That's a Wrap
By: David Stephens of

Ousta! Welcome back to the only WrestleView column covering topics both nowhere yet everywhere at once. If you are new to the column you are probably going to hate us for the first couple weeks, but then you are going to hit a point where you say ?oh wait a minute, I think he gets it?. Don?t worry, that’s exactly how it is designed to be. This column is all about gut reactions and traveling thoughts. As the great Andy Kaufman once said: ?I just want real reactions. I want people to laugh from the gut, be sad from the gut, or get angry from the gut?.

Milestone Nonsense

Well, well, well, the big number 25. It hardly seems that long, nor that short. I could pull a WWE and proclaim this the 25th Anniversary of my column, but mathematical reasoning and common sense dictate that the honor falls to next week’s piece. So enjoy this, the 25th edition of the column!

Mixed Martial Arts v. Pro-Wrestling: or Why UFC Does Nothing for Me

Why do you watch professional wrestling? I know why I do and it is not to see one guy punch another in the face. When you break it down, that is exactly what MMA is. Look I don?t enjoy boxing either, so maybe it is just not my thing. I know some of you have become MMA fans by jumping on this craze of a fad which has been creeping up lately, and that’s perfectly fine. Feel free to congratulate yourself with a cookie and a pat on the back. You can skip this section and join us down in the news if you aren?t a fan of understanding the mind of one who disagrees with you.

Alright, now before you all start jumping on me for being ignorant or not giving new things a chance, you my friends would be incorrect. I?m not an uneducated pundit spewing nonsense, I?m a professional wrestling journalist who studies the sport and makes intelligent, though highly opinionated, conjectures. It’s a fine line, but someone has to walk it.

When Brock Lesnar decided to jump into the world of MMA, fans and news sites alike started showing more interest in the sport. I was admittedly curious. I caught Lesnar’s first match and my gut reaction was pretty much along the lines of ?um?.ok?.?. It seemed pointless and anti-climatic, but I was not about to outright dismiss the whole business that quickly.

Last summer I had the chance to watch ?Never Back Down? and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It had all the right drama and build to hook me. I found myself looking more fondly towards MMA and decided the time was right to give it another shot.

I decided the incessantly hyped UFC 100 would be the right time. Lesnar would be getting his big rematch. Facebook was lit up with ?friends? chatting about the show in their statuses. I thought ?here goes nothing? and turned it on. The first match was cool enough. They squared off, jabbed at each other, fell to the mat, got up and did the whole waltz over again. Second match came on and in a much less exciting fashion, I witnessed a similar series of events.

By the time Lesnar was set to enter the ring I felt like I was reading the instructions on a shampoo bottle; the night was lather, rinse, repeat. The one thing I liked about the PPV, Lesnar’s post match heel spot, had to be retracted ASAP. Unlike Bill Goldberg’s slogan in the WWE which suited him perfectly, UFC & MMA’s hype wasn?t worth believing.

Mixed Martial Arts bores me. Why? Because it lacks all that makes wrestling great. It lacks characters, gimmicks, and substance.

You may be wondering if it bothers me that Professional Wrestling websites are covering MMA more and more. I can decidedly tell you that I don?t care. The bulk of said sites only cover MMA when an ex-pro wrestler such as Shamrock, Lesnar, Lashley, etc., are involved. Most of the web owners have been in the business long enough to know better than to alienate the majority of their audience. When it comes down to it, my philosophy is essentially to each his own. Look I?ve had TiVo for several years now. So do what I do and if you don?t like it, just skip it.

Look, please don?t misinterpret this as me attacking MMA, its fans, or its workers. I have a high level of respect for the performer’s athleticism. (And trust me there is A LOT of things that I love that you probably don?t!) That’s what makes us all great. I?m just illustrating what it is that separates pro-wrestling from MMA, and why I find wrestling more appealing. I?ll take sports entertainment over two guys punching each other for money any day.

What’s in the News?
All news is gathered from unless otherwise noted

Hulk Hogan’s camp has sent feelers out to TNA. The general feeling is that Hogan is just trying to peak Vince McMahon’s interest in bringing him back.
-at this point, nothing would surprise me

Jim Ross has a new blog up on his official website at this link discussing a variety of topics including one idea he would like to see happen for a possible new WWE TV show: I would be interested to see WWE produce a program comparable to HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” No, I’m not Jonseing for “Tough Enough” but selected behind the scenes activities at WWE events and the trials and tribulations of travel and all that goes with it would make for great TV. Some performers would likely be more natural in this environment than some are in front of the camera in their “official” TV personas. Doing a reality show with the wrestling biz and its many personalities as the backdrop should be a slam dunk.”
-I actually don?t agree. It might surprise you to hear that from a wrestling columnist, but I actually enjoy the fact that some things are kept in the dark. It would ruin some of the magic for me

USA Network was once again the top rated network in total viewers (adults 18-49 and adults 25-54) for the week ending of August 9, 2009 reports PWInsider. The New York Post also featured an article on how WWE TV has seen a big rise in female viewership since the company “toned down their product.” The article stated that college-aged female viewers are up 34%, 25-34 year old viewers were up 13.7% and in women over 50 they are up 23%. Donna Goldsmith, WWE’s Chief Operating Officer, added, “When we were a little more edgy, we lost a lot of women. They weren’t as comfortable watching with their kids. But now that we are more family-friendly, it’s a perfect reason for them to come back.”
-uh oh, best not tell them that DX has reunited

