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September 16, 2008

Raw gets blitzed by NFL

You know those “Did you know” graphics that WWE was running coming out of commercial breaks about Raw having higher ratings than Monday Night Football during the preseason? Well, don’t expect to see how the show fared against the NFL last night being trumpeted on next week’s Raw.

Raw’s rating fell to an alarmingly low 2.6, according to pwinsider.com. The Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game did a 13.3, the highest rating in the history of cable television.

There’s no doubt that the NFL game cut into Raw’s numbers. The question is how much. The Cowboys are probably the NFL’s biggest draw, and the Eagles also are a high-profile team. And Raw’s ratings traditionally take a hit during football season. Still, dropping this low has to send shockwaves through Titan Towers. It will be very interesting to see if next Monday’s game – the New York Jets vs. the San Diego Chargers – has a similar effect. New York is a big market and Bret Favre playing for a new team also has appeal.

The disturbing thing for WWE is that, in my opinion, Monday’s show was pretty good. The Shawn Michaels-Chris Jericho story line has been especially well received by wrestling fans, but apparently casual viewers don’t find it compelling enough to become more than casual viewers. I’m sure there are some people behind the scenes in WWE who will claim that the ratings indicate Jericho’s world heavyweight title reign is a flop, but I think that would be oversimplifying things.

I have seen some wrestling pundits state that the declining ratings should be a wake-up call to Vince McMahon that his creative process is flawed. Obviously, fewer people are watching the product, but is that really a reflection that the content isn’t good? Again, I think that is an oversimplification, especially because I feel the content is good. Some will argue that it’s a copout to say that the wrestling business is cyclical and it’s just in a downturn, but I do think there is something to that.

I also believe the audience has been splintered due to the fact that viewers have so many options on TV now. Plus, let’s face it, wrestling is not the “cool thing” like it was a decade ago. The growing popularity of UFC has impacted wrestling, too. I have no idea what the actual percentage is of wrestling fans who have abandoned the genre for mixed martial arts, but I do have friends and acquaintances who have done exactly that.

I think another big factor is the lack of a larger-than-life superstar. During the boom in the 1980s, Hulk Hogan was that guy. Everyone knew who he was. In the late ’90s and early part of this decade, it was Steve Austin and The Rock who crossed over into the mainstream. No disrespect to any of the current talent, but there is no one at that level right now. The closest one is John Cena.

When ratings have dipped in the past, WWE has taken drastic measures to shake things up. I’m just not sure that another “Who killed Vince McMahon”-type story line or publicity stunts such as McMahon’s Million Dollar Mania are the answer. Recent history shows that going that route spikes ratings in the short term, but it’s not a long-term solution. Unfortunately, I don’t know what the solution is or even if there is one.

And as I have said in the past, it’s important to keep in mind that ratings are but one aspect of the wrestling business. WWE’s bottom line is quite healthy. It was just six months ago that more than 74,000 people attended WrestleMania XXIV and the show did 1.2 million pay-per-view buys.

A few more thoughts on last night’s Raw:

I forgot to mention the debut of Dolph Ziggler in this morning’s post. The new character is being played by Nick Nemeth, who formerly was Spirit Squad member Nicky. Now sporting longer, bleached-blonde hair, he looks like a cross between a young Chic Donovan (longtime fans probably remember him as a jobber to the stars in Georgia Championship Wrestling a couple decades ago) and a Dynamic Dudes-era Shane Douglas.

Ziggler ––whose character might be a takeoff on Dirk Diggler from Boogie Nights –– appeared in a few scenes, as he went up to various people backstage and shook their hand. I’m not sure what the point was, but I’m speculating that it might be a spoof of locker room etiquette. It is customary for people that are new to introduce themselves to everyone and shake hands, and those who fail to do so will have major heat On wwe.com, there is a video of Ziggler introducing himself to JBL during a commercial break while JBL was on his sit-down strike in the ring. The look on JBL’s face when Ziggler offered his hand was priceless. …

Candice Michelle has been getting a lot of criticism from fans for her subpar in-ring performances since returning from injury. I agree that she hasn’t looked good, but I will cut her some slack for now. She did suffer a broken clavicle and then had a setback during her recovery, so there is bound to be some ring rust. Before getting hurt, she had improved a lot from when she started.

