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WRESTLING COLUMNS

How to Improve the WWE - A Wrestlemania 20 Idea
October 5, 2003 by Mark Rose


It's no secret that WWE's business is going down right now. House show attendance is WAY down. In some markets house show crowds are down about 50%. TV ratings were inconsistent in the Spring and Summer seasons but with the new fall season they have been declining huge since the debut of the major network's new Fall Lineups and of course with the debut of Monday Night Football on ABC. The RAW before Monday Night Football's debut got a 4.6 rating. The RAW's since have been doing about 3.4-3.6. That's a drop of about 1/2 million people since the new seasons of football, CSI:Miami and Everybody Loves Raymond started. Smackdown this week hit what may be a record low of 2.9. Smackdown has the misfortune of competing with NBC's long running powerhouse Friends, Will and Grace, and CSI (the top rated show on TV most of the time). Should the WWE consider changing the time slots or even the nights that these shows are on? It's hard to believe that it was once rumored that ABC offered Vince 100 million dollars to move RAW off of Monday Night because WWE was making their ratings drop. How the mighty have fallen.

Vince a couple of years ago was a billionaire. On this year's report from Forbes Magazine Vince didn't even make the list of top 400 richest Americans. His net worth was approximately 560,000,000. Yeah I know that's still a HUGE number. But it's down by almost 50% in just the matter of a few years. The XFL and The World were business busts that had a major effect on that but you also have to factor in the drop of ratings, house show attendance, PPV buyrates and no doubt merchandise sales. Wrestlemania this year did way less buyrates than WWE had projected and a result wrestlers didn't as high of a Wrestlemania payday that they normally would. Hulk Hogan left the WWE again because of this. Who is to blame? WWE has probably the best roster of pure talent that they have ever had. So it can't be the workers. I blame the WWE's creative department. Because creative is something they haven't been in a long time. Having a writer that is a former sitcom writer in Brian Gerwitz who has no experience writing wrestling product as head writer for RAW has made that show at times boring, at times making no sense, and also made it at times just plain stupid. Smackdown on the other night is much more enjoyable because of the workrate in the matches but that show needs more glitter and "Sports Entertainment". But who is ultimately to blame? Stephanie McMahon often gets the finger pointed at her because everyone knows she's head of WWE's creative team. Please. All this means is that she passes the ideas on the WWE's REAL head of creative Vince McMahon. That's right. The creative mess is Vince's fault. Vince has lost touch with what his audience wants. The insane use of his soon to be son in law Triple H to bury every piece of talent RAW and the stupid need to constantly push his own family on TV are all Vince's doing. Hell even if the ideas don't come from him he rubber stamps them and gives his approval. And he would DEFINITELY have the power to change stuff.

How does this get fixed? How do you turn around the WWE's product and make it popular and cool again? I have no one solid answer and hell i'm not an expert. But I do have a few suggestions. This would probably never happen but Paul Heyman should be the head of creative and the new idea man for the WWE. Paul sucks with the financial end of things but his creativity was a catalyst for ECW putting out some of the best wrestling the business has ever seen. Think about it. ECW is probably more popular now than it ever was. And it's been dead for over 2 years! There are still chants of "ECW! ECW!" to it's former workers. Have you ever heard anyone chant "WCW! WCW!" or "WWE! WWE!" because of their love for the product? Sure almost every indy fed has their fans chanting the initials of their product but this was made popular by ECW. Plus they are still doing it even though it's dead! And they do it at almost any show WWE or not. It's insanity. If Paul can generate that type of fan interest he's worth a damn shot in my opinion. Plus during his short run as Smackdown's head cheese of creative he made people interested in the Big Show. The Big Show was a giant jobber bouncing in and out of OVW fat camp until Paul Heyman got his hands on him. Heyman's not so good relationship with WWE Executive Producer Kevin Dunn is what is stopping this. Dunn does not get along with Heyman and Dunn is as close to Vince as you can get in that company. That's why Paul Heyman is now sitting at home doing nothing getting a paycheck to not sign with NWA TNA and make their product better. Actually since Rob Feinstein throws down a sheet two times a day and bows in the direction of the ECW Arena like it was Mecca, Ring of Honor would no doubt make use of Heyman.




