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The Pro-Wrestling Torch: Issue #882

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Guest EastCoastJ

The Pro-Wrestling Torch Newsletter: #882

 

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ULTIMATE WARRIOR LASHES OUT

 

The Ultimate Warrior turned down a WWE invitation to speak his mind on WWE.com's Byte This talk show. Instead, he lashed out at WWE in a vitriolic rant on his website, www.UltimateWarrior.com. Regarding the invite, he said: "Of course, I do NOT accept this brainless, disgraceful invitation. F--- NO, I do not. You can rescue yourself, Vince. Do your own damage control. I've no ear for your begging anymore. Only if you were on fire would I help you - it'd just be too hard to resist pissing on you."

 

Todd Grisham, Matt Striker, and Droz hosted an "Ultimate Warrior" edition of "Byte This" on Sept. 28 with the intentions of allowing Warrior to respond to WWE's "Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior" DVD. Warrior refused to comment on the DVD and - through a message on his website - made it clear he did not want to appear on the show. In the message, Warrior described Grisham as "the queer" and Droz as "the cripple."

 

Taking offense, Grisham and Droz fired back against Warrior before Matt Striker appeared in Warrior costume. During the parody segment, Grisham asked "Warrior" how grew so large. "Warrior" fired back, "It's the steroids, the steroids!" This portion of the segment was edited off Byte This one day later after WWE.com posted a statement questioning whether the parody went too far. "Last night on 'Byte This!,' what was intended to be a light-hearted parody on the Ultimate Warrior's official statement regarding his refusal to appear on the show may have gone a little overboard," wrote WWE.com. "Todd Grisham and Matt Striker went into a direction that was not the original intent of the producers of 'Byte This!' or WWE."

 

In response to WWE claims on the "Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD" that he held WWE up for money before Summerslam '91, Warrior gave his side of the dispute. "About holding you up for money, you got that wrong, too," he wrote on his website. "Of course, it's a fantasy you've created, so that makes it true in your twisted mind. There was an issue about a WrestleMania 7 payoff, but the strong-arming being done was by you and your conniving financial thug at the time, Doug Sages, not me. Instead of being straightforward with me about what the payoff was going to be, you kept dragging out avoiding any discussion about it while Sages unethically concocted a counterfeit loan to me, which I knew nothing about till much later, say, around Summerslam time. How coincidental. When I called you on it, you duplicitously scribbled down and rushed me a letter praising me for my contributions to the company, my one-of-a-kind work ethic, and that you were proud to have me not just as a talent but know me as a friend - and, then, Surprise! you pulled a 180 on me and courageously suspended me after the '91 Summerslam match by handing me a tough, condescending letter. You expected me to drop to my knees right then and lick one of the three balls you claimed you had, begging you to take me back, right there in that MSG locker room, right there in front of your adulterous ball licker at the time, Mrs. Emily Feinburg, (so you could show her, I guess, how big a man you were), but I told you that Emily was the one good at it and you wouldn't be seeing me for quite some time. I didn't lie. I got my bags, went to AZ, moved to NM, and left you ill with worry about where I was. 'Where's MY Warrior?' you boohooed for months. It is a flat-out Wizard of OZ fantasy that I ever held you or WWF up for money."

 

Regarding Vince McMahon saying in the DVD that he couldn't wait to fire him, Warrior cited that McMahon called him 1998 in the midst of the heated Monday Night War offering him a huge contract to return to the roster. Instead, Warrior signed with WCW.

 

"Nothing has changed. You still don't have any class. All of the success, wealth and power brought you none. And no amount of all this that you do have will ever be enough for you to OWN me. But I, Vince, OWN a little piece of you. Don't I, Vince? The DVD admits it to the world. Alone, looking in the mirror, till your dying day, the passionate, intense and intelligent man who came, created and drove the legend of The Ultimate Warrior deep into the hearts and souls of millions of fans and then walked away from it all on his OWN terms will forever own a piece of your psyche. And, Vince -- you will never forget that I am that man."

 

He also called Triple H "puffy man" (which was never more true than his return to Raw on this week) and accused him of emulating his style. "You tried to replicate everything about me," he wrote. "It was the Ultimate Warrior intensity and look you strove for."

 

Most controversial of all may be his comments about Bobby Heenan, who was as harsh toward Warrior as anyone on the DVD. Warrior wrote: "As for you, Booby Heenan, it's just too difficult to keep a straight face talking about the pure two-faced bag of sh-- you are (and have always been), what, with you also actually wearing one as a piece of body jewelry. You are dying, dis-eased on the inside, and no more time is left to get back any of the integrity that matters the most on death's bed. Imagine what it will be like, lying there taking in your last breaths, knowing you whored yourself out your whole life, and had to, in your final years, be faced with emptying your own personal sh-- bag affirming to you the true value of what you achieved in your life. Not even Vince could come up with a better finish than this. Karma is just a beautiful thing to behold."

 

He said he might produce a rough rebuttal DVD to WWE's claims and offer it through his website.

 

SPIKE TV-RAW CENSORSHIP

 

TV industry sources tell PWTorch that top Spike TV officials were not pleased that their censors were trigger happy during Vince McMahon's speech at the start of the Sept. 26 Raw. Those in control of the censor button were not supposed to edit plugs for USA Network, just any disparaging comments made by WWE about the network. A deal was reached late in the show for WWE to mention USA as often as they wanted as long as they didn't further disparage the network or paint them as censors. Spike TV knew they had it coming since they played a bit dirty by airing so many UFC and TNA commercials during Raw, so ultimately they were willing to let WWE get in a plug for USA without putting up a big fuss.

 

Sources say Spike TV wanted no part of a war of words with WWE after the episode aired. They merely released this statement to the media: "We had a good five years with WWE and we wish them well."

 

"Okay, we went overboard, but we did it in a very entertaining fashion," said Vince McMahon in a WWE.com article posted on Sept. 28 but removed from the site the next day. "What we did was not mean-spirited in any way. What Spike did, however, was mean-spirited. At no time leading up to Monday night did Spike TV ever call us and say, 'Okay, this is what we won't allow.' We had no warning whatsoever. So to us it was business as usual."

 

The fact that WWE never included USA in any plugs for WWE Homecoming either during Raw or in the TV ads leading up to the final show on Spike indicates McMahon knew it wouldn't be considered fair by Spike TV officials. He waited until the last week when there was nothing left to lose to start mentioning USA by name.

 

McMahon also said he "abhors" censorship. "That's exactly what happened," he said. "I completely understand censorship in terms of the FCC regulations. I don't always agree with them, but I understand them. Of course, the FCC doesn't allow certain words and nudity, but blatant censorship, which was executed by Spike TV, should not be tolerated. This is just as reprehensible as blatant censorship itself."

