Mailbag: UFC 135, ROH TV debut, Kids grappling UK controversy,
UFC 135 BUY RATE
I work with a decent amount people that you would call casual UFC fans. They know the big stars, they watch if they're here and it's on and they'll get together for big shows. This was one of those shows where they really wanted to see the main event. They know Jones is a star, they know who Rampage is. Obviously I'm talking about a sample size of less than 10 people, but there was talk about the show. My gut feeling was this would do 400,000 buys. A couple weeks ago I was thinking 500, but business is probably not hot enough for that and it seems crazy thinking about it now.
ROH TV DEBUT
While it was a decent first effort with only a few minor production wrinkles (and the god awful futureshock), I felt the main problem with the show was Kevin Kelly and the sheer amount of him on the problem. He was involved in every single part of the show. Announcing, Voiceovers, Interviews, Inside ROH featurette. It's as if ROH have decided to push him as the star of the promotion at times. They need to really cut back on him.
I thought that debut show was a solid introductory show. It wasn't a must-see television show, but it wasn't supposed to be. I thought it did a good job explaining what Ring of Honor and some of the wrestlers are about. Kevin Kelly really stood out to me as a guy that the viewer can really invest themselves into. Due to Jim Ross being handicapped in his role in WWE, I think Kelly is a clear favorite for announcer of the year. The opening tag match was fun between Future Shock and the Bravados. I thought that Adam Cole and Kyle O' Reilly both came off very well in this match. The main event was excellent and perfect for both regular and hard-core ROH fans. The only downside was that there was no pull or reason for me to get excited for the next episode other than the fact it's ROH on TV.
Not sure if you are taking feedback on the ROH show debut, but for what its worth it is worth going out of your way to see. In Baltimore its on 54. Its really a great show and nothing like the HDNet version. It has a bit of an old school feel to it with the intro at the begining of the show. Explains everything that is going on, great highlights, explains the code off honor, and introduces some of the key guys and "UFC" like interviews and a couple of pretty good tag team matches. Overall a totally different product from WWE and TNA, which is a shame because TNA could of easily done this and have a great product. Kind of reminds me of the old NWA tapings Crockett used to do in the Carolinas infront of a small but hot crowd. Really good show if you want a more "serious" version of pro wrestling. I think this will remain on my DVR settings for a while.
Just was curious if the Dudley Boyz are eligible to be on the the Observer Hall of Fame ballot yet. I'm sure they meet the criteria now, so they should be on the ballot. If not, then why left off? They are probably going to be the last real tag team with longevity in EVER.
Also, I caught the ROH show. It was nice to see tag teams featured, as neither of the two national promotions have a solid tag team division. (TNA being better than WWE, but killing their tag teams recently by putting the titles on Mexican America who are not over.) However, the show came off really bad and it seemed I had to squint my eyes to watch the show. The lighting was just terrible. Does ROH need a new fan base to actually become a major promotion? Smart fans, which is only thing they have, are holding them back. Catering to them all the time is nothing but the original ECW. BANKRUPT.
DM: The Dudleys are eligible. They were on the ballot and dropped off, getting less than 10% of the vote. If voters want them back on and give a reason they would do better, they can be put back on.
Just writing too you concerning kids grappling in the UK. I live in Australia and our sports mirror the UK how can anyone be upset over what was essentially a grappling contest? We play Rugby from the age of 6 and up in Australia and the UK it's a full contact sport no padding or protection in a sport that has tackling, rucks, mauls and the potential of serious head injuries which i have suffered personally playing the sport.
I do BJJ and am yet to suffer any injury i played Rugby for years suffered two broken arms, a concussion and a dislocated shoulder.
The world really needs a reality check and seperate perception from reality and actually do research. This whole thing is lazy journalism using shock factor to create an unecessary uproar.
Just heard your tirade on the the 8 year olds cage fighting in the UK. I agree with what you said regards to the cage being safer than a ring and the fact that they were only wrestling and not striking etc.
