4 Reasons Why No-One Will Buy Bragging Rights

Bragging Rights is this Sunday, and with the exception of the dismal December to Dismember ECW PPV back in 2006 that drew only 90,000 buys, it could well be the lowest drawing PPV in WWE history. Here's a quick look at why.

4 - Repetitiveness.

One of the main events at Bragging Rights is Kane vs. The Undertaker in a Buried Alive match, this will be the third time in 35 days that the two demonic brothers have gone at it for the World Heavyweight title on PPV, that's a PPV World title match every 11.7 DAYS. Unbelievable. We saw a similar situation with Orton and Cena last year where the two had four PPV matches in the space of 63 days (including 3 title changes in 42 days).

Now if this Undertaker-Kane feud was an incredibly original storyline with two fresh superstars it may be excusable, but it's not, these two have feuded on and off for 13 years. The addition of Paul Bearer just increases the sense of Deja Vu.

Although we have never seen Randy Orton and Wade Barrett go one on one on PPV before, and it is a fresh match-up, of the 10 PPVs WWE has held this year, Randy Orton has been involved in a world title match seven times. That is very frequent and does not even take into account the dozens of world title matches Orton has had over the last six years.

The focal point of Bragging Rights has been the 'big' Smackdown vs. Raw 14 man tag match, following hot on the heels of the 10 man tag match that main evented Summerslam, and a month before the Survivor Series PPV, you know, the one that was nearly cancelled because multi-man tag matches don't draw any more...

...

3 - Unconvincing Format.

Since the WWE decided gimmicks were what they needed to boost their ailing PPV business, most successful stipulation matches have been expanded into their own PPV, Fatal 4-way, Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, Money in the Bank, or considered, such as a Draft PPV or Streetfight PPV. Some of these have been more successful than others depending on the strength and rarity of the match. The Royal Rumble for example is still a draw based partly on its tradition and history and on the fact that it only ever happens once a year and always has the most important thing in WWE at stake i.e a Wrestlemania main event place.

Bragging Rights is based on the supposed rivalry between the Smackdown and Raw brands, a rivalry brought into existence with the 2002 brand extension. For a long time this feud was credible, both brands were distinct, with their own titles, PPVs, general managers, seperate rosters, announcers and referees. This gradually eroded with PPVs becoming cross-brand and talent appearing on each show constantly. Last year at Wrestlemania the Tag Titles were unified and at the last PPV the women's/diva's title were too, meaning all tag teams and divas now appear on both shows. The only time the rivalry is mentioned now is the few weeks prior to Bragging Rights; the Smackdown team features only one wrestler to have been on his brand for more than a year, Raw features two.

If a genuine sense of competition was established between the two shows throughout the year and they really were two seperate brands, this type of PPV could be something special, unfortunately it's not.

2 - Competition.

Coming the night before Bragging Rights is UFC 121. Now not only is UFC a PPV juggernaut, in fact, the only PPV juggernaught, and not only is it the night before a WWE PPV, but the UFC 121 card is also being headlined by the current UFC Heavyweight Champion and former WWE Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar. The last time Brock Lesnar fought on PPV it drew a massive 1.16 million buys, UFC's 2nd biggest number ever, and the 2nd biggest PPV of 2010 so far, behind only the Mayweather-Mosley boxing match.

The last time WWE held a PPV in the same week as UFC was Wrestlemania which of course failed to do a million buys, it doesn't necessarily follow that the direct competition was what caused the disappointing number, lord knows WWE has managed to do bad numbers all year, competition or not. However that UFC 111 event did 850,000 buys, which will probably be 20-25% lower than this upcoming UFC PPV, and it also did not feature WWE alumnus Brock Lesnar. When asked to pay out $45 twice in one weekend, you have to factor in the dent that will be made by those opting for the UFC offering.

