High Road/Low Road 08.06.10: Hardcore Justice
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).
The main problem with the two One Night Stands was that the WWE did was that everybody from the old ECW was not available because most of them were in TNA. This time around most of the major players are available and because of that this pay per view should have an ECW feel to it.
The main problem with HardCORE Justice is that the WWE has anybody from the old ECW that has any strong in-ring talent for the most part. Sure, Team 3D and Rob Van Dam can still deliver at times, but almost everyone else is way past their prime. There’s a reason why you don’t see most of these guys wrestling anymore. Remember, ECW was more than just people doing horrific things to their bodies; it was a place where quality wrestling took place, but almost everyone responsible for that part of ECW is retired, lost it, or still in the WWE.
It seems like TNA is going to try to keep things as authentic as possible which is definitely a smart thing. There have been rumors that TNA is going to be trying to create the same arena feel and even bring in some of the old ECW officials. I think it will be nice to see the Impact Zone have a different look to it. With TNA going thru all this effort to make things authentic, it has to show the fans that they are serious about putting on a good show.
TNA should be more focused on making their own product great. All of this time and effort devoted to nostalgia for a company that has very little to do with TNA? Besides, if people want to relive the glory days of ECW, there’s always DVDs and WWE Classics on Demand, which I think we can all agree is more authentic that this sad farce.
While there is no way to know the exact pay per view buys for TNA, the rumors are that they were very low. Now, there is no way to know whether TNA will be able to get better pay per views buy with Hardcore Justice, but at this point it can’t hurt to try something different. Going with the same old thing was not going to improve things, so I think doing an ECW style pay per view may help to shake things up a bit.
This could turn off the fanbase that TNA already has and only bring in new buys for this pay-per-view alone. As a regular TNA watcher, I have little to no interest in this show and why would ECW fans stick around for more TNA programming when the show they’re tuning into has nothing to do with TNA? HardCORE Justice will just alienate existing fans, while bringing in new viewers for this event only, neither of which will be good for TNA come Monday.
Having Tommy Dreamer be in complete control of the Hardcore Justice pay per view is a great thing. First, he has had experience putting a pay per view together. Second, it shows that TNA wants to do this correctly because they have given control to a person who just joined their company. Third, he can be considered one of the main players in ECW, so it makes sense to have a guy like that in charge. I think that Tommy Dreamer in charge of the pay per view is a good thing because he has the experience and the fact that a newcomer was given this much control shows that TNA wants to put together an authentic pay per view.
On the other side, under Tommy Dreamer we have two matches hinted at/kind of announced, and no full roster of talent announced. It doesn’t look well planned or marketed in a way that gives people any indication as to what they’ll be getting aside from a random assortment of former ECW talent in a random assortment of matches. Maybe that’s fine for this sort of event, but it looks sloppy and amateurish on Dreamer and TNA’s part.
Having a non-TNA pay per view might have a unseen effect and I think it will lead to No Surrender being a little bit better. I think TNA should be able to get a better buyrate out of this pay per view because they should have more time for the feuds to develop. Plus, we have heard rumors of TNA potentially dropping some pay per views, so this could be a test run of sorts. I think Hardcore Justice is going to allow TNA to get a good buy rate for two pay per views.
Since TNA is doing a PPV-esque episode of Impact the following Thursday, I don’t think your argument for No Surrender is valid. They’ve simply bumped the slated PPV to TV. What does that say about the TNA product and how much their PPVs are worth buying? If anything, I think this will be the final nail in the coffin when it comes to TNA’s buyrates since this PPV has nothing to do with TNA and fans see that TNA could just as easily give them quality TV instead.
It looks like this pay per view will only focus on guys who have been on ECW. I think that this is a smart move because the main complaint about the two WWE ECW pay per views was the involvement of the WWE guys. I think just having former ECW guys at Hardcore Justice is the best move for TNA.
Unless there’s some connection to TNA, I fail to see the point of TNA doing this show at all. The point of shows isn’t just to do well once, it’s to build your promotion and make people want to keep watching. By focusing exclusively on non-TNA talent or using TNA talent in a way that doesn’t reflect their regular on-screen personas, TNA isn’t building itself, it’s just living in another promotion’s past.
