When I began writing for Bleacher Report over a year ago, I saw it as a means of venting frustration on what I was watching in the world of professional wrestling. My first article was entitled "Don't Try So Hard TNA." It was a short, largely unread piece about how TNA under Hogan and Bischoff was trying too hard to be different. A simple approach could have been more successful.
They did not listen, however.
As time has gone by, my articles have changed, some have contributed to the many debates we have, some have been about specific superstars, but most have remained critical of the product I once enjoyed.
It leads to a burning question, and one that some have suggested in response to my articles, namely, of whether or not we as wrestling fans can lose our love for wrestling?
I am, and will forever remain, a mark supporter of the Undertaker, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Sting. I have other favourites as well, but for me, those four are the pinnacle of what wrestling means to me. One cannot help but notice, however, that only one is currently on our television screens, two are retired, and one is perhaps near retirement.
Am I therefore in danger of losing my love for wrestling because the generation I grew up with has now largely gone? Does the road end because my superstars have retired?
Well, to put it bluntly...
Or it should not have to. The case is that we learn to love again. We acquire new favourites, new concepts are born, new eras are created, and we follow new superstars.
But in the last two years, I have seen a wrestling product falter. Even the grand spectacle of Wrestlemania has faltered, with this years event proving to be a particular failure. I suspect that Triple H had his hand on the creative controls this time round, and if so, I am seriously concerned about the future of the WWE.
There are few bright lights; too much reliance is placed on the old guard; too much stock is placed on a tired formula; and we have even seen the return of the vanilla midgets.
Wrestlers, or superstars, or c-list actors, or whatever you choose, are no longer technical specialists. Wrestlers are now being heavily promoted because they have either a surname or raging muscles. Few can speak on microphones, few can cut promos, few have any interest whatsoever.
The WWE in particular has become stagnant. Its formula is to make money, and it does so with little deviation or respect for wrestling fans. It continuously projects the same matches, finishes, champions and concepts, without ever worrying that its falling numbers are reflective of people losing interest.
As long as people buy tickets and profit is maintained, then the show goes on.
How many more times will John Cena win the world title in the face of massive opposition and difficulty? How many more punts will we get from Randy Orton? How many more 619s from Rey Mysterio?
And yet those that could potentially offer something a little different are relegated, i.e. Kaval and the supremely talented, CM Punk.
The WWE seems willing to offer the same tired programme, time and time again. The use of the title belt in particular shows just how much they have lost the plot. The fall and fall of the tag team titles is the case in point, and the fact that its champions, as of writing, is Joe Hennig and David Otunga, shows that something is very wrong indeed.
The Divas belt is not worth a thing. The World Titles are irrelevant, and the IC/US belts are rarely defended at all.
I am conscious as I type that I have written this before in the last two years. The articles I have written have produced debate, but few results. They were never designed to produce results, let's be realistic. But surely I am not the only one that thinks this about the WWE.
Surely there are other people out there that hold their heads in wonder as to how half of what we see is ever devised, never mind shown on wrestling television. The kidnapping of Somoa Joe in TNA happened one week, and then it was forgotten. Though this is Eric Bischoff/Vince Russo, there is no explaining their actions.
But surely in being fans of the show, we should be able to have more influence in what we see. Surely we ought to have a voice, or at least a means by which to say when we are dissatisfied. The only means we have is simply not to attend or watch. And yet with that, goes our love affair with wrestling.
I do not see anything in the future of wrestling that makes me think that change is going to happen. I see the same product being recreated and reproduced. I see superstars overtaking wrestlers to win belts and contracts. I see more bad movies and even worse promos. I see Wrestlemania's losing their sparkle.
And unless things change, and change quickly, I also see a time when I no longer watch. Loyalty and history can only ever bring us back for so long. But fail to offer something new, and we will walk away, happy to watch our old DVDs for nostalgic purposes, but ultimately seeing wrestling as passe.
This was one grumpy old wrestling fan saying his peace in his 100th Bleacher Report Article.
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