On this week's Roundup, we'll take a look at a wild Monday for the WWE, a build for a possible Wrestlemania match happening over Twitter, and former WWE stars showing up elsewhere.
- Monday had to be up there amongst the oddest days in WWE history. As everyone knows by now, the live RAW show in Hartford, Conn., had to be canceled due to the impending blizzard. The rumors about the cancellation started to come out in the early afternoon. By 2 p.m., they officially announced that not only was RAW canceled, but the Smackdown tapings in Boston the next day would also be canceled and replaced by a live show back in Hartford on Thursday. It was only the second time in history that a live RAW had been canceled (Chris Benoit's death caused the only other cancellation).
WWE did come up with a creative solution to their problem. When the RAW preshows had started, the original idea was to always have them at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Conn. They ended up moving them on the road, but they had the infrastructure in place to run a studio show. They also made a somewhat controversial decision in airing both the Royal Rumble match and the title match from the night before.
This is only the second time I can remember a wrestling company airing a pay per view match in full from the night before (the first was the night after Halloween Havoc 98 when the show ran long and cut off the Goldberg/DDP title match). You can bet that this is a direct result of the Network -- if PPV sales were the main drawing power, they probably wouldn't have done it.
All in all, it was a pretty successful day for the WWE. RAW ratings actually went up from the week before, and they were able to get a few successful segments, including a great segment with Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Also, likely a result of it being live, Smackdown's viewership went up -- the show drew nearly three million viewers.
So, while there are a lot of things to criticize WWE about this week, their execution on Monday, in a tough situation, is a bright spot.
- After the initial outrage over the Rumble results subsided, one of the biggest questions that was left was what would happen with some of the favorite wrestlers who didn't win the Rumble, specifically Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler. If Twitter activity is any indication, it looks like those two may end up facing each other at Wrestlemania. The day after the Rumble, Ziggler sent out this tweet:
A couple days later, he sent out another tweet, comparing him and Bryan, talking about how the WWE had held down both with the hashtag #DBvsDZ. Bryan responded with "I'm in" to the first one, and retweeted the second one.
While those alone may not mean anything, the WWE official account started retweeting these tweets which, if nothing else, seems like an official endorsement of the idea. So, assuming this happens, the question is how they bill it.
Yes, they could just bill it as two guys who are sick of the company putting on a great show, but that seems like a rather lackluster build. Instead, I'd actually use it to do something that should've been done a long time ago: build the Intercontinental title.
If Ziggler wins it back from Bad News Barrett, and goes on to build a feud with Bryan over it, that will give the belt more credibility than it's had in a long time. They could even make references to Wrestlemania III, where Hogan/Andre was the biggest match on the card, but the battle over the IC title between Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat went down as one of the best matches ever. What was initially viewed as a disaster could lead to a great match for the fans at Wrestlemania.
The other big question, though, is will the fans accept a Bryan/Ziggler match being in the midcard? That one we'll have to wait to find out.
-Finally, a few WWE superstars showed up on other shows recently. I mentioned in previous weeks that Alberto Del Rio had signed with Ring of Honor. His debut match aired last week, against Christopher Daniels. He, under his new moniker, Alberto El Patron, also joined another company in North America, debuting for the up-and-coming Lucha Underground in their most recent set of tapings.
Another name from WWE's past showed up in TNA in their most recent set of tapings. Drew Galloway, who went as Drew McIntyre in WWE, signed with the company, and you can assume he will be a big player in TNA, as their ratings continue to increase on Destination America.
Questions? Thoughts? Email me, leave them in the comment section, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster.