Tha Sports Junkies 101

Flawed Booking May be WWE’s Downfall

Vince McMahon losing his step? Randall Chancellor via Wikimedia Commons


The Booking Back Story

WWE and Vince McMahon have seen a significant drop in both live event attendance and Pay Per View buys as well as lower than projected new WWE Network Subscriptions over the past several months. In quarterly earnings reports, WWE appears to be doing well. Profits are up and cash flow seems to be increasing. These reports make it seem like WWE has nothing to worry about. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

WWE has seen record lows for Live Event attendance. Raw and Smackdown Live have seen crowd sizes shrinking dramatically. It should be no surprise that this week, as Ring of Honor World Champion Cody and fellow Bullet Club members Hangman Page, Marty Scurll, and the Young Bucks led a march to “Invade” Raw, fans who were interviewed revealed that their tickets to the event were free due to low ticket sales. Only a week ago pictures surfaced showing a half empty arena for Smackdown Live. Before that, shots depicting fans walking out of a the arena ahead of 205 Live went viral. This cannot sit well with Vince McMahon. This is the direct result of both predictable, repetitive, and unoriginal booking by the WWE creative team.

Missed Opportunities for Vince McMahon and WWE

WWE held the No Mercy Pay Per View last weekend and there was an opportunity to blow fans away with several matches on the card. We had an insane match for the Raw Tag Team Championship that came complete with Cesaro having 2 teeth implanted into his skull. We had an emerging star in Jason Jordan put on a clinic and the continued historic run of a great Intercontinental Champion in the Miz. The blockbuster match between John Cena and Roman Reigns was on the card. Finally, we had the main event of Brock Lesnar versus Braun Strowman. Vince McMahon must have been salivating at such an amazing card.

The issue is that we got a terrible Jason Jordan moment at the conclusion of his match. We have no mention of the historic nature of the Miz’s run. John Cena seemed to have cement shoes for the first part of his match. Roman Reigns is still being crammed down our throats. Then you have the most frustrating part. We have a Universal Champion who appears once every other month who defeats the most organically grown talent in years despite the wishes of the fans.

How does this happen?

The fact is that the creative teams and Vince McMahon think they have a grasp on how to develop long term booking ideas. They firmly believe that the main event at WrestleMania 34 should be Reigns vs Lesnar. They don’t seem to see the star power they have in many of their underutilized and underappreciated talents. We are stuck with the same matches for months on end. Feuds that generate no momentum at all are drawn out far too long. Others that fans actually have interest in are either horribly mismanaged or dropped too soon. Those who work the hardest never seem to get the push they deserve (Breezango any one?).

Vince McMahon has sat atop the wrestling world for so long that he doesn’t see the flaws in his booking. Fans want to see new matches. They are the ones investing in the network. One of the most frustrating tidbits to come out of WWE this week was the announcement of the return of Starrcade. Starrcade will be held November 25th with a predominantly Smackdown Live cast.

What we do or don’t get to see

There will be returning Legends like the Rock N Roll Express and Ricky Steamboat. The Hardy Boys will make an appearance. Included on the card are 2 steel cage matches. Bobby Roode will face Dolph Ziggler in what should be a technical masterpiece. Most importantly, none of us will see it. It is being left as a house show. This event is being designed to draw fan attendance from the WrestleCade Event being held the same weekend. It is not going to be on the network. We won’t get to see the Rock N Roll Express battle the Club. No seeing Shinsuke Nakamura and Jinder Mahal in a cage. We won’t get to witness Charlotte and Natalya for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a cage. What a waste of a great concept.

The Fix

Fortunately for WWE we are in a new generation of wrestling fandom. Fans are smart marks now. We know what is going on. That’s why we already hate WrestleMania 34 because a year ahead of time we know Roman Reigns will defeat Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title there.

That is exactly why Vince and the WWE creative teams need to start listening to what we want and stop assuming they know what they should give us. Give Breezango a Smackdown Tag Team Championship run. Give Dolph Ziggler a main event program. Have the Miz defeat Roman Reigns CLEAN! Allow Matt Hardy to become fully AWOKEN! Most of all, allow the fans to be the vehicle of change in WWE programming. Otherwise Ring of Honor and New Japan will continue to draw fans to their significantly better product. The Indy scene will continue to grow. WWE will continue to become less and less relevant.

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