Making Mid Carders

Hi Scott,
Feuding with John Cena seems to do more harm than good. It did nothing to elevate Bray Wyatt last year as it was nothing but a series of loses for him and  now the same has happened to Rusev as it's turned into a platform to actually only elevate Lana, not both of them.

To get the "rub" from a top guy aren't you at least supposed to get somewhat close to beating him in a highly competitive match only for experience to prevail so when you do go against each other again there is a chance the "younger" guy may pull out a win? Looking good even in defeat is a valid thing but having a 30 minute shit fest of an I Quit match was not it.

Is really the end game here to make another mid carder?

You said it yourself — it's a platform to elevate Lana.  In the grand scheme of things, they don't give a shit if Rusev gets elevated by the feud because Lana is the money train as a babyface, and they're probably correct.  Rusev can easily be rebuilt anyway by winning the IC title in the Chamber and destroying a bunch of midcard goofs in the process, so I'm not terribly worried about him.  

Not making a difference in the HOF?


What's your opinion on Rikishi's Hall of Fame induction? Yes? No? 

I think he is deserving. Aside from the Rikishi run, he's had a long, successful career as a member of the Samoan Swat Team, the Headshrinkers, and as "Makin' a Difference" Fatu and the Sultan (Ok, maybe we can omit "successful" from the last two).

However, what I find interesting is his HOF induction video package mentions none of these. I presume this will be corrected during the HOF ceremony.

However, if it isn't, are we to assume it's the character getting inducted and not the wrestler? Is "Rikisihi" alone worthy of a HOF induction? As well, if they are going to go down this road of inducting the character/gimmick, should we begin a write-in campaign to have Rick Bognar accept the induction for the Razor Ramon character? He was the last person to play it, after all.

I have no strong opinions on the Rikishi induction, although I agree it's weird that they're specifically inducting the character and not the person.  It kinds of makes a stronger case if you add in Samoan Swat Team, but given the "Everything that happened in the Attitude era shit bricks of gold and pissed money" brainwashing we've been getting as of late, it makes sense.  

Story of TNA Making An Offer to CM Punk Disputed?

Mike Johnson from PWInsider.com has this to say about the story of TNA making an offer to CM Punk from this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter


“For whatever reason, there have been several stories making the rounds about CM
Punk over the last several days. Since we have received so many emails about
them, I’ve asked around, and here is what we’ve found out.

 
Is CM Punk signing with TNA?
One story that began making the rounds yesterday, attributed to Dave Meltzer
of The Wrestling Observer (although I want to make it clear that I have
no idea whether Meltzer ever actually reported this) is that TNA made a big
money offer to Punk to come into the company and were turned down.
I reached out to several high level TNA sources last night and this morning,
I heard back from each as they were preparing to head to Japan. Each of them
said there was no truth to the story and one commented, “No offer was made,
officially or via an intermediary – no truth to that rumor.”
In asking a few friends that are close with Punk yesterday as well, all of
them scoffed at the idea Punk would ever want to return to wrestling, much less
for TNA.

Punk at OVW?
We’ve also been asked about stories that Punk was backstage over the weekend
for Ohio Valley Wrestling and that the locker room had been ordered not to speak
to him while he was in the locker room. While Punk was indeed at the show (he
arrived with Cliff Compton, a close friend), he was never in the locker room.
According to several OVW regulars who worked the show on Saturday, Punk arrived
early in the day and went right to OVW owner Danny Davis’ office. He was never
in the locker room. The wrestlers were somewhat aware he was there but there
were no explicit instructions made by anyone to leave Punk alone.


So, again, we are told there was nothing to this.”

Personally, seeing how TNA seemingly makes offers to anyone let go from the WWE and has recently lied about Vince Russo working for them, I can see TNA lying about this as well. And saying you doubt someone’s reporting without having read the full story it is petty, IMO.

So, what do you guys think?

WWE/NBC Universal not making a deal?

