Wednesday, February 28, 2007

IWW ECW Report for 2/27/07 by RAY RHODES

Another IWW exclusive ECW report with your man of the hour.... RAY RHODES!

Money in the Bank qualifiers and we have Kennedy against Sabu. Kennedy, the WWE's new golden boy comes in and knocks off Sabu. I'm so glad we have Kennedy and Booker T in this match and not Shelton Benjamin and Sabu. Ray Rhodes sarcasm alert! Not a terrible match but with Sabu getting the majority of the offense it was only a matter of time before he does the JOB. Again here, Kennedy shows that going to Wrestlemania is a big deal but I can't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, Sabu has paid enough penance to get out of the perennial dog house. I guess not.

Balls Mahoney takes on Striker but only for a few moments before SNITSKY comes in and lays out Balls, giving him a DQ win. One only knows why they bothered to give him a win since SNITSKY boots Striker as well. SNITSKY is perhaps the most vile man ever created by the hand of God. If you connect the dots of his body acne, you would surely draw the face of the Devil himself. On the bright side, Test and his Big Boot are now gone from the WWE so SNITSKY's boot reigns supreme.

Kevin Thorne and Marcus Cor Von takes on RVD and Tommy Dreamer with a bunch of people at ringside. If you've been paying attention, you've already guessed the outcome. The "New Breed" pick up the win. Originally, I was a fan of this angle since I thought it would be an opportunity for the New Breed guys to get some much needed experience and a good way to keep the Originals on TV. But typically, it's just another way to bury the originals even more. If you bury a bunch of guys and then have some other guys beat them, you aren't doing anyone a service. Ho-Hum. Still and all, RVD and Dreamer still show up to work, it's a paycheck, and they're toughing it out. I give them credit.

Now, I don't know this for a fact and it's something Zip would have to check on but I would imagine ratings for ECW starting going down around the same time RVD and Sabu both were de-pushed, Extreme Rules matches became all but extinct and then again when the Big Show left. This is when ECW became truly a dumping ground for green and uninspiring wrestlers. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the biggest fan of the old ECW and I wouldn't want it back. But I liked this new ECW, when it combined some of the old, some of the new, and a 4-4 and half star main event each week. Now it's become ham n' egger city and that's no one's fault but McMahons. We've been getting a more clear view on what his vision for ECW is, and it doesn't look good for anyone, fan of the old ECW or not.

Steven Richards makes his yearly match proving he still has a job. CM Punk defeats him using Knee-Based Offense which is sweeping the indy scene. We're back to Punk squash matches on his road to Wrestlemania. My guess for next week? Little Guido.

Extreme Expose leads me to turn the channel to Law and Order. Olivia looks like she had her nose smashed with a frying pan. Back to ECW just in time for the CAGE MATCH.

I like how they make it seem like 5 minutes is such a short time but the majority of RAW and ECW matches are 5 minutes and under. However, I think they've found a way to make Lashley watchable–5 minute time limits. Run with it. Seriously though, Holly gets his ass handed to him again and if the rumors of elbow surgery are legit, this would be the excuse. In case Lashley forgot which elbow, he made sure to hit both of them a bunch with the chair. As ECW went off the air we get a outstanding WWE classic moment with Lashley throwing himself at a section of the cage and having it break and fall on Umaga sending both men sprawling to death. What I don't understand is why Lashley is so angry at Umaga. I realize they're both representing important people and Wrestlemania is a big deal. But really, what is in it for Lashley? They should have had a promo with Trump promising Lashley a comical sack full of golden doubloons or something. While I like the intensity, I'm just don't buy their hatred for each other rests solely on a haircut that neither man is involved in.

Final Thoughts: 5 matches in an hour, none of them had any time to get anything going. Best match would be the opener just because watching Sabu jump around entertains me. And he successfully used the leg takedown on Kennedy as the opening move. Main event was effective with a lasting memory. The rest of the show was trying to build up talent: SNITSKY as a monster, the New Breed as legitimate, and CM Punk back on a push. I know I've been complaining a lot lately but I just don't agree with Wrestlemania booking and some of these angles. I'll give this show 3 and half Chuck Palumbo heads, which in my book is a solid C Plus. Wait, SNITSKY BOOTS bump this up to 4 Palumbo heads...which squeaks out a very low B.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007



Tonight starts off with Cena and HBK firing up the crowd before their TAG TEAM TITLE DEFENSE. I sincerely hope the tag titles get from HBK/Cena to Rated RKO to Cryme Tyme, or the Highlanders, or WGTT or Cade/Murdoch, or even Flair and Carlito before Wrestlemania but I'm not holding my breath. It's truly beyond me why the tag titles are not in the tag title division right now as we zoom towards Wrestlemania. I'm sure they could have done the same storyline without them.

