Yes, I'm back once again! I told you that I could hold up daily. You task me, you task me, and I shall have you! Welcome to the Wrath of Tito, the column that's daily until the stack of Multimedia gets reviewed. To be honest, I'm kinda liking writing daily right now. I don't know whether the recent programming of the WWE is turning me on or what? You know, seeing an actual Benoit main event push AND seeing Eddie Guerrero win the World Title on Smackdown is very exciting for me. I spent nearly all of 2003 backing BOTH guys, and it's very nice to see them get their due. Aside from Benoit/Guerrero, Wrestlemania 20 is exciting me as well. The card is really shaping up to be a classic event, especially if certain matches are given great time to develop.
One thing that especially excites me is the WWE Home Video department. Ever since Hulk Hogan's DVD, the videos have become better and better. The ones I've seen are Hogan's, Shawn Michael's, Ric Flair's, and the Monday Night War DVD. What do each of them have in common? Each dipped into old footage, and in some cases, heavy amounts of WCW's footage! It should be no secret and/or coincidence that the WWE is experiencing a small boom in their video sales. Ric Flair's DVD, alone, was 4th or 5th for 2003's Sports Videos. Guess what? It was released in October or November of 2003 (can't remember which), meaning it only had a few months to sell X amounts of units. This is in addition to the fact that Flair's DVD costs more than the others, since it's a triple disc DVD collection.
WWE's Third Quarter Results are in... And FINGER OF SHAME to the WWE for putting it on Adobe. Seriously, why is everyone so high on Acrobat lately? It takes longer to load than HTML, it's harder to scroll, and you can't copy and paste something. Pain in my ass! Doing economic research, nearly everything I come across is in PDF format. Why, why, why?
Anyway, in my humble opinion, the key indicators for the WWE are ratings, buyrates, attendance, and merchandise sales. Overall profits mean nothing for the WWE's success (although nice for Vince McMahon and his family), for those numbers can be altered with costs getting cut, such as production, travelling, and labor. So let's look at each:
RATINGS: Smackdown is down slightly from last year, while RAW is up slightly. Statistically, they could be even for all we know. At least neither dropped heavily for over a year.
ATTENDANCE: Average attendance is down slightly. I'm sure the increasing ticket costs, though, covers any small gaps to make the numbers even (ticket sales increased 6%).
BUYRATES: The report says that PPV buys are slightly up. HOWEVER, they also include numbers for the trio of Summerslam/Unforgiven/No Mercy, and the numbers are down this year for those 3 Pay Per Views. This means that the reported number of buys this year compared to last are spiked with another Pay Per View being included in the 3rd Quarter results for the end of 2003. From what I understand, 4 events were counted for the 3rd quarter's counting.
MERCHANDISE: Down 23% from a year before. Ouch. This is a major clamp that the WWE needs to address if they want to make more money. What they need is a hot selling t-shirt, for the current t-shirts just aren't catching on.
I'd argue that each of the 4 key WWE indicators for real success are down. Profits in the WWE are up from a lawsuit settlement, cutting costs, more advertising dollars from a hike in TNN's rates, and a few other small things to offset some other actions, such as the ticket prices offsetting attendance. You can check out the 3rd Quarter report by CLICKING HERE, but please be aware that this is an intense PDF file that will pound on a modem or a slower computer.
Ok, enough economic B.S., let's rip apart the WWE Originals CD!!!
But like most things in the past, the WWE didn't learn. WWE Originals is a very bad sounding project, featuring a CD with boring beats, bad lyrics, and nothing great to give merit to the "knock-out album" labeled on the sticker on the CD case. While I applaud the effort, this CD just falls flat. It's a 17 track CD (not all songs) with a bonus DVD.
Let me go through each track...
#1 - "Where's My Beer" by Steve Austin - One of many, many talking segments with Steve Austin. Why were these necessary? Just a waste of CD space...
#2 - "We've Had Enough" by the Dudleys - I actually liked this tune. The Dudleys were used in a more proper way than the other wrestlers, singing together to make up for any problems each wrestler had on their own. Probably the best on the CD, outside of Cena.
