Table of ContentsMonday Morning Thoughts
Live Raw Blog
Monday Afternoon Pre Raw Thoughts
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Being in Canada, I was hoping for some interesting news this week concerning WWE launching the Network here in the Great White North. Sadly, I had a busy week and haven't had much of a chance to read more than the headlines and bullet points. From what I can tell, we will still have the standard internet setup that everyone already knows, plus Rogers is setting up an actual channel. It remains to be seen if this will work on other cable providers or not. Rogers is not in my area, so I don't know how much I should look into it. Luckily I am happy paying the American $9.99 and the $4.99 for Unblock US to get the current setup. If I can save the $5 and sign up as a Canadian, I probably won't do it because the $5 a month also helps with getting US Netflix. $8 + 5 + $10 = $23 a month for all the TV I need. Seems reasonable to me, comparing to the near $139 it costs for cable and Internet together here.
As for the low numbers, I still don't see the panic. Anyone I know who has the Network is more than satisfied. There's still lots they could add too. In all honesty, I'd pay a lot more than I am for what I currently get.
I think WWE is realizing how much they shot themselves in the foot by offering so much right away. The way more logical setup would have been structured much differently, which I know I discussed back before the Network was launched. I am thinking that $9.99 for the on demand package is very reasonable, but live PPVs shouldn't be included. They shouldn't be $49.99 or whatever they currently cost, but I'd gladly pay a reduced price for a PPV since I already have the subscription. Maybe $19.99 for a PPV to be added to the monthly cost. Seems like a lot, but it's still much cheaper than paying for the show on cable. Besides, I'm just throwing out numbers. That could be a basic package at $10, plus a $20 charge for individual PPVs. Another option would be a $20 monthly charge which includes the PPVs as well, under the current 6 month subscription.
What's going to be difficult is changing this system after 6 months of the current structure without pissing off the subscribers since February. I suspect that WWE hoped that by offering so much for so little that everyone would jump on board. The problem is that WWE has a very rocky history of delivering to the fans. I'm not saying that they aren't entertaining on a regular basis, but it tends to be on weekly TV, which is essentially free since I doubt many fans pay for cable for only WWE Raw or Smackdown. Often we read reports of PPVs being reviewed as not worth the money, same for DVDs and other purchases. In today's age, asking customers to pay 6 months in advance is a lot to ask for. To many people, what WWE asked for was essentially paying $60 for WrestleMania 30 in a brand new method. Surprised people are saying “no thanks” to something so innovative?
Also, think of what content was available at launch, and what's been added since? To the people who said they wanted to wait until they read reviews or for more content to go up, has there been much to convince them to make the plunge? We've been hearing of the Monday Night War program since February, but nothing but a preview a few weeks ago. No classic Monday Night Raw or Nitro or Smackdown. The closest they have to that are some ECW Hardcore TV programs, but those aren't very well promoted. I understand that today's PG WWE probably would have a hard time advertising having such an extensive ECW catalog, but saying nothing about it to potential subscribers won't help at all. I'm sure if more people who were watching in the 90s, the wrestling boom period, knew that WWE were airing nearly all of the ECW TV catalog, you might get a few mature fans looking for classic programming from when they were the IWC.
As amazing as having every PPV available is, there's so much more on the Network. Do people realize there's more than Legends House and Tuesday in Texas before they sign up? WWE needs to work on promoting everything that is there, and not in vague terms like we've heard. Explain the Legends of Wrestling roundtable programming, the specifics of the documentaries uploaded, and the extent of the classic wrestling available. WWE is a juggernaut, but has dropped the ball on advertising everything that is available on the WWE Network.
Wow, he lost? The streak is over! And I still don't care. At least they are on the way with him being an actual heel instead of an intriguing weird gimmick.
Brie vs Stephanie
**** this angle.
I won't deny that there's been a some strong segments and decent build up, though it's not been strong 100%. The biggest problem is an obvious one: it's between 2 people that aren't draws in the ring in any way. Stephanie is a great heel character, and we have seen impressive performances from Brie and Nikki. The problem is that the twins are obvious surrogates. Stephanie and HHH have been tremendous thorns in the side of so many stars, but they've all been male. At least the interesting ones. I know we can't get male on female violence anymore, so WWE figured they'll use Daniel Bryan's wife as the aggressor. It makes sense, except that no one gives a crap about the Bellas. So why are we supposed to be invested in seeing a barely-wrestler take on a non-wrestler? Just because one of them is named McMahon does not make an angle.
Too much time has been devoted to a storyline that will never have a satisfying payoff.
