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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Hunter and Da Man, Ratings In Depth!, 
Some Indie Stuff, and Other News
November 3, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Well, boyos, we're halfway done with the 3rd Annual OO Pledge Drive...  are you part of the solution?  You know: the solution...  the thing where I can keep the website going without losing money for the next year.  And maybe, if you're all really nice, have a little something extra in the coffers to finance my local bar and tavern industry.  Trust me, I deserve it.  This stuff doesn't write itself!

Ha ha!  Just kidding.  I deserve nothing, and the mere ego satisfaction of having so many of you showing up every week to see what I have to say is payback enough.  See, I'm grounded, realistic, and self-deprecating!  Just the kind of lovable guy to whom you just would LOVE to give five, ten, or even one hundred thousand dollars?  The $5 is really about all it takes: at $5, even if you're here every day reading stuff and incessantly hitting "reload" just to be an asshole, you should more than cover my costs for shooting information out at you over the course of the whole year.  At the $10 donation level, you are covering your own costs and buying me a whiskey (and you're tipping the help pretty well, too, you magnificent bastard).  Anything above that, and then you're covering yourself, buying me a drink, AND making good for one or more of the other tens of thousands of cheap slackers who won't pony up any dough.  Truly, you are doing god's work.

I just realized that, as far as donation levels go, there's not a lot of incentive for you, here, is there?  Well, one of these years, I'll get OO beer cozies or something made up, I promise.  But no tote bags, umbrellas, or DVD box sets of pretentious BBC-produced "theatre," dammit.  Just stuff you might actually use.  You know, like at the $100,000 donation level, I'll gladly take out your least favorite wrestler and retire him for ever and ever and ever, amen.  I'll probably do a shitty job, and he'll just be back 2 weeks later, but hey, I tried.  Maybe you should just go with the cheaper $100 donation level option: I will hilariously prank call your least favorite wrestler and ask if his refrigerator is running!

Enough.  Thanks to those who have given, many of you doing far more than your fair share to help.  The rest of you, well, I can't hold a gun to your head. Whether you donate or not, there's a good chance OO will live on due to the kindness of others besides you.  But wouldn't it just make you FEEL BETTER to know you're part of the solution?  No?  Ah hell, then, just read the news, jerkos:

  • Actually, this isn't much of a day for me to be stumping for donations...  if I bitched about a slow news week back on Friday...  well, let's just say that today's column ain't gonna cure cancer.  But maybe I can at least have you sounding like a genius when you get together with friends for RAW tonight.
     
    For that is where we shall start today.  Another wrestling week begins with a live RAW, a show that, against all odds, has picked itself up, dusted itself off, and (with a little help from those own-foot-shooting mansards over on SD!) become the consistently more entertaining WWE brand.
     
    Last week's show, devoid of Goldberg and with a momentum-killing Shane/Test/Kane segment in the middle, was merely adequate, but still kept RAW driving towards a joint-brand Survivor Series where Bischoff and Austin just might have the best, most interesting match of the night on their half of the show.  I know it's probably just hyperbole since I'm trying desperately to have something grandly insightful to say today, but honestly, even with only one example (SummerSlam) to point to, it just doesn't seem natural for RAW to be the brand cruising into a joint-PPV with the match most anticipated by the hardcore internet Smarts.
     
    But even with Benoit, Angle, the cruiserweights, and all the other usual suspects honing their crafts over on SD!, it's RAW and the Team Bischoff vs. Team Austin match that seems to be the centerpiece of the show.  Storyline wise, it's a match that is About Something.  It's about Bischoff possibly becoming Sole GM, or Austin possibly being allowed to whoop ass again.  And ringwork wise, it's a collection of just about all of RAW's most bankable performers (Jericho, Michaels, RVD, Booker, and Christian are on just about everybody's lists of who on RAW could step up to comprise "The Six," a la what SD! had going on late last year with Angle/Benoit/Edge/Rey/Eddie/Chavo).  I'll hold back on speaking for the rest of you, but for me, this is looking like the match I'll be most fired up for in 2 weeks.
     