Apparently, the WWE has asked NBC (parent of USA/SyFy) for a lot more money and, so far, NBC is saying no. Kind of interesting – wonder if the WWE Network announcement is hurting them here:
http://nypost.com/2014/02/08/valentines-breakup-nbcuniversal-and-wwe-may-split-up/

Yeah, I personally would be SHOCKED if Vince's strategy of bragging about tripling his rights fees and then launching his own competing network somehow hurt his chances of getting more money out of USA.  I think when all is said and done they'll still end up back with USA again for slightly more money, just because it's too much of a boondoggle for either side to give up that security and try something new.  

The Making of the New WWE Title

http://www.wwe.com/inside/the-making-of-the-new-wwe-title-26092146


Pretty interesting story behind the new bel…er, *championship*, and why it took a year and a half to see the light of day.

Two things stand out to me here:
1)  STAN STANSKI IS A REAL PERSON?!  I thought it was just a goofy name they came up with for that jobber.
2)  How is "World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion" an "inexact" term?  And yet "WWE Champion" is somehow more exact?  Only in the WWE Universe, I guess.  
I also think it's funny that they spent $50,000 trying to find great concepts and thinking out of the box, but no one stopped to ask fans if it was something they'd like or even if the belt looked good.  Because if there's one group of people who understand wrestling belts, it's a bunch of middle aged marketing directors and toy executives.  
But hey, better than the spinner belt at least.

Making Cena interesting

Scott-
Love your work blah-blah-blah. Anyway…
My wife is a huge John Cena fan.   I fall under the spell of Punk, Bryan and Beth Phoenix of the world. When Cena comes on these days I wince. As a result my wife asked how I would make Cena interesting again without changing the core character.
Challenge accepted.


John Cena is not going to turn heel. No matter who much the IWC, perhaps Cena himself, and the fans who boo him each and every week would like it – he is the cash cow that keeps giving.
The question is how can the WWE get it so he is, I daresay, more tolerable to anyone over the age of 13. Well, here are a few ideas.
1. Be vulnerable. Stop burying people – ADR, Big Show and Miz all were victims of Cena not letting them be a legitimate threat. He couldn’t even sell ADR as being rich, never mind a worthy opponent. If Cena is going to be hero then the hero must seem threatened – not overcome numerical odds but actually be threatened. The only people who have threatened Cena are Brock and CM Punk. Even The Rock wasn’t that big a threat since it was known Duane was going back to Hollywood. Speaking of Duane.

The vulnerability is HUGE.  One of the reasons that Rock got over so big as a babyface back in 99 and 2000 is that the odds were stacked against him and he occasionally got the shit kicked out of him and lost.  Yeah, he won the Rumble in 2000, but it was taken away from him and then he got screwed over against Big Show and then at Wrestlemania, before finally having his big triumph against HHH at Backlash.  For a while, you were actually left wondering if they were ever going to give him the big win.  Not with Cena.  

2. Emotional investment. Let it get personal. What was interesting with The Rock was everything did get personal. We knew Cena was staying, that the legacy mattered, and low-and-behold interesting confrontations abound. Kane was the opposite. Kane tried to get Cena to embrace the hate or admit getting booed bothered him. Cena didn’t react. Ever. If Cena doesn’t get emotionally attached then why should I?

The emotional detachment is fine, but then they need to stop booking him in storylines where he has to show emotion.  World title feuds are fine, because it’s all business and all about the money, but ironic detached Cena cracking jokes is surefire death for any other type of feud.  

3. Be the better man. Lose. Be wrong. Admit you messed up. Big Show made a great point about Cena just laughing it up when Big Show got fired. Cena replies that Big Show would have been hired back and somehow is segues into Big Show being a sell out Um, what? If Cena admits he was wrong then he comes off as a better role model and is a lot more sympathetic when the Big Show decks him anyway, well at least it is interesting. See: Ryder, Zach for additional examples.

See, the Ryder thing had such potential to freshen up Cena by letting him do tag matches with Zach on top and give him the rub, then he could be UPSET that someone was going after his partner, then his partner could turn on him or a million different things, and they just dropped them all.  And the better man thing is something that bugs me about Sheamus, too.  Like when he bumped into Big Johnny and had to be forced into a fake apology on Smackdown — just APOLOGIZE.  You’re the fucking GOOD GUY.  Just say “Sorry, didn’t mean to bump into you” and then if Ace escalates from there, HE’S the one who looks like a jackass, not Sheamus.  