Edge and Orton on the Titantron (is it still called the Titantron?)and they don't want to fight just yet. Edge says, "Roll that beautiful bean footage", or at least, he probably wanted to. Excellent little montage of HBK's ruthless turns on his partners and friends which is a nice touch to set the two a bit ill at ease. Good set-up here for later in the night.

Shelton takes on Jeff Hardy for a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania. If you're in the know, you know that we already have CM Punk, King Booker, and Edge. I feel Edge is being wasted here! Decent match between the two of the most sloppiest workers (though talented!)and Shelton crashes and burns on a Springboard attempt. I wouldn't be overly surprised if that was PLANNED. Hardy picks up the win and earns his slot in Spotfest 2007. Keeping Benjamin out of this match is like having an Inferno match without Kane, it just isn't the same.

McMahon goes over his haircut ideas for the Donald. Not quite sure how having a haircut would produce MORE HAIR rather than less but whatever. We get it already, thanks.

Melina, who is turning into a capable wrestler, and Maria, who is well, trying, have a decent RAW women's bout but a thought occurred to me earlier in the week–the WWE must actually encourage and demand women to use hair-based offense in their matches. Hair-biels, Hair pulls, hair slams must be ordered upon these women and it's shame, it really undercuts them and they deserve better. Not that I don't think a good hair-biel or two has a place, because they do. Melina picks up the roll-up after blocking a Maria Bronco Buster. Strange how old homo-erotic men's moves are now the signature moves of the women (Maria=Bronco Buster, Torrie=Stinkface).

Vince brings out Umaga and does a speech running down the Donald before Trump appears on the Titantron from what looked to be a virtual reality set of his boardroom. Am I the only one who thought that it didn't look real? He touts his representative as being an animal and in one pick instantly makes the single most disappointing match in Wrestlemania History: ECW Champion Bobby Lashley v I-C Champ Umaga. So, you take two of your champions and put them in one match, where the titles are meaningless. So, you take a guy who has had a string of hideous matches and give him a huge spot. So, you try to pretend Umaga wasn't watered down after being Cena's cannon fodder. If Cena could beat him in singles, and in a Last Man Standing, Lashley should have no problem here. So, McMahon is now the underdog in this match. I'm baffled and disappointed by the whole thing. The brawl was something that RAW has needed badly but I just can't get into this match.

Next up, Masters attempts to give Khali the MasterLock Challenge but cannot get his arms wrapped around him and is visibly frustrated. Out comes KANE to fell the great beast, but not before wrapping a chair around Masters' skull and chokeslamming him. Thanks for showing up for work, Chris. I know I'm being a Negative Nancy here but this would have been the perfect match for Trump-Vince. Vince brings out a Monster, Trump brings out someone who is still an underdog but has a legitimate shot at winning. Now it seems we're going to have two train wreck matches., although I am a MARK for Khali. I love him.

Remember not so long ago when the Brand Split meant something? I don't mind the occasional jump but they've spent so much time and energy trying to make the split mean something and they're always talking about Raw contracts, and Smackdown contracts. Having Khali and Kane just show up to different shows should be something the GM of both brands should be pissed about–in theory. I just don't get it.

Jerry Lawler enters the Hall of Fame. Perhaps this is their way of saying, "It's time to hang it up?" Maybe he has cancer or something. Not my first, third, or any choice for this year.

Carlito takes on Kenny Dystra in mid-card mambo securely in the Viscera Slot of match before the main event. Good angle between Flair and Carlito, Flair is being used correctly by helping get the younger guys over one way or the other. He's already done so much for Kenny, now he's helping Carlito get to the next level. Good stuff here.

Tag Team titles are on the line and well, Edge walks out leaving Orton for the dreaded Superkick-FU combo. Won't Edge feel silly after Orton shows him the FOOTAGE. The Superkick teases each week are tremendous and I'm not sure which would be better: waiting until Wrestlemania or kicking his face off a week prior. Personally, I think Cena turning on HBK first would be more intriguing.

Final Thoughts: The Wrestlemania build up is fun, and even though I'm griping an awful lot, I think they're doing a great job making the Title Matches seem really important and having underlying tension build. I just don't agree with a lot of the undercard matches already and I'm quite perplexed as to why they're working on this Edge-Orton split when Edge is already locked in the Money in the Bank match. Seems like a waste. I'm anxious to see if the Tag Division gets their belts back and to see if Smackdown can produce a couple interesting matches before it's too late to get any interesting hype going. I might not agree with the booking but Raw produced several solid matches and good build-up for Wrestlemania so on a scale of Funaki's, I give it 4 Funaki's out of 5, which is about a B grade for me. Special guest Referee in an already clogged up Battle of the Billionaires Match next week, the Internet already knows who it is.

Monday, February 19, 2007

WWE Buyrates

  New Yrs Rev Royal Rumble No Way Out Wrestlemania Backlash Judgment Day Bad Blood ECW ONS KOTR
2001   625 590 1040 375 405     445
2002   670 575 840 400 373     320
2003   585 450 560 345 315 385    
2004   500 265 885 295 235 290    
2005 275 575 240 980 320 260   340  
2006 300 550 220 930 220 252   304  
  RAW Combined Smackdown Combined RAW SM RAW ECW Combined
  Jan Jan Feb March/April April May June June June
HITC Elimination RAW ECW Smackdown
Vengeance Invasion Summerslam Unforgiven No Mercy Cyber/Taboo Surv Series Armageddon D2D
2001 315 775 565 350 325   450    
2002 375   520 300 300   340 335  
2003 365   465 360 275   450 240  
2004 240   415 239 183 174 325 230  
2005 420   650 250 230 250 400 320  
2006 337   541 307 197 228 383 239 90
RAW/SM Combined Combined RAW/SM Smackdown RAW/Comb Combined RAW/SM ECW
June/July July August Sept October Nov Nov Dec Dec

Friday, February 16, 2007

Looking at WWE's latest PPV numbers...

The question: did increasing the cost of PPVs to $39.99 from $34.99 hurt WWE?

Let's look at all the PPV results they announced this quarter vs last quarter. I'm looking at domestic buys @ domestic prices. So that's 63% of the buys for 2005 at $34.99 and 61% of the buys for 2006 at $39.99.

# of buys decreased (2005 vs 2006)
JUDGMENT DAY: 266 -> 252; $5.9m -> $6.1m (+$284k)
ECW ONS: 333 -> 304; $7.3m -> $7.4m (+$75k)
VENGEANCE: 429 -> 337; $9.5m -> $8.2m (-$1.2m)
GAB: 279 -> 232; $6.2m -> $5.7m (-$491k)
SUMMERSLAM: 634 -> 541; $14m -> $13.2m (-$779k)
NO MERCY: 224 -> 197; $4.9m -> $4.8m (-$132k)
ARMAGEDDON: 280 -> 239; $6.2m -> $5.8m (-$342k)
overall for decreased buy PPVs: -$2.6m

# of buys increased (2005 vs 2006)
UNFORGIVEN: 240 -> 307; $5.3m -> $7.5m (+$2.2m)
CYBER/TABOO: 207 -> 228; $4.6m -> $5.6m (+$1m)
SURVIVOR SERIES: 375 -> 383; $8.3m -> $9.3m (+$1m)
overall for increased buy PPVs: +$4.3m

[b]total change in domestic PPV revenue for these ten PPVs in the 8 month period from 2005 to 2006: +$1.65m[/b]
2005 domestic revenue of these PPVs total: $72.0m
2006 domestic revenue of these PPVs total: $73.7m

There were two other PPVs listed: Backlash (no 2006 buyrate listed) & ECW December to Dismember (no 2005 comparison.)

Looking at the Key Performance Indicators, it looks like:
Backlash 2005: 308k buys = 194k domestic buys = $6.8m domestic revenue.
Backlash 2006: ~240k buys = 146k domestic buys = $5.9m domestic revenue.

ECW D2D: ~$2.2m in domestic revenue.

Again, there this doesn't mean WWE made $72m last year on these PPVs. They only get a cut of the total domestic revenue. I was under the impression it was about $15 of the $40 domestic price. Let's check the numbers...