Not every viewer is interested in UFC of course, and not all those that are will be keen to splash out on PPVs in the current economic climate, luckily for them half an hour before Bragging Rights starts on Sunday is game 7 of the National League Championship Series between the Phillies and the Giants. The Phillies are reigning National League champs and were runners up in the 2009 World Series, and this deciding game will see who goes on to this year's World Series. But it's not like one of these teams comes from a city that is a wrestling hotbed like... Philadelphia or somewhere... oh wait.

Even worse Sunday night also sees the broadcast of a Vikings - Packers NFL match, the same league that has been kicking ass in cable ratings the past month.

1 - PPV Buys/TV Ratings Generally Down.

Several times in the last few weeks Monday Night Raw has dipped below the 3.0 mark in the face of stiff competition from NFL games. The Raw rating the week of Wrestlemania was also surprisingly low and many people wrote it off with the contention that WWE would be making a bunch of money that Sunday, which they did, although less than they wanted, and that a point in the ratings here and there didn't really matter. This is true to a degree, but it's a cause for concern when the product is not engaging the audience to a point where the final show before a big event is failing to attract viewers.

For people to spend what is a lot of money on a PPV they really have to be engaged and interested in the storylines and characters and falling ratings are an indicator that they aren't. What's important in terms of the PPV buys is the conversion rate, UFC's is very high, they don't have a regular TV show that does huge ratings, but when it comes to PPV they convert a very large percentage of their fans into PPV buys. WWE's is much smaller, and as the rating shrinks, so does the amount of viewers that they can convert to buyers.

Summerslam 2010 did around 350,000 buys, this is down 5% from last year and 35% from 2007, the other four PPVs since Wrestlemania for which information is available have all done under 200,000 buys, the worst of which was Fatal 4-way, which has the unenviable position of being the lowest bought WWE PPv since the previously mentioned ECW offering. TV ratings and buyrates have been trending down not only this year but for the past few years, along with boxing, wrestling on PPV has been left behind in the dust of Ultimate Fighting.

Joe Towner - October 2010

TNA Impact Review - 05/08/2010

Go home show for Hardcore Justice. The ECW Reunion Show takes place this Sunday.

They aired a recap of Tommy Dreamer doing the job in a hardcore match. Remember that one time that happened.

Tonight's card features: Dreamer and RVD vs. Abyss and Raven.

Dreamer opens the show. His music is up there with Team 3D's as the most obnoxious WWE knock-offs. Why can't the just record new awesome stuff like Kurt Angle's? Anyway, some new plants this week: Some geeks in the front row are dancing to Dreamer's horrible music. Tommy says in his angry voice that Raven has some explaining to do. It's like he's shocked this has happened. "Why man?" says Dreamer. "You know what this means to me". "We were friends, we were enemies". "My kids call you Uncle Scotty". Read those lines to yourself. Pretty dramatic stuff. Pretty cliche too, but to be fair, it has been a long ass blood feud. Tommy Dreamer sounded like John Morrison here. These are my lines. I'm going to say them. Then I'm going to move on. The crowd chanted "Uncle Scotty". Not taking this seriously, in the slightest. Dreamer looked annoyed. Raven says he's annoyed about Dreamer taking his woman a decade ago. Raven said he acted like Dreamer's friend to get close to him. He wanted to see Dreamer get invested in something, just so Raven could tear it all down. Have I missed something? What exactly has Raven done to ruin this project that Tommy is invested in? Is the pay per view called off? All I saw was Raven hitting that man with a chair. He could have done that at any time. This was just a case of the old TNA "swerve for the sake of a swerve". Then Raven said he was going to beat Dreamer at "Hard Justice". What the fuck is "Hard Justice"? Then he said he'd fuck Beulah. They had a brawl on the ramp and Abyss made the save. RVD made the save for Dreamer with a chair. RVD and Abyss brawled to the back. Raven DDT'd Dreamer on the ramp. Foley came out with some barbed wire...

Foley hit Raven with the barbed wire and said at, and again I quote, "Hard Justice" Foley will referee the last ever Dreamer-Raven match.