#3 - "I Just Want You" by Trish Stratus - On an episode of Star Trek, Spock once told Captain Kirk "you are a fine captain, but you'd make a lousy taxi driver" during the gangster episode. This is the same case with Trish, for she's a fine wrestler but a lousy singer. The background music around her doesn't help.
#4 - "Crossing Borders" by Rey Mysterio - Sounds like a bad Rico Suave song. Seriously, the background beat is terrible and singing arrangement is so lame. It's not that Mysterio is a bad singer, but the lyrics and chorus are terrible.
#5 - "Did You Feel It?" by Steve Austin - I really hope that's Austin playing the guitar, for he's not that bad. I do believe he said he knew how to play in his book, or was that Hogan? Both?
#6 - "Can You Dig It" by Booker T - Hearing this more on WWE television has eased my hatred for this song. The beats are too basic, but Booker T isn't that bad of a rapper when he's not saying "Can you dig it?".
#7 - "I Don't Suck" by Kurt Angle - Oh man, was this terrible! It's basically Angle trying to sing to his theme song, and good lord, it's baaaddd... With Angle, I guarantee that it was intentionally made to sound corny.
#8 - "When I Get You Alone" by Lita - I liked Lita's background music the best out of all of the themes, and she seems to sing better than she talks. Actually, this song isn't too bad and almost sounds like a catchy pop song you could hear on KISS FM. Not bad... It's upbeat and doesn't hurt the ears. This CD needed more of things that fit the wrestlers better.
#9 - "You Changed the Lyrics" by Steve Austin - More talking...
#10 - "You Just Don't Know Me At All" by Lilian Garcia - This sounds like an 80's hairband song, at times. It's not that it sounds bad, but just out of touch with today's music. Lilian has a great singing voice, no doubt.
#11 - "We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal" by the Guerreros - One of the reasons I bought the CD... I was thinking this was the Guerrero theme, but I was badly mistaken. It has the background music of the theme, but not the lyrics. Chavo and Eddie try to rap, and it sounds like they are just hitting on a girl. It hurts the ears when they sing together...
#12 - "Don't You Wish You Were Me" by Chris Jericho - More 80's hairband stuff, although that's what Jericho purposely tries to sing like. Jericho actually sounds better on the chorus than the regular lyrics. He sounds better than most, BUT then again, he does have 2 albums out.
#13 - "Drink Your Beer" by Steve Austin - More talkie...
#14 - "Put a Little Ass On It" by Rikishi - Yeah, this one sounded like my ass. This sounds like a very mellow Bizmarkie song, and Rikishi's voice breaks up greatly throughout this very slow song. As a prank, someone should play this at their prom to see if people actually dance to it.
#15 - "Why Can't We Just Dance" by Stacy Keibler - Terrible attempt at a dance song, and Stacy isn't much of a singer. The electronic mix in the background is extremely annoying.
#16 - "Basic Thuganomics" by John Cena - It's Cena's theme, and it's pretty good. What else can I say?
#17 - "Don't that Taste Good" by Steve Austin - More talking.. 5 tracks of Austin talking. This is what the WWE was hyping, too, when they advertise special material by Steve Austin on the CD.
BONUS DVD: This is actually pretty good. You get to hear James Johnston's explanations for each song, and then you get to hear the wrestlers talking about their songs. I really liked the Dudleys part of the DVD, where Bubba is a pretty good piano player. It's a nice little behind the scenes collection, and it MAY be worth watching.
LAST WORD: This CD had James Johnston's fingerprints all over it, for he wrote most of the songs and put together all of the songs. Getting handed this big project, you can't quite give attention to every wrestler to make each song sound decent. Rikishi, Keibler, Guerreros, Angle, Booker T, Mysterio, and Stratus's songs are weak and Johnston spread himself thin to not give full attention to those wrestlers. His theme songs are excellent for the WWE. The WWE should have employed some outside songwriters to at least help Johnston in that department, and maybe have another producer on hand to help out as well to give some of the songs a more unique sound other than the Johnston type of production. The wrestlers tried, and I applaud them for the effort. But spreading your music producer thin for a single product is not a good thing, and it hurt this CD overall. I'll give it a generous [ C ]. The standout tracks, in my opinion, are the Dudleys, John Cena, and Lita. The rest is either alright or better suited for the hearing impaired.
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@That's all for today. Thanks a million for reading.