G5: Special Guest Joseph Parker

Welcome to the first Gimme Five of the all-new NZPWI, with special guest Joseph Parker.

The New Zealand Heavyweight Boxing Champion took time out of his schedule to weigh in on the future of pay-per-view with the rise in popularity of subscription services such as the WWE Network.

Joseph, and the rest of the Gimme Five team, also offer their opinions on Undertaker’s future now that the streak is over, which WWE Superstars might make a good transition to the boxing ring, ultimate upsets, and the best crowd chants.

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1. Is the pay-per-view format on its way out with the rise in popularity of subscription services like the WWE Network? Could, or should UFC and boxing follow WWE’s lead?

Joseph Parker (@joeboxerparker):
I can’t really talk about UFC but boxing still brings in the buys pay-per-view wise. Mayweather cleared $70 million in his last fight earlier this month so pay-per-view is not dead. It’s just about getting the public to buy into your personality rather than your sport.

Dion McCracken (@DionMcCracken):
I don’t think it’s on the way out, yet. The WWE Network move hasn’t been seen as a massive success just yet, and the fact that pay-per-view providers have dropped WWE events in response has been an interesting development. Arguably, WWE has alienated much of its fan base as a result. That said, with pay-per-view pricing in the States being so high, why wouldn’t people jump over to the network?

I think the likes of UFC would be able to follow suit very easily, especially with the massive library they have created through years of live events and acquisitions.

As for boxing following suit? That would be difficult. With the myriad of promotions and various copyright owners (and associated politics), such a service would seem unlikely. There is clearly still a lot of money in the format for boxing.

Luke Farmer (@phenominc):
I think the UFC could benefit from a subscription platform. However, unlike WWE, they still do not have the masses of content in their video library to sustain it. I think they could get away with a watered down “on demand” service, but pay-per-view is still going to be a winner for boxing and MMA.

Blake Leitch (@BlakeLeitch2):
The pay-per-view format may very well be on its way out, but is in fact a small part on the much larger discussion of media convergence. While this is not the time or place to get into discussions about McLuhanism and James Carey, it will be interesting to see if subscription services are the next step in the media convergence for sporting outlets. For me, I feel it is.

Stevie McCleary (@syxseed):
I think American pay-per-view prices are out of control, which helps subscription services prosper. But the sheer amount of content you’d need to fill up a service would hamper many products making it viable.

Craig Stanaway (@CraigStanaway):
Yes it is but WWE has jumped before they were pushed. The biggest problem for promoters (and I can speak with reasonable authority now that I work for Duco) is that they take all the risk and the pay-per-view provider takes 50 per cent of the PPV money, without shouldering any risk. WWE is very clever in what they’re doing, effectively shutting out the PPV providers and taking all the money. I believe it is the way of the future. The fact Vince McMahon has lost around $350 million in his personal fortune should be ignored. He’s definitely going down a path that’s going to make his company much more money in the long run and he’s rich enough to absorb those horrendous losses and not notice.

David Dunn (@david_dunn):
It’s not going to be a fast movement, but over time we should see more and more companies follow WWE’s lead. I subscribe to UFC Fight Pass, which is similar to the on-demand portion of the WWE Network, and I’ll sign up for WWE Network the second it’s launched in New Zealand. People will pay for these services, and the more groups start monetizing their die-hard fan-bases, the better off everyone will be.

 

2. Now that the streak is over, will Undertaker ever wrestle again? If not, how should his retirement be handled?

Joseph:
I can’t believe he’s still wrestling. What is he, 100? He’s a legend so I’m sure they will make a big deal out of his retirement. You don’t want to see him go on forever and become embarrassing.

Dion:
It would seem unfitting for The Undertaker not to have a swan song of some sort. And to go out after that WrestleMania shocker would be a shame. Clearly the mystique of WrestleMania is now gone for him, so what would a fitting swan song be? A retirement match? A match clearly advertised as Taker’s last ever? And who would his opponent be? More importantly, is his body up for it? Either way, I hope it is addressed in some way.

Luke:
I don’t believe that The Undertaker should wrestle again. His legacy was the streak and with that now broken there is not much more that the Deadman can accomplish. I think it’s time for him to move on; no dream matches with Sting or anything more. Just retire with the legendary legacy of 21-1.

Blake:
Am I the only one who really doesn’t care about this? The nickname “Deadman” has never been more accurate; the guy is a walking corpse. I really hope he never wrestles again and I wouldn’t mind if they never really brought it up. Just wait a few years and then stick him in the Hall of Fame, done.

Stevie:
I think he should be done now. While he can come for revenge against Brock, or come to the rescue of someone and then have a big send-off, maybe it’s best to leave it as it is now.

Craig:
There’s only one fight he should take now and that’s a rematch with Brock Lesnar which I think you could safely assume he would win, thus avenging his only loss. Previously I would’ve said John Cena but it’s obvious it’s the end of the road for Taker. They should induct him the day before WrestleMania just like they did with Flair before his final match but the good oil is The Rock will headline the Hall of Fame next year. Let’s wait and see.

David:
I’d like to see Undertaker inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (perhaps before WrestleMania 32 in Texas?) and for him to accept it with a speech, finally acknowledging that there is a man under all that character somewhere. I don’t think he needs to return to the ring.

