Monday, September 17, 2012

Night of Champions: Why I Didn’t Buy

WWE’s Night of Champions is in the books. I can’t really review it because I never saw it. I instead decided to watch the 49ers destroy the Lions. Even if NFL football wasn’t on, I probably still wouldn’t have bought this PPV. It was one match and it had all the stink of being an angle driven PPV.

The WWE rumor mill has been really pushing the Hell in a Cell PPV that is coming down the pipe. First there was the leaked poster for CM Punk as the devil at Hell in a Cell. Then there was a small tease that HHH vs. Brock Lesnar might happen in the cell. Finally, Paul Heyman has been hyping the shit out of Punk’s big October release of his DVD. This all made me feel that this PPV was going to be more about putting heat on the next show than putting asses in the seats for this one. It was like a July show for an indie promotion.

In Indie wrestling the toughest months to promote are between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Kids are out of school and that leads to family vacations, which means extra cash for wrasslin’ tickets is now tied up into the vacation fund. In most places it is really nice outside so you lose out to the weather. Finally the summer leads to a lot of competition from carnivals, fairs, movies, etc. No indie show will ever beat out going to see The Dark Knight Rises or stuffing your face with an elephant ear before puking on the tilt-a-whirl.

So when you’re promoting in the summer you run on a tight roster to cut down on expenses. You also use these shows to push storylines that will become ticket sellers in late September/early October. You will have your hardcore fans that come to shows no matter the season. You’ll get a couple of fringe fans who might have a favorite wrestler or nothing better to do. You won’t get the same house you will get once the temperature drops in November.

It’s why you see a lot of tournaments in the summer. It’s a great gimmick to create short term interest that can set the table for future angles or feuds while saving your promotion money. Promotions having 8 guys wrestling in 7 total matches plus a special attraction match helps stretch the budget that is limited. That is what Night of Champions was. It helped the WWE remind everyone about their champions and it let them sell more buys/tickets for their next PPV, Hell in a Cell.

When it comes to the finish of the show I am not bothered by it because I didn’t pay for it. I like the finish for John Cena vs. CM Punk. I have always liked the “Crappy German Suplex leads to both shoulders being down” angle. The under 20 crowd probably doesn’t remember this old 90’s angle. Hell I am even having trouble remembering when I last saw it, but I know I have. I think it involved Bret Hart. Not really sure. The fact is that when you have new fans who really only know the post-attitude era WWE then all things old are new again. Sorry older fans, welcome to being outside of the money demo.

If you paid for it, and hated it, then it’s your fault for not looking at this card and recognizing all the red flags that this PPV had. The under card was barely a step above Shotgun Saturday Night quality. The main event was being played off as not the finish to a feud, but merely a stepping stone. It was a rushed pay per view with almost a complete lack of promotion. I don’t even know if people working for the WWE knew it was taking place.

So now it’s Monday and you’ve got to get over it. The Main Event was a draw. Flair and Steamboat had a ton of draws. If you’re a fan of good wrestling then be excited for this because it is a feud that is being developed. Punk says he deserves respect. Cena believes he should be champ. Paul Heyman is lurking in the shadows. Now there is going to be a nasty cell match between the two. It’s all coming together for what should be a very good show, too bad you had to pay to watch the angle & not the match. I will ask, “Wasn’t the actual match before the draw pretty entertaining?” From my twitter feed, I would say “Yes”. That should be worth something, just not 40 bucks (54 in HD).

Tonight will tell a lot about the plans for the WWE. They will set the table for the cell, but also they will begin the build for Survivor Series. Will this next PPV be another rung in the ladder for this well planned out feud, or will it be the blow off match that catapults CM Punk or John Cena into their next match up in January with The Rock?

Personally I think this won’t be their last singles match. I think this match will end with Brock Lesnar getting involved. I’m even calling a “Lesnar rips the cage door off” spot. Either that or a group of “Heyman Guys” are going to come help Punk. This will lead to a Team Punk vs. Team Cena match at Survivor Series. If the WWE is truly booking for the long term then make the SS match a winner picks the stip for the December PPV. Team Cena wins and we get the blow off in December that leads the champ in 2013 with tons of heat for The Rock in January.

That is a very loose booking strategy but it might be the future for the rest of 2012. Then again, as usual, I could be wrong. Cena could win at Hell in a Cell and nothing happens at Survivor Series. It all hinges on tonight. The price on RAW is free (kinda) and I’m willing to buy the WWE right now at that price.

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