WWE Earnings Call: Now losing less than ever!

This is probably behind the paywall on the Observer site, but basically WWE managed to cut the losses down to 1.6 million due to massive cost-cutting that offset all the money they're wasting on movies and such.  TLC set the new bar for PPV at 39,000 worldwide buys, but Royal Rumble translated to about 270,000 new Network subscriptions, so that's clearly a success.  No indication of current subscribers, so it probably dropped below a million again.  Network will be expanding to all of Canada sometime in March.  
Only things of note in the questions was someone asking about NXT and Vince basically admitting that, yeah, they're throwing the hardcore nerds who subscribe to the Network a bone with it.  Also, someone asked about the Rumble reaction and Vince got all butt-hurt, likening it to fans getting upset that the babyface didn't win right away.  Even though, you know, the babyface DID win.  

Less PPV

hey scott,
I know “too many ppv’s” was a common mantra a few years ago but was so unrealistic because they you know actually made them money compared to about 90% of their other ventures.
1. now with the network killing off ppv can they actually drop a ppv or two without it being a big deal(ie money wise see question 5) ?
2. and would it help the product?
3. What month ppv or ppv’s would you suggest be dropped? Personally either sept/oct/december  i cant even tell the names of those ones, but selfishly i always watch sunday night football over those ppv’s anyway.
4.Would moving some PPV’s that are head to head vs nfl games possibly to saturday nights with weaker college games be an idea they could try?
5. obviously they would need some sort of hook for the network that month something that would be exclusive and would be pulled off after 30 days maybe the austin podcasts could work. What would you suggest if you were in charge?
thanks for the answers

1.  They can drop a lot of PPVs without hardly making a dent.  In fact most of their finances are assuming that each of their PPV shows going forward will do zero revenue, so that anything is a bonus.  I mean, realistically, they’ve already given up on 6 of the 12 anyway. 2.  You’d think so, but TNA tried the same thing and ended up aimless and shitty, so you never know. 3.  I’d drop every other month.  Go with Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Hell in a Cell in May to blow off remaining WM feuds, MITB in late June, Summerslam, and then finish with Survivor Series.  The combined buys for Night of Champions/non-Cell October show/TLC was less than one decent B-PPV this past year, so what’s even the the point anymore?  Just concentrate everything on November. 4.  I no speaky the footballs.  I have no idea what a weaker or stronger game would be. 5.  Just do a 2-hour special with some goofy themed hook like Halloween Havoc in October or Christmas in December or Tribute to the Troops or the Slammys.  My personal feeling is that they should do RAW Flashback as a special like that, or an Attitude era Flashback special, because I think they’d pop a Network number with it.  You’re not asking people to pay $60 for it anyway, so you can have fun with it and do something different. 

The Cure to Boredom – Less Wrestling…?

Evening all.

So after reading comments over the past year(s?) or so about giving away main event matches on free tv (or at least ‘superstar’ vs ‘superstar’ bouts), it got me thinking of the alternatives.

Sure, one that’s been mentioned many-a-time by us BoD’ers is the concept of bringing back the jobbers. I have my reservations about this one. Perhaps you could slowly reintegrate it, but I just can’t see it being the answer. I think the fans have become far too conditioned to seeing stars vs. stars (i’m even talking about guys like 3MB. They are at the very least seen as WWE Superstars).

So here’s one for you:

How about going back to less wrestling?

Bear with me here…

I started watching TNA in 2008 when Russo had the book. I recall being really in to Impact throughout 2008-2009. What I really enjoyed was the segments and characters (it’s a pretty talented roster at this point. Steiner was entertaining enough by himself, but along with the Mafia, I really thought they were pretty great. I thoroughly enjoyed the angle they did with Sting, but I think they really blew the Morgan angle), with a smattering of good matches.

It was a 2 hour show that was heavy on segments and storyline development (no sniggering, please), and left the big-time, big-fight matches for the PPV’s, more often than not.

Sure, you’d still have some rare treats as the main events on Impact, but you knew for fact you’d see the guys get more time on the PPV’s, and therefore have a better quality and more ‘main event’ feel match on them, too.

