Friday, October 31, 2014

Condo On The Moon Episdoe 35: Happy Halloween

In the Halloween edition of the podcast Borbath and Walder tackle the real life horror story that is the WWE Network. Like the WWE network it is free to listen to them. A few thoughts on Hell in the Cell and NXT mixed into things. While we discuss the Michael Elgin situation with ROH that has turned into a shoot or is it all a work? All this for you to listen too while the trick or treaters are knocking at your door.

In November we will be focusing in on Final Battle coming up at the start of December for ROH. Will be looking to book some guests over the month and get ready for ROH's return to pay-per-view. So that is something we look forward to bringing your way.

If you are unable to listen via the website head over to Podomatic where you can access us directly there or via I-Tunes.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hangin On The Moon: Stock Watch Edition

Big day in the wrestling world with the WWE 3rd Quarter Report Conference call. We wrote about it and now will talk about on Hangin On the Moon. In addition thoughts on Hell in a Cell and Raw along with some talk on what has been going on with Michael Elgin and ROH. Josh Lopez and I talk about it all for an hour as we hang on the moon with you.

Tomorrow Chris Walder joins me and we will have more on WWE Network and WWE Business on the podcast and a lot more.

If you don't already follow us @condoonthemoon and let us know.

WWE Network Number Remains Low And Is Cause For Concern

So drum roll and the number is 731,000 WWE Network Subscribers. This has to be viewed as nothing short of an absolute failure to this point. Keep in mind that number includes international markets with the exception of U.K and a few other markets. According to the WWE in their conference call, International subscribers’ only make up for 11% of the current subscriber number. Which if you read through the smoke and mirrors suggests that anyone internationally that wanted the network is pretending to be American and already had it for the most part.

Here in Canada the network remains a massive mess up as well with Rogers still the only provider of the network in Canada to date. WWE in their quarterly conference call admitted that the network is servicing only 20% of the Canadian Market at this time. As I wrote last night Rogers is in yet another heated battle with competitor Bell media and this likely will be a roadblock to the network ending up on Bell. The two companies have battled over the carrying of their rival sports networks for several years as they have expanded.

This does not even get into the fact of the total lack of on demand content on the network here in Canada. Which the WWE did stat would be expanded by 500 hours on their main platform in the U.S. This does not seem like a lot given the massive library they own.

Bottom line if you're Canadian and know ways around the system to get U.S content on the web why would you bother subscribing through your cable provider? It makes no sense to do so what so ever at this point and likely in the future going forward.

WWE just seems to be throwing things at a wall and seeing what sticks at this point. This really has been a huge failure to this stage with how they have handled the network.

In terms of the product itself, it becomes very clear why Brock Lesnar is not being used on Survivor Series with offering the network for free in November. This makes the idea of paying Brock what is high rate to appear make little to no sense. It already in my opinion makes the idea of paying Lesnar what they do while moving away from pay-per-view insane. I fully expect Brock to head back to the UFC after Wrestlemania because the WWE will not be in a position to pay him what they have been for the limited amount of dates he is willing to work or that they can afford. Lesnar as the WWE Heavyweight Champion was an interesting experiment but it is not going to work long-term. You can argue it hasn’t worked short term either as the Network numbers in the time he has been champion remain pretty much flat or even negative depending on how you view it.

Why I say that is if you subtract the 11% international subscribers the WWE technically lost network subscribers overall on their net domestically.

When the concept of a WWE Network for first announced years ago who could have imagined it would have been such a horrible failure to this point. It took years to come up with a model to get it off the ground. Despite attempts to get on traditional cable in line with sports counterparts like the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all have in the last decade. They were never able to pull that off and decided to elect to go this new digital media route and it has turned into a nightmare in many respects.

WWE gave no indication of looking to make significant cuts to personal at this stage, as they seemed to suggest they already had done a majority of that. Still at this stage who knows if you are expendable in this company at the moment you should feel very worried.

In the end, this has been a mess, which clearly has been a major distraction from the product as a whole since the launch of the Network.  It has been an awful year not even factoring in curveballs like injuries that has made things even more challenging.