The report said they made $53.4m for this period for PPVs. 61% of the buys were domestic so let's take 61% of that revenue, so $32.57m domestic revenue. The total for 2007 was 3287 PPVs buys (or 3110 if you don't include prior events). 3287 x $39.99 x 61% = $80.182m. ($75.865m if you're discounting the Prior event buys.)
So, $32.57/$80.182 = 41%. ($32.57/$75.865m = 43%.)

41% of a $39.99 price (i.e. what WWE gets for a domestic buy) is $16.25.
(43% of a $39.99 price is $17.17).

So, my fifteen dollar estimate seems pretty close. Also, that means the ECW PPV gave WWE about $16.25 x 90k buys x 61% = $892k. I think it costs at least a $1m to run a PPV so they definately didn't make money on that one domestically!

Now, my figures have 2006 being better than 2005 while the actual PPV revenues were $53.4m (2006, 8 month period) vs $54.5m (2005, 8 month period). Why the difference? Because they didn't include any 2006 Backlash PPV revenue in their numbers this year. Essentially, those numbers compare 2005 Backlash vs 2006 ECW D2D, which obviously is going to favor 2005 numbers. As I show above, if you compare the PPV buys on a per-PPV basis, overall, the 2006 numbers are superior.

What we're seeing here:

* Summerslam was bound to go down. Hogan/HBK was a HUGE success in 2005 so 2006 numbers were going to be weaker. The price increase really offset the difference so it was probably a very good move and really took advantage of the fact that core WWE audience buys the major PPVs (RR, Surv Series, Summerslam, Wrestlemania).

* Unforgiven had a huge improvement over last year. (CENA/EDGE TLC, 2006) vs (ANGLE/CENA, 2005).

* Moving the "CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE" PPV (taboo tuesday) to the traditional day, Sunday, vastly improved the buys & profit.

* ECW ONS and Judgment Day actually made more money with less buys this year!

* There were two PPVs with Hell in the Cell stipulations in 2005: RAW's Vengeance and Smackdown's Armaggedon. HITC is one of the stipulations that has shown to still increase buys quite a bit. It was natural that straight matches (DX/Spirit Squad) and (Batista/Cena vs Booker/Finlay) would not be as strong the next year.

In the end, there are two PPVs where buys were down and generated less revenue than last year.

SMACKDOWN GREAT AMERICAN BASH (Booker/Mysterio, 2006) vs (JBL/Batista, 2005)

So, it looks like Smackdown branded PPV shows without a strong gimmick stipulation (i.e. Hell in the Cell) were probably hurt by the price increase & decreased interest in Smackdown. However, on the whole, it doesn't look like the price increase negatively affected business at all!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Best WWE matches for 2006

9/17/06 John Cena vs Edge (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) ****1/4
4/30/06 John Cena vs Triple H vs Edge ****1/4
1/16/06 Edge vs Ric Flair (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) ****
4/2/06 Mick Foley vs Edge (Hardcore) ****
8/20/06 Edge vs John Cena (Title Can Change Hands on DQ) ***3/4
Great matches against Cena, Flair & Foley.

11/24/06 Chris Benoit vs Finlay ****1/4
5/21/06 Chris Benoit vs Finlay ****
1/27/06 Chris Benoit vs Randy Orton (No Holds Barred) ***3/4
1/13/06 Chris Benoit vs Randy Orton ***3/4
10/9/06 Chris Benoit vs William Regal ***3/4
Great matches against Finlay, Orton & Regal.

9/17/06 John Cena vs Edge (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) ****1/4
4/30/06 John Cena vs Triple H vs Edge ****1/4
10/2/06 John Cena vs Edge (Cage) ***3/4
4/2/06 John Cena vs Triple H ***3/4
8/20/06 Edge vs John Cena (Title Can Change Hands on DQ) ***3/4
Great matches against Edge & HHH.

11/24/06 Chris Benoit vs Finlay ****1/4
5/21/06 Chris Benoit vs Finlay ****
4/2/06 Rob Van Dam vs Shelton Benjamin vs Matt Hardy vs Finlay vs Bobby Lashley vs Ric Flair (Ladder) ****
3/24/06 Rey Mysterio vs Finlay ***1/2
10/9/06 King Booker vs Batista vs Bobby Lashley vs Finlay ***1/2
Great matches against Benoit, good Ladder performance & other Smackdown stars.

