ITR @ 01.03.2012 = WTF?

Greetings to Brady, DJ, and honored co-hosts of In the Room. I have not missed an ITR outside the “Natural Disaster” edition (looking forward to it though). A few weeks ago I nearly spilled another coffee (I’m hooked on the stuff) when I heard the ‘talkin trash’ on Kane (most undervalued performer ever alongside Christian) but that is an editorial for another time.

Again, I enjoyed the podcast as always but cannot recall disagreeing and nodding my head more at an ITR podcast on the January 3rd 2012 edition. Let me start with the most obvious objection that I had with the majority of the podcast:

1. Chris Jericho’s return was genius and will be one of the most memorable (for good reasons) for a long time to come. After six weeks (I think) of odd and intriguing videos that had the IWC (good one, Brady) speculating and pretty darned excited, Chris walked out with shades of Kuafman by shamelessly soaking in the crowd reaction and mocking CM Punk (as Vince had indicated in an earlier comment) but even more so (to me) Hulk Hogan, Quadripper H, and the Rock in the process. Jericho cleverly mocked many of the top-level good guys that drive the IWC crazy.

After 10 or 15 minutes (as Jason had mentioned), the crowd had likely caught on (most of them before the end of the vignette I hope) that Jericho was basically taking the reaction and crammed it back in the fans’ throats basically proving them the peons or zombies or which his former persona had accused them. It pissed us off by DESIGN. I could see Jericho’s face support drop minute by minute as the crowd was catching bit by bit that he was basically smirking at their reaction. When he dropped the mic you could tell that he was likely more heel than he was face (to say the least). Maybe 10 to 15 minutes was too long but Jericho should have milked it as long as he could. Have we ever wasted 10 to 15 minutes of Raw watching something more stupid?

Would it really have been better to never have had the videos and to have Jericho come back at the Rumble to cost Punk the title and surprise us there (as mentioned on the podcast)? Not in my humble opinion! They can still have Jericho cost Punk the title at the Rumble AND have all of the buzz of the 01.02.2010 videos AND the strong work that Jericho did this week at Raw. It may not be as effective to have Jericho return now and then again at the Rumble but all of the mysterious videos that had the IWC buzzing and Jericho’s very odd and ORIGINAL return have also been given to us.

So in short we saw a very original and perfectly done return by Chris Jericho setting out to do exactly what he wanted. We had tons of speculation (yes Jericho was the odds-on favorite) on the 01.02.2010 videos AND we have what will likely be a speaking promo next week from Y2J. However, if I was booking it, I would not have Y2J say much of anything next week. I would have him get involved in a match where something appears to backfire on a face (be it Punk or somebody else) and to have him walk off without acknowledging whether he was sorry about the backfire or not and let this angle burn slowly.

Here’s a small tidbit. The original script called for Jericho to return to Raw, cut a ten minute speaking promo on how lousy the business is only to have GM Funkhouser come out and set up a Wrestlemania contract on a pole match between Jericho and Ryder. Jericho wins the contract and sets up his match with Punk at Wrestlemania. Funkhouser comes out and says that the contract signing will be at the end of the show. Jericho and Punk come out in the closing segment to sign the contract only to have the Underseller come out and take them both out with a double chokeslam through the table. Underseller goes to sign the contract only to have Quadripper-H interfere and challenge him to a WM rematch. Finally Hornswoggle come out from under the ring and steals the contract and takes it back under the ring. Funkhouser has the ever-vacant look on his face to end the show.

Yes, I jest but I would not put it past WWE to put together the above together. Jericho is a slow burn and WWE did not blow their load in one night. Both the videos and the first appearance have the IWC talking. Let’s enjoy it … OK?

2. WWE Network playing B-level PPVs on their network and not the big four is a good idea. Brady almost had this one on the podcast. The first idea (or poll as it was) of taking their four most profitable PPVs to the network was exactly the wrong thing to do. As we know, the B-level PPVs were not drawing much money (arguably the big four weren’t either) so WWE is not losing a lot of revenue and only enhancing their network. PPV is a dying business and WWE has to make a move like WWE Network.

MY understanding of the WWE network is that it would be part of a cable package including other sports/entertainment channels such as Fuel TV, NHL Network (or other channels of similar genre) that you will either get or not get depending on what cable tier you purchase. I doubt that it will be a single channel that you will order or not order for 10 bucks a month or something like that at least from the research that I have done (could be wrong of course).

Here is what I have seen so far but I suppose only WWE folks would know the true answer … the WWE network would be part of some ‘channel pack or tier’ reaching 40 million homes (to start). As part of the ‘pack’ they would get something well under a quarter per household (i.e. you will not order it explicitly). Now think about it, IF WWE reaches 40 million subscribers at even 15 cents a month then that’s $6 million in WWE’s pockets EVERY MONTH.

The domestic PPV buyrate for MITB 2011 was 132,000. At 55 bucks a pop, WWE grossed about $7.25 million. I had read that after fees with PPV providers, WWE takes home about half of that making it about $3.63 million domestically for a decently performing B-level PPV. Now I know that these numbers are all speculation on my part but WWE network in this model may work well. WWE still gets to charge and pocket profits from the big four and they replace their B-level PPV revenue. Will international customers who don’t get the network still be able to buy B-level PPVs? That remains to be seen I guess.

This bullet point alone could take a number of pages but I leave it at this … I always felt that WWE should put the B-level PPVs on the network as they don’t draw much money and boost their network into fans demanding it for that (hypothetical) package that includes it. Why did I mention MITB? Well that’s because it has been WWE PPV of the year so far and was a B-level PPV … so I disagree with DJ’s statement on WWE B-level PPVs sucking. There have been good ones and lackluster ones.

3. Random Bullets:

– It is obvious that they are not taking Daniel Bryan seriously. I think that we (the IWC) knew that he was not taking the briefcase to Wrestlemania but he has been booked to fail (I like the Rey comparison that I think that Derrick had mentioned). Bryan will be lucky to hold the strap past the Rumble but he will lose it in the Chamber if he doesn’t at the Rumble. Bryan’s pic simply does not have Vinnie Mac excuse himself and go to the bathroom for a few minutes with the photo. Vince will never see him as a champ as he doesn’t see Rey or Christian as World champs.

– Lazy booking or not, biased or not, I like the return of Kane in the mask. I think that I wrote in my article or at least in a comment a while back the threads here that they should bring him back as a masked monster. The effect of fire under the ring looked great. I just hope that they scale back on the supernatural stuff and that Kane accidentally chokes Cenanuff a bit too hard (OK, kidding). I would also like to hear why he came back in the mask storyline-wise but I like it!

– The comment on the videos for comebacks … if they do it cleverly enough then I don’t see a few a year (maybe three or four at most) being a bad thing. Those 01.02.2010 videos sure got people talking!

– I seriously doubt that the goal of the Jericho return was solely to raise tweets … a fart from Kelly Kelly could trend in all honesty. Yes, the WWE obsession with Twitter if one of the most annoying things going right now.

– mrakbaz, fear not! As long as there is a video source and somebody to hit record on whatever software they have, and the video source plugged into a computer (which is very easy to do), you will get your competitively priced PPVs, WWE network or not! Your hypothetical method of PPV ordering will always be around.

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