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Welcome back, once again, to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING, coming to you from the Retirement Home exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been using “Excellence in Column Writing” in my columns for a while now and that’s a homage to Conservative Radio Talk Show host Rush Limbaugh… Now, I’m not here to praise his politics, as this column tries to be as neutral as it can on politics. But his radio company is called the “Excellence in Broadcasting”…
For the last 20 years, I’ve studied how the best in the Media industry has presented their arguments or columns. In addition to Rush, the styles of Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Sean Hannity, Bill Maher (“Last Word” is essentially the ending to New Rules), Peter King from Sports Illustrated (column’s look using BOLD for names), financial blogger Karl Denninger (CAPS to emphasize points, Predictions column), comedian Bill Hicks, and recently, Clay Travis. Scott Keith, who has been a wrestling columnist longer than me, has been an influence on how to present my event reviews. My opinions are 100% mine, though, as the above named individuals have an influence on presentation or swagger.
That said, I wish Rush Limbaugh the very best in his bout with advanced Lung Cancer. Like his politics or not, Rush is one of the most influential political figures of all time and his work to save AM Radio is remarkable. AM Radio, before Rush arrived and pushed his show nationwide, was a dying medium. Since Rush, thousands of new voices have taken to the AM airwaves to conduct discussions and promote free speech.
So, now you know…
On to the “Excellence in Column Writing” for the week…
What are your thoughts on the WWE’s recent financial results report?
First of all, a statement… For YEARS, I was pounding the table about how Attendance and Viewership MATTERS and I was also insisting that the WWE was too reliant on John Cena as their top draw. Everybody thumbed their nose at me as if I didn’t understand the wrestling business or couldn’t read financials. Then, during the Spring of 2018, a change in the Merchandise numbers happened… For the first time in well over a decade, John Cena lost his spot as the #1 merchandise seller. Roman Reigns, after years of hard pushing, finally obtained that spot… BUT, that wasn’t because Roman’s numbers were increasing at a faster pace. Nope, John Cena’s numbers were declining as he was no longer a full-time wrestler. Since 2018, too, Merchandise numbers have declined.
Investors have FINALLY figured that out, too, during 2019 that Attendance, Viewership, and Merchandise numbers are measures of DEMAND on how much the WWE product can grow. If you look at WWE’s 2019 Financials, all 3 of those pegs are down heavily while the Television Deals with FOX/Comcast are offsetting those declines. The Saudi deal, too… If the WWE were to stop hosting 2 shows in Saudi Arabia annually, it could be a big financial disaster for them. That’s $50 million no longer on their books. How do they explain that?
Lately, the WWE is considering the reduction of Houseshows due to poor attendance. Didn’t a wiseman once suggest that during 2019? Oh yeah, I wrote a column on that last year.
Luckily for the WWE, they have desperate Television Channels for content and a Country wanting to improve their image on the world stage. In 4 years, though, will those television deals increase and will Saudi still be willing to pay $25 million per show? That’s what an investor looks at, long-term, with the WWE. Additionally, Vince McMahon isn’t getting any younger and it about to endure STRESS from losing tons of money on this XFL operation. And he just fired his 2 co-persidents who were also Board members of his company who heavily helped him operate the WWE Corporation.
Here are some financial highlights, and I’m reading them directly from WWE’s own 10-K Report which is their required annual reporting. 10-K is year end, 10-Q are quarterly reports.
– Net Revenues are UP for the WWE by just over $30 million. That’s good… And 2019 only saw about 4 months of the new Television Deals along with the addition of NXT on the USA Networks paying them more television money, too. Devil is in the details, though…
– Media revenues are up by about $60 Million versus last year. Television Deals matter for the WWE.
