G5: WrestleMania, PPV prices, Legacy of Excellence, more

The card for WrestleMania 32 is taking shape after WWE Fastlane and this week’s Raw broadcast. Are the three announced matches the best they could be?

Both ROH and Shine had pay-per-view events—with pay-per-view prices—this weekend. Can companies continue to charge big money for one-off broadcasts in an age of NJPW World and WWE Network?

And, while the award ultimately went to Stephanie McMahon, who would have received the Vincent J McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award had we been in charge of the decision?

Join us as we offer our opinions on these, and more, questions in this week’s Gimme Five.

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1. The card for WrestleMania 32 is taking shape after WWE Fastlane and this week’s Raw broadcast. Are the three announced matches the best they could be?

David:
Roman Reigns vs. Triple H is something I’m looking forward to. Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose is something I’m looking forward to. Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker is not. It’s new and exciting, but it’s utterly insane and it can’t be the end of this story, it just can’t.

Grady:
Considering all of the injuries in WWE right now, I would hazard to say yes. Nothing is ever final until the night of WrestleMania, but I am excited for everything WWE has announced at the moment. No matter how many haters Roman Reigns has, I still expect we will see a great match between him and Triple H in the main event.

Steve:
They’re working with a reduced roster due to injury, as well as a lot of characters that have had the legs cut out from underneath them while they focused on Reigns. So, I feel like they’re throwing stuff at the wall and some is sticking. Lesnar vs. Ambrose has potential to be the “real” main event for a lot of people; it’s got everything you could want and both people are over. I wish it was the main event, as Triple H vs. Reigns feels more middle of the show territory. But they’ve got a month, let’s see what else crops up. But so far it’s NXT TakeOver: Dallas that looks like the superior card that weekend.

Richard:
The way WrestleMania is shaping up is a mixed bag. Triple H and Reigns has the potential to be a very good match. Lesnar vs. Ambrose will be an absolute train wreck (in the best way possible). Shane vs. Taker… hmm … if it wasn’t at ‘Mania it would be fantastic. I like the story they have started but I don’t want to think about Taker possibly losing at ‘Mania again.

Blake:
The best they could have been? Absolutely not. However, they’re also not the worst they could have been. In fact, as it currently stands the only match I’m disappointed with is the main event. The unfortunate fact of the matter is this WrestleMania was always going to be a somewhat disappointing build in terms of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. The addition of Shane McMahon, Hell in a Cell, and no holds barred between a Lunatic and a Beast has made that disappointment a whole lot less.

Clint:
I’m excited about virtually everything but the main event (Triple H-Reigns). Lesnar-Ambrose should be awesome and I’m intrigued by Undertaker-Shane in the Cell. Sasha and/or Becky getting a shot (and hopefully winning) the Divas title is something I can get behind. WrestleMania is always great so I’m not worried.

 

2. ROH 14th Anniversary and Shine 33 aired on pay-per-view this weekend, ranging in price from $9.99 to $35 USD. With the relatively low price points of NJPW World and WWE Network, can other promotions continue to charge traditional pay-per-view prices?

David:
I often feel like I’m underpaying for NJPW World and WWE Network, but that doesn’t mean $35 is the right price point for a three-hour event. I think WWN—the parent company for Evolve, Shine, etc—charges an acceptable amount, depending on the card for each event. It’s lucky ROH pay-per-views are pretty sporadic, because $35 USD (which is more than $50 NZD) really is a stretch.

Grady:
I don’t think so. WWE barely gets away with charging a pay-per-view price now it offers the same content cheaper. I don’t want to downplay NJPW World, but the WWE Network really was a game-changer with pricing and pay-per-view events. The hardcore fans of your promotion might still pay the price, but the casual fan with stick with the cheaper and more appealing option.

Steve:
Nope, that method is going to go the way of the dodo, and it’s going to be a hard transition for some companies.

Richard:
WWE is lucky enough to have a huge video archive that was sitting there not doing a lot. By making that available and including the price of pay-per-views they have increased their buyrates catering for old fans and new fans. Unfortunately other wrestling companies just don’t have the video history WWE has for them to capitalise on. $50 for a pay-per-view (after conversion) is far too much to spend monthly when I can get both Royal Rumble and WrestleMania for a very similar price, not to mention everything else on the Network.

Blake:
Economics has never been my strong point, but from what I can tell, pay-per-view events are going to become a lot more niche. Traditional prices can still work so long as the fan base is maintained, but the casual market probably won’t be making pay-per-view buys any more. So, maybe…?

