Could the WWE Network Devalue the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?

Could the WWE Network Devalue the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?

By Eric Darsie

One of the biggest moves the WWE has made in the last decade has to be creating the WWE Network. On the opening day, I subscribed to the Network, excited to watch older pay-per-views from World Championship Wrestling and from mid-90s World Wrestling Federation. Another thing I’m thrilled about being a subscriber to the WWE Network is getting the current pay-per-views for free (technically it’s included with the $9.99 a month).

The pay-per-view name is starting to be phased out and the term “special events” are being used over the traditional pay-per-view name, since cable providers aren’t carrying the cards as pay-per-views anymore. After WrestleMania XXX, I’m starting to be concerned with how these “special events” will be booked.

First off, I find the “special events” name to be silly because I grew up with the pay-per-view name and loved the “supercard” name that was thrown around whenever I watched 80s WCW or WWF television. Whenever there’s a title match on Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown, those matches should be seen as something special, because it’s not usual to see championship brawls on television.

I feel if WWE booked these “special events” like they did for traditional pay-per-views or old Saturday Night’s Main Events, current fans and old-school fans who bought the Network off of the classic programming would tune in to watch the monthly “supercard.”

But with how the booking, in my opinion, hasn’t been as good as it once was over a decade ago, I’ve been in-and-out interested on the current product the last five or so years, depending on what storylines are a-happenin’ on the television every week. The Shawn Michaels-Chris Jericho feud from 2008, or the 400+ day WWE title reign of CM Punk, or the rise of Daniel Bryan and the Yes Movement, feuds and storylines like such are a few things that peaked my interest in WWE since WrestleMania XXV.

Secondly, and the biggest problem I have with the WWE Network is the WWE World Heavyweight Championship being devalued with the “special events.” The reason why I’m concerned that the WWE World Heavyweight title will be devalued is I’m concerned that the WWE Creative Team would consider the “special events” as an extension of Raw’s and SmackDown’s that they write for every week. Since the buyrate of the pay-per-view doesn’t matter anymore, why should they build-up storylines and have them climax once a month or why should they book a storyline that ends with a plot twist or an ending to the story once a month?

I am sure I am overreacting on my concern, since WrestleMania XXX was the only pay-per-view to be offered on the Network and only way we would know the pay-per-views/“special events” are simply an extension to weekly television once a month is waiting for WrestleMania 31 and see how things were booked between WrestleMania’s, but I feel like this is something that should be a concern for WWE and for the fan of the WWE product.

What would I suggest WWE Creative to do with my concern? I hope they prove me wrong by booking these Network pay-per-views like they had before when they were still offered on cable providers and deliver on the “special events,” making people want to turn into Raw every Monday night and SmackDown every Friday night and keep subscribing to the Network for they can continue watching to see what’s next for the following “special event.”

Yes, I am saying the Creative Team inside the WWE should do what they’re hired to do and give us angles and storylines that brings us back every week and give us a reason (or better yet, reasons) to give up our hard earned money to see what they have next week-in-and-week-out, and more yet, month-in-and-month-out. I guess, in the end, I don’t have much faith in the WWE Creative Team. They have put on awesome shows the last three months with the Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, and WrestleMania. The build for Evolution versus the Shield for Extreme Rules. The beat-down that Kane gave to WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan on Raw on Monday, April 21st.

I am looking forward to seeing how the six-man tag match will climax at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view and I am excited to see how Daniel Bryan retains the WWE World Heavyweight strap in a Extreme Rules match against the Big Red Machine. I hope the Creative Team keeps this trend up because if they do, my faith will be built back up in them and they’ll bring me back into the current product.

So, could the WWE Network devalue the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? As a whole, I don’t think so. But the Creative Team can by how they book pay-per-views. That’s with any champion and any era. I feel like the WWE Network could help bring value back to the WWE World Heavyweight title, and any other title the Creative decides to put value back in. Like said above, I hope the Creative Team keeps up with how they’ve been booking feuds and storylines so far this year, things are slowly starting to look positive.

