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December 2021 Wrestling Discussion


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To follow up on SRS's report that was posted here - here is what Dave put in the new WON regarding KO staying with the WWE (and possibly Sami too). I bolded a section that definitely is gonna be interesting to folks.

Spoiler

In conjunction with being featured more heavily on television, Kevin Owens (Kevin Steen, 37), signed a multi-year deal with WWE.

There has also been locker room talk that Sami Zayn (Rami Sebei, 37) did as well, but WWE sources have not confirmed Zayn having signed to us yet.

Both men’s deals were set to expire in early 2022 and since they came up in wrestling with The Young Bucks, there was belief that they would be open to negotiations from AEW.

Reports from those close to the situation pegged Owens as having signed a three-year deal at a price point high enough that AEW would not be willing to match those figures. The figures being passed around within were high enough that it was major talk in the industry at how high WWE would go to keep him, although one WWE source said the figures were in line with what someone at his level would be making. The reports were that he did not get a no-cut clause in that contract. The numbers for Zayn, if he signed, are unknown but he will almost surely not get a no-cut clause.

While the Owens deal was first reported by Fightful on 12/15, reports are that he actually signed some time back which led to his main event push. Zayn was given more television time, and while he’s been portrayed more as a comedy fgure than a serious main eventer, he has been featured on television with the two biggest stars in the company, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.

“It's in line with what I heard,” said a key player in the organization. “Someone in his position, who can come in and out of the main events, upper mid card, will make that level at this time. But he won't get the 90-day clause waived. He wasn't going to get more money.”

“The 2-3 million a year range is so blinding to people, they sign, not realizing it's a 90 day contract that renews every day at WWE's sole discretion. It's how they `got’ Windham Rotunda. He was going to get 3 mil, 3 year term. They went to a 5 year term. He held. They inched up towards 4. He jumped at it. But it's still a 90 day contract. And with the higher number, it takes less and less to trigger the release.”

It should be noted that there were reasons not having to do with money for Rotunda’s release and those reasons don’t apply to Owens or Zayn. But the non-cut does put the company in control if they perceive the value of the talent to drop, or they lose interest, or company finances take a downward turn (the latter of which isn’t happening but it is a safeguard in the event it does).

The one thing for all major talent today is to realize that the best thing to do is sign for as short a term as possible. What seems like big money today may not be so big by comparison in three years. While nothing is for sure, mostly likely WWE and AEW are each going to get better deals not just with television but in other revenue streams going forward, which will give them more money for talent. Plus, if the numbers get closer, each side will be more apt to bid more for top level talent. The risks one would say would be a serious injury, but a long-term WWE deal doesn’t protect against that as they can still cut you. With AEW, the long-term deal would benefit talent in the case of a serious injury as they haven’t cut people who got hurt under their watch. The only other benefit of going five years or longer instead of two or three (and pretty much every company is likely to insist on three minimum) is if television itself dies and the big rights fees go down, but more likely streaming players are going to bid against television and the rights fees will go up. So it’s not much of a risk, and with WWE, since they can cut a contract anytime, there is no benefit to a longer deal.

Owens was on Patric Laprade and Kevin Raphael’s TVA Sports poscasat les Anti-Pods de la Lutte, and said, “I'll just say that my contract still ends on January 31, but not 2022 (believed to be 2025). I will still be in WWE for several years. The decision was pretty easy because it was the best thing for my family, really. When it comes to that, it's always a pretty easy decision to take. WWE has been my home for seven years now, so I have a sense of belonging. Basically, I spent the majority of my career here. When you look at all the wrestling companies I've wrestled for, in WWE, that's where I've been the longest. That's where I need to be for the next few years. That's how I felt and that's the decision I made.”

The Young Bucks had teased a reunion of Mount Rushmore, a PWG group of Kevin Steen, Adam Cole and them, a few months back on Twitter. Owens even made a quick tease of that before taking it down. Those close to the situation noted that he wanted to listen to both sides but perceived that AEW would not match the WWE offer, details of which he did not want out.

And what my understanding of that it = "no cut clause" is the same as "90 day clause"

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That's why these contracts are not worth the paper they're printed on.  You have a "three year deal" that they can cancel this very second.  So who cares how "long" the deal is for?  What exactly is the company being held to, aside from a pay rate?  I mean I work in Maryland and my company can fire me any time they want, too, but I don't have some bullshit contract.

On a related note, The Rock being close longtime friends with Nick Khan kind of verifies all those skeey, "off" vibes I get from Rock. 

