Wrestling is slowly becoming a lost artifact, gradually defining itself as a forgotten American pastime, and distinguishing itself as an art that WWE has pigeonholed into a dark corner of mediocrity and is nearing expiration. The sad part is that it’s been happening for over fifteen years and no single entity has had a real opportunity to once again revolutionize the sport that we all love because the WWE has virtually monopolized an industry with a vice-like stranglehold that’s been seemingly unbreakable. A strong sense of inferiority and ego has driven the WWE to feel the need to compete on a global level with “real” sports like UFC, NFL and MLB in an attempt to stay relevant and draw mass appeal on that worldwide stage. The truth is this: They’ve forgotten about the drama and real character portrayals that brought them to the big dance in the first place and have replaced that with the notion of having to keep up with national sports and garner that same level of attention.
“The worldwide leader in sports entertainment”, a stake that the WWE has always happily laid claim to since the nineties and, now more than ever, is a complete and utter illusion of the truth. Sure, they’ve pretty much always been at the forefront of innovating the wrestling game but now, seventeen years removed from an all-time pinnacle, they have settled nicely into a mass grave and if things continue to progress the same way this titan of showbiz will inevitably attempt pull every other wrestling organization into the grave with them—unless we take a stand! We may not be able to assist in exhuming WWE from their self-dug resting place, but we can certainly help our only alternatives from being pulled into that pit as well.
The day WWE became a publicly traded juggernaut and began to identify themselves as a corporate empire, they also started flushing everything that was proven successful down the toilet, one principle at a time. Long gone are the days of a wrestling mastermind like Jake “The Snake” Roberts taunting “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth with that iconic satchel that may, or may not have contained an enormous snake. Those brilliant overtones of psychology intertwining through angles on a weekly basis and acting as the driving force that rides a feud into the sunset are no more! WWE has replaced tested and proven standards with countless regurgitated scenarios that are like an ever-growing weed of rudimentary excellence. Their product is now an overflowing mess of slapping absolutely anything together to make money whether it’s great or horrendous, it makes no difference as long as the cash keeps rolling in!
Do you remember when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin would throw up the double bird like he was one of those great American soldiers who raised the flag at Iwo Jima in 1945? I use that analogy because when Austin raised those middle fingers to the sky it was his call to arms, so to speak, that any fan could connect with and cheer for. It wasn’t some silly gimmick to get a rise out of the audience or an opponent, it was a declaration of war and one man’s independence—a battle cry that resonated with millions around the world. The point is this: He backed up those actions with a willingness to lay a stunner on any jackass that produced a pulse and presented even the smallest form of opposition to him! His character was TRUE and that transcended wrestling as we knew it because of its unshakable foundation based in reality. Austin is only one prime example of exactly how to build and maintain a talent and, at the other end of the spectrum, you have a guy like Bray Wyatt who is the most relevant example of talent being mismanaged and wasted in this modern era.
There is a mantra that I live my life by: “improvise, adapt, overcome”, this is the key to anything and everything in life and those are three simple words that can carry any existence to greatness. The WWE has completely forgotten this notion or anything that even remotely resembles it. Hell, they’ve been in charge and dictated this business for so long that they’ve embraced complacency and irrelevance. In the big picture, for them it all comes down to profits and maintaining a public image! The Connecticut based sports-entertainment kingdom has become a modern day bubonic plague of professional wrestling and will try to spread its ghastly disease upon anyone or anything that challenges or confronts it. If another promotion is gaining traction and innovating this spectacle that we’ve all grown to love, the WWE will most definitely do everything it can to oust them.
The real funny thing is this: After this past Monday’s RAW rating, a whole new light has been shed on just how far back the WWE has regressed. At a measly 1.8 rating, the lowest ever recorded in this century, this company is literally poking the grim reaper with a stick and death will inevitably come knocking and poke back! If WWE is forging ahead into extinction, they will do whatever it takes to bring the rest of the parade down with them. You may recall two threats from the 1990’s, WCW and ECW, that had their ships raped and pillaged by the WWE before they were buried at the bottom of the proverbial ocean. Now, more than ever, is the time to prevent this from happening again at any and all costs!
A company like TNA is doing everything to create a real future for professional wrestling as a whole and they are doing it for the right reasons: To keep current fans happy while creating new ones and to constantly push the envelope and broaden the range of what is applicable to professional wrestling. Are they doing everything right? Probably not, but they are trying new things and aren’t synonymous with an old formula that’s been dead for years like the WWE is. In the last sixteen years, WWE has concocted their own mangled version of weird science, thus mutating a thriving international industry into a quivering small market. Sitting through a three hour show on Monday’s, followed by another two hour show on Tuesday’s has become the equivalent viewing a dead horse being beaten—for all intents and purposes, it’s becoming so hard to watch that one must almost need to turn away.
I ask everyone this: Please don’t give up on the wrestling that we all love. If the corporate clowns at WWE want to kill the business, f*** ‘em! There is always an alternative if you believe and seek it out. Let’s all be active and solidify those alternatives. Support Vince Russo, Matt Yaden and everyone else who are doing remarkable things for wrestling at The Rocky Mountain Pro, which premieres on the Hunt Channel October 9th. Support Billy Corgan and TNA because they are trying radical new things and striving to make wrestling great again in a HUGE way. Whatever you do, don’t give up—improvise, adapt, overcome, and we can all lend a hand in making wrestling great again!
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