Hey there hi there ho there, it’s me, James “Carter was smarter” Sawyer, and I thought with this column, I’d look back at old columns. But not in anger though. But probably in sad resignation.
I started my “WWE-vamp” series on April 4th, roughly five months ago. That’s enough time for Triple H to have bookmarked all my columns and implement all my suggestions, right? So let’s see where we are, shall we?
Column I– on the announcing: still sucks. Michael Cole’s character isn’t any more consistent, seeing as how he was admonishing CM Punk for destroying his one-time arch-enemy Jerry “The King” Lawler. Is he back to being a face now? He certainly hasn’t improved as the technical guy. William Regal, a man who could be amazing at both color and as the technical guy, is nowhere to be seen on a national scale. Matt Striker is also underutilized.
Column II– on punishing the pros: still doing it. Where’s The Miz? Rapidly sliding down the ladder of success, going from former world champ to IC champ this year. Where’s Zack Ryder? Only on TV thanks to USA pushing Vince to make Raw three hours, and even then only beating the likes of David Otunga. They look like they’re finally going to push Dolph Ziggler to the top… but who am I kidding? He’ll probably be jobbed out to Santino’s heel Cobra and end up on John Morrison’s couch.
Column III– on giving CM Punk a lifetime contract: I still say they should do it… but 2012 is not looking as hot as 2011 was for the Second City Saint. Despite being the WWE champion for nine straight months, he’s been stuck defending the title in the beginning or middle of Raws and PPVs, as well as currently undergoing a baffling heel turn despite being the top merch seller in the company. There’s no chance… no chance in Hell that the guys and smarks will boo him, especially against Cena, so what you’ve got is two tweeners and a confused audience. They found a way to kill the feud of the year. Congrats?
Column IV– on being cool: they make some steps forward by having more relevant musical artists at Wrestlemania and partnering up with YouTube and making some original web series… but lose some steps by having childish booking that not only won’t help the audience get laid, but actually takes away times you’ve had sex for every hour that you watch! A father of two can become a virgin simply by spending the summer in front of the television! And is Nickelback still doing the theme song? Have they embraced the crossover potential of Daniel Bryan or Chris Jericho? Sigh…
Column V-on bringing back managers: they still haven’t. Oh there’s Rosa Mendes, who is the only part of the Colon tag team that gets any kind of heat, but other than that… nada. The WWE canned the best manager in a long time when they future endeavored Abraham Washington, so basically enjoy suffering through Ryback’s attempts at promos.
Column IV– on bringing back the tag teams: there’s two. Maybe three now. Hooray?
Column VII– on advertising the product: they still don’t. I live in New York now, and spend a large amount of my times surrounded by ads in subways and on billboards, and have yet to see a single WWE one. I’ve seen one for a show called “Made In Jersey.” Is that something you want to tell people? Ugh. But really, with the product like it is, they could hire Don Draper and bribe Letterman to give Ziggler his first guest spot on his last show, and if the fans are gonna tune in to see this-
…maybe it’s best the wider world doesn’t recognize this.
Column VIII– on elevating the new class: well, yes and no. On the one hand, in the examples I gave, only Ziggler is really elevated. Ryder is barely on TV and Kofi is still bumping around the “tag-team division.” They have brought in Damien Sandow and Antonio Cesaro, so I have to give them credit there. But I’ll feel a lot more comfortable as Orton and Cena take more time off, start putting over mid-carders, and we see more debuts like that of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
Column IV– on the cruiserweight division: non-existent. Evan Bourne is still somehow miraculously employed despite being either suspended or injured for almost this entire year. I’m sure he’s looking forward to coming back and being squashed by Ryback… or Brodus Clay… or their tag-team the Big Mama Feeders. As far as I can tell they’re still partnered up with K-Mart, NBC is still in last place and I’m not expecting any award-show clips featuring any WWE superstars anytime soon. Although that Leprechaun remake holds great promise, I’m sure.
Column X– on health-care and mentors: yeah this is a pipe-dream. The idea of financial counselors is very doable, in my humble opinion, and wouldn’t really cost the WWE much money and would reward them with not having former employees end up arrested or homeless or even worse, working for TNA. Zing!
So that’s the state of the WWE, and thus largely the industry, in 2012. Still here, still chugging along, never going completely away… but definitely shrinking in pop-culture influence, despite wrestling now being around so long that it has automatic “survivor’s credibility.” This is not to be ignored. Two young women I know, one a Brookyn yoga instructor and the other a Kansas City preppy, are intrigued with the idea of pro wrestling. The audience is out there and willing to meet us half-way. Can we provide a product worthy of taking their time away from cat memes and zombies and bacon and cupcakes and Skrillexes?
Probably not. See you in a week!
Tags: Antonio Cesaro, brodus clay, chris jericho, cm punk, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, evan bourne, Jerry "the King" Lawler, john cena, John Morrison, Kofi Kingston, Matt Striker, Michael Cole, randy orton, Rosa Mendes, ryback, seth rollins, The Miz, triple h, vince mcmahon, William Regal, WWE, zack ryder