The WWE Slammy Awards were wrought with controversy on Monday night when John Cena was given the nod for Superstar of the Year. Many fans were outraged by the announcement, mostly because Cena did not exactly have the banner year that should be a prerequisite to winning the award.
And to that, I say boo.
I live with a 4-year-old—my insults are PG here, okay?
The truth is that no one should have been upset at Cena for getting Superstar of the Year. Not because he actually deserved it, though. Let’s be honest.
The guy lost to the Rock at WrestleMania, and he was losing the match to Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules until the last two minutes, when he used a chain to pick up the win.
He was the first Superstar to cash in Money in the Bank and lose. He had a WWE Title opportunity at SummerSlam, Night of Champions and Survivor Series, yet he did not bring home the gold at any time this year.
All in all, John Cena accomplished a whole lot of nothing in 2012. But, he won the Superstar of the Year.
Still, who cares?
Here’s the thing: When it comes to professional wrestling, especially WWE, there is a lesson to be learned here. We know it already. As fans, we either knew it going in or we learned as we got older, but either way we understand the deal, though we often tend to forget it at times.
The business of pro wrestling is a work. Period.
The entire industry, from start to finish, is predicated on a lie. That lie is the scenario of two men who don’t like each other and step into a ring to settle their problems in a competitive match that both men are legitimately trying to win.
It’s fiction. All of it.
The business begins with this untruth, and everything that follows is an effort to get fans hooked in enough to watch the product on TV and buy tickets to see it live where they will likely spend more money on souvenirs and concessions.
From WWE to TNA to Ring of Honor—to every other promotion in the world—everyone is lying to you, and it will never stop.
That means that the Slammys are also fiction. Time to deal with it.
The awards are there for the fans, not for the workers. Giving Jerry Lawler the Slammy for Comeback of the Year was the right move, was well deserved and the fans expected it.
And that’s why it happened. It was a good gesture on WWE’s part, but only to publicly respect Jerry and acknowledge his return.
I know what you’re thinking: “But Tom, the Slammys were voted on by the fans, the WWE Universe made the call!”
Remember, it’s pro wrestling. The constant reminder that the winners are decided by the fans is likely nothing but a cover for the company trying to reel us in to being a part of the show. And all the while, Cena’s award is nothing but the result of Vince McMahon thumbing his nose at us all, saying, “This is my guy, what are you going to do about it?“.
WWE is working us. It’s what they do.
However, I believe, as many other fans do, that the true winner of this phony token is WWE Champion CM Punk.
The guy has held the title for nearly 400 days, for all of 2012, and he basically owned John Cena for 12 straight months. He is in the record books, his legacy is cemented in WWE history and he has worked extremely hard to earn—as well as keep—the spot he has.
Punk is the WWE Superstar of the Year. That’s it.
So, he did not walk away with a Slammy for it. Think that matters to him? Does Punk, the top heel in the company, care that he was not publicly recognized the way that Jerry Lawler, a babyface, was?
Does it make a difference to him?
For me, there’s only one thing that CM Punk cares about, and that’s his spot. Not a meaningless trophy.
Like any other WWE Superstar who wants to be in the storyline, to have something to do and to be the best he can be, Punk’s only concern is getting a foothold and fighting to keep it. Again, he has earned his place, he proves himself every time he’s in the ring and on the mic, and as long as the company that he’s working hard for is doing right by him, all is well.
He has his spot. The only hunk of metal that makes a difference is the WWE Championship. His recognition for being arguably the top worker of the year comes from where he is right now and where’s been since going over for the belt close to 400 days ago.
Vince McMahon is good with him. The Slammys are for us to debate over, argue about and lose sleep on. That’s what WWE wants.
Drama is all that matters. Whatever keeps fans talking about the product, keeps us tuning in and makes us come back for more is the only reason to ever stir up controversy to begin with.
Of course, I could be totally wrong and the Slammys were all indeed decided by the votes of WWE fans all over the world, not by the creative team and Vince McMahon himself.
And to that, I call shenanigans.
Told you, PG over here.