Old timers in wrestling used to say when an angle or a wrestler was hot that “business is about to pick up”. For the two “major players” in the professional wrestling “bidness” (as Dusty would say), there’s not much that can be said about that right now.
The following quote is courtesy of http://www.wrestleview.com:
“During the WWE conference call held earlier today, Vince McMahon described the scenario as WWE just having a very lousy quarter. He also blamed the retirements of Shawn Michaels and Batista, injuries to Triple H and The Undertaker and the Icelandic volcano as reasons for the company struggling over the last few months.”
Now THAT’S a man that can find excuses for his stockholders!! “Yeah, my top four guys fell apart and Iceland blew up…” All kidding aside, I don’t think it takes a Wall Street analyst to see that there is a LOT more problems with the WWE product as well as their wanna be rivals down at TNA in Orlando than old workers calling it quits and natural disasters. Here are some of my thougths:
“No Country for Old Wrestlers” – Despite years of fans and wrestling reviewers yelling for new blood and groups like Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate USA doing good business in touring and now with ROH having PPVs and a TV show on a smaller cable/satellite channel it took Michaels, Batista, Taker and HHH calling it quits or being laid up long term for them to start looking for new names. The bad news was that their top face, John Cena, has been worked and marketed to death, Randy Orton’s had a ton of injuries and he’s not that big of a draw as a babyface, Edge is getting ready to pull the plug and is injury-prone, Chris Jericho has a lot of career options that could take him away from wrestling anytime he gets ready and Rey Mysterio is a smaller, masked John Cena. That leaves them with guys like Sheamus and Kane as champions and their hottest gimmick is a group of seven guys that were working sportatoriums in Florida being trained by Steve Keirn less than a year ago. The bottom line for McMahon is much the same as it was at the end of the “Hulkamania” era before the “Attitude” era started… Neither he nor his “writers” (the fact they have “writers” and “producers” instead of “bookers” and “agents” is another article completely).
TNA has fared no better. They brought in Hulk Hogan and at one point had the entire old NWO roster working. They ended up with a stupid gimmick of “The Band” and one-by-one they dropped (passed) out until now only Hogan and Nash are left and nobody really cares. Sting is horrible as a heel and he’s injured, they’ve worked poor Kurt Angle to death and now their trotting out ECW guys that only fans my age or that own old videos of ECW would know or care about, unless they previously worked for TNA (Raven, Sabu, Rhino, etc.) Poor Dixie Carter apparently put the cart before the horse and had Tommy Dreamer and the other boys lined up before they had Paul Heyman in the bag. Frankly, if I had the business ventures that Paul had and could hang out with Brock Lesnar while he’s UFC champion I’d ask Spike TV for the moon and stars, too. But, that’s what you get for hiring Vince Russo and his pals even after your fans chanted “Russo Sucks” at your angles and finishes. TNA had the opportunity to make it’s own place in the business and build on it’s most popular features, it’s tag team, women’s and X-divisions (two areas that the WWE now has absolutely no clue on how to book) and a mix of veteran talent and new talent in the heavyweight division. Unfortunately they decided that they wanted to redo WCW and now ECW and I don’t think it will be that long before they join those two companies as logos in the WWE video vault collection with World Class, the AWA, Jim Crockett Promotions and so many others.
“Divas are a dime a dozen” – Both WWE and TNA have apparently decided that women who can actually wrestle and don’t look like a stripper are not draws, despite the reactions of fans to gals like Mickie James, Awesome Kong, ODB, Hamada, Roxxi, and others. Now, being a friend for a long time with former WWE and NWA Women’s Champion Leilani Kai and the former manager of MidAtlantic Women’s Champion Strawberry Fields makes me biased in this area. There have been beautiful gals in wrestling like the young Moolah, Leilani and my late pal Penny Banner who could also wrestle and brawl. Later there were gals like Madusa, the late Sherri Martel and others that could be managers as well as wrestling. Now even gals with pedigrees like Lacey Von Erich and Natalia Neidhart rely more on their curves than their bumps. Other than a couple of gals left in TNA, women’s wrestling outside of Japan is nothing more than a nice job for the main-eventer’s girlfriends and wives.
“There Will (Not) Be Blood” – WWE’s ban on blood has made their TV the equivalent of the old WCW shows taped in Orlando. When you can’t choke out the ring announcer with his necktie, things have gotten pretty bad. The quarter for WWE may have sucked but boy won’t Vince be happy to be married to a US Senator! Take that you prudish critics!
Oh, well…Thank heaven Jim Cornette’s with ROH so that I’ve got something interesting to watch!