WWE looking for ratings rebound
Although the last couple of Raws were taped shows airing on Christmas and New Year's eves and suffered accordingly in the ratings department, WWE is putting the pedal to the metal and going full speed ahead with big lineups for the next couple of Monday nights in a concerted effort to jump start the company for the new year.
Despite a loaded show for Monday evening that includes a C.M. Punk-Ryback TLC bout that was originally set to be part of the December ppv before Punk underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, and a scheduled appearance by the self-proclaimed most electrifying man in sports entertainment, the Rock. Even with this match on the card, there is no guarantee the ratings will be back to normal levels because the competition includes the Notre Dame and Alabama playing for the college football national championship.
Historically, wrestling fans have tuned in to big wrestling shows featuring top attractions despite the competition of other main stream sports alternatives, but that was established back in the day when it was presented as wrestling and there may have been only one opportunity to see that particular card and match up. Now that it is sports entertainment and can also be taped, seen on replay on one of several other shows or on a ppv pre-show, how "must see" is it?
Next Monday's Raw is being advertised as the 20th anniversary show and promises to include the returns of many of the stars of the past couple of decades for cameo appearances - similar to what they did with last year's 1,000th episode of the show. As the show is emanating from Texas, it seems possible we might see Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin during the program.
As the Mania season approaches, interest in the product usually peaks. There is plenty of speculation about some of the possibilities for this year's Hall of Fame class. Given that the induction is in New York at Madison Square Garden, a lot of old school wrestling fans would like to see Bruno Sammartino relent and be inducted there in the building he did so much to make famous as a wrestling mecca in the 60s, 70s and early 80s.
Triple H is reportedly pushing for Bruno's induction, but a lot of things would have to be resolved and after so many years of resisting attempts by WWE. Sammartino also risks losing face by suddenly capitulating and agreeing to induction. His fans would certainly like to see it happen, and, in the event that anybody with influence might be reading this by some odd coincidence, the company marketing his most famous matches would be an additional bonus.
Another possible inductee in New York this year could be Long Island's own, Mick Foley. Mick is more than deserving on several levels and would certainly enjoy the support of all the friends he has made locally when visiting Knoebels. Other names that might be under consideration include Bob Backlund and the Nasty Boys, originally of the Allentown area, according to some Internet sources.
Hope Christmas was good at your house. The Insider found Ten Pounds of Gold, the story of the infamous NWA championship belt; Superfly, the Jimmy Snuka Story; a Larry Zbyszk four hour shoot interview and a renewal for a Wrestling Observer newsletter among his presents under the tree this year.