You ever write something, and just as you are looking over it, you realize everything you wrote is meaningless. Yeah, I had a moment like that Saturday. I was working to get something in Sunday, but I just wasn’t feeling it. There was a lot to cover, a lot I wanted to express, but then it all seemed pointless. The lose of Jon Huber to the wrestling community just seemed to rock everyone. I went to my place of inspiration, Twitter, only to find several tributes and good-byes. To be honest, I felt sad to. Here was a man, only a year older than me, with a wife and young children who is now no longer with us. I couldn’t help but feel sad for him, and his family.
Before I start, I want to offer my deepest condolences to the Huber family. Yes, I will be addressing the PWTorch controversy, and my response to it. But before I do go into that, I want to highlight some things that happened this week.
Raw is Ratings
WWE Raw continues drop in the ratings. Week after week, the show is just cringe worthy. This weekend, my wife and I watched Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 84. There is a clear tone difference with both movies. The first movie had a dark and gritty feel, where the second movie had a very colorful and cheesy feel. Watching both Raw and Smackdown this week, you can see the same difference. Smackdown had a much more serious feel to it. Raw on the other hand, feels very gimmicky.
The problems that are holding Raw down are problems that cannot be solved by the McMahon family telling us we are the Authority now. They are problems which need to be fixed with one simple move, getting Vince McMahon to step aside of creative. I hate to say it, I was raised off McMahon sports entertainment. But it’s time. What WWE needs to do is look at their product. They need to see that Raw is truly an embarrassment to watch. The program insults your intelligence. Yes, it’s insulting to fans to try and pretend wrestling isn’t entertainment. At the same time, it’s insulting to fans to make a product that my 6-year thinks is too phony. At this point, anything short of someone getting as hot as the Rock isn’t going to save the show.
AEW vs. NBA Fans
Prior to Huber’s passing, most of my article was focused on this. How NBA fans began body shaming Chris Jericho. I think that body shaming someone, especially with Jericho’s resume, is wrong. With all of that said, this highlights why the wrestling business is the way it is. AEW is trying something very new, which is why many core wrestling fans are gravitating towards it. But a company like WWE isn’t trying to satisfy the core wrestling audience, but rather get the stray NBA or NFL fan to watch their product as well. This is why Vince has always been a body guy. But putting Jericho is that position was actually smart by AEW. Here’s why.
The fans knew who he was. That’s why they tweeted about him, because they saw Jericho, and Sting. They might not have known others, but many tweets focused on Jericho and Sting. Meaning the investment in Jericho and Sting was a smart investment on AEW’s part. What AEW has to do now, is once you get fans watching a Jericho or Sting, use them to show the amazing talent of their other wrestlers. You can say whatever you want about the NBA fans, the reality is many of those fans are former WWE fans, who stopped watching for a reason. On that night, they decided to give wrestling another chance, for whatever reason. It’s not like Jericho is the Rock, these fans had to have some history watching him to know him. Use Jericho to get these fans to watch your other talent. Something that many AEW doubters think is harmful, can be used to your advantage.
Smackdown vs. NFL fans
After the NFL game on Christmas, fans stayed to watch Smackdown, giving Smackdown WWE’s highest rated show in 2020. And just like AEW, WWE knew exactly how to start their program, with a cage match. This episode of Raw actually felt a lot like an old Saturday Night’s Main Event special, when they put on the two hottest matches first. In this case, you start off with a cage match, and a good one too. Reigns and Owens had perfect chemistry. Eventually Jey Uso came out and prevented Owens from getting the win. Afterwards, you had a women’s match with the returning Charlotte Flair, best wrestler in WWE Asuka, and fresh off the Mandalorian season finale, Sasha Banks.
The viewers who stayed to watch the whole episode of Smackdown, WWE treated them with a title change. Big E winning the Intercontinental title felt like a big moment. With an episode which you are trying to sell new stars, this was the perfect way for WWE to showcase their talent. It seems almost unbelievable that Raw and Smackdown are the same company. For everything that Raw is missing, Smackdown has. Smackdown is truly WWE’s A show right now. It’s just very hard to see how these two shows are made by the same company.
Columnist Overstepping Their Place
Don’t get it twisted, I’m a wrestling columnist. On the ranking of columnist, that’s like placing 511th most important people in a room with 512 people in there. Do I have opinions on politics, or the Me Too movement, or CoVID? I do. Did Me Too and Politics enter my columns by way of wrestling? Yes. But I cannot see how using a wrestler’s death helps anyone in terms of CoVID. Look, when I read Jon Huber’s death was from lungs, my first thought was CoVID as well. Having family who were hospitalized from this terrible virus, I’m very aware of how dangerous it is, and I support all the mask policies we have. But if the family says it’s not CoVID, then it’s not CoVID. It is irresponsible to put that out there when the family is grieving.
For those of us who are trying to argue on the side of science, and want this virus under control, making wild suggestions like this, using a recent death to bring attention to this topic is actually very hurtful to everyone. The only people this sort of accusation helps are those who are looking for an excuse to write off people who want CoVID taken seriously. They get to point to you and say, “see, they are using a dead man and his family to push their agenda.” And we can’t have that. Jon Huber was too good of a man to have his death be stuck in this situation. Jon Huber deserves better than that from the wrestling community. There are many tributes and columns out there honoring Jon Huber’s life. I highly recommend them all.
What a Week
It’s such a weird way to end the last week of such a weird year. Looking over Raw, I can already tell it’s going to be hard to get through again this week. As much as 2020 has dished out though, we got through it. Smackdown’s last show of the year will be a high point for them, and AEW had the most attention they’ve had yet. We as a community also come together to honor the life of Jon Huber, and I again want to express my deepest condolences to his family. I know they might not hear the words of a wrestling columnist, but as a person, a father, and husband, my heart truly goes out to them. I will be back with another column on Sundays again. Sorry for being a day late. With that said, I’ll be back soon.