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Ratings and Stickiness: An Essay (plus Roster Moves, Misawa's Death, and MORE!)
July 3, 2009

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


I probably should have made the time to type this up a day or two earlier... I mean, is anybody out there really going to interrupt a weekend of grilling, drinking, and blowing stuff up to pretend they still care about wrestling? I'm guessing probably not.
But whatever: I'm here, if you're reading this, you're here, and there actually are a few things worth talking about that have gone down in the two week ssince I last did this.


So let's strap in, everybody. Here's a boatload of Fourth of July news for y'all:
  • The Easy Number One Topic of the Day has got to be the ratings performance of the commercial-free RAW last week.
    With RAW's year-to-date average dipping down to a 3.7 (it had been a bit higher, but then Orton Happened, and he averaged a 3.3 during his May/June run as champ), suddenly -- and seemingly out of nowhere -- the June 22 RAW scored a 4.5 rating.
    That rating was a gain of 0.8 over the YTD average and a gain of 0.8 over the previous week's rating (the 3-hour special which also pulled a 3.7). More impressive, the 4.5 is the highest rated RAW since January of 2006, when Edge's surprise title win and the beginnings of his feud with John Cena ignited an upswing in ratings.
    Then you note that this week's RAW dipped back to a 3.8 (a bit better than the YTD average, and certainly a step in the right direction after the horrifying numbers for Orton's reign up to this point), and basically, that rating for the no-commercials show stands out as a total anomaly.
    So where did it come from? Logically speaking, there are only two possibly explanations. Nothing about the core product really changed (it was the same stars taking part in the same storylines), so you're left to credit a piece of Stunt Booking for the rating. The problem is: Which one?
    Was it the appearance of Donald Trump and his mainstream appeal? Or was it the commercial-free aspect of the show?
    I can't really credit Trump for much of this, since he's really a C-list "celebrity" at best (if his show weren't on the ratings-starved NBC, it would have been cancelled two seasons ago). Maybe a few extra eyeballs tuned in, but honestly: in terms of mainstream exposure, WWE got more of it from the Denver Nuggests Debacle, and we all saw that that didn't do for ratings.
    So that leaves the lack of commercial breaks as our culprit, here. Does that really make any sense? Would somebody see/hear about RAW being Commercial Free and suddenly decide "Wow, I have to tune in and watch that"? No, I don't think so... but that doesn't mean the gimmick didn't directly affect ratings.
    Here's what I'm thinking: RAW is so hit-and-miss anymore that a significant portion of the audience either uses DVR to time-shift or will use the remote control to flip channels if something they don't like comes on. We get the ratings and we see "3.3 for RAW this week" and "3.4 for RAW the next," but what we DON'T get is finding out how many viewers flipped past RAW at some point during the show to at least check it out. Maybe RAW really does get 4.5 ratings points worth of eyeballs flipping past every week (hell, maybe it's even more than that), but you only get to count a viewer if he/she stays on the channel for 5 minutes out of a 15 minutes segment. You don't get them to stick around for that long: it doesn't count. And obviously if you don't get them to stick around AND they don't come back at some point later in the show, it REALLY doesn't count.
    I think what the commercial-free show did was make RAW so "sticky" that viewers had fewer chances to flip away (or FF). Rather than having an ad break hit, and having 20% of your eyeballs disappear (and maybe only 15% of them coming back), everybody who started watching RAW that week was -- in a way -- "trapped." If Trump delivered even a nominal increase in the starting audience size, that effect was actually multiplied by the fact that those extra viewers were also, now, gonna stick around and "count" for the whole 2 hours.
    Throw in the type of fan who doesn't turn RAW on instantly at 9pm, but is still casually interested enough to flip past at some point during the 2 hours, and you "trap" them, too. It creates the snow-ball effect that resulted in such an absurdly out-of-whack rating. Or that's my theory, anyway.
