Jump to content
TSM Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Guest TSMAdmin

The Mid-Week News

Recommended Posts

Guest TSMAdmin



The waters of Smackdown are certainly shark-infested recently, which must be why I'm washing up on the shore of the news. I'm Dr. Tom, and for those of you who don't read my Smackdown! reports and pop culture musings here, you should. This is my first foray into the news here at TSM, and since our coverage has been light recently, I've got about a week's worth of stuff to touch on.


With the preamble out of the way, here's the news that's fit to steal, the dirt that's fit to deal, and the mud that's fit to sling:


RAW Is W(anting) A (Better) R(ating)


The ratings slide continues for Raw, which earned a lame 3.7 rating for this past Monday's show. That's down from an unimpressive 3.9 the week before, and equals their worst rating in the last four years. Obviously, they need more ruthless aggression on the air.


For a good and detailed report of Raw, check out Raw From JHawk's Beak, which is posted within an hour after the program ends. In the meantime, if you want to know what your Smackdown! reviewer though of Raw, I'll be glad to enlighten you.


-- Spike/Bradshaw vs Nowinksi/Regal: Good to see the young Mr Nowinski passed Cheating To Win 101. 1/10


-- Bubba Ray vs Eddy: The post-match shenanigans were much better than this criminally short one-minute match was allowed to be. DUD


-- Tommy Dreamer vs Raven: Is anyone supposed to care that one of them won't be on Raw anymore? I think the silence of the crowd spoke volumes. 1/10


-- Undertaker vs Jeff Hardy: Mmmm, a nice helping of squash. Next. DUD


-- X-Pac/Big Slow vs Booker/Goldust: Surprisingly good tag match that followed the tried and true formula and worked because of it. 5/10


-- RVD vs Brockberg: Twice as long and at least twice as good as their KOTR final. 5/10


-- Other observations: The "Mr McMahon" character continued down the long road to self-parody with last night's opening promo. Goldust was very funny in a skit as the dreadfully annoying Crocodile Hunter. My only concern is they might have the real jackass on the show, in some lame cross-promotional thing to draw in the 500 or so people who will actually see that big-screen abortion.


Raw was a pretty terrible show, with the last two matches saving it from total oblivion. Now you know why I don't go out of my way to watch it anymore. Again, for the full scoop, read JHawk's take on it.


(Rating credit: Nielsen Media)


Bitter, Party Of One . . .


Damn, was "Good Ol'" JR a little bitter this week, or what? He took a lot of shots at the internet wrestling community, and internet fans in general in his latest Ross Report. Talking about Austin's departure and the return to the creative team of Vince Russo, JR had this to say:


"I laughed out loud when I read on the Internet that I have lost my 'biggest political ally' in Austin and that Russo's return is seemingly putting my future in jeopardy in WWE. I would like to think that I retain my job not because of Mickey Mouse politics, but because of job performance, as we all should, but maybe outsiders in the Internet world know more about my job/personal situation than I do."


Were I in Jim Ross' place, I'd probably be pissed, too. WWE folks see the internet fans (and especially the internet smarks) as outsiders who have just enough scraps of knowledge to be both dangerous and annoying. From my perspective, though, if they think so little of us, why go on a tirade against us? Hell, all we do is take news bits and speculate on them. It's not like any of us (or the vast majority of us, at least) on the 'net have some unassailable inside sources or anything.


Continuing my mini-rant for a second, when you're in a visible and publicly-traded company, you're going to be the subject of criticism – both good and bad – and speculation. If you can't deal with it without lashing out, then you have a problem. The fact is, WWE is on TV several times a week, and the internet fans will talk about it, especially when the product is in a creative downturn as it is right now. Just because we're not "in the business" and not really "in the loop" doesn't mean our criticisms and observations are ipso facto invalid.


Mini-rant over.


More venom from JR: About the scuttling of HHH's plans to do two house shows this coming weekend, Ross said, "Another case solved for the Internet police, allowing us all to be able to sleep just a little better tonight." Speaking a little more about Vince Russo's return (in the context of Goldberg negotiations), JR said, "Of course, now that Russo has returned to this company, the story of Russo and Goldberg not getting along will be discussed until most of us are ill. Whatever." And lastly, commenting about the title of the WWE's cookbook, Can You Take The Heat?, Ross had this to say:


"What an interesting title, in hindsight, for a book penned by yours truly, especially during these overanalyzed days 'at the office.' As Michael Cole so often says, 'Stop the pain!'"


Note to Jim Ross: calm down. If you're that threatened by some smarks on the internet speculating and commenting, then you need to look at your job priorities and how often you get laid. Deal with the talent, and for heaven's sake, do something to get WWE back on a better creative track. Since you're so concerned with what we say, you'll find we're a lot quieter when the product is good and we're happy.


(Credit: WWE.com, Ross Report)


For The Last Time, He's Gone. What?


I think we've all heard about the Austin walkout, and we've probably heard enough about it. WWE, of course, has removed Austin from their active roster, removed his likeness from the Raw opening, and discounted most of his merchandise.