Chris Harrington a past guest on Condo on the Moon has a great breakdown of the takeaways from the conference call today on Indeed Wrestling. We will reach out to have him on again to break all this stuff down. For now, it will be yours truly and Josh Lopez on Hangin on the Moon tonight and back with Chris Walder on the podcast tomorrow.

The WWE Stock to no ones shock is down on the day. Nothing like the epic one-day free fall when they announced their TV deal but still down trading at 12.50 (down 5.8%) on the day at the time this article was published. It opened the day at 13.03 and dipped as low as 12.07 on the day.

It is not as if this was not expected with WWE adding advertising to the Network it was a clear indicator this number was not going to be good and it wasn’t

Wrestling Business News With WWE Set To Relase New Network Numbers

WWE is on hours away from announcing there third quarter earnings and all indications are the news will not be so good like the second quarter. The WWE will be compelled to release the latest number in terms of network subscribers that most feel will be underwhelming. Even with the edition of international markets entering into that number. This was something that originally was not suppose to take place until the last quarter of 2014 or first of 2015.

There have been issues with two of the WWE’s largest international markets in Canada and U.K. Canada did launch with the rest of other international markets back in August but it was not a full launch and is very different from the U.S model. While it is on traditional cable television with Rogers it is not offer yet in most of the country. The WWE also had not yet gotten a license for the network with the CRTC Canada’s version of FFC. This limited the number of homes the network could be in due to lack of a license. In addition, Roger is controlling the network and any other cable providers will need to go through them to acquire it. This is an issue as Bell their major competitor and Roger while partners in MLSE that owns sports franchises like the Leafs, Raptors and TFC together still have serious issues getting along. There latest battle was over the Raptors T.V Schedule, which was only released a day prior to the season. They have battled over their expansion of radio and television properties as well. In short, Rogers does not have many friends with their competitors.

The U.K was originally delayed to launching at the start of this month but than was pushed back to November. Therefore, they will not be included in these numbers but we should get info on their model of the network set to launch in just a few days. It will be interesting to see if models after the U.S version or the Canadian version. The Canadian version while having a broadcast channel lacks the 1000’s of hours of on demand content the U.S version does and has not been as easily available on all platforms like the U.S model.

In any case, the expected bad news has many talents worried that we could see a number of cuts like those that we did following the last quarterly report that was not favorable. Names we have not seen on T.V seem to be the most uneasy. Still even being on T.V does not mean your safe as a few of the cuts last time had been seen recently. Names like Zack Ryder would likely top a list of people worried to pick up their phone the rest of the week.  Curtis Axel son of Mr. Perfect seems to be limbo with Ryback returning as a solo act. Axel had been teaming with him prior to his injury.

TNA still has no television deal to speak of after another promised date of an announcement has come and gone. It really has the company living in a stat of limbo. This has left the talent with no work heading into the holiday season. TNA has no shows booked other than their tour of the U.K in the start of 2015. They have T.V taped until Mid-November and are said to be airing best of specials the rest of the year on Spike. Technically Spike could have already sent them packing but gave them until the end of the year to arrange to go elsewhere. This is ironic given some of the rumbles about TNA being unsatisfied with them as a partner. Kurt Angle is a man without a deal as is believed to be Samoa Joe. The company seems unwilling to sign anyone until they have a new deal and assumedly budget of less money in place. This despite some more rumors from Dixie she had a signing that was going to shock people. At this point people would be shocked if TNA is in business.

Lucha underground is underway and debuted on the El Ray network. Backed by some Hollywood heavyweights and having talent from Mexico’s AAA promotion along with names like John Morrison and Chavo Geurrero and Ricochet a top independent star that recently won the Battle of L.A in PWG. Have not heard much but people seem at least interested in what they have to offer.

ROH has Michael Elgin back in the fold for now as he returned to the company. In what might have been a shoot worked into an angle or just some horrible communication on an angle the two have come together and Elgin is playing what most feel he is in reality a disgruntled employee. Elgin’s deal may be ending soon and his future with ROH long term still seems to be a question mark.