I like that all of the matches for Hardcore Justice have not been announced. I think generally most people are interested in the top three or so matches and that should be enough to get people to buy the show. Also, not announcing all of the matches leaves the fans in for a lot of surprises because we will see some unexpected names show up at the pay per view.
As I said before, I think that makes the PPV look thrown together. Talent is still being announced, giving the sense that they’re still scrambling to sign people for the show and that matches will simply be thrown together based on what guys they’re able to sign and get to town by Sunday afternoon. That doesn’t inspire confidence in the quality of matches that will be shown.
Are you taking the High Road or the Low Road?
Simply write “High Road”, “Low Road”, or “Both Roads” in the comment section.
Results for Kane As The World Champion:
High Road: 71%
Low Road: 24%
Both Roads: 06%
Chad Nevett: Hells yes High Road! Kane as World Heavyweight Champion works very well for me… except when it involves the Gulf of Mexico. Otherwise, I’m liking this story quite a bit.
Sat: This is a high road. If he has a short run though, then this is a low road.
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.
Freddy Neuwendyke Writes:
Actually I say high road for this. Granted Kane should be being used to help put over the younger talent but it doesn’t hurt to add to his credibility. Fans need a reason to think it’s a big deal to beat the guy who is supposed be putting them over. I mean what good is getting the rub from somebody who is basically a door mat? Fans have very short memories and a lot of the young kids were most likely not around for his Hell In a Cell matches with Shawn Michaels and
Stone Cold Steve Austin. You can’t keep trading off of past glories or else you end up looking like the old quarterback who hung around too long after graduation. It ain’t what you did then it’s what you’re doing now.
Sat: I agree that beating Kane now means more than before because the fans have probably forgotten his first run.
Chad Nevett: A period of beefing up to maintain his threat level is a good argument to make. It will make wins by midcard talent mean that much more.
Niklas Johansson Writes:
Kane is a solid champ with lots of routine and with Undertaker gone the SmackDown line-up looks pretty slim. I also feel that they are building up a future big feud with Kane and Undertaker.
I believe that Kane himself will be the one who attacked Taker and they will go on too hopefully some big matches for the title.
Sat: I kind of wonder whether it will be for the title just because Undertaker is winning and it probably is too soon for him to get the title because of his injury.
Chad Nevett: I could see the Undertaker winning the title after a couple of matches. Maybe at Hell in a Cell…
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 Sunday Night Pacific Time.
“No one should be given a world belt based on loyalty. “
WHAT??? The long history of pro wrestling disagrees with you. Unless of course you have your own extensive experience as a booker and promoter to back up that silly claim.
Sat: I think maybe you misunderstood what Chad was trying to say. I think there is some truth to what he said because Funaki was loyal to the WWE, but you can’t give him the World Title because he has been loyal.
Chad Nevett: I was saying that shouldn’t be the sole reason, especially when it comes to a world belt. The time has to be right and it must help the company as well. Loyalty should be rewarded, but not in a way that hurts the promotion.
Comment Board Poster Writes:
Kane used to be my favorite wrestler. Then, they gave him a throat kazoo to speak through. Then, they took his mask off. Then, they had him speak. He lost everything to me. Should have kept the mask on and kept his mouth shut. Low road.
Sat: I think the mask should have stayed, but he definitely needed to open his mouth.
Chad Nevett: I like his current look, actually. Especially when the red lights are on since they play off his skin very well.
ROH Commish Writes:
Kane is over. He has been rehabbed in a few short weeks.
A slight annoyance was that Kane cashed in on Rey. Swagger winning then Kane cashing in would have got a huge pop but Kane cashing in on Rey sets up Kane’s heel turn. Also, Kane cashing in on Swagger would have made setting up a triple threat for Summerslam easier.
Sat: That could have worked, but it would not allow for Undertaker/Kane that well.
Chad Nevett: I could see the WWE simply not wanting to have Swagger have a short, thirty-second reign. But, I would prefer Kane/Swagger over Kane/Mysterio.
This is the opportune time to put the title on Kane. Even if it will be for a short time. They just put the belt on Swagger(who was new) so I don’t think they wanted to hand out the belts like candy too quickly, giving the belt to another new person. Sometimes it can be too much change. Lets just hope Kane gets a healthy two month run, and the title eventually ends up with Christian when WWE is more organized.
Sat: I think the World Title is going to switch a bunch more times. And I would be shocked if Christian gets the title at this point.