1. I doubt it'll be the last ever.

2. What the fuck is Hard Justice?

Seriously, there's a big-ass screen behind you with "HARDCORE JUSTICE, THIS SUNDAY" on it. Anyway, typical TNA talking segment. A million things happened, people ran in, it wasn't well written, it wasn't interesting. It ended. The people loved Foley, I'll say that much.

Tenay got the name of the PPV right, before running down the card. Match four of the tag series is tonight, and it's Ultimate X. Flair vs. Lethal in a street fight, with Fortune barred from ringside.

The Beautiful People's music hit. I remember when this used to mean; "best segment of the night coming up!" This group used to be the hottest act in the company. At least it was for me. They would come out. They'd shake their asses, they'd paper bag some ugly chick and they'd cut a promo on how awesome they were. Perfect. Now it's just another TNA women's angle where everyone is a "bitch" or a "slut" or "doesn't have as nice an ass as me". To think  people accuse TNA of women hating. Anyway, at least one thing hasn't changed:

Tenay says this is a title match. Would have been nice if Borash announced it as such. They take on Taylor Wilde and... Hamada. Hamada everyone! Hamada gets a "welcome back" chant. Because she hasn't been on TV for months. Tenay is talking about how Taylor went recruiting when she was told she had a title shot. How the fuck does she have that title shot? She's spent the last month beating up her own tag team partner? Anyway... notice how many times I have to say "anyway" in these TNA reviews. I keep getting derailed trying to figure out what is happening on this show. Anyway, this match was typical by TNA women's standards. The crowd just loved Hamada. And she is indeed awesome. She did a headbutt. A headbutt! I would pay to see Kelly Kelly do/take a headbutt. Lacey is still horrible. Unable to bump and with NO sense of timing. There's a problem I've noticed in Knockout tag matches. Someone will get the hot tag and no one will be there to feed the "hot" partner. Kinda what happened here. Hamda knocked Lacey down. Lacey took a horrible bump. She took forever to get to her feet and then looked at Hamada as if to say "what now?". Hamada just shouted "COME ON!" and Lacey ran at her and took another terrible bump. Was Lacey in the room when they went over this match? She cut off Hamada with a wretched spin kick and tagged in Velvet. Lacey did a standing backflip, which was nice, and followed it up with a shitty elbow drop, which was not. Ironically, the elbow drop just looked like a standard wrestling bump. "What the hell was that?" says Taz. Lacey took a shitty German (with a bridge) from Taylor. God this is horrible. Madison stood on the ramp. Biker chick showed up. Taz and Tenay joked that they now knew it was a woman cos she had her tits showing. I love these two. They did the most awkward ref bump ever, with Velvet accidentally slapping Slick Johnson, apparently so hard that he was knocked loopy. Motorcycle girl gave Lacey a chair. Lacey got it kicked in her face and pinned. New champs; Hamada and Taylor. I think these tag titles are only ever actually featured on the show when they want to do a change. They are the most useless props in wrestling. Taking that into consideration, I can't really say it matters that Hamada just returned to win them for no reason. This sucked bad. At least it continued the disintegration of the BPs as a group.

TV title time. Yes, another title bout. WHY NOT!? Kaz is accompanying AJ to the ring. These two look like the biggest pair of second rate dorks.

AJ is out in his Flair robe, and Kaz has his hair slicked back and is wearing his attempted Four-Horsemen suit. I was gonna say these fuckers are stuck in 1998, but that's if you want to count one of the many Horsemen resurgences. These geeks are stuck in the 1980s. Anyway, Earl ejects Kaz. Why? Not like he's a threat. Rob Terry clotheslines both guys out of the ring. See? Terry presses AJ back into the ring. Strong lad, this Terry. He really is... freaky looking. Good nickname then. They had your basic "me big man, me smash" match. AJ bumped all over the place for the guy. Sold like a pro. Which is great, if you're a face. Terry sold almost nothing. AJ bumped into Earl Hebner and kicked Terry in the yambags. Two matches, two title bouts, two ref bumps. Then AJ hit the pele to a huge reaction. This man has no clue how to be a heel. Heels don't do "KEWL MOVEZ". AJ won with the 450.

