It can be hard to be a fan of WWE. The company is packed with amazing stars, fantastic talents and can provide some terrific stars. They seem to be growing with NXT giving newer stars a way to learn and 205 Live selling Cruiserweights. But for every good thing WWE is doing, they seem dedicated to doing something very bad. Sometimes, it’s a guy pushed who fans don’t want. Other times, a really over talent buried. There’s the presentation, the way things are shown and far more. Some of these are issues that have haunted the company for years but now are getting far worse. And the fact so many of these issues remain is a problem in and of itself.
True, trying to say “fans can do it better” isn’t right as too many are held back by their lack of knowledge of wrestling. Yet, it’s obvious that there are so many things WWE is doing that are driving away fans rather than pull them in. They come off stupid and downright insulting and that’s a fine way to make even the most dedicated fan change the channel. It seems a list like this pops up a few times a year which should be an issue as WWE just keeps repeating the same mistakes. Here are 15 ways the company still insults the intelligence of fans and makes it harder to back them up.
15 Continuity Doesn’t Matter
Again, it’s an old issue with pro wrestling, the bookers too often forgetting stuff that happened in order to push their current plans. But WWE is just making it worse. Fans can accept the constant rewriting of history but even their short-term stuff can be annoying as hell. Guys are in epic blood feuds with brutal attacks and suddenly turned into bosom buddies. Cass turns on Enzo with little explanation, a fake apology and then does a second attack like it’s a huge thing. A guy like Bray Wyatt can lose 50 matches in a row and be made out to be an unstoppable force. Cena can go over in every major match and yet they act like he’s “never faced odds like this before!”
True, wrestling has long gone for such antics but it’s really been ramped up as Jinder Mahal is treated as if he’s the first “foreign heel” to hold a major title and many of his antics ripping off guys from long before yet WWE acts like it’s so fresh. It’s more notable when they do cite real history (Brock vs Goldberg) as WWE’s confusion on their own recent past drives fans nuts.
14 The Show Presentation
You’d think with so many shows and so much air time, WWE can be able to present a good show. But their recent productions and presentations leave a lot to be desired. First, the camera cutting is getting worse, jump cuts constantly to the point you’d think Michael Bay was directing a RAW. It can hurt with big moments missed by the cameras and speaks to how WWE feels the in-ring product is so bad, they have to keep cutting to other angles to keep interest. That’s not to mention the ridiculous overuse of cuts to the audience to “sell” something which should be in the ring.
Speaking of, the way guys use promos to explain everything has also gotten out of hand. Wrestlers used to be able to tell the story on their own and some still can. But today, you need a 20 minute talk on RAW to lay out motivations and the fact a lot of guys can’t really do a good promo weakens it. Again, NXT has shown you can make things work great on a smaller scale and one would think that if WWE is so dedicated to so much wrestling on air, they could at least make it look good.
13 Banning Wrestling Terms
It seems any list like this includes this item. And the fact that it still keeps popping up says a lot. Once, WWE was still focused on wrestling complete with talk on their terms, the meanings and more. You could hear a guy demanding a title shot against the champion before the fans. Today, someone has to “win a #1 contenders match” to “face the titleholder before the WWE Universe.” Wrestling sites love to showcase actual notes WWE gives announcers detailing the terms they must avoid ever using. Among them are stuff that is just so logical like belt, “the business/industry,” “feud,” “international” and even “fans.”
Say what you will about TNA, at least they acknowledge the most basic wrestling terminology in their broadcasts. For WWE to put Wrestling on the backburner is one of the most aggravating things for fans today to handle.
12 Telling the Fans They’re Wrong
You know what really tends to tick people off? Being told they’re not understanding the product right. It’s well known how Vince insists on “feeding” announcers lines to say on air and lately, it’s been clear that they’re being forced to talk about how great things are. They either ignore the booing of guys meant to be faces or brush it off as “just a few mixed reactions.” They keep going on and on about “we’re having fun here!” when it’s clear a match is killing the crowd. They insist on pushing, say, Roman Reigns as the biggest face in the company when he’s getting booed out the building or selling Jinder Mahal as a major threat. Overall, they are telling fans “you’re not smart enough to know what you like” and that, more than anything, is driving folks to change the channel.
