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HHH/JBL

Hello Scott

General consensus is that JBL had a horrible reign as Smackdown champion. I never blamed him much for that as the other options were an unmotivated Book and RVD or a lethargic Undertaker. I know Eddie Guerrero was cracking under the pressure of being champion so do you think it would have been better for HHH to go to Smackdown via the draft or let JBL actually beat some guys for a few months leading up to a Summerslam match where he takes the belt from Eddie? HHH leaving also would have given Benoit some other guys to work with on Raw.

I’ll squeeze this one in before RAW starts, although in reality I’m posting it two days earlier.  MIND BLOWN. 

Interesting theory, but HHH didn’t want to work Tuesdays, so it wouldn’t have worked out.  I think letting JBL have the US title for a few months would have been ideal to build up the character, but poor Eddie was in such a bad state and they had to get that title off him right away.  Now why they couldn’t have gone with Kurt Angle as the guy, I don’t know.  Did they move him to RAW in the draft?  I forget.  Or maybe they could have done a wacky draft swap like in 2005 and switched Eddie to RAW and Benoit to Smackdown, which would let Benoit have a more extended reign while Eddie dropped it to HHH on the big show or transitioned it to Orton early.  Either way, the JBL deal was such a huge flop that literally anything would have been a better idea. 

Comments

  1. Kurt Angle didn't get moved to Raw, but his neck went bad again so they gave him the goofy GM role until the summer so he could get some rest.

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  2. Yeah, Angle was hurt and on the shelf and didn't come back until SS-ish.

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  3. JBL's reign as Smackdown Champion was about 30 seconds, before Teddy Long declared that or didn't exist any more.

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  4. WWE had a lot of good guys they could have moved up the card to take over the Eddie spot like RVD, Mysterio, Booker, Cena and Undertaker.

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  5. Andrew BarbarashMay 18, 2015 at 5:38 PM

    You know what I was livid at the time when they put the strap on JBL... but the dude won me over. Whilst the work rate wasn't particularly great, he was entertaining as hell, and I loved his delusional perspective on things. Whilst their WM21 match sucked, Cena was the perfect guy to end the JBL experiment and the Judgment Day 2005 match was epic, really setting up the Cena era (which we are apparently still living in), but part of that is thanks to JBL.

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  6. Loved the character, hated his ring work.

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  7. Cena was not ready yet to deserve a world title run yet, Booker looked banged up judging by his poor work rate that year, Taker was still finding his way in transitioning his style (I don't think he gelled his current Deadman work until the Orton match at 21), I don't think they bought Rey as a serious world title guy yet. Maybe RVD but I don't know if they saw him as THAT guy as well, but probably their best alternative. But the SD roster got so decimated in 04 by losing Benoit, Edge, Brock, and that summer without Angle that they really didn't have many world title options for faces or heel.

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  8. Mitch, The GodfatherMay 18, 2015 at 5:47 PM

    Thanks for answering my question, Scott.


    Booker T should have been a whole lot better on Smackdown then he was.

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  9. Crazy that JBL gets cheered nowadays. He was a horrible champion and is even worse as an announcer.

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  10. I loved the JBL title reign and I'd bet it was only regarded as a flop around here. I doubt ppv numbers with him headlining did that horrible and tv ratings stayed the same as the pregions guys. It also made John Cena winning it a way bigger deal.as always the case when heels drop the title after long reigns to the right guys.I even enjoyed his work against undertaker during this period.

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  11. JBL was drawing 500 fans at houseshows when he was champion.

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  12. Kurt was doing the general manager thing, possibly injured until summer slam.

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  13. I probably would have gotten more into him as a champion if part of the reasoning behind his reign wasn't the fact that Vince was rewarding him for doing the Nazi salute in Germany.( context: JBL did the Nazi salute/goose-stepping during a house show in Germany as a way to get cheap heat. If you know anything about modern Germany you know this is a huge no-no. JBL got a lot of negative press, but Vince saw it as "poor American getting picked on by the overly politically correct foreign power" and decided to reward him for that.

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  14. Cena was ready by late 03, though you could argue that since he was going to be the next big thing that it would have been better to have him win the title at WM. Booker's workrate wasn't great sure but at least fans brought him as a upper midcarder, same with Rey. And Undertaker is a guy who had been around forever, so he's the perfect guy to transition the world title to anytime WWE are searching for their next big thng. And RVD would have been a good choice, and I know management never saw him as that guy but that's because their heads are always up their asses.


    Of course Smackdown has always been the B brand so I'm not trying to suggest that from that list that any of those guys would have set the world on fire, but they had enough credibility to carry the B-level shows.

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  15. It seems Vince always rewards the talentless lugs for being dicks, but if someone we liked pulled that same stunt that JBL did then they'd be Zack Ryder'd pretty fast.

