Dear WWE Creative Team:
OK, guys. We've been over this before. There are times where you make some bone-headed decisions. But I've been quick to say that it's not always your fault. Sometimes, the decisions you make seem good in foresight, but someone doesn't deliver. Or maybe a situation plays out differently in your head than it does in reality. That's all well and good--it's not your fault.
But at SummerSlam, your mistakes built up into one stupendous "WTF" moment.
Let's work through it together, shall we?
The Return of the 'Taker
While your decision to bring back what seems like the 37th installment of the Undertaker-Kane feud is the only logical outcome to the build-up thus far, it's weak and already done. They've already fought and made up about a host of issues: the death of their parents, the championship, the existence of Paul Bearer, the championship, the lack of respect given to Kane, the championship. Given that both have reconciled on several occasions, how can this feud be taken any further?
Creative, you could've went in a different direction and had 'Taker turn heel against Rey Mysterio. Or you could've booked Kane against a different opponent and had that be the mysterious attacker. Instead, you've booked a match that has been done several times over, where the only new element is that the belt in on Kane. Color me uninterested.
An Utterly Weak Champion
To be fair, this isn't Sheamus's fault. He has done everything asked of him so far, and you can gradually see him getting better at the various facets of being a WWE superstar and champion as time goes on. And, to be fair, a heel champion being somewhat weak and taking the easy road out is a classic way to get heat for the heel. It's been done by Triple H, Edge, etc.
But here's the thing: all of those heel champions, be it Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, Edge, Chris Jericho, etc., have one thing in common--they were renowned as top guys in the business long before they got the chance to carry the belt. They had held other mid-tier belts in the past. Even if they were hated by the fans, they had people speculating as to when they were going to get a chance to carry the belt.
Why does this matter?
Because it builds credibility with the crowd. Even if a heel champion always takes the cowardly way out, the crowd has to know that if the champion is backed into a corner, they will emerge victorious. It's the only way that the champion can truly be believable. Even at the height of their heel cowardice, you knew that the champion could throw down if need be.
But we've never seen that from Sheamus. Oh, sure, he was a terror in ECW. But his list of victims, and his calling card prior to his winning the WWE Championship, had Jamie Noble at the top--not exactly a resume that indicates "Supreme Badass".
This, of course, could be solved by having Sheamus run through a list of the "Best of the Best". Or, it could be solved by having him legitimately go over even one or two already established stars. But instead, every match involves Sheamus either keeping the belt by DQ or by interference. All that does is establish that Sheamus can't get the job done when need be--and thus establishes that the champion (you know, Creative, the top guy and the standard-bearer in the company) would lose a match with a paperclip if they simply tailored the rules the right way.
Cena tops Hogan in superhero capabilities
Now, it's a common Internet meme that Hogan and Cena are almost virtually the same person. Both were tremendously popular with kids, both were great (to some extent) on the mic, both were pushed by the leadership as the top superstars of all time, both were very limited in the ring, and both had a standard match routine consisting of getting beaten from pillar to post before making a stellar comeback consisting of five moves followed by a pin.
But Hogan's heyday comes nowhere close to Cena's. Hogan typically went through only one or two guys. Hogan never took quite the beating that Cena did. Hogan took time after devastating attacks to recuperate. And the theoretical "kill shot" that Hogan fought off was a few punches to the face.
Contrast that with Cena at SummerSlam. After not being involved in the match at all, Cena comes in and:
- is attacked by Chris Jericho;
- then is attacked by Edge;
- then is rendered down to himself (once Miz took out Danielson/Bryan) against two or three guys;
- then is DDT'ed onto solid concrete after receiving a hellacious beating that would fell most people;
- and then, in a span of two minutes, pins one and makes the other submit.
Never mind the non-buildup of Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson. Never mind the fact that Miz was dumped in favor of a (WWE) non-entity. Never mind the fact that they gave neither the Miz nor Danielson/Bryan any time to shine. Never mind any of that.
What you need to take away is that it would most likely take a bullet to the forehead to beat Cena in a match. It looks like Chris Jericho will be aiming for Cena over the next few months, and after the way they treat Cena, it would not surprise me if the fans hail Jericho as the hopeful conquering hero.
So, what does that say for the business? The top company in the business, on what is supposedly their second-biggest night of the year for them, takes a roster full of some of the world's best talent--a roster that anyone, even WWE a few years back, would've literally killed for--and used them to put on a show that makes me seriously consider giving WCW, Version two (also known as TNA) a chance to win my support. This is ridiculous. There's a reason why I don't want to dole out the $50-$60 that WWE wants from me, and it's because the ratio of great to dismal is quickly building up to where I can expect one decent-to-great PPV per year, with the rest making me want to destroy my television.
I can deal with the PG. I can deal with the guest hosts. I can even deal with the Cena mancrush. What I can't deal with, though, is the horrible calls made week in and week out that take my love for the business and slowly relegate it to nothing.
So, to the folks on the WWE Creative team, from a longtime fan of the business and of your company: Please, for the love of God, get it together. You've lost me for the time being. Please don't lose me permanently.
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