The Weekend Hotline News Report 01.11.03

An Eric S patented 1-hour special today. After 10 hours of work today and a good chance I’m going in tomorrow, I just don’t have time to be all creative. However, I also didn’t want to just NOT do a column already so, instead, you’ll get this.

Top Story

Big meetings for the WWF over the past few weekends. As reported earlier in the week, Vince met with Bret Hart over the Holidays as they were both in Florida. It seems the two of them were able to put the past aside (well, Bret put it aside I’m pretty sure Vince doesn’t give a damn and would do it just as quickly to HHH if the mood struck him) and talk. I guess it was the Christmas or Boxing spirit.

I don’t know if this has the importance everyone else is putting on it. I mean, the two guys were friends for a long time, and time heals everything so Bret is probably coming to see why Vince did what he did. Bret also just faced down death not too long ago, which probably has a tendency to put some things in perspective. Maybe Owen even told him to forgive Vince, you never know.

Regardless, I don’t think Bret will appear on the X Raw mainly because they’d pimp Bret for weeks before his return to pop a huge rating and use it to get people watching Raw then again, February is coming up and, if I’m not mistaken, that’s a sweeps month. I also don’t think there’s too much to be made of Bret using WWF copyrighted photos on his website. I mean, they may not be getting along right now, but I don’t think even Vince has the stones to sue (or even send cease-and-desist orders) to a former superstar who just had a stroke. THAT would be a dick move even for the king of dicks.

The OTHER big meeting in the news is Vince met with Goldberg in LA. Supposedly the two shared their first face-to-face meeting in a hotel room. My guess is that it went something like this:

Vince: You want HOW much?
Billy G: You heard me I want a quarter stake of the company, one of your testicles, a hit on your daughter, and a large pecan pie.
Vince: And I get how many dates?
Billy G: Just two PPVs. You need to push them on Raw and Smackdown without me. After all, I need time to work on my booming movie career.
Vince: Hmmmmm.

My prediction? Vince will have to get must more desperate than he currently is to pay Billy G the scratch he’s looking for. He’s still got Austin, Rock, and the Undertaker’s returns to milk before he needs Bill and they aren’t even back yet.

If there has ever been a man in the wrestling industry that overestimates his worth, it would have to be Bill Goldberg. The guy was on top for less than a year, and somehow he feels he deserves an Austin-esque position in any company he goes to. Give me a break. The guy is a bloated monkey in much the same vein as Scott Steiner. That, and the fact I think I may have better developed legs than him. So, don’t expect Bill poppin out on WWF television anytime soon. Vince would morally destroy the locker room if he did it and I don’t think he’s willing to do it quite yet.

And I only say that because, well, he’s not here.

X Raw

Turns out, I was wrong. Raw is on it’s normal time next week, and the X Raw is on Tuesday. The WWF is still not saying much of what’s on it. Knowing that X Raw is in a studio and not a normal Raw kind of takes the magic out of it for me. If any surprises happen, they will happen on Monday to pop the crowd, so I don’t even know that the actual special will be worth watching.

But, if you are interested, it will apparently be on Tuesday night at 8 or 9 pm and could be 1 or 2 hours.

God, this company is so organized.

As the Television Contract Turns

UPN and TNN are both facing days of reckoning in the coming months, which could be good or bad news for WWF fans, depending on which station you’re talking about.

First the good news: TNN is looking to change direction yet again, and go the anti-Lifetime route. That being, TNN is looking to become TV for Men. How exactly they’re going to do this without porn remains to be seen. If TNN switches to a huge male market, then they will obviously be willing to keep the WWF right where it is, and if they’re smart, try to base a huge following around it. The problem is, the WWF is the ONLY sport they have.

Besides Slamball and, well, the WWF just can’t compete with Slamball, in all honesty.

UPN, on the other hand, is facing some serious problems. Apparently 20% of their affiliates are up for renewal in August of 2003, all owned by Fox. If Fox chooses not to renew, it could cause UPN to shut down. If UPN shuts down, it would leave the WWF scrambling for a new television deal. However, if the TNN change of direction goes through, it could be something that works out well for them.

If, however, Smackdown stays on UPN, there is talk of scaling the show back to 60 or 90 minutes, which won’t make Vincent K happy, I don’t think. If it does, I think you’ll see them switch to a one day taping schedule, which will really hurt the brand extension. Either that, or you will see Heat, Velocity, and Smackdown all taped on the same night. The talent may have to pay their own travel expenses, but I bet the teamsters that work for him don’t. I don’t think the cost would be worth it to tape an hour of Smackdown and an hour of Velocity.

An uncertain television future, to say the least.

Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones, who’s promos have been appearing on Smackdown the last couple of weeks, is Vince McMahon’s new pet project. Vince has an elaborate gimmick planned out for Jones, which involves him being a Hannibal Lecter type character who is very civilized, educated, and friendly up to a point but then has a super mean streak when it’s brought out.

This gimmick could be amazing, although it will be very difficult to pull off. We can see how hard playing an insane person is as Victoria struggles through it week to week. Playing a crazy person is tougher than playing a normal person.

However, I give it two weeks before they job Jones to Albert, Hugh Morrus, and Big Show, in that order, thus rendering his buildup completely pointless.

In other reading

The 411 Awards are up for voting. Vote for me and Widro will give you a cookie.

EC has returned with a column. The WWF forget they were a business, and he’s going to tell you why.

And the weekly “reading way to much into stuff” award goes to Sylvain Parent. He’s a great writer, but damn talk about reading some shit into some other shit. Of course, I can see it, but jeez kick us in the head why don’t you?

In Closing

Looks like the weekend news is going to be a weekly gig for me. Look for the final Week In Wrestling coming up Monday morning. And actually, I have no idea who’s covering the news until Grut comes in on Thursday. Eric and Hyatte or on indefinite hiatus and Flear is MIA SO, check back on Monday where it could be damn near anyone from the site checking in with the news.

If we’re lucky, it will be the News of Reason.

I apologize for the lack of news, I’ll try to make it up with the Week in Wrestling.