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Imp’s WWE Adventure
My First RAW Since Bobby Lashley’s Sisters
About 2 months ago I questioned my entire outlook on my wrestling fandom. As much as I bang on about loving New Japan Pro Wrestling, I have always seen WWE as number one. The biggest dog in town (pardon the pun), the greatest spectacle, dancing with the lights on bright and all that jazz.
There’s a reason that when non wrestling fans hear the word ‘wrestling’, they think WWE. Ever since WCW closed its doors the McMahon Empire has had an essential monopoly on the Western wrestling business. As someone who started properly watching WWE in late 2005, it’s the only state I’ve ever known.
However, I’ve felt less and less invested in the product the past few years. My previously positive fandom has been burned one too many times by creative missteps. In 2014 the CM Punk debacle, Daniel Bryan’s injuries and the start of the push of Roman Reigns strongly pushed me away.
That’s when I tried out other promotions, from AJ Styles as IWGP Heavyweight Champion in NJPW to the staple silly multi-man tags in PWG. But I never stopped watching WWE, I was still a fan, just not as invested.
Roman Reigns’ top guy booking/constant character changes pushed me away even further. They were so desperate to make him the next big star to carry the company that they forgot to put in all the hard work to get him there. He was still figuring out his singles character at that point and the 2015 Royal Rumble was not pleasant to watch. But I never stopped watching, I was still a fan, just disappointed.
The same with things like SmackDown’s creative team jumping down the gutter last year, with World Champion Jinder Mahal, with whatever Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton was, with Bayley ‘This Is Your Life’, etc. The list goes on.
But despite my moaning, there was always enough to keep me watching. AJ Styles on SD Live, Seth & Dean’s reuniting, the rise of the likes of The Miz, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman and Elias. Hell I even enjoyed the hell out of Goldberg’s final run. I complained about crap the entire time I watched… but I was still a fan.
Come April 2018 my perceived weight of the crap was probably at its highest. With WrestleMania, The Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash all within one month, it was just too much. I knew then that I needed a rest, to pull back and just casually skim through RAW/SD Live for a couple of weeks. I was tired. But then came May 2018 and the segment that finally broke me.
Sami Zayn and Bobby Lashley’s sisters… I nearly didn’t come back.
Just to let you know, since that episode of RAW, I hadn’t watched a single minute of WWE TV until today. That segment was so out of touch, so offensive, so unfunny, that it ended my WWE fandom right there and then. I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t just less invested, I was done.
I started asking myself, “Why am I watching this crap?” Suddenly the weight of all the other issues I’d been moaning about became so much heavier. The reliance on part time stars of the past, the inconsistent storytelling/character arcs, Roman over everyone, SD Live in 2017, the tiring length of shows, the overexposure of matchups, the heavily scripted nature. All of that irritated me yet I had stayed a fan, but Bobby Lashley’s sisters was just too much.
I needed a walk outside, some time to calm down before making a decision.
At the end of May I wrote a column comparing my WWE fandom to me getting fatigued with Superhero Movies, in which I suggested I should probably take a break before I’m burned forever. I questioned whether that had already happened, but in spite of that ‘take a break’ is exactly what I did. The initial plan was to be gone a month, however after that I just felt no desire to come back. Why would I when things didn’t seem to be getting any better and the wrestling world outside of WWE is in such an exciting place?
Which brings me to today, to my decision. No longer calling myself a WWE fan, but still someone who’s stupidly fanatic about wrestling. Sitting at home with a somewhat refreshing outlook having just watched Extreme Rules and the RAW soon after. Bobby Lashley’s sisters rocked my entire wrestling viewpoint, I no longer see WWE as number one. It wasn’t that long an absence, I’ve not come back as The Crow Imp, but it was just long enough to decide where I stand on WWE.
They’re ‘fine’. Like a network procedural with a decent story that is mostly ignored for all but 5 episodes, you can skip weeks at a time and feel like you’ve missed nothing. Look at me, I didn’t watch for 2 months and all that’s really changed is Bobby Lashley’s now got the Horn of the World Serpent in his entrance theme for some reason.
I’m back watching WWE during their build to SummerSlam, but I have distanced myself. Picking and choosing what I watch instead of going crazy trying to consume it all. And it feels nice, for the first time in years I’m positive about watching WWE. When you don’t watch often enough to be able to realise the arcs/motivations make no sense the show has a much more positive feel to it. I’m watching, but I’m not invested.
… and what on Earth is going on with this Sasha & Bayley feud? If it is a feud… what is it? The thing watches like two 8 year olds falling out, “But she said that I-”
“Bayley, no one cares. Now the two of you apologise before I move one of you next door to Miss Knight’s class.”
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Or follow Imp on Twitter: @TheDamnImplicat