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2.01.2007

Thursdays Thoughts

With Big Daddy on assignment, I decided to borrow one of his ideas and present Tha O-sters with my thoughts on the wrestling news making waves this week. With RVD, WSX, UFC, and even Mark Jindrak in the news, I thought a little clarity was needed to make sense of it all.

I was laughing pretty hard when watching "iMPACT!" the other week and seeing Kurt Angle demanding to know who Christian Cage has hired as his "consultant." I wasn't laughing at Angle, but more at the fact that he mentioned the names Goldberg and Brock Lesnar and all the fans in the arena started chanting "RVD." It seems Rob is very open to the idea of leaving WWE and heading to Orlando. So open, in fact, that WWE is making a big effort in trying to sign Van Dam to a long-term contract.

What should RVD do?

After spending much of the last two years recovering from knee surgery, the 36-year old may be thinking of taking a decent contract from TNA where he can work occassional independents and spend more time with his wife. The lifestyle sounds much more appealing than being on the road four days a week and dealing with all the WWE politics. Christian Cage made the decision to wrestle part-time to spend more time with his wife and devote himself to acting. By all accounts, Christian is really happy with his current situation and those close to him say he feels he made the right decision.

The decisions of Christian Cage, Trish Stratus and Big Show to leave WWE or retire altogether is something new to wrestling. Professional wrestling has in the last 10 years become a trade where you can become wealthy enough to retire young. Anyone who has followed wrestling throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s knows that this has not always been the case. Guaranteed contracts and merchandise royalties have allowed even Eugene, Gregory Helms, and Rob Conway level talent to make well into six-figures which is something the previous generation of stars could only dream of.

Another potential, but much less likely, place where RVD could end up is with Wrestling Society X. The new promotion made their debut on Tuesday night, even though the show aired on the Friday before, with a strong 1.0 rating. One week in and this new promotion already has as big of a television audience as TNA. My thoughts on the first episode vary. I thought the in-ring action was strong and liked how they introduced the major characters. However the show had a very "arcade" feel to it. Having spots that included "live electrical wires" was a little much, but the show itself was entertaining.

The one thing I will say is that in 2007, I am very open to changing the definition of "professional wrestling." Fans do want to see an alternative product and this show was as different from TNA or WWE as you can get. I also think building the show around such youthful talent is good. Matt Sydal and Jack Evans look like they could become the new heartthrobs of MTV. Time will tell, but if ratings stay where they are I think WSX could be the big story of 2007.

The story of 2006 on the other hand was UFC. Pay-per-view numbers are now in and it looks like UFC 66 was the most purchased non-boxing event in history with just over 1 million buys. That is just staggering. UFC 66 beat the previous record holder which was WrestleMania 17 which drew 1,040,000 buys. What this illustrates is that no other company has been able to use 1-hour of television better than UFC. I doubt UFC will beat this record in 2007, but much of that will depend on how well UFC does at creating new stars such as Diego Sanchez, Mirko Cro Cop, and Quinton Jackson.

Remember Mark Jindrak? The former WCW and WWE talent has now become a full-time resident of Mexico City where he wrestles for CMLL as Marco Corleone. It seems Jindrak has fallen in love with Mexico, the amazing fans, and being able to make a living as a full-time wrestler. Jindrak was pegged to have little to no marketability as an indy wrestler once he was released from WWE years ago. TNA had no interest in him, so Jindrak decided to try Mexico.

My impression of Jindrak was that he was an impressive high-flyer for a big man but he had no personality and lacked emotion in the ring. I thought he was likely to leave wrestling after his WWE release but I'm glad he's continued on with his dream and is making a living doing what he loves. You have to respect the man for that.


6 comments: on "Thursdays Thoughts"

Metal God Capt. said...

In regards to RVD, what are the chances that TNA would relegate him to the X Division in order to revive it? It does seem to be somewhat stagnant these days as far as talent goes, the same dozen or so guys competing against each other and the same 3-4 guys swapping the title every few weeks/months. I'm really curious about the true nature of his WWE situation. Is he being buried because he might leave, or mght he leave because he's being buried? Are they holding him back because he may not re-sign, or may he not re-sign because he's being held back? I'd say if you're trying to convince the guy to stay, having him lose to Hardcore Holly isn't the best way to go. I know the word going around is that its all WWEvil's doing, but how can we know what's REALLY going on?

