In March 2001, the WWE purchased their biggest rival and competitor, World Championship Wrestling. This monumental acquisition would allow Vince McMahon and the WWE to have a monopoly on the professional wrestling industry. Although this may sound great in theory it actually isn't. If you really think about it, what would Coca-Cola be without Pepsi? Competition is good for business and consumers. Unfortunately without any true opposition in the professional wrestling industry, the WWE found themselves strictly in competition against themselves.
At this point, the WWE was able to essentially do as they saw fit. However, this led to some of the worst storylines and angles in the history of the business. While the Attitude Era was fresh, new, and cutting edge, the current era has been consistently falling flat and at times failing completely. Ultimately the thought of a PG product may come across as a bad idea, but it really is not. The WWE’s choice to shift in this direction is understandable. They clearly want to cater to their traditional demographic and try their best to create a product that is family friendly while not deterring anyone from tuning in.
With all of that being said, it does not excuse all the ways the WWE continuously has insulted our intelligence as fans. There comes a point in which it becomes almost difficult to watch or even take a product seriously because of all the idiocy taking place on screen. I’ve been a wrestling fan my entire life but there is only so much a grown adult can take. For the kids it might not be an issue, but for everyone else it becomes extremely disparaging. Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of the top 20 ways the WWE has insulted our intelligence.
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20 20. "It’s Not Professional Wrestling. It’s Sports Entertainment"
After the company changed their name to WWE they instantly began attempting to distance themselves from wrestling. According to the WWE they are sports entertainment, not professional wrestling. They take this as far as referring to the wrestlers as "Superstars". However when have you ever heard someone say they are a fan of “sports entertainment”? Perhaps in a conversation the term may come up but ultimately we are fans of professional wrestling and the wrestlers. The WWE can keep insulting our intelligence by calling it what it wants but it will always be pro wrestling.
19 The Big Show Turns
Big Show turned on Team Cena at Survivor Series this past year, KO’ing Cena and walking away from the team after shaking the hand of Triple H. Some of the WWE Universe was shocked and surprised by this move but they shouldn’t be. The WWE has switched Big Show from heel to face and vice versa so many times that it has become something of a running joke among longtime WWE fans. The Big Show has been in WWE for 15 years. On average, he's turned at least once every one of those years.
18 The First Undisputed Champion
At WWE TLC (2013), Randy Orton defeated John Cena to become, what we were told, the first Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Although Randy Orton was in fact the first ever WWE World Heavyweight Champion, he was not the first Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. That distinction actually belongs to Chris Jericho, who defeated The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin back to back in the same night to become the first Undisputed Heavyweight Champion (unifying the WCW and WWE titles). If you don't remember, ask Chris Jericho; he'll tell you all about it.
17 El Torito
Los Matadores are a WWE tag team that dresses up as bullfighters so it’s expected for them to be accompanied by a mascot. El Torito (Spanish for 'the bull') is the group’s mascot. He is a masked Mexican Luchador and is very amusing to watch. Although El Torito is entertaining at times, the reason he finds himself on this list is because the WWE actually has some of their wrestlers treat him like a bull. The fact that the WWE expects us to buy this is like a sick joke.
16 How to Download the App
As I’m sure most of you already know, the WWE has its own app. The WWE App is great in the aspect that it allows the WWE Universe to interact by tweeting and voting on things. Although the app itself is a great resource and something that is extremely useful, is it really necessary to teach us how to download it? It would be one thing to simply inform us that we can download the app through our mobile provider’s app store however the WWE feels the need for whatever reason to go through step by step instructions explaining how to download it.
15 Anonymous GM
The Anonymous General Manager was one of the most memorable storylines in WWE history. It resulted in great matches, unexpected stipulations, hilarity, and Michael Cole’s famous “and I quote” line. The storyline really was executed so well, that is until the WWE revealed the Anonymous GM was none other than Hornswoggle. The big reveal was so bad that the entire crowd actually fell completely flat. There was no booing. There was no cheering. There was only silence. It was one of the worst conclusions to a storyline in WWE history, it was uneventful, boring, and insulting to the audience.