    Now: what does this teach us? Or rather, what did it teach WWE? Well, you can't reprise the commercial-free thing every week, obviously (it was an experiment done by USA Network, who took the ad revenue loss on the chin in exchange for finding out data about how limited ads would affect viewing patterns)... but you CAN duplicate the sense of "stickiness" in other ways.
    And lord knows that "stickiness" has been a pet theory of mine for years. It's a harder thing to achieve than "sustainable episodic television" (which I honestly think even dipshit liberal arts school graduates should be able to churn out, even though it's clear from the caliber of work on most TV shows that they can't; god bless a society where it doesn't matter if you can write, it only matters if you can get a 2.0 GPA and fetch the piece of paper declaring you a Writer Monkey), but it's not impossible.
    I think the two key things to keep in mind when trying to craft a "sticky" show are Pace and Density. You can't make the ad breaks go away, but if you're doing your job right, viewers may actually look at the commercials as a chance to catch their breath in the middle of a whirlwind ride (rather than taking it as a chance to go looking for something that isn't boring as hell).
    You don't want to go totally spaz to the extent that Crash TV did; you still want to take the time to make sure segments actually make logical sense and have continuity (not a strength of the Crash TV Era of '96-'98), but you can still keep them brisk. In the macro, this probably should result in more shorter segments per show, at least for the entertainment-y bits (if everything is done right and you have compelling stars who are physically-able, you can still do long matches, and just make sure they are internally-fast-paced and exciting). One way to do this best is actually crafting as many Seamless Transitions as you can, so that you're actually including many mini-segments within one segment. ECW, back in the day, used to be awesome at this, and Heyman sometimes kicked off shows with 3 matches and 2 promos that all linked together with seamless segues, and left fans unable to look away until an hour into a PPV/house show. That's a great way to do things to create an illusion of pace, just by taking out the usual downtime BETWEEN moments of fun, and "hiding" downtime moments during ad breaks to create a cliff-hanger effect (ring entrances are a giant pace-breaker to me, and few of them are so exciting or compelling that they should be show, in their entirety, on TV; so why not hide a few everyweek during a sudden commercial break that you have to take during one of the seamless transitions?).
    In the micro, I'd go so far as to say there are certain performers who just need to hit their own internal fast-forward button: slow and methodical is NOT a "character trait" and it's not a "personality." So speak faster, move faster, and don't take 5 minutes to do something that should only take 2, goddammit. Antagonize me with your evil, not with your utter disposability and forgetable-ness. The creative team can help out on this, too, since you CAN sometimes slow down a promo's delivery for effect; but you STILL have to have SOMETHING WORTH SAYING. Vetting the monologue/dialogue to make sure that there's enough in there to justify whatever slot of time it's been would be a huge step (an example of the difference: Jericho's promos are slower now, but laden with lengthy vocabulary words and personal insults that engage the audience; Orton's promos are slow, and laden with nothing but the sense that this guy probably reads at the 7th grade level).
    And that idea of "enough content to justify the time" dovetails perfectly into the idea of Density. 
    A dense show should have a very high percentage of "value added content" and as little filler as possible. In a perfect world, that amount of filler would be "Zero," but I realize WWE would never go that far... they still think video packages and crap like that are useful marketing tools. And hey, sometimes they can be right: but it's very rare that you could show a video package to a fringe fan or non-fan and have that person say "Holy crap, this WWE stuff looks awesome and I'll have to watch!"... which leaves all this video filler mostly being consumed by existing fans, who should probably feel insulted that WWE thinks their attention span and comprehension skills are so low.
    Like I said, though: sometimes WWE gets a good one, and even we fans step back and say "that's a nice encapsulation of why I'm a fan, and I enjoyed being reminded of that." For instance, I honestly thought the Miz/Cena Summary Package on RAW was about the best video package WWE has churned out since some of the Taker/HBK bits. Miz and Cena have a nice story going, have delivered plenty of soundbites, and the production team put them together in a cool way and with music and stock footage so as to make me go "Yep, this has been good." Which geared me up for thinking their PPV rematch on Monday would also be good. Which it is was.
