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The Midweek News

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My faith in humanity, which has good cause to take its regular drubbing, was bolstered a bit last week. The monumental event that caused that was finally having another winner in Spot The Classic. Joe Gagne correctly identified “Patience and looking away ahead” as a Robert Frost line, from the poem “Something For Hope.” Joe then added to the luster of his no-prize by pointing out my exceedingly silly mistake with Roman numerals: 19 is indeed XIX, even though I somehow had it as IXX at first. Yes, Joe, an English degree does pay off. In fact, with a little more study, you too could be a semi-famous internet wrestling columnist!


Remember, my sharp-eyed readers, to email me when you spot something from a literary classic in one of my little segment titles. That's how we play Spot The Classic~!


I have nothing else for the preamble this week, so let's dive right into all the news that's fit to steal, all the dirt that's fit to deal, and all the mud that's fit to sling.


Raw Rewind


If you missed Raw last night (and even if you watched it), peep Jhawk’s report for all your detailed recapping needs. As always, you get the Cliff Notes from me.


--- Hardcore Battle Royal: Kane’s pyro hitting after the bell was the most interesting thing about this one. At least the stupid 24-7 rule is gone, though it only took them two years too long to realize how silly it was. DUD


--- Trish vs. Stacy, Bra and Panties in the mud match: What’s the point of T&A if you’re just going to obscure it with mud? And I really couldn’t care less if Finkel takes a mud bath or not. –2/10


--- Booker/Goldust/Taker vs. Storm/Test/Christian: Not a bad little scrum, though it did look a little disjointed at times. 4/10


--- RVD vs. The Giant Tool: Rob’s name for The Big Slow is bound to catch on. I would argue that he’s not a tool, though, since a tool is at least useful to have around. DUD


--- The Rock vs. HHHGH, Non-Title, No-DQ: If you couldn’t tell this one had “Pre-PPV Schmoz” written all over it, you need to pay closer attention. The match was pretty good before the expected silliness ensued. HHH works much better as a heel, and the psychology was good. Rock didn’t no-sell the whole thing by kipping up at the end, which is a bonus. 6/10


Other Developments: This was basically a hard sell of Summerslam. Undertaker got all jingoistic to hype the match with Test, the Anti-Americans (because “Un-American” is a fucking stupid name, as anyone who doesn’t live in North or South America is technically an Un-American. This has the interesting side effect of disqualifying Canadians from the moniker, but whatever.) and Bookdust got to square off, and HHH and HBK teased another exciting contract signing segment, then inconsiderately blew the whole thing off by resolving it via fax. That whole contract signing bit was sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell. Jericho and Flair built up their match with a pair of backstage assaults, then Flair tore down the Fozzy set after Y2J’s band performed “To Kill A Stranger.” Not bad, but the Maiden version is better. Rock and Brock continued playing mind games, and Rock made fun of Paul Heyman being gay a lot. In the main event schmoz, HHH and HBK went at it after Shawn superkicked Brock out of the ring. That was a bad-looking plancha, though I’ll admit it’s been four years since Shawn tried one. It looked like he was favoring his back going up the ramp, though, which isn’t a good sign. Five matches doesn’t make me happy to begin with, but considering the throwaway nature of the first two, the sin is compounded. Add in the excessive skits and dead airtime, and this just wasn’t a very good edition of Raw.


Let's Do Lunch


According to his official website, Bill Goldberg is scheduled to meet with Vince McMahon sometimes soon. Goldberg's site does not specify a date for this meeting. Jim Ross has repeatedly stated that WWE is very receptive to bringing Goldberg onboard, and the only delay has been Bill himself and his lack of desire to sit down and hammer out a deal.


I wonder how long it will take some of WWE's older top-card talent to add a "no superkicks from Goldberg" clause to their contracts.


(Credit: Billgoldberg.com)


From The Horse's . . . Er, Mouth


It looks like it was a slow week for the news. Even Jim Ross kept his Ross Report down to five pages this past Friday. Here are some of the more important bits:


-- Noted that backstage attitude has improved recently, contributing to the generally solid TV we've seen of late. It looks like HHH's plan to torpedo morale has failed.


-- Put over Hulk Hogan's and Jerry Lawler's new books, due out in the coming months. I doubt either will be a great read, but at least Lawler's book will be packed with advice for middle-aged men on how to pick up teenaged girls.


-- Took another shot at the internet, saying he and Lawler will happily share Summerslam time with Cole and Tazz, despite what "sources say."


-- Said Jeff hardy could be headed for great things, if they can manage his schedule properly. In other words: we know he's broken down way before his time and mails it in these days, but if he works a light house show schedule, he can kill himself on live TV more often!


-- Put over Batista and his slow build toward a face turn. JR also had some good words for most of the Fed's younger grapplers, which seems to alternate with his issuing vague threats to those who are underperforming.


