Thursday, September 22, 2011

Has the WWE painted themselves in a corner?

In the 1980’s, Hulk Hogan held the WWE World Heavyweight Title for 4 consecutive years plus one full year.  In 1991, he held it for more than 8 months.   In 1993, he held it for more than 3 months.  The total number of days he held the title before Vince McMahon decided to push the younger talent and before Hulk Hogan jumped to WCW was 2157 days.  When holding the title for those many days meant that anybody he was up against him was doomed to lose.  Why has he held such long title runs?  Because it was good business.  For those who can recollect the 1980s Hulk Hogan era, they will remember that there were hundreds and hundreds of marketing schemes to maximize on his popularity.  As long as Hulk Hogan was on a lunch box, pencil case, t-shirt, etc., the WWF (now WWE) was making money outside of the wrestling events.  Hulk Hogan did talk shows, interviews, and guest appearances in promoting the WWF.  Amongst the kids, he was the biggest living hero around.  Among the adults, they tolerated him because of his positive messages of “eat your vegetables, take vitamins and say your prayers”.  So, in keeping Hulk Hogan as the WWE champion made a lot of business sense.

In the early 1990s, when Hogan and his contemporaries where getting older and deemed less relevant to the next generation of wrestling fans, fresher and younger talents became the center of the WWE.  Unlike the 1980s where the company was primarily centered on Hulk Hogan, the WWE developed many superstars whose popularity was big enough to hold the title and carry on the WWE marketing scheme.   Superstars like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, and the Rock, were thrusted into the spotlight and because each could hold their own in the ring and on the mic, it was easy for the WWE Heavyweight Title to change hands frequently.  During this time, no one held the title close to a year (with the exception of Diesel who held it for 358 days) before having to lose it to someone else.  One big factor why no one title reign was longer than a year is because the WWE shifted the shows format from a pursuit for the championship to non-title storylines with on-going drama.

In the early 2000s, this tactic of creating a new generation of Superstars that can hold the WWE Heavyweight Title continued on with the cycle being around 5-7 years cycle.  As Bret left in the mid-90s for WCW, as Shawn and Austin’s injuries kept them out of the ring for longer periods of time throughout the late-90s to early 2000s, and as the Rock decided to pursue an acting career in the early 2000s, the title bounced around from Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, the Big Show, and Brock Lesnar.  The difference now is that they really focused on story lines than fighting for the title.  The title played more and more as a second fiddle to the non-title storylines.  The problem with focusing on a story line is that there is only a few people who can be featured.  Another effect is that more time is spent on promos and other non-in-ring action.  When there is less in-ring action, then there is at least 2 to 4 people (single and tag-team matches) who is not regularly getting on TV.  With less people on TV, then less people are getting over in front of the crowd.  Because of this, those who are in main event storylines have to work double time in order to fill out a show.

By the mid-2000s, many of the main event workers were either injured or burnt out from all the travel and extra work that was expected of them.  People like Jeff Hard resorted to drugs.  Chris Benoit basically went insane.  Edge was constantly working in pain, which led to his mandatory in-ring retirement.  Brock left to pursue MMA.  Batista left for other ventures.  Jericho left so as to have a break, in which he did return, but left the company again.  These are a few examples of main event Superstars who are no longer with the company, but could have picked up the slack and keep the WWE in it’s success until now.  Now with less of them there, that responsibility has fallen on the few.

So now in 2011, who does the WWE rely to hold the title and carry the company on his back?  John Cena.  John Cena is in the position he is in with always winning the title and being in the center of Main Event storylines because for the past 3 years, they stopped creating future Main Eventers.  Because of the major focus of John Cena, they stopped allotting time in creating good undercard matches.  Not creating good undercard matches means less camera and promo time, which means less Superstars have the chance to get over with the crowd.  So, if anything were to ever happen to John Cena that will be huge blow to their revenues.  In short, the WWE has seemed to paint themselves into a corner.

Though I will admit that they have given opportunities to a few who have dropped the ball like Jack Swagger and Ted Dibiase, they still have other people with whom they can try to get over with the audience.  At this point, CM Punk, the Miz, and R-Truth are being positioned for the main spotlight.  Sheamus and Cody Rhodes are also on their way up.  I could add Mark Henry (who is for the moment the World Heavyweight Champion) and Christian, but they are more on the down slope of their careers because of their longevity.  Though these Superstars are currently working the Main Event storylines, they still haven’t reached the “John Cena” level, and this is due to lack of a push to make them main event stars.

