Coming off the back of what was billed as one of, if not the, most star-studded Royal Rumbles of all time, many fans have differing opinions on how they found the PPV and the aftermath. Personally, I would’ve liked to have seen another one or two surprise entrants, but overall, I was happy with the Rumble match itself. The rest of the card was good too – especially Cena/Styles about which a lot of good things have been written.
Within the praise of the PPV however, there were quite a few gripes with the booking and the entrants again. It got me thinking; if we’ve just witnessed the most stacked Rumble in years, do we really have anything credible to moan about?
As a WWE fan, we’re treated with more content than there’s ever been. There’s a three hour Raw, a two hour Smackdown (both shown live), regular NXT programming, as well as thousands of hours of on demand content on the WWE Network. There’s at least one PPV every month for the main programming, not counting the bonus NXT Takeover shows once in a while. Is that too much for us? Surely even the most die-hard fan can’t complain about that plethora of entertainment at their fingertips?
Take a look at the TV shows for a moment. Yes, I suppose we can gripe about how much airtime is dedicated to promos, sponsors etc. but talent-wise, WWE has never had so much. The rosters are populated with wrestlers who are talented, hardworking and over with fans. It’s not like one brand has only a couple of stars that could be called ‘credible’ or ‘worthy’ title holders. No, there’s many a performer who could capture gold and deliver as a champion.
The quality of matches is also high in today’s WWE. No matter what show we watch, there’s a high standard of moves, storytelling and athleticism. These aren’t the dull, one-sided matchups of yesteryear. No, while it may be obvious as to who’s winning, they’re not going to get the pin without a fight. For all of the boos Roman Reigns gets, he delivers high standards in the ring. His PPV matches rarely, if ever, drop below three stars on the John Canton Scale. The same can be argued for Styles, Cena, Rollins, Ambrose and many more. We’re watching a good era of wrestling the moment. Hardly grounds for complaint.
The Women’s division isn’t filled with Barbie dolls or pin up girls. It’s loaded with serious talent. Gone are the days of two minute squashes or bra and panty gimmick matches. There’s serious competition out there. WWE has moved away from the stereotypical female that used to be seen on their screens and also in the way they acted. They’re no longer pigeon-holed as arm candy or valets. They’re drawing fans, delivering quality matches and feuds and have lifted the division possibly higher and more popular than it’s ever been. What’s to complain about?
The WWE conveyor belt is rolling and rolling. We’re not stuck with a limited talent pool of aging top guys who are dragged back to the ring in order to justify TV viewing figures, and please don’t point to Undertaker, Goldberg et al to dismiss that point. That can’t be a valid reason when you take into account Styles, Cena, Owens, Reigns, Cesaro etc. also starred on the Rumble PPV and draw great reactions from the crowds, as well as good matches. Wrestling shows, much like sports teams, work best when there’s a blend of youth and experience. The fact remains that there’s talent at every level in WWE ready to step up when called upon. One look at NXT only confirms that. The future isn’t gloomy. It couldn’t be brighter. Why complain about that?
Perhaps the question should be; are we being too picky with WWE? I’ll admittedly say that not everything I watch I enjoy. I disagree with some creative decisions, but when I stop and take a step back, am I being pedantic in my thinking? Or are we suffering from the recent shift in popular culture of wanting instant gratification, and not being patient in taking stock of what’s being presented to us and enjoying the ride? It would be like going to the cinema and wanting to see the end of the movie right after the opening credits. Shouldn’t we just settle down and see what develops?
I groaned when Roman Reigns entered at #30 in the Rumble, like most did. Not because I hate Roman, but because the surprise entrant I’d wished for didn’t come out. The outcome however, was unexpected and I quite liked it. Had I switched off in disgust once Reigns walked down the huge walkway, I wouldn’t have seen what transpired. I would’ve missed out. That, I believe, is the danger some WWE fans are risking by dismissing WWE’s booking for the future. We know they have history is going over the ‘tried & tested’ methods that worked before, but I believe that there are new influences working behind the scenes. With WWE’s online and social media presence being so massive, they can’t be dismissive of what the feedback from the fans is. While I doubt they’ll overhaul entire storylines just to placate some people, there’s always room to tweak or shift perspectives just enough that’ll it’ll prove beneficial.
As much as some moaned about the Rumble, it can’t go unnoticed that it left us asking questions about what WWE was going to do on the road to Wrestlemania. That, my friends, is a very good thing. There’s a difference between being left confused due to poor storylines and asking questions because we’re intrigued. Perhaps instead of dumping on WWE when a creative direction turns down a road we wish to avoid, perhaps we should sit back and wait to see where that particular road leads us. Some may lead us to dead ends, but some may lead to somewhere better.
What do you think? Should we be happy with our lot as WWE fans, or perhaps if we didn’t have some gripes, WWE might not respond by listening to the fans? I’d love to hear what you think. As always, thanks for reading.