The Issues are Bountiful
With the concerns surrounding COVID 19 restrictions and a lack of fan support for the current WWE product, it has become more crucial than ever for WWE to plan and book exciting storylines that both interest the die hard followers of the product but also attracts a new generation who have grown disenfranchised with the cookie cutter booking that has been the staple of WWE programming for the last several years.
What WWE seems to be lacking is a 2021 feel for the pulse of the wrestling fan. The desire for large profit figures and international licensing deals has become significantly more important to the WWE upper management team than the quality of the product that they present on television. The corporate greed that permeates most organizations has found its way into the WWE Universe and by allowing the cash to drive decision making, they have missed what would truly make them even more profitable.
The Potential is There
It is not a case where WWE is unable to produce compelling stories. We are a few weeks removed from an emotional roller coaster episode of WWE Smackdown that drew the year’s highest viewing audience to witness the lovable and often overlooked Big E win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. A championship that has typically been used as a potential springboard to bigger and better things. When the ratings came in and WWE saw over 3 million viewers, it should have sent a clear message to the creative geniuses in the company that this was a guy the fans want to see get the ultimate prize.
Instead, what did we get? The next week, he was featured in the middle of the show and has been placed in meaningless matches since his emotional victory. Can you imagine if WWE had seen the value in following up that incredible surge in viewership by parading the WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns, out to the video wall of fans only to be interrupted by the new Intercontinental Champion? Big E could have established himself as a main event star immediately. He could have even played off of the New Day gimmick and spoke about how there was a New Head of the Table. It would have sent shockwaves through WWE.
Don’t get me wrong. If this is all leading to Big E winning the Royal Rumble and challenging Roman at WrestleMania, then I will compose myself and continue to watch like a good little fan. If Monday Night Raw was an indicator of things to come though, I fear that is not the case. On Raw, we got to watch a 50+ year old Bill Goldberg stroll to the ring to throw down a Royal Rumble Challenge to the face of the Red Brand who has dominated an entire roster this year. Why would he fear an over-the-hill Goldberg who was demolished by Braun Strowman only 9 months ago and who hasn’t been seen since?
This all leads me to believe that we will see Drew retain at the Rumble and somehow, Goldberg will enter at #30 and win the Rumble to face Reigns next. How is it that this guy only gets world championship matches and matches with the Phenom? He hasn’t had a meaningful match that lasted more than 3 minutes in years and is clearly not in the same league as the majority of the roster. Why are we spending so much time building up a broken down part-time talent instead of aligning Keith Lee with the Hurt Business and costing Drew the WWE Championship?
The answer is one of two things. Either nobody in WWE has the creative wherewithal to see the value in pushing a program like that or Vince McMahon refuses to green light something more revolutionary which is what the 2021 fan wants.
What is everyone else doing?
I watched Wrestle Kingdom 15 presented by New Japan Pro Wrestling and watched a company with a fantastic pulse on what their fans want. They delivered incredible and entertaining highly competitive matches up and down the card. The long time fan favorite, Kota Ibushi, finally achieved his life long goal and walked out IWGP World and Intercontinental Champion. There wasn’t a dry eye in the building.
The next night, he retained his newly won championship against an incredible challenger and then helped to create a new main event level star in accepting a future challenge from Sanada. Now that is booking. Wrap up 2 feuds in 2 nights and kick off the next program without missing a beat. Not only that but the new feud is as compelling as any other in the company. Why can’t WWE do this?
AEW has been adventurous and partnered with Impact Wrestling which has been great for Impact ratings and fan appeal while on AEW’s own program, Dynamite, featured one of the most emotional and memorable tribute shows of all time for a fallen ring warrior. How is it that all of these smaller and less established companies are trying to make fans happy and keep delivering phenomenal on screen products but WWE seems incapable of the same?
Even smaller promotions like the NWA, Ring of Honor, AAA, CMLL, and MLW have brought creativity and compelling match concepts to their fans in recent history but WWE keeps doing the same old thing day in and day out. They have Randy Orton burn the Fiend in a large box akin to doing the same as he did with the Undertaker a decade ago. They relegate some of the most incredible in-ring talents like Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Daniel Bryan to some of the worst booking imaginable. You have 2 stuck in a hodge podge tag team that hasn’t been over since their formation and book Daniel Bryan to grind on Otis as a workout. Who writes this stuff?
We just want something we can sink our teeth into
WWE needs to realize that in 2021, fans want believability and credibility in their product. Allow Cesaro to reach new heights like he should have 10 years ago. Build Nakamura to be a technical master like he truly is. Put Daniel Bryan in a situation that makes any remote sense. Why did we split up Heavy Machinery if we weren’t going to push Otis and stick him with yet another tag team partner in the former “Shorty G”?
One of the primary issues is Vince McMahon being so hot and cold on talent. When New Japan pushes someone, it is typically for at least a year and potentially much longer. Kazuchika Okada was the face of the company like Hiroshi Tanahashi was before him. That is where Kota Ibusji is now. Kenny Omega is one of the top draws in 2 different companies at this point. Nick Aldis has brought tradition and nostalgia back to the NWA World Championship. What does WWE give us? Bill freaking Goldberg! Are we supposed to believe that a guy who got squashed by Strowman and who was somehow booked to beat the Fiend in Saudi Arabia which brought about an insanely bad fan reaction is now going to take down one of the best talents in the business today?
How about some real hard hitting action and I don’t mean Raw Underground. Let some of these guys and gals go out there and really put on a clinic. I don’t care if we only get 3 matches a week if they are all 30 minute matt classics, I am in. Stop putting Lucha House Party against the Hurt Business for not one understandable reason. Let Big E ascend to mega star status. Use Roman Reigns to get a new face of the company over. Allow Randy Orton to do something more original. Heck, use the Fiend in a manner that makes him appear to be unstoppable again. There are so many things they could do. If you have to, use some of that intellectual property you bought up to keep it away from Cody Rhodes and bring back Battle Bowl to freshen things up. I don’t know but what I do know is this product is not working and fans are more likely than ever to turn the channel.
What are your thoughts? Comment Below!