The Weekend Hotline 4.5.03

Sometimes, it ain’t easy to follow Ashish, especially when he says everything you want to.

First is first. Due to unforeseen computer problems (ie: surprise reformatting), I lost all my saved e-mail. Which means I need the the dude I discussed sending some mail to over the Evanescence Origin CD to e-mail again if he’s out there.

Second, for those of you that didn’t catch this last week because I didn’t submit it in time for a headline I am also looking for the Fuel CD that was released pre-Sunburn. I’ve seen it pop up on Ebay a few times, but I hate buying CDs over Ebay. There are three releases if anyone has any info on tracking them down, let me know. They are out of print.

Third, the cherry has finally been broken on the 227 rut and I’ve finally hit 225 for those keeping track, that’s 15 pounds since January first. For those not keeping track, you should be. Three months and halfway to the first goal. Word! The girl will rue the day she dumped me.

In a fourth thing that I have just got to mention, even though this isn’t the music column you should all know that the RIAA has decided to sue Four College Students for maintaining search indexes for Local Area Networks at colleges. Here it comes the RIAA vs the Little guy. I’m ready to see where it goes.

Apparently they will be suing for $150k per infringement on over a million files which is more than the GDP of the United States. Go RIAA! Also apparently, they will be suing for Ramen and Beer, as that’s all college students have to their name. A giant corporate entity vs a few kids who probably can’t afford dinner, much less a lawyer. Way to make your point you slimy, disgusting, putrid f*cks. Look for MUCH more on this come Tuesday in the Music column.

Mailbag

Drew: Need a good example about how the protesters and the media like the Democrats? I got one word for ya: Kosovo.
Diplomacy used by Clinton? None.
Defied the UN and attacked anyway? Check.
Used the attack to try to distract the public from something (Lewinsky)
else? Check.
Severe lambasting by the media and lots of protests? Uh….
Hmmmmmmm……….guess not.
Gee, wonder why?

Yeah, no one seems to remember this. I guess that’s because this one is for oil or something. Or maybe it’s because people aren’t living in shitty conditi hmmm, nope. Oh wait, maybe it’s because Iraq isn’t under a dicta no, that couldn’t be it either. Hmmm, I seem to be lost on a good explanation, too.

Bren: And, give me a break on liberal media bias, look at the war, the f*cking press is falling over itself to suck up to the army, and is self-censoring all kinds of shit it should be reporting on.

That’s because they have to. There’s certain things the media knows that being people will turn them off if they start being anti-troop but watch for the OTHER things they do like reporting and focusing on civilian casualties looking at what OTHER countries are saying. There’s a lot of ways to get anti-war anti-Bush points across without saying “the army blows.” If you know what to look for.

As for smoking, I’m glad, we have the same ban in my hometown:
Hamilton, Ontario. Cigarettes are the worst, I don’t care if people smoke, but I don’t like to smoke, I hate the smell, the way your clothes reek when you come back from a bar, ash and butts everywhere, they should f*cking ban it.

But, I don’t mind it and I don’t think it should be banned. Why are your wishes greater than mine? That’s my point. If I want to use a legal product, why can’t I? You know, when you go to a bar, that there’s going to be smoke smell. If you don’t like it, don’t go to a bar. Or go to a bar that has it’s own smoking ban. But wait, owners won’t do that because NO ONE WOULD FUCKING GO THERE.

As for hippies, I’d be more worried about the constituion-defying bills that have already been passed by Bush and Co. All kinds of rights are out the window, f*ck smoking I’d like to be accorded the right to trial, and freedom from illegal search and seizure. You need to choose your battles dude.

To clarify, I think the Patriot Act is the most terrifying piece of legislation to get through any house of Congress in quite a long time I also fear the fact that a lot of people are happy about it.

