No matter what it is in life, be it work, a girlfriend/boyfriend, high school days, college days, whatever, there comes a time when we need to stop and just need to move on. Easier said than done, right? It seems that no matter what you tell yourself you find yourself always bringing up past incidents. It’s “Oh remember that time” or “It used to be that.” There is also the problem of thinking things should be a certain way when they are not. We just can’t get past this and move on with the rest of the world. It’s tough enough to get along with your life when you make a conscious effort, but when you do not even realize you are stuck, you cannot move on. When I look at the criticism of WWE I often feel that there seems to be this loop in which we internet wrestling fans are caught up. This is very prominent when it com sot the changes to WWE’s main event scene. There is a constant cry for WWE to create new stars yet there’s also the pull to bring back the good ol’ days or for us to go through rejection of new stars like they are a defective organ transplant. It’ as if we are driving in a cloverleaf interchange, trying to decide which we want to go, instead of just getting on the freeway and taking the ride.
In 2009 the WWE Raw main event scene was focused on Triple H, Randy Orton, and John Cena. Most pay per views were focused on some combination of the three. It became exhausting. You even had Chris Jericho saying that the company was in a crisis period and they needed to build new guys. Those within the company knew that something needed to change. So what did WWE do in 2010? They built new guys. Sheamus entered the year as WWE Champion, Jack Swagger won the World Championship, an unknown by the name of Wade Barrett headlined five pay per views, and The Miz closed out the year as WWE Champion. We got what we wanted, right?
Fans want things to move forward, but yet they still call for an Edge-Christian feud or the return of guys like Goldberg, Rock, and Austin. They want to see tag teams and mangers become prominent again. They want blood to come back, thinking it will somehow make a match better, forgetting how redundant it became when Triple H and Austin bled constantly. They want violence like they had in ECW and matches that showcase mid-card guys channeling Jerry Lynn-Rob Van Dam and Steamboat-Savage in choreographed spots that steal the show. People actually believe that WWE realizes they made a mistake and that is why Rock, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Trish Stratus, and Kevin Nash are all coming back. There is a want for things to go back to the way they used to be, but we forget how things weren’t perfect back then either. When we look at WWE, we want things to be the same as they were “back then,” but just plug new people in the place of older stars when we get sick of them. But you can’t do that and expect it to be the same. Have you ever worked somewhere like a restaurant or coffee shop or anywhere with frequent turnover? There is always the one person still working there who, when you go back to visit, says it’s just not what it used to be, and they just no longer fit in with the new picture. You can’t take stars of today and plug them into the Attitude Era and you can’t take stars from back then and plug them into today. First off, things have changed in wrestling to the point where those types of characters are no longer created. Secondly, why would you want to? Again, things were not that perfect back then.
WCW had a really stale main event scene during the last half of the 1990s. During that time it was all about Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Randy Savage, Lex Luger, Roddy Piper, Kevin Nash, and so many others. With the exception of a Goldberg, we considered WCW’s main event stars over the hill and demanded they change the scenery. People said Hogan was too old, Nash was lazy, Piper didn’t have it anymore. Fans clamored for guys like Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Buff Bagwell to be inserted into the main event so that the glass ceiling would be broken. By the time the glass shattered, it mattered not at all. In 2000 WCW began mixing all of the mainstay legends with the stars of tomorrow. Booker T, Mike Awesome, Billy Kidman, Shane Douglas, Jeff Jarrett, and Vampiro were now getting the chance we demanded for years. Only it didn’t work. Within months, WCW was sold. Like it or not, WCW was more successful when the same old guys were on top. However, it must be mentioned that WCW had been slowly dying for years, and the infusion of new stars was not what killed them, it just didn’t help them in the end. When we finally got what we wanted the execution was awful, and we felt it was too little too late.
To this day people complain about the lack of upward mobility, but when a star breaks through they are rejected. They say that Miz sucks, the Nexus guys don’t have it, Sheamus is just the new Warlord, and Swagger wasn’t booked properly. Here we are with all these new main event guys, and the scene continues to grow and grow, but we reject it. Nothing seems good enough. So what is our problem? Why do we demand new stars only to turn around and reject them? Part of it could be that we always criticize the ones on top. Another part is that some people are just never satisfied. Yet another issue fans have is that while WWE is making new stars, they don’t push the ones we want to see. Just a few names we demand more attention be paid include Daniel Bryan, Christian, and John Morrison. Daniel Bryan headlined Summerslam and has been United States Champion for several months, but if he loses match people say he is being buried. Christian functions very well as a mid-card cornerstone, but people still want to see a Wrestlemania main event between him and Edge, ignoring his role on the card and how he fits that better than he does as a main event guy. John Morrison is very talented as an athlete. His performances at Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber were touted as show stealing, but him doing a couple of over-the-top spots does not make him a show stealer. As hard as it is to admit, the people chosen for the spots on the top were chosen because they fit the role WWE wants them to play, and if someone we want to se e on top is no there, it’s because they do not fit that role. So what if Christian is never a world champion? It doesn’t make him any less talented, nor does it say Vince McMahon resents him because he went to TNA for a while. Daniel Bryan has been on the main roster for less than a year. He has nothing but success in his future. As for John Morrison, if WWE really he can provide something to the main event scene, they will put him there.
To those out there who have this pessimistic attitude towards wrestling, I encourage you to relax and enjoy it. But if you find yourself unable to move on, then start your own wrestling promotion and show us how it’s done. As for the rest of us, where do we go from here? It’s time we stop thinking the car is ours to drive and hop in the back. After all, we are wrestling fans. We are the ones that are going along for the ride. If we can get past our own demands, we can enjoy one of WWE’s greatest eras. We have called for the creation of new stars but we hesitate when they are put in front of us, as if we are children trying not to let Daddy Wrestling give us our medicine. It doesn’t always taste the best going down, but we will feel much better if we take it.