Japanese wrestling legend Jushin Liger will be appearing at the WrestleReunion 4 event in Los Angeles and will also appear for Ring of Honor on January 29 and Pro Wrestling Guerilla on January 30
-I can?t for the life of me figure out how PWG is able to afford the high level talent they fly in all of the time. It’s an impressive product, but I just don?t know how they do it

According to a report by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the future of Ring of Honor will depend on a few things. HDNet is currently shopping footage internationally and the hope is that some new deals will be made. This would be one new key source of revenue along with house show and DVD revenue. If that doesn’t happen, the company has been described as being in trouble as DVD sales are down (as they are for wrestling in general). The early success of ROH was mainly, if not all, due to strong DVD sales which saw a sharp decline in the last few years. It should be noted that the company was not profitable as of a few months ago.
-I can?t help but wonder if this is due in large part to getting rid of the ?must see? product that Gabe brought them. The bottom-line is that his style sold both tickets and DVDs. Not to mention RF Video’s power in pushing DVDs, but that’s another story

In what could become a major issue, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting that MyNetworkTV has only inked deals with 140 stations for the new fall season with the changing of contracts. This would be down from 175 stations or a drop from 111 million homes to 98 million. This will lead to an immediate 11% drop in ratings. MyNetworkTV Executive Vice President Paul Franklin did tell Media Post that he is expecting to sign contracts before the fall to bring the number back to the previous one or at least close to it.
-It’s been rumored that trouble was brewing on this front for awhile. I?m keeping an optimistic outlook. One way or another, Smackdown will be on air

The following was issued on Bryan Danielson has agreed in principle to a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment.
-Wow. I just hope they take their time, and do this the right way

The Los Angeles Times posted a story noting that Vince McMahon wants to launch a cable network “within two years.” The article notes that WWE has a library of over 100,000 hours of programming. McMahon comments that owning his own network gives him leverage in negotiations with his partners.
-Never say never

WWE is said to be looking at SummerSlam as a win-win situation even if the buyrate doesn’t do well reports The Figure Four Weekly Newsletter. The company was said to be happy with all the connections they made in Los Angeles in the weeks leading up to the event.
-They should consider it a win simply because the show was off the hook amazing!

WWE RAW ? 3.79
ECW on Sci-Fi ? 1.2
TNA Impact ? 1.2

WWE Stock Update
Week Ending August 21st 2009
Open ? 14.11
Close ? 14.35
Low ? 13.84
High ? 14.50
Volume ? 807,929

Quick Results

RAW August 17th
United States Champion Kofi Kingston def. Carlito
The Miz def. Evan Bourne
Divas Champion Mickie James def. Gail Kim
MVP def. Jack Swagger by disqualification
Hornswoggle def. Chavo Guerrero (Falls Count Anywhere Match)
WWE Champion Randy Orton & John Cena def. Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Big Show

ECW August 18th
Hurricane def. Paul Burchill
Zack Ryder def. Yoshi Tatsu
William Regal & Vladimir Kozlov def. ECW Champion Christian & Ezekiel Jackson

Superstars August 20th
Beth Phoenix def. Kelly Kelly
Shelton Benjamin def. Tyler Reks
R-Truth def. Charlie Haas
Mark Henry def. Chris Masters via count-out

TNA Impact August 20th
Non-Title Street Fight: Beer Money Inc. def. British Invasion
Angelina Love def. Madison Rayne
TNA X-Division Championship: ?Samoan Submission Machine? Samoa Joe (c) def. ?Notorious 1-8-7? Homicide
Knockouts Fatal-4 Way Match: Traci Brooks w/Sharmell def. Awesome Kong w/Raisha Saeed vs. vs. Christy Hemme w/Tara vs. Sarita w/Taylor Wilde
?The Pope? D?Angelo Dinero def. Consequences Creed w/Jay Lethal
Tables Match: Team 3D def. ?Olympic Hero? Kurt Angle & ?The Blueprint? Matt Morgan

Smackdown August 21st
Dolph Ziggler & Unified Tag Team Champions Big Show & Chris Jericho def. Intercontinental
Champion Rey Mysterio & Cryme Tyme
Finlay def. Mike Knox (Disqualification)
Melina & Maria def. Layla & Natalya
World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy & John Morrison def. CM Punk & The Hart Dynasty

Must Read WrestleView Column of the Week
The Shoot #28 by: Josh Piedra

Josh takes a look at ?What it means to be a champion? as well covering the recent signing of the American Dragon to the WWE. ?The only thing that would make part of his contract perfect is if Vince McMahon reaches into his deep pockets and buys a license to use ?The Final Countdown? at the Wrestlemania Danielson will one day headline! I know it’s a dream, but to dream is to be human afterall.?

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So ?that’s a wrap??. Love it? Hate it? Disagree with everything I said? Just want to chat wrestling? I?m always up for reading your thoughts so send them ?em on over.

David Stephens

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