 

McMahon reiterated his position of anti-censorship on CNBC's "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch" on Wednesday night, two nights after the controversy. In reference to Spike TV cutting off his audio at the beginning of Raw last Monday, he said: "It's called censorship; that's exactly what it was," McMahon said after a clip from his show-opening speech aired. "There was no information whatsoever from Spike to us that night or the entire week in terms of what they would suggest... we say and not say."

 

Jim Ross had written the previous week in his Ross Report on WWE.com: "I don't think Spike would have been thrilled if we mentioned one of their competitors on air Monday night" Ross abstained from joining Jerry Lawler and Coach in the onslaught of "USA" references on the Sept. 26 until the end of the show when the censors left their post. Ross may have been hesitant to jump into the mix since it may have been seen as contradictory to what he wrote the previous week.

 

Also in the WWE.com article, WWE producer Kevin Dunn bragged about how once Spike censored them the first time, he realized that if they kept saying USA over and over, the censors wouldn't be able to block the first mention and also realize there was another mention of the network. "Knowing that," he said, "we decided to load up on USA comments. We knew they weren't all going to make their way through, but we knew a good amount would. From that point we were having fun with it, and I think it shows." Presumably, had Spike not attempted to censor the first mention of USA, WWE would only have plugged the move a couple other times throughout the show rather than over and over again.

 

Dunn also claimed that WWE only got combative once they were getting censored. "Initially, we were going to inform the fans of the move to USA in a very judicious and fair fashion. But Spike started censoring us from the beginning. Then they censored us again later on when we attempted to inform fans that Vince's comments were available at WWE.com. At that point we began to fight back." That's not quite true, since WWE announcers began taking shots at Spike TV as soon as they found out McMahon was censored. When mentioning that McMahon's comments were available at WWE.com, they were already calling Spike TV officials "censors" and painting them as the bad guys.

 

The battle between Spike TV and Raw was the subject of several TV trade journal articles. ? Media Week wrote about the battle between Raw and Spike TV on Monday in an article titled "Parting, Spike and WWE Slap at Each Other." It noted that viewership was down 22 percent from the previous week. States the article: "In a statement released this morning, Spike said, 'We had a good five years with WWE and we wish them well.' But one MTV Networks executive was a bit more forthcoming about the incident, saying that it was 'just a lame publicity stunt' conjured up by the WWE.

 

The Hollywood Reporter wrote about the battle on Monday, stating: "Spike TV cut off World Wrestling Entertainment chief Vince McMahon Monday as he mentioned that WWE's Monday Night Raw would go to the USA Network... During Monday's telecast, McMahon said Spike TV and the WWE had been 'pretty good tag-team partners.'"

 

Jim Ross wrote about the situation in his WWE.com column last Thursday. "It sure seems like this matter has gotten a lot of play with the media. Was it that big a deal? Maybe I am missing something. It certainly wasn't surprising on either front. We simply wanted our fans to know where to find us next week which is the exact same M.O. we utilized when we left USA five years ago for The Nashville Network, which morphed into Spike. Would you have done anything differently as it relates to this matter?"

 

LATEST WWE FINANCIALS

 

Aided by the addition of $4.3 million in revenue from the May 1 Backlash PPV in First Quarter, Fiscal 2006, WWE posted higher-than-expected revenues and raised its Fiscal 2006 revenue and earnings outlook. However, the loss of key revenue drivers in future quarters leaves suspicions about WWE's future prospects. The Backlash PPV, which normally is included in the fourth quarter of each fiscal year, was listed as the fifth PPV of a quarter usually reserved for four PPV's. The calendar quirk contributed to WWE's $12.2 million (or 15 percent) increase in year-to-year to comparisons for the first quarter. The additional $7.9 million increase from year-to-year consisted of increased international licensing revenue, home video sales, and overall merchandise sales through the website and at live events.

 

One major aspect of WWE's financial success hinges on making up for the impending loss of advertising revenue through Raw's move from Spike TV to USA. Beginning with Monday's edition of Raw, WWE will no longer collect on approximately $10.4 million per quarter related to television ads. The impact will not be felt until the third quarter of Fiscal 2006 as WWE will still recognize approximately $7.0 million in the second quarter with WWE's move to USA coming in the middle of the reporting period. Over the course of a full fiscal year, WWE will be losing approximately $24.2 million in revenue.

 

On the heels of a strong first quarter, WWE raised its Fiscal 2006 revenue forecast from $355-$370 million to $360-$375 million based on positive revenue results for the first quarter of the fiscal year. During the conference call to report earnings to investors, Linda McMahon was asked why WWE did not raise its yearly outlook by a more substantial amount than $5 million if the company made $12.2 million more in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous year. Linda cited a loss of television advertisement revenue from switching to USA Network as the primary concern management has for not continuing the successful revenue trend. Through Raw's move to USA, ratings will have no direct effect on financials because WWE will no longer reap the benefits of being able to charge advertisers a higher price if ratings have a positive trend. If Raw's ratings are strong, USA Network is the beneficiary of charging higher ad prices. The indirect benefit of higher ratings is more exposure for the WWE product, which entails more revenue for other business segments such as PPVs, live events, and merchandise.

 

PPV BUYRATES: On a year-to-year comparison of each specific PPV, buyrates were up in First Quarter Fiscal 2006 as compared to the same quarter in Fiscal 2005. The June Vengeance PPV, which featured Batista vs. Triple H in a Hell in a Cell, saw a 38 percent increase in buyrates from 232,000 buys in calendar year 2004 to 320,000 buys this year. When looking at the year-to-year figures, PPV buyrates were very similar except for Vengeance. This year's Great American Bash did 233,000 buys - the same number as the previous year. ECW One Night Stand outdrew last year's June PPV, Bad Blood, at a close clip of 268,000 to 264,000 buys. Smackdown's Judgment Day PPV drew 236,000 buys this year compared to 220,000 buys the previous year.

 

LIVE EVENTS: Domestic live attendance increased dramatically during the first quarter. With only 70 live events domestically compared to 89 live events in the previous year, the average attendance figure increased from 4,400 to 5,200. The number would indicate stronger domestic live event figures, but the increase in attendance is misleading with WWE booking fewer house shows compared to the previous year. House show attendance brings down the average attendance figure with much lower attendance compared to Raw, Smackdown, and PPV televised events. WWE still has not managed an upswing in the deficient domestic house show business. For the third consecutive quarter, Linda said a focus group has been put together to better market house shows.

 

WWE is planning a major 16-city European tour in November that is expected to be a huge financial success. Two weeks of television tapings for Raw and Smackdown will take place during the tour. WWE will also tour internationally in Australia during October.

