AS I SEE IT 4/13

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Assorted thoughts from a week’s worth of watching wrestling:

First, Ring of Honor’s tapings.

Ring of Honor needs to worry if even a announced-at-the-last minute Ric Flair appearance only brings a decent crowd on Thursday night’s taping. Friday had a smaller crowd than that. There was a time only six to eight months ago where they’d have sold out the ECW Arena regardless of what day a taping was held. Back then, adding a Flair appearance to a TV taping would practically have had people scalping tickets. Things have gotten to the point where the promotion had to put out comps to fill the seats for at least one of the two tapings last month.

The economy can be used as an explanation for the drop in event attendance, the fact that a large segment of Ring of Honor’s fanbase isn’t buying what the promotion is selling since Adam Pearce took over booking from Gabe Sapolsky. They don’t like the increase in count-outs and DQs; as witnessed by bad reactions to several finishes in recent months, including the reaction to the the DQ finish to the Chris Hero-Eddie Kingston match at this weekend’s taping. While DQs and count-outs can be used to build long-term programs, Ring of Honor fans are used to Japanese style booking where clean finishes were the norm.

On the other hand, the slow, logical build to the Tag Title change from Kevin Steen and El Generico to the American Wolves of Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards has been well done. The build of the team at the last set of tapings, and the build over the six weeks that fans will see from this taping makes more sense than any title change I’ve seen on any TV show recently (and I can’t actually see this show,being a Comcast subscriber in Philadelphia, since Comcast doesn’t carry HDNet).

By the way, whose bright idea was it to make the regular home of TV tapings a market whose primary cable system (and even the secondary one, Verizon FIOS), doesn’t carry the show? Unless you have satellite TV such as DirecTV, or Dish Network, you can’t see the show at all in Philadelphia. That takes away the fans who come to a show who show up to get their faces on TV (they do pay for tickets…like them or not). The promotion also nearly lost TV in New York with threats by Time-Warrner to pull the station from its lineup during a dispute during negotiations.

Now, Wrestlemania.

While not a bad show…it wasn’t one of the promotion’s blow-away Wrestlemanias. After all the emotion surrounding Ric Flair’s retirement last year, it was probably impossible to equal last year’s show…but it’s clear that they didn’t do so.

Shawn Michaels-Undertaker clearly stole the show, as everyone expected it would. ‘Taker went over, as he should have,; saving the eventual breaking of “The Streak” to put someone over bigtime, such as Randy Orton

The Chris Jericho-legends match was largely a disappointment, except for watching Ricky Steamboat turn the clock back. Talk about a mark-out moment for me…remembering watching the classic Flair-Steamboat matches 20 years before. But this match shoudl have done so much more with the original Mickey Rourke storyline. Vince McMahon was preatty much forced to come up with this match instead after he inexplicably went on TV promoting Rourke in storyline (after initially hating the movie because of its depiction of the more sordid side of wrestling) without a signed contract obligating Rourke to work the show. After his agent and insurance company pushed Rourke not to work the show, McMahon had to backpedal and create this “legends match” to save things.

Cena-Big Show-Edge had to follow Michaels-Undertaker, and suffered for it. The nonsensical build-up in the weeks immediately before the PPV concerning the “affair” of Vickie Guerrero on her “husband” Edge with Big Show didn’t help. Even pulling out what would have once been considered a big storyline revelation…that HHH and Stephanie McMahon are husband and wife in storyline as well as real life, and some great TV in the build-up…didn’t get this match over as well as its should have after throwing this Big Show-HHH-Cena crap into the mix.

HHH-Orton was nowhere near as good a match as the job was in promoting the match. There was probably no way they could have approached the Michaels-Undertaker match in quality…which begs the question why that match wasn’t made the main event, rather than either of the title matches.

On top of all that, WWE will have to deal with less buys than they expected due to problems people trying ro order Wrestlemania 25 from Comcast.

Dave Scherer of reported significant problems with people attemtping to roder the HD feed of the PPV from Comcast. The scope of the problem can be seen by the fact that Scherer was kept on hold for 40 minutes, before having a Customer Service Representative came on, only to tell him nothing more than “we’re having a problem with the HD feed”. Scherer indicated in his article that this was at least the third consecutive PPV where Comcast has had problems with its much-promoted HD feed. While Scherer ordered it again on SD feed, and was able to view the latter part of the PPV, other Comcast customers from different parts of the country contacted and told Scherer they had no SD feed either.

While my own set and one other viewing the PPV were fine (SD feed, not HD), one other set in my home that has access to the PPV went out (with a family member who can’t stand wrestling calling upstairs to me to make sure I was getting the show), saying their cable box rebooted at exactly 7:00 pm EDT. My own cable box malfunctioned identically at 11:00 pm EDT, which would have caused me to miss the first several minutes of the replay. On at least my set, the replay came back up eventually. There are no reports on what effect this will have on buys for the PPV.

Finally, a reminder….Francine Fourner is organizing a reunion of former ECW talent at the ECW Arena on June 27 in order to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Over 30 “Legends Of The Arena” will participate in truly one nostalgic night for the ages at the world famous Arena in an event designed to benefit the American Cancer Society. Fournier is organizing this benefit show due to the fact that two members of her family recently died as the result of cancer.

On the card for Saturday June 27th are Arena legends:

  • “The Franchise” Shane Douglas
  • “The Queen Of Extreme” Francine
  • The Sandman
  • Sabu
  • Manager of legendary Arena Champions Bill Alfonso
  • Al Snow with Head
  • Blue World Order members The Blue Meanie and Super Nova
  • Full Blooded Italian members Little Guido and Tracy Smothers
  • “Chair Swingin Freak” Balls Mahoney
  • The artist formerly known as Spike Dudley
  • Justin Credible
  • “King Of Old School” Steve Corino
  • C.W. Anderson
  • Chris Hamrick
  • Tammy Lynn Sytch
  • Tod Gordon
  • “Original Pitbull #1” Gary Wolfe
  • Jack Victory
  • Big Sal E. Graziano
  • Axl Rotten
  • Angel and Tony Devito Of The Baldies
  • “Judge” Jeff Jones
  • Officials John Finnegan and Mike Kehner

    More legends to be announced, plus much much more…

    Legends Of The Arena pricing:
    Super Tickets pricing $250, includes an all day Fan Fest starting at 1:00 pm, includes wrestling card, and the following items:

  • All Day All Access Passes (includes signing and matches)
  • Golden Circle Ringside Reserved Tickets Rows 1, 2, 3 and Commemorative Chair
  • 1 signed 8×10 photo of every legend on hand, ability to bring your own camera in and take photos with every legend on hand
  • Early access and admission, pre-show barbecue and tailgate party
  • Dunk Tank (dunk your favorite legends)
  • Q&A session with the legends of the Arena, Fan Participation guest ring announcer
  • A very special video tribute to the fallen legends of the Arena, legends induction to the Arena Hall Of Fame.
    General Admission seating pricing $50; includes:
  • Ticket to Legends Of The Arena wrestling card
  • Legends induction to the Arena Hall Of Fame
  • A very special video tribute to the fallen legends Of The Arena.

    Donations to benefit American Cancer Society.

    Tickets on sale now at this link For more information checkout the event website.

    Until next time…

    If you have comments/questions/event announcements/results, if you’d like to add the AS I SEE IT column to your website, or if you’d like to add advertising on (the flagship website of this column), e-mail me at the address above. Advertising consists of banner ads, available for $400 for one year. These ads would appear on each newspage appearing on the newsboard. Cube ads are also available for $200 for one year, which would be placed on the main newsboard page.

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