If you can believe it, 2020 is finally coming to a close. The world may still be in a similar situation despite the calendar switch, but at least the tumultuous 12 months we’ve endured are switching over to 2021 after what feels like a decade.
This year has been an absolute mess in and outside WWE. For World Wrestling Entertainment itself, it’s hard to think of any other time the company’s faced such a perpetual onslaught of hardships that have warped the product more than ever conceivable.
With the end of the year, it’s time to look back and recap both the good and the bad. Since it’s easier to get the bad news out first (and there’s so much more of it) part 1 of the annual recap will be another edition of the Biggest Blunders of the Year.
This means the top mistakes, flubs, mess-ups, bad booking decisions, terrible ideas, awful matches, crappy company strategies, unfortunate circumstances and anything else along those lines.
This list is in no particular order and is quite obviously opinion-based, so I invite everyone to chime in with their own ideas of the worst things from WWE in 2020 in the comments below!
Without further ado and in no particular order, let’s get started…
- Raw Underground never got its footing. This isn’t all their fault, as COVID has prevented them from being able to do some proper crossover between the brands in a safer way. However, maybe if WWE followed protocol better, they’d be able to have people do this and not be too risky. Generally speaking, though, this was a bust. Nothing was ever on the line and no one managed to come out of it looking like a bigger star, as people like Dabba-Kato are just on the sidelines now.
- Rob Gronkowski was a total bust, wasn’t he? Clearly, WWE had plans for him to be more of a presence on a different, more normal type of WrestleMania. That’s not their fault. But how they decided to follow through with him, put the 24/7 title on him and do nothing was just worthless. Then, we see that he didn’t even want to take a fall onto padding, which Vince McMahon had no problem doing. It’s padding. Most of these guys crash through tables at a higher distance with nothing but elbow and knee pads.
- The #SpeakingOut controversies aren’t something I can entirely put on WWE. It’s not as though that was a bad decision they made. These were things the wrestlers did on the indies and such before they were in WWE. Hence, as horrible as these accusations are, this has to go as an honorable mention (by being associated with them) rather than something they’re directly puppeteers of (supposedly).
- Good lord did Mickie James have a rough go. She wasn’t part of the roster for the longest time, just sitting at home waiting to come back from an injury. After months, they finally bring her in, only to have her segment be overshadowed by promoting another segment. She lost that match, followed that up with some other garbage and then got injured again. Now, she’s back on the inactive list without being traded to either brand. That’s horrible. She’s far too good for that.
If you’re suffering for revenue, you have to cut costs. That’s understandable. It’s a sad, unfortunate matter of fact when it comes to businesses.
What you don’t do, though, is act like you’re hemorrhaging money and that this is your “break glass in case of an emergency” must-do scenario to keep the company afloat when you’re reporting record revenues for that and the next two quarters.
So many people lost their jobs and shouldn’t have. It makes sense to trim down on the live event house show market, for instance, as you’re simply not doing those anymore. Of course, you could try to move those people into other avenues of the company to help on the workload and give them a paycheck, ideally, but nope, not interested in that, clearly.
Some of the superstars arguably wanted to leave, so it’s okay to let them go. A few of them, naturally, didn’t want to leave WWE, but they considered them the bottom of the barrel who they could cut and not lose much from. I don’t blame WWE for having some people they view in that regard, but I do think it’s rather lame to cut a guy like Mike Chioda, for example, who has been with the company for decades and can still do his job as a referee, since that position didn’t leave.
Greed is gross, which leads me to…
The Surrender of Twitch and Cameo
Again, I understand how WWE as a business can look at a revenue stream and say “Hey, how can we make other people do the work for us and subsidize our income?” It’s just not an ethical thing to do in this circumstance, in my mind.
Assuming there isn’t anything in their contracts that prohibits them from these services, WWE should have to renegotiate everyone’s contracts to put these platforms into their deal in a new fashion. Someone like Big E shouldn’t have to stop doing Cameo just because WWE realized how much money he’s making. He’s doing it on his own time, not WWE’s time. It’s not directly interfering with anything WWE is doing. WWE doesn’t have its own Cameo-like service that he’s trying to circumvent or compete with.
By no means should time working elsewhere off the company clock be used for someone’s downside guarantee. That’s absurd. This should be bonus money. So long as they aren’t using the character names WWE owns the trademark for, WWE shouldn’t be entitled to their money no more than if Kevin Owens decided to mow lawns on the weekends for some extra cash.
At the very most, even though I think it’s still wrong, WWE should only be able to take some of the income they’re making and the rest will be bonus money they earn on top of their downside guarantees, since it’s voluntary for them to take that time to work. Even that is wrong, but it’s at least not as bad as it actually has gotten.
You’re going to tell Paige, who can’t wrestle anymore and has lost her spot on WWE Backstage and has nothing at all she can do in your company, that she can’t even play video games at home and make some money off it with her own name because you somehow own everything about her? That’s disgusting.
RETRIBUTION as a Whole
This group has sucked from the very beginning in nearly every single way.