 

HOME VIDEO AND LICENSING SALES: The initial estimate for WrestleMania 21 DVD sales is 202,000, which would be the highest selling DVD in WWE history. The "Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80's" DVD is estimated at 95,000 units sold and the Road Warriors DVD is at 84,000 units sold. It all adds up to a 49 percent increase in home video revenue in First Quarter Fiscal 2006 compared to the previous year. WWE found success translating its vast tape library - holding over 75,000 hours - into successful home video and Internet sales. WWE is looking to acquire one major tape library and a few smaller libraries to create a destination point for fans from all regions who are looking to re-live moments from all eras and regions.

 

WWE's Video on Demand (VOD) service through the "WWE 24/7" project has been successful so far, especially in Canada where the subscription service through Rogers Canada has seen unprecedented growth. In the U.S., WWE continues to see growth in revenue and subscribers through its partnership with Cox Communications. WWE is still negotiating with other major cable companies and recently signed a deal with Verizon to begin testing the VOD service in Keller, Texas. Through revenue sharing with cable companies, WWE is receiving $6-8 per subscriber. Success in Canada and the U.S. is an encouraging sign that WWE's video library features are being accepted well by fans.

 

WWE realized substantial growth in licensing - specifically internationally - where WWE was able to push merchandise through the United Kingdom and Italy during overseas tours and new distribution agreements with major retailers. 53 percent of total licensing revenue came from international sales during First Quarter Fiscal 2006 compared to only 27 percent in the same quarter last year... WWE currently has over 65 former WWE wrestlers under "WWE Legends" contracts. WWE hopes to expand distribution of merchandise to capitalize on the list of legends.

 

WWE FILMS: WWE-branded theatrical movies featuring John Cena and Kane are expected in theaters within first six months of calendar 2006. Both movies are in the final editing stage with special effects and musical scores being added to the finished product. John Cena had to film new scenes for The Marine because WWE, FOX Studios, and Lions Gate films wanted to maintain a PG-13 rating and the Motion Picture Association recommended certain scenes be cut out to maintain that rating. With select scenes removed, the filmmakers needed additional footage to fill the additional time that became available. No release date for the movie has been decided on, but WWE is working closely with FOX and Lions Gate for a definite release date.

 

The first of WWE's movies featuring Steve Austin in a lead role, "The Condemned," has not entered the pre-production stage just yet as WWE is still in negotiations with a major Hollywood studio to lock up a distribution partner. Once the partnership is in place, pre-production is expected to begin in early calendar year 2006.

 

THE CASH PILE: During last quarter's conference call discussing financial results, Linda McMahon took plenty of heat from investors for WWE's policy of keeping substantial sums of cash on hand rather than distributing the cash back to investors. To cut off any repeated criticism and to avoid having to be chewed out for the second consecutive quarter, Linda McMahon said a comprehensive strategy team has been assembled to investigate the best use of the available cash on hand. Take that for what it's worth.

 

ANALYST PERSPECTIVE: Jefferies & Co., a leading financial evaluation company, lowered its stock estimate from Buy to Hold based on WWE's financial results. "Every business line across the board beat our expectations," said Jefferies & Co. "That said, the pursuit and successful execution of potential strategic initiatives remain a 'wait and see game.'" Analysts are waiting to see consistent results from WWE as the company tries to define a clear business strategy. "Until we see more concrete evidence and gain greater clarity into the company's current strategic business view," said Jefferies & Co., "we are lowering our rating." [by James Caldwell]

 

NIDIA REACTS TO HER WWE RELEASE

 

Nidia, in an interview with Voice of Wrestling radio last week, said herr heart isn't in pro wrestling and she has no plans at this time to return. "I just kind of stopped wrestling," she began, "I didn't want to wrestle. I was kind of burned out before whenever I was in the company, so I just needed a little time off, to relax, and get my mind back together. To be honest with you, I knew that it was coming to an end because I didn't feel it in my heart. Either they were going to let me go or I was gonna go. My contract was up in June and I know this sounds so bad, but June just didn't seem to come fast enough for me."

 

Her reasons for not being content with the company were?also due to the direction WWE was taking with the women's division. "It's like no matter how hard you work, it really doesn't matter," she said, "women's wrestling right now is a little shaky and it's like they're going more on looks than on skill... At times I wish that wrestling was, in fact, a sport... like real. I love to work hard and I love to improve and it's very frustrating whenever you do work hard and whenever you improve and it doesn't matter. After a while it's like why am I even working hard?"

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Guest EastCoastJ

NEWSWIRE

 

-Jose Canseco, sources tell PWTorch, is not the celebrity being talked with regarding WrestleMania next year.

 

-Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, and Linda McMahon were all on CNBC's "The Big Ideal with Donny Deuche" last week for a full hour. When Deuche previewed the show, he called Hogan the greatest WWE star of all-time and merely described Austin as a six-time WWE Champion. Hogan was clearly given top billing in most publicity for the WWE Homecoming show.

 

-During the CNBC interview, Vince McMahon said that the Muhammad Hassan character failed because the person who played the role (Marc Copani) wasn't a good fit. When asked by Donny Deutsch about the controversy surrounding the Muhammad Hassan character and storyline, McMahon shifted blame from the promotion to Copani, citing that Copani did not perform as expected. This follows last week's burial of Hassan by Sean Daivari - the former manager of Hassan. Daivari openly said on WWE.com that Hassan "dropped the ball" backstage and in the ring.

 

-Edge called in to Byte This last week to discuss Warrior and Matt Hardy. Edge did not give in to the temptation to bad mouth Warrior as he said he was not privy to Warrior's backstage behavior, but only saw the Warrior on television when he was a kid. Edge said Warrior was a special act next to Hulk Hogan. "And the fact that we're still talking about him means he did something special," Edge said. Grisham asked Edge about rumors of Matt Hardy and Lita being seen together after shows. Edge answered back that Hardy and Lita want closure on their relationship, but "Lita knows where her bread's buttered and that's with me, so, I got no problem with that; I'm not going to sweat that." [Michael KopStick]

 

-During Raw, a fan near the front row held up a sign that was prominently caught on camera that said, "C.M. Punk is the Future." Punk remains in OVW.

 

-After Raw went off the air, Batista and Big Show squared off. Big Show knocked Batista out of the ring. Smackdown wrestlers retreated up the entrance ramp with Batista and Guerero holding each other as if they were tag partners, not PPV opponents in six days. Cena was on Big Show's shoulders inside the ring as the Raw crew stared down the Smackdown crew.

 

-Informed backstage sources insist that Triple H had wanted to take time off earlier this year or even late last year because he felt his character had grown stale. Vince McMahon, though, disagreed and felt the timing was not right for Hunter to remove himself as the centerpiece of Raw.

 

-WWE will be taping both Raw and Smackdown in Minneapolis, Minn. at the Target Center on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2005. This means that when Raw airs on Monday, Nov. 14, it will not be live. The reason behind WWE pre-taping Raw that week is that WWE's tour of Europe begins on Tuesday, Nov. 15, so the Raw talents will be on their way to Europe as Raw airs in North America.

