When you have children, you can look at wrestling from their eyes. It makes writing these columns easier. I know that many fans are caught up in the wrestling bubble. We look at the shows from a jaded point of view. But at one time we were a young 6 or 7-year-old, anxious to watch every week. Well having kids has put wrestling in a new prospective.
For me, I see the show very similarly as many of you. I get bored by repetitive storylines, tire of the same matches, and get sick of the same wrestlers being pushed repeatedly. But you know who isn’t, my 7-year-old son. Yes, Little LWO4Life Jr is excited to watch every week. He has also found a way to my WWE Network account, which he now uses to watch all of John Cena’s old matches. Yes, he has a favorite wrestler now, and his name is…. JOHN CENA!
I Like Bad Guy
What you must know is my child thinks he loves bad guys. When Roman Reigns turned heel, he was all for it. He’s heard of Roman Reigns, he has a Roman Reigns action figure, but really, he never saw Roman Reigns. He thought of wrestling like comic book movies, but this time a bad guy can win. His little young heart wanted to see the bad guy win so badly.
Well, the day Roman turned heel was the first card I let him watch in full. We watched Summer Slam, and he knew Braun Strowman, and Bray Wyatt, but both characters confused him. He was 6 at the time and didn’t get them. Strowman was kind of cool in a giant wrestler sort of way. But then Roman came and destroyed everyone. He loved it. Then on Smackdown, Roman was with Paul Heyman, or as my son calls him, the coach. Yes, rooting for bad guys seemed to be a thing for him. But then…
Roman’s first big feud was against Jey Uso. My son did not watch the WWE cold. But, I’m letting him watch the whole show, not just selected matches. Knowing the Usos, my child really wanted to see Jey win. But then I reminded him, “I thought you liked bad guys, and Roman is the bad guy.” He agreed, he’s rooting for Roman. We watched the match, and let me tell you, we couldn’t finish it.
Once Roman got into heel mode, Little LWO4Life Jr. was visibly scared. Finally, he told me, “Daddy, change the channel.” So, I did, I didn’t want to traumatize my child. From that day on, he never said Roman Reigns was his favorite wrestler. But like every kid, he’s hooked now, he wants to watch every week to see if someone can finally beat Roman. Every week he asks me, “is John Cena going to come back? Is he going to beat Roman Reigns?”
His Name is John Cena
Just like the Rock, or Hulk Hogan before him, John Cena is a big name to people outside the wrestling world. My wife knows John Cena, not because I watch wrestling, but because of the movie Trainwreck. From there she has seen him in other movies we watched, and she now knows who John Cena is. So of course, my son knows who John Cena is. Well he’s discovered something really cool about his Old Man; his Old Man has the WWE Network. Every morning when I wake up, my son is already on my bed with the remote in hand, watching the WWE Network. Without fail, the first song I’m hearing is either Word Life by John Cena, or My Time is Now by John Cena.
It is interesting because of all the wrestlers today, there is no wrestler that grabs at my child like Cena. Even Roman as a good guy; Little LWO4Life Jr. called face Roman Reigns, boring. But you know who isn’t boring, John Cena. The players on the show are interchangeable. He loves to watch the Survivor Series match from 2003, (or any random 2003 Smackdown honestly,) also the 2008 and 2013 Royal Rumbles (his preference is 2013), Wrestlemania 25 with Cena vs. Edge vs. Big Show, and well, any other match he knows Cena will win. Watching this, I must ask myself, what is it that Cena has that every other wrestler on today’s roster lacks? Because even though my 7-year-old wants Kevin Owens to beat Roman Reigns, he isn’t a fan of Kevin Owens. He just wants to see someone beat Roman and take the title.
Why My Son Keeps Watching and What That Says About the Future
Well, for those that argued for years and years that Roman should be turned heel, you were correct. Roman Reigns is the perfect heel. We all come into the fandom at different times, and different stories hook you. My son is watching as Roman turned heel, and he hopes every week Roman loses. I don’t think there is a better compliment for a heel that to say, “Hey Roman, my son watches every week and hopes you lose.” Any heel wrestler would have that as a batch of honor. WWE has the right heel. What I am fearing that they are missing is the right face to finally do it. I just don’t see that money making next babyface.
Every fan always thinks that if you give their favorite wrestlers a bunch of wins, they’ll catch fire and then be a main event star. But if you watch every big-time baby face before they won their first title, they organically connected with the crowd. Hogan, Rock, Austin, Hart, Cena, they all were organically popular before their first titles. Wrestlers like Michaels, Reigns, they struggled before winning the belt and they struggled as champion. When the time is right for WWE to beat Reigns, they need to find that one guy who has connected with the audience. Maybe a Big E or set up Drew McIntyre to beat Roman for an Undisputed WWE title, but short of that there isn’t a star ready for that spot. It is important WWE start looking for who they think can be the guy to beat Roman.
Interesting Observation About Wrestling Formatting and Segments
When Vince Russo wrote in the Attitude Era, he noticed his children have short attention spans. Well, observing my son I have noticed this about him, he HATES talking. Hate is a strong word, but it sums up how much he can’t stand them talking. I can’t tell you anything about attention spans, but these kids have no patients. Well WWE is still relaying on formatting the shows like it’s 2000 when Triple H came out for 15 minutes and talked, that doesn’t fly with at least my child. He doesn’t care how many people interrupt Drew McIntyre; he wants to just see the match.
I think WWE mistakes long mic segments with storytelling. And well that might have been true with Triple H talking at the beginning of every Raw, today’s kids find that extremely boring. They want to cut to the point. This leaves me wondering, is there a way to get to where WWE wants to go in less time? Are they that desperate to fill three hours of TV, or is there maybe wrestlers in catering that could get a match in, if you cut mic times? Simply put, long in-right segments with lots of people talking are boring the 7-year-olds. We need Teddy Long to cut the segments at 4-5 minutes top, force everyone in the ring to fight in a tag team match and call it a day.
The only man that can save wrestling
He still sees wrestling as this great form of entertainment. I wasn’t like my dad though, who didn’t tell me wrestling wasn’t real. I have told my son, yes, this isn’t real, they aren’t really hurting each other. But like many young innocent children, he just buys into it fully. For me, it’s refreshing to see the product again from new eyes. Watching it with my son allows me to just sit there and enjoy the show. And maybe that’s what all wrestling fans need, to watch the product with fresh eyes.