This Week in ‘E – Bring Me Jared From Subway

WWE looks to eliminate Survivor Series, toys with more branded concept pay per views, ensures a cable network is on its way and plans for the NXT generation…

Opening Witty Banter
It’s been fun watching some Olympic coverage. It fascinates me that someone grew up wanting to be the best short track skating champion of the world. They are a better person than I am. Meanwhile a lot of news came out of the E this past week, some good and some bad. But for sure I am already nominating “Luke…Serena…bring me Jared from Subway” for 2010’s promo of the year…pure gold…

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
With NXT only two weeks away and the final ECW coming up this week, more news has come out in regarding what NXT actually is. The concept is said to be a “reality” based series featuring new talents who viewers will be able to follow both in and out of the ring. The idea is that fans and viewers will become invested in them before they actually reach the “bright lights.” It looks to be a combination of Tough Enough and the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter, with the talents feuding with each other to become the next big WWE star. WWE has been working on the concept since November. Still, however, nothing has been officially decided on what to do in regards to the ECW Championship. While it was announced that all ECW talents can be drafted to either RAW or SmackDown after the final episode of ECW, the belt was not specifically addressed. Some are lobbying to keep the title, but nothing is official yet.

Personally I think the ECW Title should be retired as well, but bring out a Television Championship to replace it in the mid-card or to use for the kids on NXT to feud over. As for NXT I am just anxiously awaiting to see the look and presentation of the product before I can really say anything.

WWE released their fourth quarter financial results this past week. And while a lot of boring technical information fell out of it a couple key things really stood out.

Here is a report of all 2009 PPVs and how they compared with their 2008 counterparts:

Royal Rumble – 450,000 buys (down 15.6 percent)
No Way Out – 272,000 buys (down 17.3 percent)
WrestleMania 25 – 960,000 buys (down 9.3 percent)
Backlash – 182,000 buys (down 9.0 percent)
Judgment Day – 228,000 buys (down 9.5 percent)
Extreme Rules – 213,000 buys (up 9.7 percent)
Night of Champions – 267,000 buys (down 2.2 percent)
The Bash – 178,000 buys (down 9.2 percent)
Summerslam – 369,000 buys (down 22.6 percent)
Breaking Point (from Unforgiven) – 169,000 buys (down 19.1 percent)
Hell in a Cell (from No Mercy) – 283,000 buys (up 8.4 percent)
Bragging Rights (from Cyber Sunday) – 181,000 buys (up 18.3 percent)
Survivor Series – 235,000 buys (down 26.3 percent)
TLC (from Armageddon) – 228,000 buys (up 18.1 percent)

So apparently some of the rebranding efforts were successful as Hell in a Cell, Bragging Rights and TLC all saw increases from their 2008 counterparts. This shows the company that the theme PPV idea works and should continue in the future. It is also interesting to see two of the company’s tentpoles in SummerSlam and Survivor Series were down over twenty percent from their 2008 installments.

Speaking of Survivor Series, lVince McMahon announced Thursday during the WWE’s fourth quart financials conference call that the Survivor Series event would be dropped from the company’s pay per view line up in 2010. With the 2009 Survivor Series buyrate down 25% from 2008’s event the decision has been made to replace the long-standing event with something new in the November pay per time slot.

Here is McMahon’s quote from the call:

“We think that Survivor Series is obsolete, as far as that title is concerned. It was something that worked many, many years ago, in terms of a creative standpoint, various teams competing. That really is not advantageous as the consumer now looks as what actually they are buying. And it’s such a broad … Survivor Series yes, many years ago, was one of the original four pay-per-views, but it’s outlasted its usage and it is one of the things in terms of re-branding, this year and going forward, that will be re-branded. No longer will we have that title, Survivor Series.”

I cannot stress how much I am opposed to this change. As a lifelong WWE fan that grew up on the Survivor Series it is a terrible idea to do away with an event with such tradition and history behind it. While this year’s event saw a significant decrease from the previous year’s outing that can be attributed a variety of factors. An over-saturation of the pay per view market, the ease of illegal video streams, the still recovering economy and terrible event promotion from the company all factor into the decrease.

What I find even more humorous is that currently WWE is re-branding pay per views to feature a single theme, with the Breaking Point submissions event replacing Unforgiven, the Hell in a Cell show replacing No Mercy and the Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay per view taking over for Armageddon, yet they want to get rid of their original branded show – the all elimination match format of the original Survivor Series shows.

In related news the company sent out a survey also on Thursday asking fans asking what kinds of other pay per view concepts they would like see, specially listing tournament, street fight, legend, WarGames, BattleBowl, Money in the Bank, draft and roulette formats.

Here is what the survey posted:

Tournament Event – Single elimination “bracket style” tournament where Superstars would compete in multiple matches during the night to become the tournament winner.

Battle Bowl Event – Random tag-teams compete together – sometimes arch rivals – with the winning teams being put in a 2-ring Battle Royal. The winner could potentially receive a championship title match.

Money in the Bank Event – The main event “Money in the Bank” match requires Superstars to climb a ladder and retrieve a briefcase hung high above the ring. The winner can “cash in” the briefcase for a championship title shot throughout the year. Qualifying matches earlier in the event will determine participants for the “Money in the Bank” match.

Legends Event – Match participants would include WWE Legends from the past.

Roulette Event – Main event match stipulations would be determined by the spin of a roulette-type wheel.

WarGames Event – Teams of 5 collide in 2 cages. 2 participants begin the match with a new participant added every 5 minutes. This process is alternated between teams until all members from both teams are present.

WWE Draft Event – WWE’s annual Draft where Superstars and Divas learn which brand they’ll be a part of for the next year. The Draft is often the beginning of new conflicts and matchups.

