SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Tucker’s Instant Reaction – WWE Raw 12/21
Slammy award editions of Raw are rarely entertaining. Between lame comedy bits, rushed wrestling, overly long promo packages, and awkward speeches, the modern day Slammys are nothing more than a cheap ratings grab that tries to fight the tongue-in-cheek foundation of the awards show, basing an entire three-hour A-show around a concept that was initially nothing more than poking fun at the Oscars. WWE succeeded in failing to deliver anything resembling entertaining television on the 2015 edition of the awards show, closely modeling the trend of its predecessors. Even worse, WWE highlighted one of the largest problems with their current product: an utter lack of respect to their fans.
Last Wednesday, Triple H opened “NXT Takeover: London” with an impassioned speech that declared “We are NXT.” Not “I’m NXT,” “Vince McMahon is NXT,” “The investors are NXT.” We. Are. NXT. That one sentence immediately told the listener that they were part of something. Their hard-earned money was going into something that they are helping create and is being made for them. When you watch NXT, you have a voice. You matter.
When you watch WWE’s main roster programming, you’re going to shut up and accept whatever they give you with a smile on your face. Do you want Brock Lesnar on Raw? Go ahead, vote for him so he wins a Slammy! If he wins, he’ll have to show up… or not. Sting was not there to accept his award. Neither was John Cena. Fans were effectively goaded into sticking around through Raw to catch a glimpse of WWE’s part-time players. What they got instead was three hours of teases and disappointment, building up awards that were largely accepted by no one. Your dedication to the product was not rewarded. What do you care? We have other shows to worry about. You’ll just stick around for next week, right? You always do. And if not we’ll trot out Brock Lesnar again to make you momentarily forget why you’re angry with us in the first place. It’s okay. You don’t matter.
Let’s talk about the stories developed throughout the show. NXT’s stories develop slowly, but every squash, every promo, and every video package develops something. On Raw tonight, you, the dedicated viewer, saw the wrestling equivalent of color bars. Feuds did not seem to advance and matches were largely unmemorable. No wrestler seemed to look stronger or weaker. What was the purpose of tonight’s show? WWE continues to assume that you don’t mind being force-fed the same ECW-Wyatts match three weeks in a row. What, you want real stories? Something to invest in? Go find that somewhere else, buddy.
NXT’s characters are generally consistent, evolving by reacting to events being acted onto them. Tonight’s Slammy Awards showed the main roster’s much different attempt at continuity. Let’s take a look at the Divas segments on tonight’s show:
– Michael Cole complimented Paige for all she has gone through lately, despite the fact that just one month ago her character mocked the real-life death of Reid Flair.
– Nikki Bella, the top heel Diva, cut a promo supporting all of her rivals before hugging her biggest rival of the year, Paige.
– Brie Bella, Nikki’s sister, ignored her sibling’s apparent alignment change and wrestled her match as a heel despite using Daniel Bryan’s popular spots.
– Byron Saxton blindly praised the partnership between Charlotte and Becky Lynch despite being incredibly skeptical of Charlotte the week prior.
Viewers are punished for following stories by the week as the writing staff seemingly retcons half of their material between shows and glosses over any potential issues that may cause. Creative, led by Vince McMahon, acts as if the writing does not matter. We react like it doesn’t matter. But, it’s okay. It’s not as if they have to worry about creating a competent product for us to watch. We don’t matter.
In recap, promises are made to fans that aren’t kept, stories don’t progress, and the few that do are butchered beyond belief due to inconsistent writing. WWE’s main roster punishes its most dedicated fans. Why? Because it’s easy. WWE prides themselves on their marketing, but their biggest problem is that in an attempt to prove their relevancy the company has revealed itself to be the unfeeling corporate monstrosity it truly is. There is no “we” on the main roster. WWE seems to have the attitude that viewers and fans are mere numbers, and their goal is to squeeze as much money out of us as quickly as possible. It does not matter what we think because they aren’t in the game of telling stories, they’re in the game of pleasing investors. And as long as the profits continue to roll in and we continue to accept their increasingly terrible product, we won’t matter.
The investors matter. Vince McMahon matters. But WWE makes viewers feel like we don’t matter.
Any questions or comments? Message me on Twitter @BTuckertorch!