Saturday, June 7, 2014

Past Is Not Going To Help WWE`s Future

Has the WWE finally come to realize that they can’t count of the past to be the solution for their present? It is a question that one could ask after Batista’s return for a variety of reasons failed. Nostalgia will always have a place in wrestling as it does in pro sports. That place is not at the top of your card as the main event though.

The goal of bringing back a big former star is to attract fans from the past to come back home to some extent. That clearly happened when the Rock returned to some extent. When The Rock left so did they as the current stars were not able to grab the attention of those former fans to stick around.

The three years The Rock was around what did he really accomplish in helping the current roster get over? If anything his presence only helped to divide fans more about John Cena. He did get him a sweet endorsement deal for “Fruity Pebbles” but aside from that Cena is even more divisive a force than he was before he came.

The Miz who was part of that first main event in which the Rock’s interference led to him retaining the WWE Title did him little favours. In a main event that many questioned why The Miz was even in it, he was overshadowed by two larger than life stars. He now is nothing more than an after thought in WWE. They can point to him being in WWE Films all they like, he is nothing as far as an in ring competitor in the eyes of the audience.

The most vocal about “The Miz” being in that main event and about big stars returning has been CM Punk. Who has given up being that “Voice of the Voiceless“ for marriage and retirement for the moment. Punk‘s historic 434 day title reign ended at the hands of the Rock. Instead of this match going down at Wrestlemania it took place at the Royal Rumble. Instead of going for a re-match at Wrestlemania between the two it would lead to a re-match of John Cena and The Rock that had been billed a year earlier “Once in a Lifetime” but it ended up being “once again” at the next Wrestlemania.

When we look back on it now what honestly did John Cena gain from that win over the Rock and yet another run as WWE Champion? Not much really, but imagine what that win could have been for CM Punk? One of the view goals Punk has left on his wrestling resume is to “Main Event” a Wrestlemania. Why this has never happened is a source of frustration for Punk.

Who were past fans more likely to be intrigued by to comeback to the product John Cena or CM Punk? It seems like a pretty obvious answer given most of these lost fans come from the WWE’s most successful period the “Attitude Era” where Punk seems more of a fit.

One of the few dream matches left out there for WWE is a CM Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin match. That is the one exception that I could see to the WWE moving away from this idea of bring back stars from that past for a big match. The irony that Punk would get his Wrestlemania main event by being in a type of match he has been so opposed to would be something.

In the end though, these are just band-aid solutions and illustrate the WWE not doing their job in making stars. You can argue that fans made both Punk and Bryan long before the WWE every considered making them as such. The time has come to look to the future and take the lumps that come with building new stars.

Even Brock Lesnar who does post ratings and attention on pay-per-views is only having a limited impact as it is widely known of his equally limited schedule in the WWE. When you consider the type of money it takes to have a guy like Brock or bring back The Rock is it really worth it? It isn’t, if they are not getting anyone over that is in need of it. Brock’s matches against legends like Triple H, Undertaker and the current face of the company John Cena do little to move the needle for the long haul. If we do indeed see Brock work with Cesaro, Daniel Bryan or others like a Roman Reigns that has a more lasting impact.

Just how cost effective it is to bring back these major stars without a long term return off those returns makes you question if that is truly “Best for Business” for the WWE.

Batista’s failure was the latest attempt at some kind of nostalgia getting to draw in past fans and it failed to do that and served to anger the core loyal fan base, to a point we really may not have ever seen. I don’t blame Dave Batista for that, I blame the WWE for putting him in the positions they did.

The WWE fans have been crying and begging for change dating back to CM Punk’s famous promo in Las Vegas. It connected with an audience that was fed up with the standard stuff from the WWE. Since that time the WWE has only tried to “calm the natives” rather than truly embrace a change in philosophy or direction. You got a long Punk title run, but it was seldom featured as the true main event. You eventually got, despite fighting it most of the way, a Daniel Bryan Wrestlemania main event.

You wonder what it will take for WWE to finally understand that drawing back on the past is not helping their present and more importantly their future, by drawing on a drying up pool of former stars. Maybe they are slowly getting it, as the use of Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and The Rock is what fans want in terms of nostalgia.  Dream matches fail more often than they succeed in the end. Besides, let’s face it, the pool of realistic matches of that kind is drying up fast.

Give the young and hungry performers you have the chance to become the legends for a new generation is perhaps the best thing the WWE could do. It is different from in the past, as there is no competition that is going to force your hand to make you do it like WCW did in the days of the “Monday Night Wars” where they had no choice.

If they continue to react to every little blip on radar to the negative and get cold feet that is only going to delay the enviable need for change.