I have grown up on WWE. I am not exaggerating when I say this. I am almost 27 and I have been watching WWE since I was 2 years old. My mom grew up watching wrestling with her dad. So, needless to say, I have a lot invested in WWE. That is why it is hard for me to write this blog. But, I cannot deny my absolute disappointment in the WWE product over the last ten to fifteen years.
I guess I have been reminded this by Sunday’s Pay Per View, “Hell in a Cell”. First of all, it is pathetic that they can call it that when only two HIAC matches are actually scheduled for the night. I remember the first HIAC between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. That was one badass match. Most gimmick matches, I don’t approve of. From the moment I saw the cage, I knew that this had the potential to be something that could change the industry. Though there were some great moments between when Shawn and Taker first stepped into the cage and now, the most important had to be Mick Foley vs. Taker. I bring this up because this match best exemplifies what WWE has lost through the years and I think I figured out why. I was watching that match tonight for probably the thousandth time. I noticed when Taker threw Mick from the top of the cage and everyone came out to put him on the stretcher, Vince had this look of pure concern. Don’t get me wrong, he was not concerned for Mick’s safety or that one of his most beloved talents may never wrestle again. No, he was concerned because he knew that if something horrible were to happen to Mick, he would never hear the end of it. He knew that his decision making, which up to this point, was impeccable, would be flawed by allowing Mick to script something so dangerous, so incredible, and so stupid. But he had faith in Mick, as he should have. Mick knew what he was doing and was willing to risk his life to hear the crowd pop in amazement.
This match could have effectively ended the “extreme” version of professional wrestling, but the audience took to it so completely that Vince was okay with tempting fate for a while longer. But that all ended when the split of the roster was announced and there was officially a RAW roster This is the first thing that WWE has lost that I am upset with. There are still talented performers out there like Mick who are willing to put their bodies on the line night after night and go the extra mile for the crowd, but I think Vince is so obsessed with keeping his guys safe that he has watered everything down to the point where the matches are boring as hell. If you need some other examples, go back and take a look at either CM Punk or John Cena in Ring of Honor. Both of these men had matches that were extraordinary in ROH and OVW now they are so limited by what Vince says they can and can’t do that they basically have the same 5 moves and their matches are very predictable.
That leads me to my last point of this particular piece: the way Vince has limited his performers by taking away moves. Now throughout professional wrestling there has always been moves that only certain people will do and that is because they know that they can do them safely and they trust that the person they are doing it on is competent enough to take the move and come out the other side unharmed. But only recently have such moves been entirely banned in such great numbers. I will give you some examples of what I am talking about but the most glaring is, of course, the Pile Driver. This move has hurt many people throughout the history of professional wrestling but was always kept around because it had become a staple and most people either knew how to do it safely, or just didn’t do it. Well, Vince ended up banning the Pile Driver after a botched Pile Driver by Owen Hart ended up breaking Stone Cold Steve Austin’s neck. I am not denying that these moves are dangerous and should only be attempted by those who have trained and practiced doing the move. All I am saying is that Vince has a tendency to over react when it comes to individual moves and it is hurting the matches. Another example of a move that is no longer allowed in the WWE is the Shooting Star Press. This impressive move is incredibly effective and incredibly dangerous, and when done correctly is one of the prettiest moves in a high flier’s arsenal. But of course, if there is any chance that real damage could be done, the WWE feels that it is not worth it and has banned it. The fact that this move is still banned blows my mind because my next example is very similar and in my eyes far more dangerous. The 420 splash is flashy but so much is involved with actually pulling it off that I feel there is much less room for error. But it is now legal after going through a short period of being banned. Justin Gabriel is the only one on the roster who currently has the 420 as part of his skill set and frankly it is the only part of Gabriel that is actually memorable, but boring characters is part of the second piece of this blog which will come tomorrow.
So to sum up this first piece on why I am greatly disappointed in the WWE: They have talent that is willing to put their bodies on the line in more extreme ways and the WWE is not allowing it, they are limiting guys skill sets by only allowing them to do certain moves without outright banning anything a la CM Punk and John Cena, and finally, they are OUTRIGHT BANNING certain moves. This last point spits in the face of everything that guys like Mick Foley, Terry Funk, The Hardy Boys and every other hardcore legend ever fought for and it makes me sick. Vince McMahon you should be ashamed of yourself for watering down the sport to such a level that fans younger than the age of 10 would enjoy it, effectively stabbing true long time fans in the back just because you may have gotten into a little hot water over some of the antics pulled during the Attitude Era while you were also engaged in the Monday Night Wars. The fact that you won the Monday Night Wars and then stopped doing everything that helped you win it is disgusting. But again, that is all going to be part of tomorrow’s post.
So before I rant anymore, I want to thank you all for reading and I will see you tomorrow.
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