Last night’s Monday Night RAW was horrible.
It was a great example of the current WWE scene right now all wrapped up in 3 hours, and it was not a positive image to send out to the world. Horribly out of place celebrity appearance that gets shit on by the crowd? Check. Long stale and unyielding top star being interjected into a top feud? Check. Top feud degenerating into 3 stooges comedy bits weeks in a row? Check. Women being used in half assed storylines to promote a reality show? Check. I actually stayed awake during the entire three hours of the show, where lately I drifted off to sleep during the second hour, and honestly I think I could have slept through the entire thing and not missed much. And yes, that does include the Rock’s segment.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Maybe I’ve been reading too many dirt sheets (a dangerous thing to do for any wrestling fan) but for a long time, especially after Wrestlemania, it feels like the WWE is like an ageing Disney/Nick child star. They want to grow and change and do something different, but they are bound to do the same old tired crap they’ve been doing for what seems like a lifetime.
Let’s face it, If you are a WWE fan, RAW is the only show you need to watch anymore. Smackdown has become more and more obsolete by the day. With the 15th anniversary show coming up, ever notice that almost all the clips they’ve aired from the show’s history are 10 years old or older? Currently, more times than not, Smackdown just features a regurgitation of RAW’s programming, tweaked just slightly, if you are lucky. It doesn’t further storylines, it doesn’t do anything different, and most of the time it features main events that are forgettable by the time you get to RAW 4 days later. It doesn’t stand out. It’s WCW Thunder. Superstars and Main Event are just there for international contracts to TV stations in other countries. You aren’t missing much with them either. Even RAW itself is largely so formulaic that you know at what parts the show is trying and what parts you can scan to see what else is on. The first segment is mostly likely an over scripted, way to long, promo, hopefully leading to the first match that will be decent. There will be some interesting things going on for the rest of the first hour. Once you hit the recap of the first hour the show just dies pretty much until the last half hour when something interesting actually happens again. It’s like a bizarro version of SNL.
The WWE’s use of women in the last few years has just been terrible. It’s been said for a long time now, but it seems like when the WWE went PG, they lost all interest in the women of the company (save of course for daddy’s little girl Stephanie). That, I think, can largely be attributed to one man. No not Vince, but Kevin Dunn. The senior producer for the show and a “job for life” guy who has been with the company going back before the first Wrestlemania. EVERY mention of this man from ex wrestlers, writers, and anyone else, paints a horrible picture of an immature man child who has a horrible attitude towards women (Ex creative head Jim Cornette told a story one booking meeting where Dunn spoke of nothing but former talent Sable’s white panties). When the WWE went PG and the women couldn’t be used for jack off material anymore, they didn’t know what to do. At one time they didn’t even bother training them very much above basic wrestling moves at all since they didn’t care. But here’s the thing, go watch the first NXT special they produced, featuring the match between two current members of the roster, Paige and Emma. Those two tore the house down! Compare that to the crapfest from last night. The sad thing is, last night’s match was the rule, not the exception.
The other part of the women’s division of the WWE is Total Divas, the reality show the WWE produces for the E! network. Almost all the segments involving the women have been to promote this show since it debuted. The results? Literally storylines that last all of a week and are never mentioned again to coincide with an episode that was filmed 6 months ago. Often times these plotlines make the Wrestlemania match over shampoo between Edge and Booker T look like the build up to Hulk/Andre. I don’t think the WWE is fooling anyone with that show either. It’s scripted as much as the wrestling is. I’ve often wondered just how much of RAW’s audience actually watch that show anyway. The end result is that you have a roster full of women who are ether boring with little outstanding character traits fumbling around the ring for 2 minutes to advertise a show I suspect a good chuck on the audience isn’t going to watch, or you have very talented well trained women being held back to 30 second matches just to show they still exist.
The main roster isn’t doing that well either. Most of the mid card is just a bunch of guys flailing around endlessly while the writers focus on a very select few people over and over again. Why should we care about what Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Big E, and a host of others when it’s obvious the company isn’t interested in them? They could put on some great stellar matches, but would that be brought up the next week? Nope. Would they get a highlight package? Nope. They are just there to fill time between the actual spots the company wants you to give a damn about this week.