– Live Event revenues are DOWN by almost $20 Million. If you look deeper into the numbers, the WWE’s attendance is down but their average ticket price has increased. In the past, the WWE could just raise prices and the loyal fanbase would offset any declines in attendance. I believe that the WWE has found the “elastic” price point where fans are negatively reacting to the higher prices. I wouldn’t pay $64 to attend a WWE event now, even if the seats were great and close to the ring. Keep in mind, too, that the WWE had many “buy one, get one free/half off” sales for the past year.
– Consumer Products (merchandise) are DOWN by just over $10 Million. Venue sold merchandise, tied to the Live Events numbers is down, and also the WWE Shopzone online sales. I don’t know about you, but I’m bombarded with Shopzone emails in my inbox daily on sales of WWE merchandise.
– On the expense side, WWE has been cutting expenses on both Live Events and Consumer Products… That’s good. However, their television production costs and WWE Network costs are increasing. Not good.
– WWE Network subscriber counts are down 9% at year-end and 6% on average. The WWE Network needs more subscribers to boost the revenue to offset the rising costs to sustain that network. See why Vince is reconsidering that model?
So again – The Television Deals hold the WWE’s trump cards and are the keys to this promotion’s survival if they cannot boost Attendance or Merchandise sales. Period. And THAT is why I keep saying that Ratings and Viewership matters. Let’s just assume that the WWE gets under 2 million viewers by 2023 when negotiations on the next television deal begin. Chances are that USA Network has fewer subscribers with more cord cutting. WWE better develop a stronger relationship with FOX to ensure their survival and I’ll cover HOW that can happen in a later question today in this very column!
What do you think about the Bill Goldberg vs. Bray Wyatt match-up?
It’s a unique, first time match-up… Why not? BUT, the real question is whether or not WWE is serious about making the Fiend stronger for Wrestlemania or if this becomes a “hail mary” to possibly sell Wrestlemania as a big deal with another match-up. Bill Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns unites two different eras of wrestling fans.
In my opinion, the in-ring abilities of Bray Wyatt haven’t been the same as the past with this “Fiend” character. His matches with Seth Rollins were awful and Daniel Bryan was clearly bumping around for him like a champ. When he debuted the Fiend character, he appeared in better physical shape than he is now… Part of wrestling is not just improving your character but making the character look great in the ring. One an only imagine how much WCW would be during 1996-1998 if only Hulk Hogan delivered better in the main events of Pay Per Views. Some of those Hogan high profile matches back then completely undelivered.
Question is whether or not Bill Goldberg is there to put over talent who weren’t wrestling with him through 2003-2004. It’s easy to put over the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar for him, but today’s full time roster talent? He’s undefeated against those guys (Owens, Ziggler, right?). Sure, he’ll take a few million to do whatever the WWE wants in Saudi, but Bill has a ton of personal pride, too. Goldberg actually has real leverage with the WWE because their viewership & attendance is declining and Bill has proven that during the short-term, he can boost both by convincing a few older WCW fans to watch again.
Vince McMahon does want Fiend vs. Roman Reigns to happen and reportedly wanted that to headline Wrestlemania 36… But I can only imagine that Bill Goldberg vs. Fiend could be appealing too. Then again, Goldberg vs. Fiend vs. Roman Reigns is also an option as you can get a longer match out of Goldberg with an extra wrestler to bump around. Wouldn’t surprise me either way.
If I were Bray Wyatt, I would do everything in my power to maximize this opportunity against Bill Goldberg and somehow get a great match out of him. If he can convince today’s wrestling fans that a 50+ year old Bill Goldberg still looks viable in the WWE, he’ll win over Vince McMahon and other management backstage. In my opinion, the stock of Brock Lesnar increased significantly because he helped improve the brand of Bill Goldberg during their Survivor Series to Wrestlemania feud. That Wrestlemania match was excellent and made Bill Goldberg look like a bigger star than ever within the WWE.
Who should John Cena wrestle at Wrestlemania 36?
He deserves a Legends type of match… I’ve always said that the BIGGEST Dream Match ever would be Steve Austin vs. John Cena. That places the King of the Attitude Era versus the King of the Ruthless Aggression/PG Era.