I also saw where some are unhappy that Michelle’s push has come at the expense of Mickie James. I like James as much as anyone, but I don’t see it that way. Michelle versus Beth Phoenix is a natural feud considering the fact that Michelle suffered her injury against Phoenix. And I don’t think James is going to continue to be an afterthought. James and Phoenix had wrestled a bunch of times and it was time for some fresh matchups.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 9:35 PM | | Comments (34)
        

Comments

Chic Donovan , .... Kevin you never cease to amaze me . Good one .

Kevin , regarding your thoughts about declining veiwership , I think wrestling has become too "watered down" in recent years . Just as football and baseball seem to suffer when there is expansion , with wrestling being broadcast several nights per week ie; Smackdown , Raw , ECW , TNA , the level of talent declines .
As far as the impact of MMA on wrestling , I'm a wrestling fan and wrestling being what it is , storylines , gimmicks , etc . , I can't really compare one to the other . Just because I may watch MMA , it would not play a role into my watching wrestling or not . In fact I'd prefer to keep a seperation . That's one reason I'm not thrilled with introduction of Frank Trigg to TNA .

When ratings go low, you can always count on a lame story line involving Vince.

Stone Cold hasn't been on Raw in a long time. I'm surprised he hasn't made any appearances in conjunction with The Condemned now being shown on cable.

Maybe it's just me but I think the simplest way to change the ratings decline is to improve match quality. (I know, I'm crazy talking...) 1 minute matches should only happen when there's an injury. World title matches really can be more than 15 minutes on cable TV without destroying PPV rates. Every match can be good.

Good quality wrestling matches will keep people who might change the channel from doing so. High quality wrestling will also encourage people to begin (again?) watching. Backstage skits simply don't bring people to the table.

Keep up the great work, Kevin.


As far as Candice goes, I just want the same people who bash her and think she can't do anything right (even when she does) to bash Mickie and Beth for last week where they not only made a bunch of mistakes but at least 2 or 3 of them were dangerous things where one or both of them could have gotten hurt badly.

I for one chose Monday Night Football over Raw. I taped Raw, but I may not check it out after reading Kevin's blogs about it. That doesn't mean that Raw sounded awful to me; it just means that I am hard-pressed to make time for all forms of entertainment.

The fact that a significant amount of people preferred watching a predetermined show where the outcome does not matter so much as to urgently watch it live, to the first significant game of football (which seems to be very popular in your country) of the season where nothing is predetermined (except if things are hanky panky) means that there are a lot of hardcore fans around.
Plus if you have five weeks of wreslting for free in a week, ratings do get spread out.
WWE and TNA should be more concerned if PPV buys reduce. Ratings are given too much importance IMHO. In fact one should check what were the ratings of the other programs running simultaneously.

I watch RAW every Monday with a friend, and during commercial breaks, he would turn back to the Cowboys/Eagles game, so it's not hard for me to imagine that the NFL is cutting into the RAW ratings a bit. However, I will play devil's advocate and say that this past episode of RAW just didn't do it for me. I was suprised to see the title match at the beginning of the show, was kinda let down to see Mysterio/Kane at the end of the show, and slightly unaffected by the news of a Jericho/Michaels Ladder Match at No Mercy. I watch RAW every Monday regardless, but this last one was just kinda "meh" to me.

I'm a lifelong rabid Eagles fan, so of course I watched MNF instead of Raw -- but I did record Raw and will watch it tonight, even with knowing the outcome. It would be tough for ANY show -- no matter how good the content -- to go up against a big-time NFL game like that Eagles-Cowboys game. So I don't think WWE needs to hit the panic button yet.

That being said, I think you're spot on in noting the lack of a current superstar with huge cross-over appeal.

When you consider the main reason I tuned in this week to watch Raw was to see if the Honky Tonk Man made an appearance in his hometown of Memphis, there has to be something wrong with the current product. These days there are no classic managers who brought so much entertainment value to the table back in the 80's. Now there's too much emphasis on 'Diva Search' rather than 'real rasslin'.

Your comment on Donovan and losing brought back a memory from the old NWA days. I remember a guy whose name was I believe was Robert Boyette and who set a record for consecutive losses ( 100 plus ? ).

I agree JBL's reaction to Ziggler was "priceless" as was Jericho's when he gave Ziggler a brief glance as he and Cade headed out to the ring. There are probaby still enough humorous moments to keep me tuning in.

Wrestling seems to run high tides and low tides.

Across the board tv ratings have dropped for just about anything due to the presence of other channels/cable systems/ etc

Plus with the emergence of MMA, I can attest that out of 6 of my best friend who used to watch Wrestling/PPV's.

