Greetings conversationalists all across the fruited plain, it is I your personal Harvester of Sorrow the one and only Phantom Lord and this is The Rant Of The Week. As always I am coming to you from the greatest city on the face of the earth…Brooklyn, New York and winter is damn near upon us. The temperatures are dropping and the stiff winds are coming off the water. It really is winter in New York. A new year is upon us and we all ready have gotten more snow then we ever want to see for the rest of winter. The blizzard hit us here in Brooklyn last week pretty damn hard as the city somehow was caught off guard. On my Facebook page I posted some pics of the snow and those mountains of slush will be around for a while. As for me my first term back in college is finished and I’m on break for about a month. It’s amazing how going back to school has re-energized my brain. A year ago I was contemplating what I was going to do with the rest of my life and now here I am.
A lot can change in a year (well except for TNA, anything with them is a given). If you asked anyone odds are no one would have thought The Miz could break through the glass ceiling of Monday Night RAW and become WWE Champion. Then again a year ago I would have never guessed that Michael Cole of all people would become one of the best heels in all of wrestling. If this were the mid 80’s he would be Jimmy Hart. He’s getting that much heat right now. It’s a shame that Vince is convinced there is no money to be made in managers because a Michael Cole led stable with The Miz, Alex Riley, and a couple of other douche bag’s to round it out would be great stuff. Of course they would just probably end up doing what they did to Nexus and piss it all away within six months anyway. But like I said, a lot can happen in a year. For all I know this time next year I could be writing about how great the Coleminers faction has been.
So as the year came to a close I’m honestly surprised at how a lot of things haven’t really changed. Sure we got something great with The Miz winning the WWE Title and Kane finally getting the long World Title run he’s deserved for years, but other then that it’s still the same interchangeable stuff. The Nexus angle had so much promise and potential to be this generations n.w.o, but the WWE didn’t haven’t the balls to pull the trigger on Wade Barrett and the rest of the group. Even when things looked bad and it looked like they redeemed the Nexus by having John Cena forced to join them they still ended up screwing that up. God forbid John Cena have to look weak and subservient. Oh sure there were a few times when he was “humiliated”, but they never went full force to what could have been done to him. He continued wearing all that God-awful merchandise of his. Little kids love Cena so they’ll beg mommy & daddy to buy it (whether he’s wearing it or not). The Nexus angle had so much potential at this point but as I said the WWE just never did anything with it. I don’t know what Vince’s problem is when it comes to making money. Sure occasionally he does something right but most of the time it’s his decisions that screw everything up. All major corporations have an owner that an army of yes men and women suck up to so he’s not alone in this. But you would think even Vince McMahon who is usually about a decade behind in what is hip would have seen the potential for Nexus.
I will get to John Cena in a little bit because incase you didn’t hear the news, HE’S BACK. THE JOHN CENA OF OLD IS BACK. I swear the more they used that line during RAW and Smackdown the more I wanted to throw something at the television. When the WWE machine is in full tilt, it gets really annoying real quick what they are trying to shove down our collective throats. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have a bit of a sore throat right now (figuratively and literally).
Since I brought up the marketing geniuses at the WWE it boggled my mind to read last week that Kaval a.k.a. Low Ki had been released. There are a few versions of what exactly happened going around the Internet. Basically either he asked for his release because he felt they weren’t using him to his best abilities or they released him because the locker room snakes told management that he was a primadonna of sorts. For the longest time there were rumors that Kaval would feud with Rey Mysterio. Kaval would come in as a new highflying luchador to rival Mysterio. Mysterio would even be the heel depending on the reports. Either way it would have been an awesome feud and probably a license to print money. Well as we know most things that sound awesome in a news report don’t end up happening and Kaval was stuck in FCW. After breaking his ankle and coming back he ended up on NXT season 2 and won the WWE.com and pro’s polls to win the season 2 title of next break out star. I think it was clear the WWE wanted Alex Riley or Michael McGillicutty to win, but Kaval had the backing of the Internet who by far was the only part of the WWE fan base who actually bothered to watch the show.
Apparently the WWE is at a point where if someone says they want to walk away they just grant them their release. There’s no real competition so even if someone did leave the WWE to go to TNA or ROH, in the WWE’s mind it’s no big deal. Low Ki isn’t going to be hard up for work. He’ll get a ton of Indy dates and command top dollar now that he’s a former WWE superstar. Plus he also has Japan which is where he can be the wrestler he loves to be. Low Ki was the student of Homicide at the Dog House wrestling school here in Brooklyn and many of us in the North East are excited at the prospect of Homicide and Low Ki reuniting The Rottweiler’s or even The Strong Style Thugs. It had to be a shock to many in the WWE that they just let him walk. I mean despite his size (only being 5 foot 4 inches tall), Kaval had a very marketable look and persona in the ring. His voice alone was very marketable considering you don’t see many guys who look like him and sound like Barry White. But in the WWE, size is king and if Kaval were another six inches taller they would have at least given him a decent push. But as usual WWE Creative had nothing for him. It’s amazing how these people keep their jobs. There are so many budding writers out there (including me) who could probably come up with something for just about everyone on the roster and these guys just coast along. Yes I know that lower card guys are not a top priority, but anytime I hear creative has nothing for you I think bullshit.
