Would I be presumptuous in saying that the WWE now finds itself in an unassailable situation of which it can never get out of? Only time will tell…
That’s my question, and here’s why.
The Rock, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Triple H, The New Age Outlaws, Goldust, Batista, Triple H etc. These are all examples of stars of yesteryear that have been brought back or wrestle occasionally to boost ratings and PPV sales.
Part-timers and people perhaps past their best but still brought in with the thought of capitalising on their past reputation and legacy. Whilst they are usually a brief success, they never intend to stay for the long-haul. “Dwayne” returned and said he wasn’t leaving again…leaves soon after to pursue yet another film. But in his fleeting months he’s had since 2011, he has drawn good numbers.
Giving him the belt was disgraceful, giving him consecutive Wrestlemania main event spots was even worse and not having him publicise his “title run” was the icing on the bitter cake.
Wrestlemania 29’s card featured a 3-tiered main event with 4 of the 6 people involved being part-timers. Hulk Hogan has agreed a deal to return and even though he will likely need to be involved in a non-wrestling capacity, it just shows you how desperate the WWE is for ‘presence’. Sting will offer the same thing but sadly half the WWE audience will be wondering who the painted guy with the bat is.
But I digress. The point is, just like any sport, if you don’t invest in your youth and future prospects, then your future looks bleak. Professional wrestling is no different. Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro, Cody Rhodes, Ryback, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan and Big E Langston are examples of youth and what could be.
The only problem? None of the aforementioned wrestlers, apart from maybe Bryan and Reigns could carry the company. Now before I get criticism as the new guy who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, I’ve been watching wrestling for nearly 15 years, I have a massive catalogue of wrestling DVD’s and a wealth of knowledge.
Austin 3:16 helped the company skyrocket from 1997 onwards. The Rock started to smell that his own hype was cookin and became the complete package; he even made Lillian Garcia want the People’s Package!
The controversial Cerebral Assassin was, and I will defend his in-ring work passionately, dominant from 2002-2005 and after that we had helpings of Edge before the Cena/Orton regime.
Arguably the golden generation of wrestler of the mid 90’s to mid 00’s has long since passed and the main guys now are indeed Orton and Cena. I’ve followed John Cena since his memorable debut way back in 2002 and saw his career rise from strength to strength. I don’t blame him for what has happened to the WWE, but he’s certainly had a big influence on it. But at 36, you wonder how long Vince will stick with his golden boy.
Randy Orton was incredible in his early years. I couldn’t get enough of the Legend Killer with his brash attitude and awesome confidence. He had the look and could even be commanding on a microphone; my how those days have gone!
After such a long affiliation for the WWE, my loyalty now resides with TNA. I can tolerate smarks who think they know everything and will do whatever it takes to condemn the TNA product. But I’m not biased and I would feel quite confident I could tell you the frailities and overwhelming strengths of both companies and one thing I believe TNA has going for it is its younger talent/roster.
The WWE roster in 2000 was second-to-none and even the likes of WWF Metal could host quality matches, such was the depth of the roster; male or female. Now it’s rather pitiful in comparison, TNA’s roster is fuller with more varying qualities. I can’t say anything about ROH as I have no means of watching it but I know several talents there and if I can find a way to watch it then maybe I could comment on ROH further.
For now, TNA has Bobby Roode, James Storm, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, Abyss, Eric Young, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, Mr Anderson, Jeff Hardy, Zema Ion, Bully Ray, Magnus, EC3, Gunner etc. Now there is plenty of talent with experience, presence and potential.
You only have to look at the last month or so. If you can look past financial issues and support the wrestling aspect, TNA loses ones of their top 3 guys in AJ Styles, yet the company is looking onwards and certainly upwards. WWE loses one of their top 3 guys in CM Punk, now the company is having major creative meetings to decide what to do as their roster is thinner in terms of major talent.
I cannot stress this enough, I do not think my opinion is the dominant opinion and that I am right. I am not biased as bias is illogical and just devoid of thoughtful contribution. But I will happily state that TNA has invested well in youth.
Look no further than the American Wolves. I had heard for weeks that they were ROH’s top guys and when WWE had the chance to sign them what happened? Mr Paul “Ego” Levesque didn’t like his authority (no pun intended) to be overruled and dismissed them. I can state having watched them first hand in Manchester that they could be the real deal and they’re both 30 so time is on their side.
I don’t think I even need to discuss the Diva’s versus the Knockout’s. It’s painful what the Diva’s division has become. Lita, Trish Stratus, Victoria, Chyna, Jaqueline, Jazz, Ivory, Molly Holly, Beth Phoenix. How do you just overlook a division? Their longest reigning Women’s Champion since the Fabulous Moolah, AJ Lee, doesn’t even get used properly. It’s a frustration I just can’t grasp for the life of me.
I do worry what the future holds for the WWE. I as much as anyone would love to watch Raw knowing it can throw up great matches with any of its roster. But it’s not the case. I can’t see Batista winning over the fans this time now and even part-timers are getting on now.
Either the company actively seeks to find the next big thing or they actually start to use talents like Ziggler and Cesaro instead of pushing one or two guys.
I’m a mark, the world needs us.