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Before I begin with today’s column, let me emphasize this: I am a FAN of Alexa Bliss. As a columnist since October 1998, all of my opinions are documented with Dates and Timestamps. If you look back to my opinions of her during NXT shows, Smackdown during 2016-2017, and RAW during 2017-2018, you’ll find that I’ve a BIG FAN of Alexa Bliss‘s work. From 2018-2020, I had injury concerns with her…
Thus, you better check yourself before you wreck yourself when calling me an “Alexa Bliss hater”. The only think I dislike is the Supernatural stuff associated with the Fiend/Bray Wyatt, which I covered March 24th’s Column entitled “Supernatural Stuff Has No Place in Pro Wrestling”. Honestly, that is more about the Fiend’s character stuff transferring to Alexa, though I believe that she’s made the most out of the gimmick and gave the awful Fiend gimmick much needed life support. The Fiend gimmick was awful and Alexa’s involvement improved it because Alexa is so talented that she can make anything work.
Before you get out your knives, calm down… I’m a fan of Alexa Bliss and find that she’s one of the most talented overall performers in the WWE. From everything that I’ve seen, she’s a great person and I love how close she is with her family as seen by this My Daughter is a WWE Superstar video.
Did you get all of that? It’s my luck that most will just read the Social Media headline and respond directly on the Social Media platform instead of reading the actual column for CONTEXT… *Face Palm*
Just last year, the Undertaker wrestled his last match against AJ Styles at Wrestlemania 36 and officially retired from Pro Wrestling. It was only then, after that match, that the Undertaker began opening up about his WWE career. The “Last Ride” WWE Network special came out and the Undertaker did many, many interviews talking about his career. For most of his career, however, Undertaker PROTECTED THE BUSINESS. He rarely broke character and even had to hide from appearing at WWE Hall of Fame Induction (he appeared in character for Paul Bearer).
And yes, I’m well aware that Pro Wrestling is SCRIPTED and is a form of ENTERTAINMENT. In fact, everybody does… Most of have known that for 30 years now… Yet, when the wrestlers themselves take the profession seriously and refuse to advertise their magic tricks, the fans are willing to suspend disbelief. Think about how ludicrous the idea of an “invading faction” to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was during 1996. However, you had Scott Hall and Kevin Nash selling it like they were dead serious on breaking laws by invading a live WCW Nitro television show.
The Undertaker did all kinds of Supernatural stuff throughout his career. What made him GREAT is that he sold being mysterious OUTSIDE OF THE RING. He didn’t tell you about his personal life, multiple marriages, his children, or political leanings… If he ever did, such as that UFC appearance with Lesnar (which was reportedly to build a future Lesnar vs. Undertaker match anyway), the Undertaker would double down on the discipline to protect his character. By refusing to make appearances or talk about his magic tricks, the Undertaker remained MYSTERIOUS to wrestling fans and thus always made them curious as to what he’d do next as a character… In other words, he sold tickets.
You want to know why the Fiend/Bray Wyatt failed to become the “next Undertaker” or even a faction of it? For one, Wyatt didn’t deliver in his matches whereas Undertaker did. But the other element is how open Mr. Rotunda is on Social Media… One would think that someone as psychopathic as the Fiend wouldn’t have time for Social Media, let alone posting things like a normal human being. How can you on one hand sell a Supernatural character on WWE television but pose as something completely opposite on your own Social Media? Hocking merchandise, too?
Which brings me to Alexa Bliss…
Recently, she has fully taken over the Fiend-like Supernatural stuff since Wrestlemania 37. She has her little doll and is going over the top with the creepy stuff. On the June 6th edition of WWE Monday Night RAW, things got out of hand with Shayna Baszler. Reportedly, out of all of the awful stuff displayed on that poorly drawing RAW of just 1.6 million viewers, the Alexa Bliss/Shayna Baszler angle reportedly had the highest segment. While that’s like winning a race against others who do not have legs, that suggests that Alexa Bliss’s appeal remains strong despite the odd role that she’s been place in by Creative.
Here’s the dirty secret: it could be even more successful.
If you check out Alexa Bliss‘s various Social Media accounts, you’ll find that each of her accounts makes sure to be labeled as “Lexi Kaufman” and not her WWE stage name Alexa Bliss. Now, that is actually common among WWE wrestlers these days but in my opinion, that is a common mistake. You should never display your real name if you are a Pro Wrestler. It creates market confusion and sells that your stage name is phony and therefore, so is your character. This is a common problem among all wrestlers right now.