    And the best part is that the RAW crew has woven the personalities involved together in overlapping, redundant (in the good way) storylines.  We have eight guys essentially confirmed for the match: Bischoff's got Jericho, Steiner, Christian, and Mark Henry, and Austin's countering with Booker, RVD, and the Dudleys.  If Shawn Michaels doesn't join Team Austin tonight, I'll eat a bug.  The fifth spot on the heel side is a bit tougher to talk about with certainty, but if Test was healthy enough to hobble through a match last Monday, my guess is he's probably on pace with his recovery and could join back up with Steiner for this match.  But I ain't a doctor, so...
     
    In any case, what you end up with is disparate singles feuds, like Michaels reasonably able to go after either Henry or Jericho.  RVD's issue with Jericho is as hot as its ever been right now, as the IC Title is in play.  But RVD also had a bit of a thing 2 weeks ago with Scott Steiner that, though dormant last week, could be brought back.  Former IC champ Christian probably isn't too happy with Rob, either.  Booker returned to walk right into a feud with Christian, as well.  The guys who are kind of disconnected in this mix are the Dudleys, who have finally (I hope) dispatched La Resistance, and are ready for something fresh.  And so they don't have any established reasons for getting involved here, although the beauty thing is that they could walk out with one of two tag title feuds simmering nicely: either Jericho/Christian or Test/Steiner would make great heel challengers to the Duds. 
     
    And of course, those interweavings mean that RAW can "give away for free" various iterations of singles and tag matches tonight and again next week prior to the PPV.  Tonight, we know we can look for Mark Henry vs. Shawn Michaels.  Maybe not the best use for Michaels' prodigious skills, but as part of the big picture, a match that should entertain.  Michaels will succeed in his job of making Henry looking amazingly powerful, and perhaps Mark (easily the most out-of-place guy on his team of upper-mid-carders/main eventers) will have the kind of night that establishes him as a worthy owner of the Team Bischoff spot.  And if not, well...  chances are this thing breaks down and we go Pier Ten Schmozz Style to set up other variations of Team Bischoff vs. Team Austin matches for next week.  It's actually really hard for me to not want badly to see a Jericho/Christian vs. Dudleys match one of these next two weeks.  It's been a while since the tag titles have been on the line in a match that has been much better than "OK," and that pairing could have Match of the Week implications.
     
    Anyway, to get back on point: tonight, it's Michaels vs. Henry, and the upshot of the match should be (a) Mark looks good, and (b) Michaels finalizes his spot as a member of Team Austin. 
     
    Meantime, you've got the ostensible PPV main event of Goldberg vs. Triple H in the background.  Last week, this was cuz Goldberg was out selling the injury sustained at the hands of Batista.  This week, I expect, however, that it'll stay there just on the grounds that it isn't quite as interesting as other matters.  That said... Goldberg will be back in the building tonight, and even if HHH is still absent (last I heard, he was expected NEXT week, but not tonight), there will be some stuff for him to do.
     
    The simple visual of Goldberg showing up on a crutch or something to cut a promo would be enough to paint Goldberg as more vulnerable than fans usually see him.  Might HHH actually have a chance against Goldberg at Survivor Series?  Sure, the average fan reasons, if Goldberg can't even walk!  Of course, you're not an average fan, and you don't need any more reasons to suspect that HHH can win a match than you already have, so... well, my point is that Goldberg having a moderately serious injury that he'd have to sell not just tonight but also during a PPV match in 2 weeks could actually stand to increase dramatic tension in a match that, shall we say, is not exactly likely to be a workrate bonanza.  This is a good thing.
     
