Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Scott Keith: 10 Reasons Why "The PG Era" Isn't The Problem

The article linked below was shared on WCMB today and I felt it deserved a response here on SAW.

My first thought on reading the title was, "Well yeah, that's absolutely true." The IWC has used the PG rating for years as a reason why the product has suffered. To our credit, that talking point has diminished greatly as the "WWE Universe Era" has continued.  That being said I only agree with about half of the ten bullet points he shares in the article.

Instead of discussing them in order, I am opting to split them into two lists.  One list will be the ones I agree with and the other will be points of contention.

Points of Agreement
  • 10. 50/50 Booking And Stop-Start Pushes--This has long been a problem with WWE.  The mentality seems to be that they want to make sure that talent has the right attitude so after an initially strong push there is typically a stronger de-push.  The thinking seems to be that they can get the Universe to care about anyone if they decide to pull the trigger at a later date.  That is a risky proposition though because if you train your audience that someone doesn't matter you can't magically make them care at some point down the road.  Guys like Jack Swagger have been seriously harmed by this type of push/de-push for example.  It's a dangerous game that WWE should stop playing.  I'll touch on the 50/50 Booking issue more in his bullet point 5, but I will say you do have to let someone gain some traction or no one will ever care about anyone other than Cena and that next level of main eventers.  It's sad really.
  • 8. The Titles, Especially The Secondary Ones, Have Become Second-Rate Garbage--While I don't mourn the loss of importance as it relates to the IC or US titles as some do this is a valid point.  If you're not going to treat your championships or champions better than they have then I seriously have to question why you bother with them.  Part of the problem is that WWE Creative simply isn't creative enough to build quality title feuds without relying on the lame, "This guy gets a shot because he beat the champion in a non-title match" strategy.  While we are sort of discussing it I'm still not a fan of unifying the two top titles.  If WWE can get their creative house in order I could see it down the road.  I think it should be the last step of that process, however, not the first.
  • 6. Talent Not Being Allowed To Find Their Own Characters--While I think Zack Ryder is wildly overrated there is no argument that the guy developed a gimmick that got over with a segment of the audience.  Instead of embracing it WWE seemed to begrudgingly give him a half-hearted push.  Talent will be more successful when they play character that fit their own personality or at the very least ones they help cultivate.  Why WWE seems so hostile to this is beyond me, but they are cutting off their nose to spite their face in my opinion.
  • 5. Lack Of Midcard Development In General--The midcard is largely stuck in a rut where these guys trade meaningless wins, losses and titles and NO ONE cares.  This speaks to a bigger problem which is that WWE in some ways needs to have a more vertical structure than it currently does.  What I mean is it seems like now you have setup something like this.  Cena>Other Main Eventers>Midcard (90% of your roster)>Prelim Talent.  There needs to be something more to differentiate that very large midcard group from one another.  Is Damien Sandow better than The Miz?  Is Kofi Kingston better than Big E Langston?  Where does Wade Barrett fall?  Curtis Axel?  Because of the meaningless trading of wins and losses and aforementioned 50/50 booking no one ever gains any traction to move up the card it seems.
  • 1. Not Listening To The Fans!--WWE tends to overthink things.  The fans are going ballistic for Daniel Bryan? Give them Daniel Bryan!  OK, you've given them Daniel Bryan, but what they want now is Daniel Bryan: WWE Champion.  Simple enough, give them that!  I was fully onboard with the Bryan vs The Authority storyline and defended it on A1 and WCMB.  That is until it became abundantly clear that WWE had zero interest in actually giving us what we wanted.  I just don't understand it. Why not hook your fans up with what they want to see?  Quit trying to be smarter than your audience and simply give them what they want, I say.
Points of Contention
  • 9. Homogenized In-Ring Product--Complaints about the in-ring product are largely overrated and to be quite honest most of the WWE Universe doesn't care one way or another.
  • 7. No Long-Term Booking--It seems to me that a lack of long-term booking isn't so much the issue as lack of quality booking.  That may be splitting hairs, but it's an important distinction.  Things like Punk's year long reign show me that WWE is willing to engage in long-term booking ideas.  Whether we like what they come up with is a whole 'nother issue.
  • 4. Cramming Guys Down Our Throats--As someone pointed on WCMB you bemoan the fact that they aren't building stars or giving anyone a push then turn around and say they are cramming guys down your throat?  Nonsensical. 
  • 3. HHH Becoming A Nuisance In Semi-Retirement--I don't actually totally disagree with this, especially the Stephanie aspect of it, but I think it's overstated and I DESPISE Triple H.  To me, Stephanie is a much bigger issue because of wrestling's trouble with effectively dealing with female heels.  In theory having Triple H around is a good thing in large part because you get a "suit" that can bump, etc.  In that regard I also like Brad Maddox for that very reason as well.  He's a trained wrestler and even better most of the WWE Universe doesn't know it. 
  • 2. Paying More Attention To Outside Causes Than What’s Happening In The Promotion--While I agree that the commentator spend too much time talking about everything but the match I don't think the focus on Rise Above Cancer, The WWE App, etc. negatively affects anything.  You may find it annoying and I won't argue that too much, but at the same time I don't believe it actually causes any real issues with the product.
There are my thoughts on Keith's column and the current WWE product in general.  In the new year I'm hoping to get South Atlanta Wrestling fired back up.  Hopefully this post is a solid first step.

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