wrestling / Columns

High Road/Low Road 06.11.10: Viewer’s Choice RAW

June 11, 2010 | Posted by Sat

Welcome back to the High Road/Low Road!

A brief explanation of the column: Sat takes the High Road (positive view) on angles, gimmicks, and other wrestling related “stuff” while Chad Nevett takes the Low Road (negative view).

Viewer’s Choice RAW

High Road:

I think at first glance some of the choices that won was a bit surprising. But, there was a commenter on the RAW live coverage report who mentioned something about the WWE Universe fan page on Facebook and he said there are people on the site who are basically asking for whatever the final result was going to be. I think what this shows is that people wanted to see the stuff that we saw on RAW.

Low Road:

So? That doesn’t make it good. All we learned is that the “WWE Universe” doesn’t want to see Santino and Kozlov wrestle, they think the Divas belts are jokes, and they’d rather see a giant and a midget wrestle than an actual tag team in the midst of a feud with the tag team champions. The WWE can put on a quality product and give the fans what they want. For this show, they embraced the dumbest parts of what fans want to see, ignoring quality.

High Road:

One of the main complaints that I have heard about the Viewer’s Choice RAW is that the choice we were given were not very good. I think that this claim is true, but I think there is a very good reason for why that is. Let us say the options were some of the good ones like a ladder match, Hell in a Cell, or something along those lines. Then you are hurting the pay per views because if you can see these matches on RAW, why would you buy the pay per view?

Low Road:

There is a lot of ground between the jokey, piece of crap choices, and the gimmick matches used in PPVs. Why even have the Great Khali and Hornswoggle as a choice? Why kill the heat on Evan Bourne somewhat by pushing Kane to fight Sheamus? Hell, why bother with this at all? Why not build to the PPV instead?

High Road:

The general consensus has been that the Viewer’s Choice RAW sucked. I agree that this is definitely a valid point, but I think we are missing an important point. Everybody in the IWC is complaining that the show sucked, but who knows what the rest of the fans are thinking? I would venture to say that the people not in the IWC liked this show because they felt involved in the show and based on what I read during RAW about the voting on the WWE Universe Page on Facebook. I think the main problem is that we all think that we are representing the majority when that is really not the case.

Low Road:

I don’t understand this ‘feeling involved’ idea. It’s a fictional TV show… why do people want to ‘feel involved?’ If other people liked the show more than the IWC, great. But, I don’t think simply dismissing the views of the online fans is any more valid than dismissing the views of the ‘regular’ fans. If we don’t hear from those fans, how are we supposed to know what they think? We can only go on the information made available to us. And the clear consensus from what I’ve seen is that, aside from the brilliant finish, people were not happy with this episode at all.

High Road:

Minor high road here, but the voting on WWE.com probably led to major traffic on the site and I’m sure that the WWE had advertisers paying huge dough during RAW. If it makes the WWE some more money, then it as to be a high road.

Low Road:

Makes them money when? In the short term or in the long term? While a show like this could drive up traffic for a single night, what if doing the show hurts the overall product and that affects viewership? This is a cheap pop when it comes to hits and fan involvement, and it could hurt the WWE in the long term depending on how fans react to a bad episode of Raw like this.

High Road:

I’m always hearing about people voting for shows such as American Idol and Dancing With The Stars and my understanding is that a lot of fans vote for who they want to win. I think it is a smart move for the WWE to do the same and the Viewer’s Choice RAW allowed them to do that.

Low Road:

Voting for legitimate competitors is entirely different than voting on scripted stories. The fans don’t have the complete picture. They don’t know what’s going to happen next week or the week after. That lack of understanding means that they can’t make the best choice. What seems like the smart decision for this week’s episode of Raw could damage the next three weeks because an essential part of the build of a story isn’t there.

High Road:

The WWE has done a smart thing by having these special editions of RAW every once in awhile. They have done this with the Draft, the commercial free RAW and now with the Viewer’s Choice RAW and I think it is a nice change of pace. I think if we did not see any special editions of RAW, then we would eventually get bored with seeing the same format on RAW.

Low Road:

I don’t mind these special editions, but the last one was only a few weeks ago. They could space them out more and, maybe, use interesting gimmicks that lead to quality product. The draft episode was good, but this one was awful. While I like that they wised up and stopped doing the Cyber Sunday PPV, having it on Raw isn’t a better choice.