We had one of these realistic little video packages with Kurt talking about his quest to take down the top ten rankings. He looked old. Fucking old. Regardless this was a nice little package.

Jay Lethal was backstage boasting about how he beat Flair. He said Kurt Angle told him he needs to be a man. He said he'd man up in the street fight.

Video package for the free-per-view next week, highlighting the Janice on a poll/ladder match thing. Well, kinda.

They didn't say that was the gimmick they just said it will be the most extreme match ever. Maybe there was a change of plans.

Backstage, another well written women's segment. Velvet and Madison were fighting and security was trying to break it up. Lacey took a bump and played dead as Velvet called Madison a bitch and said something about her ass. Then Velvet, her blind rage subsiding, noticed Lacey was like... dead or something. She was actually not moving. Velvet said, quote; "OH SH*T, OH SH*T, OH SH*T, ON SH*T". She demanded an ambulance be called. Cut away.

Back at ring side, Tenay and Taz weren't bothered.

Ultimate X. Bobby Roode cut a promo. He put both teams over and said they redefined tag team wrestling. True enough. Roode said they wanted to be the best in the world, and to do so they needed to defeat the Guns at their own game and get their fourth tag title win. Sabin said the Guns were the best in the world. The fans did the Bryan Danielson chant. Sabin's voice is kinda whiny. Roode said let's stop talking and do it. Should be TNA's motto.

Back from break, the match is under way. Guns ran wild early hitting a GORGEOUS synchronized dive to the floor. Beer Money eventually cut them off but there was a problem. Neither wanted to climb. Seriously. Roode was scared of heights and Storm was making the drinking hand sign, as if to say he was too drunk to climb. Why would you sell a high risk spectacle match on the idea that half the match wont be able to climb? Anyway, they were cut off and they went back to wrestling on the ground. Beer Money has some great tag team offence. Anyway, Robert Roode forgot he was afraid of heights and nearly got the X. I dunno why they did this as his being up there did not play into the match at all. He didn't do a spot, he was just pulled down and then Shelley did some moves and he was down. The match kept going and I kept seeing people climbing. I kept waiting and waiting for someone to do something with the wires. Every time they'd climb, they'd get yanked down. Sabin finally was in the corner and and did a hurricanrana off the top rope on Storm, but he was holding the wires before he did it. I guess that counts. Beer Money tried to do a spot where Roode climbed but also stood on Storm's shoulders. The Guns dropped Roode on Storm. Crowd said "this is awesome". It really isn't. Shelley hit his Sliced Bread on the apron. That was awesome. Roode... who is supposed to be afraid of heights. Climbed the big structure and went HIGHER than the X. He then, walked the rope. Psychology fail. He got crotched and fell to the ring. Sabin got the X. Silly match, kinda disappointing. Still fun though.

Coming next, Bischoff and Hogan are making an announcement.

Video package putting over Hardcore Justice. At least the video package editors/Voice over people got it right. This, of course, featured:

It's so awkward watching this and knowing they cant say ECW. They keep alluding to "hardcore wrestling" and the "hardcore legends" and this, that and the other. Just tip toeing around it. Dreamer says he doesn't have a specific "hardcore memory". Rhyno says the PPV means a lot to him. He sounded so tired. Like Tommy in the opening promo, he just had lines to say, he said them and he told you to fuck off if you wanted to hear a little feeling or enthusiasm. Foley said for a lot of these guys, it's THEIR time. DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH. Their time was ten fucking years ago, as you've said on the show many times. Stevey Richards was talking about how you hear all the time about opportunities in the wrestling business, but so often they're misleading. But Dixie Carter has really given them an opportunity with this show. This was like a promo I'd expect Alex Shelley to cut on all the opportunities there are for young guys in TNA. The irony being it was Stevey Richards talking about an ECW reunion show. This thing kept going and going, and they kept spewing their shite. I can't even be bothered to keep recapping it or taking the piss out of it.

