Time is standing still
He gave me back my will
Oh, oh, oh, oh
I’m going home
My eyes are bleeding
And my heart is weeping
We still hope, we still hope, oh
Take me back
He gave me back my will
Oh, oh, oh, oh
I’m going home
My eyes are bleeding
And my heart is weeping
We still hope, we still hope, oh
Take me back, take me back
Back to my home, oh, oh…-Stargazer by Rainbow
Rest In Peace Ronnie James Dio
Greetings conversationalists all across the fruited plain, it is I your personal Harvester of Sorrow the one and only Phantom Lord and this is my Rant Of The Week. As always I am coming to you from the urban hellhole that is Brooklyn, New York and I don’t know what it is, but lately anytime it rains here it makes everything feel cold. Maybe it’s a sign of the impending ice age some say will start this decade or that El Nino thing is all screwed up. But either way it would be nice for May to feel like May and not like October. It can feel like October when it’s October.
As you see on the top of the column, one of my musical hero’s Ronnie James Dio has passed away at the age 67. Dio was such an amazing singer and it showed in songs like Stargazer, Light In The Black, Catch The Rainbow and so on and so forth. If you’ve never listened to Rainbow, his work with Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell, or his solo stuff you really should. Dio was a real singer and a real musician. He didn’t need over modulation and autotune to make a song work. It’s sad that so much garbage passes as popular music today when the real good music is always overlooked. Honestly there are not many bands from today that I will even listen to simply because they do not have the timeless quality that so many bands from yesterday have. All I can hope is Ronnie is a better place now and that great jam session in the sky just got a great singer.
In other news, in case you blinked and missed it the Monday Night Wars are over. It was just about six weeks but TNA seeing the writing on the wall and bleeding buckets of money said the hell with it and moved back to Thursdays. Of course TNA will say they listened to the fans feedback. If TNA were really listening to fans feedback they wouldn’t be up shitcreek right now. Hell they might actually be turning a major profit by now if they listened to us the lowly fans. But TNA is where it is because it is run by some of the most stubborn people on the planet. These same people drove WCW into the ground and here they are doing it once again. It’s quite impressive to do the same thing to two different companies in the same industry ten years apart.
But times are tough and TNA needs to cut a shitload of people right now to save a shitload of money since they spent more then a shitload bringing in people like Hogan, Bischoff, RVD, Hardy, Hall, and Anderson. Apparently Dixie Carter just can’t bring herself to fire the 15-20 people that have been put on the chopping block because of the current economy. You know I’ve always said that despite Dixie being a clueless twit when it comes to running a wrestling company, she at least seems like a genuinely nice person. From everything I’ve ever read or heard about the pro wrestling business, someone who is genuinely nice and caring is somewhat rare. Someone always has a motive for his or her actions but with Dixie she really doesn’t want to hurt anyone.
Only problem is with the way the company is run, there might not be a company to employ all these people.
Just looking at the current TNA roster here’s whom I would cut.
Amazing Red, Dr. Stevie, Kioshi, Rob Terry, Orlando Jordan, & Rhino.
Now I like Red, Stevie, Kioshi, and Rhino but times are tough. Besides all of these guys can make more money and be worth more to other Indies out there then sitting around on TNA waiting to be used as cannon fodder. Well in the case of Kioshi he can just go back to Japan and be a star there.
There are six guys right off the top. Firing people is never good, but sometimes it must be done. Now in the cases of Rob Terry and Orlando Jordan I think they should just rid of them because they have no redeeming value. Terry is a giant roid freak who will never be a top guy because if his matches go more then five minutes (entrance included) you will be exposing him big time.
Orlando Jordan is just a giant pile of suck. I get it, the gimmick is supposed to be controversial but it doesn’t work if the person doing it makes you want to change the channel. Goldust made it work because he had the character and talent to pull it off. The same goes for Adorable Adrian Adonis and the inspiration for all of these characters Adrian Street. Orlando Jordan has none of what those guys had. All he has is the work of someone trying to do something controversial and it falls flat every single time.