It is a fact that there is only one Hulk Hogan, one Randy Savage, one Bret Hart, one Shawn Michaels, one Stone Cold Steve Austin, one Rock, one Edge, etc.  They had the character, in-ring psychology and mic skills that brought them to the level they were at, but it was only through an investment of time, which brought them higher and higher.  This investment is need now for the current talents.  They to test their limitations by investing time for them to pursue the lower titles like the Intercontinental and US Championship or pair some up to battle for the Tag Team titles.  Except for Hulk Hogan, the rest of those mentioned above followed that path.  They held those title as if that was the most important title in the company.  The result of that investment of time is that when it was time for them to step-up, they did step up and rose higher than even they themselves ever expected. 

In order for power to change, there is a transition.  So far, the WWE transition to promote future main eventers has been slow.  The main title always falls on Cena.  The minor titles have rarely been showcased.  Even when someone like Alberto Del Rio is introduced to the main storyline, they find a way for Cena to retain the title or to regain it if it’s lost.  With no Big Show, Kane, Edge, and Rey Mysterio (who are the biggest draws after John Cena, Randy Orton, and CM Punk), they need to speed up this transition period.  They need to start building the future main eventers, because there is only so much that they can do with Cena and Orton before the crowd starts turning away (with some already have turned away by not tuning in or just staying dedicated to Impact Wrestling or ROH).

I have no doubt the WWE will revive our attention to their product.  Like everything in life, there is their ups-and-downs, but there has to be that time when you shift into second gear when you’re climbing that mountain.  Recently, there has been some mix-up for the better with Raw and Smackdown, which has caught my attention, but we will have to wait and see as to where they go from there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is Sheamus The Next Cena?

It’s undeniable that John Cena is the “face of the WWE”.  Being the WWE Champion, his responsibilities extend beyond the ring.  He does the talk show circuit.  He represents the WWE in special events.  He does guest appearances on various TV shows.  As it is right now, no one on the WWE roster does as much marketing outside the ring for the WWE than John Cena.  That is why the championship belt continues to fall on his lap.  It’s good business that he is the “face of the WWE”.

Now, take a look at the WWE roster and we will see that the only active faces who are main event worthy (aside from Cena and Orton) is CM Punk and Sheamus.  If anything were to happen to Cena or Orton (like an extended injury), CM Punk deserves to be the WWE Heavyweight or the World Heavyweight Champion.  He’s been with the company since 2006.  He’s won numerous titles both as a heel and face.  It was only when he threatened to not return after his contract was about to expire that they started to really pay attention to what he can bring to the company.  As a result, he’s in the top main non-title storyline every week.  But to be the face of the WWE is more than just holding the WWE Heavyweight or the World Heavyweight Title.  There’s a certain look and presence that the face of the WWE must have to represent the company beyond the squared circle.  Though I do like CM Punk and I think he has a great personality in doing interviews outside the WWE, he doesn’t have the look that Vince McMahon would want as a representative to do the talk show circuit and guest appearances.  CM Punk prides himself in being the “anti-establishment” type of guy, and no one else since Austin has been able to pull that character to much applause.  I wouldn’t change a thing about CM Punk, but there’s a sense of a “professional” look that he will never have and that will hinder him in being that “face of the WWE”.

Randy Orton is great in the ring.  He has developed one of the best in-ring psychology in the WWE, but he has a very, very dry character when on the mic or in front of a camera.  He reminds me a lot of Bret Hart.  Bret Hart had great technical skills and good in-ring psychology, but the problem with Bret was that it took him a long time to look comfortable on the mic.  But people loved his wrestling matches so much that they didn’t care about how mediocre his mic skills were.  It was only toward the end of his stint with the WWE when he looked comfortable handling the mic.  That is how I view Randy Orton.  He is mediocre at cutting promos.  So, for him to do the talk show circuit would not be exciting because I don’t think he’s an exciting character outside the ring.  This is why he won’t be the “face of the WWE”.

One person I didn’t mention earlier but is worth mentioning is the Miz.  If you ever seen Miz do a talk show, or be a special guest on a morning show, or even hear him be interviewed on radio show, he is very entertaining on the mic.  The Miz will give the viewers 90%-Michael Mizanin and 10%-Miz.  Michael Mizanin is a funny, smart-ass character that is ready to crack a joke at any time, while the Miz is a heel that believes he is AWESOME.  He will be funny and entertaining and pull glimpses of being a heel, which makes everyone laugh.  He can possibly be a future “face of the WWE” but he has yet to be commanding character in the ring for him to hold the title for a extended period of time. 