High Road:

The one thing I have to give the WWE credit for is that it looks like they did not screw around with the results and whatever the fans wanted, they went with that. I think the last match was supposed to be Cena and Mysterio, and the fans wanted Cena and Punk, so that is what we got. The only reason I think this is because the whole CM Punk getting in somewhat to help Cena during the NXT brawl. It would have made more sense with Mysterio and I think this shows that the WWE did not fudge the results at all.

Low Road:

And there you see the flaw in the system: the WWE wanted one thing and they got another. It’s great that they honored the choices of the fans, but by asking for the fans’ input, they kill the creativity of the show. They’re stuck booking three different matches just in case, sacrificing storytelling for the whims of people who don’t know the larger picture of where stories are going.

Are you taking the High Road or the Low Road?

High Road

Low Road

Both Roads

OR

Simply write “High Road”, “Low Road”, or “Both Roads” in the comment section.

Results for TNA Top Ten Rankings:

High Road: 30%
Low Road: 57%
Both Roads: 23%

Sat: I would say this is a both roads right now. I think it has some potential to be good for TNA, but they could also easily screw it up. I think we’ll know in a few months whether this was a good idea by TNA.

Chad Nevett: I think TNA really dropped the ball on explaining how the rankings will evolve and change, and making the rankings seem like they actually mean anything yet, I’ll go Both Roads because of Kurt Angle.

E-Mails:

These are all of the e-mails that we received this week. We do not respond to the actual e-mail, but the reply to your e-mail will be below.

Sat: Again, the only emails we received were for voting purposes. Let’s go the comments.

Comments:

Below are the comments for last week’s columns and our responses. Every comment will not be included because it makes our lives a lot easier. The comments section was last looked at on Monday Afternoon Pacific Time.

s1rude Writes:

Both Roads.

Low because of everything mentioned here: it is still arbitrary, there is no logic or reasoning behind it that fans can attach to and therefore become invested in (at least that has been explained), ten is a lot of guys, it seems there are a lot of storytelling and booking decisions that could/will be effected that probably haven’t been thought through, etc, etc.

High because if it does nothing other than give Angle a cool mountain to climb on his way to a face title run, I’ll mark out for it.

Sat: The Angle thing is kind of cool, but I would have had him go thru the top 5 instead of the entire top 10.

Chad Nevett: My only worry is how the rankings will change arbitrarily after Slammiversary, making Angle’s quest not work as well.

Shade Writes:

Low road. Why? Because they mean NOTHING. What happened when Desmond Wolfe was #1? He lost in about 5 minutes to RVD. Rankings in a fake sport where you are urged to vote when your vote does not matter at all is pointless. If Shark Boy had the majority of the votes, do you think TNA would acknowledge it? Not only that, but how was Samoa Joe only 10th? What happened to this career bullcrap they said they were using to partially base this on? It’s an excuse to make their die-hard fans that probably need to take an IQ test feel important, when in actuality, they have no effect at all on the show.

Sat: The problem is that with a top ten ranking it is easy to find faults; in a way TNA would have been better off with just the top five.

Chad Nevett: My biggest problem with RVD as the ‘fighting champion’ is that his matches are short and formulaic. They seem constructed to make him look good and everyone else look like shit.

Comment Board Poster Writes:

I’m going to go High Road here. It can provide for storylines having people jockey for position in hopes of getting a title shot, which in turn can create feuds.

Sat: I agree. Though it would be hard to start a feud because of this, you can easily have good matches on Impact.

Chad Nevett: Until we know how the rankings will change, I’m not too sure about this argument.

MacDollarz Writes:

Its good cuz the kids will tune it to see who made the list and the smarks will tune into complain.

Smart booking.

Sat: That’s a good point.

Chad Nevett: I disagree. I don’t think the importance of the rankings has been emphasized. If the rankings changed because of wins/losses immediately, I think people would be more interested. As it is now, it’s just us smarks complaining.

JR Writes:

I give it a High Road for the fact it gives new people an opportunity to compete for the World Title. One of my beefs with WWE is that it’s the same people time after time after time. TNA’s list gives the fans a chance at fresh matchups.