Tim Haught said...

F Rob... WWE put two titles on him 6 months ago, and he put it all in jeopardy by speeding and weeding. Now we are supposed to be mad at the WWE for his lack of push?

Triple H got punished far worse for HUGGING Diesel and Razor Ramon.

Rob Van Dam's incident early this past summer could have been a PR nightmare for the company. Luckily, the mainstream media didn't seem to know who RVD was and/or give a damn.

Eventually, just like HHH, RVD would have been elevated back to the places where he was going prior to his messing up. If he can't wait, he can call himself a former WWE champion and take his disgruntled self elsewhere.

As for whether that is TNA or WSX, I'm sure it will be based on who offers him more money and who has a more lenient drug policy.

Ben Boudreau said...

I kinda agree with Tim. Though I've been a big RVD fan for years, he really screwed himself and was lucky he kept his job. It took him a long time to get gold around his waist and the E saw fit to put two world titles on him simultaneously. I have feeling he'd still be ECW World Champion today if he hadn't got caught.

A move to TNA would probably be good for their ratings though they'd no doubt misuse him. Let's face it...RVD was groundbreaking about 10 or 12 years ago. Guys like Matt Sydal, Jack Evans, and AJ Styles have taken the X style far further than Van Dam could handle.

The bottom line is simple. RVD should stay with the E just like Kurt Angle should have. A move to TNA would be reactionary and only good for the initial shock value. I would argue that that only two guys that made a good decision switching over for the sake of their own careers are Christian and Rhyno.

yawn mackaels said...

clb's consultant?

two words: ralphus.

mr ass-'ole needs to quite the crotch chop. it's not like he invented it. him and the roadie need to quit crying about not being part of the kliq.

The Hitman said...

I disagree with the comment that TNA is a worse place for Angle to be than in WWE. In the year 2006, he first jobbed to John Cena, then got moved over to SmackDown! as a transitional champion and feuded with Mark Henry until he got moved to ECW and did nothing.

Then he went to TNA and engaged in a feud with Samoa Joe that ended with three very good matches. And in two weeks, TNA is putting him in the main event of a pay-per-view and most likely putting the title on him.

Yes, I know Angle didn't really have a choice because he got fired, but WWE had begun to misuse Angle anyway. TNA, on the other hand, snatched him up as soon as possible and is pushing him to the moon. Hoenstly, TNA is probably giving him too much. But which situation would you prefer to be in...ECW Champion or NWA Champion?

D.J.B said...

Ok on RVD's speeding and weeding adventure. Rene Dupree got busted for speeding in Hardcore Hollys car. His punishment was having Holly beat his ass at a house show. Sylvan recently got caught speeding his punishment, dont do it again, and a new rule stating no leaving after you check into the arena. Orton has been busted for weed more times than 1, most notably when Bruce Pritchard ratted him out. He had an 8 week anger managment class and few more weeks off for shitting in a diva's bag or whatever he really did. Then he was brought back on RAW to be one of it's top guys this year.

H broke kayfabe when it was still REALLY bad to do it. He deserved punishment. Not what he got, but he deserved some. RVD deserved some but damn, did he serve jail time? NO. He paid a fine to the local courthouse and bam, that was over. So for that he is relegated to a life of jobbing to never was and never going to be's? Is that really fair?

Wherever RVD goes some fans will follow. Not all by any means, but just like Captain Charisma and Angle, he'll take some with him.

Saying that WSX is as strong as TNA may be a little off. Considering that there are enough teens and twentysomethings who keep their TV on MTV 24/7 to get WSX that kind of rating. I'm sure some fans did tune in for WSX but not a 1.0 worth. Also while SPIKE is a good network, it is also a niche network. What is Spike? It's the first network for men. So that leaves alot of people not that keen on watching SPIKE.