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House Shows vs. TV vs. Internet vs. Pay-Per-View

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With Zack Ryder talking about how the Internet championship is the 'new' Television championship, I was thinking about what kinds of events the WWE generally has nowadays. Besides RAW, Smackdown, special country airings, and NXT, the WWE has a pretty diverse market. They have the two main shows, which Raw and SD are both televised, one live and one taped, then played at a later date. They have NXT, which is also televised, but has people in between the Florida Championship territory and the main roster perfecting their skills. We have Superstars which airs online every week for people who don't have TV time on Raw and SD, and finally we have the House Shows, where the WWE has events that are not officially filmed and given some leeway and flexibility for feuds or story-lines.

Just to return to my opener for a bit, a Television championship implies one that is defended on Television (TV) or something to that extent. For those too young or not as informed as other fans, wrestling was not always on television. Back in the day, there was maybe bi-weekly or monthly events held on TV. Promotions were not in places like Madison Square Garden on regular basis or had use of that type of facility. Wrestling events would take place any where that would have the events. It was really the 70s and early 80s that promotions had TV slots or deals with networks, so they could appear to a larger fan base. Vince Mc-Mahon was the one who revolutionized the industry by getting steady TV and PPV deals on a regular basis and drawing the big money.

Now, between Superstars on once a week, RAW and SD being regularly televised, and monthly PPVs, I feel House Shows are the odd man out of the group since they aren't filmed to be shown at a later date for a larger audience (not sure if they are filmed for archive purposes or some other reason). From what I can gather, House Shows simply represent two things, especially for the WWE: they're tradition, since wrestling used to be a non-televised (major promotions at least) and they can be used as 'feelers' or 'testing grounds' as I mentioned earlier. My point is I feel that between digital cameras, digital phones, and other electronic devices, I feel house shows are outdated since all or part of the event shows up on the internet at some point or another (like the CM Punk homo slur controversy in New Zealand), yet they still have some merit to them.

First, like I said, house shows are tradition. Much like having the top card at the end of the show, it's something that has been going on for decades. Some wrestlers still around in managing, promotional, or even wrestling positions can recall a time where they were at consistent events that were not televised or taped, so they may enjoy the nostalgia or change of pace from a working televised event. Also, it gives wrestlers some down time, since they won't be under hardcore management microscopes or have sponsors watching the event unless they are physically there or a major card is taking place. Wrestlers can use extra time from knowing that there is no designated TV time slot, so they can pander to and use the crowd however much they please, if allotted. To be straight forward, it is a simpler and (hopefully) less stressful environment.

Secondly, they can be test sites, test zones, testing waters; what ever you want to refer to it as, House Shows give a unique element since they are not canon (what ever happens at a house show will not be referenced on the following TV program) so what happens on their card stays there. So, maybe you want a rising star to beat the champion, but you want to see how the crowd takes to the new guy. Put him in a series of House Show matches against the top guy and see what happens. This type of planning happens all the time and has been used for decades. Here is a perfect example: in WCW, Diamond Dallas Page and Randy Savage were feuding against one another. Savage had just turned heel by joining the New World Order and was attacking DDP not only professionally but also personally by going after his real-life wife. They would have matches for the feud at both televised events and House Shows accordingly. DDP recounts in one of his tribute videos to Savage that during that period of the feud, Savage was winning. He either played dirty independently or had the other members of the nWo help him out.

At a House Show, DDP says he and Savage were going over their match and it came time for planning the ending. Savage causally mentions taking the Diamond Cutter that night, implying that he wanted DDP to win. After getting over the shock and honor on DDP's part, they did go through with the planned finish, which got a huge, positive reaction from the crowd that night. Savage then declared, according to DDP, that they now had their finish for the next televised event or the actual finish of the feud (I forget, sorry!). Now Savage was a top guy in wrestling, so at the time for him to lose to a relatively newer wrestler, like DDP, this was a shocking or unpredictable event. Though Savage was in full out heel mode and demanding it, DDP could have just been another jobber for the nWo to destroy. At a House Show, they could safely test the idea that people want to see DDP win before possibly wasting TV time and getting a poor reaction. I bet you money they had The Miz cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase once or twice at a House Show before actually going through with the real match on RAW last year.

So in conclusion, I feel with internet and fan postings online, House Shows are getting kind of superfluous, since they will show up somewhere past the attending audience on YouTube or some other site. However, they are still useful if you want to try out an upset victory or new champion be crowned, a House Show is a legitimate way to do so with an audience present.

Looking forward to all kinds of feedback!

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  1. tchocky360's Avatar
    The house shows I've seen in Ireland seemed pretty much no different to what was on TV. I think if Miz had cashed in his MITB briefcase at a house show and won someone would have posted somewhere that he was the new WWE champ.
    They seem to be more about a chance to see the wrestlers in person, there's no real storylines involved, there's the same rivalries, but no resolutions or major changes.

    They are a good safe family environment for kids to see their heroes and the parents to spend their cash.

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