Smark Talk: Sting To WWE Rumors, The Undertaker Returning, DISH Network, More

Bunch of stuff to discuss before Sunday. My Elimination Chamber predictions should be posted over the weekend.

WWE Battleground 2013
Just one quick note: Battleground did a near record low pay-per-view buy rate last October. Not to brag, but I called it! That event never stood a chance, and it was easy to predict a total failure was coming in terms of PPV buys. WWE made up for it three weeks later with Heck on a Deck, so maybe their plan paid off? About 342,000 PPV buys through entire the span of October? WWE will take that in a heartbeat.

Spending, Spending, Spending
The other major takeaway from Thursday was that WWE keeps on spending, spending, spending. Their 2013 total revenue totaled over $500 million, but man alive! They just keep dumping money into all of these different areas, especially the WWE Network. Money will keep rolling in through other avenues, but they are risking A LOT with their network. A lot, a lot, a lot. WWE is telling their investors and fans that all of their losses and spending will pay off in the next few years. Short-term loss for a long-term gain – that is the plan. Well, in order for that to come true, WWE has to hit a home run with their network launch next Monday. The closer we get to that date, the more skeptical I become. If this thing becomes a success, then kudos! If it bombs and bombs badly, then it will be big trouble. Big trouble.

WWE Stock Price
With all of that being said, WWE stock jumped up another 7% after Thursday’s financial report. I guess the public believed WWE that their network and incoming television rights feed deal will pay off in the end. They better hope so…

Trenton: I think you should put a new paragraph in your column. Every column should include a favorite moment/legend or something that you can randomly think of. Just an idea.

Appreciate the idea sir. I actually tried something like this way back when. The only problem was the feedback was not good. Thus, it stopped. I will get to your other topics in a different column.

Pooch: Will you join me in marking out if after Taker’s music cuts and either Sting is shown in the rafters, descends from the rafters, or music hits as soon as Taker removes the hat?

Sure…but I expect Brock Lesnar to come out on Raw and challenge Taker for WrestleMania XXX. Not Sting. Cool thought though!

Aasim: Do you think WM this year will be a flop? They are hyping it too much. Just as WM XX, I think it will be a flop. That was the 20th anniversary, and the hype was too much. Brock vs. Goldberg didn’t even deliver. WM XX had some good matches and so will WM XXX, but overall – will it be a flop? Especially the main event matches? WM are never flop in my opinion, but some are worse than others. I have a feeling this is going to be not so good. At best, I see it being average just like WM 29.

Right now, I agree with you. However, I expect to completely flip flip by Monday night. Hulk Hogan is RUMORED to be showing up. The Undertaker is RUMORED to be showing up. Brock Lesnar is RUMORED to be showing up. Heck, even Sting of all people could appear within the next week on WWE television. Judging the Mania hype or even card before Elimination Chamber is pointless. Come back to me in a week or two. Then we will know where things are headed.

John: Considering everything the WWE wants with the release of the Network and WrestleMania 30, doesn’t it make more sense to have Batista main event against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania? Both guys are mainstream stars and to my knowledge have never faced each other one on one. Batista even said in an interview that he wanted to go against Lesnar. It doesn’t make sense to me to not have them face each other unless they are keeping it as a surprise. Maybe Lesnar wins the WWE WHC Title at some point and defends it. And as far as the Undertaker is concerned, how about pairing him up against Roman Reigns? If Roman Reigns is the future, why not put him in a match with one of the greatest superstars ever? Reigns would lose of course, but I think a match and feud with the Undertaker would help him more than anything in getting him to that main event level. The story line is already in place with the Shield putting the Undertaker out and each member could jockey over who they think should be the one to take out the Deadman which would also play out that story line. Maybe they even have a three way match on Raw to determine it. Just my opinion.

Not bad. A Brock Lesnar vs. Batista showdown seems like a great idea for Summerslam. That would be right around the time Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters. Since the mainstream media will be all over for that, being able hype up Batista and well known BEAST Brock Lesnar would make sense to grab casual fans. That is just MY idea. Do that in the summer and get some press out of it in Los Angeles. Maybe even have Brock attack him on the red carpet? Again, just me throwing out ideas…

About The Undertaker, I would not be against your idea because the story line is already set. However, there is no reason to screw up anything with Roman Reigns right now. Even the mere chance of him being derailed come Mania time is not a good idea. Let the fans get behind him before turning on The Shield members…to a thunderous ovation from the live crowd! WWE has handled Roman Reigns GREAT so far. Stay the path. You can always pair him up with Taker next year. I suppose we will find out at the Chamber or the next night on Raw.

