WWE's Identity Crisis, Punk and Cena's Issue, Summerslam & Other Random Thoughts

William GulloCorrespondent IJune 29, 2012

"To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But, then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love, to be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness -- I hope you're getting this down."

                                       ~ Woody Allen

You got to love crazy chicks...

In what is quickly becoming one of the most oddly complex, intricate, confusing, often hilarious and flat-out deliberate attempt to add much-needed character depth; the WWE is doing a fantastic job at slow-playing the crap out of one of its more unique story lines in recent memory.

While I'm sure the involvement of AJ was originally consummated due to the complete lack of confidence the company had in CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, I can't help but think the WWE stumbled upon something completely ingenious.

Some will forever argue that the WWE should allow Punk and Bryan's story to focus on only them, their background and history together, their unique and complementary wrestling style and nothing more, but those same people need to be reminded of what product they chose to invest their time and energy in.

The WWE, for better or worse, will always add that funny, often tricky word that is still surprisingly controversial to hardcore wrestling fans when it comes to their product...entertainment.  

Whether you like it or not, the company will never solely be all about "wrestling." It's time that we finally took the word "wrestling" when in the context of WWE and simply allowed it to be known as "source material."

Think of it like a comic book movie. There's always going to be those hardcore followers of comic books who rip and hate on Hollywood's adaptations because, while keeping to the original source material, the movie needs to be produced and created for not only those loyal followers, but to the millions of other people who have no clue about the characters, stories and concepts of the comics.

It could be considered a form of "dumbing down," but when you have millions of dollars at stake, advertisers, investors and not to mention a seat at the stock exchange table; you tend to cater towards the mass public rather then the small percentage of hardcore loyalists.

Perhaps the problems all began when the company elected to become a publicly traded company; Instead of being privately owned and having no one to answer to the company (after going public) may now have to many hands in the "money pot" creating a creative roadblock that now errs on the side of caution then the shock and awe campaign it had in the late 90's... but that's an article for another time. 

Does WWE offer the best form of wrestling? No, not even close, but there are plenty of alternatives available to those who want to see professional wrestling at its finest.

Does WWE offer the best streamlined, family friendly, fun and pop culturally diverse form of "wrestling entertainment"? Let's just say that no other wrestling promotion will ever eclipse what the WWE has done for the wrestling industry. 

Never underestimate the value of entertainment. I'm not saying it's always good entertainment, but when your trying to appeal to massive, diverse groups of genders, races and ages with a niche product in the first place; the WWE sometimes comes off as a "wrestling variety show" which (in my opinion) ends up hurting the credibility, depth, continuity and flow that good wrestling promotions usually associate themselves with.

Whether we're watching the painful transition period of the company trying to breed new "faces for the company," or witnessing a company going through an identity crisis; It seems that the WWE, and it's creative team, are simply throwing darts at random plot lines hoping something sticks.

But then once it sticks, the creative team tries to get too creative and kills all the fun before the story had time to develop. Not to mention that the company flat-out drops long-running stories with no closure banking on the notion that its fanbase has Alzheimer's.

It's become a mishmashed form of bumbling, nonsensical entertainment, random feuds and dull stories that has been combined with a landscape that promotes boring, vanilla, crowd-placating good guys always beating the cooler, flawed and more realistic bad guys.

While this entertainment style may cater to a younger audience that doesn't know any better, the company has slowly started to isolate itself from its older fan base. 

However, the WWE has taken great strides since the beginning of 2011 in terms of the product's overall quality.   

The WWE, especially in the form of this new AJ angle, has produced an intoxicating story that proudly displays what happens when you take an already great wrestling angle and blend it with entertainment.

Whether it's a love story, a revenge story, or a completely backhanded form of social commentary about women and their mindsets about men and relationships; whatever it is, it's 100 percent fascinating while making everything that takes place in the ring seem more unpredictable at the same time.

We're seeing what happens when the WWE perfectly blends the "E" in WWE into the "WW" of their product. While it's nowhere near the exhilarating story arch we saw a year ago when CM Punk's real life contract dispute perfectly blended with the "scripted" world of wrestling, or the electrifying emotion and passion we saw from the Rock and John Cena's buildup to WrestleMania; this new "love story" angle has created what wrestling needs in order to be great... an unpredictable environment.

Sure the WWE could cater to it's older fanbase and completely engulf itself in a world of "shoot" promos, blood, swear words and bikinis. A world where the only entertainment and stories that are told are through the in-ring ability and mastery of its wrestlers.

A world where Cyndi Lauper has no place. A world where Perez Hilton is uninvited. A world where the complex holds and submissions of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk rule over the "entertainment" and diversity that a John Cena, Santino or Big Show add to the mix.

Would that make the product better? To the generation of wrestling fans that grew up watching Mick Foley get pedigreed onto thumb tacks, the Kat bare it all and Stone Cold stun everyone (whether face or heel) it most certainty would, but that doesn't' mean the product would be any more popular.

And there's the whole point of WWE's identity crisis...

Does the company want to offer the best product, or the most popular one?

If the company already has a stranglehold on the younger, family friendly market and only needs to convince its hesitant older demographic to hop back on board...I don't see why it can't be both.

