Why the WWE can't get out of its own way Submitted by Going Broadway on 01/29/2019 at 05:38 PM
Much like how global warming is intensifying the polar vortex in the Midwest this week, leading to record-breaking low temperatures, the WWE is continuing to freeze themselves in mediocrity because they fail to grasp one simple contrivance.
They do not know how to take risks.
On Sunday, the WWE could have shown the Universe and its jaded fans just how serious they are about "listening" to them -- and while much of the card delivered on match quality, we were still left with inevitable and predictable ends:
Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey are still champions, Shane McMahon -- at 49-god-damn-years-old -- has become a tag team champion, Rusev loses a championship he just won for seemingly no reason, and Seth Rollins won the Royal Rumble to absolutely nobody's surprise. (We've seen Seth on top before -- it's nothing revolutionary or different)
Vince McMahon told the story of his fans getting the product they truly want, and he painted it in the frame of "David vs. Goliath". No matter how talented, deserving or popular Finn Balor is with the WWE Universe, he ultimately fell to Brock Lesnar, a champion that many want to see gone from the company, or at the least, stripped of a championship he rarely defends.
Symbolically, Finn Balor represented the fans, and Brock Lesnar represented WWE management -- and the end result? The reminder that as we continue to watch the only major wrestling show in town, we are all members of the Vince McMahon "Kiss my Ass" Club.
McMahon & Co. can dangle a tiny, yet uneventful Revival push and actually book Zach Ryder and Curt Hawkins in a match, but they won't pull the trigger on the most impactful of game-changing decisions. Not even Becky Lynch, Asuka, Daniel Bryan, A.J. Styles, or Charlotte Flair can save the WWE from corporate mediocrity.
...and that's just it. "Corporate".
McMahon and his advertisers and investors can't take the chance on NOT booking Brock Lesnar in the main event of Wrestlemania. The same goes for Ronda Rousey. They can't change the beaten-to-death formula of show-opening promos, 50/50 booking, and C-grade character development because they care more about how a wrestler is branded to sell merchandise over how they develop as an overall talent. They cannot take the risk of booking a show that may not look good on paper, even though it may flourish in quality.
For the record, New Japan Pro Wrestling does not have this problem.
Quite frankly, the WWE is too big to do anything truly different than they have for the last 25 years. Not only are they afraid to make any drastic changes to how the product is booked, presented, and branded, but they simply do not have the writing talent to follow through with a new direction.
As a journalist with a minor in writing, it's not hard to see why fans are becoming jaded with a product that is both predictable and flat -- we see flashes of brilliance from Daniel Bryan and Becky Lynch, but something tells me that they are out there cutting promos of their own volition.
There is no better example of this mediocre safety than Dean Ambrose, who will be leaving the company in April.
Known as Jon Moxley on the independents, he was a force to be reckoned with, both in the ring, and on the mic. His original character in FCW was an extension of his loose-cannon persona, but when he was called up to the main roster in The Shield, his personalty was largely lost, and became a PG-rated shell of his former self. After years of infrequent pushes and "f*** it" booking, Ambrose, (Jonathan Good) has finally had enough. I will be waiting patiently for his future signing with All Elite Wrestling.
Their utter failure to book Ambrose as anything other than a frantic cartoon character is why the WWE finds themselves scrambling to "change" even though they will truly do nothing of the sort...
...because they simply do not know how to change, and if they somehow did, they will never take any actual risks.
Right now the overall product is a convoluted, expensive gold plated dumpster fire with a few bright flashes to keep fans like myself at least a little interested (sans NXT) -- but we know that it is still in fact a dumpster fire at the end of the day.
The WWE should have seen this coming (low ratings, disgruntled fans, legitimate competition) -- but they ultimately will fail to do anything about it, because as history has shown, they simply cannot get out of their own way, and take any true risks.