As for smoking? Screw that at some point, someone has to back the hell up and just say: “it’s a legal product either make it illegal or get on with life.” If I was a tobacco executive, at this point, I’d just say “Yup, smoking is going to kill you. Each and every one of you who smoke is going to die. It might be of lung cancer, it might not be. Don’t smoke.” And you know what, they won’t lose any sales. The government is doing the Tobacco Industry favor after favor. Big Tobacco doesn’t even have to work to get kids to smoke anymore. The more it makes you a social pariah to smoke, the more “rebellious teens” are going to pick up the habit. I see it myself. When I started college in 1996, there was almost no smoking on campus. Maybe five or six people outside the dorm or in the lounge at any give time. By the time I graduated, the Dorm was SURROUNDED by smokers and that’s just a four year difference.

I think the quote from Bloomberg was the most important of the week: “In a few years, no one will even remember you used to be able to smoke in public places.” You know why? Because as I said last week that’s EXACTLY what they want. They learned with Prohibition that you just can’t take it away all at once. You have to do it slowly. Start with disallowing it here, then disallowing it there, then ban it here, then ban it there and then, once you ban it everywhere, then think about dumping it altogether. The best action in the world to convince someone of something is to make them think it was their own idea.

Big tobacco will keep paying their lawsuit settlements, and laugh all the way to the bank as the government keeps handing them brand new smokers on a silver platter. The best thing? Now all the anti-smoking commercials are like a way for them to get back on television!

Yes, you do have to choose your battles but when you see something no one else sees, or chooses to ignore, you have to point it out.

Once cigarettes are gone, what’s next? Alcohol? Keep in mind that groups like MADD don’t just want you to not Drink and Drive they want you to not Drink period.

Top Story

Would have to be the disappointing (That’s for you Eric) rating coming off of Wrestlemania. Historically, post-Wrestlemania Raws get a bit of bump, and this one didn’t at all in fact, it didn’t even get a bump with the heavily hyped (at Wrestlemania) return of Bill Goldberg. Of course, maybe that’s because the only advertising for it was done at Wrestlemania which was likely bought by people who were going to watch Raw anyway.

Another disappointing factor seems to be the low buyrate Wrestlemania is looking at. They were shooting for 850,000 buys and early estimates have the actual buys coming in at less than 40% of that. Now, keep in mind, For Wrestlemania 14, which featured Austin/Michaels with Tyson at ringside they needed 2 MILLION buys to break even, and they shattered that. However, I will also stand by my disappointing statement above, even if Eric threatens me with bodily harm.

But, it’s not so much a disappointment in ratings as it is just from a storyline perspective. Wrestlemania is supposed to be the cosmic RESET button and things are supposed to start anew. Now, we get to Raw and nothing new happens it’s still the same HHH shoving and now we’re starting to bring back people from forever ago to try to spark ratings and it won’t work.

And as for the traditional “Wrestlemania usually bumps the ratings” crowd, I decided to do some research, and a big “thank you” to dxfiles.net who has a ratings chart for every episode of Raw since it became Raw and also a big middle finger to wrestlemaniahistory.com from the WWE which doesn’t even have DATES for the friggin shows.

So, I says let’s take a look.

1996: Wrestlemania 11. Main Event: Shawn Michels vs Bret Hart in a 60 minute Iron Man Match. Shawn wins his first World Title. Four Weeks previous to ‘Mania showed average ratings (across two hours, first hour of which competed with Nitro) of 3.6/–, 2.9/3.2, 2.9/3.6, and 2.8/3.1. Then Mania occurs on 3/31/96 The following Raw’s Ratings, on April Fool’s Day, are 2.9/2.8, the lowest leading into the show. Now, the interesting thing is the following week of 4/8/96 has almost double the ratings at 4.7. The only interesting things that happened on 4/1 was the debut (after months of hype) of Mankind, who immediately attacks Undertaker in ‘Taker’s match with Justin Hawk Bradshaw. So, Mania didn’t provide a bump until a week later, when New storylines had already been set in motion.

1997: Wrestlemania 12. Main Event: Sid vs Undertaker. Ratings leading in, still with the first hour opposed by Nitro are 1.9/3.4, 2.3/3.5, and 2.5/3.6. Mania happens on 3/23/1997. The following night, Raw does a 2.5/3.0 and no significant increases after that.