In the Observer a couple weeks ago there was a report that some of the friends of Chris Kanyon think he might have been pushed over the edge after seeing Orlando Jordan debut his bi-sexual gimmick. Now while there is no proof of this, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Chris was watching Impact and he saw Orlando Jordan doing a gimmick that he knew he could do because he had all ready pitched it so many times. All Orlando Jordan gets is groans from the crowd as we can’t believe they are wasting time with this crap. Kanyon had such an electric personality that I have no doubt that if the WWE or TNA gave him a shot to run with being openly gay on television he would have made it work.
Orlando Jordan is pushing back the hope of any gay or bisexual wrestler being over or taken seriously at least a couple of decades. Of course that is par for the course with all things TNA.
We shall see what happens in TNA probably by next week as they just finished wrapping up a month worth of shows in four days. A lot of good people will probably get cut while a lot of people who should be cut end up staying put.
TNA is coming to here to Brooklyn on July 2nd and I hope to be able to go. I am a bit surprised at the choice of a venue though as TNA has booked MCU Park where the Brooklyn Cyclones play in Coney Island. Now I’m sure it will make for some great videos right next to the Parachute Jump and with the Cyclone Rollercoaster and Dino’s Wonder wheel in the background. But it seems so odd for a house show. It might have been a good choice for a huge PPV, but a house show seems odd especially since there were plenty of venues in Brooklyn that could have housed a TNA event. It’s always been said that TNA House shows are like night and day compared to TNA Television and PPV shows. On the house shows they do that wrestling stuff that people seem to like.
TNA could potentially draw a huge crowd for this show and that would be a good thing for them.
Honestly though TNA needs a major overhaul in marketing because knowing them they are just going to rely on word of mouth on the Internet and that will get them only so far. Earlier I was thinking about the marketing situation and one thing came to my mind and that is TNA needs to find a way to hire Shane McMahon. Now I am not talking about Shane as an on air character or anything. TNA and Spike TV should hire him strictly as an executive because he is one of the main reasons the WWE is the media conglomerate that it is today. Now I know this will probably never happened and if it did happen they would hire Shane to be another on-air boss which would just suck. If TNA wants to really succeed they need someone who can market them and get them noticed because what they are doing right now just isn’t working. And the irony is they have the world’s greatest shiller Don West on the payroll and they don’t even use him on television.
Just one small thing of many that TNA does that makes you scratch your head.
Moving along, the WWE has managed to make NXT somewhat interesting again after a few months of them clearly not giving a shit about it. I think we can all agree the NXT concept was hardly revolutionary. They should have honestly just brought back Tough Enough. At least it could have been their version of The Ultimate Fighter. The show now is just a run of the mill WWE show with no reality aspects even though they claimed it would be reality based. I think it’s fair to say they should have never cancelled ECW. ECW as they had it was a perfectly acceptable wrestling program. I think the biggest problem is that it’s on SyFy. See a show like ECW really should be in syndication like Superstars or Wrestling Challenge used to be in my day. But alas that’s a discussion for another column someday. Right now NXT is somewhat interesting again simply because the WWE finally decided to pull the trigger and let Daniel Bryan be Bryan Danielson.
Danielson going off on the system that the WWE has was a thing of greatness and him bitch slapping Michael Cole was tremendous to watch. In the old days Michael Cole probably would have formed a Paul Jones-esq stable full of guys that he would send to take out Danielson. Hell it’s the same principal that has worked in Memphis for so many decades for Jerry Lawler and company. Truth be told if you take an angle like this and throw it onto RAW then it would make for some really compelling television. Danielson breaking away from the “script” and “shooting” makes for fun television. It’s this kind of stuff that NXT should have been doing from the damn start. This is the kind of reality-based programming we are looking for. TNA tries to do this stuff and they usually fail because it’s not so much them being trying to bring reality in, but them just hoping and praying the WWE takes notice to them.
But the Danielson thing was great as he went off on how it should be guys who can make the WWE the most money and he is the best at what he does and he said he was damn sure better then The Miz. William Regal and CM Punk both agreed with that statement.