I’d want to see a redo of Undertaker vs. John Cena. To me, their match was severely underwhelming just a few years ago.
I’ve seen some people suggest that Hulk Hogan wants 1 more Wrestlemania match and one against Cena would be entertaining, at least. Given Hogan’s age and injury history, I just don’t see a WWE Corporation be willing to take on the liability of Hogan wrestling out there.
Knowing John, he’ll want to wrestle a younger wrestler and put them over like he always has… I’d be amused if John decided to challenge Matt Riddle and put on an epic match with the guy to kind of show up the rest of the roster. Wouldn’t surprise me. Looking up and down the WWE roster, I just don’t see anyone who is a good fit for a John Cena match let alone defeating him. Maybe Braun Strowman vs. John Cena? I just don’t know.
But anytime John Cena wants to participate at Wrestlemania, the WWE should listen and find a match for him. Period.
What were your thoughts on Cody and MJF’s segment this week on AEW Dynamite?
I enjoyed it. I have almost ZERO complaints about any of Cody’s AEW work other than he should be their company’s World Champion and should win more often. Other than that? His storylines, promos, and matches are top notch and are carrying the AEW promotion along with MJF, Chris Jericho, and an occasional good Tag Match filled with chaos. Surprise, Cody Rhodes with an influence of one of the best bookers ever, Dusty Rhodes, and a great worker in his brother, Dustin Rhodes, is doing well in AEW. Cody has been great on his own since his WWE release. Say what you will, but the WWE ecosystem help shape him into a solid performer and now he’s using all of his wrestling knowledge inserted into him by his dad and brother to look great in AEW.
It’s a shame that most of the AEW roster, however, doesn’t have Cody’s unique experience and wisdom.
MJF is their best young talent and if I were AEW, I’d be very aware of his contract status. WWE will go after that man, for sure. Funny thing about MJF is that he’s super young yet seems to perform like a veteran with decades of training. He has the dedication and ability to learn that many others in AEW or elsewhere don’t. From all that I’ve heard on MJF, he actually watches a ton of older wrestlers to learn from the greats did and applies that to his character. That’s amazing. Both Cody and MJF are doing great because they actually understand what worked and didn’t work in the past. Cody took those belt shots like a man because he knows that wrestling needs REALISM right now and that’s what oldschool NWA consistently brought to the table under his dad Dusty.
So yeah, I enjoyed the Cody & MJF segment. More of that please…
If I were in charge of AEW, I’d retain Cody as an EVP and then demote the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. Then, I’d promote Jim Ross and Chris Jericho as EVPs as well and rely more on road agent veterans for assistance with booking. Bucks and Omega have ruined the early goings of AEW with the poor choices of talents signed and then the awful booking of the midcard. Women’s division is seriously unwatchable, tag wrestling often lacks psychology and structure, while many on the roster just aren’t easily believed as real wrestlers or tough guys.
Kenny Omega goes from a “6 Star Guy” in New Japan to struggling to have good matches in AEW when he’s booking himself. Who is to blame for that? New Japan’s booking hides weaknesses of talents and showcases strengths. Just about anybody looks great wrestling Okada or Chris Jericho, too. Goes to show you the VALUE of a good booker. Coming full circle on the question, Cody Rhodes is proving to be a good booker on his personal angles and thus why his segments are the most enjoyed by wrestling fans right now from AEW. If only Cody had more of an influence backstage compared to Omega/Bucks, AEW might be in better shape right now. Too many cooks in the kitchen and it makes AEW look way too inconsistent.
Are you excited for Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte at Wrestlemania 36?
Could it be a good match? Of course… Will fans love it? Nope… Until NXT can deliver more than half of WWE RAW or Smackdown’s viewership on their Wednesday Night Prime Time show on USA Networks, everyone from NXT needs to “stay in their lane”. You’re the minor league of the WWE and your drawing power shows.
