WWE Universe: The Cancellation of WWE Superstars and the Old Toy Syndrome

Double A .Correspondent IIMarch 19, 2011

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 15:  Shelton Benjamin puts CM Punk into a headlock during WWE Smackdown at Acer Arena on June 15, 2008 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)
Gaye Gerard/Getty Images

When I was a young lass of 6, my favorite toy in the whole world was a hot pink and black Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle skateboard. I really did not have the balance or coordination to stand up on it and ride it, so I would sit on it and roll around the house.

I gave it its own seat at the dinner table and once or twice tried to sneak it to bed with me. If ever there were an inanimate object that was my best friend, it would be that skateboard. 

Sadly, I wasn’t the most forgiving child. One day, I was sitting on the skateboard, speeding down the winding hill at our park, when suddenly one of the wheels went screwy and the next thing I know I have road rash from my ankle to my back and I am laying in a bush.

After I scraped myself out of the bush and had a good cry, the skateboard got tossed in the closet. 

A few years later, a friend was over and we were digging in my closet for a game to play and he pulls out my skateboard. He tells me it is really cool and says instead of playing a game, let’s go ride it. I say “I don’t really use it anymore. I had a nasty fall and haven’t really used it since.”

He asks me if he can have it and I say no. He says, “But you just said you don’t use it.” And I said, “It was like my favorite toy ever. You can’t have it.” And we dropped it.

A week or so later, I realized while cleaning up my room how silly I was being by not letting my friend have it, so in the end I ended up parting with it.

So what does this have to do with wrestling? It was recently announced that WGN America would be canceling WWE Superstars. While this came as no surprise to me, some of the IWC found it not only surprising, but also a little upsetting. 

With Superstars being the home for the majority of the mid-carders, fans vented their worries and frustrations on article after article, wondering what is to become of superstars such as Zack Ryder. 

I can share their sentiment. Even though I rarely watched Superstars, the few times I did, I enjoyed the matches. However, this seems to fall under a theory based on my childhood story above that I like to call the Old Toy Syndrome. Let’s break it down:

The IWC is an opinionated bunch, to say the least. We browbeat each other constantly, driving our points home and commenting on article after article.

When the winds of change come blowing through WWE via “Future Endeavored” or the cancellation of a show, there is usually some public outcry of “What is McMahon thinking?” “_____ (insert random “Future Endeavored” star here) was the best on the roster! How could they let him/her go?”  I feel, all of this falls under OTS.

Superstars are not being utilized or they are not over with the crowd, just like my skateboard, yet when their position is threatened or taken away, suddenly fans everywhere are outraged.

I am not saying this is the case for every superstar that has been let go. I was slightly bummed when guys like Jimmy Wayne Yang and Shelton Benjamin were released. I did not want that kid to have my skateboard and I did not want another promotion to have Yang or Benjamin. 

At the same time, they were heavily underutilized and while some of us could appreciate their in-ring skills, it seemed the majority of WWE fans were indifferent to them. When have you ever seen anyone walking down the street in a Shelton Benjamin shirt?

Perhaps if fans were as passionate about these guys while they were with the company, things could have turned out differently, but it just seems it is a little too late when the outpouring of love and admiration comes AFTER they have been fired.

The same can be said about the cancellation of Superstars. If it were a smash hit show, WGN would not have canceled it. Ratings were not stellar and the Thursday night lineup it was against did not help matters, either. Yet, once the show is taken away, suddenly it was everyone’s favorite show. 

When Kaval was released, the wrestling homepage on b/r was SWAMPED with articles commenting on his release and the injustice of it all. The guy had talent, but sometimes that just is not enough to carry you and McMahon does not usually release people for funsies. There is a method to his madness.  

Whether it is your once-favorite toy, the last bite of your burrito or the latest WWE “Future Endeavored” casualty, sometimes you just have to let it go.

If you don’t care about their matches, read articles about them, or secretly hope for them to be the next WWE champ, their release should not be the end of the world. 

I never regularly watched Superstars, so I suppose it is easier said than done for me, but I must not be totally alone in that category, or ratings would have been higher.

Perhaps WWE should just stick to perfecting Monday and Friday night television instead of trying to make more shows? As usual, these are just my thoughts. Feel free to disagree.