I am what you would call a mark. I buy into Pro Wrestling despite all of its circus like theatrics, look beyond the scripted fare, and really get invested in the drama. As a child I really didn’t think Hogan could lift up Andre, I really thought Randy Savage was crazy (I was right), and although I’m older and know the ins and outs of the biz, I still think that HBK circa 1997 was the greatest wrestler of all time and that CM Punk is the only thing worth tuning into in 2013.
Despite my love of wrestling, a few months ago I gave up on it. After years of doing wrestling talk shows, blogs, and telling friends, “If it doesn’t change I’m giving up on WWE” I never really took a break from wrestling, like most of us who got hooked during the Attitude era or the Hogan era, I watched out of habit. However, after a so-so WrestleMania and the initial high of singing Fandango’s theme song wore off, I really did tune out and stop watching. From Backlash until two weeks ago, I didn’t watch any WWE (I fast-forwarded through TNA at times, but that doesn’t really count as wrestling) and honestly I didn’t miss it.
My plan was to take a break, and then go to Summerslam in Los Angeles to see what had changed live. During the first month I missed it a little, a spoiler about Brock Vs Punk, made me somewhat interested, but I didn’t bite. After the first four weeks, I forgot about WWE. I even forgot about Summerslam and didn’t even buy my tickets so I missed it. Life was good, there was no critiquing the product, hating on Cena, or complaining that younger guys weren’t getting pushed. All of my drama came from UFC preshows (Chael Sonnen is the best talker in sports and entertainment) and WWE Total Divas (a great show that shows the girls in a much more interesting light than Raw ever has). I was happy to have WWE out of my life, but I was curious to see what was going on. So one day I sat back and I watched several old episodes of raw and a few PPV that I missed… here’s my thoughts.
…Cena vs Daniel Bryan in a feud that had nothing to do with anything except the belt. I can dig it, there doesn’t always have to be heel vs face in the main event. But jeez was this boring! Some guys just don’t click inside the ring the way they do outside the ring, and maybe this was the case.
…Oh Wow Orton and Triple H screw DB to take the belt... who didn't see this coming. While Orton had been wasting away in the midcard as a face and needed something to do, this didn’t really blow my mind or surprise me. Orton has never been as OVER as the WWE tries to pretend. Randy Orton was never The Savage to Cena’s Hogan. He was never The Austin to Cena’s Rock. He was just a good looking guy, with average wrestling talent, but no real personality other than being “an Apex predator” whatever the F—that means Jim Ross. Orton is the most overrated wrestler since we all realized that Goldberg couldn’t really work the mic. Yet here we are and Orton is given another title run with an opponent we haven’t seen him match up against… and it’s still boring. Now we have to deal with Big Show Vs. Orton… god save us all from the sleep inducing feud!
…Cena’s hurt, so who do they push as the new face of WWE? NOBODY! Dolph didn’t step up. RVD is too old to step up. So what does WWE do to fill the void left by Cena? They bring Cena right back. WTF! Let the man heal people!
…The Shield vs Cody and Gold Dust. Snooze.
…Some weird cult group lead by Husky Harris attacks Kane. Ummm okay.
…AJ Lee has become more popular than Dolph Ziggler, no surprise there she actually has a personality that isn’t borrowed from Mr. Perfect.
…Speaking of Perfect, apparently Michael Mcguilawatevadahell was renamed Curtis Axel, and then proceeded to go back to jobbing a month later.
…Tito Santana apparently had kids and they wrestle with a the midget bull… you can’t make this BS up.
…Kofi Kingston continues to job… nothing to report here.
…Jack Swagger who was being poised as the next big thing is back to tag team jobbing with Antonio CesaShouldHaveStayedInROH.
…Wait, CM Punk Vs Lesnar Vs Rybac Vs Heyman, an actual feud with some drama. I really did enjoy these storylines and Punk Vs Lesnar was much better than Punk vs Taker, but these storylines were basically created to keep Punk out of the main event so that Bryan Vs. RKO could set the world on fire.
…The Authority. Stephanie and Hunter return to dominate RAW. This was my favorite part of the current product. Stephanie still has it, and Triple H never lost it. However, this is no way as good as the Helmsley-McMahon era which had a legit threat in Stone Cold, The Rock, and even The Undertaker. The only people trying to oppose The Authority is THE BIG SLOW. Ooooooo it’s the Big Slow: The World’s most boring athlete! Out of all the people on the Roster and on the NXT roster, the representative of TEAM WWE is Big Slow with his lawyer Mr. Jennifer Hudson? The Authority champion is Randy Orton? What about Orton screams WWE or new? Where is the youth movement? The Shield doesn’t even get to work the mic. Fandango is treated as comedy relief with The Big WhyME. EvaMarie is THE star of Total Divas and she hasn’t even been brought in as a heel valet. Somebody call up Ritchie Steamboat from NXT or bring in Matt Morgan please!
So yes I’m back to watching WWE, but nothing has really changed. The Company rushed John Cena back for a reason—they have no one to put asses in seats besides the retired HBK, the semi-retired Triple H, the still held back CM Punk, and Part Time Brock. If you don’t like WWE, you don’t have to watch it, is the defensive response to fans like me, but I do like WWE, I love it, and it breaks my heart that after several months away they’re regurgitating the same storylines.
Maybe the old school guys are protecting their SPOT. Maybe business is so slow that Vince doesn’t want to rock the boat too much and alienate the younger fans who wouldn’t appreciate someone like Damien, Cody, Antonio, Kofi, or Zack Ryder as a WWE champion. But screw that, WWE fans don’t dictate who is champion, the WWE does. No matter how much of a jobber or midcarder a guy is, the JBL effect still exist. Any of these guys is one push away from being repackaged and taken seriously, but it has to be a leap of faith from the powers that be.
Is this the worst that the WWE has ever been? God no, the post WCW years were horrible… Cena Vs Orton for six months, sucked Donkey D%ck. Psycho Sid as champion was atrocious. There are some good things going on with WWE, Punk, AJ, Stephanie-Hunter, and Daniel Bryan are cornerstones that the company can build on and of course Cena is the safety net. But it’s time to amp things up in 2014.
Think about this: WWE 2k14 is built as 25 years of WrestleMania classics. Come WWE 2K24, what dream matches will they be able to create from this era? Los Matadors VS The Prime Time Players? The epic Big Show Vs The Shield? Oh wait, gamers will go crazy at the thought of being able to play Khali Vs Fandango featuring Summer Rae.
In all honesty, there are no modern day classic matches to be had from this 2013 roster because WWE is stale. I will keep watching it, or maybe I’ll take another break. It doesn’t really matter because when I tune back in it’ll be the same old SH!T.