On Saturday night at the WWE live event in Madison, Wisconsin, two WWE Superstars suffered injuries during their matches on the show. The biggest star in the company, John Cena, suffered a swollen-shut eye as the result of a headbutt from his opponent that evening, Bray Wyatt. There has also been some talk that Cena may have suffered a concussion during the bout as well. If that is true, given WWE’s policy on concussions, it’s within the realm of possibility that Cena would be unable to perform at the company’s upcoming Money In The Bank pay-per-view, which may already have a glaring absence with Daniel Bryan’s status still a mystery.
The other Superstar who was injured on Saturday night, in a less severe incident, was Adam Rose. Rose suffered what was described as a bad gash above his right eye during his match on the card with Heath Slater.
The point to all of this is that when one or two top guys go down with injuries in WWE these days, considering the lack of depth at the top of the card, it really can have a dramatic effect on the company. The fact that WWE keeps the same few guys in the top spots means that if they go down with injuries, they don’t really have anyone else that can be moved into those spots.
Batista “quit” the company on last Monday’s RAW, as he will be taking his hiatus from the company to do some movie work. CM Punk walked out on the company. Undertaker only works once a year, and might even be done with that. Triple H only laces his boots up for the bigger pay-per-view events. Brock Lesnar only works a part-time schedule. As does Rob Van Dam. Guys like Christian, Rey Mysterio and other mid-card level talents are currently on the shelf.
Hell, even Roman Reigns nearly took himself out of the picture when he suffered a bad collision with Randy Orton during the company’s recent European tour. He “only” suffered a gruesome gash above his eye, but nearly wound up with a concussion as well.
If WWE doesn’t start getting more out of guys like Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, Titus O’Neil, etc., they really put themselves at the mercy of the health of their top few guys. If they don’t start moving guys like Cesaro, Bad News Barrett, Sheamus and others into higher profile positions, they risk the same thing there.
If you look up-and-down the current, active WWE roster, you will find that they aren’t lacking in actual talent. They have the horses needed to win the big races. The only problem is, they pigeon hole a lot of their talented guys into goofy characters, or too many “stop-and-starts” where fans simply refuse to get behind them because they’ve been burnt too many times in the past.
There is almost no reason why a guy like Dolph Ziggler, for example, shouldn’t be given some legitimate swings at the plate. His level of talent is so clearly obvious to the fans in particular, that it’s almost a guarantee that he would deliver at any level he is given the opportunity to perform at. Yet, he gets none of these type of opportunities.
If Cena did suffer a concussion, with Money In The Bank only being a few weeks away, he technically shouldn’t perform. Of course since we’re talking about Cena, it’s almost a guarantee that he will, even if medically speaking he shouldn’t. But if he were to go down with something more serious, and if Bryan isn’t going to be ready anytime soon, it’s really tough to picture what WWE would do.
When you look at the very top baby faces in the company, the list isn’t that long. Taking a hit with Cena, Bryan, and with Punk no longer in the picture, you’re really left with guys who either aren’t in position to carry the company as the top “good guy” act, or you’re forced to rush someone like Roman Reigns into the spot long before he’s actually ready for it. Even if he rises to the occasion and everything works out in this hypothetical scenario, it’s still a waste of a long, slow-build that the company has been doing.
The bottom line is this: WWE has the talent. They have a number of gifted performers who should be doing a whole hell-of-a-lot more than they are doing right now. If they keep holding down guys who are capable of more, for seemingly no good reason other than “they can,” they really are risking a lot with the injury-rate growing in recent months.
At the end of the day, WWE is going to do what they are going to do. In the end, they’ll likely be just fine. The only thing is — they shouldn’t be settling for just “fine.” Just because there’s no strong number two breathing down their neck, forcing them to deliver their best possible shows on a week-to-week basis, like they were forced to do during the Monday Night Wars, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be trying to do that anyways.
I’ve always been of the opinion that WWE should just pretend it’s 1998. Pretend like WCW is kicking their ass. They should pretend like if they don’t deliver their best possible show imaginable on Monday night, it could all be over for them. That sense of urgency that they had during the Monday Night Wars resulted in them putting forth arguably the most entertaining era in history. Just because the landscape has changed and they are “the only game in town” doesn’t mean they should be on “cruise control” every week, and that’s exactly what it feels like they’re doing to me.