Why did Orton lose the title so soon in 2004?

Hi Scott,

Michael Xavier here. I've been off-blog because of the current product and am watching PPVs during the Reign of Terror that I missed because that was the last time I wasn't interested in the product. Plus, it was just referenced in the Max Landis short movie (by the way, congrats on the mention!)

Anyway, Orton beat Benoit for the RAW belt at SummerSlam 2004. It went on last, Orton won clean, and Benoit even did the "handshake of respect" to completely put him over. It was essentially portrayed as a career-making performance. The next night he got kicked out of Evolution and then lost the belt at the next PPV to Hunter. He was basically Hunter's bitch in rematches and Batista was later pushed into the RAW championship spot instead. Orton didn't get another run with a top title until he won the WWE title in October 2007, more than 3 years later.

What was the point of putting Orton over so strongly at SummerSlam only to have him lose the belt so suddenly? I'd get it if ratings and house shows tanked, but he was already being set up to lose it to Hunter the very next night, and then was essentially out of serious consideration of being champion for 3 years.

Anyway, any knowledge on this?

​The explanation I've always heard is that Hunter felt like they needed a heel champion for whatever the voting PPV was that year (Taboo Tuesday or Cyber Sunday, I forget) because fans wouldn't want to vote between three heels and the choices were stronger on the babyface side anyway.  Plus Orton was really a spectacular flop as champion, like really badly, so it worked out OK anyway.  ​

Was the Network too much too soon?

Hey Scott, I've been reading your comments and those of others for a while, and one of the main points you and many others have made is that the WWE has the diehard fans locked in no matter what, and their current number of subscribers is probably that group (or near enough). So, hindsight and all that, but couldn't the WWE have launched the Network WITHOUT the PPV's (maybe make them available months later) and probably done roughly the same amount of business, without cannibalizing their PPV revenue? I mean, logically they'd probably have ended up with somewhere around 500K buys instead of 775K (or whatever the actual number is), but they'd still be drawing better PPV numbers, they could do all of the crazy marketing and experimentation they've been doing to try and make it profitable, and once it worked and was a desirable product, THEN they could say "Oh and by the way NOW we're going to start showing all the PPV's live on the Network!"

Counterpoint: if they decided to stop showing the PPV's live on the Network, save for the NXT ones obviously, how bad for them would that be, do you think?

​You know, I was fine with them ditching all the B-shows onto the Network, because who gives a shit about Battleground or TLC or whatever, but putting Wrestlemania on the Network was suicide.  They could have had the best of both worlds, with 700K subscribers for the April-Dec PPV cycle, and then 600K buys for Rumble and 1M buys for WM and basically doubled their revenue for the year.  Everyone would have still happily bought Rumble and Mania.  Fuck, I basically stopped watching wrestling from 2006-2011 and I still bought the Rumble every year!  ​
If they went back to PPV, it would go very, very badly for them and I think they know it.  InDemand is already on the verge of dropping them and if they abandoned the Network now, you can bet the cable companies would suddenly demand 70 or 75% of the revenues to let them continue airing their PPVs because without the dish networks WWE basically has zero leverage now.  WWE has deliberately scuttled their own PPV business and there's no going back now.  

QOTD #50: Comedians gone too soon

Today’s Question: With the untimely passing of Robin Williams, having met his untimely demise, today’s question is: Of all the comedians that are no longer with us, whose comedy do you consider the greatest?

Yesterday’s Question: Side note time: You ever have someone at work you just don’t like….and
you don’t know why????? They’ve done nothing to you, but for some
unknown reason, they just rub you the wrong way – and you don’t like
them at all. I have one of those (but I’m working on it), and I
figured I would try to relate that to the blog……with that in mind, I
just have to ask, because I have seen it discussed on the blog a few
times, but there was never really one consensus answer. There is really
no right/wrong answers, but I am dying to know 2 things in regards
to……….Shane Douglas:

a) What is your lasting memory of Shane Douglas (or the first thing that comes to mind)?

b) What in the world has he done in the wrestling business (as you see it) that is worthy of soooo much hatred?

greaterpower99: The thing that comes to mind with Douglas isn’t anything he did in the ring (average-to-good worker and talker, never anyone I especially WANTED to see), rather it’s an interview he gave to Power Slam in early ’96 following his failed run as Dean Douglas.

He claims that he mostly went to WWE to pay for medical school, predicts failure for new signing Mankind, calls McMahons basic integrity into question, and naturally, goes to town on the clique. It’s the same spiel about the clique that every wrestler who failed to get over in 94-95 invariably rattles off, but it was the first I’d even heard of the term. He also aired, may even have been the first, the rumour that HHH ingratiated himself with the clique by carrying their bags.

Not earthshattering by today’s standards, but in ’96 a bit of an eye-opener.

