The Haley News And World Report 12.17.03

Let’s do this.

The Little Things

I try to keep my promises.

1. Below The Belt

You can’t ask for better PR than this. Clinton Portis unleashes 5 touchdowns and 218 yards rushing against the Chiefs a couple of Sundays ago and his teammates give him the belt for his deeds. In this case, a replica (?) of the old NWA big gold title belt.

How f*cking cool is that? Personally, I felt like it was cool to be a wrestling fan again – if I can relate to a badass like Portis in any way shape or form, it’s a little thing to cherish.

The other upside is the fact that since it wasn’t on him and was done on the sidelines, he didn’t have to pay for the act like Joe Horn or Chad Johnson.

2. Video Killed The Radio Star

The magic of video never ceases to amaze me. Last night I saw Lita’s new entrance video for the first time. It was not only cool on its own, which WWe’s video production team is pretty consistent at accomplishing, but it also had the added bonus of making her theme music a little more tolerable. Almost catchy. Now if she would just stop blowing spots

Also, I think some of her edge has been lost. Remember when her and the Hardy Bros. pulled that hot prank on Dean Malenko? The one where she tricked him into a hotel room with hardly anything on at all? That’s the Lita I want, not the friend of Trish Stratus.

3. Jukin’ and Jivin’

Christian really did a good job of being an asshole on Monday night. When he got in the ring and started throwing punches into the air, flexed his muscles during the middle of the match and whatnot, it was gold. The best part though was at the beginning when Jericho tagged him in out of reluctance to fight Trish which he promptly disregarded and took as excitement about being chosen by Jericho to start the match. That type of clueless cockiness is hard to come by these days.

4. Just The Facts

I love the Matt Facts. A lot. But the new RAW entrance for him seems kinda uninspired so far all we got was a toilet seat cover joke.

Matt’s debut has been uninspiring in general. This is one of the first trades between the two brands, an idea that WWe has sat on for a pretty long time. Instead of letting Matt roll in and make an impact either by a feud, promo work or some other way, they’ve put him in a rather tepid feud with Maven. This not only hurts him, but the idea of trades in general – if he had made a bigger impact, people would’ve been excited for future trades.

Shoot, the sports world benefits from such speculation even during the off season. It feels like another lost opportunity to capitalize on a little thing to me.

Generally speaking, Matt has the charisma and quite a few little things (hand signal, the AHHHHHH, and a few trademark moves for starters) to go very far in my opinion. Hopefully, they’ll give him his shot soon.

5. Thumb’s Up

Ric Flair begging off, then hitting the thumb to the eye. It NEVER gets old.

Keep sending in the suggestions so I can get a reader’s pick section going and keep this part of the column going on top of that.

Quickies – Politics As Usual

Lots of political turmoil seems to be the flavor of the week in the news world.

With regards to the Hulk Hogan/NWA TNA fiasco, a lot of people are going to call out the Jarratts and say that they should’ve seen this coming, especially given Jeff and Hulk’s somewhat tumultuous past. I, however, understand what they were attempting. It is very easy for us, sitting in front of a computer, to say that slow and steady does the trick, that innovative wrestling combined with sensible long-term booking is the key to making the promotion viable. It’s different for them, though. Their money and livelihoods are wrapped up in this venture and it’s hard not to jump at a tempting prospect like signing up Hogan and creating some buzz that might help land the promotion a TV deal. Face it, the man does bring that type of credibility with him.

In the end though, such a decision does come with risk and they will learn to live with that. While extremely frustrating, none of this can possibly be surprising to management because just as he brings that type of credibility, he also brings his backstage reputation, age and price tag. Was it worth it? Right now, it doesn’t seem like it, but only time will tell.

Quickies – Politics As Usual II

Goldberg is unhappy. With his money and how his character is being booked. This is not really news now is it?

I won’t comment much about a man feeling underpaid at $1.5 million per year, but I will say that I’ve always been torn about Mr. Goldberg. On one hand, I see the side that says this guy should be a good company man, work within the system, voice his criticism constructively and not cause trouble. That’s how most of us have to play the game (pun city baby) in our daily lives at work, so why should he be any different? On the other hand, I see his point. He knows he can work a crowd, that he has the look and charisma that other wrestlers just aren’t born with and feels very strongly that he can take the promotion on his back and carry it to the next level. Call him the T. Owens of the wrestling business – he always wants the ball, always thinks he can make the big play, and I think he genuinely does so out of a desire to win and succeed.

I personally think his character is being misused and he has a legit gripe. Giving all of the belts to Evolution just isn’t exciting or as fearsome and noteworthy as HHH and Co. would have us believe. They don’t dominate like the Horsemen or the n.W.o. and there is not an ounce of intrigue surrounding the group (i.e. we aren’t held in suspense about when they’ll appear next or which member they might induct next). It’s a pretty flat effort altogether and Goldberg thinks he has more pop. He’s probably right and has chosen to flex his political muscle and make his voice heard. I’d probably do the same thing if I felt that strongly and I believe he does. Whether it’s constructive for the fed and the locker room is a whole other issue. There are probably costs involved (tangible and intangible) in protesting, but I’ve always been willing to absorb such costs if a greater good can be achieved.

Whether there is such a greater good is, of course, totally in the eye of the beholder.

Quickies III

Wouldn’t Goldust and Rico make a sweet tag team? Aren’t their characters basically the same although one has been deemed as stale? I dunno, just wondering.

The Forum – Comments On A Good Debate

I’ve enjoyed the unfolding debate between Flea and Keith regarding WWe and its business. I think we need more of that around this site, so I thought I’d offer a few quick points. The subject does kinda hit close to my heart and I feel like I’m somewhat qualified to speak on dis, being a finance and marketing major n all.

Here is what I think you should know:

1) Marketing’s contribution to a company’s bottom line is and always will be vague by nature. There is no marketing textbook, formula or trick that can concisely determine the amount of money that a marketing campaign is making for a company.

2) The best marketing campaigns communicate a clear message that resonates with a target audience for a long time. Personally, I feel that the Windows 95 “Start Me Up” campaign is not in this category. As Keith says, a lot of people don’t even remember it and it really doesn’t say anything about the product.

That is not to say though that it did not generate a healthy buzz for the product at the time, which was the primary goal of the campaign.

3) When it comes to analyst recommendations for a stock, a TON of factors are considered. We’re talking various economic projections, changes in demographics, world events, the weather, the list goes on and on. A marketing campaign, even one that is carefully planned and creating a buzz, doesn’t factor strongly into an analyst’s recommendation on a stock in general. Why? Because the stock price that you currently see has already taken that factor into account. Analysts expect firms that are publicly traded to go out, hire a marketing firm, make something creative as part of their normal business and have that campaign create some buzz. The vast marjority of marketing campaigns come and go. It’s just that simple. It’s the unexpected news in the aforementioned factors that can really change an analyst’s outlook on a particular stock.

4) One analyst’s recommendation alone is anecdotal and not an accurate reflection on what the market in general thinks about one particular stock.

5) No stock that is publicly traded can be considered a “joke”. Unless it is ridden with scandals and about to be de-listed.

6) Booking does have something to do with the financial performance of WWe. It is, however, but one factor. See point #3.

Missing Links?

Check out Ross Williams’ Series this week. He is doing a great job.

I’m done for the week. Sorry it was a little late.

Haley