 

-WWE.com also has stories on Diva Search contestants Elisabeth and Kristal getting calls from WWE to join the team. PWTorch has learned that both have contracts, but neither had signed them as of last week. They both had verbally agreed to deals.

 

-Candice Michelle's Playboy shoot later this year is scheduled to feature her with the Women's Title wrapped around her waist, so expect a title change sometime between now and then.

 

-According to Media Week, the two hours of Raw finished no. 11 and no. 10 in the weekly cable rankings for Sept 19-25.

 

-USA Network will preempt Raw on Feb. 13,. 2006 for the Westminster Dog Show, but it will air on Wednesday, Feb. 15 instead. Raw will not air Aug. 28 due to the U.S. Open and will not be rescheduled. It will also not air Sept. 4 due to the U.S. Open, but will air that Friday, Sept. 8, potentially going head-to-head with Smackdown on UPN during one hour.

 

-Leading up to the debut of Raw on USA, the USA Network website prominently featured WWE. John Cena, not Triple H, was the featured wrestler on USA's ads for the show. The others featured by photo were Triple H, Kurt Angle, Carlito, Edge, and Shawn Michaels. A video of the TV commercial was also available online featuring "Our Newest Characters," starting with Cena (The Champ), then Torrie Wilson, (The Cover Girl), Carlito (The Bad Apple), Triple H (The Cerebral Assassin). In the list of "legends" returning to the show, Hulk Hogan gets top billing ahead of Steve Austin and Mick Foley in the text plug for the show.

 

-On USA Network's message board for Raw, there was a discussion of TNA becoming a national competitor. It was not being moderated by usual WWE standards, evidence because a fan wrote: "Three hours?!? They can barely put together two hours as is. At least now we have a cure for insomnia." And regarding the three annual preemptions, a fan wrote: "And now you can see what USA really thinks of their wrestling fans." Since McMahon abhors censorship, there's certainly no chance these threads and posts will be altered or deleted.

 

-There are two different sets of Ultimate Warrior DVDs on store shelves. The Wal-mart version carried only one disk, while FYE's version is called a "Collector's Edition" and has a second disk that features Warrior vs. Hercules, Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, and Warrior vs. Randy Savage bonus matches.

 

-In last week's Ross Report at WWE.com, Jim Ross said regarding Kevin Nash: "I guess this is one of those "never say never" deals. I think Kevin is at the stage of his career where he has made big money and saved it (unlike many of Kevin's peers) and only wants to wrestle part time. WWE is a tough place to work if one only wants to wrestle part time, even though some have successfully done so... Nash could return to WWE in a moment's notice if he is not obligated elsewhere with other projects. Trust me; stranger things have happened in WWE."

 

-Also in the Ross Report, he commented on another TNA wrestler, Jeff Hardy: "It looks as if Matt will go it alone in WWE for the time being, as it appears from my experience that Matt likes the full-time schedule better than younger brother Jeff, but who knows, that could change. Needless to say both Hardys are talented wrestlers and seem destined to make it even bigger wrestling in singles competition but just not both in WWE... at this time."

 

-The headline of the Ross Report stated that he wouldn't be surprised to Chris Jericho back in WWE in 2006 sometime. But he said that was just an assumption. Regarding Eric Bischoff's tenure in WWE, Ross said: "I probably would have lost the over/under for Eric's tenure here, but I am happy he has succeeded with the company."

 

-Rob Van Dam wasn't part of the star-studded WWE Homecoming. Instead, he hosted a "WWE Viewing Party" in Hollywood, California at Universal Studios Citywalk, the same location where WWE held the WrestleMania Fanfest during WrestleMania 21 weekend.

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CARTERS COMMITTED TO TNA

 

According to TNA president Dixie Carter, the thought of shutting down TNA amidst the monetary losses and unfavorable television deals never crossed her mind. "There has never been a day I felt that," Carter told Between the Ropes radio. "People have been saying we don't have a chance. You lose money when you start a new company... We've had a wonderful business plan in place that we have met or exceeded along the way."

 

Carter confirmed reports that Spike TV planned to get out of the wrestling business after working with WWE before taking interest in the TNA product. "From the first meeting, they were intrigued by the uniqueness of our product, how innovative it was, how different it was from what they currently had on their air," Carter said. "They've been believers from the beginning. They're as excited about us being on Spike as we are." Carter views TNA as competition to WWE with an opportunity to bring back the ten million viewers who stopped watching wrestling over the last five years. "I hope they (WWE) grow two million fans and I hope we find the other eight," Carter said. "That's what it's all about - getting back in there and reconnecting with people who maybe got disenchanted with where wrestling was going."

 

TNA NOTEBOOK

 

-Says one TNA wrestler: "Whatever respect Scott D'Amore earned from the boys for keeping himself off TV since he got the booking job he lost when he put himself out there on the first Spike TV show. Here's the booker in the middle of the biggest segment on the show. Gee, how'd that happen? And what was with that stupid fake laugh, anyway?"

 

-Samoa Joe told Wrestle Talk Radio that he chose TNA over WWE because TNA had a clear set of ideas for his character, which would allow him to "do what he does," rather than have to fit to a WWE-created gimmick. Previously, Joe said he also chose not to sign with WWE because he could make more money outside of WWE and didn't want to move from his condo in Huntington Beach, Calif. to Louisville for training in OVW. On the renewed working relationship between TNA and ROH, Joe said it benefits the wrestlers because guys are receiving contracts in TNA while establishing their ROH characters to a wider audience.

 

- Spike TV officials at the UFC event on Monday night in Las Vegas were talking in positive terms about the finished produce TNA aired on their network on Saturday night. The prediction was that it should pull at least a 1.0 rating, 30-40 percent above what Velocity had been drawing in that timeslot in recent months.

 

-Spike TV officials are also talking enthusiasticly about the possibility of airing a TNA special this February when USA preempts Raw for the Westminster Dog Show. They're talking more about that than airing UFC in that prime slot.

 

-Current line up for Bound for Glory PPV on October 23: Jeff Jarrett vs. Kevin Nash for the NWA Title, A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels in a 30-minute Iron Man match for the X Division Title, Samoa Joe vs. Jushin Liger, Matt Bentley vs. Petey Williams vs. Chris Sabin in Ultimate X, Abyss vs. Sabu vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Rhino in a Monster's Ball Weapons match...

 

-Kevin Nash signed a one-year contract, but there are loopholes which could lead to him being a free agent sooner. He also has the dreaded "creative control" written into his contract. Nash lives just 60 minutes from Universal Studios and has intentionally stayed out of the politics at tapings, not wanting anyone to think he's reverting to his WCW ways. He arrived at 1 p.m. for the TV taping.

