Monday, January 28, 2008

Royal Rumble Backdrop

Is it just me or was the backdrop annoying as hell at the Royal Rumble last night?

If you caught the Royal Rumble last night, you saw that the backdrop, the area of the arena directly behind the ring, was not the normal sea of the audience like usual. Instead, as is very common for broadcasts originating from Madison Square Garden, the walkway and the doorway were heavily lit.

I found this lighting to be extremely annoying and distracting throughout both the matches and the over-the-top Royal Rumble contest for several reasons.

    1. The walkway was lit in the most annoying light blue. This hue caused a contrast that made it hard to make out some of the wrestlers' silhouettes while they were in the ring. Why is it MSG is the only locale where the camera is set up directly across from the dressing room?

    2. The Royal Rumble symbol was too low and again threw off the contrast. If the wrestler was not huge like Mark Henry, Big Daddy V, and Khali, it was often difficult to make them out clearly. The looks of this horrid array kept reminding me of the ridiculous frame lighting that was mounted around the Monday Night Raw curtain back when the show first came on tv back in the early nineties.

    3. Because of the position of the walkway and the way it was lighted, you could not help but see the eliminated competitors stroll back to the ring after being thrown over the top rope. Because most of them were worn out and walked very slowly, you could not help but watch them as they ambled back to the dressing room.

    4. Officials and stage hands were darting back and forth, coming in and going out of the door, as well as leaning around the corner to check the action. At one time, I think I even saw some stooge in a bright gold coat lean out to look at something and then dart back under cover, but not before taking my attention away from my favorite Main Event in Sports Entertainment each year.

    5. Was that a Titantron that was mounted above the walkway??? It looked like it was broken up in several smaller regions, each displaying a separate image, but I could not make sense of any of it EXCEPT the quadrant that would morph into the countdown clock when it was time for another wrestler to enter the Rumble.

I believe that the producers eventually realized they made a huge mistake with the layout of the lights. What other reason could be behind the random adjusting and panning of the camera throughout the Rumble match?

I sincerely hope that when WWE returns to Madison Square Garden for its next Pay-per-View, they make the necessary adjustments to ensure the qualify of the background is good enough and does not distract the viewers at home. The 2008 installment was my least favorite Royal Rumble of the last 10 years, and I can honestly say it had nothing to do with the quality of the matches - I simply could not take my eyes off the terrible backdrop that the epic battles were fought against.


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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Head-to-Head Numbers For TNA versus ROH

Last night, TNA and ROH were both running in the Dayton, OH area.

TNA ran Hobart Arena in Troy, with the following results:
Motor City Machine Guns defeated Petey Williams & Elix Skipper Sharkboy defeated Cowboy James Storm Awesome Kong defeated Jackie Moore to retain the Knockouts Championship AJ Styles and Tomko defeated LAX to retain the Tag Team Championship HotShot Johnny Devine defeated Black Machismo Jay Lethal to retain the X Division Championship Booker T defeated Robert Roode Kurt Angle defeated Samoa Joe to retain the Heavyweight Championship

at the same time, ROH ran a show at the Montgomer COunty Fairgrounds in Dayton: Briscoes defeated Matt Cross & Jigsaw Claudio Castagnoli defeated Adam Pearce Champion Erick Stevens defeated Davey Richards and Austin Aries in a three way BJ Whitmer & Brent Albright defeated Delirious & El Generico. Daizee Haze defeated Lacey Roderick Strong & Rocky Romero defeated Jimmy Jacobs & Joey Matthews. Bryan Danielson defeated Tyler Black ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness defeated Chris Hero inside a Steel Cage to retain his title

