An Open Letter to the WWE
To whom it may concern,
Let me start off by saying that I love the WWE. It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My earliest childhood memories are of waking up Saturday mornings and watching my heroes in the ring give it their all to please the masses.
After I finished watching Wrestlemania 29 last Sunday, I couldn’t help but feel a vast amount of sadness and confusion take over me. Sadness because I do not know how a product as amazing as World Wrestling Entertainment could completely botch their biggest event of the year. Confused because I cannot for the life of me fathom why this company just doesn’t seem to get why the fans of this sport love it so much.
I don’t like to consider myself a “Smart Mark”, but anybody who invests as much time and energy into something like professional wrestling cannot help but develop a sense of predication after years of devoted viewing. That being said, the main event for the WWE championship was the most predictable thing I have seen you guys work in years. It was infuriating to see the outcome of the largest sports entertainment event of the year be laid out for the audience almost a year before it actually happened. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but I couldn’t believe that your company would stoop so low as to make him the WWE champion as if the belt needed to be involved in his rematch with John Cena. I have said many times during conversations with fellow WWE fans that a super babyface character such as Cena doesn’t really need to hold a belt to maintain his fanbase. I’m not a fan of Cena’s in-ring persona, nor am I a fan of his in-ring abilities, but I do respect the man and everything he has done for the company. I can’t speak for every devoted wrestling fan, but it is apparent that those who are like me can’t stand to see an uninteresting character such as Cena hold on to the belt for even a day, as it takes away from the excitement that comes with holding such a prestigious belt. Predictable characters have predictable storylines, and it makes for predictable and uninteresting television. I don’t want to make this a rant that focuses on John Cena or The Rock, especially considering that there are far bigger problems that I feel need to be addressed with the state of the WWE.
The amount of talent you have wasting away on your roster is depressing. To see so many hardworking and talented superstars go unused week after week leaves me scratching my head constantly. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this decision. Sure, the WWE has always had “jobbers” like the Brooklyn Brawler and Barry Horowitz, but there is a staggering amount of superstars on the current roster that have been delegated to this status merely because there just isn’t anything for them to do. With six hours of weekly episodic programming (not counting NXT and Saturday Morning SLAM!), it’s shocking that every week consists of the same handful of WWE superstars. So much time is wasted on promos, TOUT, and recaps, that it makes me wonder why so little time is devoted to actual wrestling. Friday Night Smackdown! is laughingly referred to in my circles as “The RAW Recap Show.” I don’t know how this isn’t seen as a problem amongst the big brass over at World Wrestling Entertainment. I understand that your company has a monopoly control over this type of product, but that doesn’t give anybody an excuse to half-ass anything they are doing in the creative department.
The biggest change that I feel needs to be made is to reintroduce the titles that the company inexplicably abandoned years ago. The Hardcore belt, the Women’s Championship, the Cruiserweight belt; these are all championships that held high regard back in the day, so why were thrown out? I can only assume that the reason you felt that these belts were obsolete was because there was no longer a fan interest. I can tell you right now that this in incorrect. The problem that these belts had, as well as the belts currently in circulation with the WWE, is that the wrestlers holding them aren’t getting the type of storylines that generate any type of interest from the audience. Antonio Cesaro has been the United States champion for months, and yet I can’t recall a single genuine feud that he has had with any other superstar since he became the champion. I suppose that this explains why his presence wasn’t required at Wrestlemania 29. The most depressing development is the lack of interest the WWE has with the Intercontinental belt. This belt is arguably the most illustrious title in your company, and yet it was defended on Sunday in a match that wasn’t even officially on the card. I can’t even begin to explain how big of a joke this was. If titles like the Hardcore belt and the Cruiserweight belt returned, it would generate a much needed spark for those poor unfortunate souls sitting in the locker room that haven’t been seen on a televised WWE broadcast in months. In addition, it would give the fans something more to be invested in, rather than having their focus be solely on the select few storylines you decide to promo every week ad nauseum. We don’t need to be hit over the head every Monday night with the feuds you have established, we know that they exist. And we would know them better if these feuds existed more by their actions in the ring rather than the chopped up sound bites you play six or seven times an episode. And because you waste so much time with these things, you have little time to devote towards actually building up the feuds. I don’t know how many times I have seen multiple feuds get bunched together as a RAW main event via a six-way tag match. These matches are ridiculous and do little to nothing to help propel the storylines involved.