Edited by Technico Support
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2 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

That's why these contracts are not worth the paper they're printed on.  You have a "three year deal" that they can cancel this very second.  So who cares how "long" the deal is for?  What exactly is the company being held to, aside from a pay rate?  I mean I work in Maryland and my company can fire me any time they want, too, but I don't have some bullshit contract.

On a related note, The Rock being close longtime friends with Nick Khan kind of verifies all those skeey, "off" vibes I get from Rock. 

Yeah, The Rock is either a great guy who everyone should strive to be like or a sociopath.  He's almost too self aware. His story is kind of incredible because he actually had a pretty dark period that humbled him before he became super famous. That will help someone not be a complete douchebag,  but it's rare someone who is even half as successful to have the kind of awareness that he shows... unless it's a mask. 

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5 hours ago, odessasteps said:

1. The guy who allegedly got Hep C from Abby

2. Does a lot of poor quality shoot interviews on YouTube

3. Apparently pays promoters to book him on Indy shows and foes a weird "blood hunter" gimmick where he blades people. 

I knew the Hannibal guy who did the shoot was a worker because he does give off the vibe that he's obsessed with well known, veteran workers putting him over as this great worker. However, I didn't make the connection that the guy who did this crazy shit was the same person and also the same person from the Abdullah lawsuit/incident. He did seem very off-putting, but I don't think his shoots were as bad as Brian Last made them out to be. There are like 5,000 people who try to do shoots on Youtube, and they're way worst than the shit that Hannibal normally does. My problem is again he tries to put himself over too much, and what I found to be repulsive is he goes and finds these older wrestlers that clearly are in no shape to talk and tries to interview them. I saw a video on my feed of what appeared to be him trying to interview a drugged up Dark Journey and making fun of her being high. Any decent human being wouldn't have put that out there for everyone to see and maybe even tried to get her some help. This asshole put out someone clearly battling through personal demons on video and then tried to ridicule that person.

That was enough for me to block his shit from my Youtube feed.

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There is a moment of opportunity here where I think Owens could get some pretty real heel heat, even with the portion of the WWE live audience that didn't want him to go to AEW. We're in a world where even someone like MJF just has "playalong heat," and maybe only Cody is getting real heat.

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That's why I'm not a fan of MJF. His whole throwback Attitude Era troll schtick comes off as super-forced. 

Cody, on the other hand, seems like he's genuinely deluded about his own importance. If Cody's just acting, he should get an Emmy for it.

Maybe Cody's doing some Jeremy Strong-type method acting, I don't know, but if so, get him a nomination at least.

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2 minutes ago, SirSmellingtonofCascadia said:

That's why I'm not a fan of MJF. His whole throwback Attitude Era troll schtick comes off as super-forced. 

Cody, on the other hand, seems like he's genuinely deluded about his own importance. If Cody's just acting, he should get an Emmy for it.

Maybe Cody's doing some Jeremy Strong-type method acting, I don't know, but if so, get him a nomination at least.

It's not just his low hanging fruit shit, either.  It's the self referential stuff that so cringeworthy and Russoish.  DO NOT discuss how good you are "on the stick."  It's 4th wall breaking and stupid.  Danielson's not out here talking about his ability to sell.

Cody screaming at The Help at ringside to go find his weight belt and give it back sure felt real, but maybe I'm being WORKED BY 4D CHESS~!

Edited by Technico Support
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11 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

  

It's not just his low hanging fruit shit, either.  It's the self referential stuff that so cringeworthy and Russoish.  DO NOT discuss how good you are "on the stick."  It's 4th wall breaking and stupid.  Danielson's not out here talking about his ability to sell.

Cody screaming at The Help at ringside to go find his weight belt and give it back sure felt real, but maybe I'm being WORKED BY 4D CHESS~!

I addressed this in one of the AEW threads,  but you're the exact person he's trying to be a heel towards. He is a successful heel, because his entire act is based in pissing off the people who watch wrestling and think,  "your not supposed to talk about how good you are on the stick." Almost every other heel over the last couple decades ends up getting cheered by the "smart" fans in the crowd,  but he doesn't because he's actively addressing those fans with his tactics. I'd bet money he is a huge internet wrestling fan.  Too much of his act is based on the shit we complain about all day for it not to be intentional. 

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6 hours ago, odessasteps said:

1. The guy who got Hep C from Abby

2. Does a lot of poor quality shoot interviews on YouTube

3. Apparently pays promoters to book him on Indy shows and foes a weird "blood hunter" gimmick where he blades people. 

Fixed number 1 for you. 