11 Every Character Has to Be a Brand
Now it’s one thing for a guy to have a cool nickname. And merchandising is a key to wrestling so it makes sense WWE wants to push a guy that way. But too many times, wrestlers have been pushed in WWE to become more of a “brand” than a character in their own right. They’re pushed off complete with their own hashtags and announcers shoving their merch and stuff. That’s also led to how fans are being forced to chant along with a wrestler rather than spontaneous stuff. Too many times, this “brand” just makes a wrestler’s flop more notable (think of Bo Dallas) and nowadays it’s as if the nickname has to be the man himself (see how many times Roman Reigns is “The Guy” for announcers) when he hasn’t earned it. It’s one thing to try and make someone notable but another to try and turn the worker into a brand not deserving of following.
10 No Idea How to Handle the Women
For a brief bit, it looked like women in WWE were turning it around. After years of “Divas” holding titles off their looks, NXT boosted women’s wrestling up nicely. Thanks to Charlotte, Sasha Banks and others, women’s wrestling in WWE was finally respected and pushed well. Bayley and Sasha had arguably the two best wrestling matches of 2015 and creating Women’s titles for both shows looked great. But now, it’s clear WWE still can’t understand how to properly push their women.
Bayley is the worst example; this bright and cheerful gal with a huge following but being buried after they bungled her with winning the title too fast. The underdog is one thing, being beaten so badly another and turns fans against her. That’s followed by the mess of the Women MITB match which came off too bait and switch for fans. It’s annoying to see women who should be boosting the company hurt so badly by how they can’t understand how to handle them more.
9 JBL Still Employed
WWE is going on stuff in the last few years of an “anti-bullying” campaign. That’s ironic given so much of wrestling has heels taunting opponents and beating them down. But it also comes off hollow because the biggest bully in the company is still being employed. Stories have abounded for yeas of JBL’s attitude and slamming on guys, including famously busting open the Blue Meanie in a fight. That’s combined with him going on often racist tirades and reports of him slapping guys around and “hazing” rookies in harsh ways. Yet he’s not only still employed but continued to be made a top announcer and face on air. For WWE to cut so much slack to him when so many have been fired for far lesser offensives doesn’t send the right message to the company or its fans on responsibility.
8 Part Time Champions
It was one thing when WWE had CM Punk’s record title reign ending to the Rock just so Rock could defend against Cena. But the Brock/Goldberg mess is even worse. A champion should be around constantly, he should be able to defend if not on TV but house shows and be a constant presence. Instead, Brock was allowed to be off TV for months at a time despite being champion and the fans hating that. Then Goldberg, a man who hadn’t wrestled in over a decade, was allowed to win the title then take months between shows before dropping it. The fans are not going to respond well to someone like that, seeing it as just a guy pushed with money for a couple of shows and the belt more of a prop. Giving the title to someone who’s at least on TV every week is much better than a part-time champ.
7 Cena STILL Wins
WWE is never going to turn John Cena heel. A key thing is that Cena is a winner with Make-A-Wish, doing over 500 visits and WWE doesn’t want to lose such a source of good press. Also, he is still popular with folks buying merchandise and clearly proven as the face of the company. But you can understand how folks are annoyed at Cena still coming out on top. It’s a hashtag, a meme, all of it and fans just are sick of WWE making sure Cena never looks terrible. Cena himself even seems annoyed at times and one wonders how much he’d want a heel turn himself. It won’t happen but it would be nice to see him actually job now and then as he’s already made and be better to give the rub to someone else rather than him winning constantly.
6 Talents are Demoted for Getting Popular
Nothing speaks to this more than poor Zack Ryder. Vince makes a huge speech to the guys on “you have to grab the brass ring” yet seems to ignore that when Ryder got over. The man was huge, popular, a winner with fans and so much heat for him, clearly ready to rise up more. And then WWE cut the legs out from under him and buried him massively. Bayley is much the same, also huge over only for her title reign to end in her home town and also given a harsh burial. Kevin Owens had his title reign end in 22 seconds to a man long past his prime and too many others have suffered the same fate.
It’s bizarre how WWE doesn’t just ignore the fans here but seems to decide that if someone is too popular, they can’t be given the push and crush them. This speaks volumes to how fans don’t matter too much which makes it harder for them to get behind anyone not among “Vince’s Chosen.”
