Mailbag of Shame: Volume 1

Many successful websites have mailbags.

We would like this site to become successful.

So, here's a mailbag.

But seriously, this was fun to write, and if you have serious (or not-so-serious) and shameful questions about pro wrestling, send us a message at @wrestlingshame or @johndospassos2 or @RickCity. Or you can email us at [email protected]. And follow us on Facebook.

Thanks Brendan! Always good to hear from someone from Flyera twitter.

To answer your question, no - that's ridiculous. It's the Dudley Boys. It has to be the Dudley Boys.

Saturn and Kronus are the Andrew MacDonald and RJ Umberger of ECW. Although, I'm sure Ron Hextall will be able to trade Saturn and Kronus to Boston for eight 3-round picks.

Ah, thanks for your question! Ron is a friend of this website.

Actually, my favorite professional wrestler of all time is Randy Savage. But my favorite wrestler of all time  -- ironically speaking -- is Fake Diesel.

Fake Diesel, for those of you who don't know, is one of the strangest things to happen to pro wrestling during the 1990s. Glenn Jacobs - who would later be repackaged as Kane - was made to fill-in for Kevin Nash (nee Diesel) who had recently left for WCW. Apparently, Vince McMahon's perspective was that he owned the copyright on the characters, so he could just get different wrestlers to play the roles. There isn't a great YouTube clip of it, but if have you the WWE Network, check out the RAW episodes for September 1996 and Fake Razor Ramon and Fake Diesel's debuts.

True story: I was working in the concession stands at Hersheypark Arena the night that Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon debuted. The crowd was pissed. I remember people coming to my stand and complaining about Diesel and Razor Ramon, which confused me. After my shift, I found my friend Scott sitting in the stands and watching some matches (this was back when the WWE would air one live RAW and then tape two or three hours of material for future shows) and he filled me in on what had happened.

Fake Diesel is, nevertheless, amazingly wonderful and horrible - all at the same time.

Hey, there Tim!

(actually, Tim didn't send this question to Mailbag of Shame per se, but it was a wrestling question and , well, why not?).

There have been rumors about him coming back for awhile now, but to be honest, I have no idea.

Although, the Rumble is being held in San Antonio.
San Antonio is the home of the Alamo.
"Remember the Alamo" was a war-cry in the Texas War of Independence.
Settlers wanted to secede from Mexico partially because they wanted to bring slavery to the territory.
Slavery was the major cause of the Civil War.
There were two "Bloody Angles" of the war (Gettysburg and Spotsylvania)
Kurt Angle return imminent.

Rick, the co-runner of this site, sent me a few thoughts on the Network, and I think there are some interesting points here.

Loyal reader -- we are up to seventeen! --- Travis offered his own take on Rick's questions here:

And based on my research, Travis' points are correct.  As you can read in Ian Frisch's great piece on Vice -- the main stream of revenue for the WWE is television, as roughly 35 percent of the company's annual revenue comes from their recent television deals (especially the newest agreement with NBC Universal).

But in a bigger sense, the company's financials don't appear to be on solid ground. There are divisions like WWE Films which continually lose money, while the Network has presented its own problems. In comparison, Frisch notes that the WWE claimed a loss of roughly 5.6 million dollars in the second quarter of 2016 from the Network. And there are a number of problems with the Network: as one interviewee in Frisch's piece claims, the company is now charging users $10 a month for something they used to charge $50 dollars per month (one major pay-per-view a month) while adding increased internal costs. Additionally. there is the real problem of users leaving the service. From Frisch's piece:

Because the profit margin of the network is only in the 10 percent range, WWE needs to boost their subscriber numbers just to survive, let alone sustain growth and keep shareholders happy. "If you get more TV viewers, WWE gets the same amount of money. If you get more network subscribers, WWE gets more money," Harrington told me. "That's a great thing, but the challenge is, where do all these added subscribers come from, especially if TV ratings keep falling?"
Another way to gauge WWE Network's progress is the "churn" numbers, or how many people terminate the service after signing up. For the second quarter of 2016, WWE gained 625,000 total subscribers, but lost 471,000, giving them a net addition of only 153,000.
I was curious to know the total churn numbers since the network's inception. "We don't give those numbers out publicly," George Barrios told me, but according to documents submitted to the SEC, WWE Network has amassed 4,587,000 total accounts since launching in 2014, while 3,076,000 accounts have left the service (leaving us with the current number of active accounts: 1,511,000). That means that 67 percent of accounts that were created were eventually canceled (I refer to them as "accounts" rather than "subscribers" because theoretically one person could sign up and bail more than once, thus skewing the metrics).
Skewing the metrics is nothing new for the WWE -- especially in terms of their public claims of attendance records for "entertainment purposes" -- but there appears to be a real problem for the company with the Network. While live shows, merchandising, and other traditional forms of revenue appear to be strong (especially television), the company's emphasis on the Network long-term might present bigger issues for it's bottom line unless it can generate stronger revenue from the service. 
Hmm. Forgot to add a joke to that last section. 
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed our first Mailbag of Shame! I'm working on an overview of Rick Rude's career, and I'm sure we'll do something interesting come the Royal Rumble!

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