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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: Smackdown

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.

Colt Cabana (a.k.a. Scotty Goldman)

Colt Cabana (a.k.a. Scotty Goldman)

Over the last month or so, a couple of familiar faces have turned up in the major promotions. I talked about Daivari (a.k.a Sheik Abdul Bashir) a couple of weeks ago. Another guy from the upper midwest showed up on Smackdown. He’s from the Chicago area and used to wrestle up here for Ed Hellier‘s Steel Domain Wrestling (SDW).  That person is Colt Cabana, who is now known in the WWE as Scotty Goldman.

The SDW booking done by Danny Dominion and Ace Steel from Chicago, and Ed. A couple of car loads of workers would make the trek up from ChiTown about once a month. Cabana, Dominion, Steel, Adrian Lynch, Daryck St. Holmes, and some guy by the name of C.M. Punk. Heard of him?

Since Goldman is now on national TV, I thought I would post an interview he did back in 2000.

The following interview was conducted by Tim Larson, who used to publish the Upper Midwest Wrestling Newsletter. Other issues of the newsletter can be found at the UMWN Archives page.

I wonder if Goldman got his last name because of the Gold Bond powder he always used to dump down his shorts? 😉

Colt Cabana

October 11, 2000
20 Questions

1. How and when did you get in the wrestling business?

After realizing that my glorious college football career wasn’t taking me anywhere, I decided to enroll with the Steel Domain in April, 1999.

2. Describe Colt Cabana, the wrestler, to us.

In terms of gimmick, whether I’m heeling or facing, Colt Cabana is a cocky, arogant, smartass prick.  I put personal touches into my character.  Many things that just reflect dumb things I do outside the ring.  That way, I get to live my gimmick.  In terms of wrestling style, I consider myself an old school wrestler who likes to spice it up with some new school creativity and innovation.

3. What are your strengths in the wrestling business?

I think my biggest strength is the ability to listen and learn.  I’m always looking for things that will allow me to perform better the next time out.  I think if you have those two elements, then you’re already a step above the rest.  I also feel that I can add things to the wrestling business, like Goldbond lotion and Goldbond powder.

4. What have been your top athletic accomplishments other than professional wrestling?

I played 2 years of high school basketball, 2 years of high school baseball, and 4 years of high school football.  I also played 1 year of college football at Western Michigan.  I also play a mean game of Twiddly winks and went to the nationals in Shoots and Ladders.

5. Who is your favorite all-time wrestler?

I don’t really think I have one personal all-time favorite.  As a kid I really dug guys like Mr. Perfect, Ric Flair, Vader, and Outback Jack.  Now a day I enjoy watching anyone I can watch and learn from.

6. What is the best match you’ve ever had?

Two matches come to mind.  The first one is versus CM Punk in South St. Paul this summer.  We both went out on kind of a lackadaisical show and worked the opener in about a twenty-minute match.  We were both happy with it.  We both got the tape about three months later and we both were in love with the match.  Everything in that match just flew.  We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary or silly.  It was just Punk and I clicking like we always do.  The second would be a match I had with Chris Hero in Louisville for IWA.  I was extremely happy with it afterwards, but have yet to see the tape.  So until I get the tape, I’ll go with the Punk match from SPCW.

7. What is the first card you ever saw live?

I’d only go to WWF cards at the Rosemont Horizon when I was a kid.  I still have the program in my room with Hillbilly Jim on the front.  It was 1985.  All I remember is Terry Funk vs. JYD and Hogan vs. Piper.  I was four or five at the time.

8. What is the best match you ever saw live?

To be honest with you as a kid going to the matches, I don’t so much remember the content of the matches, just the amazement of the whole show and the wrestlers.  There really isn’t anything that has ever stood out that was more mindblowing than the other.