I want to stress again… I love NXT and it’s my favorite wrestling brand of the whole bunch. HOWEVER, what they lack is any “larger than life” aspect of any of their characters. Rhea Ripley appears that way in NXT because they wrestle in front of a smaller audience and she’s working with smaller performers there… Place here against an athlete like Charlotte Flair, however, and she actually looks smaller. Ripley’s few appearances with the WWE just didn’t translate well and much of those WWE crowds were like “who?”. NXT draws, what, 700,000 viewers at most now? Their houseshow circuit hasn’t done all that well, either. Takeovers do OK, but they apply the simple principle of “Less is More” and usually, the match quality of Takeovers is strong enough to be a draw on its own. Rest of NXT, from its television show on USA Network to their houseshows aren’t drawing.
Having them become entrants in the Royal Rumble is one thing… That’s fine. But Charlotte’s Royal Rumble victory should NOT have her challenging for a Minor League Championship. Makes zero sense and devalues the Rumble match victory in many fans’ eyes. RAW does just over 2 million and NXT does 700,000. So only 1/3 of your fanbase are aware of NXT’s shows and its wrestlers? Math doesn’t make sense.
PROBLEM is that Charlotte has already exhausted all of her potential match-ups in the WWE against the other Women. That is something that needs fixed, in the first place… When you are trading Title wins back and forth with Sasha Banks on RAW and Pay Per Views, it devalues any future match-ups that Charlotte could have with Sasha Banks. Charlotte and Becky have had many, many matches already… Nothing would feel special about them wrestling again. The rest of the women’s roster feels too similiar in draws or abilities.
If you’re going the NXT route, I’d go for a Triple Threat match instead… I’m a bigger fan of Bianca Belair than Ripley. Belair was AWESOME in the 2020 Rumble Match and she has the swagger already built in to possibly get over in the WWE. She is legitimately tough, too, without even announcing it. Ripley is selling toughness with her look and attempted acting, but Belair is just a stud as an athlete. Charlotte vs. Belair vs. Ripley could be highly entertaining.
Hey, that’s the second Triple Threat match that I’ve suggested for Wrestlemania. What am I booking, Wrestlemania 16 here?
Should Vince McMahon place larger WWE events on Network Television?
Absolutely, yes! The problem with the WWE Network is its profit margin. As you can see with the numbers, the subscription base has hit a peak at around 2 million at best. If you cannot increase your subscription base, your solution is either of the following: (a) raise prices or (b) lower costs. Part (b) is more difficult because reducing bandwidth and paying broadband providers is easier said than done. Part (a) is difficult because it depends on the elasticity (economic term for responsiveness to a price change) of the WWE Network consumers. If $9.99 was so cheap with Wrestlemania/Rumble/SummerSlam included, then why isn’t the subscription base growing at a faster pace?
WWE could make an absolute KILLING with Wrestlemania on the FOX Network. FOX would love to give the WWE 4 hours on a random April Sunday Night and it could be pushed as a serious sporting event. I bet that more advertisers would be willing to sponsor Wrestlemania than weekly RAW/Smackdown events. Just have commercial breaks between matches and maybe have individual sponsors sponsoring separate matches. Simiple as that.
I believe that you can move Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, and SummerSlam to the main networks and after 1 week, place their replays on the WWE Network for repeat viewings. If the WWE did that, they wouldn’t see a runoff on subscribers because eventually, they could enjoy repeat viewings of Wrestlemania on the Network along with the other Pay Per Views.
Royal Rumble, in my opinion, would do great on FOX or Comcast’s channels. The Rumble match feels like a real sports competition and could attract many non-wrestling fans.
I wouldn’t return to Pay Per View, if I were Vince. Because of the reduced quality of the WWE, I don’t believe he can convince wrestling fans to pay $44.99 and above on WWE single events again. However, I believe he can convince wrestling fans to tune into FREE FOX television for Wrestlemania and endure Advertisements instead.
