It is remarkable to think that the WWE has produced a television show every week for nearly 20 years.
This thought becomes even more staggering when factoring in the idea that the company has produced two shows non-stop for the last 10 years and provides almost hourly updates on it’s many multimedia platforms.
This is not to mention the persistent possibility of an injury destroying a storyline at any time. It is clear that no show around the world can match this feat of continued success under such pressure.
Taking this considerable burden into account, it is fair to say that the WWE is allowed the odd idea, which does not stand up under scrutiny. Such occurrences have littered the company’s past, with many of the issues with stories—such as Mae Young giving birth to a hand or the unfortunate Katie Vick incident—being seen as important lessons in how far an angle can go.
Although rarer in nature, whole characters can also be seen as a mistake.
This can be down to a poorly thought-out gimmick that the audience has struggled to identify with—a possible reason why current WWE Superstar Tensai has failed to make a bigger impression.
Other times the gimmick is right, but the problem comes from the wrestler not being prepared to step into the WWE ring. Sin Cara is a prime example of someone who was pushed before being ready. The former CMLL mainstay did not have time to assimilate into the American style of pro wrestling before being thrown into the spotlight.
Such mistakes are inevitable for the WWE, so the key issue is how the company addresses problems and moves forward afterwards.
Conveniently forgetting—or even conspicuously dropping—problematic issues had been the WWE’s preferred method of disposing with ideas previously. Infamously, the anonymous general manager was simply removed from television without explanation, while Superstars needing retraining or reinventing got conveniently injured and vanished from our screens.
However, there has been a real change in the WWE’s strategy in recent months, as the company has embraced its mistakes and has spent television time addressing the issues in an attempt to provide resolutions for fans.
The first signs of the WWE choosing to address its mistakes—and even trying to make positives out of such errors—came at Raw 1000 when Mae Young’s son was brought back as a full sized adult hand for a nice comedic moment.
Sending Santino Marella to find out the identity of the anonymous general manager was another step towards redeeming one of the WWE’s most obvious blunders of recent times. Discovering that Hornswoggle was behind the whole scenario was deeply underwhelming, but the WWE can now consign that idea to the history books properly.
The past few weeks has seen even greater strides in turning mistakes into advantages and the most notable recipient of this new purpose is Sin Cara.
Instead of re-imagining the Mexican star with a new gimmick to hide his previous blunders, the company has admitted that Sin Cara first struggled when entering the company. The WWE has since made the wise move to partner Sin Cara with Hispanic legend Rey Mysterio and made the more experienced man a mentor.
Now there is a natural storyline where the floundering luchador is learning his craft from the experienced veteran, and all the money spent on creating the Sin Cara image has not been forsaken. This is a situation that is good for everyone—The WWE, the talent and the fans—and should be supported wholeheartedly.
The WWE’s embracing of the fact that audiences have been referring to Tensai as his original WWE gimmick, Albert, could provide the next instance of a failing gimmick being turned into a positive situation. Tensai could become a great comic character—similar to Vladimir Koslov a few years back—and this may have a rejuvenating effect on Tensai’s position with the WWE.
Obviously the WWE would prefer not to make any mistakes, but the constant stream of media that the company produces makes it inevitable. The key will be for the WWE to continue to own its issues and turn those problems into advantages whenever possible, or else cut its losses when there is no hope to redeem the situation.
If nothing else, admitting mistakes will make the WWE feel like a more natural environment where things can go wrong—and that could well make the WWE Universe appear all the more real.