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WrestleMania XXX on FOX; Is Raw Next?

WrestleMania XXX will be seen on FOX Philippines this Monday.

The mystery of the WrestleMania XXX broadcast rights has finally been revealed. FOX Philippines has announced that the highly-anticipated WWE pay-per-view will be carried by the said network on April 7 at a delayed time of 9:50 p.m. FOX’s announcement came a few weeks after WWE programs on ABS-CBN Sports+Action ceased its broadcast following the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.

While it was assumed that the announcement is the first step to FOX’s full acquisition of other WWE programs (e.g. Raw, NXT, Superstars), it remains to be seen whether or not they are really committed to air all WWE programs in a similar way that rival Jack TV did several years ago. After all, Jack TV used to air most, if not all WWE programs (including live pay-per-views) for several years.

FOX Philippines needs to realize that there are a lot of angry wrestling fans who were disgusted by ABS-CBN Sports’ decision to cease ties with WWE. Yes, they have WrestleMania XXX and future pay-per-views in their resume, so why not include Raw on the list? After all, it was considered the flagship program of the WWE with over 1,000 episodes in its 21-year history.

Bringing Raw (and other programs) to FOX should satisfy the demands of loyal wrestling viewers. Even though SmackDown (in its two-hour U.S. format) is a decently good program, the main storylines are typically developed and heightened on Raw, a three-hour program that involves all active WWE superstars. And by bringing the three hours of Raw to FOX Philippines (in contrast to the one-hour ‘international’ version on ABS-CBN Sports+Action), wrestling fans should be more than content to follow a wider variety of storylines as they happen.

In the meantime, good luck to FOX Philippines as they broadcast WrestleMania XXX this Monday. And for wrestling fans everywhere, there is still a glimmer of hope for Raw to be aired on the said network.

*As of this article, the only WWE programming seen on the FOX-owned network are the following: SmackDown, Main Event, Bottomline, Afterburn, and Vintage. Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Sports+Action (formerly Studio 23) had the rights to Raw, NXT, Superstars, and the pay-per-views prior to the pullout, and also aired the one-season run of Tough Enough.

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WWE Out of ABS-CBN Sports?

The Daniel Bryan vs. the Authority angle will not be seen on free TV’s ABS-CBN Sports + Action for now.

Looks like the ‘Road to WrestleMania’ ended way too soon for ABS-CBN Sports.

In an unexpected development, WWE programming was pulled out of the ABS-CBN Sports + Action channel at the beginning of March, and were replaced by either the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UEFA Champions League, Pinoy Pride and Top Rank Boxing, or the NBA. The pullout of WWE programs by ABS-CBN Sports comes in three years after Solar Entertainment’s Jack TV decided to cease airing all WWE programs.

As expected, some wrestling fans were angered by ABS-CBN’s decision to cancel its broadcast of the WWE. However, the reaction only paled in comparison to Solar’s pullout three years earlier, where an overwhelming majority of wrestling fans balked at the one-hour international format of Raw, the absence of SmackDown and Main Event (both currently airing on FOX Philippines), and the delayed broadcast of WWE pay-per-views on the Kapamilya’s UHF channel.

The absence of WWE programming on ABS-CBN Sports may have stemmed from the fact that the Vince McMahon-owned company recently established the WWE Network after the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. As many wrestling fans know, the new network is expected to carry every WWE pay-per-view beginning with WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. Because of that, ABS-CBN Sports may find it difficult to even broadcast the upcoming WrestleMania 30 in both SkyCable and Sports + Action, considering the already complicated situation.

Should ABS-CBN Sports officially close the door on the WWE, Fox needs to step up. While the channel already has SmackDown and Main Event along with other supplementary programs like Vintage, Afterburn and Bottomline, what Fox needs at this point are both Raw and the pay-per-views in order to satisfy the demands of loyal wrestling viewers. If that happens, perhaps a return to a two or three-hour format for Raw and free live pay-per-views is in order, provided that Fox airs WWE programs on the same week as the U.S.

The loss of WWE should not be a big deal for Kapamilya viewers. After all, there is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, another form of combat sports which is just as entertaining, but without the scripted excess that is featured in professional wrestling. However, it remains to be seen whether or not free TV will once again accept the WWE.

