I have a confession for you all, I feel bad every time I spend a few thousand words moaning about WWE. In the past few years, I’ve seen my wrestling taste change. Moving away from that company, I’ve discovered a world of new things to watch. Therefore, it often feels like I’m going out of my way to go back and bash something I hate. Rather than spending an afternoon watching New Japan or wXw, I’ve chosen to put my hours into WWE, well aware that it will probably piss me off. I don’t listen to pop music and then moan that it’s not for me, so why do it with wrestling?
Here’s the thing, I love WWE. Like most graps fans, I grew up on that shit. There are matches from the early 2000s that are ingrained in my head. I caught the tail end of the Attitude Era, which was great and all, but when I fell in love was The SmackDown Six. To this day I believe spending Saturday morning round a friend’s house (I didn’t have Sky TV) watching Eddie, Benoit, Mysterio, Angle, Chavo and Edge put on fast-paced, exciting matches is key to my taste in wrestling. It certainly didn’t hurt it.
So, when I moan about WWE, I tell myself that it comes from a place of love. It comes from wanting it to be better. When I spend 500 words ranting and raving about how they book Daniel Bryan and then beg him to return to the indies, I’m saying it with a heavy heart. In a perfect world, WWE would be the ideal place for him. It would be a big mainstream feast of wrestling that embraced every aspect of that wacky world I love. From the ridiculous to the serious.
However, it’s becoming apparent that it’s not going to happen. It’s got to the point, where we are being punished for being WWE fans. Where paying attention and caring about the product they release is something to be sneered at rather than applauded. Long-term storytelling? No-one cares about that. At least, that’s what Vince McMahon thinks.
You want an example? Take a look at Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. They spent months trying to murder each other with a variety of vehicles, and yet, a few weeks ago we were asked to believe that a cordial nod meant that was left behind them. They went from mortal enemies to best friends at the drop of a hat.
It’s not alone either. Time after time WWE shows nothing but disdain for their audience. What else is Vince’s stubborn refusal to do anything with Rusev? Or his blatant attempts to turn Daniel Bryan into just another man? He’s heard what the fans’ want and he’s determined to give them none of it. Anyone who still believes that booing Roman Reigns is going to change WWE’s future is deluded.
Yet, as many have said before, it’s the hope that kills you. It’s the hope that one day he’ll turn around and make the changes that are begging to be made. WWE could become a world where rather than being punished for getting over, you were rewarded. Where wrestlers were allowed to shape their character and do what felt natural to them. All under the steady guiding hand of the countless wrestling geniuses they have working for them. It won’t happen, but a fan can dream.
I’m going to keep watching WWE. I’ll keep writing about it too It would feel weird not to and it’s worth it for the moments where it does work. Vince’s world is still the pinnacle of so many wrestlers’ careers because like me they grew up loving that product. Watching and adoring the show they created. Seeing people like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn be part of that is worth all the crap. However, I’m also going to keep moaning. I’m going to keep moaning because I want it to be better. It might not work, but until they hand me the book, it’s all I can do.