AT RANDOM: Is Vince McMahon’s Desperation Destructive?
Does five title changes at the "Extreme Rules" pay per view last night mean Vince McMahon is desperate?
It could definitely be argued.
However, if you look at the numbers from the last year, it seems even more evident.
The last year has been a roller coaster ride for the WWE as far as the ratings are concerned and it certainly seems Vince was determined to start 2009 off right in that category.
From April to December last year, WWE’s flagship program, Monday Night Raw, averaged a 3.2 overall rating, according to Nielsen research. We are reaching the halfway point this year and Raw is averaging a strong 3.6 on Monday nights.
Exclude the last six shows from the calculation – every Raw since the Backlash pay per view where all three major titles also changed hands – and "Vince’s Baby" has averaged an impressive 3.9 rating.
There have been eleven World title changes so far this year – nine of which were the WWE and World titles – and yes, I am including Jeff Hardy’s reign as Champion last night for less than ten minutes before CM Punk successfully cashed in his "Money in the Bank" contract.
I’m sure there are more statistical numbers that could help prove my next point, but I’ll spare you for both our sakes. You probably don’t care and I’m tired of doing the research.
2009 is bringing out a very desperate and determined Vince McMahon.
The problem, however, seems to be that Vince’s solution – a title-swapping habit that could rival Missy Hyatt’s sexual exploits during a six month period – may be the very thing that could damage the company over the next "however long".
Random, unjustified title changes can be very effective…when they’re random. If you begin to expect the unexpected, however, it tends to make the unexpected a little less…well, unexpected.
Who didn’t think the possibility of one of the two major titles changing hands last night was more on the "likely" side of the two-sided equation? Additionally, the idea of Punk using his "Money in the Bank" briefcase should have at least crossed your mind.
It’s simply what Vince McMahon does when he sees declining ratings, despite how warranted they may be for that given timeframe. NBA Playoffs, anyone?
"Vince and Company" have succeeded in the proverbial "blowing of their load" (insert another Missy Hyatt reference here) already this year and although the possibility of recovery is present, it’s not going to be an easy road.
Number one, people are going to grow accustom to these happenings at every pay per view – if they haven’t already – and when they don’t take place, they’ll feel let down.
Case in point: "Judgement Day" was not a bad show in terms of the wrestling, but place it next to the rest of this year’s events and it’s nearly impossible to not feel disappointed with the result.
Secondly, you can set a world record this year for number of title changes and unless there’s a change in the value of entertainment and overall creativity, it’s not going to accomplish anymore than Mark Henry has in his never-ending career.
Television and website ratings – including WrestleZone’s which I monitor very closely every day – normally don’t lie. The pattern this year and last has been the same: a burst of interest following major title changes that only lasts temporarily before falling off in dramatic fashion.
I love a girl that will spice things up in the sack. It satisfies me plenty…that night. However, if her exuberance doesn’t transfer over to the days that follow, she goes right back to being the trite, uninspiring headache she was prior to the act and I’m ready for something new again.
Bad, perverse analogies aside, Vince McMahon’s "here and now" attitude when it comes to creating television has forced the WWE Universe to checkmate his ass into next week.
Or longer, I’m afraid.
They subconsciously expect more from the business and the superstars involved, refusing to settle for less. And no one, including Vince, should be allowed to blame them.
I just wonder how long it will take before Mr. McMahon steps back, forfeits this particular game, and starts over with a new strategy that involves more than passing around the titles at every pay per view.
I have a feeling, however, that it may take a six foot hole, an ego-sized casket, millions of cries heard around the world, and a much-warranted "Thank You!" speech by Mark Henry before we get our answer.
Here’s to wishful thinking though!
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