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WWE: Promises Never Fulfilled and Chances Never Taken – by Mike Sanchez

“I’m never shocked when people let me down nowadays. I just hate the fact that I put myself in a position to be let down in the first place.”

I’m not sure who came up with that quote, and I looked for quite a while so I could accredit it to the sage-like person who came up with it, but it sums up much of how I feel with a lot WWE has done this year. By no means am I slamming WWE as a huge let-down, no chance. There are some great highlights on each show, PPV and more, but there are certain aspects of WWE, things they say and do that stick in my craw and I genuinely feel like the quote above when I think of WWE. I’m a fan of the product and have huge admiration for the stars, but whenever they promise something big or look to deliver on a change that will alter the way we perceive the company, it’s more than often a let-down. Let me give some examples.

The Women’s Evolution / No Women Allowed in Saudi Arabia

This is the biggy and a subject spoken about at length by many a wrestling commentator. I don’t apologize for it being on this column, as it epitomizes the way WWE will build promise then do something that will hinder that promise. Look, I get it that the Saudi Arabia trip to put on ‘The Greatest Royal Rumble’ was all about money – plain and simple. There’s no politics, social justice or promotions involved here, it was about a mega pay-day for WWE.

I get that. I understand that, but WWE can’t push the women’s revolution/evolution for months and years on end only to throw it under the rug for a night when it suits. For all the negativity Stephanie McMahon gets from many in the WWE Universe, one cannot deny the impact she has had both as a talent and as a businesswoman. She should be held in high regard and at the forefront of the brand in the corporate world. The push of the women from arm candy and valets into headline acts and fan favorites due to their talent over their looks is something that should be applauded. Much in the same vein that the UFC has grown their female divisions and with boxing following suit, WWE should’ve been rightly proud of their achievements when it came to showcasing their female talent as equals to the men.

I’m sorry, but for them to embrace the cash and push the women back into the shade for a few days stinks. I’m happy the female superstars made their point about the event in their Twitter and Instagram posts. You can tell they were seething at being left out and likely felt disappointed in their employer for cow-towing to the almighty dollar in favor of their basic rights to be seen as equals.

Sami Zayn Finally in the Spotlight / Sami Zayn & Bobby Lashley’s Sisters Segment

A more recent example from this Monday’s Raw. Hand on heart; this was one of the worst segments I’ve ever seen in WWE. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t smart. It didn’t even raise a smile. The Bayley ‘This is Your Life’ segment was surpassed. The only part I understood (at a stretch) was that it had to be men in drag as Bobby Lashley couldn’t beat up three women – no matter how much we want equality these days. That would just be terrible. It’s not like WWE have ever had their men do wrestling moves on female stars….oh. Anyway, that wasn’t even my main gripe; it was that Sami Zayn tried his best to make the segment work, and it only succeeded in harming his character.

If this is the feud between Zayn and Lashley, it’s only ending in one way and there won’t be any Ska music being played at the culmination of that feud. Zayn is being fed to Lashley. It seems the partnership with the wonderful Kevin Owens is taking a backseat and Zayn is getting involved in some solo action. Good for him, but it’s a road that leads nowhere. While Owens will surely continue to occupy the top echelons of Monday Night Raw, Zayn will slowly drop back down the card and become fodder for the rising stars. Can you see him reaching the heights of Owens, Reigns, Rollins, Lashley, Lesnar et al? I’m sad to say it, but what looked like a promising transfer to Raw will end up as a bad move when it comes to Sami Zayn.

AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura / AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura hitting each other in the nuts

I’m sure Vince McMahon was beside himself when he came up with the idea of having a nut-fest with AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. I can see him chucking and slamming his hand on the office table, his chest quivering with laughter as he wipes away a lone tear from his eye and takes a deep breath to regain his composure.

The office looks on with their notes in hand. Notes detailing how to build a Nakamura/Styles feud that will be epic and live long in the memory of the WWE Universe. The high standards were set in Japan – in a different climate, culture and fan base. Could WWE replicate or even surpass those interactions? Doubtful, but a feud of such magnitude with two of the best wrestlers in the world could still be a spectacle to please everyone.

Have them start hitting each other in the nuts!’ Vince cackles. ‘This isn’t Japan, dammit! The fans will think it’s funny. They’ll love it!

But Vince,’ a lone writer pipes up, ‘I’ve spoken to both guys and they’re happy to work a long program with a variety of matches. They want to do Iron Man, Last Man Standing…

Have them hit each other in the nuts.’ Vince replies, his smile quickly fading at the comment made in his direction.

‘…we could really drag this on, have a lengthy feud with great stipulations. Ladder match, No –Holds-Barred…

In. The. Nuts.’ Vince growls.

But…

Nuts, dammit.

Yes, Vince.

You promised me AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. You gave me a nut-punching contest.

“I’m never shocked when people let me down nowadays. I just hate the fact that I put myself in a position to be let down in the first place.”