Reality From Ringside #20
July 6, 2009
By: Doug Lackey of

Trades, Drafts, and Other Signs of Panic

As many of you have taken note of, there was a recent fifteen-performer trade between all three brands of WWE. I know I don?t need to bore you with who was sent where or what the ramifications of such movements could be? you are definitely too smart for that. That is not the point of ?Reality?. For this week, my sole obligation is to inform you of what exactly has happened since we had such a shifting of manpower.

Let’s turn the clocks back 77 days ago: April 13th, the WWE Draft Special Edition of ?Raw?. Thirty-six performers switched brands, both during the special and through the supplemental draft broadcast over the following days. Three hours of your time spent in front of a television set awaiting the over-predicted and spontaneous decisions made by WWE’s cracker jack creative writing teams. An untold number of hours devoted to staring at a computer monitor, anticipating the shifting of other talents. Now, 77 days later, another shifting of talent. Is it me or does this 15-person swap seem more like a sign of panic than ‘shaking things up??

Honestly, a little over 2 months is not enough time to establish that anything truly needs to be shaken up. Moreover, it seems to me that this trade was more like a do-over than anything else. Need some proof of this hypothesis? Swab your exposed shoulder; it’s time to inject you with some ?Reality?. This is the aftermath of the 15-man trade and the events that have occurred within this 77-day-long time span:

11 title changes ? Aside from the Diva’s Title, every WWE title belt has changed hands at least once. Chris Jericho enjoyed his typical three-week stretch as Intercontinental Champion before returning it back to Rey Mysterio’s waist. After defeating Edge in a grueling ladder match, Jeff Hardy got to touch the World Heavyweight Title for a few minutes before handing it off to CM Punk. ECW’s title belt has become a one-size-fits-all for three performers, from Jack Swagger to Christian to Tommy Dreamer.

Title changes are a legitimate necessity in professional wrestling, they provide ongoing struggles for dominance and pride while also drawing the fine line between heel and face. With so many titles changing so often, they lose their legitimacy. Sure, it’s great that CM Punk has become a triple-crown champion and won nearly every strap except the United States Championship, but he debuted with WWE three years ago! Attaining such a crowning achievement leaves me to believe one of two things: CM Punk is either the greatest professional wrestler of all time or the talent he has defeated to claim these titles were never even worthy enough of holding them in the first place. How long did it take Shawn Michaels to become a triple-crown winner? Almost eight years? WWE needs to seriously stop panicking, pick their champions, and have some faith in them? the crowd will react to them as long they put them on display for everyone to watch.

3 WWE performers released ? Candice Michelle, Mr. Kennedy, and Umaga? I don?t think I need to linger on this issue. Releasing talent is just as much of a necessity in professional wrestling as title changes, but for the same reason, having too many of them can be detrimental to the end result. While the reasons for their terminations can be debated between all of us, I think we could all honestly say that? well? we?re still watching. The one plus to this is that WWE immediately followed these departures with?

4 WWE performers debuted ? Abraham Washington, Yoshitatsu, Sheamus, and Tyler Reks made their WWE debuts last week on ECW. I believe I?m not the only who actually thinks that ECW is probably the best brand out of the three debuting new, fresh talent all while giving us great action inside the ring with very little microphone work. WWE is definitely not panicking here? but I think I should hold my tongue for second. Here come the statistics that should show the signs of a fidgety creative team.

3 WWE talents have returned to their original brands before April 13th’s ?Draft Day? ? DH Smith, Natalya, and Matt Hardy were WWE Creative’s little way of saying ?Whoops? Nevermind?. Were these three selections back in April really that necessary? Why not have Tyson Kidd be drafted to Smackdown two months ago instead of giving us an unneeded and uncalled for shifting? Don?t get me wrong, I understand debuting him alongside Natalya and spoon-feeding us the ?Lion’s Den? storylines? but couldn?t the formation of The Hart Dynasty been accomplished a lot swifter on Smackdown? It has only been one month since their inevitable formation. I wonder how solid of a faction they could have been on Smackdown in two months time rather than only one on ECW.

I just feel sorry for the red-headed stepchild of the entire WWE roster, Matt Hardy. What does he need to do to be considered a viable talent? He’s held titles, his work ethic is contagious, and his in-ring work is definitely worth taking note of. His rivalry with MVP was definitely one of the highlights of Smackdown’s numerous broadcasts. What has Matt done to deserve this nomadic trend? I only hope and pray that we do not see this scenario: if his brother Jeff does not sign a contract extension, we may see Matt hold the door open for him only to walk closely behind. Matt Hardy may be one of the few superstars who have been a part of all three brands? rosters, but then we have?

3 WWE talents have taken part in all three brands? rosters within a three-month span ? This statistic is just a calling card for a pink slip. Alicia Fox and The Bella Twins need to seriously think about other avenues of employment right now. When your sole purpose on a television show is to gyrate your hips, smile, bat eyelashes, or have the occasional sibling spat on what has been labeled ?the worst segment in professional wrestling history?, it is about time for you to update your resume and start the employment search.

What is truly sad about this is I don?t think any of us will be sitting here next month wondering what these three could have done for WWE? couldn?t we have found more respectable IN-RING talent for roughly the same price as these three? Couldn?t they have kidnapped three ladies from SHIMMER and made a much bigger impact on the company as a whole?

I would think that WWE, with their infinite number of marketing professionals on staff, could find a way to tap into the female demographic a little better. Sure female wrestling fans love to see tight-bodied studs in their skivvies dripping with sweat (no? I?m not gay? just a very descriptive writer), but I bet they would also like to see women who can kick a little ass. We all watch this form of entertainment for many reasons, but one of the big ones is identification. We identify with a performer, we cheer for them.

The number of young women who cried when they read that Candice Michelle had been released will vastly outnumber those who will cry when the wedding planner/exotic dancer/whatever-the-hell-she-is-now leaves. Furthermore, I just can?t imagine the number of fans who will be sitting in their $50 seats wondering when they will have the honor of watching ANOTHER pointless women’s tag team match involving twins.

So there is a 77-day history of WWE in a nutshell. Title changes throughout the board, performers sent back to where they were as if nothing had ever happened, and a trio of women who might soon be serving you an extra side of bleu cheese dressing with your buffalo-style chicken wings. I can?t wait to see what happens within the next 3 months? maybe things will have gotten so stagnant and bland that all three brands just swap rosters entirely all to appease WWE Creative in thinking that constant change is what the viewing public demands. With Batista and Edge out with injuries, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels nursing their weary bones, and many other events soon to follow? we may see WWE Creative take a two-ton sledgehammer and pound on their panic button like it were a railroad spike.

All I know is I will just be standing alongside them with a pair of binoculars, looking behind them at the train wreck that had just transpired.

Until next time, mouth-breathers!

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