PWTorch Livecast Monday
Hosts: James Caldwell & Greg Parks
Airdate: Monday, October 12
Podcast Reviewer: Mark Golden (@RealMarkGolden)
25:10: Who’s to blame for Raw’s low ratings?
30:04: Heel Roman Reigns.
36:00: Vince McMahon/Steve Spurrier.
42:19: Turning Raw around.
48:10: Reigns a better heel than a face?
56:32: NXT Post-Game Show? Who’s next for Seth Rollins after HIAC?
1:02:38: NXT product vs Raw product.
0:00 – 25:08: Intro and Raw recap: James opened the show by teasing PWTorch related news. He then decided to remain focused on discussing Raw, so as not to spoil the surprise. He introduced Greg by asking him his thoughts on this week’s Raw. Greg said there were some good matches, but The Authority and Kane stuff was pretty bad, and Stephanie was, as always, dissonant, and how it was unclear who she was yelling at. Greg expressed some confusion over Seth Rollins’s loss to Kane tonight, as well as his recent string of televised losses, which is affecting his credibility to a degree. James added that it was worse considering this happened after Kane took a beating by many of the Lumberjacks.
James asked if WWE should reset the title picture by taking the title off of Rollins. Greg wasn’t sure who they could go with at this point if they indeed do that, and listed a few names (e.g. Ambrose, Reigns). They both agreed that while people might be tiring of Rollins, and even Cena, Reigns is worse on many levels. James talked about how flat and rudimentary Raw was. He said he goes into the show each week without any expectations, and the very first thing on the show is Kane standing next to a conference phone, setting the tone for the night.
James said it seems like WWE just doesn’t care anymore. Greg talked about the backstage corporate stories that no one, save for WWE themselves, cares about. They talked about The U.S. Open Challenge, with Ziggler vs. Cena, but how Ziggler’s credibility, and the ridiculous storyline with he, Summer, Lana, and Rusev, killed the potential before it even started. The theme of the night was ridiculous premises and audience disconnect. Greg gave some plugs for VIP related audio and Newsletter columns that he’s involved with before saying good night. James then gave a brief rundown of key happenings on Raw before going to the phone lines.
25:10: The first caller talked about how he only watched part of the show tonight. He and James said it felt house show-esque, with just a bunch of matches, and no context. The caller said he had read that WWE takes Cena off of TV around times when ratings are substandard, so he can’t take any of the blame. James said you could say the same about The Authority. James said Cena has been there for so long, in both good times and bad, that it’s more of a convenient theory, but in reality, he is usually used to help. The U.S. Title Open Challenge being the best example, as it’s the best thing about Raw today. James said the blame lies with WWE itself, but they manage to use something else as the scapegoat.
30:04: The next caller talked with James about the absurdity of the Authority and Kane segments. The caller said it sounds strange to hear live crowds still chanting “C.M. Punk!” He then asked if Roman Reigns turns heel, will the fans be more receptive towards him. James said that has to be the only option for him right now, because the Roman Reigns project isn’t working. James said the Chicago fans are chanting for Punk, because they are holding a glimmer of hope that somehow, someway, ol’ C.M. Punk will come through that curtain again, since they’re not captivated by Raw nowadays.
36:00: The next caller asked if college football coach Steve Spurrier suddenly retiring on Monday should serve as a hint to Vince McMahon, who is the same age, by only four months. James said McMahon, regardless of age, has to choose between being CEO and head of creative. He said there have been many people who have tried to help Vince with structuring the shows, but there’s been nothing or anyone who has been able to change his mind. The caller talked about Roman Reigns, and asked about if WWE should just throw in the towel on him, instead of protecting him. James again said the only thing that could help will be turning him heel.
42:19: The next caller asked what they have to do to turn Raw around. James said it seems like they might be trying to tear it down to build it up again. He said he’s at a loss, and can’t wrap his head around the how’s and why’s of the quality of Raw. The caller asked who John Cena will be facing at HIAC, and if James saw the NJPW PPV show. James did not watch it yet, but is looking forward to it.
BREAKING NEWS: The NEW and IMPROVED Pro Wrestling Torch has been revealed. James said he and Wade have worked on this upgrade for a number of years. Go and check it out at PWTorch.com.
48:10: The next caller asked how James thinks Roman can be a better heel, if he’s such a terrible babyface. James cited Batista as an example, who had a new lease on life by turning heel years into his career. James fantasy-booked some shows with Reigns as top heel. The caller said it would be interesting, but doesn’t see it happening. The caller asked why there have been no major stars built in a long time, aside from C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan, who were pushed begrudgingly. James said he sees two factors: (1) the way the three-hour Raw is booked, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to really get over; (2) WWE is more about the brand, with everyone as chess pieces or bit players. James said if they gave someone the “rocket ship” treatment, like Dean Ambrose, he could be a difference-maker.
56:32: The next caller suggested an NXT Post-Game show, so they could have something positive to talk about. The caller said he was thinking about going to Raw next week, but it hardly seems worth the trip or the cost. James joked that he hopes the big names scheduled to appear next week have something to do other than an all-star panel, but it doesn’t look good. The caller said the babyface shortage in WWE is astronomical, and after Kane at HIAC, the only one who seems fit to go into the top babyface spot is Roman Reigns. James acquiesced, considering the lack of top contenders to Seth Rollins. The caller talked about the Royal Rumble, and it not being clear who the Rumble winner in 2016 will be. (James neglected to address this topic.) The caller also asked how low the ratings will go. James said it could dip even lower than it is now over the fall and winter months, into the holiday season. He said WWE is doing more to lose viewers, and less to get them back. James predicted 2.1 is the lowest it will get.
1:02:38: The next caller asked what WWE could do, excluding going from three hours to two hours, to augment their flagship show. James went back to the beginning when Wade Keller wrote three-plus-years ago that WWE needed to build the middle of the show (tag teams, IC/US championship) to establish the foundation and reinforce the top line. The caller asked what James thought about Sasha vs. Bayley II at Takeover: Respect. James said it was a great match, and overall, they have a winning formula at NXT. He said they prioritize the in ring product, while in WWE, the bell-to-bell action is insignificant. Wins and losses have to matter, but in WWE it doesn’t.
1:10:51: James went to the mailbag. Such topics included: Raw’s viewership, Rusev’s real life engagement announced on TMZ being addressed on Raw, the lack of long-term planning, and The Rock in the WWE mix for a while?
7.0: You can really hear the frustration in the callers’s and James’ questions and responses. Caldwell does his best to discuss a show that is floundering, and turn it into interesting audio. It’s clearly an arduous task.