Aside from that, though things are going fairly well for the company as they announced a toy deal to create ROH action figures. In the release, they talked about have not only current but past ROH stars as possibilities. Will see what happens but maybe a C.M Punk ROH doll? Who knows Punk seems to have come to terms with WWE on as people close to him have called it tying up lose end with the WWE. Those include a Flintstones movie in which Punk was the featured character. They have also put back up a limited amount of his merchandise on WWE

What it would mean with current WWE talent like Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn and Kevin Steen is unclear as relates to making dolls for them now that they are in the WWE likely don’t hold your breath. Still it is another step forward for ROH in marketing their brand.

There is your look around the business side of things look for more coverage of the WWE shareholders conference later today on the site.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Raw Talking Points

We are going to do something a little different with our Raw coverage. Every Tuesday will look at the talking points coming out of each episode of Raw. Let’s try to look forward and not backwards re-capping a show that the majority of you likely have seen by this point. So what are the things everyone is talking about coming out of Monday Night Raw.

1. Brock Lesnar is not coming to Survivor Series: This seems to have been made crystal clear by Monday’s episode of Raw. The Authority made an offer to John Cena to come join them on the dark side and they would guarantee him a victory when he faces Brock. He to no one surprise turned down their offer to join them instead leading us to traditional Survivor Series match. It will be Team Authority vs. Team Cena, which at this point we know that Dolph Ziggler will be on team Cena. Which with the history of Cena buddies that is not good news for him. A match with Kane can be considered the first step to doom for Dolph trapped in the Cena friend zone.

In any case, the creation of this match makes the Brock’s presence for this upcoming Survivor Series unlikely to happen. It seems like we most likely are not going to see Brock until Royal Rumble. Paul Heyman was not on the show last night either after appearing on the Hell in a Cell match on the pre-show panel. Cena after winning his match looked up at Heyman and he reacted in kind. We are not getting the WWE World Heavyweight Champion for six months defending the title. When you consider the WWE stripped Daniel Bryan because we needed a WWE Champion and us as fans deserved that. This was the words of Stephanie McMahon. In character mind you, but why did the WWE not simply create an interim champion to replace Bryan. I don’t mind the idea of Champion not being around all the time but your storyline contradicts that and no one has brought that up. Should someone not be doing that at by now? The logic gap is terrible.

These same people gave John Cena a number one contender match for losing a match and were able to get the match he wanted that he failed to get the next night on Raw. Rollins and Cena match was fine but it really proved that Ambrose and Rollins are the better feud and match at this point. The idea of Paul Heyman representing the title or holding it hostage to some extent never has materialized.

2. Randy Orton is Actually Interesting: I know this is shocking but this is two weeks in a row Randy Orton actually looks like he gives a damn. This comes soon after rumors Orton had signed a part-time time style deal. Something he denied was the case. There were also rumors he was not happy with his creative and wanted or demanded a larger role. It seems like this has happened and Orton has gotten what he was looking for.

Whatever the reason this is the most motivated Randy Orton we have seen in many years that much is for certain. A program with him and Seth Rollins seems to be on the surface to happen now or at worst after survivor series. It is a good pairing in which Rollins can go in the ring and push Orton to perform at his best. This is something that clearly was not happening, when he had been paired with Roman Reigns or the WWE poster boy John Cena. Triple H in character said that Rollins is a lot like Orton and that is somewhat true. Rollins is a decent promo but often isn’t a great promo. While in-ring the two are as good as it gets from a technical standpoint.

In any case, Randy seems to be heading towards a face turn, which may kill the fire Orton currently has. Sometimes people don’t need to turn and heels don’t always have to get along right? Will see what happens, but right now you have an interesting Randy Orton, which we have not seen in years. It all might have started from a bunch of silly Vines on the internet. Who knows but the WWE seems to have bought into the RKO out of nowhere hype.

3. The Old Ryback Is Back: Many of you are excited to see the old Ryback return. He found a time machine and took San Antonio back to 2012. I am not exactly convinced the WWE is ready to try to rocket Ryback back to the top. I think a combination of bad booking and Ryback’s own flaws have exposed him to some extent. We will see if the fans stay with Ryback and for how long they do.

