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NXT - November 6, 2013

Date: November 6, 2013
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Alex Riley, Renee Young

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

This is another one of those shows where you can't really guess what's coming. We get one of these episodes every taping cycle but they can be very entertaining most of the time. Last week wasn't the best show for these guys but unlike everywhere else, I have full confidence that NXT can be fine again tonight. Let's get to it.

Earlier today Sylvester LeFort asks the mysterious blonde what is wrong with Alexander Rusev. The girl speaks Russian and LeFort has no idea what she's saying.

Welcome Home.

Sylvester LeFort vs. Alexander Rusev

The Russian blonde is now managing Rusev, who now comes out to what sounds like a national anthem. LeFort offers Rusev money to prevent an acute case of death, only to have Rusev clothesline him down and put on the Accolade for the submission at 13 seconds.

They actually clip the match on the replay.

Bayley is with Charlotte in the back and couldn't be happier to have her headband fixed. Sasha and Summer come in with a brand new headband for her but Charlotte is skeptical. No match is made but I think you can connect the dots for yourself.

El Local vs. Leo Kruger

Local pounds away to start but walks into a quick spinebuster for two. Kruger pulls Local off the middle rope and the Slice sets up three straight snap suplexes. A double arm guillotine choke is enough to make Local tap at 2:10.

We recap the issues between Paige and Emma over the last few weeks. They argued backstage last week with Emma thinking there's something wrong with Paige.

Troy McClain/Travis Tyler vs. Ascension

LET'S GO THESE GUYS!” Non-title of course. Rick Victor starts with I believe Tyler and drives him into the Ascension corner for the tag off to O'Brien. Conor grabs a headlock and takes Tyler over six straight times before bringing Victor back in for a hard clothesline. There's the double flapjack and the Fall of Man is good for the pin at 1:45.

Mojo Rawley vs. Ty Dillinger

Feeling out process to start as the male announcers grill Renee on which guy she'd want to hang out with. As usual though, it feels completely natural and is genuinely amusing. Ty drives Mojo into the corner and scores with a quick Russian legsweep. Rawley no sells a chop but is easily taken down into a chinlock. Ty rips at Mojo's face for a bit but gets slammed down and rammed into the corner. A very high jumping Earthquake splash is enough to pin Dillinger at 3:20.

Rating: D. Again, Rawley isn't anything special in the ring but his entrance and energy are more than enough to carry him for a good while. I'm not sure why they have him get beaten down from the start of the match and hit just a few moves, but it was enough to get Randy Savage a few WCW Titles so maybe Rawley will be fine.

Raw ReBound wastes five minutes of our time on the horrible final segment.

Bayley/Charlotte vs. Sasha/Summer and Graves vs. Neville in a 2/3 falls match next week.

Luke Harper vs. Kassius Ohno

The fans are way into Harper here. Ohno is now in basic black trunks instead of the bright colors he wore before he fell into a hole and got lost a few months back. Kassius pounds him into the corner to start but Harper comes back with even harder forearms to the face. They slug it out again with Harper putting Kassius down with a European uppercut of all things. Ohno is driven into the corner as this is one sided so far.

Kassius comes back with some kicks to the ribs but gets caught in a cravate. Another hard chop puts Ohno on the apron but Kassius comes back with a discus forearm to send Harper to the floor. A dive over the top takes Luke down and we take a break. Back with Harper hitting a BIG boot to send Ohno out to the floor. Ohno dives back in at nine so Luke drops a bunch of elbows for two. A quick rollup gets the same for Kassius but Luke nails him with another forearm.

There's the Gator Roll from Harper who eventually stays in one place with the front facelock before kicking Ohno into the ropes again. Back up and Ohno scores with a running knee to the head to finally get the fans behind him. Ohno slugs away and scores with a running clothesline and a dropkick to the head.

A Buff Blockbuster (someone needs to bring that back as a finisher) gets two on Harper but he catches Kassius in a sitout Boss Man Slam for two. There's a bit boot for two on Ohno but he comes back with the Roaring Elbow for a VERY close two. Harper ends him with the discus lariat a few seconds later for the pin at 13:00 shown of 16:30.

Rating: C+. They were trying and the striking was good but Ohno has fallen a long way in just a few months. Kassius looked better out there and got the fans into him, but Harper is a main roster star at this point and feuding with two former world champions. That discus lariat is a good example of a simple move getting over because it gets pins. It's really that simple sometimes.