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  16. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.May 18, 2015 at 6:11 PM

    I liked JBL as champ but he was an incredible commercial flop as champ.

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  17. Kurt was hurt again and was out after wm20 til summer

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  18. JBL tanked badly was champion.


    I disagree on Cena v. JBL. The match was so bad and anticlimactic that I don't think Cena got much from ending the reign.

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  19. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.May 18, 2015 at 6:13 PM

    I believe RVD was out for a year with a knee injury.

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  20. RVD was out for a year from 2005 to 2006

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  21. I think you're being a tad delusional if you think k this is why he was given the title reign. I never read a single American article on it so any bad press he got was largely foreign or by media outlets no one pays attention to.

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  22. I think Cena was ready by 21; he had some awful matches that summer mucking up in the midcard but by the time Mania season hit, he looked like a different guy. That match with Angle at No Way Out 05 was the clear MY TIME IS NOW jump in the ring.

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  23. RVD was around as he was tagging with Rey at the time. I think he got hurt at the end of 04, however.

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  24. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29937-2004Jun9.html

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  25. Yup. Angle was playing Smackdown GM because he wasn't medically cleared to wrestle.

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  26. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.May 18, 2015 at 6:15 PM

    You're kidding right? He lost the CNBC job over that.

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  27. His career as the JBL character was backwards. He got the title out of nowhere, then later found his legs and became an entertaining midcard character. As noted above, we all get WHY they had to do it, Eddie was cracking and there were no other options but he came into that reign with zero credibility and the main event angles were just brutal all around for a solid year.

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  28. Well so far his ppvs ge headlined are all up from the year before and tv ratings didn't dip so yeah I'm gonna disagree. I know people hate it when I use numbers to back up my argument but he outdrew 2003 smackdown ppvs when he headlined and tv ratings stayed the same. Even if he tanked on the house show circuit that's one of three drawing aspects not exactly a flop.

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  29. Hey--where's my ice cream?!

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  30. Maybe they expected Eddy to return

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  31. In some ways, even by WM21 Cena wasn't ready. In terms of drawing heat then yes he was ready by 03, but in terms of being an in ring general, the guy wasn't ready until 2007. You'll note that after Cena won the title in 2005, he mostly worked with guys that could carry him and make him look good like Jericho, Edge and Angle until 2007.

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  32. No Mercy 03- 275,000
    No Mercy 04- 183,000


    Armageddon 03- 240,000
    Armageddon 04- 230,000


    No Way Out 03- 265,000
    No Way Out 04- 240,000


    Summerslam 03- 465,000
    Summerslam 04- 415,000


    Survivor Series 03- 450,000
    survivor Series 04- 325,000

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  33. Vengeance 04 was a RAW brand show.


    Apologies, No Way Out 04 did 265 and No Way Out 05 did 240,000

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  34. The crowd that night disagreed with you

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  35. By not reacting at all to the match and WTFing at the ending like everyone else?

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  36. There have been bad champions before, but JBL just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth more than the others because WWE should have known that after the first month that the experiment was a flop, yet WWE deciding to have JBL go over everybody in the company and keep the title on him for almost a year was just retarded.

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  37. it very much matters if your champion is addicted to an illegal drug and tells his boss to get bent all the time. I don't care what company you work for if you smoke weed and you have issues with management you're not getting far and all business are about making money not just wrestling I didn't think that was rocket science.

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  38. Awww schucks...Darn that Vince his a big meanie head always rewarding those dang bullies

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  39. It's weird when I watched it yesterday the place went nuts for him you must have the deluxe version or something that shows whatever reaction you want to see

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  40. I'll be happy to watch again, but the sudden ending did no one any favours. I agree with the consensus that the I Quit match was the way to put Cena over.

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  41. Fair enough.

    Still, the point stands. Vince didn't decide JBL was gonna get the belt in three weeks time because he'd just broken a law and gotten fired from CNBC.

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  42. My problem with the JBL angle is that it just kept getting worse. It started out with him taking out Eddie and that sucked but at least the matches were good. Then he feuded with the Undertaker and the reign sucked and the matches sucked. Then he got the Cabinet and Orlando Jordan for the worst main event stable that didn't involve Jeff Jarrett and that REALLY sucked. Then he dropped the title in the great year long chase to John Cena in a 10 minute match that was just awful.


    There's a reason I mostly quit watching wrestling in 2005.

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  43. I totally missed this entire era. Why was the JBL reign that awful? Serious question.

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  44. He's garbage. This is perennial tag wrestler thrust into a main event spotlight because Vince has a hard on for the Million Dollar Man gimmick and seniority.

