Despite the initial high hopes after the WWE draft, it seems like the old saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” is rearing its ugly head again. Both RAW and Smackdown had such great first weeks that the fan base started to wonder if real change was actually coming to WWE. Would the new rosters mark the dawning of a new day (no pun intended) on how we see the WWE product? Well despite some new nuances (cool new camera angles of the ring and new feuds being built), I’ve noticed at least 5 things that, despite some of the apparent changes, frustrate me to say WWE will never learn.
5. Continued Commercial Breaks During Matches: This, without a doubt, is my biggest pet peeve in WWE and has been for years. Every time a wrestler gets thrown outside the ring, my mind goes into shut down mode as I know I’m getting a 5 Hour Energy commercial (like the Uso’s would ever really have a press conference) or Mountain Dew break. It’s become one of the cardinal sins in television and that is that it has made WWE programming predictable. In any kind of media, you always want to keep your fan base engaged and intrigued in your product. Nothing kills both emotions more than taking a break in the action at a critical point in the match. It just provokes emotions of anger and frustration. Wrestling isn’t the old TV westerns where you had cliff hanger moments. It’s a sporting event.
This issue is even seen in a more absurd fashion in NXT. Maybe the most hyped match in NXT history, Shinsuke Nakamura vs Finn Balor, had 3 commercial breaks in it. One of the breaks even occurred when Balor was on the top rope. Keep in mind, these ridiculous NXT breaks are for team McMahon to push their own programming! Not a paying sponsor, just more reminders of what’s on the network in the coming weeks. Makes zero sense, especially considering that WWE doesn’t interrupt their Cruiserweight Classic matches. And oh, in case anybody is wondering, having uninterrupted commercial free matches is happening on TV these days outside of WWE. It’s one of the reasons, I’ve come to really enjoy Lucha Underground. Fifteen to twenty-minute action packed matches. Brings back great memories to yesteryear.
4. Fifteen Minute Nauseating Verbal Exchanges At The Top of Every Hour: Funny how WWE will take a commercial break during an actual wrestling match, yet they’ll have 2 to 6 people going back and forth for an eternity at the top of every hour to the point where I am already starting to flip the channel. Let me start by saying I am a fan of Enzo and Cass, but man are they getting the New Day treatment of overexposure and I can already see their schtick is going to get played out fast. Now, don’t think I hate the New Day when I say overexposure. Quite the contrary, as I think they’ve been one of the most refreshing things to come around in the business in years. However, when they have to fill 10 minutes of non-wrestling programming slots, the humor started to show some holes.
Enzo Amore is a funny guy, but keep him fresh by having him speak in smaller doses. That whole “How You Doin?” exchange with Sasha Banks was almost painful to watch last week. It also hurts Cass as, despite his physical presence, he lacks the charisma of Enzo so his lack of mic skills becomes more apparent. “How You Doin?” is funny once or twice, but every week hearing 30 times a week is getting old and rough. Seth Rollins at the top of the second hour of this week’s RAW wasn’t much better. I kept waiting for someone else to come out, but nothing.
How about this? How about you have actual wrestling matches to start a show or hour off? I remember a few years ago John Morrison and The Miz kicked off the first RAW of the year with a match for the WWE Championship, that was quite good. I was stunned.
3. The Miz Will Continue To Get Pushes: This is true despite the fact the fan base, for the most part, find him annoying (and not in a good heel heat annoying way ala Kevin Owens). Despite the fact you can hear crickets when he enters the arena. Despite the fact the company has tried countless times putting a belt on him to get some emotional investment from the fans, and despite the fact his title reigns have never had a wow moment in them, somebody in creative still feels The Miz deserves to be given coveted titles and countless attempts to become a star.
Now I am sure Mike Mizanin is a great guy. I’ve heard him interviewed a number of time and he seems to be genuine and a real student of the game. He has a beautiful wife and has been blessed with the gift of gab. However, these qualities have not translated into him being the star that WWE continues to try and make him. In the interviews I’ve heard him on he seems like a great guy and I hope it clicks for him one day, but to be honest I think he’s not been played to his strengths. What the industry has been starving for is great managers. Look at the impact Paul Heyman has any time he appears on WWE television. I’m not saying Miz could be the next Heyman, but he might be. Why not wean him out of the ring and give him a stable to manage. He could then use his in ring experience to be a legit threat outside the ring, when an opponent is vulnerable and when we are not going to commercial break.
2. The Big Three Seem To Never Be Retiring: The Big Show, Mark Henry and Kane are still being seen on WWE TV and seem to be playing some pretty pivotal parts as well. I realize that the rosters have been slimmed down due to the roster split, but if this really is the “new era”, then why are we utilizing “40 somethings” that are rather limited in the ring these days? I believe all three men can serve a viable purpose in the company, but as trainers to the younger wrestlers, not being in the ring with them. I have to ask the question, is anyone really excited about a possible Shaq vs Big Show WrestleMania match? They will be taking precious time away from workers who deserve the spotlight more. All three men have had successful careers, but it’s time to move on.
1. John Cena will NEVER, EVER, EVER Turn Heel: Despite the boos, chants and desires of most of the 21+ male fane base, John Cena will be the neon T-shirt wearing good guy the rest of his career. I was kind of hoping when he came back and A.J. Styles turned on him that WWE would take this opportunity to repackage Cena. Personally I would have had Enzo and Cass rush the ring to help Cena, only to turn on him as well. Cut a promo that this IS the new era and it’s time for Cena to leave. I would have then had Cena become a lone wolf character, similar to Sting back in WCW, and utilized him as a “me against the world” character. He could have changed his appearance (wearing actual wrestling attire would be nice) and had him pop out of nowhere and start laying people out. He wouldn’t have to be a full-fledged heel, but just a cool character. But no, we’ll still always get the Cena that the female and under 12 audience loves, while keeping his legacy at a distance to older fans.
Well, there you have it. The five things I think we just have to accept as WWE fans. I put arguments as to why these things should change, but to be honest I never see them happening.
Pictures used above are courtesy of WWE.com.