Welcome back to a out of no where Wednesday edition of the Wrath of Tito. Am I going daily again? Have I lost my mind? No, actually, I had a good night's sleep last night and I woke up several hours early for work. Bored out of my mind and burnt out from doing school work and preparing for my damn fantasy football drafts, I figured, why not write a column? So here we are, 3 columns in a row...
Some of my longtime readers got on me about yesterday's rant about criticism towards moi. I normally don't like to strike back on that sort of thing, but every once and a while, I feel it's great to say what needs to be said. That's all.
A note about e-mail accounts... The new stupid viruses out there are causing several LoP employee accounts to fill up with spam. I know that clearing out the spam out of my account is an everyday chore, just as it is for other people, here at LordsofPain.net. The point of this is that if you have results, news, or a column to be sent and it appears that nobody received it from LoP, maybe send it again? When you're getting pounded with hundreds of e-mails, lots of important things get lost in the fold. I know I can only now read a handful of feedback emails due to this excessive problem. So if you have something important to send, maybe send it again if it appears we didn't get it the first time. Thanks!
The Monday Night RAW Ratings came in, and there's an instant party thrown because it jumped a whole 0.2 points, from a 4.0 to a 4.2. JUMP FOR JOY! Actually, this is one of the few times I can remember RAW increasing their ratings after a Pay Per View this year, and that's pathetic. In the past, the WWE was due for a nice 0.5 or more spike from after a Pay Per View. Instead, the WWE is lucky to have a 0.2 ratings increase, which really, isn't too big of a deal. Summerslam lost a reported 30% of buys in major markets compared to last year, according to early buyrate numbers. Ouch.
And besides, the WWE better get used to the 4.0 range, for Monday Night Football officially returns in two weeks on September 8th. They better bend over and get ready, because with their decreasing numbers over the past year, they are due to get thoroughly embarrassed in the ratings on a weekly basis. They are currently getting their ratings without any form of competition. Good luck WWE, for you'll need it with a very stale World Champion right now.
Several people were asking why the RAW script was rewritten during the day of the show, which was the news I reported via 1wrestling. My best guess is that the WWE was unsure about doing Bill Goldberg vs. Triple H at Unforgiven. Honestly. I'm sure there were thoughts about giving Goldberg the title, but that he wasn't receiving the face reaction that they intended. HOWEVER, seeing him demolish the competition and getting huge pops for it at Summerslam, it makes you wonder if that performance, alone, made the WWE creative decide to go ahead and book Triple H vs. Bill Goldberg at Unforgiven and then to give Goldberg the World Title there as well, hence the Title vs. Career match.
I don't honestly think that Bill Goldberg will be ousted from the WWE at this point. He has a bout 6 months on his current deal, which at a 1 year for $2 million contract, that would make the WWE eat $1 million. They don't eat money like that, or Mark Henry would be sitting at home and never brought back. The recent turn of events with Bill Goldberg has made him more 'over' with the WWE crowd, something of which took a half of a year to achieve. Goldberg is a WCW wrestler and he was wrestling in front of a WWE crowd, most of which never saw his character in WCW. The time is now for two things: right opportunity to make Goldberg the champion and the perfect time to get the World Title off of Triple H.
Now, there's two points to discuss on this subject. For one, doesn't it establish credibility if a champion holds the belt for a long time? That's a good point, as Hulk Hogan losing his titles were a big deal, as was Bruno Sammartino's losses, Ric Flair's losses, etc. Triple H doesn't measure up to those wrestlers, however. Why? It's very simple. Look at the success of his opponents AFTER they wrestle Triple H. Jericho, Kane, RVD, Booker T, and Scott Steiner were all depushed after wrestling Triple H. Triple H is your heel, but he squashes the babyfaces, something of which was never done. He's one of the few heels that hardly EVER gets pinned cleanly, and this is dated back to late 1999. Aren't heels supposed to lose cleanly and to run away from faces?
Secondly, I agree with the notion about having no World Champion on your houseshows, which would be the case if Bill Goldberg was champion. However, I'd counter that with the houseshow circuit isn't profitable anyway with the current champs wrestling on them, so what makes the difference if Goldberg is there or not? The houseshow circuit has more problems than having a world champion on its card. The shows are poorly marketed, for one, in the area they are having the shows in. Secondly, the WWE still tours big cities, giving them embarrassing attendance figures. Plus, ticket prices are still high. In the first quarter results that I'll talk about in a bit, the WWE admitted to increasing ticket prices by $2.50, on average, per ticket, although that's taking into consideration international events. HOWEVER, I've been to my fair share of WWE shows within the past 2 years, and I know ticket prices are getting higher or remain high. Maybe the WWE is pricing out their fans, much like Major League Baseball is for their fans?
