Welcome back to the Phat Daily Column. If you didn't know by the Thunder Spoilers, I was at Thunder last night. With that being said, I'm EXTREMELY tired this morning, so if I sound a little cranky, as I do anyway but worse today, that is why. The second I came home, I went to town, typing the spoilers. Add that to just getting home from Thunder, and then waking up this morning. Anyway, let's talk ratings, and then I'll discuss the tapings last night in a NON Spoiler way, ok?
Wow, I believe the rumors of Stone Cold returning helped resurge the WWF to a strong ratings week for the first time in a few weeks. That, and add to that they just got off a Pay Per View. I didn't feel that it was a good show, as it didn't ride off the momentum of Fully Loaded, and besides the Shane stable, they didn't do anything new in my mind. And that's my mind, and many others think other ways. The WWF is probably all smiles, especially since the ratings would explode if Stone Cold were to actually show up.
WCW's second hour is higher, and with the WWF's rating being higher too, we had a lot of wrestling viewers from 9 to 10. Good stuff. The 3.0 is a week first hour rating in my opinion, as I'd expect something just a little higher. The opinions seemed to be split on this show. Many enjoyed it, while many disliked it. That's what makes us unique, which means we can form our own opinions.
Heat can't seem to get above a 3.0 anymore, as I'm guessing the Sunday Nights hurt them with Summer going on, I don't know? They lost the Composite and the First Hour battle with Nitro this week, but they won the 2nd hour battle with Nitro. '
Superstars was slightly up this week, but Livewire still suffers from lowered ratings. ECW on TNN had some good ratings this week, almost getting a piece of Livewire with the 0.9 rating. Can you imagine how pissed TNN would be if ECW on TNN were to defeat Livewire one week, after the Viacom deal has already been signed? Yikes.
I've heard several rumors that when the Wheeling Civic Center was asking around for wrestling, the WWF made a comment that if the Civic Center were to have WCW, the WWF would NEVER return again. The Civic Center made a smart move by bringing in Thunder though. For one, the WWF doesn't travel to smaller arenas like the Civic Center now, due to their increasing demand for tickets. So why bother? WCW now tours the more smaller arenas, like the Civic Center. Us Ohio Valley Fans filled up about 70 to 75 percent of the arena, which can hold around 5,000 - 7,000, I believe, for a wrestling event. Just parts of the very upper deck weren't filled, which is all around the arena. I'd say it's more 75%.
The demand, right now, for the WCW product is low everywhere, thus, NO SELL OUT. That's all. I know for a fact that WOMP FM was just handing out tickets before the show, but other than that, I didn't see any WCW officials letting in anybody for free. With the crowd that was at the Civic Center, we cheered our hearts out. Besides The Artist and a few no-name wrestlers, we were popping for everybody! So who had the best cheers? When the Artist gets no heat from this hot crowd, that means that WCW should look at him and consider taking him off television.
The best heat was Lance Storm, who the whole arena hated. Jeff Jarrett, surprisingly, had a good pop. Not heat though, as the crowd loved him for some odd reason. Mike Awesome had some good pops as well, and the Franchise was another who gained a lot of heat from the crowd. Booker T had a good pop too. 3 Count and Tank had a great reaction though. The crowd loved them!
The best performers, by far, were Jindrak and O'Haire. They wrestled twice last night, and it was a treat to see them live. WCW has a great future in those two, and they should do whatever it takes to push them to the moon and keep them in WCW. Those two are so damn talented, it's ridiculous!
By the way, there were NO Bill Goldberg, Kevin Nash, ICP, and Sting....
Kevin Nash- He was in LA Monday, doing something promotional for the company. I guess a trip to the wonderful town of Wheeling just isn't Nash's style, even though it is the same arena he debuted as an Outsider on Nitro in 1996.
Bill Goldberg- He was probably super-sore from his shoulder separation, as anyone would be. His injured arm was bothering him from Nitro, so I bet a night off for him would be good. Besides, why let him get angry over wrestling hurt?
Sting- I suppose he's out "selling" that kick by Goldberg, the same kick that put out Bret Hart. Another vacation for Sting.
ICP- I guess ICP is just going to Nitros, as they are too good for Thunder or smaller arenas than the ones used for Nitro. Nah, I'm kidding. I think with them, Nitro is the only show they can fit into their busy schedule. I really wanted to *cheer* for them too.
The show itself was OK really. It wasn't anything spectacular, with no matches really exceeding 10 minutes. Lots of angles just shoved on front of the camera. Typical Thunder, I suppose. Usually, the shows seem to be great live, and weaker on television. So does that mean with an OK show that we will see a bad show on television?
WCW has a lot of downtime for their television shows though. Seriously, as we really had to wait 5 to 10 minutes between each match, with DJ Ran playing many tunes for us, with Nitro Girls dancing. It was OK the first few times, but everytime..ugh.
Here is a NON Spoiler Preview of the Matches you will see tonight on Thunder:
Juvy and Rey Mysterio vs. 3 Count(Shane Helms and Shannon Moore)
Skipp Over(???) vs. the Artist
Smooth vs. the Jung Dragons
Major Gunnz vs. Ms. Hancock in an arm wrestling match
Jindrak/O'Haire vs. Vampiro/Muta(great match!)
