No excitement in No Mercy card
TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
Everyone knows the old 'tree falling in the woods' scenario. If a tree falls and there's no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound?
Well, if Vince McMahon felt like knocking down some lumber on tomorrow night's pay-per-view, we could finally find out the answer.
It's no secret -- Pay-per-view business is hurting in the McMahon media empire.
UFC is taking an ever increasing piece of the PPV pie. TNA is making a serious play to increase its PPV market share, having just signed Kurt Angle to a deal and moved its TV show into prime time.
Even loyal grappling fans are starting to pick and choose the bigger WWE events and are passing on the rest.
And while WWE has managed to keep the overall pay-per-view numbers steady -- by counting international viewers in the final tally -- insiders know that North American buy rates are nose diving.
With the company's biggest revenue stream in jeopardy, WWE bosses no longer the option of phoning it in on big event nights. Every single pay-per-view needs to be must-see, or fans will find other places to spend their PPV dollar.
No Mercy (tomorrow night at 6 p.m. CT from the Carolina Hurricanes' home rink in Raleigh) hardly fits the bill.
There's nothing technically wrong with the No Mercy line-up. The matches look decent (on paper, at least), there's no obvious stinkers on the card, and the show has the usual curiosity factor that comes with a big WWE event.
But while curiosity may have been enough to kill the cat, it sure as hell didn't convince him to pay $40 to see a wrestling show.
Tomorrow's PPV -- which needed to have the hype of a Stanley Cup Game 7 and the storyline appeal of 'Who killed J.R. Ewing?'-- instead has all the buzz of a WHL practice skate, coupled with the must-see factor usually associated with an episode of 'The Price is Right.'
Frankly, it's just not hot enough.
The main event is a Fatal Four-way for the world championship. Originally booked as Bobby Lashley challenging King Booker T for the belt, WWE bosses realised fans weren't buying Lashley as a viable challenger, and added Batista and Fit Finlay to the match.
WWE is hoping the variables in a four-way will create the illusion that the title could change, but the audience has seen this ploy before.
Yes, as we're often reminded, absolutely anything can happen in a WWE ring.
It just tends not to happen at shows like No Mercy.
The semi-main, Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero, would normally have the potential to steal the show. But after dragging Eddie Guerrero's widow into a tasteless back story to hype up the match, WWE will have a hard time getting most fans to look past the classless exploitation of Guerrero's tragic death.
The actual show stealer will probably be the cruiserweight title match between Gregory Helms and Matt Hardy. The pair have been tearing down the house with their recent one-on-ones, and given some time on the PPV, they should be able to deliver.
Also on the card, Mr. Kennedy takes on the Undertaker, MVP (a prima donna athlete character, seemingly modelled after Terrell Owens) makes his in-ring debut, and WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick defend against KC James & Idol Stevens.
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