This week, Vince McMahon and Co. announced the "new" WWE, a WWE that will be "Bigger. Badder. Better."
World Wrestling Entertainment has been officially re-branded as simply "WWE." Furthermore, all reference to that mucky word "wrestling" is to be removed from the product.
The general reaction to this re-branding is a mixture of confusion and outrage. But is this reaction justified?
Well, yes it is.
It must be stated that re-branding is not the issue. Attempting to expand a billion dollar corporation is rather admirable. After all, trying new things and taking risks is what the WWE needs to be doing to maintain interest in their product.
Moreover, some elements of the "New WWE" are genuinely progressive strides forward.
The new talent recruitment scheme headed by Triple H, where international talent will be scouted, is a great initiative. If this means we get more Del Rio's and Sin Cara's and less Ricky Ortiz's, well, who's complaining?
Other benefits of the "New WWE" include new scripted and non-scripted shows as well as a WWE network. Again, these are progressive moves forward.
However, the problem with this initiative is the eradication of the term "wrestling" from the brand and the vocabulary.
It simply does not make sense.
If "WWE" is the new brand name and the term "wrestling" has seemingly been future endeavored, what in the blue hell does "WWE" stand for? Or is "WWE" to be pronounced phonetically to compensate for the absent acronym:
"This is Michael Cole and welcome to Wuhwuheh Raw!"
This area of the re-branding merely alienates the core audience as well as the casual viewer WWE are trying to attract.
Casual viewers and mass media outlets will still say wrestling. It is insanity to think otherwise. Instead of hiding the term, why does WWE not embrace the fact that they are the best wrestling company in the world?
Granted, WWE Superstars have been sports entertaining for the better part of 15 years, but this is arguably a step too far.
It would be more logical to rename the company completely or establish a new company to be the front of their new interests. Removing the term "wrestling" is simply absurd.
If TNA had any sense (which is like saying, "If Charlie Sheen did not enjoy recreational drugs"), they would capitalize on WWE's re-branding. If they brought back the "We Are Wrestling" slogan and focused on good ol' fashioned rasslin', they would truly set themselves up as the alternative they need to become.
WWE is in an interesting position right now. On one hand, the product is the best it has been in years and they are finally taking risks with edgier content and the ingenious 12-month Rock vs. Cena WrestleMania XXVIII build.
Who knows, the "New WWE" may be the new "Attitude Era."
Time will tell, I suppose. It will be interesting to witness the developments as they happen on Bleacher Report's Pro Wres...oh.