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  45. Why is this different than Benoit though? Benoit didn't draw at all as champ. Backlash 04 was down from 03, Bad Blood was down a 100,000 buys from just the year before, And Vengeance 04 was down a 120,000 buys from the year before but yet I don't recall anyone saying "They should have known Benoit was a flop and not had him go over all the main eventers" or I don't recall anyone saying "Benoit was a historic flop on top". Even though the drop in buys is literally six figures in two of the Benoit Champion ppv's.

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  46. I agree his cabinet was made up of jobbers and it wasn't credible at all but then the same thing happend with Punk's stable. SES was made up of jobbers who never put on anything close to a good match but again I'm sure people will tell me why it was ok that SES was made up of a jobbers who didn't put on good matches and it wasn't ok that JBL's stable was made up of jobbers who couldn't put on good matches.

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  47. The JBL era was awful anyways. Yeah he wasn't setting the world on fire but Smackdown was such shit in 2004 all around.

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  48. I started watching SD the night JBL debuted as this character and I really dug it. The guy is a dick and he's been protected a lot but the truth is this character was awesome and it drew heat from the audience. Even if his PPV numbers are down from the year before (I honestly thought they were up) they aren't down by much. So I guess people like to write this narrative that he was this giant flop as champion that Vince ignored I think a lot of it is people just hate Layfield as a person which is understandable he seems to be a big dick.

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  49. I liked it because guys like Booker, RVD, etc were getting more attention than they would have over on RAW. Guys seemed to be more free to have characters. They also had some shit guys Kenzo, Rene Dupree, etc but so did RAW.

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  50. The MDM gimmick owns and people get over with it because Vince does it right. I dug the gimmick and JBL played it perfectly. Maybe my favorite moment is when he riles up the ECW crowd at ONS to unbelievable proportions.

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  51. But what about JBL? Didn't you say PPVs went up when he was champion?

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  52. Punk's SES has nothing to do with The Cabinet, but okay.

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  53. This. Yeah, commercially, JBL was a flop, but at the time, there were no other standout sure-fire better options. People throw names around like RVD and Booker, but anyone who was a valid world title contender was either injured, taking time off or on Raw. JBL was an example of strapping the rocket to a guy and committing, something everyone reasonable agrees is necessary when you're light on talent.

    Maybe you think they picked the wrong guy.

    Maybe you hate the guy specifically.

    You're entitled to your opinion, but the opposite of trying something new is the #SameOldShit.

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  54. He was a flop as champion. House show business bottomed out when he was on top

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  55. Media Outlets no one pays attention to. Headline News is the fourth largest news cable channel in the United States it easily doubles the audience of CNBC making CNBC at most the fifth largest news station so again I did say media outlets people pay attention to. I meant that 1. Nobody ran a big long story on it and 2. I never saw it on Fox News or CNN so its not like the top news programs were going on and on about it. I'm not saying it didn't happen I know it did and I'm not saying nobody reported it I'm just saying you could hardly say "the media backlash was so big and so mean that Vince defiantly made him champion because of it" thats a giant stretch on about seven different levels. The only media backlash that I could find was small articles and the fifth largest news station in the U.S firing him over it.

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  56. Yeah don't let facts get in the way there Stan. It was decided he was winning the title well before three weeks before the show. Everyone already established Eddie was dropping it and three weeks out the match was already being built. I hate to get in the way of a good Vince conspiracy theory though those are always fun.

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  57. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29937-2004Jun9.html

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  58. I can tell that you're a gimmick poster so I'm not going to go there or anything but it wasn't OK that SES was a job squad. It wasn't OK that New Nexus was a job squad. In fact we all basically screamed bloody murder at the time that Punk didn't win a feud (or even a PPV match if memory serves) for over a year.

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  59. I enjoyed the character. He played it perfectly a lot better than I would have ever bet and as I said they had him keep the title for a year so when they found their next big thing (Cena) it was huge for him to finally be the guy. I talk about this all the time your big babyfaces winning the title for the first time mean so much more when they beat a dominant, long reigning heel champion. Plus JBL would sell his ass off for guys bleeding all over the place, getting his ass kicked and then finding a way to win it was fun I enjoyed it.

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  60. I think we both know the reason why. Same reason why nobody wants to talk about the period following TLC 2011 with Punk and Bryan on top being ratings/buyrate poison.

    It always makes people uncomfortable to confront their biases.

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  61. Absolutely. I personally have no issue with JBL or the initial push that he got with the gimmick.

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  62. But television ratings didn't and ppv buys were down but Benoit's ppv numbers dropped six figures from the year before on the ppv's he headlined and I've never read "Benoit was a flop as champion". Nash/HHH outdrew Benoit/HHH by a 120,000 buys.

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  63. This is a discussion about JBL

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  64. I did and I was wrong ppv's weren't up they were down but not by a lot. Even you can see that a lot of his ppv's were down 10,000 or 20,000 buys. Benoit had TWO ppv's he main evented that were down a 100,000 and a 120,000 buys a piece. If JBL did a ppv that was down a 120,000 buys from the year before everyone on here would be calling him the worst drawing champion in the history of histories.

