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Dr. Darin Davis

Minnesota independent pro wrestler discusses past experiences and the current state of pro wrestling

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Tag: ecw

Below are links to some wrestling-related blog entries & articles that I found interesting during the month of February 2010.

  • StuntGrannie: WWE Kills Survivor SeriesVince McMahon announced during the stockholders’ conference call today that WWE would no longer use the Survivor Series PPV name, stating it has “outlasted its usage” and is “obsolete.”
  • The Geek Revolution: Farewell, ECWThe last episode (ever) of ECW aired on Feb 16th. The promotion has been ECW in name only, but they still could have done a better job with the last episode.
  • Joe Montana’s Right Arm: The Many Faces of FlairWith the passing of his 61st birthday, take a look at the many faces of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
As I run across things, I’m also going to be adding them to my Delicious bookmarks page (http://delicious.com/drdarindavis). You can also find the last 10 of them on the right side of the page towards the bottom.

Thumbs Up/DownBack in July of 2008, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown to see if I would be able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming. This was assuming that if the quality (in my opinion) was better, I would watch more, and if the quality dropped (again based on my tastes), I would watch less.

I ended that tracking last summer. You can find the results of the that year-long experiment, including the charts, data, and a summary on the TV Viewership Stats page.

The New Method

In July of 2009, I started collecting some different data about the same wrestling programming. After a few months of dragging my feet I finally decided on how I want to show the data, so I’ve added the information to the website.

What I am measuring this time is the number of matches per hour, and the quality of those matches as judged by a simple rating system (1 Thumb Up, 2 Thumbs Up, 1 Thumb Down).

You can find out all the details on the new TV Match Ratings page. There is a new tab at the top of the main page for this.

I won’t be posting too much about it on the main page, other than the occasional reminder that it is happening, and maybe a summary every few months. Those that are interested can check out the details on the ratings page, and those that aren’t don’t have to look at it at all.

To finish out this announcement, I’m including one of the charts from that page that shows the total “Thumb” ratings for each of the four brands from 7/7/09 through 11/20/09. The idea is that the higher the number, the better the overall quality of the wrestling matches of that brand (click on the image for a larger view).

Total Thumbs Up Ratings Thru 11/20/09

Total Thumbs Up Ratings Thru 11/20/09

As of this writing, TNA is ahead, followed by Smackdown and ECW, with Monday Night Raw trailing pretty far behind. If I remember right, the change in format where Raw has a guest host every week started sometime in July. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Here’s a summary of what the WWE announced during their supplemental draft yesterday. These were draft choices that were made in addition to those announced on Monday Night Raw.

Monday Night Raw

The Monday Night Raw program gains the following WWE Superstars:

+Brie and Nikki Bella

+THE Brian Kendrick

+Festus

+Carlito and Primo

+Hornswoggle

+Chavo Guerrero

+Mr. Kennedy

and loses the following Superstars:

Charlie Haas

Dolph Ziggler

Cryme Time

DH Smith

Layla

Candice Michelle

Mike Knox

Other than Knox (and Candice before the last couple of injuries), Raw doesn’t really lose anything. They gain Kendrick and Kennedy (who I thought was already part of Raw but since he’s been out so long I couldn’t remember).

It’s good to see a “little person” can still hold down a job in this economy, but enough with the Hornswoggle please. What is he going to do on his own without Finlay? What is Festus going to do without Jesse?

And DH Smith is still on the payroll? What does he do during the 6 months between TV appearances?

ECW

The ECW program gains the following WWE Superstars:

+Hurricane Helms

+Natalya

+DH Smith

+Zak Ryder

+Ezekiel Jackson

and loses the following Superstars:

John Morrison

Hornswoggle

Ricky Ortiz

Alicia Fox

ECW loses more than they gain, especially if you count the loss of CM Punk from the televised draft. Jackson has potential, though.

Smackdown

The Smackdown program gains the following WWE Superstars:

+Charlie Haas

+Dolph Ziggler

+Cryme Time

+John Morrison

+Layla

+Candice

+Mike Knox

+Alicia Fox

and loses the following Superstars:

Brie and Nikki Bella

Hurricane Helms

THE Brian Kendrick

Festus

Natalya

Carlito and Primo

Chavo Guerrero

Zack Ryder

Ezekiel Jackson

Mr. Kennedy

This could be a wash. Gain Knox and Morrison. Lose Kendrick, (the sometimes present) Kennedy, and Jackson.

