Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shooting From The Hip (late again)

Again, my apologies for publishing on Thursday again. Because of medical reasons, I had to delay it. I will be back on Tuesdays next week.

WARNING! The following column has a few weeks worth of TNA spoilers in it!

Money or ratings? Ratings or money? That is the question. Now, I do understand that high ratings produce money from advertisers. If I were an advertiser, I'd want to have my product on a highly rated show also. But, let's crunch some numbers. In 2010, WWE reported 5.9 million dollars in advertising revenue. Now, the WWE doesn't make it clear if that revenue came from their company advertising on TV, or from advertisers paying them. I'm assuming the latter. They then reported 70.2 million dollars in profit for Pay Per Views.

Now, if my assumption is correct, that is a HELL of a lot more money from Pay Per View sales. Now, I'm no genius, but that means I'd want to make my PPVs as important as possible, and use my television time to help build up to those lucrative PPVs and make fans interested in buying them. By the way, WWE also reported 104.6 million in 2010 for "Live Event' revenue. Now, I don't know if that includes ticket prices, merch or whatever combination of them. That number quite frankly surprised me.

Where is all of this leading to? TNA of course. Again, spoilers are-a-comin'. At Bound For Glory Robert Roode was the internet darling, the man who everyone expected to walk away with the TNA title. He didn't. Kurt Angle retained. Why? Three possible reasons.

1. To protect Kurt Angle, which is nonsense. Like Cena, Angle is over enough to not need it.
2. Because of Hulk Hogan's shoot/work comments about Robert Roode not being ready.
3. Hogan bitched that he wanted his face turn to be the most important thing on the PPV.

Okay, now children, pick which one makes the most sense. (Waits for hours.) RIGHT! None of them make any sense! Especially 2 and 3. Let me put this out there now. No matter how over you are, how popular or how many t-shirts you sell, no wrestler, and I mean NO active wrestler should EVER have any creative control over their character or ANY influence on ANY Pay Per View they appear in. Now, I'm not saying a talent can't make suggestions for their own characters. Key word, "suggestions." The final say should be with the bookers.

If Hulk Hogan is allowed ANY influence on any event, it should only be an event in which he does NOT appear. At all. You can either be an on-air talent, or you can be a backstage talent. If you're on-air, you should never be allowed to call shots.

That being said, one "week" after that, James Storm wins the TNA title. Okay. A home-grown TNA star. Pretty cool right? Um, no. Because you gave us a title change on a free event! Now, why should I plop down 45 bucks to order a Pay Per View, when the most captivating things happen on free TV! "Wanna order the PPV honey?" "Nah! They do more stuff on the free show. Let's just wait until Thursday!"

Bang! Revenue out the window! You're discouraging people from buying your PPV! Now, TNA isn't the only company that has done this? Remember when the WCW Nitro ratings started to slip? Well, the brilliant plan there was to have Hulk Hogan drop the strap to Bill Goldberg on a free Monday night show! A HUGE PPV match that everyone wanted to see, and Bischoff gave it away! Again, why order the next PPV?

Now, back to TNA. A "week" after this happens Robert Roode becomes the number 1 contender. The next "week" he wins the title from Storm! Okay, whipe the blood from your noses. Well, if the belt was already planned to go on Roode, then why not just have given it to him at BFG? Not only that, two, count 'em, TWO title changes on free TV! So, what's my incentive to buy the next PPV?

This booking made absolutely no sense. Oh! And did I mention they turn Roode heel? Yep! The guy everyone loved is now a bad guy! This also hurt James Storm, who will forever be known by those two dirty words. Transitional Champion.

TNA is working the fans TOO much. I'm not saying always give the fans what they want, but, also, don't go out of your way to over-work them. They turned Jeff Hardy, one of the biggest babyface draws in the WWE, heel. They turned Matt Morgan, a guy the size of the Empire State Building, who should have been going out and leaving faces crippled, into a good guy! What the hell for?

Bottom line is, if you keep messing with the fans' minds too much, they stop watching. Or, they just stop paying to watch. After all, with TNA the best things in life really ARE free.