    So anyway: that's my way of saying, yes, there can be Good Filler, and I'm resigned to the fact that there will always have to be some. But in the above paragraph, you also see something else: WWE had gone at least 3 months since the last time they had Good Filler. So really, shouldn't we be thinking about at least REDUCING the amount of it, making it more of a rare thing, and thus, being able to focus more attention on each piece of filler so that maybe it's a good one?
    Also on Density: you all know my stance on "Moments Ago" packages. They suck. They are useless. They are things that should only be used for truly cataclysmic events, otherwise, there is nothing that can't be explained or underscored while other stuff (VALUE ADDED STUFF) is happenng, by the two announcers who you pay to tell the stories. "Moments Ago" bits are an insult to every viewer who WAS WATCHING moments ago, but who may now decide to cease watching; and "Moments Ago" bits only have value if WWE's assuming they are showcasing a past event to somebody who WASN'T WATCHING.
    Which brings it all back around: don't give them the excuse to Not Watch. If your product is strong and "sticky" then you won't have to remind ANY percentage of your audience of what happened "moments ago," because they were all there when it happened. Not rocket science, here, people. But by trying to rope in viewers who may have strayed, WWE may be actually CAUSING viewers to stray, who then will have to be brought back up to speed if/when they come back, creating a gigantic infinite feedback loop of Suck.
    So I vote you just stop the loop in its tracks, do a show that DEMANDS to be watched intently instead of a show that admits that it knows you probably flipped away at some point, and everything will magically fix itself. Seriously.
    Pace and Density are the things the writing team can do on their own every week to try to recreate the "commercial free stickiness effect." It's maybe not the easiest work, since you're not just creating more segments but you're also now obligated to make them interconnect and fit together in the most compelling way. It's more than just "A, then B, then C" if you're doing things like the complex Seamless Segues I mentioned above. But it IS do-able, and there honestly should be a move towards doing the Purely Mechanical things (not involving "Creative," but just involving format) like eliminating moments ago, reducing promotional video packages, and "multi-tasking" on a lot of the hype crap (no 2 minutes stretches of Cole and Lawler at a desk, telling us about tonight's main event, or telling us about a PPV; instead, they can tell us all that stuff WHILE OTHER STUFF IS HAPPENING). Creative may have to work harder, but jesus, this other mechanical formatting stuff should be an insta-no-brainer if you're going for Stickiness.
    And just because I like making things as complicated as possible, I'm going to step away from the creative/production issues, and veer off into a whole other Prong of Stickiness. [BTW, in the hands of a lesser wordsmith, "Prong of Stickiness" would sound very, very dirty. But it's OK. I'm a professional, kids.] It's a complicated prong, and is not something that can be addressed on a week-to-week basis and "in the trenches" at TV tapings.
    In short, to REALLY deliver a Sticky show, you need the best damned roster possible. Even if you've got a technically-sound show in terms of pace and density, there's still a chance that you send a performer out there in a role he's not capable of filling and viewers will STILL tune out. To me, this means fostering and taking advantage of crowd-pleasing mid-carders.
    However, if you've been reading along with The Rick for any length of time, you know this is the opposite of WWE's philosophy. They want every guy to be a possible main eventer, to look a certain way, and to have a certain upside. The second you begin to look content as a mid-carder, the second they can see your "ceiling" is the second that WWE will stop pushing you, no matter how demonstrably engaging/entertaining your bits are. They don't want to waste resources on utility players: they want to invest in Blue Chippers. My favorite metaphor: WWE can't be bothered to learn the nuances to master a Skill Game like poker where you can ALWAYS grind out tiny profits by being smart, they just want to sit around playing scratch-off lotto tickets where you can ONCE IN A BILLION YEARS win big by being a moron.