Street Fight Event – Main events would include “street fight” matches where there are no disqualifications and pin-falls count anywhere. Superstars often compete in normal street clothes.

While some of those concepts (many taken from the old WCW) sound like a great idea, it just seems counterproductive to take out one storied concept show and replace it with an unproven, untested or previously failed concepts. Perhaps whatever takes the place of Survivor Series this coming November will still feature a traditional Survivor Series elimination match or two, but then again it would seem like a foolish gesture to re-brand in the first place. I mean I would love to see WarGames or BattleBowl more than the next guy, but who’s to say they wouldn’t be bastardized into WWE’s own image, thus robbing us long time fans of what we remembered about them anyways. The street fight sounds awful, the tournament one has been done in the past with mixed results and the roulette could be fun as a replacement or compliment to Extreme Rules. Although if Cheatum the midget and “spin the wheel, make the deal” make their return then they have money on their hands. Money in the Bank is in a great spot at WrestleMania and doesn’t need its own slot. The Draft seems a lot like it would be like Cyber Sunday, and I can remember how quick WCW dubbed the legends aspect of Slamboree. While I’m intrigued by the idea of more branded shows, I am only cautiously optimistic about a lot of them.

Long time WWE employee Basil V. DeVito has been elected to the company’s board of directors. DeVito has been with the company since 1985, and wrote the first WrestleMania book back in 2001. Here is the announcement…

World Wrestling Entertainment® announced today that Basil V. DeVito, Jr. has been elected to its Board of Directors.

DeVito has been with the Company over the past 25 years. Since 2003, he has served as Senior Advisor, Business Strategies, in which he has obtained placement for WWE television programming in North America. His tenure with the company began in 1985, when he created WWE’s first marketing group. He subsequently managed several WWE departments, and served as its Chief Operating Officer from January 1997 through June 1998. DeVito was also President of the XFLâ„¢, WWE’s former professional football league.

In addition to his duties at WWE, DeVito held senior positions with the National Basketball Association, The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeder’s Cup Ltd.

DeVito is one of those names that long time WWE fans recognize but never really knew what he did. It’s cool to see WWE recognize a long time employee like this.

It looks as if the WWE cable network is getting closer to be a reality. It was also mentioned in this past week’s conference call. McMahon said they had been doing “a great amount of due diligence” on it, and they will soon be ready for the next step. He also said having their own network would only help their broadcast partners, and that it would be similar to the NFL, who promotes their own network during their broadcasts on CBS and FOX. Vince said a WWE Network would promote their shows on USA, SyFY and MyNetworkTV. Vince said he hopes to have the new network “up and running” in a year and a half.

Yeah it would be twelve shades of awesome. I mean just the random crap they could unearth to fill the hours would be worth it.

The Road to…Elimination Chamber
Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship
Sheamus (c) v. Triple H v. Randy Orton v. John Cena v. Kofi Kingston v. Ted DiBiase

Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship
The Undertaker (c) v. John Morrison v. R-Truth v. CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio v. Chris Jericho

Intercontinental Championship
Kane v. Drew McIntyre (c)

Vacant Divas Championship
Gail Kim v. Maryse

expected matches
Mickie James v. Beth Phoenix v. Michelle McCool for the Women’s Championship
MVP v. The Miz for the US Championship
Shawn Michaels v. Batista

The WWE Hall of Fame, Class of 2010
”Million $ Man” Ted DiBiase

Wrestler of the Week
Week of February 8 – 14: The Miz & The Big Show
When it was announced that DeGeneration X would defend their Tag Titles against both The Straight Edge Society and The Miz and Big Show it seemed all but official that Punk and Gallows would walk out the new Champions. Rather The Miz and The Show surprised us all and came out victorious. Miz now is a dual champion and watches his stock rise weekly. While it looks like a little bit like “JeriShow” light, ShowMiz could be a lot of fun. If we can’t have Jericho on all shows, may as well have Miz.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Jerry Springer will guest host RAW tonight. Springer, best known for his own talk show The Jerry Springer Show, that is currently in its nineteenth season will fit right into the circus that Monday Night RAW has become. Springer’s talk show, which gained its highest notoriety in the late ‘90s, coincidentally when WWE was reaching its highest numbers thanks to the “Attitude” era, have a lot in common. Both shows are accused of appealing to the uneducated masses with their lowbrow subject manner and presentation. He has never been associated with WWE in the past, but his career as a ringmaster on talk show circuit will provide him all the skills necessary to navigate Monday Night RAW for the night. In fact Springer has the potential to be one of the more entertaining guest hosts of this era thanks to his ability to be the central stable figure amidst all the chaos that develops around him. Plus unlike other previous guest hosts, there shouldn’t be a feeling of being “below” professional wrestling, which should provide more honest interaction with the talent. Plus the card is completely stacked with one-on-one matches leading up to Sunday’s Elimination Chamber. Kofi Kingston battles Ted DiBiase, Randy Orton meets Sheamus in a Royal Rumble rematch and Triple H tangles with John Cena in big main event. If memory serves me right, Trips and Cena have had a couple pretty great free TV matches in the past and this one could be fun as well.

On Last Week’s Episode…
SmackDown

RAW live coverage, 10 thoughts and judicial review.

How They Rated
SmackDown! (1.29.10) – 2.2

Superstars (2.4.10) – 1.0

A.M. RAW (2.7.10) – .5

RAW (2.8.10) – 3.6

ECW (2.9.10) – 1.03

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Ditch continues his look back through his puro decade in review.

Charlie gives his take on the best (and worst) WWE matches of the year.

Check out issue six of The Wrestling Press, featuring yours truly, among many other talented scribes…

Follow me on Twitter here.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!