9. Quick comments …

a)  Danny Dominion:

Danny is my trainer and one half of the biggest influence on my career.  Him and Ace have taught me everything I know.  There’s not enough appreciation I could give him.  It’s also a complete shame that he doesn’t have a job with a contract right now.

b) Ian Rotten:

I worked about 10 shows this summer down in Louisville working for Ian.  I enjoyed every experience.  Ian was nothing but respectful and I learned a lot from him and I will continue to.  I’m very proud to be on his roster and I’m always excited whenever we meet at the Jewel and head down to Chuckstown.

c) Dave Prazak

Prazak is the only manager I’ve ever had.  I can’t believe he started the Pop Rocks Mafia.  I’m very glad I have Dave as a friend.  He got me a spot down south for IWA and I’m appreciative of that.  I always look forward to doing road trips and shows with Dave.  I think he adds something unique to the independent scene that that couldn’t be done by anyone else.

d) Ace Steel

Ace is my trainer and one half of the biggest influences on my career.  Again, him and Danny taught me everything I know.  I always seem to get the jitters when I watch Ace work.  He really makes pro wrestling an artform.  I hate when he holds practice sessions at KFC though.  Him and Danny would just light some of these workers up who are currently on TV  In due time.

e) Adam Pearce

Thought Goldbond was a rib, what a fool.  Adam represents the Midwest.  There’s nothing like pulling a rib with Adam.  Between Him, Ace, and Dominion, it doesn’t get any better.  He’s helped me a lot with what to do in and out of the ring.  He’s got a mad future ahead of him.  I’m excited to see where it takes him.

f) CM Punk

WHO?

g) Rikki Noga

Noga’s not a day over 19 and he works that way too.  I love the guy’s humor.  Done a lot of trips with him.  His armdrags are crazystyle.  Best I’ve seen on an indy show.  I thought his match with Pearce was awesome.

h) Hellraiser Gutts/Hellfire

I’m glad I got the opportunity to work Gutts.  His future should be bright.  He has a great look.  Look forward to doing shows and working with him again.

i) CM Punk

Due to my brother being a vegan, Punk and I had something in common to start off.  I guess at the gym, we’re called brothers.  You don’t find a friend like Punk everyday.  I think he’s got a gimmick that hasn’t been done and could find its place somewhere big in a couple years.  I look forward to growing old with Punk in the wrestling business.  I also look forward to putting Bacardi Limon in his 15 waterbottles that he caries around in his dufflebag of a backpack

j) Minnesota Workers

There seems to be a ton of great talent in Minnesota  I wish that I ‘d been able to work some of those guys in SPCW.  Hopefully in the future I’ll get the opportunity to do so.

k) Dale Gagner

I enjoy working Dale’s shows a lot.  He’s taken such an unprofitable business like Independent Wrestling and makes a living at it.  He’s proof there’s money to make in this business.  He’s also an extremely nice guy and looks after the boys.

l) Justin Roberts

Justin has a very talented voice and a knack for doing what he does.  I think he would’ve been great at announcing American Gladiators or BattleBots.  His business knowledge will allow him to do what he wants in the wrestling business.

m) Carmine DeSpirito

I’m not gonna pull a Scott Free on Carmine or nothing.  I think Carmine has helped me a lot in this business without even knowing it.  He lit the first real spark under my ass.  He’s pushed me to work harder in the weightroom, in the ring, and in just overall wrestling.  I know he’s got a great product and he’s starting to pan out a great crew of workers(GBM).

n) Eric Priest

Wish I had a build like Priest.  He’s got a wrestling mind and if he wants, it can take him far.  Now only if we can make Priest a little more MTV and a little less VH1.

o) Daryck St. Holmes

Who doesn’t love this guy.  There’s nothing like getting in the ring with Daryck before a show and chaining around.  I too, just like everyone else, love the gimmick and the old haircut.

p) Chuck E. Smooth

One of the better gimmicks in Indy Wrestling.  It’s amazing the random knowledge of wrestling Chucky has.  Just met Chuckie maybe 4 months ago and we have quickly become good friends.  Chuckey and I share a lot of the same views and I look forward to doing tons of more road trips with him, Prazak, and the rest of the squad. I think instead of wearing the half shirt to cover up his third nipple, he should use it with the gimmick.

q) Len Walker

Len’s new to the area.  He’s got an awesome build with an even better tan.  He’s a funny guy with awkward views on life.  He’s improved a lot and can only get better with time.

r) Ed Hellier

If only Ed would start serving nutcocktails at the shows instead of just at BW3’s.  SPCW shows are the shows I look forward to doing the most.  Every time we go up to Minnesota, Ed has prepared a great show with a great atmosphere.  He’s a super nice guy that has found a niche in the Minnesota wrestling scene.  I’m still waiting for SPCW to be the talk of the Independent world.

s) Vic Capri

I’ve worked with Vic on a couple occasions and even tagged with him.  He’s a little sparkplug with one hell of a build and look.  He’s very innovative and him and Reigns work real well together.

