Since when did watching WWE programming become a chore?
Ever since January 27, WWE programming has lacked a certain edge. The lack of edge has turned WWE programming from a form of entertainment to a chore.
That date is no coincidence either. January 27 is the date when CM Punk decided to take his ball and go ball. This is not a member of the Spirit Squad that we are talking about. Punk was arguably among the top three superstars when he decided to walk away from the company that gave him millions.
It’s no surprise that WWE programming has lacked an edge in Punk’s absence. Punk, who was billed as the straight edged superstar, stayed true to his character. Punk was the type of character who was not afraid call out corporate BS. That is what made Punk blossom into a fan favorite with the WWE.
In the summer of 2010, Punk cut a promo on the Vince McMahon and his upper-management buddies that gained national attention. That was the brilliance of Punk. In his promos, Punk’s rebellion against authority would often blur the lines between truth and kayfabe.
From that moment until January 27 of this year, Punk was indeed the voice of the voiceless. Punk’s promos were appointment television.
WWE fans love rebellion. That would be why Punk’s name continues to be chanted at WWE events despite the Chicago-native having not put on his wrestling boots in January. That is also why a beer-guzzling Texan could transform into an immortal.
But with Punk enjoying the retired life, WWE has been lacking on the form of rebellion that fans love. That would be why WWE’s product has grown stale.
Stale products don’t have a long shelf life. The brilliant minds at the WWE headquarters are aware of that fact. The issue is that there may not be a character currently in the WWE that can pull off the rebel role.
Cena has been the corporate puppet for much of this past decade. Cena, who lives by the motto of “hustle, loyalty, and respect”, would never be a fit for the rebellion character that fans leach onto. The reason is that Cena means to much money to WWE and their programming. Between sales at WWE.com and K-Mart and the idolization from every child in the nation, WWE is never going to change Cena’s character. If Cena ever were to go against the grain, then that would be one of the greatest pieces of work that WWE has ever done.
But what about the guy that Cena put over last summer?
Yes…Yes…Yes….yes, Daniel Bryan is without the question a natural fit for the rebel characther, right? Wrong. The only thing that Daniel Bryan has going for him is the “Yes Movement”. But, that movement has been deflating in light of Bryan’s ailing neck. Before the movement, Bryan was just that wrestler that The Rock once referred to as the “troll-faced goat”. While Bryan gives off the rebel vibe with his in-character disputes with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, the truth is that Bryan is a quintessential yes-man. If that wasn’t the case, then Bryan would have been long gone from the company before Punk.
So if Bryan and Cena are not going to be the saviors of the stale WWE product that is in need of a rebel character, then who will be?
This is where the future looks bright for WWE. WWE is currently doing one thing right and that is their emphasis on younger talents. Two of WWE’s newest talents could prove to be the rebel character that fans love.
The first talent is Bray Wyatt. Wyatt is the leader of the masses. Wyatt has been on WWE programming for about a year. In that year, Wyatt has transcended into a heel that appeals to WWE fans. That is the beautiful part about being a heel in WWE. If done right, a run as a heel could propel a superstar. That has been the case for Wyatt.
Wyatt, largely due to his self-written promos, has become the WWE Universe’s favorite heel. The reason why Wyatt is so well received by WWE fans is because he speaks the truth. For an example of this, listen to any promo that Wyatt shot during his booking with Cena. Wyatt did not hold any punches and was not afraid to refer to Cena as a fraud. It is that rebellious sense of honesty that has attached fans to Wyatt.
The second talent is none other than Dean Ambrose. Ever since Ambrose debuted with The Shield nearly two years ago, there has been something quirky about his talents. In the ring, Ambrose is referred to as an enigma. The same can be said about his work on the microphone. Ambrose is a perfect fit for that rebel role that is needed to liven up WWE programming. After all, Ambrose nearly played that role while working with The Shield. That is why fans were surprised a month ago when it was Seth Rollins turning on The Shield and not Ambrose.
Ambrose and Wyatt certainly could liven up WWE’s programming.
But for now, watching WWE programming is no different than that task that was on your chore list when you were a child. And, lets be honest, no one actually paid attention to their chore list.