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6.08.2008

Shades Of Gray #11

This week's column includes my thoughts on the latest innovation from WWE Creative: Vince McMahon's Million Dollar Mania. Will the obviously desperate contest increase the number of viewers watching the fed's flagship show, or will it leave more to be desired than Kimbo Slice's ground game? I'll also discuss the WWE Draught (which will take place on the June 23rd, 3-hour edition of "Raw"), and predict which Superstars will be switching brands.

In the mega-edition of "Links of the Week," you'll get your usual dose of the Ultimate Warrior; Ted Dibiase predicting future tag team gold; Santino wrestling a C-list celebrity; and "Dangerboy" Derek Wylde's farewell speech from LLW: Exodus, just to name a few.

And "Extras" take a look at Goldberg's run in the fed, offer some insight into the heat between CM Punk and Triple H, and showcase some infamous moments from Marty Garner's appearances in WWE. So without further adieu, here's Vince McMahon's favourite column: "Shades of Gray."

Vince McMahon’s Million Dollar Mania

As the distinguished D.J.B. wrote a few weeks ago, ratings for “Raw” steadily decreased following WrestleMania XXIV, hitting its lowest number two weeks ago with a 2.9. Certainly, the use of DVRs is hurting the overall number, but there's no doubt that fans are growing tired with the product. The same guys have been at the top for a long time: can you remember a pay-per-view that hasn’t been headlined by either Triple H, John Cena or Randy Orton?

And on the “SmackDown!” side, Undertaker and Edge were seemingly feuding forever, and now we get another Edge-Batista feud. How original. Echoing something that I've been writing for awhile, even J.R. wrote in a recent blog post that newer guys need a chance to shine. Let's not forget that during the period of WWE's highest cable ratings, "Raw" was innovative, creative and cutting edge, while newer, younger Superstars were able to rise to main event status.

There's nothing innovative, creative or cutting edge about giving away money. Sure, business overall is fantastic (as evidenced by their first quarter results), but clearly there is some concern within the office based on this desperate response. Nothing says you’re desperate more than, “watch us and we’ll give you money!”

Here are the details of the giveaway: Every week ("for as long as he likes"), Vince will give away 1 prize of $250 000; 2 prizes of $200 000; 1 prize of $125 000; 1 prize of $98 000; 1 prize of 75 000; 1 prize of $51 998; and 1 prize of $2 (huh?). At the beginning of "Raw," a code will appear, and fans who've registered at wwe.com will need to know the code in case they are lucky enough to receive a call from WWE. It’s possible that it could all be a work, but I doubt it (although I don't think any of us would be surprised). They don’t need any more bad publicity. But the all-important question is: will the contest increase viewership on Monday nights?

Well, this past week's show (the show immediately following the one on which the contest was announced), only improved to a 3.1 from the previous week's 2.9. And the increase was largely due to the main event of Jeff Hardy vs John Cena - the final quarter hour drew a 3.23 and the overrun a 3.57. So I highly doubt the contest will have a huge affect on the ratings.

The whole “million dollar” gimmick is growing old anyways. Everyone was psyched when Who Wants To Be A Millionaire debuted, but that was 1999. Since then, the million dollar gimmick has been played out more than Undertaker vs. Edge, with the most recent example being Million Dollar Password which debuted last Sunday (if you can believe it, Regis Philbin hosts that show too).

Granted, it’s viewers who have the chance to win the big money in WWE’s contest, but why wouldn’t someone just buy a lottery ticket instead? And I doubt casual viewers will be more inclined to watch the show because of the giveaway - if anything, they’d just watch the top of the show to get the code. With that said, if interest is piqued at all, it will be at its highest tomorrow night. So if the ratings aren’t improved for Monday’s show, we’ll know the million dollar giveaway won’t improve ratings at all.

WWE Draft Lottery

Admittedly, this probably isn’t the best time to comment on the Draft (which will take place on June 23), but I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at the WWE roster and discuss not only who I think will be moved, but also who would most benefit from a change of scenery.

In the past, “Raw” has gotten the most talent, like in 2007 when “SmackDown!” surrendered King Booker, Bobby Lashley and Mr. Kennedy to Vince’s favourite show. Hopefully, “SmackDown!” gets the most help this year, because like I wrote 2 weeks ago, with the “ECW” roster beginning to travel with the “Raw” roster at the end of June, the Friday night roster will be further depleted. But with “Raw” ratings hitting their lowest point in years, “Raw” will likely be the most improved brand.

Lance Cade

The anticlimatic end to his feud with Trevor Murdoch this past week makes me think that one of them will be moved, but my guess is Cade. I would have liked to seen this mid-card feud play out much longer because both guys are solid workers (although Murdoch's gimmick sets him apart), but it doesn't appear as if it'll have the chance to. And based on Cade's rather quick victory, WWE sees a brighter future for Shawn Michaels' former trainee, and Cade will have the best chance to grow on "SmackDown!" I don't think a feud with Matt Hardy is out of the question.

