Sports Entertainment vs Wrestling

Hi Scott,

I was wondering when Vince first got the bug up his ass about it being
"entertaiment" instead of "wrestling"? I can't recall ever hearing the
term "Sports Entertainment" until sometime in the Attitude era and
when I go back and watch stuff from the 80s and early 90s, the word
wrestling is everywhere and no one seems to have any ideas about
calling it anything else. My own theory is that it stems from the
story he always tell's about Turner calling him up to let him know he
was in the "Rasslin" business. I was wondering what you thought
though. Thanks.

​The term was invented in the early 80s, specifically to get around things like athletic commissions or Boxing and Wrestling commissions.  You'd have to kick up a portion of the gate to them and pay doctors for ringside and such, and that's money out of Vince's pocket.  "Ah", he would say coyly, "we should not be governed by wrestling commissions, because we are not wrestling, we are Sports Entertainment".  And then later he outright went to places like New Jersey and admitted to courts that his show was predetermined and thus a unique entity.  This of course is completely nonsensical and flies in the face of wrestling being fixed since literally day one when naked Greeks were working out spots in the Acropolis dressing room, but it was more of a political deal anyway.  So there you go.  ​

Guest Post: Sports Review Wrestling PREDICTIONS!

Sports Review Wrestling Predictions into 1998…What They Were And Why They Weren’t As Ridiculous As You Might Think. Took some inspiration from the ongoing WWF Magazine recaps on the BOD, and remembered that I had this in my possession (not for long…as of this writing you can purchase it from my eBay store at jmfabianorpl, with other wrestling goods and more!  Jeter421 on has even more great items.  Anyway…)$_57.JPG Back when I started being a wrestling fan, I had to have EVERYTHING related to the sport.  The action figures, the books, videos, I had to be around when anything even resembling wrestling was on television and I watched it ALL.  And of course, there were the magazines.  Like others, I started with the WWF Magazine, but then as I discovered other companies on TV, I took notice of other titles on the newsstand…especially those coming from Bill Apter and “TV Sports.”  Yes, the trinity of The Wrestler, Inside Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling Illustrated especially…though I liked many of Apter’s side publications such as Wrestling ‘8x/’9x, Wrestling Superstars, and why I am here today, Sports Review Wrestling.   SRW really didn’t have anything that jumped out at you like the other Apter mags did…for example, Inside’s strengths included One on One (a phone conversation between rivals); Top 15 rankings, instead of the usual 10, for the major companies and a roll call of champions; and a “Where are they now?” page.  PWI had arena reports, “breaking” news, and full-color centerfolds.  SRW seemed to mostly be straight news most of the time.  Wrestling Superstars, while one of the B-listers, still had monthly dream matches, complete with storylines (such as a masked Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake assaulting Sting and Davey Boy Smith; El Gigante taking Andre the Giant’s mainstream popularity, causing the latter to get in bodybuilder’s shape for one big blowout; and the Road Warriors having a singles match competition for a car, ending inevitably in them facing each other).  However, more often than not, the other magazines would get something interesting, and the September 1988 SRW was no exception, as you can tell from the cover.  For this issue, the writers would attempt to guess what way the wrestling world would go in the next 10 years.  I am a sucker for this kind of thing, and love revisiting the fans’ predictions in the year-end PWIs.  So I had to have a look at this article and some of the things it foresaw.  I expected far-fetched weirdness and got some, but I must tell you…some of SRW’s predictions actually weren’t as far off from the truth as you may think… C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8209.JPG So, we start out with the bold prediction that a major corporation would take over the NWA by 1993, helping it compete with the WWF and even surpass it.  Coca-Cola (which would have lost Columbia Pictures years ago) and MCA (which would lose Universal in a couple of years) are named…BUT…we know how things really went down.  As the NWA would be purchased by Ted Turner, rebrand itself WCW, and would of course become a part of Time Warner eventually.  Now the article is 5 years off with the year of the purchase, which would actually be coming within months.   However, think about this: 1993 was when Eric Bischoff came to power, and though it took some more time, he would be the one in power when WCW did overtake the WWF.  And hey, the article is off by just one year as far as when that really happened.  You could even stretch things and say 1995 was the debut of Nitro, which was a catalyst in WCW becoming number one.   Next prediction involves “Sean” McMahon, Vince’s son (typo?  Misinformation?  DIDN’T KNOW BUT CAME REALLY, CLAIRVOYANTLY CLOSE?!!?), taking over the WWF by 1997.  Either that or you can say another Sean (or Shawn) was practically family with Vince by then, of course, being favored in the Montreal Screwjob and pretty much being allowed to get away with anything and, well, practically running the joint.  Name play aside, the dates again are still not that far off, and competition with WCW would indeed push the WWF harder, all the way into the Attitude Era, as the prediction states.  As for the prime-time comedy-drama, isn’t that one of the things they insist/insisted Raw and Smackdown are?  Then again, the XFL was pretty unintentionally comedic…but that was years off anyway.  This column also predicts that “Sean” will make WrestleMania 14 the first to be held in outer space…yeah, let’s pretend that SRW was actually seeing Steve Austin beginning the company’s rise into the stratosphere for the next 3 years.   C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8407.JPG C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8211.JPG OK bear with the blurriness here.  We have Michael Jackson signing a 10-year contract with the WWF in 1992 after doing an album of standards with Frank Sinatra.  MJ would be getting $50 million and by 1994 would primarily serve as a manager who loads his sequined glove to pass to his wrestlers.   I could simply say “no, but both would be dealing with PR scandals at the time.”   The Road Warriors were predicted to break up in 1990 and become singles wrestlers, only to feud when both Animal and Hawk wanted Paul Ellering for a manager.  They would have a one-on-one match at Great American Bash ’91 or Starrcade ’91 and cripple each other, ending both their careers, so the article said.  Now, any LOD partings in the ‘90s happened with whimpers (their split in 1992 when Hawk left the WWF; the teased feud in 1998 that was abandoned for the formation of LOD 2000…sup, Russo?).  Interestingly enough, Bash ’91 did feature a grudge match between the former members of a long-standing NWA/WCW tag team in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express.  And Starrcade of that year ended with a confrontation with ex-friends Sting and Lex Luger, in the Battlebowl finals.   Steve DiSalvo will be NWA world champion in 1993, managed by Harley Race, and he’ll run rampant until losing the title to Owen Hart in ’94.  The closest level of infamy DiSalvo achieved was becoming the first, or one of the first, IWC internet memes in 1991.  But a dominant world champion in NWA/WCW, managed by Race and dominating throughout 1992-94, sound familiar?   Also, Owen DID use the Sharpshooter/Scorpion Death Lock as a finisher, like someone’s arch rival during his tenure in WCW.   C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8408.JPGC:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8214.JPG When making a predictions article, Apter always loved to throw in a tease that Hulk Hogan would be turning rulebreaker.  This was no exception, as the writers saw Hogan beating Brutus Beefcake for the Intercontinental Title in ’93, then going to the NWA…to join the Four Horsemen.  Again, SRW was a few years ahead, but we all know that this basically happened with Hogan returning to his heel roots with a new elite group in the company.  And hey, Hogan did leave the WWF in 1993, although it took time for him to first show up in WCW.   Other predictions made in the column included: Larry Zbyszko getting his own talk show on WWF TV and beating the Ultimate Warrior for the I-C title; Elizabeth beating Wendi Richter in a 26-minute classic in ’94 to become WWF Women’s Champion; and Nick Bockwinkel coming out of retirement and regaining the AWA title in the mid ‘90s.  (Well, the latter can be likened to a certain legend winning the #3 company’s world title, on their first pay per view…) So Sports Review Wrestling…second coming of Nostradamus, or not worth the $1.75 it cost?  You decide…