They then ran the fucking COMMERCIAL for the show. It still has the voice over of Abyss saying "when THEY get here, TNA will never be the same" even though we now know THEY are not the ECW geeks.

Wait... turns out this fucking segment isn't over. After the commercial, Dixie is still talking. Okay now it's over. This sucked the life out of me.

Hogan, Bischoff and the girl came out. Being on the show much more sparingly has done Hogan wonders. I really don't mind seeing him come to the ring for an announcement. Nothing wrong with every show having this type of authority figure on a show. Bischoff is talking about the "Whole F*N Show" next week. Turns out they are still doing the Janice ladder match thing. He says he'll be the referee and it's a Stairway to Janice match. That clears up the rules. By which it means it clears up the rules for me, a smark, who knows what that means. Basically, it's a pole match. Whoever grabs the thing gets to use it, but they don't win. Wins are attained by pinfall or submission. The difference being the weapon is hanging from the roof and attained via ladder. We also get match five of the tag series "FOR FREE!" Bischoff enthuses. As opposed to the street fight, ladder match, cage match and Ultimate X matches we had to pay for? What is the appeal of this?  AJ vs. Kurt. Madison vs. Angelina (no reaction). Jeff's open challenge. Morgan vs. Anderson vs. Pope. Looks alright, to be fair.

Out comes Kevin Nash.

Ms. Tessmacher bails. What's Nash gonna do, fuck her? Nash says he finally gets to talk to Hogan and Bischoff. He's pissed that he's not on that card. Hogan breaks it down for him. He says Nash needs to open his eyes and realise that all the old fucks (he even name drops himself) have stepped back and Nash should do the same. Hogan says its Lethal's time, and AJs, and the Guns, and Beer Money. I hope the irony of this segment isn't lost on anyone. These fuckers are so desperate to be known as the company with the young stars that Hogan and Nash are out there wasting time, arguing about all the new young stars on the show. Hogan says Big Sexy's politics and shit are done. Kev accuses Hogan of the same. Bischoff says that's been Kev's whole career. What is the point of any of this? Just one big inside reference. Nash does the Gran Torino thing of how he's not to be messed with. Then he shoves Bischoff and he fights with Hulk.

They have a shitty brawl where, and I love this, Nash does the same spots he does in all his matches. He gets Hulk in the corner and does those knee strikes he loves so much. Why is Hulk doing this? This poor bastard just had back surgery. Nash gets the chair and threatens to powerbomb Hogan. He decides to just hit him. Jeff Jarrett makes the save. Yes Jeff Fucking Jarrett. Lets just get Flair out here. BETTER, they get Sting. Who is suspended, I believe. In the funniest thing that happened all night, Jarrett turned around and picked up the chair. The chair was in front of Sting. Jarrett did not see Sting and proceeded to go for Nash but Sting clocked him with the bat. ATTACKED FROM BEHIND (almost)!!! Sting had red face paint. Yes, Sting is now in the Wolf-Pac... I guess. He hits poor Hogan with the chair and the geeks chant "why Sting why?".

Christy asked for answers from the new Wolf-Pac. She got nothing.

Because it was so fantastic last week:

I'm just so unbelievably unhappy right now. I mean seriously. This show is just beyond fucking awful. I can't tolerate any shitty "wink wink, he's molesting him" mat wrestling. OJ faces Pope. They replay the Nash angle before the match kicks off. Taz and Tenay are still discussing it as Orlando Jordan makes a "let me suck your dick" motion at Pope. He tries to wipe his spit on Pope, Pope shoves him. I can't believe this company actually exists. Lets make a heel character who's a heel because he's a perverse gay guy. How fucking backwards can you get. They work towards the corner and OJ starts grinding on Pope. This is actually pathetic. This is pathetic television. Young came to ringside and was gathering up the fake money they throw for Pope's entrance. It wasn't funny. OJ, who was beating on Pope, is distracted and this allows Pope to make his comeback and pick up the win. Complete shit.

