The business reality of WWE
Ever since the WWE went “PG” due to Linda McMahon’s failed attempt at politics as well as when WWE Corporate went public, their sole purpose has been to generate revenue and expand their market presence in the world of entertainment. To their credit, they have done a great job but it’s come at the expense of losing the “support” of fans that have already surpassed puberty. Those of us who remember an era other than the Attitude Era. Now I use the term support loosely because while the “old school” wrestling fans have become disenchanted with the current product, one fact remains: We’re still watching it. We’re still subscribing to WWE Network. We are still buying their products and they are still selling out arenas all over the world. So….why the hell would they turn their two biggest “faces” in the company? It makes ZERO business sense, that’s why.
John Cena is the Hulk Hogan of his generation, plain and simple. Roman Reigns, despite his family lineage and the company’s best laid plans to elevate him, may never truly reach his potential as long as mic work is part of the job. The man has absolutely ZERO charisma and like Big Cass says, YOU CAN’T TEACH THAT. The WWE’s next big heel is only going to happen organically. Personally I think Seth Rollins is a natural and Kevin Owens is right up there with him. Here’s hoping Vince doesn’t ruin either of them with one of his asinine ideas later on and then fire them like they did something wrong *cough* Damien Sandow *cough*.
What makes a good heel turn?
Do you remember the greatest heel turn in the history of the business? I do. I still remember it fondly because it changed the entire industry. Bash at the Beach, 1996, the biggest face in the history of wrestling makes the heel turn no one expected (I don’t even think the commentators knew it was coming), Hulk Hogan comes in, turns heel and creates one of the greatest stables (which eventually got watered down) in history with the nWo. This of course spawned DX and the Monday Night War really took off. Now why did that heel turn happen? Hogan was already the biggest name in the business, Nash and Hall were there and the trickle of talent coming in from WWE was already quickly growing to a steady stream. Why the bombshell? Because it made perfect business sense. Hardcore wrestling fans would continue to watch WWE and WCW (watch one, record the other back in those days) but the WWE loyalists would not bother watching WCW and just write off Hogan, Nash, Hall, etc as old guys past their prime basically doing the same shtick somewhere else. Unless….they weren’t. Turning Hogan heel was probably the single most ballsy, business savvy GENIUS move pulled off up to that point and since then. Ultimately it also lead to the eventual demise of WCW because the wrong guys were given “creative control” and basically took the politics they pulled in WWE and amplified it tenfold. But the heel turn decision was made because it really was best for business and if WCW had competent management calling the shots behind the scenes, we might still have two major competing brands….and I’m not saying WWE would be one of them, either.
The innovator is now the cancer: Vince McMahonOnce upon a time, albeit through incredibly nefarious actions, Vince McMahon innovated an entire industry and set it on a path to develop into the massive conglomerate that it is today. But too much of anything can be bad and Vince got too much credit and too much power in his creation of what is now called “sports entertainment” almost single handedly so he refuses to release the iron fist of influence he wields over everything seen on WWE broadcasting. If you truly think HHH has final say on NXT operations or that Stephanie has final say on RAW and Smackdown programming then you must believe that control of RAW was really on the line at Wrestlemania this year when Shane fought the Undertaker. We see how that played out, don’t we? The reality is Vince has been creatively out of touch almost since the beginning. The nWo is almost directly responsible for the existence of DX. All of the various wild storylines during the Monday Night War was essentially designed to out shock people away from WCW.
Hell, do you remember the Stone Cold Steve Austin heel turn? That was PURELY to get even with a company he already bought for the shock of turning Hulk Hogan...and he couldn’t even get that right. By the way, who is your favorite XFL team? Oh….right. Vince McMahon no doubt has one of the better business acumens than most have and he certainly deserves his share of credit for what he’s created. But one imperative trait that he never developed (I speak past tense because at his age, he’s beyond the point of change), he never learned to truly delegate. If in no other capacity, he should have done so from a creative standpoint. Hire some real writers, give them guidelines to stick to because of the whole PG nonsense and let them do their thing. No more fucking New Day’s. No more fucking Adam Rose and a dancing bunny. No more fucking Oddities. Stop changing the tint in ring lighting for an ENTIRE MATCH for people. Do you realize how hard that is to watch? I call it a bathroom break match.
But you know why we will continue to see these creative defecations in WWE for as long as Vince McMahon draws oxygen on this earth? Because WE KEEP WATCHING and hoping for more. As long as he doesn’t NEED to, he’s not approving any relevant heel turns. We get to watch Kane and Big Show switch back and forth, that’s all we’re getting and we should be grateful for that. Right?