This all brings me to Sheamus.  Only until a couple months ago did Sheamus turn from a heel to a face.  As a result of his turn, he has been getting more cheers as a face than boos as a heel.  Every time he defeats a heel, the audience is getting louder and louder, which means they are slowly accepting him as a face.  For a person who is 6’6”, he moves very well inside the ring.  He has a huge physique and is powerful in the ring.  He has a smirk-like smile that he knows he bigger and stronger than his opponent that leads to say, “I’m gonna hurt you now, fella!”.  In his promos, he sounds like a big that’s trying to be friendly, but still hold the demeanor that you shouldn’t piss him off.  Though he is as pale as mayonnaise, he doesn’t have any tattoos, so this subliminally sends a message to kids that you don’t need a tattoo to be tough.  With his Irish accent, hearing him call people “fella” is actually pretty entertaining.  When you hear him say it, it makes you want to imitate him, which kind of leads toward a form of a catch phrase.  Now how is he outside of the ring?  I’ve only seen him twice doing an interview.  He dresses well in non-ring attire.  He’s my not be quite exciting on the mic, but you can tell that he’s comfortable chatting with anyone.  With more practice, he can fluid while talking on a podium or with an interviewer.

As a recap, unlike CM Punk, he doesn’t have any tattoos or piercing.  Unlike Randy Orton, he has a more appealing character.  Unlike the Miz, he has a dominating presence in the ring.  As it is right now, aside from John Cena, there is no face-wrestler on the WWE roster that is in the same position as Sheamus.  If Sheamus continues on the path that he is in now, within a years time, he could be in the same spotlight as John Cena.  This why I believe that Sheamus can be the next John Cena.  He can be the next “face of the WWE”.

Who Needs Who?

Vickie Guerrero is currently the only the person in the WWE who plays the role of a manager.  The talent she manages is Dolph Ziggler.  Now, why does the WWE still keep Vickie and Dolph together?  It seems like Vickie needs Dolph more than Dolph needs Vickie.

If we examine the role of a manager in professional wrestling, we can say that they have the following responsibility:
  1. Guide the wrestler in his matches
  2. Be the distraction/outside help to gain the win
  3. Be the mouthpiece on behalf of the wrestler
  4. OVERALL, to get the wrestler over
Based on the general purposes, Vickie does none of them.  In matches, she’s more of a cheerleader than anything.  Dolph has great skill in the ring.  His ring psychology is good with pulling out a win when a win isn’t expected.  Vickie has contributed nothing as far as helping Dolph win matches.

When it comes to being a distraction or giving outside help for Dolph, as far as the storyline goes, she distracts Dolph more than his opponent.  She causes more drama for Dolph than need be.  This part of her work may help the storyline, but if you’re trying to build up talent, then this hinders Dolph from reaching a higher level.

Being the mouthpiece for a wrestler is usually done when the wrestler either can’t talk, don’t speak English, or doesn’t have an promo skills.  She does gain a lot of heel heat with her “Excuse Me!  EXCUSE ME!” but does that translate as heel heat for Dolph?  No, it doesn’t.  It gains heat for herself, and Dolph is only gaining heat by association.  Now, if Dolph didn’t speak English or can’t cut a promo, then this makes perfect sense, but he does speak English and has cut good heel promos in the past.

Now, though Vickie being very popular as a heel may have helped Dolph when they started, Dolph is already over as a heel.  He has the arrogance.  He cheats if he needs to cheat for the win.  He takes advantage of the moment when it arises.  He does the things that heels do and does it very well.

So why are they still teamed up?  Because Vickie needs Dolph more than Dolph needs Vickie.  If Vickie didn’t have Dolph, then there’s no point for her to be on TV.  Vickie is a good heel manager but she needs to be with someone who needs a heel manager.  It’s a great idea that Jack Swagger now has  Vickie as his manager, but it took forever for that to happen.  Swagger would gain a lot if he had Vickie because he really can’t draw heat when he’s on the mic.  I'm hoping that this leads to Dolph to breaking away from Vickie.

