Monday, January 31, 2011

State of the WWE

I am a huge wrestling fan who hates the current product. And it's not getting any better. Nothing they can do will make it as good as it once was and they keep trying. While it's pointless to complain without offering up solutions, I will attempt to do just that. The current fad, which I hope sticks around permanently (becoming, not a fad) is Ultimate Fighting. The simple concept of two guys who want to fight to see who is the better man. The fights are announced months in advance, and the two fighters get ample time to talk about the other fighter, what they want to do to the other fighter, and after they win, who's next? Then after months of buildup, the fight happens, and it nets ZUFFA and the UFC a bundle of money.

The WWE on the other hand, announces matches about a week or two in advance, usually revolving around a "take over the wwe" angle, and then the same guys win each month. Or, they decide who the next "star" will be and force that person into main event matches, where they fail horrendously, and then go back to the big stars. Problem is, their "big stars" are only there because there was no one else at the time. Are you telling me Rico, Umaga, Rosey, Chuck Palumbo, or any other of those guys would've been a better choice than John Cena? No. Not at all. (Brock Lesnar was their first choice, and was a perfect choice, but he didn't really have the desire to be a pro-wrestler. He really wanted to hurt people.) Then they had Batista as their second best choice, and Orton as their third. And they had to keep them around because there was no one else for Undertaker and HHH to beat every week.

One of the main problems with the WWE is "Parity". Wrestler A wins one week, then Wrestler B wins the next week. They keep everything level among the talent, EXCEPT in the case of John Cena and Randy Orton. I bet if we go back in the record books (which I'm not going to do) this is actually the case for the late 90's (with Austin and Rock being the exceptions) and the 80's (with Hogan and Savage being the exceptions). Maybe the WWE is too worried about feelings or something and it's just understood that Cena and Orton are "the stars" and can win at will. And guys like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, if they win then next week they have to lose to even it out. This accomplishes nothing from a storyline standpoint.

Here's a WWE Breakdown:

"Superstars" that Have Been Around Forever and Still Going: HHH, Edge (World Champion), Big Show, Kane, Rey Mysterio, Undertaker (Semi-Retired)

New "Superstars" that Have Been Around Recently and Regularly Main Event: John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista (Retired).

Brand New "Superstars" that are being Shoved Down Peoples' Throats, Yet Have No Real Reason to be: Miz (World Champion), Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre.

"Superstars" that Actually Show Promise: Alberto Del Rio (Won Royal Rumble), Jack Swagger (Goofy Amateur Wrestler Gimmick), Daniel Bryan (Ladies' Man Gimmick), CM Punk (Excellent Leader Gimmick), Evan Bourne (High Flier with Nothing to do), John Morrison (Rockstar Gimmick).

And Everyone else is just kinda...there. They're all the same wrestler, just each with a slightly dumber character than the previous.

The way wrestling works is..there's ONE or TWO GUYS who draw. Everyone else is there to help out. And then when things go south for the main draw, they start mixing it up until they find the next main draw. In the late 90s, it was Steve Austin. The problem was, no one ever took the torch from him. Austin never lost to anybody. Austin never had that big match with John Cena where he put him over clean in a Wrestlemania Main Event. The closest we got to this was The Rock putting over Brock Lesnar 100% clean in the main event of a Summerslam for the WWE Championship. But Brock's heart wasn't in pro-wrestling and he bailed. And again, Steve Austin didn't put ANYONE over on his way out. His final match was a loss to The Rock. Which, my God, did "Parity" have something to do with that?

HHH then took the reigns for a while because there was nobody else. And he stuck around still to this day, but is now semi-retired. Cena and Orton took the top spots but never really did anything to justify it. They were simply the best of what was available. Then Batista managed to get over on his own, so they naturally turned him into an Ultimate Warrior clone and nobody cared anymore.

Shawn Michaels returned for the early 2000s, Chris Jericho stuck around for a while, Chris Benoit killed his whole family and then himself because he was regulated to ECW while the worthless Bobby Lashley and Mark Henry got Main Events, Kurt Angle took off with the fans but practically crippled himself in the process. But none of these guys actually were pushed as the top star like Cena or Orton were in the second half of the 2000s.

Then throughout everything, The Undertaker has been around, never losing to anybody and turning into this force that just cannot be beaten. When was the last time he lost clean? To Kurt Angle at that one No Way Out? That's at least what it seems like. He should go undefeated at Wrestlemania, because there's not a single person worthy of ending that streak. Nor will there be in the next couple years. He should just go undefeated and let it be the most special record in the history of Wrestling.

They have nobody left. They broke the cycle with Steve Austin:

Iron Sheik beat Bob Backlund, Hogan Destroyed the Iron Sheik. This ended the Backlund-grappling era and started the showmanship Hogan era. Yokozuna crushed Hogan, Bret Hart beat Yokozuna, then Shawn Michaels beat Bret Hart. This started the high-flying HBK era. Steve Austin beat Shawn Michaels straight up. This started Steve Austin's attitude era, which was the most successful yet. Then... nobody beat Steve Austin. Steve Austin fizzled away. The Rock, my favorite wrestler of all time, tried to salvage the whole thing by putting over Brock Lesnar clean, doing the job Steve Austin wouldn't do. But then Brock Lesnar quit, leaving the WWE with no one. Maybe Steve Austin was right?

So John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista just sort of became the new stars because there was no one else, and HHH was picked to just replace Steve Austin and get them over. That's why no one truly takes them seriously and that's why all of the hardcore fans despise them. They had no right to be there and were just simply picked. They walked in while Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Eddy Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Booker T, and even Shawn Michaels just stood around on the sidelines and accepted flashes at the top.

And now that every possible version of Cena vs. Orton vs. Batista vs. HHH has been done to death, they need new people for Cena and Orton to fight. Enter: Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, etc. Then when we're lucky, we get: CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Evan Bourne, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett.. And when we want flashes of the past, we get: Edge, Kane, Big Show, etc.. But the problem is, none of these people ever get the upper hand on Cena or Orton. And even if they do, it's meaningless, because Cena and Orton are meaningless. If they get the upper hand on HHH, that doesn't mean anything, because HHH never really got the upperhand on anybody. HHH never was really put over the top the same way Austin was, or Hart/Michaels were. HHH got a few wins over Steve Austin but that was about it. Then after that, they became partners. And this was the moment that some would call a nose dive. The best you can say for HHH was when Cactus Jack put him over in that street fight, but again - what did Cactus Jack ever really do?

This is a trap they can't get out of. The only hope is for someone to cleanly, decisively and definitively beat The Undertaker.

But not at Wrestlemania. Which has become the only place where it matters.

Ah sh*t, they're f*cked.


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