    Goldberg can also do more than words tonight...  a promo is all well and good, but Evolution Lite is gonna be in the house, and it'd be only natural for Goldberg to cross paths with them.  It's in his character's nature to confront them, even if he's hobbled.  I'm not saying they actually do the Batista vs. Goldberg match tonight...  they've opted to over-sell the ankle injury, so my reasoning is you make it a REALLY big deal if Bischoff FORCES Goldberg to wrestle a match prior to the PPV NEXT week against Batista, instead of just throwing it out there tonight; in fact, it then plays into Bischoff vs. Austin, since it was Austin who made the PPV between HHH and Goldberg, and this could be Bischoff's attempt to re-undermine Goldberg's chances of holding the title.  And you know how I loves me the intertwined storylines.  So yeah, Goldberg crosses paths with Evolution tonight, maybe even has a brawl and punks them out (or gets punked out, doesn't matter), but the ankle is still to serious an injury to have him wrestle tonight.  But if Bischoff doesn't order him to face Batista next week, then they are missing a big time opportunity.
     
    And while Batista's sort of a "co-front man" for Evolution in their fight against Goldberg, fact is, that is mostly HHH's fight.  Batista will have a chance to dance with Goldberg, but then, it's on to Evolution business.  In this case, that means Batista, Flair, and Orton's issue with Jindrak, Cade, and Maven.  At this point, I don't know if this is a feud that will morph into RAW's fifth PPV match, or not.  My instinct is that it doesn't have those kinds of legs, simply because of the perceived weakness of the babyface side.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I don't see it as much more than a time-eater mid-show match on RAW.  Maybe even on tonight's show (since, in my own head, Batista will have other things to do next week).  But point is this is a live issue after both Maven and Batista were integral to the match (and post-match extracurriculars) between Jindrak/Cade and Orton/Flair last week.
     
    Ahead of Evolution/Jindrak/Cade/Maven on the PPV depth chart is a women's title match between Molly Holly and Lita.  One story here is that Lita's been chasing a title shot since coming back 2 months ago.  Another thing we could talk about is how the match itself oughta be good, as Lita's less-spotty style since returning is a noticeable deviation for her and should mesh nicely with Molly's.  But a third element cannot go without mention: Lita and her pal, Trish Stratus, haven't just been unified in fending off Molly and her heel allies Gail Kim and Victoria.  They've also been Unified in Confusion, as they are being pursued, respectively, by Christian and Chris Jericho.  Both men, usually jerks to the Nth degree, so far seem honest, even sweet, in their actions.  Lord only knows where this can go or how fast it'll get there (last week was a noticeable treading of water), but it isn't going away.  Lita's going for the women's title, Lita and Trish maintain a relationship as allies by necessity against the evil trio of divas, and Jericho and Christian are involved on the edges.  Again, interesting interrelationships...
     
    And part of me is very much beginning to suspect that a fifth wheel could appear on the scene to shake up any number of situations, and he's not even on the RAW roster.  At Survivor Series, one of the only four annual chances the two rosters have to interact, Matt Hardy could be a difference maker.  Matt's absence from SD! (both on TV and house shows) and presence backstage at RAW last week certainly both speak to the myriad possibilities.  If Hardy takes issue with Christian's pursuit of Lita, what's that mean for the women's match?  What's it mean for both Matt and Lita's status as a heel and face, respecitvely?  And what, most intriguingly, might it mean for the five-on-five?
     
    But that's a discussion for 2 weeks from today, if it's a discussion that will ever be worth having.  For tonight, we've covered the three of the four PPV-ready feuds in depth, plus an extra one that is tangentially related via Evolution to the the World Title and might (maybe, possibly) develop into a PPV feud of its own.  Of course, I've left out any discussion on Shane McMahon vs. Kane, as this one's been brewing for over three months and there's just nothing particularly insightful I can think of to say about it.  It's sucked at times.  It's been cool at times.  Now, all they gotta do is hold serve for 2 more weeks and try not to kill the feud before it gets to its blowoff at Survivor Series; not the most thrilling of subjects to dissect.  
     