Chad Nevett: The WWE doesn’t seem to mind short runs, seeing title changes as a way to keep people interested. There’s definitely some good logic behind that thinking, but I would like to see a lengthy run at some point again.
I’m taking the High Road on this for several reasons.
Remember several weeks ago people were complaining about Kane destroying the WHC and the top three contenders week after week? Well this monster is now WHC. It makes him a far more believable champion than the last two WM MiTB winners (Punk and Swagger). Also, this shows me that SD’s bookers are actually doing a little flexible and long-term planning. Taking something unexpected like UT’s injury and making a long storyline out of it is something I never thought I’d see in today’s world of ADHD booking. I also like this because it involves directly and indirectly the entire upper card. Thus giving us a fuller story.
Sat: Two good points here. One, Kane destroying everybody makes sense because he won the champion. Two, I am surprised that the WWE has made a good storyline out of the Undertaker’s injury. The only complaint I have is that the outcome is pretty obvious.
Chad Nevett: Very good points here. It’s actually been a nice build with Kane coming off as a guy who could have cashed in MitB for a regular match and still won, but took the belt without much effort instead.
The Gold Standard Writes:
High road. While past his prime the man deserves. Really this run was long overdue. Kane should of been world champ since back in 01 02 when he was masked and massively over but was not looked at title worthy for reasons idk y. anyways he deserves and although I’m not too thrilled about a feud with the undertaker .hopefully the feud and Kane’s title run come out on top
Sat: He should have gotten a title run during the initial brand extension.
Chad Nevett: Yeah, the WWE definitely miss the optimum time for putting the belt on Kane, but it works very well now, too, so I’m not too upset.
Kane? Not the most exciting guy to watch… but if you want to keep his annual “he might be a threat” heat alive then sooner or later he does have to win the title. Besides– of everybody they could give it to Kane is kind of a “eh, why not?”
Nobody can say Kane hasn’t paid his dues. But you know what would be great? Give him the damn mask back.
Sat: I agree that you had to get Kane a world title or eventually he was not going to be a legitimate contender in the eyes of the fans.
Chad Nevett: I think Kane has come a long way in the ring. Not the best worker, but not nearly as bad/boring as people like to say he is. He’s got great mobility and agility for a man of his size and age.
You made some great points for High Road, but equally convincing arguments for Low Road so I’m gonna go with Both Roads. Kane being a champion is a different way to go and he definitely deserves one final world title run, but Swagger should of never lost in the first place to Mysterio.
Sat: I agree that Swagger should never have lost the title. The only good thing to come out of that has been Kane being the world champion.
Chad Nevett: Agreed. Swagger should have kept the belt and it still would have worked out fine for Kane to win it. The Mysterio diversion was… well, just that.
The Great Captain Smooth Writes:
High road for getting a title reign. I’m very happy for him. He has worked too hard to not get one before he retires. Low road for the way he got it. I have no issue with him winning the MITB. My problem is that he’s win would have been so much more special if he hadn’t been picking Swagger’s leftovers. If Rey had been a douchebag heel, it would’ve worked better. If Kane was going to cash in to win the title, it should’ve been off of Swagger. Speaking of Rey, THAT was his title reign? He deserved better. Why give him the title, if he isn’t going to do anything with it? Basically, I’m happy for Kane, but I thought the way he won it was lame.
Sat: Rey had a pretty weak run. If that was a reward title run that was pretty pathetic.
Chad Nevett: The Rey run was worthless and seemed like an attempt to swerve people who didn’t think he had a chance at winning at Fatal 4-Way.
The low road of all low roads.
Low road for putting the belt on Kane, who hasn’t had a good one on one match in years, and has NEVER had a great one.
Low road for the inevitable Kane vs. Undertaker Feud – Chapter 987
Low road for denying the spot to someone fresher, with more upward mobility, who needed it more and could do more with it.
Low road just for the ruination of CM Punk that has occurred ever since Taker jobbed him out at Hell in the Cell. This should have been his.
Low road – at least Christian had never been champion before, and puts on better matches.
Sat: Kane will have a good match once in awhile.
Chad Nevett: Kane has the odd good or great match. And I want to see one final epic Kane/Undertaker feud. It’s been a long time since they’ve done anything together really and it should be good.
