The negative reaction to last Sunday’s Royal Rumble PPV event seemed to vindicate the popular saying, “the revolution will not be televised”.
Instead, much of the protest against by WWE fans took place on social media.
Twitter took center stage for a few days, as angry WWE fans proudly trended the hashtag #CancelWWENetwork.
It seems at first glance that WWE is moving to make the sort of changes that will make disgruntled fans stand down.
However, I am skeptical as to whether or not it will be enough. Especially when you consider that the WWE has been in decline for some time now.
A sharp, steady decline is indicative of uncorrected behaviors and a stubborn refusal to listen to your target audience.
A good portion of this downward spiral can, and should, be blamed on how out of touch the company has allowed itself to become with today’s youth and their pop-culture/social interests.
In the past, having an ear to the ground has helped WWE stay current and produce entertainment that seemed to speak convincingly to its loyal fan base.
But that’s changed in the WWE, which seems to be more determined than ever to disregard and ignore its supporters and what they care about.
The cold fact of the matter is that WWE would simply be better off without the meddling of Vince McMahon.
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) January 27, 2015
We are a long way from the golden (80s) and silver (90s) era of professional wrestling, when the WWE (then WWF) blossomed under the visionary achievements of Vince McMahon. The WWE successfully integrated story lines and characters borrowed from real events and translated into truly fun and entertaining events for wrestling fans.
What made THIS former WWE fan walk away?
It wasn’t a matter of whether or not sports entertainment was “real” to me (come on now…) so much as it was an issue of whether or not I was even partially willing suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy what Vince was trying to do.
In the end, the answer was a resounding, “No”.
I felt that there was a notable shortage of individuals who had the charisma of larger-than-life wrestlers that I grew up with.
That and the deceptively organic and seemingly spontaneous nature of the WWE was gone.
The only way to explain is to compare it to a magic trick. Yes, the magician didn’t really pull the rabbit out of that, but that doesn’t stop you from being dazzled and wondering how he pulled it off.
That magical aura was waning years ago.
I tuned out of events like the Royal Rumble and everything associated with WWE for the most part, to the point where there is a sizable portion of people in the WWE at present that I don’t recognize.
Then the 2015 Royal Rumble happened.
Although some are trying to lay the backlash at the feet of affronted Daniel Bryan fans, I feel like that’s a bit of an insult in and of itself.
I sincerely doubt that the backlash was solely about the failure of an obvious fan favorite like Dylan Bryan to be the Royal Rumble winner.
In actuality, it seemed to be just the latest outcry against the WWE not listening to its fans. Especially in terms of how stars are made and story lines are told.
You can’t write your way to a WWE superstar, Vince.
Fans are won over by personality and charisma that is allowed to develop naturally. Not by cheap tactics like bringing in the Rock to make a sympathetic cameo on behalf of his cousin (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?).
— BBC Sporf (@BBCSporf) January 26, 2015
Reigns is a very good-looking man, but he’s not the Rock.
And once upon a time, even the Rock wasn’t himself.
The Rock would not be who he is today, WWE wrestling superstar and successful Hollywood actor, if he was not given the opportunity to develop his persona over time.
It looks like McMahon is trying to force lightning to strike twice, without allowing Roman to develop into the sort of unique talent that would make him an icon in his own right.
Much of the Rock as a character was apparently born in a barber shop, listening to trash talk.
Where is it then that Roman Reigns is coming from exactly? A haphazardly patched-up bit of writing by Vince McMahon?
It’s bad enough that McMahon has forgotten how to transition from aging talent to new talent; but something else is happening here that younger WWE fans may not appreciate having not seen it with their own eyes.
I strongly remember the old WWE parodies featuring “The Huckster” and “Nacho Man”, aimed at mocking wrestling legends who defected to WCW (and took a sizable chunk of the WWE audience with them).
It’s rather startling to consider how Vince is doing pretty much what he once mocked his rivals at WCW for about a decade ago: Leaning hard on aging talent with big names and the nostalgia factor.
Though I confess to being out of touch with regard to current WWE events, I also admit I never thought I’d see the day when Vince McMahon and his vision of the WWE would become the punchline to a joke told years ago.
And I confess…it makes me rather sad.
So what say you WWE fans: Would the company benefit if Vince McMahon and his ilk stepped aside once and for all? Or is the WWE in an irreversible decline?
Also as a former WWE fan once tempted to dive back in, I’d love your honest opinion as to whether or not I’m off the mark and what YOU feel the real problem is.
I’m not Vince in that I promise I’ll listen to your opinion—especially concerning whether or not there’s any corner of the WWE worth re-familiarizing myself with.
[Image Credit: jamie nyc]