Welcome one and all to another edition of The Main Event. I am your host, Don Franc, back with another column that you will all hopefully enjoy. Long introductions aren’t really my thing so let’s get right to…
– So according to reports Lars Sullivan made some racial and bigoted comments. I’m not sure what he said exactly – or even if the reports are true – but come on. This is 2019. I’m not naive enough to believe that it doesn’t exist in some places but in WWE there are lots of different cultures diverging so I’d assume you’d have to be accepting of creed and colour. I’m looking at Lars Sullivan differently now but because I don’t know what he said exactly I won’t be writing him off as of yet. Clearly WWE doesn’t seem to care much about what he said because he is still receiving a push. Allowing situations like these to be pushed under the rug is not good at all and it could actually come back to bite you in the ass eventually. There is no place for racism and bigotry in WWE or any company for that matter. WWE should take action immediately if the matter was serious because
this could open up a can of worms.
– “Sheamus has spinal stenosis, a condition that ended Edge and other WWE Superstars careers and is an issue “Stone Cold” Steve Austin deals with to this day.” That was part of a report that I read and if it does come to the point of Sheamus retiring then that really is a shame. I think Sheamus has been unfairly judged over the years because he was workout buddies with Triple H. Now this hasn’t been confirmed and I’m hoping it never does and turns out to be a false alarm. Sheamus’ work with Cesaro as The Bar has been absolutely fantastic and they’re definitely in the top three WWE tag teams of the decade. I wasn’t Sheamus’ biggest fan but I always thought he did well in the ring and could hold his own on the mic. Here’s to hoping Sheamus gets well soon and that his injury isn’t career-ending. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.
– According to reports, the NXT brand is losing money for WWE. The report also said that because it is a developmental brand that shouldn’t be an issue which is something that I have to agree with. Even though NXT as become somewhat of an entity of it’s own it is still a developmental brand. It matters not that the wrestlers who get signed to NXT are veterans of the game they still have to learn the WWE Style. It’s foolish to expect a developmental brand to bring in any form of profit because in essence a developmental brand works out the kinks of wrestlers so that they can make a profit on the main show in future. Look, it’s not like NXT will be shutting down due to losing money. The fans would probably riot and there would be alot of talented wrestlers looking for work. I highly doubt this is too much of a concern for WWE at this point.
THE MAIN EVENT
In our individual wrestling viewership we all have annoyances that irks the living hell out of us. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most optimistic wrestling fan in the history of wrestling fandom there will always be at least a few things that just annoy the shit out of you. Your personal annoyances within the professional wrestling industry might seem miniscule to others, but when you witness it on your television you can’t help but feel irritated. Today I’ll be looking at four of the most annoying things in my wrestling viewership. I could probably name ten things, but for the sake of my sanity I’ll keep the number to a minimum. Some you may not agree with. However, these are my pet peeves and no matter how insignificant they may seem to you these are a few of the things that really get to me.
Tag Teams That Don’t Have The Same Music And Attire
Let’s start things off with what is more a pet peeve of mine than an actual annoyance. Maybe it’s my slight OCD but I can’t stand the sight of teams that do not wear the same attire. In my opinion, if a team wears matching outfits – or at least similar attire that makes them instantly recognisable as a team – it shows that they are united. I know this may seem silly but remember these are what annoys me, not you. Think about it this way: cops wear uniforms to show that they stand together and that is the same principle I believe tag teams should have.
Tag teams that are thrown together is another pet peeve of mine that’s on another level. No matching attire and individual theme music. I can’t stand that. If a tag team is thrown together at least have them wear matching or similar attire akin to Banks/Bayley and Asuka/Sane. It’s not that hard. You do get those teams like The Wyatts who wore different clothes than their teammates but at least you could still gather that they were a team.
Matching attire might not be high on WWE’s list of priorities (and it shouldn’t be because they have much bigger problems), but from my perspective something as small as matching attire shows that the wrestlers within the team have the same mindset. Also, from a kayfabe perspective, if you are half knocked-out and looking to make a tag then matching attire will help the wrestler in need of the tag more able to recognise his partner.
So here’s to hoping that moving forward WWE will at least show a tag team’s sense of unity by having them wear matching attire.
If this doesn’t annoy you then I don’t know what can. I just don’t see the point in shortening a wrestlers name. What, is the ring announcers starting to run out of breath? Do they need to remove first/last names so that the ring announcers do not have to spend alot of time announcing names in order to have more TV time? I just don’t get it.
The latest victim of this is Mustafa A… I mean Ali. Imagine getting to know Mohammad Ali on TV and then all of a sudden he changes his name to just Ali. Okay, perhaps he is not the best example to use. The point is that it’s just weird to remove a part of someones name after referring to them with a certain name for months on end.
