WWE's Calculated Risk of Main Event Consolidation - Wrestle Newz twitter google

WWE’s Calculated Risk of Main Event Consolidation

The good news for WWE was that Big Show was trending on Twitter on Monday night and throughout the wee hours of the morning. The bad news is that most of the people tweeting about Big Show were either ripping him or ripping WWE for the angle they booked him in with Daniel Bryan.

For WWE, Monday’s show was the true ‘go home’ show before the upcoming Night of Champions PPV in Detroit. Next week, a lot of eyeballs will be glued to ESPN to watch RG 3 vs. the Eagles and then the Houston Texans get the nightcap game. Some big television markets will be preoccupied with football consumption.

As ‘go home’ shows go, this was a fascinating show to watch if you are intrigued by the logic of the powers-that-be that control wrestling’s biggest promotion.

Most of the online reaction to RAW has been negative, so there’s no need to dwell on the general consensus. What intrigues me the most about Hunter & Stephanie dominating the booking of WWE is their logic and the way they construct (or destruct) programs. A major risk they are taking now is revolving all the top angles in the company around one universal main event angle, one theme — the corporatists vs. the anti-Establishment figures. Every angle in the company, including Punk vs. Heyman, now has been touched by the main angle involving Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton. It’s quite amazing to see Daniel Bryan carry the ball on the microphone as much as he carries the action in the ring. He’s really worked his ass off.

Up until a few weeks ago, Bryan vs. the McMahons and Punk vs. Heyman were two separate programs. They still kind of are, but not so much now. There’s a risk of alienating the hardcore fans that were more into the Punk program, but the risk is that the strongest angle involves Bryan and that the heat from it should be attached to Punk/Heyman.

The introduction of Big Show into the anti-Establishment army, or least the appearance of it (he’s swerved you before and he’ll swerve you again in the future), kind of sucked some oxygen away from Bryan on RAW. The idea is that Show, Dolph Ziggler, Miz, and other wrestlers can’t fight back against The Establishment or their hired goons, The Shield, is pretty straight-forward booking. What’s made it so over-the-top is the insistence or influence by Stephanie McMahon to go with the waterworks for Big Show. Show is a ham at heart today, which is definitely something I didn’t see coming when he was the green giant in WCW in 1996.

The way Show was integrated into the program has people in a tizzy. In a nod to actually acknowledging past stipulations, Hunter and Stephanie mentioned that Show had an ‘iron clad’ contract thanks to Johnny Ace. However, no contract is iron clad if you breach it and don’t follow orders. So, Show has to be Hunter’s muscle and watch Bryan get beat up or get beat down, even if it’s Show doing the punching. And the hook as to Show’s motive by Stephanie is that he’s broke. This drew a lot of heat online as not being realistic. Uh, hello? Welcome to the wrestling business. If Ric Flair, free spender, and Hulk Hogan, noted penny pincher in the past, can lose almost everything, so can Big Show. Divorce, back taxes, and living on the road can wipe our your savings if you aren’t careful. Steph also said that since Show is broke and he’s a giant, he’s going to die an early death and therefore needs to take care of his family for the future. Steph did know of a giant that died early and his name was Andre.

Is Stephanie’s booking too over-the-top, reality-tv-centered, soap-opera-ish? Of course. And the success of Total Divas just reinforces her future influence on the company’s booking. It also helps to have someone like Big Show who just loves to live for the moment and is willing to embarrass himself on television to get an angle over. The guy’s a pro’s pro. You can understand the logic of why Hunter & Stephanie booked the angle the way they did.

The risk they’re taking here is that Bryan is basically a punching bag from week to week. Why risky? Because if he keeps getting beat up, will people just give up on him when he actually makes his come back? I don’t think fans will give up, but there’s a chance they might and thus the program gets colder. Furthermore, with Hunter extending the “what’s best for business” angle into other programs, it makes the corporatists the heels. The issue? Where does the money from the paying customers go? It goes in the pockets of the heels. And the heels are going to be around running WWE for a hell of a lot longer than the wrestlers currently in the main event program who the fans want to see beat up the owners. WWE’s calculation is that fans aren’t going to over-think things. They just want to watch a fantasy world of reality and go to the shows.

