Week in Wrestling #20
Wrestling News From the week of
December 3 - December ,11 2015
TLC PPV Preview
The updated lineup for the TLC show on 12/13 in Boston is Sheamus vs. Reigns in a TLC match for the WWE title, Owens vs. Ambrose for the IC title in a regular match, New Day vs. Usos vs. Lucha Dragons for the tag titles in a ladder match, Charlotte vs. Paige for the Divas title in a regular match, and Del Rio vs. Swagger for the U.S. title in a chairs match. While not announced, it’s probably The Wyatt Family of Wyatt & Strowman & Harper & Rowan vs. Dudleys & Dreamer & Rhyno in a tables match. Other programs going on are Ryback vs. Rusev, Ziggler vs. Breeze and Stardust vs. O’Neil as far as what could fill out the show or be used for a pre-show match
Raw on 12/7 did a 2.14 rating and 3,039,000 viewers (1.48 viewers per home), the new lowest rating mark since 1997, and the second lowest non-holiday audience of the modern era. It was still third for the night on cable television.
The audience only beat out the 11/23 show that did a 2.15 rating and 2,950,000 viewers. The last time Raw did a 2.1 rating was February 17, 1997, when Nitro was opposing Raw. The difference in the Raw rating seems tied to the NFL, as last week, when the NFL game was down, Raw was up. This week, when the Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins game did 14,151,000 viewers, Raw took a hit, although being a bad show was part of it.
The 8 p.m. hour did 3,270,000 viewers; the 9 p.m. hour did 3,042,000 viewers and the 10 p.m. hour, which went 14 minutes past the hour, did 2,850,000 viewers.
The show did a 1.48 in Males 18-49 and 0.61 in Women 18-49, meaning in that demo there was a 70.8% male skew, which is higher than usual. The show did a 1.04 in 18-34, 1.04 in 35-49, and 1.19 in 50+. The strongest age group right now for the program is Males between the ages of 50 and 54.
Sting was on Ric Flair’s podcast and said that he was in need of neck surgery after the injuries suffered from taking two power bombs into the turnbuckles in his match with Rollins at Night of Champions in September. He wasn’t sure of the nature of the surgery, but it would be done by Dr. Joseph Maroon of Pittsburgh. He said things have been going on in life so he’s avoided getting it done but he said now is about te time he needs to start getting it taken care of. He said he was hoping they wouldn’t have to do fusion surgery, but Maroon told him there are two spots in his neck that are problems and he’s suffering from cervical spinal stenosis (which Steve Austin, Edge and Larry Matysik all suffered from and it led to the end of Austin and Edge’s careers). Any neck surgery at this point would make it a longshot for him to be ready for WrestleMania
Bret Hart Forces WWE to pull footage
WWE put up a lot of old footage from promotions like Mid South, Jim Crockett Promotions, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Stampede Wrestling and the AWA up on the network this past week. This was a test to see if it leads to an increase in subscriptions leading up to Christmas. However, the Stampede footage was taken down three days later. This came because Bret Hart owns all footage that involves him, which would be all his matches and his interviews. That’s been well known for years but apparently there was a miscommunication somewhere.
