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We enter the second half of 2019. An eventful year so far with the formation of All Elite Wrestling and last week's news that Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff will have executive positions on WWE RAW and Smackdown Live.

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I wonder what the odds are on Heyman or Bischoff leaving before the year is out?

I'm a little more optimistic than that, but not terribly.  I predict Heyman resigns in frustration after 14 months and Bischoff is fired/demoted after 18.

Interesting that Bischoff is heading what is supposed to be the "A" show going forward.

I feel like the tv deals will handcuff their attempts to differentiate the product or create new stars, since the networks are going to demand the same 6-10 guys be on both shows weekly.

It'd be humorous if Bischoff or Heyman push Roman Reigns down the card, but, realistically, that wouldn't be allowed to happen.

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31 minutes ago, Doc Townsend said:

I feel like the tv deals will handcuff their attempts to differentiate the product or create new stars, since the networks are going to demand the same 6-10 guys be on both shows weekly.

There's a better chance that Fox demands that wrestlers on Smackdown don't appear on a rival network.

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1 hour ago, Doc Townsend said:

It'd be humorous if Bischoff or Heyman push Roman Reigns down the card, but, realistically, that wouldn't be allowed to happen.

It’s more likely that they allow Reigns to show more of his natural charisma.

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It's impossible to know how much leeway they're going to have. If someone decrees No More Scripted Promos, and random wrestler speaks from the heart and what he says gets over, like as not the edict from on high won't be "Let everyone speak from the heart from now on". Most likely it'll be "Trade mark that phrase, put it on a t shirt, have him say it every week for the next three years".

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1 minute ago, CreativeControl said:

And is Vince still gonna be in Gorilla, feeding lines constantly to the harangued Michael Cole?

Maybe with RAW but part of the SDL deal is that FOX is handling all of the production so Vince can yell all he wants - he wont be in control of the way it appears on TV

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5 minutes ago, RIPPA said:

Maybe with RAW but part of the SDL deal is that FOX is handling all of the production so Vince can yell all he wants - he wont be in control of the way it appears on TV

Am I alone in thinking that an hour of VKM screaming instructions that no one follows would be the funniest thing on TV?

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I remember that was a sticking point in the FOX/UFC negotiations. Fox wanted to produce the shows themselves and UFC wanted to use their existing crews. UFC won that one. They did use a few Fox pundits on the broadcasts, but most of them then jumped to ESPN when UFC did.

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29 minutes ago, OSJ said:

Am I alone in thinking that an hour of VKM screaming instructions that no one follows would be the funniest thing on TV?

He's old enough, and has the attention span of a goldfish, that one could easily gaslight him into thinking they're following his directions anyway.  GOD DAMMIT PAL I SAID SHAKE THE CAMERA MORE.  "Vince, we just did!"  OH.  OKAY THEN.

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1 hour ago, mattdangerously said:

There's a better chance that Fox demands that wrestlers on Smackdown don't appear on a rival network.

That was the talking point when the deal was first signed, but Meltzer has been saying the opposite lately.  The Wild Card rules are in supposedly in place because both Fox and NBC/USA are worried about their ratings and want as much star power on their shows - and Vince is too stubborn to simply end the brand split.

I hope Fox does want some sort of exclusivity, but I suspect it won't work if they do try it and stars will end up appearing on both shows to try to bolster ratings.  Both shows are a little less interesting right now because the same handful of wrestlers are getting a lot of tv time on both shows and a lot of wrestlers I'd like to see get a push aren't getting time on either show.

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This is what Meltzer wrote in the WON when they announced the Wild Card

Quote

Vince’s decision was basically one of believing the issue was that they don’t have enough stars, even after shuffling the deck to create new matchups, to keep the ratings strong. So the idea is that the biggest stars will work both shows so there is more star depth. That also means less time for the unhappy middle that want out (some publicly, many others privately) and less time to create stars. The strength of the brand split is the idea that more talent gets opportunities. But the new format cuts that way back.

This was somewhat inevitable due to pressure that was coming from stations wanting bigger numbers. FOX was wanting guys from Raw on its Smackdown show. NBC Universal had been unhappy with the ratings, particularly the third hour drop, and wanted to know why, given ratings were falling, that they sent Reigns, who the perception is that he’s the company’s biggest star, to Smackdown. Both sides wanted more star power for the fall,. Unless the move to FOX really does create a new audience for real as opposed to the expected short-term novelty audience gain, before falling back to the long-term pattern, this fall was looking really bad.

The idea was not to drop the brand split, for one, because it makes touring more complicated (not impossible, but harder) and also because it’s seen as a failure decision since they just went back to it. So the idea was to put top people on both shows, but not always, and you don’t know who, creating the surprise feeling, and not the same people every week.

The bold is again to point that a true brand split will never happen again

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The idea was not to drop the brand split, for one, because it makes touring more complicated (not impossible, but harder)

At what point do they stop or dial back house shows?  When do the crowds get small enough that it's cost prohibitive?

