Howdy, Brandon Stransky here again with my weekly Russosbrand.com column. The topic I wanted to discuss this week is something that I personally believe is the cause for a lot of the woes in professional wrestling today and that simply put, is ego.

Ego, when kept in check, can actually be a useful tool. Say you’re a wrestler on a roster and you feel like you deserve a higher spot on the card than the one you currently have. If you harness your ego correctly, you can use it to drive yourself to work harder until you have that spot you desire.

Unfortunately though, it seems that people in and out of the business are letting their egos be in control as opposed as a tool kept in check and used to drive them to better themselves.

Starting with the IWC, they have a very bad habit of thinking that their opinion is the only one that matters simply because they have the loudest voice in the room and everyone should listen to them and only them. I’ve actually read posts from the internet fans complaining that the mass casual audience ruins wrestling for them, as if their tastes are the only ones that matter. News flash guys, your particular preference of wrestling style is not a draw in mainstream America, never has been, never will be no matter how much you kick and scream. There is a place on the show for those kind of matches and it’s not every single one on the card no matter how much you want it to be.

And then with the IWC’s ego, that starts to bleed into the performers themselves in some cases. I don’t mean to pick on him but the absolute best example I can give with this scenario is Kevin Owens. Beloved by the IWC diehards, anytime any type of criticism that’s thrown his way, constructive or otherwise, is immediately shut down and anyone making the criticism is ridiculed and told that they’re irrelevant, don’t know what they’re talking about etc…And Kevin Owens himself, when someone who’s been in the business for a quarter of a century gives him some criticism, with the intentions of helping him out mind you, instead of taking it to heart, he blows it off. And in my opinion, the reason for that is the IWC blowing up his ego and telling him how great he is that he doesn’t have to listen to anyone telling him how he can better himself. And unfortunately, this is not something that’s exclusive to Mr. Owens.

And it’s not just the strange and weird symbiotic relationship between some of the NXT/Indie darlings and the IWC but also at the very top as well and I of course an referring to the most powerful members of the McMahon family, namely Vince and Stephanie and by extension HHH. Vince, having put away his toughest competitor and the fact that there hasn’t been any real significant challenge since WCW, has had not just his ego explode, but also become complacent and lazy when it comes to his on-screen product. Rather than challenge his writers to come up with the best show possible, he’d rather have what HE wants done, regardless of whether or not it draws and I don’t have to say anything about HHH and Stephanie that Mr. Russo hasn’t already covered.

So there you have it folks, just my theory on how out of control egos are the underlying cause of the downfall of the professional wrestling business. Agree? Disagree? Feel free to discuss in the comments section. Thanks for reading.

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3 Comments »

  1. A perfect example of this is Jim Cornette/Kevin Owens

    Cornette bashes Russo and he’s right about everything, great guy, knows what he’s talking about BUT the second he criticised Owens he’s obsolete, an idiot, irrelevant, has been.

    I also listened to HHH on wrestlinginc yesterday and he’s changed, I used to in management so I know the buzz words and he talked for about 15 minutes and said nothing, he kept flooding buzzwords that mean nothing.

  2. I agree 100% and it’s funny this has come up as an issue recently. The other day I was watching a RAW re-run from that week with a friend who I would call a casual fan; he knows what pro wrestling is but has no clue about the recent product whatsoever. It was the show where there was a tag between Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs. Miz & Cesaro. Immediately my friend said, “Who is THAT?!”, referring to Kevin Owens. “That guy doesn’t look like a wrestler”. And as much as it pained me, given what a huge mark I am for Owens, he was right. Kevin Owens will never draw as a main event talent with the way he looks now. He is the anti-thesis of a star in wrestling. And he KNOWS (or knew) this. Not so long ago I listened to an old Colt Cabanna podcast with Owens as a guest, a few years before he made it to WWE (2011-12ish, I believe). There he addressed the issue of his weight and look, how miserable he was earning not much money in the indies (this was before he blew up, I guess) and how it was such a struggle to get in shape. I think the fact that he DID make it to the WWE boosted his ego to disproportionate levels and now nothing that is thrown his way, constructive criticism or not, is valid. And as Mr. Russo has admitted and pointed out, the guy IS talented. There is potential with his in-ring work, character and personality. Only time tell what will happen with him.

  3. I agree about all of it.

    Re: McMahon
    Everyone said at the time time that the WWF(E) would suffer without WCW. How right they were. It has been nothing but a slow, steady decline ever since. Competition and adversity is the only thing that fosters growth in any system. Without competition you get giant, bloated dinosaurs who will die out when the “next big thing” occurs.

    Re: Owens
    How can a grown man be proud of stepping in a ring in front of millions while sporting a gut of such massive proportions? Seriously, I laugh whenever the guy is laying on the mat, his opponents always look at him strange while trying out how to properly pin him. That mountain of mashed potatoes looks silly as hell while he’s on his back.

    Bumping him to the main roster was a huge mistake without first making him gain a little discipline and perhaps work on his selling and other mannerisms. Putting him in the spotlight like that only rewards bad behavior. It also tells future talent that all they have to do to get on the big stage is make a drunk house show crowd cheer you, no need to actually look like a star.