5 The Treatment of NXT Talents On The Main Roster
Triple H created NXT because he believed WWE needed a place to find the stars of the future. It’s paid off with many cases like Seth Rollins and others. However, take a close look and you’ll see the real successes of NXT are guys like Rollins, Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and Roode, guys who already had long careers elsewhere. Yes, some NXT guys get a push when they start out but then look at the long list of others treated badly. The Ascension, Bo Dallas, Tyler Breeze, Apollo Crews, Bayley and many others. Some have suggested that it’s their own fault as what works before 400 folks in Orlando doesn’t on the big roster, much like a minor league guy can’t crack it in the MLB. But there’s also suggestions that Vince hates how NXT (Hunter’s baby) is getting so much good press and we all know Vince hates stuff he didn’t come up with himself.
Too many NXT guys get a good entrance and minor push but then fade and that hurts the point as why should fans get invested if WWE isn’t going to do anything with them? With so much talent abounding, WWE ignoring the fresh guys for familiar faces doesn’t win fans over well. NXT is cited as one of the best reasons to watch WWE today but if it becomes more obvious the company isn’t going to use them right, that reason is going to fade soon.
4 Jinder Mahal
This one deserves a space all its own. Some may claim it’s hypocritical for fans to complain about “nobody new” and then yell when a guy fresh is pushed. But there’s a key difference between a “new guy” and someone who was literally a jobber for most of his career turned champion. It’s just wild to see it, Mahal actually fired from WWE after stuff with 3MB. He returned for a low-level run and was just filling air time. Then with no warning, he won a challenge match and then beat Orton for the title. To elevate a man who had done nothing of note during his entire career is one of the most baffling moves WWE has ever made and confusing as hell.
Fans just aren’t buying him as a main event player despite okay promos and bouts, he just is not seen as the type to be pushed well. To have this guy turned champion when so many deserving guys on the roster are buried is one way WWE seems to be trolling the fanbase to drive them crazy.
3 The Hollywood Writers
This, more than most things today, is driving fans nuts. Yes, wrestling has always been “sports entertainment,” Vince was just the first to make that obvious. But too much lately, we’ve had the “entertainment” bit pushed more. That involves taking writers from TV and such with little to no understanding of wrestling and having them direct things. The results have been bad storylines abounding and horrible treatment of characters. Worse have been the scripted promos that make folks all sound the same.
Jim Cornette nicely pointed out that “the best personas are the real person cranked up” and Chris Jericho and The New Day show how great you can get by with your own stuff. By muting those traits and presenting too many workers just the same hurts them and the product majorly. Having folks with no knowledge of wrestling be the ones direct these shows is idiotic and fans recognize it with the channels being changed.
2 Too Much Air Time
It’s been a complaint for years but still true that three hours of RAW is just too much. It’s way too much for dumb skits and long promos, not enough for real action and drags things out. Add in two hours of SmackDown (and an aftershow) is also annoying. Then toss in 205 Live and PPVs that can stretch five hours in length and it’s no wonder fans are burned out. NXT manages to pack in so much in just one hour and shows that cutting down a bit can help.
Yes, WWE is a business and needs all this time to push guys and their antics. But it also leads to more crap from those TV writers mentioned before and ignoring what the fans want. Cutting down on RAW would be a good start but at the very least, WWE can acknowledge less can be more when it comes to good TV product.
1 Not Caring Who We Want on Top
It’s something that’s hit wrestling for years and WWE has long suffered from it. True, listening to the fans can be a risk as so many “Internet darlings” really aren’t ready to carry a company. But it’s still stunning how WWE is ignoring fan desires on who they want to see on top. The clearest case is Roman Reigns as Vince is convinced beyond reason that this man can be the face of WWE and carry the company when fans are clear they will never accept him in this role. There’s also the Jinder Mahal bit and now pushes for Mojo Rawley and others who don’t seem that over with fans. Then there’s the mess of folks from NXT coming up hot as hell yet somehow not given the right push.
AJ Styles proved himself as a main event champion but is ignored despite being more over than most in the company. You’d think that the massive boos every time Roman comes to the ring would be proof of how he’s not right to be “The Guy” but WWE shoves him all the same. If anything turns fans away, it’s how Vince had made it more clear than ever before that he’ll push who he wants no matter what the fans say and thus makes them wonder why they should bother cheering anyone on.