Hart contacted Mark Carrano, who claimed to Hart that they owned all the Stampede footage in a deal made with Ross and Bruce Hart. Hart then contacted Vince McMahon, who said he would look into it first thing Monday morning, as well as WWE attorney Scott Amann, and said there would be an issue if they didn’t take the footage down. He also sent WWE a copy of the agreement between the WWE and Ross Hart which apparently stated that Bret owns the rights to all footage involving him. Vince then ordered all footage of Stampede Wrestling taken down until everything gets resolved
Sammi Zayn Returns
Zayn returns on the U.K. tour after being out for six months after shoulder surgery. His first match back will be the tour opener in Newcastle, where he will challenge Finn Balor for the NXT title. The tour starts on 12/10 in Newcastle and ends with the Takeover special on 12/16. Zayn isn’t advertised for a match in London, but is also announced for the 12/12 show in Sheffield for a three-way title match with Balor and Baron Corbin. He’s as much of a difference maker to the product as there is, because not only is he as good as anyone in the ring, but he’s the best talker and the most popular wrestler in the promotion
Another WWE Survey
WWE did another survey this week, I believe this was for people who have network subscriptions (I ended up getting two). It was asking people different aspects of both Raw and NXT and what they liked and didn’t like. But it was very much asking for Raw vs. NXT comparison and trying to find out what percentage of the network subscribers know and watch NXT, and whether the idea that NXT is better than Raw is something they hear a lot about from vocal fans, or if it’s got some significant traction with their network subscribers. They wouldn’t do these surveys if they were closed-minded in their direction because they were very much asking people what aspects of wrestling are most important to them, what they like and dislike.
The questions weren’t really done in a manner that they’re going to get a lot out of it, as the problem isn’t do you like interviews, do you like matches, but decisions on how they push new talent, who is pushed and who isn’t, how they portray babyfaces, the main storyline of the wrestlers being a subservient group of people lucky to have jobs as opposed to being real stars, and the length of Raw. Nothing in the questions could give people a chance to talk about the problems, and really, for fans less interested or fans that have checked out completely, they just know they’re not interested and may not be able to point to anything in specific past it’s no longer a priority in their life.
The one thing is that they have e-mail addresses of former network subscribers as well, but the survey didn’t ask questions about the network, why people gave up subscribing or things like that. It was more about what you like and don’t like about the product, Raw vs. NXT, what other sports you watch, what kind of music you listen to, what your income is (so they are going to try and present something that says the income for their fan base is higher than is generally believed, which has been done in the past by WWE and then completely ignored by the ad world which wasn’t going to believe the results of a WWE produced survey) and also where you get your wrestling information from, listing a number of web sites, and also if you watch independent wrestling, how often you attend WWE shows and indie shows.
John Cena Update
Cena’s TV series “American Grit” is right now scheduled to finish up filming in Washington on 12/16, which means he could return on the 12/21 Raw, although his first advertised date back is 12/26 in Madison Square Garden. Cena was doing media with NBC on 12/8, appearing on both “The Today Show” and “The Tonight Show,” to promote the movie “Sisters.” Cena is listed as the third lead behind stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who play sisters who want to throw one last wild party in their house that their parents have just sold. Cena plays a muscled up drug dealer. The movie comes out on 12/18.
AJ Styles Update
A.J. Styles is still planning on working both the 12/18 final Battle PPV match with Jay Lethal, a well as the TV taping the next day.
ROH Final Battle
Final Battle goes head-to-head with the Star Wars open, which, combined with Friday not being a usual PPV night, is a double whammy. With them doing PPV and TV the next day on the same weekend to save on costs, your choices for PPV are Friday night, generally an unfamiliar night for PPV, or Saturday night, which is hard to get and filled with tough sports competition on television since you’ll almost always have boxing and UFC.
We’re told if for some reason Styles can’t work, they may go with a three-way with Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly. Right now, Cole vs. O’Reilly is scheduled as a separate singles match. Young Bucks vs. Rhett Titus & Kenny King vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe in a three-way was added to the show. The rest of the show is Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish for the TV title, Michael Bennett & Matt Taven vs. War Machine for the tag title and Moose vs. Michael Elgin for the top contender and Silas Young vs. Dalton Castle. Final Battle hasn’t officially sold out, but with only 1,000 seats available, there are only a few seats left.
Lucha Underground News
They will be taping on 12/12 and 12/13 for episodes that will air between 3/23 and 4/20. These episodes are supposed to be some of the key introductions of new characters. While he may be injured, it will be key whether Rey Mysterio is there or not and used in some form
The official debut of the new season on El Rey will be 1/27. To set that up, El Rey will be doing a 40 hour marathon of the first season from 10 a.m. on 1/23 to 2 a.m. on 1/25.