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  65. Yeah the Punk thing is another internet myth. Everyone talks about how "hot" he was after the pipebomb. His ppv numbers are down as well but people will say things like "oh it wasn't him it was the booking" but when its a guy like JBL and he's wrestling The Undertaker and whoever else he wrestled in that year on the clear B brand on a show that does half the viewers of RAW or whatever it did people say "see he was a flop". Its crazy wouldn't it be easier to say "I didn't enjoy JBL as champion" and someone else can say "thats cool I liked his reign alright". Seems easier than making things up to fit a narrative.

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  66. I'm a gimmick poster why? Because I don't agree with you? I'm actually not a gimmick poster. I'm not like "lulz Hogan rulez". But because I don't agree with the majority here I'm a troll or a gimmick poster or I'm negative or whatever. Just as you realize that as bad as JBL's stable was there was New Nexus, The Corre, SES and countless other horrible stables.

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  67. SD in 2004 had the rise of John Cena and that's about it.

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  68. In regards to he called JBL's stable the worst stable ever. Well JBL was the main event heel on Smackdown and that was his stable. They were made up of a jobbers who couldn't put on good matches. Punk was the main event heel on Smackdown, that was his stable, they were made up of jobbers who couldn't put on good matches. Yet I hadn't heard anyone complain about Punk's SES stable.

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  69. Punk wasn't the main event heel on Smackdown

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  70. Its not the first time I've heard JBL reffered to as a flop so I'm trying to understand in the JBL DISCUSSION why JBL was a flop but his peer champion on RAW the bigger show with the bigger names had such large decreases in his ppv buys and he's not considered a flop. Thats how it correlates to a JBL discussion. I'm trying to figure out how one guy can have two ppvs nearly back to back lose 100,000 plus buys from the year before and not be a flop but JBL can do 10,000 buys less and be a flop.

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  71. Wasn't Jeff Hardy the Champion and Punk was feuding with him and Rey who would have been the other SD face during this time? Maybe I'm wrong. I'll have to go back and look at who the top heel on Smackdown would have been since I could have sworn his feuds with Jeff Hardy and then Rey the top two faces on SD were during his SES.

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  72. CM Punk main evented 4 pay per views that year three against Jeff Hardy when he was the hottest act in maybe all of wrestling and one against the Undertaker who is of course the Undertaker. So yes he was a main event heel on Smackdown. Four pay per view main events in six months against the biggest faces on the roster makes you a main event heel.

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  73. He got sent down the card after the Taker feud. He jobbed non-stop for basically a year. With the SES he was in midcard feuds with Rey and Show

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  74. Punk did SES after he lost the belt.

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  75. It's been explained to you numerous times. House show business collapsed under JBL. Also, they took the belt off of Benoit after five months while JBL was champ forever.

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  76. Moving Benoit to Smackdown and giving him a longer reign and moving Eddie to Raw would've worked out much better.

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  77. Right I know he lost the belt but my point was nobody can deny that Rey wasn't a top face of the company and Punk not only feuded with him but got a ton of air time in doing so. Punk was a top heel, and the SES were his heel stable.

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  78. He beat Rey a few times didn't he?

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  79. I'm assuming your reasoning is JBL wasn't drawing so hindsight move Benoit and let him have a long reign. You realize Benoit was flopping even worse as champion over on RAW right? So why replace JBL who wasn't drawing with Benoit who was not even flopping he was failing badly.

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  80. He beat Rey once but lost at WM and Over The Limit and then beat him a year later when SES disbanded. He basically went winless for a year

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  81. Show me some house show numbers. Because I already debunked that he flopped as a ppv headliner. He didn't over draw like I thought but he also didn't flop as a ppv head liner and he didn't flop in TV ratings so somebody show me the house show numbers. On top of that Benoit had the title for five months but everyone was very worked up over the fact that he lost the title and how he lost it yet those some people wouldn't have complained if JBL lost the title in that fashion despite me drawing multiple parallels between the two.

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  82. SES was not a main event stable like the Cabinet

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  83. So Paul Heyman was right during his ONS 96 promom when he said HHH didn't want to work Tuesday.


    The only 'shoot' comment out of that whole promo.

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  84. Well yeah I think it was pretty common knowledge that whatever show Trips worked he was going to be champ of.

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  85. The problem I had with him was I wasnt really watching (which was a shame becaused i missed eddie as champ) but I did see when the APA broke up. I caught it again a few months later and he had the miilion dollar mans gimmick and was champion. Bradshaw! Like it seemingly happened over night. As for why he failed? I dont know I tuned back out and picked it up again when Cena beat him. Although I think I answered my own question.

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  86. You debunked the PPV numbers by being wrong?