1998: Wrestlemania 14. The big Michaels/Austin Wrestlemania ie: the beginning of the Austin Era and Michaels “retires.” First hour still opposed by Nitro, I believe. 3.8/4.8, 3.6/4.9, 4.4/–, and 3.6/4.6. Mania happens 3/29/03. Ratings the following night are 3.8/4.2. Hm no significant increase again. However the FOLLOWING week, after the initiation of the Austin/McMahon feud tell a different story. In April of that year, we see (with the first hour still opposed by Nitro) 4.4/4.6, 4.6/4.3, 4.4/5.1, and 5.7/2.1. The last one being the most interesting of all. Upon further research, the last one was 4/28/98, which was the famous DX “attack” on Nitro.

At this point, I’m starting to wonder about that mythical Post-Mania bump. Onward. However, it’s worth pointing out that the Austin/McMahon feud goes into full swing this year Rock/Nation stuff begins going on and DX is at the height of it’s popularity.

1999: Wrestlemania 15. Rock Vs Austin I. Not sure about these numbers I believe at some point Nitro pushed itself back to only compete with Raw’s second hour, but I don’t remember. Anyway leading into the event we have: 6.4/4.3, 6.5/4.4, 5.8/4.3, and 6.4/3.9. Mania happens on 3/28/99. The following Raw does a 6.5/3.6. With no significant ratings changes until MAY of that year when on 5/10 they score an 8.1 off a main event of HHH/UT/Shane vs Vince/Austin/a newly face turned Rock and later on 5/24 they score a 7.2 for the Owen special.

2000: Wrestlemania 2000: Fatal Fourway between Rock/Big Show/Foley/HHH. This has to be noted as where the Era of HHH begins, as he becomes the first heel to walk out of Wrestlemania the champion. Leading into the event, one hour still vs Nitro: 6.4/2.8, 6.3/2.6, 6.2/2.5, and 6.6/2.6. Mania happens on 4/2/00. The following Raw scores a 6.4/1.8. LESS THAN THE WEEK BEFORE. Interestling enough, the bump in ratings doesn’t occur till TWO WEEKS later at the 4/17/00 Raw which features Jericho’s phantom title victory and then a steady build to Backlash, which promised a returning Stone Cold Steve Austin.

2001: Wrestlemania 17: Rock/Austin II. Noted for the Austin Heel turn and the beginning of the real Invasion feud. Leading to the event: 4.5, 4.9, 4.6, 4.7. Mania happens on 4/1/01 Austin turns heel and FINALLY I see evidence of the MMB (That’s Mythical Mania Bump) as ratings jump a full point to 5.7 on Austin’s heel turn. The WWE blows the entire invasion entirely and ratings go on a consistent slide until the July 16th Raw where they cycle back up when the entire Invasion is scrapped and Austin comes back like he’d never turned heel.

2002: Wrestlemania 18: Jericho/HHH. Leading to the event we have: 4.7, 4.7, 4.5, and 4.5. The event on 3/17/02. The following night on Raw the score a 5.3, and we get another of those MMBs. I will also point out that this event contained the official/unofficial return of Red n Yellow Hogan, which was the only thing notable on this show. Again, after the initial bump, ratings just kept going to todays levels,

2003: Wrestlemania 19: Brock/Angle. Leading up to the event we have: 4.5, 4.0, 3.8, and 3.5 following, we have a 3.7. Not bad considering the main event and the primary storyline developments had nothing to do with Raw talent and only advertised Goldberg as a Backlash appearance.

So, basically, what I’m trying to show here is that the net community has it stuck up their asses. Wrestlemania doesn’t do jack shit for ratings. Ratings stay generally the same before and after Wrestlemania until a new storyline makes it worth watching. 2001 and 2002 saw a ratings bump because they did something innovative or nostalgic. The Austin heel turn/alignment with Vince was HUGE news something people wanted to see what was happening and they pissed those people away by making Austin increasingly stupid, cursing us forever with WHAT?!, and generally just doing nothing with the Money feud between WWF, WCW, and ECW. Last year, we didn’t have much, but we did have Hogan of Yore returning which is something that would get any fans my age to tune in.

Historically, though even the beginning of the Austin Era had to build up steam. Him just beating Michaels didn’t bust the floodgates down. Him feuding with McMahon, on the other hand, did. So, I’d say, historically, Mania doesn’t mean jack to the ratings. The ONLY reason Mania seems like it does is because storylines reset after Mania. New things start happening.