Lesnar — 10/6 Sports Business Jornal

So I'm looking at the 10/6-12 issue of Sports Business Journal, which has "Who will step up for UFC" as one of its cover stories. Further into the story, they highlight UFC's top draws since January 2006. A quick recap, if I may:
  • Brock Lesnar has the two highest drawing PPVs in UFC history and 3 of the top 5, two of which were against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. Let me repeat those opponents – Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.
  • Brock Lesnar made 7 appearances in UFC, 5 as headliner (top two matches on the card). As a headliner, Lesnar averaged over 1 million buys. the next highest, GSP (their most consistent draw), averaged more than 300,000 fewer buys. ronda Rousey is averaging 395,000 buys and we think it's a big deal.
  • After re-joining WWE, the company decided to put him in a B-show and then have him LOSE to John Cena.
Shouldn't the investors be filing class-action lawsuits over this and not the network? 

​I'm gonna have to stick up for WWE a bit here, in that it's apples and oranges.  Lesnar had a unique charisma in UFC precisely because he was a "fake pro rassler" who was coming in and daring to beat longtime "real" fighters while cutting WWE-style promos about it.  Hardcore fighting nerds HATED him and gladly paid $70 a pop a million at a time hoping to see him lose.  
The WWE audience dynamic was totally different, in that everyone basically was happy to have him back and didn't really associate him with UFC any longer at the point when he returned.  Yes, it was a fuckup to have him lose to Cena, of course, but his wrestling drawing power was in a totally different league than his UFC drawing power.  He was a giant WWE star, yes, but he was an invading monster in UFC and it was the kind of special magic that probably won't ever be duplicated again.
As for Rousey, 350K is good now because UFC destroyed their own PPV business by oversaturating the market.  Even Brock returning would probably only do 700K at the high end now.​

EA Sports = WWE Network?

Reading about the new EA Sports online vault gaming thing (I'm not a big gamer… my PS3 has basically become an outlet to watch the WWE Network), but this new business model for gaming seems to be the same as the new model for the WWE Network. Instead of one $60 purchase for a game you'll enjoy for a fixed amount of time, for a far smaller monthly fee you get access to a bunch, whenever you want. I don't know much about the margins for games, but the $4.99 probably all goes straight to EA, instead of the $60 split up the supply chain (retailers, etc) and they don't have to worry about the lost revenue of the game on the secondary market.
​Yeah, a nice side effect of that was Target dropping all their Xbox One EA games to $10 yesterday up here thus finally allowing me to start building a game library for the system.  
It's an interesting idea, and I certainly enjoy PS Plus on my PS3 right now, but there's just not a lot of games for XBone to even entice me with.  Plus it feels like the game selection is the stuff that drops to $2 in the EBGames bargain bin.  Last year's Madden!  The Battlefield game no one really cared for!  They need a better premium hook besides "play these games without a disc."  Maybe I'm just old and crotchety, I dunno.  ​


So, check this out.

This is from a recent testimonial game (not sure if you guys in the US of A/Canada do these – basically just a fun tribute game to a recently retired player. In this case, a well-known Spurs defender called Ledley King), whereby everything is a little more relaxed, and a friendly game of football is played.

If ECW did football….

Check it out.

DDP Segment on HBO’s Real Sports

Howdy BoD’ers!

I got a chance to watch last night’s HBO Real Sports and catch the segment on DDP helping out Jake Roberts and Scott Hal with DDP Yoga. I just wanted to run down some of the key points of the segment that ran around 8-10 minutes.

— The opening sees DDP, Roberts and Hall sitting in recliners watching old footage of themselves.

— Roberts said he begged to die. As he saw his friends in the business dying he wondered why he couldn’t have been him. Roberts was raised by an alcoholic and sexually abused as a child. He broke down pretty quickly. He told Frank Deford (the guy doing the story) is that he was afraid “[Frank] was going to hurt him.” He was never able to explain why he felt that way. Or he did and it was cut.

— DDP says that Jake gave him the knowledge when no one else believed in him. Jake says he taught DDP wrestling psychology and how to read a crowd.

— DDP took up Yoga when he had a serious back injury that wasn’t improving. He mixed it in with his rehab and added old school calisthenics. Out of that he created DDP Yoga, which he describes as “non-peaceful Yoga”. He holds free classes at his home to his neighbors and over a dozen people come by daily.

— Page traveled to see Roberts and said he looked so brittle. DDP asked him to drop 20 pounds and he would move him to Atlanta. Roberts has now lost 60 pounds and Roberts does Yoga and other workouts daily.

— They chronicled Roberts’ set backs and the cameras catch DDP bitching Roberts out for getting drunk at an airport bar. He had another set back but he’s been clean for about 4-5 months now. Roberts says he wakes up excited and he’s staying at the “Accountability Crib” a.k.a. DDP’s Atlanta home for the foreseeable future. Roberts says that Page “ain’t getting rid of him.”

— They play the tape of DDP calling Scott Hall and Hall said he doesn’t remember the phone call because he was drunk out of his mind. Hall has taken 12 trips to rehab. Pills and booze became his routine because his life was falling apart. He said that Razor Ramon was living well but Hall was dying. When Hall arrived in Atlanta he describes himself as “Elvis before he went to die on the toilet.”

— Hall has lost 50 pounds and spends much of his non-Yoga time with his son Cody, who is trying to break in the business. He says he’s got a new lease on life. He moved out of the Accountability crib but according to his podcast with Steve Austin, he lives about a block or two away and spends most of his spare time there.

— DDP says Jake should have died 10-12 times but today he’s a different guy. Same with Hall. DDP knows there are no guarantees and both Roberts and Hall have been through too much to say their demons are gone for good. Roberts is deathly afraid of the mention of overcoming is demons but the segment closes with the three men, happy and growing old in health together.

— Deford discloses that DDP has sold over 50,000 copies of his $100 Yoga program, making for a nice little chunk of change.

My thoughts are simple: DDP is a hell of a guy. I’m convinced there are a lot of good characters in wrestling and few good men but he seems to be the real deal. Roberts and Hall look a billion times better than where we saw them at their lowest point. It was very nice and uplifting piece that would make you like DDP even more than you already do.