Overall Rating: C. Not a great show overall but it was a very quick 45 minutes. Rusev and Harper looked great and Ohno was his usual decent self. This was about the squashes which set up future matches so no real complaints there. The show needs the stars back but it's certainly not falling apart in their absence.

Alexander Rusev b. Sylvester LeFort – Accolade
Leo Kruger b. El Local – Double arm guillotine choke
Ascension b. Travis Tyler/Troy McClain – Fall of Man to Tyler
Mojo Rawley b. Ty Dillinger – Running seated senton
Luke Harper b. Kassius Ohno – Discus lariat

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  1. Roddy Piper described it best in his book. I'm paraphrasing here but basically he said the marquee outside MSG used to say "Roddy Piper vs Hulk Hogan", then Vince changed it to "WWF Wrestling: Roddy Piper vs Hulk Hogan", and now it's gotten to the point where they can just say "WWF Wrestling" thus taking all the power away from the wrestlers.

    Think about it, how often do we watch or buy tickets to go to Raw or whatever show, without knowing a single match on the card?

  2. And now it's "WWF Superstars in action!"

    ... even if said "action" is no better than a C-list movie script.

  3. If the WWE brand is stronger than any one wrestler how come the WWE offer refunds every time John Cena does not appear on a card he's advertised for?

  4. "I went to college with Richie Incognito and played on the line with him... but I don't have a dog in this fight". Listen to the voicemails, Incognito was out of line.

  5. I'm not saying he doesn't hold blame, did you read the rest though. About the Vegas trip, about how Martin and him were cool, etc?

  6. That's called "covering your ass"... mainly a PR move.

  7. Ironically, I think Rock and Brock are the reason they're unwilling to push anyone as a draw nowadays. They're bitter that those guys had success outside WWE and without its support. And yet they turn to them for a ratings/ppv bump; I guess business is business.

  8. YankeesHoganTripleHFanNovember 7, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Farva I have to say you called the whole thing about the coaches asking for Martin to be toughened up before anyone else did so Kudos to you. Read the piece by Murtha, if he is to believed then Martin was pretty much a pussy about the whole thing. Incognito is still a jackass who should have known when to knock it off, but the thing is Martin quit on his team...that's not cool.

    As for the question about draws, his name might not be on the Marquee but Cena is a draw. The half of the crown changing Cena Sucks are older, have liked wrestling since they were kids and are going to pretty much stick with the product no matter what. It's other half the crowd the women and kids with their high pitched Lets go Cena Chants that are at the area because of him.

    The Undertaker and Rock are draws to but for different reasons...they compete so rarely that its a treat, and people want to see it when they do.

  9. It's not in the WWE's interest to build draws. Right now the WWE has a huge moat based on its brand. As TNA has illustrated, competing against the WWE is hard. It requires money, smarts, good booking, and star power. If you look at the last time a company was a contender for #1 wrestling company, they managed to do by taking the made men from WWE (Hogan, Savage, Hall, Nash) and using them to draw. When the WWF was building a brand in the 80's, draws were necessary to distinguish themselves from other promotions. Now that they are the undisputed leaders, it's against their long term interest to build draws. If they build anyone up, they could leave and be a building block for an upstart promotion.

    When you look at those wrestlers who might be considered draws since the mid-90's (Austin, Rock, Cena), they were either tied to the promotion by being unable or unwilling to work for other promotions. Those who are in the next tier (Angle, Brock, Punk) are interesting as one left, one stayed, and then there's Brock. You could argue Brock help build a competitive brand, just in MMA rather than pro-wrestling.

    Back in the day, the guys like Orndorff, Piper, etc would only take so much from Vince as they knew they could go to work for someone else....because they worked for someone else before. This explains why they want purely internally trained people: it's hard to imagine working for TNA or somebody else if you haven't worked for another company besides the WWE. I think the strategy isn't necessarily good for the bottom line in any given quarter, but it is best for the longevity of the WWE as market leader - it's a larger share of a smaller pie.

  10. It's definitely not as important as it was 7-10 years ago, and it's probably not important from a drawing standpoint, per se, but I think you pretty obviously still need to have talented, entertaining guys on the roster. It's sort of like a baseball team: sure you're going to pull in a bunch of money based on the brand alone, but if you put a shitty, non-entertaining roster out there for people to watch, they're probably going to wind up finding something else to do, and it will hurt your revenues at least somewhat.

  11. "Are "draws" dead"

    Eddie certainly is!

    (Too soon?)

  12. Thanks. I agree on your Martin assessment. Incognito seems like a douce but it seems like people really in the know are siding with him so I gotta go with that.

