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Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING that is exclusively presented here to you at LordsofPain.net and no where else. I am LAUGHING at how wrestling fans are complaining about paying $39.99 price tag for viewing the ALL IN event via streaming. For one, if you already love most of the wrestlers on the show, you probably have New Japan’s streaming service and it is airing there… But if you don’t, why are you complaining? If you really like something and want to support it, why not invest in it?
You’re the same fans who paid $44.99 to watch REGULAR WWE Pay Per Views that happened per month and for a brief period of time, 2 WWE brand specific Pay Per Views per month before the WWE Network arrived during February 2014. Secondly, everyone complains about the “WWE Monopoly” and how there is “no competition”. Well, competition cannot happen overnight. Unless you have Ted Turner and Time Warner corporate money funneling money into your operation, you need help. And yes, I’m aware that Ring of Honor is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting but until recently with the Madison Square Garden show, Sinclair has been very “hands off” with the promotion. All In was pushed by Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks and it not technically a Ring of Honor sponsored show.
How else could Cody and the Young Bucks have a second “All In” show unless they have capital? Tickets need to be sold, merchandise needs to be bought, and $39.99 needs to be gladly put down to stream shows. All In isn’t happening for free, remember… They have to rent that arena in Chicago, pay the wrestlers performing, have liability insurance (ask any Indy promoter about that!), and have to pay for the Streaming service. More than HALF of that $39.99 pricetag is likely to go to the streaming vendor, much like more than HALF of WWE’s Pay Per View money went to Comcast/DirecTV/Dish (one of the reasons for creating the WWE Network). The “All In” folks are just starting and they lack the “economies of scale” to start up their own Streaming network.
If you like something, INVEST in it.
Here is a crazy example… I’m a big Nintendo fan, dating back to when I was a kid. Every time that I tried to take a break from it, newer games come out to bring me back in. I’m a big fan of Zelda, Mario, Mario Kart, and other Nintendo First Party games. Because I’m a fan of their First Party games, I put extra money into their products to not only keep those games coming, but I’m trying to help them with Third Party games as well. Normally, I wouldn’t buy WWE 2K18 as newer wrestling games bore me with too many additional features (Wrestlemania 2000 for the N64 remains the most perfect wrestling game, in my eyes). HOWEVER, I was trying to help pad Nintendo’s Third Party numbers so that the company behind 2KSports might consider placing games like Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto 5 on the system. Did the same with buying FIFA 18 last year from EA Sports in order to hopefully get the NHL game on the system. I love Rocket League so much and am constantly buying DLC upgrades through Nintendo’s eShop to invest in both Nintendo and the company who makes Rocket League.
Do you see what I mean?
The reason I boycotted the WWE Network from its start during February 2014 through June 2015 is because I was speaking to the WWE, with my dollars, as a consumer. The reason I may walk away from it all, including cancelling my WWE Network subscription, is that I dislike the WWE product so much lately that I want to send them a message financially. Sure, I’m one guy… But that matters to me. If their product was still good and if they had a Main Event scene that I could believe it, I wouldn’t walk away. That simple.
Do you not believe that the ALL IN folks aren’t worth your $39.99?
Believe me, Cody, Young Bucks, etc. are going to WORK HARD to please you as a wrestling customer. They have ONE SHOT and putting on a bad show would cease all momentum. So not only are you potentially getting a GREAT SHOW, you’ll be investing in a group to put on MORE great shows in the future.
Isn’t that what you want?
Don’t you want competition to the “lame” WWE?
Don’t you want your favorite wrestlers to have multiple financial options to work?
Remember how much fun those Free Agent splashes used to be?
Wouldn’t it be great that if more misused wrestlers like Cody Rhodes (guys like Cesaro) and many others on the existing WWE roster had an option? At the very least, they could get paid more but the competition would challenge the WWE to become BETTER.
MAKE THE INVESTMENT.
Now, that said… I won’t be making the investment. I’m leaving soon and I’ve spent 30 years making the investment. I even tried to give WWE multiple chances this year to impress me with my attending of a LIVE Smackdown TV event during March and then the Extreme Rules Pay Per View. I’d argue that I’ve also invested too much of my personal time into pro wrestling… I’ve been there, I’ve done that. If you expect to be a pro wrestling fan beyond October 2018, then it is up to you to “make pro wrestling great again”.