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What Happened to Jack TV?

In my previous post I talked about the problems facing Solar Sports in recent years, and the need for a rebrand. But while Solar Sports is suffering from lack of content, fellow Solar network Jack TV is facing an identity crisis, something that needs to address as soon as possible.

Originally launched in 2005 as a block-timer to Solar USA, Jack TV achieved full-time network status the following year. At first, its programming ranged from sitcoms, animated comedies, wrestling programs and game shows to reality programs, gag shows and talk shows. However, in the last two years Jack TV began to reintegrate drama, suspense and action series inspired from its days as Solar USA, in anticipation of the launch of its sister network Jack City.

The resulting concoction left a bad taste in the mouths of some viewers. But perhaps the biggest damage to Jack TV’s reputation was when Solar let go of WWE programs in 2011, presumably due to high expenses. The loss of the WWE was devastating to Jack TV, as it provided wrestling fans with live pay-per-views along with full broadcasts of WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown.

Jack TV definitely needs to rebrand, period. They should start by dumping its animated comedies like The Simpsons and Family Guy, since Fox Asia currently air them. They should also get rid of sitcoms and place it on 2nd Avenue. And bring in more reality programs, such as The Biggest Loser. In short, better rename the channel or revert to the name Solar USA.

Jack TV, originally a male-dominated channel, now attracts females and high school youth. Having said that, a shift of audience also means a shift in programming, and Solar executives should begin the process of rebranding as soon as possible.

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entertainment, Sports, television, United States

The Root of Triple H’s Tyranny in WWE

These days, the WWE universe pay witness to the tyrannical rule of Triple H and his family, claiming that his orders were ‘for the good of the business’. His first order was to put the WWE championship in Randy Orton‘s hands, and then hired The Shield as his bodyguards. The main target of the group is Daniel Bryan, who Triple H thought is not a good fit to the be ‘face of the WWE’. The entire roster tried to side with Bryan, with the Big Show, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler serving as spokesmen against Triple H’s so-called ‘dictatorship’. However, the WWE’s COO threatened to fire those who spoke against him, perhaps as revenge for this moment.

Two years ago, the majority of the WWE roster gave Triple H a vote of no confidence after the roster voiced out their complaints regarding the recent chaos within WWE. The roster, led by John Laurinaitis, thought that the presence of Triple H created an unsafe working environment, and that ‘The Game”s inability to manage the situation only made it worse. This led to the walkout of the roster, and Triple H was later stripped of his authoritative powers by his father-in-law Vince McMahon.  The video of the walkout angle can be viewed below.

Take note that Sheamus and John Cena were absent during the roster walkout, and neither were currently seen in WWE programming due to injury. CM Punk was also absent, due to the fact that his rebellious straight-edge persona was being rewritten for the upcoming feud with soon-to-be Raw general manager Laurinaitis. Then-face Orton was also absent.

Triple H’s revenge for the roster’s walkout on him two years earlier is now incorporated into the storyline between himself, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. The entire roster, previously defiant in the walkout angle, now appears scared of Triple H’s tyranny for the sake of their employment lives, and that they cannot help Bryan at all in his quest to earn the respect of WWE management. The video below of the WWE roster’s inability to help Bryan can be viewed below.

Much like two years ago, Triple H’s authoritative presence in the WWE created an unsafe working environment, only this time he runs with an iron fist. And without a John Cena to make his presence felt, things will only get worse.

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Daniel Bryan vs. WWE

 

Daniel Bryan is currently facing the entire WWE, over the McMahons’ claim that he is not superstar material.

SummerSlam last Sunday in Los Angeles provided a glimpse on the twists and turns of WWE storylines. The WWE Championship matches were a shocker, to say the least. John Cena, expected to miss time due to injury, relinquished the title to Daniel Bryan. However, the story didn’t end there. Randy Orton, the Money in the Bank winner, cashed in his shot at the title. Triple H, the special guest referee for the match, provided his former Evolution ally a much-needed opening by nailing Bryan with a Pedigree, culminating with Orton pinning Bryan and winning the WWE Championship.