    I do think Cena is a slight draw overall. A bigger draw then anyone on the regular roster...I guess my counter is: is he a draw on his own like the way Austin, Hogan, or Rock is or is he a draw strictly because he gets TV time every Monday and is the face of the machine?

    I get that you can't be successful in wrestling without promotiin, buy my opinion is that he draws primarily due to the WWE machine as opposed to the other guys who drew money FOR the machine, if that makes sense at all.

  13. Well well said.

  14. Yeah, I read the entire article and nothing he says contradicts the accounts that have been made public. I'm not surprised this came from Peter King's website (considering King took some jabs at Martin on Monday and Peter King is a masshole race baiter).

    The Dolphins situation is like Bountygate a few years ago: I'm willing to bet something similar goes on with all teams but it was worse on the Dolphins.

  15. YankeesHoganTripleHFanNovember 7, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    Cena can't touch Austin and Hogan in terms of being a draw, and sure he became one because he was getting TV time but that's going to be the case with anyone.

  16. Fair enough. I guess I just view him differently since he's been the centerpiece during this non Monday night wars, "brand" period.

  17. Stranger in the AlpsNovember 7, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    Kinda on the fence with this one. I will talk about the local house show market here where I am in Texas. Big time college town, conservative area. Over the last 5 years, we have had two Smackdown shows, and one RAW show. Main events for the Smackdown shows: Triple H vs. The Big Show (2009), Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show (2013). Main event for the RAW show: John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. The Miz (2011). The RAW show with Cena sold out. The second Smackdown show was cancelled due to poor ticket sales and re-scheduled for a later date, and Cena was not on the original card before it was cancelled. So it would appear that Cena is a draw.
    But I also believe that Cena is the only guy they have that can draw, in the common sense of the word. CM Punk, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, The Big Show....I'm convinced that they do not have the power that Cena has to draw crowds to a house show.
    But if Cena were to go away, and the fans saw that he was indeed gone for good, the WWE brand could sustain itself.

  18. From that perspective, you could say that competition is good for us and bad for WWE.

  19. Of course. That's true in ANY industry... competition benefits the consumer, and a monopoly (virtual or real) only benefits the owner(s) of that company.

    Economics 101.

    I would LOVE to see these professional sports leagues lose their anti-trust exemptions... only for the sheer entertainment value that results. I'd also love to see the NCAA collapse under its own self-righteous bullshit (Big school? Rape, pillage, plunder... we'll pretend to be angry, but do nothing. Small school/single athlete? FUCK YOU, DIE. DIE IN HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE, AND SUFFER FOR ETERNITY.)

  20. Just because football culture is fucked up doesn't mean we should accept it

  21. I didn't say that. I said it paints him in a different light then what the original media portrayal was

  22. The NFL has always been a classless organization, with countless thugs for athletes.

    Is anyone actually shocked by this Incognito mess?

  23. Well, that could be another reason we don't see as many draws. When one dies, it opens up the media blitz on the WWE. It leads to less publicity when say a Louie Spicolli dies versus and Eddie Guerrero.

  24. The initial media I saw was sports analysts jumping up to defend the voicemail, and the other bullying, because football is full of HARD MEN. WARRIORS.


    They're athletes, not soldiers--and it's just a bloody game! Incognoto would be fired no questiones asked of he had any other job.

  25. No, the initial reports were he was a rouge racist bully who was unhinged. People really in the know are defending him now, I'm not condoning what he did at all. The more stuff that comes out, the more complex the situtation becomes and public sentiment will soon be split, IMO.

    I think it's ignorant for anyone, myself included, to pass judgment on such a complex situtation without knowing all the facts. People in the know have universally backed him. I'd be an idiot to at least not take their perspective into account

  26. Draws are important, and in theory any wrestler could become a draw with the right booking and support, ASSUMING that wrestler has a marketable charisma. Hogan and Austin had it. Rock had it. Cena has it.

    Using your examples, Ryback COULD have it if he booking made him an unstoppable monster, destroying top contenders in less than five minutes. Heath Slater has nothing, and Curtis Axel has even less. You could put either one of those guys over Orton, Cena and Bryan clean in under five minutes and the crowd still wouldn't buy it because they're such oafs.

    The bigger problem is that, with rare exceptions, draws don't happen overnight, hence whenever WWE tries to push someone to the top and the ratings start to slide a bit, they panic and go right back to Cena. It took years of building Cena up, and to WWE's credit they stuck with it, gradually making Cena a bigger and bigger star until he was ready to be at the top. They appeared to be going that way with Bryan and Punk, but panicked and gave up. Hell, the only person I can think of who became an instant mega draw was Hogan upon returning to the WWF in 1983. It still took a long time to build Austin up from Ringmaster to Dibiase's man-boy to loner to bad-ass loner to Intercontinental champ to World champ.

