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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Dolph Ziggler was BURIED, Problems for The Shield?, and DVRs vs. VCRs
By Mr. Tito
Nov 27, 2012 - 9:24:51 PM
The "Excellence in Column Writing" has returned, and this time, it's not time to discuss what happened on this day in pro wrestling history... I, Mr. Tito, am here to talk about how WRONG the WWE was with the latest Monday Night RAW, specifically with 1 wrestler and with 1 blown Pay Per View opportunity.
Let's go back to pre-November 5th WWE. The booking for the Survivor Series 2012 was supposed to be Team Punk vs. Team Foley in a classic 5 on 5 Survivor Series elimination style match and then a singles match between John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler. This singles match-up at Survivor Series was supposed to be Dolph Ziggler's grand opportunity to see if he could hang as a main eventer. Storyline-wise, as you see today, Vickie Guerrero's accusations of an AJ Lee affair were going to set up Ziggler to feud with John Cena. But for whatever reason, Vince McMahon and the WWE Creative Team had a change of heart before the 11/5 RAW Tapings in England and completely rebooked these 2 Survivor Series matches. CM Punk and Ryback were pulled from the Team Punk vs. Team Foley match and swapped with Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler was now in the Survivor Series 5 on 5 match while Punk/Ryback wrestled John Cena in a Triple Threat match instead at Survivor Series.
I guess we could forgive this Survivor Series rewrite because for all we know, internal WWE numbers might suggest that Ryback vs. CM Punk vs. John Cena could be a big drawing match. We don't know, but without much of a direct explanation, Dolph Ziggler was yanked from that match. Fine... So we could assume that Ziggler could get another chance at John Cena for the next WWE Pay Per View, Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (TLC), right? Their match-up would be deemed special since Dolph Ziggler's workrate for 2012 has been impressive and the stronger working Ziggler of 2012 has yet to face John Cena in a big match, let along receive a serious main event shot as a heel. Booking it on a Pay Per View for the first time as a big deal match, at least in its current settings, could draw money right?
Cena vs Ziggler as a Pay Per View draw could be debatable, I supposed, but that doesn't excuse why the WWE opted to actually book the match unannounced for a random Monday Night RAW instead and also to be booked just before the 10:00pm hour starts. What could have been a decent Pay Per View draw, in my opinion, was now being given away for FREE and was not even worthy of a Main Event slot on a FREE television show. With due respect to CM Punk being the WWE Champion, as I'm glad he main evented on RAW this week as noted from my prior criticisms of the WWE for not putting Champion Punk in main events... But why on earth was the bigger match-up between Ziggler and Cena not put in the main event? I'm a huge fan of Kane, but his drawing power in the main event existed years ago. He's a tag wrestler now!
OK, OK, OK, Mr. Tito... Calm down. One would think that at the very least, the WWE Creative Team would at least give Dolph Ziggler a CHEAP win, right? Ziggler winning, even in a cheap way, could easily set-up a possible TLC Pay Per View rematch, right? And during the match, Dolph Ziggler tried to cheat. He held John Cena's tights (or shorts) and even tried to use the Money in the Bank 2012 briefcase... Also during the match, Cena appeared to "tweak" the knee he injured and sold last week. Given these favorable circumstances towards the heel, Dolph Ziggler got the win, right?? WRONG!
As usual, favorable booking went John Cena's way and Cena defeated Dolph Ziggler in a clean fashion. That's right folks, Dolph Ziggler was just BURIED by the WWE!
Anyone that thinks otherwise is WRONG! When the WWE attempts to run John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler at a future Pay Per View, it won't draw. Future matches on television won't draw. Why? Because the WWE denied Ziggler his moment. Instead of actually letting John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler occur on Pay Per View first or at least giving Dolph Ziggler the win during televised match (not even the main event!!!), we were treated with "business as usual" for John Cena with a CLEAN win over Dolph Ziggler. Why watch a future Pay Per View Ziggler vs. Cena match-up when you KNOW that John Cena is clearly the better man? After all, Cena can overcome cheating by Ziggler, outside interference, and a knee injury to beat Ziggler clean. How embarrassing. I have ZERO motivation to see a rematch because I know how little the WWE already thinks of Dolph Ziggler.
