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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
TV Ratings, Network Changes for WWE,
Hogan, ECW, Stacy and Bischoff, MORE! 
July 20, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

OK, so you remember a week or so ago when I did a tangent about how Vince McMahon is too insecure to ever push somebody else's "creation" ahead of his own vision? I used the example of his comically inept booking of the WCW inVasion, and the fact that of former World Champions for other companies who finally decided to jump to WWF/E, only Ric Flair had retained or improved upon his legacy?
 

Well, so I did some data collection and analysis, and I might have been KINDA wrong. I think you can say Big Show has probably also improved upon his legacy during his time in WWF/E.

But other than that, get this: starting with 1985 (the "WrestleMania Era," when Vince K. McMahon finally got to start shaping the WWF in his vision),

28 men who won recognized "World" Titles have come to the WWF/E to seek greater fame and fortune. Of them, only FOUR (4) were deemed worthy of winning the WWF/E World Title (or either of the RAW/SD! split titles), and between them, have split only a paltry 7 title reigns (one of which is a matter of dubious distinction, since I guess you have to count Big Show's "ECW" Title, even though I'd prefer not to).

Vince McMahon, who claims to be a "star maker," was only able to capitalize on the proven success of 14% of the Former World Champions he poached from other promoters. And some of the other 24 World Champions who came to WWF/E didn't just fall short of main events: some of them became mid-carders, jobbers, or comedy acts. I'd say that, given this data, Vince's legacy as a "star maker" could just as easily be twisted into a legacy as a "star breaker," if he felt that the star in question was too closely associated with some other promoter or was somebody else's creation.
 
[By the way: if you decide to exclude the AWA and ECW Champions who came to WWF/E from this list, Vince still only converted on 4 out of 17 NWA/WCW World Champions who came to work for him in the sixteen year span between 1985 and 2001. Less than one-quarter of the men who were deemed worthy of carrying the title of the organization that was widely regarded as the WWF's equal during that span -- and for a few brief spans of time, even as its superior -- were given the chance to hold the Fed's top gold. Why? Well, maybe we can't say for sure, but one starts to think there is nothing coincidental about non-Vince creations getting shat upon by WWF/E over the past 20 years.]

There's also a funny flip-side to that coin: during the same span of time, only six (6) former WWF champions jumped ship to go work for NWA/WCW.... and FIVE of them (84%!) were given WCW Title reigns (the five men actually totaled a gaudy 16 World Title runs). The only WWF Champion who got gas-faced by WCW? The Ultimate Warrior. HA! 
 
Anyway, I threw together all this data, and I've been trying to decide if it'd be interesting to you (and thus, worthwhile to me) to turn it into a full-sized feature. I'd include all the lists and a ton of different breakdowns on where the WWF/E and NWA/WCW got their champions from during the last decade and a half of their competitive era. Some very interesting trends do reveal themselves when you look at the lists of the 33 different men who've held WWF/E gold in that time and the 23 different men who held NWA/WCW gold.

I figure if you people say you wanty, then there's probably no better time than the present, as this weekend, Booker T is in position to POSSIBLY become only the fifth man in history to build his legacy as a World Champion for another company to be given the top honor by Vince McMahon's WWE. And it only took him five fricking years to get the chance!

This would probably be a good week to do this big feature-y analysis and have it be relevant, so lemme know if you want to see it. For now, just enjoy a smattering of what passes for the News of the Day:

  • Monday's RAW did another 3.9 rating this week... that's the same as the week before (when some used the Home Run Derby as an excuse for depressed ratings; an excuse that simply did not exist this week), and three straight weeks of being off-pace and significantly below the show's 10-week moving average.
     
    I did think the show this week was better than last week, but I still found it severely wanting in spots. It could just be that the company has been content to waste time with fluff and wheel-spinning until it's time to begin the push to SummerSlam, but that's still no reason to not make the fluff fun and satisfying.
     