    So, I guess my tl;dr version is, yes, draws are important.

  27. Dude, stop it already. 95% of those guys are pretty decent dudes. Are all blacks "thugs" because of inner city violence?

  28. Who said anythong about race? Incognito isn't black, and he's the current problem

    even the behavior on the field--I've rarely seen football and class go hand in hand.
    That doesn't mean football players are all douchebags, or even most, the league and it's fans just seem to place no value on respect.

  29. You made a blanket statement about an entire group of people, "organization" based on the actions of a few. Hence the inner city analogy. What you're doing is no different then an any other "-isms."

    We get it. You're antibullying. While explaining that you went completely over the edge in blanketing the entire organization as thugs

  30. George Carlin, Football vs Baseball.

  31. I said they had countless thugs

    They do

    They can also have countless great guys, one statement doesn't make the other false.

    The reason I said NFL organization was to make sure the suits, the commissioner, etc. Who let that be their image were also addressed.

  32. I think your image of the NFL is highly skewed since you don't live in the states. You live in Canada right?

    You probably only hear about the negatives, hence your perspective of the NFL as a whole is different

  33. I typically like your posts. Yes in that you agree, or disagree. Please elaborate for me

  34. Juuuuuust a bit off the tracks.

    But, here's the thing. It is possible that without competition, the product will stagnate and die. Sometimes, it's even likely. Long term, I'd say competition is better for all involved.

    And fuck the NCAA.

  35. You asked if draws are dead, I replied with "yes".

  36. I don't know what "initial media" you were reading, but it's been pretty much the exact opposite of what you stated. There was an absurd rush to pile on Incognito and the Dolphins, because it fit the media-driven narrative of "bullying," which has been their new favorite buzzword for the past 18 months-2 years. Only in the last few days, with several teammates coming to Incognito's defense, has there been any balance at all as to how this story is being reported.

  37. I don't think it's so much that the days of a single guy having the talent to be a draw on his own are dead, just that the days of Vince ALLOWING someone to get to that level are over.

    Over the last few years, we've seen a number of guys start to catch fire, only to be forced into story-lines that do them no favors. Punk cuts one promo that essentially turns him into an overnight sensation, and they lump him with ADR and Nash. Bryan spends a year-and-a-half building crowd support to the point where even Cena himself volunteers to job clean as a sheet, and he's made to look like a goofball that can't get the job done and gets replaced by a twenty-year upper-carder that was never a draw in the first place. Even the "Nexus" angle - filled with green newbies as it was - started out with such a bang that super-jaded smarks like us had our jaws on the floor, only to see them get run out of the building by today's versions of Barry Horowitz and Reno Riggins a mere week later, not to mention lose 7-on-1 fights to Cena.

    Could Punk, Bryan, and "Nexus" have been the next Hogan, Austin, and "nWo"? We can certainly speculate, but the only answer we can be sure of is "we'll never know".

    It's not like there aren't talented and charismatic wrestlers in the world. It's not even like there aren't talented and charismatic wrestlers on the WWE roster. Whether Vince decides to embrace and foster that talent, though, and give them the chance to soar as high as they can, is a different story.

  38. I honestly thought they had something in slayer w 3mb. It coulda possibly been the next 2 cool imo but the booking they got was horrible. He was starting to get some heat w the legends angle he was running.

  39. Yeah, I think you're on the right track here. They have made it about the "brand", not unlike the NFL, where it's about the company name more than any one guy or angle. Which makes sense to some degree (so they can't get burned by one guy leaving or getting hurt). It levels off some of the rise and fall in business they used to get, but also guarantees that the "highs" won't be as high. With all the diversity in their brand name now, it's not just about the wrestling angles anymore, which makes the product dull, but makes the product less "risky" for the stockholder. The company going public is one of the most significant changes in the history of the business for so many reasons