Morgan ran out and beat on Pope. Then Anderson makes the save with a chair. Morgan bails. I've said before, Morgan's presence in this feud just winds me up. I like the Anderson/Pope dynamic. Out comes Gunner and Murphy, the two worst wrestlers in TNA, who are dressed as security. They get in Anderson's face. Segment ends. What?

Christy is interviewing Flair. The gimmick is; if Fortune interfere, Flair is suspended without pay. Like Joe (satire). Flair cuts a Flair promo on Lethal. All good stuff here.

Street Fight time. Flair is gonna wrestle in his suit. Awesome! More Flair greatness. They had the wackiest match ever. Lethal was de-clothing Flair early. Tore off his jacket. Tore off his shit. Gave him some of his own chops. Lethal fucking KILLED Flair with a vicious cane shot to the head.  Flair, of course, bladed. Lethal was not getting any real reaction against Flair. The crowd loved Flair. Lethal was just a geek to them. And to be fair, since he pinned Flair, Lethal has been off TV except for that week when he lost clean to Jeff Hardy. So why should they care? Naturally enough we get this:

I don't care how many times I see it. I will always laugh at the Flair flop. Douglas Williams came to ringside. He's the X champion. I had completely forgotten until I saw him. Flair did a second Flair flop. Way to prove me wrong Ric. Twice in thirty seconds isn't recommended. Jay tore off Ric's pants and whipped him with his belt. Then he completely took his pants off and one of his shoes and socks.

Once again, the TNA tapings report mislead me. This was put over as a really funny, entertaining spectacle. It really really wasn't. It was just very sad. And obviously it's just the one guy who sent the report to the Observer that loved this because there was really no heat for it as it went on. Flair did a third flop. No reaction. Just came off as a bit of a piss take on Flair's part. Lethal didn't seem over-joyed either.

Flair went up top. He got caught and took a superplex. Williams broke up the pin. Lethal took him out. Flair got his ass out. This was just... pitiful. I mean, the Victory Road match, that was comedy.  But this is just overkill. Hebner helped pull up Flair's tights. As he was doing so, Williams took out Lethal with the title. Why was the ref distracted? Williams isn't in Fortune and it's a street fight. Flair pinned Lethal. I say again; FLAIR. PINNED. LETHAL. Flair was fucking humiliated and embarrassed. And he won. And of course, this was him getting his win back. Sucks to be Lethal. Again.

RVD promo. Christy says we don't know RVD's opponent is for Hardcore Justice. Great sell for that show. This was every RVD promo ever. Then Jerry Lynn showed up, said he was facing RVD, acted like they were best buds and left. Segment ends. What a fucking job they are doing promoting this show.

Time for the main even. Fuck me.  This has been one for the ages. It's taken me the better part of an evening to watch this show and write this review. I don't care about all the great workers who'd lose their jobs, I want this company to die. Now.

Raven and Abyss brought some weapons with them. Dreamer had his MMA gloves though, so it was fair. They brawl on the ramp. Like Matt Hardy before him, Tommy switching from tracksuits to tights does him no favours. Taz mentions Beulah McGillicuddy. I wonder if she's any relation to Joe Hennig (lame joke, sorry). Match was not much. RVD got a hot tag and hit all his big moves.  He pinned Raven in the finish. Abyss did a post match beating. Stevey and Raven make the save. Abyss dispatches them all on his own. These guys who are selling the PPV on Sunday. Then 3D comes down but Raven takes them out. Lights go out. Sandman shows up and canes Abyss. Crowd goes nuts. They bring a beer case to the ring, but cut away before anything happens.

This show was one of the worst TV shows of the year. In a nut shell; fucking horrible. Another one of those TNA shows where I just want to turn it off, just a matter of minutes in.

