June 24, 2006
DX will sellBut it remains to be seen who's buying the new PPV
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
WWE never gets it right when it comes to brand-only pay-per-views.
In most cases, the company spends months shilling mediocre main events and meaningless mid-cards, hoping smoke, mirrors and a little bit of name value will be enough to make these B-level shows a success.
In other cases -- such as tomorrow night's Vengeance PPV -- WWE bosses put a killer card together but barely allow themselves enough time to get the word out.
The two top matches at Vengeance could easily have headlined a Wrestlemania but with only two weeks of promotion behind them, they'll be lucky to be remembered as a trivia answer six months from now.
The return of Degeneration-X should have been one of the biggest storylines of the year. Shawn Michaels and Triple H's reunion is more than just a fun nostalgia angle for current fans -- it's a throwback to the era when WWE was at its all-time popularity peak.
Back in 1999, more than 10 million Americans watched wrestling every Monday night and DX's antics were a highlight of every episode. DX merchandise sold by the truckload and the group's trademark crotch chop was a perennial favourite amongst angst-ridden teens and easily-amused college students alike.
Fast forward to 2006.
Ratings are down.
Attendance is down.
PPV buys are down.
WWE had a chance to pique the interest of millions of lost viewers with the return of a big-name act from that golden era. Instead, the one-night-only DX reunion was rushed onto a poorly promoted show with just two weeks of TV to hype it.
After years of real-life fighting -- including bitchy back and forth comments in their respective autobiographies -- the pair have finally agreed to work together in the ring.
Rather than weeks of mic work from two of the best talkers in the game, the heated build-up insiders expected has barely reached a simmer.
With proper promotion, the Vengeance pay-per-view could have been one of the biggest PPVs of 2006. Instead, it's simply the best kept secret in sports entertainment.
NHL NATURE: For the second season in a row, pro wrestlers proved to be the ultimate good luck charm in the NHL.
The Carolina Hurricanes toppled the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night and did so with a little inspiration from the legendary Ric Flair.
Flair, a certifiable uber-celebrity in the Carolinas, serves as the Hurricanes' unofficial mascot at all home games.
His trademark 'Whoo' blasted over the PA system in the RBC Centre every time the Hurricanes scored a goal. The Nature Boy also appears on the Jumbotron as part of the post-goal celebration, strutting and hollering like it's Monday Night Raw to rile up the audience.
In 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning used Hulk Hogan
in a similar capacity, en route to their Stanley Cup victory over the Calgary Flames. The Lightning had Hogan appear on the ice before every Tampa home game, tearing his shirt to rally the hometown fans.