Reportedly, this was the disagreement that the 2 co-presidents had with Vince McMahon as both were very high on keeping the WWE Network in tact while Vince has had regrets. If FOX or other Comcast channels (NBC & USA Network) are options instead of Pay Per Views, then I agree with Vince.
And now, my final rant and I’m sure that it will piss off many… But it needs to be said.
THE LAST WORD
Can loyal and dedicated All Elite Wrestling fans stop insisting that any wrestling fans who remotely dislike AEW are just repeating Jim Cornette‘s lines?
Seriously… Anytime I DARE to criticize AEW for anything, even if it’s a completely unique criticism of that promotion, I receive “you’re just repeating Cornette” comments. Huh? If you look on any AEW Message Board or Social Media posts, the militant AEW fans are constantly attacking any “hater” of AEW with that exact criticism. “Oh, it’s another Cult of Cornette member” as if longtime wrestling fans cannot think for themselves.
First of all, that’s the EASY way out for AEW fans to avoid any debate and to deflect criticisms of their product. It’s much like in politics when everybody is somehow forced to take a side between Republicans and Democrats or Conservatives or Liberals. Even if you share views with both sides and take a more Moderate point of view, you’re somehow placed in one of the groups based on 1 view. And if you belong to any of those groups, you’ll get blamed for any bad behavior of those entire groups as Bill Maher always suggests. For example, in my intro, I was suggesting that I used the swagger and presentation from Rush Limbaugh… But do I endorse everything that he has said? Do I endorse him mocking Michael J Fox or other controversial comments that got him in real trouble? Of course not… He has always been too protective of George W. Bush and Donald Trump for my liking. However, I can appreciate Rush for his radio talents, influence, and how he saved AM Radio. But by even remotely praising Rush, I risk pissing off many readers…
I have MANY columns that you can read that either praises or criticizes All Elite Wrestling that you can read for yourself. The takes are mine and mine alone… I don’t need Jim Cornette to write my columns. For instance, I actually gave AEW Double or Nothing an “A+” grade and heavily praised the show. Granted, I didn’t see the Battle Royal to determine the #1 contender on the pre-show… And when I did, GOOD GOD… Everyone online was critical of that Battle Royal.
And if you’ve read my columns for YEARS, as many have… You’ll see that (a) I was never that impressed with Kenny Omega and (b) I struggled to ever get into Ring of Honor. After the first big Wrestle Kingdom match-up between between Okada and Omega, I first heard from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Obserer Newsletter praising it as an all time great match and even giving it 6 stars on a 5-star scale. Wow… That’s coming from a guy who did not give the WWE a single 5-star rating on matches from Wrestlemania 13 from 1997 (Austin vs. Bret) to Money in the Bank 2011 (Cena vs. Punk). Then, much of the Internet Wrestling Community hopped on that bandwagon. So, I checked the match out… Great, yes… But all-time great? Eh… It was certainly an impressive athletic ballet of 2 guys executing as many moves as they possibly can and a testament to great conditioning… But when you hit finisher move after finisher move that would end most normal matches and the guys weren’t selling much wear & tear, that is HARDLY on the level of Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat who sold the pain and desperation of their matches.
Outside of that New Japan ecosystem, where are those quality Kenny Omega matches? And Wrestle Kingdom without him is still drawing… Care to debate those points? With him as an EVP, he is reportedly in charge of some of the talent recruitment, the Women’s Division, and his own character. How has that worked out in AEW? Not very impressive.
