Something’s wrong in WWE. And I’m not saying that lightly, I know we all think something’s been rotten in Denmark for a while, but right now I’m genuinely worried about the direction the company is going in. It seems that WWE have hit a creative wall when it comes to creating/pushing new talent, and they’re currently sitting in a funk they don’t seem capable of shaking off any time soon. Why is it every time WWE tries to create a new star they fail miserably by booking them into oblivion? How did we reach a point where the “standard WWE” push seems to do more harm than good?
So bear with me on this. I know it was only a couple of weeks ago that I was preaching from the bible of NXT about how the future’s bright with all the potential stars WWE have ready to shoot up the ranks right now. But it’s not the wrestlers themselves that are the problem. The problem here seems to be that WWE are currently incapable of taking any of these talented individuals and giving them anything worthwhile to get their teeth into. Personally I blame WWE’s Creative Department. With the WWE literally overflowing with talent and hot prospects, why are none of the tools of the roster being used to their fullest?
Even when WWE do try to get behind a superstar, they fail by doing their damnedest to ram that person down our throats until we’re sick of them. Look at Alberto Del Rio. I swear to God, if I hear “Born in Mexico, but made in America” one more time…I don’t know what I’ll do, but it won’t be pretty. How about poor Fandango? The guy was set to become a viral sensation, but that all started to quickly grind to a halt when WWE went into overkill mode and blitzed us all with FANDANGO FANDANGO FANDANGO!! show after show. Remember when we all got behind CM Punk being the “Voice of the Voiceless” only for WWE to attempt to turn him into generic babyface #12? Hell, the biggest offender of being rammed down our throats until we’re sick of the sight of him has to be John Cena? For pretty much the last decade WWE has force-fed us mouthful after painful mouthful of Superman Cena overcoming the odds until we’re now bloated, choking, and physically unable to tolerate any more.
Part of me thinks this is a side effect of employing Soap Opera writers for WWE television. Let’s be honest, the writers of Sunset Beach weren’t best known for their subtle nuance and astute observations, were they? If you employ writers who spent all day everyday thinking up implausible situations for stilted, wooden actors to fluff their way through, then guess what kind of material you’re most likely to get out of them? Part of me also thinks that the writers have this idea of what wrestling should be, and that is what they’re trying to portray. The only problem is that the majority of these writers are using their outside perspective of wrestling, and probably aren’t coming into this as genuine fans of the sport. Instead of knowing what a wrestling fan would want to see because they are a fan, they’re simply assuming that the current content is what the average wrestling fan wants to watch each week and just churning out more of the same.
I hope to God that it is a side effect of Soap writers, because if not the only other real option is that WWE thinks that wrestling fans are too stupid to appreciate or pick up on something unless they beat us about the head with it. To be perfectly honest, finding out that was the reason why the programming seems to be set to “lowest common denominator” wouldn’t surprise me that much at all. As fellow wrestling fans you’ve all also no doubt been on the receiving end of some kind of disparaging remarks about your intelligence based solely on what you like to watch on TV. It’s one thing when people outside of wrestling say that to us, but to have the No. 1 company in the industry to which we dedicate so much time (and cash) thinking the same thing? Well, that kinda hurts.
But there is a faint silver lining to this looming grey cloud. The Shield. Over the last 6 months The Shield have been the one thing in WWE booked logically, consistently, and sensibly. Unfortunately the last 2 weeks have started to forebode that WWE are about to go into overkill mode by shoehorning Ambrose, Rollins, & Reigns into pretty much every TV segment they possibly can.
So it’s all well and good having me whinge and moan about this, but what can we do to fix the situation? Well it’s gonna be a tough one to correct, but there are a few things that can happen immediately to help steer this ship in the right direction. First and foremost (and in the words of Take That) “try a little patience”. Don’t book your new guy with the idea of “if he doesn’t get over within 3 shows then we stop the push”. Gimmicks don’t always connect with your audience instantly. Some characters have to be given time to grow and mature in the role they are being groomed for, not everything has to be “wham bam thank you ma’am”.
Following on from that, WWE would do well to take a step back and stop micro-booking every little last segment. They should allow things to grow organically instead of trying to force their will on the fans. Take Fandangoing as an example. One week after the awesome New Jersey Raw, they killed a lot of Fandango’s momentum by forcing him to go out and cut a cringeworthy promo pretty much begging the crowd to join in with the Fandango craze. Don’t try to force it WWE, allow the crowd to come to the party under their own volition. If anything they should have Fandango come out and say how disrespectful it is for everyone to dance so poorly to his music. It’d help get him over as a heel, and it would most likely make the crowd more likely to get behind the whole Fandangoing thing, but frankly anything would have been better than the awkward bumbling promo they made him deliver.
Finally, WWE really need to stop treating the audience as if they’re stupid. Even if they are aiming the shows at the PG market, kids aren’t that stupid either. Believe me when I say that we’re more than capable of dealing with complex concepts such as feuds not always having to be between a good guy and a bad guy. You don’t need to hammer home every point, we do comprehend and even enjoy subtlety. I know wrestling by its very nature is about suspension of disbelief and being bold, brash, and OTT, but sometimes less is more. Isn’t it better to leave the crowd wanting more, instead of over-saturating and immediately making them sick to the back teeth of what you’re pitching them? In fact, why not employ writers who know something about wrestling, instead of just having flashy TV writing credentials on a completely unrelated show?
Actually while I’m in a “setting the world to right” mood, stop booking the MitB winner into oblivion so it’ll be a “surprise” when they finally cash in. That doesn’t help anyone, and sure it was a surprise first time you did it, but not all these years later. After giving Punk, Ziggler, and Bryan the jobber treatment after their briefcase wins, isn’t it about time you made a briefcase winner look strong and a legitimate threat to the title, instead of just losing loads and waiting for a flukey cash in? And on that same tangent, stop just bumping the mid card title around as if it’s some kind of magical fix for not having to push a midcard guy and hoping they’ll get over anyway. So what if you put the IC or US strap on Kofi every 6 months? The title means nothing currently, so it gives no rub whatsoever to the champion.
Basically WWE, take a back seat and let things evolve naturally, because your current trend of trampling the life out of anything new and exciting is gonna land you in trouble sooner rather than later…