Now, which of these shows do you think drew the most fans?
While I have no numbers as far as paid tickets versus papered, early reports are that TNA drew about 1500 to their show, while ROH drew a house of only about 500.
I just wanted to put these numbers into perspective a little bit.
Last week (a Friday actually), I wrestled on the HWA card in Dayton. I think they drew less than 100, but for the sake of argument here, I'm going to round it up. This show featured a number of ROH regulars, such as BJ Whitmer and Chris Hero.
I have wrestled on shows for DCW in the Dayton area (Piqua and Springfield) that have done around 200 fans. The only people on those shows with ROH experience were the Irish Airborne.
The numbers for those TNA and ROH shows really caught my attention, because an independent promotion using no "name" wrestlers to draw can get about half of what ROH does in the same area. In addition, a company with a presence in every household in the nation via cable television, and using former WWE stars, could only do 1500 - not even enough to compete with ECW house shows at Hara Arena back in 1999-2000 - and only about five times what the independent promotion with no television outlet draws.
To me, this really puts "indy wrestling" into perspective. When an independent company can draw comparatively with the promotion the internet fanbase claims to be the "Number Two" company in the US, it becomes a lot easier to see why there is no money in this business the way it is currently structured and ran.
It also shows just how far ahead of ROH that TNA really is. ROH might make a good chunk of money selling DVDs (and putting on a good product), but from what I have read they have yet to crack 10000 buys for any of their PPVs. While TNA certainly isnt competitive with the WWE and UFC in the PPV market (both of them regularly picking up a minimum of 100000 buys), with only 30000 per show, that is more than three times what ROH is doing. With drawing a house three times as large, maybe internet wrestling fans should rethink a bit about what they base their opinions on.
You might watch TNA and think it sucks... but three times as many people seem to be willing to lay down their money and watch as opposed to ROH.
Food for thought...

Sunday Update:
According to reports, an independent Lucha Libre show out drew ROH head to head on Sasturday night in the Chicagoland area. The results from the show at the Congress Theatre are:
- Jay Jensen defeated Acid
- Tigre Oriental defeated Silueta Azul
- Great Malaki DCO Fuzio
- Bazooka & Angel de la Muerte defeated Impacto & Pentagano
- Slayer & Principe Franky defeated Guerrerito del Futuro & Aguila del Azteca
- LA Park & Rey Misterio Sr. defeated Dr. Wagner Jr. & Infernal
Supposedly this show sold out the Congress Theatre, which holds 3000 people. Much like the Friday night shows, I do not have any info on papered versus paying fans. ROH, which does run Chicago Ridge on a regular basis, usually does between 800-1200 fans for their shows there.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ultimate Warrior - Crossing the Line?

The Ultimate Warrior was one of my favorite wrestling characters growing up. I have tried my best to take his comments in stride so that his current actions and opinions did not tarnish my memory of him as a wrestler, but I have pretty much lost all respect for him following comments that he has supposedly posted on his blog.

Currently, I am unable to log onto his blog in order to view it. Whether it is a pay site, a membership-only site, or if the traffic bandwidth has just simply been overridden - I am not sure, but when trying to get onto the blog section of his website, I get an "Error 404" message. However, according to a big gossip/celebrity site, TMZ, the Warrior has apparently made some very harsh statements about Heath Ledger and also Hulk Hogan.

This is the link to read the quotes from the Warrior's latest comments, as reported by TMZ: Click here.

Like I said, I have tried to take the Warrior's often bigoted and harshly negative statements with a grain of salt, but there's only so much sodium you can handle when someone rattles off this kind of trash.

Hopefully some of you will have better luck getting onto the Warrior's blog and reading it first hand. If so, by all means come back and make a comment here!


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Monday, January 14, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Booker T Calls Hulk Hogan the N Word

On the June 24, 1996 Nitro, Harlem Heat defeated Lex Luger and Sting to capture their fifth WCW World Tag Team Championship. Prior to defeating Luger for the title, Booker got carried away during a televised interview, calling out Luger as well as World Champion Hulk Hogan.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Match of the Month: January

This is a lumberjack match on August 17, 1994 that Owen Hart initially won and was announced as World champion but then reversed due to interference. Owen had originally won the match and title at 3:06 after Jim Neidhart interfered as Owen was caught in the Sharpshooter and clotheslined the champion - however several of the lumberjacks and other officials had the finish replayed on the big screen so the referee could see what had happened; the match was ordered to continue. I am of the mindset that this should be a recognized title win, and Owen Hart should be known as a former World Champion, albeit a brief one.

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