2/10

Barry Murphy - August 2010

Paul Books Wrestlemania XXVII!

Right folks, basically, as we’ll be doing our predictions and that later on the ol’ ChairShot Podcast, I figured I’d have a go at booking the show match-by-match, not as how I think it will go, but how I think it should go.

SHEAMUS vs. DANIEL BRYAN

Going under the assumption that this will open the show (I actually believe the Rock will open with a brief promo, but I think he should be kept for later on, when the show naturally lulls a bit in the middle), I think they’re just going to have these guys go all out, to get the crowd all riled up and excited for the night to come. I’d have Bryan crack out all the old indie spots, just to give the crowd something special (cattle mutilation, MMA Elbows, etc), and actually have them mean something, like Sheamus is in legit peril. Also the big dive to the outside is a must. As far as a finish goes, I think Sheamus has to go over, though not necessarily in the cleanest manner. I’ll say Sheamus just gets to the ropes to break the LeBell lock, and while the ref breaks the hold, Sheamus pulls Bryan into the turnbuckle and gets the win with a roll up. This can lead to future rematches down the line.

JERRY LAWLER vs. MICHAEL COLE

Well obviously, after having Sheamus win by the skin of his teeth, it’s time to give the fans what they want. Cole to come out in full on amateur wrestling gear and robe, maybe MMA gloves just to stick it to the smarter fans. Swagger to attack Lawler straight away and Lawler & Austin dispose of him. Cole tries to run away, but is blocked on the ramp by all the people he has wronged over the year (JR, Bryan, Eve, Truth, etc). They launch him back into the ring where he is piledriven to hell. Austin & King celebrate with beers & stunners to Cole & Swagger. JR takes over on commentary for the rest of the show.

REY MYSTERIO vs. CODY RHODES

Time for another happy ending as Mysterio unmasks Rhodes, hits him with a 619 and sends him packing. I think this match should be all Rhodes trying to unmask Mysterio until he himself is unmasked. Rhodes then runs around trying to cover his face, gets a dropkick up the arse which sends him into the ropes, 619 & springboard splash for the win. All while JR bellows “BAH GAWD THE FACE ON RHODES, THE HUMANITY!!!!

CORRE vs. THE GOON SQUAD

Corre must win here, or they are even more worthless than I had thought. From the looks of it, Kozlov is out, THANK CHRIST, so I’d stick Diesel in here. Kofi is the obvious choice to replace the cumbersome Ukrainian, but let’s face it; no one gives a flying fuck about Kofi Kingston anymore. At least with Big Daddy Cool you’re guaranteed a big ol’ pop. Of course, his actual involvement in the match must be minimal, until he gets the hot tag, destroys everyone and pins Slater after a Jackknife Powerbomb. Santino, Kane & Big Show then do the trumpet dance, so Diesel also beats them up. ‘Cos he is cool and wouldn’t resort to such shenanigannery.

JOHN MORRISON, TRISH & SNOOKI vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & LAYCOOL

I’d have Vicky interfere early and have the Raw GM actually insert her into the match, making it a 4 on 3. Snooki of course gets the pin on Vicky for the TMZ front page via a Canadian Destroyer from the top turnbuckle. Or a Thesz Press. Whatever

RANDY ORTON vs. CM PUNK

After what will probably be a long uneventful Randy Orton babyface match, the ref will take a big bump off a wayward Punk springboard forearm. The match will continue as normal, with Orton hitting an RKO and, seeing that there’s no ref, will set up for the punt, until who should show up, but Skip Sheffield & Michael Tarver! They attack, but of course Orton fights them off and throws them from the ring, only to turn into a GTS! The ref awakes to count the pin and Punk retreats with his new running buddies as Orton looks on!

