What’s up guys? You chilling with Don Franc for another edition of The Main Event. Long introductions aren’t really my thing so let’s get right to…
It has been reported that Edge suffered a torn triceps in his match against Randy Orton for Backlash that was taped on June 7th. I find it surprising that WWE were able to keep it a secret for that long in today’s age. Nevertheless, Edge is injured and this could potentially sideline him for around eight months. This has to absolutely suck for Adam Copeland who only returned to action at this year’s Royal Rumble event. Imagine being away from the ring for nine months and make a miraculously triumphant return, only to be injured a few short months after your comeback. Jeez, how unlucky can one man be!?
Despite Edge’s rotten luck, you can’t deny that this is nothing new to him. He has suffered numerous injuries throughout the course of his career and the truth is that even in his prime he was extremely injury-prone. Back in his heyday – especially toward the latter stages of the 2000s – Edge would seemingly be injured all the time. One minute he was there and the next he had to relinquish his title to take some time off to recover from an injury. Therefore logic would dictate that if Edge was injury-prone then he would be even more so now.
The worst part is that it happened so soon after his return. I bet Edge’s excitement levels were through the roof with all the potential matches that he could have with the likes of Reigns, Styles and Rollins (to name but a few). With that in mind you have to wonder how demoralizing this injury will be. How does one’s mindset go from elated to deflated in what is seemingly a blink of an eye? Hopefully Edge stays motivated during his time on the shelf and doesn’t fall into a state of depression.
Perhaps WWE put too much pressure on Edge too soon after his return. How in the hell can you hype a match that includes a superstar who hasn’t wrestled a standard wrestling match in nine years as the greatest wrestling match ever? It makes no sense. Yes, Edge is a veteran with a great degree of professionalism, but even so he has been too long out of the game to place this high expectancy upon his shoulders. No wonder he got injured! I sincerely hope Edge stays in the mindset of wanting to return to the ring and I sincerely hope he has a speedy recovery.
THE MAIN EVENT
COVID-19 Presented Vince With A Perfect Opportunity
There comes a time where life hands out buckets of shit and you have to make the most of it. This is arguably what Vince has done with regards to the Corona Virus Pandemic. He took the pile of shit that COVID-19 dished out and made sure to make a feast of it. All sensibility would dictate that you put your promotion on hold while the pandemic is being countered. But not Vince. No, he does not follow the rules of the normal man. He creates his own rules and strictly adheres to those rules with barely an ear given to any suggestions that may arise.
It’s this mentality of Vince McMahon that caused him to push wrestling during the pandemic. The Chairman sells it as a gift. He sells it as hope during a troubling time. From a business perspective you’d be hard-pressed to argue his motivations. In his mind the show must go on. It’s all about the show. Whether it’s because of that or because of contractual agreements with networks, the show did indeed go on. But if you look at the bigger picture you’d start to think that perhaps Vince didn’t think this all the way through.
Yeah, it’s great to be the shining light in a world filled with darkness; yet pushing through and carrying on with his promotion has dimmed that very light. It was always a risk to put out shows during this era but for the most part you could argue it a success. But what we’ve seen is only success in the context of the situation. As ratings would suggest, WWE have actually lost a certain portion of their fans during this time period. And there are a few substantial reasons as to why that is.
The most common concern was that due to the nature of wrestling being a close-combat sport, the interactions between wrestlers were frowned upon because of social distancing that was supposed to be in effect. Clearly that didn’t happen in the ring and with this generation that would undoubtedly be a problem, which I would agree with. On top of that, WWE were missing out on starpower because of the pandemic which surely affected their ratings.
Yes, this provided an opportunity for wrestlers who don’t normally get a chance on television to be featured. But remember, some of those wrestlers weren’t featured before the lockdown so why would we care now! That’s an illogical way of looking at it from WWE’s perspective, which clearly indicates a lack of long-term thinking when the virus struck. Couple those two factors in with the major detriment of not having fans in the arena – which is in essence the driving force behind any wrestling promotion – and there’s no way to fully succeed in what is now unaffectionately known as the Empty Arena Era. I hate this era for sure. Yikes!
All Vince thinks about is the short-term. He has been very hasty with regards to how he dealt with the pandemic. So much so that alot of times he came up short during this pandemic. Vince’s vision for the pandemic was incredibly short-sighted(this is starting to sound like a Shorty G roast now!). In fact, those blinders caused Vince to actually miss out on a perfect opportunity. Vince is sometimes incapable of thinking long-term and that was evident with the rushed nature of how he chose to deal with the pandemic. If he’d just shut down during the lockdown, WWE would have been much stronger once the promotion restarted. Let me give you a few reasons why that is…
Firstly, the mythical off-season. It’s been noted numerous times during the course of the lockdown how this was a perfect time to give wrestlers some time off. This would have done wonders for them across the board. Not only would their bodies actually be able to heal, but they’d be in a better place mentally. The fact of the matter is that if a wrestler is feeling good in mind, body and soul they’d be more willing to put in that extra effort. And with greater effort comes greater reward. The fans would be the ones who benefit from this the most as a rejuvenated wrestler is able to put on a much better display compared to a wrestler who is physically and mentally tired. An off-season for wrestlers would have led to fresher bodies and a longer output, meaning Vince may not have had to worry about injuries for a while.