WWE SummerSlam Tour

WWE SummerSlam Tour

One of the perks of where I work, I’m able to listen to my iPod and usually listen to podcast, to help past the time.  I listen to a lot of wrestling podcasts, talking news and reviewing classic events, among listening to different podcast of interests I have outside of the industry of professional wrestling.

Anyways, one of the wrestling podcasts I listen to discusses wrestling events that’s ten years old or older.  The podcast I listen to is called the Old School Wrestling podcast (found here) and on their 99th episode, the host discussed the National Wrestling Alliance’s 1987 Great American Bash tour (podcast can be found here).  Pushing a three hour show, I enjoyed listening to the Black Cat and Dre from start to finish.  While listening to their show, I thought of something that inspired this blog.

What if Vince McMahon takes the World Wrestling Entertainment on a similar tour that Jim Crockett took the Jim Crockett Promotions on the Great American Bash tour for a few years in the late-80s?  Could a professional wrestling tour be successful in the 2010s?

With SummerSlam being the WWE’s summer WrestleMania, why not give it a different taste than your normal wrestling pay-per-view feel and combine what the Jim Crockett Promotions did and capitalize on a summer tour?

Here’s my idea for the WWE SummerSlam tour: eliminate the June and July pay-per-views and after the May show, build up SummerSlam by the winner of a summer tour gets a shot at the WWE Champion.  To go with the SummerSlam DVD sales, why not make it a two-disc sell and on the second disc, put together all the matches of the summer tournament tour, for we receive a snapshot of why the challenger was facing the WWE Champion in the main event.

One thing I enjoyed from my teenage years was when the WWE did for one year only when building up Brock Lesnar in 2002, having him win the King of the Ring tournament and challenge for the Undisputed WWE title at SummerSlam and used the July pay-per-view as a stepping stone between the July PPV and the August PPV to continue building “the Next Big Thing.”

Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown, as well as WWE’s Wednesday Main Event should host a few of the matches, but shouldn’t be the focus of the three WWE weekly shows.  Why not add in a few summer specials on television, similar to what they did in the late-80s and early-90s with Saturday Night Main Events, only for the summer.  Maybe call it the “WWE: SummerSlam Special Tour, Episode (insert a number here)” and limit those shows to a couple a year, to make it something special, and make the SummerSlam build mean more.

Could the WWE use their June and July pay-per-views to build up properly to SummerSlam?  They hadn’t in years and I don’t have the faith for them to try again.  So if they eliminate two pay-per-views and schedule only ten PPVs a year, having three months between the May show and SummerSlam, SummerSlam would mean more since, if booked properly, would mean more since there were months between the paid shows.

I guess you, the reader, might be yelling at your screen, telling me that I answered my question in the paragraph above, saying that even eliminating two pay-per-views, WWE would crap on my idea since their bookers can’t write the storylines that a lot of us loved when we were kids.  I’ll give you that.  WWE has guys like Zeb Colter (Dutch Mantel) and Paul Heyman, who the books could be given to after WrestleMania and let them book the storyline and let Triple H or Vince McMahon, whoever, guide them and approve and disapprove on where the storylines go.

WWE had everything at their fingertips (or in their hands, depending on how old school they really are) on booking this correctly.  I don’t have much faith in their booking abilities nowadays but the little faith that I do have in them, if they treated this like something special, they could make this mean something.

To conclude, this was a fun idea for me to kick around and I hope you guys enjoyed reading it.  Let me know if you guys think my idea could work, or what changes you would cause, or if you could simply rewrite my blog and add in your own ideas, what are they?  I’m more than happy to hear your thoughts and opinions.  Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day!