Tuesday Night Titans
For August 5th edition of Tuesday Night Titans, XanMan and myself reviewed SummerSlam events pretty much year by year. XanMan considers SummerSlam to be a regularly great PPV, and prefers it over the other yearly events. I, on the other, feel it's vastly overrated. In what was planned to be a debate turned into a review of every SummerSlam ever. Due to the lengthy discussion of the biggest event of the summer, we skipped the ECW review, and moved straight to our WWE Network picks of the week.
We’re less than two weeks away from The Biggest Party of the Summer, but Randy Orton doesn’t seem to be in a celebratory mood — big surprise, we know. As the WWE Universe waits to see how Roman Reigns will respond to the SummerSlam challenge laid down by The Viper on SmackDown, what’s in store for Raw? WWE.com has some ideas.
1. ‘That’s what happens when people steal from me!’
For the very first time, we all witnessed Roman Reigns beaten into a state of utter helplessness by Randy Orton last week on Raw — an assault fueled by The Viper’s belief that Reigns cost him a WWE World Heavyweight Championship opportunity at SummerSlam the previous week.
Now that WWE COO Triple H has chosen Brock Lesnar to challenge John Cena for sports-entertainment’s most coveted prize, WWE’s Apex Predator has focused all of his energy on making the juggernaut suffer. On SmackDown, Orton dared Reigns to face him at SummerSlam — a challenge that has yet to be accepted by the powerhouse. Will we get an answer from Reigns on Raw, or has The Viper taken the fight out of one of WWE’s most indomitable Superstars?
2. Paige’s ‘friendly’ fire
No, Paige. That’s not how a trust fall works. After Divas Champion AJ Lee handily dispatched Rosa Mendes on SmackDown, the titleholder fell victim to a surprise sneak attack by her “frenemy” that sent her soaring off the stage and leaving the arena on a stretcher. According to WWE physician Dr. Chris Amann, AJ suffered whiplash as a result of the attack Paige claimed was just some good-natured horseplay.
AJ will no doubt be looking for retribution this week. With her injury at the hands of The Diva of Tomorrow, though, will she be able to attain it?
3. Dolph, interrupted
Intercontinental Champion The Miz’s “moneymaker” just gets more and more punchable as the weeks go on, doesn’t it? On SmackDown, the so-called “A-Lister” saw fit to interrupt Dolph Ziggler’s bout with Alberto Del Rio, causing a distraction that left The Showoff vulnerable to The Mexican Aristocrat’s dreaded Cross Armbreaker submission maneuver. If you’re at all familiar with the storied history between Ziggler and Del Rio, you know that loss had to sting.
But that’s in the past. Now, The Showoff is clearly in pursuit of The Awesome One’s title — a prize that has given the oh-so-Hollywood paparazzi hound a starring role on every WWE program he’s on. Will Ziggler soon steal The Miz’s spotlight?
4. Kicking into ‘Brie Mode’
Brie Bella’s back in WWE, but will she soon regret negotiating a match against Stephanie McMahon at SummerSlam? The battle-ready Bella Twin revealed in an exclusive interview on WWE.com that she has no regrets about choosing to face Stephanie on Aug. 17 in Los Angeles, affirming that she’s fighting on behalf of the family members — sister Nikki and husband Daniel Bryan — that have been tormented by The Authority over the past year.
SummerSlam marks Stephanie’s first official in-ring WWE match in more than a decade. Is the Authority matriarch worried about the encounter ahead, or is the savvy daughter of WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon about to unleash some of her family’s time-tested “Ruthless Aggression” on Brie?
5. One down, one to go?
It’s a process of elimination for Chris Jericho as he gets ready for his anticipated rematch with Bray Wyatt at SummerSlam. On SmackDown, the Fozzy frontman defeated the hulking Erick Rowan, effectively barring the sheep-masked behemoth from ringside during Y2J’s Aug. 17 clash with The Eater of Worlds. Should Y2J similarly eliminate Luke Harper from this match, Wyatt will be forced into a fair fight against Jericho — a rare scenario indeed for the calculating “Man of 1,000 Truths.” Will Jericho have the opportunity to level the playing field this week?
Live Raw Discussion
Intro - HHH
I just noticed that Raw has been regularly switching their main focus on a weekly basis in their build up to PPVs. The first Raw after Battleground was built around Brock Lesnar being HHH's pick as the #1 contender, last week was built around Brie vs Stephanie, and if this intro is anything to go by this week will be concentrating on Orton vs Reigns.
This Network shilling is further proof that WWE is losing touch with how to promote their product. If anyone who regularly watches Raw does not know that you can watch the PPVs on the Network by now, they don't have the brain capacity to download the apps or sign up online.