Only 2 of us still watch wrestling regulary.

We used to order 6 PPV's a year, now we may get 3-4, while my friends (I just can't get into MMA, it reminds me of boxing which I had force fed to me as a child).

But the four former wrestling fans buy just about any PPV for MMA.

Kevin,
you mentioned many reasons for the RAW ratings decline, however, in my opinion, the main reason is Fantasy Football. Monday night, in particular, saw several fantasy superstars in action (owens, romo, mcnabb, westbrook.) RAW might win the ratings war during NFL pre-season but, not when money in on the line.

Kevin, I think there's a few things missing in WWE.

1) Diversity. I think Angelina Love's interview about Divas was wonderfully written. It seems they have become "cookie cutter" and there needs to be a shake up.

2) Technique. I have an issue with WWE having wrestlers who have made their way in other promotions "learn the WWE way". What's the point? They've earned their way with what they've done previously. Why change it? That's why I hope that most of the up and comers go to TNA, where they don't have the moves prohibited.

3) Ego. I think it's time for Vince and Steph to listen to outside influences. They have to be willing to set aside what they know and listen to other people who haven't been in the wrestling business or been wrestling fans for years. The fans will watch. The casual fans have to be sold on the product. The new ideas could open up a vast array of stories and policies for WWE.

I tend to wonder if wrestling's "natural state" is that of the Saturday nothing-to-do/jobber/carney show of my youth (think the WWF morning shows, or WCW Saturday night), and the occasional crossovers to the mainstream are the exception and not the rule.

It takes a cyclone of talent, luck and timing to create the atmosphere that was the mid-80s (Hogan/Rock N Wreslting/NWA Four Horsemen) and the late 90s (NWO/Austin/Rock/Attitude).

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: I agree with you that timing is a big part of it. I tried to touch on that by saying that wrestling is cyclical and no matter how good WWE's product is or isn't, it might not reach those high levels of the past at this time.

Eck,
Shouldn't that sentence have read..."Candice Michelle has been getting a lot of criticism from LEE IN NC for her subpar in-ring performances." My surly condecending attitude certainly doesn't need any multiplying.

chris...I am not going to try to bother trying to say that Beth or Mickie are always poetry in motion, but at least they have been trained and have extensive experience taking a bump. What I am trying to say is Candice is soft and you shouldn't try to make a spot monkey out of someone who is soft.

I think the problem with declining ratings is that there is no true champion. There are way to many belts which makes them meaningless. Back when there was one world champ like Hogan, The Rock, and Stone Cold you actually cared about what was going to happen next. I also believe that there should be more of a talent exchange between the shows seeing the same 10 or 12 wrestlers week after week gets stale. However trying to compete with the NFL for ratings on monday night is a battle the WWE cant win, so all they can do is just work on putting out the best product they can for the fans that do watch.

In addition to not producing breakout stars and creatively killing the potential ones (here's looking at you Brock Lesnar and John Cena), there hasn't been enough focus on producing quality entertainment from top to bottom. In addition to having far too many belts (thus making them all less important), there is little to no focus on the midcard. There were so many memorable moments from the Attitude Era that didn't involve Rock or Austin. Now the midcard has no sense of direction, no reason has been given to cheer or boo 99% of the guys below main event status. Guys like Bourne and Kingston are flashy high flyers, but beyond that, nothing. If the effort that went into producing those great R-Truth videos were given to the entire midcard (well the entire company in general), the company wouldn't be flirting with its lowest ratings in a decade.

"chris...I am not going to try to bother trying to say that Beth or Mickie are always poetry in motion, but at least they have been trained and have extensive experience taking a bump. What I am trying to say is Candice is soft and you shouldn't try to make a spot monkey out of someone who is soft.

Well, yes, they've been trained more than Candice. Mickie's been in the business since 1999, Beth since 2001, and Candice since 2004.

However, you wouldn't have known that last week as Beth and Mickie made mistakes that would get Candice mocked and more importantly, their mistakes were not just mistakes that hurt the match but were dangerous. Mickie is lucky she didn't get hurt by Beth and vice versa.

Here’s my take on the consistent ratings decline over the past few years:

-WWE has been shifting to a cleaner and more family friendly image, and they may be chasing away their older audience as a result. In addition to losing older fans, they aren’t gaining new younger viewers.

-The NFL is seemingly bigger than ever. NFL team owners spend big bucks to improve their teams every year, while the WWE seems to be investing less in hiring new wrestlers and writing solid storylines.