  40. Your_Favourite_LoserNovember 7, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    the solution is simple but not feasible given how wwe has trained people since the mid/late 90's: go back to the days of using jobbers (true jobbers, not people designated to be jobbers for a match) to build up some guys, and then when those guys face off, they're BOTH strong, and keep on until you get to the top so that you have someone who truly has risen above all the rest

    people might hate him now, but this is exactly what they did with ryback at 1st, and for a while it worked

    this is why the 50/50 booking doesn't allow anyone to get over: wwe might think that they're doing it in order to keep one person from becoming too big for his britches, but in reality it's b/c they can't afford to have such an uneven playing field, b/c they only work with who they have on the roster. sooner or later at a moment's notice, the "strong" people will have to take their turn as the bitch in a match. arn anderson wouldn't be as well revered today if he kept trading wins with ranger ross

    there's a reason even midcarders (relatively speaking) like rude, perfect, and jake still looked like threats and thus piqued the audience's interest: they were allowed to get somewhere b/c there was a pecking order, so to speak (i.e., boner-fied jobbers).

    jake vs. rude is a believable "main event anywhere in the country;" kofi vs. sandow is not

  41. Completely I agree. I think there philosophy is "let's take as little risk as possible with the actual wrestling product" so we can rack up revenue with corporate deals, a potential network, advertising dolars, etc. There won't ever be a dramatic spike in business but they'll never be a dramatic drop off either. Think this is exactly what they want. Probably is a big reason they're so reluctant to move away from Cena as the face of the wwe

  42. I agree. Jobber squash matches served a very important purpose. I just don't know jow you place them in today's TV structure

  43. I miss the days of the jobber as well, but I don't know that people are going to want to watch Sandow crush Jimmy Van Buren on Smackdown. There's a reason why there isn't a Shotgun Saturday Night or Velocity anymore - there doesn't seem to be a market for a show that draws 0.6 ratings. They are already at saturation with the current TV product. It's great from a booking standpoint, but there is no place to put it unless WWE Network hits the airwaves.

    My take is that Jake, Rude & Perfect could go because they had 10+ years to perfect their talent on fairly bright stages. That's the thing that I really miss from the territory days - guys being able to make mistakes, perfect a persona, and practice their craft.

  44. Your_Favourite_LoserNovember 7, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    yeah, its not feasible anymore

  45. I think they think that it's bad for them, but in the long run, competition is good for anyone, because yes: WCW took the WWF made draws like Hogan or Savage or Diesel or Razor and used them to get to the No1 position BUT WWF had to react and with their reaction, they made Austin, DX, Kane, Mankind, The Rock, Triple H etc. which brought them to another level.

    Today, the only PPV that really draws is Wrestlemania and the TV ratings are es bad as before the attitude, so, without competition they are on the same spot as they were before the WCW nWo boom began.

  46. Stranger in the AlpsNovember 7, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Many of us came up in a time when the big TV main event was reserved for Saturday Night's Main Event. Regular TV would give us a "feature match" once every few weeks, and it was usually about 5 minutes long, ended in a DQ or countout and would usually begin a feud.
    If you ran a show full of jobber squashes these days, with maybe one or two "feature matches", the show would probably tank because the majority of the viewing audience is conditioned to expect big matches throughout the show. Viewing habits have changed.
    But I agree with you. You could keep guys looking a LOT stronger for a LOT longer in the 80's/early 90s.

  47. It's easy to forget that Hogan was an overnight success 7 years in the making. Hogan's first run in the WWE was a bit less memorable. Here's M$M vs. Hogan before either was quite so much to behold. Maybe he can bring back the bearhug finisher.

  48. Yeah, kind of covered that a bit further down, though not in as much detail.

  49. Since the brand split is done and dusted, and assuming we keep all the belts:

    RAW: Main angles, main event matches, top talent. You're on RAW, you're at least a good midcarder. Losing here is NOT the end of the world, but winning often is your ticket to stay. WWE and World Champs on here, no lower belts.

    Smackdown: Upper midcard down to JTTS talents. The top of the card here is on RAW also, but where they might be .500 wrestlers on RAW, they're still better than anyone else. IC/US Champs on here, and those two are EXCLUSIVE to SD, no using them to put over RAW talents. Until you get the title off them.

    Third show (Main Event and/or Sat Morn Slam would work fine): RAW and SD talents beat up on rookies/jobbers/etc. Highlight a few guys from RAW and SD per week, maybe two per show per week. Occassionally, an upcoming rookie gets the shocking win on this show, and can start his rise.

    Tag teams and Divas are not show exclusive, and do not have the "levels" that the singles do. Maybe one of each match on RAW, a tag match on SD, and the occassional "Rising Tag/Diva" match on the third tier show.

    (Too much wrestling, not enough Sports Entertainment. Still worth the try...)

