This Week in ‘E – First Quarter Woes

WWE’s first quarter earnings were down from last year in a very unsurprising result. Meanwhile Ted Turner declines WWE offer to speak on the record and Undertaker’s nagging injuries leave the top of the SmackDown card wide open for new talent.

Opening Witty Banter
Hello to everyone out there wherever you may be reading this from. I hope you are doing fantastic. Me? I’m doing great as well. Thanks for asking. I’m starting my new job tomorrow and am pretty excited about. What does this have to do with wrestling? Absolutely nothing, but I’ve got to fill some space somehow.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
This past week WWE released their 2009 first quarter earnings and not surprisingly pretty much everything is down across the board from the year previous. As a caveat, WrestleMania XXIV was in the first quarter 2008 while WrestleMania XXV will be in the second quarter this year, which definitely offsets the numbers to some degree.

Here’s some of the more basic numbers:

Live events revenue is down $6.6 million, from $24.6 million to $18 million. Last year WrestleMania XXIV brought in $5.9 million.

Venue merchandize is down $1 million, from $5.6 to $4.6 million. Last year WrestleMania XXIV brought in $1.3 million.

PPV revenue is down $27.6 million, from $41.2 million to $13.6 million. Last year WrestleMania XXIV brought in $23.8 million.

TV revenue is about the only thing that was up, from $24 million to $24.9 million.

Total live and televised entertainment is down $35.7 million from $99.8 million to $64.1 million. Last year WrestleMania XXIV brought in $31.3 million.

Consumer products are down $10.3 million, from $43.4 million to $33.1 million.

Digital media is down $1.2 million, from $8.1 million to $6.9 million.

WWE Studios is down $7.6 million, from $11.3 million to $3.7 million.

Overall revenue is down across the board $54.8 million, from $162.6 million to $107.8 million. Last year WrestleMania XXIV brought in $31.3 million.

There are your boring numbers for the week. The decreases shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone as on-air product is constantly being accused of being dull and stale, which may have turn off some fans. Plus with this crazy economy we are in right now, it doesn’t really lend to families (who are WWE’s current demo) plunking down over a hundred bucks to go to a live show or spend expendable income on WWE merchandise.

Undertaker is continuing to suffer from various nagging injuries. One of his knees and one of his hips are hurting quite bad and he didn’t even go to last week’s SmackDown/ECW taping. There has been talk that he may undergo surgery to repair his knee, but there is a fear that once the knee is opened up it could be more serious than expected. With Undertaker out for the foreseeable future and Jeff Hardy perhaps leaving the company this summer it opens up the SmackDown brand for new top card babyfaces. All eyes point to Rey Mysterio, CM Punk and a freshly-turned John Morrison to lead the blue brand for the good guys.

Undertaker always takes sabbaticals like this and his part-time status lends him to come and go as he pleases. Honestly some people might not even notice that he’s not around. He took last summer off too so a few months off to heal some injuries isn’t the worst thing for Undertaker. If he doesn’t have some serious knee surgery I would expect him to back around for SummerSlam.

As for John Morrison, I’m all for his push to the top of the card. He is such a natural heel but he if he doesn’t change his character at all and just starts facing bad guys instead of good guys, I think he could be great foil for guys like Edge, Chris Jericho, Kane and Umaga. With Jericho, Edge, Mysterio, Hardy, Punk, Umaga and Morrison on top of SmackDown there is potential for some seriously fun main events for the blue brand.

Internally management isn’t happy with Tiffany’s job as ECW General Manager. There is talk that when Tommy Dreamer’s contract legitimately expires in about six weeks that he could be brought back in as the brand’s new GM.

I personally think bringing Dreamer back as ECW GM would be great. I have read that many people soured on the idea but I think having Tommy around as the actual face of the ECW brand would be great. This ECW isn’t anything like the old ECW but by having Tommy still around would at least provide that one little link between the wildly different promotions that share those three letters.

