WWE’s inability to make stars has caught up to them

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JULY 13: Dwayne Johnson (L) and Roman Reigns arrive at the premiere of Universal Pictures' "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" at Dolby Theatre on July 13, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JULY 13: Dwayne Johnson (L) and Roman Reigns arrive at the premiere of Universal Pictures' "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" at Dolby Theatre on July 13, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

Any fan’s version of a Mount Rushmore of WWE Superstars can morph into a debate about who is not listed.

WWE succeeded when it had a great deal of Superstars and one megastar to “pull the wagon.” Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and John Cena come to mind as megastars. John Cena was the last WWE megastar.

WWE has been able to be the dominant pro wrestling industry in North America. For almost 20 years now and has successfully operated without competition. WWE had attempted to portray itself as family friendly entertainment since the boom of Hulk Hogan to the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin.

The Attitude Era was born due to a combination of many factors. Some of the biggest factors were when WCW defeated WWE in the ratings and ECW being able to provide fans an authentic revolution of culture and pro wrestling. At that time, WWE had no choice but to change the direction of their product.

Before the WWE Network existed, every episode of Monday Night RAW and SmackDown meant more than they do right now. Each show was full of sales pitches in order to have the consumer buy a $30-$50 PPV. You couldn’t miss an episode of RAW or SmackDown. If you did then you would lose pieces of the story that WWE was telling.

Within those stories were larger than life characters. Characters like Macho Man Randy Savage, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase to name a few. Those characters were responsible to sell the customer on spending $30-$50 a month for a three hour product.

Now with the WWE Network, if the consumer misses the last two episodes of RAW, they can still watch the corresponding PPV on the Network for a flat fee of $9.99. This has altered the way that WWE presents its wrestlers and its television.

Did the “50/50 booking” start at the WWE Network era? No

Dolph Ziggler is an example of a wrestler who should have meant so much more to the WWE product. Ziggler was a credible main event talent one week, and then he would lose the next week in puzzling fashion. WWE has had this has been a problem for over a decade. Currently, their inability to provide their fans consistency is a tremendous concern.

One of the more vocal frustrations that WWE fans have is the nature of WWE television. Everything feels overproduced. Past Superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin, made you believe through the television that every word he said was something that he believed. If you look at today’s product, it is rare to watch a promo from a wrestler that provides that same level of authenticity.

Imagine trying to convince a wrestling fan who only knows Stone Cold Steve Austin as the “Texas Rattlesnake” that he was The Ringmaster. The Ringmaster was a character that didn’t talk and was portrayed as an average wrestler. Stone Cold Steve Austin was born out of necessity to draw money and sell tickets.

The early 2015 push of the Roman Reigns character is of the biggest creative disasters in WWE history and continues to hurt how fans view him today. Reigns has the talent to be in the main event of any era of professional wrestling. It is a task to find a bad Roman Reigns match. The challenge with Reigns is, you can count on one hand how many promos he has said that have invoke emotion.

The goal of professional wrestling has always been to sell tickets and make money. Now, WWE is such a strong entertainment brand that fans will attend a WWE show regardless whoever is on the card. In previous decades, it was the wrestler’s responsibility to sell tickets.

This would push fans to watch the television show, go to the live event, or buy the PPV.

Does this inability to invoke emotion from the fans with the current roster part of the reason that WWE continually goes to the trough of WWE Legends in order to draw a large television rating?

WWE has no financial incentive to create that new mega star. WWE has the most talented in ring roster of professional wrestlers. The problem is less than a handful of them resonate with the fans as being believable characters.

AEW has struck gold by not insulting the fans intelligence. AEW is not having their top stars cutting promos similar to the Roman Reigns disaster of his infamous “Jack in the Beanstalk” promo. That is one of the biggest reasons for AEW’s initial success, it feels authentic. Authenticity is what made WCW and ECW push WWE to its near breaking point.

This is not a knock on any professional wrestler on the roster. They are on the road 300 days a year, away from family and friends, dealing with the grind of professional wrestling, and so much more. The issue is that WWE creative is properly presenting the character of the wrestlers on staff.

Seth Rollins is one of the best professional wrestlers on the planet. The promos that he cuts after Hell in a Cell did not invoke any emotion with the fans. The promos felt as if they were given to him to memorize and rehearse.

WWE has capped the potential of every superstar on the roster. There is no longer that mega superstar that fans feel like they can’t miss out on. They employ a roster full of great professional wrestlers that the common fan either doesn’t emotionally connect with. They could only get away with this for so long.

WWE fans react to Finn Balor finally turning heel. dark. Next

In 2019, WWE is an entertainment brand. They dispatch any number of wrestlers to the ESPYs or to the E! Red Carpet to represent the company. This opens up a lot of additional revenue streams for WWE. it has severely damaged the WWE television product.

News has come out that WWE’s stock has is tumbling. Could this be the new competition that pushes WWE to change the direction of the television show? Could the New York Stock Exchange do what ECW and WCW did 25 years ago?

WWE successfully eliminated all the great verbal poets of their time and replaced them with contrived characters. It has finally caught up to them.