Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dispatches from the Lake: This is Trying?

McMahon needs to take a lesson about effort from his roster instead of calling them out on a lack of it
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Ignore the wrestlers busting their asses trying to make something of the pointless matches that they’ve been thrown into. Forget the commentators, who seriously need to fall down a salt mine, catch fire, and be forgotten about to rot in agony for the next few months. Resign yourself to the fact that on the final RAW before the biggest show of the year WWE will be filling time not with compelling stories trying to sell us on the importance of WrestleMania but with Bill Simmons and Snoop Dogg. We’ll get to all that in a bit. First, we need to chat about my favorite quote again.

"They’re not as ambitious, quite frankly… they don’t necessarily want to reach for that brass ring."

That sentence won’t unstick itself from my head. It has hollowed out a spot in my brain and has festered there since Vince McMahon’s appearance on the "Stone Cold" Steve Austin podcast. All of my complaints about WWE’s brand of wrestling these past few months have revolved around this stupid quote. McMahon complains that none of his employees, with the exception of a few, are lazy and don’t put the effort in to becoming all a WWE Superstar should be.

McMahon wants to talk about effort? He wants to talk about lazy? I want to talk about how this Road to WrestleMania has been a tedious, underwhelming, and boring trudge towards the most creatively bankrupt, no effort Show of Shows in recent memory. The WWE’s 'creative' machine wouldn’t know what effort looks like. The wrestlers do. I think most of them know the score, but they are happy to be there doing what they love. But the writers? Why would they expend any effort on the show? May as well save up those good ideas for that novel they started before they took the WWE job. RAW will just end up being rewritten anyway last minute, and Smackdown is an exercise in pointlessness each week.

The commentators would rather scream over each other about pointless nonsense rather than call a match. And here I foolishly thought they would be stepping up their game because during the women’s matches the last couple shows they actually called the wrestling happening in front of their faces. But continuing to pay attention to the thing you are paid to do is ROUGH. It’s much easier to make sweeping generalizations about how all women are basically garbage human beings who can’t get along with each other. Not like men. Not like, say, the three men who spew word vomit over the show each week, shrieking in argument over the smallest thing. Yup, it’s those damn WOMEN FOLK who can’t get along!

I don’t see how the blame for this train wreck can be placed anywhere but Vince McMahon’s feet. The man who is constantly told us he conquered all his enemies is now just content to rest on his laurels. He’s become lazy and complacent. Working on the in ring product is pointless! Why waste time on that when you can confiscate signs from the crowd, mute authentic reactions, and force the people who bought front row tickets to your show to change their outfits to better suite your bizarre needs? These are the important issues that require his attention!

You want to know what passes for effort in the WWE right now? I present you with the WrestleMania main event. Trot out Paul Heyman to sell the match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, who might just be heading for greener pastures. Don’t change up the promo Heyman gives every week. It’s not like this is the road to WrestleMania and people are watching each show. Those people are stupid anyway. They’re wrestling fans, after all, right? They don’t remember what happened just a few minutes ago, let alone a week ago. So just have him say the same thing. Let’s not show Reigns being a bad ass. That worked when he was in the Shield. IT COULDN’T POSSIBLY WORK NOW.

I’m not saying anything new here. I feel like I’ve had this conversation a thousand times in the last few months. I want to be excited about WrestleMania, but I need a reason to be. I was excited about the Royal Rumble just because it was the Rumble, and we all saw how that turned out. It doesn’t matter who won. It matters that the match was a boring slog with no pacing or story beyond THIS IS OUR GUY. These shows don’t sell themselves on the name anymore. Hell, they don’t sell themselves at all! Suckers like me pay for the Network, and then wonder why Vince doesn’t care about the special events anymore. He’s already got my money, so who’s the idiot in this scenario?

But I pay my ten bucks every month (for NXT), I feel I’m justified in wanting a better product. WWE has so much talent on the roster right now, and with the slightest bit of effort or care from the big man in charge, it could be amazing. McMahon just can’t be bothered enough to care.