There are a decent amount of problems plaguing WWE all that hold their own weight, but there is one above all else that needs to be fixed and I mean NOW. That problem is the basic, cookie cutter, boring booking. The old expression goes no risk, no reward. Well, WWE is certainly not taking any risks with their booking and as a result, the fans aren’t being rewarded. Yes, there are other problems in the WWE, but a problem with creativity is their biggest risk. Boredom is what will drive people away the fastest. Apathy is what will drive fans away the absolutely fastest. The Payback PPV event was yet another screaming case of lazy, boring booking. Something that will send the fans away in droves.
Roman Reigns is a hot issue right now. Some fans hate him, some fans don’t like him but respect him, others love him. The problem is that regardless of how you feel about him, WWE has been taking the “ram him down their throats” approach to getting Roman over. Instead of doing what they can to make him feel like a mega star, they are just hoping if they force him fans will inevitably accept him. Instead of taking risks with Roman, swinging for the fences, they are just keeping his booking as A to B as possible. The problem is the fans are HATING this approach. There’s no creativity, no swerves, nothing that makes fans crave more. When you combine that apathy with the fact that WWE is severely oversaturated right now, 5 hours of programming a week (at least!) of the main shows. People complain when highly anticipated movies are more than 2 hours. We’ve all heard, “The movie was great, but it did drag on a little.” What does that say about WWE which is twice as long, and not nearly as entertaining?
WWE’s biggest problem right now is boredom and apathy. There needs to be more from the WWE creative team. I want to say from them, but for all I know they are coming up with absolutely stellar plans and Vince McMahon is shooting them all down for more “tame” ideas. Whatever the problem is, it needs to be fixed soon. WWE loves to claim that their diehard fans aren’t going anywhere, but the fact remains that viewership has declined more and more as the years go by. It was within the last year that WWE saw their lowest rating in nearly 20 years. People tend to look at the Attitude Era more fondly than it actually was, but that doesn’t change the fact that when WWE had competition in WCW, they were more likely to listen. If the fans were booing the face champion out of the building like they do with Roman Reigns now, there would be immediate action. Roman would either be a heel already, or he’d be out of the title picture. Vince McMahon used to have to listen to the people in fear that they’d go elsewhere. Now, with no real competition to worry about, WWE can do what they want, as long as they want with fewer consequences. WWE says their diehard fans aren’t going anywhere, but the fact is those aren’t diehard WWE fans but instead diehard pro wrestling fans who have little to no alternative. Imagine if McDonalds was the only fast food restaurant in the country. Yes, people could make food or go to a sit-down restaurant, but there will always be people who get fast food and they’ll be forced to go to McDonalds. That doesn’t make those people “diehard McDonalds fans.”
Lack of creativity has been a huge problem for me, and a huge portion of the audience lately. I try and predict what creative and awesome twists will happen in the main event at Pay Per View events only to be let down nearly every single time. It always dawns on my right as the bell rings, and I say, “watch them take the most boring route possible here.” Almost every time that is the case. I said it at WrestleMania right before Roman vs. Triple H started. “Watch them have Roman win the title with no twists or turns or interesting plans at all. He’ll just win a normal match, in a normal way, even though the fans are already turning on him. They won’t do anything to squash that heat.” Sure enough, that’s exactly what WWE did. I’m going to steal a quote from Adam Blampied over at WhatCulture (check them out on Youtube if you’ve never been, they’re hilarious.) During a live feed of Payback, after the main event was over he said, “How many times can WWE set the table and not do anything with it?” That sums it up pretty perfectly. WWE gives themselves great possibilities and squanders them every single time. Look at Payback, Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles. Gallows and Anderson had debuted, Finn Balor had dropped the NXT Championship. Everything was all lined up for an epic debut of Finn Balor. It was one of those moments that even if everyone saw it coming, it was going to blow the roof off the arena. Yet, WWE did nothing.
If WWE continues to walk this road of apathy and boredom, they will eventually fail. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, or this year, but it will happen. There will always be fans to watch WWE as long as they are the only game in town, but WWE will spiral. WWE might go from USA network to a smaller network, get less of a budget to work with, etc. Fans will eventually reject being told what to like, because who wants that? Who wants to watch a show where you hate the protagonist? More so, who wants to spend 5 hours a week being told what and who to like? Not many people. WWE takes their audience for granted and if they don’t get out of that mentality soon it could spell trouble for them in the future.
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