I find that as of late many have found fault in the world of professional wrestling, especially with the WWE. While I have always attempted to put a positive, optimistic spin on things even I have felt something lacking in the WWE product at times. I think we all have our own personal reasons for feeling that the WWE is “not up to par” with our expectations of what it should be. I think I found my reason last week, when both Edge and Kurt Angle became, most un-expectantly, the new WWE and World Heavyweight Champions.
But what did these sudden title changes help me to realize? It was something I knew all along. I felt as if the WWE was stuck in a monotone cycle. It was unchanging, bland, flat; and the list could go on to describe this feeling I’ve had. And maybe there was another feeling that even trumped this. That would be a feeling of predictability, tangled together with feelings of a monotonous program week in and week out.
And as I became enlightened to these feelings after the World Title changes, it became obvious to me that much of the monotony and predictably I have felt as of late centers around the Championship belts. Seeing the World titles change hands was like a shot in the arm. It was a much needed change. It broke up the cycle of monotony and predictability.
The WWE took a chance when they decided to keep both titles on the same people for nearly a year. As weeks and months pass, it becomes exponentially difficult to do something unique. I find that, especially with the likes of John Cena, the WWE got caught up in a set pattern. Cena unfortunately was not the same person as champion as he was before he became The Champ. After becoming champion he had to turn away from the personality that made him so popular and then had to place himself inside the boundaries of an “uber babyface” persona. He was boxed in and made to fit into a mold.
This, unfortunately, led to a very monotonous run as champion, both in the arena of promos and in the ring. For me, if I heard one promo by Cena during his championship run, I had heard them all. He came out and had to say the same things and use the same catchphrases in the same way to cater to a fan base that was steadily dwindling. In the ring things were worse. I noted that one person said, “Cena has about four moves, and one of those is pumping up his shoes.” Unfortunate, but true.
I know that Cena has more wrestling skill than what was displayed during his championship run. I remember his earlier run ins with Kurt Angle when he was breaking into the business. He had talent and skill. Unfortunately, he was forced to cater to a very boxed in, cookie cutter style. It became monotonous very fast. I think this is a reason so many fans turned on him.
The monotony of John Cena’s title run in particular and the length of both Championship title runs led to a great deal of predictability. Until recently, every pay-per-view was utterly predictable. This is for a number of reasons I think, a lot of which has to do with spoilers and news that rumbles so quickly around the IWC. Batista and Cena also sold a lot of merchandise. Vince was, quite understandably, thinking with his pocket.
Looking at both title runs and their length really has caused me to reflect on the different merits of both short and long title reigns. One thing comes to mind when I think of the positive effects of a long term title run. That would have to be that they truly help to establish the champion who engages in the championship run. Look at the three long term title runs from Batista, John Cena, and JBL. These runs helped to legitimize their status as a main event superstar. JBL, before his championship run, was a lower mid-card wrestler, but after having a lengthy run with the WWE Championship few will doubt his ability to be at the top of the business. Cena and Batista, by carrying the title for such a long time, have now also legitimized their positions at the top of the world which has in turn provided a main event spot for them in the future.
Yet there are two things which in my mind are very important when it comes to shorter title runs. The first being that it helps to solve the problems of monotony and predictability which I discussed above. More champions in a set period of time equals more change. This can many times can add an immense amount of excitement. It also solves the problem of predictability. When the title changes hands frequently, we never know what’s going to happen next. There will be true doubt at the beginning of each pay per view if the champion will be walking out with the title at the end of the night. This was not the case for most of both Batista and Cena’s title reigns.
Yet more importantly I think shorter title reigns are more realistic. The WWE theoretically is home to THE BEST wrestlers in the world. Most will agree that on both Smackdown and RAW there are at least three or four superstars (if not more) who could legitimately carry the championship. I find it hard to believe that one man can hold the title while battling against the very best in the world day in and day out and still manage to keep the title for such a long time. There isn’t one guy who stands head and shoulders above the rest and a number of wrestlers should be able to win or lose on any given day.
But I must remind myself that this isn’t the real world. It’s the world of professional wrestling where at times the boundaries of what is acceptable and “real” must be stretched. In the case of Batista and Cena, they were certainly stretched quite a bit. Unfortunately, this stretching lead to me being, quite simply, bored. I felt like I was watching the same thing week in and week out and up until a week ago, I was near certain of who would be walking out of each pay per view as champion.
That is not to say that I’m not fans of Batista and Cena. I’ve been a fan of Batista since his days and Evolution and enjoyed his championship run to an extent. I’m looking forward to his return on the main event scene. I liked Cena at one point and time. I liked him when he was unique and original. I liked him when he was his own person, before he became “The Champ” and had to fit into the box WWE created for him.
But none the less, we are on the verge of something new. Kurt Angle and Edge are our current champions. The WWE has created something which entices me and forces me to tune into, just to see what’s going to happen. The future is, for a change, unknown. That combination, change and unpredictability, have energized inside of me what was for a while a docile excitement for the WWE.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading, and until next time, this was Joe Pritchett’s Real Talk…Real Talk from a Real Fan.