Even though I won’t be viewing ALL IN, I wish Cody Rhodes, Young Bucks, and the rest of the cast LUCK on a successful show and then momentum that follows. Maybe in a few years if they legitimately change the landscape of pro wrestling, who knows, it might bring me back as a fan.
You never know…
ROMAN REIGNS vs. BRAUN STROWMAN – HELL IN A CELL
But what I do know is that I’m baffled by WWE’s recent booking of WWE Hell in a Cell, specifically Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman. It is pretty obvious that in terms of the WWE’s current landscape of full-time wrestlers, Roman Reigns is considered the #1 top guy and Braun Strowman is clearly #2.
So why is this not headlining Wrestlemania?
Yes, I’m well aware that Wrestlemania is about 8 months away and there are, well 7 Pay Per Views and over 32 RAW episodes to fill for matches.
But what exactly are you going to do for Wrestlemania? Roman Reigns versus a part-time returning wrestler? Brock Lesnar again? The Rock? Bill Goldberg? Ehhhh…
See, this is where my argument of poor management by the WWE Creative Team regarding the Tag Team Division and Intercontinental/United States titles comes into play. In the past, BOTH title divisions acted as a built-in farm system. Once the wrestlers drew as midcard champions, it would help convince WWE management to promote those wrestlers as Main Eventers. The proof is in the pudding… “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Triple H, the Rock, Edge, Christian, Randy Orton, Bautista, and others have either came from the Tag Division first and/or drew as Midcard champions. Meanwhile, when you have a strong Title scenario for your midcarders, it complements your existing Main Event scene to allow the WWE to be a stronger draw. Hulkamania Era had a STRONG Tag Title and Intercontinental Title division. Ditto for Attitude Era. Funny how things went “straight to hell” during 2001 when titles no longer mattered and haven’t mattered since (WWE deleted the Intercontinental Title shortly thereafter).
My point is that there is NOBODY waiting in the wings behind Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns to act as Roman Reigns opponents for the next 8 months. Who will Roman face? Finn Balor? Been there, done that. Seth Rollins? Maybe, but only for a month. Dean Ambrose? Maybe, but only for a month. Dolph Ziggler? Yeah right, damaged goods from years of bad creative. Drew McIntyre? Guy couldn’t draw as champ in NXT, hence why he is Dolph’s flunky in WWE. Bobby Lashley? Been there, done that. Baron Corbin? His personality is improving, but the in-ring ability remains dull and bland (great finisher, though). I could buy into Corbin as a heel opponent, especially if Stephanie McMahon is fully backing him.
Who? Who? Anyone on the Smackdown roster for Roman to wrestle in the next 8 months? Ehhhhh… He has already wrestled and defeated AJ Styles and Samoa Joe.
See what we’re running into? Your Main Roster developmental system (Tag Teams & Midcard Titles) is poor and you’ve slaughtered most NXT call-ups.
If only NXT had a redhot HEEL right now… Oh wait, they do…
Let’s get back on point with Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns.
It is a complete “NO WIN SCENARIO” for the WWE. Any outcome is sure to disappoint fans, as Roman is still a new champion and we’ve waited for years for him to get the title again. Meanwhile, it doesn’t put Braun Strowman in the best situation to succeed as champion.
(a) Roman Reigns wins and thus your #2 guy has been damaged because the WWE didn’t save this match for a bigger event.
(b) Roman Reigns wins but in a controversial fashion. How does that make your new Champion look? Kind of weak after finally slaying Brock Lesnar.
(c) Braun Strowman becomes champion and it completely discards Roman Reigns as World Champ. “Back to the drawing board” again for the WWE, as it admits their ongoing creative problems regarding Roman and his ability to draw.
(d) Braun Strowman wins in controversial fashion. So you have pushed Braun as an unstoppable machine but he has to resort to cheating to win?
(e) No contest, double countout, etc. That will piss off fans for not having a definitive result and greatly upset those live in attendance and watching at home.
