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.
Because three men can say they should be WWE WHC. History should have told us… WWE does something unexpected that gets us excited and talking about a new day… then drops the ball and does some dumb shit that completely does away with the earlier good feelings. See, entering Night of Champions, Brock Lesnar was unbeatable. Leaving Night of Champions? He almost lost twice but the two men hated on each other. This. Is. TURRIBLE. booking.
See, Brock Lesnar is supposed to be built up as this unstoppable beast. Then, say, Roman Reigns beats him. Now HE is the man. What happens to THAT payoff, when Lesnar essentially should have lost the title twice now? We can’t unsee Lesnar ending The Streak and how he beat the brakes off of Cena. But imagine if RIGHT after the bell rang at WrassleMania, the match was restarted and Lesnar tapped to the Hell’s Gate? Remember the clusterfuck ending that was Hollywood Hogan vs Sting? When Hogan won but didn’t then Sting did but not really? THEY DID THAT SHIT TWICE! First, Cena put Lesnar in like 3552565325 finishers, and after the fourth AA, I really can’t see Lesnar kicking out. Then Seth Rollins hits the ring then Cena with that gold briefcase. He would then hit HIS finish on Lesnar. Then Cena chased him off. So… for MANY of us fans… it was like a good movie turned SHIT because of a terrible ending.
To predict where WWE goes from here, maybe they just wanted an excuse to have Cena and Lesnar headline Hell in a Cell. Maybe they wanted to put Rollins in a feud with Cena. I like neither, but Rollins doing jobs for Cena less. See… when you really think about it, Lesnar LOST to John Cena last night. He wasn’t pinned and he didn’t tap, but he LOST. IF we’re counting back to their match at Extreme Rules, Cena now owns two wins to Lesnar’s one. And that’s retarded. Maybe they fight again and Lesnar pulls out a win in a back and forth contest. Because that’s what WWE does. Trade wins. Rollins would be on the 2 side of a 1-2 record if he feuded with Cena. So NAWL.
I’m even more pissed when I think about Heyman helping abort Cesaro’s momentum by spending every second he had on a microphone standing next to him… talking about Brock Lesnar ending The Streak. So you couldn’t just let someone get over and turn babyface… you had to keep him heel, and then have his manager mostly neglect him, before you just forgot the whole angle? I almost typed “Lesnar ended The Streak and beat up Cena then got rewarded by nearly taking two losses in one night” before I remembered: WWE brought Lesnar back… to be an asskicker. Bring legitimacy back to WWE. Then he lost the match.
It’s like WWE has completely forgotten what a badass looks like, much less how to book one.
I’ve been reading and watching and listening to many things complaining about the current WWE product. I almost never see ideas on how to make it better. Just complaining. I know I spend a lot of time here complaining. Show me where I didn’t state what I’d do different and the difference it would make.
The first example of this is: Week to week I feel no attachment to the Roman Reigns character. I think it was a weird decision to throw he and Rollins on the Night of Champions card, and even weirder to give that match away for free on Raw then have the rematch on the PPV. Mostly because since Reigns won clean, we can bank on interference in the rematch. Bad booking. Worse than that is, again… WHY should I root for Roman Reigns? WHO is Roman Reigns? WHAT drives Roman Reigns? We don’t need him to have flashbacks to his childhood and the father that was never there or some shit. Just simple expressions of who he is and his motivations.
Wrestling is best when it’s simple. The Divas have soap operatic story arcs now… helped by their reality show. But, now on Raw, they’ll show an on screen conflict between the characters and *snaps fingers* they have a match. When was the last time two competitors fought over a title and all you heard them talking about was wanting or even NEEDING to be the best? I remember when Cena was saying he HAD to beat The Rock cuz this is everything to him. And that… was a story where the competitors were greater than any title. In the actual title match that night, you had two men claiming to be the best in the world (at everything they do) and their match wasn’t about that, it was about how one of them was claiming the other was a drunk from a terrible family. That’s the thing. WWE hires all these TV show writers… who are used to writing like 26 episodes for a season, for say, 5-6 years. As opposed to 104 episodes of Raw and SmackDown a year, into time out of mind. Kinda makes sense certain guys get left twisting in the wind.
I haven’t felt like Raw was completely terrible for the last month… just jarring. You have things like Jerry Springer. A rabbit pwning WWE Superstars. Paul Heyman. Everything else. It feels like there is no continuity, no real plan. It feels exactly like they’re writing the show right before the show or writing it DURING the show.
Bullet points on everything I happen to care about at NOC:
- I think Brie Bella should inadvertently help Nikki win the Divas title, otherwise she was REALLY just randomly thrown in that match. Futurewise I might can get up for a four way.
- Of course Cena won’t get beat up like he did last time, but he still gonna get beat up. Being John Cena. And hopefully he evolves… nvm lemme not put THAT hope out there.
- Seth Rollins will beat Roman Reigns with help from Kane, like he has in pretty much every match he’s in that matters.
- Randy Orton might kick Chris Jericho back into the Stone Age.
- The Usos might retain again and further defecate on the weak tag team division
- Rusev gonna Rusev.
- Miz prolly gonna lose again and no one will care.
- Cesaro gonna lose another big match and the IWC will weep.