The Reality of Wrestling: The E Cancels March SNME


The Reality of Wrestling: The E Cancels March SNME
By Phil Clark

Not the best sign

While Morishima’s ROH title win seems to be the big story in wrestling as of the last week and a half, I decided to give The E some time on this column as they actually have a story worth reporting this past week. It was announced that WWE has cancelled the scheduled March 10 installment of Saturday Night’s Main Event. Shockingly, Vince actually got to save face by canceling a show, but at the same time caused a lot of people to scratch their heads in puzzlement.

P.C. Says: Good call by Vince

Yes, I don’t get to congratulate Vince McMahon a whole lot anymore, but in this case, he made the absolute 100% right decision. First things first, the two installments of SNME last year failed to set the world on fire the way that Vince and NBC were wanting. That misperception of the current state of wrestling is not entirely Vince’s fault. The last time that NBC aired SNME (or one of the variations) was in 1992; the last time NBC aired ANY E programming to my knowledge was 1995. Think about that, it had been eleven years since this channel had aired anything E related. Not only that, but the highpoint for SNME and WWE on NBC was the Rock ‘N Wrestling period where The E was doing “Deal or No Deal” numbers. Apparently, that is where NBC’s memory of wrestling is and has always been. Looking at T.V. ratings for RAW and SmackDown! over the past few years, it’s easy to see that neither of these shows are going to pull a huge number the likes of which the “glory days” did. However, NBC was even willing to accept a 5.0 rating out of it all since it was a stacked show (much like both shows are getting these days). Even that was asking too much.

What SNME was last year was a set up for Wrestlemania (the summer edition was a special); the intent was to influence people to buy the show and hopefully add another couple thousand buys to the total. In that sense, the show did achieve both goals as Mania did a great buyrate and the show itself set up the main angles that The E wanted to showcase at Mania. Without it this year, there is no special to help the build to Wrestlemania, but that really shouldn’t be a problem. Again, The E hasn’t had a special like SNME to build to Mania in over 10 years. Looking at the buyrates for the Wrestlemanias since then (at least most of them), it would seem that The E doesn’t have a problem building to the biggest show of the year. All this means is that there will have to be some inter-brand influence on both shows leading to Mania. Well, that’s already been happening and by doing so Vince has partially admitted that the brand extension has failed as even poor, little SmackDown! does play a part in drawing people for Wrestlemania.

Finally, this is a good call by Vince because it did seem that SNME was an appetizer for the main dish last year. Well, you don’t need an appetizer for this meal; Wrestlemania ain’t the sequel for anything and is the only event name in all of wrestling (worldwide) that everyone knows, even non-wrestling fans. It is a part of pop culture good or bad and is known by people who use it for different means both good and bad. The show itself has now proven that drawing a huge buy is no problem whatsoever. Seven of the last eight Wrestlemania’s have drawn over 500,000 buys (WM XIX being the only exception) and of those seven, four have drawn 800,000 or more with X-7 still holding the title of largest bought wrestling PPV of all-time and the only wrestling PPV to garner over 1 million buys. While some people in Connecticut are worried that they won’t have a piece of their build to Mania they really shouldn’t worry, as this problem will likely solve itself. Sometimes, it’s all in the name.

The Reality is it’s Wrestlemania. While most are filling this time with worry and speculation, I’m urging all fans and supporters of The E to take this time to just sit back and relax. This is the one time of the year where The E seems to try and put on something good. They don’t always succeed for a number of reasons, but they are trying. A good wrestlemania buyrate means a good year for the McMahon’s as they not only have the one buyrate that they truly care about, but also another talking point at those stockholders meetings every financial quarter. And for all the TNA marks, ROHbots, and other E haters, trust me you should relax too. Don’t burn out early because if the last few years have taught wrestling fans (all wrestling fans) anything, it’s that post-Mania on can be cannon fodder for any E hater, period.

Read Dave Ditch’s rebuttal to my (and others’ apparently) critique of ROH after the title change at Puroresu Pulse issue 103

This week’s “FUCK YOU!” goes to:

Here we go again. I told you it wouldn’t be the last time that I gave Vinnie Roo the proverbial bird, but here we are. This week, my gripe with Russo is that he feels frustrated with the product he is writing as of now. Now, as a writer myself, I’m not against someone feeling that they can do better. However, this is a case where someone got in over their head and should’ve respected the depths. I’m pretty sure that Vince Russo’s name was far from the top of the list of people that people inside of TNA would want as head booker and writer (why hasn’t Gabe Sapolsky’s name popped up more?). So, either he campaigned for the job to Jarrett or Jarrett really did go batshit crazy. Of course, a third possibility is that Jarrett may have wanted a fall guy as the product he was head of was going to collapse like it has now; the hard work of a number of wrestlers and the underexposure of a large number of good-great wrestlers could only mean collapse. So whether he’s Jarrett’s patsy or in a far different job than he was expecting, all I have to say is one thing: “Man up Vinnie Roo and find solutions instead of adding problems.”