Besides an off-season during the lockdown being beneficial to the wrestlers, this would also have a significant impact on the creative team. It has to be difficult having to put out new content every week; and it certainly appears difficult considering the lack of energy a show/storyline has. It’s like a women asking you to keep it up round after round after round. Eventually you’ll run out of steam and everything will just fall flat. That’s the definition of the creative team in WWE who are sorely lacking. An off-season may have proven instrumental in having fresh ideas looked at. For example, writers for television series have months to come up with new ideas and even then they can’t come up with anything good. So how in the hell can you expect a creative team to write content for three shows a week!? It’s as ridiculous as wearing your mankini in the rain! No wonder WWE’s creative team is running on fumes.
So, COVID-19 presented Vince With an opportunity at an off-season to rejuvenate his wrestlers (and staff as a whole) which he completely ignored. Vince also overlooked something that could have potentially been a game-changer. Ever heard of the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? Vince definitely hasn’t because if he did he would have factored that in with his decision to keep running shows. Wrestling has become a weekly tradition for those into oily men play-fighting in their underwear. Even if you’re not watching you still know it’s there. It’s because of this that wrestling has become STALE.
And what better way to remove that staleness than by getting the fuck off my television screen for a while and coming back fresh. Fresh bodies of wrestlers. Fresh minds of writers. But most importantly: a fresh, renewed interest in wrestling fandom. WWE is not the baddest show by any stretch of the imagination, yet it’s boring and predictable. It lacks motivation and is uninspired. WWE being out of sight and out of mind for a few months could have significantly aided in the lessening of that stigma attached to them.
Nobody wants to be in the same, tired relationship for the rest of their lives. And that’s what WWE feels like; a relationship you don’t want to get out of but where you also can’t deny that you need space. COVID-19 presented that opportunity for space. The pandemic was a hall pass at a guilt-free way of not putting out weekly content; yet Vince being the overbearing one in the relationship couldn’t take a hint. And because of that he’s company – and his relationship with the fans of his promotion – have soured considerably; more than it already has pre-lockdown.
Imagine Vince had to take the route that I’ve mentioned above. Imagine all the positive aspects that could have came from it. You would have wrestlers that would be motivated to wrestle. You would have writers with an abundance of new ideas. You would have fans chomping at the bit to get their WWE fix. And when fans finally got that fix; what do you think the outcome would have been? Well, I’d say loud reactions upon the airing of the first live shows and an actual increase in ratings. Like I said, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and wrestling fans and their fandom are no different.
At the end of the day, Vincent Kennedy McMahon dropped the ball and missed out on the perfect opportunity to increase his ratings, something I’m sure he’s clamouring for. It just goes to show that sometimes Vince’s philosophy doesn’t always hold true. The show must not always go on. Although, I doubt VKM will learn a lesson from this. In fact, I don’t believe he thinks there is any lesson to be learned from this! One thing’s for sure, his stubborn short-sightedness prevented him from taking advantage of a perfect opportunity and his product will suffer because of it.
Which Wrestlers Did Corona Benefit?
Despite WWE not going on total lockdown, one has to find the positives in any situation. And one thing that came out of this pandemic were certain superstars getting a push they otherwise would not have received if it weren’t for these circumstances. The first person that comes to mind is none other than Zelina Vega. She has proven herself quite adept on the mic and perfectly fits the managerial role. Yes, she was in that role before this all started, but she got more spotlight to showcase her talents.
You also can’t overlook Austin Theory and Angel Garza. You almost get the sense that if WWE weren’t lacking wrestlers to fill out their shows, those two men would have had minimum television time. Their pairing with Vega was good, but could have been better with more careful booking. That probably could have been attained with a rejuvenated creative team, but I digress. Theory was especially lucky to be involved in two factions, and with his blandness he should probably thank COVID-19 for the opportunity.
What about Apollo Crews’ turnaround of fortunes? From barely being featured before the lockdown to now being the United States Champion, he is doing extremely well under these circumstances. I don’t think WWE had any concrete plans for an Apollo push, but here we are. He is certainly making the most of this opportunity but I think he needs to do more to stand out. Being a great talent inside the ring isn’t exactly enough to warrant a consistent push in the land of WWE.
And last but not least, we have MVP who showed that he can still add value as an on-screen character. He has always been good on the mic and like Zelina, he is a natural at the managerial role. He proved that he can be used as a manager moving forward and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets to be the mouthpiece of a faction sooner rather than later.
So yeah, the Corona Virus aided the above-mentioned superstars in giving them the opportunity to show that they can add value to the product. An opportunity to show that some people shouldn’t be overlooked just because there are bigger stars available. Now is the time for these guys to remain consistent and try their utmost best to stand out. Because when this pandemic is over I’m sure it’ll be business as usual, likely to the detriment of some wrestlers mentioned here.
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. What are your thoughts on Edge’s injury? What other opportunities did Vince miss by choosing to continue regular programming during the pandemic? And who else do you feel benefitted from the pandemic? You can leave a comment below or pop me an email at [email protected] or follow me on Twitter @donfranclop. But until next time folks…
This is Don Franc signing out.
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