One important aspect I think that was missing was the Kurt Angle vs. Top 10 Storyline. That alone will create great matches and something to keep fans interested in the top 10 list, especially if he reaches the top.

Sat: It does give TNA an opportunity to give new people an opportunity, but TNA could also use it to keep the same guys on top, but just change it every few months or so.

Chad Nevett: Yeah, nothing about this leads to new contenders necessarily. But, it could be used to show a new person rising through the ranks and earning his spot, which is a good story.

The Gold Standard Writes:

Low Road. I doubt they’ll push or give World Title shots to people fans want. If that’s the case Sharkboy and Machine Guns and a bunch of others would be getting title shots.

Sat: The thing is that it is not based entirely on fan’s voting. If it was, all of the babyfaces would be getting a title shot.

Chad Nevett: I hate, hate, hate the use of fan voting at all. Direct feedback from fans should never be used in crafting stories. Crowd reactions as an influencer? Yes. But, fans want immediate gratification and writing/booking is about a larger picture.

JTK Writes:

From now on, I’m punching every stupid mark who says “Really? Really??”.

Please everybody for your own sake stop doing this.

Sat: Looks like you are on notice Chad; I would be watching for the punch coming from your monitor.

Chad Nevett: Punch through the computer? Really? Really?

ROH Commish Writes:

Low Road.

Ten is too many. Why not 5? Then have Global Title holder being the de facto #6 contender.

It makes the wrestling more sport-like. You lose the intensity of feuds. Instead of the length of your reign, it becomes who you have beaten. The champ can be protected and built easier. But a system like this also makes it much easier to take the title off of someone. Thus, the title could be ping-ponged around.

Sat: 5 has its positives and negatives. The negatives for 5 would be that it could feature the same guys over and over with them just being shuffled around and midcarders would never be on the list. The positive is that it would be easier to remember the top 5 because I think a lot of people would have some difficulty naming all ten guys.

Chad Nevett: I don’t mind ten. That gives the spotlight to more people and at least allows for the ‘he’s on the list’ argument. Otherwise, you have a top five of Sting, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Mr. Anderson, and Abyss… which, when it’s just those five looks even more ridiculous.

Guest #1574 Writes:

Low Road

I think the way it has been explained is that the rankings are a combination of internet poll, committee of Dixie, Eric, & Hogan, and win/loss.

In other words, completely arbitrary.
Taking them at their word, the win/loss record is completely kayfabe. They can book it any way they want to move a guy up or down.
The committee just means “we will do what we want” on top of the fact that they control the win/loss record.

They explained nothing about what this means, so beating somebody on the list doesn’t mean much.
How does this stimulate viewer interest? This is a sale tool, after all. What does it mean if Kurt Angle does beat everybody on the list? Sure he has the wins, but the poll and booking committee may not favor him. So potentially is number 10 BY THE RULES.
Add to this what happened with Desmond Wolfe after the voting was announced. Not just a loss, but a squash. So to me, the spirit of this thing was killed right from the beginning. It just said that TNA doesn’t really care, they just want the audience to believe they care.

That last point is part of my complaint about how Bischoff and Hogan handle fan communications. When they got rid of the ring, they said outright that it was stupid. They could have been polite about it, said that they need to draw in more mainstream viewers and perhaps disassociate with Mexican wrestling, but they took the most offensive route.

When asked about Impact! ratings on Facebook, Bischoff said “Get a Life”, rather than a more thoughtful answer.

I’ll get right on that Eric, on Thursday nights.

So the ranking system (with the example of Desmond) is just another potential way to offend the viewer in an unintentional but thoughtless manner. This can’t be to TNA’s benefit.

Really, gimmicks like this can be okay (Middle Road). But it only works as long as the audience thinks it really matters. When they feel like they are being screwed around with, it actually hurts.

Sat: The whole removing of the six sided ring was definitely a fuck you at the fans.

Chad Nevett: I would much rather they set up the top ten using that criteria and, then, made it simply a win/loss thing ala Ring of Honor. You beat the number three contender? You’re the new number three contender and everyone is pushed down a spot. That’s very immediate and simple. It will also make them really think hard about booking matches and what they mean.

The Great Captain Smooth Writes:

N/A. I really haven’t cared too much about it to have an opinion. I must admit that when showing the list on tv, I’d love to hear the Mortal Kombat music in the background.

