Every single week, I watch Raw, hoping (not expecting, but hoping) to see something fun, enjoyable, entertaining, emotional, spontaneous, or surprising. The reason I don’t expect it anymore is because the show has become so stale that these kinds of things rarely happen anymore.
After somewhat reluctantly purchasing the most recent Pay-Per-View, ‘No Way Out’, I watched in the hope of seeing some major storyline development in more than one area of WWE. Whilst the only match I looked forward to was the WWE Title Match, I was expecting an exciting segment involving Triple H and some real development in the John Laurinaitis/Big Show/John Cena storyline.
The 3-way match for the WWE Title was good. Triple H came out and rambled on for few minutes about Brock Lesnar, told Lesnar (who wasn’t there) that he wants to fight him, and left. Wow, how dramatic. The main event featured Big Show vs Cena with the stipulation that if Cena wins, Laurinaitis would be fired as GM of Raw & Smackdown. Instead of seeing an exciting climax to this storyline, I saw the same old super Cena victory and the same old super Cena celebration with same old super Cena music playing in the background.
The next night on Raw, Laurinaitis was allowed to give a farewell speech to the WWE fans, and he casually announced that he had booked the main event for that episode Raw BEFORE he was fired, and said main event would be a handicap match between himself, Big Show & David Otunga against John Cena. The match never promised anything grand, but ended when Big Show and Otunga left Laurinaitis high and dry with the salivating Cena, who duly hit the ex-GM with some AAs and locked in an STF for the tap-out win. Cue the same old Cena victory/celebrations/music again. Forgive me for being bored to death by this routine after nearly a decade. It doesn’t matter if he’s champion or not, Cena still dominates and performs in the main events. The problem is, half of the audience don’t like Cena or find him entertaining, and that same half often doesn’t care much for his main event opponents, either. Otunga? Laurinaitis? Michael Cole? How can I invest in this?
The highlight of Raw for me this week was Heath Slater’s mic work during what was otherwise a disgustingly bad segment involving Cyndi Lauper, Wendy Richter and Roddy Piper. That’s saying something about the current situation. The pop Dolph Ziggler received for his match against Jack Swagger was nice, too. It’s good to see that the fans were ready for what should have been a big development in this stagnant story involving Dolph, Swagger, and Vickie Guerrero. It’s good to see that they were ready to see Dolph finally ditch Vickie and go it alone and move on to bigger and better things. Oh, wait. None of that actually happened. Again.
The tag match between Punk & Sheamus vs Kane & Daniel Bryan was well executed, but what was the point? It was another tag match that just didn’t matter. Yes, AJ came out and somehow put Kane in a trance (he’s a sap again, apparently), but surely there was a better way to present this angle than with another meaningless, thrown-together-for-the-sake-of-it tag team match.
The promo involving Triple H and Paul Heyman was OK. It served a purpose. Triple H’s promos in the last few years haven’t resonated with me at all. He tends to ramble and say the same things over and over again. He can be very funny, and he can be menacing when he’s serious, but too often his promos are delivered in the same laborious fashion.
I’ve been saying for a long time that WWE seem to have forgotten how to present exciting storylines. I understand the ‘PG’ constraints, but the show doesn’t need to include blood and swearing to be exciting. The writers seem to be out of ideas. Every now and then, a wrestler will set the world on fire – CM Punk did it last year, and for a couple of months, everyone HAD to see him. But eventually, he became hampered by the writers, the nonsensical storylines, and circumstances. Remember when Kevin Nash returned and cost Punk the WWE Title? For once, they set up an exciting and mysterious story that had everyone wondering WHO had told Nash to get involved – even Stephanie McMahon made an appearance. Then it all just fizzled out. It just died. Nash wasn’t cleared to wrestle Punk, so they had to improvise. The result was a frustrating anti-climax. In the face of adversity, WWE writers had to fill in the gaps, and they did so, very poorly indeed.
I think it’s time for action. It’s time for fans that dislike John Cena to stop chanting ‘Cena Sucks’ during his matches. WWE have already taken that and made it their own. It’s time for these fans to start going to the merchandise stalls instead. Use his match as a toilet break. Or, if you’re worried that the toilets will be too busy, simply sit and obnoxiously chant ‘boring’ over and over again. You can chant ‘Albert’ during Tensai’s matches, and you can chant ‘Goldberg’ during Ryback’s matches, you can chant ‘We Want Ryder’ whenever the hell you want, so let’s try this. For people who watch Raw live on TV, change the channel for 5-10 minutes when Cena comes out. I understand that his matches are often the main event, which I can appreciate makes you feel compelled to watch until the end in case something big happens. History will suggest that this is rarely the case. History will suggest that 90% of the time, the show will end with the patented Cena victory, Cena celebration, and Cena music. The show will fade to black on Cena’s smiling face.
It’s no mystery that Cena can actually add great value; he is extremely reliable and he loves his job. But in his current incarnation he is unbelievably boring and stale. This isn’t necessarily John’s fault. But for a fan like me, seeing this same old routine every week (especially when I’m PAYING to see it) is making me regret investing the time and money in the show.
It’s unlikely that WWE will ever have to worry about TNA giving them any real competition. There are no other mainstream wrestling organisations that are going to come along and give WWE a run for their money. The only motivation for them to improve is if WE tell them that they HAVE to.
Twitter isn’t going to get it done. 2 million people could tweet ‘John Cena is boring me to death’, and WWE would just say that ‘John Cena’ is the number one worldwide trend. How ironic. We have to do it the old fashioned way, and stop throwing money at second rate, poorly booked Pay-Per-Views, and we need to change the channel when we see something we genuinely don’t find entertaining.