    I don't care about Benoit

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  87. 1) It was 2005.

    2) "Matt Freakin' Hardy" wasn't a shoot comment?

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  88. Of course you do.

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  89. I actually thought the Tuesdays comment was the least shooty thing he said.

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  90. From summer 04 in the torch-

    1. WWE house show attendance reaching alarmingly low levels

    One of the top concerns in WWE over the last several weeks is the record low house show attendance this summer. Most recent house shows have been drawing around 1,000 fans (sometimes a bit lower, and rarely more than 2,000). Some of the buildings WWE has booked have been smaller arenas since they knew attendance would be low, but in general the tiny crowds mean low payoffs for wrestlers. There were even a handful of Smackdown house shows cancelled in recent weeks. Wrestlers would rather work, but they prefer cancellations over working for nothing. And since their payoffs are based on attendance, and since they have to pay for their own hotel, food, and rental car expenses, they are at risk of losing money at some recent events. In general, the morale among the Raw crew is better because they know they will get their fair share of bigger arenas that draw well and because they have the stronger overall talent roster. On the Smackdown side, there is great concern because there is no sense that things will turn around. There is hope, but not expectations, that the returns of Kurt Angle and Big Show will make a difference come fall. One bright side for the lower card wrestlers working in front of these small crowds is that several top wrestlers have been skipping house shows, including Triple H, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, and Kurt Angle. That means those wrestlers don't take a big cut of whatever talent payoff money is available. Although the extra PPV could help some on the Smackdown crew, most of the ones who are hit the hardest aren't regularly on PPVs and they rely most on house show payoffs. A small upside is that since many wrestlers won't be making more than their downsides this year, they'd rather sit at home than have wear and tear on their body working every weekend in front of tiny crowds.

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  91. I stand corrected. Didn't look it up to confirm. Looking back, I think Hardy was going to return at some point so there was no issue dropping his name.

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  92. I never understood the so called "pressure" . I mean im sure it's true.Im not denying that. Hardy had it after a couple of wellneses. So did Swagger, I think even Khali had it. I mean if they could handle it why not Eddie? We all knew back then (begrudgingl) that the HHH title was the real one anyway.

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  93. I was wrong about his numbers being up but you saw for yourself they weren't down by much. Down 25,000 at NWO, down 10,000 for Armageddon and down 10,000 from No Mercy. I wouldn't exactly call that a ppv flop. As far as TV ratings go the highest rating SD got that year was a 3.6 in January the last rating of the year was a 3.5 the lowest rating of that year was a 2.6. The average TV rating that year was a 3.18 The average rating for SD in 2003 was 3.3.


    So let me get this straight on average his ppv buys were down by 11,000 and his tv ratings were down by .12 ratings and he was a flop because of house show numbers? I don't have access to house show numbers but I'm betting they aren't that bad. You can't call a guy who's ppv buys are only dropping 10,000 and his tv ratings drop .12 on average but those house shows made him a flop dammit! I get it he was a dick but he wasn't the historically bad drawing champion people make him out to be.

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  94. There's a big difference between how JBL and Benoit were booked. Benoit was always meant to be a transitional champion always stuck in the midcard despite being champion and he lost the title a few months later whereas Smackdown clearly positioned JBL as their top star for almost a year.

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  95. CM Punk was one of if not the top heel for quite a bit of their run and he was their stable they got more air time every week than anyone else I'm going to disagree.

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  96. Also, the SES was pretty cool. The Cabinet just sucked.

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  97. Is there a link where Eddie says "it was too much pressure being champ"? I mean its weird the guy won the title at NWO and lost it three months later never successfully defending it on a show he headlined. But then they were pushing him to become champion again right before he died so what would have changed in a year.

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  98. It was my least favorite wrestling era. The transition from APA Bradshaw to faux Million Dollar Man was almost literally overnight, so that was jarring. JBL played the persona perfectly but he stunk up the ring for nearly a year. It was like making Honky Tonk Man WWF champion - he's a perfect midcard champ but no one wants to see him in 20 minute main events with cheap finishes.

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  99. But that article states clearly that its a WWE House Show issue and not just Smackdown. Hell when its naming off big names most of the big names it names off are on RAW. So then its not that JBL wasn't drawing as champion on the House Show circuit its that the entire company wasn't drawing? I'm not even trying to be a dick but how can the entire companies (both brands) failed house show market be made into "JBL drew shitty numbers as champion". Which yes is true but so did RAW which JBL obviously had nothing to do with. In fact Benoit was champion in the summer of 04. I'm sure JBL's house shows were smaller and yes some were cancelled thats not surprising it was the B show as is clearly mentioned in the Torch. So then once again nothing specific to JBL financially was a flop right? PPV buys were slightly down, tv ratings were down by a tenth of a point his entire reign and the WWE in general shit the bed on house shows is that about right?