t) Ray Whebbe

Whebster!!!  He’s shared some interesting views with me and I always look forward to see what he’s got to say next.  He’s got some pimped hats.  Ray, I’ll do the serial killer gimmick in NY, cool?

u) Sheik Adnon Al-Kassie

Only worked on a couple shows with the Sheik.  Can’t say much about him, except I’m jealous of his tan.

v) Jason Reign

Just worked that one SPCW show with him.  Don’t know him too well.  He seemed like a real nice guy though.  I think he really likes roadtrips.

w) Dino Bambino

I’ve seemed to work on shows with Dino throughout my whole career, but have never seemed to get to know him too well.  I wish he wouldn’t be so quiet.  Um, yeah, that shooting star press to the outside onto Punk. Hands down craziest/smoothest thing I’ve ever seen.  Just beat out working with midgets in the smooth category.

x) Adrian Lynch

Another guy I’ve done a lot of shows with, yet I don’t know too well.  He’s been always real nice to me though and I enjoy watching his matches.  Good for him on the trim job too.

y) Michigan Independents

I’ve been living in Michigan for the last two years and will continue to do so for another two years.  I’ve worked a lot of shows on the Michigan scene and there’s just nothing that catches anyone’s eye.  It’s a territory that needs to be captured.  Hopefully someone will come to Michigan, save this place, and put on some standout shows.

z) Chris Hero

Chris represents the Midwest through Ohio.  He’s done an unbelievable job of self promoting and getting his name “out there”.  I had the opportunity to work with Chris twice and I think he’s an outstanding talent.  I consider Chris a good friend and I’m excited to see what other random places we’ll meet up at in the future.

10. What has been the highlight of your wrestling career so far?

The wrestling is a dream come true, but the highlight so far has to be the friendships that have came out of wrestling.  I’ve made some friends in this business that will last when my wrestling career is far and gone.  That’s a highlight in itself.  I guess that’s a tie with working with midgets also.

11. What has been the low point of your career?

There haven’t been any low points in my career.  An unfortunate situation would have to be a certain omicbookCa onventionCa.  I guess that turned out all right though because the Mafia did form in a smooth line dance in the middle of the ring.

12. Who would you really want to work with locally and nationally that you haven’t?

Locally, I would like to work singles matches with Ace Steel, Adam Pearce, and Bastion Booger (Michigan).  I also think I could learn a lot from working with Jonnie Stewart.  Nationally, I guess them all?  A couple in particular would be Shane Douglas or Dean Malenko.

13. Who has been the biggest influence on you in the business?

Danny Dominion and Ace Steel.

14. What do you “mark out” for in the wrestling business?

I really “mark out” for wrestlers who wear trunks and boots.  In a day of wrestling where everyone has on jeans and a T-Shirt, it’s a breath of fresh air when Simon Diamond or Shane Douglas come out and look like a true pro wrestlers.

15. How much time do you spend on wrestling each week?

I’d say most of my week.  I don’t think there’s a time that goes by that if I’m not working out in the gym or in the ring, that I’m not making contacts,  talking/ watching wrestling, or discussing wrestling with the boys.  It’s taken over my life.  I wish school was as easy as wrestling.

16. What is the one thing that surprised you most about the wrestling business?

Nothing surprising is really coming to mind.  If you want I can always surprise someone with a one-eared elephant, if that’s what you mean?

17. Give us a brief summary of your career.

Started as a “GOON” for Randy Ricci’s NAWF.  From there the Cabana gimmick was produced and has been working around the whole Midwest for promotions like SPCW, AWA, IWA, PWF, and CWM.  My career has really started to develop and blossom in the past six months.  It must be the blonde hair.

18. What is the one thing you would most like to improve on?

My mic skills.  Going down to IWA has allowed me to use the mic a lot more and become compfortable with the stick.  It’s not where it needs to be though and I’d like to improve this particular skill.

19. If you could book one match, what would it be?

CM Punk vs. Lord Littlebrook.  They would go broadway and Littlebrook will gig Punk and pull the tights for the duke.

20. What is your goal in wrestling in the next year?

In the next year I intend on wrestling in states like Pittsburgh, Ohio, and somewhere out East.  My goal is to get as good as I can and then proceed to get better.  I’m really looking forward to the upcoming year and seeing what kind of opportunities come my way.

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.

About 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).

