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Raul's Rants and Ramblings (02/21/2008)
By RAUL SMITH, MOP Squad Sports Staff Writer
Feb 21, 2008 - 3:29:09 AM

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Just when you thought things could only get better…


Granted, I feel like I’ve improved in my ability to hone in on one particular subject and go with that, but from time to time, there will just be so many things on my mind that I have to get more than one topic off my chest at once.  So, forgive me for going retro on you, but I feel there are a few things I needed to vent about for a minute.


Now, what brought me out of the woodwork this time, you ask?  Was it the fact that Floyd Mayweather Jr., perhaps the best boxer pound-for-pound in the world today, is going to be having a match of some sort with the 7-3, 400+ pound Big Show? Was it the fact that John Cena is still in the title picture? Or perhaps was it the fact that despite all my best efforts, TNA continues to suck worse than the 2007 Miami Dolphins and may even be looking at a serious possibility of no longer being the #2 wrestling promotion in America?


The answer to all three of the aforementioned storylines would be, “No, but I’ll get to that anyway.”


What brought me out of the woodwork is this disastrous situation regarding SmackDown! and their TV contract woes; disastrous not only for WWE and their #2 weekly program, but potentially even more disastrous for the wrestling fans all throughout the state of Utah.


If you recall, when I very first started writing columns back in June 2006, I would come on here and complain to no end about how Utah wrestling fans were getting anal-raped by the UPN affiliate in Utah because they decided to opt out of their contractual obligations with UPN four months early. (BTW, that television station is somehow still in business; how or why I’m not really sure.) Well, our collective backsides were just barely healed when the news came down about SmackDown! leaving the CW Network in September 2008.


Now, at first, I was optimistic that SmackDown! would find a new home that would suit everybody’s desires. However, after what I found out the other day, that optimism quickly turned to a cold, earth-shattering realism that Utah wrestling fans, for the most part, may never be able to watch SmackDown! again after the scheduled departure from CW Network.


For those that have not yet heard, WWE has been carefully weighing their options and have narrowed their list down to two suitors: MyNetwork TV and Chicago-based WGN-TV. MyNetwork TV is a syndicated television station whose syndication is scattered throughout the United States. The good news is MyNetwork TV is syndicated in Utah by a station called KJZZ-TV, the official home of…you guessed it…the Utah Jazz.   The bad news, however, is that WGN-TV hasn’t been seen in the state of Utah since…well…for a very long time…at least not by anybody that has cable.


Let’s try to play this out for a minute. Say WWE decides to go to MyNetwork TV.   That would be good news…scratch that, great news. However, there is a tiny problem here in Utah with that called preemption. Anytime the Jazz would have a Friday game, there is a good chance SmackDown! could get preempted. Other than that, there shouldn’t be any problems at all with SmackDown! going to MyNetwork TV.


Now, let’s switch over to the other side of the argument…the WGN side. First off, exactly how would SmackDown! play out on WGN whenever there’s a Cubs or Bulls game on Friday night? Having remembered watching WGN back in the day when the Bulls were in the middle of their dynasty, I know for a fact that they show damn near every Bulls game on that station. The Cubs, meanwhile, I’m not so sure about, but I’d imagine the same applies there as well.


Furthermore, considering WGN isn’t even carried by the Comcast cable market here in Utah…let me just put it this way; to say that WWE choosing WGN over MyNetwork TV would make those four months without SmackDown! seem like the absolute best date you’ve ever been on by comparison would not only understate the obvious, it would miss the point altogether. It would just flat-out suck!


Now, if that were to happen, there are three options for me personally. I’ll go over what I think of each option as I go…


Option #1 would be to move out of the state of Utah and move to a more wrestling-friendly state like, say, Texas. However, a move out of the very state that I’ve lived my entire natural life in – well, aside from six months in Texas – would be pretty much impossible at this time. I’m currently employed, and I wouldn’t be able to find a better job in Texas within ten years than the one I have now. And yes, by better, I do mean one that pays me more. Plus, everything I’ve ever known – family, friends, people within the community – are all here! So moving out of Utah is out of the question.


Option #2 would be to get Dish Network or DirecTV instead of the Comcast Cable that I currently have. Now in the past, I’ve always approached the question of whether or not to get satellite and ditch cable with the same philosophy…


Do I dance with the devil that I do know or the devil that I don’t know?


