AS I SEE IT - 3/13/2002:
Puppies Are The Key To Build Pay-Per-Views?

by: Bob Magee

So let me get this straight...

On the Monday before Wrestlemania, the biggest pay-per-view in the WWF's year...the performer getting the most sympathetic not The Rock, who is in the main event with Hulk not Steve Austin, who's working Scott not HHH, who's in what was originally supposed to be the main event with Chris Jericho.

Instead the performer getting the most sympathetic reaction is "HHH's puppy", Lucy?!?!?

Not to mention a large dose of Stephanie McMahon splashed all over RAW...again.

Apparently Vince McMahon figured that Rob Black got attention by doing animal cruelty angles with puppies a week or so ago, so McMahon figured that it would be even more successful on his sports entertainment program...better production values and all, you understand (especially the obviously dubbed in dog yowlp when Lucy's leg was "run over by the limo").

No need to starve a snake, either.

So instead of watching an obnoxious pornographer who thinks he's a wrestling promoter) being mean to animals; we get Stephanie...who thinks she's a storywriter and a TV star doing the same.

Oh, joy.

Anyone wanna bet the World Wildlife Fund people over in the UK won't care for this one? Lord knows the WWF has enough problems with them these days on more serious real-life business matters.

I guess my point is this...doesn't Vince McMahon understand that the idea in the week before his biggest pay-per-view of the year is to use his TV to make people want to buy Wrestlemania?

More effort seems to be going into DDP making Christian "a positive person" (until Monday's turn on DDP)...or Chuck and Billy in their roles as the Ambiguously Gay Duo...or the "War of the McMahons" (aka Stephanie and HHH's "divorce")...than there is in making the average fan want to buy this year's Wrestlemania.

One of the few highlights in the Wrestlemania drive has been the pushing the Flair-Undertaker match. They've certainly done a better job pushing it than what pushing was originally the main event of Wrestlemania: Chris Jericho against HHH.

The Flair-Undertaker build had actually been well done, if you can stomach the dozen different skits that occur on each RAW or Smackdown before you got to see what they are doing on each show to further it... like beatdowns of Arn Anderson and David Flair.

Well, it was a good buildup until we were forced to see skits Monday night from "an emergency board meeting at the WWF offices in Stamford".


The logic was that Ric Flair had gone off his rocker by "hitting a fan" during the most recent Flair-Undertaker brawl, so Vince McMahon went to the WWF "Board of Directors" to state that Flair should be removed from power.

Now, even within a storyline... shouldn't there be some internal logic?

If the idea was that "someone was going to harm the WWF" and that this person should be removed from power... haven't we been watching "Mister McMahon" talking to mirrors and saying he'd inject "a lethal poison" into the WWF, and saying he'd destroy what he created... all of which was presumably seen on television by the WWF "Board of Directors" (just like we've all had to)?

Someone please let me know, even within the Alice-In-Wonderland reality of a WWF storyline, how a Board of Directors that viewed this wouldn't think "Mister McMahon" wasn't nuttier than a can of Planters?

Further, if they're worried about Flair "disgracing" the WWF with his "arrest"...haven't they watched co-owner Vince "arrested" numerous times in skits involving Steve Austin, or being publicly revealed to have had an affair and to have drugged the company's CEO, his own wife, as part of it?

If they're so concerned about Ric Flair wrestling Undertaker, haven't they watched Vince wrestle, as recently as 2 months ago, against Ric Flair...or back in November at Survivor Series match where he was combating "The Alliance" to save the WWF?

If one suspends disbelief and buys into this storyline, it sounds like the WWF's "Board of Directors" has about as much sense about how to run a business and do their duty to maintain stockholder confidence as did Enron's.

Back to reality, it seems that the booking committee has taken leave of their senses in writing a storyline like the one above that was so full of holes that I was able to pick them out Monday night while half asleep from a bad head cold.

Despite all that I've said above, you'd think with a main event like The Rock against Hulk shouldn't be so hard to get people to buy this PPV. Think about it: one of wrestling's most notable personalities of the last twenty years in a match with one of wrestling's most notable personalities of the present day.

The match got good early mainstream publicity... which seemed like a positive sign.

But no mainstream media interviews with Maivia or Hogan are scheduled this week to plug Wrestlemania, at least as the date I've written this column. There are no doubt various interviews in the Toronto market... but all I've seen in the States, where most pay-per-view buyers are is a HHH appearance on Opie and Anthony.

Yes, there's the Best of Wrestlemania special on TNN and the Divas special (which does absolutely nothing to sell Wrestlemania)...and Smackdown.

But how in the hell do you miss the chance to have The Rock and Hulk Hogan plugging the main event of Wrestlemania? Not even on the Tonight Show or Regis Philbin's talkfest, which have both traditionally allowed the WWF to plug their major pay-per-views?

Instead of the powers-that-be in Stamford finding ways to get mainstream media opportunities during the last week before Wrestlemania... they give lots of face time on RAW for a puppy to poop on carpets, to be cooed at by HHH (nice way to build HHH's character, folks), to be growled at by Stephanie, and be "run over" by a careless limo driver.

When watching Monday night's dog crap (no, I don't mean the chocolate bars they laid on the rug as pretend dog s--t); I can't help but think of the skit that Eddie Gilbert did back in 1993 on ECW TV with Scooter, his real-life dog.

It was said that Missy Hyatt didn't care for Scooter when they Eddie and Missy were together, and acted an awful lot toward Scooter like Stephanie did last night. So, after the Hyatt-Gilbert breakup, Eddie could get the dog to growl on command just by mentioning Missy's name... and had Scooter do it in the promo.

Eddie Gilbert, and even Scooter, are no doubt shaking their heads at Monday's night's television, wherever they are...Eddie knowing he could have written a better storyline... and Scooter knowing that he could have acted it out better, perhaps better than even Stephanie.

Until next time...


(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at