Why WWE's Part-Time Wrestlers Hurt the Overall Product
Last Sunday’s pay-per-view, Summerslam, is touted as the WWE’s second biggest event of the year, only second to Wrestlemania.
The main event featured Triple H and Brock Lesnar, which was hyped to be more of a fight than a professional wrestling match.
Both wrestlers are usually not seen weekly on Raw and Smackdown since they are technically part-time wrestlers.
Similarly, this year’s Wrestlemania featured The Rock against John Cena. While John Cena is a regular on WWE programing, The Rock comes and goes as he pleases much like Triple H and Brock Lesnar.
The focus on talent that works on a part-time basis to draw a crowd, while entertaining, limits the full-time superstars’ time and potential.
The fact that WWE is using part-time talent in their main events instead of wrestlers on their full-time roster is hurting the overall product.
Slow, Often Ineffective, Storylines Are Created
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It often takes months to create an effective storyline with superstars that do not appear on television much, as opposed to full-time wrestlers who appear on television every week.
Because of this, story lines involving one or more part-time wrestlers suffer since they are not addressed on a regular basis.
Take for example, last year’s feud between Triple H and Kevin Nash; the storyline was touched on so infrequently that the end result, a ladder match at 2011’s TLC Tables, Ladders pay-per-view was not as hyped as it was when the rivalry began.
Sunday’s match with Triple H and Brock Lesnar suffered a very similar fate. The feud began almost three months prior to Summerslam when Brock Lesnar broke Triple H’s arm.
While more recent episodes of Raw included the storyline between the WWE COO and the former UFC Heavyweight Champion, little was said immediately after the three month old altercation between the two began.
Regular Main Event Talent Is OverShadowed
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Since pay-per-views have implemented the use wrestlers like The Rock and Brock Lesnar, the typical main event talent, those showcased on their weekly programming are placed prior to the main event.
This devalues the WWE product since the main event is usually reserved for more important matches or superstars.
And since superstars like John Cena and CM Punk are not in the main event, but are on Raw and Smackdown, the importance of the weekly episodes comes into question.
Not only are the importance of the shows questioned, but the wrestlers themselves are as well. John Cena and CM Punk are then not taken as seriously as they would have been since they are not allowed to conclude a pay-per-view.
Younger Talent Is Not Showcased
Having big name wrestlers that don’t appear often on television not only affects the full-time superstars that are in the main event on Raw and Smackdown; it affects the entire roster.
Younger talent has less of an opportunity to showcase their skills and demonstrate their in-ring abilities when The Rock or Brock Lesnar show up to address their story lines.
This sends shockwaves to the entire roster, as WWE is demonstrating little faith in regulars producing effective work.
Wrestlers like Damien Sandow are given so little time that it is very difficult for someone who is not an established veteran to climb the ladder.
Wrestlezone.com reports that an impromptu match between Brodus Clay and Damien Sandow was going to be on the card at Summerslam, but was cancelled at the last minute to allow Triple H’s farewell segment.
It’s not that mid-card talent cannot entertain, it’s that they have less of an opportunity to entertain when superstars from the past take up television time.
Championships Are Devalued
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Because most part-time talent is not available to appear on Raw or Smackdown on a regular basis, they cannot compete for a championship.
Up until The Rock announced that he would be in the WWE Championship match at next year’s Royal Rumble, there have not been talks of championship matches when concerning these interim superstars.
This, of course, takes away the focus from winning a championship in favor of matches that rely solely on personal feuds.
And while the story lines may be entertaining, the legitimacy, if scripted wrestling has any, of the holding a championship dwindles.
If WWE repeatedly counts on these types of matches rather than on championship bouts, then titles may be so irrelevant they can be a thing of the past.