According to Eric Bischoff himself, both Ted Turner and Bill Shaw were approached by WWE management to speak on the “Rise and Fall of WCW” three-disc DVD, but both men turned down the offer.

I would love to see Ted Turner speaking on a WWE produced disc but I can’t fault either man for not appearing on what very well could be a revisionist history of what happened with WCW. They’re both smart enough to know that whatever they said would then be at the mercy of the WWE editors and forever be on record.

Apparently “The View’s” Sherri Shepherd had such a blast working with WWE and MVP that she claimed she wanted to train to become a wrestler and work for WWE.

That’s some great PR for WWE that someone like Shepherd had a positive experience with the company. That’s great that she would be open for more appearances down the road, which could help give more of a rub to MVP as he continues to rise up the card.

WWE’s tour of Mexico is back on for late May that was previously postponed for the recent swine flu epidemic. The events that were set for Alabama in their place will take place this fall.

Eh…so was this swine flu more of just a media epidemic than anything else?

Mr. Kennedy made his in-ring return this past week, competing in a six-man tag down in Florida Championship Wrestling. No word on when he will make his full roster in-ring return.

Anyone want to take bets how long before he does something stupid, pulls a muscle, breaks a bone or somehow finds a way to further derail his momentum? I like Kennedy more than the next guy but he’s got a lot of ground to cover before he gets back to where he was in spring 2008.

During a recent interview with UK’s “The Sun” newspaper, Batista said he only had a year left on his contract and is considering retirement once the contract is up. He also hinted that he would like one more heel run before he ends his career.

Like Kennedy, Batista is one of those guys who is known for being injury prone, and he might be wise to step away before he seriously injures himself again. Plus if Batista leaves in a year he could conceivably go out while still on top essentially, which is something that rarely happens.

Wrestler of the Week
Week of May 4 – 10: John Morrison
Randy Orton and Legacy were all over RAW this past week while Chris Jericho ruled SmackDown, but this week I have to give some love to John Morrison. He looked like a big-time player on Superstars in a fantastic match with Chris Jericho where he looked like he belonged and was able to bust out some fancy moves befitting his new babyface persona. Then on SmackDown he took out Charlie Haas in a continuing effort to build his feud with Shelton Benjamin. A mid-card feud without a Title on the line? Who has ever heard of such a thing?

The Road to…Judgment Day
WWE Championship
Batista v. Randy Orton (c)

World Heavyweight Championship
Jeff Hardy v. Edge (c)

ECW Championship
Christian (c) v. “All-American American” Jack Swagger

John Cena v. The Big Show

CM Punk v. Umaga

rumored matches:
The Colons v. Priceless for the WWE Unified Tag Team Championships
Rey Mysterio v. Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship

RAW’s On Tonight!
I honestly have no earthly idea on what to expect on RAW tonight. Judgment Day is only a week away so I’m sure there will be plenty from Batista and Legacy and an appearance from John Cena as he continues his grudge with Big Show. But other than that I’ve got nothing. Hopefully MVP can continue his upward mobility, Matt Hardy will continue to perfect his “Cowboy” Bob Orton v2.0 gimmick and The Miz will continue his great streak of interviews about John Cena. Plus I’m sure we will see some wackiness from Santino/a Marella, among others.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Mikey and Dale tackle SmackDown.

Innarelli covers ECW.

Wheeler and Marshall provide their own unique analysis of RAW.

How They Rated
Superstars (4.30.09) – .9

SmackDown! (5.1.09) – 1.9

A.M. RAW (5.3.09) – .7

RAW (5.4.09) – 3.3

ECW (5.5.09) – 1.1

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Ditch has a great interview with Prince Fergal Devitt.

Wiswell looks at Ring of Honor’s string of bad luck pertaining to their past weekend’s shows.

Marshall goes into detail about Kut Angle and remarks in The Miami Herald detailing his past troubles with WWE, the Wellness Program and the falloug of his release from the company.

For more relevant, interesting and exciting wrestling information from your truly, check out my gig as the Pro Wrestling Examiner over at Examiner.com.

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