    To me, that would mean having your solid-gold World Champion, Edge, playing more than cameo roles each week. A guy who has no problem instantly connecting with an audience and inciting a reaction is stuck mostly in hotel-comedy-sketches and then in a 2-minute run-in? That's a waste of resources. One that becomes even more baffling when you consider the number of things WWE's wasting their time on that DON'T appeal to the audience on any level. Ten minutes of Diva Search per week, I'm looking at you. But squash matches and the fact that nothing particularly fresh or interesting has happened in terms of DX/McMahons in the past month? I'm looking at you, too.
     
    I'm kind of surprised the show didn't do a better rating than the week before, just because of the strength of the main event. I mean, not the "strength" (because it turned out to be the most tepid Michaels/Shane match of all times), but the marketability of it... that alone should have upped the "stickiness" value of RAW and made it harder for folks to turn away, no matter how forgettable each segment was on a stand-alone basis. But oh well: you throw out the margin-of-error and the rounding issues, and the show does essentially the same exact rating as the sucky show the week before.
     
    Mayhap it's time to rethink this new "template" it seems like they've been using for the past month? Or mayhap all we need to do is get on the road to SummerSlam, and the hacks who call themselves a Creative Team will suddenly get their asses in gear and do what they're paid to. I don't really care which it is, I'd just like to see RAW get back to where it was this past spring where at least 3 our of every 4 shows was solidly entertaining for a few months, there. Enough of this Going Through The Motions crap...
     
    There is SOME good news for you fine readers, though: namely, the fact that I *never* just go through the motions. So I can heartily endorse (without reservation) this week's OO RAW Recap as a fine document that will not only inform you as to the events of Monday night's TV show, but shall entertain you mightily along the way. Check it out.
     
  • Before moving on: in the recap, I expressed befuddlement over how it was that Candice Michelle was supposedly a babyface all of a sudden. Well: a grand total of two (2) eagle-eyed readers wrote in to point out that there was a bra-and-panties match a month or so back where Mickie James "turned" on Candice after the match, so maybe that's why she cost Mickie and Victoria the match on Monday.
     
    All I can say is: (1) you might have had the announcers reminding us of that situation, and (2) it's VERY telling that only 2 people bothered to write in correcting me, since usually when I get caught with my pants down, OO Nation LOVES swarming, en masse, to tease me about it. This speaks volumes about just how much the viewing audience cares about Titties McSuperbowl's alleged face turn.
     
    Once reminded, I also remembered exactly what I wrote when Mickie "turned" on Candice, and it amounted to calling WWE a bunch of fucktards if they thought that Mickie stripping off Candice's clothes made *Candice* the babyface, and that they better just shitcan that little experiment, if indeed, it's what they had in mind. I guess it is what they had in mind. And they didn't shitcan it. Because they are idiots. I still say that what the babyface side of the women's division needs is somebody other than Trish who can actually wrestle. Why not turn Victoria, instead? You've still got Mickie, Melina, and Lita as ring-capable heels if you do that....
     
  • Moving on to Tuesday's ECW.... I guess it followed roughly the same pattern as the past several weeks. What determines whether that pattern is tolerable or not, however, is entirely dictated by the quality of the "WWE Main Event" that caps the show. And this? Was the worst "WWE Match" capper since the start of ECW's weekly run.
     
    That tends to lead me towards a sense of frustration and annoyance, even if there were a few little fun highlights over the course of the hour.
     
    Still: Big Show/Taker was just an abysmal contest, and was made worse by one of the most comically-inept run-ins in recent memory, when the Great Khali came out to attack Taker and cause a non-finish. Which is how your "ECW Main Event" became little more than an advertisement for SD!'s upcoming PPV. Plus 10 to the marketing assclowns for realizing that ECW might have more viewers this week than SD!, so hyping the PPV on that show might be a good idea. Minus several million for it being soul-crushingly awful television. The mere fact that this was an ECW Title Match and was NOT conducted under "ECW Rules" should tell you everything about what was stupid and underwhelming about this main event.
     
    Also: I'm sure I'm probably about the 87,471st jackoff to say this, but now I'm really terrified that we're setting up for Big Show/Khali vs. Undertaker/Kane in the Worst SummerSlam Match Ever. Terrified, I tells ya.
     