Sat: I think you liking the music has to make your vote for a High Road.

Chad Nevett: Hey, the only thing I like about Mr. Anderson these days is his music, so I totally support music being enough to give something the thumbs up.

The Pants Writes:

Low Road.

The idea isn’t bad, it’s actually pretty cool, but how do they go from point A? If a non-seeded wrestler beats a #3, let’s say, does he take the spot or does he make #10? Does the #3 get pushed off the list or down a spot? If someone at #8 beats a #4, how does that work out? And the criteria itself is a wash; if you judge a wrestler by past accomplishments, victories and overall experience then TNA could twist a spot however they felt. Worse, the list would always be Hogan, Flair, Sting, Foley, Jarret, Nash, Bubba Ray and so on. Bad idea because, as well, because it’s WRESTLING.

Sat: Its hard to gauge how this will work. I think if a lower seeded guy beats a higher seeded guy it does not generally mean that they will swap places. It means the lower seeded guy will go up and the higher seeded guy will go down.

Chad Nevett: Yes, this is my biggest complaint about the system. As I said above, the ROH system for their Pick 6 is good: beat the guy, take his spot, and everyone is moved down a spot.

Squid Vicious Writes:

I really want to say High because I am a fan of ranking systems. Like was already said, it is a great thing for the sport when the things going on seem to make sense. Unfortunately that is not the case with this particular discussion. I will ultimately go Low based on the fact that the rankings make little to no sense, and the sense that they seemed to make was thrown out the window in favor of seat-of-your-pants booking. I am always in favor of a tournament or something like the supposed ranking system to give reason to the things unfolding on-screen. Too bad it seems like I am the only one sometimes.

Sat: After reading this, an interesting thought came to mind. If the ranking system made sense, then there would be no shock when the rankings were released.

Chad Nevett: I like the idea of ranking systems and thought they were going to introduce it after the 8-Card Stud Tournament using the performances in the tournament as the new rankings. Which, by the way, would have resulted in: 1. The Pope; 2. Mr. Anderson; 3. Matt Morgan; 4. Abyss; 5. Desmond Wolfe; 6. Kurt Angle; 7. Hernandez; 8. Mick Foley. That was what I was expecting, but… no.

Ant Writes:

Once they reset the ranking system like 5 times and then decided to take away the fact that you can see how many people are voting for what person (which they did have for a short time ex. 125,000 fans voted for Desmond Wolfe) and decided to completely disregard any of the fan voting and put Joe as 10 after Rob Terry? and have Sting #1 ….after all that I don’t care about the stupid low brow voting system

Sat: Wasn’t there something fishy being reported about Wolfe being the leading vote getter? I think the system they have in place can work, but there is no way they will make everybody happy.

Chad Nevett: I think it can work, but probably won’t. Prove me wrong, TNA! Prove me wrong.

eJackman Writes:

Both roads. I can see the potential for interesting matches and it may even give directions to the bookers providing that they actually explain how the rankings and voting effect anything.

Low because Kazarian is ranked #10 but isn’t even listed in the damn poll. I cone vote for Jarrett and Pope who are both injured but I can’t vote for an uninjured guy who is in the damn top ten.

Sat: I’ve never looked at the poll, so I can’t comment, but if this is true that is pretty sad.

Chad Nevett: Kazarian and Samoa Joe were, indeed, not listed as options when I last checked. Brother Ray, Brother Devon, and Rhino were, though…

Guest#2781 Writes:

High road with an asterik.

Because the show is taped, you can’t have weekly rankings. It has to be a monthly thing. That way you have a body of work to draw from.

If it is a monthly thing. Then I would understand that Kennedy dropped from 2 to 5 because his record over the month was 2-2 (with one of the losses being to a lower contender) and Jeff Hardy’s record is 3-1.

How hard is that to explain.

Sat: It makes sense not to have weekly voting if you are taping. I think they already did this were they had a taped show and voting was open. Good old TNA.

Chad Nevett: Yes, but they haven’t explained anything. If they at least said that rankings would be adjusted monthly/after PPVs, I’d be happy. They didn’t even bother with that, making the rankings system unnecessarily confusing.

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Your reasons for taking the High Road, Low Road, or Both Roads and suggestions for future High Road/Low Road are welcome at [email protected] or in the comment section. Your reply will be included in next week’s column.

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