G5: Tough Enough, Jeff Jarrett, Japan, more

WWE Tough Enough is into its third week, with two competitors already eliminated. How does Tough Enough stack up compared to previous seasons of the show, and who are we predicting will wind up with the $250,000 contracts?

Jeff Jarrett made his return to TNA at Slammiversary on Monday, winning the King of the Mountain Championship. Is this likely to be a one-off, or the start of more cross-promotion between Global Force Wrestling and TNA?

It’s a big weekend for wrestling in Japan, with NJPW and WWE holding events around the country. Are we tuning into Beast in the East or Dominion?

And, with it being Independence Day in the United States, we’re ranking our favourite independent promotions.

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1. WWE Raw reportedly drew one of its lowest ratings since 1997 in the United States this week. Is this a sign of decline in the quality of WWE programming, or more evidence of a change in the way people watch television?

Mike:
It’s probably a bit of both – although I’ve been enjoying the WWE more in the last year than I have for a long time. The roster is probably as good as it has ever been. The reality is, though, that people are choosing different way to watch – and it wouldn’t surprise me to know that a significant number are watching on Hulu Plus or are reading reports first to see if it’s worth three hours of their time.

Craig:
It’s evidence that the public is growing tired of a three-hour Raw without The Authority that doesn’t advance storylines. The public aren’t stupid and have short attention spans.

Corey:
I’d say it’s more to do with how people are watching TV. More often than not, I’m watching content over the internet, whether it be WWE Network, NJPW World or Netflix.

Peter:
I’d say it’s all of the above. I know I haven’t really felt compelled to watch WWE lately. Three-hour Raws are hard to sit through, especially when they feel the same each week. Also, television ratings all over are declining due to online streaming.

David:
The “slump” between WrestleMania and SummerSlam is always a difficult time for WWE but I haven’t noticed a huge change in the quality of programming. I think it’s attributable to the number of ways people can watch Raw these days. Keep in mind this week was the first time USA Network aired a condensed, two-hour version of Raw before Tough Enough.

 

2. Eleven competitors remain on WWE Tough Enough, now into its second week. Have you been watching the show? Who are your picks to become the next WWE Superstar and Diva?

Mike:
I watched the first episode and I wasn’t impressed. It’s too early for me to pick the next Superstar and Diva and if the terrible live format doesn’t improve I’m probably not going to care. Some shows need to be live, others don’t. This is one that should have stuck with the pre-recorded format – those were the strong parts of the first episode.

Craig:
The show is disappointing. Chris Jericho is no more than a “links man” and he doesn’t have the promo power of Stone Cold to keep the show afloat. It may struggle to last the season.

Corey:
I tried to watch the first episode, but to be honest I found it rather cringe-worthy, which is weird because I really enjoyed the previous seasons of Tough Enough.

Peter:
Reality TV is not really my cup of tea. I haven’t been following Tough Enough.

David:
It’s on at an awkward time for New Zealanders, but Tough Enough has been entertaining viewing. I don’t know who I’m supporting when it comes to the guys yet. Daria and Giorgia are my two favourite women, but they’ve got big competition from Dianna!

 

3. Jeff Jarrett returned to TNA, winning the King of the Mountain Championship at Slammiversary this past Monday. Do you see this being a one-off final appearance for Jarrett, or the start of something more between Global Force Wrestling and TNA?

Mike:
Given TNA’s apparent troubles I think it might be the start of something more between the two companies. Jeff Jarrett has been in the business for a long time and some cross-promotional work between the two could bring dividends to both.

Craig:
Jeff Jarrett has been part of TNA for the best part of the last decade and yet it appears they’re setting up for an invasion angle. Three words: More weak booking.

Corey:
I’m thinking this will become the beginning of a feud between the two Jarrett-founded promotions with former TNA talent versus current TNA talent and some great indie stand-outs.

Peter:
Word is that they might be doing some GFW invasion in TNA. It could be interesting but with the history of Jeff Jarrett and TNA I don’t have high hopes.

David:
I foresee more collaboration between Global Force Wrestling and TNA, which will be much more beneficial to GFW than it will TNA.

 

4. The eyes of the world will be on Japan this weekend, with both NJPW and WWE holding major events in the country. Will you be watching either NJPW Dominion or WWE’s Beast in the East special?

Mike:
Nope. Unfortunately I don’t have time to watch everything I want to.

Craig:
I will make an effort to watch WWE in Japan because I think Chris Jericho vs. Finn Balor has the potential to be the match of the year. I also want to see what they do with Brock vs. Kofi because on paper it’s a mismatch.

Corey:
In the past year or so I have become a huge fan of Japanese wrestling so will be watching both of these shows. How cool would it bee if both NJPW and WWE could work something out and have a WWE guy vs. a New Japan guy? Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, anyone?

Peter:
I’m definitely going to be watching both of these shows. It’s been 10 years since we’ve seen a live WWE event from Japan so this should be a special night. NJPW has been killing it lately and this Dominion card looks great so I’m pumped for that too.

David:
Both events are on my calendar. Dominion is a super stacked card – one of NJPW’s biggest of the year. Beast in the East, meanwhile, is a relative unknown. Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens should be incredible though, and Brock Lesnar’s return is must-see, so I have high hopes.

 

5. It’s Independence Day in the United States today, July 4. Excluding promotions with corporate backing, what is your favourite independent wrestling promotion?

Mike:
Scottish wrestling promotion ICW. If you haven’t watched the two documentaries about it (which you can watch on BBC iPlayer) then get to it quick smart. It’s a bunch of people who love wrestling and are intent on providing a spectacle – and who doesn’t love Grado? He’s quintessentially Scottish, and given that’s where I spent the first 30 years of my life I recognise much of myself in him. Mainly the big gut, to be honest.

Craig:
Auckland’s IPW goes without saying. Apart from that, I don’t have one.

Corey:
Here we go, a question right up my alley! My favourite independent wrestling promotion would be Reseda California’s Pro Wrestling Guerilla. PWG showcases the best in local and global superstars and gives them a wrestling ring and the chance to go for it, what’s not to love? Another great thing about PWG are its annual tournaments like the Battle of Los Angeles and the DDT4 tag team tournament.

Peter:
PWG is without a doubt the best independent promotion. They book the best wrestlers from all over the world who put on the most incredible matches in front of one of the most passionate wrestling crowds around. It’s everything that wrestling should be.

David:
Excluding any of the New Zealand promotions because of my ties to them, Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW) is fantastic. I like to keep an eye on the Australian scene, because of its similarities to New Zealand, and it’s so easy to keep up with MCW online. Their production values are very slick and their roster is super talented.