Makes me wonder if Dolph Ziggler is in the WWE Doghouse right now or not? What else explains the rebooking of Survivor Series 2012 which appeared to promote the other main eventers (John Cena, Ryback, CM Punk) and demote Ziggler? It doesn't make sense...
How is Dolph Ziggler going to recover from this? He wasn't good enough to wrestle John Cena at a Pay Per View, nor is he good enough to at least get a cheating win over John Cena for a televised FREE match-up. Nope, nope, nope... It would appear, to me, that the WWE Creative Staff has their sights set for the incredible "drawing power" of a mixed tag match between Vickie Guerrero/Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Lee/John Cena match instead. That's what we may get if the WWE was willing to let Dolph Ziggler lose cleanly on a FREE television match. WWE management is smitten with AJ Lee right now and appears to desire to push her rather than having legitimate high profile wrestling matches instead. Good luck with that... How did AJ's RAW General Manager run do again?
Pretty convincing to me, folks, and you can accuse me of "trolling". I was quite correct in my "burial" assessment of CM Punk in 2011, as he took months to recover while his WWE Championship run since Survivor Series 2011 has been less than fulfilling. How many Pay Per View main events has he had again?
Just review the FACTS about Dolph Ziggler through Monday Night RAW this week... (1) Removed from Survivor Series match against John Cena. (2) Given a match with John Cena on FREE television and not even the main event of a show. (3) John Cena sold a knee injury during the match. (4) Outside interference, holding the tights (or shorts), and attempting to use the Money in the Bank briefcase... Lots of cheating attempts! But yet the WWE opted to let SUPER CENA overcome all of those odds and beat Dolph Ziggler 100% cleanly. This is what's wrong with the WWE in a nutshell.
For the record, I personally like John Cena, but the WWE is far too protective of his star. What happens if Cena sustains a legitimate injury or opts to retire soon? What are you going to do then, WWE? You're SCREWED because you refused to elevate anybody else other than John Cena for the last 5 years. If I were a Shareholder of the WWE, I'd gripe about a LACK of a continuity plan beyond John Cena.
Not to hate too much on Monday Night RAW, but I very much enjoyed "the Shield" interview that Michael Cole had with newcomers Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, particularly when Dean Ambrose spoke. Watching as much YouTube/Daily Motion footage that I could of the guy, he appears legitimate to me. Ambrose reminded me of AMC's The Walking Dead version of the Governor character. No, not the Governor from the Comic version of The Walking Dead, which is one of the most terrifying characters I've ever seen... But the AMC Walking Dead version of the Governor who is calm, collective, yet diabolical as a political figure. Ambrose reminds very much of actor David Morrissey's portrayal of the Governor... Check it out!
Speaking of "The Shield"... I would be remiss if I didn't suggest that the WWE Creative Team should have been a bit more careful of this stable name. For one, I LIKE the stable name of the Shield... But copyrights/trademarks exist in the entertainment world. For years, both WWE and WCW had to pay Marvel Comics for the use of the "Hulk" name for Hulk Hogan. WCW tried to get around this payment by calling Hogan "Hollywood" during the New World Order angle. WWE had to pay a company named White Wolf Publishing for rights to use the name Gangrel for their vampire based wrestler. WWE, itself, has fought other entertainment companies in the legal system for uses of their names and trademarks. Just ask any former ECW wrestler how they've been unable to use their older names, thanks to WWE legal threats.
As I just think to myself... Gee, doesn't Marvel Comics have an organization called S.H.I.E.L.D? Oh, and wasn't it mentioned regularly throughout recent movies including the massive drawing Avengers movie? Absolutely! Better yet, Disney purchased Marvel Comics. History has shown that there's quite a legal team over there at Disney... Has Mickey Mouse hit the public domain yet?
Furthermore, wasn't there an FX show called The Shield that ran for a solid 7 seasons? I'm sure its two production companies, FOX Television Studios and Sony Pictures Television, along with their holding companies, have quite the legal teams themselves.
I enjoy the stable name, but this could be quite an oversight by WWE Management, especially when WWE is a much smaller corporation in the entertainment world compared with Disney/News Corp (or FOX)/Sony.
I must be getting old as a wrestling fan, but I just laugh at the RAW Ratings claims that Digital Video Recorder (DVR) recordings or Hulu online subscriptions are actually taking away from the LIVE RAW's ratings on the USA Network.