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  100. So then its not Benoit's fault that HHH/Benoit did 120,000 less buys than HHH/Nash the year before? I mean I agree with some of that but none the less Benoit's shows did 10x the amount of losses that JBL's did in terms of buys from the previous year.

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  101. The difference is that Eddie cared. Numbers started taking a dip and he took the whole thing incredibly seriously. He felt like declining business was an indictment of him, that he wasn't really cut out to be a headliner, that business was going to tank and it was all his fault. I mean, in 04-05 if you would have asked Vince completely honestly if the guy holding the Smackdown belt was responsible for WWE business he would have said "not really" but Eddie didn't see it that way.



    With the pressure (that he put there) mounting, some people thought maybe he was already using or was going to use again and it was one of those mutual decisions to get the belt off him that actually WAS mutual, both sides thought it would be best if he wasn't champion anymore. Even then, he almost killed himself tapping an artery trying to put JBL over like a million bucks.


    I mean I'm sure Hardy, Swagger, Khali cared about business and would feel bad if numbers were down on their watch (no idea on any of them tbh) but it was just different with Eddie and looking at how depleted Smackdown was and how sparse some of those house shows were starting to get (and they got worse as we went over in this thread), it was just too much for him.

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  102. Vicki said on the Jericho podcast that Eddie would ask what the house was the last time WWE was there and would take it ridiculously hard if it was down, which was most of the time.

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  103. Booker was killed by that terrible trade where he was basically 1/3 of Triple HHH

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  104. I always thought Smackdown was somehow punished for constantly outshining Raw ever since the brand extension first started and thus we get 2004 where HHH is traded for four guys, John Cena is wrestling Rene Dupree, something called Mordecai and Paul Bearer was "killed." JBL was the least of Smackdown's problems. Pushes were given to guys like Mark Jindrak, Orlando Jordan, and Luther Reigns. It was BRUTAL.


    I was at Great American Bash 04 live, trust me. JBL was like the 143 thing wrong with the show.

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  105. Ah ok. That makes sense. Thanks.

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  106. JBL was lightyears better than most options on Smackdown, but that is more of a knock on how weak SD became in 2004. Angle was hurt and needed time off, Show needed time off, Undertaker was in a weird spot transitioning back to deadman Taker, Booker was clearly unmotivated, RVD is RVD... JBL was a shot in the dark, and it was OK. Not great, but not nearly the worst.

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  107. Rose colored glasses.


    Seriously, JBL was the worst thing ever. Miz was a more believable challenger to the title than FUCKING BRADSHAW.

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  108. JBL gets a bad rap. Yes, he wasn't great in the ring, but his character was over

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  109. People were sick of Triple H, it didn't matter who was on top against him.

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  110. Because Benoit wasn't the focus of Raw, Triple H was.

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  111. It was BRADSHAW: Main Eventer.


    He took the title from an insanely over Eddie Guerrero in a shit storyline, had shit matches with Taker, Big Show and Booker T, and the one feud that involved Kurt Angle centered around the reject Diva Search contestants.


    One thrilling episode of Smackdown was "Who locked Joy Giovanni in JBL's trunk limo?"

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  112. All those shows were main evented by Triple H.

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  113. TLC 2011 did better than TLC 2010.


    A show that was main evented by CM Punk, Del Rio, and the Miz, while not having John Cena on the card AT ALL.

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  114. But Triple H and Kevin Nash were on the card.

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  115. Triple S's gimmick in a nutshell:


    "So this guy's thing sucked, but what about this internet darling's thing, how come that didn't suck?"

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  116. If only they brought back Hulk Hogan to beat Eddie instead.

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  117. JBL losing the title to Cena was basically an afterthought.

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  118. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighMay 18, 2015 at 9:26 PM

    Booker and dudleys for HHH?

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  119. On Jericho's podcast JBL said that he was supposed to get a main event run in 2002, so I think the out of the blew ridiculous Bradshaw push was inevitable.

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  120. I didn't say he was great. I barely gave a crap about Smackdown after the big dumpster fire that started after Mania XX, but he wasn't any worse than any of the available, logical options.

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  121. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighMay 18, 2015 at 9:27 PM

    2002 he was getting paired with Austin allot as his Texas drinking buddy and feuding with hall and the nwo. So it was coming.

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  122. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighMay 18, 2015 at 9:28 PM

    Sure it's mentioned below... Angle was hurt but they wanted him on the road. Which led to his role as GM until the summer when he turned on Eddie

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  123. The chokeslam from Big Show over a rail, with conveniently placed "Splat" position? 5-stars.

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  124. I forgot it was HHH's fault I could have sworn he did 120,000 more buys with nash with almost zero buildup the year before. So then Benoit gets a smark pass I guess.

