Opinions Are Like Assholes But A Shill By Any Other Name Still Shows His True Colors
by: Fritz Capp
I have had quite the problems lately with my webhost. Usually that would drive me completely crazy but I have found solace in the amusing writings as of late of one of the Internet's so-called respected journalists and webmaster Bob Ryder.
Bob Ryder for those of you who have yet to have had the pleasure of listening to his totally "unbiased" ramblings is the webmaster and owner of 1wrestling.com and ecwwrestling.com. Right there should tell you that there is more to this picture than wrestling's own version of the Pillsbury Doughboy would have you believe. He lately has also been sucking the crack of one Eric Bischoff. (More than usual anyway) which would explain his latest babblings on the sport of kings.
Anyway, the reason that I even pay any attention to the diatribe that this mouthpiece for corporate wrestling has to offer is because I love to watch him put his foot in his mouth. Along with long time butt kisser Dave Scherer, these two have made wrestling reporting a comedy act unsurpassed by anyone in the business except for maybe Eric Bischoff, Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman themselves. The latest rambling has dear old Bob defending WCW and trashing the WWF on a myriad of subjects. (Funny, but I would lay odds that if Bob was close with the WWF and not WCW it would be the other way around)
Let's look at some of the amusing anecdotes that Bob has expounded on the general public as of late:
Bob has recently expounded on the ratings stating that WCW is pulling mid 4's, the same as last year while the WWF last year was pulling 2's but although Bob really doesn't go into this is now pulling high 4's to low 5's. Bob is trying to get us to believe that WCW is still doing just as well as it has for the past two years. Considering the fact that there are more viewers now (which Bob did make reference to) how can WCW be doing better when they are not adding to their current fanbase? Bob is conveniently leaving out the fact that one of the reasons that WCW is pulling those ratings today is because of having one hour unopposed. Without that (especially recently) WCW would have ranged in the mid 3's to low 4's. (WCW recently has been pulling mid to high 3's going head to head against the WWF, including taped shows) Also without tricks, gimmicks and unfulfilled promises I doubt that WCW would have even had that.
Bob goes onto tell us the reasons why WCW is not doing better citing Jeff Jarrett, Hulk Hogan, not realizing how big a draw Ric Flair is to the company, burnout and overconfidence as some of the reasons WCW is not doing what they should be doing as far as product is concerned. What Bob again conveniently forgets to tell us is that WCW has blatantly forgotten who got them there in the first place. The creative booking that brought WCW to the fore front and of course the fans. Let's look at what has really been happening in WCW:
The have brought in Jay Leno, Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman. Bringing celebrities in to draw bigger crowds is something that has been going on in wrestling for a long time. But what did they really get out of it? Lawsuits for non payment by some of the stars and some pretty horrible matches. Doesn't sound to me as if they scored big in that department.
The booking in WCW for the most part has been a joke. Let's see, Goldberg is approximately 160-0, a record that was trumped up by worthless opponent after worthless opponent in the beginning. While it is true that Goldberg is a personality that will be a true champion in this sport in years to come this title and record was given to him because of a ratings war and at the expense of a lot of true workers in the business who paid their dues for year after year only to see it thrown in their face by a rookie. Is this the way you treat your talent? Not in my book and not in a lot of other people's either as is shown by the ratings that WCW has received this year. It is no secret that once Goldberg would keep people glued to WCW. The ratings show that this is not the case anymore. You also have the locker room in WCW now jockeying for position trying to influence Goldberg as to who is actually credible in the locker room and who is not. Goldberg will listen to the "names" in the business as he has yet to learn that most people are only out for themselves and not the product as a whole.
The Ultimate Warrior was good for two weeks worth of ratings then that fell right into the cellar due to lack of interest. The Warrior never took off as most of us knew he wouldn't because of his attitude and refusal to do anything for the company as he was, is and always will be for himself. (no matter who he is employed by)
They try to bring in the Horsemen to revitalize the show and that was good for one weeks worth of ratings. This is of course after Eric Bischoff tried to "make an example" out of Ric Flair by sitting him down after Flair opted to go to his son's wrestling match instead of just being locked into the locker room with nothing to do. Flair has said time and time again he notified WCW long in advance of this trip, a fact that seems to be forgotten by Ryder, Bischoff and anyone else spouting corporate policy. (Up until that Thunder Bischoff had not really used Flair in any angles or on TV for approximately a month and a half) The ensuing backlash from the fans (including the fans voting Ric Flair into the number 2 spot in People Magazine's Online Popularity contest) showed Bischoff that Flair was indeed still a draw. After Flair's triumphant return to Nitro though Bischoff went out to try a WWFish angle with Flair hoping it would keep interest. Again the ratings show it has not.
WCW saw fit to "screw the fans". They did this during a PPV by working it in such a way that almost 25% of the people who ordered it did not see the main event. This was done simply for ratings which was good for one weeks worth of winning the ratings war. Since then WCW has lost almost a whole ratings point while going head to head with the WWF. Eric Bischoff was recently quoted in a major article in the L.A.Times saying, ""You know we wouldn't do something that looks like some manipulative ratings ploy, now would we?"
I could go on and on about the troubles in WCW. The tired NWO angle, the over exposure of Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan week in and week out on TV, Scott Steiner's obvious abuse of something other than lasagna and milk, Scott Hall's drinking problems being parlayed into an angle etc. But this article is not about that now is it?
This article is about the hypocrisy of one of the Internet's supposed great reporters and showing just how biased and how much of a corporate shill he really is. Do not get me wrong. At one time Bob Ryder's word was gospel, but can he be trusted with that accolade anymore? I think not.