It’s also worth noting that Russo said (stop with the sniggering at the back!) segments tend to draw better than the matches themselves. Worth mentioning, I guess.

But this isn’t to say that WWE could pull this off. I mean let’s face it – we’re all pretty sick of the heavily scripted segments, all shot against a fake office with weird red/blue lighting (i’ve never quite understood that..). What TNA did at least was add some variety and take the angles around the arena, to different areas, to outside, to bars, to wherever the fuck. It freshened things up, and enabled the talent to work in different scenarios where they can adapt to their surroundings and have a bit of fun with it, something WWE could really do with right about now.

What’s your thoughts? Total bullshit? Agree? Have an alternative? Let’s hear it!

Cucch’s Book Review: “Lita: A Less Traveled R.O.A.D.”

I am sad to report, the origin and definition of OH TAG is not included in this book.

Love her or hate her, no one can deny that Amy Dumas, better known to the wrestling public as Lita, left an indelible footprint within the history guides of WWE. Some fans see her as a guiding light, someone who helped modernize women’s wrestling with high flying, death defying moves. Some see her as nothing but arm candy and just another pretty face. Some see her as a dangerous women’s wrestler who performed sloppy versions of moves high flying men had taken a lifetime to learn to administer. But make no mistake about it, Lita definitely left an impression, for better or for worse.

Now, Lita’s book is a WWE published production. So do not start looking for amazing inside writing or amazing appraisals from the author and ghost writer. “The Reality of Amy Dumas” is simply another in a long line of WWE puff pieces on wrestlers in their company that littered the literary universe at the peak of WWE powers. Those books generally tend to range from “Laughably horrible” (Chyna, Hardy Boyz) to “really good” (Foley’s first, Edge’s first). Lita’s book falls somewhere in between. The reason it isn’t, as to use the parlance of wrestling, the “drizzling shits” is because Amy is very forthcoming and seemingly honest.

The story begins with Amy Dumas at a young age. She had a great, supportive mother and a very distant father. Her father figured that his role was to bring home bread for the family, work his ass of, provide, and, once he got home, was not to be fucked with. Let him crack his Coors Light and decompress after a long days work. Amy and her old man never really got along, but there was nothing scandalous. It just was what it was, to quote a famous football coach, and father and daughter never really clicked.

From a young age, Amy enjoyed animals. One time, her mother took her to a shelter and Amy picked out…I shit you not…a pair of baby duckings for her pets. She raised the duckings like a proud mama duck, to the point where when she would leave for school, her duckies would follow behind as she climbed into a friends car, where, upon Amy entering the car, would then sadly retreat to the back yard. Amy loved those ducks, which thus began a lifetime of animal love. (Stop it you sick fucks. She loves animals.)

Her life more or less at that young age was her pet ducks. So it traumatized young Amy one morning to awake and not hear her ducks “talking” to her through her window. She ran out and found that the neighbors dog had snapped their neck. Her father was completely matter of fact about it while her mother tried in any way to console her.

Amy Dumas was a southern girl who had to travel a lot of states because of her father’s employment. The longest she settled anywhere was in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. It was there that she found her niche. Up until that point she was only defined by the fact that she was a great swimmer, and she continued on swimming all through High School. (Insert hairless jokes here, they will show in the comments box). But Lita was never concerned about winning events, she just wanted to set a personal best, which, might I add, Is a DAMNED good way of approaching sports. But Amy felt empty, she needed to fill that (not that one) void.

That void was Punk Rock music. Now, I am going to be honest here as an author, I HATE punk rock. Absolutely hate it. It is my prerogative, and no one from where I was raised could  relate to it. But Amy found refuge in it, and became a total biker chick. She traveled from concert to concert, at a young age, experiencing mosh pit after most pit. She was addicted.

Amy Dumas was sick of school, sick of having to live by the rules when, in reality, she wanted to travel with her favorite Punk Rock groups all over the world. Insert your own sex jokes here, because none of that is shared in the book. But Amy DID graduate High School early so she could be arm candy to her Punk Rock boyfriend Beau, who, might I add, just in the description Amy gives of him, is either the smartest or dumbest man in the history of dating. At one point, the two are madly in love and having all sorts of crazy Punk sex, and at another, Beau is saying to Amy FUCK OFF, while Amy is still caught up on him. So he is either the biggest pimp ever or, more likely, a degenerate that a girl fell for. (I lean towards the latter because this “Beau” wasn’t a singer, guitar player, bassist, or Drum Player. He was a DANCER. Ever seen a punk dancer? Load him up with ecstasy and let him loose. No talent needed.)

