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The Problem With WWE (a fan's letter to management)

This is a letter I wrote to WWE in December of 2015 after months and months of frustration with them. The product was terrible and I genuinely did not like sitting through Raw every Monday (I'm a creature of habit so I never cut it out entirely. Sue me). So I made the decision to make a list of all of my grievances and send it into the company in Stamford, Connecticut.

"Dear WWE,

Your product is not good and it is your fault. Not the talent who have tried effortlessly to make things work. Not the fans who have supported your business and tried telling you who they want pushed. And not the critics who have an issue with your product even when it is good. The problem is simply with you.

There are a couple points that need to be made:

Roman Reigns is not John Cena.

I like John Cena. He's a good wrestler with great charisma that has held the top spot for longer than some people are even in the business. His character has been stale for 7+ years yet WWE hasn't had to turn him heel because he still sells out in merchandise. He's still huge even when half of the people in the stands hate him. Roman Reigns doesn't have that.

Right now, Reigns is running on fumes. The only reason he's over with the kids is because he's booked to never lose, which kids can't get enough of. And the only reason he's over with the female audience is because he's handsome. He isn't always going to be the "up and coming" guy, and that interest will depart.

People don't respect Reigns. I know that I don't. He's been handed everything on a silver platter. He was in arguably one of the greatest groups of all time in The Shield where he was carried by Seth Rollins in the ring and Dean Ambrose on the mic. Look back at all of those great Shield matches and you'll notice that Reigns doesn't do much.In fact, his finish has been the same for three years.

Reigns has a terrible finisher. The spear is something that when it looks good, it's amazing. Just look at Goldberg and Rhyno, two people who delivered absolutely brutal looking spears. Then look at Edge and Reigns, where the move looks like it'd hardly take someone to the ground, let alone take them out for the three count. And Roman has done nothing to change that. He still uses the same moves that he did while in The Shield.

Sasha Banks is the future of the company

Ask any wrestling fan who the best female wrestler in the company is and 90% will say Sasha Banks. Hell, ask who the best WRESTLER is in the company and Sasha's name likely pops up (now that Rollins is gone on injury, I'd say she legitimately is the best in the company). And WWE has been sure not to destroy her character. To my best recollection, Sasha has not been pinned or submitted in a match on Raw or Smackdown. That's a big deal.

So why is WWE not treating it like it is?

The only consistent chant in WWE these days outside of "What?" is "We Want Sasha!" and yet WWE doesn't deliver. They want to hold them back. They say it's to make us want them more and that it's a long term plan. But then why isn't Reigns treated like that? If we chanted "We Want Roman" he'd be in two more segments and every poster for getting that kind of reaction. Yet Sasha gets it every week and isn't rewarded in the slightest.

Predictable = LAME

Why are we being treated to the SAME Raw every week. It's always the same thing, and when they do try and do something different, they repeat it enough that it all becomes formulaic. That comes with Kevin Dunn."

And this is where I stopped. I was simply done with being so negative, it wasn't very appealing to me. I found myself getting tired just complaining about the product. So instead of completing the letter, I decided to do something about it. I stopped watching the product when I wasn't happy with what was happening. I'd start watching Raw and if WWE didn't do enough to impress me within the first hour, I was gone. And as for Smackdown, that was cut out of the rotation. Even NXT, my absolute favorite brand in wrestling, couldn't do it for me. I needed my issues to be addressed. And you know what?

They did it.

Is the product anything amazing right now? No, absolutely not. In fact, in some parts it's worse than it's ever been (lower to mid-card booking is just plain terrible. I've seen more Owens/Ziggler matches than I care to count.) but overall, the product has improved. And how did they do this? Well, working our way backwards, they finally started to take away the predictability from Raw. They tried new camera angles, new segment placement, and a reinvigorated roster.

Sure, the predictability changes could just be due to the fact that the WWE doesn't have any of its regular top guys. Bryan has retired and Rollins, Cena, Orton, and Cesaro are injured so WWE has been forced to push new guys. So this unpredictability could change once the summer months hit and more people start coming back from injury (barring injuries to others or setbacks) and WWE can manage the same ole, same ole with their top stars. Only time will tell.

And hey look, they're finally doing something cool with Smackdown! While the brand hasn't been relevant in a very long time, it's been picking up ever since the move to the USA Network. The greatest improvement with the show is the replacement of Michael Cole with Mauro Ranallo on commentary. Not only has Ranallo done his research, providing unique insight we'd never get otherwise, but he actually calls the action in the ring! What an idea, eh?

Next we have Sasha Banks, who I continue to say will be the future of the company. I'm sorry but she's just too damn good and Triple H loves her which means she'll be getting prime placement for years to come. She's currently on track for a Diva's title match at Wrestlemania (rumor has it being a triple threat also involving Becky Lynch) and is likely going to walk away with the title. Even if she doesn't, she still hasn't been pinned or submitted since she's come up to the Main Roster, a feat not many women achieve in WWE.

Going back to unpredictability for a minute, if you had told me back in December that we'd be seeing AJ Styles in a WWE ring then I would have told you how stupid you were, using a very long winded speech where I constantly insulted your intelligence while also talking up my own. It was that unlikely. And then it fucking happened. Not only that, but we're also getting Shinsuke Nakamura in NXT.

