Random Thoughts from the Office: August 5, 2011

Yeah I know. I missed on the last update. I wish I could tell you something that would be a worthy excuse as to why I no-showed but the truth was I had the flu and the column is kind of hard to do when you're concentrating on keeping your bodily organs WITHIN your body.

It has been interesting to watch though in the past few weeks. Even if the whole CM Punk deal has the smell of "Botch" in the air and we all think it will just be another victory for The Last Son of Krypton. They have at least piqued the viewers curiosity. Add this to the fact that Vince is seemingly no more (At least till sometime around Wrestlemania no doubt) and HHH is now in charge, it's a good way of starting fresh.

Yeah right.

I mean, is it me or does the WWE get a free pass a lot of the time because of brand identity? They've been touting this huge change of track, the "HHH Era" as they've branded it on some of their programmin,g and yet you look at the surface and nothing's really changed....well besides Zack Ryder. (Don't worry I'll get back to him in a minute.) Randy Orton and John Cena are still the main focus of the shows, the guys that were seemingly in the next spot to move up are either stuck in limbo (Alberto Del Rio), not allowed to get to over because that would make their star look bad (Christian) or given a moment and then being able to be forgotten about for 6 months again cause they cleverly wrote he's not getting over till Wrestlemania (Daniel(Son) Bryan).

Compare this to TN....I'm sorry, Impact Wrestling. Clearly we understand by now that TNA by any other name is still TNA and they've been pretty much skewered for it. Even if they've become more WCW-lite now than just a complete abomination like they were when Hogan and Bischoff first came in. Hey I like the Austin Aries thing, I really think they've actually come up with a compelling character out of someone who I didn't really think much of. I mean Austin has always been a good wrestler but he's somewhat....bland. But in TN.....Impact Wrestling, he's been given a chance with the ball and he's run with it. The X division seems to slowly becoming back to some shadow of its former self, there's a lot of good things to like. Then the main events come on and everyone tunes out. But even there they're trying. Kurt Angle and Sting is probably the best match they've got out of the people they actually WANT there so they've gone with it. You can't fault them for that.

My point is where TNA got blasted, the WWE has been given if not a free pass, at least a more "Wait and See" approach. Not exactly fair or equitable but just an example of how brand loyalty can work for you.

SPEAKING OF WCW.....WWE has fallen into a trap created by them to. Namely the belief that "If we didn't create it. It didn't happen". If you read the fine literary tome The Death of WCW by RD Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez it tells the story of Goldberg having batting practice with the St Louis Cardinals, specifically Mark McGwire who was the hottest thing in baseball at the tim;, whereas WWE would've promoted the hell out of it the WCW announcers weren't even allowed to mention it because WCW didn't set it up. So WCW missed a key chance to get more over at a time they desperately needed to.

Fast forward to 2011. Social networking has exploded, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter. All forms of media being accepted as part of the mainstream by both major wrestling companies. The WWE recently reportedly launched an edict that said their superstars should be more open with their fans on Twitter and Youtube and the like. Daniel(Son) Bryan just opened a brand new website, JR as I type this is spending 90 minutes answering questions on Twitter. [I hope it's not just telling people to go fuck themselves - PB] John Cena and CM Punk have massive followings. Yet one man has done more for this medium than anyone else and actually gotten more over than almost anyone because of it. But because it wasn't the WWE's idea he's going to be punished for it.

Do I even need to say "Woo Woo Woo You Know It?"

Yep we're back to Zack Ryder, whose Z! True Long Island Stories Youtube series has actually been outdrawing some of the things the WWE's own Youtube page has been putting up. Zack has shown his natural charisma, embraced his character despite the fact he's never really gotten off Superstars and generally made things fun. He's become the IWC's darling, their own hero to get behind and when he was given a couple of Raw matches and then put in as an assistant to Teddy Long...Then apparently we found out he was going to become a geek jobber. A lesson to all: Don't get over without our permission. And a chance lost to draw people in, how many non-wrestling fans I wonder watched those Youtube videos, or at least fans that have stopped watching Raw or Smackdown. At a time when you're hemorrhaging viewers you would think anything that get more eyeballs on your product would have to be a good thing.

But you would've thought the same thing about WCW as well. Those that fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

But if somewhere, somehow. A man with a flowered mask gets a call....it may just save it. Make it fun for the Geeks, or Nerds or Poindexters and you might just have something.....

No I'd still prefer the fur coat and the You Suck tie.

Clarence "Showstealer" Mason

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