    I've thought this is dumb for the longest time, and now, maybe (just maybe) the otherwise-inexplicable one-week jump in ratings will help to underscore that Stickiness is vitally important, that you can't put all your eggs in a Main Event basket, and expect people to sit through filler and mediocrity to GET to the main event. They'll wander. Maybe they'll come back in time to see your top stars, but does it really do you any good in the big picture if they're only with you for 20 minutes a week, instead of the full 2 hours? And some weeks (especially in May, once Orton was on top), what happens when they DON'T stick around for the main event, and ratings actually decline in the second hour? Having a sticky mid-card even help you "make" new main eventers by keeping the maximum number of viewers around to SEE Randy Orton suck. Rather than having them tune out because they ASSUME he will.
    If "Stickiness" is acknowledged as the key component to that rating last week, then HOPEFULLY we can get some kind of realization that mid-carders who connect with the audience or utility players who can fill a niche or provide a gimmicky hook ARE important. I've called this the "Goldust Effect" because he's the best example of a guy who gets a reaction EVERY TIME, he CONNECTS WITH THE AUDIENCE, he does NOT make you want to flip away; he's also not a main eventer (maybe not even an IC-level guy at this point), but he IS somebody who you can just bank on for 5 minutes in a given week and fans will be into it. Other solidly-over acts who were inexplicably marginalized would be guys like Val Venis or D'Lo Brown: big crowd reactions, but rarely used (and eventually fired; in Goldust's case, fired 4 times, and looking ready to make it 5 if his being shunted to ECW means anything), because WWE would rather take its chance on a Lotto Ticket.
    If the "Goldust Effect" is too vague or theoretical for you, then you might prefer "The Tag Team Effect," since WWE's institutional burying of the full-time tag team concept is the exact same thing: WWE wants main event singles stars, not two guys who work together and even then peak on the mid-card. It doesn't matter that when tag wrestling is done right, it brings an entirely other dynamic to a show, it doesn't matter if good tag wrestling lights up the live crowd and keeps the TV audience from straying. It just matters that WWE views tag wrestling as a poor investment if they're putting two guys on TV who've already reached their ceiling.
    If you stop worrying about "ceilings" and just start listening to the fans (both live in the arenas, and the way people vote with their remote controls), I think you start to see just how GOOD an investment it is to keep veteran crowd pleasers and tag teams around. If we're pacing this show a little faster, it does mean more segments, and instead of running out more and more of your boring-ass Lotto Tickets or over-exposing any part of your roster, wouldn't it be nice to have a bunch of guys in your back pocket you KNOW can go on TV and keep the show rolling? And no: I'm not talking about having more Jim Duggans or Ron Simmonsses around as 5-second "crowd pleasers," I'm talking more about having a mid-card rife with Satino Marellas, who sure isn't ever gonna headline WM, but who sure is fun to watch every week.
    Not even the NY Yankees have figured out how to have a clean-up hitter at every position. EVERYbody needs utility infielders or mop-up pitchers or 4th outfielders to succeed. WWE's no different, and should embrace any guy who is proven to get the job done, instead of shoving some guy they HOPE might get the job done in the future down our throats.
    So after all that, it comes down to this: Talent Development + Pacing + Density = Stickiness. And since I think Stickiness is what resulted in that huge one week ratings bump for RAW, it's something we ought to be wanting to see on a more regular basis.
    My own damned opinion, anyway...
  • The other big news we can talk about is the 15-person "trade" that once again re-shuffled the WWE rosters. And less than 2 months since The Draft was supposed to have taken care of that.
    So in the do-over, WWE AGAIN made sure that RAW was the winner, in an attempt to bolster those ratings for something other than a Stunt Booking reason. RAW got both of the two biggest "upside" guys of the 15 traded stars, if you ask me. Jack Swagger is actually a potential "Lotto Ticket" type of performer, except you can tell he'll actually pay off unless WWE screws it up. And Evan Bourne? NOBODY is "stickier" than that guy; if you BLINK you might miss something cool, so you're sure as hell not going to flip away.
