I didn’t check out the editorial section, otherwise, I would have seen that Kyle already somewhat tackled this issue, and I suggest you go check it out. I suppose this is just me piggybackying off this issue.
How does that old saying go? Old habits die hard? At the end of the main event of WWE’s annual Survivor Series, we had a three on one scenario, which featured Triple H, Kurt Angle and Braun Strowman representing Team RAW and the lone Shane McMahon featured for Team Smackdown. To me, this raised major alarms, because this is a pattern of behavior that WWE has practiced since around 2011. In that Survivor Series match, superstars such as Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode and Braun Strowman were featured representing both sides. However, the first three eliminations in the match were all former NXT Champions, and three of the final four surviving competitors in the match were all at least 48 years old or will be by the Royal Rumble (Shane).
I would have thought that Survivor Series would be a time to feature superstars who aren’t exactly young (Nakamura – 37, Roode – 40, Balor – 36), but are also relative novices to the main roster. Hell, even AJ Styles, who is finishing his second year as a part of WWE, and WWE’s best performer since his debut, admitted that he may only have about a couple more years before he calls it quits for WWE. And he’s 40. While those ages aren’t extremely old in wrestling years, they aren’t exactly spring chickens. For perspective, Randy Orton is 37 years old and he’s been here since 2002. Now is the time that WWE should be getting the most out of what they can get from them.
Instead of looking forward to the future, instead, WWE spent its time trying to move forward with nostalgia. The final sequence ended with Triple turning on Kurt Angle, having Shane pin Angle, and Triple H would then have the glory of pinning Shane himself and he ended, along with Braun Strowman as the lone survivor. The year might as well have been 2002 because it was a mirror image of exactly what Triple H was doing when he was in control of the RAW brand with an iron fist. Even with RAW as of late, Kane, for some reason is destroying Braun Strowman and squashing Finn Balor and Seth Rollins? All of that makes no sense to me unless this results in a title run for Kane, and that is not happening is it? Is it?
Braun Strowman might as well have been eliminated because this was all a part of the Triple H/Kurt Angle match that is bound to happen soon, and he didn’t really play an integral part in any underlying storyline in the match save for a post-match assault. The habit of WWE clinging on to these superstars is akin to a crazy ex that cannot move on. I had mentioned that this habit began in 2011, the year The Rock returned to WWE, made himself an integral part of the main event of WrestleMania that year, and proceeded to main event WrestleMania the proceeding two years despite wrestling no more than three times a year. Since then, it’s become a habit for WWE to use aged relics of the past and put them in the spotlight. Just take a look at the names of superstars that have main event WrestleMania since 28. The Rock (twice), Batista, Brock Lesnar, Triple H and The Undertaker.
Of course, all of those superstars all hallmarks of WWE, all future Hall of Famers and stalwarts that will go down in WWE history as some of the most influential superstars of the modern era. In addition, WWE has also reverted to the old habit of being unoriginal with their main event choices. Seeing as how Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar II is being rumored to be the main event of WrestleMania next year, not only would this mean we would be getting the same main event within three years, but this also means that Roman Reigns will now have main evented WrestleMania four straight years. Not even John Cena at his peak managed that. It’s all a part of the huge central issue, and it’s that WWE is getting older, but is not growing up.
Now, please do not mistake me. There’s nothing wrong with adding star power for big shows and bringing in big names from the past that will generate buzz. A Chris Jericho surprise appearance every now and again always gets me excited. Hell, when it was announced that Triple H was going to be replacing Jason Jordan as the final member of Team RAW, I was excited. However, I was excited merely because of his presence. I wasn’t prepared for him to be the central theme of the show, especially considering he hadn’t been seen on television since WrestleMania season. Some of my fears of WWE’s reliance on part-time superstars were exacerbated by a rumor that I had read today (SPOILER) regarding Brock Lesnar and the Royal Rumble. According to some reports, WWE is considering not having Lesnar defend the title at the Royal Rumble due to a lack of suitable challengers. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are a tag team at the moment, Bray Wyatt is reportedly a “waste”, and Roman Reigns is being saved for WrestleMania. Apparently, WWE also believes Finn Balor isn’t “over” enough to give him a shot at the Universal Championship he’s owed (but apparently that didn’t stop WWE from giving Jinder Mahal the WWE Title for six months?).
WWE utilizing part-timers because the current crop of the next generation “aren’t draws” has been the typical go-to response, and I can see why WWE sees is that way. Before WWE is a wrestling company, they are a company looking for the most efficient ways to bring in revenue, and unfortunately, that may involve having people such as The Rock and Brock Lesnar hold signature titles but not defend it for months on end. Sometimes it is a necessary sacrifice, but believe it or not, time is moving faster than we know it, and sooner or later, WWE is going to have to start building up the next generation and giving them exposure so they have new main eventers that they can use going forward. Jinder Mahal vs. John Cena is the rumored WWE Title match. In the likely scenario that Cena wins that match, it’ll be his 17th reign as WWE Champion, but it’ll also be a signal that WWE isn’t ready to let go of the past. Depending on which way you look at it, that may or may not be a good thing. For me, it’s all a matter of urgency. It’s one thing to have part-timers (Who have admittedly paid their dues in the industry before) to come in and take titles and earn spotlight that may otherwise go to other superstars. However, it’s another to completely shut them away and make them look like jokes.