I’m a Dolph Ziggler fan.  He actually has great verbal skills, which is something that is hard to come by with the current up-and-coming talent.  He has the look of arrogance that makes you want to boo.  I believe if he just gets rid of Vickie, his character will grow much more, and become one of the greater heels on the roster today.  I hope that the WWE can give him the shot to be on his own.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Congratulations, Mark Henry!

Big congratulations to Mark Henry for winning the World Heavyweight Title from Randy Orton at Night of Champions.  Mark Henry is a pure homegrown talent of the WWE who has never wrestled in any other promotion.  His claim to fame, which led him to the WWE was his weightlifting background.  In the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and the 1995 Pan Am games, he represented the United States in weightlifting.  After representing the United States in the 1996 Olympic Games, he signed a 10-Year contract. 

His first title run started when he won the defunct-WWE European Championship Title in 1999, but he never wrestled to win that title.  Jeff Jarrett awarded the title to him have Mark Henry helped Jarrett win the title over D’Lo Brown.  One month later, he lost to D-Lo Brown in at the Unforgiven PPV. 

From 1999 to 2008, Mark Henry was title-less.  Though he was involved in many storylines, he never was given the opportunity to hold a title until the 2008 Night of Champions.  On that night, he battled Kane and the Big Show in a Triple Threat Match to win the ECW Heavyweight Championship.  Two months later, he lost the title in a Championship Scramble Match.

Now, after 15 years with the WWE, he has finally become the World Heavyweight Champion.  Though professional wrestling is a scripted sporting event, there is still a great honor for a person who received a world heavyweight championship belt.  From the WWE to TNA to ROH to any independent wrestling promotion, the one who is at the top is their World Heavyweight Champion.  Out of all the hundreds of aspiring wrestlers from past to present, only a handful of wrestlers has been given the nod to win this championship belt.  There is only one time when a world heavyweight title was held by someone unworthy to hold it and that was David Arquette during the Monday Night Nitro (but that’s another story to talk about).  To hold this pristine title for any company is to say that the company believes that you are a hard-worker, dedicated to the craft, and ready to have the main storyline center around you.  Not many have the charisma and talent for that responsibility.  Not many have the attention of the fans to be given that responsibility.  So, when the WWE has decided to put Mark Henry in to the main event spotlight that was a great privilege entrusted to him and he is deserving of it.

How long will he hold the title?  No one knows.  He can drop it two weeks later at the next PPV or he can hold on to it until next year’s Wrestlemania, but the fact that he has held it is a great accomplishment to have.  Personally, Mark Henry has a one-dimensional character.  He is limited in his wrestling skill.  His mic skills aren’t the greatest.  He’s done silly gimmick, ridiculous promos, and jobbed to many wrestlers for them to get over.  Despite all this, he’s been a dedicated worker for the WWE.  Congratulations, Mark Henry!  You truly deserve it.

Where Did The Surprise Factor Go?

Night of Champions has come and gone.  It was a good pay per view.  The last match with Triple H and CM Punk had a lot of surprises like R-Truth and Miz running in and attacking Triple H, CM Punk, and the ref; John Laurinaitis running down with a new ref only to hold him back until CM Punk was on top of Triple H; and Kevin Nash runs in through the crowd to the ring and fighting both CM Punk and Triple H.  These were great moments and it left the audience with more questions than answers, but if people remember back to the Attitude Era, WCW/NWO Invasion, and the Monday Night Wars, these tactics were a staple to RAW and Nitro.  Every week, there was always some kind of surprise on each of these show, which made these shows awesome to watch.  Why did it change?  Why is it only on PPV that we get these “surprise factors”?

Reason 1 – There’s no more competition to WWE programming.  This isn’t a new assessment.  Many people attribute the blandness of WWE programming because there is no one alternative to their shows.  During the Monday Night Wars, WCW always pushed the envelope, which made the WWE step up in creating shock and awe in their shows.  Since there’s no challenging market to draw viewers away to alternatives, the WWE can show whatever they want and we as the audience just have to accept it.

Reason 2 – When everything is a surprise, then nothing is a surprise.  Even magicians, after using all the tricks up their sleeve, have a difficult time coming with new stunts.  If they do everything over and over again, then the audience will eventually be turned off.  To keep the audience off guard, certain big tricks are seldom used so that when they are used, it still excites people.  Same with WWE programming.  They have to pick-and-choose when to spring the surprise factor.