If we don’t get a Danielson/Miz match then the whole NXT show will have been for nothing. Granted it has given us the awesomeness that is Wade Barrett and proved to us the theory from Time Cop that the same two people cannot occupy the same space at the same time (John Cena and Darren Young aka Black Cena). But if the whole show was just to get Bryan over with the WWE crowds (and he was) and he never faces The Miz then it was all for NOTHING.
Honestly if this stuff were the kind of sports entertainment the WWE was doing then I’m sure a lot more of us the men in the audience who have to sit through John Cena would have no problem with things being PG. Personally I have no problem with PG. There are just things I would do differently to keep the attention of the only demographic that matters and that’s the male demo of 18-35 year olds. More and more of us are switching to MMA (specifically UFC) and it’s simply because the vast majority of what the WWE does is predictable and boring. Now like I said the stuff with Danielson has been interesting. So has the great feud on Smackdown with CM Punk and Rey Mysterio. Jack Swagger vs. The Big Show is another feud that I hope will continue past the PPV this weekend because it’s been so fun so far.
I can accept that PG is here to say for the foreseeable future. They claim it’s because of sponsors, but in reality it’s just for Linda McMahon’s Senate run (which I will get to later). But just because everything has to be PG it doesn’t mean it has to be boring and predictable. If the WWE took the formula for Smackdown and applied it to RAW things would be pretty good. Granted we would have to still sit through the Cenation but at least we’d get some good television out of it.
Now the only thing I have against TV PG is the lack of blood. Blood has always been an integral part of wrestling. I am not saying every match needs blood for the sake of blood, but a little blood once in a while won’t kill anyone. It’s really stupid to see the WWE stop matches and patch guys up if they have a split lip or a paper cut over the eye. Sadly though this is the direction the WWE wants to go. I could understand the reasoning for no blood if it were for health concerns. But since I am guessing HIV and stuff like Staph are not a huge problem for the WWE it really wouldn’t hurt if once in a while especially in cage matches if there was some blood.
There probably won’t be any intentional blood for a long time to come (or at least till all the Cena marks hit puberty and McMahon changes the product to cater to all those horny teens). There was an interesting interview with the Chief Operating Officer of the WWE Donna Goldsmith. TNA must have been giddy since the WWE mentioned them (even though the WWE completely buried them).
These are interview highlights from the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.
WWE might not publicly acknowledge the existence of TNA Wrestling on official WWE programming, but WWE is aware of TNA’s programming on Spike TV.
WWE COO Donna Goldsmith criticized TNA’s programming during a media & technology conference yesterday, saying TNA is “blood, guts, and gore” compared to their toned-down, PG product.
“If you look at another program called TNA, which is a wrestling program on Spike, that is blood and guts and gore. We are not going there, nor I would say have we ever been to that degree that they are,” Goldsmith said at the J.P. Morgan Global Media, Technology, and Media Conference in Boston. “We decided no blood and if someone gets hit by accident, we will stop the match if we have to and take care of them. Those decisions (to market WWE TV as PG) were made consciously.”
Goldsmith said WWE made the change to PG to help them draw revenue across the board by being able to establish more partnerships that would make money for the company.
“The networks are telling us we’re PG and we’re talking to our potential partners and they are saying, ‘Prove to us you are PG and we will sign off on them.’ Goldsmith said prior to officially going PG, they would show potential sponsors their reach on TV, their website, and live events, but sponsors would pass due to the content, saying ‘The content leaves us a little bit uncomfortable.’
“We spoke to the writers, we spoke to Vince (McMahon), we spoke to public relations and asked if we can still keep the programming cool and edgy while taking it down a notch,” Goldmsith said. “Our writers, yeah, they were challenged a little bit, but they said, ‘We can do it. We can make this program just as good as it’s been.’ They started to take the program in a little bit of a different direction.”
Goldsmith said they’ve had potential partners come back and want to work with WWE, including 7-Eleven with another summer promotion and Burger King with a “global Kid’s Meal program” for the first-time ever.
