Welcome back to another Monday Morning Q&A where I toss out some questions to get a feel of how you guys and gals are feeling about certain topics.
So here are 5 questions I’d like to toss out for this week. I’ll give my answers, too, but the key here is that I want to know what YOU think! So make sure you chime in!
1) What was your highlight and low point of NXT Deadline this past Saturday?
Overall, I feel like most of the event was a bit bland. Even the title change with Dragon Lee winning the North American Championship felt less like the culmination of that run and more like a random pivot for the sake of it that WWE is going to sweep to the side.
That is my general low point: how everything just sort of happened without fanfare. This wasn’t a must-see event in any capacity and with the Iron Survivor Challenge matches being set up for NXT New Year’s Evil, it doesn’t even feel like they’ll matter, either. Outside of how Carmelo Hayes is going to screw over Trick Williams, of course, but even that is just another rematch between Trick and Ilja Dragunov, so it’s simply hitting the reset button and setting up another rerun.
Highlight would probably be Cora Jade’s return. Now that she’s back in action, there’s another heel that could dethrone Lyra Valkyria.
2) What matches, if any, do you think will be added to the lineup for ROH Final Battle 2023?
Tony Khan likes booking 12 or so matches for these shows. There’s no way they’re sticking to the current 5-match lineup.
The trouble with trying to predict this stuff, though, is how random these events are. In typical fashion, a few of the matches are just randomly announced on Thursday night and could be any combination of wrestlers on the ROH roster and/or AEW roster or even people that aren’t signed to either of those brands.
Your guess is as good as mine for the random things that we’ll see like AR Fox against Cheeseburger or Gravity against Josh Woods or something.
However, one glaring omission from the current setup is Wheeler Yuta and the ROH Pure Championship. He’s not involved in the Fight Without Honor match, so I’m guessing that’s because he’s defending his title.
Another omission is the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championship. The Mogul Embassy could end up against a random collective of three people. If you’re looking for star power to bring in some eyes, maybe go with Orange Cassidy, Danhausen and Hook or whatever? I don’t know.
The ROH tag titles aren’t on the card, either. I’d assume we’re getting MJF either defending them solo, or he’ll team with Samoa Joe.
Adding those 3 title matches bumps this up to 8, and then, I think the rest are going to be pre-show matches. One of those will be a women’s division match, one will be a tag team match (or six-man tag to get people on the card) and the other will just be a singles match, I’d predict.
3) What do you think of the lineup for the men’s NXT Breakout Tournament? Do you have any favorites to win?
Generally speaking, I’m not familiar with any of their work. I don’t watch NXT Level Up, and that’s all that they’ve been on, if anything.
Myles Borne is one I know the most, and he doesn’t strike me as the go-to option to challenge for the NXT Championship. Then again, they do have the ability to challenge for more than just that one title, so maybe there’s room for a guy like him to fight for the North American title instead.
I still would rather see someone else made from the start with this, though. Maybe go with Oba Femi? Is there an option for Trey Bearhill to team up with Eddy Thorpe and challenge for the tag titles? I’m still surprised Luca Crusifino isn’t a part of The D’Angelo Family instead of being on his own, to be honest.
Keanu Carver, Tavion Heights, Dion Lennox…I just know nothing about them.
Riley Osborne is probably the one to watch, though. If there’s a story to unfold with Chase University and his involvement, it could be fun to loop that into the fold with this breakout tournament.
4) TKO COO Mark Shapiro essentially said recently that WWE house shows don’t make enough money to justify running them often. Is this market just dead? Do you think there’s a benefit to keeping them, even if they lose money? What ideas could you come up with to try to make them more profitable? Any other thoughts on the topic?
You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I do see value in the house shows, because it allows smaller markets to get to see live events, allows Superstars to play around and test out new gimmicks and teams and even maneuvers, and they can get their reps in and become better overall performers.
However, I understand how they might not be profitable. After all, WWE has to ship all the equipment and personnel out there, they might not sell the arena out entirely, they have to pay a percentage to the arena itself, and people could even get injured, which sets back the television and pay-per-view product.
When you’re selling tickets to giant stadiums and much bigger arenas, do you want to really put out the travel expenses to Nowheresville, USA? But at the same time, if you don’t do it, do you really want to tell those markets “you’re not worth it; go move to a bigger city”?
The way I would suggest WWE looking into monetizing this is to set up a camera, record these house shows, upload them to a subscription service like Peacock (or even their own service outside of Peacock, separately, for an extra price) and try to strike a deal with advertisers to commercialize them. Maybe Snickers is willing to pay a hefty amount to have their logo on the screen where the “live” text normally is. Just call these all “In Your House” as a collective series title and it would be understood that they’re raw footage, barely edited (if at all), single camera type events that you’re getting a gritty experience from.
If that’s not something the company would want to dedicate the effort into, or thought it wasn’t going to produce enough revenue, then maybe it does need to change where these Saturday Night’s Main Event and Sunday Stunner shows just have to go to bigger markets with bigger arenas that can pack a crowd, or raise the premium of the ticket prices, or just go away entirely. Not everything lasts forever, and pro wrestling isn’t a live events house show business like it was decades ago.
5) With the changes that Impact Plus will be making to become TNA+, are you more, less, or just as likely as before to subscribe to the streaming service?
This won’t come as a shock if you’ve followed my articles and podcasts over the years, but no, I don’t follow Impact, I haven’t been a fan of TNA pretty much ever, and I don’t plan on that changing any time soon.
With that being said, this sounds like a step in the right direction.
Obviously, changing the name had to happen. Upping the price isn’t a good thing, but it isn’t a monstrous change, at least. More importantly, it isn’t an increase with nothing to offer. I hate it when streaming services up their prices and REMOVE content, acting like this is some sort of benefit to the subscribers.
Being part of Endeavor is interesting, but I think people are making a bigger deal out of it than it will actually end up being. I can’t imagine we’re going to see TKO just outright purchase TNA or something in the near future. Maybe, though. That’d be kind of neat.
Let us know your thoughts about these questions by answering them in the comments!