The roster is extremely thin, this gives Ryback a second chance, and perhaps gains back some of what he once had. People need to keep things in prospective we have seen many guys looking like they were on a rocket ship to the top.  We have seen many guys being pushed and dropped through out 2014. Keep in mind someone like Wade Barrett should be set to return soon as well. He was on the verge of being a huge baby face prior to his injury. Right now Ryback is back but who knows what happens next week. Damien Sandow is another one that has become very popular of late.

We are one week down in the Ryback return he is not going to be in main event of Wrestlemania 31. Chill and relax just because the feed me more chant is back doesn’t give Ryback a golden pass back to the main event.

4. Dean and Bray Feud off to Rocky Start
: Dean Ambrose has been the hottest guy in wrestling in the last month.  He enters this feud with Bray Wyatt, which got off to a rocky start. Many were not happy with the whole chanting and hologram angle to close Hell in a Cell. Bray’s explanation to why he attacked Ambrose was vague. He only talked about Dean being like him. It also was almost whispering at times during his promo and it made it difficult to understand at times.

I really have concerns for Ambrose in this feud to some extent. Bray Wyatt is coming off a feud that was a failure with Chris Jericho. Wyatt is basically getting a reboot to try and get him going again. You can’t say the WWE has not given Bray a huge platform in 2014 with programs with John Cena, The Shield and Chris Jericho. The strength of Bray Wyatt has been promos while his in-ring work has been sketchy at best.

This feud could be good in that regard though as Ambrose can have a brawling type of match that is what is right up Wyatt’s alley. He still is over with the fans as all those lit up phones indicate. Dean Ambrose is the hottest wrestler in the company currently on the roster. This feud is important for both guys but the one with more to lose is Bray Wyatt. He now appears to be on his own, which will be another adjustment for him to make.

5. Divas Division = Boring: Tired and uninteresting feuds are what we’ve got on the tap with the ladies. Paige and A.J Lee have been on four straight special events in a row. This could be some kind of WWE record for all that I know. Regardless this feud has been dull and boring and has not really advanced in any significant way since Paige turned heel. While we have the Bella feud that spilled out of the Stephanie and Brie feud from Summerslam. It has been awful stuff and we have a whole month of an angle and likely a Total Divas match with Team Brie and Team Nikki at Survivor Series.

Make it stop at least with the break in Total Divas maybe we can get a bit of a break from all this Divas nonsense after that? We can only hope so.

Only other note is that Roman Reigns doing these interviews on his recovery is doing him no favors. I am almost convinced you need to see him turn heel and face The Rock instead of a Brock Lesnar match for the title. He is not ready and with this injury, I am questioning if he will be. A program with The Rock makes much more sense than Rock going against Triple H in a match that I question if people would honestly care about.  It was another Raw that really wasn’t that great and dragged on as it has in recent weeks.

WWE will face the music later in the week with their conference call on the third quarter for the company. In terms of the product in the ring, it has been a major disappointment. The network numbers will likely be not much better.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hell In A Cell Was Pretty Underwhelming Holograms And All

It was overall a disappointing effort from the WWE last night in Dallas for Hell in a Cell. Not much lived up to expectations that were already fairly low for this show to begin with heading into this show. Realistically this show was built on two matches and was only clearly defined two weeks out from the show. We will break it down match by match with some thoughts on it all.

Opening Match: Ziggler vs. Cesaro 2 out of 3 falls for I-C Title.

When you pictured these two guys in a match of this nature, you expected something that would resemble matches between Cesaro and Sami Zayn. In the end, the two fell far short of those lofty expectations and had what could be termed as a good match by overall standards. Still with the pairing of these two great athletes, you expected something far more exceptional from these two. In the end, the biggest shock was that Ziggler won the match in two straight falls. It will lead to speculation of what the hell Cesaro has done wrong to deserve that. I actually thought the two straight falls finish was the most interesting thing of the match to be honest.

Bella vs. Bella

It was far from a mat classic but in ring, it was not a complete train wreck. The Bella twins love them or hate them are making an effort to be more skilled in the ring. This said the audience investment in them is next to nothing. It could not have been more than 2 minutes before JBL chants rang out in the Dallas crowd. Brie clearly other than stealing stuff from her husband has no clue how to be a babyface in this program. I feel no sympathy what so ever in an angle that on paper is begging me to have some. In the end, Nikki wins and now with the stipulation Brie must be Nikki’s servant/personal assistant for a month. We got the first of what I am sure will be a month long of awful Bella segments with this angle. It was standard stuff with Nikki after confirming Brie had this protein shake correct dumped it on her head. It is going to be a long month with this stuff.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton: Hell in a Cell #1 Contender’s Match.

