It was eight years ago this past week that Eddie Guerrero left this world.
I first met Eddie Guerrero when he came into ECW in April 1994. There have been few within wrestling who’ve ever been genuinely nicer, or more approachable to fans than the Guerrero I got to know. I remember saying to a friend once that Eddie “always seemed to have a smile in his eyes”.
To this day…one of my most vivid ECW memories was the farewell show for Dean Malenko and Eddie on August 26, 1995. This may well have been the best match I’ve ever seen for the overall emotional experience combined with the actual match itself anywhere in wrestling. While Dean and Eddie worked better matches in ECW and in Japan, the sheer emotion of the toughest crowd in North America not to mention the fans, locker room, and Dean and Eddie themselves in tears, accompanied by Joey Styles doing the match call of his life as Guerrero and Malenko worked their last ECW match.
Well…I certainly got a lot of response from last week’s column.
One of the more detailed was a series of responses from one reader, Chad Richards:
First, Chad’s reponse to my column of last week.
“Your column today reminded me of something Jim Cornette said several years ago. There are 3 types of WWE fans:
1) The people that will watch when a once and a lifetime phenomenon like Steve Austin comes along
2) The people that will watch when the product is good
3) The people that will watch no matter how bad or good the product is and complain about it either way
After reading your column I went into your archive to see what you wrote after WrestleMania 20. The night WWE gave the internet fans what they had been wanting for years. I wanted to see if even then you were truly happy with what WWE gave you. Your column made no mention of it, instead you were mad that WWE was drafting wreslters to different brands. That confirmed what I thought….if Daniel Bryan won the title last Sunday clean in the middle and had a boyhood dream celebration you still would not have been happy.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are internet heroes but the people who cheer for them on the internet are not the fans WWE should be marketing its product to because 1) those fans will never be happy and 2) the majority of them don’t even buy WWE’s product. I’ll never forget around Money in the Bank 2011….on the message boards I read all anyone was talking about was how this was the best angle WWE had run in years, Punk better win, etc…then the day of the show all I see is the same people posting ‘anyone got a good stream?’ That’s why when the buyrate for Money In the Bank 2011 and this years SummerSlam came in, I sure wasn’t surprised…
…I never see you talk about New Japan in your columns. Why is that? Do you watch it? Wrestling fans who enjoy GOOD wrestling have been talking about it for over a year. We don’t watch WWE. If you are a true wrestling fan and you want to see GOOD wrestling, not watch bad wrestling just for the sake of complaining about it, you should be watching New Japan and writing about how great it has been this year. There’s no excuse anymore…all the great shows are on Youtube almost immediately after they end FOR FREE. When the Observer Awards come out this year, at least half of the Top 10 and probably all of the Top 5 will be New Japan matches. I never see you write about them though.
This week, the theme is giving.
First, some news on the Kickstarter campaign for the documentary Wrestling with Disaster.
Most of the time, fans watch wrestling and give little thought to the fact that wrestlers are actually people, too; with lives, families, and friends outside of the business. They have the same trials and tribulations that we all do.
The issues can be made worse, because of the pressure to maintain a character, to perform before an audience, and to succeed in a often lonely business. While wrestling has deep rooted spirit of comradeship, true friendships are often few and far between leaving some performers empty inside after the final bell rings. This is one of the many things that becomes a challenge for those involved.
Photo by WWE
So Hell in a Cell is next Sunday.
The question is, after the disaster that was the Battleground PPV…how many people will be turned off buying WWE PPVs altogether?
This past Sunday saw a major UFC PPV, with Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Del Santos, which likely got a lot of buys. Whether WWE chooses to admit it publicly or not, UFC IS a competitor for PPV dollars. In this tight economy, if fans are forced to choose, they are less likely to make the choice ofa PPV this coming weekend which ended with a non-finish over versus this past Saturday’s conclusion to a strong series of Heavyweight UFC matchups.
Photo by WWE
How do you spell “Stop the panic in Stamford”?
After the disastrous Battleground PPV, the ratings for Monday Night RAW were the third lowest of the year. Expectations for the Battleground buyrate can’t be very good. Recent buyrates have been down overall.
Was anyone really surprised at Daniel Bryan getting the title yanked off of him last Monday? Or that it took that long?
So…this week, time for the WWE Monday Night RAW Drinking Game. You know the drill: when ridiculously common things happens on Monday Night RAW; have a drink of your favorite adult beverage.
Hint: Keep in mind that you need to have dinner first to get something in your stomach. Additional munchies may also be necessary throughout the night. Have a comfortable place to nod off, too.
At least until the inevitable HHH promo finding some way to take it away from him due to a “fast count”, Daniel Bryan is the WWE Champion. Enjoy it while you can.
Meanwhile, if the McMahon-Helmsley Era v. 2.0 wasn’t bad enough, now WWE fired Jim Ross over the WWE 2K14 press conference, at which Ric Flair went into an off-message and possibly alcohol-assisted story-telling session where WWE blamed Ross, feeling he didn’t keep Flair in line.
It will be 14 years on September 8…the 14th anniversary of Brian Hildebrand’s passing after fighting a two year battle against cancer.
There are few people within wrestling who were held in such universally high regard at the time of their passing. When people eulogized Brian, the words they used weren’t the kind that social obligation or courtesy often require. Lots of people become posthumous heroes. Brian was one for the two years of his fight, and was an inspiration to many within wrestling for all the years her worked within the business long before that.
The words used by all who knew him, worked with him, and were fans of him, were deep and heartfelt, epitomized by Mick Foley, when he said about Brian in his best-selling book Mankind: Have A Nice Day: “Brian brought out all the better angels of our nature”.
Well, the thought police are back. Thought they were done with the defeat of the Parents Television Council, didn’t you?
This time, the thought police are after MMA….and not in New York state, where UFC has been fighting to get the sport made legal in the state.
On August 14, UFC will come to Boston, MA with “Ultimate Fighting Champion Homecoming,” a PR event to celebrate the return of the sport to Boston.
As most of you know, PWBTS.com, the flagship site of this column, focuses on coverage and promotion of independent wrestling. As someone who happily shills independent wrestling promotions whenever possible, one of the things that pisses me off is the way independent promotions seems to have no sense about the basic sorts of things that they need to do to promote their product.
Instead, some promoters seem to think that the way to draw is to hold grudges against any independent promotion operating in their area. They’ll take shots at these competitors online or in print. They’ll tell their talent: if you work for [insert name of competitor], I won’t book you on my shows. They’ll hold multi-promotion tournaments, and not invite the largest one in their area…who just happens to be said competitor. They’ll deliberately run shows against even charity-themed promotions, try calling local police to disrupt their shows…and all sorts of fun things like that.