-The First Shot-
Welcome one and welcome all to your 15th edition of The Shoot. We are fresh off the heels of a WWE Pay-Per-View and I have to pat myself on the back as I did thoroughly better in my predictions this time than I have had in the past. As is my custom here on The Shoot, I?ll provide you with my picks results at the end of the column. Of course, this column is typed pre-Raw so excuse me if you?re reading this on Tuesday when I say that I?m excited to see what happens on Raw given Sunday’s results. Hopefully the WWE will not disappoint. Of course, each Shoot I open with some comments on three pieces of news from the past week so let’s head there and take a look at this week’s Quick Shots.
Although it is not a major newsworthy piece, I had to chuckle a bit at what I read. It seems that a British Newspaper known as The Daily Star confused WWE Divas Kelly Kelly and Michelle McCool. Honestly, I do not blame them. When the WWE was getting really stale, I decided to take a break from watching them. It was about a year and a half since I last watched the WWE when I decided to give them another shot. When I turned on their programming, I saw that they had expanded the Divas roster. At first, I didn?t see much variation in the looks of the Divas so I, too, didn?t know who they were talking about. Heck.. even today I still don?t know who is in there half the time because, quite frankly, I don?t care about the Divas save for a few that I?ve followed on the independent circuit. Those being Mickie James, Nattie Neidhart, and Beth Phoenix. My personal opinion is that the WWE has way too many Divas on the roster. I know T&A is appealing to a core demographic, but at least cut the number down to an amount I can remember.
So it seems that Kurt Angle will be the next wrestler to enter the movie business. He’s slated to play a Russian MMA fighter in the upcoming movie Warrior. As long as they don?t have Kurt Angle in a speaking role in this movie, I think it?ll be fine because I just can?t see Kurt Angle sporting a Russian accent. We all know that Kurt Angle has been trying to break into the MMA scene for quite some time and I?m wondering if this is just a plot to maybe open the door just a little bit wider. I mean, let’s face the facts here. Kurt Angle was barking up the MMA tree for almost a year, still isn?t there, and now has a movie role portraying an MMA fighter. Obsessed a bit, Kurt? Let’s just hope the movie makes it through without a phone call from Jim Helwig.
Then in the biggest news bit of the week, ?The Nature Boy? Ric Flair says that he wants to wrestle again. It’s odd how he states this and then shows up at the WWE Judgment Day Pay-Per-View. I don?t know if Flair will break his retirement and return to a WWE ring or if he will make his return inside an ROH ring seeing how he still has a few dates left to work with the company. If Flair does return to wrestle in the WWE, then I please ask to give this wrestling fan one wish and that is before his ROH send off we get at least one match of Ric Flair vs ?American Dragon? Bryan Danielson. As they say on the ROH Boards? BOOK IT PEARCE!
–The Big Shot: Do Wrestling Fans Book Promotions?-
I used that last little Quick Shot as a nice segue for the main topic of my column this week. As we all know, wrestling fans are a unique breed that range from your typical casual fan to the hardcore bloodthirsty type to the smark who just seems to think that they know it all, but at some point or another, a wrestling fan has demanded to see a match here or there.
There really isn?t anything wrong with seeing a match. You pay your hard-earned money for that front row seat and you expect to see a good show for your money. You expect to see a company use your favorite wrestler the right way and you would hope to see the guys you cheer and boo for, get put into matches that pique your interest. It’s a natural thing that every wrestling fan experiences in their lifetime.
But, without sounding like a birds n? the bees talk from your parents, sometimes fans can get a little vocal. Some even go as far as to start petitions, message board posts, etc, to get the message across that they need to see this wrestler against that wrestler or they won?t be happy and in some cases, a wrestling promoter would read that and give in and book the match.
I will tell you right now, that is not the way to do business in the wrestling world, but it shouldn?t always be the case. Let’s take the Kurt Angle acquisition for TNA. For years, many clamored about how Samoa Joe vs Kurt Angle would be any wrestling purist’s dream match. TNA knew that and could see it as a big money draw and we got a trilogy out of the two of them that really didn?t live up to the hype, but still delivered in enough way to warrant going three full matches. Ever since then, TNA has teased that hatred between Joe and Angle, but I really wouldn?t want them to pull the trigger on it.
I am sidetracking a bit, but you get my point. The point here is that TNA heard the fans and considered it a big enough draw as to where they would answer the fans and that, ironically, is how it should be. I say ironically because I can?t believed I used TNA as an example of doing something right! A promoter should never have to feel pressured by the fans to book a match just because the fans want to see it happen. If it were up to the fans, then we would see the same people in the same matches over and over and over again week after week after week. I didn?t type all of that to fill up space, I?m trying to emphasize that the fans, especially the internet wrestling community, usually get behind the same stars, want to see the same guys pushed, and think that just because they are great wrestlers, they should be at the top.