    RAW also got Gail Kim, which is fine by me. Maryse is so strong right now as the heel champ (she is also officially the exact opposite of everything I usually like -- all fake blond and fake tanned and fake boobs -- and yet, after this week's RAW and her commentary, I officially really like her to an unhealthy degree) that having Gail come over as the next challenger should result in some goodness. Well, better than Kelly Kelly could have done, anyway. [Brainstorm: after Maryse's guest commentary, could we be in for the Brain Washing of Kelly in which she becomes Maryse's lackey? From what I can tell, washing that brain wouldn't take but half a kleenex, and this WOULD give us a full-on Beautiful People rip-off for WWE.]
    Mark Henry and Alicia Fox are the other add-ons for RAW, and frankly I couldn't care less. Well actually I do care: but only in the sense that Mark Henry is the Anti-Sticky, and the less I have to ponder his continued employment, the better I'd like it. And yet: here he is back on RAW.
    SmackDown got the entire Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smit, Tyson Kidd, and Nattie Neidhart), which is a nice step up for them... their act is proven (they've been doing it in the developmentals for 3 or 4 years), and they stood to gain little by staying in ECW. The incremental step up in expoure should give them the chance to make a case for being "The Legacy That Doesn't Suck."
    Matt Hardy and Finlay also both head to SD, and should only add to the in-ring depth and different combinations of solid matches we get to see on that show. Hardy, however, may be in a situation where he'll require surgery for an abdominal muscle problem... the normal twit-tastic Hardy has been oddly silent in his online missives, and other sources are saying it's because he  just got some bad news about the injury that he'd orginally called "no big deal."
    And then, there's ECW, which was essentially gutted. Only Christian and Dreamer remain in terms of guys who were getting weekly TV exposure in ECW... but on the upside, ECW got Shelton Benjamin in the draft, and after showing hints of personality on SD last week, this could be Shelton's one last, best chance to shine and get noticed, or just fade away like Goldust and Val Venis because WWE's decided to give up on him. Speaking of Goldust, he's also shunted over to ECW, along with fellow "Crowd-Engaging Vet" William Regal. Don't know what that means in terms of either's long term prospects, but with Finlay leaving for SD, these two (especially Regal) will take over the role of breaking in the new guys and helping them learn to have good matches.
  • And there's gonna be a lot of learning going on: in addition to the trades ECW got (oh, they also picked up the Bella Twins, and nobody gave a shit), they also debuted FOUR new guys on the show this week.
    Abraham Washington is probably the highest ceiling guy. He's a giant project in terms of in-ring ability, but unlike a lot WWE's cookie-cutter metrosexual douchebags, he has charisma and a definite hook. His promos in FCW were outstanding and a clear notch above everybody around him, and I guess WWE's decided to pull the trigger on that, even though his work in the ring needs to be improved upon. Thus, the talk show for him.
    Yoshitatsu is an import from New Japan Pro Wrestling, and is definitely not a "cookie cutter" type, either. He's not quite gonna be Evan Bourne, or anything, but just by virtue of being a bit more exciting than your standard WWE Moveset, he could settle in as kind of a watered-down Tajiri.
    Both Sheamus O'Shaunessy and Tyler Recks are gonna be much bigger crapshoots, in my opinion. The other two definitely have futures in WWE... but Sheamus and Tyler? We'll have to see: neither stood out to me in my regular reviewing of FCW shows, and one or both might go the route of DJ Gabriel.
  • Both WWE touring shows are now off to the Pacific Rim for a lengthy series of shows. One show's going to Asia, the other is doing Australia/NZ.
    Because of this, WWE double-stacked the tapings this week, and all TV through the end of NEXT week is in the can. I won't spoil anything, specifically, but I do believe it's safe to say that RAW ain't gonna be all that special next week, while both editions of SD! should be worth your while. Look for CM Punk (whose work I've enjoyed IMMENSELY the past month) to have a big show next Friday.
    And actually, I'll repeat something I posted in the forums after last week's awesome SD: I know MyTV is half-a-network and may be hard to find for you, and I know you may have better things to do on Friday nights than watch wrestling... but SmackDown is now on Hulu.com, so you can watch for free, and whenever you want, on-demand.