I have watched Ring of Honor for many years, as it airs late on Saturday and Sunday Nights on various Sinclair channels. I have watched many, many Young Bucks matches from ROH… I was never that impressed with their matches. Same issue that I have with Omega… They hit many finisher like moves that should finish most matches but they are transitional moves instead. How can Shawn Michaels deliver 1 Superkick to finish an opponent yet the Bucks’ Double Superkick never beats anyone? The Bucks are great athletes and can execute any tag move possible, but being a great athlete is just part of pro wrestling. You need to SELL MOVES and present a REASON for specific moves to happen in the ring. The art of selling is a completely lost cause for wrestling as is psychology of your characters. My worries about the Revival joining AEW are that they’ll resort to the Bucks style instead of what made the Revival great in AEW with their heel psychology. Seriously, being compared to Arn and Tully is quite a compliment.
The Bucks and Omega, however, like to have fun in the ring at the expense of psychology and trying to sell it as a legitimate sporting event. What made Omega great in New Japan is that he took his character seriously there along with his in-ring matches. THAT made him a serious Free Agent during 2019 that had great offers from the WWE and AEW. WWE threw lots of money at him and AEW had to make a management offer of becoming an Executive Vice President to obtain him. THAT was based on his serious work with New Japan… But if you watch his work prior to New Japan, like the match against a 9 year old girl, it’s off-the-rails and doesn’t make the wrestling business look good. Omega and the Bucks without a filter like to have their own personal fun inside the ring with comedy or other nonsense that presents wrestling in a less-than-serious light. The talent hires that they’ve made share those values… Hence, the AEW midcard that you see.
And I’ve been a critic of the Indy scene for a while with how reckless some of it has been, as many have taken the violent style of ECW to the extreme (no pun intended). I remember attending one Indy event where thumbtacks, barbed wire, lightbulbs, and lots of blood happened and wondered how the Indy wrestlers couldn’t (a) sue the promoter for injury or (b) sue the venue for allowing this kind of contest to happen. A few fans were hit by debris and that could have resulted in another injury. I used to talk to a few Indy wrestlers during the mid 2000s who were “weekend warrior” types who worked shows for fun on the weekends while they worked everyday jobs during the week. They expressed how bad their necks and backs were hurting by working this more violent in-ring style of wrestling.
I have consistency in my opinions and I don’t need Jim Cornette forming them for me.
Most fans are the same exact way.
Why else would AEW Dynamite struggle to get 900,000 viewers each week on a TNT Network that is available in almost 90 million homes?
Think about that for a second… The Internet Wrestling Community thought that Vince Russo and TNA were complete failures for consistently getting between 1 and 2 million viewers on SpikeTV on the heavily competitive Thursday Nights. Yet, we’ve LOWERED THE BAR SO MUCH during 2019-2020 that we’re accepting 900,000 viewers on the more widely available TNT network as a “success”? Huh?
NXT is a “failure” because they can barely get 700,000 viewers… But AEW is a “success” for getting 200,000 more viewers than them per week?
AEW is playing for smaller arenas than the WWE and yet AEW is beginning to tarp off upper levels of those smaller arenas and pushing everyone to the Camera Side of the arena. Surely, old Jim Cornette and the many fans repeating his criticisms aren’t driving that many fans away? Right?
Or maybe AEW’s business model is WRONG?
Sorry, but Tony Khan is the wrong guy to have in charge of your wrestling business as AEW’s President. He is the modern day Dixie Carter who was also put in charge of a wrestling promotion when her Dad bought TNA. Many DARE to compare Khan to Vince McMahon, as Vince joined his Dad’s WWWF business… But Vince joined the WWWF during 1969 and worked in various different roles to prove himself to Vince Sr. for over 10 years. It wasn’t until 1982 that Vince bought the WWF from his father. Tony Khan NEVER worked in the pro wrestling industry and he didn’t exactly buy AEW from his Dad.
Because Tony’s dad bought the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tony obtained a job there… How have the Jags performed, by the way? Just asking for a friend. Things were a disaster at first for the Khans in Jacksonville until Tom Coughlin was hired for their front office to clean things up. Doesn’t seem like their soccer club, which Tony also has a role in managing, is doing that well either.
