What does “going soft” actually mean? The concept of “going soft” could refer to the most hardened individual who has finally found inner peace. No longer the rabid dog but just a humble little cat. “Going soft” could also be a man's worst nightmare. The horrible reality that something is not working properly. Thus rendering a confident man down to a blubbering buffoon. The man who is unable to get the job done – another loss for the male ego.
In the sports world – most often at the youth level - “going soft” on an opponent has become commonplace. The idea of blowing out the opposing team and displaying your dominance over their weakened squad is no longer an acceptable format. “Please stop running up the score, my son will be very upset tonight when we get home.” … Tough break, kid. Learning to lose is important. Learning to have your ass kicked on the field/rink/court is important as well. “Going soft” during a game does not help build character, it builds a generation of crybabies.
Take a look at WWE and their evolution through the years. Do you recall the days of hard-hitting action? Well, they're gone. Replaced with something less brutal and more child-friendly. Has the WWE reached its peak? Has the evolution ceased? Is the only thing left the colorful t-shirts of John Cena? Let's hope not but anyone who has been a fan long enough to remember the rowdier days of WWE can certainly admit that the product has gotten a little soft; especially in the eyes of those who loved the former (Dean Ambrose is not the same kind of “lunatic” as Mankind).
In the following article we will piece together certain cases of the WWE product stepping away from its once harder image – for better or worse.
These are the top 15 examples of WWE “going soft:”
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15 The Loss of the Low Blow
With the exception of recent events involving The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, the low blow - which was once an easy and sly way of incapacitating an opponent - has vanished from WWE.
What is so wrong with the low blow? The kids understand who the "bad guys" are while watching the product. Therefore, they should understand how said "bad guy" will do whatever it takes to hurt their favourite "good guy."
14 Hiding Fingers
What comes to mind when you hear the name Stone Cold Steve Austin? Beer drinking. Ass kicking. Hell raising. Foul language ... Middle finger flipping. "The Texas Rattlesnake" loved flipping that bird.
Earlier this year in the build towards Seth Rollins and Randy Orton and WrestleMania, Orton would flip-off Rollins standing on the ring steps. However, the camera was conveniently positioned to a point where the fingers were not visible.
13 New Day
This whole clapping thing has been getting annoying in recent weeks. Add on the dancing and Xavier Woods playing a trumpet and the annoyance level reaches brand new peaks while watching New Day.
While this group was forming, there were rumblings and rumours that Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods would become some sort of modern day version of The Nation of Domination but it appears as though WWE punked out on that concept.
12 Have You Seen Hardcore? We've Been Looking Everywhere
The PG product is obviously not geared towards the blood-and-guts professional wrestling crowd. These fans can still find their hardcore fix somewhere out there on the indepedent scene. However, why is hardcore dead in WWE?
It doesn't need to happen on a weekly basis and understandably the Hardcore Championship will not be brought back but give the fans a little something from time-to-time that resembles that glorious Hardcore Heaven.
11 Elimination Chamber
The Elimination Chamber used to be a match that fans looked forward to seeing where six of the top WWE Superstars would meet inside to battle over a major championship. Now, it's just another match.
The Elimination Chamber used to seem like a grueling match where everybody placed everything on the line in order to walk/crawl out victorious. These days, the structure has been relegated to a glorified jungle gym.
10 Hell in a Cell
Mark Madden (former WCW color commentator) once stated that WWE should call their Hell in a Cell match "Heck in a Cell" and he is absolutely right. Where the Hell has all the Hell gone?
Hell in a Cell used to mean something. The match was usually used as a tool to help settle a grudge or rivalry. Now it stands alone as an annual event that merely throws some guys into the structure to have a pretty tamed version of the match.
9 Black and White Blood
Bleeding on demand is no longer implemented into WWE matches. However, that doesn't mean there will be absolutely no bloodshed during competition. Sometimes it just happens; a competitor is busted open despite their best intentions.
There was once a time when blood was in great demand and WWE would deliver. No longer bleeding while in the ring is partly based on health concerns. However, there is no need to black and white the picture upon replays of accidental spillage. We know it's blood.
8 Ring of Fire
Over the years, WWE has introduced its audience to a variety of different match types. One of which was known as the Inferno match where the only way to win was to actually set your opponent on fire.
Such much has been doused. Now we have the Ring of Fire match which has only taken place once between Bray Wyatt and Kane and will hopefully not take place again. Surrounding the ring with fire and not having it com into play? What's the point?
7 Unreal Life Situations
Remember when Stephanie McMahon accused Daniel Bryan of cheating on Brie Bella with his psychical therapist? Nobody bought into that angle because the reality factor was seemingly nonexistent.
WWE used to use REAL life situations and incorporate them into storylines (Foley/Flair, Edge/Hardy/Lita). These real life situations played out in the ring make for great programming and could still be used effectively.
6 What Happened to the A-Hole at the Announce Tale?
Taking a look at the current announce staff in WWE, it is obviously that JBL is considered the "heel color commentator." While not bad at playing the role, there used to be so much more to the man in that position.
Obviously, JBL does not have free will to say whatever he wants while sitting at the desk but there is something missing about when it comes to the commentary. It lacks a certain element. There needs to be an A-hole at every table.
5 Halted Hatred
There is not enough unbridled hatred anymore within the WWE product. Feuds get settled and are placed into history while fans feel cheated out of the payoff. The Undertaker/Brock Lesnar feud doesn't count, it's only part-time hate.
What happened to the days of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart? Where is all the intensity and raw emotion? When is the last time somebody spit in their counterpart's face out of sheer hatred? While hatred in the real world is bad, it fits in well in the wrestling world.
4 Manipulative Diva
The "Divas Revolution" has been a breath of fresh air ... for the Divas with wrestling ability. There remain many who really can't hang in the ring with the liked of Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch. So, what to do with those Divas?
They can still be incorporated into storyline in non-wrestling roles. However, make it count. Summer Rae is more high school cheerleader than manipulative woman. WWE could use a modern day Sunny.
3 Grandpa Vince
There was something unsettling about watching Stephanie McMahon and Triple H lead the live Raw crowd in a "happy birthday" sing-along to Vince McMahon. Perhaps it was the realization that Mr. McMahon, the character, is all but gone.
On the now rare occasions of Vince McMahon on camera, there lacks that feel of the company owner we all loved to hate. Mr. McMahon was once the most over heel in WWE and now he's just over the hill.
2 Nothing Sexual
Once again the PG Era comes into play when discussing sexuality in WWE. The fact that the Divas are not longer simple sex symbols is great and while there is n need for a "live sex celebration" Edge and Lita style; there can be something sexual.
Dolph Ziggler and Lana are the closest thing to a sex-drive in WWE. Sexuality remains a hot button issue and doesn't have to be a blatant for the younger audience. It can be something subliminal.
1 What Happened to Randy Orton?
"The Apex Predator" or "The Viper?" Which animalistic nickname do you like best for Randy Orton? Where has the ruthless Randy Orton gone? The twelve-time WWE Champion has been made soft.
"The Legend Killer" nickname has been tossed aside. Partly because Randy Orton is no longer the brash young kid who would challenge the legends, partly because Orton is on his way to legend status himself but mainly because of the word "killer."
Would you like your Randy Orton soft served?
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