Amy graduated High School early for two reasons: 1. She was a total punk groupie (she doesn’t state this, but read between the lines) and 2. She wanted out of her house. She found a cheap apartment in Atlanta, but needed a living to support her independent lifestyle. While she may have befriended some of her favorite Punk Rock Stars (Is it any wonder she dated Phil Brooks?) she still needed a steady flow of income. This is where Amy Dumas forever gains this dudes heart. Amy was, and remains, a huge advocate for animals, especially rescues. She started working as a kennel, uh, worker. She cared for dogs and cats, literally scooping up their shit and consoling them and helping them to gain adoption. As someone who is of the same ilk, someone who is all for the fair treatment of animals, this girl, Amy, just kills me with her kindness for animals. But something soon changed.

Amy Dumas was also a big time Punk Rock fan, and some of her friends offered her the chance of a lifetime: Come to Europe with us. As a worker at an animal shelter, that money was not going to come to fruition very easily. A friend of Amy’s was a stripper in Washington DC, and offered a tryout for her at her establishment. Now, you have seen Lita, correct? Even without the augmented breasts, she is a hot number, so she decided to make money, she would strip. And she made good money at it. I am not one to objectify women in that sense, but, really, who is exploiting who? Women dance there goodies away, men throw their pay away. Its not even close. Anyway, Lita started stripping for some Vietnamese dude in DC, and saved up enough to travel with her friends to Europe.

Amy found herself traveling Europe, living on a train pass and little else. The tattoo on her shoulder? Done in Amsterdam.

Amy returned back to the States, and her on again off again dancer sissy asswipe was watching a program called MONDAY NITRO. Amy had never seen, or heard of, wrestling. She watched with her sugar daddy, and was convinced that she could do it. How? Why, she flew to Mexico.

Amy Dumas flew to Mexico. She had not one clue on what to do. She trampled around for two weeks until, basically, finding Sean Morely, better known as Val Venis. She did some rudimentary training there, and continued training in Chicago. Soon, Angelica, her gimmick name, became a hot commodity in the states women’s ranks. She landed a contract with ECW, but Paul Heyman did not have much to do with her, aside from Angelica being kind of, well, NASTY. Licking her armpits, licking her toes…that type of shit.

But by the point Heyman was pushing this extremely sexy yet deviant act, WWF came calling.

WWF paired Lita with a Mexican star titled Essa Rios, with his female doppleganger Lita at his side. Essa did not last long, but the idea of Lita teaming with the Hardy Boys did. You see, during Lita’s development of about a year or so, Matt and Jeff Hardy and their minions had called for Amy to train with them at their ghetto North Carolina gym. A bond was formed with Amy and Matt Hardy. They became inseparable. And the rest is history.

I am going to completely gloss over history here. All current fans know of the Hardyz-Dudlez-Edge and Christian feud. And the many more that happened. The fact is, we are describing LITA’s book here, and here is what happened to her.

Lita was slated to make an appearance on the Jessica Alba vehicle called “Dark Angel.” In an early stunt meeting, with a fucking STUNT double, Lita went for a relatively simple Hurracunrana. The double took it wrong and the end result was Lita with a broker fucking neck. We are talking Benoit, Edge broken neck. Fusion time. But NO ONE, lest the main players of Dark Angel did a damned thing. Lita laid in limbo for months, until a white knight figured out what was happening