But again, ZERO wrestling promotion experience for Tony Khan… And you combine that with hiring 4 active wrestlers to be your direct reports as Executive Vice Presidents, the recipe for disaster is in front of you.
Many AEW performers jokingly call Tony as a “Money Mark” and Tony was called that the Tony Shiavone party/roast. It reportedly upset Tony that he left the party early. This was the same party where AEW announcer Excalibur and wrestler Jimmy Havoc got into a brawl.
Tony is a Social Media user on Twitter and uses his own account freely… Compare that to Vince McMahon who uses his account LIKE A REAL COMPANY PRESIDENT to professionally promote his WWE brand. For instance, he mocked the WWE for the apparent Airplane issues following the last Saudi event and then gets into a public argument with Randy Orton where personal things were said. MIND YOU, Tony was just in a phase where he was negotiating a contract with Orton to join AEW. If Orton was such a bad guy, then why did you try to sign him to join AEW? Doesn’t make sense… But Tony’s Tweets paint him more like a teenager full of emotions rather than a business professional.
Is that what you want running your wrestling company? Dixie Carter 2.0.
And again, I can articulate this WITHOUT Jim Cornette holding my hand…
AEW fans are using Jim Cornette as a COP OUT… With the WWE’s decline, many wrestling fans WANT AEW to succeed because we need competition badly. With the industry lacking millionaires who actually want to invest money into wrestling, AEW might be our last true shot at finding a competitor to challenge the WWE. So far, aside from Cody/Jericho/MJF and an occasional good match that comes out of no where… It has been disappointing. And yet all diehard AEW fans can do is (a) claim that critics are just repeating Jim Cornette or (b) only criticize Jim Ross for not pronouncing wrestler names or moves correctly. THAT IS ALL THAT YOU HAVE, AEW MARKS!!!
If anything, AEW fans should begin to BEG AEW’s management team to consider adding Jim Cornette to their management team. Cornette has worked for Midsouth, World Class, Memphis, NWA/WCW, WWE, TNA, and Ring of Honor. He ran his own promotions on shoestring budgets with Smokey Mountain Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling. While one can criticize the longevity of those promotions, Cornette meant for them to be local territories and NOBODY can deny the amazing talent groomed from those territories. The WWE is still reliant on talents like Kane, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Batista, and others from Cornette’s local territories to this very day! And the WWE has been unable to replicate Cornette’s talent development from OVW, as they have NOT created any top drawing stars from FCW/NXT.
Sure, he has an anger issue… But what is Jim Cornette’s recent anger about? He sees how Pro Wrestling is fundamentally changing for the WORSE. It is a FACT that since 2000, viewership has significantly declined (over 6 million to just over 2 million). Attendance is down across the board, hardly any sellouts and things are getting worse. Merchandise doesnt sell like it used to. As a guy who developed talents and has an amazing track record, he is a legitimate critic of wrestling talent. When he criticizes how Tag Team wrestling has lost its way with psychology and rules of the match, wrestlers should listen. When he criticizes a wrestler for NOT using psychology inside the ring or cutting a bad promo, wrestlers should listen. When Cornette presents a better booking idea to help better establish heels and faces, promotions should listen.
Cornette has credibility to speak intelligently on the pro wrestling business… Tony Khan should tune into the Drive-Thru and Experience weekly to learn something. You know, because Khan has ZERO experience running a wrestling operation. Cornette has tons, just as announcer/advisor Jim Ross does as well. Yet, Jim Ross’s opinion on how to operate things isn’t sought as Ross has mentioned on his own Podcast.
