Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE Network's "Cheap" $9.99 Price, WWE RAW Thoughts, and SummerSlam Predictions
By Mr. Tito
Aug 11, 2014 - 11:45:09 PM
Every week, WWE's Monday Night RAW draws an estimate of 4 million viewers for its live broadcast. Meanwhile, RAW gets about 450,000 viewers watching later on DVR while Hulu now boasts about 6 million members for RAW replays. Smackdown, on the less available SyFy Channel, does just under 3 million viewers on Friday nights no less. With TNA Wrestling being the closest competitor, but that's about to die, WWE is the main United States choice for pro wrestling.
With all of these facts in place... Why aren't more jumping at the GREAT DEAL of $9.99 for WWE Network?
So far, WWE Network has drawn 700,000 members... But that's mostly Wrestlemania 30 subscribers as proven by the fact that 1st Quarter to 2nd Quarter growth was just 30,000. WWE created its own "substitution effect" by replacing solid Pay Per View revenues with WWE Network subscribers but with the absorption of bandwidth and start-up costs for the Network. Reportedly, the WWE would have to obtain 1,000,000 subscribers just to break even in the United States. Some are suggesting that this number is less with recent WWE cuts, but bandwidth on top broadband providers is NOT getting cheaper. With many other companies moving towards streaming, in addition to the Netflix machine, costs are going to keep going up.
The problems with the WWE Network weren't so easy to understand at first but have since become clear... When the WWE Network was announced, I actually cheered the WWE and thought it was a great idea. What I underestimated was two things:
(a) Demand for OLDER WWE content is low. Fact is that we've endured over a decade of the WWE releasing DVDs and now Blu-Ray of older content. Many have invested heavily in WWE videos and don't feel the need for WWE Network to get their old school fix. But what I'm also noticing is that the newer fans, notably ones born during the late 1990's, aren't impressed by the Hulkamania and Attitude Eras. Numbers aren't popping when the veterans show up and aside from the Wrestlemania bumps, the Rock wasn't much of a draw for the WWE when he appeared. WWE has tried "old school" RAW episodes many times and the ratings are the same.
Plus, what many don't consider is that newer wrestling fans are used to watching wrestling in High Definition (HD). If you watch older WWE, WCW, or ECW programming, it's in grainy Standard Definition (SD) with vertical letter boxes. To a newer wrestling fan, this looks really old. In fact, to an older wrestling fan who is now used to watching wrestling on a 52 inch HD screen, I find it difficult myself to watch older stuff.
(b) LAW of Diminishing Returns for WWE content. In economics, this refers to added satisfaction of goods/services decreasing with each additional unit consumed. For example, if you get Pizza... The first piece is so damn good. The second is good, but not as good as the first. The third is decent, but not as good as the first or the second... By the fourth, you're starting to get full and by the 5th and onward, you start to get sick. Compare that to pro wrestling... Between RAW and Smackdown, that is FIVE hours of wrestling content per week. Add a Pay Per View, NXT, and Main Event... Yikes! So you're telling me that on top of ALL of that, WWE is expecting fans to consume many older Pay Per Views as well?
I'll be honest here... It becomes difficult to endure 3 hours of RAW especially with the WWE's lack of quality within its midcard. WWE could easily fill time with legitimate feuds over the Tag Team and United States/Intercontinental Titles, but they piss around with poor attempts at comedy, crappy divas matches, and extensive talking segments. Unless the WWE feels a "sense of urgency" to sell Pay Per Views or now, WWE Network subscriptions, you're not getting quality for a full 3 hours. By the time that I've endured the 3 hour RAW marathon, I'm worn out for the week on WWE programming. I would rather lose myself into another type of programming and Netflix has so much variety for me.
WWE Network is NOT the "Netflix of Pro Wrestling". I've seen all of the past Pay Per Views before. Aside from Legends House, NXT/Main Event, and Pay Per Views, there's not much new content for me to check out. With Netflix, I've snorted shows like "Breaking Bad", "Dexter", "Orange is the New Black", "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", and "House of Cards" up my nose and I'm only at the tip of the iceberg for what I can watch. And in the case of "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards", that's HIGH QUALITY original content that I'm craving more of. I'm not getting those cravings for WWE content, new or old.
WWE could preaching how "cheap" $9.99 is per month for its WWE Network. But the simple fact is that they've taken their fans for granted by giving them poor quality Pay Per Views for over 10 years now while clinging too tightly onto John Cena and Randy Orton, with Orton not being much of a draw on his own as recent history shows (see Survivor Series 2013). WWE pissed on many loyal fans by screwing with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan for years while continuing to pick on other favorites like Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler.
Plus, the idiotic WWE lets multiple logins occur without any IP restrictions for the WWE Network. The WWE thought they rid themselves of illegal streaming piracy but they've found themselves dividing $9.99 per month among 3-4 individuals each logging in. Netflix can get away with it because it has content that people want to watch!