Let’s take ROH’s Tyler Black as an example. Tyler Black has been at the focal point for many ROH fans because he can take bumps for 20 minutes, make a short burst come back, and then do the job. Oh wait.. did I burst all the fan boys bubbles already? I?m sorry? what I meant to say was that Tyler Black is the greatest thing to happen to Ring of Honor and he should be the ROH World Champion and damn ROH for not pulling the trigger!
If you didn?t note my sarcasm there, let me spell it out for you. ROH hasn?t put the title on Tyler Black yet because he is not God’s gift to ROH. He is exactly as I started my rant as. He is just some guy, who can?t cut a promo, doesn?t have an interesting character, and (thank you Hunter Golden), looks like a long necked gazelle, who can take bumps for 20 minutes to make his already established veteran opponent look good, then come back for about 10 minutes, hit all his signature moves, pop a crowd because they have no psychology and are just cool looking, and then lays down for a three count and that, my friends, is considered a Match of the Year Candidate.
Yet, the ROH fans keep demanding that Tyler get a title shot, Tyler should be the ROH Champion. Tyler Black as ROH World Champion would be bad for business. The key word here is BUSINESS.
Why do you think everyone calls it a wrestling BUSINESS. They know people in the BUSINESS. We work in the wrestling BUSINESS. It’s not just some catchy buzz word. Wrestling is a ?. Say it with me? a BUSINESS. You push the people who draw money because that is the goal of any business and if you are sat in front of a television and forced to watch a tape and are spoon fed hog wash (that wasn?t my choice term, but I like a clean column), about businesses being in it for their customers, then slap yourself in the face because businesses are in it for the money. Always have been and always will be. If a business doesn?t see money in something, they will not take the risk and invest in it.
The same can be said about professional wrestling. If you have the mic skills, the wrestling talent, a loyal fan base, and your t-shirts are selling like hot cakes, then guess what, you are more than likely going to get a push. If you?re one of those guys who the internet fans like, but don?t have the essentials to be a main player within a wrestling company, then I?m sorry, but you can request all you want, and unless the promoter is an absolute sucker that doesn?t know how to push wrestlers who draw to make money, then you?re wasting your time.
You could go right now to the WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut and tell them that Funaki is your favorite wrestler and that you think he should be in a five month long program with Randy Orton for the WWE title because he is a company guy and you find him funny and all of that, but you really think that’s going to happen? Nope. Funaki doesn?t draw. His merchandise doesn?t sell. Vince will not push him. He is there for enhancement and enhancement alone. You may not like it, but that’s how the wrestling business works boys and girls.
I seemed as if I went on quite a tirade, but I am just tired of going around an hearing people whine and complain because their favorite wrestler or the flavor of the month isn?t getting a push and then they get all angry because they think that they know it all and that they should be doing the booker’s job.
If I were Dixie Carter, Vince McMahon, Cary Silken, or any other wrestling promoter, and you came to me that some guy who is mid-card level at best should be wearing my company title, the first thing I?m going to do is look at my ledger and I?m going to see how much money in merchandise and ticket sales that guy has made me. If he made me the kind of money that would justify me putting my company on his shoulders, then sure, I?ll listen to you, but other than that, you can keep barking and barking, but it’s going to fall on deaf ears. Now go get about 10,000 of your friends to join you and when you multiply 10,000 by your average gate, DVD sales, and T-Shirt price. Well, maybe I?ll listen to you then as well.
Welcome to how the wrestling BUSINESS works.
I submitted this column idea a couple times to Hunter Golden as a possible column and I put it off for a few weeks because I wanted to be a little more sensible when wrote it because it was an issue that had been bugging me for quite some time, but I said Fudge It. I?m just going to go out, guns blazing, and say what’s on my mind. If I didn?t, then this column wouldn?t be The Shoot. It would be more along the lines of ?The Held Back Opinion? and that’s just not me.
But anyway? breathe in? breathe out?
-One Extra Round: PPV Picks-
As I said earlier, I did much better this time around in the PPV picks? here’s what went down with Judgment Day.
CM Punk vs Umaga
Thoughts: Well? I hated to pick Umaga here, but after seeing the Chick Magnet fall to the Big Unmasked Machine, Kane, I had a bad feeling that CM Punk would also fall to Umaga. At this point, I am questioning the decision on putting the Money in the Bank on Punk for the second year in a row if all they are going to do is bury him on PPV each month.