Many wrestling fans LOVED the WWE Hulkamania/NWA/WCW late 1980’s era as well as the Monday Night Wars/Attitude Era. Those were the best times in the history of pro wrestling for domestic houses drawn, match quality, viewership, merchandise sold, and other metrics. Expectations are HIGH for not just AEW to fulfill, but the WWE as well. When AEW has a real shot at becoming a competitor, especially after obtaining a Wednesday Night PRIME TIME slot on the popular TNT Network, expectations should be high. Yet, the quality of the product can be, at times, very low. There will be overlap with opinions between Cornette and long-time wrestling fans who are wishing that AEW would have the same values and presentation of wrestling like NWA/WCW, WWE, or other promotions who operated at a peak level… When AEW advertises that a young Tony Khan and 4 wrestlers are in charge, it becomes obvious to many wrestling fans what is going wrong.
Now – If you are an AEW Critic who calls Kenny Omega as “Kenny Olivier”, Joey Janella as “Jelly Nutella”, Orange Cassidy as “My Dog Pockets”, or make any mention of the AEW’s Women’s Division as being full of “Japanese School Girls”… Then yes, critics are directly copying Jim Cornette.
But if you can easily articulate the struggles of AEW, as I just have in this column and many columns and then present FACTS of lower television viewership (900,000 at best) and lower attendance already (smaller arenas being tarped)… That is how you can criticize and let your opinions speak for themselves. Let the diehard AEW fans dare to say that I’m “copying Jim Cornette”… And I’ll reply “look at my many columns and the opinions that we DON’T share”. How about that?
AEW fans need to stop labeling wrestling fans who refuse to join their club (or something like a political party).
You should look in the mirror instead AND then demand better from Tony Khan & his EVPs to improve their wrestling product. Don’t just willingly accept them as an alternative to the WWE without demanding quality from them.
FACTS speak for themselves… As I’ve told ALL OF YOU for the past decade. VIEWERSHIP and ATTENDANCE MATTER!
You need butts in Seats or butts on couches in front of televisions to sell the wrestling business. If your product SUCKS, you’ll lose both. If your product is GOOD, you’ll gain more of those and then multiplier effects like more merchandise sold happens.
WWE hasn’t been able to replicate the Attitude Era and they cannot replace John Cena as a top drawing babyface. Hence why Viewership has gone from over 4 million viewers during early 2015 for RAW to just above 2 million through 2020. WWE used to make money on Houseshows and used to show the entire arena for their television shows. Now, they are losing money on Houseshows and are hiding half-empty arenas on television. Merchandise numbers are starting to really fall.
AEW debuted with sellouts in arenas and over 1 million viewers. Now, being just above 900,000 is a celebration and their smaller arenas are getting tarped off with fans being pushed on the camera side as well. TNA and ROH are struggling too recently with attendance and viewership.
LACK OF QUALITY does not draw…
But hey, what do I know as a 30+ year fan of pro wrestling and covering it on LordsofPain.net for 20+ years? I have 20 years of MY OWN OPINIONS for you to read and take it to the bank. While many wrestling and non-wrestling folks have helped shape the swagger and presentation of my column, they have NOT shaped my opinions. Those are 100% my own and I don’t need to repeat anyone else’s talking points.
So again, AEW fans… Unless someone is directly using Cornette’s funny names for AEW performers, quit trying to find a convenient label for people who disagree with you. Maybe start to ask yourself WHY they are critical of AEW and WHY AEW’s Viewership & Attendance has dropped since their debut.
Stop deflecting criticism and start accepting reality.
So just chill… Until the next episode!
I recently appeared on the Tommy McDougall Podcast which you can listen to by CLICKING HERE.
Play my Super Mario Maker 2 courses on the Nintendo Switch:
Die Hard (themed after the Bruce Willis Film): 2YH-48W-HMG
Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time Wrong Warp: 2RX-QCV-N9G
Super Link Bros: HBD-H5C-QRF
Santa Bowser Came Early: GL8-F48-3XG
Super Wrestling Bros: 0H6-9HT-S5G
WWE Royal Rumble: SDH-JC2-HFG
WWE Elimination Chamber: P3B-5DJ-91G
WCW World War 3: BT4-W1Y-HRG
Extreme Championship Wrestling: 42J-4GT-W3G
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