My proposed solution:

A defined season - wrestling should tap out to the NFL, and focus on a season that runs from January through August. That way they could focus on character development, athletic fundamentals, and storylines in the off season. Then they can kick off the season with the Royal Rumble. After that they could continue with all guns blazing to hype Wrestlemania, then try to keep up that momentum until Summerslam closes out the season.


I believe the real reason there have been declining ratings is that there's absolutely no reason for casual fans (like myself) to tune in. Let's face it: unless you're a hardcore wrestling fan, there's no reason to watch any of the three WWE shows (let alone a TNA broadcast) at all. I can check in here and WWE.com to see what is happening. Besides, when your highest-profile stories have been two deaths (Guerrero and Benoit), you're not going to keep people watching.

The real reason? Wrestling's extended nostalgia trip. Blame the resurgence of Hogan, blame the fact that now, more than ever, the WWE is celebrating its "glory days" (people are nostalgic for the Honky Tonk Man? Really?), and you have a company that's not seeking to expand its audience. You can jack up some ratings by hiring Sting, but again, it's not new product. There was a period of incredible innovation in wrestling in the mid-to-late '90s: the use of the industry itself as the gimmick, the insane quantum leap in quality of matches, stuff like the TLC II match at WM17, ECW...and then, what do we get? Hulk Hogan wearing a belt. Undertaker rebooting his old gimmick. Triple H, the worst wrestling star ever. (Dude has zero charisma.) Oh, and all the big stars keep getting injured, over and over and over and over and over.

The fact may be that wrestling is now firmly returned to its niche as a strange little subset of sports and entertainment, followed by the hardcore but completely impenetrable to anyone who isn't initiated.

Speaking as a WWE fan of about 20 years, I don't usually watch RAW during football season. It's just not as exciting television programming, to me, as football. (And obviously, Monday night's game was the NFL at its best.) I honestly don't think there's anything they could do to get me to watch RAW instead of MNF; it becomes a question of whether I'll record RAW and watch it later. This week, I didn't bother; notwithstanding Kevin's appreciation for the Michaels-Jericho feud, there just isn't a current storyline that interests me. Too many big stars seem to be floundering in plots without direction.

Also, offtopic but sparked by the fellow above who talks about buying PPVs: Kevin, do you know why WWE doesn't lower the price for PPVs that have already aired live? I might pay $40 to watch a PPV live, because it's fun to watch it unfold live...but once the results and recaps are posted online, the event's value is diminished, to my mind. I've always wondered why they don't discount the replays.

Dont normally post here and would be the first to admit that im no hardcore fan (tho i do watch it alot). But I just think theres no character development no more....normal people cannot relate to any of the these new characters being forced down their throats. Separate to this but on the same lines there seems to be no attempt made to tell a story in the HUGE majority of feuds anymore and if there is a storyline its hard to relate to it....e.g. Stone Cold v Vince feud - everyone whos ever worked anywhere could relate to this feud - compare to - Kane vs Rey Mesterio - because he wears a mask?? who the hell can relate to that (I know thats prob the worst example i cold find but still...)
Its telling that by far ...... and i mean by far the best feud today is between Shawn Michaels and Jericho, two veterans who developed their characters before this new age of puppet (as in you can see the strings) westlers emerged.... I do actually lke theses westlers abilites ... just not the way they are used by the WWE

As bleak as things probably are up north this week, wait 'til Vince reads the demographic breakdown. I know I've probably mentioned this before, but the most desired demo for advertisers is the 18-34 year old male. They work for a living yet are not as likely to be "settled" and therefore have a little more change in their pocket. These are the people that made it happen in the late 90's. This demographic soared 10 years ago when the product was geared towards them (Attitude/NWO/ECW) and wrestling prospered like never before. Now I am not going to argue for one second that wrestling is EVER going to beat the NFL in America. Nothing will. Still, the demographic I'm talking about is also one of the NFL's largest audiences and when you subtract that number from what remains of that demo that still tunes into RAW, well, you have ratings like they had this week. Vince has watered down his product, has made it wholly unbelievable (both the action in the ring and out) and geared his biggest star to kids (Cena). It's no surprise. I would agree that Vince and Steph need to listen to some outside voices. I would suggest exploring the possibilities of increasing the continuity of storylines (Jericho-Michaels is the best thing in a long, long time), a focus on competition (make the belts matter) and not looking to hire anymore writers with "daytime television experience". They should also commit to making Smackdown the "cleaner" show for the kids that they obviously market to aggressively and let RAW go back to the boundary pushing it was known for (in a Stone Cold/Rock way and not so much a Katie Vick/giving-birth-to-a-hand kinda way). It ends at 11pm on a school night, anyway...