    On top of Shane/Kane stuff, the only other things you oughta be keeping an eye out for tonight:  more drink stirring from Master Straw Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff, as the two non-wrestlers still should figure prominently in 2-3 segments each...  probably an aside skit or even another throw-away match with John Heidenreich, even though I already want to put a bullet in the "Little Johnny" storyline before it has the chance to suck out loud...  and JR will be in all his Sooner Glory after the college football events of last weekend; two top 5's, Georgia (everybody say "Sorry, Erin") and Miami (FL), go down, Oklahoma crushes and is now a virtual lock for the National Championship game.  Hey, more power to him.  When my Flyers make it to the Final Four in five months, I'm gonna shove it down all your throats, too!
     
    Whoa... wait a minute...  sorry, there.  I didn't think I'd gone back to hitting the heavy hallucinogenics, but... well, no sane-minded person would say what I just said, would they?
     
    Just check out RAW tonight.  Try to forgive JR.  And then come on back here tomorrow for full results, analysis, and, of course, satirization.
     
  • The final rating for last week's SD! is in... and the show did a 3.6 broadcast rating.  Which is funny, because on Friday, I said the overnight number was a 3.6, and due to the vagaries of the way fast data is collected and UPN's market penetration, the overnight rating is almost ALWAYS higher than the final one for UPN.
     
    Well, although there are serious allegations of ratings anomalies and possible measurement problems with Nielsen (probably zero of which concern you, but they involve potential under-rating of shows due to penetration of new technologies like TiVo and DVR devices which are especially popular with key under-35 demographics), this one was a pure fuck up on my part.
     
    I was so late getting the column done on Friday that I unwittingly had the final rating in my possession, and just assumed it was the overnight number on the grounds that I usually don't see that e-mail till Saturday.  So yeah: SD! did a 3.6 last week, and that is FINAL, not overnight.
     
    That number is equal to the previous week's, which is important because, since the 10/03 episode, SD! has been averaging a 3.5, and this rating continues the trend of strong ratings performances for the show.  The previous four week's averaged a 3.2, and SD!'s running five month average is a 3.3, so October wound up being a huge step forward for WWE and UPN.  The fact that SD! is warming up and reclaiming viewers could not come at a better time, as last week was the start of sweeps months (advertising rates are set based on how shows perform in sweeps months like November, which for some reason was deemed to start last Thursday night by TV execs).
     
    In fact, SD! has earned a 3.6 broadcast rating three of the past four weeks...  prior to that, SD! scored a 3.6 or better only twice in all of June, July, August, and September (a 3.7 in mid-June, and a 3.6 in mid-July).  This is nothing other than good news for the folks up at Titan Tower.
     
  • And if you didn't know, the reason why my amazingly incisive ratings analyses and observations only go back five months to June, well, it's because that's when we start Battle of the Brands here at OO, and so that's when I started a spreadsheet with RAW and SD! ratings data.
     
    And it is not without some devious sense of playfulness that I point out that in last week's BotB, RAW was given the Brand of the Week title by OO staffers for the fifth week in a row.  Wouldn't you know it?  As soon as SD! starts heating up in the real ratings, the show goes south, and is weekly being outshined by RAW...  which at the same time it's improving according to critics has seen its real life rating drop.  Since mid-September (8 weeks), RAW has averaged a 2.9 rating (that's broadcast rating so that it can be compared directly to SD!, which is shown on over-the-air network UPN...  in terms of cable ratings, which is usually what we report on Wednesdays, the 2.9 is more like a 3.5 or 3.6 cable rating average), a drop from the 3.3 broadcast-converted rating RAW averaged for the 8 weeks immediately prior to that, and also well below RAW's running five month average of 3.15.
     
    In the name of filling up space here on a slow news Monday, let's have some fun with this, shall we?
     
    In the 8 week period spanning the week ending July 18 through the week ending September 5, RAW averaged a 3.3 broadcast-adjusted rating, actually beating SD!'s 3.2 average rating for the time period.  SD! was actually the more watched show in three of those eight weeks, but three ties and two strong wins by RAW (including on SD!'s sports-pre-emption Hell Night) shifted the eight week average in RAW's favor.  
     