  50. When Austin, Rock, Mankind and Triple H were pushed, they did it without jobbers.

    But it's true. Most of the 80s or early 90s midcard stars, were bigger draws than anyone who is in todays main event. But do we really want to see pure jobber shows like back then?

  51. I post this on every thread that talks about it, but I believe that a "draw" is actually the two people fighting as part of the storyline, not any one person.

    Hogan was lucky enough to have three foils that worked well for him in the WWE:

    Later in WCW (NWO era) he had:

    Likewise Austin in WWE:
    Vince McMahon
    The Rock
    (maybe HHH? not sure I count that one)

    Vince isn't the draw without Austin and vice versa, at least not the same draw.
    I would argue that without the rivalries Hogan had he wouldn't have been the same draw. Sure they had a "big man" formula with him for a while but years and years later it's not the Earthquake, Killer Khan stuff people remember - it's Andre and Savage.

    I think the *storyline* is the draw. Michaels was never really a draw but never really had a rivalry that caught on fire with the fans enough, until the tail end of his career with UT (where I'd argue that was actually a huge draw).

  52. I don't disagree with any of this. I'm sure the E's braintrust thinks that a jobber/squash matchcentric show would get less advertising and TV money.

    That small loss in revenue, because seriously how much are they making from freaking wwe main event, would be worth it if it builds guys up for your bigger shows and help you build stars.

  53. I have to ponder this one...

  54. The NFL is massive here. Arguably the second most popular when the Jays are winning, and unarguably when the Jays suck (like now)
    The super bowl does a higher rating then the Stanly cup final in Canada; football is everywhere and the CFL is a joke!
    TSN (Canadian ESPN) shows more football highlights then hockey highlights some nights!

    Now Basketball--THAT no one in Canada gives a shit about

  55. The Ryback situation worked to a large degree, but because of the Cena injury last year, he was pushed into the main even before he was ready.

    The announcers regularly disregard a good 1/3 of the matches already--I think there's room for one good jobber squash match per Raw. Let a midcarder strut his stuff, put over a new finisher (whatever happened to Dolph's superkick?), go the gimmick route like Ryback and have a guy squash people on consecutive weeks, set a standard for guys so it means something when other wrestlers kick out of their signature moves or finishers, etc. I don't see the harm in letting a guy look strong for 5 minutes each week.

  56. Living in Canada, I'd definitely dispute that. I'm no fan of the CFL but I think your mistake is in assuming Toronto == Canada. =) CFL is way big in the west and central.

  57. While I agree with the idea... it doesn't always hold water. There comes a point where one guy can be the draw.

    Few, few stars have ever reached that level. (Hogan, Austin, Flair ONLY in the early/mid 80's, maybe a couple others...)

  58. OK, I know that the CFL is popular in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, but, my understanding based on limited experience with people from BC, is that the Lions are just there--GO CANUCKS.

    And wouldn't my mistake more be Ontario and everywhere east of it doesn't care about the CFL. Neither the maritime or Quebec seem like passionate CFL fans.

  59. Rkidozan
    Hackensmhidt (spelling?)
    Lou Thesz

  60. I would agree with that actually although I think it's a rare case and involves interesting booking (Flair in the 80s for sure could be programmed with anyone and get a packed house, HTM I think was one of them do in late 87-89). Part of that draw is the curiosity in "I have to see them live!" which I think Hogan had, Andre had, not too many others than the ones you mentioned. I'd debate how appealing Austin is on his own.

  61. Not any NWA champ pre-80's fits here, but I'd argue most of them do. They're the big draw that puts the smaller guys on the map, every night, every week, every month, for months and years...

    If the champ really doesn't like your top guy, you're fucked. Otherwise, start counting the money.

    Sure, no one NWA champ ever drew what Vince/WWF did in the 80s... but compared to their peers at the time, they were the elite.

  62. Drawing money is simple, marks want to pay to see a heel get beat up by the face. That is the concept, it is very outdated yet can still be very effective. WWE hasn't used this formula for sometime as the interchangeable parts theory has ruled. One of my biggest beefs about the PG Era is that the heels are really neutered and unable to do many of the violent dastardly things they did even a few years ago. Triple H was hitting people with sledge hammers and busting people open just a few years ago. The heels never really physically get over on the faces. Cena is the worst as he just laughs off anything a heel may do to him. This why I find him to be a horrible face, it defies all wrestling logic that he is still a face. The closest WWE has come to this formula is The Shield who actually got to put some people through tables and got fans excited to see them get theirs. The Shield is nicely over as midcard - upper midcard act because of this. I agree with the theory originally stated - WWE is the draw, along with their other well established brands such as Raw and the various monthly PPV's ( Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, etc.). WWE will never be culturally relevant again until they let some workers become bigger than the WWE brand, that is how business is transcended.