Sorry, got sidetracked there.  

4. Raise the stakes. Go after the belt. There is a weird belief that titles are meaningless. Cena’s most brilliant feud was with Punk over the WWE belt yet he hasn’t challenged since. Even The Rock mentioned challenging for the belt at Wrestlemania. Do others need the belt more? No. A title holding John Cena could elevate more people if the challenges are done in such a manner where Cena cares and there is the possibility that losing has consequences. It has built in drama since there is a prize at stake.

I’ve said before and I’ll continue saying:  If Cena is the top guy, he should be the champion.  Either the WWE title or the World title, whichever one, but he needs a belt because the John Cena Championship of the World is clearly more important than either physical belt right now and they need to change that.  Clearly Punk is the #2 guy, so he should have the #2 belt for his midcard feuds.  I’m not saying that to trash Punk (although he is a pretty huge ratings liability at this point), but having the big belt on a guy they won’t push as the top guy is doing no favors for that title.  Cena should chase the belt for a few PPVs while putting over how much it means to him, win it at Summerslam in the big feelgood moment, and Brock can DESTROY him to take it away and give him another prize to chase. 

Let us not say this is all John Cena. There are writers and Vince McMahon, yet Cena is so close to sometimes being a character people could love instead of being someone where I  wince when I hear his music play.

Indeed.  But then I feel the same way about Kane.

Making SummerSlam and Survivor Series Relevant

Whaddup, Scott,
I was perusing the comments in the recent post regarding the question of whether SummerSlam or Royal Rumble is the #2 Pay-Per-View, and I thought I'd engage in some tiresome fanwank:
 
WrestleMania XXVIII's Team Teddy versus Team Johnny match was a flaccid (at best) substitute for the Money in the Bank match, and yet some fans have suggested that there are limits to the extent to which MitB can or should carry the burden of a PPV of its own. So why not move the MitB match to SummerSlam?
The chief problem with all the PPVs between 'Mania and Royal Rumble is a lack of momentum; everyone has figured out that you can mostly tune out for three-fourths of the year and not miss much, Summer of Punk notwithstanding.
Hosting MitB at SummerSlam would add some intrigue to the event, and the WWE could also add some sort of SummerSlam-only match (gimmick or otherwise) that will determine the main event of Survivor Series, adding some much needed momentum to what is quickly being perceived as an accidental "off-season".
From there, Survivor Series could also host a recurring match (again, gimmick or otherwise) or matches, the result of which determines the #1 and #2 spot in the Rumble.

This way, the smaller PPVs can be utilized in the traditional fashion (whatever that is these days), but The Big Four will remain "big" because of something other than nostalgia, and they'll all be interconnected. (And if SummerSlam's results only impact Survivor Series and the Survivor Series results only impact the Rumble, we won't be adding undue strain to the delicate creatures on the creative staff by asking them to plan longer than a couple months in advance).
I also happen to miss the traditional Survivor Series tag matches (although I recognize that the thrill of those matches in the late '80s and early '90s stemmed from the fact that we never got to see Superstars compete in such combinations elsewhere, whereas now they all fight one another every week, so there is no mystique anymore) and I even maintain that the old King of the Ring/WrestleMania IV tournament format is a viable storytelling opportunity, but I will choose my battles. I think my suggestions above have merit.
I'd be curious to see what others think.

 

Cheers,

Yeah, they desperately need SOMETHING going on in summer.  The Nexus actually gave them some summer momentum in 2010, leading up to Barrett v. Orton actually generating intrigue for Survivor Series, but that of course was all for nothing.  I think the problem, as others have mentioned, is that all the important stuff is bunched up from January – April and then nothing.  The Elimination Chamber, which is a gimmick match that actually still means something, has basically become a nothing concept because you have the Rumble determining one WM participant and then they're spinning their wheels for two months so the Chamber can't mean anything.  I think they should move it to Survivor Series, which would reduce the "dead zone" down to April – August.  Revive King of the Ring with 8 top guys, and the winner getting the title shot at Summerslam, and then as noted MITB can be at Summerslam to elevate the NEXT guy.