Powell's Blog: WWE Raw 20th Anniversary, Royal Rumble hype vs. celebrating WWE history, TNA's pay-per-view schedule change, Alberto Del Rio as World Hvt. Champion

Posted in: Powell's Blog, MUST-READ LISTING
Jan 14, 2013 - 06:10 PM

By Jason Powell

-Twenty years of WWE Raw. So where was I twenty years ago when the first edition of WWE Raw aired? Honestly, I have no idea. I was a 20 year-old slacker who was living on his own and did not have cable television. However, I can tell you that the early reports on Raw inspired me to get cable in time to see the Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid program that began in May, 1993.

-Rumors are swirling regarding potential surprise appearances on tonight's WWE Raw television show. WWE kept Ric Flair's name in the news via their website last week and there are rumors that he will be appearing for a followup with C.M. Punk. The big one would be a Steve Austin appearance. Stone Cold did not appear at the Raw 1000 show because he was recovering from knee surgery. Tonight's Raw is being held close to home for Austin, so it would not shock me if he made a big return tonight.

-As much as I enjoy the returning stars and surprises, WWE has to find the right balance of celebrating it's history and focussing on the present. There's only one edition of Raw after tonight's show to deliver final hype for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. WWE is expecting big ratings tonight, so they must do everything they can to promote their pay-per-view and the stars of today to the extra viewers who tune in with the idea of seeing the names from the past.

-TNA reducing its live pay-per-view count to four per year is the right move for business. TNA is a privately held company that chooses not to release their financial numbers, but I suspect that most TNA pay-per-view events are either money losers or don't generate enough revenue to make it worth the trouble. Going with four live pay-per-views each year is a much better business model for TNA. They can make these four events feel truly special and the odds of the shows being profitable seems more likely.

-I can't say the pre-taped "One Night Only" shows that TNA will begin airing on the first Friday of each month beginning in April jumps out at me. It's certainly more cost effective to tape these shows. So while I understand it from a business standpoint, I can't say that the fan in me has a strong desire to order shows taped months in advance that may not even mesh with whatever the current storylines will be at that time.

That said, the X Division themed show is more appealing to me than the Joker's Wild tag tournament show that was taped on Saturday. Perhaps if the live reports on the show quality is strong enough it will entice some of us to order these events even though they will be dated. Plus, it's also possible that TNA will end up taping some of these shows closer to their actual air dates. I am also also curious to see how TNA promotes these events. Do they give them a real push on the Impact Wrestling television shows or are they treated as throwaway events?

-I was surprised while reading a live event report to discover that Alberto Del Rio lost his first house show match as World Hvt. Champion on Saturday when he was pinned by Big Show in a non-title match. I was suspicious that he was a transitional champion when he won the title last week and, while I don't normally put too much credence on live event results, this reinforces that. For what it's worth, Del Rio successfully defend the title against Show on Sunday.

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