So WWE finally did it. No longer are they World Wrestling Entertainment but rather just WWE inc. This is something that has been talked about for quite some time, that WWE were going to take another big step away from being a professional wrestling organization. Ironically though they have also removed the ‘Entertainment’ part from their name and to me that is the real thing they are lacking right now.
Now if WrestleMania achieved anything it was reigniting the debate of ‘Wrestling’ vs entertainment. Everyone has an opinion on it. I personally feel that a company can have both technically sound wrestling matches as well as more story driven or comedy aspects. Really that is one of the main reasons the ‘Attitude’ era of pro wrestling worked so well. A standard card would be a total mix between big names stars, smaller named technicians, high flying cruiserweights,tag teams, women and hardcore wrestling etc. Whatever you liked would be somewhere on the card and most parts were given a decent amount of attention. I still think the best wrestlers are those that can combine being the ‘Superstar’ entertainer as well as a good in ring performer. Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Ricky Steamboat are all considered legends, all drew money and all could wrestle as well as be the larger than life character they needed to be to get over. And there are many more besides them.
The biggest negative about Mania was how it wasn’t great in any aspect. There wasn’t really too much wrestling involved and the best people that liked it will say is, overall it was ‘entertaining’.
My first question is when did merely being overall entertaining become WWE’s goal? This may sound like my standards are too high but that is only because WWE have set the bar so high previously. And If my standards have somehow become higher than Vince McMahons isn’t there a real problem.
I don’t think having high expectations of WrestleMania is wrong at all. If WWE are going to constantly tell me that it is the biggest and best show on earth, the ‘Showcase of The Immortals’ where every man and women there tries extra hard and gives 110%, then I feel I am justified in saying it was crap when it didn’t even come close to being what they promised it should and would be. This years WrestleMania with the exception of Undertaker vs Triple H, was just an episode of Raw that went on for two hours too long. The event took place in a bigger venue (though lacked atmosphere) and was completley forgetable and that is exactly what WWE wants it to be.
Lots of fans and older wrestlers say that the problem is overbooking. There aren’t any stories anymore and instead there are too many random skits thrown in. It’s the writers fault. They don’t know anything about wrestling and if people that knew about wrestling were in charge things would be better. The thing is a lot of people think WWE is like this either because of negligence or simply being out of touch. I would argue the product before us right now is exactly the one WWE wants people to see and they know the quality of it. We know they can put on decent shows because they did it with the retro edition of RAW.
This may sound like a paranoid person coming up with conspiracy theories but WWE is now essentially Big Brother in their own little version of 1984. WWE have engineered a situation where they have pretty much total dominace of not only the current pro wrestling scene but more importantly wrestlings history. The reason all the shows suck and are indistinguishable from every other one is by design. They have conditioned wrestling fans to accept that their shows are occasional, mildly amusing little segments that have no connection. Why? Because now WWE is in total control. They want us to remember only what they want us to and forget everything else untill it suits them. They know they can put out whatever they want and people will watch it and if they don’t like it they will automatically forget about it and move on to the next one. We could miss every WWE show from now untill WrestleMania 28 and it would make no difference whatsoever to how we felt about the PPV. The Miz could be champion for the next year or the belt could bounce from one person to the next each week and things would be exactly the same.
For me personally one of the most worrying things is WWE has the power to erase almost anyone they want to from wrestling history. Now while there may be situations were that is a good thing (naming no names) it also means everyone working for them is disposable and replacable. If you do something WWE doesn’t like you will be erased as though you had never been there and there isn’t a thing you could do about it. WWE could tomorrow remove all traces of Hulk Hogan from the history books and things would go on just fine. No one would complain. No one would boycott. All that would happen is those who knew the truth would say “Looks like Hogan’s gone” and that would be it. He would fade into being just a memory.
Wrestling is now another one of those dirty words people are meant to frown upon. Unfortunately not everyone is too happy about that. Melina tweeted that the Divas could wrestle as well as anyone else given the opportunity. The point is they aren’t there for that. Like everyone else they are simply a pretty five minute distraction before the next one. Really the men and women that wanted to be wrestlers are now screwed. Imagine growing up wanting to be the next Ric Flair, learning how to wrestle, travelling around the world to build a name for yourself and when you finally get to WWE they tell you that everything you have ever done meant nothing, that no matter how talented you are you will wrestle their way and if you do something they don’t like or they simply get bored of you, then anything you did while there will be forgotten. It is easy to see why some wrestlers wouldn’t want to give 100% when they knew they were living on borrowed time. It is also understandable why some that are faced with that reality turn to things they shouldn’t like drink or drugs to get through what some may consider a hollow existence. Maybe Hunter can help now he is in charge of bringing in new talent.
While the wrestling has certainly gone, WWE still believe they are capable of being a giant entertainment organization and I think they are out to prove that. I don’t know what they want to put on their own TV channel but I doubt it will be great. The crappy movies will keep coming and so will the action figures and video games. And people will but them because…..it’s WWE. George Lucas once said the Star Wars movies only existed to create backstory for the characters of the toys and I think that is what the modern day wrestler is. They are simply a name, a look, a moveset and a catchphrase for kids to buy into. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you can do in the ring, as long as you have the right look and a logo or catchphrase they can put on a T-shirt you will have a long career in WWE. Wrestling has always had an element of that about it but never in such a corporate way.
What I say might sound a tad extreme but look at it like this, what is the difference between TNA and WWE? The honest answer to that is really nothing except people watch WWE because it is ‘The WWE’ and we know they CAN do better but choose not to. TNA’s problem is they SHOULD do better but won’t. And WWE shouldn’t worry about destroying TNA. TNA is wrestling’s answer to communism. On paper it sounds like an okay idea but in practice it falls apart because those in charge are selfish idiots and eventually it will destroy itself. For now WWE are the capitalist king-pins slowly buying up the world one bit at a time and we are just caught in the middle. Looks like Cornette was right all along.