The answer to that question, obviously, has always been the former. Which is why switching now just so I can get WGN should they get the rights to SmackDown! would make absolutely no sense on any level. Sure, the DirecTV commercials, such as the latest one with the gang from Scooby-Doo busting the cable guy for stopping people from switching to DirecTV, will tell you that it has more HD-ready channels than the cable company does. But, that actually depends from market to market. Sure, that may be the case in, say, areas that have Cox Communications, but in this market, I’d say it’s a close call. Comcast is doing their part to get more HD-ready channels in their lineup everyday. I still get on their case, though, to get Sci-Fi in HD, just so I can watch ECW in HD. Hey, I don’t get to watch much TV these days, so ECW in HD is not that much to ask for.


Plus, there is the small issue with there not being a reliable on-demand service through those satellite companies, so I would have to sacrifice WWE 24/7 as a result. In the infamous words of Stone Cold Steve Austin, “EH EH, that ain’t happening!”


And besides, why switch to satellite just to get one lousy channel? If I wanted to, I probably could switch just to watch a second-rate wrestling program and miss out on a bunch of other programming. (And yes, compared to Raw these days, SmackDown! is a second-rate wrestling program.) That’d almost be on the same level as switching to satellite just to watch a second-rate wrestling promotion such as TNA. (And yes, compared to WWE these days, TNA is a second-rate wrestling promotion; but, you didn’t need me to tell you that.)


So that leaves me, along with quite a few other people, with Option #3, should WGN get the rights to SmackDown!…




I just hope WWE comes to their senses and gets a better deal for SmackDown! than the one they’re allegedly going for now. I’m sure they can somehow convince the fine people at the USA Network to put the show on Wednesday or Thursday evenings.   I’ll live with the inevitable destruction of TNA as a result.



Now, it’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of the whole "celebrity at a wrestling event getting involved in the action" angle. So, to see Floyd Mayweather Jr. bust the Big Show’s nose the other night was both sweet and frustrating; sweet because it plays off the rumblings that Big Show was looking to become a boxer himself, but frustrating because now we know the Big Show’s plans for Wrestlemania 24: fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. The question remains, “Will it be a boxing match or a wrestling match?” Whatever they decide, I just hope Floyd knows what he’s getting into.


Bad enough we’ve seen Lawrence Taylor have a match with Bam Bam Bigelow or Mike Tyson crown Stone Cold Steve Austin as the WWE Champion, but this has the potential to have the word “disaster” written all over it. Or, it could be one really well-played-out publicity stunt. I will say this: regardless of the outcome, it’s still a better idea in the long run than TNA bringing in Pac-Man Jones.



John Cena remaining in the title picture is not at all surprising. In fact, I could very well say that I called it exactly that way. I was having this discussion a few weeks ago with some friends who were complaining because they were all basically saying, “Great, watch them give that damn belt back to Cena.” My whole thing, as the voice of reason (lol), was, “I don’t think they’re giving it back to him just yet. You watch; there will be a controversial ending in the Orton-Cena match and they’ll make it a Triple-Threat match at Wrestlemania with Triple H being the third party.” And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. The very minute Orton sucker-punched the referee at No Way Out, I yelled, “Called it!”



There was a very interesting article in the Sun newspaper in London with former architect of ECW Paul Heyman. It’s going to take some getting into, so I’m saving that for another column. But, from little I can remember, he had good things to say about the McMahons, and Stephanie in particular, but some pretty bad things to say about TNA. In short, Paul Heyman says that he will not work for a company that won’t listen to a damn word that he says, and is so myopic in their beliefs that they refuse to improve even a little. All I can say is, “Ouch!”


TNA, I tried and I tried. I really put in a lot of honest effort and time in trying to warn you, but apparently those warnings fell on deaf ears. I’m done with you. I’m done covering for you, I’m done defending you, and I’m pretty much done saying nice things about you. Unless I feel it’s absolutely warranted and justified, from now on, as it pertains to TNA, I’m going to go the same route that Thumper’s father once showed his son…


If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. (And the reason I would know that line is because I babysit my now-one-year-old niece from time to time, and she loves Disney movies, for whatever reason.)


Good luck with Stone Cold Shark Boy, TNA. Keep that up and the new promotion that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff are putting together will eat you and your children alive!   And you will have no one…NO ONE…to blame for that but yourselves.


Hey, I tried to warn you!


To the many that have fallen before this day, God Bless you all, and may you be in a much better place today than you were here. Your memories will live on, though you are gone.

Copyright 2007 - MOP Squad Sports

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