Ray: The Network price might not go up, of course it might, I have the MUTV channel and it’s been the same price for the last 10 years. I know it’s football not wrestling but if enough people buy it at 10 dollars you never know.

Your last sentence said it best. If, if, if, if enough people pay the ten bucks, then all is well. Since I assume and expect nowhere near one million subscribers, WWE will hike up the price down the road to help make a profit. Just a guess. As noted above, the closer we get to February 24th, the more skeptical I become of this being a success.

I stand by what I said in early January. WWE should have been taking orders the day after announcing the network. The very next morning. Take phone calls. Collect credit cards numbers. Handle emails. Everything…the VERY NEXT MORNING! The strong buzz and excitement in early January after their Lag Vegas announcement was big. Real big. The company should have taken advantage of that. I guarantee you hundreds of thousands of fans would have ordered the WWE Network within 24 hours. Now? Weeks later and all the confusion, it is a crap shoot. Should have taken orders right away. That is going to come back and haunt them.

Tony: I wonder if WWE will offer the WWE Network at different packages. Like maybe next year, you have to pay a little bit extra if you want WrestleMania, SummerSlam and the Royal Rumble.

Pretty much. I do not play video games these days, but I do know about DLC (downloadable content). Basically, you pay little by little for any kind of small features. If the WWE Network introduces a similar choice next year, it could help out. Or I am totally wrong and their network is a major money maker. Only time will tell.

Anonymous: I have been watching free streams along with many people worldwide, but the quality is not good. We get so much lag, so I have decided to purchase elite because of the recent WWE PPVs and Raw. I don’t want to miss it. So I have decided to purchase elite which means dedicated streams for subscribers only. Now I don’t know if this actually works or not, but are these so called elite streams really better than the free streams or is the website just wasting my money? Should I try this or no? Also is paying for streams legal or illegal? The subscription is $15 per month. I usually go live or at a nearby Cineplex theater, but now it is getting expensive. If you think buying elite is wasteful, please advise me some other website where I can buy WWE PPVs which are not expensive.

It is all illegal.

Everything about it. I would not waste one dime on that website. Not a single dime. Calling it “elite” just seems like a way to sucker extra cash from people. You can label it whatever you want. They are stealing the content and making money off something they do not own. WWE owns it. Go to the Cineplex – that is perfect legal and not against the law. If it is too expensive? Tough luck. You do not always get what you want. Because something costs a ton does not mean you can just turn around and steal it. If that was the case, everybody would just steal fancy new cars and big screen TV sets. Hey, too expensive? Well, I want it which means it is okay to steal! Yay me! GO THEFT GO!!!!! Sorry, no. That is not how life works.

DISH Network-WWE Issues
Real quickly: This is not going to be the only problem WWE faces with their network. If you think the backlash is over, you are wrong. Again folks, there is NO easy way for the company to profit off this huge project. DISH Network throwing a hissy fit is just one of the first problems to pop up. From their end, they are right to protect pay-per-view buys. From WWE’s end, they are also right trying to make money from every single outlet possible. In the end, whatever happens happens. I will just remind everybody that WWE offered their network to television outlets. DISH Network, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and everybody else all had a chance to carry WWE Network. They declined. Thus, WWE went to their ‘over the top’ strategy. Do not forget that. DISH Network and all the others had their chance years/months ago but passed.

Undertaker Photo Surfaces!
Not much to discuss here. I remember last year when photos started circulating of him. Yeah, we get it. The Undertaker is getting old. Great. That is not breaking news. Each and every one of us every single second of every single day. We all know Taker is getting up there in age and headed towards retirement. Not exactly something shocking. He will show up ready to go come April in New Orleans. All the pictures in the world mean nothing. He will deliver at WMXXX.

Another Column?
Just a hunch. I may write a column on Saturday and then my Elimination Chamber picks on Sunday. There is just so much going on. Then of course, I have another column set for Monday night too. Man, I will play it hour by hour. If more columns from me show up this weekend, you all owe me.

Anonymous: Hey Justin, I am feeling so incredible after that SmackDown that I just had to write to you! Justin, I am getting so sick and tired of people purely complaining about the product and offering nothing substantive as far as positive commentary is concerned. I get it, no product is perfect and will never be perfect. However, let us not forget that a midst a sea of imperfection, one can find the most beauteous treasures beneath the waters and that is what I choose to celebrate today. In past eras, I always had that one stand alone favorite wrestler. The guy I would get behind with every ounce of my being regardless of his shortcomings or placement on the card because whenever I watched that individual perform in that ring all of those things, the very reality of that person’s career became inconsequential. They became inconsequential because the energy they instilled in me as they plied their craft, was inexpressible and filled me with such optimism as to hopelessly dream for their careers to reach higher peaks and avoid the lowest ebbs.