You may be surprised by the name… James Cameron. The man who has delivered The Terminator, as well as the bane of my dating existence, Titanic. Huge money grossing movies. Well, Lita had a part in the Caemron sponsored show Dark Angel, starring the volcanically hot Jessica Alba. Lita was set to be a villain to Alba’s babyface, but…shit happened. Lita was practicing her most basic move, a rana, on the stunt double. Only the stunt double had no clue of wrestling, so Lita went for her shitty ass rana, and the double had no idea how to twist or turn or bump, She ended up dropping Lita like Owen Hat piledriving Steve Austin at SummerSlam 97, and extensive nerve and neck damage commenced. Lita was, and still is, pissed that the stuntwoman had no idea how to perform the move, no idea how to LAND the move. And above all, she never apologized, neither the stuntwoman or her husband. Think about that. Wrestling law states you apologize IMMEDIATELY, be it in the match or through the curtain at Gorilla. The chick who altered Lita’s life never gave her one “I am sorry.” Lita is STILL (book published in 2003) pissed off about the way her serious NECK FUSION injury was handled, and I cannot blame her.  It was reckless and stupid, especially considering the shit Lita did night in and night out.

So Lita was now a charter member of the Neck Fusion Club. Not a fun group to be involved with. Benoit, Edge, Lita. The last couple of chapters in the book describe the amazing, stupid, insipid trials doctors put her through. GO SEE THIS GUY. DO NOT MOVE. YOU ARE BASICALLY DEAD. Its unreal, and its the main point of the book. Medical Malpractice. As someone who’s father is a Doctor, I have first hand knowledge of what some inept doctors are capable of. In Lita’s case, she walked around for weeks after her first doctor told her that there was nothing to worry about. The second doctor told her that she needed to stay in bed and never move again. Who would you think was the voice of reason for Lita? None other than that misogynistic biggest draw who ever lived (he is, and was. Deal with it Hogan Fans) Steve Austin. He talked Amy Dumas though everything and was just an amazing friend to a woman he barely knew. Those points of the book make it for this fan. The day after Lita had her life threatening (make no bones about that kiddies) surgery, she heard that certain wrestlers, namely Chris “Noob Saibot” Benoit had walked 50 stairs withing the first day. Lita did 52, and,,upon telling Vince, he said he would rib Benoit.

As the book comes to an end (published 2003), Lita was on the brink of returning. Lita’s “Less Traveled Road” is actually a road that is experienced by many WWE superstars. Edge’s book is familiar, Jericho’s books are more well written, but similar. The Hardyz book is similair, but not nearly as good. “A Less Traveled R.O.A.D., The Reality of Amy Dumas” is well worth reading once. Is it mimicking the works of Tolstoy? No. But, as are most wrestling bio’s, it is a very interesting character study.

WCW Uncensored 98 (Slightly Less Shitty Version)

