Before we start talking about modern day, mostly shitty wrestling, let’s talk about why there’s still a reason to give WWE your money.
If you’ve been holding out on subscribing to the WWE Network or dropped it because so much of the classic video library they own seemed to be sitting around collecting dust while they worked on new episodes of Total Divas and Swerved and whatever other garbage they dreamed up that nobody could possibly ever want to pay actual money for a wrestling channel to watch, now might be a good time to revisit it. In the last week or so, they’ve started uploading a bunch of 1980s NWA, Mid-South, Smoky Mountain and I even woke up to news of some AWA this morning. They’ve also been filling in some holes in the Smackdown archive, adding episodes from back in the days when Smackdown was where they hid a bunch of the good wrestling. And when you’re done with all that, watch Breaking Ground, the documentary series about the Performance Centre. It’s really good, especially when you consider that what you’re watching is a company chronicling the inner workings of itself.
1. Sheamus cashing in on Roman Reigns to win the WWE Title was the right call.
To the extent that it’s even possible to care anymore, yes. If you’re going to make Reigns the guy, ideally you’re going to want his big moment to come at Wrestlemania when there are more eyes on the product than there are at any other time of the year. And screwing him out of the belt so he has to chase someone all the way to Mania to get it back obviously accomplishes that goal, with the added benefit of the good old MITB element of surprise. Problem is, who cares about Sheamus? Through no fault of his own, he’s just a guy. At worst he loses all the time and at best he trades meaningless wins back and forth with the million other guys they have who are just guys because nobody’s allowed to break out and become something, so where’s the heat? Where’s my motivation to suddenly hate Sheamus more than I hate anyone else? I don’t need to see him lose, because I’ve been there and done that over and over and over and over and over again.
And for that matter, why should I root for Roman Reigns? Who is he? What’s special about him? It was pretty cool when he was the big scary guy from the Shield, but what has he really done since? He got pinned by the Big fucking Show on free television during his unstoppable march to Wrestlemania last year, you know, the one where we were supposed to believe he could beat Brock Lesnar. He was in a terribly boring feud with the terribly misused Wyatt Family that I remember only producing one enjoyable match. He’s supposed to be an ass kicker, yet half his matches end in countouts or disqualifications. Imagine if WCW had done that to Goldberg on his way up and called it a streak. Oh, and he cuts shit awful promos about sufferin’ succotash and magic beans.
Now that I write this all down, I kind of hope Sheamus beats this loser half to death.
And there’s one more problem. We just saw this exact storyline play out not even two years ago with the much more likable Daniel Bryan in the Roman Reigns role. I’m not against recycling angles, but if you’re going to, let enough time pass for people to forget that they’ve seen it before and to create enough new fans for whom it’ll be new.
2. The Survivor Series PPV was one of the worst WWE PPVs/Special Events of 2015.
I hate questions like this now because if you take out the NXT specials, what hasn’t been? Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I watched a WWE PPV and came away happy and thinking that I’ll really enjoy watching this again one day. Most of them have had their moments including Survivor Series which started out great and then went completely off a cliff, but aside from some matches and segments on each show, what’s really been any good anywhere close to from top to bottom? Please, don’t start in with Wrestlemania. it was fine, but I’m still not convinced it’s the classic everyone else thinks it is.
3. If they have to keep the match and gimmick, WWE should highly consider altering the Money in the Bank rule to make it similar to the NJPW G1 winner (the winner cashes in on an announced date, and also has to defend the briefcase until he cashes in).
I could do without the forced announced date bit because that takes away half the fun, but I like the idea of having to defend the case as long as you’re carrying it around. It would do away with WWE’s tendency to decide that this guy has the case so we can beat him and beat him and it won’t matter…at least until they decide that 3 quarters of the matches are going to be non-case and kill the poor bastard dead anyway.
4. The Wyatt Family has no credibility and are completely done as a viable threat in WWE.
I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but they’re about as done as an act can be without being finished. I think they can be salvaged because people are still into the entrance and some of the spookiness, but you would have to do one outside the box, revolutionary thing to accomplish it. Let them win a fucking match once in a while, you idiots. And make it mean something. It’s great that he speaks in riddles and beats up John Cena and the Undertaker and Kane and Chris Jericho and Roman Reigns and Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose and whoever the hell else, but when it matters, he always comes out looking like a loser and a geek. This, by the way, is the same problem WWE has with basically anyone else you can think of, which is why by and large the product sucks and I’m closer to giving up on it than I’ve ever been in my 30 plus years of wrestling fandom.
5. While TNA securing a TV deal for 2016 is great news for the company, the fact that they are still going to do mass TV tapings is not a good sign.
It’s not necessarily good, but how bad it truly is depends on what they’re taping. Getting a few weeks ahead on Impact is fine. It’s something wrestling companies have done forever without incident. If you want recent examples, look no further than NXT and ROH, two of the best weekly wrestling shows in North America at the moment. Lucha Underground wasn’t too shabby either, and they taped a bunch of stuff at once too. So if TNA is going to get two or three episodes in the can and then tape some of those One Night Only PPVs, that’s fine. But if they’re going to tape months and months worth of material and then try to shape it into episodes after the fact the way they’ve been doing, that’s not so great. I know there are financial issues at work here that are going to make it difficult to tape more often, but TNA is going to have to figure out how to run more shows if their aim is to produce a weekly product that isn’t stale and that someone might want to watch.
6. ROH scoring New Japan stars for their 14th anniversary weekend (PPV & TV tapings) makes you more likely to check out those shows.
No, because I was going to be watching them anyway. But what it does do is add an extra layer of freshness to something I was already surely going to enjoy, a concept which others in wrestling ought to try sometime.
Well, at least we began and ended on good notes. That makes me happy. I really don’t like to be negative, because as I said on Twitter this weekend during a Smackdown induced meltdown, at the end of the day I love wrestling and I just want it to be good. And when it has all the tools it needs to be good and sucks anyway, I get angry.