Actually, while we’re on the subject of Douglas, has anyone on here seen his “legendary” 60 minute draw with Tully Blanchard? Is it as bad as its reputation suggests?

I’ve seen about 45 minutes of it….and yes. They would have been better off sticking to 20-30 minutes. Lots of restholds, and old-school heel spots that didnt work in the 90s. Tully himself even admits it sucked. I’m guessing this was all part of his Flair obsession.

damaverickridesagain: On the subject of Shane Douglas: three thoughts come to mind
1. On the subject of burying the NWA back in ’94, yes it launched ECW into the upper level but lets be serious for a moment, if he didn’t win the belt, whoever did might had done it as well.
2. Despite what most people think, yes the Dean Douglas gimmick did suck, but he could had easily gone to WCW and have five star matches with Pillman, Malenko, Benoit, and a soon to be debuting Jericho. hell if Flair and him hated each other so much, why not have the match five years earlier? money can make people forgot a lot if it means we are getting richer
3. Overall the best period for me for Shane would have to be his tag team with Bagwell during WCW 2000, He was the perfect tag partner, not completely exposed but he could have you believe that he was capable of better things

BTW: the hottest woman for me in ECW would have to be a composite of Woman, Beulah, and Lita.

First of all, Dawn Marie could get it before any of those three…..secondly, I’d have to agree with you on the Bagwell thing: for a brief minute, it looked like their team had life….then Buff had to go and get himself suspended.

 jabroniville: The first thing I think of with Douglas is all those whiny-ass interviews calling out Ric Flair. Retrospect paints that as basically desperately-linking himself to a more successful wrestler in order to get heat. Then I think of all Douglas’ promos- mediocre, swear-filled nothing. People only paid attention to them because he was one of the first guys to drop F-bombs regularly.

He was also drastically overpushed in ECW. He was at-best an okay worker, and yet was booked to go in 25-minute “classics” that were in reality just overly-long and dull as shit, especially since his finisher was a Belly-To-Belly Suplex in an era of chairshots and Tornado DDTS through tables.

There’s one thing that comes to mind in regards to his hate for Flair: Around 95 or 96, ECW TV had an hourlong episode, and the first 30 minutes consisted of Douglas ranting and raving about how much he hates Ric Flair, and the question the entire world wants answered: “yes, Ric Flair – I hate your guts” being the payoff. Paul E. is a genius (Sidenote: The new DVD is AMAZING) but I really have to question why he let Shane Douglas spend half his show getting Ric Flair over as their lead heel.

: 1) The thing I think of most is a few weeks after he broke Pitbull 1’s
neck, Gary Wolfe tried to get in the ring and Douglas shook his surgical
halo and threw him to the ground. It was the most genuine heel heat
I’ve ever seen someone get in the ECW arena.

2) He compares himself to legends way too much.

I wrestled with Ric Flair. I knew Ric Flair. Ric Flair was a friend of mine. Mr. Douglas, you’re no Ric Flair.

I think I really started to dislike him at the one ECW PPV when he was supposedly injured but still had a match with Al Snow and he went on that ridiculous self-blowjob rant about how people would be telling their grandkids about the time they saw Shane Douglas wrestling with a busted arm.

I remember the entire locker room hoisting both men on their shoulders……and the following week, Al Snow and Head Was putting over Brian Christopher and Scotty 2 Hotty on RAW. Tells you all you need to know.

BooBoo1782: Oddly enough, my most vivid memories of Shane are from his bouncing babyface era. I came along too late for the Dynamic Dudes, but I remember his brief early 90s WWF run (highlighted by a longer-than-you’d-expect stay in the ’91 Rumble and those ugly peach-pink tights) and his move to WCW in ’92 as Ricky Steamboat’s new partner. I know that his best work came later, but that’s what sticks in my memory from my own viewing experiences.

As for why everyone hates him…I think it’s largely because he blames just about everyone but himself for his failures – Flair, the Kliq, etc. – when he really was never THAT good. Yes, he was a solid worker, but there was never anything about him that screamed “future World Champion” to me, and yet my perception is that he goes on like he was supposed to be a an Austin-Rock level star.

Jason Clark: a) Agree on NWA title toss down. Probably the most memorable promo of his career and the touchstone of his entire ECW run.
b) I’ve wondered if there isn’t a worked shoot element of his ego. It really rubs wrestling fans outside of ECW the wrong way, and I’d say it has defined the IWC’s take on him. I don’t recall anyone calling Charles Wright a dick for stealing Undertaker’s urn, but we seem to take shoot comments on Ric Flair as being the actual opinion of the person making them. It could just be that Troy Martin has an ego and that Shane Douglas is just that ego turned up to 11.

Mike_N: I don’t hate Shane, but it’s not hard to see where the hate comes from.

If you’re that bitter and you talk that much shit, you’ll end up in a very bad place unless:

a.) it gets you ridiculously over. (see Punk, CM)
b.) it’s part of an angle with a clear payoff. (see Austin, Steve)
c.) you come out on top in the long run.

