Nothing defines risk aversion for WWE better than focusing on John Cena vs. Randy Orton… again.
Big men come and go in WWE but Vince’s fixation on pushing the next big man never stops. Mark Henry. Ryback. Big E. Langston. Roman Reigns. Some pan out and some don’t.
Stars come and go in WWE. Some of them are big and some of them are smaller like Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels. Vince McMahon doesn’t see enough in Daniel Bryan to justify taking the risk on a sustained, consistent push. He half-heartedly gave the guy a chance and then screwed around with him for three months on the top of some dreadful PPV finishes.
The irony of Bryan being the most over guy at Survivor Series despite the main event demotion was not lost on anyone.
John Cena beat Albert Del Rio yet again and put ADR in the unenviable position of a guy with a permanent glass ceiling in WWE. He’s liked enough to get pushed but not liked enough to go all-in with, warts and all. Better to go with the safe choice who sells the most merchandise to kids and women.
Randy Orton beat The Big Show in an awful main event. The fact that WWE went with this as the headliner in Boston while the Patriots & Broncos were captivating the masses on television says a lot. It was a match booked solely on the fact that both guys are established veterans who Vince has a comfortable track record with. Again, it was all about risk aversion. What WWE unfortunately doesn’t have an aversion to are horrible finishes to screw their most loyal PPV customers over with. Orton beat the Big Show in sloppy fashion and John Cena came out to tease yet another battle between the WWE’s two favorite leaders.
This is where the WWE is headed towards Royal Rumble 2014 and Wrestlemania 2014?
Last year, The Rock and John Cena delivered. John Cena vs. Randy Orton isn’t a match on that level. Wrestlemania was about doing big things and delivering even bigger surprises. Cena vs. Orton is completely the opposite of what Wrestlemania is all about. One can only hope that WWE doesn’t decide to go there for a Wrestlemania main event. The only thing worse would be Vince McMahon vs. Triple H in an Authority family feud.
One thing nobody could ever accuse Vince McMahon of was lacking confidence & boldness. He took chances. He took risks. When it was time to gamble on someone like Mike Tyson, Vince McMahon took the gamble. Where is that Vince McMahon right now? Where is the guy who put himself in a position to shave his own head in a bet with Donald Trump? Vince used to be a pro-wrestling version of John Madden or Brett Favre, a mad genius of a gunslinger. Now? He’s morphed into a pro-wrestling version of football coach John Fox, a guy who doesn’t mind give-up inside draws on 3rd and 10 in order to guarantee a punt on 4th down.
I don’t know where that guy is, but I suspect the new and improved Vince McMahon will resurface shortly on television. And when he does resurface, the tired & played out Authority angle that was a copycat of his own generational angle will remain at the center of the WWE booking universe. Safe, boring, risk averse, and stuck-in-the-mud. Is that the WWE’s philosophy headed into 2014? If it is, then the fans will be heading to the exits sooner rather than later.