Brian Damage and Craig Wilson
It’s Saturday so time for the latest instalment of ’This Week in Wrestling’. Today, in part 22, Brian wonders if Vince Russo is back with the WWE and shares all the best viral content he’s stumbled upon this week while Craig talks about this week’s WWE product and the results of the polls.
Most fans revile him. Jim Cornette wants to kill him. He is blamed for the demise of WCW. Despite all the hatred, Vince Russo has managed to forge a decent career in pro wrestling. He was one of the men responsible for spearheading the WWF’s ‘Attitude Era,’ he became the head writer of its then arch rival WCW and even helped launch TNA wrestling onto the map. Not too shabby, despite being mostly maligned almost his entire career.
This past week, Russo confessed that he has spoken to Vince McMahon recently. Does it mean Russo is headed back to the WWE? Does it mean the PG era is ending? Is Vince Russo just blowing smoke up everybody’s butts? Love him or hate him, Vince Russo deserves some credit for the way the WWF transformed into an adult oriented company during the Attitude era. Yes, I realize McMahon was his filter…but Russo did play a part.
His tenure in WCW was an absolute train wreck admittedly but, to be honest, WCW was going in the toilet even before and after Russo was involved. His time in TNA is a mixed bag. While not everything he touched was gold, some TNA fans that that time was some of the best for the company. Heck, it went from pay per view only shows to getting a TV deal. Something he did creatively had to have had a hand in that.
Regardless, getting back to the here and now, is Vince Russo back with the WWE? We all know McMahon is really not one to hold a grudge for long. Unless your name is Jeff Jarrett of course. He brought back countless people who he felt did in wrong, so why not Russo as well?
Raw this past Monday did have a different feel to it. There seemed to be a few soap opera-esque storylines being started like a Kurt Angle scandal and a whodunnit involving Enzo Amore and Big Cass.
Over on Smackdown Live, Smackdown Women’s champion Alexa Bliss will wrestle Bayley on a Kendo Stick on a pole match. Coincidence? Perhaps, perhaps not. Is there a place for pro wrestling’s biggest pariah to return to his roots? I think so. How about assigning Russo to Raw and just have him write storylines for Raw’s third and final hour every week? Why not make that third hour more adult based, sort of a mini attitude era revival? It may just work. Remember, McMahon would still be his filter meaning what happened in WCW would stay in WCW. It couldn’t hurt, could it?
Poll Results from this Week
This week on the blog we hosted polls to get readers thoughts on WWE Raw, Raw’s impacct on your opinion of Extreme Rules, Smackdown, 205 Live and NXT
Average – 35.29
Awful – 29.41
Excellent – 11.76
Good – 11.76
Bad – 11.76
How do you feel about Extreme Rules after Raw?
The same – 46.15
More interested – 30.77
Less interested – 23.08
Good – 33.33
Excellent – 22.22
Awful – 22.22
Average – 11.11
Bad – 11.11
Average – 66.67
Good – 33.33
Excellent, Bad, Awful – 0
Good – 42.86
Average – 28.57
Excellent – 14.29
Awful – 14.28
Bad – 0
The Week that Was in WWE
Last week I wrote about Raw ratings and that the WWE would have been hoping for a bounce this week, what with there not being any NBA playoffs to go up against.
Alas, it was not to be. Instead, Raw recorded the second lowest rating in the history of the show. The second lowest rating in the history of the show.
That’s grim, very, very grim.
Despite that, Raw was the most-watched show on cable due to news stations not broadcasting key programming and the NHL being on NBC rather than cable. The WWE, and wrestling generally, isn’t the draw it once was on TV but it’s still doing OK.
As Dave Meltzer wrote this week:
The other key is Memorial Day traditionally means viewers come in later, so the second hour is always bigger than the first, but this show’s second hour actually dropped.
The three hours were:
8 p.m. 2.69 million viewers
9 p.m. 2.68 million viewers
10 p.m. 2.47 million viewers
There are a number of years left on the USA Network contract with the WWE and, in all likelihood, despite the drop it numbers, would the network really wish to ditch its most watched show? The likelihood is no. But how much longer do we have to see ratings fall and fall. It’s not a great position to be in.
And to think, this was the go-home show before a WWE PPV. WWE Extreme Rules 2017 takes place tomorrow evening. Yet a show that 35% of readers thought was average, didn’t appear to whet many people’s appetite for the Sunday network exclusive. After all, almost half (46%) of those who voted in our poll said they felt the same about Extreme Rules as they did prior to WWE Raw. 30% were more interested and 23% were less interested. If your aim was to use Raw as a show to drive viewers to watch Extreme Rules, then it failed.
Raw being 3-hours long is part of the problem but the overarching one is the amount of product there is. It’s about overexposure. At $9.99 a month, the WWE Network provides outstanding value for money but with so much product to watch, much of it vastly superior, there’s little drive to watch Raw, and to a lesser extent, Smackdown. There lies the problem.
For those of you that follow baseball, in particular when the New York Mets, mascot Mr. Met turned heel recently and told the fans to stick it.
If AJ Styles and Kevin Owens did a face swap…
A very cool artist rendition of Mankind falling off the Hell in a Cell…
Vincent Kennedy McMahon during his amateur wrestling days.
Sad news pertaining to Bret Hart’s older brother Smith Hart.
That fan must be psychic!
Perhaps the stupidest wrestling tattoo you’ll ever see.
JBL getting startled by the USA network logo apparently.
Love me some Scott Hall…
Last Week on the Blog
Last Sunday’s Sermon looked at JinderMania; on Monday we had part 21 of ‘Meanwhile, in WCW‘; Tuesday featured part 116 of ‘Wrestling with Sin‘; on Wednesday we had part 10 of ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions revisited‘; Thursday’s Top Five looked at the most extreme wrestlers in history and we rounded off the week with a ‘Remember When‘ piece looking at the Raven and Sandman crucifixion angle.
Next Week on the Blog
Tomorrow we predict Extreme Rules, we have the latest ‘Wrestling with Sin‘ and more.
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.