WWE Hot Take of the Week: Crown Jewel and Super Show-Down Are Lazy Cash-Grabs

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

Welcome to another edition of Hot Take, where the gloves are off and it's time to rant. This week's target is the build for the upcoming Super Show-Down event and the announcement of Crown Jewel to follow.

Let's cut straight to the chase and lay the cards out on the table: These overseas pay-per-views are glorified house shows with a bit of fairy dust sprinkled on them and are causing several problems WWE would surely never admit, because they're major cash-grabs and no company will be that transparent.

That's where I come in to point out the flaws that will be overlooked while WWE touts the positives, even if some of those successes are hyperbole or flat out made up.

The most extensive problem, which has a trickle-down effect, is that by cramming extra events onto the schedule, WWE's writers are forced to make a decision between either increasing their workload or giving up on trying to be creative in the first place, and they always choose the latter.

Our first example of this was Greatest Royal Rumble. It's major selling point was just taking one of WWE's biggest matches of the year and making it bigger. They couldn't even think of a better title than to put "greatest" beforehand and slapped together the blandest and quickest logo possible, too.

It must have taken a long time to whip up that doozy of a logo on Photoshop!
It must have taken a long time to whip up that doozy of a logo on Photoshop!Credit: WWE.com

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I did this same concept as a child with my action figuresit requires virtually no thought. It's easy to have 40 or 50 people in a Royal Rumble. All you have to do is pick a few more names and add more time to the match and call it a day.

There was no actual build for Rusev vs. Undertaker. All of the buzz came from the problems behind the scenes with Rusev being temporarily replaced by Chris Jericho. WWE merely announced the casket match and that was it.

That is what has happened with Super Show-Down, too.

Triple H and Undertaker were announced to fight each other. Why? Because. That's why. But now that they've labeled it as being the last time ever, that's supposed to be enough to make us salivate for it, even if that ends up being a lie like how The Rock vs. John Cena was "once in a lifetime."

Once in a lifetime, unless you count their scuffle the year before or their rematch the year after.
Once in a lifetime, unless you count their scuffle the year before or their rematch the year after.Credit: WWE.com

That works well enough with legends like those, who have earned the proper stock in their characters to have fans look forward to a fight between them on name value alone, but that doesn't work for everybody.

For the rest of the roster who can't rely on the distraction of nostalgia, they end up booked in repeats of what they've already been doing as the writers resort to taking the easy way out.

Rather than craft new angles and fresh matches for Hell in a Cell and Super Show-Down, WWE took a large chunk of the next month's lineup and said rematches are good enough because they're quick and simple.

If Super Show-Down wasn't coming up, Hell in a Cell likely would have been the end of the feud between Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, but their match last Sunday ended the way it did because it was a means to stretch things out—not to tell some intricate story.

Having Joe attack Styles isn't breaking new ground when they've done this for weeks.
Having Joe attack Styles isn't breaking new ground when they've done this for weeks.Credit: WWE.com

It was also easy to have Becky Lynch take the SmackDown Women's Championship from Charlotte Flair to initiate the rematch clause for their follow-up match that had already been announced well before Hell in a Cell had even taken place.

Clearly, WWE's focus was on selling tickets for Super Show-Down and not making Hell in a Cell the best show possible. It was even spoiled that Rusev Day couldn't capture the tag team belts because The New Day had to retain to face The Bar in their match that was set up for Super Show-Down!

This is also why Hell in a Cell had so many weird finishes. Ronda Rousey could beat Alexa Bliss because that was just a rematch from SummerSlam, but since The Miz and Daniel Bryan have to fight again, there had to be controversy there to keep that going.

As great as those two are, it was a cop-out to do another MizTV segment on SmackDown this week. It's effortless to just tell The Miz and Maryse to rehash the same material they've said ad nauseam for months or even years.

This slacker attitude is why we've seen so many fights between The Shield and Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre and why there was no finality to the Universal Championship match.

Rather than have a true winner, the weeks leading up to that were meaningless as Brock Lesnar came in to mess things up and advertise Crown Jewel, because that is the event that will get WWE the most money.

The Triple Threat easily could have happened at SummerSlam, but because WWE wanted to drag things out until November 2, both Hell in a Cell and Super Show-Down are stepping stones which don't matter.

Absolutely nothing about the dynamic between Roman Reigns, Lesnar and Strowman has changed from SummerSlam due to the events of Hell in a Cell, nor will anything be different because either side won a pointless six-man tag team match at Super Show-Down.

Prolonging this rivalry just neuters the feud because Reigns and Strowman will have fought time and time again in September and October, so some fans will be sick and tired of seeing it, rather than clamoring for another clash.

It seems WWE's mentality is as follows: It doesn't matter if you or I grow tired of seeing the same thing every week on Raw and SmackDown. After all, those shows are only setups to the pay-per-views. For that matter, it doesn't matter if Hell in a Cell was also mostly just a setup for Super Show-Down and Crown Jewel.

What does matter is that Saudi Arabia cut a big check, and it's important to dangle a big name like Lesnar in front of them and something like this World Cup tournament to determine "the best in the world"—which will be about as superfluous as the Greatest Royal Rumble belt managed to be—to make these markets feel special enough to keep spending big.

It's all about the money.
It's all about the money.Credit: WWE.com

The casual fan can either suck it up and deal with it, just like how WWE wants everybody to cheer Flair and boo Lynch and will force that narrative even if nobody is listening, or decide to tune out.

You can't fault them for valuing the money. Revenue is obviously important to run a company and WWE has a responsibility to its shareholders to earn as much as possible.

But when the creative teams stops being creative, chances to be innovative and fun are considered to challenging to figure out in favor of playing the lazy game, feuds are stretched out longer than they have the legs to sustain themselves and events need to do drastic things like bring Shawn Michaels out of retirement to entice people to watch, you get rants like this and a frustrating few months of the product.

       

Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.

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