In extending the tentacles of the main event program into other angles, there is a risk of suffocating originality and oxygen away from some pretty creative minds (Heyman). There’s also the potential for reward if it means elevating languishing players in mid-level programs to top tier status.

Example one: the Heyman/Punk feud. A week after Heyman beat the hell out of Punk with a cane, Heyman is complaining about the risk of getting in the ring with Punk for a beatdown. Turns out that it was Hunter’s idea. Now, why would a heel throw another heel under the bus? A few months ago, Hunter was a face feuding with Lesnar. Now they’re both heels but they’re snakes who hate each other. Logically, it makes sense. The question is where it does leave Punk once he gets his payback. Will he continue to feud with Lesnar or will he get dragged in the feud against Hunter, Stephanie, and Vince? It’s been curious to see the Heyman/Punk feud basically get second-class status now as a program despite all the hard work from the participants involved.

Example two: Cody Rhodes getting fired, randomly, out of nowhere. Hunter decides to give Randy Orton a pellet to collect and in this case, it’s the kayfabe career of Rhodes. Out of nowhere, this stipulation appears with no build-up. Out of nowhere, there’s talk that Cody is engaged and now has to support his future wife. And we get a good 13 minute match but the ending involves Hunter firing Rhodes.

After he got ‘fired’ on TV, Rhodes let loose in a backstage promo.

“Randy Orton beat me fair and square, that’s what happened! He was the better man! I lost! That happens. It was that damn stipulation, if I lose… I get fired? My job, my dream. I shouldn’t be surprised because for over two decades, for over two decades the McMahons have hated the Rhodes. My Dad set Florida on fire, he was a Hall of Famer, he shows up here and they put him in polka dots and make him dance. My brother was a second generation stud, The Natural, and I loved him. And they put him in gold paint and he has never been the same.”

The great irony about this promo? On camera during the Rhodes/Orton match, there was a fan in the front row wearing a black shirt with yellow polka dots in honor of Dusty Rhodes. Either WWE pulled a (great) fast one by having a plant on television or they got the best example of dumb fan luck for good timing. It was funny.

Cody’s interview was a great promo. It was inspired. It was everything we knew Rhodes could say and pull off when the shackles are unleashed. The question is why he has been leashed by management for so damn long. Consider the fact that he was stuck in a tag team with Damien Sandow that absolutely bombed. They split up after Sandow sabotages him and wins the Money in the Bank briefcase. Rhodes goes on to beat him at Summerslam, beats him the next night on RAW, and then… nothing. The program doesn’t draw heat and you know why it doesn’t draw heat? Because Damien Sandow is a glorified jobber on WWE television. He was on a jobbing streak before the MITB match, he was on a jobbing streak leading into Summerslam, and he’s been jobbing like a carpenter post-Summerslam. And WWE management wonders why neither Rhodes or Sandow got over.

So, Hunter decides to push the reset button by giving Rhodes a new start… by firing him. Eventually, he’ll come back and get his revenge on the McMahon family and get cheered for it. The logic here makes sense in terms of extending the main event program and including a guy like Cody Rhodes in the mix to help revive his career. That’s a way you pull off angle consolidation.

Will the consolidation pay off or back fire? It could go either way, but at least I can understand some of the booking logic behind the moves. Hey, at least WWE remembers past stipulations (on occasion).

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Danny.Rocks.Mountain.Tops Daniel Vollmer

    yeah, the ending to Raw just took a lot of it out of me….I think that this is just another program to make Triple H look amazing and feed his ego….that’s all it is….

    • JH

      Triple H has been awesome, and given his lofty job title he can do what he wants, he’s Vince’s successor both on screen and off, this angle isn’t about getting HHH’s character over so I don’t see HHH’s real life ego at all in the, the entire angle is built around stacking all the odds against Bryan, and when it’s all said and done, he’s probably going to come out on top and establish himself as one of the tippy top dogs in the WWE.