    The one segment that did, unequivocally, entertain me was Heyman's promo and Dreamer's interruption. Part of me just assumes that nobody has a fucking clue where Heyman's "just shut up you stupid fans and drink my Kool-Aid like you did once before, and it'll all be alright" angle is headed and that they're just making it up as they go along. But a tiny part of me is gonna sell-out to the moment enough to enjoy the notion that maybe, just maybe, this is all part of an angle where Heyman -- who sold out to Vince and Vince's "WWE Guys," like Test and Big Show -- discovers that the heart and soul of ECW still lives in Dreamer, Sandman, RVD, Sabu, and others, all leading to something of a re-rebirth of the brand in a quasi-shoot angle that might actually get people talking about ECW and accepting it as a true alternative. Like I said last week: it's only a tiny, tiny part of me, but this is something that I badly WANT to believe could happen.
     
    Dreamer's speech to Heyman was pitch perfect (and not unlike the "Dan calling Swearengen a pussy" vibe that I endorsed last week); Heyman's wet, sloppy Judas Kiss was pretty perfect for his character, too, who always tends towards the hyperbolic and drama-y; and Test coming in for the run-in to attack Dreamer was... well, necessary. He's one of Vince's WWE guys, and that makes him perfect for this job. All we need now is for Heyman's two SWAT Team bodyguards to unmask and reveal themselves to be the Basham Brothers one of these weeks, and we'll be well on our way to Heyman surrounding himself with a pretty well-decorated phalanx of ex-WWE guys of a perfect size to be opposed by the handful of ECW Alumni on the roster. Figure Mick Foley (once he's finished up with Flair) would be a perfect fit for a newly WWE-ized ECW, too.
     
    The storyline where Kurt Angle returns and has to pick between Heyman's "New Vision" for ECW (which is a vision that has clearly changed since Kurt originally bought into it) and the Old Vision of ECW practically writes itself, as well.
     
    But I'm getting ahead of myself. Such is life when there's not really much of anything worth talking about from Tuesday's ECW itself. Sandman got pinned by Mike Knox, which seemed a bit silly (but I guess the story of that match was Kelly Kelley taking a wicked cane shot from Sandman -- after being pulled into harm's way by Knox -- and doing a stretcher job)... they put the handcuffs on Sabu and had him wrestle a non-ECW-rules match which again strikes me as the definition of wasting your resources.... and then there were a bunch of little introductory vignettes of varying effectiveness (if the goal is to get me to laugh my ass off at Shannon Moore, to want to slap the self-important smug out of CM Punk, and to wonder why Balls Mahoney is suddenly the Original ECW Alum who's getting the biggest push, then I say: Mission Accomplished.... otherwise? Not so much). Not a whole lot going on there in the middle of the show.
     
    You can get the full report in Jeff Snider's ECW Recap.
     
  • The rating for ECW on Tuesday was a 2.2, which is down two ticks from the week before, but which should be considered just fine, since the show also aired an hour later than usual. Also: this appears to be right around the average where ECW's settling in.... if you discount the Forth of July and the highly-rated debut episode, I think ECW's averaging a 2.3.
     
    That's probably a tad higher than I would have guessed, but I think the extra third- to half-of-a-ratings point over my expectations is coming at the cost of WWE actually presenting ECW as its own distinct brand. They're getting those extra ratings ticks now by treating ECW as "the third hour of RAW," but will that continue to be as effective a marketing strategy as you run more and more house shows under the ECW banner and can't have RAW/SD! guys crossing over? At some point, fans will catch on to what counts as "ECW" and they'll be less apt to show up to watch ECW Guy vs. Random WWE Guy in the main event every Tuesday night if they know that WWE Guy cannot win and take the ECW Title over to RAW or SD!.... the crossovers (or at least, that particular one-trick-pony of a crossover) have gotta end at some point, and what do you do then?
     
  • A couple other ratings tidbits, because I was apparently over-generous in my rounding back on Monday. Last week's Impact is officially gonna go in the books as a 0.9 rating (yes, that's a slight dip, but remember: variations of one-tenth of a point are pretty much meaningless from a statistical perspective), while Saturday Night's Main Event got even WORSE news once the final data was compiled: they only drew a 2.6 national rating (versus the 2.8 prelim rating I had mentioned).
     