Carlito

Like many others, I saw potential in the Carlito-Santino pairing. I thought it would not only bring an end to Santino's jobbing with a run as tag champs, but Carlito would show more enthusiasm being paired with one of the more entertaining characters on "Raw." Instead, Marella is jobbing to Cousin Sal and Carlito seems to be sulking at playing second fiddle to Santino. So perhaps a return to the show in which he debuted and had his most success (including a run with the U.S. title) would be best for the Puerto Rican. He could be used to solidify the weak "SmackDown!" mid-card, or he could eventually form a tag team with his younger brother, Eddie.

Chris Jericho

"Y2Gay" doesn't fit into the category of most likely to switch brands (because he seems like one of the few mid-carders on "Raw" who has long-term stories planned for him), but he could be considered one who has the most to gain - he could be a main-eventer on Friday nights. He could have entertaining matches with Edge, Big Show, Batista, Kane or Undertaker, depending on how his ambiguous face/heel status plays out.

Umaga

The "Samoan Bulldozer" has long been rumoured to move to "SmackDown!" and I hope the rumours are true. His talents are being wasted on "Raw," and gradually, his monstrous mystique is disappearing. A monster heel who can actually work would be great on Friday nights. Take that, Khali!

Mark Henry

Anyone want to guess why I think “Sexual Chocolate” will be on the move? When (if) Michael Hayes returns to the “SmackDown!” writing staff, I think it’d be best that Henry be on either the “Raw” or “ECW” roster. Sure, it’s not fair that the innocent party is moved, but it’s not like Henry’s doing much on “SmackDown!” anyways.

MVP

As I mentioned above, it always seems like “Raw” benefits the most from the Draft Lottery, and MVP fits the prototype of: “blossoming star whose development is stunted by a move to ‘Raw’” (see: Kennedy). He’s a name that could stir some interest - he’s been on “SmackDown!” for his entire WWE career, and he’s not one of the many who routinely appear on all of the shows. Plus, ever since his feud with Matt Hardy ended, MVP’s character has stalled. Taking all of this into account, I definitely seem MVP moving to “Raw.”

Rey Mysterio

It seems like every time there’s a Draft, someone returning from injury switches brands - Mysterio fits the bill this year. And like MVP, he’s never been a “Raw” Superstar, so moving Rey to Monday nights could be considered “shaking things up.” Plus, I think Rey’s main event days are over, so the move likely won’t hurt his status in the company.

CM Punk

Punk probably needs to switch brands more than anyone else. If he was going to use his Money in the Bank briefcase on “ECW,” he would have done it already, so I think a move is imminent. Now the question is: should he be moved to “SmackDown!” or “Raw”? He would be better off on “SmackDown!” farther away from Triple H’s influence, but maybe Trips wants him to be “Raw” so that he’ll have more say in getting the MITB briefcase off of Mr. Straight Edge (which was discussed on this week’s episode of Rated O Radio). Here’s hoping Punk lands on “SmackDown!”



Links of the Week

1. Vince McMahon announcing the details of his Million Dollar Mania, which includes the chairman openly admitting it’s a ratings ploy
2. Ted Dibiase Jr. warns Cody Rhodes that his days as tag team champion are numbered
3. Jeff Hardy and John Cena fight it out to see who faces Triple H at Night of Champions
4. Teddy Long announced as GM of “ECW,” including his first two acts
5. Kane vs. CM Punk in a surprisingly good main event of “ECW” on Sci-Fi
6. Eric Young visits Graceland in search of Elvis
7. Sting talks about Ric Flair and retirement
8. Jay Lethal's bachelor party
9. La Familia in-ring at the beginning of "SmackDown!" - this is only in here because the heat is fantastic
10. Santino Marella vs. Cousin Sal - Kimmel messes up his one spot, but the match is OK if you turn your brain off
11. Big Show looks like Sloth from The Goonies (Photo 8 of 15)
12. "Dangerboy" Derek Wylde's farewell speech at LLW
13. Warrior workout video
14. Warrior’s thoughts on Hulk and Nick Hogan
15. Warrior talking about his return and workout routine, among other topics
16. Floyd Mayweather retires from boxing - could a return to WWE be on the way?


Extras

17. Welcome to the WWE, Goldberg
18. Backstage argument between Triple H and CM Punk
19. Jake The Snake preps the Ultimate Warrior for the Undertaker (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3)
20. A classic Ric Flair promo
21. Tha O Show’s own Marty Garner’s sick bump to the outside against Jeff Jarrett
22. Triple H’s famous pedigree performed on Marty Garner


5 comments: on "Shades Of Gray #11"

RadioFreeG said...

Your posts are some of the best on this site. I really like the links section that saves me from trolling the web looking for video, and gives me all the latest vids, along with links to classic stuff.

One of your posts gets me through a whole day at work!

Great work, and keep posting!

(Can we plug our own shit in the comments? Check out climaxradioshow.com, if the admins leave this for all to see.)

Shammy_D said...

Another great collumn, I think the content on this site improves all the time and This article is a shining example of that. shame I can't check out the links at work, will be checkin them as soon as I get home.

Matt said...

WOWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Vince just got rick rolled. hahAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Hope your watching raw

Andrew Gray said...

Ya, I saw that. It looked like he didn't know what it was.

grlcrazy301 said...

I agree but mvp would be better off staying on Smackdown! bcuz they need new main eventers and hes perfect for it. Rey should go to ECW mayb wit Jeff Hardy and Jericho and try bringing some prestige to that belt.