My other idea to generate interest in the WWE and also make Wrestlemania 20 the turnaround point is simple. It's pretty obvious that Steve Austin is able to work one more, or maybe even a few more matches. He's pretty a much a definite for a match at Wrestlemania 20. If he CAN work believe me WM 20 will be the goal for the payday alone. Steve Austin was the biggest money draw of the 90's in pro wrestling and maybe even of all time. He still sells a shitload of merchandise. So what match do you throw at him? Looks like they are planning him vs Jericho if you've watched RAW over the last few months. Chris Jericho is the best overall worker on RAW and would be perfect for Austin to get the possible match in terms of workrate. Austin would also be very safe from injury working with someone as good as Jericho. It would be a good match and it would draw. Anything with Austin would draw let's be honest. But there is potential to do much bigger. Austin vs Goldberg? A much talked about dream match during Goldberg's big run in WCW. But let's face it Goldberg isn't anywhere near as much of a money draw as he was back then. And even the Intercontinental champion RVD is more popular and gets bigger crowd pops. There is potential to do even bigger than Austin vs Goldberg. In my eyes there is a potential to possibly promote one of the most anticipated matches ever. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan. That's right. The biggest star of the 80's in pro wrestling. The 80's vs the 90's. The two biggest draws in the history of the pro wrestling business. How could their not be interest in this? It would probably be awful in terms of workrate. But it would get the attention of anyone who was even a casual fan of the WWF/WWE since Wrestlemania 1. Do I think Hulk Hogan would be interested? In a Wrestlemania payday? HELL YEAH (Austin pun intended). What could possibly be a bigger and better match for Wrestlemania 20? Bret Hart has stated he cannot wrestle Kurt Angle because of his health. Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan HATE each other so I doubt they work together. Hogan vs Austin is the way to go.


Just a few things to think about

by Mark Rose..

How do you book this? Where do you begin? My idea looks like this. Steve Austin says he has a "Major Announcement" at the Royal Rumble PPV in January. His announcement is that he will step back in the ring again at Wrestlemania 20. Even better have him say he will state the next night on RAW who he wants to challenge as his opponent. Have Austin go on a rant about how he was once held back in the wrestling business when he was working for WCW. Have him blame Hulk Hogan for having him held back in WCW. Have him say that Hulk Hogan is a coward for never wanting to wrestle him. Have him call Hogan down to the lowest. Better yet have him do it for a few weeks. Yeah it's the same thing he did Bret Hart. But this time turn it up a notch. Have Austin "looking" for Hogan. Have him come across the likes of Jimmy Hart or even Brutus Beefcake while searching for Hogan. Better yet have Austin do skits as "The Stevester" like he did in ECW. Hell you could even have him do a few jobber squash matches imitating Hogan's moves and using it as vehicle to further insult Hogan. Build HUGE anticipation for Hogan's answer to the challenge. It'll be like when we waited for Hogan's obvious answer when he was challenged by Andre the Giant at WM 3. By the time you're done it would be one of the most eagerly anticipated matches in the history of pro wrestling. Obviously with my idea having Austin as the heel is the better idea in my mind. Austin is a great heel even when he's a face he has elements of a heel character. Good vs Bad is the essential story of any great wrestling angle so you'd need one of them heel.


Joe Joe wrote:
I have to agree with most all that was said in this column. Buisness is definitely down in the WWE and needs some serious changes. Along with the creative department which has sitcom writers instead of people that know the buisness it have Vince who has lost touch with fans or not cared about what they want. I think Vince has been put in check some what with his recent hirings of people such as Alexis Laree and Paul London, both NWA TNA workers and has realized that he can't slack off now because there is a new competitor in town. Look at what they did with Raven. The WWE also needs to let their wrestlers wrestle and stop being "safe" because their "safe" style has gotten more people hurt then such feds as NWA TNA and RoH who don't limit their wrestlers. I definitely like the idea about Hogan vs Austin and I thought that is what it should of been at WMX8 with Rock vs Hall. Although the main reason for this was that they wanted to hype the Rock for his new career in movies. Austin vs Jericho in the near future could be very good as they have worked well together in the past. I think Austin vs Goldberg could be a decent payoff but Goldberg is a horrible worked and if the WWE wants to improve they can fire him for starters. Paul Heyman is obviously a great writer and should be given his chance to show what he can do with the WWE. This all basically comes down the the fact that Vince isn't willing to take chances anymore and give a lot of really talented stars a chance to shine.
Joseph La Rocca wrote:
I would like a WrestleMania XX to be a magnificent ppv but there are three problems:

1.) WWE is more focus on overrated junk like HHH, Steiner, Show, Taker, Kane, A-Train and of course, Goldberg. In a terrible mistake, Vince has booked these idiots over deserving, underrated talent like Chris Benoit, Lance Storm, RVD, Cena and Jericho in main event status. The result: Several of the worst matches of all time, some of the most horrible performances in terms of acting and promo and some of the most boring and tasteless feuds yet. Goldberg and Scott Steiner are two morons that deserve to be kicked out of wrestling while Kane, A-Train, Taker and Show should be with the Ohio Valley Wrestling. They bore, they irritate and most of all, they suck.