The supplemental draft probably won’t make a big shift in my viewing habits of these programs. They seem to rotate people around unofficially anyway (especially in the last month or so where Miz & Morrison wrestled Carlito & Primo on every show).

The only thing I know for sure is that I’m not planning on tracking any viewing stats on the new WWE program on WGN that starts this week. 7 hours of wrestling a week is more than enough for me.

The WWE had its annual draft this past Monday night. Let’s take a look at who got switched around and I’ll comment on how it will affect my viewing of the various programs.

Note that this doesn’t include the Supplemental Draft that is supposed to happen on Wed.

[If you haven’t seen me mention it before, last July I decided to track my viewing time of Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and Friday Night Smackdown to see if there were any trends that would give me an indication of the quality of the programming. Less viewing = lower quality or less interesting, in my opinion. You can see this data on the TV Viewership Stats page.]

The following WWE “Superstars” have moved to Monday Night Raw:

+MVP

+Big Show

+Matt Hardy

+Triple H

+The Miz

+Maryse

and the following are leaving Raw:

Melina

Kane

Chris Jericho

Rey Mysterio

Other than maybe Maryse, I really don’t care too much about watching any of the people that were added. As far as those that are leaving, I watched Jericho, but I’m pretty much over the gimmick. Mysterio will be missed (well, not really missed since he’s just on another station).

Since the “don’t cares” will be taking up airtime on Raw, and Mysterio gone, I’m guessing my Raw viewing will go down. (see graph below – click for a larger view).

Raw Viewing Before 2009 Draft

Raw Viewing Before 2009 Draft

The following WWE “Superstars” have moved to ECW:

+Vladimir Kozlov

and the following have left ECW:

CM Punk

Since I generally like Kozlov’s gimmick, but not as much as Punk, I have to say ECW will hold steady or go down slightly. My viewing of ECW has gone up in the last several weeks, partly because of the return of Evan Bourne, and partly because of talent from the other two shows turning up.

ECW Viewing Before 2009 Draft

ECW Viewing Before 2009 Draft

The following Superstars are going to Friday Night Smackdown:

+Melina

+CM Punk

+Kane

+Chris Jericho

+Rey Mysterio

and the following are leaving Smackdown:

MVP

Big Show

Matt Hardy

Triple H

Vladimir Kozlov

Maryse

With CM Punk and Mysterio heading to Smackdown, my viewership will probably stay the same or go up slightly (considering Kozlov is moving). The others that left are “don’t cares”. Smackdown viewing has been all over the map, but there were a couple of weeks where it didn’t get recorded, so I don’t know if that explains it bouncing around (I just used the previous week’s numbers in both cases).

Smackdown Viewing Before 2009 Draft

Smackdown Viewing Before 2009 Draft

I’ll update this later in the week after the Supplemental Draft takes place.

Radio microphoneI saw some photographs  a few weeks ago on Wayne McCarty’s site from the recent Heavy On Wrestling (HOW) card in Superior, WI. In the past few months, in addition to local independent wrestling stars, they have brought in Christy Hemme (TNA, WWE), The Honky Tonk Man (WWF), Terry Funk (NWA, WCW, ECW, WWE,…), The Highlanders (WWE), “Spirit Squad” Mikey (WWE), Cherry (WWE), Eugene (WWE), and Mick Foley (WCW, ECW, WWE,…).

Usually, when a small promoter brings in a big name from out of town, they tend to lose their shirt. The draw never covers expenses. When they keep doing it, they’re usually doing it to “buy” some friends (a “money mark”). That works until their savings run out, and then they end up stiffing the workers and skipping town.

Trash Talking Radio has an interview with HOW promoter “Heavy D” (RealPlayer requiredI hate RealPlayer). Listening to the interview, it’s pretty clear that this promoter is not one of those people. As he states, “there’s a difference between putting a show together and being a promoter.” Getting sponsors (Miller Lite, Domino’s), getting radio time on morning shows, selling advertising, getting newspaper coverage, getting venues, and making sure that the product looks and sounds good.