None of those three ever really came through for Shane. Flair and Shawn keep making money IN THIS BUSINESS, though I’m pretty sure Shane wouldn’t trade bank statements with Flair right now.

The Fuj:
A. Him throwing down the NWA belt in 94 is his legacy IMO.

B. Its his over-inflated sense of self-worth that has drawn the ire of most. I haven’t seen a 1v1 match with Shane that I would call good. Alot of his multi-mans or tags have been great. His promos in early ECW were so against the grain and not cookie cutter, but once everybody started following suit, there were people who did it better than him. He parlayed an ECW tenure where he was pushed as the flag-bearer into a dismal WWF run and when he couldnt cut it, he went back to ECW where he could be the big fish in a small pond. That was his problem as well. He always thought he should have been bigger thn what he was. If he had the talent, he would have shed the Dean DOuglas gimmick once the AE started for something more comtemparary. He just bitched about his run and left before shit got hot in NY. It was just piss poor timing because he could have the wave in NY and been something. I mean Val Venis and Rikishi got over, he would have gotten over. He just bitched and moaned about it.

By the time he got to WCW, he was too pilled up and injury riddled to be worth anything.

Fuj, I think you summed it up succintly as usual.  

The unfortunate part is that Shane Douglas actually was a decent (not exceptional) worker, but in this entire blog, did anybody mention the Triple Threat? He, Benoit, and Malenko as a faction whould have been one of the great ones, but that isnt his legacy. People remember him for all the whining about Flair. Well, there’s that, and his throwing up in the ring in TNA…….

Cucch’s Book Review’s: Coming Soon to a Blog Near You.

Hello again all. It is your friendly, cheap neighborhood Cucch checking in with you all to let you know, yes, your long national wet dream is over: I am returning with book reviews. The holiday season has provided me with enough vim and vigor to bring back the fun threads that I am sure will cause this site to explode. The books I have read in the past month or two include Shoemaker’s shit, Dusty’s, Gary Michael Cappetta’s, and others. A now former co-worker (read about it after the jump) gifted me a Secret Santa gift that allowed me to gain access to three books I would have found unaccessible.

I am a recovering drug addict. Painkillers. Opiates. Percoset and OxyContin, primarily OC 80’s. I cleaned up two years ago to this day, December 28, 2011. All recovering addicts remember that day. I spent two years trying to reacclimate myself to a society that had, and has, passed me by. I found a job that satisfied me, along with a girl who satisfied me, if not in a traditional sense. I started working at this pizza joint, family run but a corporation, in early September. I kicked names and took ass, and defended this other girl, also a recovering, to the point where I almost became something of an afterthought compared to her. No issues, she is my age (33) with very similar experiences and two children. I will gladly take the bullet for someone I deem worth my time…and she was. No sex, well…one time…but this was not a relationship, so to speak, based on sex or sexual tension…it was one of mutual respect and experience. She needed the hours, I did not, so I sacrificed and gave them to her, realizing that she was just awesome at her job…just like me. The two of us, two people from the same background, drugs, work experience, all of that, were the backbone of a restaurant that experienced record sales this holiday season. She last worked the 23rd, me, Christmas Eve. We both got laid off today. It had nothing to do with performance, but with how the entire company panned out. Life sucks. Now, with me, I am a single man who lives (and basically raises) his dad. No rent, free computer…hell, my dad feels so bad about me losing my job CLEAN that he is adding me to his cell phone account with a new Samsung Galaxy 4…shitty huh? This other girl, call her my girlfriend? She is me in the female form, only she is a little behind in recovery and has two children. One of who’s birthday is in six days.

Enough with the melancholy, here are the books I have read and/or am about to:

-Dusty Rhodes
-Shoemaker’s shit
-Capetta’s (Don’t sleep)
-Missy Hyatt
-Bruce Hart
-The one SK book I have not read…Made Men.

There is the list. Pick one.

Cena Too Soon?

Hey Scott;
How about a trip down hypothetical lane?
Is it possible they bring Cena back, just to get him on TV and maybe help bump a PPV buyrate and work a very safe and protective match for him? He can beat Del Rio for title, only to have ADR snap and bust his arm back up with his finisher sending Cena back to the sidelines to finish recovering? You can vacate the title or maybe have Sandow cash in on him after the ADR beat down.

Just a thought.

Wait, you want ANOTHER title held in abeyance?  It's gonna break Punk's longevity record at this rate.  
Pretty sure Cena wins the title and they go the Sandow route, although rather than putting any heat on Sandow (BWAAHAHAHAHAHAH!) they'll put Cena with whatever jerk laid him out to cost him the precious title he cares so little about. 
Or Sandow could just cash in and lose to Cena because SUPERCENA.  Either way.