NO WIN SCENARIO.
I still don’t understand Braun Strowman‘s teaming with 2 known heels, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. WWE spent most of its capital for the past year to make Braun appear “kid friendly”, even having him tag up with a CHILD to win the RAW Tag Titles at Wrestlemania 34 (see my point about discarding the Tag Division earlier?). Meanwhile, it appeared as Roman and the Shield acted like heels when they prevented Braun to not cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase 2 weeks ago on RAW. Seems like someone backstage panicked at the reaction to the Shield reunion and decided to creatively do a move on Braun Strowman to make him heelish. What, were Finn Balor and Bobby Lashley not around? With Erick Rowan now out with a torn bicep, wouldn’t a better move be to have Shield vs. Wyatt Family by having Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt join him instead? (Yes, Dave, I knew that it was your idea first).
It just looks bad to have Braun team up with Dolph and Drew although this teaming will likely result in Braun Strowman vs. Drew McIntyre “big man” feud.
But still… Why waste Roman vs. Braun at a Pay Per View just to give us that match-up?
Just doesn’t make sense… And that’s why you think about saying “hell with this” in a few months.
BELLA TWINS – GO AWAY!
For years, I was a proponent of the Bella Twins. While most were bashing them, I was more optimistic because the Women’s Division in the WWE from 2013 to 2015 was a DUMPSTER FIRE. WWE poorly used AJ Lee and I just never bought into Paige… Bellas have some personality but the Women’s Division depth just wasn’t there. Didn’t help that they were placed in awful storylines like feuding with each other or the Stephanie McMahon storyline. I gave the Bellas the “benefit of the doubt” then.
Since mid 2015, the NXT developmental promotion has replenished the WWE roster with many women’s performers that can actually sustain 2 divisions on both RAW and Smackdown brands. In my opinion, the Bellas were a nice transition from the REALLY awful era of Women’s wrestling from late 2000s and early 2010s to 2015 when the NXT call-ups really began infiltrating the WWE roster.
But since mid-2015, your talent hasn’t improved in comparison to those NXT call-ups. However, since the Bellas maintain their TV roles for Total Divas and Total Bellas, the WWE wants to keep their stars strong… But at the expense of the hard working full time wrestlers?
Brie and Nikki were runners-up at Royal Rumble 2018 in the FIRST EVER Women’s Rumble while they are reportedly going to have a big match-up at WWE Evolution, the FIRST EVER all women’s Pay Per View. I won’t ruin it for you, as we’re in *SPOILER* territory, but one or both will be wrestling a big name…
It is the SAME argument that can be made for the Bella Twins that we have consistently made for the Men’s division with Triple H, Rock, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Undertaker, Bill Goldberg, and others coming as they please on a part-time basis but getting top spots. Yet, I’d argue that the Bella Twins are NOT draws in comparison to the Women’s Division as those mentioned wrestlers are to the Men’s division. Those wrestlers are ALL TIME GREATS whereas I can’t quite consider the Bellas as All-Time great female personalities or wrestlers even before the mid-2015 NXT Call-ups. Are they in the same class as Trish, Moolah, Chyna, Lita or many non-wrestling greats like Elizabeth, Sunny, Stephanie, or Sable? I just don’t know about that…. But the Bellas do have multiple seasons of a TV show that the others didn’t have.
To me, the Bella Twins feel “out of place” and “forced” when they are injected into various WWE functions on a part-time basis. We, as fans, have fully invested ourselves into the NXT call-ups that when they booked to be “second rate” to the Bellas, it is disappointing.
Now, if the WWE were to create a Women’s Tag Division, that’s a different story…
To potentially waste the time of a top superstar on part-timers at the first ever all-women’s Pay Per View… Just seems counter-productive and a shame.
And remember… To purchase the Doc’s book Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the Wrestlemania Era via Amazon.com in the United States, GO HERE. To purchase this book via Amazon.com in the United Kingdom, GO HERE. If those don’t work, please inquire Doc via Twitter through his handle @TheDocLoP.
BUY THE BOOK!
So just chill… Until the next episode!
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