 

3. WrestleMania season always produces some rowdy, enthusiastic audiences. What’s your favourite chant started by the WWE Universe?

Joseph:
I went to a basketball game here in Vegas and there was a section of the crowd doing the “Yes!” chant. Nothing is ever going to top the “Yes!” chant

Dion:
I think it’s very, very hard to go past “Yes!”. That one is so much fun and it always feels like a pat on the back for Daniel Bryan. Honourable mentions to “E-C-Dub!”, “Wooooooo!”, “This is Awesome” and “You Still Got It!”.

Luke:
This is hard! I was at the Raws after both WrestleMania 28 and 30, and there were a lot of great chants in those two shows alone. Personally, the best chant ever was for Daniel Bryan. “You Deserve It” was a special moment in wrestling. But you cannot go past the screams of “Yes!” or “What?” or the hums to theme songs. It’s like football!

Blake:
While I wasn’t a fan of it at first, I’m beginning to enjoy the “Bootista” chants. Also, I’m especially fond of the “Better Than Batista” chants. You know what? Pretty much anything anti-Batista.

Stevie:
Fandangoing. Don’t pretend it’s not true. These other flavour of the week chants like “What?” will never rival its power.

Craig:
“John Cena Sucks” chanted by the London crowd to the sound of his own entrance theme last week. I really, really hope that catches on.

David:
Fandangoing for sure. Yes, I’m biased beyond belief, but no other crowd has won a Slammy Award for its antics and that movement was our crowning achievement that night in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Check out disc three of the Raw: After the Show DVD if you need more convincing. ChaChaLaLa!

 

4. Which two wrestlers would you like to see don the gloves and go 12 rounds inside a boxing ring?

Joseph:
I would love to see if Triple H is really that tough so he would be one. Big Show is a boxing fan so maybe those two.

Dion:
Out of the current roster, I’d love to see a battle between Wade Barrett (the former “bare knuckle champ”) and Sheamus. Throw the Irishman and the Englishman in the ring with gloves and let the carnage begin!

Luke:
I guess I can’t choose Brock Lesnar? I will have to go with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon from their heyday. That would have been a slobberknocker. These days, maybe Cesaro and Sheamus? Wrestlers translating to boxing has always been a huge fail. Let’s not forget the blunder that was the Brawl For All.

Blake:
I’m going to assume that we’re allowed to pick wrestlers from when they were in their prime: Undertaker and Road Warrior Hawk.

Stevie:
Anybody that could punch the smarmy smirk off John Cena’s face. Maybe Cesaro, so we can anticipate his magical uppercut.

Craig:
I don’t. Roddy Piper and Bart Gunn have been there and done that.

David:
Santino Marella and Wade Barrett. Both have the relevant background experience to make the transition easier than most other superstars, and both are in need of more television time, which they would certainly get if they lasted 12 rounds.

 

5. Rocky Balboa almost managed to pull off the ultimate upset against Apollo Creed in 1976’s Rocky. When it comes to the wrestling world, who do you think has been luckiest and pulled off the biggest upset victory?

Joseph:
I thought Batista was lucky to win the Rumble after turning his back on the company but the biggest upset is Brock Lesnar beating the Undertaker. Nothing will ever top that!

Dion:
Brock Lesnar defeating The Undertaker, no doubt. I don’t think we’ll ever see a match that had such an impact on fans as that “upset”.

One that often flies under the radar was The Hurricane defeating The Rock on Raw back in 2003, and Maven (remember him?) pinning The Undertaker after eliminating him from the Royal Rumble match weeks earlier.

Luke:
Maybe the biggest upset in the history of wrestling was when Paul Heyman’s “client, Brock Lesnar, broke the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania 30“. Let’s face it, the 21-year streak was a juggernaut and he pulled up the win over Taker. Though, if you want to talk about the biggest upsets, Daniel Bryan beating Evolution over two matches at WrestleMania 30 to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion after a year of chasing the title was a huge feat.

It is also worth mentioning Chris Jericho defeating both Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock in a single night to become the Undisputed Champion in 2001. That was a huge upset at the time as Stone Cold was still white hot. Hindsight also saw that being the final time Austin held the championship.

Blake:
Although there have been surprise victories as long as wrestling has been around, there is only one man who has been named after his own upset victory: The 1-2-3 Kid.

Stevie:
Maven defeating the Undertaker. Or that time Rico pinned Ric Flair.

Craig:
I fast forwarded on MySky the Taker vs. Brock Lesnar match and was in absolute shock when I realised the result. CM Punk’s win at Money in the Bank against Cena in 2011 was pretty shocking too. Go back 20 years and I couldn’t believe it when Rick Rude beat Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania V. Come to think of it… I still can’t believe it! I don’t think I’ll ever get over it!

David:
Lesnar beating Undertaker, obviously, especially seeing it live in the Superdome. Going back to when I first got into wrestling, I remember Jeff Hardy dethroning Triple H for the Intercontinental Championship right in the middle of Triple H’s “Two Man Power Trip” run with Austin. Historically it doesn’t hold up, but at the time that was a serious shocker.