From speaking to a lot of people here in England over the past few days, it is not the sport aspect of it that upset people. It is the fact that there were skimpily-clad ring girls and there was betting going on and alcohol for sale. It come across like a seedy, underground gypsy-like fight.
Personally, whilst i agreed with what you said in regards to the wreslting itself being perfectly fine, I think you might have missed the point of the story. And besides, the whole idea of cage fighting still carries a very big stigma in this country, especially to those over 40.
Anyway, just thought i would throw my twopenneth in.
Keep up the great work,
Just read the latest news update and wanted to send you a few notes on the current hoo-haa over here about that kids cage-fighting video. Much of the UK MMA community has, predictably, jumped all over the mistakes and shallow research that went into all the stories on this. As usual, it's people ranting and-a-raving about how the BBC are morons who don't understand the wonderful, pure sport of MMA, or in this case, grappling. However, most of the more intelligent people I speak to regularly on the UK scene are just mortified that some idiot would put this on his show since it so obviously looks utterly wrong. There's also a strong feeling the kid's family (the one focused on, anyway) came across terribly in all this. I'm a father and to see this numbskull explain that his son either did this or he'd be hanging out on street corners at night, vandalising things really, really angered me. This twerp made it seem as if there was nothing else inbetween, which is more an indictment of his parenting than anything else.
I've also spoken to several people who are completely outside the UK MMA scene who also feel that kids grappling is no big deal - we do have lots of kids judo over here, not to mention the usual traditional martial arts - but they all felt the setting wasn't just questionable, it was exploitative and disturbing. I write for Fighters Only, I've been watching MMA since '93 and I was still very, very concerned about this video. I've been in plenty of venues like the one on the video and they're often quite unpleasant places to be (if you've seen the film American Werewolf in London and the scene early on where they go into the pub, just imagine walking in as an 8-year-old who's about to have a 'fight').
Yes, the reporting of this has been sensationalist and talk of the police investigating what happened is a tad silly (albeit more understandable given some of the child protection issues that have made big news over here in the last couple of years) but this is far from just an ignorance-fuelled, media-created shit-storm, its a legitimate news story about parenting and exploitation.
And, if you want, feel free to quote me on anythig I've said.
Fighters Only magazine
Just a quick note to say that you’ve been doing a great job this year. I’ve been subscribing now for more than ten years, and my interest in the newsletter greatly outstrips my interest in the actual wrestling product. I was one of those guys that you and Bryan have been talking about on the shows recently: 42 years old, fan forever, but hadn’t bought a WWE show since Benoit was champion. In recent years I’ve flowed in and out of WWE. I started watching again when Bret Hart returned for the first time, and by the time WM came around didn’t even buy the PPV because they’d killed my interest and I had had people over for the UFC the night before and no one wanted to come back on a Sunday. Didn’t watch again until hearing about the Punk promo, and catching the replay of that night’s Raw. Immediately set up a series record and bought the PPV and even the Punk t-shirt. Thought it was the best stuff I’d seen in WWE in more than a decade. Followed the Punk at San Diego and the baseball game and indy show with huge interest for a week, and then they killed it on that Raw with the tournament and the Vince/HHH stuff. Since that time it was downhill every single week. I skipped Summerslam and by the time they got to Nash I’d stopped watching again. I’ve watched football the last two weeks and can’t imagine that I’d pick up Raw again until January, if they get hot somehow (but even then, I think they’re likely to kill my interest in the Rock long before they get that match in the ring). So WWE got one PPV buy out of me, and one t-shirt sale, when I was geared to give them tons of my money. At one point I had actually thought about flying to Chicago for MitB, but I lost my nerve as I thought they’d screw it up and I’d regret spending the money. To take someone who was willing to spend maybe $1000 to see one match and drive them away in less than a month though still amazes me.
I still have a great time at wrestling when I go to an ROH or PWG show when I’m able to and work takes me to somewhere that they’re running, and I still watch pretty much anything UFC does, but WWE simply astounds me with their booking. As for TNA, I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t even be bothered to read the episode recaps in the newsletter anymore.
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