All WWE has to pump quality into their Pay Per View or "special events" and people will WANT to buy. All WWE would have to do is take their Title Belts, all of them, seriously, and create a "sense of urgency" among their wrestlers that they must win those belts.
QUICK RAW THOUGHTS
I thought the whole accusation of Stephanie claiming that Daniel Bryan was having an affair with his personal trainer was utter bullshit. If you want to understand my criticisms about WWE Creative, just watch that segment with Stephanie, Brie Bella, and the trainer. The match had enough heat... Oh wait, RAW ratings declined TWO straight weeks when Stephanie/Brie ended RAW. My bad! Instead of just recognizing it as just a midcard feud, the real problem with Stephanie/Brie is the simple placement into the main event segment. But instead, the WWE overreacts, as usual, and felt the need to add "spice" to the Stephanie vs. Brie. Meanwhile, WWE Creative does it at the expense of cheapening Daniel Bryan which they've become accustomed to for the past few years anyway.
AWESOME start to RAW with Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. And I stand up and applause WWE Creative in this paragraph. Heyman actually acknowledged the Extreme Rules 2012 match! He pushed the fact that Cena did take an ass kicking and had a fluke win (had to use an Attitude Adjustment on the metal stairs). Better yet, in true heel fashion, Heyman proclaimed that Lesnar was only 50% for that match as he was recovering from the injuries or sickness obtained during his UFC years. OUCH! Brock is 100% now and will destroy Cena! Excellent way to start RAW and a complete contrast to the Stephanie/Brie bullshit. Gee, I wonder why? Hey, how is that Paul Heyman DVD/Blu-Ray selling?
For the first time, I could see Roman Reigns being over on his own... After disposing of Ryback and Curtis Axel, who in my opinion should become full-time Authority Thugs, the fans were popping strong for Reigns. He said some weird things on the mic, which he needs work with, but the benefits of placing Reigns with the Shield for a year and a half to develop are paying off. Hopefully, Reigns can put on a great match with Randy Orton at SummerSlam to strengthen him as a WWE asset.
I enjoyed Jack Swagger getting a solid win over his former partner, Cesaro. Swagger needed to look strong heading into SummerSlam and beating Cesaro, especially by making him tap out, was very credible for Swagger. I could certainly beat the IWC drum over how poorly Cesaro has been treated since Wrestlemania 30, but "**** it", I'm happy for Jack Swagger tonight. He's talented and might have finally found his gimmick as a babyface wrestler under the "We the People" banner. WWE will have to deal with the Cesaro damage later... Ugh.
Damn good segment between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho... Shame we didn't see more talking segments between these two brilliant talkers. Oh well, maybe the WWE will have Jericho win again to prompt a 3rd match?
And even AJ Lee loses in non-title matches... Ugh, WWE, so someone inexperienced like Eva Marie. I give nothing but FINGER OF SHAMES to non-title matches!
Good solid promo by John Cena. He's much better when he's presenting himself as a serious wrestler than a comedic one. He appears credible... However, he looks like a goof with both the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Title hanging on his neck.
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton was damn good... A consistent trend is happening for 2014. Sheamus is having tremendous RAW matches consistently yet the WWE hasn't tried to push him hard. Sheamus just pulled the best match out of Orton that I've seen in a long time.
The end segment was Hulk Hogan's birthdate and celebrating it in grand fashion with Mene Gene and a nicely done video package. Hogan had a hell of a career and actually helped build the business TWICE with Hulkamania in the 1980's and thenthe New World Order during the 1990's. His WWE run during the 2000's was fun as well. No matter what you say about Hogan the politician or TNA employee, wrestling would be much different without him. I'd give anything to have a video montage of my life and career like that, damn!!! If you don't understand the value of Executive Producer Kevin Dunn, there you go... After some Hogan promo cutting, Whooooooooooooo, Ric Flair came to the ring and then freakin' Mr. Wonderful Paul Ordorff. What a fine mustache! That Mr. Wonderful music was amazing! And then, there's Roddy Piper, who I just saw in an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And then I MARKED THE HELL OUT when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash came out to the NEW WORLD ORDER theme music. Holy shit... Nice stuff with the "Survey" for the NWO colors on Hogan.
And then... BROCK LESNAR's music hit... Holy Shit! Lesnar stares all of the veterans down and Paul Heyman taunts Hogan with "whatcha gonna do, Hulkster" and Lesnar then adds "party's over, grandpa". John Cena ran down to make the save and this arena is about to erupt. But to ensure that WWE Network buys go down, Brock Lesnar exits the ring before any fighting could occur.
WOW... I might buy this damn WWE Network now! I'll go "A" for my grade with deducting a "+" from the grade thanks to the Stephanie/Brie Bella angle that deserves a FINGER OF SHAME.
MR. TITO's PHAT SUMMERSLAM PREDICTIONS
Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Who gives a shit? Let's just go straight to the predictions.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Dolph Ziggler. Far more in-ring ability than Miz, by a mile...
WHO WILL WIN: Miz. Whatever. NEXT prediction!
Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho
I'm still baffled by last month's Battleground match result where Chris Jericho won. Granted, they get a chance to put on a blockbuster at SummerSlam, but Jericho is the same guy who put over Fandango at Wrestlemania 29 for their first encounter. Who knows...
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Bray Wyatt. Jericho is part-time and Bray is the future. 'Nuff said.
Jack Swagger vs. Rusev - Flag Match
I've actually enjoyed this feud, very match. Just a fun midcard match where each wrestler actually has a mouthpiece to help add hype to the match. Funny thing is that this feud turned Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter into babyfaces. After a year of trying to mock wrestling fans for not being real Americans, they're not ripping fans and trying to verbally thrash the Russians. I've been entertained and I need that for a long 3 hour show.
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Jack Swagger. I'm just not crazy on the Rusev wrestler and Jack seems to be hitting his strides as a babyface now. The flag match gimmick allows for Rusev to lose yet not have his shoulders pinned to the mat to lose any heat or momentum. Insider reports have suggested as much.
I will predict that Zeb Colter might turn on Jack Swagger to join Rusev in the future, but not at this event...
AJ Lee (c) vs. Paige
Paige is just new as a heel and AJ Lee's return has saved the Divas Division from ruin. The fact that AJ Lee lost a stupid non-title match to Eva Marie is pretty indicative as to what will happen at SummerSlam. I still insist that the REAL money feud is AJ Lee challenging the Authority and Stephanie McMahon as a babyface.
WHO WILL WIN / WHO SHOULD WIN: AJ Lee. Paige needs more development on the WWE roster, specifically as a newly turned heel.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, Lumberjack Match
Seriously? Lumberjack match? That's really needed at SummerSlam to add additional hype to this show? These two actually have heat against each other that they don't need additional match gimmicks. This is Stephanie/HHH continuing to recycle the Vince Russo "Attitude Era" playbook in thinking that match gimmicks actually draw more fans. Sure, on occasion they do, but when overdone or if the gimmick is ridiculous or not necessary...
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Dean Ambrose. The idiotic gimmick protects Seth Rollins from losing in a straight-up match, as the WWE wants to protect Rollins as he holds the briefcase. Dean can then brag on RAW that he beat Rollins and then at Night of the Champions, Rollins defeats Ambrose in a one-on-one match where the briefcase is on the line (possibly?).
Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
Roman Reigns actually needs this win quite badly while also delivering a huge performance. It all depends on how nice Randy Orton wants to be... He's very robotic and controlling in the ring and most can't remember (a) his top matches or (b) any wrestler he's helped put over strong. Problem is that Orton's booking for 10 years now has been consistently strong that he's taken the fundamentals of psychology and wrestling heat for granted. That's what happens when you feel entitled to pushes and the WWE always gives in.
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Roman Reigns. With Stephanie and Brock Lesnar winning, in my opinion, there needs to be a balance with Reigns winning. If Reigns looks strong, don't doubt that the WWE hotshots Reigns to the WWE Title at "Night of Champions" against Brock Lesnar. You heard it here first, if so...
Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella
Stephanie was slapped in the "YES!" Lock tonight and that's paint-by-the-numbers booking of showing weakness before a Pay Per View by a winning heel. In my opinion, there's a big swerve planned for this match. Another female is going to help Stephanie and I'm guessing that the WWE finally pulls the trigger on the Bellas splitting up. I predict that Nikki Bella is turning heel on her sister Brie.
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Stephanie McMahon. I'm actually going to grant a pass to Stephanie for the poor ratings. Brie Bella, even being married to Daniel Bryan, is not a drawing performer. Now, if the WWE would take my repeat suggestion of pushing a babyface AJ Lee against the heel Stephanie, that would legitimately draw. Bellas, as much as I'm always fascinated by hot twins, just lack any personality to captivate fans. Maybe splitting them and letting Nikki Bella push her individuality (God damn, she's hot!) could be "what's best for business"?
John Cena (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Title
Serious potential to become an all-time great match, let alone 2014 "Match of the Year". Their 2012 Extreme Rules Match was excellent and Paul Heyman's point is actually quite valid. That was Lesnar's first pro wrestling match in a long, long time and he looked that good. Imagine what a further polished Lesnar and the usual good working John Cena can produce? Should be very interesting to see if Cena/Lesnar can top the incredible Punk/Lesnar match of last year. I bet it might...
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Brock Lesnar. He has the Undertaker victory momentum and I believe that Lesnar will either (a) lose to John Cena in the 3rd match or (b) put over Roman Reigns for the WWE Title.
I think there is a 50 / 50 chance that Seth Rollins tries to cash-in the Money in the Bank briefcase against Brock Lesnar following the Cena/Lesnar match. I think Rollins puts up an amazing effort but Lesnar escapes with a strong finish. The saving grace might be that the WWE has already performed Money in the Bank cash-ins as previous SummerSlam events and might want to save the cash-in for another event.
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.
© Mr. Tito and LordsofPain.net/WrestlingHeadlines.com - 1998-2014