The commentator on NXT Jason Albert originally made his return to WWE as Tensai. Coming off the heels of his success in Japan, Tensai was so fresh and memorable yet WWE felt the need to repackage him as an American pretending to be Japanese. After the gimmick inevitably failed, WWE chose to pair him with Brodus Clay and make him dance. Why WWE creative? Why? It’s like they had nothing better they could think of so they chose to try to expand on the Too Cool gimmick from the Attitude Era. It was not only insulting our intelligence, it was (in Charles Barkley’s voice) terrible.
13 Ill-timed Commercial Breaks
There’s non-stop crazy action happening in the ring right now! Naturally, it’s the perfect time to go to a commercial break. Don’t worry though, no one will be victorious until we come back live on Monday Night RAW. To be fair, there may have been a match or two that have ended during the break, fortunately RAW streams live on the WWE App during the breaks now so fans don’t have to miss the action.
12 Superstar of the Year
At the 2014 Slammy Awards, Roman Reigns won the Slammy for Superstar of the Year as voted by the WWE fans. Members of the WWE Universe were able to vote using (surprise you guessed it) the WWE App. The winner should have been Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, or even John Cena (after all it is based on popular vote isn’t it?). Heck even Brock Lesnar would've made more sense, despite wrestling just four matches in 2014. For some reason the award went to Reigns. Are we seriously supposed to believe that? Reigns had no solo main events, won zero championships, and missed one-fourth of the calendar year. Immediately after the announcement was made, WWE took to social media to tell us the voting wasn’t rigged. If that doesn’t make you raise your eyebrow like The Rock, I don’t know what will. Perhaps it was just to make Roman look really strong.
11 The Bunny
I know what you’re thinking; why is The Bunny insulting to our intelligence? First off let me just say I don’t mind that Adam Rose has a guy in his entourage that wears a bunny suit and likes to party with him and the other Rosebuds. I’ll even say the guy in the bunny suit is a great athlete. However, the problem here (and reason why it’s insulting to our intelligence) is that he’s defeating WWE talent in the suit. It’s simply ridiculous and insulting to not only the fans but also the talent he’s beating in that suit that we’ll be expected to take seriously later on.
10 Double Standards
After Daniel Bryan missed two pay-per-view events due to a serious injury, WWE forced him to vacate the title because the people “deserve a fighting champion”. It is an unfortunate circumstance but it seems to make sense, right? No it doesn’t make sense! Why must Daniel Bryan vacate the title after missing two pay-per-views when Brock Lesnar chooses not to compete for three? This is not just a double standard, it’s insulting our intelligence as fans. Are we supposed to have just forgotten about why Daniel Bryan was forced to vacate the title? Or any champion in history for that matter?
9 Batista winning the Royal Rumble
WWE loves to say they listen to the fans and they know what we want. If that's really the case why would they book Batista to win the Royal Rumble, when it was painfully obvious everyone wanted Daniel Bryan. It’s as if they didn’t even give the decision a second thought. They took the approach that by shoving Batista down our throats we’d eventually just cave and cheer him and we all know how that turned out. Fans were so insulted and angered by the WWE’s actions that when the last entrant, fan favorite Rey Mysterio Jr. came out as entrant number 30 he was actually booed solely for not being Daniel Bryan.
8 Once In A Lifetime
If reading that tagline makes you groan, fear not, you’re not alone in feeling that way. At WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami, FL, John Cena squared off against The Rock in a match that boasted the tagline “Once In A Lifetime”. There was only one problem with this; it happened again the next year at WrestleMania 29. How many times will the WWE Universe be on the receiving end of these taglines, when it's painfully obvious that it will be the first in a series of matches? It’s the same formula they’ve used with Cena versus Lesnar, and the countless Cena verus Orton matches.
7 Heels Plotting on the Titantron
Suddenly the heels appear on the titantron secretly going over their devious plan to take out whichever face (usually John Cena), with the certainty that the face in question will never figure it out. The argument could be made that this isn’t the WWE insulting our intelligence because it’s similar to villains plotting in a play however I disagree. A play reminds the audience that they are watching a play, and when it does, the characters that need to stay in the dark aren’t aware of this fact. When it comes to professional wrestling, the WWE constantly makes it known that they are aware they are on a television show, but apparently none of their employees watch it.
