|Photo from "Hell Yeah! Sasha Banks"|
Warning: Spoilers follow for Battleground, and Raw and Smackdown from the week of July 25.
I consider myself a wrestling fan, however, the current amount of product being put out by WWE on a weekly basis is seriously hampering my ability to keep up, even when the matches and storylines are worth following. Battleground was potentially the best PPV of the year, but it already feels like soup in my head because it was followed up by a three-hour Raw and a two-hour Smackdown.
All three programs were splendid, but ye gads. We’re talking about eight to nine hours of wrasslin’ in a three-day span! For a few years now, WWE has had an issue with fans being able to watch programs on tape or DVR delay, and their “solution” to this is seemingly to drown us all in content in the front portion of the week. It’d be one thing if Smackdown was still on Thursdays, because then at least there would be some breathing room.
Anyway, that being said, let me repeat that the three-day stretch featured probably the best wrestling and storyline focus of 2016 so far. The highlights were the ascension of Sasha Banks to the women’s champion, the nuclear pops she and Bayley got over the two days, and the pushes for Finn Balor, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose.
With all of these moments, the WWE has seemingly hit the reset button on its past practices, as David Shoemaker noted in a strong piece for The Ringer. There has seemingly been an emphasis on pushing better workers who are getting a crowd response, or on the wrestlers who will be a part of the next wave of WWE success.
It’ll be interesting to see how long it’ll last, and how committed WWE is to the change. In the past, they’ve seemingly done resets via factions or insurgent groups (Nexus, the Corre) but quickly flipped back to the status quo at the first sign of trouble. Online, there has been speculation that John Cena is going part-time because he’s in-demand in Hollywood. If that’s the case, it probably removes a large crutch the WWE had in the past and forces them to focus on Rollins, Ambrose, Balor, Sasha and others.
How this is making all of us wrasslin’ fans feel, from Death to All Marks:
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