G'Day from the Sunny Gold Coast of Australia, my name is BigBoy Mikey (The bearded fellow pictured above with my beautiful wife) and I am one of the newest recruits for the Heel Turn Wrestling team and i am so excited to get amongst it, but who the hell am i? and what do you need to know about me?
My name is Michael Stanley and i originally hail from Dee Why, NSW (a "North Shore Wanker" if you will), but currently residing on the Gold Coast of Queensland.
I have been a Pro Wrestling fan since i was a little big boy. I grew up watching tapes of NWA/WCW, AJPW, NJPW & WWF/E, as my old man would tape trade and get random wrestling VHS's from all over the place. I grew up loving the likes of Bret Hart, Sting, Vader, Mitsuharu Misawa & many others. Here i am, at 33 still in love with wrestling just as much as i was back then - though these days its a lot different - i have grown a great deal of love & respect for the Australian Pro Wrestling scene, i have a huge passion for Lucha Libre Promotions and i still love my New Japan Pro Wrestling.
What do i bring to the Heel Turn team? - Podcasting experience, prior to this i was apart of another team, The B Plus, where we recorded 300+ casts - but i have left that team, and joined the Heel Turn team to have my podcasts heard by a much larger audience - i will be (VERY SOON) be pumping out RAW and UNEDITED FUN podcasts with a fantastic team of Pro Wrestling fans. I have missed recording and connecting with listeners, so i'm so excited to be a part of a wonderful team here at Heel Turn!
I will also be contributing to the Heel Turn website and our other social media pages where i can, but for now you can find me on Twitter @mikeygstanley and on Instagram @mikeygstanley .
In the 2000s, Ring of Honor was the most prestigious independent wrestling promotion in the United States. Now, with so much competition for fans’ eyes, viewership and ticket sales are on the decline. But why?
When thinking about Ring of Honor, a number of questions come to mind. Does Ring of Honor have the desire to be a top pro wrestling company in the world? Are they satisfied with what they are now? Is Sinclair (their national broadcaster) aware of how they’re viewed by most of the wrestling community in 2019? Is ROH to be thought of as a top-tier international pro wrestling company, or are is it all just a big, fat package of content to feed Sinclair Broadcasting?
These questions aren’t necessarily aimed at the wrestling talent within the company, but rather those in management now. The product is being fumbled and in public, no less. Starting with their poor showing at the G1 Supercard in April at Madison Square Garden, moving to their Portland PR disaster in June followed by a whole summer of underwhelming gate numbers, with none of the shows pulling in more than 600 attendees. Despite co-promoting one of the biggest non-WWE events of the year at Madison Square Garden with New Japan, they’re hemorrhaging fans from their live events at an alarming rate. Why is this happening? And how can it be fixed?
As an Honor Club subscriber, let me be blunt: It’s not a joy to use. The interface is heavy-handed compared to other wrestling streaming services like the WWE Network or Powerslam.tv, and the regular outages during live specials are tiresome, especially when there’s little effort to edit the footage for later viewing. I think the spinning ROH tribal logo might even be in the running for top ROH title contender since it’s been known to do a run-in on pretty much every Honor Club live special.
There’s a trove of early ROH footage available, with rare matches from today’s stars before they broke out, and that sounds appealing, sure. But the production values were so low in the past that some of the shows are unwatchable now, especially with how much content is out there and how much higher those productions are.
It’s nice that ROH offers their weekly television show on Honor Club, but the show is now more of a digest show than a wrestling program, heavier on clips, promos and angles and lighter on in-ring action — or, what made ROH popular in the first place. Is it worth $9.99 a month for that? Unless you really love ROH, I’d steer clear of the deal. It’s not like you’d even avoid commercials during TV, either: Honor Club still broadcasts their weekly show with commercials. Fans are paying for that.
So what makes Honor Club worth the price? Is it the special Honor Club live streams I mentioned? Because those are glorified house shows with little to nothing happening in the way of stakes. You’ll see a handful of good matches, maybe even a great match here or there, but with so much product available now, products of higher quality and lower cost, how will ROH compete with this?
For the unaware: Sinclair Broadcasting, ROH’s parent organization, is a broadcast company with serious distribution in the United States: 162 stations in 79 markets, or 37.5 percent of US households, per Ring of Honor.