(Credit: WWE.com's Ross Report)


A Little Spike Without The LSD


Monday night’s Raw drew a 4.0 rating, the third consecutive week the ratings have gone up. This was certainly the weakest of those three shows, but the hype for the Rock-HHH main event is said to be a leading factor in the ratings increase.


(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com)


Money Is Only Congealed Snow


WWE released its first-quarter financial statement. These are some of the more interesting pieces, in plain English for those of us who don’t speak Accountese.


-- Revenue from live events was up 28%. This is mostly attributable to the roster split doubling the number of house shows, and the profitable Australian tour. Without those two factors, the picture is far less rosy.


-- TV ad revenues dropped almost $3 million, to $16.7M.


-- PPV revenues fell from $25.4 million down to $19.2 million, a loss of 24%. Total buys dropped from 1.6 to 1.1 million, an even larger decline. No wonder those buyrate figures have been slow to come out.


-- TV rights fees increased $12.9 million, largely attributable to the Divas television specials that so many desperate, pimply teenagers watch with . . . er, keen interest.


-- Merchandise sales were up $2 million, hitting $20.3 million. A major portion of this increase is DVD sales.


-- Revenue for The World (nee WWF New York) dropped 32%. Tourism in New York is in decline after 9/11, anyway, so a lot of this is probably outside WWE’s control.


-- Total profits were down almost $3 million, to $29.6M.


The full statement can be found on wwecorpbiz.com.


(Credit (and translations to plain English): PWTorch.com)


At Least Anna Does Their Ads


WWE has been puffing out its chest about how the WWE name has been beating the old, verboten WWF moniker on Lycos searches. That’s all well and good. Recently, they lamented falling to 30th in Lycos searches, after previously residing in the top 15. The thing is, who uses Lycos anymore? Hello? When was Lycos EVER important? They were something of a player back when Yahoo was a rich, happening company, but since we entered the dot-bomb era, neither has been the case. Google is where it’s at now, friends, and I have to wonder why WWE doesn’t mention the results gathered on a far more relevant search engine. Unless they’re even worse.


And what kind of an idiot can’t add a .com to the end of a company’s name? Christ, if you need a search engine to find WWE’s website, you’re exactly the kind of functional illiterate who shouldn’t be using the internet to being with.


(Credit: 411wrestling.com)


This Statement Brought To You By Arthur Andersen


Jay Hassman, the man sued by NWA: TNA for his alleged misdeeds over their PPV figures, recently issued a rambling and rather incoherent statement in his own defense. Methinks he’s have an easier time making his case if people could actually understand what he wrote. Seriously, to look at the statement, he comes across as a guy who spends way too much time associating with barely-literate simians in AOL chat rooms.


Anyway, the crux of the statement is that there was no exclusivity in his agreement with Jerry Jarrett, so his double duty for WWE wasn’t illegal. He also implicates NWA: TNA as a shabbily-run group where the left hand doesn’t know what the right one is doing.


You can read the statement in full at PWTorch.com.


What Do You Mean They Get It Cheaper This Way?


WWE has suspended webcasts of its PPV events for the next three months. According to their website, WWE has been testing the webcast system for the last ten months, and now that they have gathered a bunch of data, they will use that to build a new webcast system for relaunch at Survivor Series.


Working in the IT field, and having been exposed to software and product testing, ten months seems like an awfully unusual duration for a test. WWE promises a better webcast system when it is relaunched in November. My question is what the impact on the price will be.


Now All The Spanglish Makes Sense


Eddy Guerrero's blend of Spanish and English must be reaching somebody.


Consider this, from the "Spots 'n' Dots" newsletter, esse:


"During the last TV season, UPN's WWE Smackdown rated highest among Hispanics of any program on the six top broadcast nets. It was followed by Friends, The Simpsons, Monday Night Football and Malcolm in the Middle. The George Lopez Show, the only major network show built around a Latino character, ranked sixth."


(Credit: 1wrestling.com)


Finally, A Trip To Dr. Youngblood That Doesn't End In Surgery


Dr. Joel Youngblood has pocketed some nice coin recently just off his WWE clientele. Scott Taylor, Lita, Rhyno, and Chris Benoit have all had spinal fusion surgery performed by Dr. Youngblood in the last thirteen months. One WWE star who managed to avoid going under the knife was Val Venis, aka The Big Valbowski.


A freak weightlifting accident caused 300 pounds to come down on Val's head. His neck was compressed, and he has been out of action ever since. He went to see Dr. Youngblood, and received the good news that there was no skeletal damage to his neck. Just some bruises and muscle damage, which should allow him to return to the ring in about three weeks.


(Credit: WWE.com)

That wraps up this edition of the Midweek News. There hasn't been a lot happening this week, and I have to come back and do this news gig again on Sunday before the PPV. For a news fix before then, Byron Vester should check in with his "News To Us" column, a recommended read. I'll be back here tomorrow with the Smackdown! Report. Ave atque vale.


Dr. Tom

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