WWE has spent the last few weeks promoting the so-called ‘New Era’. This era has been characterised by an influx of new talent all of whom are – to put it simply – rather good. In some ways, it is a brilliant time to be a wrestling fan. When you have AJ Styles, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens being staples of WWE TV then you know that something is going right. However, underneath that surface sheen, it appears that this new era isn’t that different from the last one. In fact, it’s pretty much the same.
A lot of which is happening in the portion of the show which is devoted to non-in-ring performances. The McMahons. Now don’t get me wrong, you take Vince McMahon and family away from wrestling, and it is a sadder place. Without him, I’m probably not sitting here writing this post or at the very least, a lot fewer people care about it. However, I am fed up of seeing him on my TV. I am fed up of seeing Steph, and I’m even fed up of seeing Shane. I spoke before about the problem surrounding heel authority figures, but I’ve gone one further since then, now I just don’t want authority figures full stop.
Because we have seen this dance a million times before. One McMahon being set up against another. We all know how it will end. Some sort of match with the winner gaining full control. Yet it ignores the fact that wrestling doesn’t need authority figures. They claim someone has to control Raw but who controls SmackDown? They undermine their own story – and show – by having no one care about that. It’s time – whether it be the McMahons or any other authority figure in wrestling – for them to step aside.
Which isn’t the only problem with the so-called New Era. For one thing, 50/50 booking apparently refuses to die. Baron Corbin out of nowhere stole the limelight from the newest batch of NXT recruits. He might not be the most popular, but his introduction has been solid. He looked like a bad ass, and he acted like one too. So why the hell did he lose to Ziggler at Payback? What was the point? I loved Dolph, but nowadays the guy means fuck all. Losing to Corbin would have done nothing to hurt his career but would have done everything to promote the Lone Wolf’s one.
In a similar vein, we might finally have a Woman’s Division, but it hasn’t exactly got off to a remarkable start. The WWE still seem to struggle with the idea that you can have more than one woman’s feud on at a time and even if they do have a couple, only one gets PPV time. Then you have the fact that they chose to make Charlotte and Natalya’s match at Payback not about them, but about two old blokes standing at ringside. One of whom – *cough* Bret Hart *cough* – quite frankly looked like he would rather be anywhere but there. Throw in the kind of shitty finish that we have seen a million times before and the whole thing was just a bit of a disaster.
Which doesn’t mean everything is fucked. Because it’s not, the WWE is going in the right direction in some ways. I like what they are doing with Owens, Zayn, Miz and Cesaro and every single man has his own motivations. I’m even quite enjoying the main event picture and think with The Vaudevillains and Enzo & Cass that the tag scene could be on the up as well. However this New Era, it has a whiff about it that refuses to go away, and that whiff reminds me of days gone by.