Over the past few weeks, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, his daughter Stephanie, and son-in-law Triple H, doubted Bryan over his image and capability of winning and honoring the WWE Championship. They claim that the image of Bryan holding the gold is not what WWE wanted, further concluding that Bryan is not WWE superstar material. This started a feud between Bryan and the McMahons, even going as far as sending The Shield to protect the McMahons and the WWE roster from Bryan at the end of Raw the night after SummerSlam. There is no doubt that the crowd was behind Bryan, but the rest of the WWE, led by Orton, were against him.

One particular theory behind the McMahons’ doubt over Bryan came during his ‘No, No, No’ gimmick, where he became a pessimistic and bitter wrestler after he was dumped by AJ Lee in the middle of their wedding ceremony last year. Of course, many knew Bryan’s psychotic gimmick, but Orton once had the gimmick of a psychotic wrestler during his feud with Triple H in 2009. That cancels out this theory. Another of McMahon’s theories is that Bryan’s beard does not fit the corporate WWE image, which led to an attempt to shave Bryan’s beard on Raw several weeks back. However, Orton currently sports a beard too, thus cancelling out this theory as well.

Another one came back in Bryan’s first WWE tenure. Back during his Nexus days, Bryan once strangled ring announcer Justin Roberts during a Raw live show in 2010, leading to his dismissal from the company. Yes, Bryan was fired the first time around, while Orton has remained with the company since his days as ‘The Legend Killer’. That incident alone may have proven the McMahons’ claim that Bryan was never WWE superstar material to begin with because of incidents such as this.

Over the next few weeks Daniel Bryan will continue to feud with the McMahons, Randy Orton, and perhaps the rest of the WWE. Whether or not Bryan is worthy to be a superstar remains to be seen.

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New WWE Feuds for SummerSlam

A Brock Lesnar-CM Punk feud should be the main headline for SummerSlam this August.

The WWE Raw following Money in the Bank was explosive, if not the most shocking. In case you missed Money in the Bank, Damien Sandow and Randy Orton captured the briefcases containing the contract for future world championship matches, while John Cena and Alberto Del Rio retained their respective top championships. Perhaps the most highly anticipated reaction was reserved for Rob Van Dam, who made his return to the company after a four-year stint with Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling.

But back to tonight’s Raw. The storyline I’m looking forward to is between Brock Lesnar and CM Punk. Remember, both were managed by Paul Heyman until Punk’s face turn in Chicago at Payback last June. The night after Payback, Lesnar returned and hit Punk with the F-5. Lesnar did not appear on WWE television again until tonight, a decision which I criticized in my previous post because of Lesnar’s drawing power. During Lesnar’s absence, Heyman’s other wrestler Curtis Axel got involved with Punk, and at Money in the Bank, Axel interfered during the Money in the Bank ladder match, costing Punk his opportunity at a third briefcase. Then on Raw, Punk called out Heyman and Lesnar, which led to Lesnar and Punk brawling before another F-5 by Lesnar hit Punk.

The other storyline I’m looking forward to is Dolph Ziggler dumping AJ Lee. Ziggler had turned face at Payback and was trying to reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship from Alberto Del Rio. Unfortunately, Ziggler couldn’t do it at Money in the Bank when AJ hit Del Rio with her Divas’ Championship, causing a disqualification. This led to a backstage involvement on Raw, where Ziggler decided to break up with AJ. During a non-title rematch with Del Rio, AJ distracted Ziggler, and then Big E Langston attacked his former friend, thus providing closure to their relationship.

Also tonight Daniel Bryan got his wish at a WWE Championship match against John Cena at SummerSlam. Bryan had been on a roll of late, trying to prove himself that he was not weak, and during this period crowds started to get behind him, which led to Cena leaving it up to the crowd to decide the No. 1 contender, which became Bryan.

So far the potential matches at SummerSlam would be CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar, and Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. I wonder what comes next in the Ziggler-AJ-Del Rio saga. Perhaps it’s either Alberto Del Rio joining forces with AJ and Big E Langston while Ricardo Rodriguez serves his suspension, or that Ziggler and Langston would face off at SummerSlam. Who knows, maybe you can tune in to a couple more episodes of Raw and SmackDown before SummerSlam and see what happens.

As for The Shield and The Wyatt Family, better find a new rivalry fast in order to boost your stock. That’s it for now.

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