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Dec 15, 2010 - 4:18:08 PM


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BY WADE KELLER

TorchCover1182_220.jpg
I thought I'd throw up some samples of this week's newsletter-exclusive articles from issue #1182 of Pro Wrestling Torch, the newsletter I've published weekly since 1987. It's available for subscription. If you like this blog site, you'll appreciate the weekly cover story, editorials, and other coverage of wrestling I include in the newsletter each week, along with other voices contributing newsletter-exclusive features. Here's a selection of excerpts of the issue just posted today...

MY COVER STORY...

HEADLINE: Cena "rehired" in time to face Barrett at TLC
SUBHEADLINE: Payoff to big firing angle falls flat, feels rushed, lacks emotion

Maybe it was the victim of uninvited high expectations, but the payoff to the whole John Cena firing saga felt flat on Monday night.

After last week's show featured a strong showing by Cena outsmarting Wade Barrett and seemingly backing him into a corner, the logical expectation was Barrett was smart enough to provide a counter–punch. He wasn't.

Barrett stepped out on Raw on Monday and rehired Cena without putting up a fuss. The big moment of Cena being reinstated felt anticlimactic.

What's worse, Barrett put a stipulation on reinstating Cena. The stipulation was he must agree to two matches—facing David Otunga later on Raw and facing him (Barrett) at TLC in a Chairs match.

It's bad because the whole scenario during Monday's Raw didn't generate any motivating emotion to watch the TLC co–main event of Cena vs. Barrett. Barrett wasn't positioned as a frightened or outsmarted heel who was cornered after weeks of gloating that Cena had been fired. Barrett, unusual for a heel in this type of storyline, not only reinstated Cena but challenged him to a fight. Fans were left with almost no sense of satisfaction that Cena outsmarted Barrett since Barrett seemed hardly bothered by having to rehire Cena and fight him.

Perhaps it was a failure on the part of Barrett to project disappointment that his plan failed. Perhaps he was just acting out what the writers wanted him to......

MY BBL EDITORIAL...
HEADLINE: TLC: WWE's clinic in destroying a PPV theme

Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. WWE wouldn't have bothered to name the PPV "TLC" if they didn't think the "Tables, Ladders, and Chairs" theme would sell extra pay–per–views compared to other generic names for PPVs such as Breaking Point, No Mercy, No Way Out, or Bad Blood.

The theory, of course, is that creating a themed PPV and naming it after that theme will attract more fans to order the show. A TLC PPV is guaranteed to feature use of tables, ladders, and chairs.

But why would tables, ladders, and chairs help sell a WWE PPV? Of course, it's because using tables, ladders, and chairs is usually prohibited. So TLC promises to feature something special that you can't normally see on a normal PPV or WWE TV show. It also implies innovative violence involving tables, ladders, and chairs.

WWE, though, would have a tough time intentionally doing more damage to the selling point of TLC than they have by accident in the last few weeks.

One thing that makes the TLC theme a sales hook is that TLC matches are scarce. However, on the last few weeks of WWE TV, tables, ladders, and chairs have been anything but scarce. There was the impromptu Miz vs. Jerry Lawler ladder match. There was Sheamus tossing John Morrison onto a ladder bridged off the ring apron. There was John Cena being hit with chairs and then hitting others with chairs. There was even actor David Arquette, a former WCW World Champion in that ill–fated publicity stunt, being slammed through a table. That's just scratching the surface.

In theory, what WWE was doing by featuring examples of tables, ladders, and chairs being utilized in recent weeks on its TV shows was giving viewers a taste, a sample, a hook to make them want more. In theory that sounds good and makes sense, but the key is in the execution.

There needs to be a tradeoff if the downside of the hype is that the "scarcity" element is eliminated. If showing fans......

BRIAN HOOPS WEEKLY NOSTALGIA COLUMN:

One the biggest and most historic wrestling events recently aired on WWE Classics on Demand channel. During the month of November, WWE Classics on Demand aired programming with a theme of "giving thanks" in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, and aired one of the most historically significant Thanksgiving night wrestling cards in history.

Starrcade 1983, nicknamed "A Flair for the Gold" took place on Thanksgiving night, November 24, 1983 at the Greensboro Coliseum, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Starrcade 1983 is largely given credit as the first wrestling event to be broadcast on closed circuit television. Closed circuit television was the forerunner to pay–per–view events. Starrcade 1983 was actually not the first wrestling event to be shown on closed circuit TV.

Thanksgiving night wrestling was a tradition in not only the wrestling rich Southern United States, where wrestling on Thanksgiving night can be traced back to 1963 in Greensboro, but was also a fixture in St. Paul, Minnesota, Los Angeles, California, Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia.