    If WWE's gonna look for ANY good news with that rating, it's that Saturday was a shitty night, all around, for TV viewing (continuing a trend that's been plaguing the networks all summer, and which resulted in the week of July 3 being the Least Watched Week of Television In American History, at least as far as the broadcast networks go), and SNME was rated as the #2 show of the night in the "Males, 18-49" demographic, despite the abysmal 2.6 overall rating.
     
    There's little chance this'll sit well with NBC, and it's quite possible that Saturday Night's Main Event is headed back on the shelf after it's 2-episode revival.... those writing in asking about SNME getting a different non-primetime timeslot on NBC, well: let me just tell you that whatever crap-ass replay of "Saturday Night Live" aired in the standard 11:30pm slot on Saturday did a 3.2 rating.
     
    So if SNME can't -- with the benefit of a superior timeslot -- outdraw a rerun of SNL, I'm pretty sure you can forget about SNME getting a second chance in its old late night slot, too. It's either back into mothballs, or perhaps be something WWE could convince USA Network to air as quarterly specials... but I think NBC'll just get the hell out of Dodge on this one before advertisers and media pundits start calling it "XFL 2."
     
  • While we're on TV news, I'll quickly mention that things are getting shaken up, big time, in Canada. Next month, RAW will move from TSN to The Score mostly because of TSN's acquisition of Monday Night Football (and updating what I wrote on Monday, even with the move to the new home, RAW will be airing on a one-hour tape delay every Monday, for some reason).... and then the newest twist is that The Score will be moving SmackDown! from Thursday nights to Friday nights to bring it in line with SD!'s domestic airing.
     
    The move from TSN to The Score is probably more of a loss from a PR/perception angle (as TSN is viewed as the more prestigious/credible network) than from a statistically tangible one.... but the move from Thursdays to Fridays for SD! (while creating some continuity between US and Canuck airings of the show, and reducing some of the voice-over/graphics double-duty that has to be done producing the show) will probably result in roughly the same kind of reduced viewership that WWE's move to Fridays caused here in the States.
     
    Simply put: fewer people are home on Fridays watching TV than there are on Thursdays. And given where WWE's ratings are in Canada, it's not like they can really afford the loss.
     
    And FYI: thus ends my Grand Vision for running the "SD! Idol" contest to find a reliable Canadian to supply me with a weekly Precap. With this latest announcement, I think we're looking at bringing the SD! Recapper Gig back to America, and quite possibly back in-hOOuse, come August. More on this as it develops, and apologies if you're one of the "SD! Idol" folks to whom I promised a try-out, but ultimately, I'm lazy and a creature of habit, and if I can't derive a benefit (like a Thursday night SD! Recap) from something, I'll probably just go to a tried-and-true fallback option.
     
    Also: an official announcement about ECW airing in Canada is also expected within the month, though it won't be with either TSN or The Score.
     
  • Stacy Kiebler's WWE contract has quietly expired, and now she's property of Disney.... kind of. Some arm of the Disney empire signed her to the Hollywood equivalent of a "developmental deal," in which she gets paid a piddling sum of money to not go work for anybody else while the higher-ups try to figure out if there's a spot where they can put her on TV.
     
    Good for her, I guess. But bad for us if it starts giving Trish Stratus any ideas about not being on my TV screen every week so she can pursue a career in which the ceiling is probably "hosting some crap ass E! network show that no thinking person could possibly watch." Cuz methinks that's about where Stacy's headed once all is said and done, and her success/failure at trying to be a Real Celebrity will color people's perceptions about any attempt Trish would make to follow her as a "girl wrestler who's trying to cross over."
     
  • I got confirmation that Eric Bischoff's WWE contract also quietly expired in the last week... and I'm not ashamed to say I'll probably end up missing him more than Stacy.
     
