Up until this point I've largely been critical of the WWE, and I realize that this is largely unfair for one voice to be standing against an industry built to entertain; as an organization the WWE has largely been proactive in dealing with many issues of social concern, from their BAStar anti-bully campaign, to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and support of breast cancer through donations and sponsorship of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, by wearing and selling pink merchandise during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Frankly, commendable and I'm grateful that such an organization recognizes its social responsibility to the society it helps entertain.
Besides the social outlets you reach- the generosity of your athletes, many of your top card talent, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, and Big Show have been dedicated road warriors who often spend, from what I've heard, two hundred plus days traveling from show to show, all to put their talent and bodies on the line just to entertain us.
However, as I write that last statement, I'm reminded of that famous line from the movie Gladiator, wherein Maximus asks the coliseum he’s been forced to compete in, "Are you not entertained?!?"
Sadly, I've been reading various threads from several authors on this site, and as a casual observer, I feel obligated to report the truth according to what I've read. Yes, I am aware that this is an argument that could go either way, but the overarching point of my column has been to explain why I am a casual observer and fan, and I thought the best way to illustrate this point was to paraphrase and use the words of fans who have opened a healthy dialogue with us here at WWENews.
If you've read my latest, and possibly most incendiary piece, then I suppose you could call this an apology of sorts. I do understand that Kayfabe is largely staying in character for the benefit of delivering the best "bang for your buck", and that these personas have real people behind them, and that is another area of concern for myself. Why? Because with the greatest respect to the boardroom and creative, I can't quite get my head around why yourselves, as people, don't want to simply do away with characterizations and focus on talent, pleasing the Universe and just be yourselves.
At this point, your defenders and fans that are satisfied with current development would- and probably will- be up at arms stating: you just aren't involved enough to know why it's important! Again; incorrect. I do understand the importance of Superstars and the roles they play. Take Rey Mysterio, children love him and its obvious he cares for kids as well, after all he stops his ring entrances mid-way sometimes just to greet the little fans. And then, of course, there is John Cena, whom outside of his WWE shows is the most requested star to visit sick children. This may, admittedly, be a reason to maintain these stage presences, but beyond this- I can't help but wonder if this may be one of the few valid reasons to maintain Kayfabe.
Another valid reason I question the need for stage acting is the age we live in: the digital age. I won't lie I was confused about how to properly spell Rey’s last name, as I'm unfamiliar with how luchadores like to bill themselves, and as a result, one Goggle search later, and I've all the information I need. So, you see? I'm struggling with how anyone in your position, WWE can defend the premise; besides as pointed out by Stone Cold Steve Austin, he too echoed my sentiments and asked: Is Kayfabe dead?
If not an exact quote, it's still a subject covered by one of my fellow writers already, and if someone like Stone Cold is echoing this issue; shouldn't the industry that helped make him what he is: a household name? To add weight to my argument, I now look to Stephanie McMahon herself, who has been on record saying, who I am on stage is not who I am in real life. Well, why not? Look, I understand you've a duty to create a fantastical drama, much like those you might find in a book, but I have to ask, in light of recent events- when does towing the character end and the reality of the person begin? The entire reason Stone Cold asked such a blunt question was for the same reason that a Google search answered mine: your lives aren't wholly your own anymore, as an industry, so it would be nice to see the real people behind the curtain.
I will grant, I've not had the pleasure of a live show and understand that’s the most likely place to meet the Superstars as people, but I'm not the only one who can't attend a live show and as a result would like very much to see segments similar to let’s say: Ask WNW? I'm grateful for the network as it is a good source to draw from, but ultimately we all have real life to attend to and as such I miss opportunities other more avid fans may not. Yes, my real life gets in the way of this growing hobby and that is probably another reason I'm the Casual Observer.
Now that I have properly addressed the reality of the situation allow me to display why you may be future endeavored by the Universe itself: "He [Vince] is too set in his ways and while trying to prove he still knows what is best for the company. Until Vince wakes up and see he is killing his own product, we have to sit through and hope wrestling survives until H takes control."
In essence what this fan is saying has been echoed by comments on the feed of my second article, wherein they have heard Triple H say that VKM won't relinquish control until he reaches the wrestling ring in the sky.
Very well then; consider this a counter proposal. Many articles contained the idea that NXT was currently a better wresting product, and that WWE was exactly that, entertainment. We all remember, I hope, Raw vs Smackdown feuds to determine whom had the better manager and talent on the books? Why then not place NXT up against Smackdown, which to my understanding has lost the battle between its sister program many times, and perhaps needs to be tested by a differing roster? So that both brands can grow and fans get to see a spark of creativity.
Even if I'm wrong about who has won more between the two major brands within the WWE, change isn't necessarily a bad thing and that’s all fans want really. an opportunity to see new growth within an industry they still love and care about. I'll leave you with this quote from another all-time great in sports: "If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody's had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." Michael Jordan
The only thing I would add is that instead of going above or through your fan base, please work with us. Because despite strain amongst fans, we don't want to future endeavor you, and consequently shut off the lights of this passion that we share. Heed us and you'll only benefit further and in sports, even I know that’s called a win-win scenario.
For the record, I want to note that I have paraphrased the statements used from the fan comments, both to protect their right to privacy and to secure their rights of intellectual property. I thank these individuals and stake no claim on their opinions as doing so would be against our ethical responsibilities at WWENews.net.