Welcome to your Friday Update, straight from the news desk. I'm your humble correspondent, Jonathan Quayle Higgins III. Perhaps we at the Friday Update misspoke when we identified last Friday as Black Friday. Things were already off to a bleak start with the one-two punch of Nelson Mandela's passing and the notification that Phil Collins was once again writing music, but then WWE had to hit us with this information:
"Creative writing now reports to Paul Levesque, EVP Talent and Live Events. In addition to Stephanie McMahon's expanded responsibilities as Chief Brand Officer, she will continue to maintain a presence on TV."
Translation: If you've been a huge fan of WWE's product over the last several months, you can consider this the best day of your life. If you've been frantically sitting on your hands in frustration and dismay waiting for the dark days to end, well, someone may need to take away your belt. As reported in yesterday's Update, WWE reported a bunch of corporate changes. They apparently felt the need yesterday to let the entire wrestling world know that creative is reporting to Triple H. And you thought this was the only Narcissist:
In any case, it's comforting to FNU to know that WWE does indeed have a group of people who label themselves "creative writing." That title in itself might be the most creative writing done in quite some time. And even though Stephanie has now been tasked with finding the six remaining sentient beings on the planet who are not aware of WWE's existence, she will remain on television. Keep calm and carry on, people. (INC)
Of course, Friday Update is only interested in more Stephanie McMahon segments if Chris Jericho is involved in them:
While we're on the subject of the WWE power structure, further details have surfaced regarding how things work behind the scenes. It may be no surprise that Trips and Vince McMahon have the final say when it comes to decision making, but the latest reports indicate a bit of troubling information that harkens back to the on-the-fly booking of the Russo/WCW era. According to these reports, WWE is firmly focused on their Monday night show and it has apparently had the unfortunate consequence of slighting the other shows.
This news item states that Vince McMahon will ask the writing team to notify him of what Smackdown's main event will be just a few hours before Raw so that it can be promoted during the show. You may have noticed that Main Event and Smackdown main events seem to shift and change, and this may be the root cause of that issue. It was in evidence this week, as we discovered CM Punk would be facing "A member of The Shield" on Friday. That's apparently due to Vince's inability to decide who the opponent will be.
An astute observer would likely note that scripting storylines in advance might be made rather difficult when decisions are made in this manner. It may also explain why half the matches of recent PPVs don't seem to be finalized until the ring is being set up. (Rajah)
Fortunately, at great risk to life and limb, Friday Update managed to land this exclusive footage of the creative team during Monday night's broadcast:
Moving on to other sources of entertainment, news has come out that FNU favorite "Stone Cold" Steve Austin will be involved with the creation of another reality show. Austin announced the news himself on his podcast (which is highly recommended, for obvious reasons) when he said that CMT has given him the green light for the airing of the "Steve Austin Broken Skull Ranch Challenge."
The show will reportedly have regular and hardcore athletes proving their toughness in a series of competitions. It was not made clear whether this would be similiar to WWE's latest Tough Enough incarnation (which starred Austin, and was pretty darn good) or similiar to TNT's recent reality flop "The Hero" (which starred Austin's old buddy The Rock, and was pretty darn cancelled). We can only hope for the best. (Rajah)
As has been covered outstandingly well by TJR's stable of erudite writers, much has been made of the switching of Sin Cara on Monday. It took until yesterday for WWE themselves to comment on the matter. The following was released by the Titan Tower braintrust:
"The original performer behind the Sin Cara mask remains under contract to WWE. WWE will continue to invest in the character and retain it as part of WWE programming."
This is hardly a huge headline considering that Sin Cara was a HHH guy from the gate. The skeptic in your humble reporter suggests that being referred to as "the original performer" bodes poorly for your job security. At least with Doink the Clown, facepaint and costuming managed to hide the guy inside somewhat. Did WWE think the mood lighting would prevent fans from recognizing a tattoo and muscle mass that wasn't there before? (INC)
Perhaps there should be a place where bad gimmicks go to die. Like a zombie apocalypse. What do you mean, they've already done zombies?
Oh. Most definitely included.
Finally, if you were one of the chosen few who tuned into Survivor Series this year (dreadfully sorry about that), you might have noticed that Total Diva Eva Marie was strangely smiling and laughing as she made her way to the back following her elimination. Or you might have been getting nachos, playing Words with Friends, or watching that coat of paint intently.
In any event, if you were curious why the WWE's resident "bad girl" appeared so oblivious, the answer is at hand: She was directed to. WWE reportedly coaches their babyface wrestlers to maintain their character following a loss, which consists of high-fiving and celebrating your complete lack of success. Because that's what we like: People that have absolutely no freaking idea of context. (Rajah)
Finally, to start your weekend off right, Friday News Update presents a semi-regular closing feature: Wrestler vs. Musician.
Contestant #1: Ernest "The Cat" Miller
Contestant #2: Cat Stevens
Your call, dear readers. Your call. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Tuesday!