Cheap Heat 9.7.01: Excess

Bottom Line of the Week: Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons sucks. If you play Second, and have thought about switching over, don’t you’ll hate it. They took all the annoying parts of the game and revolved the entire edition around them. Basically, the whole game is about Experience and Bonuses to dice rolls. So, all the people that whined about that stuff in Second Edition will be right at home in Third Edition. Not to say some rule additions don’t have merit, but you can easily adapt those into Second Edition and keep the rules you like.

Why are Brian Adams and Brian Clarke Kronik? What happened to Demolition 2k? I would have fell over in my chair in a puddle of bodily fluids if they hit the old Demolition Music again.

Final Thought: I was thinking of creating a points system for the rankings, rather than my own random whims. Anyone have any suggestions?

Onto the article:

In the beginning, there was Primetime Wrestling. I remember watching Primetime. One night a week, I was allowed to stay up until 11pm, and it was Monday Nights. There was also All-American Wrestling, that come on Saturday Mornings after cartoons, and Superstars of Wrestling before church on Sundays.

Then, far before the WWF got Attitude, Primetime Wrestling became the “live” show, Monday Night Raw in 1993. It was an hour long, and live once every four weeks.

Somewhere along the line, Fox dropped All American Wrestling and USA added the show Livewire. Superstars stopped airing matches and became the same as Livewire. Both shows recapped what happened on Raw, and quickly became “could miss” shows.

Then, in 1995, WCW decided to counter the WWF’s Monday Night Monopoly. The world was introduced to Monday Nitro in September of 1995. The two shows competed in the fabled “Monday Night Wars” for five and a half years.

Nitro grew in leaps and bounds, eventually eclipsing Raw, which gave Eric Bischoff the idea there was a need for a second show. In January of 1998, Bischoff gave us WCW Thursday Thunder. To sell the first show, they cut the rematch of Hulk Hogan and Sting off halfway through on the preceding Nitro. Needless to say, Eric didn’t win too many fans during his handling, or mishandling, of Sting/Hogan.

After Wrestlemania 14, fans decided Nitro had lost its edge ((thanks, in no small part, to the above mentioned mishandling of Sting/Hogan)). People started watching the WWF and leaving WCW to flounder. The WWF, not be outdone by Turner, gave us Smackdown in April of 1999.

Lest we forget ECW, who’s short lived television show debuted in 2000. And Heat, which came about in 2000.

Competition being what it is, eventually the WWF swallowed all it’s competitors. The WWF is now the only mainstream wrestling company with national television exposure. It had five television shows, three of which carried first run matches and two of which were “magazine shows.” At the expense of Livewire and Superstars, we get Excess.

Which might be the most properly named show in television history.

I’m not going to be a columnist that’s just going to state the show sucks and be done with it rather, I think the idea of the show is decent. The way they’re doing it, though, is what I disagree with. JR said it’s a work in progress and I say they have a lot of work ahead of them.

Let’s start at the primary problem. The timeslot. The WWF should have learned with the XFL that their target audience, the 16-34 male, ((listen carefully guys)) IS NOT HOME ON SATURDAY NIGHTS!!!!!! We can break it down very simply. The average 16-18 year old male is a newly driving high school student. They’re either bowling, mini-golfing, or wandering around the streets of their hometown breaking stuff. 19-23 year old males are college students. If they’re home on a Saturday night, there’s something wrong. They’re either swamped in work, playing video games, or chatting online. If they’re normal, they’re out getting plastered, playing Beer Pong, or having sex. 23-27 year old males are out with their co-workers getting hammered, because they don’t have a part time job and have weekends off for the first times in their lives. If they’re not out with the guys, they’re trying to find themselves some play. Above 27 I don’t know what they’re doing, to be totally honest with you.

Put simply, to get people to stay home on a Saturday night to watch wrestling, you have to give them something amazing. Second rate football certainly didn’t do it, and a show that takes Early Livewire and combines it with Superstars and Heat and does it for two hours, certainly won’t either. While a lot of guys do watch wrestling it does come second to getting hammered and finding chicks. Hell, even the guy who OWNS THIS SITE would rather be doing something else with his time on a Saturday.

Which leads to the second problem. Anyone who WOULD stay home on a Saturday night to watch wrestling, is NOT going to stay home to watch recapped wrestling. The reason Livewire and Superstars were so inoffensive was because, they were easily missed shows. As long as you watched Raw, and later Smackdown, you could easily miss those two shows. With Excess, as long as you watch Raw and Smackdown, which anyone who would stay home to watch wrestling on Saturday does, then there’s NO REASON to go out of your way to watch a show recapping what you’ve already seen. Besides, you have us here at 411 for that.

Next, the “Live Fan Interaction.” I’m sorry, but carefully monitored e-mails and phone calls don’t cut it for me. Let’s be honest folks, nothing that gets on this show isn’t carefully monitored and I’d love to find out how long the delay actually is. Such pivotal questions as “what made you get into wrestling” and “what’s your favorite match” aren’t exactly the burning questions on everyone’s mind. These questions can be asked in any medium and anyone who’s read an interview with any of these guys from the past can get the same info.

What remains is the single thing that would make this show worth watching. The “From the Vault” segment. I admit to you, here and now, that I would go out of my way to watch a show that featured old WWF matches from years past. Hell, Vince owns the Turner Library, I’d stay home to watch old WCW matches, too. Unfortunately, even this segment gets ruined because they clip the match into pointlessness. Week One, we got the main event from the first ever Smackdown. It was a match that must have went about 10 minutes originally, and they clip it down to three. Entrances, one midmatch segment, and the finish. Why bother?

Week two, Undertaker vs Michaels. Probably one of the best matches of all time and we start MORE THAN HALFWAY THROUGH IT??!?! Also, not even a mention of what led up to the match AND nothing about it being Kane’s debut. Hey guys, 85% of the people you want to be watching this show right now were watching Nitro when this stuff happened. You go through agonizing detail of the stuff that happened two days ago, but no effort to bring people up to speed on stuff they’ve probably never seen.

I certainly hope Excess is a show that was benchmarked to be given to WCW at some point but even still, I don’t think it’s going to do very well. It’s in a stupid, stupid timeslot. Regardless of WHAT they put on, I don’t see their target fans sitting at home to watch it. The only way I see myself ever seeing Excess again, or whatever show may replace it, is if I’m at a Sports Bar on a Saturday night, or if I have a large programming assignment due on Sunday. THEN, I’ll be home on a Saturday to watch.

Otherwise, I think the show will remain about as popular as the XFL.

And we all saw how that went.

End Transmission