The WWE is the leader in the world of
professional wrestling, oops I mean “Sports Entertainment.” And it is because of this that fans of professional wrestling struggle with the product so much in the current climate. But some significant factors contributing to the decline of interest in the product that the WWE is putting on week after week. And we examine a few of those reasons now.
Comparing to the Attitude Era is Detrimental
For anyone who grew up during the renaissance that was the “Attitude Era,” they will undoubtedly compare the current product to that era. However, these types of comparisons only serve to anger and disappoint. When thinking back to previous times in wrestling as in life, we only remember (or more accurately fantasize) about the highlights. We think back to when Stone Cold drove the beer truck into the arena. We think about the night Mick Foley won his first WWE Championship. Things like these have become engrained in our memory. And for better or worse shape how we view the current product.
Comparing the Superstars of yesteryear to the current day stars is unfair for several reasons. But most of which is the fact that the wrestlers of the Attitude Era were able to demonstrate their own personalities. The heavily scripted nature of today’s product does not allow for today’s Superstars to express that. So while we hold in the highest regards regarding mic work people like The Rock, Stone Cold, Ric Flair, or Macho Man Randy Savage. The Superstars of today’s WWE aren’t afforded the same opportunities.
The Power of the Promo
Everyone’s favorite target of promo ridicule was Roman Reigns. (On a side note everyone here at the Laracuente Ledger wishes Roman a speedy recovery.) Roman Reigns has been known to cut some of the worst promos in recent memory. Everyone will remember the suffering succotash line and when he forgot his scripted promo during the build to his match with John Cena. But if Roman was allowed to be himself. And as the old cliche goes “turn the volume up to 11” he wouldn’t have come to such proceedings.
Allowing the Superstars to have more creative freedom will allow them to believe in what they’re doing. And it’s in those moments of understanding in one’s character that the best “Sports Entertainers” are born.
No Building Up, Just Tearing Down
The WWE has struggled when it comes to producing and pushing quality Superstars in recent years. Long gone are the days when the reaction of the crowd determined whether a Superstar was a face or a heel. It seems as if the only “Superstars” are the ones Vince McMahon made himself. And yes I understand that people will give the example of AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. But those are the exceptions, not the rule. And speaking of Daniel Bryan, Bryan’s initial push was not because of Vince McMahon. But more so in spite of Vince. The crowd was so “white hot” as they say that it was undeniable. But again that isn’t the way it usually happens in WWE.
And for every AJ Styles or Daniel Bryan. We have Finn Balor, Gallows and Anderson, The Revival, Bobby Roode, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler and many many more grossly misused. We have wrestlers that have gone on to become bonafide stars away from the banner of WWE. Guys like Cody (can’t use his own last name) Rhodes, Matt Hardy, PAC (fka Neville), Drew McIntyre and many more. These guys built a name for themselves in the “Pro-Wrestling” industry away from WWE. To the point that guys are now choosing to stay away from WWE because they are doing better on the “Indies” than they did in WWE.
Just take a look at Monday Night RAW from this week, every single babyface superstar got demolished by the heels. Every segment was booked and produced to generate heat. Not one babyface got over. Why? Why did they book the entire night like this? As reports have it, this week’s RAW was set up to be in limbo as Vince was in charge and did not know what direction they wanted the show to go because of the injury to Braun Strowman. The injury to the one babyface that is allowed to get over with the fans being injured caused an entire three-hour episode of Monday Night RAW to be THROWN AWAY! If the WWE doesn’t believe in building up and pushing their babyface superstars, then why should we believe in them?
No Continuity, No Believability
Speaking of why should we believe in them, the WWE seemingly has no recollection of what they have previously done. The segments from week to week don’t match up. For example, just looking at Survivor Series, Monday Night RAW boasted about being “undefeated” at Survivor Series. However, if you watched the Kick-Off show, you would have witnessed Smackdown Live win Tag Team Elimination match. But all throughout the night the Announcers (save for Corey Graves) say that RAW won every match. And be told that the kick-off show didn’t count. So what then WWE did you send out notifications to everyone using the WWE App that the Survivor Series Kick-Off show was starting at 5 pm (est) if the main card was all that matters and that wasn’t starting until 7 pm?
Jump ahead a couple weeks, and Randy Orton continues a program with Rey Mysterio that started at the “Best in the World Tournament.” (And if you want my take on that nonsense I’ve written a couple articles about that. Why Shane?, Crown Jewel, 1 Steps Forward 2 Step Back) Randy would viciously attack Rey by smashing his head wrapped in a steel chair into the ring post. Yet Rey would come out at Starrcade with a neck brace on and then proceed to wrestle. He would then wrestle again on Smackdown Live this week before ultimately being attacked once again by Orton. The “stories” that the creative team and Vince McMahon come up with are seemingly never followed through on until complete. They are usually abandoned for some other ill-conceived idea.
Created By McMahon For McMahon
The way that the creative team writes up the content each and every week is not designed with the fans in mind. The WWE Universe plays second fiddle to the “Chairman of the Board” Mr. McMahon. It is because he is the main target of the directed entertainment that we get the juvenile and crass humor we get on a weekly basis. For example, just look at the entire program involving Drake Maverick. Drake is the manager of the (physically) biggest tag team on Monday Night RAW. The Authors of Pain are the RAW Tag Team Champions. And yet the constant barrage of the toilet “humor” is ridiculous. Why in 2018 does Vince McMahon think it is funny for someone to soil themselves.
Beyond the juvenile humor directed for Vince McMahon’s amusement the Superstars that he is choosing to focus his “Main Eventer” push on are all of the same ilks. Big muscular men that harken back to the days of the terribly failed WBF (World Bodybuilding Federation). And while yes these men are much more athletic than those of the past. They do not possess the otherworldly abilities of some of the other wrestlers relegated to “Mid-Card Acts”. Guys like Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Bobby Roode, Dolph Ziggler can all carry the “prestige” and the weight burden of being “The Guy” or the “Top Dog” on Monday Night RAW. When Vince McMahon is still defining Main Eventer’s in 2018 by comparing them to Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger there is a serious disconnect between McMahon and the fans.
I feel like once a month I am writing about something else that is enraging me over the current state of the WWE product. And because I pretty much am. But that’s not to say that all of it is bad, because it isn’t. The WWE has the ability, power, and creative potential to truly make the “Sports Entertainment” and Pro-Wrestling business something that people gravitate to again. They have the necessary talent to make wrestling fun again. And to borrow a line from The Miz they can make pro-wrestling/sports entertainment something that is “Must See” again. But if Vince keeps booking the product to make himself laugh, sadly we won’t get that until Vince McMahon is…well you know how the rest of CM Punk’s infamous “Pipe Bomb” promo went. I don’t need to say it here.