Even though he has only been promoting for a couple of years, they are already drawing 800 to 1000 people per show. I’ve always had mixed feelings about bringing in big names rather than making names out of local talent. Several wrestlers from the Minneapolis area have been involved with the promotion, and it would be good to see those guys get more name recognition up north. Get them to the point where people will want to go to the show just to see them, and not because someone “famous” is on the card. That’s what it sounds like the promoter wants to do, although it’s not clear at this point if he would phase out some of the outside talent or not.

It will be interesting to hear how this progresses.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I was thinking about keeping track of the actual Nielsen ratings for wrestling TV programs in addition to tracking my own viewing habits. Here’s why I don’t think I’ll ever do it:

A story last week stated that ECW had the lowest rating in its history (or something similar). Was it that bad of a program? No, the ratings were down because of the presidential election.

I’m trying to measure the quality of the programming. The ratings are not direct measure of quality or how enjoyable the program was to a wrestling fan. The ratings can be/are affected by the enjoyment, but they can also be affected by other factors.

The ratings measure how many people (wrestling fan and non-wrestling fan) decided to watch the programming rather than doing one of a million other possible things they had available to them. They could have decided to watch another program, play a video game, read a book, or believe it or not even go outside.

BTW, “share” is a measure of how many people that decided to watch TV watched a given program. It is a percentage of the total viewers during that time period. A “10” share would mean 10 percent of the people who were watching TV at the time were watching that program.

I’m more interested in what wrestling fans that watched the program thought of it than whether or not the general population watched it.

I think Evan Bourne being out of action for possibly the next few months will affect the already low amount of time I spend watching ECW. His matches were definitely ones that I wouldn’t fast forward through.

Other than having to sit on the sidelines when you are on a hot streak and being given a major push in the promotion, what’s the worst part of severely injuring your right ankle in a match? Having to sell the left one because that’s what your opponent(s) are beating on.

If you didn’t see the tag team match on ECW last week, Bourne did a somersault outside the ring on Bam Neely (another shameless plug for Bam) and came down wrong on this right ankle (we’d later find out that it was a dislocated ankle and ligament tear). After the injury, he finished out the rest of the match with his opponents working over his left leg for the duration. I was cringing watching it because I was aware that it was the wrong wheel. And I knew that to do a good job selling the left leg he would have stop using it. So for about ten minutes he had to hop around on his dislocated, torn right ankle to let everyone know how badly the left one had been pummelled.

The good news: we got to see Lenny Lane on ECW this week.

The bad news: it was a squash match

Rather than let the memory of Lenny in a squash linger, or to let the words of color commentator Matt Striker,  saying Lane was “…trying to make a name for himself here in ECW…” , be the most recent ones people remember, I dug out a video from more than 10 years ago to share with everyone. I guess Striker “forgot” that Lane had competed in ECW in the past, or that he had been a champion in WCW beating the likes of Rey Mysterio (jr.) and Ultimo Dragon.

This is a match between “Luscious” Lenny Lane (with manager Mortimer Plumbtree) and the Kamikazee Kid. These two had a great feud back in the Northern Premier Wresting (NPW) promotion.

The match takes place in Austin, MN, which is the hometown of Kamikazee and it originally aired on “Slick” Mick’s Bodyslam Review. The match was already joined in progress, so rather than editing it further to try to get it under the YouTube 10 min limit I broke it into two parts.

A note for the squeamish– “There Will be Blood”.

Part 1

Part 2

Commentary: “Slick” Mick Karch & Tom “The Bear” (and J.B. Trask)
Referee: Mike Diamond
Producer/Camera: Al Pabon

A couple of months ago, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown over the period of several months to see if I’m able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming (e.g. am I watching less, more, or about the same).

After looking at the data, there was enough variation there that a one week sample wasn’t going to tell me anything. So I decided to look at the trend of a longer period, like a month.

After experimenting with a few different ways to graph this, the best way I can think of is to show the trend for each program separately. I’m also showing a rolling 4 week average that could be useful as I get more data. I’m showing the “Percent of Episode Viewed” for each program. I also had a suggestion to make sure the vertical scales were all set to 100% so that you could compare the graphs.

Here is the data for WWE Monday Night Raw through August 2008:

Raw % of Episode Viewed (August 2008)

Raw % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

My Raw viewership is holding steady at about 60% of the episode viewed. Higher viewings are usually after PPVs where I tune in to get the results. For example, there was a PPV on 8/17, which caused a bump in Raw viewing time.