Interesting, then, that www.stonecold.com is still up and running. It still has news and pictures about the Rattlesnake, though nothing as recent as his sudden departure from WWE. Some of the videos don't seem to work, though, while others function normally. Interesting that WWE would keep Austin's web site up and running, even some of the older videos, when they've been making efforts in every other way to smear him and remind us that the Austin era is dead and gone.


Austin's web domain, incidentally, is not set to expire until 2004.


Yes, I still think he's gone, but I also think his web site still existing thru the company who's tried to blackball him and divorce themselves from him is interesting. The conspiracy theorists among you may now speculate to your hearts' content.


(Credit: Stonecold.com, Netsol.com)


It's Hard To Stay Together Moving Thru Revolving Doors


The saga of Vince Russo's return to WWE continues to evolve.


First, he was hired to work with the creative team. Previously, Russo had said he would only return to WWE if he were able to gain total control of its creative direction. At the time, it was not known whether or not he had received total control, or if that were even a factor in his return. On Thursday, Russo and the creative team had a meeting to discuss ideas. Several members of the creative team had reservations that Russo was "out of touch" with current WWE characters.


Word of these reservations got back to Vince McMahon, who decided to make Russo a consultant rather than an actual member of the creative team. Russo is likely to work from home and be more of an idea man than an actual writer. There were reports that he was unhappy with this demotion, but he's apparently going to stick with it. I guess being a consultant and being able to work from home is better than asking customers if they want fries with that.


For all the flak he receives on the 'net, Russo is actually a talented writer with some good ideas. However, a lot of those ideas did nothing to help PPV buyrates during Russo's tenure, which is the ultimate barometer of success or failure. Popping some good ratings on free TV means nothing if you can't people to buy the shows that matter. "Crash TV" may have generated a few good storylines, led to some new talents being pushed, and made watching free TV interesting, but it did nothing to sell PPV shows, which means it had little financial impact on the company. WWE is definitely post-Attitude now, and how well Russo fits into that model is debatable.


By the way, Monday's Raw obviously had his hands on it in numerous places.


(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com, PWTorch.com)


South Of The Equator, Water Spins The Other Direction Down The Drain


Smackdown received its lowest rating ever this past week, for the June 20th show. The Nielsen folks reported WWE's Thursday staple drew a meager 3.1 rating. The previous week's 3.6 is starting to look pretty good in Titan Towers, I imagine.


I think the main reason the ratings plummeted so much was the Rock's non-appearance. WWE had led its fans to believe The Rock would be appearing on the show, riding the coattails of his excellent promo on Raw, and to get in some more hype for the King of the Ring PPV. The only appearance Rocky made, though, was in the "Let's take you back to Monday night" footage variety. This is what happens when the viewing public feels they were deceived: they change the channel. Lesson learned, I hope.


Of course, the creative slide that Smackdown has been in for a while isn't helping. None of their recent shows have been really good, with the best of the bunch no better than mediocre. For a genius, Paul Heyman is taking a long time to show us his booking smarts. He must be one of those slow-starting geniuses; it took Einstein a while to come up with the Theory of Relativity, after all.


The WWE Theory of Relativity could be expressed thusly: S = CA2


Where S is the amount of suck in the product, C is the level of creative bankruptcy, and A is the level of fan apathy. Since they're high on the C and building up the A, the S looks to be with us for a while, folks. See, math makes everything easier.


(Credit: Nielsen Media)


Well, That Whole Nonstop Thing Was Just Part Of The Name . . .


The new NWA: TNA (Total Nonstop Action) has started, not with a bang, but with the whimper most were expecting. Those who are now cursing themselves for having an extra $10 discovered that "Total Nonstop Action" applied only when there wasn't a bunch of people standing around and talking.


Production values were acceptable, and Jeff Jarrett hasn't fully hitched his car to the nepotism train yet. As soon as Scott Hall makes himself a pariah in yet another promotion, though, look for Double-J to get into the "main event" feud with Ken Shamrock, Lord of the Runaway Mutton Chops.


Those who are heralding the new NWA: TNA as "competition" for WWE are jumping the gun. Let's see if they survive their first couple months with their weekly PPV model before they try and take on the big boys. The meager attendance for their first show was guesstimated at about 3000, and a lot of that was papered. Also, involving NASCAR drivers in angles just makes an upstart federation look very bush league and redneck, two stereotypes wrestling doesn't need to engender. But they're concentrating on the South, so they obviously know their audience. Personally, I don't think they'll make it, but I've always been a fan of competition in any industry, so I wouldn't mind being wrong about this one.


(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com, PWTorch.com)


A Foolish Laborer Wasting His Blood To Be Another's Dream


As you all know by now, Brock Lesnar became King of the Ring Sunday evening, defeating RVD far too easily to win the crown. It's not that RVD needed to win; I think Booker T would have been the best choice, benefited the most from it, and would put on a better match than Lesnar when Summerslam comes around. But of course, Lesnar is a MONSTER~! so he gets the big push, despite the only heat he's ever drawn being dubious "Goldberg!" chants.


