Seth Brown screen capped a quote from Smackdown (not clear if it was this or last week) where Michael Cole fell into a pretty deep plot hole. He claimed that the World Heavyweight Championship wasn’t the one that goes back to 1905, even though Stephanie McMahon mentioned on Monday that it was, in fact, that title. Cole brought up the fact that Chris Jericho held both titles, and the belt was merged into the undisputed WWE Championship (actually, HHH merged the titles after he won them at Wrestlemania X-8), and that the World Heavyweight Championship that was introduced by Eric Bischoff in September 2002 was the real 1905-originated World Championship, and that the WCW Championship was a different thing. Everybody got that?
The name Undisputed WWE Champion makes the most sense, but it’s been done. It’s also clunky, and long. The best thing they could do, timeline-wise, is to actually retire the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, just like they did with the WWE Women’s Championship, and give this thing an entirely new name. This would pretty well put an end to the unification string, at least for a while.
I don’t like unified, though, and since WWE and World are both out, what to do? Superlatives will only get you so far, and if we’re going for simplicity and clarity, I’d say strip it of any name whatsoever. Call it The Title or The Championship. Make it seem like when people talk about a fight with a belt on the line, that’s the only one that makes sense. Make it ubiquitous with either of those phrases, and make any modifier seem inferior (as The “intercontinental” championship obviously would be). Make it so if there is a “title” in this world, it’s this one. This is the only one that matters.
We have come a long way, but we’re still not treating women anywhere close to equally. That shit needs to stop.
One could argue 2013 has been a banner year for the Divas division in WWE. Kaitlyn and AJ have been the only champions, and are the two most deserving in the troupe. Total Divas has helped WWE’s image with an entirely new audience, and it’s been a very long time since anyone wrestled in gravy or stripped for no reason. But it’s still called the Divas division, the majority of stories are still largely about jealousy and men (women in WWE routinely fail the Bechdel test), matches are generally still a quarter-length of equivalent men’s matches, and the time given onscreen is still a tenth.
Here’s two suggestions: eliminate the term Diva, and eliminate the Divas division. There’s no cruiserweight division for the lighter men, and the tag division’s only qualification is that you have one friend (or one frenemy). Make the women “Superstars,” just like the men, and have them compete with men. Throw out this notion that “women can’t out-power the men” because Rey Mysterio, and have them just compete for titles and form friendships and have feuds and just be people. Or wrestlers, at least.
And then, write a story where AJ Lee wins the big belt, whatever they end up calling it.
I’ve been gone for 683 days. TWO YEARS BASICALLY. I’ve missed like 87% of a 434 day CM Punk WWE Title run. I’ve missed the entire undefeated streak, and DEBUT for that matter, of The Shield. I’ve missed a Once In A Lifetime match and it happened TWICE. I’VE BEEN GONE FOR TWO LIFETIMES.
Pizzabodyslam is back. Now we just need Razor and we can finally unlock Ganon’s temple.
WWE has decided to axe an arm of its distribution that has been slowly dying ever since they announced the WWE Network over two years ago. The sad thing is, before the first announcement of the Network in October 2011, WWE Classics on Demand was a great service. For what I believed was a reasonable monthly fee ($10 per month), you received roughly 30 hours of top quality, opt-in, curated content each month. Some of it was even new, including excellent panel shows and retrospectives with today’s context. And while, sure, Raw’s and Nitro’s from the 90s could be found anywhere else, good luck finding MSG or Maple Leaf Gardens shows from the 70s on torrent sites.
But the second the Network was announced, WWE Classics on Demand has been a dead brand walking. We knew it would go away the Network ever became close to really existing, and so I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did (due, naturally, to interminable delays regarding the Network’s launch). WWE stopped advertising for Classics, instead hyping their Network, which very quickly segued into advertising for Youtube, Hulu, Tout, and, of course, WWE.com. This lead me to believe that the new home was not any TV show or even channel, but the website itself.
I don’t think Classics was a hit. It offered a niche product (old wrestling) at a premium price (it costs more than a subscription to Netflix or Hulu), and it did so using technology that not everyone was accustomed to using (or liked). But if you were fine with these constraints, I don’t think it disappointed. At the very least, it certainly gave you what was written on the tin.
I could see a WWE producer listing bullet points about what not to do with the new Network: tie it to clunky, on demand tech; make people have to choose what to watch every time; have no freshly broadcast stuff from this decade or even the last; broadcast in standard definition; have Michael Cole host everything. These are things Classics on Demand did. I can’t imagine the Network will be structured as such (with the exception of Cole. There’s just no getting rid of him).
But, you know, out with the old, in with the presumably new. I can’t be the only one who think the timing is perfect: Classics dies on January 31, 2014, and the big rumours are that the Network will launch only a few weeks after (though these rumours, curiously enough, were personally debunked by Stephanie McMahon). For those who know the date, that’s less than three months away, and we still don’t know anything concrete about the Network. We don’t know if it’ll be a pay channel or be provided with a cable package; what it will cost; if it will have new programming or be simply old content; if it will air PPVs; if it will have reality tv shows (I’ve always felt that Total Divas was originally meant for the Network); if it will make any money; and if people will actually want it.
If the Network is successful, it will change how WWE operates. It will change how fans perceive the product, as well as the platform itself. If it isn’t, it will be another Classics on Demand: a nice piece of the whole, but enjoyed only by the most devout.
Let’s face it. With the brand extension no longer in effect, there’s no need for two champions.
HHH goes on to list a number of “greats” that have held the WWE Championship, but (I’d suggest) purposefully does not include any greats that held the World Championship, because this is really less about merging titles as simplifying branding. He also doesn’t mention Randy Orton, the current WWE Champion, but he does mention Cena.
HHH takes twenty minutes to say anything on the live show, but put him in a closed interview with Michael Cole and he can deliver a week’s worth of plot progression and speculation in three and a half.
#WCW stands for Woman Crush Wednesdays, celebrating your favourite women all over social media. WCW stands for World Championship Wrestling. Obviously they needed to be put together, so I made a ladies tee. You can order it by clicking the title above for cheap ($12.50 + shipping!), but 30 women (who I will have subsequent crushes on) have to get in on it.
But the real reason to stick with it is that strange rush you get, that combination of nostalgia and accomplishment, when you successfully get your onscreen character to do the same thing as a real wrestler once did, years ago.
These simulations are the best part of WWE 2K14, because they’re the first time a wrestling game has ever pushed forward on the fact that it’s not just a fighting game, and specific moves matter to the drama. I like that this review focused on how much better that particular aspect has become.
From what I’ve seen, however, you always have to play as the guy who wins, and that’s a problem (for reasons I’ve previously discussed). The game would be far more compelling to a “wrestling is fake and I want it that way” kind of fan like myself if you could co-operate with another player to recreate a match as it was, with one person consciously playing as the character who has to (and can) lose.
What I’m saying is, there won’t be a wholly great wrestling game until you can do the fingerpoke of doom.
See? It’s not a plot hole. It’s a question left open on the main show so you can watch a Tout later.
I wonder if WWE reads the general criticism laid out Monday night/Tuesday morning and then scripts little segments for the website that explains them all.
Here’s my favourite part:
WWE.com sources and eyewitnesses said that after The Wyatt Family hauled Bryan off, they unceremoniously threw him out into the Nassau Coliseum parking lot.
WWE’s video graphics department may have put everything into Survivor Series and left literally nothing for TLC, but the poster is leagues better.
Much like wrestler T-shirts, PPV posters are at their conceptual best when they begin without a wrestler’s face. Unless it’s Daniel Bryan tied to the railroad tracks, of course.