They guy can’t wrestle, can’t talk, only gets any pop from the crowd because he is Takers “brother”, and has turned more times then the hands on a clock. No title, especially the former WCW world heavyweight championship, should be no where near Kane.
Sat: I’ve never thought that Kane’s pop has been because of the Taker, but maybe it is.
Chad Nevett: Kane is separate enough that his pops are his own. And, man, if you think he can’t talk after his recent promos, then you’re just letting your bias get in the way.
Ryan Haseldine Writes:
It’s a joke that he hasnt had more title reigns. If booked correct he could of easily been as popular and have an as good career as Taker. From 2003-2009 he continually got put in terrible feuds. Thats not his fault. It’s Snitsky’s.
There was a time where he should of been given the belt in 07 when Edge got injured but they gave the belt to Great Khali (wtf?!).
A Kane vs Taker HIAC World Title match has WIN all over it. Have a rematch at Bragging Rights in a Casket Match. With Kane retaining. Then have Taker feud with Punk and Kane drop the belt to Swagger.
Sat: A Kane/Taker Hell in a Cell match will either be great or a complete disaster.
Chad Nevett: I don’t think he could be at the Undertaker’s level, but he could have been higher, yes. And I’d love an Undertaker/Kane Hell in a Cell match.
Kane is one of the favorite wrestlers of many people. He is probably the favorite wrestler in Greece, for example (that’s where I live) and with all the stupid storylines he was being lost in the shuffle all the time. He is over with the crowd, he has a standard set of moves that looks good and he can definitely deliver good promos.
The best argument you can make is that maybe a younger wrestler could benefit from the briefcase. But they have a lot of time to do something with Drew or Kofi or thw other young guns out there.
Finally, a Kane reign is something that we have never seen (since his first title only lasted for one day). Let’s give it a chance!
Light the turnbuckles!!!!!
Sat: Kane definitely deserves a title run longer than a day.
Chad Nevett: Agreed. Though, I did like his ECW Champion run.
I actually think there has been incredible growth in Kane’s character since the story began. Who knew he could deliver promos that intense? I think fans have wanted him to be champion agaom got a long time, even if it is a short transitional one.
Sat: Kane has cut two amazing promos since the Undertaker’s injury which I think he deserves a lot of credit for.
Chad Nevett: I’ve loved Kane’s promo work recently. He’s sold this story on the strength of his promos and also made the Undertaker look even greater than before. I didn’t think that was possible.
High Road, all the way
No one in the WWE locker room deserved a title reign more than Kane. Sure, there are guys like Christian and Matt Hardy who have paid their dues, are over, and always deliver in the ring, but NO ONE has put up with more shit than Kane. From the very essence of his character being stripped down over the years (losing his mask, talking, having his backstory re-written on a weekly basis), to all of the stupid storylines (Katie Vick, May 19th, kidnapping Rey Mysterio, etc.), and the fact that Kane NEVER once complained about putting over young guys or tried politicking for a better spot, Kane winning the belt should be seen as a moment of true justice in the pro wrestling world, which are few and far between these days. Will it draw money? Probably not. However, that’s not the point here. Jack Swagger wasn’t selling out houses either. The point here is rewarding a man who deserved to be rewarded. This is one of those times where we need to stop being so smarky and just feel happy that a good company man finally got his moment in the sun.
Sat: I agree. Kane has gone through some ridiculous shit and has he ever complained? Kane is the consummate professional.
Chad Nevett: Glenn Jacobs is one of the few wrestlers whose autobiography I would kill to read simply because of the career he’s had and the professionalism he’s shown throughout. He seems to have really followed the Undertaker’s lead and is exactly what any promotion would kill to have.
Really Salted Crisps Writes:
At the time Mick Foley won the TNA title he was 43 and people complained that TNA wasnt pushing new stars by placing the belt on him. Now WWE has the belt on Kane (who is 43) everyone is like yeah this is great. No its not, its the same as what TNA done and just because WWE done it you all think its brilliant.
Sat: The main problem with Mick Foley winning the title was the fact that he has been “retired” for so long and it was a mistake for him to become the champion.
Chad Nevett: The age itself isn’t the reason, because Foley and Kane were in two very different places. In the ring, Foley was 43 going on 70, while Kane looks his age, maybe younger.
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.