EDGE vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO

So we’re going to have Christian and Brodus Clay in the corners of either man eh? Suppose that’s got to play in to the finish. I wouldn’t necessarily have Christian screw Edge as have him unintentionally distract Edge for long enough for Del Rio to lock in the armbar and pick up the win, leaving Christian and Edge to contemplate their mistake. Of course this would lead to the swerve down the road, BUT NOT THE ONE YOU MAY THINK, as Edge will eventually become increasingly upset with Christian, leading to a triple threat match at the next PPV, where Edge will turn on Christian and allow Del Rio to score the pinfall to retain. This is the way to go because Edge is a shitty face and Christian is a great face.

TRIPLE H vs. UNDERTAKER

I think this one should be kept as free from interference as possible. Having Shawn Michaels or anyone else run down during the match will only dilute it. Undertaker obviously to win, after Triple H comes close on multiple occasions, even getting desperate enough to bring out the ol’ SLEDGEHAMMER to a huge pop. Undertaker of course will kick out of the Hammer shot, and will win with a Tombstone Piledriver onto the steel steps, which will have been brought into the ring for some reason. Shawn Michaels will come down afterwards, pass the Undertaker on the ramp, have a brief stare down, and will accompany the EMTs as they put HHH on a stretcher to take him off to the hospital. Truly, he has died trying.

JOHN CENA vs. THE MIZ

This is the one for the newspaper front page. The match itself I can see being pretty low on heat, as everyone would be waiting for the Rock, so I’d actually have him at ringside the whole time, in as sort of Guest Enforcer / Commentator deal. After Riley is ejected, the Miz will send the ref sprawling, and Rock will take over, ejecting Riley is his own violent fashion. Miz will play up to The Rock, like they’re best mates. Of course Rock will then blast Miz with the Rock Bottom etc and count his shoulders down after an AA, like a good ref. No STF here, cos that move is fuckin' abysmal.

After the match Cena & Rock have a stare down and Mike Tenay and Tazz scream “WHUH HUH WELL YA BEDDA WATCH THE TV COS GOD KNOWS ITS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PPVS A WHUH HUH HUH!”

- Paul Griffin, April 2011

Wrestling for the Box Set Generation

As a television product, Professional Wrestling exists in a bubble. Only because of its unique nature and hardcore fan base can a television show that so routinely features bad acting, inconsistent repetitive storylines and constant references to its own inner workings be allowed to take up several hours of prime time network television every week.

A better class of storytelling can be found in the independents: Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA and Chikara all offer products that feature original characters, logical narratives and exciting action. However, the same thing that allows them such creative freedom, the low budgets and sporadic appearances are also weaknesses when it comes to access and  quality of production.

A happy medium between the two has been a long time coming, arguably since the day the original ECW folded, but a new concept may offer some hope to wrestling fans that crave great action combined with mature, intelligent storytelling.

The Wrestling Revolution Project is a new concept from producer Jeff Katz. Katz is a lifelong wrestling fan and worked for WCW as a teenager, leaving that company before it hit the iceberg he has since worked in Hollywood and produced the B-Movie inspired blockbusters Snakes on a Plane and Shoot 'Em Up.

The WRP is inspired by contemporary television shows such as The Sopranos or The Wire, which require more investment and dedication from viewers than typical shows, but in return reward fans with complex characters, fascinating worlds and long term, layered storytelling. On-demand viewing, premium TV networks and DVD box sets have allowed this type of show to flourish and Katz has decided to apply the formula to wrestling with a 13 part self-contained series that aims to unfold in a genuinely episodic manner.

Some impressive names have already been added to the WRP cast, MVP, Kenny Omega, Colt Cabana and the man considered by many to be the best wrestler in the world, Fergal Devitt are amongst the stars already announced. Lance Storm is also involved in a behind the scenes role. Tapings are to take place in California in the second week of October and will eventually be released through a variety of online outlets.

As a fan, one thing I've long hoped to see happen was for a company to do for wrestling, what Batman Begins did for comic book movies. That is to take the concept we all know and reboot it in a way that created a logical, original product that was still rooted in what makes wrestling great. Hopefully 2011 will be the year that hope is realised.

-Joe Towner, Sep 2011