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  125. The APA were the Bob Holly of tag teams by 2004. Well beyond their usefulness but they're veterans so you just sort of tolerate that they have to be part of the show. They were in a 4-way match at WM20 and even that felt like an unnecessary stretch to get the stale veterans a match at WM. One half of the APA becoming WWE Champion two months later was ridiculous.

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  126. I remember it being on the net at the time that Bradshaw hanging with Austin was supposed to elevate him. The idea of Bradshaw being a main eventer seemed to ridiculous to me I didn't buy it even if I was reading about it while watching it happen.

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  127. Was Eddie actually going to win the belt again? I know that's the story that developed from a comment Stephanie made but they were pushing Batista hard and Orton seemed like the heel that was getting the belt next.

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  128. Remember how disappointed the crowd was when Flair announced a big tag team match with the n.w.o, Austin... and Bradshaw?

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  129. I remember there being a lot of guys who the fans really liked at the time, like Jericho, Booker, RVD, who couldn't make the main event because it wasn't their time yet or whatever....so the fact they'd clear the way to make fucking Bradshaw a main eventer before any of those guys pissed me off to no end.

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  130. I agree on Jericho, but RVD always had the "I don't care" attitude, and Booker T was clearly dogging it for a while after his Mania 19 burial, where he most definitely should've been given a shot with the belt.

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  131. Average SmackDown rating, 2003: 3.3. Average SmackDown rating, 2004: 3.18

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  132. I think that rumor was debunked by Meltzer.

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  133. Yup. Booker T's storyline was "Smackdown sucks, why do I have to be here." RATINGS!

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  134. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighMay 18, 2015 at 9:43 PM

    Yeah i liked the JBL character because it was so drastic and smackdown was void of stars at the time.

    * Booker, Mysterio and RVD could have been built up but damage was done.

    * undertaker was odd at this time also. Had just come back but I don't think they knew how to book the deadman character again yet.

    The idea behind elevation JBL and having him do all kinds of old school heel tactics was sound but everyone knew him as Bradshaw. It was just odd. I think he should of ran with US title for nearly a year and dropped THAT to Cena at 21.

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  135. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighMay 18, 2015 at 9:43 PM

    Pool of blood behind his head I think too!

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  136. I didn't mind that on RAW they seemed to be pushing both Bradshaw and Bubba Ray as quasi main eventers by having them feud with the nWo or later on Triple H.

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  137. My gimmick is this. Lets just say "we like this guy so its ok that he didn't draw and was void of any drawing ability" and lets just say "this guy was a giant dick so we don't care if he drew as much as the guy before him we're still going to blindly say he was a failure". Yeah that is my gimmick though. Benoit, Eddie, Punk, Bryan none of these guys ever drew but yet when Nash doesn't draw, or JBL doesn't draw or whoever else doesn't draw people say "yeah but he wasn't a draw lulz". Its very confusing.

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  138. Well apparently you're one of the few that thought so. People still bought his ppv's he headlined, people still tuned into television just as much when he was all over it so if he sucked so bad I have no idea why business didn't tank for him like people say it did.

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  139. Your gimmick is writing exhausting walls of texts based off of fan perceptions that exist entirely in your head.

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  140. Here is a fun fact. JBL's average TV rating as champion was roughly 3.18. All of 2003 the average tv rating was 3.3. In 2005 when JBL was nowhere near the title the average rating on Smackdown was 3.04. So how is it all in my head that people hated JBL when they tuned out more after he lost the title than when he had it? Seriously what part of that is in my head? Its numbers for crying out loud.

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  141. Even an unmotivated RVD and Booker is a better choice than a motivated JBL.

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  142. I'm not a loyal JBL fan, but I would rather watch him give all his effort in trying to get over and draw heat than others half-ass everything they do.

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  143. You're right, there was nothing good about Smackdown during this period, but the fact that JBL was pushed as Smackdown's top star and a guy that got the most screentime meant that he was the biggest problem on the show.

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  144. I'm not sure I buy the theory of Smackdown being 'punished.' After all, when the brands first split, you could argue that the booking actually favoured SD. It was the show where Steph was the GM, they were the 'face' brand as opposed to the 'heel' brand run by Bischoff, and hell, Vince himself spent most of his time on Smackdown in 2003 feuding with Hogan/Mr. America, Zach Gowan and Steph herself.

    Why WWE suddenly decided in early 2004 that Smackdown was now the clear B-show and Raw was the clear A-show (and that that lopsided draft to settle this) was beyond me.

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  145. Running variations on that same main event for about seven straight weeks just about killed post-brand split RAW right out of the gate.

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  146. STOP THE PRESSES

    You mean when SmackDown's biggest star, John Cena, left the show, their ratings declined? Crazy concept, there!

    Here's an interesting fact: Smackdown's ratings for the first 4 months of 2004 averaged a 3.4. From the beginning of JBL's push onward? A 3.1.