Then, she posts many pictures on her Instagram of herself hanging out with her real life boyfriend. Look, I’m happy that she had found love and I hope that it goes well for her. Being a WWE performer and maintaining a healthy relationship is tough. However, on WWE television, you’re selling to me that you were infatuated with Bray Wyatt/Fiend and pretty much became possessed by his supernatural powers and abilities. Meanwhile, on your social media, you’re selling to everyone that you have another relationship. What, do you just suddenly flip out when you arrive at a WWE show?
And then there is her Pig, Larry Steve, who just passed away. Look, I’m not here to ridicule someone losing a pet or getting emotional over it. In my life, I lost 3 dogs that I was close to and I miss them to this day. I’m NOT here to judge her emotions at all… But why are you posting your emotions for everyone to see while you’re selling an entirely different character on television? The Alexa Bliss on WWE television has black stuff spitting from her forehead while talking to dolls… Yet, something WAY less evil is being sold on her Social Media accounts. Lexi Kaufman is a person who cares a whole lot about many people and things, including her pets. She’s selling herself as a human on social media and something supernatural at her job within the WWE. It’s inconsistent.
That is the thing that ALL wrestlers need to figure out… Do you really need to display all of your personal life on Social Media? On top of creating a mystery for wrestling fans to figure out, you should avoid posting too much personal stuff for your own privacy. There is a reason why WWE shows have thick barriers and have security around ringside. The last thing that the WWE wants is for anyone to get too close to their performers at shows. Yet, WWE wrestlers do the complete opposite on their Social Media. They are getting TOO CLOSE and PERSONAL with their WWE fans and it opens them up for potential trouble. Several female wrestlers have reported Stalkers who harass them on Social Media and Alexa has been a victim of that recently.
On top of all of that, Pro Wrestlers have a RESPONSIBILITY to protect their business by not revealing its trade secrets. For one, you should try to make fans legitimately believe that your name is “Alexa Bliss”. While you should be proud to have a boyfriend, is having a boyfriend something that will help you make money as a WWE Superstar? Actually, no, because your character was infatuated with another male (Bray Wyatt/Fiend) on television. How can you sell yourself as a Supernatural being in the WWE when you’re openly displaying emotions like the fans who aren’t pro wrestlers?
I’m fully aware that this is 2021 and “kayfabe is long gone”… But is it? Have we REALLY tried to protect the business lately? For the past 23 years, we’ve heard “sports entertainment” this and “sports entertainment” that. In addition to Social Media accounts, we’ve had many books, documentaries, Tough Enough and Divas Search Contests, and other things involving wrestling themselves speaking openly on how to take a bump, how matches are constructed, etc. Wrestlers are FAILING to portray their own profession as something legitimate and real, like a sport. Before 1990, you had characters too but none of those guys would ever talk to the press about their trade secrets.
We just got through 2 Ultimate Warrior documentaries… From all of the critics, you heard mostly that Warrior “had no talent”, he “was hard to work with”, and “said nonsense” in his promos. Yet, something like that got crazy over from 1988 through 1990 to actually be believed in enough to defeat Hulk Hogan 100% clean at Wrestlemania 6. Think about that… Someone like that was able to exist in the WWE ecosystem and was pushed like he was the greatest fighter in the world. We all bought it and that is why the Ultimate Warrior is a favorite wrestler of anyone in their late 30s or throughout their 40s right now. Back then, the Warrior was in FULL CHARACTER anytime he did an interview, as was the rest of the business.
In my opinion, besides too many smaller wrestlers entering without any Weight Classes to account for it and the in-ring style changing to ignore psychology & selling… The #1 reason why Pro Wrestling has declined since mid-2000 = failing to protect the Magic Tricks of Pro Wrestling. Everyone is exposing the business and failing to sell that this product is real. Recently, you had All Elite Wrestling (AEW) selling “Sports Based Wrestling” and yet what we have received is quite the opposite. Supernatural stuff, high spot wrestling, and lack of a weight class which sees many smaller wrestlers overcoming larger ones.
Alexa Bliss being the #1 segment of last the 6/7 RAW proves one thing… She’s great because all of her fellow co-workers that remain in the WWE heavily expose the business too. Each wrestler today post their feelings, personal pictures, and their real lives all over social media and freely talk about how scripted the wrestling business is regularly on interviews. Thus, with everybody exposing the business, Alexa has appeal among them. Congrats on having the highest segment of a 1.6 million show. Did you know that Monday Night RAW scored just over 4 million viewers during early 2015? That was just 6 years ago…
And did you also know that WWE is struggling to sell tickets to their Live shows? Seriously, they have had no live shows (besides Wrestlemania 37) since March 2020 and they are FAILING to sell those places out.