I predict, historically, to see a jump in the ratings for Monday, and then a steady slide as everyone realizes they aren’t doing anything different with Goldberg, storylines are still stagnant, and HHH keeps beating everyone. There is ONE person on Raw who is a credible threat to HHH right now Goldberg and, as long as they have him, he should be the first person to absolutely crush HHH at Bad Blood. I hate Goldberg, don’t get me wrong, but he’s the only credible threat they have left on Raw to sell a PPV on Raw. H has crushed everyone else. The four legit contenders they have left for him are Goldberg, Hogan (if he comes over from Smackdown, as I suspect), Rocky, and Diesel. Everyone else has been quietly crushed. RVD is gone, Booker T is likely gone, Kane is gone, Flair is gone, and Jericho is gone. That covers everyone on Raw that could be “something new.”

The BEST thing they could do for ratings right now is continue to build Rock/Goldberg for Backlash Goldberg will obviously go over strong on the Rock. HHH/Jericho vs Shawn/Booker should also be the PPV match they build to not HHH vs HBK III or Booker vs Jericho. Post Backlash, sell the first Raw only PPV on Goldberg/HHH and have Goldberg absolutely crush HHH. A Goldberg streak, while not new, would at least be something different. However, there is no way in hell that’s going to happen as 1) Goldberg is a WCW guy and 2) Goldberg is a WCW guy.

However, a more likely scenario, as I see it, is building to a Diesel/HHH Bad Blood main. Diesel has nothing to do right now in the above scenario.

If I was in charge, you would see an immediate, solid resurrection of WCW as led by Bischoff. Fuck ECW for now it’s worthless. Pull all WCW talent off Raw and Smackdown and exist as their own faction on neither show specifically. Have them invade in an exact replica as the n.W.o did back in the day. Have them all be heels. They have the people to do it now and they can get everyone else. Goldberg was the measuring stick. If they can get him, they can get Sting, too. Goldberg, Sting, and Flair THAT is what the original invasion was missing. Now they have them. My God, the setup is so easy even a child can see it Flair simply has to turn on HHH and align with Goldberg. Simple, clean, effective, and believable.

However, I’m not willing to chalk everything up to a failure quite yet. The WWE has to get their storylines in place arrange things and get moving. Give them more than a week, will you?

The Triple H Interview

Yeah, why not Ashish didn’t really talk about it, so I may as well, let’s look at what the Game had to say from wwe.com:

WWE.com: Some fans said they thought the end of your match at WrestleMania made Booker look a little weak — the way there was a delay between the Pedigree and the pinfall. Can you comment on that

Triple H: You’d have to ask Booker that. I don’t think Booker thought I made him look weak. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about what fans on the Internet think.

Don’t care what the fans think that’s pretty good. Are we in character or out of character right now? I think the lines blur for Mr H. Regardless, HHH hit Booker with a Pedigree (after kicking out of two of Booker’s finishers, I might add) and then laid in the ring for a five count then dragged himself over then pinned Booker with one hand for a slow three count. It was ridiculous. Everything about that finished screamed kick-out. I was actually wondering if they’d flash back to Safeco on Raw to show Booker still passed out in the ring.

And then, to top it off, He had to squash HURRICANE the night after, just because he started to get over a little bit. When the Rock is in the ring with a guy, he gives them a Rub. When H is in the rign with a guy, he buries them. It’s a simple formula. For God’s sake, H kicked out of THREE things that Hurricane uses as finishers and buried him with one Pedigree. What’s the point of that?

WWE.com: What do you think of Bill Goldberg coming to WWE?

Triple H: I think Bill’s a big star. He’s got a big name. And hopefully he can add. But WWE is a different beast altogether. It’s going to be a real sharp learning curve, I think, for Bill. Hopefully he can do it. We don’t have a 300-guy-deep talent roster to feed him 200 wins. He’s going to have to get over in a different way — not that he’s not already over, but to stay over. I think he’ll adapt, and adapt well. I look forward to getting in the ring with him.

