When I worked for them, my dream was to be fired by the WWE and then rehired as a consultant.
I woke up halfway through…
Vince Russo, Jim Monsees (former WWE.com director) and I used to joke all the time about the way things were in the company. We’d see higher-ups get called down to HR, come back with a box and a few minutes to gather their belongings before hitting the bricks, only to be rehired as “consultants” down the road for more money.
We were jealous of the members of the “Consultant Class” and all dreamed of joining them one day.
We painfully joked that the Future Endeavored within Titan Towers were crummy enough at their jobs to be fired but the company was too stupid to figure out another solution after the clowns they fired had shuffled out of town.
Much has changed in the company since I got called down to HR in 2003 but one thing that hasn’t is the “Consultant Class”. Now, they pervade the talent roster, especially in January through the end of April. Ah, yes… Mania Season!
For the WWE, they can figure out anything except how to develop talent and compelling storylines.
CM Punk has gone home, leaving the WWE for several reasons. Reportedly frustrated because Batista comes back and gets a main event match at WrestleMania, Punk became victim of the “Consultant Class”.
Punk makes all the towns, does all the obligations and carries the water for the whole year but then sees Batista come back for a minute and take a top spot. No wonder he’s pissed. Why does the WWE need Batista, they feel? Weird, because it’s their own fault. They can’t develop characters and storylines and money matches that fans want to see year-round.
They let Batista walk away because they had gotten all they could out of him and didn’t perceive his value equal to what was Batista’s perception of himself. “Dave, we’ll pay you X to stick around.” “Nope.” “OK, thanks!” Now, they hire him back short-term for more money! Genius!!!
And instead of using the short-termers to enhance the younger guys, the WWE feeds them to the top guys, to create what they believe are marquee matchups, sacrificing the advancement of the next-level stars in the process. It’s like cutting off your leg because you want to change your sock.
Fans crapped all over Cena vs Orton. How do you think they’ll react to Batista vs Orton?
Punk turned in 2012 by flattening the Rock and they got nearly a year out of it. However, they should have made a three-way match at last year’s WrestleMania with Cena, Rock and Punk to make sure that Punk would be ready to be “the man” this year. Instead, they fed him to Undertaker and now 11 months later, Punk’s gone home.
And because they were too short-sighted to see the future, the WWE felt like they had to go out and get Batista back because Punk isn’t the star that he was and no one else is ready. That’s poor booking and talent development, in my opinion. The WWE had the chance to make Punk “the man” but chose not to. Same for Daniel Bryan. The Muscle Marks from Post Road would rather look at Batista than Punk or DB.
And CM Punk didn’t just wake up on Tuesday and say “that’s it”. This has been brewing and festering for a while. Why didn’t the WWE manage one of their most important assets better? Triple H runs Talent Relations and this falls on him. They’ve hired former golfers and volleyball players to run the department so it’s no wonder they don’t know how to handle the needs and concerns of wrestlers.
What this goes back to is creating a system to provide talent with time off to care for injuries and prevent burnout. Instead of riding talent like Derby horses until they drop and need to be shot, the WWE must care for the physical and mental well-being of their most important assets.
By giving their wrestlers time off, the WWE creates excitement when a refreshed, healthier wrestler returns after time off. And they create their own “Consultant Class” at the same money.
Since CM Punk’s deal runs out in July, maybe he plans on joining the “Consultant Class”? Come January next year, don’t be shocked, Punk, if you get a call on your cell from the 203, wanting you to come back and headline Mania. Whether he chooses to take that call? That’s another story…
Do you think CM Punk is wrong or right for walking out on the WWE? Let me know on Twitter @RealKevinKelly
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?