 

-The A.J. Styles vs. Roderick Strong match was originally scheduled to last nine minutes, but was cut back to under five minutes when it was decided that it would be better to have the match be a showcase for Styles rather than debut him in an even-steven competitive match. The Styles-Strong match that aired on TV was the original, but the ending was filmed later and edited into the match that aired in place of the original finish. The original match's ending was deemed unairable.

 

-There was no group meeting of any kind before the TNA Impact tapings last week. There was some thought afterwards that it might have helped cool everyone's nerves since everyone seemed so tightly wound when they were on camera.

 

-Before Team 3D and Nash went to the ring, they were told that there was less than a minute and a half left of total TV time for their run-ins and promos. All three had comments edited from TV because of tight TV time. Konnan's comments, which included more anti-Jeff Jarrett sentiment, was also edited primarily for time reasons.

 

-Team 3D's BRD (a/k/a Bubba Ray Dudley) gave Vince McMahon the finger at the TNA tapings, but that was edited off of the initial broadcast.

 

-Monty Brown told the Monday Mayhem radio show that he believes TNA shouldn't try to do too much on Spike TV while delivering the same performance they have given in the past to draw the attention of wrestling fans. Brown said it's important for TNA not to get ahead of themselves in order to succeed. Comparing TNA to Microsoft in 1986 when the software giant first started, Brown said the keys to TNA's success will be exposing the product to a national audience while developing a good working relationship with Spike. On his impact once TNA debuts on Spike, Brown said, "The seed has been planted, we watered it, and now it's about to sprout out big and 'The Alpha Male' is going to be at the center of it."

 

-Regarding Monty Brown, one TNA wrestler says regarding his outrageous promo style: "What you see on TV is what he's really like. He leaves personal phone messages that sound a lot like his TV promos. That's who he is. He's not faking it, and he's barely exaggerating it for TV."

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ROH NOTEBOOK?

 

-The new ROH commissioner is Jim Cornette. Cornette was introduced to the Philadelphia, Pa. crowd last Sunday. There will be a video featuring Cornette on ROHWrestling.com available soon where he will talk about his new role as commissioner of ROH.

 

-ROH is claiming Kenta Kobashi and Samoa Joe suffered numerous injuries during their matches last weekend. Kobashi had one of his teeth broken in half and Joe suffered a minor ankle injury.

 

-Claudio Castagnoli impressed ROH officials and the live crowd with both of his performances last weekend. Castagnoli will now be a regular in ROH.

 

-ROH is claiming that both B.J. Whitmer and Nigel McGuinness were knocked out and were out on their feet during their match last weekend. Nigel McGuiness had a faraway look in his eyes after retaining the Pure Title.

 

-Samoa Joe is going on to Australia to wrestle at several events this week. He will be back in time for the next set of TNA Impact tapings.

 

LATEST TV TAPING RESULTS

 

At the Sept. 28 OVW TV tapings in Louisville, Kentucky, the feud between OVW Champion Johnny Jeter and Matt Cappotelli was advanced to set up an impending title match. At a press conference at the WB Studios, Cappotelli said he was coming back to OVW for the OVW Title. From the side of the camera, Johnny Jeter hit Cappotelli with a superkick, busting open Cappotelli. Jeter beat on Cappotelli then Mr. Ken Kennedy announced Jeter as the winner of the first ever press conference podium match.

 

In the main event match, TV Champion Ken Doane and Brent Albright wrestled to a 30-minute draw as time expired while Albright had Doane locked in the crowbar. The match ended at the 20-minute mark, but Albright wanted to finish the match. A five-minute overtime period elapsed without a winner, so the match went into a second overtime period. The bell sounded after 30-minutes and Doane said he was done with Albright, but would wrestle anyone else. After Doane called fellow Bolin Service member Bobby Lashley "his bitch" prior to the match, Lashley answered the challenge to a strong reaction. Lashley told Doane to answer Albright's challenge for a re-start of the TV title match or the task of facing him in a TV title match. Kenny Bolin intervened and said the match could not happen. Lashley fired Bolin then Dean Visk attacked Lashley from behind. Lashley shook off the sneak attack and speared Doane before Visk came back with another attack using broken pieces of the TV title trophy. Albright tried to save Lashley, but he took a beat down as well. Afterwards, Albright and Lashley were helped to the back.

 

Doug Basham, working with a new gimmick in his OVW return, wrestled C.M. Punk in the opening match. Basham won the match then praised Punk on the mic. Basham extended a hand, but Punk refused and walked away.

 

Paul Birchill beat Elijah Burke in a re-match from two weeks ago... Aaron "the Idol" Stevens pinned Seth Skyfire with the help of Beth Phoenix and Shelly. After the match, Beth and Shelly grabbed Skyfire and Idol set up for the Idolizer DDT, but Chris Cage interrupted. Cage took a low blow from Stevens's valets then Alexis Laree ran in and delivered double tornado DDT's.

 

TNA Impact starts strong, but must vary the format (#882)

By Wade Keller, Torch editor

Oct 8, 2005, 21:28

 

 

 

__________________________

 

 

This Week with Wade Keller

By Wade Keller, Torch editor

Original Headline: TNA Impact starts strong, but must vary the format

Originally Published: October 8, 2005

Torch Newsletter #882

 

TNA had several obvious goals headed into Saturday?s debut on Spike TV. TNA Impact had to look major league, had to appeal to WWE fans, and had to show strengths in areas where WWE is weak. TNA accomplished those goals.

 

From the start, TNA looked professional. The opening video montage, with the James Earl Jones-style voiceover, presented TNA as an underdog promotion with wrestlers who deserve more acclaim than they?ve received lately. It was humble and at the same time set the bar high for what first-time viewers were to expect.

 

The production quality of the video was easily at the level of anything WWE did. It was apparent to anyone that TNA was not being thrown together in the basement of the promoter?s parent?s house. This belonged on national cable television.

 

There was no shortage of clips and references to A.J. Styles in the opening minute of the show, either. Viewers knew right away there was someone special in this promotion they may have never heard of, but who was worth staying tuned to see. The clips of his dives and overall athleticism teased what was to come later.

 

For viewers looking for star power, they got a dose of that, too. TNA isn?t pretending it can compete with WWE in terms of major star power. There was no influx of big names right away, as was once imagined, with Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, and Matt Hardy. Instead, Jeff Jarrett, Rhino, Konnan, B.G. James, Raven, and Jeff Hardy were the early familiar faces offered.

 

Mike Tenay introduced the show with a good slogan to describe TNA: "Your new wrestling alternative." That phrase tells viewers that TNA knows it?s not "number one." It?s not pretending it is. There have been competitors to WWE over the years as large as WCW or as weak as the AWA or as minor league as Herb Abrams?s UWF, Australia?s WWA, or the short-lived XWF out of Florida that pretended to be something bigger than they were. Instantly, credibility was brought into question.