    If you can watch the past two weeks' worth of shows and NOT be reminded of why it is you like wrestling, I will eat my trusty bug. It's a shame that only half as many people watch SD as watch RAW, because if more folks were watching SD, maybe there'd be less collective vaginal sandification among fans who are frustrated with WWE.
    So take my word for it: SmackDown makes wrestling FUN. You've got most of the show revolving around six guys every week. And those six are CM Punk (who is on fire right now), Jeff Hardy (way over and always good in the ring), Rey Mysterio (IC champ), Johnny Morrison (on a HUGE upswing thanks to ringwork, and NO thanks to his pitiable mic skills), and Edge and Jericho (evil bastards taking a break from singles agendas to let other guys like Punk and Morrison shine; and as a bonus, they now get to show up on any brand they want and help RAW to suck less). You just can't go wrong with those six.
    Feel free to investigate my claim by using Hulu. I think you'll be pleased.
  • There was a huge story from Japan two weeks ago, when Mitsuhara Misawa died after taking a back suplex bump in a match. Though he wasn't officially declared dead until reaching a medical facility, he basically expired in the ring and they were unable to resuscitate him.
    Cause of death was disputed at first, as some claimed the blow to the head triggered a heart attack, but it now seems that Misawa's neck (which had been chronically injured over the years) just snapped. The thing I had translated for me literally described it as his skull becoming disconnected from his spine.
    If you're wondering why I'm mentioning some Japanese guy, let me put this in perspective: Misawa is to Japanese fans what Steve Austin or Ric Flair are to us. He was one of 2 or 3 of the biggest draws in Japan for over a decade, and while he was no longer at his peak (and put as much energy into running his own company as he did into his in-ring career), he was -- at the age of 46 -- still very much a legend in the forefront of Japanese fans' minds.
    For him to pass away would have been front page news. For him to pass away inside the ring was positively gigantic over in Japan, and throughout the wrestling world (Punk even paid a little tribute to Misawa, inking his name on his wrist tape at tapings after his death).
    For my part, I grasp some of the significance just because I was lucky enough to see a ton of Misawa matches back in college when I discovered the internet and tape trading. Granted, in retrospect, I did it mostly just to "fit in" with the smart crowd, and partly because tapes from Japan often had cool American guys like Stan Hansen and Steve Williams and Vader and Bigelow and I wanted to see them in their element.

    But even though all of that, there were two guys -- two of the seemingly countless Japanese guys whose names I couldn't keep track of -- who absolutely stood out and make me perk up when one of their matches came on. One was Kenta Kobashi. And the other? Yep: Mitsuhara Misawa. The guy was just that good: I didn't have to know the language or if there was any backstory (note: there usually wasn't any backstory, it was just all about the competition and Fighting Spirit), because Misawa could be counted on to tell you the story through his actions over the course of a grueling 30 or 40 minute match.
    I could think of very few better wastes of time for you folks this weekend than hitting the youtube and searching for some of Misawa's matches. Anything from '92 to 2001 would be likely to be pure gold (often with Kobashi as either a partner or an opponent, to boot).
  • Mere days after I bitched up a mighty storm about how WWE was apparently getting ready to roll out the red carpet for Candice Michelle's return-from-injury, the company pulled an about-face, and released her. Huh.
    Although Candice expressed no interest in renewing her contract this October, she showed up at the LA TV tapings and was doing some light in-ring drills and seemingly setting the stage for her return. But then YOINK, she's fired.
    Oh well, I genuinely don't take pleasure in other's misfortune, and even if I made an excpetion in this case, said pleasure would be short-lived. Because another load with the initials "C.M." is still on HIS way back. We cannot avoid the Wrath of Chris Masters.
  • The Ric Flair Saga continues... after pulling himself from any additional TV appearances for ROH, Flair has continued making house show appearances, but ONLY IN PRE-SHOW SPEAKING ROLES (and then he hops in his limo and leaves). This apparently does not jibe with previous agreements for Flair to act as a guest referee in house show main events, and there is growing resentment against Flair.