The Netcop Retro Rant for Uncensored 98 – No Meltzer on Monday = I watch more wrestling. In this case, we go back and redo a show that I did without my notes the first time, way back in 1998. (Since this is still a “Netcop” rant this would have been written in 2000, by the way.  The font of the original Word document gives it away for me as well, because I was REALLY into Verdana for some stupid reason at that point.)  My feelings on the show then were that it sucked for the most part, but then I was getting more pissed off at WCW’s booking by the day at that time and my judgment was thus clouded  (There’s an understatement.), and I had about 10 other people who were bitching about the show hanging over my shoulder, so I wasn’t in a position to be objective.  (And you KNOW how important objectivity and journalistic integrity is to me!) I wanted to go back and watch it again, but my copy of the show ended up looking like shit, so I never ended up watching it again and simply did the rant from memory. (See, INTEGRITY!) The results weren’t pretty, and I did a lot of the matches a big injustice as a result. So in the interest of fairness to a show that Phil Rippa recently called the best show he ever paid money to see  (Phil used to say lot of odd stuff.), I thought I’d give it the ol’ second look without any distractions. Well, aside from my criminally woeful lack of sleep and/or money.  (At this point I was working a shitty job where I did very early morning shifts and thus had the entirety of the day to watch wrestling and 24 DVD marathons.  Given the lousy wage and the fact that I only worked 25 hours a week, I have no idea how I not only survived on that, but paid rent every month and had what I can only classify as ridiculous amounts of disposable income as well.) – I would, as always, be remiss in not mentioning that 1998 produced 12 of the lamest PPV promo spots ever produced by WCW or any other wrestling promotion. This month’s winner: The Game Boy ripoff spot featuring Wrath.  (Oh, MAN, I totally forgot about that stupid promo.  Let’s go to the videotape!)   (Now if THAT doesn’t get you hyped up for this show, I have nothing more to say to you.)  – Live from Mobile, Alabama, the only city named after a trailer. – Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & the Iron Professor. – Opening match, World TV title: Booker T v. Eddy Guerrero. This was the start of the “psycho Chavito” angle, as Chavo was forced to be in Eddy’s corner after losing a match to him the week previous. Eddy stalls to start. Quite a lot. Booker gets him in and blasts him with a backdrop and sideslam. Eddy bails and the crowd gets on his case. Back in, Booker hits a sidekick and poewrslam, and Eddy bails again. Booker chases and tosses him back in, elbowing him for two. He goes upstairs and Eddy strikes, knocking him off and superplexing him. Slugfest, and Booker hits a vicious superkick for two. Eddy counters the axe kick by dropkicking the other knee, and he works on it. Eddy uses a long kneebar to wear him down. Eddy hits a slingshot senton on the knee for two. Booker bails and Eddy follows with a tope. Back in, it gets two. Booker recovers and hits the axe kick, (Here’s one of those things I notice about my writing that I’m sure no one else does, but around this time I started deliberately changing my spelling of Booker’s “ax kick” to “axe kick” instead, even though I’m pretty sure “ax” and “axe” are interchangeable.  I just remember it seemed very important to me at the time to make sure that “e” was there.)  and a dramatic spinebuster, but a missile dropkick misses. He tries another axe kick, but misses and crotches himself. Eddy tries to superplex him, but Booker shoves him off and hits the elusive dropkick for the pin at 11:03. Ending seemed a bit odd, but the match was solid. *** Eddy sneak attacks a smirking Chavo to wipe the smile off his face after the loss. – Konnan v. Juventud Guerrera. Juvy goes after Konnan but gets lariated. Konnan bails and stops a Juvy highspot, and they brawl. Back in, Juvy gets a springboard dropkick for two. Konnan comes back with a warped lucha submission move, sort of a deathlock. Juvy tries a comeback and takes a release german suplex for his troubles. Konnan steals a move from Shinjiro Ohtani – he whose boots Konnan is not worthy to lick – by scraping his boots across Juvy’s face in the corner. He goes into a rocking horse cradle, but drops Juvy right on his head, so Juvy bails to regroup. Back in, a fireman’s carry gets two. He tries a superplex, but Juvy lands on his feet and comes back. Konnan gets an ocean cyclone suplex for two, however. Powerbomb attempt, but YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB…oh, wait, that’s Kidman. Juvy still gets the facejam, but the 450 misses. Konnan hits the 187 (I feel like I’m a short order cook…) for two. Samoan drop gets two, but Konnan does that there cocky heel cover, and Juvy rolls him over for the fluke pin at 10:13. This was all Juvy bumping for Konnan, but still worth watching. **1/4 – Cruiserweight title match: Chris Jericho v. Dean Malenko. This is the match that ended up leading to Jericho becoming the megastar that he is today. Jericho has one of the first pairs of “1004” tights here. Wrestling sequence to start, and Jericho screams like a girl. Jericho tries a hammerlock and yells out “Here’s #643!”, then Malenko takes him to school again. (And yes, for those who keep asking, this is where the “Arm-BAR” running gag comes from.)  