OF FEAR might not be terrible, much like Schroedinger’s Cat might not be dead. So yeah, since the last Clash, Flair has been retired and the mysterious masked man was unmasked as Brutus Beefcake instead of Curt Hennig. Good times all around.

Live from Jacksonville, FL

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for WCW Clash of the Champions XXIX

Summerslam 92 financial flop

HHH says summerslam 92 was a flop. Which seems to be why there hasn’t been a UK based main lib since then….

HHH wasn’t even a wrestler in 1992, so I’m not sure why he’s the authority on it. Funny how they were fine running multiple PPVs from Saudi Arabia with no history of drawing THERE.

But hey, a PPV flopped 25 years ago, so no more. Fair enough.

WWE Issues Statement on Saudi Arabia

Well there you go, naysayers, they’re currently monitoring the situation!  So basically if any MORE journalists are murdered by the royal family that’s paying them tens of millions of dollars, then there’s gonna be trouble and they might even pull out of the deal.  Consider the Saudi locker room put on notice.



(Re: The hiring of the new business-people as heads of New Japan) From the new WON: "Let’s just say that the next few months are going to be very interesting. The excitement so many had for working here has taken a hit. It’s really a bad time for that with the goal of international expansion and that fun vs. WWE money was a key to a lot of people, but if you lower the fun aspect, that changes the equation, and basically we’re coming in on the single most interesting and important contract season since New Japan started garnering some international growth. There are people who in the past had never even considered WWE who are thinking about it, and others who were completely committed to staying who are probably still leaning that way, but are considering the WWE option."

Tanahashi as Spartacus! Pokemon tagteam! David Finlay as Aquaman!

Dave was talking about the situation on the show last night and yeah, it’s bad. The Young Bucks in particular seem to be dropping hints that they’re not happy, and if they go, then that whole crew goes. It’s a really strange time to making major upheavals in the power structure, too, especially bringing in people who have no experience running a wrestling company. Vince might get his wish and get to gut the company after all!

Things You Wanted That Ending Up Bumming You Out

Hey Scott.

Was there anything in wrestling that you always wanted to see, then finally saw it…..and wish you hadn’t? Kind of a ‘be careful what you wish for’ thing?

I was always intrigued by the streak ending and then it did – and I was bummed out. Of course, they could have handled it differently but that’s a whole different conversation.


I think that Sting finally triumphing over Hogan in 97 would be up there, because myself and my friends were heavily invested in seeing him getting him get the title and revenge on the nWo for an entire year. And then he did, and it was like "Oh, well, he’s champion now, I guess" and it was just plain ol’ Sting again.

I’d also throw Tommy Dreamer finally beating Raven onto that pile.

Crown jewel too hot?

Given the Saudis killing journalists seems to have made them public enemy number 1, is the crown jewel looking less of a good idea?

Yeah, that video package from the first Saudi show is looking more and more ooky by the day. Sure doesn’t make ME want to visit at the moment. I think the turning point will be the first time there’s a news story about the Saudis and someone says “WWE” in connection to them. Really, if Vince was smart he’d cut bait now before that happens.

Hope! (Okay, not really)

I stumbled upon this while searching something completely unrelated, bizarrely enough. A fun enough article, even if I didn’t recognize half of the current roster. Some tried harder than others, clearly.

The reason I sent you this is not because it’s great (it isn’t), but because among other ECW guys imitated it features Sonya Deville (?) as… Raven! And since Shinsuke is featured as Sabu, I figure it isn’t that old. Okay, okay, I’ll check… July of this year. I’m guessing it’s just because the site is low on the priorities and thus oversight check list, but I still was a bit surprised (okay, I admit it, I just want to keep alive the (delusional) hope that ol’ Scott Levy will go in the Hall of Fame, and thus get some recognition and regular ‘talking head’ presence).

What did Raven ever do to warrant inclusion in the Hall of Fame?