Now between the time I wrote that last paragraph and the one I am starting to type now, I would say at least a week has passed. When writers block hits me…it hits me hard. Last Monday on RAW we saw Nexus get a second chance as they once again beat the piss out of John Cena all to reveal they had a new leader…C.M. Punk. Earlier in the night Punk had read Cena the riot act for being a hypocrite and Cena to his credit did manage to keep up with him with his usual juvenile humor that only little kids and women find funny. Having Punk back as a pseudo David Koresh with the Nexus as his army to do his bidding is going to be some fun stuff. If John Cena is supposed to be Superman, then C.M. Punk is Lex Luthor. Cena is the Terminator…then Punk is John Connor…well that one wouldn’t work for the WWE’s marketing purposes but it works for me damn it. The WWE dodged a major bullet the other night, as it was feared that Cena suffered a major injury at a house show when he didn’t get back up after taking The Wasteland slam from Wade Barrett. Luckily for all involved, it appears to be just a hip pointer so he shouldn’t miss significant time.
As it is right now the WWE is in desperation mode trying to figure out what to do for Wrestlemania 27. The Undertaker might be ready for Wrestlemania if they are lucky. If they lost Cena odds are we would have seen Vince do something batshit insane to compensate for the loss. Wrestlemania’s used to be so much easier in the old days when it didn’t hinge on celebrity appearances. The WWE would love to get Brock Lesnar in some form for Wrestlemania, but the UFC is making it very clear he is under contract to them so that won’t be happening. There’s still a lot of time between now and then so maybe Vince and Dana can come to an agreement of some sort. Of course Vince might have a fit if the letters U F C are actually said on WWE programming. When Rampage Jackson was on RAW earlier this year, Vince ordered he be only referred to as an MMA Star. Brock is a very good businessman and he knows he can get an easy seven-figure payday from Vince for thirty minutes of work at Wrestlemania. There’s some reports being spread around that after his loss to Cain Velasquez, Brock is thinking of getting out of the fight game sooner rather then later. Brock is content with staying at home on his farm with his family and hunting with his friends. If he can milk some more money out of everyone before he retires from competition then he’s going to do it. I hope some sort of deal is worked out because I’d love to see Brock vs. Undertaker after the big confrontation moments after Brock’s loss to Velasquez. The Undertaker is one of those guys who were born a decade too early. He’s at the end of his career, but he loves MMA.
Mixing in submission moves breathed new life into his career during the last ten years or so. One of the best matches of The Undertaker’s that I love is his match with Ken Shamrock from Backlash 99. Seeing a match like that with Brock would be fun stuff. I don’t necessarily want to see Brock be the one to end the streak, but it would be nice to see The Undertaker have probably one last great Wrestlemania match. His matches against Lesnar earlier in the decade are classics…especially the Hell in a Cell where The Taker probably lost a legit pint of blood during the process of it. It’s a shame Brock left the WWE when he did. I mean I know why he did. The grind of being in the WWE got to him and from the mindset of an athlete, he wasn’t challenged. He tried his hand at football with the Vikings and I remember at Wrestlemania 20 the crowd at MSG calling him a sellout. In retrospect he should have tried out for the Jets or Giants to get on their good side. But just imagine if Brock didn’t leave in 2004 and he stuck around at least for a couple of more years even on a limited basis. There could have been some amazing matches to be had with Batista and Orton who were much better in the latter part of the decade then the earlier part. Brock vs. C.M. Punk would have been the ultimate contrast in styles that would have made for an awesome main event at the Royal Rumble or Summerslam.
I think had Brock still decided to leave the WWE but continue wrestling professionally, even if he somehow was able to go to TNA it would have made no difference. People who have no clue what they are doing ran TNA back then much they do right now. If Brock Lesnar went to TNA it would have been like a gift from God himself. Sure there probably would have been some amazing matches. But no one would have known about them or seen them except for the small-dedicated loyal and stubborn fan base TNA has. I really don’t like bashing TNA. Yes I’m sure you are laughing after reading that comment considering so many of my columns over the last few years have been about tearing apart TNA for every stupid thing they do. But for me personally I don’t like do it. There’s enough in TNA to obviously keep me watching. It’s just they could be so much bigger then what they are right now. It has nothing to do with the talent. If they want to book the company like a rehash of late 1990’s WCW then that’s fine by me. What kills me is they don’t know how to market anything to save their life. No one outside of the TNA fan base watches the shows. Sure the shows aren’t perfect, but there’s no reason Impact can’t be pulling closer to a 1.7 then the usual 1.0-1.2 it does.