Bob Ryder is a smart man. He is positioning himself plain and simple. He see's that most of the Internet is sick and tired of Eric Bischoff and the tired WCW storylines and workrate and knows that the die hard WCW fans need someplace to go where they feel a camaraderie with the website. He is also positioning himself within the WCW organization, showing them how he will "put them over" while knocking the competition. (Bob has recently said that the WWF made a mistake by turning The Rock heel. Up until about a month or two ago that's what he was. He was over like crazy but he was still a heel. He is now also referring to Vince McMahon as The Emperor (as opposed to Bischoff's impersonation of a Dictator I guess)
Bob's opinion of the Survivor Series stating that all but 3 matches had screwjob finishes is a bit redundant considering that if you are watching an NWO match in WCW it is almost a surefire guarantee that the finish will end in a run-in as do most main event matches. A case of the pot calling the kettle black? Maybe, but it looks more like a case of pandering for a certain promotion.
Bob plays armchair booker saying that the Shane McMahon turn should have been held off for a couple of months. Why? It was set up to go just like it did. Although I had not looked at the Shane McMahon factor until Saturday , when I did combined with the significance of this being the one year anniversary of the Bret Hart work the angle makes perfect sense. This sets up Austin to have to go through the Royal Rumble almost assuredly drawing the number one position and having to go through twenty nine other wrestlers to have a shot again at the heavyweight title at WrestleMania.
To reiterate on Bob's opinion of the Rocky Miavia heel turn once again I have to ask, "even though The Rock" was so over wasn't he a heel up to one to two months ago?" I could swear I remember talking with a lot of different people telling them that the turning to babyface of Miavia was a mistake. Why try to fix something that isn't broken. I feel that although The Rock is back to being a heel it would have served the WWF better to never have tried to turn him face in the first place. If there was a flaw in the booking that is what it was, not what Mr. Ryder is alluding to. Bob is just looking for another way to take a shot at Vince thus furthering his position in Bischoff's eyes.
Bob continues by saying that most of the WWF's success has been done with "smoke and mirrors". I say 99% of WCW's rating's this year was done the same way and is proved by the lack of ratings that they now have. It is a rare instance when WCW wins the ratings two weeks in a row anymore. Why? Because WCW does their best to hype something that is really a non entity. The only reason they won two weeks in a row with the Warrior's return is because the Warrior promised a revolution the next week which ended up being a small little verbal tirade and the addition of another faction into the ever growing number of groups in WCW, the O.W.N.
Let's look at both promotions "stupid gimmick" of the year and see where they have gone with them. Chavo Guerrero gets a toy horse head on a broomstick to show he is a little less than all there. That's it. No real significance at all, actually it is pretty stupid. I have yet to hear Mike Tenay give us a 15 minute dissertation on the meaning of the horse. (Thank God too because if WCW would have went that far I may have blown up One CNN Center) On the other hand we have Socko, Mankind's new gimmick. Now of course it would take someone like Mick to pull this off and he has. First off, it ties in because of the glove that was worn earlier on in his character to deliver the Mandible Claw so people can relate to it. Second Mick does a great job as far as comedy is concerned with Socko thus it is entertaining. Third it has been used to create altercations thus creating angles and will continue to do so as we saw set up during Survivor Series. When will it stop? When Socko is no longer a viable commodity to the WWF. Are both gimmicks stupid? Yes. The difference being that the WWF has enough booking savvy to be able to put it over. Would Eric Bischoff be able to put a sock on someone's hand and get it over? No way, he's not that smart.
All and all WCW is the Carolina Panthers of pro wrestling. They rose to the top and couldn't handle it enough to be able to stay there. Does that mean the WWF has no problems and should sit back confident that they have won the true war? Hell no! The WWF has it's own problems. Limited talent roster is the main problem. Vince over booking himself is another along with the (insert name here) screwed (insert name here) angle which is about to cross the line as far as being a viable booking commodity. In other words it is about to become as stale as the NWO did a year ago.
Solutions? WCW needs to scrap the ABC groups that flourish there at the present time quick and get back to solid booking and wrestling which was their forte. They have the talent...use it!!! The NWO (if they want to keep it) should go back to what it was in the beginning...small, defiant and unpredictable. That is what made the NWO. Not having every damn jobber or someone who needed a push or was a friend at the time in it. If Bischoff feels the need to be out front then do it but on a smaller level of air time. Go back to putting wrestler against wrestler, not everyone against WCW which is almost a non entity anymore. And please, just because a guy doesn't make three million a year doesn't mean he doesn't have the talent to go out there and put on a great show.
I remember reading and posting on my site that WCW was going to go more WWFish as far as producing their show was concerned. More interviews, more angles. If they want to stop for a moment and look they would be able to see that this was their biggest mistake. No one can do the WWF better than the WWF. Many have tried, all have failed miserably. Bischoff should have been smart enough to learn from others mistakes. Obviously they didn't teach that lesson in the AWA where he was a ring announcer. But considering what the WWF did to the AWA it should not have needed to have been taught, it should have been self evident.
As far as Bob Ryder is concerned my only hope is that one day he will have the balls to just face the facts and stop trying to be so many things to so many people. There is nothing wrong with trying to position yourself within an organization. There is nothing wrong with trying to open up opportunities for oneself. But you cannot serve two masters. You are either a reporter or your are a company stooge. How long can you straddle a fence before it goes up your butt? For that information I will refer Bob to his friend Dave Scherer as Dave knows all to well about trying to straddle a corporate fence.
One of Bob's final comments in his Survivor Series column went like this, "Screwjobs, sudden turns, convoluted and rushed booking...all things WCW has been criticized for, yet the WWF fans will continue to praise and worship their Emperor."
You know why Bob? Because when Vince does it, it works!
Fritz Capp is the editor of Pro Wrestling's Between The Sheets - for comments or opposing viewpoints please e-mail to Fritz Capp