For those of you who are new to the video recording world, there existed this wonderful technology called Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) that more Americans actually had than DVRs and Hulu subscriptions combined and by a margin. During the 1980's and 1990's, the VCR was the premiere recording device of television programs. As Cable became more and more available to consumers, VCR technology improved with time and significantly lowered in price. It was estimated that by the end of the 1990's, almost 90% of households had at least 1 VCR. That's remarkable!
Compare that to DVR ownership which is about 42% of households and growing...
During the 1990's and early 2000's, Cable television subscribers could split the cable throughout their house without being forced to have a digital box on each television as you are today. I creatively split an incoming Cable wire 6 different ways into my home at one time when I was a teenager (3 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and bar). Now, the bastard Cable companies require that a Digital Box or a conversion box be placed on each television (or it won't work) AND with a charged fee to boot! During the 1990's and early 2000's, you could split that wire to any room in the house without an additional charge. It was awesome!
For VCR's, you could find a relatively good working VCR for $40 or even less by the late 1990's and it never broke. VCR's were quite durable... Go to your local retailer and buy a pack of VCR tapes and you were set. VCR tapes, in extended play mode, could hold up to 6 hours per tape. Better yet, you could record over previously recorded tapes several times without losing that much in quality. I typically bought a 6-pack of Sony tapes for $5, so do the math... 36 hours of first generation taping (6 tapes * 6 hours), but you could easily use each tape at least 3 times before the re-recording looks awful. 108 hours of video recording of Monday Night RAW for the price of $5. Compare that to the monthly fee paid for DVR services on top of the inflated prices of Cable, and it's no wonder why VCR ownership doubled DVR usage by percentage.
Sure, the VCR quality is MUCH WORSE than DVR recordings. But during the 1990's, you didn't have the ability to acquire a High Definition television. You just gave a damn if the VCR Timer caught the show or not. Quality was NOT a factor back then because HD television was not made widely available until years later. During many Monday Nights, if I went out with Mrs. Tito for the evening, I could come home and a VCR taped RAW was waiting for me. I often would return home at Midnight, watch RAW in under 2 hours (prepare to Fast Forward!), and then write the Phat Daily Column by 4 am. No problemo!
Who knows how big VCR usage was for recording RAW shows. As noted above, far MORE households owned VCRs than subscribing to DVR services. That's a FACT... But DVR's are part of your Cable's digital conversion box. VCRs were NOT connected, in any way, to a digital Cable box. The tracking on how much VCR's were used during the Monday Night Wars or even the peak years of the WWF (1998-2001) were unable to be measured. If you look at ratings reports today, you can easily get a DVR count. Doing a quick Google search, I've seen that RAW gets about 300,000 DVR recordings per show. When RAW gets around 4 to 5 million total viewers per show, it's not that big of a loss. I project that VCR usage, especially during peak WWE years of 1998-2001, had to be much larger.
And Hulu? They just passed 2 million subscribers earlier this year... Assuming the same approximate math of Cable TV viewers that regularly watch RAW (roughly 5%, I'm guessing from past data), and that's not much of a dent. Besides, the WWE actually edits the edition of RAW placed on Hulu and I've read several wrestling fan complaints on that matter. Is this worth $7.99 per month?
Sure, piracy from live streams and torrent downloads could be a factor, but that's assuming that everybody has become a "Cable cutter" and prefers the horrible quality of a ripped or streamed version of RAW. Considering that Cable/Satellite numbers are still significantly high across America, I'd argue the piracy is minimal. NOTHING beats watching television in High Definition television. Until computers can improve in quality to take me away from a 52 inch widescreen HD television, the Cable subscription will remain even in this lousy economy.
Facts exist for a reason. VCR usage was MUCH larger than that of today's recording technologies combined. Yet, Monday Night RAW's viewership was much higher back in the day (1998-2001) despite the untracked VCR usage that was out there. This DVR/Hulu/Piracy blame game is just an excuse by the WWE and its dedicated "yes men" fans to excuse the diminished quality of the WWE product. WWE Creative Team, led by a relaxed Vince McMahon without competition and a Communications Major of a Lead Creative Executive, Stephanie McMahon, has taken the "fun" out of pro wrestling since 2001. Until Vince McMahon puts a serious creative mind in the position of creative lead for the WWE, 3.0 ratings will be the peak of this modern day WWE.
And this WWE Creative Team just ruined Dolph Ziggler... Bank on that.
So just chill........... Till the next episode!
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