  • Devon

    I have lost complete faith in this story. Orton has sucked. Steph has been good. HHH has been good but he is just feeding his ego. Him & Orton feed themselves wit Vinces asscheeks & his fuckin grapefruits. And they are makin Show a major pussyassbitch!!! And Bryan should be champ & I want Cena back

  • Mr. Creative

    If implemented properly this new corporation storyline can elevate mid level programs & superstars to higher tier status.
    On the 9/9/13 episode of Raw I am looking for the tides to start to turn. We have seen them beat the dead horse, now it’s time to see the horse kick back. There has been a continued redundency of seeing Bryan being beat down & Orton standing over him that has some fans starting to get pissed off & the feeling the program is getting stale.
    They can keep the general storyline/premise the same, all they need to do is start putting in more twists & turns, so it doesn’t turn some off by being ‘boring‘ in repeating the same ending to Raw. We are going to be seeing Bryan get beat down & struggle until finally ( I say at WM) he is at the top of the mountain & in some sense beat the Corporation, while holding the WWE title in his hands. I know we will be seeing a lot of this but change it up just enough to make it feel fresh.

    I see many of the mid-cards get steam from this. After Heath Slater & 3MB’s 101th beat down & being used as crash test dummies/jobbers I say it’s well time for them to either change their tune (get it?) or split up. I clearly see the attack on Heath as a face turn for him. I am just wondering if the other two will follow or will one of them go to the Corporate dark side? I say two turn face & remain a tag team (tag team division is starting to warm up again) & the other one goes corporate. Jinder has that heel look & feel, so if it happens let him be it. Unless they intend to have 3MB be the underdog & finally win over The Shield (we now just need a reason to cheer for them for when they do). I like to see Ryder pulled into the storyline, because he’s got plenty of reasons to be pissed with Corporate & holding him back… canceling his show, etc. After seeing R-Truth’s Hell in the Cell poster I got the feeling he will change back to being a heel & confirm the conspiracy is true! I just wonder how little jimmy feels about it? I like how Punk is involved with Axel & Ziggler with Ambrose & the US title. I see their involvement being helpful in pushing the mid-card talent & rubbing their heat onto them. With great feuds & storyline it can work wonders. Rhodes had a great promo & after his honeymoon/R&R I will be glad to see him return with a push into Main Event, which is long over due.
    I am keeping the faith in that this grand storyline will unfold in pure awesomeness. It’s got great potential, let’s just hope it doesn’t take a wrong turn. Or that a certain someone’s ego gets too big. Let’s also hope they realized the mistakes they made thus far & stray away from them moving forward.

    Show’s performance on Raw was a bit over acted but I feel there was a reason for that. You mentioned the Total Divas influence, that is possible. But I felt it was because eventually Show is going to reveal he never had money issues, he just made it look that way, so he could be the inside guy. I see the over acting as Show fooling them & make them think he is weak, etc. When he clearly is not. By the way the whole point of the Iron Clad contract was that he could do or say whatever he wanted & no one can hold him back anymore. I actually remember him saying that when it first happened. What happened on Raw made it sound like it’s less iron & more of it being just a contract. When Show does turn on Corporate I expect him to point out that they did not read the small print in his Iron Clad contract to further embarass the McMahons & finally get back by making them look like fools.

    I agree about Sandow. Listen I don’t mind him losing, but sometimes too much is just that. What is important is you either continue the feud, or make a new one. They didn’t do either & he ended up jobbing. At least put the guy in a decent feud. Ok he will lose some, he will win some, but it will be more entertaining than seeing him just job every week & it will keep us fans glued. And that goes for all the wrestlers on the roster. I for one support the storyline & can see the great potential it has, if they write/book it properly by having a good creative flow. Having it tied together and how one match may effect another could be every interesting. But don’t over do it. Seeing constant match interferences may make a match less intriguing. Occasionally, fine.. just don’t over do it. I like to see quality matches as much as the next guy.

    • jcice13

      what exactly does the word implimently mean? unless part of your creative abilities are inventing words?

  • Abudadein

    Big Show should head to New Japan, the second biggest pro-wrestling company in the world….

  • What if?

    What if Show, The Miz, Ziggler, Punk and Bryan formed a team funded by Shane to face The Shield and Orton and HHH? Angle it as Who gets control of The company once pops leaves it?

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