    So of course, during this 8 week period in which one could massage the numbers to argue that RAW was the more popular brand, the esteemed and wizened OO staff declared SD! the winner in 7 of those eight weeks. During a phase when Kane's nonsense was at its worst, and the show was frequently "watchable at best," RAW averaged only a 2.8 BotB Staff Rating, a minus-0.5 deviation from the broadcast rating.  SD!, on the other hand, won seven battles with an average Staff Rating of 3.5 (a plus-0.3 deviation from the broadcast rating).
     
    Got that?  OK, good... cuz in the next 8 week period (which ended just past Friday), the Battle took a turn:  in those eight weeks, RAW has won five times, and SD! only thrice in the BotB/OO Staff ratings.  RAW has steadily improved to the point that the Staff Rating average for the last 8 weeks is a 3.3, a gain of a full half-point from the previous eight week period.  Meanwhile (excepting the amazing Iron Man free-pre-view week, which almost single handedly keeps SD!'s 8-week average respectable), SD! has spent the past two months mostly scuffling to an average OO Staff Rating of 3.1 (including just a 2.6 in the last four weeks), a drop off four-tenths of a point from the preceding time frame.
     
    And by now, I'm sure you've pieced together the ultimate irony: that the critical reversal of fortunes for RAW and SD! have been mirrored by a shift in the Nielsen/popular ratings.  Despite improving as a show, RAW's real life ratings dropped to the aforementioned 2.9 during this last 8-week period.  Despite playing with sewage and eschewing wrestling at times in the last two months, SD!'s real life rating for the period bumped up to a 3.4.  In those 8 weeks, RAW's Staff Rating was a plus-0.4 versus its real world rating, while SD!'s was a minus-0.3.
     
    Of course, you can also just mash all 16 weeks together and say that in the last four months RAW averaged a real life/Nielsen rating of 3.2 and a very similar BotB/Staff rating of 3.1, while SD! averaged identical real life/Nielsen and BotB/Staff ratings of 3.3. The beauty of OO's way of rating the brands is that I meant for it to be possible to draw comparisons between critical/expert opinions and popular opinion; over time, the closeness of the staff vs. Nielsen ratings makes me think I'm on to something a little more valuable than your letter grade or 1-to-10 scales...
     
    But then I realize that the data in the two individual 8-week segments pretty much indicates that if my rating system is on to something, then we internet goofs with our "expert" opinions must be royally messed in the head.  Cuz when we say a show sucks, it does strong ratings, and when we say a show is good, it ends up losing viewers to the other brand.
     
    What the hell is going on around here?  
     
    Check out the now-final edition of last week's Battle of the Brands and see if you can figure something out.  Let me know if you do.
     
  • FYI: yeah, I know the BotB ratings for the previous week (ended October 24) were in error.  I managed to frick something up when adding another spreadsheet column for new rater, Brad Smoley.  It ended up with RAW's rating being originally listed significantly higher than it should have been. 
     
    All you amateur mathematicians who spotted the glaring error can stop bugging me about my addition and division skills.  I finally got it fixed, now, and anyway, I blame MS Excel.  I is actually good at the maths.  I gots lots of book learnin!
     
    Final tally for that week SHOULD have been 3.69 to 3.20 in favor of RAW, not the previously reported near photo-finish.  For those of you who are as interested in these things as I am and have been following along these five months, I apologize profusely...
     
  • Got a note saying that music industry tracking data shows that Randy Savage's CD has sold less than 4000 copies in three weeks on sale...  
     
    This comes despite surprisingly heavy advertising.  At least, I've been shocked to see Macho Man ads on stuff like SportsCenter and Comedy Central... it's also shown up in the local ad spots on some of WWE's cable shows, so bottom line is, they are reaching the target audience.
     
