I thought 2020 was a mess for WWE and 2021 would go ahead and bring about some stability. Boy was I wrong.
2021 was just as chaotic, if not more. The pandemic opened up in a way that allowed for WWE to go back to live crowds, but that didn’t stop the company itself from being its own worst enemy. Self-sabotaging at nearly every turn, it seemed like the word of the year was “unrest” in some fashion or another.
Now that 2021 is coming to a close, this is the time to reflect back on the previous 12 months and try to learn some lessons to take into the next year so the same mistakes aren’t made. While we can’t force WWE to learn, we can at least point out what problems came up.
With such, it’s time for the annual Biggest Blunders and Greatest Wonders of the Year lists, starting with the bad news first and the blunders.
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 2021 in the comments below!
Without further ado and in no particular order, let’s get started…
Black Wednesday…Again…and Many More Times
April 15, 2020 was dubbed “Black Wednesday” for how WWE fired tons of Superstars in an effort to cut costs. It was widely considered harsh and met with criticism that it was cold and unnecessary.
Fast forward to April 15, 2021. Exactly the same day, WWE does it again.
Then, many more times throughout the year, we would see these mass releases pop up out of nowhere. You’re going about your normal day and then POOF, Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman and others are gone.
Each time this happened, WWE took a hit. The morale not only must be absolutely awful there and getting worse, but the programming isn’t getting any better and the fan base is becoming increasingly more frustrated. Now, the Superstars themselves are being more vocal, complaining about these releases and such.
People who once would have said they thank WWE for their time and that they’re excited for the future are saying “Fuck this company” and the like. It’s a bad look, and it’s an even worse look that WWE seemingly doesn’t care and is continuing to do this.
Rinse and repeat. People get fired, it makes no sense and came out of nowhere, and they say “budget cuts” and nothing else.
While you could argue WWE doesn’t see this as a blunder/mistake, as they think they’re making the right decision, I have to chalk it up to one of the worst things of the year because I can’t help but to feel this is doing nothing but padding out some numbers while the company’s reputation is tanking, and we’ll look back on this and realize it was all a mistake.
Chaotic Lack of Creative Direction
2021 was exhausting trying to provide analysis for. That’s my job here and elsewhere, and more often than not, I found myself scratching my head and pulling out my hair that none of this made any sense.
I’m fine with being wrong if my predictions don’t come out the way I thought they would. If I dislike the outcome (whether it was predictable or not), I’ll be disappointed, but if I’m just flat out wrong and surprised in a good way, I’m happy about that. It doesn’t hurt my reputation all that much and the fan in me is pleased with the end result. But what I don’t like is when I look at something that could go 5 different ways with 1 or 2 logical outcomes, I examine and explain why, and WWE up and does something out of left field because “plans changed.”
What bugs me about that is that it’s so clearly not WWE’s intended idea. It’s not as though they’re doing this to throw people like me off our games. What’s happening is they don’t have any idea what they’re doing in the first place!
How can we predict anything if WWE doesn’t even know what is going on the moment it’s happening?
Look at the way television works these days. They’ll go into an episode of Raw just as it’s airing, not knowing the full scope of what the plan is. They’re writing some shit as it’s going on. Some of it—a lot of it—outright happens with literally not the slightest idea in mind.
Sonya Deville is an authority figure not because they decided it would be a good direction for her character or they needed that spot filled. She has this part because she casually mentioned she’d like to wear a suit, they told her to go get the one she has, and they had her walk down the hallway with it. THEN, they decided they could make her an authority figure. AFTER IT AIRED.
Look at Tian Sha. They spend weeks airing vignettes to hype this story. Weeks after that are spent building up mystique. Not too long into this trio, and before anything of note happens, Xia Li is taken out of the mix. Then, Mei Ying finally wrestles, but by her second match, she loses to Indi Hartwell. After that, she’s gone. Now, she’s Wendy Choo and she takes naps, while Boa is the sole proprietor of this Tian Sha gimmick.
You can’t tell me that was their intention from the start.
The same goes for Hit Row. In the span of a few months, the group was formed, B-Fab took forever to wrestle her 2 matches, they put the North American Championship on Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (after wasting it on Bronson Reed, who they planned for the main roster and cut at the same time), then moved everyone to SmackDown, took the belt off Scott, started hyping them, brought them in for their debut, fired B-Fab, then fired the rest of them.
2021 was filled with far too many examples of pushes stopping abruptly, storylines ending with no resolution, babyfaces and heels switching alignment as if everyone is Big Show and has mood swings every other week, and all sorts of “oh well, plans change, get over it and don’t think about it.” WWE really wants you to have short term memory loss, forget anything that’s ever bad, remember only the good, give them the benefit of the doubt no matter how many times they prove that to be foolish, and to always be so glass half-full that you perpetually think the next thing will make up for all the bad.