D.H. Smith's Plight, Real PPV Buy Number For Cyber Sunday, WWE.com Traffic
source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
— WWE mistakenly listed Cyber Sunday 2007 as doing 290,000 PPV buys on their corporate website a few months ago. In the company’s financial report released last week for the entire year, the show was listed as actually doing a total of 194,000 PPV buys. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter originally estimated the show at 191,000 buys, so it seemed way off when Cyber Sunday — which is traditionally one of WWE’s poorest performing pay-per-views in terms of buys — came in with such a high number. Cyber Sunday featured “Stone” Cold Steve Austin & Mick Foley in guest roles, the return of Shawn Michaels in a grudge match with Randy Orton, and a championship match between Undertaker and Batista. Despite all that, the show only managed to garner 122,000 PPV buys from North America.
— With each passing week it’s becoming more and more apparent that WWE only called up Harry “D.H.” Smith to the main roster to make an example out of him and use him as a pawn for a publicity ploy.
In the middle of September, Smith failed a drug test after testing positive for steroids. The steroid he failed for was Winstrol to be exact. Winstrol is also known as Stanozolol, which is a synthetic anabolic steroid. Winstrol is/was a drug of choice of at least a few of his WWE colleagues as a number of stars such as Randy Orton, Edge, John Morrison and William Regal were revealed to have purchased Stanozolol over the Internet when the Signature Pharmacy bust went down. Nonetheless, Smith was called up to the main roster a little over a month later, even though WWE knew of his drug failure well before his call-up because they got the test results in late September. Upon his arrival to the main roster, he was given a mini-push — winning his first two matches on Raw and pushed as a “can’t miss prospect” by Jim Ross. On Friday, November 2nd, at the end of Smith’s second week as an official member of the WWE roster, the company made an announcement stating that Smith had violated their Wellness policy and was going to be suspended for 30 days.
In light of the Signature Pharmacy scandal at the end of the summer, WWE announced that starting on November 1st they were going to make all WWE Wellness failures public knowledge. WWE could have suspended Smith well before November 2nd because they initially got the test results in late September, but they couldn’t announce it to the public because the policy hadn’t gone into effect yet. Even if they wanted to release Smith’s name to the public, he would have been a largely unknown developmental wrestler at the time and his suspension would have gone largely unnoticed by the media. By not suspending Smith right away in September when they could have, his call-up and wait was done to guarantee that they had a name to publicly announce right away when the November 1st provision went into effect.
With Smith being an official WWE wrestler at the time of the announcement of his suspension, it ended up getting some press as his suspension was reported on TMZ.com, not to mention during a live Fox News broadcast one Saturday afternoon. In comparison, the Wellness suspensions of developmental wrestlers Derrick Neikirk and Neil Bzibziak last month garnered no media publicity, pretty much because they are unknown wrestlers in WWE’s minor league division. Smith was called up to the main roster to make sure that they had a “name” to announce when the new policy went into effect, and subsequently “pushed” to show to the public that they were willing to suspend pushed wrestlers and that they are serious with their drug program.
It should be noted that WWE immediately released Smith’s name to all of the media outlets they work with, and even some outlets they almost never work with such as the Pro Wrestling Torch. Basically, they wanted the story out immediately and they wanted his drug policy violation to be known by as many people as possible.
Anyway, Smith came off his suspension in early December and has been available for WWE to use since the December 3rd Raw. Since coming off his suspension, Smith still has yet to wrestle a match on Raw — so that’s 12 weeks and counting now. Smith and Drew McIntyre — who’s WWE status appears to be in limbo — are the lone Raw wrestlers to not wrestle on Raw during this time frame. During the last few months, Smith has been appearing on WWE Heat and a select number of house shows (usually jobbing), but has been left off TV altogether the past three weeks. Furthermore, before his absence from television, Smith was on a losing streak on Heat, losing to Carlito, Trevor Murdoch and even a masked Charlie Haas trying out a new “comic relief” gimmick, in consecutive matches.
— WWE.com garnered 17.6 million visitors during the month of October, which translates to 567,000 visitors per day. A good portion of the October figure can be attributed to WWE pushing viewers on television to go to the website to vote for Cyber Sunday matches. Traffic dropped off in November and December, both months doing 15.6 million (520,000 per day) and 15.1 million visitors (487,000 per day), respectively.
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