The upper card isn’t much better either. The current top dog in the WWE is a part timer who as it sounds, won’t be on TV (or anywhere else) until January. Seriously. Besides that, Brock Lesnar has been booked in a way that yeah, he’s a big deal, but honestly I don’t think there is anyone on his level aside from John Cena, and that match has been done to death anyway. That leads into the next point and that is Cena himself. It’s not a unique opinion to think that it’s been long enough, going on 11 years since he became a main eventer. But with Brock out of the picture, what do they do? Insert him into another feud that actually featured two younger and more interesting guys. I’m not looking forward to Cena taking on either Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose. I’m not looking forward to more weeks on end of Cena v/s Triple H and Steph in ANOTHER weak attempt at Austin/McMahon.
Now with all that said back to my original point. I could be way off base, but I think the WWE really is prepping for the future and change to its product, even if some of those in charge aren’t aware of it. Follow me on this. Vince is getting old. He’s hovering around 70 at this point. Despite what they would like to tell you, everything in the company is driven to make Vince happy so that people can keep cooshy well paid jobs, not entertain fans. Every idea gets Vince’s sign off. And while he is the main reason for the company being where it is today, I think he is largely holding it back at this point. Every stupid joke, ever lame outdated reference, every painful segment with Hornswaggle and that bull guy? All to make a 70 year old, wannabe billionaire, gafaw. Vince is not one to look to the future, not anymore, he wants old outdated references and things he understands, mostly things he has done before that did so well. Why do you think Russev is being pushed the way he is? Because that’s how every foreign heel has been pushed in the WWE since the 80’s. Wonder why Cena is being pushed the way he is, because that is how he pushed Hulk Hogan back in the day. “The Authority”? Yeah, Might as well call it the Corporation and be done with it.
Call me crazy, but I think there is someone who is looking to the future. A future where there is no Vince, a future where ability will have more to do with the product, and less about big muscles.
I’m serious. Look at the former Shield Members, look at the guys headlining NXT, look at all the recent independent signees coming in or just arriving on NXT. That’s all Triple H. Sure, there are some slugs in the developmental program, but there is so much more talent that is so counter to what the WWE has pushed over the last 3 decades that it makes you wonder if Trips isn’t stocking up with the weapons HE will use when the old man finally gets out of the way. He brought in Sara Del Ray as a trainer to actually train women the right way instead of just tossing them on TV in their underwear and telling them to be sexy. He has been signing talent that aren’t 6 foot 7 and jacked to the gills with steroids. Hell, 10 years ago did you ever think the WWE would sign a guy who looks like Kevin Steen or Sami Zayn to the roster?
For all that is said about him, and there is a LOT to be said about him. I don’t think Triple H is an idiot. Why try to rock the boat now and get the old man cheesed off at you in arguments you just aren’t going to win? Shane tried that and he left the company in frustration of it. Let the old man keep running things for however many years he wants to at this point, but at the same time stockpile up on young guys who hopefully have long careers ahead of them so that when the day comes and Vince retires, you can bring them all in and be ready to play out YOUR ideas.
And behind the camera as well. Think about it, With Vince gone, all these “jobs for life” guys will have to start actually making an effort to keep doing what they are doing. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but Triple H isn’t under any obligation to keep any of Vince’s yesmen if he doesn’t want to. A lot of those people are going to find that what made a 70 year old laugh isn’t going to work anymore. These people will be on a more even keel with everyone else and would have to fight for their place in the company. What you would get out of that is fresh new ideas and presentation, long overdue with this company.
Or everything could descend into chaos. It’s just as easy that things will become so cutthroat in a new regime that everyone is looking to cut everyone else down and sabotages the whole thing. Funny thing about the future. Whatever happens I think hitting the reset button can not come soon enough after watching two old betties from the Today show smacking bottles of wine on their butts.
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