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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Great WWE RAW that Improved Wrestlemania 30, WWE Network, and more
By Mr. Tito
Mar 18, 2014 - 12:53:55 AM
The "Excellence in Column Writing" has returned and I'm proud to write a column following that Monday Night RAW (3/17/14 edition). That show convinced me that I HAD to watch Wrestlemania 30. Certainly, I was happy for the Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan match carrying the stipulation that if Bryan won, he would be inserted into the Batista vs. Randy Orton match... But now, we're are GUARANTEED a Triple Threat match for the WWE title whether it's Daniel Bryan or Triple H wrestling in that match. Complete upgrade from the horrific booking disaster known as Orton vs. Batista.
In my opinion and the instant push of winning the Royal Rumble less than a week after debuting proves this, WWE banked everything on Batista's return being a big deal and that would carry on throughout the summer when Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy movie debuts in August. Given the successful returns of Brock Lesnar and the Rock, the WWE was expecting Batista's return would be successful as well. Thus, the WWE booked Batista to win the Royal Rumble, had him booked to win the WWE Title at Wrestlemania against Randy Orton, and was reportedly set to drop that WWE Title to either John Cena or Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam 2014. That was the plan relayed to us by legitimate news sources with close WWE ties.
Many things can happen in 3 years... Fans got older and so did Batista. His return, so far, has been an absolute bust. Fans saw through the WWE's attempt to shove his return down their throats and they've rejected it. WWE made matters worse by excluding Daniel Bryan out of the Rumble match that Batista won. Drawing boos while numbers are coming in from Randy Orton's WWE Title run (LOL @ Survivor Series 2013!), the WWE has now realized that Batista vs. Orton CAN'T DRAW. Thus, just weeks away from Wrestlemania, they have now given us a guarantee that it will be a Triple Threat match. Thus, Wrestlemania 30 has been significantly upgraded.
And fans need to stop it with their claims of "this was WWE's plan all along". BULLSHIT. In fact, let me declare that any fans who claim that the booking between SummerSlam 2013 and Wrestlemania 30 for Daniel Bryan was planned, let me declare that you're FULL OF SHIT. Too many booking changes and legitimate news reports refute that. WWE has always thought that Randy Orton was a top draw, hence the many many World Title reigns, while they banked everything on Batista's return being huge. Both guys are total busts and are past their prime. Worse yet, they are booking roadblocks for Daniel Bryan and fans see right through it.
SURE - Wrestlemania 30 is fixed and we'll finally get our moment to enjoy a Daniel Bryan WWE Title victory. Why complain, right? Well, you have to hammer the WWE regarding their flip flops in booking on Bryan because of the next Daniel Bryan that comes along... Just think back at how bad the WWE screwed with CM Punk during 2011 when his star was rising. Ditto for that year-plus title reign where he beat nobody and barely main evented. Just think of how much the WWE Creative Team messes up Dolph Ziggler. You HAVE to speak out on how much a wrestler appears to be "buried" because of the next guys coming up that WWE management screws with on the booking. Vince McMahon and Triple H have their personal favorites. Granted, they have more experience running a wrestling company than any of us, but their domestic audience has been shrinking for the last 10 years. As history shows, picking the right guys on top matters.
Fans have to play the "watchdog" for the WWE and hold them accountable. There is NO legitimate competition out there to challenge the WWE to become better. TNA wrestling is about to die while Ring of Honor is way off. Jeff Jarrett failed to make TNA wrestling matter so why should we trust him with another start-up promotion? I sure as hell don't... Maybe he could bring in Vince Russo to ruin that promotion as well?
WWE is hitting their strides right now and the timing couldn't be better with Wrestlemania 30. So far, we have the following matches:
-Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
-Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena
-Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
-Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan - Winner joins the Batitsa/Orton Match
-Randy Orton(c) vs. Batista vs. (Daniel Bryan/Triple H) for the WWE Title
I would be fine with giving Christian vs. Sheamus a spot on the card. Those guys have entertained throughout the weeks with their battles against each other. Not sure if WWE will go with Cesaro/Swagger vs. Usos. YUCK at that non-title crap tonight on RAW. I really hate how the current champions are losing excessive amounts of non-title matches.
I'll tell you what DOES NOT deserve a spot on Wrestlemania 30: DIVAS. Let me flat out declare something that I believe most will agree with: WWE Divas Division SUCKS. Keep them away from the card! I know, the WWE Total Divas show is out there and having a Wrestlemania show would be good business... But if you're passing off their stuff as actual "wrestling", something is very wrong. You have AJ Lee as the champion and yet she's not drawing interest enough to make people care about her or the Divas division. WWE tries hard with my favorite twins, the Bellas, but they aren't catching on. Keep trying with the Funkadelics, but I don't think either one has the full set of abilities to carry the division as a draw.