I wouldn’t call TNA’s product Blood, Guts, and Gore. They haven’t quite lowered themselves to the level of say Big Japan where every other match involved light tubes and barbwire…though I wouldn’t be surprised if that did happen some day. Going PG is making them more money, but you know what else would make the WWE money? Not having a boring and predictable show.
The thing the WWE needs to realize though as much as they call themselves sports entertainment, as long as there is that second W in the name they will always be a lowly wrestling company to the vast majority of people. Oh sure you can try and have “mainstream appeal” but it’s always been a pipe dream to think that the mainstream will ever accept anything McMahon does as anything but lowly wrestling. Don’t get me wrong; I am a capitalist through and through so I am all about making money. If the WWE is able to make a profit in this God forsaken economy then more power to them. The fact remains things are boring and predictable and they will be for a long time to come for one simple reason and that’s because Vince thinks he has no competition.
Vince and the WWE hierarchy have delude themselves into thinking MMA is not competition. I’m not even going to mention TNA as competition because they aren’t. The UFC whether Vince will admit it or not is the WWE’s competition and they have continually dominated and destroyed the WWE buyrate wise month after month in PPV’s which is the only real number that counts.
UFC can get away with charging $44.95 a PPV because they build the hell out of their fights. Jim Cornette said it best a while back in an interview he did when he said UFC books their shows like wrestling used to in the 70’s and early 80’s. Even the shows that many consider to be throwaway’s end up having fights that make it worth the price of ordering. Sure some PPV’s have stinkers, but name any PPV that doesn’t have at least one stinker on it.
But for those of you who think the WWE has sucked ever since TV 14 went away, there’s more bad news for you potentially on the horizon.
Now if you think that’s bad…
WWE COO Donna Goldsmith said yesterday at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that WWE is talking with Nickelodeon about bringing an animated TV series to the network.
Goldsmith also said she recently talked with Vince McMahon about how WWE has walked away from their older audience in recent years and talked about new ideas to get that audience back.
Goldsmith said McMahon suggested a nostalgia or Legends program.
Yep it’s coming full circle folks. It’s 1985 all over again and Hulk Hogan’s Rock N’ Wrestling is going to make a comeback. Now I’m sure if something as horrible as a modern WWE Cartoon ever happened it would be a great marketing tool for the WWE. But I’m just horrified at the thought of how the animation is going to look. I am very old school when it comes to cartoons. When it comes to perfectly drawn cartoons they don’t get any better then Looney Toons or Hanna–Barbera cartoons. Hell the last great animated cartoon at least for my generation (in my mind) had to between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The X-Men or Batman: The Animated Series.
I’m not a fan of the kind of animation Nickelodeon has on their network now. If it’s not computer then it’s really horrible exaggerated drawing. I can’t imagine the WWE would go out of their way to get really good animation if a cartoon series ever did happen. Iron Man: Armored Adventures is pretty good on Nicktoons (where I would imagine a WWE inspired show would land) so if they got that animation house to do it then visually speaking it wouldn’t be bad. Story wise I can just imagine how horrible it would be. John Cena overcoming even more odds. Just put him in a blue suit and red cape and make the transformation complete.
Stuff like this is great to get the younger audience. But the older audiences are the ones who have to sit through everything so the younger audience can watch and as I mentioned before, the older audience…mainly the male demo are leaving the WWE and wrestling in general for MMA.
I have a funny feeling USA along with the WWE have spent money on focus groups to see what we men want. They probably took one look at those results as most companies do and decided the audience doesn’t know what they want so they’ll watch what we give them and like it. It’s that attitude that is the main reason RAW is so hit or miss to the fans. Sure some stuff is great, but the rest of it falls flat. And make no mistake, when the WWE talks about losing fans they are talking about RAW. RAW is the flagship of the company and it dictates how the ship sails so to speak. It’s funny to think that all McMahon can think of to get old fans back is more nostalgia.