Christian [c] vs Jack Sthwagger
Thoughts: I hoped against fate once again and Christian retained. Maybe if I do this for all of his PPV matches, Christian will remain ECW Champion forever. Jack Swagger is a great up and coming talent and I am digging him more and more with each passing week. One day he will repeat as ECW Champion or get traded to Smackdown! I don?t think he is Raw material yet, but I could see him benefitting from a run on Smackdown! as well as a run with the IC Championship. I?d pay for Misterio vs Swagger!
Shelton Benjamin vs John Morrison
WINNER: John Morrison
PICK: John Morrison
Thoughts: This was a throw away match that was used to get Morrison over, but what intrigued me was that Mr. Charlie Haas was alongside The Gold Standard. Could this be a reunion for the World’s Greatest Tag Team? I hope so because Charlie Haas has been lost in limbo forever and he needs some direction. Shelton has really taken that same road as well and the two would benefit from teaming up once again. Here’s hoping!
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Rey Misterio Jr. [c] vs Chris Jericho
WINNER: Rey Misterio Jr.
PICK: Chris Jericho
Thougths: My first snafu for the night because this one was really hard to predict. Rey could have been a transitional champion and the WWE could have rewarded Jericho for all the work he had done with the Legends, but they opted to keep the title on Rey. Either decision would have worked for me and this really came down to a coin flip. When I flipped my coin it landed on Jericho. Now I need to throw out that coin and never speak of it again.
Randy Orton [c] vs Batista
WINNER: Batista by DQ
PICK: Randy Orton
Thoughts: If they put the title on Batista, then I would be up in arms about someone in the WWE needing to be fired. (Yes, I am saying that after dedicating the main portion of my column toward people who say stuff like that) But there is a legitimate reason for me saying that. Randy Orton has busted his ass in the Triple H feud. He endured so much and was justly rewarded. Randy Orton is their top drawing heel right now. Everyone loves to hate Orton and the fact that people were cheering for him shows how much support he has as a heel. This is a guy you want to build your company around. This is a guy that is going to make you money. They gave Batista the rub, but it was by DQ. They did it so his return would have momentum, but he shouldn?t have the belt.
John Cena vs The Big Show
WINNER: John Cena
PICK: The Big Show
Thoughts: This was me being the smark. Hearing about how Cena was going to be going off to make another movie, I thought Show would get the rub and they would run an injury angle so he could go film, but they swerved us marks and when with your basic babyface gets beat.. makes comeback? and wins. I should have read the obvious instead of the elusive.
World Heavyweight Title
Edge [c] vs Jeff Hardy
Thoughts: Really now? Really? Matt Hardy again? Ugh. The title stayed on Edge? for now. I still say he?ll lose it in the next month or two. His longest reign as a top title holder is three months. I still don?t think he?ll break that curse.
Overall 5-3 isn?t bad. It’s better than either tying or only being 1 better than my incorrect. That puts my overall predictions at 17-15. Let’s see if I can do better with TNA’s next event and get my win column a little bit higher.
-Return Fire: Question of the Week-
Do you think wrestling fans should have a bigger voice in a company’s bookings or do you believe that companies should still chase that almighty dollar?
-Friendly Fire: Reader E-Mail-
Suzanne Abshire checks in with her weekly feedback:
Where did you hear TNA wants to do a TNA Past vs TNA Present for Slammiversary this year?
Their isn’t alot of matches that I would love to see with the talent from TNA Past that they could get their hands on that I would want to see however their is one match but TNA has already booked the TNA Present wrestler in the Main Event and that match is the match that WWE tried to book for years at WrestleMania but was never able to Ken Shamrock vs Kurt Angle.
-The Big Shot: Is Wrestling a Sport?-
Pro Wrestling is Sports Entertainment.? It can not be considered a sport because the wins and losses are pre-determined.
Joshua C. Perkins writes in:
I?ve had this discussion with people as well. Wrestling is a sport but not a sport like football or basketball. It is more of a sport like gymnastics or competition dancing. They are choreographing moves together and doing athletic stunts. It might not be a competition sport but the lists of sports that aren?t competitive are endless. ?
-The Final Shot-
That will do it for me this week. As always, if you wish to discuss wrestling, why almond butter is MUCH better than peanut butter, or why getting pulled over for riding a lawnmower with a bar stool attached should nominate you for the Epic Fail Hall of Fame, send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I?ll be looking forward to reading your thoughts. Next week, I plan on using the base knowledge of carnivorous mammals devouring their young as a means to mass produce Soylent Green for the general public.
Because I can?