THS: How choice leads to mediocrity Submitted by The High Spot on 10/09/2018 at 05:10 PM
By J.D. Bachman
Super Showdown is in the books, and Raw has now passed us by. Dean Ambrose walked out on his Shield-mates, Kevin Owens and Bobby Lashley completed a double heel turn, Kurt Angle has returned to the ring...again...and the Bella Twins turned on Ronda Rousey.
All mostly predictable, and all very...meh.
This has nothing to do with "dirtsheets" but just the fact that nothing the company does is truly innovative or surprising anymore. Aside from the continued gold that is Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles on Smackdown (which may or may not have come to an end) and Becky's heel (face) turn, there isn't much going on in the WWE Universe, is it?
Try this out for size -- skip over WWE programming for two weeks. When you come back, you won't really have likely missed much. You can either catch up via Youtube, or at the least, just watch Raw or Smackdown, and realize that nothing is drastically different.
If you were to miss two weeks of American Horror Story, for example, you may have to go back and re-watch vital plot points. You can't say the same for the WWE. In fact, the product in it's current form mirrors more of the Walking Dead as of late -- mostly filler, with little actually happening.
How does this keep happening? Choice.
When you watch Ring of Honor, New Japan, or Impact Wrestling, you're likely getting their best -- because that's all they need to focus on. These promotions do not have heavily promoted second, third, or fourth brands to push.
However, when you're watching the WWE, you have more choices than one could possibly want.
This isn't always a bad thing, as NXT, 205 Live, and the Mae Young Classic continue to deliver, but it stretches the product in so many directions that WWE management doesn't have to focus just on Raw or Smackdown to make money. They know they have 1.4 million Network subscribers that likely won't bat an eye over a lackluster Raw or Smackdown.
The same can't be said for other companies, who simply do not have that type of cushion.
The WWE Network has effectively erased any notion that Raw and Smackdown are "Must See TV". In the 90s when Raw and Smackdown was all a WWE fan had, writers and bookers threw everything they had into it for better or worse. This was amplified in legitimate competition with WCW, which such competition doesn't truly exist anymore as the WWE continues to conquer the globe.
Now we just get over-branded, stale, recycled slop, with the occasional intriguing feud or two thrown in.
There is more talent than ever in the WWE Universe than in any other time in their history, and compared to any other promotion in the world -- yet the overall product of the main flagship shows are passable at best.
Why? It's because you have a choice, and they're counting on the fact that you have this choice to tune into 205 Live or NXT if you just watched Triple H and Shawn Michaels return to a WWE ring yet again with a look of disappointment on your face.
The hard truth is that we won't stop subscribing to the Network, because having that choice is like nothing else in wrestling history. Most of us will always choose access to every single Pay-Per-View from our childhood and teenage years, as well as other solid alternative brands over products like the Global Wrestling Network, New Japan, or Ring of Honor, when they simply offer much much less -- to no fault of their own.
We're trapped in mediocrity, and the only real solution is to either disconnect fully from the WWE Universe, (which is admittedly difficult) or accept it.
Just practice your look of surprise when predictability becomes the norm -- a sort of forced enjoyment of the current overall product may be the spoonful of sugar needed to help the medicine of mediocrity go down.