Reader Steve Price writes:
Hey, Scott. I need a soap box.
News is beginning to leak out today (even though we've suspected this for awhile) that the WWE wants a "50/50 reaction" at WrestleMania XXVIII between John Cena and The Rock. After having a chuckle at this notion, I couldn't help but shake my head at a company that could be THIS incompetent. You get on your knees and beg The Rock to lower himself by working with your company once more to boost interest in the product. It's the main event of the biggest show of the year, in Rock's hometown, no less... and you're willing to fucking sabotage your programming in order to get Cena over as a FACE?!?!? Against one of the most popular draws in the history of professional wrestling? It's an absolute atrocity, that one company could be this gorram insane. Anyone with an IQ over 80 could book this angle, because it ties into the theme of the other two main event matches: it's all about the winds of change. There's HHH/Undertaker, which is two guys who are fighting for closure on an era that no longer exists. There's Jericho/Punk, which is predicated on the former generation's Jericho proving that the new generation are imitators, with Punk representing the very best of the business today. Rock/Cena needs to take this route: two of the most decorated superstars in the promotion's history, who do not like each other, vying to prove which one stands tall in the end. The finish should be pretty self-explanatory: Rock beats Cena, causing Cena to obsess like a madman over the next year that he's not good enough to hang with the Great One. This begins a transition to a darker heel character, where Cena channels his inner-2001 Austin, going to the dark side in order to take down The Rock at the Meadowlands in 2013. Instead, Cena will go over in Miami despite being the most over heel in the business with his superman schtick, and will completely drop all pretenses of heelishness that has been built up over the past few months. Because fuck logic, I guess.
It's mind-blowing. Every aspect of the WWE is designed to work in opposition against one another. They plant the seeds for a Cena heel turn, only to reverse course and try to get people on his side going into a match against the world's most recognizable pro wrestler in that wrestler's hometown. Young wrestlers are given a chance to shine by connecting with audiences, they get themselves over... and then they get shunted off television without a second thought. Promising superstars are shot up the card with a rocket strapped to their ass, given the top prize like it was candy, then jobbed to oblivion just as quickly right after. When the company is in the doldrums in terms of popularity and television ratings, it decides to further water down the market with an entire network of content that is doomed to failure before it even gets going good. Shitty names are given out wantonly, making casual viewers scoff at the already cheesy, low-brow nature of the show. If the WWE is embarrassed to call itself wrestling, why should fans want to associate themselves with the product? Seriously: the trend of "wrestler" and "professional wrestling" becoming this dirty word that causes wrestlers to get all shady like their breaking the fourth wall or something... that's more damaging to the product than any of the idiotic catchphrases that were loosed on us over the last decade.
I really don't know how much longer the promotion can continue to shoot itself in the foot before they do damage to themselves that can't be undone. To have a resurgence like they have in the past, they've got to actually let loose and make the right decisions at the right time. But they've consistently managed to shoot themselves in the foot with every single angle or hot streak that could have built up the product, be it the 2001 InVasion, the hot streaks they had in 2004 and 2008, the Nexus debut or the Summer of Punk. You can't just piss away so many Golden Eggs before you run out of ammunition to shoot with. Lest we forget, there was a fabled time when no one could imagine a wrestling world without the AWA, then the NWA, then WCW.
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