6 The Stairs are Heavy
Is having a diagram of the stairs truly necessary? At the Tables, Ladders and Chairs… and Stairs event that took place in December, the WWE definitely thought so. Prior to the Stairs match between Rowan and Big Show, the WWE felt the need to show the following graphic showcase the anatomy of the stairs so the WWE Universe would be able to understand that in fact they are really heavy. Apparently without seeing that, the fans wouldn’t be intelligent enough to figure out that steel stairs are heavy.
WWE insists on branding people. For months they couldn’t refer to or even say Dean Ambrose’s name without saying “The Lunatic Fringe” in front of it. Prior to that they felt the need to distinguish that when Kane wears dress pants he is actually “Corporate Kane”. This insistent branding has now been adapted to one of the biggest stars in the history of the business “The Vigilante Sting”. Due to this insistent branding, nothing feels organic; everything is pre-packaged so we know how they expect us to feel about everyone. Are we not allowed to have organic reactions and opinions any longer? Heck, even the fans are branded as the WWE Universe.
One of the biggest ways the WWE has insulted our intelligence is the lack of proper continuity. You would naturally assume they would at least reward loyal fans that watch the show by maintaining long-term continuity but they don’t even make an effort. This also applies to short-term continuity. Need some examples? No problem.
The best and most recent example of the lack of short-term continuity would be the whole Bella Twins storyline. At SummerSlam, Nikki Bella turned on her sister Brie, costing her the victory against Stephanie McMahon. The feud between the twins escalated to a fight between the two in October at Hell In A Cell where the loser would be the winner’s personal assistant for 30 days. With the loss to Nikki, Brie was forced to be her sister’s personal assistant however after the 30 days, the twins were back to being on the same side again as if nothing ever happened.
If you want another example for the lack of long-term continuity I pose a simple question to you; What happened to Kane’s burned face?
There are countless other examples pertaining to continuity with the product.
3 Recap, Recap, Recap
Recaps are great, especially when you ended up missing part of the show, but not when they make up the majority of the show itself. Typically something will happen at the start of Monday Night RAW. Thirty minutes into the show, the WWE will show a replay about what happened at the start of the show. Then it happens again 30 or 40 minutes later. Moreover, the commentators feel the need to discuss whatever the event is, often during a match with two midcarders trying to get over.
They will play the replay again another segment or so later and the cycle goes on and on. Another aspect of this that is insulting to fans is that it has resulted with Main Event and SmackDown becoming recap shows (with a few matches sprinkled in between replays).
2 Option A, B, or C
WWE Universe, go to the WWE App and vote for the option you’d prefer. Although this sounds great, the only problem is all the options are the same choice worded differently. Need an example? On the December 15th, 2014, edition of Monday Night Raw, Chris Jericho challenged Paul Heyman to a match that the WWE Universe would choose by voting on the WWE App. The options were as follows: A) Extreme Rules Match, B) No Holds Barred, and C) Street Fight. Initially this may have come across to some viewers as a joke (classic Jericho), unfortunately it wasn’t. Even worse, this is only one of the more recent examples of this occurring (and it occurs a lot).
1 John Cena: Underdog
This notion by the WWE is beyond insulting to fans and has resulted in the “LOLCENAWINS” phenomenon. What is #LOLCENAWINS, you might ask? Well, it's quite self-explanatory: John Cena wins and/or dominates the vast majority of his matches in completely impossible ways.
CM Punk put it best while confronting John Cena on an episode of Monday Night RAW in 2011 when he said “ What you've lost sight of is what you are, and what you are is what you hate. You're the 10-time WWE Champion! You're the man! Ladies and gentlemen, the Champ is here! You, like the Red Sox, like Boston, are no longer the underdog! You're a dynasty. You are what you hate. You have become the New York Yankees!”
Fast-forward to 2015 and John Cena is now a 15-time world champion, consisting of 12 reigns as WWE Champion and three reigns as World Heavyweight Champion. He is the public face of the WWE and has served as their franchise player since 2005. Cena has had more title reigns than anyone in modern history, served as the undisputed top draw for over a decade, and main evented more shows than anyone ever. Yet for some reason the WWE continuously and repeatedly insists on booking Cena as the underdog.
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