My head hurts.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shooting From The Hip (late edition)

(Author's note: Spoilers in this column)

Finally, the Don HAS COME BACK TO HEADLOCKS2HEADLINES.COM! (waits for the deafening sound of crickets to end)

Thank you. Oh, yes. I'm all hyped on post-op meds and ready to go! So, Bound For Glory.

BFG's highlight was meant to be the Hogan face turn. Make no mistake about it. Roode winning the title would have taken attention away from Hogan, hence Roode did not defeat Kurt Angle.

But, on tonight's episode of Impact, James Storm defeats Kurt Angle for the World Title. Explain something to me. Why should I pay 40+ dollars on a TNA Pay Per View when all the good stuff happens on free TV? Now, mind you, I have no problem with title changes occurring on free TV. But, a few days after a Pay Per View? It doesn't make sense!

Both WWE and TNA are guilty of this. Using a Pay Per View to make you want to tune in to the free show. No! The free show should build up to the PPV and make you want to spend your hard earned money! A title change on the Impact following your biggest PPV of the year is just dumb. What incentive does that give your fans to plop down money, much needed money for a PPV? None! "I'll just wait until Impact."

TNA is using the internet and the mainstream media a lot. Hogan saying that Bobby Roode isn't ready for the title via such a public forum is insane! And, if the title outcome from BFG is because of Hogan's comments, than that is insane as well. Hulk Hogan should have NO influence in TNA booking. None. No on-air talent should be able to influence the outcome of major Pay Per Views or matches. In the dying days of WCW, this was one of the factors that helped speed its demise. I'm not saying it was the ONLY factor, mind you, but it sure didn't help.

As far as I'm concerned, Hogan has proven himself to be a man who thinks whatever company he works in should revolve around him. He uses his influence as the money maker of the 80s to persuade promoters and owners to listen to him. Well, guess what? The 80s are 30 YEARS AGO! Hogan is holding on to the fame and fortune he achieved in his day, and trying to use it to influence TNA. And, it's working!

Now, I have no problems with James Strorm winning the TNA world title. Congrats to him. He's a hard worker, and a guy who has put up with a lot of backstage crap over the course of many years. But, again, a title change on a free show rather than a Pay Per View is dumb. It makes the people, all 5 of them, who payed for BFG feel like idiots! My last word on TNA. Dixie needs to step up and take the power away from guys like Hogan and Bischoff. No one cares about them anymore. I do give Hogan credit for toughing it out at BFG. But, the show shouldn't have been about his face turn. It should have been about Roode winning the title. Hogan needs to close his Twitter account and just go away.

Now, on to the WWE. Nonsensical? Me thinks so! You fire JR last week, and then John Laurinaitis comes out and says because he's gotten hateful Tweets, he's reinstating JR, not as an announcer, but to compete in a match! First off. John Laurinaitis has about as much on-air charisma as the needle they shoved in my eye Monday. He's boring, sickening, unbelievable and a terrible actor. Bottom line, he sucks like a vacuum cleaner plugged into a nuclear power plant. So, again, JR is put into a match. JR doesn't belong in a wrestling ring. His health is not the best, and even with talented wrestlers in there, the chance of him getting hurt is high. But, alas, we were spoon fed this like a child screaming not to take his medicine.

We were also "entertained" by the bowel movement of the WWE, Michael Cole, stepping into the ring again! If there's nothing more sickening, horrible and disgusting than hearing Cole on commentary, it's seeing him in the ring. Cole is a cancer in WWE. No matter how good it gets, that tumor still interferes with everything. What was the point of having Jesus, whoops, I mean Cena and Del Rio fight it out with announcers as their partners? And, worst of all, Cena VS Del Rio in a Last Man Standing Match at the next PPV? Who honestly thinks the WWE will let Cena stay down for 10? Raise of hands. (tunes in bionic eye) NO ONE! So, what do we do? Put the title on Cena yet again? Cause the Don to vomit in his Cheerios? Make fans over the age of 3 sick? Sure! Because it's the WWE/Cena/Vince program! Let's put the title back on Cena! Let's allow a guy who sounds like a bullfrog with tonsillitis be the GM! Let's steal your money!

