The WWE does a lot of good things. There’s absolutely no denying that. You don’t have to be a WWE fan to understand there’s something for almost everyone. The statistics are just not in your favor to pretend like it’s entirely unappealing. You don’t become the top company in your “genre” by being terrible at everything.
Even the best company does some pretty messed up stuff. Microsoft once admitted that their Xbox was going to be listening to you 24/7 for “reasons.” Disney once hired Rian Johnson to direct a movie. USA Network paid millions of dollars for a show that isn’t worth millions of dollars. We all make mistakes. When you’re a company, you must balance common sense with marketability, and its easy to get lost in one or the other. You must satisfy consumers while simultaneously satisfying stockholders with promises that whatever you’re doing will eventually make them money. Sometimes, you’re so out of touch that you talk about Otis from Heavy Machinery like he’s just fat because you’re Jerry Lawler.
Here’s three things that WWE does that ruins things.
Removing the “Cool” From Cool Things
In NXT, Sasha Banks had the nickname “The Boss.” The nickname. As in, that name you call someone because it means something but it’s not actually their name? It’s not just a random name you shout at someone like the crazy guy who waves to everyone at the corner because he’s pretty sure you’re his granddaughter like Michael Cole does.
While in NXT, Banks’ gimmick was “What if Cardi B…” and then literally nothing at the end of that sentence because that’s where the gimmick stopped. It was still a gimmick though. She was presented and acted like you’d expect a current pop star to act: entitled, sassy, and devoid of anything likeable. On average, she has always been the fifth most talented person in just this sentence alone, but she always managed to stand out which is a gift from God as far as WWE is concerned. She had every right to call herself “The Boss” because it just fit. The fans ate it up. She quickly became one of the top reasons to watch NXT.
Then, she was called up to the WWE main roster where they gave her the gimmick “What if Cardi B wasn’t Cardi B but was a vapid shell where a person used to be?” To make up for this blatant stripping of a potential gimmick, WWE had Michael Cole shout out “ITS BOSS TIME” every time she made her entrance. What is “Boss Time?” Why is “Boss Time?” Will we ever know and/or care? No, no, and no, exclusively in that order.
The WWE took something that should have been cool and told you it was until it wasn’t anymore. Like your crazy Aunt that thinks she’s cool and offers to take you to the club even though she’s 47 with 6 kids from 7 fathers. Imagine if Jim Ross shouted “it’s beer time” every time Stone Cold came out, but he never touched a beer.
Other examples: Fandango’s theme song, Nakamura’s entrance, The Uso Penitentiary, 2006 DX, Suplex City
Treating Social Media Social Media Like a Foreign Language
Remember social media? Man, that was nice back in the day. It’s been forever since I’ve used social media. The last time that I can recall being on it was when I was in the bathroom trying to avoid spending time with my in-laws. When was that again? Uh.. uh.. Like, 30 minutes ago? Wow, feels like just yesterday.
That’s how the WWE treats social media; Like it’s some weird new toy that people still need explained to them.
Who is the WWE trying to appeal to when they tell us that RAW was the #1 trending topic on Twitter a week ago? Time travelers? Their less than 20% of children demographic who might have just discovered Twitter? Are they trying to tell us that everyone is talking about WWE on Twitter and that if you want to be like everyone else you should be talking about them on there, too? Have they read the shit people say about them on Twitter? If they had, they’d know better than to direct everyone’s attention to it. Sometimes trending on Twitter is about as useful as bragging about sleeping with your hot teacher but finding out you’re being homeschooled.
It was never more apparent of how little the WWE understood social media than the time they created a partnership with Tout. For those of you who never used Tout – which statistically is every single one of you – Tout was basically Vine but with 8 more seconds. If you’re still confused, Vine was basically Youtube for people who liked watching videos of teenagers getting kicked in the balls for a few seconds rather than cats playing classical instruments for minutes. Hope that clears that up.
How did WWE advertise Tout to us? By showing teenagers every week on RAW sitting in their bedrooms rambling nonsense about wrestling. Tout and WWE’s partnership ended in 2014 after only two years because, as a general rule, no one gives a shit what a 14-year-old thinks of Brock Lesnar. Tout remains so unpopular that if you Google Tout, nothing about the social media platform shows up. Instead, you get the term “tout de suit,” which is French for “clothes of Tout.” Probably. I don’t speak French.
Luckily, WWE got the hang of how social media works and are one of the fastest growing accounts in the history of old people trying to figure out computers.
Other examples: Cereal, ice cream bars, jorts
Pay-Per-Views/Special Events Are Not Special Anymore
Remember when the WWE would have a yearly pay-per-view that was named something irrelevant to anything around it? Like, Judgment Day or No Way Out or ECW: Anything? But regardless of the name, you were always surprised at what kind of matches would take place because they weren’t in anyway telegraphed according to the name?
Now, if the next special event is Hell in a Cell, you can guarantee that a match on the previous event or one of the TV tapings will involve excessive outside interference, fighting through the crowd, or running away. Then, just before the event, one of the wrestlers will say, “I’ve got a great idea!” and suddenly their match will be a Hell in a Cell at a special event already called Hell in a Cell where matches typically aren’t TLC matches. It couldn’t be any more telegraphed than if Michael Cole shouted “Ohhh myyy, it’s Boss Time!… in a Cell, at the next special event… BIG DAWG. That’s vintage good shit, pal,” and whatever meme thing I can beat to the ground.
There are so many special events that they’re not special anymore. They may as well rename the WWE Network to “WWE Pay Us More Money to Watch Glorified RAWs” where they air previously aired RAWs. It’s a good deal for the value, though. $10 gets you all these special events, plus PPVs from previously folded companies, and random shows you didn’t know you wanted until you watch them and realize you kind of still don’t want them.
These special events are so un-special that there are maybe 3 matches announced for this week’s Hell in a Cell event that you’re presumably paying $10 to watch. Currently, RAW, Smackdown and NXT are going through such huge renovations that one of their biggest themed shows of the year is being treated like Saturday Night Shotgun. Monday Night RAW went from being a glorified commercial for the events you paid money for to being the main attraction while you pay for their commercials.
King of the Ring, which was a tournament that spanned 3 weeks, concluded on a Monday Night RAW after being removed from Night of Champions. The match was removed so they could make more room for Erick Rowan vs. Roman Reigns. That match, in case you’re wondering, ended when Luke Harper returned to zero reaction.
The storyline leading up to that was that Roman Reigns was being attacked backstage. Except he wasn’t! It was a temp worker who accidentally let a forklift bump into a scaffolding. Except it wasn’t! In reality, it was a guy who looked nothing like Erick Rowan but we were being told he looked exactly like him because the WWE is pandering to its massive blind demographic. Except it wasn’t! It really was Erick Rowan, which is who they assumed it was the whole time, so… gotcha, I guess! To summarize, it was an accident that wasn’t an accident because it was the person you thought it was.
That’s the match that replaced the King of the Ring match, because the WWE doesn’t give a shit about special events anymore. The King of the Ring isn’t a championship that needed to be defended, but it was way closer to a belt than reforming the Bludgeon Brothers by a mile. This means that either the special event Night of Champions didn’t mean enough to hold the finale of the tournament, or the tournament they built up like a special event for weeks didn’t mean enough to conclude on a special fucking event.
Other examples: Live events, YouTube, Watching their shows live
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