"Remember when Activision and EA simultaneously flooded the market with an over abundance of Guitar Hero and Rockband games? You know, where they over saturated the market and, together, killed off any demand that was left for those kind of music games? I have a feeling you're doing the same with your "Random Thought" articles... If you have a decent thing going why wouldn't you just slow down production, let demand for the product rise again and then capitalize off it? It may be time to walk away for awhile before you kill off your demand all together..." —My Friend
Yeah, I also remember the time my friend got "chocolate wasted" at a high school party and was caught lying on the ground next to a cat sharing the cat's bowl of dry food. He may have a point, but I don't take life advice from someone who eats cat food...I have standards to live by...
Anyways, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about where the WWE will be in a year. Not only did thinking about this give me a giant "Popsicle headache," but I ended up hating myself along with professional wrestling and John Cena. Yet the thing I ended up hating the most was the the whole online wrestling community as a whole.
I should have learned my lesson from last year when I, just like any up-and-coming wrestling commenter with bold ideas and a dream of change, had these same thoughts and tried my hand at predictions and gossip.
Suffice it to say I was dead wrong, along with most people, on most of my predictions. I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's not only impossible, but an exercise in frustration to predict where the product will be/go at any given interval of time.
Besides the obvious "unforeseen obstacles" of injuries, suspensions, random experimentation with hit-or-miss angles and young talent and the fact that the WWE creative team usually suffers from amnesia; It should be noted that the WWE doesn't give a (expletive deleted) about your predictions or thoughts..even the random ones.
They'll go where they want to go, at their pace, their leisure, with whomever (usually John Cena), whenever and with absolutely no regard for your opinions, input, wants or needs. Sure, they threw you all a bone with the rise of CM Punk, but Punk was on his way to being a major player anyways. They just more or less pretended to listen.
The only thing that kept creeping into my mind while I was thinking about the WWE's future was this simple fact. I know it's a fact because that same throw-up taste in my mouth—the same one I had every time I logged into the online wrestling community throughout the past year—came back.
This fact? Whenever everyone gets all hyped up with predictions and chatter about where they hypothesize the company is going, it always ends with one emotion...
Disappointment breeds sadness. Sadness breeds anger. Anger breeds resentment. And resentment breeds the lifeblood of all WWE fans apparently . And this resentment makes us all look like a bunch of (fill in the blank).
The simple truth is that you, as the viewer/fan, are always, will always and will forever be forced to just go along for the ride. If you truly love the product, you're going to watch anyway, whether it's really good or it's really bad. It's that simple.
Last year at this time the WWE was riding sky-high with potential after CM Punk infused a bolt of lightning into the product. Predictions all across the internet ran wild, fandom reached an annoyingly, unrealistic peak and everyone thought the WWE was well on its way to all sorts of "face palming" angles and predictions... all of which never saw the light of day and which left many fans stating everyone's favorite quote when it comes to the WWE and their product: "dropping the ball."
I mean, really, how many times can WWE supposedly "drop the ball" before everyone just realizes that the WWE is a fully functional, extremely profitable business that depends on shareholders and different marketing ventures?
And in order to attract marketers, merchandise distributors, new shareholders and advertising revenue, they need to remain as family-friendly, diplomatic and culturally responsible as possible.
Sure, they could make things a lot more interesting from time to time, and they could certainly use their midcard talent better, but when you have to fill the needs of millions of people, sometimes you neglect a certain part of your viewers. You know, the fickle, over the top, don't really know what they want, always complaining, always over analyzing, most vocal part of your viewers....I'd ignore you too.
Just think of all the lame topics we've indulged over the past year. Don't remember? I'll help you remember...
Here's my own personal list of the most annoying phases of WWE fans in the last year...
3. "Guys! They totally dropped the ball with the whole walk out angle! We were on the brink of civil war! Conspiracy! Madness! Everyone just walks out and is instantly back the next week? Bogus!"
(Face palm.) Sorry that I have to inform everyone of this, but when employees "strike" over unsafe and unfair working conditions, usually someone in corporate takes the title as "scapegoat" pretty quickly in order to get business back to normal
Triple H tried to preform a show with 10 percent of the roster while everyone else was on the "picketing lines" and proceeded to be "fired" allowing all the "employees" to come back to work... This is how the real world works. This is how it happened in the story. What's the problem?
2. "The NWO is coming back, baby!"
(Face palm.) No, no, it's not. That is all.
1. "John Cena has to turn heel!"
This one was intriguing until it got overplayed like that terrible "Call Me Maybe" song on the radio. So you're telling me he HAS to turn heel? Why? Because you said so?
I don't think that kind of logic holds much weight, but if you can muster a convincing argument using business models, merchandise sale pie charts, the cultural and media attention effect for the short and long term, valid replacements as the top face of the company and any other variation of legitimate reasons that involve dollar figures, stock prices and television ratings, then I'll listen...
But if the sole reason he should turn heel is for your own personal enjoyment in the product or your belief that indulging the wants/needs of 10 percent of the fanbase is best for the company, then I simply offer you this... (face palm).