From a nostalgia standpoint it was special to see Bret Hart win the United States championship in Toronto. I have no idea where they are going with this because Bret cannot do much except the Sharpshooter. But you know what? When Bret locked it on and he held up that belt for a small moment it felt like the way things used to be. Back during a time when things were all right. But like I said, where they are going with this I don’t know.
This has been the main problem with the WWE for years. Story and angle wise for the most part things just make no sense.
Oh the one thing we do not need is more Legends. I like seeing them once in a while to show they still got it, but we don’t need more legends. If you want to do more Legends stuff then produce more Legends Roundtables on WWE Classics. That’s a show that should be updated monthly. TNA books itself around WWE legends and well look where it’s gotten them.
Looking at the page count I realize I have written a small book here so if you are anything like me, your attention span must be wearing thin by now so I’m gonna wrap things up with some bits and pieces of news.
The rumor going around about RAW’s new General Manager on Monday is that it will be former ECW personality and WWE developmental star Abraham Washington, of The Abraham Washington Show fame.
Credit to www.f4wonline.com
I might just delete RAW off the DVR if this happens. The Abraham Washington Show was some of the most uncomfortable television to ever sit through. Mostly because of the horrible writing and that was ECW. The horrible writing factor would go up ten fold on RAW. There’s a better rumor of Michael Cole becoming the new RAW GM to go with his new heel persona that he does brilliantly on NXT. See now that I would want to see. Abraham Washington doing his Obama gimmick with no Tony Atlas? I think I’ll pass.
WWE fired Carlito yesterday for an alleged Wellness Program violation and subsequent refusal to enter rehab. The report on WWE.com noted that his termination followed a first violation of the program. However, WWE sources indicate that Carlito did not fail a drug test but instead was fired after he arrived at Monday’s RAW in Toronto and management felt that he was unfit to perform. According to Dave Meltzer, everything went down on Monday and drug test results wouldn’t have been available at the time Carlito’s release was announced.
Credit to www.f4wonline.com
I was surprised this happened the other day because it finally looked like they were going to use Carlito for something. I’ve always been under the impression that Carlito despite his perceived attitude problems was always held down while he was on RAW. He could have been a much bigger star then he was. He was always fairly over with the crowds but the WWE like they do to a lot of people handcuffed him and he could never establish himself with anything other then the apple. Well I’m sure it’s no big loss for Carlito. He’s wanted to get out of the WWE for a couple of years now. I’m sure TNA will give him a deal when they can and he’ll probably be an X Division champion in six months time. Worse comes to worse he goes back to Puerto Rico and is the biggest star in his old man’s company WWC. All he needs is someone to be an Abdullah The Butcher for him and he’ll have steady work for the next 40 or 50 years.
Randy Savage’s marriage to longtime girlfriend Lynn Payne has an interesting back story. Savage and Payne actually met for the first time in 1974 at Lido Beach in Sarasota, FL. At the time, Savage was playing minor league baseball for the Tampa Tarpons and Payne was attending school at the Ringling School of Art and Design. They dated for two years before parting ways. After a near three-decade separation, the couple reunited in 2001.
“Thirty-six years ago, Lynn and I met on
Lido Beach,” said Poffo. “I feel so fortunate that I had a second chance to marry my first love, here where it all began.”
Credit: Wrestling Globe Newsletter
Credit to TimBoylesPhotography.com
Congratulations to The Macho Man Randy Savage on his marriage. Savage has done what a lot of guys his age have not been able to and that’s stay clear of wrestling after retirement. Granted he would probably make a great commentator for some company, but I am glad that he has found true love again. The whole Randy/Elizabeth saga had as sad of an ending as it gets so to see he found his first love and they finally got together after all of these years it does give you hope especially to all the hopeless romantics out there.
So to The Macho Man and Lynn…Salute.
On that happy note I am done for this week. There’s some sort of PPV this weekend from the WWE. If Batista wins the WWE title I will be very very very VERY surprised. But until next time take care and remember someone has to give you this information and it DAMN well has got to be me.
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