I honestly believe this year is going to be the make or break year for TNA. It’s time they either put up or shut up. They cannot continue to make a meek existence while professing to be the “alternative” to the WWE. I will give them a little credit. The angle they are doing with Mr. Anderson and his post concussion issues have been pretty good. We all know how serious the issue with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is becoming in the worlds of Wrestling, MMA, Boxing, Football, and just about any other sport where someone might get their brain sloshed around over and over. Ever since the Benoit murder/suicide the WWE has gone to great lengths to cover up and ignore the dangers of CTE. To them it simply does not exist. All the wrestlers who have died in the last couple of years include Andrew ‘Test’ Martin and Chris Kanyon who had severely damaged brains from years of wrestling, to the WWE they say “oh well it must have been something else. We take great care of our superstars”. TNA as bad as they are, at least they are shining some light on this issue (even though they continue to mock concussions with Eric Young who has now become retarded from one too many). I think it’s pretty obvious though that it will come out that Anderson faked the whole thing (story wise anyway). He used it to get into Matt Morgan’s head and he’s going to play possum at the right moment to steal a win.
He is an Asshole after all. I think that would be a pretty awesome douchebag move to pull if it were to happen. I’m not holding my breath for anything great to happen, but we shall see.
Now speaking of Assholes, as I mentioned earlier in case you missed it…JOHN CENA IS BACK EVERYONE. My God that might be the most annoying thing the WWE has created since coining the phrase WWE Universe (which just shut down btw). It’s Michael Cole’s announcing that drives me nuts mostly as he does his over selling on this. One minute Cole is riding The Miz’s dick and the next he’s all about John Cena. John Cena never left to begin with. It might have been fun if when he was fired that he was FIRED. I think we all could have lived with no Cena for a month as Wade Barrett gloated about running the great purple menace from the WWE. But noooo, the WWE had to build another shitty PPV with no purpose where Cena finally got his win back. I know it’s same damn formula they used with Hogan in the 80’s, but at least back then they spaced this stuff out a little bit. Now it’s rapid fire every single month.
There was this news bit from I believe the Observer that pointed out just how the WWE is doing with all these cookie cutter PPV’s
Through the first 11 months of 2010, World Wrestling Entertainment garnered 1,941,000 domestic pay-per-view buys from 12 events, an average of 161,750 purchases per event. By comparison, the company drew 2,594,000 domestic buys on 13 shows through the first 11 months of November; an average of 199,500 buys per show. Pay-per-view purchases are down 18.9% per show.
Credit to www.f4wonline.com or PWInsider.com
In the more detailed look at the numbers which saw UFC have eleven PPV’s garner over half a million PPV buys or more (three ppv’s were over the 1 Million mark), The WWE’s numbers just continue to drop. These PPV’s especially which I think we all can agree were pretty bad for the most part.
96,000 – WWE Money in the Bank John Cena vs. Sheamus cage match
96,000 – WWE Night of Champions John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge vs. Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus
87,000 – WWE Fatal Four Way John Cena vs. Sheamus vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton
73,000 – WWE Bragging Rights Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett/Undertaker vs. Kane Buried Alive
Credit to www.f4wonline.com
The WWE probably is trying to figure out why these numbers are the way they are. To an extent it’s because there’s no Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock. I contend it’s simple economics. WWE PPV’s cost $44.95 a pop and considering most WWE ppv’s are thrown together at the last minute, it’s just not worth ordering them. Sure UFC are probably over saturating the market but they at least giving people bang for their buck. Even if they do two PPV’s a month they will make sure both of them are separate and important. Now when it comes to stars, according to the numbers Brock Lesnar is the biggest draw in all of sports and or entertainment. He has two 1 Million buy PPV’s in a single year. Only Mike Tyson did that back in 1996…but he had three. It goes back to my question imagine if Brock didn’t leave the WWE when he did. Sure he probably would have been phoning it in as he was uninspired, but the numbers don’t lie. Brock Lesnar probably would be single handedly carrying the entire Wrestling PPV industry on his large tattooed back.
I can only suspect that the numbers for the WWE will continue to go down while the numbers for the UFC continue to stay where they are. Aside from cutting the price of the PPV’s in half (which they will not do), I have no idea what the WWE could do to make all these PPV’s worth a damn.
I honestly do not know what kind of year 2011 is going to be. For me personally this column took way longer then it should have to write. I think when it comes down to it that’s just the general apathy people like me who are just common fans have towards the product of professional wrestling in general. Maybe with any luck ROH can get on a channel other then HD Net sometime in the future. At the very least HD Net could probably convert down to a non-HD feed or something. Just put everything in widescreen and it will look the same. That’s what FOX does for football and baseball now.
Here’s to hoping 2011 is an eventful year for everyone (me especially). On that note I am done for this week. With any luck I will be back much sooner since TNA has some sort of PPV next week…though I don’t know anyone who actually orders those things anymore.
So until next time, remember someone has to give you this information and it DAMN well has got to be me.
You can click here to send me any and all feedback at email@example.com or leave me some feedback on my Facebook page under my given name http://www.facebook.com/josephrd
And now the Plugs