As I write this I have a good buzz going from swilling beer. I have clarity. Earlier, I was thinking to myself: “Why is the WWE product getting such bad reviews lately?” and it occurred to me that, though I am a dedicated fan, I have been rather uninterested in most of what’s happening. I thought about how WWE is so starved for having celebrities involved in their presentation. Then I realized: WWE doesn’t have enough star power to grow its audience and that’s the root of all their problems.
Blood needs to come back, because when you think about it, blood made many of the heroes of our past who they are today. Like Stone Cold Steve Austin. Twice in the last month, Rusev made two grown men pass out in his submission finisher. Not saying blood makes Swagger and Henry bigger stars, but MAYBE it makes their struggle more resonant. Ah. Struggle resonance. That’s a pretty good descriptor for heat in wrasslin. Most if not all the feuds in WWE have little to no heat. We are given no reasons to side with people. MOST often, people just go “Oh? Cena vs Orton? Again!?!” Honestly I was shocked to learn they’ve only met 20 times on TV and maybe as many times on PPV. We shouldn’t have indifference towards the meeting of a combined 27 world championships. But WWE does a piss poor job of making us root for Cena and against Orton. What if Orton busted Cena open at the beginning of Raw, then a First Blood Match was made for the main event? Maybe we’d feel like Orton is a jackass who has an unfair advantage and be happy when he gets his and loses.
Back to my earlier point: there isn’t enough star power to sell the product. I was thinking about how, for the last THREE Manias, the three main event matches were all with part timers.
28 – Cena v Rock, Punk v Jericho, HHH v Taker
29 – Cena v Rock, Punk v Taker, HHH v Lesnar
30 – Bryan v Orton v Batista, Lesnar v Taker, HHH v Bryan
I will not make an argument any match between guys currently on the roster or on the roster at that time would be better for business. It’s STILL bad for business WWE can’t sell Mania unless Sting wrestles. Lesnar vs Reigns. Maybe Taker wrestles Sting. HHH might wrestle. So on and so forth. WWE can’t make us give a fuck about their young talent, so they have to keep bringing back old people and doing dumb shit like “inviting Michael Sam to come on Raw and have an open mic”.
You watch any sports competition, they’ll show celebrities sitting courtside or in luxury suites. WWE shows them sitting ringside. Where WWE is DIFFERENT… is they’ll invite celebrities over the barricade and between the ropes. Countless famous people have ‘guest hosted’ Raw. They had ‘booking’ power. Can you imagine Roger Goodell outsourcing his current PR issues to, say… Miley Cyrus? Can you imagine Drake being invited on the bench to draw up a play? WWE courts famous people to bring eyes to itself… instead of legit making us feel like we should be ashamed to not watch just based on wrasslin’s merits. WWE counts on folks tuning in to see so and so. I have NEVER watched another sport to see famous people who don’t play the sport.
That brings up… how WWE lacks resonance in that they do not present themselves AS a sport, even though they have championships and rules. In serious sports, seeing fluffy creatures do things is a sideshow. A fucking bunny rabbit executed numerous offensive maneuvers without ever selling for someone else last night. I think it’s time to go more insular, and stop looking to outside things to make yourself more relevant and become relevant by just putting on a compelling show. With blood.