Reigns vs Kane – Last Man Standing
This is a good gimmick match for this secondary feud. There's no science to it, but midcard matches (though this is upper midcard, close to main event) should have gimmicks like these on TV. Kane vs Roman have had a few matches recently, so a stip feels necessary, though this isn't a big enough feud to warrant a PPV match with said gimmick. Having Reigns and Kane work under Last Man Standing rules won't hurt WWE at all for when Cena is in his next one 6 months from now. If anything, the overkill in the main event hurts the gimmick more than the rare use in the midcard.
Also, gimmicks help protect showing Roman's weaknesses as a performer.
See, Roman only had to hit his spots, let Kane handle the psychology and ring 'generalship.' This Roman push reminds me of so many previous failed throat shoving pushes we've seen over the years. I think of the rise of Randy Orton a lot these days. I haven't felt the obvious youth push like I do with Roman since Orton from 2003-2004. While Randy was still working out his charisma and character work, he was at least above average in the ring compared to most guys his age and experience. Reigns isn't close to that, and way less developed as a character. This just isn't going to work long term if the goal is the next singles star. He should be one in the mix, like how Orton is now. But won't be “the guy” the way it seems WWE is banking on.
Brock vs Cena - Promo
THAT IS A VIDEO PACKAGE!
Awesome stuff. No overkill. At least not until the cameras came back to show the announce team be a terrible shill squad. It's shit like that which will lead to people saying “**** it” to subscibing.
Looking forward to Jericho vs Harper. Give them 15 minutes, please!?
Sandow vs Henry
Nice to see Mark Henry back. I was asked on my Facebook page if Mark should join the stable of Woods, Kingston, and Big E. My answer is no, because it seems like the purpose of the stable is to give some exposure to these 3 guys, and being in the shadow of a former World Champion wouldn't do that. Maybe they could feud with him after they try to recruit him and he rejects them. And maybe they beat him into joining, which would give whoever defeats Henry a good rub while giving them some muscle. But I honestly don't know if the stable should be black performers only. It might be best to avoid any potential 'politically correctness' fiasco by just making them a group with a variety of races.
Del Rio vs Ambrose – Beat the Clock #1
A big problem with these Beat the Clock matches is that they are usually genuinely strong match ups that don't get enough time. Then again, Del Rio vs Ambrose is a rematch from last week's Main Event.
I also think that the only way they can go is letting Ambrose win the challenge. Rollins picking his own stipulation could be interesting in the sense that Dean can surmount even more odds, but it'sjust a better story if Rollins feels a bit of pressure instead.
Glad to have just watched an exception ti the standard short match rule for Beat the Clock. Good stuff.
I guess the match took place on the app. I have no problem with that.
The segment was solid. I don't think Colter is comfortable being a fan favorite on the mic. He's never been truly dependable, but he slips even more in this new role. But the message concerning the match at SummerSlam was delivered loud and clear. This is honestly one of the better feuds in WWE today. It's simple, but there's nothing over pushed or over booked. Swagger clicks very well, and I look forward to being able to cheer him on in the future.
Ziggler vs Cesaro
I hope these guys get a chance to take each other on more often with more time to show off. Right now the right man won, as Ziggler's hot streak is much more valuable than Cesaro's directionless presence on WWE TV. I wish Antonio had more to do, but Ziggler does deserve it right now, and there's no harm to Cesaro at this point.
Dust Bros vs RybAxel
I'm very interested in seeing where the tag team division is going. RybAxel seemed to be getting a push after a victory or two recently, and then hinting at a break up. Meanwhile the champions don't have any real challengers except for another fan favorite team. I still think it'll be a 3 or 4 team title defense, but without an announcement tonight I doubt it'll be involving ladders or TLC.
Jericho vs Harper
This match will possibly steal the show, though with a contract signing, Orton most likely getting some more screen time, and RVD vs Rollins, who knows how much time these 2 talents will get. I anticipate this match more than Bray vs Jericho, because Harper has been so ****ing great recently.
Lots of Junk
Rollins vs Rob Van Dam
Not much time left in the show with a contract signing still to go. My guess is Rollins flat out loses due to Ambrose interference.
I was close, and it worked out quite well. I also like how the reveal is being saved for Smackdown. There's very little being used to make people watch the Friday night show, as the matches advertised are usually of the same main event quality as...well... Main Event. While it's not as big as it used to be, it's still something.
Guesses on the gimmick? Contract is on the line.
This is ****ing horrible.
Though the CM Punk chants have never been more fitting.
I don't think the segment that ended Raw last week was the reason for the drop in the ratings, but I'm till shocked that they went with the same feud in the same slot again. I don't expect the ratings to be any better, that last hour was terrible.
And on that note, Peace out
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