4/2/06 Rob Van Dam vs Shelton Benjamin vs Matt Hardy vs Finlay vs Bobby Lashley vs Ric Flair (Ladder) ****
4/30/06 Rob Van Dam vs Shelton Benjamin ***3/4
9/26/06 Rob Van Dam vs Hardcore Holly ***3/4
10/3/06 Rob Van Dam vs Test ***3/4
6/25/06 Rob Van Dam vs Edge ***1/2
Great matches against Benjamin, Test, Edge & Hardcore Holly.

4/2/06 Rob Van Dam vs Shelton Benjamin vs Matt Hardy vs Finlay vs Bobby Lashley vs Ric Flair (Ladder) ****
1/16/06 Edge vs Ric Flair (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) ****
8/20/06 Ric Flair vs Mick Foley (I Quit) ***1/2


Paul London & Brian Kendrick - SMACKDOWN
12/17/06 Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs Joey Mercury/Johnny Nitro vs Jeff Hardy/Matt Hardy vs Dave Taylor/William Regal (Ladder) ****1/4
10/9/06 Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs Idol Stevens/KC James ***1/2
5/21/06 Joey Mercury/Johnny Nitro vs Paul London/Brian Kendrick ***1/2

MNM (Nitro & Mercury) – SMACKDOWN/
12/17/06 Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs Joey Mercury/Johnny Nitro vs Jeff Hardy/Matt Hardy vs Dave Taylor/William Regal (Ladder) ****1/4
5/21/06 Joey Mercury/Johnny Nitro vs Paul London/Brian Kendrick ***1/2
2/3/06 Johnny Nitro/Joey Mercury vs Super Crazy/Psicosis ***1/4

HARDYZ (Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy) – SMACKDOWN/RAW/ECW
12/17/06 Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs Joey Mercury/Johnny Nitro vs Jeff Hardy/Matt Hardy vs Dave Taylor/William Regal (Ladder) ****1/4
12/3/06 Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy vs Johnny Nitro/Joey Mercury ***1/4
12/4/06 Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy/Shawn Michaels/Triple H vs Randy Orton/Edge/Joey Mercury/Johnny Nitro ***

DX (Shawn Michaels & Triple H) - RAW
9/17/06 Shawn Michaels/Triple H vs Vince McMahon/Shane McMahon/Big Show (Hell in a Cell) ***1/4
8/20/06 Shawn Michaels/Triple H vs Vince McMahon/Shane McMahon ***1/4
12/11/06 Ric Flair/Triple H/Shawn Michaels vs Randy Orton/Edge/Kenny ***1/4

12/17/06 Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs Joey Mercury/Johnny Nitro vs Jeff Hardy/Matt Hardy vs Dave Taylor/William Regal (Ladder) ****1/4
6/16/06 Finlay/William Regal vs Matt Hardy/Gunner Scott ***1/4
5/19/06 Chris Benoit/Gunner Scott vs Finlay/Booker T ***1/4


1/16/06 Edge vs Ric Flair (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) ****
2/19/06 Kurt Angle vs Undertaker **** (won #10 for WO MOTY)
4/2/06 Mick Foley vs Edge (Hardcore) **** (WO MOTY HONORABLE MENTION)
4/2/06 Rob Van Dam vs Shelton Benjamin vs Matt Hardy vs Finlay vs Bobby Lashley vs Ric Flair (Ladder) ****
4/30/06 John Cena vs Triple H vs Edge ****1/4
5/21/06 Chris Benoit vs Finlay **** (won #7 for WO MOTY)
6/2/06 Rey Mysterio vs Kurt Angle ****1/4
9/17/06 Trish Stratus vs Lita
9/17/06 John Cena vs Edge (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) ****1/4 (WO MOTY HONORABLE)
11/24/06 Chris Benoit vs Finlay ****1/4
12/17/06 Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs Joey Mercury/Johnny Nitro vs Jeff Hardy/Matt Hardy vs Dave Taylor/William Regal (Ladder) ****1/4

4/2/06 WM 22: LADDER; FOLEY/EDGE; CENA/HHH; HBK/VINCE; Rey/Angle/Orton
10/3/06 ECW: RVD vs TEST