    Not helping matters: apparently Flair has not yet refunded the money that he promised to give back when he pulled himself from his TV role.
    Also not helping matters: ROH guys are predisposed to being a bit prickly since there are grumblings of problems bigger than Flair... the company decided to suspend it's semi-monthly PPVs, and has cancelled the next round of TV tapings for HDNet. Nobody's quite sure what's up, and management is trying to put a happy face on things, but I'm sure we'll find out where things stand soon enough. ROH claims they have enough footage that they can make it through August with their HDNet show, so as long as there's a set of TV tapings by then, I guess things may be OK.
    For Flair's part, he still doesn't actually have a WWE contract, either, and now it's uncertain if he ever will. He was at the 3-hour Charlotte RAW, expecting to be used, but then: he wasn't. Nobody's clear on why or what it means, other than the fact that WWE did not lock Flair up to a contract that night (as they'd been expected to do).
  • If I mentioned ROH and their dabbling in big name stars, I guess I should mention TNA and one of their big names (and one of Flair's most-storied rivals)...
    Word going around TNA is that Sting is talking retirement and will not extend his contract at the end of this year. And that this time, he actually means it (he's done similar things at the ends of his last two contracts). He figures he's done all he can for the company at this point, and wants to ride off into the sunset.
    Still: there's at least one thing that could change Sting's mind, I think. That's what Kurt Angle decides to do this summer. Angle's TNA contract expires in 2 months or so, and if he left, it might put Sting in the position of feeling like he's needed for ANOTHER year to help steady the ship after such a huge departure.
    For his part, Angle is playing this up publicly the same way he plays everything up publicly: he's talking out of his ass, contradicting himself, and just trying to confuse the shit out of people so that they're talking about him. In the past 3 weeks, I've seen/read Angle interviews where he talks about (1) his dedication to TNA, (2) his open door with WWE, and (3) his desire to make one big go at MMA before he's too old. So take your pick... just don't expect me to be able to help you decide.
  • In addition to changing the name of their September PPV to "Breaking Point" (and promoting it as a show consisting of all Submission matches), WWE has announced that both October PPVs (formerly No Mercy and Cyber Sunday) have been renamed.
    Cyber Sunday is now "Annihilation," but No Mercy becomes "Hell in a Cell" and will be an all-cage-matches show. D'oh, and just one month after I railed against WWE for the Submission PPV and how they just need to do Sustainably Interesting Episodic TV instead of relying on gimmicks and Stunt Booker and starting coming off like a lame rip-off of TNA. Oh well... if nothing else, this means it might be possible to tell the different WWE PPVs apart (instead of them all melding into one Armaunforjudgmalash), even if it does nothing to make you want to, you know?, PAY FOR THEM.
  • Last for today, a bittersweet news item: Lilian Garcia is leaving WWE. Contrary to early reports (when WWE was spotted putting ads in the trades looking for an "attractive young vocalist to do ring announcing"), Lilian's not getting fired or shoved out. She's just doing the same thing Trish did: leaving to get married and get on with her life. Godspeed and farewell Lilian: we'll always have Dayton.
    Whoever the new girl is is gonna have her work cut out for her. I pretty much loathed Lilian for stealing Howard Finkel's job up until the post-9/11 SmackDown. I had no choice but to change my mind that night. I'm afraid I'm going to have to loathe the new girl for stealing Lilian's job until she does something that cool.
    Maybe she can get in touch with Phenomenal Retard Glen Beck and that assclown from the CIA who went on TV (well, on "FOXNews") trying to get Osama to attack us again "for our own good"? And then the rest will take care of itself.
  • Actually, on this, our Nation's Birthday Weekend, let's not even joke about something like that. Clearly, the only things that need to be "taken care of" are Glen Beck and CIA Assclowns. 
    Instead, I'm gonna get on out of here for whatever amount of food, drink, and explodey stuff I can get myself into. I hope you all get to do the same, and do it safely. See you next week, kids... and remember: if you like what you get here at OO, please think about donating a few bucks to the cause. Thanks.

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



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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