    It's just that no one is buying.  Seriously, back when I was on WrestleLine, an old band of mine put a song on MP3.com, and me being me, I pimped the shit out of it, and we wound up doing something like 15,000 downloads in a week and were #2 in the entire Rock Category for one shining moment.  And I never headlined WrestleMania.  You'd think if Macho had a product worth selling people'd be willing to shell out $10 for it...
     
    I wonder if this is all Kazaa/file sharing's fault?  Savage needs the help of federal authorities, and THEN his record will finally start selling!  Yeah, that's the ticket!!!  If casually interested fans couldn't download one or two songs off the internet and realize how bad the whole album must suck, the only way they'd be able to find out the record's not worth owning is if they owned it already.  Pure genius!
     
  • Nothing of import or interest from WWE house shows this weekend, other than to briefly mention that Edge was in the building for the SD! brand's show in Kitchner, ONT.  He made a brief MC-like appearance in the ring to pump up the crowd, and was said to be looking pretty good for a guy who is still six months away from getting back into the ring.
     
  • My Sunday Afternoon of Leisure always includes getting caught up on unwatched shows I'd DVR'ed in the previous week... and although this week meant I enjoyed a personal Simpsons Halloween Special Mini-Marathon before the new one last night, I'll try to confine myself to a few notes from Velocity and Confidential.
     
    Namely, I enjoyed Bill DeMott's debut as Velocity commentator.  I threw a Tazz comparison out there last week when discussing his quasi-retirement, and I can see him taking that route.  For now, he's sticking to a bit more serious of an approach, but you know he's got the humor in there, too... and after Saturday, the comparison is apt mostly because DeMott seems likely to take exactly the same amount of Josh Matthew's crap that Tazz did.  Namely, zero.  Having listened to Cole and Josh each trying to top each other and prove himself the King and Leader of the Dorks the previous week just underscored the need to have somebody relatively bad-ass to balance each of those two.
     
    Josh also figured into my favorite Confidential moment, as his ten questions with Spanky took a few humorous turns when Spanky basically left Josh speechless a couple times.  And "speechless" is not a good thing to be when you're a TV interviewer.  If you saw it, fine, and I think you'll agree with me... if you didn't, well, it probably won't translate well without the full explanation and mannerisms, but let's just say if I get a new band together that's ready to leave my basement, I'm gonna want to call it "Aldolf Chaplin" and make the lead singer wear Spanky's Halloween costume.
     
    The Stu Hart piece on Confidential was also pretty cool...  everybody had a fun story to tell and it was a nice mix of feel-good and informative for the vast majority of us who knew Stu as little more than Bret's dad on TV.  That kind of vibe is to be expected when an 80-something year old guy dies: there's sadness, yes, but little drama.
     
    That looks to change next week, when Confidential goes in depth on Michael "Hawk" Hegstrand...  just the clip they showed of Animal (discussing how 10 or 15 years ago hearing that Hawk was dead would not have shocked him at all, but hearing it happen 2 weeks ago stunned him) seemed indicative of a pretty intense and emotional piece...  you might want to make a special effort to check it out if Confidential's not usually on your viewing platter.
     
    OK, and even though I said I'd keep it wrestling oriented, one other gripe from my day of catch-up TV watching:  I think it's now official, the writers at SNL have completely forgotten how to write punchlines.  I think I've seen three or four shows this season, and I remember more skits ending with awkward silence and anticlimax than would be appropriate for the entire year.  There's still funny bits at times, don't get me wrong, but damn... there are problems that need to be addressed there, and soon, else SNL fall off my DVR list of scheduled recordings.  Tina Fey and Weekend Update aren't worth 90 minutes of disk space that could be on cable access channel wrestling.  On the upside, at least Outkast was the first decent musical guest SNL's had all year...
     
  • But must try to keep on wrestling topics...  so going briefly to the subject of cable access channel wrestling shows...
     