Jericho hits an enzuigiri, but misses the springboard dropkick. He tries running away, but Malenko brings him back. Jericho counters a leapfrog with a spinebuster for two. Suplex gets two. Jericho goes into the resting. Lionsault gets two. Slugfest in the corner goes Dean’s way, and a backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back with a senton for two. He puts Malenko in the corner and dropkicks him, which serves to piss him off. Malenko starts countering moves, but Jericho gets an inverted suplex. Dean rolls him up for two. Backslide gets two. Jericho puts Malenko on the floor, then puts him back in. Jericho goes for a superplex, countered by Malenko for two. Dean misses a dropkick and Jericho gets a hard-fought Liontamer, but Dean makes the ropes. We go upstairs, and Malenko hits his killer gutbuster for two. Jericho swats a dropkick aside, and hooks the Liontamer, and that’s that at 14:41. Pretty good match for Jericho, who was still improving at this point. ***1/4 Gene Okerlund then badgers Malenko, calling him a loser who blew it. Gene asks him where he goes from, and Malenko replies: “Home”. In the weeks following, Jericho would mercilessly taunt Malenko, getting both men over without Malenko ever appearing on TV. And from there, Jericho springboarded to stardom. – Scott Steiner v. Lex Luger. Steiner is freshly heel-turned, and no one gives a crap. (Oh come now, I’m sure that much like the Rankor, even Steiner had a handler who cared for him and kept his steroid supply topped off.)  Steiner didn’t actually get over until April of 99, when he beat DDP into a steaming pile of goo and debuted his “hooches”. Belly to belly suplex starts. Weak brawling outside follows, and Luger ends up suplexing Steiner off the apron. Wow, that was almost a bump. Back in, Luger hits his usual stuff, but Steiner blocks the rack with a low blow. He hooks the REAR CHINLOCK OF EXCRUTIATING TORMENT, but Rick Steiner saunters out and distracts Scott long enough for Luger to hit the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DEATH for the pin at 3:52. Well, you know what they say about ripping a band-aid off quickly making it less painful… ½* – US title match: DDP v. Raven v. Chris Benoit. Three-way lockup to start. Now that’s neat. We hit the floor in short order, where DDP hits the stairs. Raven & Benoit go inside the ring. Benoit gets two, then DDP takes Raven out. Benoit baseball slides Raven, and DDP hits a pescado on both. DDP neckbreakers Raven for two, Benoit suplexes Raven for two. DDP pancakes Raven for two. Benoit drops the flying headbutt on Raven for two. Rough night for Raven so far. DDP stomps Raven for two after Benoit gets off. DDP & Benoit brawl, and Raven follows with a pescado on both, then covers each in turn for two. DDP & Benoit fight up the aisle, Raven follows. Several two counts result. Raven grabs a trash can, and winds up wearing it, and DDP & Benoit double-team him with a pair of crutches. Benoit slams the garbage can into DDP’s often-injured ribs, and Benoit and Raven then team up to toss DDP through a convenient video wall. Neat spot. Benoit nails Raven with a kitchen sink, just to be cute. Raven retaliates by suplexing a table onto him. Raven sets the table up, but goes through it. They head to the ring, and Raven gets a low blow. He sets up a chair but Benoit hits his own drop toehold onto it. DDP crawls back to the ring. Benoit & Raven continue beating the tar out of each other. Benoit gets a sleeper, and DDP runs in for the triple sleeper spot that I hate so much. (SMH, you might say.)  Benoit hits Raven with two of the rolling suplexes, and DDP suplexes both at once in a cool spot that the Radicalz lifted at Judgment Day. (There you go, written in June 2000.)  Benoit holds DDP, and Raven gets a stop-sign from Lodi (still playing Raven’s lackey at this point) and nails DDP. Another table gets set up, but Benoit gets his own shot on Raven with the sign. DDP is on the table soon after, and Benoit tries to superplex Raven through DDP and the table, but DDP recovers, pushes Benoit down to the floor, and hits a bad-looking Diamond Cutter off the top, through the table, and pins Raven to retain at 17:10. I was about a hundred billion times more impressed with this match after seeing it this second time. ****1/4 Benoit supplied the match flow, Raven supplied the booking, and DDP probably supplied the autographed pictures of himself. (Come on, that’s still a pretty funny line today.) – Kevin Nash v. The Giant. Giant does stuff, Nash does stuff, nWo runs in at 6:30. Been there, done that, got a bad rating already. ¼* – Curt Hennig v. Bret Hart. Bret works a headlock to start. That goes nowhere, so