Sunday Night Raw

Mark Madden

wwe elimination chamber thoughtsI have zero interest in WWE Elimination Chamber. It’s Sunday Night Raw, that’s all.

I have zero interest in the WWE Network. There are going to be 2-3 “special” big shows per year. The rest will be Sunday Night Raw.

Creatively, there has never been a worse time for wrestling. The business is being held hostage by WWE and by PG-13.

I’ve got nothing against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

When Ric Flair had his last big run in WWE, I had the chance to drive the Pittsburgh-area house-show circuit with Flair and Triple H. Trips is a good guy with a very clear picture of what he prefers in wrestling.

Remember that phrase: “He prefers.”

Stephanie got her power by birthright, and for no other reason. But give her credit. She functions in a man’s world, does well, and is not intimidated.

Vince McMahon has become a monkey wrench. He’s no longer an editor, but a crotchety old man who just says, “I don’t like it.” McMahon no longer fine-tunes. WWE’s writing staff wastes a lot of time doing re-writes. That’s why lots of stuff on WWE TV has a last-minute feel to it. There’s also little long-term investment.

Interviews remain horribly over-scripted. Everyone talks in the same voice.

But the main problem with WWE is, there’s no alternative.

TNA stopped being a real wrestling company a long time ago. But what it presents is WWE Lite. It’s the same style of programming but with lesser talent, lesser production values, lesser everything (including much lesser interest).

ROH is different. More old school. But ROH’s resources are just too inadequate.

When WCW Nitro hit big, a few things were different: WCW mostly used real names and emphasized real personalities. WCW also had the cruiserweights. WCW offered action you just weren’t going to see on WWE TV.

TNA offers nothing whatsoever different. Sadly, TNA thinks it does.

ROH is just too bush-league at a glance to make the difference matter. Also, too many performers look too similar. It’s like wrestling matches broke out at a frat party. Kevin Steen is growing on me for a number of reasons, but the biggest one is: HE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

But WWE is headed in that direction, too. Everyone has to fit a certain mold. It’s only going to get worse as the training center spews out Xerox after Xerox. It is the height of arrogance to think that an accomplished, experienced indie worker can’t be given a gimmick and put on TV without being hammered into a round hole. Very rarely does an entertainment company discourage variety. WWE does.

WWE is a victim of preconceived notions. It’s not about who’s good, or what’s good. It’s about what Trips and Steph think is good.

That’s OK. It’s their promotion. They can do what they like.

The problem is, those who don’t fit WWE’s preconceived notions have no alternative. As a result, wrestling fans have no legit alternative.

TNA, ROH and Jeff Jarrett shouldn’t imitate WWE, or go back to the future. They should try to figure out what the next big thing is.

Go extreme. Not hardcore. Hardcore is passé.

ECW was extreme because Paul Heyman figured out something different that caught on. If Heyman was in charge of a wrestling company attempting to compete with WWE, he’d try to do that again. He’d try to redefine extreme.

Heyman would be wasting his time. Fake wrestling was doomed the minute MMA took real fights and added personality. Enjoy Sunday Night Raw.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX

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