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6 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

At what point do they stop or dial back house shows?  When do the crowds get small enough that it's cost prohibitive?

Worst case scenario is that house shows become a loss-leader. Remember, you're talking about a company with money to burn and a tv station to keep happy. You're not going to see house shows go away even if they lose money.  Creative accounting just moves them over to "advertising" and all is good.

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35 minutes ago, OSJ said:

Worst case scenario is that house shows become a loss-leader. Remember, you're talking about a company with money to burn and a tv station to keep happy. You're not going to see house shows go away even if they lose money.  Creative accounting just moves them over to "advertising" and all is good.

Very true.

One of the things that excites me about AEW is that we'll get to see, hopefully, what a modern wrestling business model might look like.  Even if house shows are going to shit and they guys are getting hurt, Vince will keep doing them because that's his 70s/80s mentality.  He couldn't change anything about how he does things even if he wanted to.  It'll be interesting to see how guys who didn't come up in that model and mindset run a company.

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They've lost money on house shows in recent quarters, I think 3 out of the last 4 or something like that.

Which is the first time that's happened since, at least, they went public.

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2 hours ago, AxB said:

I remember that was a sticking point in the FOX/UFC negotiations. Fox wanted to produce the shows themselves and UFC wanted to use their existing crews. UFC won that one. They did use a few Fox pundits on the broadcasts, but most of them then jumped to ESPN when UFC did.

I'm all for a WWE version of this:

 

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4 hours ago, AxB said:

I remember that was a sticking point in the FOX/UFC negotiations. Fox wanted to produce the shows themselves and UFC wanted to use their existing crews. UFC won that one. They did use a few Fox pundits on the broadcasts, but most of them then jumped to ESPN when UFC did.

Brett Okamoto works for ESPN and so does Ariel (who got fired from Fox FWIW), and they're all over the coverage. The thing about MMA is I'm not sure if there is a next level up in terms of making the broadcast more professional. The video packages are much better on ESPN than Fox. As far as the MMA journalist/pundits, the depth is horrendous. I mean Luke Thomas has been doing this for over 10 years. He was fine when he was doing commentary for UWC (probably because it just required him to shill for Lloyd Irvin BJJ schools in the DMV area and he's a Lloyd Irvin acolyte himself) shows when they streamed online, but he was fucking mortified when he did the backstage interviews for the Glory Kickboxing shows on Spike. If people think Alex Marvez was bad, Luke was worse than that. So I'm not shocked UFC won that battle. I mean Fox's idea to revamp PBC on Fox after signing a new deal with them was just to add Lennox Lewis (who was bad when he did HBO boxing commentary years prior) and Joe Goossen (good to very good when he wants to be) to commentary. There was no night and day difference. So I'm not sure how different Fox controlled UFC would have looked. Keep in mind, when you don't control the length of bouts on the card, it's only so much you can do production wise. That's likely the reason the first UFC on Fox card was ONE fight. It turned out the one fight lasted all of 64 seconds.

Granted most of it's on ESPN+ now, but the one thing the current UFC on ESPN product has over the Fox product is they don't cut back to the desk for minutes upon minutes of Karyn Bryant, Megan Olivi, and whatever crew of fighters they've assembled. They replaced most of the nonsense between fights with (good) video packages and maybe 1-2 minutes of Karyn Bryant, Bisping, Woodley, and/or Rashad. I'm fine with that especially if you're getting the next fight in the cage ASAP afterwards. Going back to the studio for several minutes plus dozens of commercial breaks made those cards feel way longer. If that decision was made by Fox, then I'm kinda glad UFC is on ESPN now. Fuck that.

Addendum: The best part of UFC on Fox was Ron Perlman narrating the Road to the Octagon shows and the MSG video he narrated (they even got Bob Arum to participate which is amazing since he called UFC homosexual skinhead fighting only six years earlier) that aired during the prelims for the first ever UFC card at the Garden. I will miss that, but I think that has to do with Perlman's voice rather than Fox's actual input.

Edited by Elsalvajeloco
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49 minutes ago, Brian Fowler said:

.... That is a bizarre combination of two things to make an insult.

Most skinheads aren't racist, even less are Nazis, but most of them have rather boring taste in both dress and music 🤷

That said, it's certainly an odd insult. 

Edited by christopher.annino
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15 minutes ago, Brian Fowler said:

.... That is a bizarre combination of two things to make an insult.

Bob Arum is a crazy old man who has been promoting fights since the late 60s and is/was close friends with Les Moonves and Steve Wynn. That's like 7.0 on the Bob Arum quote meter. This is a dude who said a week or so ago Wilder vs. Fury II will outsell Mayweather/Pacquiao on PPV. FWIW the first fight did just over 300k buys and Tyson Fury just struggled to put 7,000 people (5,489 tickets sold, 1,187 comped, 9,012 announced by Top Rank) in MGM Grand three weeks ago. You just have learn to tune him out.

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