The Voice Of Reason #1: WWE Network, Royal Rumble, Gimmick PPVs

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Welcome to the Voice of Reason! Some of you may remember me from years ago when WNW was just starting to rise to prominence. I worked for WNW for nearly 4 years, covering a wide range of topics from SmackDown to TNA to RAW to PPVs to UFC. After a while though, I got burnt out after a while and needed to get away. I spoke to Richard Gray back in November about returning to the site and he welcomed me back with open arms. I just had to figure out how I wanted to structure my column.

When I started putting together my plans on the subjects I wanted to cover, I had originally intended on covering many subjects over the course of multiple columns. Then I got to trying to figure out how often I would post. I remember back when I started at WNW, I posted twice a week. That number grew to 3-4 times per week over the years until I was mentally drained from posting as well as college. With my return, I may post twice each month, usually on Saturday mornings. Richard told me way back when I left I was welcome any time I wanted. Instead of multiple columns on many subjects, I think I’ll briefly touch on a handful of subjects each column. One thing about columns (and myself in general) would be how wordy they are. I don’t want to bore you with multiple details that have been rehashed by everybody. I hope this will be a unique column for wrestling fans of all tastes to enjoy. My goal isn’t to repeat myself or “beat a dead horse” but to give you my thoughts as a wrestling fan. We’ll start with 8 topics and then tweak the column from there. Here we go!

This Week’s Topics:

  • Royal Rumble
  • NXT
  • CM Punk
  • WWE Network
  • The Main Event Picture
  • Daniel Bryan
  • Too Much TV
  • Gimmick PPVs

Royal Rumble

As I watched the event itself, I was entertained. The WHC match was easily the match of the night and a match that I’ll remember for a while. The other matches were fine for what they were. The Ascension had to go over to pick up some momentum. The Divas tag match wasn’t that great. The Usos always deliver solid matches and if you get a chance to listen to them on Chris Jericho’s podcast, it’s pretty good. Then we had the Royal Rumble match itself. This was the first one I ever watched live. I was excited for the surprises but was let down when it wasn’t as many as before. One thing I’d change; look, if there is a midcard guy who hasn’t been on TV much, use that spot for a past performer as a surprise entrant. Titus O’Neil, Sin Cara, etc. won’t be main eventing WrestleMania so use their spot for someone else. I like those guys but come on man. Of course, the worst moment came when Daniel Bryan was eliminated too early. The story I would have gone with would have him one of the last few guys. It’s not that I’m saying Reigns shouldn’t have won but the match itself wasn’t booked well, as people have said before. I can see Kane & Big Show teaming up, eliminating a bunch of guys, Reigns & Bryan teaming up to eliminate one of them, whoever’s left eliminates Bryan, then Reigns eliminating the last guy. Overall, the event was good until Bryan was eliminated. Think about it. You’re in Philly. You have to know how they’ll react to stuff, just like Chicago. I’ll have a future column on making the Royal Rumble better.

NXT

When I first got my Network subscription, I didn’t venture too much into NXT. When I finally did, oh my goodness it was good. I know it’s just one hour but they do it right. You get quality matches each show. It’s very entertaining. If by some chance you haven’t looked into NXT, watch them in order but get them all. The stars down there can be considered “indy darlings” but they’re freaking awesome. I love Finn Balor. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens will tear the house down in the coming weeks. Neville & Kidd are great. Baron Corbin is gonna be a star. What kills me is how good these guys are in NXT and then when they’re called up, they drop the ball on them. It ticks me off. Either way, NXT is a lot better than RAW & Smackdown during some weeks. I hope to catch a house show in Florida at some point.

CM Punk

I love Punk. From his days in ROH to ECW to being on the main roster, he’s always turned in quality work. So much speculation came from last year from what would happen. I read everything, good & bad, about what was going on with Punk. I listened to his podcasts with Colt Cabana. It painted the picture of what he was; a guy who was burnt out and frustrated with what was going on. There are always two sides to a story, sometimes more than that. I can see why he wouldn’t want anything to do with pro wrestling. Now that he’s moved on to UFC, let him do his thing. Quit chanting his name at shows. I hope he succeeds in UFC, just like when Lesnar crossed over. Perhaps one day, we’ll see Punk back in WWE. He still has one of my favorite entrance theme songs. It’s always on my playlists. Let him go and see what happens. I hope he comes back. Until then, relive his work on the Network. I encourage you to check out his indy work on YouTube if you haven’t already.

WWE Network

No, I won’t mention the price tag but I do have a few points to make. This is what I’d say to anybody that asks me about it. First, you get plenty of bang for your buck, just like the host of content on Netflix. You’re paying a low price for a tremendous amount of content. You can literally relive your childhood and all the moments that entertained you. Next, you get every PPV each month. Gone are the days when you’d shell out $40-50 for an event that may or may not deliver. Gone are the days of hunting a streaming site to watch an event. I’ve watched all the PPVs each month and I’m satisfied overall. Next, they’re always posting new, original content that I enjoy. The Monday Night Wars, WrestleMania Rewind, Rivalries, Countdown, and now WWE 24 are all my favorites. Not to mention, NXT is pretty stout as I’ve mentioned before. My biggest problem is how WWE wants to insult/make fun of anybody that buys an event on PPV. If a company insults me, I’m not using their product anymore. The Network is well worth it. I hope they continue to add original content as well as old shows. I love the behind-the-scenes stuff. What if they did a 30-min daily show similar to SportsCenter to further the storylines? I’m a huge fan of the behind-the-scenes training action for big UFC fights. Do something like that for big matches. Any documentary, or Beyond the Ring, features are good as well. Some folks have stated that the live feed should only be used for PPVs or live programming. I somewhat agree in that I normally watch my programming on demand. The WWE is breaking down the barriers for future over-the-top networks. There are some growing pains but they’ll get it sorted out. We’re too far into this to turn back now.

The Main Event Picture

Reigns winning the Rumble was necessary. WWE needs new stars. There are fan favorites and it’s easy to sit back and say to push certain guys. You can’t force the issue. I think there are guys who are main event worthy guys. Trust the process and eventually, they’ll make guys stars. John Cena & Randy Orton need to work to put guys over, like Orton did to Reigns and possibly Cena to Rusev. More on creating new stars later.

Daniel Bryan

I love this guy. He’s literally worked his way up. Not bad for a guy with little ambition, allegedly. His knock is that he’s injury prone. I hope that he’s gotten everything taken care of since he’s been out of action. I can see their hesitancy to push him again from last year. I just hope eventually, he gets another shot. He’s clearly over. He’s got great ring work. Perhaps they’ll do a Summerslam storyline with him capturing the title. Who knows. As long as he’s handled right, they’ll get plenty out of him. Maybe this angle at Fast Lane is something they’ll work for the better. After all, we’ve had WrestleMania main events change in past years at PPVs before.

Too Much TV

The rent is too damn high! If you haven’t seen this guy running for office, look it up. The amount of TV content is too high. It’s important to use your FREE TV shows to get over something you want people to pay money for. I know this should be a simple concept but to some, it isn’t. In any given week, there are 7 hours of content. If you factor in a PPV or “special event,” that number increases to about 10, possibly 10.5 if you count the pre-show. Either cut back on how much you’re producing or better utilize your TV time. They use Main Event to help bridge the gap between RAW and SmackDown. Superstars is in its own little world. I know originally, it was just another show on a different network. Now that both Main Event and Superstars are on the WWE Network, it might be best to cut Superstars out. Use Main Event to fill in the gaps of storylines and get the midcard guys over.

Gimmick PPVs

In short, I hate them. WWE doesn’t really have to worry about scheduling events around TNA or anybody else. They schedule around the Super Bowl and other really big events but they do what they want to. Back to the task at hand, some events don’t need to be changed. The Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, & Survivor Series are the big four and need to be left unchanged. However, this other crap with gimmicks around events suck. Let’s quickly go through them.

Royal Rumble – No problem. The kickoff on the Road to WrestleMania

Fast Lane – This screams oil change company! Just change the name.

WrestleMania – No problem. The Grandaddy of them all. And no, numbering them doesn't make it feel "old" like Vince thinks.

Extreme Rules – Change it. I don’t need blood but this is a waste of time when the action is tame.

Payback – Needs to be after WrestleMania, similar to how Backlash used to be.

Money in the Bank – Change it. I loved the MITB matches at WrestleMania

Battleground – Reminds me of War Games. It’s okay but maybe use cages or the Elimination Chamber.

SummerSlam – No problem. The Biggest Party of the Summer

Night of Champions – One of the few I like but maybe change it to another month

Hell in a Cell – Change it. Don’t base a whole event around it.

Survivor Series – No problem. I like the team matches.

TLC – Change it. Don’t base a whole event around it. A Stairs Match? Really?

My whole point is I don’t like using a single gimmick to make an event feel important. Find new, but quality, names for these events instead of having to use gimmicks to make it feel important. Use the gimmick match only when needed. You cheapen the “WOW” factor when everybody knows it is coming.

That’s all for this week folks. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with some fresh topics and opinions. I’m not on social media but you can contact me on here. I look forward to hearing your opinions in the coming days and weeks!

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