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Confessions of a Wrestling Fan

March 29, 2012

Wrestling

The biggest event in Sports Entertainment, Wrestlemania XXVIII is coming up this Sunday, in the culmination of another year’s worth of chair shots, chokeslams, and cheesy wrestling puns.

The WWE has long thrown its efforts into maximizing a select few pay-per-views, with the rest of the year servicing as a build to these events.  Summer Slam, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, and Wrestlemania are the company’s signature events, and the success or failure of the entire year is based around the number of pay-per-view buys on these events.

Of course, the success of these events is based around the quality of the weekly television programs that serve as the lead-in, and frankly, that quality has been awful.

It’s incredible to see the WWE’s transition in company line over the last few years.  Fans who couldn’t get enough of Jeff Hardy’s Titantron leaps are suddenly going bonkers over the mere sight of blood trickling from the lip of Heath Slater.

John Cena calls out Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for having notes scribbled on his wrist, which is apparently enough to stir the wrestling world into a frenzy.

That is what passes for a huge dis these days?  It’s pathetic.

I’ve tried to give pro wrestling a chance over the last year.  I’ve watched RAW, Smackdown, and some pay-per-views.  When Big Show and Mark Henry broke the ring at Vengeance (only 130,000 PPV buys… Worldwide!), I thought it was pretty cool.

But for every great moment, I find myself becoming increasingly sick of the dull hour and a half it takes to get there.

I’m getting sick of it because the product itself is amazingly stale.  Each and every week, Monday Night Raw comes to you live from some arena across the world that looks exactly the same as the last week’s arena and runs the same old show.

John Cena cuts another promo about how The Rock isn’t here again tonight.  Cody Rhodes shows up and banters on about restoring the pride of the Intercontinental Title, while he’s trapped on Smackdown.  CM Punk swears at John Laurinaitis, his on-screen boss, and the crowd instantly hearkens back to the days of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

Fans have clamored for anything to take them back to the beer-swilling, butt-kicking days of yore.  And sadly, they’ve been replaced with a monotonous, drab television show.

As a fan that has tried to come back to the WWE after years away, the key component to my churning digestive system has been the failure to deliver on the few legitimately interesting angles they’ve had.  The return of The Rock may be the most disappointing of them all.

When The Rock left the WWE nearly eight years ago, wrestling fans were crushed.  The man who had given them so many memorable moments was leaving for the greener pastures of Hollywood.  Who could blame him?  Dwayne Johnson had already transcended professional wrestling and was building a decent movie career for himself.

Well, The Rock came back for Wrestlemania last year as a host, and confronted John Cena one day later, setting the stage a year in advance for this “historic” Wrestlemania.

But The Rock has only been at a fraction of the live events that Cena has in the past year.  Wrestling fans were confused when Johnson said that he will never leave them again, only to not be seen for months.  He even had to cut a promo to clarify the degree to which he would never leave them again.

But Vince McMahon knows that The Rock means ratings.

Only, it hasn’t.  The go-home show before Wrestlemania drew a 3.04 rating on the Nielson system, down from a week before by slightly below the legal limit.

But it’s given them the feeling of legitimacy.  To have a true Hollywood star with them that fans will theoretically want to tune in and see seems to mean that they don’t have to put as much work into other storylines.  Just look at the Wrestlemania card and let me know what excites you.

The company feels a compulsive need to be in the mainstream.  They will sell themselves for a momentary glimmer in the headlines.  They shove their worldwide Twitter trends down our throats, pleading, rather than telling us, that it really does matter.

So with Wrestlemania coming up, I find it a little tough to get excited for a rushed storyline between Cody Rhodes and The Big Show for the Intercontinental Championship.  I’m not particularly interested in Triple H selling himself out to the Undertaker’s Streak, nor do I understand why Randy Orton is suddenly beefing with Kane.

Wrestlemania will be a spectacular show that’s worth watching if you have any interest in professional wrestling.  As for me?  I’m going to watch it with a couple buddies and try to forget the excruciating year that was for the WWE.  Wondering about how any of these matches matter to their storylines may just lead me to turn it off altogether.

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One Comment on “Confessions of a Wrestling Fan”

  1. skoobasteve Says:

    I’m too lazy to look up the results of Wrestlemania. Did anything unpredictable/exciting happen? Did Cena get thrown off the Jumbotron or something? I hope so.

    Reply

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