My first thought is this match was to damn long. It apparently went over 27 minutes according to people that time these things. In the end, this Hell in the Cell match was worked fairly safely in comparison to match we would see later. It was hard to feel invested in this match even with the stipulation of the winner getting a shot at the WWE Heavyweight Championship. We have seen both have far too many chances to be champion for us to care. The match had a number of false finishes with finishing moves. Your typical big star match as we have seen in past with Rock and Austin. The match ends with a John Cena super attitude adjustment through a table. This leads us to the unfortunate prospect of yet another Lesnar against John Cena match for the title. In the end, at least this match was not the main event so give the WWE credit for that.

Rusev vs. Big Show

We had a vignette with Mark Henry pumping up the Big Show, in the same manner Show did for Henry in the previous pay-per-view. Henry would come out during the match and shockingly enough did not turn on Big Show that seemed destined to happen. It did not and Rusev ended up hooking up his version of the Camel Clutch and made the Big Show humble. It was what it was ad Rusev looked good coming out of the match. Lana wearing Pink for breast cancer was a little bit strange that the Russian heel female manager is supporting a U.S based Cancer fund is a bit strange in terms of being a heel. Likely being a nit picky somewhat nerdy wrestling fan on that one. Maybe, though the bad guys should not ever be doing good things for the world right. Anyway, Rusev wins clean and we wonder what is next for him.

Sheamus vs. Miz: United States Title

This match was hi-jacked by Damien Sandow doing literally everything that happened to The Miz in this contest. Crowd was totally into Sandow and could care less about the Miz or Sheamus. In the end, Sheamus won and used the Miz as a voodoo doll to make Damien Sandow do Y-M-C-A, which was somewhat amusing. Bottom line is no one cares about these two or this title.

Usos vs. Dust Brothers:  Tag Team Championship

This was yet another match in the best out of 100 series with the Usos and Stardust and Goldust. It in the end felt like that and we have seen better from both of these teams. I have started to lose interest in the Usos, as they have just become the typical babyfaces. I just have lost a ton of interest in them since they dropped the titles. I am not into the crazy Dust Brothers either. This match was what it was and much like many matches on the night was ok but nothing outstanding.

A.J Lee vs. Paige: Diva’s Title Match

Much like the match with Tag-Team Championship, this was a match in which I have seen far too much of at this point. People thought this would be a fantastic feud and at the end of the day, it has not been much of a pairing. The storyline of both being crazy has not worked and in-ring. A.J also deals with the fact that she is the lightning rod for C.M Punk fans to use. A.J defends her title in a match that really was not much of anything. Paige who came out with Alicia Fox turned on Fox when she lost the match and A.J skips away still with her title.

Main Event: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

It started much like the famous Undertaker vs. Mankind match with Ambrose deciding to climb to the top of the Cell to start the match. Noble and Mercury the stooges 2.0 were directed to climb up and go after Dean. He would go to town with kendo stick on both on top of cage. Rollins would try a sneak attack and the three would get the advantage. Eventually Ambrose would follow Rollins down the cage half way and Ambrose would head butt Rollins and both would fall through announce tables. Ambrose would eventually get off a stretcher and attack Rollins throwing him in the cell to start the match officially. I enjoyed this match had some great spots highlighted by and elbow drop by Ambrose on Rollins through a table that wad jammed between the cell and the ring ropes. Ambrose looks to be on the way to victory when the lights go out and Bray Wyatt’s voice with Undertaker like chants is heard. The lights return and a lantern is in the ring but fans also have phones light up making the cut to black look really fake. Smoke rises from a hole in the ring and a hologram of a ghost appears. Ambrose is fascinated by this and Bray Wyatt appears and charges through the smoke and ghost and attack Ambrose. He hit his Sister Abigail finisher and helps Rollins win the match. Most people hating this ending I was in the minority that was ok with it. The Ambrose and Rollins feud some feel is over but I feel this is just a pit stop and it will continue. Time will tell if that is the case.

