On May 14, 2012, a sobbing Big Show was fired by authority figure John Laurinaitis. One week later—after yet another Big Show heel turn—it was announced that Show was not only reinstated, but was also the beneficiary of an iron-clad contract.
Show got his job back this past Monday on Raw in a show filled with legal maneuvering. The rating for that show dropped eight percent, with fans clearly burned out from WWE's insistence on booking administrative theater.
Raw kicked off with just over 4 million viewers in the first hour but saw a sharp decline to just over 3.5 million viewers in the third hour.
Raw's viewership declined in each hour on a show that built toward a mock-boardroom showdown between Big Show and the McMahons. Fans were peppered with legal terms throughout as Raw played out like an episode of adult Sesame Street.
Wrestling storylines have always been more effective when basic concepts are hyperbolized on the national television level.
Cody and Dustin Rhodes have made the most of their involvement with The Authority through simple family values.
The brothers were given a pivotal opportunity to once again become employed by WWE and had to team up for one match to do so. That type of shrewd, yet standard, storytelling plays to the right emotions without getting in its own way.
The current storyline is layered with legal and corporate aspects that do not play to the average wrestling fan.
Wresting fans have been trained to react to larger-than-life characters and stereotypes designed to captivate a mass audience. The more specific WWE gets, the more segments of its audience are isolated.
The TV-PG era has pandered to children and families. Placing an emphasis on boardroom proceedings and courtroom drama is not the best way of capturing that demographic with Monday Night Football as an option.
The return of a big star to "save the WWE" from The Authority come WrestleMania would be one way to save an angle that has proved to be ineffective.
But getting there has been a complex journey that will not be justified by its eventual climax.
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