What’s more notable, though, is that after factoring out the anomaly that was the G1 Supercard (NJPW drew the house that ROH rented for them) is ROH’s 31 percent drop in attendance this year.
With the same exposure over the past few years, why is it then that attendance is dropping, and this year at such a drastic rate? Is it the recent glut of wrestling available to the world, and are fans fatigued? It’s possible, but it’s not the only answer.
Why is AEW selling out arenas? Why have companies like MLW and GCW had such successes in such short amounts of time? Why is IWTV and Beyond Wrestling’s Uncharted Territory seeing impressive growth in 2019? The problem doesn’t seem to be that there are too many options for wrestling fans, but that wrestling fans are increasingly not choosing to spend their time or money on Ring of Honor because the product is subpar at best. And that’s rooted in creative.
Some critics have pointed to ROH’s booking and creative choices made in 2019 as one of the main detriments to its business. After The Elite and SoCal Uncensored members left ROH after Final Battle 2018, the company had a few months to regroup and prepare for their big re-emergence alongside NJPW in New York, with both companies getting a chance to showcase what they’ve got to offer post-Elite exodus.
What happened: NJPW got the memo, ROH didn’t.
New Japan delivered some of the best, most critically-acclaimed bouts of the year, crowd-pleaers that all had serious ramifications throughout the rest of the year. NJPW used G1 Supercard to reignite any momentum they thought to have lost after The Elite left the company.
• Debuted the Allüre, a new mean girls unit with Mandy Leone and ex-TNA Knockouts team, the Beautiful People (Angelina Love and Velvet Sky).
• Teased the idea of feuding the Briscoes with nZo and Big CazXL without mentioning the angle to New Japan prior to the match.
• Had a very long segment featuring Bully Ray.
• Culminated their side of the program with Matt Taven winning the ROH championship, leading to a flat finish and the beginning of a controversial title run that lasted until September.
After the successful April mega-show with NJPW, ROH’s live attendance has dropped 31 percent, as mentioned above. Their pay-per-view numbers also dropped a shocking 77.7 percent from June to September.
Here’s what Ring of Honor did at G1 Supercard:
• Had a momentumless-Kenny King win the Honor Rumble by hiding under the ring until the end.
Worse are the PPV numbers. The last ROH show, Best in the World on 6/28 in Baltimore did an estimated 3,500 PPV buys. Death Before Dishonor at press time is estimated at just under 800. The actual decline from the last show was 77.7 percent, and this is not a year-to-year drop but a drop from June to September.
So what’s the real explanation for the drop in popularity? Creative is a major element, but ROH’s massive PR blunder back in June didn’t do them any favors, either.
In Portland, OR at a show on ROH’s State of the Art mini-tour of the Pacific Northwest, producer Mark “Bully Ray” LoMonaco pulled a fan backstage without approval of building security and informally reprimanded the fan for heckling his partner, Velvet Sky of the Allüre. The fan then went to Twitter with his side of the story after the show, which was viral by morning and being shared on most major wrestling news websites.
ROH promised to launch a private investigation into what happened, and by July they’d come to their conclusion: They were sorry to their “dedicated and loyal” fans that it happened, invoked their kayfabe Code of Honor in the real-life statement, and encouraged people to still come to live shows. It was a non-answer that left a sour taste in most fans’ mouth, as the attendance and pay-per-view numbers told you earlier. This is all without even touching on the dissolution of ROH and NJPW’s working relationship and their closer but more complex one with CMLL.
This is not to be thought of as yet another article dunking on Ring of Honor, but these are the facts, and there are serious questions to be answered about ROH’s business strategy heading into 2020. How will they maintain their core fanbase? Who is their fanbase now with so much quality competition available, often for free? Will television provide them with more exposure next year, or is the product just not as good as the others?
With WWE on FOX on Friday nights, AEW now emerging, NJPW actually increasing their revenue since splitting with The Elite and ROH, the pro wrestling landscape looks entirely different now. After ROH’s drastic drop in popularity this summer, will they be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other top companies in North America anymore?
Leave your thoughts below in the comment section.
The Wednesday Night Wars are in full effect.