  63. Ha, in BC *every* sports team is just there. Vancouver only cares about whether its sport team is winning - not about the sport itself. =)

  64. If Austin wasn't appealing on his own, then why was WWF drawing so many people to house shows in 1998-1999 with him on top. I don't believe Vince was taking on Austin or even appearing on those shows.

  65. Any "what if" suggestions for tomorrow? I have a few in mind but don't mind taking suggestions. REALLY trying to stay out of fantasy booking land with these tho.

  66. Depends on who you were listening to in the media. Former players in the media were backing Incognito (minus the racial slur) for trying to toughen Martin up and were bashing Martin for not being more of a man.

  67. We're seeing more of that now (finally), but there was virtually no defense of Incognito initially. I'm talking about before the voicemail with the racial slur even surfaced, in the first several days after the story broke. But like you said, even now, the coverage and opinions vary pretty widely based on what sources you're using/watching/reading.

  68. I don't disagree with what you said. I just consider it part of "the branding" process. Take special attractions like Brock and Rock and ingratiate them as "wwe guys" instead of star special attractions. If someone's getting massively over, they eventually are cooled down and fall in line behind Cena because he's the face of the brand, and that's what's most protected.

  69. My problem with the article is threefold:

    1) He has a prior relationship with Incognito that dates back to college. He considers both guys as a friend, but neither as close friends. Push comes to shove, he's going to side with the guy he's known longer.

    2) He was released in the 2012 preseason. He's been away from the team for 15 months so while he has more knowledge of their relationship than most, he's still working off outdated information. What he knows of their relationship from August 2012 doesn't necessarily mean anything in October/November 2013.

    3) He feels "football is a man's job", implying Martin isn't a man. According to (too) many players, you can't be a man without using violence to solve your problems.

  70. Ah. The first time I really paid any attention to it was right after the voicemail was released. But while that painted Incognito is a terrible light, that's also when I read/heard several talking about how Martin was essentially a pussy for not simply fighting Incognito and shouldn't have left.

    Very crazy story. So many twists and turns already.

  71. Fair enough. I tthink this, coupled with what Cris Carter claimed Mo Pouncey said, and what other Dolphins have said, the narrative of the story is slowly shifting.

  72. I'm not sure I agree 100 percent with the post. WWE has one very clear draw --- John Cena. For all the talk of the company being stung by Brock, Rock, Lashley, etc. and them not wanting to put all their eggs in one basket with a big star, WWE has made Cena the focal point of the promotion in such a direct way that losing him for any extended period of time could/would seriously hurt them.

    If Cena was ever actually badly injured (and didn't have a superhuman recovery period) and was out for even as little as six months, it would have a huge impact on house shows and ratings as the kiddies simply wouldn't bother without their hero as part of the show.

    It goes along with WWE's desire to be seen as a 'television show' as opposed to a 'wrestling show.' Regular shows usually don't change their stars in midstream unless something happens behind the scenes. It's not like the producers of House were ever considering elevating Thirteen to the starring role just to 'create a new draw' and bump Hugh Laurie down to a supporting part since that's just not how most TV works.

    As long as Cena is healthy, he is The Star of WWE. When he was out for the last couple of months, the sad part was that the star of the show was suddenly Triple H as opposed to Bryan or even Orton.

  73. What did Pouncey said? I saw where Hartline, Clabo, and Tannehill spoke to the media yesterday. They probably should've asked one of their black teammates to also comment since race has ended up being a big part of this. Three white teammates defending the white supposed racist while speaking against the black supposed victim wasn't the brightest idea. Tannehill didn't really say anything either way, but both Clabo and Hartline kinda went after Martin.

  74. Apparently Cris Carter is like a father figure to Pouncey. Coached him in high school and they have stayed close. Carter said on espn yesterday that Pouncey had told him, and I'm paraphrasing here, "if I ever saw bullying like what is being portrayed by the media I would have shut it down immediately. I wouldn't tolerate it.."

    Also, some one said also that Martin was playing the voice mails for teammates and laughing about it with them.

  75. Pouncey and Mike Wallace have been defended Incognito and adamantly refuted that he's a racist. This is another illustration of how badly things can sound out of context. I'm not defending Incognito's use of the dreaded "n-word," but I do think it's important to recognize the culture of an NFL lockerroom and try to imagine how these guys address each other on a regular basis. This isn't at all like the Riley Cooper idiocy from the pre-season.