I just seriously hope that the WWE gives proper care AND attention to the Triple H vs. Bill Goldberg feud. I know how Triple H acts in his feuds, as he'll start playing the face and make nasty personal comments against the heels. He verbally destroyed Booker T, if you remember, by saying that he'll never be a World Champion, for he's just an entertainer, not a wrestler. He's well known for doing this. Maybe he'll challenge Goldberg to body building contests or maybe, just maybe, an arm wrestling contest, like they did with Scott Steiner? Actually, Triple H ripped on Goldberg already for having larger muscle mass, so it appears we may be headed into that ridiculous direction. I hope not, and this Triple H vs. Goldberg feud, resulting in Goldberg becoming World Champion, could be a very big positive for the RAW roster. Let's hope...
The WWE First Quarter Results are in.. What's funny is that I used a few points from the LAST quarter in my column yesterday, and here the latest quarter comes out, right in my face! The WWE is saying "we beat projections", etc, etc, etc, just because they are showing profit THIS quarter instead of losses LAST quarter. However, if you look at the real numbers of the quarterly statement, you'll see that nearly everything is down from this time last year, and that's terrible, given last summer was a bad time, financially, for the WWE. The WWE has struggled during the summer for the past few years, with an exceptional 2 month spike when the WCW/ECW invasions first occurred. Allow me to run through some stuff from the statement:
-Operating income was $2.8 million this quarter, while it was $3.9 million last year at this time.
-Total revenues are currently $74.7 million, while it was $85.4 last year at this time.
-EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was $5.7, while it was $7.0 million last year at this time.
-Live event and television revenue is $62.7 million, compared to $67.8 million at this time last year. That's with increased ticket prices, mind you! WWE also signed a lower deal with UPN and TNN earlier this year, which makes them less money per episode of their shows on ad revenue.
-Pay Per View revenue is $13.8 million, compared to $19.0 million last quarter. This one is unknown, given the claim of only having 2, not 3, PPVs included in the quarter. Understandable.
-Live event revenue, alone, was $18.1 million compared to $19.1 last year. Again, higher ticket prices make it even worse.
-Average attendance was 5,200, compared to 5,750 last year. That's bad, for their international tours, alone, score large amounts of people. This means that many US shows were seeing very small numbers of people attending.
-Merchandise was down, coming in at $12.0 this quarter, while it was $17.6 last quarter. This ties in with lower houseshow business.
-Books and Videos both saw small decreases, but the Video Games... oh my! $0.9 million compared to $2.2 million last year! Ouch!
For the most part, these numbers show a decrease in demand for the WWE from a year ago. Last summer saw terrible World Title defenses by Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker during this time, and also, this was the early stages of the brand extension, which didn't quite work at first. A year later, the WWE has lost a fairly significant amount of money by attempting to do the brand extension. Now look, I'm all for it, for there's plenty of crappy wrestlers on RAW that I don't want to also see on Thursday for Smackdown. It weeds out the bad stuff, simply put. But it's very clear that houseshow revenues are dropping from the split, and that hurts, for you put strain on your wrestlers by having them wrestle those shows with a smaller amount of fans in attendance. Not good. The houseshow circuit should be one of your bloodlines of your federation. However, a weak demand to PAY and see the WWE, without the benefit of seeing yourself on television later, is causing the houseshow circuit to suffer, and with that, merchandise sales to suffer.
You have to give fans a REASON to want to see a non-televised WWE show. How can you do that? By simply improving your television shows, which are lacking good creative ideas. Yeah, throwing Kane into a fucking flaming dumpster will draw them back in. Yeah, having all of the McMahons on television at once will do that too. Yeah, keeping the World Title on Triple H will increase business. Whatever. The constant stupidity of the WWE is in play here, and if they simply provided a show of what the fans want and what is innovative, then they'll increase their houseshow revenues, their ratings will increase higher than just 0.2, and much, much more. Simple as that, and it's fun repeating yourself. Thank you, and have a great day!
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