WWE wrestlers need to step it up and protect their own profession. Be like the Undertaker who was respected because he went the extra mile to hide his personal life from wrestling fans. Gee, what do you know… He had a successful 30 year career in the WWE and is among the all-time greats.
I mentioned the Ultimate Warrior earlier… How did his appeal drop? I remembered his 1996 WWE return and his 1998 WCW debut… While those didn’t end well, they started strong. Fans went bonkers for Warrior’s WWE return at Wrestlemania 12 and they loved seeing him in WCW for the first time. And then what did you hear? Stories leaked on how weird he was or the backstage demands that he had. Then, throughout the 2000s, he made speeches on college campuses or blog posts that really upset people. The Warrior Brand was done… Then, one day during July 2013, this WWE 2K14 advertisement arrived and it was the Ultimate Warrior in FULL character. Longtime WWE fans washed away any issues they had with Jim Hellwig/Warrior and became kids again. Then, they were hype for his 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction.
Look at Hulk Hogan… When did his brand begin to diminish? The Hogan Knows Best show that saw him openly talking about the insides of the wrestling business and displaying him as something other than his on-screen character. Then, the Sex Tape came out on top of the racial slurs. We learned TOO MUCH about the man behind the Hulkster and he has never recovered.
We could get into Steve Austin as well… When did his star diminish again? The injuries hurt him, but he was never the same since 2002. He walked out twice and the reasons were made public. Big mistake right there. Then, the domestic issues came out.
When John Cena opened the door to his life on Total Divas/Total Bellas, it was over for him… It was odd seeing the happy-go-lucky version of him on WWE television but being particular about the rules of his own home on the E! Network.
And I’m giving you higher level examples. I could pull up any WWE wrestler’s Social Media account just post their everyday Tweets or posts. Today’s generation of wrestlers are ALL exposing their own business to the public.
Wrestling fans tune into wrestling to watch “Larger than Life” characters compete in what appears to be a legitimate athletic competition. However, if nobody appears “larger than life” because their feelings and personal details of their life area already on display via their Social Media, then why do you care, at all, about their character? FURTHERMORE, why do you even care about the match if you know how the moves are taken or how wrestlers bump?
Many of the older wrestlers, who are no longer with us, are probably turning in their graves regarding what is openly revealed by wrestlers on their own Social Media accounts along with what WWE openly reveals about their own business.
Alexa Bliss is a VERY talented performer and one of the very best in the business at what she does… However, she is held back by her own exposing actions. On one hand, she’s selling you a supernatural character who was once obsessed with the Fiend… On the other, it’s quite the opposite. She’s a great person…
I know, Internet Wrestling Community, you can keep telling me that “kayfabe is dead” and that “it will never come back”… But then I perform simple MATH and suggest that there are way fewer of you not just 6 years ago, but 3 years ago… And almost 75% less than what was once there 20 years ago.
The FACT is that Pro Wrestling DREW MORE MONEY and PUT MORE BUTTS IN SEATS back when everyone knew that wrestling was scripted BUT wrestlers never admitted that openly. Seriously, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash made us believe that they were still WWE employees and trying to legitimately invade WCW during 1996. The Undertaker somehow had a brother named Kane and nobody batted an eye to question whether that was real or not. Why? Kane hid his identity from the public while Undertaker and Paul Bearer sold it like it was legitimate.
If Pro Wrestlers want to make much higher money in the wrestling business, they have to protect the business by not advertising their personal lives as much. This just comes with the territories… Wrestlers need to sell that their characters are real and in legitimate combat sports.
If not, failing to get more consumers to believe in Pro Wrestling will continue wrestling’s declines. WWE is struggling with ticket sales, FACT… AEW is still struggling to sell tickets for 5,000 seat arenas, FACT. RAW is now consistently under 1.7 million viewers, FACT. Smackdown is barely holding onto 2 million viewers and are a Roman Reigns injury from dropping hard in viewership. TNA, Ring of Honor, NWA are struggling. We’re coming off of a pandemic for a form of entertainment reliant on live events. Goodbye Independents, sadly…
But go ahead and play on your Social Media…
Look, I’m happy that Alexa Bliss is doing well in her personal life and I’m sad that she lost a beloved pet. But come on… Protect the business, girl! Your character, alone, will drive up those Twitter and Instagram numbers themselves. Advertise that and enjoy having a personal life all to yourself and not the rest of the world.
Protect wrestling, please.
So just chill… Until the next episode!
Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.
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