 

By referring to themselves as "your wrestling alternative," it set TNA up as "merely" an alternative, something different that can be a compliment, or in some cases, a replacement, for WWE for wrestling fans in the country.

 

The opening shot of the arena was perfect for a "WWE alternative." It was slick, clean, crisp, bright, and conveyed energy. It wasn?t drab and tired like Smackdown. It wasn?t pretending to be Raw at its peak. It had its own feel, a mix of American Idol Hollywood, movie set, and old-style wrestling studio modernized for 2005.

 

The crowd?s enthusiasm helped right off the bat. It was clear to any new viewer that there was a party going on and they were joining it late. The crowd wasn?t made up of disinterested tourists, phony plants paid to be there, or long-time fans who were bored. The crowd loved TNA and loved that TNA was on national TV in prime time for the first time.

 

A.J. Styles vs. Roderick Strong was a good idea for an opening match, even if it didn?t ultimately turn out as well as everyone had hoped. The first match at last week?s taping had to be redone because the finish was messed up. The second match didn?t feature Styles or Strong at their best. Chalk it up to nerves or a tight timeframe or overly high expectations, but it wasn?t TNA?s centerpiece, Styles, at his best.

 

Styles may have been better matched against a smaller wrestler who could take crazy bumps for him, such as Sonjay Dutt. The problem was, it wasn?t as good as some of the longer matches Velocity has featured lately. If TNA is going to hang its hat on being the promotion that features superior athleticism to WWE, the X Division matches are going to need more than four minutes to prove that point.

 

Then they went to Mike Tenay and Don West on camera. It?s good to connect faces with the voices of the broadcast. They said it was great to be on Spike TV, then again plugged Jeff Hardy vs. Rhino - a good move since both are known names, and Hardy especially provided TNA with a big name hook to hold over curious WWE fans who have wondered for years where "the flashier Hardy brother" went.

 

The first of several short profiles aired, this one on Monty Brown. Again, this was good placement. Footage aired of Brown?s NFL days, giving TNA a "real sports" credibility. Brown came across like a heavyweight WWE-caliber star of the future.

 

Then Shane Douglas interviewed Brown backstage. Douglas needs to stop Bogarting interviews with those ridiculously distracting facial expressions. Brown, though, stole the show with his peculiar, yet endearing outrageous interview style. He?s anything but boring or forgettable on interviews. He is unapologetically himself, and viewers will sense that and like that about him.

 

They quickly showed recently dethroned NWA Champ Raven bashing people with a chair backstage. It was a bit out of context, without any follow-up, but it was a way to get Raven on the first show. Raven?s exposure on WCW, WWE, and ECW TV shouldn?t be underestimated as an asset for TNA at this stage.

 

In the second match. Monty beat Lex Lovett in a quick squash. I liked squash matches. They?re an effective way to build up the signature moves and personality of a wrestler, key for TNA as they introduce new stars to viewers.

 

A highlight video aired of the X Division. TNA?s biggest weapon against WWE is going after WWE?s weakest point - athleticism. WWE has spent the last few years grounding its high-flying wrestlers, stripping its roster of the most athletic, and denying fans the chance to see modern-day, state-of-the-art wrestling action. TNA can provide that and make WWE seem slow, plodding, and antiquated by comparison.

 

In the third match, the longest of the night, Chris Sabin beat Petey Williams and Alex Shelley in a three-way. This had good, but not spectacular action. This wasn?t the X Division at its strongest, but it wasn?t bad. The problem was TNA didn?t take any time to establish who these wrestlers were or why they were wrestling. It looked like three wrestlers with similar body types having a seemingly meaningless match.

 

TNA cannot turn into a two-track promotion where there are (a) athletic wrestlers with underdeveloped personas and (cool.gif developed personas with mundane wrestling styles. Just because Sabin can wrestle doesn?t mean he should be taking up a roster spot unless he can be presented as a compelling personality. Petey Williams signing "Oh Canada" does not count as character development. This has been said over and over for years and TNA has yet to adequately address this crippling weakness. The fact is, many viewers - and Vince McMahon preaches this - won?t watch good wrestling action unless they care about the wrestlers.

 

TNA also didn?t explain what the X Division is well enough. They never have. West did point out that the X Division doesn?t mean you can do triple somersaults off the top rope. "It can mean, as in the case of Shelley, that you can dismantle your opponents on the mat," he said. Okay, so what does that say about the Heavyweight Division, and how are the two different? Why is Joe in the X Division and Hardy in the Heavyweight Division?

 

When Jerry Jarrett pitched the idea of the X Division concept to be in the months leading up to TNA?s launch, I pressed him on those questions. He got agitated because he had no answers and didn?t feel that level of explanation was important. To this day, I believe it is. The differentiation seems too arbitrary and vague at this point.

 

Douglas interviewed Larry Zbyszko backstage. Tito Ortiz then stepped in to have a private meeting with Zbyszko. It was a decent hook for next week.

 

The third of three vignettes aired, this one on 3 Live Kru who gave the show a dose of street cred, charisma, and familiar faces from the past.

 

Rhino vs. Jeff Hardy was the fourth match, also at just four minutes, and even less impressive than Styles vs. Strong. Neither wrestler was given a purpose for the match. Hardy?s return to national prime time TV was treated too nonchalantly. Rhino remains a one-dimensional character. It was smart to feature Hardy and Rhino on the first show, but in future weeks, they?ll need more of a purpose.

 

Then footage aired of the NWA Title change in Canada. This was risky. While TNA looked major league up until this point, it looked downright bush league for its World Title to be changing hands in front of a small crowd in a small venue with a chandelier in the background. TNA did their best to distract from it with the production bells and whistles, but it was still weak.

 

The final segment was a strong point. Jeff Jarrett was solid on the mic. America?s Most Wanted carried themselves well as heels. The appearance of the Dudleys, with their new team name Team 3D, was that "surprise" TNA needed to have on its first show. Their look, though, was minor league, made up of matching t-shirts and mismatched pants. Kevin Nash also added some star power, but his promo was short and weak. A low point of the show was Scott D?Amore?s promo. He?s a solid manager in the mid-card, but his phony laugh and indistinguishable look had to make viewers wonder if his brother owned the promotion or something. He?s done better.

 

This formula worked for the first show. The pacing was frenetic, the action solid, and the production values major league. In the future, though, they need to break from the formula and instead build shows around one longer showcase match. Overall, the first effort gets a 7.5. I can?t imagine most viewers won?t be back again.

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Guest EastCoastJ

10-08-05: First Amendment Warrior (#882)

By Bruce Mitchell, Torch columnist

Oct 8, 2005, 21:32

 

 

"First Amendment Warrior"

By Bruce Mitchell, Torch columnist

Originally published October 8, 2005

Pro Wrestling Torch Weekly newsletter #882

 

"I oppose blatant censorship."

