Attitude, Affairs, and Empty Streaks: The Downward Spiral of WWE Programming
**Warning: The following article contains rumored storyline spoilers**
The Internet Wrestling Community has been highly critical of WWE's onscreen product for as long as the Internet has existed. Now the criticism is becoming passive, as thousands of people around the country are turning their TV's off the USA Network on Monday night.
Ratings have slowly fallen for quite some time, and the NFL can be partly to blame for the low numbers. But WWE programming is reaching critical mass.
It's time for a massive change, before it's too late.
The need for new stars has been well-documented. John Cena's mortality has never been more evident, though, and with CM Punk hinting at a not-so-distant retirement, the need for new main-event stars has never been higher.
Ryback, however, isn't the answer.
We've seen this schtick fail plenty of times before. The "monster face" is usually a little more successful than the "monster heel," but neither have a proven record of success in the Reality Era.
Brodus Clay was supposed to be a monster, but good 'ol Vinny Mac decided he'd rather stick Clay with a new-age Junkyard Dog gimmick. Dancing with kids is great, but nobody over the age of 12 cares about The Funkasaurus.
Mason Ryan was supposed to be a monster. Twice. And he failed both times.
Rumors of a repackaging of the Tensai character began almost as quickly as he returned to WWE, and the artist formerly known as A-Train has struggled to find TV time, even on a three-hour Raw.
CM Punk teased this lesson during last year's Summer of Punk, we he said Vince McMahon isn't in touch with what wrestling fans want anymore. If you believe the dirt sheets, Cena said the same thing, in a behind-the-scenes tongue-lashing in front of the boys.
You have to give McMahon a shred of credit. He's kept CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, arguably the two most "over" guys in the company, at the forefront. But it can't stop there.
Wrestlezone.com reported early plans for the World Heavyweight Championship include Dolph Ziggler cashing in his briefcase to win the gold, and going on to face Randy Orton in a feud leading into WrestleMania XXIX.
It can't stop there, though. Ziggler needs to go over in New York. You'll be hard-pressed to find a bigger Ziggler fan than me, but I know I'm not alone in thinking Ziggler has what it takes to be The Guy.
He's ready. It's time to stop using Ziggler to put everyone else over.
Give the guy a shot.
Other guys will need their shots, too. Dirt sheets all over the web are saying The Miz will be returning to the main event, as he should.
Few men in WWE are as talented, and as over, as Daniel Bryan, who also belongs in the world title picture. Wade Barrett is a future world champion. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are showing signs of being future main-eventers.
The answer is the future, not the past. So many IWC smarks are clamoring for the return of the Attitude Era.
To those people, I say this: You'll get it, but not the way you want it.
When The Rock inexplicably takes the WWE Championship from CM Punk in January, it'll be just like old times. And the decision, if it happens, will make absolutely zero sense.
The Attitude Era isn't going to save the business. Sure, it'll push some video games off the shelves and into the hands of 20-something fans who miss the days of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin driving beer trucks, and Trish Stratus stripping in the ring.
I miss those days as much as anyone, but change is a part of everything. The Reality Era could be great. There are some really talented guys who just need the chance to carry the proverbial ball.
But is Vince McMahon too stubborn to let them do so?
An affair between A.J. Lee and John Cena isn't going to make people click over to Raw. Neither is putting Vickie Guerrero in charge of WWE's flagship program.
Maybe the rumored appointing of Ric Flair as the GM of Raw and SmackDown will start to turn things around.
It's a long road to travel, and Vinny Mac will have to want to travel it. Otherwise, WWE will continue its current downward spiral.
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