Reason 3 – Why give it away for free, when you can sell it?  The WWE is a business.  As a business, they have to save the big stunts for their pay-per-views.  This is another reason why major feuds are in a suspended animation until the pay-per-view.  So many skits promos are shown in order to hype feud.  The negative of all this is that the fans get tried of seeing the same hype-work show after show that sometimes, we get tired of waiting.  Now, when the feud culminates at the pay-per-view, we don’t care to it done over and over again.  This is why the surprise factor is launched at the pay per view so that we watch resolve of the conflict on Raw or Smackdown.

Reason 4 – Too pay per views to hype.  During the Monday Night Wars, the WWE had an average of 4 pay per views per year.  This allowed for a lot more run-ins and back-and-forth turns during Raw and Smackdown.  They constantly sprung the surprise factor throughout the episodes, which leads the feud to culminate at the pay per view.  Now with too many pay per views, Raw and Smackdown gets more watered down to mediocre storylines and we lose the surprise factor.

There is no 100% proven formula on what to keep ratings strong.  If there were, no TV shows would be cancelled, and the viewers would be watching the same thing over and over again.  As a wrestling fan, it would be great to be pleasantly surprised on Raw and Smackdown every week, but that’s not necessarily the case.  The Triple H and CM Punk match at Night of Champions showed that the WWE is aware of how to spring a new surprise on the audience.  Now, how to do it just enough to continue to grab more viewers is still the question.  Hopefully, there’s more intriguing storylines yet to come.  I’m eager to see where they go from here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Claudio is now WWE's Antonio!

WWE Universe, this is the WWE newest recruit, Antonio Cesaro, who is known in the independent circuit as Claudio Castagnoli!  He is a 10 year veteran of the independent circuit and I am elated that he finally made it to the show.  It's standard operating procedure for the WWE to bring all new signees to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) for them to learn the WWE style of wrestling.  Though the essence of wrestling is 2 men in the ring going back and forth with one person victorious over the other, the WWE style deals more with story-telling than actual wrestling form.  It's the building of your character in front of an audience and portraying that character inside the ring.  This is the reason why the Heavyweight Champion can range from a Cruiserweight, quick, high flyer type of wrestler like Rey Mysterio to a large power Heavyweight who smash their opponents like Kane.  Though many independent promotions do the same thing, the WWE is the major leagues, so looking like an amateur is not an option.  From character portrayal to feuds to promos to in-ring work, the WWE Superstar has to be great at all of this in order for them to succeed.

At any rate, I am eager to see Claudio debut on WWE TV.  Claudio is Swedish by nationality which is in line with the push of having more international talents on the roster.  As it is right now, Wade Barrett is from England, Sheamus is from Ireland, Drew McIntyre is from Scotland, Santino Marella is from Italy, Alberto Del Rio is from Mexico, and Justin Gabriel is from South Africa.  Regardless of where there from, a good wrestler is a good wrestler, and Claudio is a good wrestler.  He has the height and built of a WWE wrestler and he has both a comedic side and heel side to him, but his biggest asset is really his charisma.  He's well-spoken, funny, and loves the camera.  His matches and antics on Youtube are so entertaining that you want to keep checking all the videos of him.  This is a unique characteristic.  There are many big, tall, and atheltic guys on the WWE roster but they aren't entertaining.  For example, hamming up in front of the camera is what makes Miz more entertaining than Morrison.  Though Morrison has better athletic skill than the Miz, I'd rather watch the Miz on TV than Morrison.  Because of that, I believe that Claudio will do well in the WWE.  It'll be a couple of months before they put him in front of a TV audience, so we'll have to wait to see how the WWE handles his character.

Though I've been talking about how he will be an entertaining wrestler, I also want to include that his European Uppercut is badd-ass.  Though wrestlers like Kurt Angle and Randy Orton use the European Uppercut in their matches, Claudio executes that move amazingly.  There's this extra rotation he does in the move that makes it look devastating on it's opponents.  I hope he keeps it when he shows up on TV.

