Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WWE Needs To Get More Bang For Their Rock

The appearance of The Rock did create a buzz no one is going to deny that. He stands out whenever he decides he wants to come back home and play wrestler for a night or a few months. It has got to the point of the odd night here and the odd night there.  His feud and basis for John Cena to be against him was his lack of a presence on WWE programming. Which at one point we are told created a legitimate beef between the two. The issue when the Rock comes back is not that he isn’t sticking around as much as it he reminds us how good he is in comparison to the current crop of WWE stars including John Cena himself.

When you have these rare chances to have the Rock on the show I would suggest that the WWE tends to blow it with him and miscast him more often than not. Take this recent visit from the Rock was this the best use of him at this time? I would venture to say it wasn’t and while the interaction with Rusev will help Rusev and Lana to some extent, this really isn’t who needed The Rock’s help.

Roman Reigns his relative needed the Rock far more. So why not have The Rock stop Rusev from attacking an injured Reigns or better yet The Authority. The Rock could cut this promo about how Roman is his family and he will always have his back. He could talk about how he is going to help him through his rehabilitation and make him an even bigger bad ass. Providing validation of the fact, that Roman is carrying on the great legacy of The Rock’s family in this company.  A real passing of the torch moment that whenever the Rock does pop in and out you can utilize. It even makes a great build to a heel turn for Reigns way down the line where he no longer wants or needs The Rock’s help. It may not help in the short term but WWE needs to figure out ways to build for the long term when guys like The Rock drop in.

Rumors are getting louder that Stone Cold Steve Austin is thinking of making a comeback. While the obvious people pairing Austin with seem to be C.M Punk, Brock Lesnar or even John Cena that is a short-term one-event match. Punk and Austin would be great if Punk was even on speaking terms with the company. Still isn’t it better to see Austin tied to some younger star than one that is on the back nine of their WWE career while Austin is coming down the eighteenth fairway of his for a second time for some cheers and applause.

WWE seems to fall to much in love with their past just like many of the fans.  Fans can cheer the Rock, Austin or Hogan, remember the past, and have a great moment. That isn’t going to help invest them in the current product. Perhaps that gets to another issue for the WWE. They seem like they are in quicksand trying to promote their past but in doing so it shed light on how badly their present doesn’t measure up to their great history.

The legacy and history of the WWE and really all of wrestling on any major scale in North America is owned by the WWE. This should be a tremendous asset for this company yet they have still not found a way to have their history help their future on many occasions. It shouldn’t be that difficult to come up with ideas to allow interactions with your past and the present to help build your future. There are moments the WWE does get it right but they are rare.

A recent example happened on one of the NXT specials this year when Charlotte Flair won the NXT Women’s Championship with her father Ric in her corner and Bret Hart in the corner of Natalya. Past and present mixed magically together to create a really special and emotional moment that you could feel. Even this I think they missed a moment in the aftermath. Heading into the match, Charlotte was booked as a heel. Coming out of it, I maintained at the time she should have been turned into a babyface. It was the right moment to do it but instead WWE has waited until months later to start a slow turn with Charlotte when they had the moment to do it handed to them in their lap.

WWE needs to come up with some simple and effective ideas to market both their past and present in harmony. If they do not find a way to do that, both the current product and WWE Network will suffer for it as a result.  Ideally, you want the Network to lure back old fans and get them invested in the current product and win them back as fans again. That clearly isn’t happening right now on any level.

When the WWE figures out a way to do this that will be a moment when things start to move in a positive direction.

Sometime I feel the WWE has been so bogged down in corporate business that they try to take simple things and make them into rocket science. Vince McMahon built this empire based on going with his gut a lot of time and taking chances. It seems this company is in a very different place from that these days. They are afraid to take almost any risk at all and as a result, the product, ratings, and network subscriptions are all heading in the wrong direction.

There really isn’t a lot of excuses in the sense you have perhaps one of the most talented rosters top to bottom you have had since the glory days of the "Attitude Era." It just goes to show talent can only be talented when given the environment and ability to be so. Not enough freedom is being given to these people that play these roles every Monday Night and most of the rest of the week.

What is left of wrestling fans will always cheer The Great One and all the other legends like him. They key is making new guys to be those legends for the next generation and to this point that isn’t happening enough. What happens when the WWE runs out of break glass in case of emergency old stars from the past?

It is a real problem and the WWE has used up almost all their nostalgia-based matches that people will still be excited about. The WWE seems to be very short sighted as relates to these kinds of matches.  What is the pay off for a Sting match as an example 5 years from now? Next to nothing, really it just becomes a historical moment added to hundreds that already exist.

They need to start building a future and they acknowledge that with the money they have spent on the performance center and the amount of work that has gone into the NXT and developmental as a whole. Nevertheless, that just gives you the talent you still have to make them into stars. Something the WWE has historically been very good at but seems to be lacking in over the last few years. Instead focusing primarily on the one guy they have built in John Cena. You need more than one guy to make this company go.

In any case, it is always nice to see The Rock; I just wish WWE used their time with him more wisely.

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