I've been a wrestling fan since the early '80s but have pretty much stopped watching it over the past 6 or 7 years. I give it a chance once in a while, but the stupid, scripted backstage crap just turns me off. You can find better acting in those late night teen chat line commercials than you can in the WWE. Let the wrestlers develop their own personalities and speak for themselves. The scripted dialogues written by wannabe sitcom writers just don't work.

The New York Jets , as a professional team of NFL, is one of the major teams that have fans all around the world. It’s quite normal if New York Jets are so pricy because such worth any price. It doesn’t matter if we pay a respected amount of money for Jets tickets because we satisfy our eagerness to watch good games and more than that, when we get New York Jets ticket , It’s because we love this team. Thus, New York Jets tickets prices will never be a problem for a real fan of the team.

I feel as though the main reason for my lost of interest in wwe wrestling is due to the new format they have adopted. Of course wrestling is pre-determined but it has gotten to a point to where its like a stage play complete with a program of events and the outcomes. when raw starts they have this exhausting segment where they have wrestlers come out and insult another while that other wrestler comes out and they gaze into each others eyes, they both exchange love taps and the weak referees rush to someones rescue in comes the "commercials" after which the divas match is expected (eh em not much wrong with that lol) but its just horrible. 2nd the separation of the brands is a tired concept wrestlers end up fighting the same people every week. Then they drafted HHH to smackdown in hopes of higher ratings while at the same time alerting of a channel change from the cw to my 24 "WAT!!!!!". Lastly to top it off the fans who grew up with wrestling in the 90's were spoiled to beautifully crafted storylines of the attitude era. wrestlers from smackdown or raw showing up to other brands and interferring in an unexpected match, Wrestlers formed stables "groups". you had falls count anywhere matches that actually ended up anywhere except just directly next to the ring. SIMPLY PUT VINCE HAS GONE COMMERCIAL!!!!!!

Dear anonymous/chris

Other than confirming the accuracy of my post, what did your second post accomplish? You said the exact same thing in your first post.

Come to think of it why am I being so argumentative? You're welcome! Anytime I can help...just let me know.

"Other than confirming the accuracy of my post, what did your second post accomplish? You said the exact same thing in your first post.

Come to think of it why am I being so argumentative? You're welcome! Anytime I can help...just let me know."

I'm just looking for an answer as to why Candice gets ripped for her mistakes with no excuses like ring rust being acceptable, while Beth and Mickie have excuses made for them when they make similar mistakes and even worse, dangerous mistakes.

Going public really cut the grapefruits off the company. It will take Vince being as fearless to investors as he is to the media or "fans" of his product. Drop the scripts and let someone show they have personality. You can't find the next Stone Cold when they have to read a promo from a writer of Friends each week. It sure wasn't Gerwitz that came up with Austin 3:16.

There also aren't any surprises like we're used to. I know the internet kills a lot of them, but Adamle as the GM when they could have picked anyone? Sure fooled us, but we get the last laugh since we can change the channel. Then they take the best part of his character away and becomes as bland as Jack Tunney. It makes me wonder how long ago Adamle would be given his "future endeavors" if his salary wouldn't end up on a public expense report?

Any good angle lately is hotshotted (see Cena/Batista) and all of the potential is wasted. Kane and Misterio is a disaster. So we knew Kane's mask was supposed to be in the bag? No one knew why still, so why tank the whole program just to swerve us? Even with it being Rey's mask, they could have made the angle meaningful if Rey came back a brainwashed heel, beaten and ruined like Kane was as a kid (well depending which backstory you want to go with for him). Instead they kill all of the suspense in the 30 seconds it took Rey to get to the ring and attack Kane. Younger fans could have tuned in to see if Rey could snap out of it and we'd wonder who Kane could make him attack next and watch the face struggle with having to hurt a friend. Now where can they go with it? It's every angle Rey has done with a bigger guy and neither character is developed at all. Kane could've had a cerebral side and Rey could carry a dark side with him that could let him do things as a face that he can't do now without it looking like a turn. Now in a month when this angle is blown off Kane will sink down the card and Rey will be stuck depending on a new mask to get him an above normal pop again.

Wow, I probably worry way too much about that stuff huh?