    For a guy who seemed like such a misguided twit during his days running WCW, Bischoff took advantage of his opportunity over the past four years to erase a lot of those memories by becoming one of RAW's most bankable on-screen heels. Take away his backstage power and give the guy a mic, and a case could be made that Uncle Eric solidified himself as the top non-wrestling character in WWE over the past four years. Even moreso than the frequently-over-exposed (and under-entertaining) Vince McMahon That's not an insignificant achievement.
     
    Like I said a few weeks ago when first discussing this situation, this does NOT preclude Bischoff ever being brought back to WWE.... but for now, WWE clearly thinks it doesn't have a spot for him, while (much like Stacy), it sounds like Eric has a ton of other things he'd like to fail at in coming months before he'd feel the need to go crawling back to Vince.
     
  • Mark Henry's injury is going to require even more recovery time than originally estimated. After further diagnosis, his broken kneecap and torn patella tendon will require at least 8 months of rehab following surgery.
     
    It remains unclear what this means for Henry's contract status; a hoax went around about 2 months ago about Henry re-upping his contract for another 3 years, which we debunked, but that doesn't mean that in the interim, talks weren't had about extended Henry past September (which is when his current contract would expire). I'll just repeat what I said on Monday: even if it takes till April, Henry should get well on WWE's dime since he got hurt in their ring.... but beyond that, I'm not sure there should be any rush to bring the guy back to TV.
     
    I also find it... well, odd and unfortunate, I guess would be two words... that in reporting on Henry's injury, they're not bothering to mention that Rey Mysterio was the guy in the ring when Henry got hurt. Rey's been the worst-booked champion in history, and if Henry's not coming back for 8 months (if ever), then why the hell not give Rey a little boost as a "Giant Killer" who took Henry down with a few well-placed kicks (which is exactly what Rey landed on Mark's leg, albeit after the damage was already done)? WWE.com has turned enough "shoots" into "works" for completely unfathomable reasons in the past, so why not twist the facts slightly to actually benefit one of your top wrestlers? Oh well... heaven forefend that a tiny little midget would be capable of causing bodily harm to a 6'4" fat man, right?
     
    SPOILER (if you don't want SD! Spoilers, skip to the next bullet point): WWE announced Henry's PPV replacement at SD! tapings on Tuesday.... so it'll now be Batista vs. Ken Kennedy at the Great American Bash. And I'll repeat: I bet the twits backstage are kicking themselves now that they went gave Kennedy's undefeated streak away to Matt fricking Hardy last week out of sheer pettiness and posturing.... cuz wouldn't it make a HELL of a lot more of a compelling match if Batista was bursting Kennedy's streak, instead of coming off a loss to a career mid-carder? I sure think so....
     

  • With the next season of his stupid reality show set to debut next week, everybody assumes that Publicity Whore Hulk Hogan will conveniently become a pretty much weekly-character on RAW for the next 4-6 weeks. That takes you through his SummerSlam match with Orton, and should rope a few weak-minded wrestling fans into checking him out on VH-1 (while also helping his daughter sell a few records). 
     
    That Hulkster: he's a marketing genius!
     
    From the "I Heard This and Dismissed It, Because It Sounded Too Stupid To Be True" File: apparently another wrestler besides Randy Orton will be looking to deflower virtuous Brooke Hogan by any means necessary, as Harry Smith supposedly taped appearances for "Hogan Knows Best" as one of Brooke's suitors. Ummmm, can somebody tell me where the "real" is in "reality TV" again?
     
    How do you make sure the ultra-talented son of Davey Boy Smith gets off to a hot start in WWE? Pair him off against the chin-locking, line-mangling Wunderkind of Suck that is Randall Orton for his first feud, that's how! Brilliant!
     
  • I think that's about all I got for today, folks. Lemme know if you like the idea of the "Vince McMahon: Star-Maker or Star-Breaker" Feature Analysis Thingy, so I can maybe get to work on it for publication in the next week.... and no matter what you need to be sure to stop on back here over the next few days for SD!/TNA recaps, as well as for our latest Award Winning PPV Preview, as the trOOps assemble to polish the turd that is The Great American Bash PPV!
     
    See you later, kids.... 


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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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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