They push someone we fans don't want to see down our throats, then wonder why the ratings are down, house show attendance sucks ass, and PPV buyrates aren't for dick anymore. WWE has been known to listen to their fans before, so I have to wonder why they have their fingers in their ears when it comes to this. Note to Vince, Stephanie, and everyone involved with the "creative" end of WWE: WE DON'T WANT TO SEE BROCK PUSHED TO THE MAIN EVENT! It's not RVD or Booker's fault that they were successful in other promotions, but it's obviously being held against them. How else to explain a green, heatless monster getting the crown over two far more established guys the fans actually like, and who are better in every aspect of being a star in this sport?


Austin, Rock, and Foley all made a lot of money for Vince, and I don't recall any of them being neanderthals who needed someone else to talk for them. Obviously, though, Vince has his finger on the pulse of the wrestling community, and this has to be what the fans really want.


Bah. I don't care anymore. It's Vince's company, and if he wants to pin its financial future on the drawing power of Brock Lesnar, then he must really have some grapefruits. It's not that Lesnar can't be good and will never be deserving of being in the main event, but he's not there right now. Give him a couple years and maybe he'll turn into the next Kurt Angle, just with a more power-based arsenal and the occasional shooting star press. But they need star power NOW and that's something Lesnar just doesn't have.


The show basically sucked, which just about everyone knew going in, so I won't say anymore about it. Besides, I just write on the internet, so I don't know anything.


BTW, the title of this segment is taken from the lines, "A king is but a foolish laborer/Who wastes his blood to be another's dream" in the William Butler Yeats poem "Fergus And The Druid." Not only do I enlighten you, my readers, on the news of wrestling, but I give you exposure to the classics, too. There's really nothing more to ask for, is there?


(Credit: WWE.com)


Make That Bitter, Party Of Two . . .


Chris Jericho joined Jim Ross in blasting internet smarks in a recent commentary on his website. Jericho seemed very angry that what he considered an excellent match with RVD was panned by several 'net writers (read: two guys on the Torch). To this, I can only say: you can't please all of the people all of the time. Having seen the match, I'd say it was probably * * *1/2 material – certainly quite good, though certainly not the Match of the Year Jericho makes it out to be.


Jericho's commentary is interesting because it sounds like he's speaking in character a few times. I doubt someone who's been in the business as long as Jericho – and has no doubt developed a thick skin – would be so put off by a few bad reviews. Something says "Work" to me about this, but maybe it's because I'm a cynical fan observing an industry that has bred its fans not to accept anything it tells them at face value.


There is a line of thought from those in the business that the comments offered by those outside the business are ipso facto invalid. It simply isn't true. Jim Ross and Chris Jericho can slam the 'net fans all the want; it doesn't change the fact that many people on the 'net are not negative all the time, have valid complaints about the current product, and maybe even have a good idea or two about how to fix it. When was the last time Steven Spielberg spent a column writing invective against Roger Ebert for a less than favorable review of his latest film? You just don't see this anywhere but with wrestling. These aren't the carny days anymore, and it's time WWE started recognizing that their most of their fans aren't blithely ignorant rubes, and they have some valid criticisms which do not cease being valid simply because some fans have an internet connection.


Go to Jericho's site if you want to read his little rant.


It's Hard To Hold People Down With A Bad Arm, Isn't It?


HHH was scheduled for elbow surgery this Tuesday, with noted orthopedist Dr James Andrews. Depending on how long it takes him to recover, HHH could miss anywhere from two to six weeks. His presence in the main event at the next PPV is in doubt, but I think he'll be there if he can. Hunter has been known to work with pain before, and the time off for his elbow should also allow him to heal that sore knee a bit. Maybe laying off the 'roid needles would help, too, but we can't ask for everything.


HHH will not miss any Smackdown tapings except for this weeks', and will be at the others in a non-wrestling role. In an interview on WWE.com, HHH blamed the elbow problem (and the subsequent shoulder pain it caused) for what he admitted was a subpar match with the Undertaker. Sounds reasonable, but HHH hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire in any matches since he came back from the steroid injury to his leg. Maybe a month off without being able to train too much will help him reduce some muscle mass and get back to his 2000 form.


(Credit: WWE.com)


Save Those Kleenex For The Weekend, Kids


Anyone who tuned into the not-so-New TNN Tuesday night expecting to see the "Divas Undressed" special was probably disappointed. That's because it got moved to Saturday night at midnight, following Confidential. WWE and TNN agreed the show was too racy to air during primetime. Well, TNN demanded it, and WWE just kind of nodded their heads and went along with it. I guess the basic idea of the show: attractive women showing off their tits and asses in lingerie and bikinis, had escaped the fine folks at TNN until just today.


That's the news for this week. We're going to try and get back to a regular news schedule here at TSM, so I shouldn't have as much to cover next Wednesday. In the meantime, for your news fix, Byron Vester should be checking in with an update on Friday, and look for The Dames to count down the big news items in his Week In Review this Sunday. Until Smackdown, remember, kids, the decline of the AWA was much, much worse.


Dr. Tom

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this