Closed circuit television in the 1970s and early 1980s would consist of a promotion......

GREG PARKS'S WEEKLY COLUMN
HEADLINE: An update on FCW, WWE's developmental

It has been more than half a year since I last took a look at WWE's developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, via their TV show on the Bright House network. This week, I'll be reviewing three shows that aired in late November and early December. All three shows featured newcomer Matt Martlaro as play–by–play man, with the injured Brett DiBiase providing color commentary. He sounds just like his older brother, Ted.

The first show, aired November 14, began with a review of the previous week's show–closing angle, where Byron Saxton left the announce booth and turned heel on his fellow announce partner, Abraham Washington. That's right, everyone's favorite ECW talk show host is now a babyface.

Washington came out and did some mic work to begin his feud with Saxton, who is now a competitor on NXT Season 4. Maxine interrupted – she is the general manager of FCW. She made a match in which Washington would face Jinder Mahal and Jacob Novak in a handicap match.

That match took place first on the show, with Washington winning by DQ after the heels double–teamed Washington and wouldn't get out of the ring. Novak is also on this season of NXT, and he made his FCW debut the last time I reviewed the developmental territory. Mahal was signed earlier in the year by WWE, and has wrestled in Japan and Canada.

Washington showed a surprisingly good physique. Novak has a non–descript look about him. The announcers made mention that this was Abraham's first match in FCW in one-and-a-half years........

MITCHELL'S MEMO:
HEADLINE: The Off–Camera 2010 Slammy Awards

Much like the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, or the AVNs, a three–hour Slammys award show is hardly enough to make sure everyone gets the awards they deserve. So, just like the Oscars awards Best Grip, or whatever it is they award – I hate award shows, off camera, here is what's left of the 2010 Slammys they wouldn't even bother to post on WWE.com Monday afternoon or change before the show that night.

Worst Losing Streak
Undertaker loses three straight pay–per–view main events to his brother Kane

Hey, why am I suddenly only getting my downside guarantee?
Linda McMahon spends fifty million dollars on an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate

Best Trend
John Cena stopped wrestling Randy Orton all the time, except for when he did

Superstar of the Year
Brock Lesnar

He's Not Fat, He's My Brother
Matt Hardy

He Didn't Flunk a Wellness Test, He Really Did Want To Go To TNA
Jeff Hardy

Batista Award for Wellness Credibility
Jackson Andrews
Tyler Reks

Best Supporting Player
Mick Foley

Fifty Million Dollar Man
Irv Muchnick

(You're Not A) Celebrity Raw Guest Host
Wayne Brady

Did That Really Happen?
Kofi Kingston electrifies a nation–wide audience and Madison Square Garden, vaulting into main events with Randy Orton

Everyone Knows Guys Who Can Fight Never Get Laid
Daniel Bryan

For this special Slammy, the runner–ups first...

Twink of The Year......

===

Okay, there's some free samples to give you a taste of some of the newsletter-exclusive features in this week's issue #1182. The digital PDF issue is now available for subscribers at PWTorch.com/members. If you're not a member and are interested in accessing this week's complete newsletter and hundreds of back issues dating back to the late 1980s, plus many more member-benefits, click here: www.pwtorch.com/govip.


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MORE RECENT WK BLOG ARTICLES...
KELLER BLOG: Paul Heyman alliance with C.M. Punk - where does it go from here?
KELLER'S WWE SUMMERSLAM PPV BLOG: Results and analysis throughout the show including Lesnar vs. Triple H, Cena vs. Punk vs. Show
KELLER: C.M. Punk is not best utilized as a tweener, despite a recent reader poll; he should be all out heel

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LIVECAST AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (7/15) now available - Bruce Mitchell & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
LIVECAST AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (7/14) now available - Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant
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AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (7/8) now available - Wade Keller & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (7/7) now available - Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant
VIP Exclusive Features
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VIP - 07/20 WWE Battleground Post-PPV Audio Roundtable: Keller, Mitchell, Bryant discuss and dissect entire PPV start to finish including rationale for booking choices throughout the night, Lana promo, announcing blunders (90 min.)
VIP - 07/20 Bruce Mitchell Audio Show, pt. 2: Review of Foley's Friday stand-up show, reaction to Triple H's answer to Sting question, is Rollins showing up Ambrose, what was the deal with Heyman on Raw, Rusev-Lana problem? (75 min.)
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VIP - 07/18 Wade Keller Hotline - The News: Sting says he wants a match at WrestleMania 31, Impact viewership rises above 1.4 million, Mark Henry says he rejected Silverback gimmick, Hunter and Seth rave about KENTA, Ross, Bray (18 min.)
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