About two decades ago, WWF and WCW engaged in a ratings war that would set the tone for sports entertainment the rest of that decade and into the 21st century.
Future Hall of Famers and some of the greatest icons in the history of the sport were created as a result.
Fast forward over two decades later, and a new sports entertainment war has been waged. On one side, we have the beloved subsidiary of the WWE brand, NXT. On the other side, we have a new wrestling company taking the industry by storm, AEW Dynamite.
Last night was a historic night in many ways, but the prevailing talking point seems to be which brand has the upper hand. The winner can be determined by a variety of metrics. While we have yet to get the raw numbers, preliminary results have shown that there was significantly more interest in AEW.
On our website, results for AEW received almost 9000 views and well over 1000 comments. As for the NXT results page, that post received only about 3000 views with 31 comments.
Personally, we should not take the numbers from last night at face value. NXT has been on the USA network for a couple of weeks now, so the anticipation isn’t as apparent.
On the other hand, AEW Dynamite had its debut. Therefore, it makes sense that more people tune in to see how they would make their first impression. Regardless of what the numbers will tell us, it is very clear that there is one universal winner. That would be us, the wrestling fans.
First, let us address the debut of AEW Dynamite. 14,000 eager fans packed into the nation’s capital filled with excitement and adrenaline. As the name suggests, the show was, well, dynamite.
Watching the show felt like we were getting a PPV free of charge. All across the night, we got what wrestling fans care about. This included quality matches, character development and moments that would make us want to tune in next week for more.
AEW Brings The DynamiteWe started out the night with a spirited battle between pioneer of AEW, Cody, and a young, talented heel in Sammy Guevara. A simple story was told, but it was enough to engage the crowd heavily.
Next, we got some character development in rising heel star MJF, and we had a match that was simple and accomplished its purpose. That was followed by Hangman Page’s best performance in AEW in a spirited battle against PAC, who remains undefeated in AEW competition.
Personally, one of my favorite moments of the night was the AEW Women’s championship match between Riho and Nyla Rose. I understand that it was kind of sloppy and unpolished at times. Towards the end, however, it picked up in a big way and the crowd got into it. The championship itself, however, is not nearly big enough for me.
Finally, in our main event, we got a six-man tag team match that transformed into a handicap match. One one side, we have The Elite in Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. On the other, we have AEW World Champion Chris Jericho and LAX. The match was hot, intensive, and drama-filled.
We got Jon Moxley making an appearance and having an intense brawl with Omega throughout the arena. This means we got to see more of what makes The Young Bucks especial, as Matt and Nick went wild for the duration of the match.
Arguably the most entertaining portion of the match was what came in the aftermath. It was run-in after run-in including special appearances by Dustin Rhodes and the Debut of Jack Hager.
Sometimes, the best moments in sports entertainment comes when there are more questions than answers. AEW Dynamite provided the perfect balance of spirited in-ring competition with character building and drama throughout the night. It was about as impactful a debut for a wrestling show could get.
This isn’t TNA, but AEW Dynamite made an impactful first impression.AEW Dynamite was faced with stiff competition in NXT, and they were far from slouches. There was an interesting formula NXT used, because it felt like I was watching a Takeover event, but in reverse.
The Black and Gold RespondsNXT made a bold decision in having their NXT Championship match go on first. I loved the decision, as it is a great way to make an impactful beginning. Adam Cole and Matt Riddle are two of NXT’s aces, and boy did they ever deliver.
It was a Takeover-caliber main event with heart-stopping near-falls and high paced action. It was an especially gutsy performance by Cole, considering he was working with a fractured wrist.
Before the crowd even had a chance to fully absorb what they just saw, we get one of NXT’s most successful alumni, Finn Balor, returning. If you want to make an early impact, that’s pretty much how you do it.
The women also came out to perform to a great degree, as Io Shirai continued to impress against Mia Yim. Shayna Baszler and Candice LeRae also had a quality outing as well. Even the shorter matches such as Danny Burch going up against Pete Dunne were quality outings. Johnny Gargano and Shane Thorne also had what would make for a solid RAW main event.
Finally, in our main event, The Undisputed Era and the Street Profits had a spirited back and forth. It showcased the strengths of both teams, and concluded with a very hot finish. We thought we would get another NXT that saw The Undisputed Era standing tall once again, but lo and behold, the returns didn’t stop.
