For all you loyal readers, spontaneous chair sponges, decrepit couch potatoes and prepubescent germ incubators, I have only one thing to say:
Guess who is back?!
Okay, so now that the mandatory "put myself over" moment is out of the way, it's time to jump straight into business. I've been "out of action" long enough now to justify that.
I've spent these past few weeks analyzing and closely studying both the TNA and WWE products. In the name of fair competition, I felt it was only fair to create a mental list of things that both companies need to do for success.
This is the debut of what I'd like to call the Keys to Victory, a name I graciously and blatantly ripped off from Tazz's old WWE commentary. So, sue me.
Enough with the pleasantries, let's get to business.
1. Stop Fixing Things That Aren't Broken
I can't stress this point enough. Clearly, someone close to McMahon has gotten into his ear and convinced him that this is the hip and fresh way to appeal to the most powerful demographic, kids.
It's the repeat of the pro wrestling cycle, something we all went through ourselves though we don't remember it now in our adulthood. In seven years or so, these kids will be where we are now.
At the same time, this should not mean the death and complete recreation of your entire product. I completely agree with keeping with the times, but its getting out of hand.
The classic Survivor Series pay-per-view has been "future endeavored" out of World Wrestling Entertainment and joins a long list of classic and well-known PPV concepts to bite the dust. While giving some of these events a make-over is beneficial, there is such a thing as overdoing it.
In 2009, WWE managed to nix Unforgiven, No Mercy, Cyber Sunday and Armageddon in one fell swoop. Out of these events, only Cyber Sunday was in actual need of a makeover, as it lost its appeal several years ago.
Of the other three that I mentioned, there was a need for updating but in no way was there a need to completely eliminate the events. While Breaking Point was an interesting concept, I feel that Hell In A Cell and TLC were mediocre at best, while Bragging Rights felt like a complete flop.
Despite the obvious lack of creativity in the new names, was there truly a need to start basing entire events around match types?
The Royal Rumble has now lost its unique distinction as being the only themed event of its kind and with one of the "Big Four" now dead and buried, many fear its only a matter of time before the other three are tampered with as well.
2. Don't Break Away From The Traditional Fans
Don't immediately take this as a shot at the PG Era. Indeed, the current PG rating is probably the best way to secure the most revenue, drawing in kids and their parents who will shell out the big bucks to keep their children happy.
But this also doesn't have to happen at the complete expense of the classic fan base, the fan base that made WWE all of its money for the last ten years. A lot of readers here on Bleacher Report have no doubt either grown up with the Attitude Era or at least witnessed its effects.
Truthfully, the Attitude Era really was just a bunch of crude and tasteless television but looking past the antics, it was also an era of compelling wrestling. Stars were hot, stories were intriguing and fans needed to tune in every single show or risk missing something important happening.
In hindsight, this is the only thing I think fans are missing about the Attitude Era. It's safe to say that the half naked women and the crude language and the tasteless stories were not what powered this time period in wrestling.
It was the intensity and masterful storytelling done by guys like Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and others which brings me to my third and possibly biggest point:
3. Where's the balance of star power?
What the current WWE product lacks more than anything else is star power. That sounds ridiculous when looking at the sheer talent of the roster but go onto the WWE website and analyze the rosters and try to think of who truly gets a chance to deliver consistently.
Randy Orton, John Cena, DX, Undertaker, Edge, Christian and Chris Jericho—unless I've forgotten a big name (and it's quite possible that I did)—these are the only guys consistently carrying the company and shaping the Main Events.
On the flip side of this assessment, we have the rising stars that WWE is trying to build like Legacy, John Morrison, CM Punk, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, R-Truth, Christian and Kofi Kingston among others.
While these men are shining and delivering, they're still being held back too much for any of them to break the glass ceiling, with the exception of The Miz and Sheamus who WWE seems to be really gambling with.
And finally, we have the drowning midcarders. These are Superstars that WWE has either completely given up on or deemed "Not Important" at the current time. Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, Carlito, Chris Masters, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, MVP and a slew of others that have all been reduced to either filler or "enhancement talent".
What we have is an imbalance of stars. While the other eras of WWE programming have had similar rosters, there were very few wasted stars and the company seemed to be spot on with who to take chances with.
In an era that wants money and fresh material, is it a smart idea to hold back so many potential stars and drastically limit the ones you endorse?
To bring my Keys To Victory to a close, I present a chart listing what I feel are WWE's key categories and the grade I've given their performance:
Visual Appeal: A
Emotional and Mental Appeal: C
Keep in mind, these are my personal grades and certainly don't reflect everyone else's. The areas I listed are what I view as the six most important areas in the success of WWE.
While WWE excels at putting on professional and exciting looking events and selling fresh and likeable merchandise, the company has not succeeded in delivering exciting storytelling.
The lowest grades I've given them are in the areas of Creativity and Emotional Appeal and in the cases of most fans above the 10-13 year old spectrum, those are arguably the most important pieces of the pro wrestling puzzle.
I hope you've enjoyed this lengthy and opinionated debut of the Keys to Victory. Stay tuned for the next edition boys and girls. TNA gets put in the hot seat.
Questions and comments may be left here or emailed to KidMikaze2007@aim.com