“To control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage.” Definition courtesy Merriam-Webster
After watching, and then reading the many varying opinions that followed last Monday's Viewers Choice Three-Hour Special, I was hit with the epiphany that titles this piece.
Upon making this self realization, I had another revelation that this craftiness has been going on much longer than just last Monday night.
Nevertheless, I feel that this last episode of Raw may have been a masterpiece in the art of manipulation.
Think about it, most people considered last Monday's show to be one of the worst shows in modern memory.
That being said, who among us isn't eagerly anticipating next Monday's show, simply because of the change of pace we were presented in the closing stages of the broadcast.
As we all know, the last Raw show was touted as being all about the fans, and how “WE” were to be in control. When I heard this concept being advertised the week before, I must tell you that I was somewhat skeptical to say the least.
In fact, I left a comment to one of my fellow writers, Buzz, that stated that I would not be surprised if the voting process itself was as scripted as the matches we watch.
I figured it would be a win-win for the WWE in that, they would have the fans believing that they made the choices, all the while controlling the outcomes like they always do.
After seeing the results of what transpired, I must tell you that, it really hasn't wavered my initial suspicion all that much.
Be that as it may, this conspiracy theory of mine is just my opinion, and I don't have any proof to back it up.
However, due to the lack of conclusive evidence I've seen to the contrary, I'll leave it on the table as food for thought, for people to ponder.
Personal theories aside, let's run with the notion that the results were indeed legit and that the people got what they voted for.
Even the most adamant that claim the voting was valid, do concede that, the choices were presented in a manner that could be viewed as manipulating the people's decisions prior to voting.
Despite this obvious manipulation, some still feel that we, the fans, are to blame for such a disastrous unentertaining show.
They maintain that these results are proof positive that the WWE is really giving the people what they truly want to see.
Moreover, people are already lauding exorbitant amounts of praise upon the WWE creative, for the intrigue generated from their NXT invasion angle.
So to summarize, we the fans are left, not only admonishing and blaming ourselves for their worst show in recent memory; but we're actually glorifying them for a recycled NWO angle, and we're all eagerly anticipating next week's show.
Wow! Professor Xavier's got nothing on the WWE when it comes to the powers of mind control.
Let me explain why I feel this way.
Going on the notion that again, the fan voting was on the up and up, what choices were we really given? We were able to, either pick the stipulation, or the combatants based on the choices they presented us with.
We didn't get to randomly pick opponents or stipulations for the show, and we didn't get to decide how the overall scripting of the respective matches and the show would play out.
In this exercise of frustration. we the fans, were never really in control of anything, like they claimed. The fans essentially played the role of the person who picks the card out of the deck in a magic trick.
The person, while appearing to assist in the legitimacy and randomness of the illusion, really isn't a factor at all.
This is where I think the evil brilliance of the WWE starts to shine through, and where many of us got "hornswoggled" into their well executed deception.
This deception takes a whole new level when you realize that, in the the card trick scenario, a perceived failure would be blamed on the magician.
However, in the WWE's fan voting scenario, they were able to engineer the backlash in a way that we, the fans are actually accepting blame for their failure!
Finally, the sadistic smartness reaches its summit, when you consider the manner in which the NXT invasion angle was executed.
By having this angle at the end of the show, it not only absolved them of blame, but earned them praise for saving us from ourselves.
If that doesn't deserve an giant "OMG!", then I don't know what does.
That being said, if one steps back, and remembers that the scripted nature of wrestling has always been about deception and manipulation, then none of us should really be all that surprised.
Consider the following infamous tricks that frequently occur at many wrestling shows:
- People in the audience pretending to be fans but are really performers.
- The various props that are used in certain ways to enhance realism.
- The many promos and backstage skits that incite varying emotions.
All of these and some others that I'm sure I've forgotten, are all well-placed deceptions that assist in manipulating the fans to feel a certain way.
Most of these are transparent to the experienced wrestling fans. Nevertheless, let it not be said that WWE doesn't still have some new tricks up it's sleeves.
I think that WWE's display last Monday, and the subsequent reactions to that said display, illustrates that WWE has honed their trade of trickery to the point where, at times, they can still deceive even the most discerning, educated minds.
So hats off WWE, for illustrating your mastery of manipulation. You were able to make us question and berate the creative incompetence for the majority of the show, only to have many of us impatiently anticipate the NXT invasion aftermath, and celebrate your creativity at the end of it.
To coin a phrase from the Hot Rod, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, just when we think we have the answers, WWE changes all the questions.