"I'm just looking for an answer as to why Candice gets ripped for her mistakes with no excuses like ring rust being acceptable, while Beth and Mickie have excuses made for them when they make similar mistakes and even worse, dangerous mistakes."

They have earned right to a bad night once in a while by having a long history of getting it right, chris. One bad match on one show does not erase their entire body of work. Candice, however, doesn't have any significant track record other than being an injury risk everytime she walks out there. The only reason she got pushed into a title program was because of her sex appeal. She is barely a serviceable wrestler. Your title holder should be someone that can usually carry a match, not sandbag it.

And thats the answer, chris. Done...end of story. Thank you for playing.

"They have earned right to a bad night once in a while by having a long history of getting it right, chris. One bad match on one show does not erase their entire body of work. Candice, however, doesn't have any significant track record other than being an injury risk everytime she walks out there. The only reason she got pushed into a title program was because of her sex appeal. She is barely a serviceable wrestler. Your title holder should be someone that can usually carry a match, not sandbag it."

Candice had one really bad night (her return two weeks ago). It was easily the worst she ever looked. She looked better in her first matches back in 2005. So now it's "She has never been any good, ever, and she never will be."

Yet, last year, she looked pretty good in the ring, and people were praising her for how all the work she was doing was showing in her matches. She even managed to have some decent matches with people even less experienced than her, and she kept up well with good wrestlers like Melina and Beth Phoenix in their matches. At No Mercy 2007, Beth messed up a few things in their match (including dropping Candice while running with her), yet Candice really didn't. (And I like Beth more than Candice, but that is what happened)

I also don't really see how she's an injury risk "everytime she walks out there" when she got injured in one single match, the first major injury of her career. The only reason she took more time off in March was because she shouldn't have been medically cleared yet as her injury was not healed. She was still hurt.

However, now she is completely healed, has been wrestling on house shows and TV for a few weeks, and is fine health-wise. This past Monday aganist Jillian Hall, she looked like a different person than she did in her return match. She did moves that she messed up two weeks ago and did them right just like she was doing last year, moves that are easy to mess up.

Candice seems to be lacking that charm that Trish Stratus had, and she moves around the ring in a weird way. However, to say she hurts herself every match, that she hurts her opponents (I don't think she's ever injured another wrestler), or that she has never shown any potential after showing lots in 2007, I don't see anyone can consider those things true unless giving her credit is impossible to some.

Chris , Lee , as an outsider I've enjoyed your debate !

chris,
I very much appreciated your last post. Your pro-Candice argument was much more thoughtful than the previous one which seemed to be nothing more than an anti-Mickey and Beth rant than anything else.
I will correct you on one thing. I never said Candice wouldn't be any good ever. I really hope she does succeed. She is afterall trained by one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, Arn Anderson. I am just saying she needed to get some more work in before she is thrust back into a title chase. Just because Candice isn't competing for the title doesn't mean she has to put on a headset and sing Britney songs. They could have left the title on Mickie and let her continue the program with Katie Lea, which was getting very personal, and let Beth and Candice have a personal feud between the two of them and get the rust worked out of Candice's ring skills. I think people would have been able to buy Candice more as a title contender after she had at least worked a return program and first.
The fans aren't stupid, but the WWE thinks they are. The big problem is the WWE's unwillingness to have more than one significant storyline going at a time in the Women's Division. I don't think the fans have anything against Candice, but they are about to turn on her. The fans want Mickie, period. The WWE however will push Candice and she will end up the champion and the fans will hate it. They don't want to see Mickie slumming it against Jillian Hall or backstage making eyes with John Cena. They want to see her in a meaningful program. They will see Candice as the reason Mickie isn't getting the push she deserves, and they will resent her for it.

Lee, I think WWE is pushing Candice because, right now, it's either her or Mickie to feud with Beth, and Mickie-Beth has been done to death over the past few months. When Melina returns, I think she'll stay babyface so that Beth has four challengers (Melina, Candice, Mickie, and possibly Kelly Kelly as a underdog).

I also read today that Candice's push right now is to make Beth look better when she beats Candice, plus WWE wants to get all they can out of Candice as they feel she'll probably be around for 2-3 more years rather than, say, 5 more years. Candice will turn 30 at the end of September, the same age when Trish Stratus retired.

The same thing basic thing happened last year, too. Candice won the title and went on a several month winning streak (even being the first woman to pin Beth), only to lose the title clean to Beth.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.
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