AS I SEE IT 4/29: RAW is 4/20, bad WWE news, and remembering Chris

I watched RAW last Monday, and thought it was 4-20 all over
again.

WWE fixed… somewhat… the previous week’s fiasco by re-
renaming War Raiders from being a new ride at Six Flags
Great Adventure to… I think finally… Viking Raiders. I
thought…OK, maybe WWE heard people screaming how stupid
the first renaming was.

Then the edibles, or rather, viewables… kick in and I see
cult leader and “Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt as a kid’s show
host of “Firefly’s Playhouse”. I sat there with my mouth
open as a bizarre skit ran on my TV screen, worthy of 1980’s
WWF television. Yes, there are some signs that the new
gimmick may be a lot darker than a simple kid’s show host,
especially when he came out with a chain saw at the end, and
with Hurt and Heal on gloves. There’s word that some
advertisers and stockholders were putting pressure on WWE to
kill, but Vince McMahon has chosen to go ahead with it, re-
showing it the next night on Smackdown and airing it to the
live crowd as well.

We also had Cedric Alexander jobbing to Cesaro (inexplicably
moved from Smackdown to RAW as part of a “trade” involving
Cesaro and Samoa Joe coming to RAW “in return for” Andrade,
Zelina Vega, and Alistair Black going to Smackdown,
allegedly because FOX wants Latin talent on Smackdown), and
Ricochet going down to “Robert” Roode. It was beginning to
look like “WWE thumbs its nose at the Internet” night..and
then it looked like Baron Corbin was going to go over AJ
Styles in the main event to top it all. Fortunately, that
one didn’t happen at least. But I really felt by 11:00 pm
that night that someone had snuck THC in my dinner
rotisserie chicken.

Then, WWE issued rather disappointing First Quarter earning
results late last week, which in part included the drop in
TV ratings I talked about in last week’s blog. In a
laughable response to those who questioned the negative
results, Vince McMahon attempted to blaming the numbers on
“talent absences”, presumably using John Cena doing movies
or Roman Reigns fighting leukemia as an excuse.

As mentioned in many locations (including last week’s blog)
RAW is down 14 percent in the first quarter and Smackdown 13
percent in viewership, versus average cable television drop
in a comparable period of nearly 5 percent. RAW hasn’t hit 3
million viewers since August 2018 or Smackdown hit 2.5
million viewer mark since October 2018. First quarter
attendance at WWE live events in North America declined 11
percent, with a corresponding 11 percent decrease in
merchandising sales both on WWE Shop and at live events.

Stock prices responded accordingly that day, dropping 14
percent on the date of the announcement from $98 to $84 per
share.

In the live call, McMahon refused to discuss the Saudi shows
when asked, which are now scheduled for June and November
(resulting in the cancellation of a June PPV and a NXT
Takeover) This might be why he didn’t want to: The New York
Daily News reported the following last week:

“A Saudi man who was arrested seven years ago as he was
getting ready to board a plane to America was beheaded by
the government Tuesday, the official press agency said. He
was among the 37 individuals who were executed…, according
to the Saudi Press Agency. [he] was 17 when he was detained
at King Fahd International Airport in 2012….he was to
begin school at Western Michigan University. He had
allegedly attended a pro-democracy rally in the midst of the
Arab Spring, prompting his arrest, and was later charged
with armed disobedience against the king….He was allegedly
convicted after being severely beaten during his time in
custody.

Of the 37 individuals [executed], most were minority Shiite
Muslims and at least three were minors. The kingdom is on
track to execute more than 300 people this year, the
international human rights organization Reprieve wrote on
Twitter.

“This is another egregious display of brutality by Crown
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman,” Reprieve Director Maya Foa said
in a statement. “That the Saudi regime believes it has
impunity to carry out such patently illegal executions,
without notice, should shock its international partners into
action.”

————–

A funny Chris story: I remember the day in 1996 while on
vacation in San Francisco, I took in a WWF house show at the
Cow Palace, not so much to see WWF…but mostly to see the
historic wrestling venue which had featured Roy Shire’s
northern California promotion with names like Pat Patterson,
Leo Nomellini, and Ray Stevens. So I’m standing around the
parking lot, waiting for the doors to open with the locals
and kids milling around…and a car screeches to a stop, and
goes into rapid reverse.

The door opens, and it’s Chris and Tammy (who had already
broken up in storyline, but even the kids in the parking lot
knew better to ask) with a collective “What are YOU doing
here!? We said our hellos and they drove into the building.
Until the doors to the Cow Palace opened, I then had to
listen to at least a hundred kids screeching at me without
end…”You know Sunny?”. I can visualize Chris to this day
laughing his ass off as they pulled away to go into the
wrestler’s entrance at the Cow Palace for the night’s show.

As I type this, Chris is sitting somewhere with the late
promoter Dennis Coraluzzo, sharing the first of a hundred
glasses of Dennis’s infamous ice teas, listening to one of
Dennis’s newest schemes (and probably thinking up one or two
of his own)… with a big grin on his face. He’s hanging out
later with Brian Hildebrand and Eddie Gilbert to watch what
will no doubt be the first of a hundred wrestling matches
they watch today.

Chris you were unforgettable then, and are still. Rest well.

Until next time…