There's a lot of independent wrestlers throughout the world.   Every one wants to be the next WWE Superstar.  I like that the WWE is taking chances on these wrestlers instead of trying to make home grown talents.  Hopefully, Chris Hero will get signed soon so that the WWE can have the Kings of Wrestling, and have them take the Tag Team division back to it's glory!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The WWE Network: Session 6 – Alternative Programs

It still boggles my mind that all that the WWE will show on the WWE Network is WWE wrestling for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Yes, they have the library to fill the time.  Yes, they will have much flexibility in airing Raw and Smackdown, but there has to be more than just wrestling for the channel to survive.  Though I have no idea what the plans are for the WWE Network, I believe that they will still keep their contracts with the USA channel and Syfy channel.  Why?  Because they still garner strong ratings for those channels and with the ratings come the sponsors, and with the sponsors come the money.  But, what they can do is do a simultaneous airing along with those channels.  I don’t know if there are any legal ramifications if such happen, but it would make no sense to have a WWE channel and not air RAW and Smackdown at the same time when they air on the USA channel and Syfy channel.  Now, this blog isn’t about whether or not it will air on those channels.  I want to speculate possible alternative-but-WWE-oriented programs that the WWE can pursue.  My first speculation has to do with how they differentiate their airing of RAW and Smackdown from those channels.

Pre- and post- RAW and Smackdown Shows – Just like other professional sporting events, the WWE Network will have time to air pre- and post- RAW and Smackdown shows.  They can run the majority of the show from the WWE headquarters with back and forth live interviews with the talents and fans.  The pre-show can recap past events with the post-show recapping the show that aired.

Make NXT and Superstars it’s own brand – Because the WWE puts their best wrestlers on Raw and Smackdown, lower to mid card wrestlers have less and less opportunity to be on TV.  Giving them their own show would allow them to be on camera and develop their characters so that they will be ready to go when they are transferred to Raw or Smackdown.

Revive/Redevelop WWE Livewire/Byte This! – Shows like Livewire/Byte This! has an interesting concept of interacting with the fans.  This concept can be used along with a pre- and post- RAW and Smackdown show or it can be it’s own program.

Revive/Redevelop WWE Confidential – unlike the other shows that recap RAW or Smackdown, the WWE can revive/redevelop WWE Confidential in showing the behind-the-scenes of what wrestlers do to put on a show.  This can be modified as “24 Hours In The Life of ____” following a particular Superstar or Diva.  Also, this can have a regular 20 episode run per season.

Flashback show with Commentators – If you watched Scott Halls Youtube channel when he was still doing it, Scott Hall with either Larry Zbyscko or X-Pac would watch old wrestling matches and they would comment on it.  If WWE just shows old footage, that would be boring.  Now if any of there was 2 former WWE Superstars like Hall and X-Pac in a small box at the bottom of the screen talking about the match and comment on the wrestling time of that era, that would be very, very entertaining.

WWE fitness show – With Trish Stratus and Diamond Dallas Page still on good terms with the WWE and now that they have branched out to the Nutrition/Fitness market, having a fitness show would be inline with the theme of the WWE.

Comedy Skit Show – Whether you like him as a wrestler or not, Zack Ryder’s Youtube show is entertaining.  Give him a budget with a staff and camera crew, I believe that they can create a comedy skit show good enough for 20 episodes for a full season.  If not Zack Ryder, try Mick Foley.  If not Mick Foley, hire Colt Cabana as a TV show talent.  A comedy skit show would be funny and you can give more exposure to the WWE talents outside of the ring.

Diva Oriented Shows – The WWE Divas are hot.  They are great eye candy.  A Diva oriented show doesn’t necessarily have to be a bikini photo shoot show.  They can do a talk show interviewing not only wrestlers but celebrity fans.  They can do a fashion show where they visit designers and try on their clothes.  Anything with a hot WWE Diva in front of a camera will always grab someone’s attention.

Create a Boxing Promotion – There are a lot of hungry boxers out there just looking for exposure, and since no sporting promotion or sports entertainment company can compare to the promoting prowess of the WWE, it is a possible venture for the WWE Network.  Plus, unlike wrestling, a boxing promotion doesn’t need to tour the nation.  If they had one location for all their boxing shows, it would make it cost effective and I believe people will watch.  This can also happen if they pursued an MMA promotion to battle UFC.  These types of show might gain viewers who are not initially fans of wrestling.

Revive the XFL – Though this is highly unlikely to happen, the XFL did have viewers and it did sell tickets.  The downfall of the XFL is that it was NOT the NFL.  Though comparing the XFL to the NFL is like comparing TNA to WWE, there were still people that found the XFL entertaining. 

There are many possibilities for the WWE Network.  It will be interesting to see how this channel develops.  How much time will be about wrestling?  How do they expand their programming beyond wrestling?  What steps will they take to move from a wrestling oriented company to a multi-media company?  Only time will tell.