February 23, 2014
Just a few things to touch on this week, and since it's Sunday I guess I should start with The Elimination Chamber and the WWE Network.
- I expect Elimination Chamber to tank tonight as far as a buy rate goes. I think WWE has done a very poor job explaining that Elimination Chamber isn't immediately going to be available on the WWE Network as part of the PPV library when it launches at 9 am Monday morning. I expected it to die based solely on the prospect of people not wanting to pay $60 for 1 PPV when less than 12 hours later they can spend $60 to get 6 months of the Network, 5 regular PPVs, plus WrestleMania XXX. Now add to that that I think most fans expect Elimination Chamber will be available On Demand with the Network as well, I can't see why anyone would order this show live. My quick predictions for the PPV before moving on: Randy retains in the Chamber, Wyatt's, Big E, Titus O'Neil, Batista, Usos.
- A lot of people asking if I'm getting the WWE Network, but it isn't really an option for me because it isn't available in Canada yet. I know there are ways to change your DSN number on your computer and sign up like you are in the US but I'm not the kind of guy to mess around with that. I've got Netflix and at one point tried that deal to obtain the greater US library, but it did stop working after a while, and it became a headache so I don't bother anymore. I don't really want to gamble with it not working long term when I have to commit to a 6 month term with WWE. If it were available in Canada this week, yes I would subscribe. With Mania XXX as a bonus the $60 commitment is worth it for Mania alone and you get to try the Network for 6 months as a bonus and can determine if it's worth keeping over your first term. As far as whether I'll get it when it does launch in Canada, only time will tell. It seems silly to make a determination now, when I don't even know when it will become an option. There should be a ton of word of mouth feedback on the Network over the next 6 month to a year so I guess I'll wait to see what people think before making up my own mind.
- I watched UFC 170 last night and enjoyed the show. Thank God for the McDonald vs. Mia fight though. When the 2 co-main events total under 2:30 you need a good long fight underneath. Had a lot of fans asking me if I thought CM Punk would join UFC (as a fighter) and if I thought he could win in UFC. I'm not sure if these people were serious or just being stupid on purpose. No disrespect to CM Punk, I know, like, and respect him, but he is not moving on to an MMA career in UFC. A 35 year old guy who has been doing professional wrestling for 15 years does not just switch to UFC and win fights. Yes Brock Lesnar did it, sort of, but he is the exception, not the rule. You need to also factor in that Brock was 29 when he made his MMA debut, hadn't beat his body to death in Pro wrestling for a third of the time CM Punk has, and Brock was a NCAA National Champion in amateur wrestling and a super heavy weight freak athlete. If CM Punk were to compete in MMA he would likely compete at 185lbs, where he would not have a strength advantage, nor a speed advantage, and with no experience no skill advantage either. I'm not disrespecting Punk with this; I tell people the same thing when they foolishly ask me if I have any interest in trying MMA. Now that is not to say that if Punk has a passion for MMA he can't train for a year or 2 and take a fight on an lower level MMA show against a guy with a fight or 2 under his belt and win, but that is a far cry from competing and winning in UFC. Have some respect for those who have dedicated years of their lives to get to the elite UFC level of MMA.
- I've made a realization about Impact Wrrestling that I'd like to pass on to everyone for consideration. With their apparent desire to book angles involving abduction and torture etc. (Samuel Shaw, Aces & Eights) TNA needs to either find a way to present their program as a regular TV show rather than a traditional wrestling show (which I'm not sure can even be done) or just stop doing these angles all together. Pro Wrestling as a TV program is what you would describe as a Reality TV show. We acknowledge that the events on the show take place every Thursday and air on National TV. With a program of this format angles like the Sam Shaw angle are just absurdly stupid; it shatters the 4th wall, and makes the entire show absurd. Having camera men shoot illegal behavior while listening to commentators casually talking about it and then moving on with the show is just mind numbing and insulting. If someone abducted Arianne during a UFC broadcast, Joe Rogan would freak out, no doubt try to do something about it, and certainly call the police. If someone hit Daniel Cormier in the face with a hammer there would be a riot, police would be called, and there would be criminal charges filed. The only way you can get away with angles like this is to find a way to present Impact Wrestling as a regular TV show. By this I mean, a scripted television series based around the operation of a wrestling company. Many of you may think that's what Impact is and I suspect many of the people who currently write TNA think that's what it is, but it's not. To accomplish this and allow themselves the artistic license that TNA seems to want, they have to go all the way and stop acknowledging the cameras, stop referencing viewers at home, and stop mentioning that they are on Spike TV. They have to present the show as if it is absolutely real and not just segments on a TV show, like Game of Thrones or Justified do. I'm not suggesting that people believe what happens on Game of Thrones or Justified are really happening, but in the context of the show they are real life events, which are not being covered on television, none of the characters acknowledge the cameras, mentions the viewers at home, or acknowledge that they are a television show airing at such and such a time on said network. They treat the show as if it is really happening. This may seem like a small point but it is the biggest and most important point. You can't try to walk that fine line of a reality TV show. You have to become a TV series and acknowledge outside the context of the show that it is a 100% fake scripted TV show, while maintaining a 100% real life presentation with no cameras during the show. I have no idea how this transition can be accomplished but this is what TNA needs to do if they want to continue booking these heavier "real world" angles, because in the context of a wrestling show that is airing on TV they are beyond stupid.
- I want to give a shout out to Joe R. Lansdale an author that I've recently discovered. I've had several people recommending him to me for years and I finally picked up his book Cold in July and enjoyed it greatly. I've moved on to Savage Summer the first in his Hap and Leonard series. Give him a try if you are looking for some good reads. He's on twitter and facebook too if you want to check him out there.
- Also don't forget Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fan Fest July 31st thru Aug. 3rd. In addition to the fan fest there is a 4 day wrestling training camp that I will be a part of. Trainers include myself, Les Thatcher, Dr. Tom Pritchard, Gerald Briscoe, and Nigel McGuiness. Info at www.nwalegends.com
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