Nothing Has Changed Since WrestleMania XXX

Mike Killam

My esteemed Wrestlezone colleague Josh Matthews Isenberg wrote a great column earlier today called "So Much Has Changed Since WrestleMania XXX". You should read it, but for the sake of the column you are currently reading, Josh talks about the good news behind Bad News Barrett, Daniel Bryan rising and falling, Cesaro being better off without Paul Heyman, and how badly Dolph Ziggler needs (and won't find) a push. 

Isenberg is right – Barrett is great, Bryan's title run is questionable at best, and Heyman's heat mixed with Cesaro's natural ability to draw a babyface reaction isn't doing anything for his career. But here's where he's wrong: NOTHING HAS CHANGED SINCE WRESTLEMANIA!

Monday Night RAW in 2014 is like watching a high school production of Wicked. You go because your friend's kid is in a musical, but the whole time you're thinking "man, I wish I were watching the REAL Wicked." Or, perhaps more accurately for those of you who aren't theater buffs, "man, I wish I were doing literally anything else!" 

Josh wrote his column the way he did because focusing on individual character development is the only way to make it through RAW. In keeping with the high school musical theme, there are plenty of kids in the audience, but those that think it's good do so because they don't know any better. People like pop music because they haven't yet developed taste for anything else. 

Nothing has changed since WrestleMania because WWE still isn't appointment television. RAW wasn't interesting before WrestleMania, and hasn't been since. 

When was the last time anyone did anything to make you change the channel to the USA Network? And I'm talking about YOU – the guy/gal on the internet wrestling website, who watches the product come rain or shine. Forget about the casual viewer. Forget about the millions of people who used to watch wrestling, but gave up on it a decade ago. When was the last time the hardcore fans – who will literally watching ANYTHING – had a reason to tune in? 

Daniel Bryan winning the title? How's that going? 

Hulk Hogan coming back? What year is it? 

The Shield and Bray Wyatt are excellent reasons to watch RAW. That takes care of about 20 minutes of total television time – what about the rest of the THREE HOUR show? Say what you will about CM Punk, but at least when he had a microphone in his hands I paid attention. 

From week to week, nothing happens. "Wrestler A beats Wrestler B. Wrestler B is mad. Sounds like a PPV match to me." There's 2 or 3 people telling stories – everyone else is just happy to be there. They say wrestling is a soap opera for men – at this point we're just being mean to soap operas. 

Think about it. What are you watching for? How much could you do with 3 hours every single week? 6 on a PPV week. 8 if you watch TNA. 10 if you watch Smackdown. 12 if you watch NXT and Main Event. 14 if you watch Total Divas and Legends House. THAT'S A PART-TIME JOB FOLKS! 

At the end of Isenberg's column he asks the million dollar question: "What's the alternative, TNA?" No Josh, the alternative is I just don't watch wrestling anymore. The alternative is watching re-runs of Breaking Bad on Netflix. The alternative is I grab a beer with Chris Cash and we put in some time working on one of our upcoming projects. The alternative is I go to the movie theater and watch X-Men or the new Godzilla movie. At this point I might actually consider watching a Chicago Cubs game over Monday Night RAW. 

Many years ago when I first started writing for Wrestlezone.com, I thought the "just stop watching" argument was a joke. People say it all the time – "if you don't like the product, just stop watching!" I used to retort with statements like "I get paid to watch wrestling" or "I'd rather provide helpful criticism that makes the product better." Years later, I realize none of that is actually true. I get paid to talk about wrestling news – I haven't watched a full episode of RAW in nearly two months, and it hasn't hindered my job performance in the slightest.

It took 17 years of watching wrestling, but the industry has finally made me a frustrated, jaded old man. I'm only 24-years-old, so that's pretty sad in all actuality.

The only "major company" in wrestling doing anything remotely interesting - at least among the companies with English commentary – is Ring of Honor. I've never told anyone to stop watching wrestling before, but maybe it's about time.

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