- Vince McMahon, The Donnie Deutsch Show.

 

"My ultimate responsibility is to the audience."

- Vince McMahon, The Self Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior.

 

Vince McMahon, patriot, has been fighting the censors even as he has geared up for the next great Wrestling War.

 

Vince McMahon was blatantly censored during his opening speech on the last Spike TV Raw show when, as he tried to tell his loyal viewers his flagship television show was moving to the USA Network, spiteful Spike programers cut the sound off.

 

Amazing. Some nameless cog in the cable corporate wheel switched a switch and the single most successful voice in cable?s top sport was silenced. The intimidation didn?t end there, either.

 

Those same censorious Spike cogs lied to viewers and sent a chilling message to WWE at the same time when they posted a "Technical Difficulties" sign at random times during the Raw broadcast. It started when the cameras found a sign in the crowd. A fan, exercising his First Amendment right of free speech, had taken his time and money to make a sign that said "Spike fears USA." The Technical Difficulties sign was on immediately, and that fan?s dream of getting a little glory for himself while supporting his favorite sport was cruelly snuffed out.

 

Vince McMahon didn?t get to be the God of Wrestling by bowing down to intimidation, whether it was from pistol-packing promoters, face-painted steroid monkeys (more on that later), or ambitious federal prosecutors.

 

Worse, these blatant censors made a serious miscalculation. This was Raw?s last night on their network, and if they were going to continue to siphon off Raw viewers for their new franchise, The Ultimate Fighter, they couldn?t afford to enrage potential customers by yanking the show completely off the air. Worse, a move like that would likely end in expensive litigation for all involved.

 

McMahon knew he had to stand up for his audience?s right to express itself. The savvy McMahon also knew a bluff to call when he saw one. He told his announcers what to say and when to say it, just like he tells, in one way or another, everyone in his multinational company what to say. The cries of "USA! USA!" - the ones that never quite rang out as planned when the Arab-American Muhammad Hassan (more on that later) was featured on the same Raw show - were heard across the wrestling nation.

 

By the end of the night the Spike censors knew their bluff had been called and the ante had been raised well above their willingness to pay. They folded, and the voice of Vince McMahon was heard, like always, across the wrestling world.

 

McMahon?s voice is also heard every time WWE champion John Cena appears on TV. He?s got a clear message for WWE fans: You wanted a new Superstar. John Cena is that Superstar.

 

Cena has the great looks, the natural charisma, the presence, and the strong promo ability to become the next People?s Champion. It was another example of McMahon keeping his responsibility to WWE fans uppermost in his mind.

 

McMahon spoke strongly, clearly and uncensored, in his inimitable way. He gave John Cena a rap star gimmick that Cena has a passion and talent to perform. He had the very best workers in the company use their talents to help Cena become great in the fans? eyes. McMahon built Cena up to challenge for and win the ultimate prize in the sport, the WWE Title, at the ultimate wrestling event, WrestleMania. He financed Cena?s hip hop CD, promoted its release on a major label, and arranged for Cena, an intelligent, likable, well-spoken representative for his company, to appear on major cable television talk shows. He financed a major motion picture release, "The Marine," and cast Cena as its star.

 

The marketing genius of Vince McMahon worked again. Kids everywhere imitated Cena?s "You Can?t See Me" signature line. Women swooned at his young, handsome looks and smooth, confident way of presenting himself. Ratings improved, audiences at the shows exploded in noise at Cena?s entrance, and merchandise sales skyrocketed. McMahon?s message came through loud and clear.

 

Until the blatant censors struck again.

 

This time the censors came from a small minority within the very people to which McMahon felt his greatest responsibility, an even greater responsibility than he felt to WWE stockholders. Some male fans from the age of 15 to 30, the very demographic McMahon superserves in every other segment for more than four hours of weekly original programming, unfairly discriminated against John Cena because of his smooth, supple young body and beautiful, well-groomed face. They began to bring ugly, insulting signs to arenas and TV tapings, hoping to appear on camera to censor McMahon?s message to the fans. These petty, blatant censors wanted to shut up Vince McMahon?s message, shut up the hot women who rejected them, and shut up the children who had found a hero of their own.

 

Once again into the breach for Mr. McMahon as he fought against the censors who sought to keep him, his company, and most importantly his fans from expressing themselves. McMahon understands the discrimination Cena faced, since it?s a discrimination he himself faces to this very day. McMahon directed security to seek out and remove dozens and dozens of signs from the arena, safeguarding once again the First Amendment rights of himself and the rest of the WWE family.

 

Vince McMahon doesn?t win every battle against the censors, even if right is on his side. When WWE Creative, the team he and his heir apparent Stephanie McMahon head, came up with a surefire storyline in Arab-Americans Muhammad Hassan and Daivari and the struggles they faced in the wake of 9/11, a storyline that would engage the fans? passions, make another new star, and in the end teach a lesson about the effects of Anti-Arab-American discrimination, the pressure started from the censors, even from some within the industry, that somehow the storyline itself, a storyline that addressed a real social issue, was actually exploiting American anger after the murder of thousands of Americans on 9/11. The censors again wanted to silence Vince McMahon and WWE?s right of free speech.

 

This time the blatant censors, like the quislings they are, struck from within McMahon?s company itself. The man who played the character of Muhammad Hassan, Mark Copani, who had received the biggest break of his career, repaid this million dollar spot by deliberately sabotaging this exciting storyline. Copani refused to do what WWE Creative laid out for him, refused to entertain the fans by taking his gimmick to its logical conclusions, for all practical purposes censoring the very people who had rewarded him so greatly. He had an ungrateful scheme to keep refusing to perform these supposedly in poor taste angles until he was terminated by WWE, then he would engage the company in an expensive and publicly embarrassing lawsuit. Fortunately an associate of his who believed in WWE?s First Amendment rights to express themselves tipped off the company and Copani?s scheme was thwarted.

 

So when Copani?s reservations about the consequences of the gimmick he was acting out became true, when the hooded terrorists were seen on Smackdown attempting to garrote the Undertaker just like Arab terrorists had murdered their hostages, when the mainstream media jumped on the story in disgust, and the very network WWE had made millions for and put on the ratings map refused to allow the Hassan characters and storyline on their TV, the censors had won their Anti-American battle.

 

The lesson WWE Creative had crafted about Arab-American discrimination would never be heard. McMahon, warrior that he is, may have lost the battle, but he let the world know where the blame lies for this international public relations debacle:

 

On Marc Copani, the man who refused to perform the angle the way Vince McMahon wanted it performed, the censor (and traitor) from within.

 

Censors, Vince McMahon has learned, come from all directions.

 

Even Parts Unknown.

