The term “bonus match” was thrown around a lot on WWF pay-per-views during the Attitude era. Essentially, it was a match that you didn’t know was booked, but were getting to watch anyway, regardless of whether you were happy to pay for it or not. Most of the time, it featured people who would generally wouldn’t have thrown down money to see, as it was usually mid-card acts in a minor feud. Sometimes the match was perfectly fine, at other times it was a complete mess – regardless, no matter how good or bad it was, it generated zero dollars for the show, as it was not advertised ahead of time. As a result, it makes you wonder why the match took place, from a business sense. Sure, it may encourage fans to buy PPVs in the future, as they may get an extra treat – like buying a Kit-Kat and biting into it, only to find there is no wafer and it’s all chocolate or something – but for the most part, it’s merely a time killer that is designed to give the fans a rest before the next big-money match…
That’s exactly what happened with the Divas title match at WWE‘s final PPV of the year, TLC last night. Beth Phoenix retained the belt after defeating Kelly Kelly in an unadvertised affair using an inverted electric chair – if you remember when Big Show used to go through a million finishers in 2001, you may recall it being named the Alley-Oop. The match all came about after the Slammys on Monday when Beth came out to claim Kelly’s trophy, only to be slapped by the perky blonde and see her retrieve the award. Well, at least it had a build-up of sorts, I guess. Still, let’s see what was succulent turkey, what was limp parsnips, and what was sprouts…
A couple of the spots were pretty neat. Kelly faceplanted Beth on the outside at the start of the contest, their sequence from Kelly’s Rocker Dropper attempt into a Glam Slam attempt into a Kelly victory roll was neat, and the finish were decent.
But that’s all it was – just a series of spots. The bits inbetween were drier than the average Christmas bird.
In fact, the crowd was so uninspired by this bonus match that they barely made any noise. Not even a ripple of people chatting to each other, ignoring what was going on. I can only surmise that the fans did what fans tend to do when Divas matches take place and switch off or go to the toilet/merchandise stands. The crowd was so dead that you could hear Beth calling spots with Kelly, including telling her to roll her up for a small package, and talking to each other as they worked out a move in the corner. Not good.
Regardless of how short, pointless or disappointing the contests are, there are fans out there who are willing to pay for a PPV to see the Divas match. To not advertise it may have cost WWE money that they could have raked in with an announcement on SmackDown, or even SuperStars over the past week. If you’re going to pay to have them on the show and give them a PPV payoff as well – and we hear regularly that Vince McMahon likes to have a women’s match on the show, regardless of how necessary it is, which made it surprising when nothing was announced for the show – then why not advertise it and try and prize some cash out of viewers’ hands? It just seems potty to me.
Well, that closes the pay per views for the year, and for the most part, it’s been a bit of a disappointment. Sure, there have been some decent matches – Michelle McCool v Layla at Extreme Rules (though the crowd was dead for it) and Beth v Kelly at SummerSlam , but for the most part, it’s not been inspiring on WWE’s end. Should we hold out for better in 2012? Let us know what you think – as well as your thoughts on the match – in the comments section.
– Lee Burton