Smark Talk: WWE Network Thoughts, Hulk Hogan Returns, Crowd Chants, More

No stalling today. Just a few topics and some reader feedback.

Raw Rating
Let me be clear: On Monday night, WWE Raw was the number one show on cable. Most watched and all that fun stuff. Top of the top! Cause for celebration, right? Not so fast. Obviously, this is excellent news for the company trying to secure a huge television deal. However, the rating/viewership could have been soooooooooooooo much higher. You know how WWE spent a month hyping up Batista’s big return earlier this year? WHERE WAS THAT?

Seriously. Hulk Hogan was returning ‘home’ for the first time in years. Years! Hulk FREAKIN’ HOGAN. Yet, it gets announced on Friday afternoon and then spread like wild fire across the media. No doubt, news outlets covered it big time. However, this deserved a month of vignettes. A month of promos. A month of talent backstage on Raw/Smackdown talking about The Hulkster coming back. If you build it, they will come. I can understand keeping The Undertaker a surprise. I get that. WWE Raw may have been the most watched show on cable Monday night, but even with that – they missed out on a big opportunity.

Estimated Number Of WWE Network Subscribers So Far?
I should note that WWE will announce an official number sometime in April. Thus, what I am about to discuss is just guesswork and speculation based off on a bunch of assumptions. Please remember that before continuing on.

Got it?

Okay, Chris Harrington (Indeed Wrestling) had a pretty nice write up trying to figure out the number of WWE Network subscriptions on the first day. According to all of the data compiled and a whole bunch of assumptions (whole bunch!), he came up with somewhere between 250,000-440,000 subscriptions. If I read his piece correctly, his guess is between there. For the first day only. Also in the first few hours, about 80,000 signed up. Not to bring up the never ending ‘IWC” debate, but if you ever wonder how many die hard wrestling fans are out there, there is your rough estimate.

Compared to the 4-5 million who watch Raw every week. Yeah, chew on that one for awhile…

Now, if we ASSUME all of this is legitimate, I do not know how to feel. The story is unclear if this covers subscriptions after Raw or what. Regardless, WWE needs to hit one million just to break even. Still over a month away from WrestleMania and a free one week trial going on, it is going to be tough. Real tough. The die hards seemingly flocked, as predicted. However, the casual fans need to be convinced. Just doing a free one week trial and canceling is not going to cut it. The need a ton of people watching year round while PAYING 10 bucks a month, not just free for a week.

For what it is worth, the only thing I watched on Tuesday on the WWE Network was an NXT special, and everything worked fine. I will probably watch their live NXT show on Thursday as well.

Pooch: Why in the world was the crowd hijacking the Bray Wyatt/Reigns match? I would’ve started a fight with those disrespectful fans.

I have two theories as to why the crowd was disinterested in Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns on Raw.

1. The Shield vs. The Wyatts was built up so well at Elimination Chamber. Anything after that was going to feel like a great movie and some inferior sequel being made. You knew it was never going to top the original. Thus, why go to the well again? Even in a one on one setting this time, I would have simply moved on. Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. We all loved The Shield and Wyatt Family stuff for the past month, but after the Chamber? No way to top that. Just move on from it.

Yes, I accidentally came across a Raw spoiler for next Monday.I will not spoil it, but is there really a need to do to *whatever is coming* again? Leave well enough alone WWE…

2. It was the end of a three hour Raw. The crowds usually start to quiet down at this point. Thus, they get bored and either sit silently or begin their own chants. I am fairly confident fans knew that Undertaker was coming out for the final segment with Brock Lesnar. They just wanted to see that and go home. Anything else was not going to but it. Taker-Brock. That is it.

With that out of the way, I want to make a general statement. Not to you or anybody in particular. Just as a whole.

You can NOT have it both ways folks. You can think it is ‘cool’ when the live crowd dumps all over Sheamus and Randy Orton but turn around and say it is ‘disrespectful’ when the same is done to Reigns and Bray. Can not have it both ways. I know the internet has to protect their favorites, bur be consistent – not a hypocrite. If you think it is so awesome fans hijack shows, you have to prepare for that to happen to everybody on the roster. Not just guys you dislike. Sorry, just how it is…

Trenton: What would you think of a Bobby Roode face turn? I think TNA is going to go for it. Do you think he’d be better off as a face?

He seems like a perfect heel. However, yes – TNA Impact Wrestling has been hinting at a Roode face turn. Whatever, I suppose he can go after Magnus for the title at some point. Either three days before Lockdown or four days after Lockdown, I will jump back in and watch/review Impact. Hopefully, things have changed…but we know better.

Your other emails will get a reply at a later date.

Quick Hulk Hogan Story
As noted above, Hogan returning to WWE made news everywhere. From every outlet you can name, they talked about it. The funniest story came on Tuesday when a national televised talk show discussed his Raw appearance and said he had been ‘out of wrestling’ for the past seven years. Yes, out of wrestling. Folks, that is WWE compared to TNA in a nutshell. Hogan has been OUT OF WRESTLING! Casual fans vs. internet fans right there. WWE = wrestling

Adam: @JustinWatry big fan of your work read your colums whenever possible which talent do you think its too late for wwe to invest in?

Thanks for the questions.

It is never too late. I bring this up a lot, but remember January 2013? Last year. I know it was so far away. Jack Swagger had been off television doing nothing. Suddenly, WWE brings him back to Smackdown, defeats a few guys, wins the Elimination Chamber match, and gets a World Title match at WrestleMania 29. All out of thin air in a matter of three weeks. Snap your fingers, and he is in a major spot. New manager. New music. New finisher’s name. New gimmick. New look. Top of the card. After being off TV for months and losing nearly every match.

Now, Jack Swagger has a bunch of support backstage, hence the quick turnaround. However, the point stands.

If WWE woke up tomorrow and decided to give Justin Gabriel a shot, they could. If WWE woke up tomorrow and wanted to spend time building up Zack Ryder (why?), they could. Nobody is ever officially done until they are released, and even then – it is not over. WWE has shown time and time to re-hire guys/gals and give them another chance. Get fired, go out, improve, stay clean, keep in shape, and stay on the company’s radar. You never know when your phone will ring.

When Will I Live Tweet During WWE Raw Again?
For the first time ever, I was on Twitter Monday night live tweeting. I thought it went pretty well. As I suspected, right when the show was over, the questions popped up: Will you do it again? When are you live tweeting during Raw again? What would it take? Well, here is my answer: I will live tweet during Raw again when my Twitter account hits 500 followers. Yep! If you all want me to live tweet so badly, there are your marching orders. Make it happen. Could take a week. Could take a month. Could take a year. Could never actually happen at all. If not, fine by me. I will happily watch Raw every week without Twitter just like I have done every other week. No sweat off my back. The choice is yours…

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

Email me: / Twitter: @JustinWatry