So I already know this is going to start an argument but I’m completely okay with that because I already know that I’m right about this subject.
A few weeks ago, I talked about the likeliness of current wrestlers becoming the next “guy.” Ever since then, I’ve noticed more and more people (usually in the comments section of this and other weekly columns) subscribing to the idea of WWE needing to dump most (if not the whole) roster. As I’ve stated a few times before, I find this stance to be incredibly lazy and doesn’t really do anything to remedy the problem with current talent/product. Am I saying that a character completely flopping or not being used is never the wrestler’s fault? Absolutely not. However, wanting the entire roster to be fired makes about as much logical sense as Creative saying that they “have nothing for you.”
The key ingredient in finding the new “guy” is taking the risk of pushing him to the top, an instant investment risk that lives and dies with Pay Per View buys and we’ve seen WWE’s reluctance towards that risk in the 10 year reign of John Cena. The Cena crowd is almost an assured block of buys every month as long as he’s on the top of the card and it’s all thanks to Cena-marks and parents that give into the whims of their entitled little monsters. Love it or hate it, that’s the truth of it and WWE is going to play into that as long as they have a shareholders to report to that just want a profit at the end of each quarter.
So I’m here to play devil’s advocate to the horns of the WWE (the money) because there is one singular question that I’ve had burning into the back of my head for a few months now…
If WWE is going to refuse to use a certain wrestler (in any form) then why keep them on the roster at all?
This initially arose in my brain the day that WWE released Trent Barreta.
He’s a guy that was brought in at an incredibly young age which would seem perfect for WWE to form a wrestler into their own image. Trent found a little bit of success with the Dude Busters but when his partner was released, his singles career turned to jobber status fairly quickly. His WWE career remained in NXT/Superstars limbo for the next 3 years before finally being released back in January. The point I’m making is that Barreta was on payroll for 3 years not doing much at all and didn’t even seem to get a creative attempt during that time, alluding to WWE pretty much having their mind made up about the guy even back then. So why didn’t WWE just part ways there instead of paying him to sit? In a company that’s so driven by the almighty dollar, this seems to be a giant flaw in their mindset. Granted, I know Barreta (and low card wrestlers like him) aren’t necessarily breaking any banks with their contracts but this still seems like a huge redundancy for them while wasting precious time for the wrestlers in a holding pattern.
So what’s my solution?
I alluded to this on Martin Shaw’s super-packed issue of Flatlining.
Reinvest in the wrestlers WWE is going to end up paying already. As I’ve shown, there seems to be times where WWE acts like they can’t terminate contracts at a moment’s notice (or forget that they can) so they’re going to keep guys like JTG, Yoshi Tatsu, Mason Ryan and Curt Hawkins on the roster anyway so why not whip creative into shape and actually make an attempt with the guys they have? I would be a little more willing to place all the blame on the wrestler’s inability if WWE was providing all the tools that they needed. Of course, there are times where the wrestler has to show some sort of initiative (as Punk discussed in his documentary) in the moments that creative seems to be lacking creativity.
And the final part of this equation? Vince McMahon.
He’s still the majority shareholder and even though we’re seeing more and more of the company being handed off to Steph and Trips, he still gets final say of what makes it onto his broadcast. If there’s a guy is going to get a major push that rivals Cena then that has to go through him. Also, take into account that Vince has given these chances to other wrestlers in the past 15 or so years only to get burned by the wrestler jumping ship or just falling flat so I’m sure that is a major factor as to why he’s so cautious and slow to the trigger (again, adding to the fact that he has a board to answer to). And, it’s not all Vince’s fault because he can’t be everywhere at once, it’s all dependent on the information fed to him by executives and scouts. So am I saying that the entire system is as corrupt as the American government? Probably but leveling the castle and starting over isn’t a logical solution and you risk rebuilding the exact same corruption.
Allow me to repeat an illustration I used in my comments section a couple weeks ago…
I can’t cook to save my life but I heard once that cooking is simply gathering the right ingredients and then given the correct application of heat. I still think that WWE has, for the most part, all the right ingredients in their employ be it the combination of wrestlers and creative. The only thing that’s off at this point is the CORRECT application of heat. Heat in this case meaning being willing to take more risks with talent coming up through development, creative to stop giving up on certain people, Vince beginning a gradual decrease of proverbial eggs in the John Cena basket and a gradual increase to all the other baskets.
But what would I know? I’m just a lowly column writer and podcast co-host (follow us on twitter @CRAttire). And if you want to completely dismiss this entire article as me being overly optimistic about the current talent, you’re completely entitled to do so but at least I actually put some effort instead of lazily spouting that they should dump half the roster. Because if you were to dump half the roster, you’re hiring a ton of brand new talent that is about to be put through the exact same machinery as the wrestlers went though that you were so quickly to dismiss. Nothing would get solved, just different ingredients getting under-cooked and you’ll have different names to complain about.
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Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,
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Tags: chris sanders, cm punk, Stephanie McMahon, The Rager, Trent Barreta, vince mcmahon, WWE