I think this will be the last weekly update I give on the viewing stats. It’s becoming clear that this thing is kind of like the stock market: up, down, up, down… Week to week things change quite a bit in one direction and then the other, so I think it will be the longer trend that may show something. I’m still planning on tracking each show, but I’ll only post something about once every 4 weeks to see if there are any noticeable changes. We’ll see how that ends up looking. I have 4 weeks of data for July, so I’ll probably post something on that later this week.

For the week of 7/28/08:

Time To First Match (wk of 7/28/08)

Time To First Match (wk of 7/28/08)

Last week Raw was back up above 20 minutes before airing the first match. They had an excuse the previous week because they were coming off a PPV. No excuse this week, and ECW was right up there with them.

Percentage of Episode Viewed (wk of 7/28/08)

Percentage of Episode Viewed (wk of 7/28/08)

Even though Raw had a long wait until the first match, I ended up watching more of this program than any program in recent memory. For some reason the show held my interest more than usual. There was one match that stood out, and maybe the whole general manager shakeup was enough. ECW viewing was way down. My main reasons to watch ECW were CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, and seeing Bam Neely. Those guys have moved around to other programs so that’s probably why the Raw and Smackdown viewing was higher.

Raw Highlights:

  • William Regal vs. CM Punk

ECW Highlights:

  • None

TNA Highlights:

  • Petey Williams

Smackdown Highlights:

  • Mr. Kennedy vs. Shelton Benjamin

A few weeks 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).

Still haven’t worked out how I want to show week-to-week changes for each promotion. I think I’ll only show those once a month, but I haven’t really thought any more about how to display it.

For the week of 7/21/08

Time Before First Match (Wk of 7/21/08)

Time Before First Match (Wk of 7/21/08)

The WWE had a Pay-Per-View on 7/20/08. What seems to be the trend is that after a PPV the first part of the programming consists of speeches and interviews related to the outcome. I would expect the “time until the first match” to increase. Both Raw and Smackdown increased, but ECW dropped by 5 mins. TNA was about the same as last week.

Percentage of Viewing Time (Wk of 7/21/08)

Percentage of Viewing Time (Wk of 7/21/08)

Partly because I hadn’t read up on any PPV results, I watched more of the Raw program this week to find out some of the match outcomes. ECW was identical to last week, TNA down a bit, Smackdown up. Smackdown was up because of finding out that Bam Neely is not a mute.

Highights for this week…

Raw Highlights:

  • Kade vs. London

ECW Highlights:

  • Evan Bourne

TNA Highlights:

  • 4-way
  • Table Match

Smackdown Highlights:

  • Bam Neely speaks

This is the follow-up to what I started last week where I will be keeping 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).

I just have the data for the week this time. I had intended on having a couple of additional charts to show trends from week to week, but I haven’t quite figured out how to display that yet. I thought I would just do a line chart with the data points for each week, but it comes out looking like a mess. It might be a bit before I find the best way to display it, so for now I’ll just show the numbers for the current week.

For the week of 7/14/08

Time To First Match (wk of 7/14/08)

Time To First Match (wk of 7/14/08)

Quite a reversal this week, with Raw going from 28 minutes to 4 minutes until they showed their first match, and TNA going from 2 minutes last week to 18 minutes. (I’m counting the brawl on the ramp between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho as the first match for Raw. Otherwise it would be 7 mins).

TNA did have a Pay-Per-View the Sunday before, and there is probably a correlation between that and spending the first part of the program on non in-ring activities.

Percentage of Episode Viewed (wk of 7/14/08)

Percentage of Episode Viewed (wk of 7/14/08)

For the actual viewing time, I switched the chart to show it as a percentage instead of minutes, so I don’t have to scale the ECW totals since it is a one hour program. I’m assuming 100% is 90 minutes for the 2 hr shows, and 45 minutes for the 1 hr ECW.

RAW, ECW, and Smackdown viewing went up a bit, and TNA came down. Raw had less filler at the start, TNA had more, and Smackdown had a couple of decent matches (see below) which would account for the change.

This weeks highlights…

Raw Highlights:

  • Kofi Kingston match

ECW Hightlights:

  • Evan Bourne
  • Hardy’s

TNA Highlights:

  • Kaz vs. Petey Williams

Smackdown Highlights:

  • Kendrick vs. Yang
  • Umaga vs. Kennedy

After the 6/30/08 broadcast of WWE Monday Night Raw, which I thought was one of the weakest in a long time, I started thinking about how someone would measure how good or bad they thought a particular wrestling program was on any given week. Raw was the least liked (by me) of any in recent memory, but was it the worst so far this year?