Before we dump on TNA, (which I've done), don't forget to squat and grunt on the WWE product as well. Ratings are down across the board, and buy rates are down. Damn shame. And, to John Cena, I really CAN'T see you right now bitch, so ha ha! Where are my eye meds?



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

So, here we are again. Less than 24 hours removed from Monday Night Raw. Less than 24 hours from seeing good ol' JR humiliated in his home town yet again.

I just don't get it! I've been ticked off since last night, and I'm going to use this forum to vent. Why does Vince McMahon seem to love humiliating JR every chance he gets? Jim Ross is, without a doubt, one of the most beloved characters in wrestling. What's not to love about the friendly, portly old redneck who has battled through sickness, has been crapped on by WCW and who endures, silently, constant abuse? Here's the deal. In my opinion, Jim Ross is the best wrestling announcer ever. Period. Now, I know some people will disagree with that. That's fine. I think he's awesome.

Besides seeing Ross get fired, we had to endure Michael Cole laughing about it. Now, I've never made my opinion on Cole clear in this column, and it's time to do so. What words can I use to describe Michael Cole? "Used feminine hygiene product" comes to mind. Also abnoxious, boring, untalented, vile, useless, effeminate, annoying, sickening and disgusting. I would have loved to see some drunken fan hop the guardrail last night and just break Cole's freaking jaw. I wonder how much crap he'd talk while drinking his Happy Meals through a straw for a few weeks?

A lot of people will just say Cole is doing his job. No he's not. Bobby Heenan did his job. So did Jesse Ventura. A heel commentator is not supposed to detract from the in-ring talent. They are supposed to put talent over. Cole does nothing but put himself over. The whole Wrestlemania fiasco, seeing this little creep climb into a ring and embarrass the business, was a damn shame. Listening to him down wrestlers, the entire female division and the fans in general is a disgrace. But, no. Let's get rid of JR and keep this loser. JR should go to TNA. I think he could cetainly benefit that company. He has a great wrestling mind, and, if given the book, I think he'd be an awesome addition to that company.

As far as HHH being "fired" as COO, once again, too soon. It's been only a little over a month or two since he took the job, and already we've switched gears yet again. There's just not enough time to let things sink in. Watching Raw is like watching a roller coaster or a 3 hour movie condensed to 10 seconds.

This is basically the opposite of what TNA is doing. I have to give TNA props. They've made Bound For Glory a huge deal for months, and they are doing a good job of making me interested in the Pay Per View. It's been an old-school slow burn, and I like it. It gives you a chance to build feuds so that when these guys actually get in the ring at BFG, you care. There is a rumor going around that Ted Turner has invested in TNA. Uh oh! Imagine another one of those calls at 2AM to Standford. "Hey Vince! I'm in the wrasslin' business. Again!" If this rumor is true, it could be huge. Ted Turner actually does care about pro wrestling. He admitted that when he first started out, wrestling kept his channel alive. This could breath new life and new money into TNA.

Switching back to the WWE, John Cena is no longer the top merchandise seller, and I think I know why. Cena's character has been huge for about 6 years now. In those 6 years, kids are growing up. When I was a kid, I was a Hulkamaniac. Of course! What kid wasn't? But, as I grew up, Hogan just got lamer and lamer. As a teenager and a young man, I could relate more to the NWO and DX. They were cool. CM Punk is cool. He's the loudmouth badass that older kids can relate to. In a couple years when these kids get their first cars, I'll bet they'll be using a Cena shirt to wax them.

Cena needs to evolve his character. The same old thing can't work forever. I could see Cena as a heel, but in the PG era, I don't think it would work as well. If we were still in the Attitude Era where heels could be off the charts, it might have worked. I'm sure the Cena/Rock Wrestlemania match will be huge. Cena has shown he is capable of evolving. He sure as hell has evolved as a wrestler. I think he's 10 times better now than he used to be in the ring, and, like him or not, I have to give him props for improving. Having a few matches with HBK surely didn't hurt either!

It's hard to imagine where the WWE is going having Johny Ace as the interim GM. Key word interim. With rumors of Foley coming back to the WWE, I could see him in that role again. Mick was, in my opinion, hilarious as the goofy GM, and in the PG era it would work perfectly. You could keep him there until a little before Wrestlemania, and then perhaps have him take on Undertaker for the streak. Foley has a lot of wins over Taker as Mankind, and both guys respect each other. If Mick is in shape, I can go to see the two of them lock horns one more time.