The WWE might be in a state of flux at the moment, but good things take time to develop and the company is on the right track to finding the correct content balance that creates the unpredictable environment, hilarious and fun skits and story-driven magic that makes people fall in love with professional wrestling.

Not to mention that we're one Cm Punk or John Cena heel turn away from igniting an atom bomb that will engulf the WWE landscape.  Fingers crossed. It's time to shake up the "good feeling vibes" of the WWE and entrench it in an atmosphere of chaos.

Since we talked about comic book movies earlier the WWE should be more "Dark Knight" then Tobey McGuire's "Spider-Man"...

Or at least be "Spider-Man 2," because that movie was the bomb!

And now for some random thoughts...


Random Thought No. 1

Speaking of John Cena... If you want to see the greatest thing John Cena has ever done with his life, then I highly recommend you click here

Random Thought No. 2

Seriously though, I'm pretty positive that if CM Punk was a movie, the tagline to the film would be "from the creators and producers who brought you John Cena"....

Because I know I can't be the only one who sees the scary comparisons that we've recently seen from CM Punk. If there was ever a wrestler who just can't do the whole "face thing," it's Punk. His attitude, condescending nature, look and wrestling style scream villain. 

He could easily be the Triple H of this generation, but I keep forgetting that once we start cheering for a wrestler someone in the WWE says "If we make him a good guy who likes the fans, we can sell more T-shirts!"...

Me (To whoever makes those decisions): No, you jack wagon! I cheered CM Punk because he was a great villain who stood for the complete opposite of everything I was growing to hate about your product. Yay! Another good guy won!...Boring! I related to CM Punk, his flawed character and his story of survival, hard work, dedication and his "me against the world" attitude.

Now I'm sitting here, in my mid-20s, watching this man become everything I hated in the first place. How do I relate to him now? I used to watch this man turn his back on everything and everyone on his path to self-fulfillment by blazing his own path to success. I admired that because that's how I feel about life sometimes...

How the hell does a 12-year-old relate to CM Punk? I didn't realize that demographic needed both Cena and Punk to cheer for. I didn't realize life was full of such hardships that the mind of a child could comprehend the complex mind and struggle that CM Punk encompassed. I get the whole "straight edge thing" is a good message for kids, but you took away my beloved evil, anti-hero and watered him down to the "PG", status-quo concoction we have today. I want him back!

Thanks for letting me vent...

Random Thought No. 3

Not for nothing, but I am getting serious joy out of the B/R wrestling community as of late.

Whoever was the first one to make an account name named after a wrestler and play that character in the comment sections of articles, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm glad it's caught on.You know who you are, and I want to commend all of your creativity, passion and loyalty. 

You make me, as well as thousands of others, giggle every time you pop up with a condescending, sarcastic, perfectly in-character comment. You're always welcomed on my articles.

(Internet High Five)

Random Thought No. 4

God bless Chris Jericho! When he muttered "You're always so smug aren't you, Cena. Always smiling and joking around" I felt my heart explode with joy. This is exactly what the WWE needs in general. Self-aware characters. Characters that naturally despise their opponent and their personalities, not the randomness of feuds that seems to be haunting the WWE.

Random Thought No. 5  

Once again I need the WWE Universe to settle an argument I've been having with a friend. It's actually kind of sad that I have these "discussions" with friends, but sometimes you just have to "nerd-out" every once in awhile.

Please consult the completely random poll for more information...

Random Thought No. 6

Did I really just see WWE Divas in bikinis? I must be getting old because I was actually a little offended by the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, but I remember enjoying that kind of thing a lot more when I was 14. The whole thing kind of seemed...what's the word I'm looking for?... forced?

I'll enjoy AJ in a bikini all day, but I feel like we've just set the Divas division back to the dark ages after that "experiment." It was a sloppy mess of everything that really had no point other then AJ gets a title shot? 

I don't know, but I'm sure that was a one-time thing. I hope you all enjoyed it. Respect Women!

Random Thought No. 7

I haven't made a good Kevin Nash joke in a while, so here it is...

You know what? Never mind, the punch line wouldn't be nearly as funny as the end of his career... Ba-Zinga!

Mr. Nash, If your reading this (which would be awesome!) it's all in good fun. I would literally and not figuratively kill someone to have the career in professional wrestling you had.   

Random Thought No. 8

I guess since Summerslam is in the article headline, I should mention something about it...

Watch it! It'll be a good one. The WWE has finally figured out how to properly advertise, hype and put together solid pay-per-view outings. I have complete faith that Summerslam will rival WrestleMania as pay-per-view of the year.

Random Thought No. 9

As much as we all love to show our displeasure in the WWE product more often than not, it's really more a sign of endearment then the pure unadulterated hatred it comes off as. It's like a good fight between mom and dad, parent and child or a heated argument between lovers. It's all relative.

It shows we love the product, company, wrestlers and everything involved. We just want it to be better. We may have varying degrees of opinions and how we want to see the product developed, but it shows we care enough by getting upset about it.

If there's one thing that everyone reading this article, commenting in the comment section, those working for the WWE and the wrestlers themselves all have in common, it's this...

We all love the intoxicating magic of professional wrestling.

But seriously! How the hell does a child relate to CM Punk!


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