But now? We have 12, count ‘em 12 events a year. Some as little as three weeks apart from each other and with the introduction of the WWE Network, they can’t even be called PPV’s any longer. You know what I call them? With the exception of the four main shows, it’s just RAW with a different name. That’s it.
The Immediate Gratification Factor:
Without even getting into the greed aspect of this on WWE’s part, let’s look at this from the big picture. What is a company’s primary objective? To make money. How do they do that? By giving their customers what they want. At some point in the last 15-20 years the message was delivered to WWE that fans wanted more big shows besides Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summer Slam and Survivor Series. So the WWE delivered. Why not? Not only are they giving fans what they want but they tripled the opportunities to sell merchandise at big events every year (from four big shows to twelve). Then the fans told them they wanted to see a new champion every few months….so now we see the WWE title change hands more times in one year than it did for all of the the 70’s and 80’s combined. I didn’t agree with the split brand titles because I feel it took away from both champions equally. One company, one guy. Same goes for the Women’s division….one company, one woman champion and THANK YOU for getting rid of the “Diva’s” title. What a joke that was. But I digress….
Degradation and Disintegration of Storylines:
For those of you old enough to remember or have educated yourself on the history of the business versus just eating the slop dumped in your bowl each week and thinking it’s great….think back to the storylines of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Epic, weren’t they? Well, many of them...not all. Why do you think they were so great? So memorable? Yes the talent has a lot to do with it as do the writers. But the primary reason, in my humble opinion, is those storylines thrived because of the same reason anything else ends up good, lasting and memorable: They were given the TIME to develop. We didn’t see the two people scheduled to fight at the PPV anywhere near each other in a ring during the weekly shows unless it was to screw with the others match or otherwise fan the flames of that rivalry. These days? If you JUST watch RAW or Smackdown every week, you have pretty much seen the big matches at the big events already. How many times in the past two weeks did Styles and Reigns cross paths prior to their match last night at Extreme Rules? How about the rest of the card? Every single week there were physical altercations involving the combatants of just about every single match last night.
Where’s the anticipation?
Once upon a time, opponents generally wouldn’t get a hand on their opponent until the actual event or during the “send off” show prior to the actual event. At this point, there is literally nothing to look forward to….or pay for….during these events formerly known as PPV’s. Nothing. The WWE is so desperate to seize the moment when anyone becomes organically “hot” (I think they are still baffled how that happens), they will put someone in a major storyline or even the WWE title picture *cough* AJ Styles *cough* if they think it will sell a few more tickets that particular week. But aside from that, if you follow the “behind the scenes” stuff, you already knew Rollins was coming back last night and with the heat Reigns has been getting (I can’t wait to hear it on RAW tonight), there was no question Rollins was going to come back as a “face” and attack Reigns after the match. Styles never had a chance of winning last night simply because he’s only been in WWE a few months and is already showing signs of wear and tear. Popular as he may be, they aren’t putting the belt on him and ruin the encounter we’ve all been waiting for since Rollins put that chair to the back of Ambrose and Reigns some time ago.
A plausible solution that will never happen:
I’m not one to complain about something without offering a solution. I’d just as soon keep my mouth shut and stew about it internally. So I’m not about to advocate abolishing the eight extra shows and going back to JUST the main four. I recognize a need for a few more shows and understand this represents more money for the performers as well. So my suggestion is simple...cut the shows in half. Seriously. In doing so, you can still appease those who need to see results from a feud quickly but you also give yourself time to build a credible storyline that make people even WANT to watch the big show.
Royal Rumble: One of the main four, leave it alone.
Fastlane: Abolish it. All this does is put a massive pothole on the “Road to Wrestlemania”.
Wrestlemania: No comment needed...
Extreme Rules: This would be a good show if we weren’t in the “PG” era. But I’ve never been a fan of wrestlers shredding and destroying their bodies week in and week out thus shortening their careers and in some cases, their lives. Abolish it.
Payback: Another waste of time. Glorified RAW. Get rid of it.
Money In The Bank: I’d not only advocate keeping this one but making it matter again. Unless the talent has “earned their stripes” in the locker room and is gold on the mic AND in the ring, they should not get this briefcase. Especially those who just happen to be a “flavor of the month” with fans.
Battleground: For what? Abolish it.
SummerSlam: Staple show….gotta keep it.
Night of Champions: I love this concept but the show should be ONLY title matches. Save the rivalries for…..
Hell in a Cell: Even in the “PG” era, this can still be a good show if written correctly with well developed storylines. You don’t need blood or big spots to make these matches good….how about the “hell” of being locked in a cage with someone who can’t wait to get their hands on you?
Survivor Series: The 4th and final staple show of the year. But this show has to go back to it’s roots. Four on four. That’s it. Vince and the writers need to get all of their lust for mixed tag matches out on this show and stop ruining the weekly shows with that garbage. The novelty of it is dead and rotting.
TLC: With the Hardy’s gone, Edge and Christian gone and the Dudley’s enjoying one last run, this show needs to be dumped as well.
There you go. Seven shows instead of twelve. Plenty of time to develop convincing storylines AND develop good matches. Should WWE do it? Hell yes. Will they? Ohhhhh heeeeeellllllll no.
Next week I’m going after the intellectual troglodytes that love to tell you “wrestling is fake”. You won’t want to miss that.