This show was underwhelming and left many people feeling they did not get their 9.99 out of it. We will see how many people are giving the WWE their 9.99 later this week. This show just did not deliver and was just kind of there.

Heading into Raw the explanation of why Wyatt went after Ambrose is the big question to be answered. In addition, will we find out when Cena will Brock Lesnar? You can also look forward to sore awful Bella promos on tonight’s Raw.

This show is thumbs down for this show from me.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

5 Things To Wonder About Heading Into Sunday's Hell In A Cell Event.

We discussed in our weekly podcast the Hell in the Cell event on Sunday is lacking a lot of fresh match-ups and obvious opportunities to advance storylines to something new.  Still we can come up with five things to wonder about heading into the event on Sunday. So let us get rolling with these in no specific order of importance.

Randy Orton’s health status heading into this event has been up in the air since Monday. There were some rumors that Orton came out of Raw in Kansas City a bit banged up. Nothing much has come of this after the initial speculation but being inside the Hell in The Cell is at times injuries waiting to happen. Cena has been documented as being pretty banged up the past few months. As big a question as who wins this match on Sunday might be, the condition of the winner after the match is over in a legitimate sense. If Lesnar is going to come back to do Survivor Series he will need a healthy opponent for it to be worth the WWE spending the extra money it takes to get their champion to show up. Brock is all about being paid at the end of the day.

Which Cell match ultimately will close this show? Triple H on Raw positioned the two Cell Matches as Co-Main Events but that is a lot of bunk. The last match is the real main event and everyone knows it. Fans clearly are hoping for Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins to close the show. Dean has been on an incredible roll and even had an article he was interviewed for in the Rolling Stone. He is not going be a rock star or anything but, he is starting to build the popularity of one. Complete with the gossip of his relationship with WWE announcer Renee Young. In the end, what is BEST FOR BUSINESS is to have Ambrose and Rollins close the show. This stated most expect the WWE will go with the many times over used headline match of Cena vs. Orton.

Do we see the Wyatt Family be involved on this show? Will they work alone now or still as a unit with three separate agendas? It all remains to be seen at this stage of the game. I suggested on Friday that they could screw Dean Ambrose and this would allow Rollins to move into a feud with Orton as possibility. While we are at people who we wonder if we will see, does Paul Heyman have some sort of role in this show with a potential number one contender being determined for his client champion Brock Lesnar?

Do we get Mark Henry against Big Show III at Survivor Series? The Rusev against Big Show match seems like an obvious place for Mark Henry to get involved and screw the Big Show while Rusev keeps his undefeated run in tact. Henry and Show have been an obvious pairing many times and this could be the third Survivor Series the two have worked a program against on another if Henry does turn on Show or vice versa.

Will A.J Lee keep the Divas title safe from reality television? Paige is heading to Total Divas along with Alicia Fox for the new season that will be kicking off in January. Rumors surfaced that a rule was in place that no Total Diva was allowed to hold the title. This rule came according to reports from Vince himself. Nikki Bella confirmed this rule in an interview with Peter Rosenberg a few weeks ago. Now Stephanie McMahon in here interview with Yahoo Sports claims no rule exists about the Divas title. Guess if A.J wins will consider Stephanie might have been telling a lie. The question would be if the rule were in fact true who will work with A.J going forward. Charlotte Flair might be an answer but she is booked to face Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Title she holds in early December.

All this said and we still have no idea who the hell is that damn bunny? In any case, Sunday’s Hell in a Cell on paper looks to have some solid in ring matches with only a couple question marks. Some how we forgot to mention the Bella vs. Bella match when we were talking about potential bad matches.  Consider it a mental block to not wanting to see this match happen.

In any case, WWE has had some surprises of late with Rock and Mick Foley recently appearing out of nowhere like a Randy Orton RKO. Perhaps we get some surprises on the show. Hogan is booked to appear on Raw the next night. Not that he is a surprise at this point. More like a waste of time brother!! However, we hope this was not for you.

Follow us on @Condoonthemoon for all the latest on Hell in a Cell heading into tomorrow night’s show.