Tuesday, October 20, 2015

WWE Is a Dumpster Fire

This interaction should have been a lot different if it were to happen at all
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The best and worst wrestling continuities in the United States are owned by the same conglomerate. NXT gets praise heaped upon it, both by TWB's own Butch Rosser and by the rest of the world at large for a simple reason. It's the best thing on television, or at least over-the-top streaming, right now and its only competition at the top appears to be Lucha Underground. However, NXT is but one hour of WWE's total broadcasting in the week, two or more if it happens to be at the point in the calendar when its due for a Takeover special. RAW, however, is a chore most weeks. Smackdown is radioactive to many fans, and the C and D shows are perhaps the best on the slate because they are mostly free of the morass-bogged narrative and only showcase actual wrestling matches.

Last night's episode summed up a lot of those problems into one three-hour pill. Going piecemeal, it's easy to see why. New Day defeated John Cena and the Dudley Boys semi-cleanly in a trios match, but after the match, rather than having New Day bask in the win and use it to taunt their foes, the fan favorites and supposed good guys acted like pissbabies whose mothers forced them to share their toys, putting Kofi Kingston through a table with little further provocation.

The Divas Revolution continued to build towards its nebulous endgame with yet another tag match that didn't appear to build towards anything concrete. Yes, Sasha Banks being unable to save Naomi may come into play in their budding story, but one could be forgiven for not picking up on that nuance.

Kevin Owens and Mark Henry had a decent little match that featured a great between-the-bells story and a Herculean feat of strength on Owens' behalf getting Henry up for the pop-up powerbomb that was IMMEDIATELY ruined with yet another instance of pissbaby "good guys" of Henry and Ryback getting their heat back in a crowd-defeating, even-Steven beatdown segment.

Seth Rollins came out to confront Shawn Michaels in a verbal sparring match, which wasn't much of a match as it was Michaels rolling his eyes, verbally going one up on Rollins, and leaving the ring. Without context, it wasn't a bad segment except Michaels shows up once in a blue moon, does not wrestle anymore, and Rollins has been made to look like an absolute chump at every turn, even by chickenshit heel Champion standards.

The kicker to all this is that Rollins later joined his former brothers Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns to even the numbers against the Wyatt Family. A reunion of the best stable in WWE history was not only done in an impromptu fashion with no advance warning or foreshadowing, but it was also blown off in one night as a hot-shot bait and switch. Even more appalling, the one time when Kane's presence on the show would have made sense is when he was keeping true to the stipulation, even if it was only "Corporate" Kane being given the night off.

I know that the angle itself is dumb and kind of a blatant photocopy of the Joseph Park/Abyss split personality angle. Turnabout may be fair play in that Abyss has always been a dimestore knockoff of Kane, but the Park/Abyss thing remains one of the most delightfully entertaining things in TNA history. But still, if the personalities were split from jump, why wouldn't Kane make the appearance? Why build to a payoff that is not going to happen?

Last night was just a pastiche of what not to do right on a wrestling program. Wrestlers who got the heat were squelched within moments of their shiny moments. Events that should have been big deals were played off for temporary plot advancements. Stories continued to show severe lack of direction. Even though the Undertaker/Brock Lesnar confrontation introduced by Steve Austin was as well-done as it could have been, that plus the Michaels bullshit helped reinforce the idea that WWE would much rather those old guys carry the show than the new wrestlers. In short, no one is getting over because the crowd is not given a reason to care about them if they're just going to be side dishes for the part-timers and fogeys or if their moments are going to washed out immediately instead of being able to be savored.

Look, I don't give a flying shit about ratings, and my guess is WWE would be experiencing lows right now even if the show was good. But it is the worst it has been since 2008. Not even the wrestling is clicking anymore, and even in the worst swoons of 2013 and last year, the in-ring action has always been there to buoy the shows.

The most frustrating part of WWE's main roster malfeasance has been the excellence the NXT group has been producing Wednesday nights. The stories click, wrestlers get over, and people have a chance to grow as characters. Again, one hour of television a week is easier to produce than seven, but I don't understand how one group of people can produce such stunning work (even if it's not without its flaws) and the other group can't even get out of the blocks. RAW is an absolute dumpster fire right now, and whether fair or not, NXT's run of competence is only adding more oily rags to the blaze. I don't know what WWE can do aside of pushing Vince McMahon out of the manager's seat and firing Kevin Dunn into the Sun, but until something changes, I don't see it getting that much better.