Buried Alive

WWE is creeping steadily toward overwhelming mediocrity.  Some would argue that they actually arrived there months, or even years ago.  If you’re a frequent viewer it is hard to argue against the fact that the quality of their shows has been in a state of decline for some time now.  Ratings have been plummeting faster than Mick Foley off the top of the cell.  However, in this instance, if WWE is planning on landing on a table it probably isn’t gimmicked enough to break the fall.  Just ask Jerry Lawler about that.  A large chunk of WWE’s viewing audience has been gradually turning away from product over the past few years and, unfortunately, WWE’s approach to correcting this issue seems to be to continue doing the same old things with some hotshots here and there.

Some have made the argument that WWE’s aim toward a PG environment has led to nothing but trouble for the company.  In light of Linda McMahon’s aim for senate and several contracts with youth oriented merchandise, much to the chagrin of older viewers, it doesn’t seem likely that the WWE will change course on that anytime soon.  The idea with PG was presented as an idea to “hook them while they’re young” and follow them as they age.  To grab the kids and get them to stick with the product as they get older.  The problem is, however, that viewers in the upper teens are losing interest.

It seems irrational to believe that a product aimed at thirteen-year-olds could keep the interest of nineteen-year-olds.  Often times the concept of what is “cool” or interesting to a thirteen-year-old is based more around what the older kids are into.  By aiming low you’re cutting off the top, whereas, if you aimed to entertain the older kids you’d probably hold onto some of the younger kids.  This isn’t to say that WWE needs to make a return to sleazy, sex driven angles with blood spilling all over the place.  Lord knows that hasn’t work very well for TNA in recent years.  Perhaps, though, it isn’t the fault of the age range at all.  Maybe it is WWE’s dedication to maintaining the status quo.

John Cena has been a figure of controversy over the years.  He has become the target for most older viewers that wish to hurl their disapproval at the company.  At the end of the day it seems clear that one fact is becoming evident:  people are getting tired of John Cena being on top of the world.  Much like in the late 80s with Hulk Hogan, fans today have grown weary of what they’ve come to call “SuperCena.”  Anyone who has watched for a while is aware that when John Cena isn’t completely burying some rising talent (Wade Barrett a few weeks ago, for example) than he is making corny jokes about poop or simply pointing out the fact that he still wears jorts.

Let’s face it, Cena has definitely begun coming down from the pinnacle of his time in WWE.  A lot of people are calling for a Cena heel turn and there is a slim possibility that we’re in the early stages of it.  Many analysts and wrestling critics see what they believe to be hints towards it.  John Cena being spotted with Stephanie at SummerSlam, his distance from the current angle involving the conspiracy, the fact that it seems almost set in stone that Survivor Series will see Cena, Rock and a few others teaming up against a new heel faction which will more than likely include the Miz, R-Truth, Kevin Nash and possibly some others.  There has been speculation that we’re about to see a rebirth for the nWo and if WWE is really stuck in the past it would make sense for the biggest face in the company to turn on the WWE and join forces with them.  Of course, this could all just be baseless speculation that never leads anywhere.  It wouldn’t be the first time a John Cena heel turn was believed to be in the works.

The problem is:  what would this really fix?  If John Cena turns heel and the nWo makes a return that is actually good, would that fix the horrid booking, terrible burials and overwhelming failure to push new stars?  Sure we’ve gotten a few people up there, or at least sitting on the backburner, like Sheamus.  However, how many times are we going to see John Morrison get squashed like he did this past Monday, how long will we see the same old names sitting on top?  Randy Orton, John Cena, Triple H.  How often over the past few years have these three been involved in some way, shape or form with the main events of the PPVs?  A lot more than anyone else.

WWE makes the argument that young stars need to “get themselves” over before WWE sees them as marketable, but this could easily be a fallacy, a catch 22, so to speak.  Taking John Cena, for example, is he so over because he gets himself over or does he remain over because he has the entire WWE marketing crew keeping him afloat?  Even with all of his support, backlash is coming swiftly.  If you’ve ever watched anyone in the wrestling business discuss the fall of WCW, one of the major factors they’ve always spoken of is the company’s failure to make new stars.  WWE has time to turn this around but they really have sat on their laurels these past few years.  It appears they believed the John Cena wave would carry them longer than it appears that it will.

There are so many factors which feed into the ratings, the interest level and the success of WWE.  If nothing else, it appears obvious that some changes are plausible and others are necessary.  The shear fact of the matter is they cannot and will not fix their current situation by staying the course and continuing to deliver us the same, freeze dried, reheated, recycled storylines.  Also, just because they throw us a five star match once in a while doesn’t make their creative direction any different than it currently is.  Who thought this whole CM Punk thing would turn to garbage so quickly?  They say the definition of insanity is performing the same actions but expecting different outcomes.  Well, Mr. McMahon, you might have to actually make some changes if you want to see things change.  This isn’t a complicated concept.  Maybe, though, some people just have difficulty letting go.
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1 Comment

  1. I agree with all of this. CM Punk is a sign of the fall WWE has taken. One only need look at the ovation Punk got while beating Cena at MITB and then look at the almost silence of Cena beating ADR at NOC. Look at how Punk was king of the mic and instead they’ve turned it into 20 minute promos with HHH. Adding then subtracting Kevin Nash has been one big “Fustercluck” (keeping it PG). And it’s not just the men. The divas division is HORRIBLE. I challenge any purist to compare the WWE Women’s division to some of the greats like Ice Ribbon, Pro Wrestling Eve, WSU, Shimmer, even WILD which is only in it’s 2nd year or so. To see someone like Serena Deeb, then to know that Kelly Kelly is sitting atop the highest women’s prize in the business…it’s sickening. I can go to a ROH show and be much more captivated (and have been). The problem is there’s no REASON for WWE to up it’s product since there is no viable alternative. They have the market. They have the monopoly. Wrestlers still feel that you have to come to WWE in order to get famous. But once there, there’s nothing that says they have to change their product.

    This isn’t all gloom and doom. Small changes here and there are happening. ADR won the strap, but for some reason dropped it only after a month (and I could have seen him keeping it well into Royal rumble to tell the truth). Mark Henry finally won. I hope they keep him as Smackdown!s number one heel. There’s no reason he couldn’t carry this belt at least until the Feb. PPV or even defend it at WM before losing to Daniel Bryan (with a good build this could make for an interesting match. Again, I give too much credit to the WWE writers). Guys like Orton no longer need the build and I truly believe they shot themselves by making Cena / Rock for the belt. Why? Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Shaemus, all these guys deserve their shot.

    As for the divas division? Until VKM stops seeing them as T&A with a little bit of muscle thrown in, this division will never thrive. Anyone knows, I’d give my left kidney, eye and lung for a date with Mia Yim, but if the only thing she could do was look hot, she’d be boring. Like Kelly Kelly. Personally, I’d like WWE to raid some of the rosters of some of these premier women’s division and make matches that matter. You have some of these women and you could easily have the first womens MITB laddar match and you’d see real moves, not just stinkfaces and other stuff designed for male audiences.

    They design the women’s matches for “male audiences”. They don’t design them for “wrestling fans”.


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