  76. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryNovember 7, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    What if Benoit never kills his wife and son, does the PG era never happen?

  77. Hartline said that, though I haven't heard anyone corroborate it. That could end up being a very big piece of the puzzle.

  78. Yea. I don't condone what Incognito said but apparently some dolphin said that Martin himself played the voice mails for teammates and was laughing about it with them. It's such a complex situtation, I wish Ppl would wait for everything to come out before judging anything

  79. For all we know, the voicemail has Incognito speaking in a friendly tone and there's no animosity at all. You simply can't read tone from written/typed words and unfortunately, no one has bothered to mention how it was said.

  80. Exactly. This is what happens when "bullying" becomes the narrative of the story, though. The initial rush to judgment (completely media-driven) was absurd. And again, I don't mean to downplay how destructive actual bullying can be, but its elevation into the national consciousness has been badly blown the issue out of proportion.

  81. I think Incognito's history (being kicked off multiple teams and run out of town everywhere he's been since freshman year, being voted dirtiest player in the NFL, anger management problems, substance/alcohol abuse issues) played a massive part in this as well. Had the offender been Pouncey or Clabo or pretty much anyone other than Incognito, it probably doesn't blow up as big. Or had he not called him a half-nigger. That didn't help. The media, especially sports media, LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE to bring race into any issue. Having it presented on a silver platter? They'll eat it up and ask for seconds.

  82. I can't really disagree with everything bc you make some good points, but I do think you're overestimating how much Cena being gone would hurt. I guess my counter is that Cena is synonymous with the WWE brand, I kinda think of him as the walking avatar for WWE, so view him slightly differently.

    Here's the litmus test: say Cena gets engulfed by Nikkis vagina and disappears forever, wwe would quickly elevate someone else into Cenas "face of the wwe." Let's just say Sheamus. Give wwe 6 months to give Sheamus the belt, a monster push, etc. How much worse is business now with Sheamus as "the guy" vs what it was with Cena? I think it's relatively the same.

  83. Totally agree on the Slater stuff. I think the kid has talent and charisma and could be something if used right, but he's not Cena/Orton/Sheamus/etc so he's JTTS. But at least on my 2K14 he won a 40 man Rumble coming in 1st! Slater for MITB 2014!!!

  84. Actually this might be a case of the WWE simply being hot. There are records of sold out shows from the WWE that actually don't feature Austin *or* the Rock, e.g.

    Look at the first entry from '99!

  85. ...and this is why I miss the 80s WWF programming. I liked the jobber matches personally, you never who might become a main event guy one day (see Foley, Nick). I always thought Barry Hardy & Duane Gill deserved a solid midcard tag push.

  86. The PG era happens because it's how WWE got in bed with Mattel. As long as Mattel is happy with WWE, we're stuck in PG era. :-(

  87. First three kind of related:
    What if the Montreal screwjob never happens (Bret agrees to drop to Shawn)?
    What if Bret never leaves?
    What if *Shawn* is the one who leaves and Bret is the one who stays?

    'What if Kevin Von Erich is the one with the drug problem instead of Kerry?
    What if WCW isn't kicked off the network and Bischoff buys it rather than Vince?
    WHat if it's Bill Watts' UWF that becomes the #2 to WWF in 1987 vs. the NWA?
    What if Stephanie never hears John Cena's improv rap on the tour bus?
    What if Mark Henry discovers his calling as a character in 1995 rather than 2011?

  88. I think that's the difference between the true "draws". At Hogan's height, you could prop up any lug against him and draw money. Then there are guys like HHH who would "draw" when programmed against the right guy, but never on his own.

  89. All those guys were allowed to develop actual characters though and didn't have their promos scripted or their gimmicks tailored by soap opera writers and MTV cast-offs

  90. Yeah, I think that "holding pattern" is exactly what they want. Really, Cena has been a big part of providing that for a decade, so I can understand their reluctance to move in radical new directions. Even if it is boring

  91. Yeah, Mark Henry in '95 is compelling for sure. His current character could have been a great foil for Austin and Rock in '99. He could have put some Vader-style beatings on Foley to get over huge.

  92. What if Brock Lesnar's first WWE run last another year (thru Wrestlemania 21)?

  93. In which case, I still at least partially stand by what I said, the majority of the Canadian population is "meh" to the CFL, It has fans no question, but only half of an 8 team league are in areas that really care about their team--and to everyone else it's "That place guys who can't make it in the NFL go"


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