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The Airing of WWE Grievances: 2017 Edition by Brandon Lasher

TJR Wrestling

It is Festivus time!

Since Christmas has gotten so commercial recently, I have always enjoyed any other holiday around my winter break from teaching. I have enjoyed the great holiday of Festivus so much, I literally made a video about it at my job. Seriously, if you search my name and Festivus on Youtube you will find a video I created in 2011. I was so young back then.

My favorite part of the Seinfeld-based holiday is by far the “Airing of Grievances.” As you set down to Festivus dinner today, it is important to lash out at your family and the world. Share all the ways they have wronged you in the past year. That is why in my now 3rd Annual wrestling article for the Festivus holiday, I set my sights on my beloved WWE.

I know a lot of us that are part of this TJRWrestling community consider the WWE to be part of our extended family. We spend thousands of hours a year with it, plan vacations around attending WWE events and feel more than close enough to criticize its numerous faults based on the excessive time we spend together. I believe a good venting of frustrations is what is really needed around the holidays. It is the time when families are generally getting together after all. On December 23rd each year, I turn my focus back to my WWE family yet again.

With that in mind, it is time for the 2017 “Airing of Grievances”. In the words of Frank Costanza, “I got a lotta problems with you people, and you are going to hear about it!” Here are some of my biggest grievances in the unique year that was 2017.

 

205 Live

How much of 205 Live have you watched in 2017? I certainly try in my very limited time to watch Raw, Smackdown and NXT every week. After the CWC last year, I tried to do the same with 205 Live. As I looked at my WWE Network watchlist recently, I noticed that I haven’t watched a full episode since my summer vacation ended in late August. Sadly, I just got bored. How did that happen? The list of reasons is a long list of wasted potential for what should be an exciting part of the WWE.

It started in mid-2017 with the loss of Austin Aries and Neville. They are two supremely talented wrestlers. I know it was one of the matches I was most looking forward to at WrestleMania 33. Sadly, they screwed it up.

The match itself was fine, but having it be the first match of the entire pre-show means the fans in Orlando and around the word likely missed it. Since the WWE, in their lack of wisdom, decided to exclude it from the Blu-Ray release too, it means Aries and Neville were screwed of a very good payday. Both would bolt the company in the months following as they saw the Cruiserweight division as a dead end for their careers.

The problems continued with the addition of Enzo Amore. Enzo is fantastic on the mic, but a terrible wrestler. It has brought down the in-ring quality of the entire division as the attention has turned mainly to him. Since the other 205 Live talent trade wins and lack the proper character development, Enzo’s stranglehold on the division has grown. I highly doubt underdeveloped Kalisto and Hideo Itami are going to help that much in 2018. It is a true shame.

 

WWE UK Division

I guess I am just disappointed with different WWE divisions in 2017. However, while 205 Live’s issues are because of lack of interest, the WWE UK’s is just the opposite. I want to see a lot more, but lacked the opportunity to do so.

The year started off great for the new UK Division. The 16 man tournament in January was fantastic fun. The crowd was hilarious, the storylines were well told and even Michael Cole was at his best. I looked forward to seeing the exploits of Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, Wolfgang and Trent Seven in a weekly show. Then I waited and waited.

Every time we saw them it was a lot of fun. The NXT crowd loved their sporadic appearances on NXT television, the UK special in May was a blast and seeing Pete Dunne on Raw recently was greeted warmly. However, nothing prepared me for NXT Takeover: Chicago.

I had only seen the then 23-year-old Dunne and the 20-year-old Bate on a few rare occasions. The rest of the people I watched that Takeover show with had never seen them wrestle at all. But all of us were beyond excited for their 15-minute match because it was brilliant. It was my favorite WWE match of the year. Then nothing happened with these two talents.

How the WWE could have access to a rabid fan base and brilliant young talent and give them little to do in 2017 I’ll never understand. If this keeps up, I will start watching Progress Wrestling! It seems a lot of fans in 2017 are turning to other promotions for high-quality wrestling this year. The WWE wasted this unique opportunity.

 

McMahon Family Hogging the Attention

I know it likely will never change, but I have a lot of grievances to share with the McMahon family in 2017. Vince McMahon seems to have pretty much given up on being on camera in a meaningful role, however that doesn’t stop the rest of the family (Shane, Stephanie, and Triple H) from hogging the spotlight. Is it really that hard to push talent not related or married to the McMahon family?

Stephanie is the worst. It has been years of her emasculating the male talent with no comeuppance ever coming her way. I have seen many television and movies where the villains were always winning. What happened to those shows? I stopped watching them. It is boring television.

It is even worse when she hogs the spotlight for herself. The character who has belittled a fair share of the women’s roster? She came out to place herself in the historic announcement of the first Women’s Royal Rumble. Why does every female achievement need to be about her?

Triple H isn’t much better. He was gone for most of the year after his disappointing WrestleMania 33 match with Seth Rollins. Then he showed up the conquering hero for the Raw team at Survivor Series. In the match, he proceeded to get the win for his team and glory from the young talent who needed it more. Then he vanished yet again.

That leaves Shane. He was the most frequent McMahon member on television in 2017. Instead of pushing other younger talent in 2017, Shane was the most developed babyface wrestler in 2017. He fought the likes of AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and was the last survivor for Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. I wish other trained wrestlers could main event pay-per-views like the 47-year old Shane.

I am sure the McMahon family will continue to anger me in 2018.

 

The Never-Ending Terribly Booked Push of Jinder Mahal

I know. I was just complaining about not pushing young talent earlier in this article, but why did it have to be Jinder Mahal? The man who won less than ten matches in his second WWE run before becoming the number one contender for the WWE Champion? It just didn’t make sense in May and still doesn’t make sense now.

It was annoying as he ran through feuds with Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles for more than half a year. It was a series of boring matches and lots of cheating. When a guy bores you on the mic and in the ring, why continue it?

It seemed the WWE fans agreed with me. Smackdown’s ratings were at historic lows during Mahal’s title reign. Add in the many empty seats and the unsuccessful India show (originally planned to be two and then down to one due to slow ticket sales), it was not a success for Mahal. I have nothing against Mahal personally. I just hope the WWE learns to not push a wrestler from jobber to main event star with no between time. It isn’t fair to Jinder Mahal and it isn’t fair to the Smackdown fans to see that lack of logic.

It annoyed many WWE crowds in 2017.

 

Conclusion:

Those are some of my biggest grievances about 2017 in pro wrestling. I don’t want you to think that I am one of those fans that complains about everything. I honestly could think of more to complain about (treatment of Shinsuke Nakamura, Bray Wyatt, and the Raw tag division), but I don’t want to be that guy that is angry all the time.

I think I am a pretty optimistic fan overall. But the real point of fandom is you see the good and bad in your fan culture. I am sure many other things will bother me in 2018 as well.

I hope you have a good Festivus and bigger holiday season! It is time for me to perform the Feats of Strength!

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Feel free to contact me at lasher@pacificu.edu. Additionally, I have my Twitter account, WWEBNRL as well. I would love to hear your thoughts about your grievances about WWE in 2017. What was I missing or was I being too harsh?