WWE needs to rely on the NXT female wrestlers to come in and breathe some life into the Divas division. So far, although her dance is goofy and she's hanging out with midcard loser Santino, I really like what I've seen from Emma so far. She's tough as nails, too... She has that rare quality of beauty and being a legitimate in-ring performer.
And that's what the WWE needs. Think back to Trish Stratus's Hall of Fame speech last year. She gave credit to Lita, Jazz, Mickie James, Victoria (plus or minus - just any lady from that era), and others because they were legitimately tough, were great wrestlers, and for the most part (with exceptions), had beauty about them. WWE could market them both as hot chicks to put on posters and also promote them well as wrestlers. WWE, ever since their latter Divas Search contests, has been stocking the WWE with thinner ladies without much in-ring ability. What you get is a lack of quality...
Strangely enough, TNA did women's wrestling right with Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell, easily one of the best women's matches of all time. Both ladies can legitimately go and hold up well on beauty. Why the WWE kept giving up on Gail Kim, I'll never know. WWE sort have responded to that match with one of the AJ Lee vs. Katlyn matches but has poorly booked AJ Lee as champion ever since. Some of it's her, as she seems to not be as over as her days with Daniel Bryan... But who can she wrestle out of the pack of Total Divas or under utilized wrestlers who are lucky to get a spot on Smackdown? It's quite a sad state of affairs.
As of right now, they don't deserve a spot... But I'm sure we'll get something like a large tag team match of sorts just to keep hyping Total Divas.
ECONOMICS OF WRESTLING
Oddly enough, I'm getting tons of Economics/Finance questions about pro wrestling lately. As you may know, I work in the financial industry for a living and I have tried to analyze the WWE economically for a different spin on what you may read elsewhere. Now, like any market analyst, it's difficult to be 100% correct on financial predictions.
Like my recent WWE Stock predictions. Two things that I cannot control. One, the Federal Reserve is keeping their interest rate charged to banks at 0 to 0.25% "target range", which it has been since December 2008. That is like handing crack to bigger financial institutions and it's easy for them to stuff their balance sheets with low interest rate money to buy larger quantities of stock. Hence, ALL stock prices go up. The Dow Jones has hit record highs several times in the past year. Secondly, I did not predict that WWE Network would go streaming. WWE Network, by all means, appeared to be a Cable TV channel. Hence why the WWE stock stayed around $10 as the WWE was churning expenses for a Cable TV channel that might not happen. Thus, the $10-$12 stock prediction that I had was holding up... Then, the streaming rumors came out and then the WWE nailed the WWE Network launch presentation. Thus, the WWE stock is soaring above $30 per share.
Which brings me to the next topic that I've been asked about... AMC was in the financial rumor mill for the possible acquisition of WWE. First of all, it's possible... AMC Networks, Inc. is almost six times as large in asset size ($2.6 billion) versus WWE's $378 million. Financially, AMC Networks, Inc. could make the numbers work. WWE's stock price surging to $30 per share probably makes it more costly, however. If I were to guess, AMC wants to corner the Cable TV ratings market and make AMC become the ultimate Cable TV channel with most of the top rated shows on one channel. However with WWE, I'm betting that during TV rights discussions, AMC proposed a deal to acquire significant amounts of stock with the right to have input on WWE programming. As it stands now, Comcast just pays for WWE's television rights and lets WWE produce their own shows. I'm getting that AMC wants control.
If I were the WWE, I would consider rejoining Comcast for a return to USA Networks and whatever else. Reason why is due to Comcast's stronghold of the internet right now. With the acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Comcast is set to not only dominate the Cable TV market, but the internet as well. With Cable TV dying, there is still a need for high speed internet to run Netflix OR the WWE Network. Cozying up to Comcast to get better bandwidth deals for their streaming network wouldn't be such a bad idea for the WWE. After all, Comcast could just start blocking the WWE's website for the streaming and the WWE Network is dead. Right now, WWE is expecting to make huge NASCAR like money with the next television deal, but if they want the WWE Network to do well, they have to play ball on the Cable modem based internet field.
Going back to the WWE Stock... If you bought around $10 and own it above $30, I would consider selling (but disclaimer - investment decisions made at your own discretion). WWE has to sell 1,000,000 subscriptions to break even... That tells me that the network costs are higher than what they've been reporting and that would make me nervous as an investor. 1,000,000 subscribers on an annual basis makes around $120 Million which "breaks even". Yikes, streaming can get expensive!
Now, if the WWE makes Daniel Bryan WWE Champion at Wrestlemania 30 and gives him a legitimate run that helps drive WWE Network subscribers...
Comments and debates are welcome on Twitter. Bring it on. @titowrestling
SO JUST CHILL TILL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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