Judy Bagwell vs. Positively Kanyon
Lance Storm vs. Vito
Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T, NO DQ Non Title match
I should note that most of these matches were made on the fly, like during interviews or just challenges.
I just want to personally thank WCW for coming to this area though. It's been years since wrestling came, especially a television taping. Please consider that we WANT you guys to return to our area! We aren't asking you, we are begging you!
For those wondering, I did bring signs to the event. I tried as hard as I could to get these babies on. Here they are:
The first one is a tribute to LoP. It reads:
Calvin - CM - Boyd
Brander - Ponton
Historian - Riggs
and everyone else! -LoP
I just wanted to give shouts to the great crew here at LoP, and I wish I could have shoved all of the names on one sign. We have a great group of writers here at LoP, so I wanted to pay tribute to all of them. It's an honor to work with such a great group!
The second one is a tribute to my good buddy, Coolbeans. He has held up many LoP/Tito signs before, and out of friendship, I held up this:
sign, which I tried to shove on the camera everytime Booker was on television. Oh yeah, I also did this because I mark for Booker T, and that Coolbeans is the biggest Booker T fan on the planet!
For those of you who might ask, I've been to 6 total wrestling events here. Wrestling, like I said, doesn't come around here much. It comes to Pittsburgh or Columbus, which I'm in the middle of, but good tickets are hard to come by in those cities. In those 7 shows, I've seen Shane Douglas three separate times, for 3 separate federations! I'll rate these wonderful shows.
1. ECW Houseshow in spring of 1997 at West Liberty College- Damn good show!!! This show had the Eliminators vs. the Dudleys, Stevie Richards vs. Raven(Stevie Won!!), Sandman vs. Ballz, Dreamer/Beulah vs. Douglas/Francine
, and a few others. By the way, Buh Buh Ray told our crowd off in this one!
2. WWF Television taping in the Summer of 1996 at the Wheeling Civic Center- Remember when the WWF would tape 4 or 5 shows in a row for RAW? Well, we were treated here, as we were the RAWs before Mind Games, where Shawn Micheals fought a hard match with Mankind. Here, we saw the IC tournament, since Ahmed Johnson was hurt, and some HBK matches including one versus Yokozuna, and one against Goldust. By the way, a superstar named Flex Kavana wrestled that night. Oh, for those of you who didn't know, Flex was The Rock in his early days. I remember thinking, "this guy sucks" back then, because he did a million arm drags in a row. Just a boring wrestler then.
3. WWF RAW Taping for the Spring of 1998 at the Wheeling Civic Center- This was about 2 or 3 weeks before Wrestlemania 14. Stone Cold was EXPLODING here, and on his way to win the gold. He just started his taunts with McMahon here as well, refusing to leave the ring until Vince came down. This event had the good match between Barry Windham and Owen Hart, where unfortunately, Owen sprained his ankle badly. For this event, I was almost kicked out for holding up a "This Gimmick Sucks" sign for Double J Jeff Jarrett's match during Shotgun.
4. WCW Thunder Taping from Last Night! Read the Spoilers! Click HERE for them!
5. Some Independent show from the St. Johns Arena in 1995(???)- I have no idea what this fed is called, but I came to it because my Cousin used to wrestle(Moondog Splat). Shane Douglas wrestled here, as I got my first taste of the Franchise gimmick. He ripped on the crowd hard. He fought some muscular guy in a good hardcore match, but lost. It was an entertaining card, although there were only 100 in attendance.
6. Another independent show from the Belmont County Fairgrounds in September of 1998- A very corny independent show, with Greg the Hammer Valentine and King Kong Bundy headlining. Both are VERY SLOW!! Bundy was well received, calling everyone in the crowd "a bunch of queers". Valentine defeated Bundy by the way. Also on the card was an excellent tag match! The Fantastics fought the Headshrinkers(no original members by the way) to a great tag match. The Fantastics were one of the best heel teams I've ever seen live!! Only the Dudleys were better at the ECW show.
7. WCW Houseshow in early Winter of 1996- This show SUCKED! Lex Luger and the Steiners no showed here, and I think Chris Benoit was missing in action too. Flair was injured too, so he couldn't be here. The card featured MANY Mexican Wrestlers!!! Not the ones you know though..no names! The Outsiders fought the Nasty Boys in a terrible main event. The Giant(Big Show now) fought Jeff Jarrett...hey, I've seen Jarrett 3 times! Twice in WCW, and once in the WWF... anyway, Giant DQ'd himself when he refused to let go of Jarrett when he was on the ropes, blocking the chokeslam. The only real cool part was when Arn Anderson was waiting in the ring, and out of no where, Sting came out and Deathdropped him!!!!
Well, enjoy Thunder tonight, as I'll have a second look.
@Sorry, no WWF stuff today. I'm tired, and Thunder is the only thing on my mind right now. I'll be back tomorrow with analysis on how Thunder looked on TV, or just the matches I've seen in person.
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Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.