The Mother Brain Files: Welcome to the Future
By Mother Brain
It is difficult for me to be in my early thirties and to enjoy WWE in the way I did twenty years ago. I have made no secret about that for every blog I have written about the product. Their business model caters to a younger, more impressionable demographic that is more likely to buy merchandise, beg their parents to see the live shows, and most importantly to subscribe to the WWE Network for $9.99. The rest of us adults who cannot sit back and enjoy the show just crap on every booking decision made by management.
The 2015 Royal Rumble was proof that the consumer cannot be fully satisfied. Though we had a solid three-way title match between John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and Seth Rollins, the reception was unanimously negative when it came to the main attraction. Roman Reigns was always predicted to win the big event. The problem was the lackluster booking going into the match as well as the decisions made which killed any positive vibes going into it (i.e. Daniel Bryan’s early elimination, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose dumped, bizarre entries, etc.). Fans threatened to unsubscribe to the Network, then WWE announces it reached 1 million subscribers which was not only legit but also damage control. Unlike last year when the company was forced by fan reaction to put Daniel Bryan into the Wrestlemania main event, they’re sticking to their guns for business sake no matter what because we keep watching.
I can go on writing about Vince McMahon going senile and the wrong guys getting the top spot. Now I want to focus on the little silver linings that we as fans should appreciate whether or not we continue to watch:
An unproven star in the Wrestlemania main event.
I agree with the critics that Roman Reigns is a terrible talker. Though he has the physique and the power in the ring, he lacks the charisma needed to be number one. I blame that on Vince’s terrible writing and the way Roman has been booked in a useless feud with Big Show; however, I saw Roman’s potential when he was first introduced in The Shield as a silent powerhouse beast with the deadly spear attack. While I do not agree with his story winning the Rumble and going on to face Brock for the title, it has been a long time since we had a main event match that did not involve Cena, The Rock, or Randy Orton. It’s better to put the title on a guy who will go to work the next day than a part-timer on a pay-per-date basis.
Sting finally enters a WWE ring after decades of resistance.
The biggest star that Vince never created finally ‘crossed the line.” It was always a lifelong dream to see the icon work the big markets in New York and so forth. But his loyalty to the NWA/WCW and fears of disrespect like many of his peers have endured under Vince held him back from ever wrestling the likes of The Rock and The Undertaker. All it took was TNA’s shortcomings and Triple H cleaning the stink of the past decades to get the icon to finally make it in the WWE and everyone 30 and up turned into a small child the minute he made his Survivor Series debut last year. Although his appearances are limited and those dream matches may not happen, we are still witnessing history.
Macho Man Randy Savage going in the Hall of Fame.
Another demand fans have made for ten years now was for Vince to get over his mysterious grudge against the late two time champ and put him in the Hall of Fame where he belongs. Forget grudges and posthumous demands of the whole Poffo family induction. Randy Savage was a definitive superstar in wrestling. He told stories in the ring that made you feel while giving you the best matches of the night with almost anyone. Vince finally came to his senses. It just sucks it had to happen after the tragic end.
Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler are getting high profile matches.
I feel for both these guys. Considering fan reaction, they deserve to be the faces of WWE. Unfortunately, Vince loves the big guys that look larger than life and it is no longer 1993 when he had to worry about a steroid scandal. Both Bryan and Ziggler had their big moments of winning the title and exploding the arenas with high praise. Then they were forced to drop their titles due to serious injuries. Now it looks like they will be dumped into mid-card matches unless something wonderful happens between now and Wrestlemania. But there is still a bright side to where they stand now. Think back to 2011-2012 when Bryan was losing matches left and right, got bumped off the Wrestlemania 27 card and lost in 18 seconds to Sheamus at Wrestlemania 28. Think back to last year or so when Ziggler was on a losing streak after his concussion as well as his Wizardcon comments about Randy Orton. Both guys came a long way and are in a much better position now. In Bryan’s case being knocked down several pegs, just remember Bret Hart in 1993 when the company was shoving Lex Luger down our throats. Remember the end result at Royal Rumble 1994 when Bret got the better crowd reaction than Lex after the Rumble ended? History has a funny way of repeating itself.
We have the best tag team division in years.
The Usos, Goldust & Stardust, The Ascension, Mizdow, New Day, Cesaro and Kidd, etc. I know it is nowhere near the greatness we had in the late 80s, early 90s, and early 2000s. Just think back to 2006 when the top tag teams were Big Show and Kane and Carlito and Chris Masters. So many tag teams thrown together around that time, making the titles just meaningless. Vince never gave a damn about it for a long time. Now Triple H is making the division cool again. I have my issues with the New Day (a bad McDonalds advertisement) and The Ascension, but the rest of these teams are down right entertaining.
NXT is the future.
Frustrated with sports entertainment? Here’s the only reason to pay the damn $9.99 a month. Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, Kevin Owens, Charlotte, Kalisto, etc. They are giving five star matches a week that rival Savage vs. Steamboat and Bret vs. Bulldog. Sure they are young, adapting to WWE’s style, and sadly some of them get called up to the main roster only to get destroyed by Vince’s booking and bucktooth Kevin Dunn’s programming decisions. Yet, there’s no denying that the fans are getting behind these guys which gives them a ton of momentum once they do make it to prime time. They’re young, eager, and show more promise than most of the current roster.
Vince McMahon is reaching old age.
This is where I steer into a much darker conversation. Turn away if this disturbs you. On August 24, 2015, Vince will turn 70 years old. He is currently at the same exact age as his father, Vince, Sr., when he passed away in 1984. Recently, Vince made the call to omit the number on Wrestlemania because “it made it sound old.” He claims to still be in touch with the times and his audience, but his booking decisions say differently. Without competition or anyone forcing his hand, Vince still makes erratic decisions based on the hours of TV time he produces a week. It has resulted in illogical booking, lack of continuity, and a need to be stubborn about his ego vs. fan reaction. Vince is not just out of touch. He is desperate to remain relevant by constantly bringing back The Rock and Brock Lesnar, having celebrity guest stars host Raw (less frequently than past years), producing a reality show for the Divas that interferes with their booking, and obsessing over Twitter trending. Say what you will about his failures in the music world (Piledriver album), bodybuilding (WBF), and professional football (XFL). Vince is far removed from the genius who saw dollar signs in collaborating with MTV for the War to Settle the Score and the genius who realized he can combat squeaky clean WCW by cashing in on the Jerry Springer craze with the Attitude Era. The heirs to the throne (Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) are gaining more power each week, but still cannot influence the senile patriarch into making long term business decisions that benefit the talent and the fans.
A day will come when Vince can no longer operate the business and it is also very likely that WWE will be absorbed into a multinational corporation as Lucasfilm and Marvel were by Disney. At that point, the McMahons will not have the final say on any decisions regarding the product. Fan reaction will still be split between those who embrace change and those who feel it will all go downhill without the genius mind of Vince. So whether it is John Cena’s face of the PG era in WWE, three hour Raws, a network, or hot shot booking, nothing lasts forever in this business.