Former NXT Champion Tomasso Ciampa, who had to relinquish the NXT Title due to injury, returned to take a good look at the title he never lost.
If you never watched NXT before and I told you that this was an NXT Takeover event, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. We had three special title matches, angles progressing and returns all night. It was simply a rock and rollin’ two hours of sports entertainment.
One heck of a night for NXT.Whatever the raw numbers show, it is beyond evident that the true winner of the Wednesday Night Wars is the fans. I was afraid that both shows would spend a lot of time taking shots at their competitors. AEW happened to fall into that trap too often at their PPV’s.
Instead, both shows simply focused and what they do best and gave fans two great options in the Wednesday Night Wars.
Would you like to know what the best part about all of this? This was only the first week of them going head to head. Can you imagine the high bar that the two brands will continue to set for each other?
Make no mistake about it. Each brand is trying to attract more fans and viewership. That’s simply the business side of things. From a competitive standpoint, you could just tell that there was a sense of urgency on each show.
As each show goes on, each brand will want to become progressively better and provide fans with their money’s worth. Competition is always great in sports entertainment. WWE has never had any serious competitors for what seems like forever. Therefore, there was no motivation to put on a better product.
While I don’t expect RAW and Smackdown to start delivering weekly banners, it is clear that the lion’s share of interest will be the Wednesday Night Wars. I want each fan to simply sit back and enjoy what we are about to witness every week.
While we can clearly debate which show was better than the other, we shouldn’t use one show to degrade another. AEW Dynamite and NXT have some of the best performers on the planet. Going forward, we will now get to see them for free week after week.
I cannot remember the last time I was this excited to be a wrestling fan, but Christmas is going to be coming for me every week. AEW or NXT may have more viewership on a week-to-week basis, but at the end of the night, it will be the fans who are the true champions of the Wednesday Night Wars.
If you want to compare which show was better this week, I’d give a slight marginal edge to AEW. NXT had the better matches, but AEW felt like a bigger show, especially from a historical standpoint. That said, either show is a great way to occupy two hours.
No matter what side of the spectrum you are on, let us all appreciate what we have before us. Cheers for the future of sports entertainment. A Wednesday Night just got a little better.
By Richard Staple from E Wrestling News
With the WWE DRAFT coming up - Our HTW Heel Turn admins here will go head to head in a fantasy draft and pick their own roster and some quick storylines for both RAW and Friday Night Smackdown .
MONDAY NIGHT RAW ON THE USA NETWORK
1 Bray Wyatt
3 The OC
5 Daniel Bryan
7 Aleister Black
9 Sasha Banks
13 Seth Rollins
15 Finn Balor
19 The New Day
25 Harper & Rowan
27 Drew McIntyre
29 Randy Orton
31 Woken Hardys
33 Ruby Riott
35 Cedric Alexander
37 Rey Mysterio
39 Fire & Desire (Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose)
FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN ON FOX SPORTS
2 Brock Lesnar
4 The Revival
6 Braun Strowman
8 Becky Lynch
10 Charlotte Flair
12 Kevin Owens
14 Roman Reigns
18 Buddy Murphy
20 Baron Corbin
22 Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
24 Samoa Joe
26 The Usos
32 Sami Zayn & Shinsuke Nakamura
34 The Iconic's
36 The Miz
38 Kairi Sane
40 The Viking Raiders
Major storylines for Monday Night Raw:
The Fiend uses Harper & Rowan as his new pawns, telling Rowan to attack Roman Reigns followed up by taking out Daniel Bryan at the Hell In A Cell PPV.
In a desperate attempt to stop The Fiend, Harper & Rowan, the new RAW General Manager Paul Heyman calls on The OC to stop them.
Finn Balor will eventually join The OC and cost AJ Styles the United States Championship leading to a huge Wrestlemania match.
Aleister Black has been slowly built up winning the Royal Rumble and wants to face The Fiend for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania.
Sasha & Bayley would eventually feud for the RAW Women's Championship but are too worried about each other , so Asuka gets a new push and wins the RAW Women's Championship.
Monday Night RAW Champions :
Universal Championship - Bray Wyatt lost to Aleister Black at Wrestlemania. After a massive build up over three months.