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17 minutes ago, supremebve said:

I addressed this in one of the AEW threads,  but you're the exact person he's trying to be a heel towards. He is a successful heel, because his entire act is based in pissing off the people who watch wrestling and think,  "your not supposed to talk about how good you are on the stick." Almost every other heel over the last couple decades ends up getting cheered by the "smart" fans in the crowd,  but he doesn't because he's actively addressing those fans with his tactics. I'd bet money he is a huge internet wrestling fan.  Too much of his act is based on the shit we complain about all day for it not to be intentional. 

That's fine, I guess.  But if pro wrestling has gotten to this post-modern phase where the way to be a heel is to troll smart fans by being actively bad at aspects of pro wrestling, no thanks.

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That is only one part of what makes MJF's act so corny, but regarding the self-aware stuff specifically: It comes off like Vince Russo's '90s-era WE'RE SHOOTIN' BRO leves of tryhard.

Of course, if MJF's trying to get me to change the channel (or more accurately at this point, see a clip of him posted somewhere and think, "Nah, I don't need to be watching AEW if he's all up in the videos"), then he's doing his job.

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28 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

That's fine, I guess.  But if pro wrestling has gotten to this post-modern phase where the way to be a heel is to troll smart fans by being actively bad at aspects of pro wrestling, no thanks.

Who was the last heel that you actually hated? Bryan Danielson is clearly a good heel, but do you actually dislike him? MJF is a good heel, because we,  the people who appreciate what Danielson is doing as a heel, hate him too. There is not a more effective heel in the entire business. 

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I keep thinking "Do not engage" on this one, but the ideal at this point should be like saying "What's the last movie/TV character you really hated and wanted to get his comeuppance?" like a Ramsey Bolton. I realize this contradicts some of what I said about Owens, but in an ideal world in 2021, pro wrestling should be able to get people invested in characters for what they do/say and not how they're portrayed. "I sure hate the way Iwan Rheon chooses to portray Ramsey Bolton. It's not at all how I'd want to see him portrayed to be a really great villain. I hope they kill off the character instead of using him prominently." is very different than "I hate the character and hope he fails for what he's done."

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I want Logan Roy to get fucked next season on Succession.

MJF is obviously nowhere near the same game, league, or sport as Brian Cox is in that role.

The last heel that I wanted to get beaten because of their portrayal - not because of outside shit like how they're booked or shooty stuff - is probably Vince McMahon, which explains a lot about either wrestling or about my fandom.

One more edit: Dario Cueto is probably a better answer in terms of "most recent character that you wanted to see beaten because of their portrayal of their character."

Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
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1 hour ago, Technico Support said:

That's fine, I guess.  But if pro wrestling has gotten to this post-modern phase where the way to be a heel is to troll smart fans by being actively bad at aspects of pro wrestling, no thanks.

I was thinking about the UK Indy Guy Spike Trivet, who thanks to SpeakingOut and NXTUK is basically a top guy now. His constant references to being a great promo and 'the industry' are super, super annoying and I get that's kind of the point and that is supposed to make him a good heel in 2021 but nah, fuck it I don't want to watch it.

MJF does have a lot more going on but some of the schtick wears a little thin sometimes. But then watching a Miz-Edge promo battle made me want to Big Show my laptop; MJF and Punk are a level above that cringe.

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23 minutes ago, SirSmellingtonofCascadia said:

The last heel that I wanted to get beaten because of their portrayal - not because of outside shit like how they're booked or shooty stuff - is probably Vince McMahon, which explains a lot about either wrestling or about my fandom.

One more edit: Dario Cueto is probably a better answer in terms of "most recent character that you wanted to see beaten because of their portrayal of their character."

See this is where we're going with this. In a completely post-kayfabe world, you can't chase "real heat." The only way to get it is to create backwards characters and ironic narrative structures. Your product stops being about anything and is just about its own portrayal. This is madness. It's unsatisfying. It's doing six times the lifting for a result that might not even draw you any money or have people wanting to watch your show instead of hate watching it.

Why was Dario a successful character in Lucha Underground? Because it, more than any other wrestling program in the States over the last few decades, committed to its own narrative as text instead of subtext or metatext or whatever. He was a character 100% and it was never pulled apart for what the actor might be thinking or feeling.

It's probably time for wrestling to stop chasing this high and just try to tell good, logical, traditional stories with total immersion and commitment.

Edited by Matt D
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Agreed. I believed in all the Aztec spiritualism and LEO infiltration of the underground fighting ring as real because LU treated it that way.

Just treat your show as real, whatever that reality is, and heels that can draw heat without going LET'S SHOOT BRO will come back.

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My issue with MJF is that he constantly talks of himself as this major league "oh my god can you believe he said that?" promo guy and yet comes out with 'your momma/your sister/incest' low level way past their sell by date insults. It's unreal.

If him delivering unoriginal lameass material is an intentional ploy just to get me to hate him, well job done I guess?

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