Well, that's it for this week. It's lunch time. I'm meeting Michael Cole, and we're going to drink our Big Macs together. Peace


Author's note: There will be no Shooting From The Hip published on October 18th because I will be having surgery the day before. I am hoping I will be able to resume writing in time for the October 25th edition. Perhaps I will do a special Sunday night after Bound For Glory.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

Selective Memory

Before starting today's topic, I'd like to give a brief opinion on Hell In A Cell from last Sunday.

I personally, graded the PPV as a B+. Although HIAC matches are nowhere near as brutal as they used to be, I still thought the PPV was okay, with the exception of Kelly Kelly VS Beth Phoenix.

Kelly Kelly can't wrestle. Period. She is nowhere on the level of Beth or Natalya. I'm not saying to fire the girl. Heck, Trish Stratus is a prime example of a sub-par worker who blossomed into one of the best ever. I say send Kelly Kelly back to developmental, and train her a bit more. I think anyone can improve, and she deserves a chance.

I honestly don't know why the fans at the PPV were so displeased with the Sin Cara match. I actually thought it was a decent match. I'm getting the impression that the storyline is what has the crowd flat for this fued. It happened to quickly, and should have been built up longer. Where do you go from here? I have an idea. Ultimately, there will be a mask VS mask match between the two, with the loser being forced to unmask and drop the Sin Cara gimmick. Only way that will work is for blue Cara to go over, and then, perhaps, continuing the feud with Huniko.

Mark Henry retains the belt. Yes! I love how they're pushing Henry right now. I can forsee him holding that belt until Wrestlemania.

I still think CM Punk should have won the title, but I'm willing to give Alberto another shot. Anyone but Cena!

As far as the title of this column goes, I'd like to address how wrestling treats us all like Alzheimer's patients. Why does wrestling think they can always run a story which contradicts another story a few months or years back? Right now, HHH is being called a hypocrite by some for "firing" Miz and Truth because they hit a referee. How many times has a referee been abused in the past? Even faces have been known to get angry and waffle a ref. I know in some storylines the offender was "fined", but I can't remember anyone being "fired" for hitting a ref.

I agree HHH's CHARACTER is being a hypocrite. HHH was jumping guys in the back and taking out refs while the Miz was still at home dreaming of pro wrestling. But, again, we're supposed to forget that.

While I liked the ending of last night's Raw, it still, in my opinion, has its problems. A vote of confidence? When Vince was screwing over every face in the company during the Attitude Era, no one ever rebelled against him. The one time it happened was after he "fired" Stone Cold on a PPV where Austin was refereeing the Kane/Taker match. The next night on Raw, we started off with all the wrestlers angry in the ring, staging a protest. One promo by Vince, and they slank back to the locker room with their tails between their legs. Again, we're supposed to forget the Attitude Era. It never happened.

We're also supposed to forget the Nexus. It was okay for the Nexus to come out and beat down everyone, every week. Not one member got fired or suspended. Miz and Truth do the same thing and get fired?

I understand why the WWE does this in some cases. It's like watching your favorite TV show, and something happens in season 4 that totally contradicts what happened in season 3. Star Trek was great with that kind of stuff. Sometimes revealing history can actually help. When Punk first left commentary after healing up and started attacking Randy Orton, he played a video package explaining exactly why he was doing it, just in case the fans forgot, which, I am sure, some of them did. I thought that was brilliant and I'd like to see more of it.

And, finally, I'd like to switch gears one more time, and talk briefly about John Morrison. I hate to see that he's obviously being buried. It's a shame because I always thought Morrison could be a great star. It seems like he's made his own bed however. All the stuff that went down with Melina, and now he's put a shoot out on the internet talking crap about Raw, HHH and creative. I hope that this is a work, and he's not dumb enough to have really done this. Perhaps this is the start of a push, or the end of a WWE career. We'll have to wait and see.

So, until next week, thanks for reading, as always. (there was something I had to do) Oh! Publish the column! But, of course, I forgot. Thanks, WWE creative!

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