Yeah, you mean like the Ultimate Warrior? The only reason H is looking forward to getting into the ring with Goldberg is to either squash him use Goldberg to make himself look better. If H is being used to put Goldie over, I don’t think he’ll be so happy to get in the ring with him.

Now it gets good

WWE.com: What would you say to a younger talent who is frustrated that WWE seems to keep hiring people, as opposed to giving the talent already on the roster an opportunity?

Triple H: My advice would be to not worry about other guys, worry about yourself.

Sucka’s got this part down

This company can’t strap a rocket on somebody who is not ready for it, no matter what. But a talent can strap a rocket on himself whether the office is ready to push him or not, and get himself over.

You mean like Hurricane and RVD, who did a fine job getting themselves over. The problem is, eventually someone at the top has to put these guys over to get them to the next Level. Once the fans demanded Shawn Michaels be put over, he got put over. When HHH needed a rub, Shawn was there so was Austin so was Rocky. Now the time is there for him to return the favor to the next tier and he’s not playing.

It doesn’t work the other way around. There have been numerous examples in the past of guys who they’ve tried to go to the moon with: Sid, Lex Luger. Guys that they really tried to go with. And then it didn’t work out. They can’t push somebody that the fans aren’t ready to accept in that position.

Sure they can but they have to turn him heel first

Steve Austin made himself. Yes, the office then took the ball and ran with it. But when Steve came in and he was the Ringmaster, and nobody gave a crap about him, Steve changed his persona, Steve changed his attitude. Before the office was ever doing anything with him, before he was doing the stuff with Bret Hart, Steve was creating a persona that the fans were getting behind.

Yeah, and the HUGE push by Bret to get him into that spot is what got the fans caring. And later, his strong win over Shawn Michaels didn’t hurt either.

I know because I was working with him every now and then, and he was one of the most over guys, even though he was basically a bottom-of-the-card guy. He was working a program with Savio Vega, and at the bottom of the card, but he was getting one of the biggest reactions on the show.

Was H watching the same shows? When he fought Savio, he was still the Ringmaster. He dropped Ringmaster after beating Savio and saying he lost on Purpose to get rid of Dibiase.

And he had all the tools there to do it. Guys have got to make sure they have all the tools. Too many guys I see, the office tells them what they want them to do to make it, and they don’t do it. (The office will) say, “Well, you don’t have any interview skills. You need to do that.” They don’t do it, they don’t go practice, they don’t do anything. “We need you to change your look.” They don’t change anything. “We need you to change this.” They don’t do it.

Or they start dating the boss’s daughter.

It’s up to the guys. I think there’s become an attitude in our business — some people will criticize me for saying this, probably — where guys say, “This is bulls***. When’s my turn?” It’s not about getting a turn. Not everybody gets a turn. It’s about making your opportunity. That’s a fact; that’s the way it is. When Rocky was the most un-over guy in this company, they turned him heel because they had no choice, but The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, then took that heel turn and developed a character that fans just ate up. He did that. The same thing with Austin. That’s just the facts. That’s how you do it.

Yeah, but putting Rock in charge of a faction and the fact he’s hilarious and the fact he was put over by Austin helped, too.

HHH has his points, but you can’t deny that Raw has been carefully constructed so that he’s the ONLY guy on the card who is a world title threat. That didn’t come by coincidence. It came through him crushing everyone else. Cleanly. He’s a heel, and he wins everything cleanly. That’s not the heel way to do things, but it is the way to do things when you want to blow yourself constantly.

But hey, more power to him I stand in awe of his ability to get shit done.

In Other Reading

Dino Zucconi went to Mania and he also READ THE BOOK. I will too, once I finish getting my shit unpacked.

David Murphy reminds me, once again, why Daniels is a bad name to have in this Internet Wrestling Columnist thing. He also discusses the Super 8 Tournament. If you don’t know what that is, you should and what better way to find out than to read him?!

I still haven’t seen PK’s Rap Off with Cena. Circumstances keep f’n with me. Soon.

In Closing

Time to unpack, I suppose… I’ve been puttin it off for long enough… and it’s already 1. Hope you all have a good weekend and stay safe.

>Insert Clever Tagline that I have yet to come up with<