I tell you this, not to commit hyperbole or to divert the discussion away from wrestling and onto poetry. I tell you this because I am the most privileged wrestling fan in the world today because in our current era despite its flaws, I have THREE performers who give me that feeling. They are Antonio Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, and Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns is a sheer mastodon of an athlete and never have I been more in awe of a powerhouse like I am with Roman. When broke Kane’s record at the Royal Rumble and stood toe to toe with Batista as they looked at the WrestleMania sign, you would’ve thought I was John Laurinaitis’ long lost brother because I had no voice left due to my support of the Thoroughbred. When Batista won that match I felt a deep sadness, but I reveled in this feeling because it had been foreign to me since my last favorite wrestler left what it meant to care about one wrestler so profoundly.

Roman Reigns is the next torch bearer of professional wrestling and he will be main eventing WrestleMania 32 with John Cena mark my words. Bray Wyatt, at only twenty-six years of age, is one of the best heels in the company and my personal favorite heel right now. He does not exude cowardice or trepidation in the face of a potentially greater adversity, he faces it head on with a smile. He proved that at the Royal Rumble when Harper & Rowan were ejected from ringside and Bray huddled with them like the family they are and he told them “I don’t need you to win this war for me.” Guess what? He didn’t. He beat Daniel Bryan decisively in the middle of that ring and solidified his place as a future top star in this company. To go from Husky Harris to a guy bound to face John Cena at WrestleMania epitomizes what inspiring is. Lastly, we come to Antonio Cesaro. Justin when he beat Dolph Ziggler to get into the Elimination Chamber, elation is a gross understatement for what I was feeling. Ever since his arrival in the WWE I wanted to see him in that match. When the Title Match graphic was shown and Cesaro was pictured beside his Chamber brethren, nothing has ever felt more right than that sight. Cesaro is one of the most gifted athletes we have and one whom, I truly believe, is going to have a huge summer this year and may even be a World Champion by year’s end if not early 2015. His match with Randy Orton tonight saw my heart lunged in my throat as they went back and forth, blow for blow, and counter for counter. In the end when Cesaro pinned Orton cleanly in the middle of the ring I screamed “WE THE PEOPLE!” at the top of my lungs and was stomping my feet in my chair with glee. Then when he pointed to the WrestleMania sign tears flooded my eyes, for it crystallized in that moment that we truly are on the Road to WrestleMania. This is the time of year when we should not be committing to excessive analysis or deliberate misery. Rather, we should be reveling in why we love wrestling and what brings us together to this stage as a fanbase. That is exactly why, despite the defiance of all things logical and sensible, I will be rooting for Cesaro to win the Elimination Chamber and become our WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION! Why? Because instead of expending and ultimately wasting my energy endlessly complaining about what isn’t, I am going to celebrate what is.

CM Punk is gone guys, and as far as I’m concerned he can stay on the other side of the door for the rest of his days. You want real leadership? You want real passion and a vision of a real wrestler? Then all you need to do is look to any of the three men I listed or better yet, look into yourselves and find if you can, performers that resonate with you the way these three men do with me. Time to get back to the basics and let your inner young fan out guys. Lord knows they’re probably gasping for air and what better time to take in a big gulp of it then at WrestleMania.

Well said. I waited a week to post this because I hope wrestling fans read this heading into Elimination Chamber and the much hyped episode of Raw on Monday. No product is perfect. We all know that. If something is done in a foolish way or concerning, by all means – voice your criticism. However, we are all fans here. At one point in your life, you fell in love with watching these guys on television. For WrestleMania season (and this week with the WWE Network), try and find that feeling again. Be a fan. You may actually enjoy it.

Tweeting During WWE Raw!
We have almost arrived. For the first time EVER, I will be live tweeting during an episode of WWE RAW. This Monday! Since joining Twitter (@JustinWatry) over two years ago, this has never taken place. In just a few days, it all changes. Because of the WWE Network launch. Because of the Elimination Chamber hype. Because of the rumors surrounding Raw on Monday Night. Because of everything in between, I will be on Twitter this Monday night for the full three hours of Raw. Get ready folks. February 24th is drawing near…

What do you folks think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Email me: / Twitter: @JustinWatry