Hennig bails. This was during the period when WCW didn’t know how to use Bret. Oh, wait, sorry, guess I should narrow it down a bit. This was just before his heel turn. You know, the one where he went nWo without ever giving an explanation? Anyway, back into the ring, where Bret quickly gets the Sharpshooter, but Rick Rude pops him and Hennig takes over. He works the knee. Hennig gets a figure-four and continues working that knee. What a thrilling match. He goes for a superplex, but Hart knocks him off and beings the comeback. Wait for it…wait for it…FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Bret misses a blind charge and Hennig hits the Hennigplex for two. Rollup gets two. Bret reverses a sunset flip into the Sharpshooter and Hennig taps at 14:00. Way long and very boring. Finish was good, though. ** – WCW World title: Sting v. Scott Hall. Hall won World War III in 97 to set this up. Hall works the arm for a bit to maintain the illusion of still having wrestling ability. He chokeslams Sting and mocks the Giant. Sting comes back with a bulldog and a standing dropkick that sends Hall to the floor. Back in, Hall catches him with a lariat for two. Fallaway slam gets two. Collision leads to Sting’s cliché “fall on the guy’s crotch” spot. Hall distracts the ref, and Dusty sneaks in to drop a bionic elbow. Hall gets two off it. Sting comes back with a Stinger splash and the Scorpion deathlock, but stops to nail Dusty, and the ref is bumped (The late Mark Curtis, master of ref bump, once again demonstrates his superiority by making sure to take the bump right in front of the camera, and rolling his eyes back in his head for added facial expression as he collapses – CRAFTSMANSHIP, people, that’s what counts). Hall uses knuckledusters for two. Outsider Edge is countered with the Deathdrop for the pin at 8:27. Basic Nitro match. * – Age in the Cage II: Hulk Hogan v. Randy Savage. This was the culmination of the first stage of the first nWo breakup tease angle, although the trigger on that particular storyline would take another 5 months to be pulled as nWo Wolfpac was formed. On the other hand, the New Blood have now had roughly 20 different matches and/or feuds within the same stable. Draw your own conclusions. (Russo is a moron?)  Hogan does his usual kicking and choking to start. Big boot gets two. Hogan continues methodically beating on Savage, who comes back with choking. Both guys are heels, so neither is particularly over, but I’d bet if you asked either one they’d both take credit for the buyrate. (I’d credit that commercial.)  Hogan whips him with his belt. Big stinky nasty wart-infested Giant-killing legdrop misses and Savage whips him with the belt. Zzzzzzz. Hogan gets rammed into the cage (okay, “rammed” is subjective – “lightly tapped” is more accurate) and starts bleeding. Remember, kids, it’s OKAY to break company policy as long as you still put asses in the seats and have friends who run the company. (Or you’re married to the boss’s daughter.)  Remember, no one cares about those midcard jabronies anyway, so if guys like Jericho and Benoit wanted equal treatment, let ‘em go to the WWF and see how far they’d get without Hogan’s star power to carry the ratings. Ungrateful bastards. Hogan backdrops Savage into the cage, which is the one single good bump in the match, and of course he bleeds, too. They fight to the door, and the referee politely opens the door for them so they have a meaningless brawl on the floor and thus completely invalidate the ENTIRE POINT OF HAVING A FUCKING CAGE MATCH. (Yeah, what was WITH that?  I mean, now we just take it for granted that 17 people will run into any cage match booked, but back then there was still some semblance of attention paid to the stipulation and they just killed it dead here.)  Back in, Savage recovers and goes to the top of the cage, hitting a double axehandle for two. Hogan’s “Upstage-O-Meter” starts flashing, so the Booty Disciple runs in (Run in? Cage match? Me no understand how these words go together) and takes out the ref. Call it a no contest in roughly 14:00, since no bell was ever rung to, you know, END THE MATCH. (I believe the phrase you’re searching for is SPORTZ ENTERTAINMENT FINISH) Sting rappels into the cage, and we get a big staredown, lasting nearly a minute, before (surprise surprise), Sting’s friend Savage turns on him and walks out. This is not to be confused with Superbrawl from the year before, where Savage also turned on his friend Sting — that year he didn’t walk out on him. The WWF won their first ratings victory in 82 weeks less than a month later, which is kinda the punchline and moral of the story all wrapped up in one. Pick a number between 1 and 5, add a “-“, and there’s your damn rating. Go with -* from me, cuz I’m generous tonight. The Bottom Line: Still not a terrifically great show by any means, but with the awesome three-way and some good action on the undercard, I’d definitely bump this one up to “Recommended show” without much hesitation. The “main event” matches absolutely kill the show, however, so be warned in advance.