Sure, for any given show you can say “I loved it”, “I liked it”, “Didn’t like it”, or “Hated it”. You could say, “It wasn’t as good as last week”, or “It was better than the one last week”. But was it better or worse than the one two weeks ago? And by how much? How much more do you like TNA vs. Smackdown? Is there any way to measure them and do a comparison?

I think I mentioned before that I have a TiVo, and that I don’t watch any wrestling programming “live” (or any TV for that matter). Most people’s first reaction to that is, “Oh, because you want to skip commercials”. But it’s actually more general than that. I have home improvement shows I record that I might only care about one particular featured project they are doing. There is a cable access local news channel I watch (Channel 12) that I may only care about certain stories. The ones I care less about I fast forward through at a higher speed (2x, 20x, or 60x). The less I’m interested in it, the higher the speed I fast forward through it. The stuff I really care about I watch at normal “real-time” speed.

For wrestling, the same thing applies. If there is an interview or a match I don’t care about, I zip through it fairly quickly (20x speed). If there’s a match that I have only a limited interest in (maybe the outcome or a few high spots), I may watch it slightly sped up (2x speed). If I’m really into it, I’ll watch it at normal speed.

Taking this into account, it seems like the amount of time it takes me to watch a program would be a measure of how much I liked it. Not counting commercials, a 2 hour program would take me about 90 minutes to watch if I liked everything and watched it at normal speed. If one week it took me 75 minutes to watch it and another week it took me only 45 minutes, it seems like it would be pretty easy to tell which one I liked better, and even how much better. If one of those weeks was 6 months ago and I can’t remember anything about the program, I would still be able to tell whether or not I liked it better.  Or looking at a trend over time whether a program like Raw is getting more interesting, less interesting, or about the same. Again, this would be just in my opinion. This doesn’t necessarily reflect the ratings, or how any other fan feels about the programming.

Another measure I thought of after watching this week’s July 7th Raw was to keep track of how long a viewer has to wait from the start of the program until the first wrestling match. It was a looong time on Monday.

OK, this whole thing may be a little geeky (most likely it is a LOT geeky), and I don’t know how many people will be interested in it, but I thought if I was going to do something for my own curiosity, I might as well make it public.

Starting this week, with this post, I’m going to be providing a weekly update and comparison of Monday Night RAW, ECW, TNA, and Smackdown based on my data. I’m planning to do it for at least a few months.

I mentioned before that I haven’t been watching Smackdown for quite awhile. There were a few reasons why I haven’t. The two biggest reasons were that I couldn’t stand listening to JBL (I might have actually said the announce team before, but it’s actually just JBL), and that one more wrestling program a week was just too much, even for me. If I had to drop one, I’d drop Smackdown. But since JBL returned to active wrestling, and the WWE draft a few weeks ago put Jim Ross as the play-by-play man on the Smackdown show with Mick Foley, and because I wanted to see how Smackdown measured up to the other programs, I’ve decided to start watching it again at least for as long as I do this experiment.

So here is the data for the week of 7/7/2008:

Week of 7/7/08

Minutes From Start Until First Match

As you can see here, Raw continues its tradition of filling the opening, and in this case almost the first half hour, with interviews and other non in-ring activity. TNA’s 2 minutes may be unusually short, but we’ll have to see.

Total Viewing Time In Minutes

Total Viewing Time In Minutes

Here is the total viewing time for each program this week. Looks like TNA is the “most liked” by me this week, with Smackdown being the least. ECW has a slight edge on RAW, but given that it has been scaled by 2 (i.e. I only spent 21 minutes watching ECW)* it means they are pretty much the same. RAW’s 28-minutes before the first match hurt it I’m sure.

[*Note: I’m thinking about changing this to a percentage of the total program time instead of minutes so I don’t have to double the ECW viewing time for the chart.]

Here are this weeks highlights…

RAW Highlights:

  • Ric Flair DVD commercial (yes, I stopped and watched a commercial)
  • Kofi Kingston match (but I’m still not taking back my original opinion 😉 )
  • Some kid running into the locker room to get on camera

ECW Highlights:

  • Tony Atlas appearance (except for the end)
  • Evan Bourne

TNA Highlights:

  • World X Cup matches
  • Awesome Kong match

Smackdown Highlights: