This Week in ‘E – A Wounded Animal

Batista gets hurt again, Vickie Guerrero walks away and RAW looks to go commercial free…but unfortunately doesn’t promise to be suck-free.

Opening Witty Banter
Hello out there in Internet-land. I’ve learned that in life you have to take the good with the bad. Life may simultaneously kick your ass and help you out at the same time. And I gave myself a wicked sunburn to boot this afternoon so I’m in a little pain right now to say the least. On the wrestling front there was actually a lot of news coming out of WWE so we should have a packed edition this week for a change.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
Word came out shortly before last weekend’s Extreme Rules pay per view that Batista was injured, again. Despite this his cage match with Randy Orton still took place as planned, albeit in a very short form. Then in an even more surprising move Batista won the WWE Title. It was announced publicly the next day Batista had tore his bicep and went in for surgery this past week. He is expected to be out anywhere from 4 – 6 months. He was essentially stripped or forced to vacate the WWE Title and it will be decided in a four-way match on RAW tonight.

Can I say how utterly stupid it was to let Batista win at Extreme Rules, knowing full well that we would need immediate time off to deal with ANOTHER injury. In the wake of the injury-prone Mr. Kennedy getting his walking papers I would say it is Batista’s time as well to be shown the door but luckily for him he seems to be quite connected within the company. Plus the big guy probably only has a couple more years of active competition left in him anyways so they may as well get as much mileage out of him as they can until he hangs it up for good.

Umaga was released on Monday, just hours after he had competed at Extreme Rules. While it seemed like a very quizzical release at first later in the week wwe.com reported that he was released for failing his getting his second Wellness violation and “his subsequent refusal to attend a rehabilitation facility.” Apparently the company waited to announce the release a few days because they wanted to review the Wellness policy and decide how to proceed publicly , as Umaga was the first person released after only two strikes, as opposed to the fabled three strikes. This was also the first violation that did not see a press release sent out to the media, rather just a public announcement online.

I must say that Umaga was a guy that grew on me immensely over his three years with the character. I was immediately ready to write him off in 2006 when the former Jamal showed up on RAW looking like a low rent Kamala, but he really grew into the role. Plus his new found speaking skills were going to add another new dimension to his character. At any rate I expect Umaga to end up back in Japan or making a great living working overseas and on the independents. Plus Vince loves his Samoans and I could see a third run for the big man in WWE somewhere down the line.

On RAW last week Vickie Guerrero stepped down from her post as GM. Apparently this is more than a storyline as she is planning on leaving the company to spend more time with her daughters.

Like a lot of people I wrote off Vickie immediately as a character and I sure didn’t expect her to last this long or be this successful on WWE TV. She grew into a phenomenal heel the likes that Eddie himself would be incredibly proud of. Her “excuse me” catchphrase was gold and a surefire heat getter. Knowing the talent she has now it’s too bad we never got to see her and Eddie together as an ultimate rudo tandem on television together.

On Sunday, June 28, before the Bash pay per view, Adelita’s Way and Rev Theory will perform live outside the Arco Arena where the pay per view will be held. Adelita’s Way is the band that performs the “Superstars” theme and Rev Theory performs Randy Orton’s theme “Voices” and contributed “Light It Up” as a theme for WrestleMania XXIV. Rev Theory will also have an autograph signing after the concert.

I know a lot of people will hate on this and make fun of these supposed crappy bands, but I think this is a great idea. Both acts are relatively new and have found a lot of success thanks to their partnership with WWE. Plus whether you like to admit or not their style of music does mesh well with a lot of WWE fans. This could end up being one of the largest crowds these bands have performed of yet, especially in the case of Adelita’s Way. The idea of a free show before the pay per view may also entice a few people to attend the pay per view, feeling they’ll get two events for the price of one. And let’s not forget that he original Great American Bashes used to feature live music all the time from outlaw country stars like Waylon Jennings and David Allan Coe. So even though the music and the presentation will be wildly different it turns out this year’s Bash will be more like the originals than anyone in WWE will want to admit.

In a fairly unprecedented move the June 22 RAW from Green Bay will be broadcast commercial free. Naturally this means the creative team will have to write and format the show more like a pay per view than a regular television broadcast.

I think this is a great move and another way that WWE and USA Network are working to constantly improve the RAW experience. Granted the show will still feature sponsor endorsement and product placement throughout but I think the experiment could end up being quite successful. In fact I think hometown boy Mr. Kennedy could use his announcing voice to promote some sponsors during a lull in the action…oh wait…never mind.

During screenings of Extreme Rules at various locations, WWE representatives were handing out surveys to the fans, asking for feedback on different ways of PPV viewing. One of the questions asked about fans paying cover charges at bars or restaurants to watch the shows. Another asked about the interest in watching WWE PPVs via closed circuit in high definition at movie theater chains. Cineplex Entertainment in Canada already does this.

In this era of WWE programming with a bigger push for younger fans I think a return to closed circuit locations could work well. Parents might be more privy to plunk down $10 or $15 so their kid could see a pay per view, not unlike a move, as opposed to dropping $40 to watch it in house. But on the same token with MMA and the UFC especially becoming so wildly popular I don’t see places like Hooters or Buffalo Wild Wings instituting a WWE pay per view viewing with cover charge like they may have been apt to do ten yeas ago.

Tommy Dreamer has signed a new deal with WWE, believed to be between 3 and 5 years.

I am so happy that Dreamer won the ECW Title last week and is getting one last run on top, especially when no one expected it to happen. His blog on the WWE Universe site where he thanks all those who helped and supported him in his career is a great read and gets a little dig in about how he, Mick Foley and The Dudley Boyz all has World Heavyweight Champions at the same time really put the “heavy” in heavyweight. However I wonder what will become of Tommy after this Cinderella run is over. Surely he can’t go back to jobbing in three-minute matches to Paul Burchill and Mark Henry again. Hopefully he will be able to transition into a backstage, trainer or office role if he so chooses.

Wrestler of the Week
Week of June 8 – 14: Edge
Edge became the first man to break the hard and fast brand expansion lines this past Monday when he got solidified his divorce with Vickie Guerrero (and got face pops for it!) Then on Friday on SmackDown he and Jeff Hardy put on another stellar one-on-one match that saw Edge come out on top in the match that was WWE’s match of the week (although Morrison and Jericho gave it a run for its money on Superstars). He now heads into a World Title match with CM Punk and Hardy on Monday Night RAW. Edge continues to show why he is one of the company’s top three heels of the time and continues to solidify himself as one of the top heels in history.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Tonight’s RAW will be one of the company’s special three hour shows that USA Network just loves to produce. I do give the company credit that each three-hour show has a special feel or gimmick to it in order to help them stand out. Tonight’s 3-for-all gimmick is probably the weakest of the bunch but I believe the company is still trying to remain steadfast in their brand expansion divide so expect a series of brand-specific matches. Also rumors are swirling that another round of Wellness violations were handed out and some familiar faces may be missing from tonight’s broadcast. Plus you are guaranteed three World Title matches and a guaranteed new champion in the case of the WWE Title. Expect to see Tommy Dreamer defend the ECW Title against Christian, Jeff Hardy and Edge challenge CM Punk for the World Title and a battle for the vacant WWE Title between four former WWE Champions in The Big Show, John Cena, Triple H and Randy Orton. At the very least history will be made.

On Last Week’s Episode…
SmackDown

ECW

RAW

How They Rated
Superstars (6.4.09) – 1.0

SmackDown! (6.5.09) – 1.9

A.M. RAW (6.7.09) – .85

RAW (6.8.09) – 3.6

ECW (6.9.09) – 1.2

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Welcome back Mr. Glazer! He has been all over Pulse this week, but make sure to check out his ROH predictions and his truly amazing and heartfelt thoughts on the death of Misawa.

Wiswell gives the heads up on the ROH shows you probably didn’t see.

Ditch continues to bring the puro goodness

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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