 

When The Ultimate Warrior refused to cooperate with Vince McMahon?s generous offer to immortalize his legacy in DVD form, McMahon was once again censored from telling the story the fans, his primary responsibility, wanted. So he did the best he could with the project, enlisting Warrior?s peers to tell the story of a guy who couldn?t wrestle, a man who couldn?t keep his opponents safe, a man with the morals of a bank robber, and a man who couldn?t speak English in an understandable way.

 

Well, the DVD story is wrong about that last part. Warrior certainly can talk. In the tradition of censors everywhere, Warrior, without even bothering to watch the DVD story of his life, spoke out on his own web site in an attempt to squelch (censor) McMahon and WWE?s message. Warrior went right for his opponents? balls in an attempt to silence them.

 

He pointed out that if McMahon and WWE hated him so much and thought him so unprofessional, why did McMahon keep offering big money to hire him back? (And even I, a staunch foe of censorship, had to consider that one for a while.) Warrior called one critic?s serious illness and another critic?s permanent paralysis "karma" for their bad acts. Warrior, once again, showed off his fascination/phobia for male sex organs throwing out these words and phrases: "assholes"... "member suckers"... "shooting off"... "tiny, shriveled private parts"... "pissing on you"... "faggot"... "you expected me to drop to my knees right then and lick one of the three balls you claimed you had"... "your adulterous ball-licker"... "jacked-up juice"... "get your real nut"... "rear canal"... "man-balls"... "anal pressure"... "ass-wipes"... "you never had the chance to bend me over"... "drooling gotta-get-closer-to-those-sweaty-wrestling-bodies feminine cowboy"... "a sodomized Ned Beatty squealing like a pig in Deliverance"... "eunuchs"... and so on. Some would consider that a dead giveaway.

 

Anyone left reading who wasn?t confused or titillated might wonder about McMahon?s story on the DVD about Warrior holding the company up before Summerslam. (McMahon?s Ultimate No No in the wrestling business, far different from wrestling promoters not keeping their own promises on payoffs). Did Warrior hold up the company or was he just demanding money he was rightfully owed from previous pay-per-views? Again, McMahon is faced with blatant censorship in getting his story across.

 

But then Warrior is a blatant censor from way back. Hulk Hogan recounts the story of how Warrior came to WCW and in his very first appearance on Nitro "committed the ultimate no no in our business" and told the fans he had once beaten Hogan. Eric Bischoff helpfully chimes in that Warrior was not, no matter what you heard, brought in so Hogan could get his win back. Hogan knew that if fans thought that Warrior, the babyface, had beaten and could beat Hollywood Hogan, the heel who always won, in the most famous match in his career and one of the biggest of the decade, they would never buy a ticket to see the match. Everyone knows it?s a concrete rule of the business that fans never buy tickets to see their favorites win.

 

Warrior had just censored both Hogan?s WCW message and his chance to make money off their match. (Someone should have clued in Tony Schiavone, WCW?s main announcer, who could be heard talking about Warrior?s big win over Hogan at the beginning of their WCW pay-per-view match, which Hogan won.

 

(And got his win back.)

 

Vince McMahon?s battle against blatant censors will continue shortly. Bret Hart, who censored Vince McMahon?s vision when he refused to lose the WWF Title to Shawn Michaels in Montreal, has censored McMahon once again by using blackmail to get the final cut over his WWE legacy DVD "The Best There Is..."

 

Can a First Amendment Warrior like Vince McMahon find some way to get his message out one more time despite the censorious efforts of the self-absorbed Hart, who?s not even American? Only time (and Shawn Michaels?s autobiography) will tell.

 

Bruce Mitchell has written for PWTorch for 15 years - since September 1990. You can listen to him discuss current events in pro wrestling with PWTorch editor Wade Keller every Friday night at the PWTorch.com VIP Audio section. He also writes Mojo Reviews of Raw and Smackdown for VIP Email Express. He recommends Chronicles Volume 1 by Bob Dylan for your reading pleasure.

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-USA Network will preempt Raw on Feb. 13,. 2006 for the Westminster Dog Show, but it will air on Wednesday, Feb. 15 instead. Raw will not air Aug. 28 due to the U.S. Open and will not be rescheduled. It will also not air Sept. 4 due to the U.S. Open, but will air that Friday, Sept. 8, potentially going head-to-head with Smackdown on UPN during one hour.

*Sigh* I knew it was all coming but to hear about it this early? Fuck, it's already started. That's why I hated Raw being on USA back in the day. Of course, WCW was on the air during a lot of it, so that helped.

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Guest Alfdogg

Taking offense, Grisham and Droz fired back against Warrior before Matt Striker appeared in Warrior costume. During the parody segment, Grisham asked "Warrior" how grew so large. "Warrior" fired back, "It's the steroids, the steroids!" This portion of the segment was edited off Byte This one day later after WWE.com posted a statement questioning whether the parody went too far. "Last night on 'Byte This!,' what was intended to be a light-hearted parody on the Ultimate Warrior's official statement regarding his refusal to appear on the show may have gone a little overboard," wrote WWE.com. "Todd Grisham and Matt Striker went into a direction that was not the original intent of the producers of 'Byte This!' or WWE."

Not to mention that Striker got himself over without actually being on roids and being shoved down our throats throughout three months of unoverness.

 

The June Vengeance PPV, which featured Batista vs. Triple H in a Hell in a Cell, saw a 38 percent increase in buyrates from 232,000 buys in calendar year 2004 to 320,000 buys this year.

And also featured Cena's RAW PPV debut and both World titles defended on the same show, but I guess we'll ignore those factors so HHH looks better.

 

Informed backstage sources insist that Triple H had wanted to take time off earlier this year or even late last year because he felt his character had grown stale. Vince McMahon, though, disagreed and felt the timing was not right for Hunter to remove himself as the centerpiece of Raw.

"Earlier this year" = "Before he had to do two more jobs to Batista."

 

WWE will be taping both Raw and Smackdown in Minneapolis, Minn. at the Target Center on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2005. This means that when Raw airs on Monday, Nov. 14, it will not be live. The reason behind WWE pre-taping Raw that week is that WWE's tour of Europe begins on Tuesday, Nov. 15, so the Raw talents will be on their way to Europe as Raw airs in North America.

I wish they had scheduled this tour for a week earlier...then Indy could have gotten the supershow instead of just a SD.

 

Candice Michelle's Playboy shoot later this year is scheduled to feature her with the Women's Title wrapped around her waist, so expect a title change sometime between now and then.

They can't be serious about this...Candice is easily the most useless woman in the WWE right now, and maybe ever.

 

Speaking of women, I noticed Michelle McCool is no longer on the SD superstars page...what happened?

 

Raw will not air Aug. 28 due to the U.S. Open and will not be rescheduled.

So do they put this on their website when this happens, or do we just not see it at all?

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