You are here
Guest Columns

Brian Popkin




I'm going to cover the current state of affairs in the WWE, but first I'd like to get to some feedback on my last column, The Ultimate Fan.


TheTrain writes:

I like the column for the reasons that it is an 'unsung hero' type of thing to it. It reminds me of an old Confidential segment where they showed the ultimate fan of Hulk Hogan.

Bryan has done a wonderful job of completely overrating the Warrior. The Warrior was great, entertaining, and everything that made early WWF a success, but to consider him the greatest wrestler ever? I have to say, that is really stretching it.

Mr. Snapple writes;

Now, I'm not really much of a fan of the Ultimate Warrior, but I do have to admire Bryan for standing up for him and always believing. I thought it was a really good column.

I agree with Mr. Snapple. I ended up kinda liking Bryan as well. The word fan is derived from the word for fanatic. There is nothing that says a wrestling fan can't be biased in favor of their favorite wrestler. A fan is not a supreme court justice so they don't have to be impartial. Many of today's wrestling fans on the net currently hate the same guys they loved just a few years ago (Triple H or Chris Jericho). In contrast I can respect someone who consistently supports their favorite through the years no matter what. Keep rooting for Steve Blackman, CRZ.

Ken Anderson of 411Wrestling writes:

Just wanted to say that I enjoyed the hell out of the Warrior column at Slash. It rocked, and it was something radically different than the thousands of other columns on the net that all seem to say the same thing, "WWF Sucks." Just wanted to tell you that I thought it rocked and would love to see more like it in the future.

Coming from my favorite column writer of WCW History, thanks for the compliment. I always try to find unique subjects for my columns. I was trying to do a column on the Straw Hat guy from ECW. You know the guy that is always at the Philadelphia shows in the front row with a Hawaiian shirt. But, I couldn't find anything about him on the net. If someone wants to send me that dude's e-mail address or phone number, I could still make it work. Seriously, I have a great column coming out next week featuring a unique in-depth look at Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. But, for this column I'd like to get into a typical WWF Sucks rant.

Let the Ratings Hit the Floorrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Well the ratings for Raw have hit the floor. The previous recent low that I remember was a 3.7, but the 9/2 Raw hit a 3.6. Maybe the "All About Triple H" focus isn't such a bright idea. My friend bought a WWF belt from a store in the mall for $300 the other day. He brings it to watch the PPV and won't let anyone else touch it. That belt has about the same importance as the one given to Triple H. Only Trips didn't even have to pay for his belt. All he had to do was go to the center of the ring and hold out his arms. (I could say all he had to do was go to the ladies room and hold back Stephanie's hair.) The way to book this correctly would have been for Brock Lesner to have a match against Triple H on Raw for the title. Then Triple H could win the belt after hitting Brock with a sledgehammer. On Smackdown, Earl Hebner could reverse the previous decision by Nick Patrick and award the belt back to Brock. Then on Raw, Bischoff would have a good reason to stick with the original decision and give Trips half of the title. I can fully understand the reasoning that each brand needs its own champion. People wouldn't attend Raw house shows unless they would see a champion in action. And I can understand that Triple H is the only main eventer left on Raw. But the ends do not justify the means.

La-Z-Boy Lesner leaving Raw

The Triple H power play only succeeds in making Lesner look bad. He now has half of the title and many people will say he is not the real champion. Instead of an unstoppable monster, he looks like a sellout for taking a payoff to avoid Raw. He also looks like a coward, because it looks like he is scared of fighting Triple H. When Triple H calls him out and he doesn't respond, he looks like a punk. To the smart fans it looks like the WWE wants to keep him away from live tv so they can edit out all his screw-ups. And it looks like Lesner is lazy seeing how all of the other champions appeared on both shows. The Undertaker defended on both shows many times. Compared to them, Lesner looks like a slacker.

The show is getting so bad that they can't even entice top celebrities to drop by with free tickets. Remember years ago when Lawrence Taylor would sit in the front row. The NWA-TNA even had Frank Wychek of the Titans. Well, the top celebrity at Raw was Screech from Saved by the Bell. Is this is the best they could do? Was the Wonder Years older brother all booked up? Were the Budweiser Wassup guys too busy? Can anyone fix these ratings?

It's All About the Lead-In

To understand the ratings of a show, you must look at many factors. One important factor often overlooked is the Lead-In. Many shows have successful ratings due mostly to a successful lead in. For example, back when David Letterman was killing Jay Leno in the ratings every night, Jay would still always win Thursday nights. Was Jay consistently funnier on Thursdays then the rest of the week? No, he just got a great lead in by NBC's must see TV. Put anything on NBC at 8:30 PM and they will get great ratings. Can you think of any other reason The Single Guy was a top 5 show?

To apply this theory to wrestling's past, look at February 1997. For the previous two months, the Raw rating was averaging 2.16. Then the lead in for Raw was changed from the horrible Murder She Wrote (a show for older women) to Walker, Texas Ranger (an action show for men). As a result the ratings for March and April averaged 2.37, a 10% increase.

The easiest way to improve Raw's ratings has nothing to do with HHH, Y2J, or RVD. The solution is called VIP. The lead in for Raw should be changed from Star Trek: The Next Generation to V.I.P. TNN is overexposing TNG by running 10 episodes a week. Teenage boys are more likely to watch VIP as opposed to TNG. Just check out the Q-ratings. Who would you rather look at for an hour? Pamela Anderson or Patrick Stewart. This alone would help out the ratings.

Top 10 Rankings for September 2002
1 Brock Lesner (S)
2 Undertaker (S)
3 Triple H (R)
4 Kurt Angle (S)
5 RVD (R)
6 Edge (S)
7 Chris Benoit (S)
8 Kane (R)
9 Booker T (R)
10 Eddie Guerrero (S)

Taker is ranked higher than Trips because being the #1 contender to the real title is better than holding a bogus belt. Edge is over Benoit due to his house show wins in head to head competition. Kane has just moved into the top ten with a hot start. Jericho has just dropped out of the top ten after a PPV loss to Flair. Test and Rikishi can move into the top ten next month with a couple of more wins.

Smackdown's roster is better than the Raw roster. The top 4 wrestlers are the only true main eventers and 3 of them are on Smackdown. To further prove my point, give the #1 wrestler 10 points, #2 gets 9 points, #10 gets 1 point, etc. Smackdown's point total comes to 36 and Raw's point total comes to 19. So there's about twice as much star power on Smackdown. Sounds right to me.

I'll be back next week. And since I got such critical acclaim to my Bart Gunn column, I'm going to try to follow it up with another wrestler profile. Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat is my favorite wrestler and I chose him for my next column. I'll give him the Behind the Music treatment. It should be good. Later.

Brian Popkin

Mail the Author

Comment about this article in Wienerville



Design copyright © 1999-2002 Christopher Robin Zimmerman & KZiM Communications
Guest column text copyright © 2002 by the individual author and used with permission