Here is ECW:

ECW % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

ECW % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

ECW viewing is staying around 40% of the episode viewed. ECW and Smackdown take a little bit of a hit after a PPV because they give you a similar PPV recap (they don’t assume that you watch Raw, or in the case of Smackdown that you even have cable). Since Raw airs first, I skip through the recaps on the other two shows.

TNA:

TNA % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

TNA % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

TNA is holding around 60% of an episode viewed. Pretty steady week to week. They go off in directions that I’m not interested in, but they’ve got a lot of talent that I enjoy watching. And of course they have Daivari Sheik Bashir.

Smackdown:

Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

Smackdown sits a little above 40%. Again, there’s a dip on the 8/22 episode because of me skipping the PPV recaps. Even though ECW and Smackdown are kind of the “B squad” for the WWE, new talent like former TNA wrestler K-Truth and the loss of JBL from the announce team can make the program interesting. Also, Minnesota wrester Bam Neely makes appearances on both ECW and Smackdown.

So how did the month of August look overall? Below are the 4 week averages for Percent of Episode Viewed and Time Until First Match (time from the start of the program until the opening bell of the first match, or first “unofficial” brawl):

Overall Percent of Episode Viewed (Aug 2008)

Overall Percent of Episode Viewed (Aug 2008)

Looks like TNA takes the slight edge over Raw for my time. ECW and Smackdown are distant 3rd and 4th.

Overall Time Until First Match (Aug 2008)

Overall Time Until First Match (Aug 2008)

Raw continues to have the biggest delays until the first match of the program, followed by Smackdown. Anything more than about 10 mins means that you went through the whole first segment and through a commercial break before seeing any in-ring action. I guess maybe some people like that. I still haven’t gone and looked to see how the actual ratings compare to my viewership, but I’m guessing that it wouldn’t show me anything I don’t already know. When I used to look at the ratings, the interview segments at the top of the show or the top of the 2nd hour (or the overrun, since the Raw program regularly goes over by a few minutes) where the highest rated quarter hours according to Nielsen.

A little over a month ago, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown over the period of several months to see if I’m able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming (e.g. am I watching less, more, or about the same).

After looking at the data last week, there was enough variation there that a one week sample wasn’t going to tell me anything. I mentioned last time that I decided to look at the trend of a longer period, like a month.

After experimenting with a few different ways to graph this, the best way I can think of is to show the trend for each program separately. I’m also showing a rolling 4 week average that could be useful as I get more data.

Here is the data for WWE Monday Night Raw during July. The “Time Until First Match” graph didn’t look too useful as it bounces all over the place, so for now I’m just showing the “Percent of Episode Viewed” for each program.

RAW % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

RAW % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

 My Raw viewing time looks to be trending upward, but I can’t imagine it breaking 80%. As you’ll see in a few graphs it’s my most watched program of the past month.

Here is ECW:

ECW % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

ECW % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

 Sharp dropoff in the last week. Time will tell if it continues. As I mentioned last time I think it is due to several wrestlers that I tuned in for (C.M. Punk, Kofi Kingston) have either been “traded” or are temporarily wrestling on other shows due to them holding title belts.

TNA % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

TNA % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

 TNA is trending down. Sick of the whole “Sting in the rafters” thing again and some of the other out-of-ring time wastes.

Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

 This one is kind of surprising considering my previous opinion of Smackdown was low enough that I didn’t even watch it. The WWE draft/talent exchange must have helped.

To wrap up the month, here are some bar charts of the 4 week averages of each program (the red data points above) shown together for comparison.

July 2008 % of Episode Viewed (4 week average)

July 2008 % of Episode Viewed (4 week average)

 Raw is my most watched program, followed by TNA. ECW and Smackdown are about even.

July 2008 Time Until First Match (4 week average)

July 2008 Time Until First Match (4 week average)

Raw continues to chew up the most time at the top of the program with non-wrestling material but it still was my most watched. I think I watched more of the opening than usual to find out what was going on with the general manager position, so we’ll see if I watch less since that storyline is mostly resolved.

It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between my viewing and the actual ratings for the program, but I don’t want to create more work for myself. In the past, the interviews and all the parts I normally skip through were the highest rated, so I don’t know if it would be worth looking at. I’ll think about it.