Monday, December 8, 2014

Instant Feedback: Goldfish

Superstar of the Year? Hardly, but that's not the issue
Photo Credit:
First off, a hearty "lol" to anyone who thought the Slammy Awards weren't going to be worked from the start. WWE combines all the carny aspects with an obsessive, corporate impulse to want everything under its control, so if anyone thought the app vote wasn't just an elaborate dog and pony show, well, I have beachfront property on planet Mercury for sale. It's not the worked nature of the awards that I have an issue with, however. Even when WWE puts something to a vote, I expect the result to have already been planned ahead minutes in advance (remember, this is WWE and Vince McMahon I'm talking about).

The nature of how the awards were worked, however, is what bothers me. Roman Reigns won Superstar of the Year despite being the least over of any nominee, even Bray Wyatt. He's also the guy whom Vince McMahon put over as being ambitious the week before, and who's due to return for the stretch run into the Royal Rumble. Chris Jericho won for Most Extreme Moment, and lo and behold, he's set to host RAW next week. Sting's WWE debut and the Survivor Series main event won awards because they're the most recent things to have happened. Basically, WWE worked the awards to reinforce what seems to be a party line that holds its audience in contempt, that it can't remember what happened more than a few weeks ago.

Sometimes, the stories bear out with long continuity. Those occurrences are chestnuts, and usually, they involve situations from years ago. But usually, whatever happens in that moment is the best thing ever. Whoever is the top authority figure is the worst person ever to be in charge. The main superstar is among the best ever, and so forth. The problem with that narrative motor is that most fans aren't that dumb. Even the casual fans have memories longer than goldfish. Some people may not care, but when crafting a show that rewards paying attention or is the equivalent of Where's My Pants? from The Lego Movie, you should probably want to do the former every time.

It's hard to take any lessons from WWE in its "I don't give a flying shit" mode between Survivor Series and the New Year, but a wrestling organization doesn't need to be high-concept in order to reward those for paying attention. It's okay to say that a match that happened at WrestleMania was the best of the year, even if only one of its competitors is due back any day now. Stop cultivating an audience of dumbasses, and maybe you'll get crowd reactions that don't befit the stereotype.