Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bischoff’s Book

Eric Bischoff wrote the book Controversy Creates Cash sometime back. However, as it is primarily a retrospective about his time with the WCW and the various real-life plots there, it stands as a nice history of what went on. All of it is instructional, as some tales and happenings are cautionary, others quality examples. An example is how they built Goldberg. Rather than have Goldberg rise through the rank and work dark shows to learn their craft, they used the undefeated storyline, as he worked to learn the ropes. Smart. However, on the caution side is the Ted Turner history of just buying talent. It can work for a moment, but is not sustainable. And as the WWE showed, the better long term strategy is to grow your own talent.

When you consider what the WWE and TNA face just as wrestling enterprises, and consider there is nothing new under the sun, it should be instructional. It should help keep past mistakes and successes in mind of current wrestling organizations.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Trump Legacy

I guess I was right that Trump was going to designate a new GM every week. Without Trump WWE Raw is continuing with that idea. I like it. Especially as Batista set a good tone for future GM’s by threatening to exercise the full powers of a GM. Future GM’s can also. The trend this far is to use injured superstars (Batista) and past superstars (DiBiase). It will be fun to see what the future will hold. McMahon threatened to use average people and I would like to see some random fan run Raw for a night. An average joe off the street would be cool too. I guess we could expect to see athletes, Hollywood celebs, and possibly even politicians.

What would be really fun would be to see vintage wrestlers, not necessarily Hall Of famers like DiBiase, but more along the lines of a Brooklyn Brawler or Doink The Clown. Regardless, I like this turn and believe it could be a lot of fun. It also should be pretty dummy proof.

Friday, June 26, 2009

TNA's Main Event Mafia Demise?

Well, it has been brewing but has finally happened. The Main Event Mafia finally left the original premise of veteran wrestlers (WWE alums) banding together and demanding respect from the younger crew. Instead and inevitably they started drafting younger talent and turning on their own. Most recently the Main Event Mafia turned on Sting.

What I do not like about this most recent turn is two things. One, it has been done so much that it is cliché. Since the Four Horseman introduced the clique format, this has been a work. The NOW took it to a boundary crossing extreme, which frankly destroyed the concept. Which brings me to two, as Main Event Mafia is now trying to be anarchistic membership, there is little they can do but follow the script laid down by the NWO. There is no creative direction they can take this except to keep doing the same old thing until it simply cycles out. All they can do is invite surprising new members and turn on current members, and do it over and over and over. At least before the first real traitorous turn, the Main Event Mafia could have done something different. Something that would last like the Four Horseman, instead they opted for the downward slide of the NWO.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


So, the Trump era on Raw lasted one week. Wish I could say I had seen that coming but not in the slightest. Looking backwards I am not surprised, because I always wondered how they would get Trump involved week to week, and knew he would not be traveling arena to arena. So, I figured he would appoint a GM who would speak for him and he would do taped Titantron promos every week probably shot from his "boardroom." One idea I had was Donald Trump he were to appoint celeb GM's from his show The Celebrity Apprentice.

So, Vince is back and this amounts to a popcorn fart. The question is why? Speculation has been that was an unpopular move, but Vince makes plenty of unpopular moves and never corrects them due to opinions. Another and more likely speculation is that this move actually moved the stock price of WWE. The stock price fell on the Trump buying Raw news, which is dang funny because stock owners don't know a work when they see one? All I know is this was not the plan because the WWE cannot afford to pay Donald Trump fees just for a one shot show, plus having that show commercial free. Big dollars was paid to Trump for something else and it didn't happen. The real question is what's next with Donald J. Trump?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tommy Dreamer - A Real Champ

I admire the heck out of Tommy Dreamer. I feel he is one of us made good. A real wrestling fan who has made it through hard work and love of the industry. Have seen him work things behind the scenes through the WWE webcast and the reality show Tough Enough. It was especially shown when he use to do those gross out bits. Showing me how much he truly loves being in the wrestling industry and how blessed he knows he is to be where he is. Not like others who when they get to the heights, think everything they have and more is due them. When something is given to guys like Dreamer like a belt, they treat it and the fans with respect. It makes them work that much harder. He is no prima donna.

WWE will not allow him to hold the ECW Championship very long, and that is unfortunate. Our loss when no one would work harder to make a reign mean something. A guy like Dreamer would weave many storied feuds and bouts into something to remember. And he wouldn't do it with gimmicks and shortcuts, but perseverance. I would liken a Tommy Dreamer reign to something like a Harley Race. Probably not as long, but that substantive style. Not a lot of flair or glitz, no amped up promos, but a solid understanding of the basics of wrestling that make the audience appreciate what they are seeing.

Earlier I mentioned his gross out segments, which I often wondered if they were real or a work. But that is wrestling- is it real? Kayfabe. Old School. That is what Tommy Dreamer is about, a guy without the natural talents or innate charisma that can get an instant pop, but his work ethic makes everyone appreciate him. A long Tommy Dreamer reign would make everyone he matches against instantly better. And if ECW is a training camp, what could be better? Regardless of PPV, house show, dark show, televised anyone he is in the ring will get over. That is what a Race was and that is what a Dreamer is- a betterment to the industry at-large.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A New Lame Trend?

Talked about Santina's firing last time. What I didn't mention was that after the firing the footage was edited to appear that Santino ran up immediately afterwards to lament his sister's firing. As if it was actually two people. That was Raw.

Then on ECW Gregory Helms in a suit and tie (with ponytail) was interviewing Mark Henry when during the interview a case fell on a stage hand. The Hurricane came out to lift it off him after 5-6 other crew members failed. The scene was show Helms missing from a Mark Henry and Tony Atlas reaction. Quickly afterwards the scene was edited to show Helms walking back into frame with the suit and ponytail to complete the interview. As if he was there the whole time.

Not bad for some comedic mixture but a bit lame in a campy sense. If WWE creative uses this technique rarely, it could be a little tool for them. Use it too often, it will quickly deflate any Superstar using it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Trump Decision, Good Decision

Having Donald Trump take over Raw was a bit lackluster. I was surprised McMahon was still placing himself in the mix and causing a bit of tension between him and The Donald.

The highlight of the evening though was Donald Trump fired Santina Marella. Finally putting that character to rest. I thought Santina was good for two or three weeks, but then it just went on and on. Santino Marella is too good a talent to be donning drag every week, plus doing a Santina bit takes Santino out of the picture. It does give one of Raw best talents to finally start and work new stories.

The firing was a bit unceremonial but there was two highlights in the quick exchange. First Trump referenced firing Miss California, which I thought was a string admission on his part. Seems in the press he has distanced himself from the firing and let "pageant officials" do the speaking. Second Trump used his patented catch phrase "You're Fired."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The McMahon's Diminished

Recent storylines involving the McMahon's could limit their future impact if they chose to return to an active story. The first was McMahon's mysterious injury that was never resolved, the storyline was just dropped. Then there was the recent McMahon/Triple H versus Randy Orton. So, Randy Orton takes out three McMahon's and the devious Vincent Kennedy McMahon cannot come up with a suitable revenge? This is a man that went round and round with Stone Cold Steve Austin. The highlight of the McMahon's involvement in a storyline was probably the merging of ECW, WCW, and WWE. Vince does such a great heel, but he couldn't give Randy Orton what was due him.

This is unfortunate as any future return of McMahon is cheapened. Expectations are lowered and are not the draw they could be. It could also be that the whole McMahon family wants out of the story process. Shane is pretty much out already and Stephanie has a child, so they will not want to be involved in a story week after week. And Vince may be feeling his age and wanting to do more corporate HQ work. So, if the McMahon's are bowing out that is fine, they have plenty to do behind the scenes. Just hope they don't try another comeback only to shrink from after it in a few weeks.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

TNA Off-course

Total Non-stop Action Wrestling could be off-course. It actually is longtime in coming and unfortunate. TNA started as an underdog promotion that had the good fortune of striking a national cable deal with Spike. They were building a good company and then they went the WCW route.

Recall WCW? Ted Turner's attempt to buy into Rasslin'. Big checkbook buying big talent and it worked for awhile. Then it began to wane because the creative died. In the meantime WWF was by necessity needing to work its creative to grow its own talent. It did in The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, two icons. Wrestling hadn't seen stars of this stature since Hulk Hogan. You can't buy instant success.

TNA doesn't have Ted Turner money but they have been getting disgruntled WWE superstars. This is doubly worse than WCW. One, you never build any organization with the malcontents of another organization. They were look for greener pastures and after the honeymoon will continue to look for greener pastures. They are quitters who will quit you after a period of time. At least WCW had an understandable motive- money.

Second, creative builds talent. Get talent prepackaged then it has no where to go but down, while ignoring growing the next replacements. If provides a false sense of success. TNA was on track working AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, my favorites Black Machismo and Sharkboy were a new way to revive old themes, and Beer Money had a lot of possibilities. Then TNA tried to shortcut its way to success with recruited talent. Indeed, it did give them a bump but its also choked growing talent and creative. Now, they are floundering, trying to find storylines that will last longer than three weeks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Trump-eting WWE

OK, Vickie is gone and Vince sold Raw to Donald Trump. I think this has some possibilities and we will be seeing more Trump on the Titantron. Don't really see The Donald traveling arena to arena, week after week. So, I imagine most of the Titantron will be him speaking to set a few feature matches a week. My prediction is that he will eventually turn Raw over to an Apprentice GM after two or three weeks. He will make occasional appearances for PPV build-ups. This will probably run for 3-4 months.

Like much of the WWE creative, they set themselves up to do something good, but will they take it?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vickie Guerrero, Please Come Back

Vickie Guerrero is hopefully taking a haitus from wrestling and not leaving. I for one will miss her screeching "excuse me, excuse me" to interrupt some wrestler in the ring, as she comes out to turn his world upside down with some impossible match. Also, on a more "real" level I always felt that she was working in the WWE because Eddie Guerrero may not have left much for the family to live on. They have two children and being on the road as a single parent cannot be easy. Always thought highly of the WWE powers that be for giving Vickie the work, and they shouldn't be disappointed. She rose from Teddy Long's assistant to taking over Raw as GM. And she did the heel great, and as all heels should- get there's in the end of a story arch. She would get her knocks as a heel and was great with just plain screaming when things didn't go her way.

My only knock on her or her character was with Edge. Didn't like their "marriage," kayfabe or not, felt it was disrespectful to Eddie. Though I am sure he wouldn't have minded when it meant helping his family. Felt the marriage was only a time killer and didn't add anything to Vicky or Edge's character, was just an uncreative plot gimmick.

I don't think Vickie has left a legacy but her time on WWE was well spent for its time and hope she returns for more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

O'Something O'Good O'Coming

Can't say I always liked Finlay. When he debuted with the I Like To Fight story, he didn't look very street to me. Round in the gut, blond, wearing a singlet, and carrying a shalalee, his heel tactics using a weapon didn't fit the I like To Fight. Someone who likes to fight doesn't need to cheat or use a weapon for one-on-one action. Then he did the Hornswoggle bit which was fun but didn't help him or his character. At Wrestlemania, a year back, he got shalacked by JBL which I found somewhat sad and thought he was on his way out. He has spent the past year as a jobber. Most recently he went to ECW without Hornswoggle.

Then a wonderful turn of events, he just started jumping everybody. What does this mean? I have no idea and I love it! The possibilities are endless for Finlay's character, and I realized something. I actually like him, but it has been his storylines that have held him back. A guy who likes to fight doesn't need to rely on a stick or a midget to get him over. I like the I LIke To Fight bit if he actually fought. Now he can, if WWE creative can really work something good for him. Finally, something worth watching on ECW.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Here We Go Again

Randy Orton is the heavyweight champion again, after taking Batista out again. And again and again we will have to end every other episode of Raw with Legacy doing a 3-on-1 beat down and a fade out with Randy Orton sneering in the face of the "victim." What I cannot figure out is why the face can never figure out to eliminate DiBiase and Rhodes, before facing Orton. We have seen it before, start Raw with a backstage take down of one of the parties and ultimately leaving the leader of the pack one-on-one with avenging superstar. Instead, WWE creative has Batista and Triple H chasing all three around the arena solo only to get caught in ring for a 20 minute beat down to end the show. Even the commentators stop talking.

Orton makes for a good heel, no doubt there. But I cringe to think for the next three to six months we have to deal with him as champion. WWE does well when they have a surprising champion have a reign, not just regurgitate another Triple Hype championship. Jeff Hardy, Eddie Guerrero, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio these are fun and exciting times. But it is boring when a the title gets passed around the same few same olds.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The CM Punk Reprieve

I am so glad that CM Punk is the new champ. Not that I am a fan of his blandness, I would much rather have Jeff Hardy hold a charismatic run as champion. But with CM Punk as title holder, that puts Edge out and the fact that it is a three way feud hopefully means Edge will be out of the heavyweight title championship for a long time. My beef with Edge (and Randy Orton for that matter) is that though his gimmick makes him a great heel, it also is one noted and has been played too much. The Rated R Superstar angle died, well it is time for the ultimate opportunist to die also. Or at least do something new and that angle does not always have to end with him holding the title.

A great heel for the long term can make you guiltily like (or love to hate him) him and he also doesn't diminish his heel-ness if he gets his comeuppance. That is the social contract, we will shell out the $35 bucks for a pay-per-view to see the heel get what he has coming. But when an Edge or a Randy Orton never get what they have coming, it breaks the contract and I stop paying for the PPV. Why pay when the feud is just going to continue for the next three months or until the face gets injuried (for real)?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wrestling Business

I am always fascinated with various businesses and how they work. With wrestling there are many facets, but the one that gets me is the salaries. How much do wrestlers make? Researching I see that it runs the gamut. Local promoters may pay $20-50 to a jobber to a pair of C-notes to a past star. TNA at one time was paying a couple of hundred dollars per show for a homegrown star like TJ Styles, and $75 for everyone else. I am sure that has changed, especially to the Main Event Mafia members.

Then there is the big Kahuna, the WWE. Most superstars make $75,000-$200,000 per year. Divas on the low end, and Superstars on the high end. They get a traveling stipend and airline coupons to get place to place. Now, real Superstars hit the seven figure mark. Reportedly, Ric Flair made $2 million in his last years, Batista and John Cena make a million or more.

These kind of dollars make WWE wrestlers almost on par with star professional athletes. Most league minimums are in the $200K a year range, with stand-outs hitting the million or more marks.