I'm sure there are numerous other ones I'm missing, but these are just a brief example of how the online wrestling community sabotages the product for themselves. It's one thing to speculate and have fun with all the rumors, gossip and "news" that circulates around the web, but it's a completely different thing to keep complaining and talking about things that never happened or the way they happened.
We tend to be a fickle bunch. A group of people who clamor for one thing (the return of The Rock) and then moan and groan when it happens (The Rock overshadows everything and everyone), but not to our always changing, completely outrageous, still living in the late '90s comparisons and expectations.
If we're going to have a discussion about the future of the WWE, we only need to look at and debate one thing: its roster. And when it comes to the current roster of the WWE, it looks (to me at least) loaded for the first time in a long time.
Cena, Punk, Orton, Sheaums, Bryan, Del Rio, Barrett, Rhodes, Christian, The Miz, Ziggler, Jericho (he'll eventually come back again), Kane, Big Show, a slowly rising tag division and fresh talent like Brodus Clay and Goldberg...I mean Ryback and Sandow. Mixed in with legends like the Rock, Lesnar, Triple H and sure to be other random appearances by others.
The future looks as bright and shiny as it ever did. The only thing that the WWE needs to continue to do is keep up the recent, excellent creative work and continue to keep things as fresh as possible.
In this age of the internet, Twitter, Facebook, ESPN "talking head" shows and a constant need to fill "media space" with "news" and opinion columns, it's impossible to filter through the garbage without coming out dirty, disgusted and disgruntled by negative views of something you hold dear to your heart.
It's the new age world of social media that we live in. A world where anyone, at anytime can have their opinion heard and responded to.
A lot of people out there love the WWE for what it is, what it stands for, what it's trying to accomplish through its charity and awareness work and the direction the company is headed. Complain all you want (it's part of investing your time and energy into something you can't control), but have some perspective and reason along with it...
My Friend: I can't remember the last time I've enjoyed the WWE product as much as I'm enjoying it now, but if you wander over to the internet you'd think the world was ending. I've gotten past the point of letting the negativity ruin my experience, but could you imagine if all these people worked on the campaigns of elected officials? I wonder if they would show the same passion and fire about gas prices and Iran that they do about John Cena main-eventing another pay-per-view...
And now for some final random thoughts...
Random Thought No. 1
Punk is infinitely better as a heel in my opinion, but I know I can't be the only one who rolled their eyes when Punk started acting like a chump when he got all worked up about John Cena "disrespecting" him when the Big Show clearly threw Cena into Punk.
Are we serious, Punk? My mythical, underground, cult hero of revolution is really getting upset over something as arbitrary as that?
Let's forget about the numerous pay-per-views Cena's headlined over you while you were WWE champion. Let's forget about all the times you've actually been second fiddle to guys like Randy Orton, Cena and The Rock. And definitely forget about all the times upper management tried to screw you...
"John Cena touched me! I'm so mad now!"
Boo-freaking-hoo Punk! Who cares if John Cena touched your pajamas! Get over it, you giant baby...
You actually made me want to see John Cena slap the lips off your face. Good heel acting, but terrible excuse to be mad.
Random Thought No. 2
The Olympics are on right now for those who didn't know. A friend and I were watching the USA women's basketball team destroy Turkey the other night when we started to get some "WWE inspired chants" going in our living room...
You know you watch too much wrestling when you're involved in a chant, with two people and no one else around screaming at the television...
"Ham is better!"
Get it? They're playing Turkey, but Turkey isn't that good at basketball apparently....
"You can't wrestle", but instead it was "Ham is better!".... See what we did there...
Random Thought No. 3
If I was ever on the verge of quitting or just straight up wanted to "CM Punk" a place, I would instantly hire Paul Heyman to do all my talking for me. That guy can work a microphone like Bryan Cranston cooks meth. No offense of course!
Random Thought No. 4
Speaking of A.W. and some of the "offensive" comments that are floating around the WWE universe as of late...
Can we just all agree that what A.W. and Tensai said is nothing compared to 99 percent of the stuff floating around on the internet and cable television?
Let's completely ignore that Tensai, in complete character, did a rather funny and light-hearted skit with a consenting friend poking fun at himself, but I completely see the need to get all worked up about these kind of things.
These same people are the ones who got offended after African-American Gabby Douglas won the gold medal for the US gymnastics team and then instantly labeled NBC racist when they immediately plugged a promo for a new show having a monkey perform gymnastics...give me a break! Are we that sensitive all of a sudden?
Random Thought No. 5
The three-hour Raw format is 100 percent better when viewed through DVR. Watching the 1,000th episode live and with commercials was just painful to sit through at some points. How do some of you guys do that?
I appreciate and respect your loyal dedication and passion. You are a bigger fan than me.
*Internet high five*
Random Thought No. 6
I feel much better! Thanks for letting me vent, but this is what happens after a year of talking about wrestling with people who either don't listen, don't want to be reasoned with or just need an excuse to complain about something. I'm sure some of you appreciated the honesty and passion.
As we bid farewell to "Random Thoughts" for the time being, I would like to say that I love you all, and while I get migraines from time to time, the passion, humor and collective love from this community is something I will always cherish, respect and adore.
And now I'm out like O.J. in a white Bronco!