Look, in some cases it can be for the betterment of a wrestler. Colin Cassidy was a decent stage name but didn’t Big Cass sound better? When used sparingly and for those who need a better stage name then by all means it can be done. But for the most part the only time a wrestler should have a name change is if their gimmick changes. But in the WWE a name change is just done for the sake of changing a name.
This has become quite the strange phenomenon in WWE and I’m pretty sure Ali won’t be the last victim of this.
For me prestige is an integral part of making titles in WWE feel important. Therefore, I believe that WWE should focus more on prestige. With prestige comes the importance factor. With the importance factor comes must-see TV. And with must-see TV comes ratings; something that WWE is in dire need of. My third and fourth annoyances of WWE branches off of prestige which is something I fully believe is an important aspect of making people care.
Short Title Reigns
This is one of the big ones for me. I will always ask the question of what a short title reign can do for a wrestler. “Hey, you’ve been a loyal employee for ten years, here’s a one-day title reign!”. “Uhm, thanks?” No, that is just not acceptable. In my personal opinion, the minimum length of any title reign should be six months. There will of course be exceptions to that rule, but for the most part I believe that a title reign should be no shorter than six months.
My argument here is pretty straight-forward: there is no point of putting the title on a wrestler for less than a month. It does absolutely nothing for whomever gets to lose the title in a matter of weeks. In fact, it makes said wrestler look like a chump because he couldn’t keep the belt for a prolonged period of time. In my understanding of titles in professional wrestling, you only win the title when you are worthy of that honor. And once you’re worthy of that honor you would then hold the belt for a number of months validating your worthiness. Clearly that is no longer the case.
There are only certain circumstances where I would deem a short title reign acceptable. Amongst those are for the sake of a compelling story. However, in that instance the story better be damn good. Another instance would be as a trial run of sorts not too dissimilar to what Edge had at the beginning of 2006. Testing the waters as it’s known is the proper use of a short title reign because from that point you can gauge whether the testee will fit in – and feel comfortable – in that role.
But besides the above-mentioned reasons there are absolutely no excuses for short title reigns. There has hardly ever been a wrestler in the history of professional wrestling who has ever benefitted from a short title reign. Kane was lucky enough to come out of his one-day reign unscathed. However, not everyone is that lucky. I think the biggest problem is that WWE tries to put the title on a wrestler who is not ready and that causes them to have to rethink their decision. In the process they weaken the wrestler losing the title and the title itself, which brings me to my next grievance…
The Lack Of Importance Put On Titles
As established above, a wrestler who is able to finally grab hold of a title should be seen as evidence of their hard work and determination. Yet the titles in WWE has held such little value in recent times that instead of an accomplishment it seems like something to keep them busy. This is especially the case for upper-midcarders/main eventers who have nothing to do so they strap a belt on them to make them feel important. The problem is that when a belt lacks prestige, holding the belt serves no value to its owner.
You see, my above annoyance and the one I’m currently venting about falls under the same umbrella: prestige. I’ve mentioned this in the introduction to prestige but now you can see how these two annoyances correlate with one another. With a lack of importance put on titles and a lack of holding a title belt in high regard it devalues not only the belt and ensuing champion but the entire lineage of the belt itself. What good is it touting how many greats has held the belt when you treat the belt like rubbish? Does that not spit on the legendary lineage of a title belt?
For every HHH and The Rock to have held the Intercontinental Championship there are the Shane Douglas and Ryback’s of the world. Admittedly, thanks to Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens in 2015, the Intercontinental Championship has been living up to its prestige. The United States Championship is also in an upswing of sorts thanks to Samoa Joe. My point is that WWE needs guys like Samoa Joe and Finn Balor to hold onto the belt for a time befitting of a great run. That, coupled with good to great matches and at least one interesting feud during the reign, will result in titles getting back the prestige that it deserves.
At the end of the day WWE undervalues it’s titles with unworthy champions; short, ineffective title reigns; a neverminded attitude to how storylines concerning certain belts are booked and a lack of importance placed on certain belts. There is an easy fix though.
WWE needs to ensure that they get the picks for their champions right the first time. That way WWE wouldn’t need to hotshot their title belts due to them placing the belt on an uncertain act in the first place. If a title belt is in capable hands then the belts would stay in one place for a prolonged period of time which in turn would build the prestige level of the title by making the belt feel more important. Also, wrestlers holding midcard titles should take the Samoa Joe route by wanting that belt to be the top title on their brand. They need to show passion and desire to hold onto the belt for as long as they possibly can. Once all of these things come together their would be an importance factor that could quite possibly enhance a wrestler who holds the belt and perhaps even enhance the entire product.
I think it’s safe to say that prestige is vital.
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. What are some of the things that annoy you the most in WWE? Please leave a comment below. You can also follow me on Twitter @donfranclop or pop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any and all feedback is always much appreciated. But until next time…
This is Don Franc signing out.