To the WrestleMania Haters: Stop Complaining and Watch

To the WrestleMania Haters: Stop Complaining and Watch

By Dirty Dawg Darsie

One thing I’ve been hearing a lot for this year’s WrestleMania is a lot of complaining since the build-up for the WWE Championship match between champion the Rock versus his challenger John Cena haven’t been “up to par for the die-hard fans.”  I even heard people comparing this year’s WrestleMania to WrestleMania IX in 1993.  I’m writing to those people who are down on WrestleMania XXIX: quit complaining!

wrestlemania-29-logo

I want to bring attention to last year’s WrestleMania, WrestleMania XXVIII, with the main events being Triple H versus the Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell, the WWE Champion CM Punk defending the title against Chris Jericho, the World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan facing Sheamus, and the Rock taking on John Cena – deeming that match “once in a lifetime.”  Okay, why bring up those four main-events and why bring up last year’s WrestleMania?  Everyone wanted to watch those matches yet after the show, only match they liked was the “End of an Era” Hell in a Cell match.

After the show last year, I remember people crapping on the show since it didn’t live up to their expectations.  For me, WrestleMania lived up to my expectations, and I had none.  Why?  I listen to podcasts, recapping the shows and discuss the main angles from the week, and I watch Raw from every week, but when I hold any wrestling show to a certain standard, it never lives up to it.  Last year for WrestleMania, I didn’t hold any standards for it, so it blew nothing out of the water.

So, those who been bashing WrestleMania XXIX, stop doing so!  Do what I and if the build-up for any of the matches aren’t living up to your expectations, don’t have any.

The WWE Championship build-up hasn’t tickled me in any way, with John Cena and the Rock missed a Raw a few weeks back and the Rock missed the following Raw, so I understand on how that build-up hasn’t been that great.  Their promos have been hit and miss for me.  Whenever both men are serious and say why they believe they can defeat each other, and obviously respond, I enjoy it.  Whenever Cena goes on a long mumble or they joke around stuff that doesn’t matter, they kill the excitement for me.

Also, in regards to their match, I hate that people are complaining about their WrestleMania 2012 match was built as “Once in a Lifetime” and they’re facing each other again.  What did they expect once the Rocky defeated the active, full-time John Cena?  Rock grew up in the business and is back wrestling the few matches he has to give back the industry he loves and grew up in.  Yes, Rock defeated CM Punk twice, but for business, that was the best thing to do.  And for business, Rock losing to Cena at Mania this year is good for business (that’s what is expected).

I’m sure you, the reader, aren’t excited for the Chris Jericho/Fandango match either.  I wasn’t either once that match was announced, or when those two teased it on television.  We all know that Jericho’s at the end of his career and comes around whenever his schedule allows him to.  With his run last year, losing to CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler, Jericho’s back to put the new generation of stars over.  If you don’t believe me, look at his last run when he came back in 2007 and feuded with Randy Orton, he put over Orton right from the start!

With Triple H versus Brock Lesnar, all I can say about their match is, just watch.  Yes, even I expect Triple H to go over, even though rumors already from the Wrestling Observer gentlemen, Lesnar will be facing the Rock next year at WrestleMania in New Orleans, and it’ll make sense for Lesnar to go over, but the last several WrestleMania matches Triple H’s been in, they’ve been amazing, regarding as one of the best matches on the WrestleMania card, and even for the year!  I don’t think Triple H came out of “retirement” to retire from wrestling, but enjoy the ride and see what he and Lesnar have for us to watch.  I know both men want to steal the show and want their match to memorable, so let’s step back, not hold any standards to their match, and enjoy what they do best, and that’s put on a show inside that twenty-by-twenty ring.

To conclude my opinion piece, if you don’t like what the WWE Creative Team has for us in regards to the build for WrestleMania 29, don’t hold any expectations and enjoy the ride that we’re on.  I did that for WrestleMania 28 and enjoyed the show and don’t understand why people crapped on the matches from that card.  No one likes to hear people complain, keep those negative opinions to yourself and let the wrestlers do their job and entertain us.