Stay the Course, The Answer is Obvious

Nick Paglino

FandangoThe crowd reaction at Monday’s Raw in New Jersey was more entertaining than the show. It made me wonder where fake wrestling is heading.

It was one show, one crowd, one reaction: The smallest of samplings.

But Ryback got a face pop…for turning heel. Ziggler got a face pop…for winning the world title in heel fashion. Sheamus and Randy Orton got dissed…and they’re supposed to be babyfaces. A mid-carder’s theme song – his friggin’ THEME SONG! – trumped all.

No one would be more amused/pleased by all this than the IWC, because it validates their twisted preferences.

But is fake wrestling really changing? Is the concept of heels and faces dead, or at least outdated? Should wrestlers be matched against each other regardless of heel/face, and let the audience decide?

Vince Russo thought so, and he profoundly damaged the business.

Fake wrestling is mindless escapism. The vast majority of fans don’t want to think. The few who do usually don’t know how. When Russo tried to divine the will of the people during his time in WCW, he wound up scattering them in million different directions.

A Mensa meeting didn’t take place at the Izod Center this past Monday. It wasn’t a revolutionary moment in fake wrestling history, though it may have the Fandango-ing craze as its legacy. What happened was merely a bunch of crap-disturbers doing just that. A perfect storm.

You’ll know tomorrow when Raw convenes in Greenville, S.C., a place not known for smart anything, let alone smart wrestling fans.

Beyond Fandango-ing, this week's Raw will be the return of the lemmings: Cheering what they’re supposed to, booing what they’re supposed to.

If that doesn’t happen, there’s a problem.

If the Izod Center scenario repeats itself again and again, WWE must nonetheless stay the course with what is thought to be best for business in the long run. WWE cannot listen to the fans. Because…

*What if Cena turns heel…and the fans start cheering him?

*What if Ziggler turns face…and the fans start booing him?

*What if Fandango gets a bigger push…and the Peter Principle kicks in?

The fans can’t control the product. The product has to control the fans. Give the marks an inch, they will try to take a mile. They are not the professionals. Those who run WWE are the professionals. Well, mostly.

Wrestling is not something that should be complicated. For over 100 years, it’s relied on the heel/face dynamic. That must continue.

Many cheered the nWo, but the nWo never turned face. Instead, it split into factions. Ambiguity clouded who was good and bad…and the most successful angle in wrestling history collapsed utterly and disastrously.

This isn’t rocket science. The best thing WWE can do in the wake of last Monday is keep doing whatever it had planned to do. STAY THE COURSE. Be amused by crowd aberrations. But don’t act on them.

THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS

Impact aired what was supposed to be a loaded, PPV-caliber show this past Thursday. It drew a .93 rating, Impact’s lowest of the year. Viewership dropped 22 percent from the previous week’s program.

Fake wrestling websites are furiously trying to analyze what happened. Where, oh where did Impact go wrong?

That’s easy. IMPACT SUCKS.

They don’t have a lead babyface, the program is saturated with Hogans, the announcing blows and the top heel group is a bunch of jobronis + one.

Impact’s strong points are very strong, like Bully Ray as heel world champion. But very rarely does one guy draw a rating, and Bully Ray isn’t that guy. Impact is just a lousy, inconsistent product.

But that’s not the real problem.

The real problem is, Impact could stage a WrestleMania-caliber show every week and not do higher than a 1.1 rating. Impact is compartmentalized as a low-level, clear-cut B-list wrestling promotion.

Impact has fans, and they’re loyal. There are about 1.17 million of them. That's it, that's the list. It’s impossible to envision Impact ever having a major breakthrough.

It’s very possible to envision Hulk Hogan bleeding Dixie Carter dry, though.

Follow Mark Madden on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX

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