US Championship -AJ Styles eventually drops the title to Ali in February on an episode of RAW.
Raw Tag Team Championships - The OC lost to Harper & Rowan in November on an episode of RAW.
Raw Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and her rival Bayley lose in a triple threat match at Wrestlemania to Asuka.
Major storylines for Friday Night Smackdown:
Shinsuke Nakamura wants to show the world he is a one man show, so goes he destroys his buddy Sami Zayn and wants to take on the biggest challenge on Smackdown the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar .
Meanwhile new Smackdown General Manager Eric Bischoff is trying to control his new surroundings as he hasn't done this in over 15 years and is still get used to the new superstars on his roster!
Buddy Murphy is no longer just the best kept secret on Smackdown, as he goes on to defeat Andrade for the Intercontinental Championship.
"The Man" Becky Lynch is wants more competition - so she decides to face the men's WWE roster, so at Wrestlemania she ends up facing Roman Reigns, where Roman Reigns would turn heel in the process.
Also this type of match hasn't happend since the 90's when Chyna took on the men's roster!
Smackdown Champions :
WWE Champion - Brock Lesnar drops the strap to Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestlemania
Intercontinental Championship -Andrade lost the title to Buddy Murphy in January on an episode of Smackdown.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships -The Revival lost to the Viking Raiders in December on an episode of Smackdown.
Smackdown Women's Championship - Becky Lynch submits to Charlotte Flair in November on an episode of Smackdown , then Charlotte lost in the end to Nikki Cross in March on episode of Smackdown. Building up Nikki Cross in the process, long term!
Thanks for reading until next time.
With the WWE having rebooted the prestigious King Of The Ring Alcoholic Adam blesses us with drunk wisdom by fantasy booking the whole tournament.
From the Raw side they have:
Ricochet v Sami Zayn
Ricochet needs a win after losing the US championship to AJ Styles so Ricochet wins
Baron Corbin v The Miz
This match is a lesser of two evils as both men are boring, but we will have to pick Corbin as it’s easier to gee boos to cheers .
Cedric Alexander v Drew McIntyre
Drew frustrated by not being on the Summerslam card takes his time torturing Alexander till Drew has had enough had finally kicks his head off with a claymore kick.
Samoa Joe v Cesaro
Two masters of their craft who knows how to get shit done with Joe choking out Cesaro and progressing.
RAW SEMI FINALS
Ricochet V Baron Corbin
Ricochet wins with hurricrana and roll up continuing the roll up Baron Corbin.
Drew McIntyre V Samoa Joe
This is a complete slug fest with the match ending with a double count out as both men are so blood thirsty and out to prove who is the most vicious setting a future feud here .
RICHOCHET gets a bye because of Samoa Joe & Drew McIntyre being double count out.
SmackDown Superstars will include:
Smackdown Live QTR
Ali v Buddy Murphy
This match would be used a showcase on why everyone should checkout 205 Live with these two bringing the best out of each other on that brand.
After a solid 20 minutes Buddy wins the match and both men shake hands.
Andrade v Shelton Benjamin
Andrade wins clean to give him so more legitimacy .
Chad Gable v Apollo Crews
Gable wins via submission showing a more submission-based offence to beat Apollo and hopefully gets Gable being locked out more seriously instead of getting short jokes thrown at him.
Kevin Owens v Elias
Owens wins in a standard WWE match.
Smackdown Live SEMI FINALS
Buddy Murphy V Chad Gable
Buddy wins again finally giving him a little bit of momentum since it took WWE several months of being stuck in catering for months.
Andrade V Kevin Owens
Andrade wins clean again and is now looking like a serious and a legitimate contender for the WWE Championship regardless if he wins this tournament or not .
Smackdown Live FINAL
Buddy Murphy V Andrade
Buddy wins and now is been shown as heel with some babyface tendencies earning respect from the other cruiserweight's and the respect of the fans more importantly as he can show how talented he is when given half chance
THE KING OF THE RING FINAL
Ricochet V Buddy Murphy
Ricochet wins as he is more well rested compared Buddy who fought Andrade earlier in the night who was a legitimate reason for coming up just short and hopefully leading a lengthy run as a champion in WWE.
Thanks for the read till next time #StayHeel.