If you haven’t been listening to the fan reactions in many of these arenas that you travel to, there is an overwhelming amount of fans out there who are no longer cheering the faces and jeering the heels. They are being won over by great characters, interesting storylines, and most importantly, TALENTED WRESTLERS. Why do you think that super heels like Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk, and Antonio Cesaro get so many cheers when they enter the arena? It’s because we recognize the talent, and we aren’t adhering to the “Boo this guy because he’s bad” thing that your company loves to throw at us. Guys like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk were respected well before they stepped foot inside of a WWE ring because of their personas and their in-ring talent. And you can’t help but see that guys like this win over crowds regardless of their current Face/Heel status. If you want to make the fans happier, give these talented guys more opportunities to shine in the ring. More matches couldn’t be a bad thing, right? After all, there used to be a time in professional wrestling when feuds started in the ring, reached their pinnacle in the ring, and ended in the ring, without many (if any) promos happening between matches. It’s upsetting to see these amazing superstars either go completely unused or used incorrectly, which brings me to my next point.
The Tag Team division as a whole appears to be in a coma. Team Hell No, although interesting to watch, have not had any type of legitimate competition for quite some time now. The majority of Tag Team champions in recent years seem to be these forced combinations of superstars with nothing better to do. This is unfortunate considering that there are quite a few decent tag teams currently employed with WWE. I don’t understand how teams like The Prime Time Players or the Usos can be used so poorly. The Tag division used to actually mean something; now it is nothing more than singles guys being given something to do when the writers can’t come up with anything for them. That was present this Sunday when Team Hell No, a team consisting of two singles wrestlers competed against Dolph Ziggler and Big E. Langston, another team consisting of two singles wrestlers. This match was immediately deemed boring, pointless and predictable when you took into consideration that Ziggler and Langston have no interest in the tag belts whatsoever. I do appreciate the teaming of Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, if only for the fact that these two talented wrestlers fully embraced their tag team persona and have performed well as such. And yet, they have been thrown to the side much like every other team in the division. Legitimate tag matches can be interesting again if they storylines are developed properly for them. Unfortunately, this aspect of the company seems to have been forgotten for quite some time.
As bad as the Tag Team division is, the “Diva’s” division is an absolute disgrace. I cannot even describe how awful this branch of the company is, mainly because they are rarely even showcased on television anymore. Which leaves me to believe that you have also noticed that there is something wrong. And yet, nothing has been done to save it. If anything it has only gotten worse. You lost Beth Phoenix, arguably the best women’s wrestling working today, and made Natalya (her resume speaks for itself) nothing more than Khali’s sidekick? Girlfriend? I cannot tell, nor do I care. This is embarrassing to watch, and the Diva’s division is all but dead in not only my eyes, but in the eyes of many fans. There are plenty of really talented female wrestlers out there (including NXT) that should be given the opportunity to breathe new life into the very dead Women’s… oh, I’m sorry… the “Diva’s” Division.
In closing, I still very much believe in the WWE. I will continue to love it until the day I die. I just know that something must be done in order to bring it back from the banality that it currently finds itself in. Listen to the fans that sit in the arena every Monday night, read the comments on wrestling blogs, look at the thousands of tweets that you seem to be so heavily invested in. They aren’t just chanting “Same Old Shit” for no reason. They want substance, they want something fresh, and they want to know that their time and money isn’t being wasted. I feel that you can bring something new and fresh back to the WWE by making some major changes to what we as fans see every week. I know that I am only one fan in the vast sea known as the “WWE Universe”, but I can only hope that my words manage to convince somebody out there to take notice and realize that a change must be made.