Friday, July 29, 2016

Worldwide Wrasslin’ Focus: So Much God Damn Good Wrestling

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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1 comment:

  1. I am exponentially perplexed as to why Bayley did not get drafted to RAW or Smackdown. I dug her appearance at the PPV, but to have the announcers repeatedly remind us that is was a one-off and that she is still in NXT just rubbed salt in the wound. My guess is WWE is saving her for one more big NXT match at Takeover Brooklyn II before she officially jumps on the main roster.

    I am with you on there being too much programming. I am thankful I at least watch the Hulu version of RAW that trims that show in down by half. Comparing Hulu RAW to full length RAW I only miss out on a couple segments each week as the Hulu RAW trims out most (not all) entrances and hourly recaps that dominate the live airing of RAW.

    To sum it up though four hour PPV on Sunday (I am a sucker for the hour preshow and really dig their kickoff panel), 1 1/2 hour Hulu RAW and 2 hour Smackdown is too much. Agreed, it was all really good this week though and this was the first time I really enjoyed Smackdown in forever. You neglected however to mention WWE's two hour Tuesday night block though with NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic tournament. I added it all up, and thanks to Hulu cutting out commercials and their condensed RAW it made it into 9 hours of WWE programming from Sunday through Tuesday. TOOOOOO much!

    On a sidenote what did you make of the new announce teams and other production tweaks they did like new theme songs, announce table moves, slight production set tweaks and cameras they implemented on the shows? I noticed they brought back the XFL skycam from the grave. Good on them!


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