WWE has been heavily promoting its upcoming Slammy Awards, which will air as part of a themed show next week on Raw. If the Slammys are anywhere near as slapstick as its categories, or for that matter its themed predecessors, wrestling fans are in for another long three hours.
Last week, WWE mailed in another holiday special this past Friday on SmackDown; this time with a Thanksgiving edition. The time-filling spectate, or lack thereof, was low lighted by Titus O'Neil winning an eating competition, only to be booked in a match against Antonio Cesaro.
Cesaro predictably used his big swing finisher on O'Neil in a disqualification victory, leading to the money spot where Titus would proceed to vomit profusely.
The angle took up multiple segments and additional post-show analysis, but still accomplished nothing.
Given WWE's reputation as a global entertainment brand and a family friendly product, it would make no sense for the promotion to simply ignore the holiday season.
Most people are in a festive mood with the ubiquitous soundtrack of holiday music and decorations. WWE is simply another outlet for holiday cheer.
But the holidays should no longer be the focal point of WWE programming, especially with the launch of WrestleMania season looming. The same can be said about themed shows in general.
WWE needs to have its house in order creatively, and eating competitions do nothing to advance pivotal storylines.
Last year, Raw's Christmas special centered around the apparent demise of Santa Claus after Alberto Del Rio hit the Christmas icon with his car. Del Rio was a babyface at the time, yet his heel roots as a Mexican aristocrat were exploited for this particular spot.
The show-long angle culminated in a match between Cena and Del Rio that was impossible to take seriously.
The show drew a year-low 2.21 rating. In fact, two of Raw's lowest rated shows of the three-hour era were the Christmas and New Year's specials.
With so many families spending time together and vacationing during the holidays, WWE is already fighting an uphill battle for ratings. Why give viewers a reason to tune out with low-rent programming centered around vomit and Santa Claus' internal injuries?
Given the negative impact on ratings and time away from relevant storylines implicit of themed specials, there is little doubt that WWE should strongly consider doing away with this formula.
The Slammys can be limited to WWE.com or the WWE app. A simple holiday message at the beginning of WWE shows, even ones as silly as the Jingle Bell open from last year, is more than enough to demonstrate holiday cheer.
Any additional themed or festive fodder has proven to hurt WWE's bottom line, and therefore should not be pursued.
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