According to this and other similar reports, WWE has set an "unspoken rule" for their new show Saturday Morning Slam, which debuts August 25. The report states that since the show will be aimed at children, wrestlers who work the program are not to perform any moves which target the neck of their opponent; this includes moves like headlocks, chinlocks, RKOs, neckbreakers, etc.
Why would you even have a wrestling show if you are going to have a ridiculous rule like that?
Full disclosure: I have been a wrestling fan for 25 years and many of those years were spent watching WWE programming on Saturday mornings as a child. All American Wrestling was a staple of my childhood along with the lesser known Action Zone and the syndicated Superstars broadcast.
At no time in my wrestling-watching history have I thought, Wow, this stuff is really violent; I really wish they would stop hurting everyone's necks with those headlocks. What kind of thinking is that?
WWE wants to remove these moves from the Saturday show because wrestling moves that target the neck are deemed as "violent" and therefore unnecessary. From what I can gather, WWE's belief is that children who see these moves performed on Saturday morning and will try the moves on their friends, causing injury and placing the wrestling promotion potentially liable for any injuries and damages.
Well, I have news for WWE: Wrestling is violent. Sure, it's predetermined, and workers are trained not to actually inflict pain on their opponents, but still, the purpose of professional wrestling is to give the illusion of violence while not actually performing it. The art form is over 100 years old and has survived for that long by performing headlocks and neckbreakers.
I realize that WWE is the only mainstream game in town right now (settle down, TNA fans, you're not in the big leagues just yet), but their quest to redefine what wrestling is has been a complete failure for the last ten years.
Ratings for the new three-hour Raws are in the toilet, live-event attendance is down across the country, the words "World Wrestling Entertainment" are punchlines in the popular culture and their biggest stars are semi-retired holdovers from the Attitude Era.
Now they are going to water down the product further by not only producing yet another unnecessary hour of television but also restrict workers and handcuff them before the match really begins.
Honestly, if WWE had their way, every single match would go exactly like this:
1. Both wrestlers make their entrance and do the exact same poses as last time they entered the ring. Both wrestlers will make 100 percent sure that they do not look at the live crowd under any circumstances because interaction with fans is boring.
2. The match begins, the babyface will hit a suplex and a couple punches to get the crowd going before the heel uses a cheapshot to turn the tide.
3. The heel works over the babyface (for God's sake, do not use a headlock) with the same bland heel offense that every single wrestler on the roster has (kick, punch, clothesline in the corner, hit the ringside barrier outside the ring).
4. Finally, the babyface takes advantage of the heel mistake, hits his two WWE-named trademark signature moves and then follows with his finisher because no WWE match is ever allowed to end with anything other than a finishing maneuver. Hell, we have to sell T-shirts somehow.
Now that's a little over the top but it's really not that far off. If Vince McMahon had his way today, WWE television would be nothing but awful comedy skits, pointless three-minute matches, and 20-minute interview skits inside the ring. This new Saturday Morning Slam just reinforces how out of touch Vince McMahon is with his audience's preferences.
Welcome to Hell, wrestling fans.