2.) The WWE got fans angry when they transformed their most beloved non-WWE wrestlers into rookies. When I saw Tommy Dreamer eat like a mentally retarded pig at 2002, I thought I was watching WCW instead of WWE. They ruined Conway, they destroyed Kanyon, they made the Hurricane look like a buffon and worst of all, they flushed Storm's character down the toilet with the boring gimmick. Seriously, these athletes perform way better than the junk I've talked about before and yet, despite their efforts, are reduced to performing in Sunday Night Heat and Velocity, not to mention have them be put in awful gimmicks. The WWE needs to realize that if you don't put these wrestlerson a ppv card and replace them with guys like Scott Steiner, Test, Goldberg, A-Train and the nonwrestlers, they aren't increasing ratings; they are destroying them.

3.) The WCW made the world realize that wrestling is for wrestlers not for celebrities with no experience whatsoever. After the booking of Jay Leno, David Arquette, Dennis Rodman and the dorky Eric Bischoff, they weren't kidding. This "error" has now infected the WWE's wrestling competition. Now instead of great tag teams like Benjamin/Haas and Hardy/Moore and talented technical stars like RVD, Storm and Spanky, we have to endure seeing nonwrestlers performed, specifically the always infamous McMahon family. Now since Vince is ruining the roster by putting his name and the family's name in semi-main event, it's no wonder why ratings are decreasing. Their feuds are pointless, their matches suck and most of all, they lack wrestling. Also, the WWE hit the nail in the coffin by having announcers fight each other, for noticably Jonathan "The Roach" Coachmen and Jim Ross.

I mean, what the hell has happened to the organization? In 2000, the WWF showed that with younger talent like Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle and the Hardy Boyz, they don't need popular faces like Undertaker or Stone Cold Steve Austin to give us great ppvs. Recently, they broke that tradition and we are force to witness WCW-esque wrestling. My advice to the WWE: is to get rid of the overrated junk, push deserving wrestlers and have great matches without the use of popular faces or nonwrestlers. I have decided that to have WrestleMania XX become a show to remember, I suggest we have eleven matches; seven mid-carders and four main-events that'll interest the fans and give them their money's worth. Here are the dream matches: World Heavyweight Championship - Goldberg vs. Booker T-RAW

"The Present Legend" vs. "The Legend Killer" - HHH vs. Randy Orton-RAW

Intercontinental Championship Fatal 4 Way - RVD vs. Christian vs. Lance Storm vs. Chris Jericho-RAW

WWF Championship - Brock Lesnar vs. Chris Benoit -SD

Dream Match - Kurt Angle vs. Bret Hart (rumor) -SD

Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match - The Bashams vs. APA vs. Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas-SD

Cruiserweight Championship Three-Way Dance - Tajiri vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Billy Kidman -SD

U.S. Championship - Edge vs. John Cena -SD

The Battle of the Guerreros - Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero-SD

Four-Team Table Elimination Match for World Tag Team Championship - Dudley Boyz vs. Hurricane & Rosey vs. La Resistance vs. Mark Henry & Rodney Mack -RAW

Kane vs. Undertaker-RAW

Also, forget about Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage or Ultimate Warrior...they have no wrestling skills whatsoever. Take the idiotic McMahon family off the card and extend the time length to have longer, extended bouts and incredible wrestling. And last but not least, make Undertaker have his last WrestleMania here. If all goes well, then this should be the true "Showcase of Immortals
IXPLATINUMXI wrote:
I have to say that i agree with this column. A Steve Austin V.S. Hogan match is what everybody has been waiting for since like 1997. I also think that Mcmahon is on tv WAYYYY too much for anybody's liking. As far as the current WWE roster goes it does have some pretty good raw talent (with the exception of Christian) I also think that they should Bring back Jacque Rougeau and make him the manager of La Resistance, and finally i want to say i am glad Flair is still doing his thing! Whooooo!
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