    MLW (Major League Wrestling) has been on cable access here in Dayton for about a month or so, unfortunately with a non-linear series of months-old episodes.  It's unfortunately because the Florida-based promotion is putting on some of the best reviewed indie shows in the country, and I'd like to be a bit more up to date with them.
     
    It's also unfortunate because as well-reviewed as they are, MLW's monthly events are also money-losers, which means the future of the company is uncertain.  Their October event was cancelled due to soft ticket sales, and Hugh Zeitlin (who's recapped a few FL indie shows here at OO) wrote in to say that MLW is also backing off concrete plans for November and December events (which had been tentatively penciled in for Dallas and Ft. Lauderdale, respectively).  
     
    The MLW website does say that they hope to make a major announcement in the next week or so about the future of the company, and here's hoping it's good news.  Even in limited exposure, MLW has scratched an old itch of mine, and itch that's been nagging at me for years since ECW went away.
     
    Despite blatant imitators (cough --- XPW -- cough), it's MLW that comes closest to capturing the essence of ECW.  The cynics might joke that shitty production values and Joey Styles standing in front of a black-and-red banner is easy to duplicate, but it's more than that...  yes, many of the faces are familiar to ECW fans (Styles, Sabu, Bill Alfonso, Raven, Mikey Whipwreck, Jim Mitchell, Terry Funk, Steve Corino, and many others are regulars I've seen so far), but so is the pace and tone of the show.  You get only 2 matches per week on TV, it seems, but then the company does a nice job putting together history packages and videos explained by Joey, and then tossing in fresh promos/skits that even after you only get two wrestling matches, you have a sense that any of a half-dozen different feuds/stories were advanced.  
     
    But if MLW has captured some of ECW TV's old spirit, they haven't duplicated its model as a full-time wrestling company, and that's got to be at the root of their problems.  MLW puts all its efforts into promoting one show a month.  They pay top indie guys to show up once a month, flying them in from all over.  Estimates are that MLW spends on one show the same amount that TNA spends on its weekly events, but does it without getting PPV revenues in return.
     
    The reason ECW surivived its early days is because they'd run 2 (and sometimes 3) shows per weekend, gaining various cost advantages.  MLW flies a guy in, and he works once, gets his one-night payday, and then leaves.  ECW's travel plan meant bringing a guy in, and then getting two dates out of him, often at a discount off the one-shot rate because (as you may have guessed) the reduced travel and convenience of working two shows within driving distance of each other made it a more attractive option than traipsing all over the country to do one-shot shows.  It's simple math: if you can do the same crowd in two places, and end up paying slightly less per show for talent costs, AND repeat the process 3 weekends out of the month, you'll end up lasting a lot longer than the company that expends its money for one big show and thus can only draw one big crowd per month.
     
    MLW's pursuit of TV clearance has simply not resulted in adequate secondary revenue flows from video and merchandise sales (things that, as anyone who attended ECW Arena shows will tell you, also increase the more live events you produce) to offset the losses the company takes producing the monthly mega show.  Although MLW has drawn encouragingly strong crowds to its events, putting several thousand people in a building once every 4 weeks is probably not the way to keep the promotion in the black.  In a lot of ways, my quick and dirty analysis of the situation is that they are trying, by flying everybody in and taping a month's worth of television shows at a time, to be a TV company instead of a wrestling company (much as WCW was for a few years prior to Bischoff kicking off the Nitro era).  That works when your parent corporation owns TV networks and can guarantee you exposure.  But trying to be a TV company instead of a wrestling company is less than wise when you're airing in obscure cable access timeslots in the handful of markets you've been lucky enough to penetrate.
     
    And on the grounds that I've got less info on the company than I should have before making grand judgments, I'll end my comments on that note.  I honestly do enjoy what I've seen of the product and hope they've got good news coming in the future, even if I don't see the logic of their business plan.
     
  • I think that's about all I got for today...  see you again Wednesday with Spoilers and other news.
     
    Actually see you tomorrow with RAW Recap, but.... hell, you know what I meant.

E-MAIL RICK SCAIA
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.


  
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