Clint:
ROH and Shine don’t appeal to the casual wrestling fan. They have their own dedicated followings, who will pay what is needed to see their shows. That being said, I do see the prices coming down in the near future, and that is undoubtedly due to the WWE Network effect (which is actually the Netflix effect). People expect to get more for their money these days.

 

3. TVNZ’s newest channel, Duke, is believed to be the first in the world to air GFW Amped. Will you be tuning in when the channel launches in March?

David:
Of all the places in the world with connections to Global Force Wrestling, New Zealand will be the first to air Amped—who saw that coming? This is a great score for TVNZ, and now GFW has a TV deal I’m excited to see what they did in Las Vegas. It would be nice to see that partnership with IPW and a TV presence in New Zealand lead to something more, too.

Grady:
Sure, I will always give things a chance and GFW looks like it is an okay product with some entertaining wrestlers. Generally I stray away from TV in favour of the internet nowadays, but I will tune in for the first episode of GFW Amped on Duke, and decide from that whether I want to keep tuning in.

Steve:
I don’t think I currently have anything which will show Duke, but will probably find a way to watch the first episode at least.

Richard:
I would love to tune in to watch GFW. I only have digital subscriptions—I don’t have access to free-to-air TV—so I’ll have to try and catch Amped online.

Blake:
Insert Daniel Bryan chant here.

Clint:
Absolutely. I was a fan of early TNA and hopefully Jeff Jarrett can do something similar with GFW, without pushing himself to the moon this time. If GFW can give national/international exposure to a bunch of indie guys like TNA did originally, while also providing another place for WWE-discards to get work, then I’m down.

 

4. WWE legend Haku will be in New Zealand next weekend, wrestling at the Manukau Armageddon Expo, followed by Christchurch and Dunedin later in the month. Will you be attending any of the events in person?

David:
I’ll catch the end of Haku’s tour at the Dunedin expo. I love it when these WWE Legends get involved with IPW—it always leads to some special moments. Hopefully Haku can join Disco Inferno in the IPW record books and capture the IPW Tag Team Championship in Manukau.

Grady:
I will be at the Manukau event, if my tickets arrive in time. I always look forward to the Impact Pro Wrestling events at the Armageddon Expo and of late they have put on some great spots with wrestling legends who have attended. I don’t think Haku will be any exception.

Steve:
I’ll be ring announcing both the Manukau events, so I’ll be able to add Haku to my slowly growing list of legends I’ve announced. Hopefully I’ll avoid getting Tongan Death Gripped.

Richard:
I plan on seeing Haku at Dunedin Armageddon along with the IPW crew just a few days after the SPW show. It will be my first interaction with a WWE legend, and I can’t wait.

Blake:
I will not. I’m not a huge Armageddon fan. Despite my love of wrestling and general geekdom, crowds are enough to keep me away. In saying that, I do hope that Haku manages to tear those IPW Tag Team Championships away from Team Dapper; that would make me quite happy.

Clint:
Sadly I won’t be attending the Manukau Armageddon. I go to the main Auckland one each year and have in the past attended Hamilton (now changed to Manukau) but other commitments mean I won’t be going. It’s a shame, I would have loved to get to meet Haku/Meng!

 

5. Vince McMahon attempted to give the Legacy of Excellence Award to Stephanie McMahon on this week’s Raw broadcast. Imagine you were in charge of the award, who would you present it to?

David:
Assuming the Legacy of Excellence Award to be presented annually, perhaps as a precursor to the WWE Hall of Fame, I’d go with Daniel Bryan. The timing is right, with Bryan’s career being cut short and his emotional retirement announcement a couple of weeks ago. If anyone has left an excellent legacy, it’s him.

Grady:
Tough call. If it were to be a one-off award then I would give it to Vince McMahon himself and use it as a way to lead into his retirement storyline. If it was a yearly award, then I would give it to Daniel Bryan because “no one has deserved it until now.” But damn, they did pretty good with it, so I can’t argue with what they did with the award.

Steve:
To whoever has to bring Vince his meals each day. I imagine that’s a thankless task fraught with danger and risk of raspy yelling.

Richard:
I would have given the Legacy of Excellence Award to a member of the Anoa’i family. That family has a growing legacy and it would have been great way to thank the family who have given multiple generations of family members to the business. A true legacy of excellence.

Blake:
Is Dana White too much of a troll response? I also read something about Pat Patterson, which I don’t think would be a terrible idea at all.

Clint:
It doesn’t matter, because awards in wrestling are like contract-signings in wrestling, just another plot device. I’m happy that the Legacy of Excellence Award led to the return of Shane, which will hopefully (fingers crossed) leads to a return of the brand extension (or something like they should have done originally with WCW, having Shane run it as a separate company).