    SmackDown's ratings for the first 7 months of 2005 was a 3.3. Their ratings starting from August dropped to a 2.6 average. And do you know why? Because they moved to Friday Nights, a poor timeslot.

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  147. Um, it did tank. There's a reason Smackdown's ratings went to shit.

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  148. Stranger in the AlpsMay 18, 2015 at 10:25 PM

    2004 Smackdown was not *that bad* of a show. Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, RVD, John Cena, Booker T, Kurt Angle. The booking is what sucked. The cruiserweight title was traded off between Jacqueline, Chavo Guerrero SENIOR, Funaki, Spike Dudley. On the plus side, they had Paul London vs. Akio/Jimmy Yang almost every Saturday night on velocity. The Undertaker was supposed to be the guy that carried that show, but he was stuck feuding with The Dudley Boyz, burying Paul Bearer in cement, and then moving on to Heidenriech.


    A weird show, yes. But not an overtly *bad* one.

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  149. I've heard ISIS uses 2004 Smackdown to torture people before beheading them.

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  150. Benoit didn't draw because he was playing midcard champion while Triple H played around in the main event with Shawn Michaels and Eugene. People were sick of Triple H.


    Eddie didn't draw because he was feuding with BRADSHAW!!!


    Punk drew when they started his year long reign, his first PPV as defending champion drew better than the year before, and his first PPV as defending champ didn't have Cena on the card AT ALL.

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  151. It was bad. The current product sucks too but it at least it had talent. 2004 SD had shitty booking AND a shitty roster. I paid $100 to go see a SD PPV that featured Mordecai, Rene Dupree, Hardcore Holly, Billy Gunn, Rico, Dawn Marie, Torrie, Scotty 2 Hotty, and JBL main eventing (in a DQ finish).

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  152. Oh for sure, it wasn't like he was getting the kind of stuff Orton got to work with

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  153. I'm kind of tired of this and its exhausting so this is it for me on the subject. You said there was an increase the first few months of 2005 you realize JBL was still the champion until April right? You also said for the first seven months and you said coincidentally thats when they moved to Fridays. Thats also the last time JBL main evented a ppv on Smackdown. You realize that even after he lost the title he main evented the shows as the top heel all the way through July of that year.


    There is virtually no drop off in television ratings between his title reign and the one before it or the one after it. Ratings held steady in the low to mid 3's for well over two years. I already documented that his ppv buys on average were down 11,000 buys from the year before them.


    I get it he was a dick and maybe there were other guys people on here would have rather seen pushed. But he wasn't a flop. Fans didn't stop watching TV with him as champion, the house show numbers everyone brought up originally it turns out that was the entire WWE that had that issue with both RAW and SD cancelling shows and the workers not making any money.


    So if TV ratings were the same and ppv buys barely dropped off (to where as they dropped off by six figures on the other brand) and if the entire company had house show problems then where was he a flop at? People said he was a historic flop and there isn't a single number that said this guy was a flop at all let alone historic.


    I'm not telling anyone that they are wrong about not liking him or not liking his push but its so much easier to say that then to make up that he was some all time flop and that vince just ignored the numbers and stayed wtih him. When the numbers show that he was exactly the same as the guy before him.

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  154. Smackdown was a very bad show.


    Also, Chavo Classic ruled. The Undertaker was never going to be carrying the show since they didn't want him wrestling too much on TV.


    Booker T and Cena weren't that great in 04.

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  155. I used to watch Smackdown weekly as part of the dreaded "sleepover Thursday" and it was so boring at times it felt like the show as moving at half speed.

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  156. Stranger in the AlpsMay 18, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    Okay, it was bad. I found some bright spots among the pile of shit. I guess the love it was getting in 2003 made Vince insanely jealous that his own B show was trumping his A show.


    That Vince! What a card!

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  157. Nah, even as a 12 year old I thought it was horrendous. For Christ's sake, it was so bad it was the last straw for me thinking wrestling was real, just for the sake of my sanity.

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  158. I do remember reading that Triple H moving to Smackdown was actually supposed to happen, but he convinced Vince to change his mind about it, resulting in the trade back to Raw the next night. Supposedly putting over Shelton was in return for getting to stay on Raw.


    I have no idea if there was any truth to that as it leaves Evolution up in the air and the "Triple H is more valuable than just one guy" theory is both right up their mindset's alley and a way to give Smackdown more guys than Raw in the draft.

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  159. Like I mentioned above, that was one of the breaking points for my "mark" fandom. Once Taker killed Paul Bearer, I gladly accepted it was all scripted.

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  160. Once they broke up the Smackdown Six, and too much of the focus was on Vince, Smackdown stopped getting a lot of love in 2003.

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  161. Should've just given it to Rey. Then build up JBL for Summerslam.

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