Now, if you're solely into WWE, then you likely don't know about Nakamura but let me tell you that he may just be the greatest wrestler in the world. Sorry, Rollins. Coming from New Japan Pro Wrestling, he and AJ Styles put on one of the best matches I've ever seen at Wrestle Kingdom 10, and the thought of getting a match like that in WWE is like having a premonition of a complete revolution. Again, good job, World Wrestling Entertainment.

Unfortunately, WWE is failing to address their biggest issue of them all: Roman Reigns. The same problems that existed before, still exist today and have even been amplified in some regards. One of the few things that Reigns had going for him is that he takes his licks like a man, and takes severe beatings for the crowd. Except that he doesn't. On a recent Raw, a fan camera discovered Byron Saxton handing Roman Reigns a blood packet for what would be a "broken nose spot." That's right, those moments of Roman getting his ass kicked, where he shows blood and is supposed to help get him over with the crowd, is just as fake as the events around him. He's not a badass. He's management's choice.

And the WWE Universe has firmly decided against it.

Vince and Co. can try as much as they want to try and push Reigns but after two years, the Universe has decided that they're not buying it. Reigns has been booed two PPV's in a row (it would be more but he got over briefly at TLC) and is looking to get booed at Mania yet again. The experiment is over. If they don't understand that yet, then they will after Wrestlemania 32, where Reigns flops yet again.

Ultimately, this is a large reason why I will not be at Wrestlemania in Dallas this year. I don't want to support Reigns as the top guy and I would get great glee in knowing that WWE didn't reach the magic 100K number, all because of their stubbornness over who is going to be in the main event. Will it still happen? Who knows, as WWE sure is stubborn and has a rabid fanbase.

So while WWE certainly has done some things to improve the product in just two months time, I'm still not happy enough with it to step back into it full on. I will still be skipping every Reigns segment, and multitasking during Raws, but there's enough pieces at play for them where the sky is the limit, and I'm excited about the future again. Because, you know...

Here comes the mon-ayy!!!

Random Thoughts for February 2016

Life has been busy. Between starting a new job and putting all the final touches on the book, free time has been limited but dammit if it isn't extremely fulfilling. I'm the type of person that is only really happy when I'm progressing with my goals and can see the results right in front of me. So having a completed book, that I've gone over with a fine tooth comb, sitting in front of me is one of the more satisfying experiences I've had in my life. I can only imagine how I'll feel when I actually have a physical copy in front of me.

My "Battlestar Galactica" binge has been halted. Otherwise I may have
ended up finishing the entire series in just a manner of weeks which may not have been deemed healthy. See, my Bluray for Season 3 had an error and they gave me two Disc 3's and zero Disc 1's. Simple mistake that I thought Universal had taken care of promptly but they made yet another mistake and sent me Season Three Disc 3 AGAIN. And on DVD. I just can't catch a break. So it's been almost two months since this whole ordeal has started and it still isn't resolved. I'm not sure if I'll ever get the correct disc.

Go play some "Life is Strange." I kept hearing of it being placed on all sorts of Game of the Year lists, but something failed to intrigue me. Then Marc made a blind buy over Christmas Break, and that was that. As soon as I started it, the characters immediately hooked me. Max and Chloe are two of the best characters I've ever encountered in the medium of video games. While the story contributes to that, the acting by these women is truly inspiring and provides a whole new world of artistry. By the time the game ended, I was absolutely bawling at the journey the developers brought me on. Even now, going over the events of the game in my head, I'm getting a little sad. It hits that deep. While I can't say I'll be revisiting it anytime soon due to care for my own mental wellness, I can't encourage you enough to play one of the greatest games ever made.

"The Crimson Summer" is coming! I have an editor and cover artist and I'm slowly starting to figure out a release date but it's looking like late April. It's crazy that this is even happening since I've always dreamed of releasing a book but didn't think it'd be plausible so young. It should be available for pre-order next month, so keep an eye out so you don't miss it.

Trying to reconnect with my childhood for some reason. For me, that means that I've been watching some movies that were a big part of my youth that I hadn't seen in some time. It's been primarily Disney movies which has made it an interesting experience. Rewatching Aladdin reminded me why I loved it so much as a kid.

Marc helped me build a computer. Which means I finally actually have a computer. It's taken a little getting used to since I haven't had a desktop in many years. Still, I'm excited to be able to actually have some kind of computer in my room that isn't just a cellphone. The random need to write comes up to often for me and therefore a lot of writing happened on my phone. Not exactly the most ideal solution so I'm glad that I'll have a better outlet. Especially once I start the second book.

I recently turned 25 and nothing changed. I guess I was expecting some kind of big change, like with past years, but this one was just another change. Sure, my insurance changes but that's not exactly something that's not manageable. It's nice though, my own father had a four-year-old and a eight-year-old at this age. I have no responsibility that even comes close to that. It's both a relief and something that's risen my respect-level for those that do it.

I'm still deciding on Book Two. I have several ideas for what I want to do, but I still haven't quite made the decision as to which one I'm going for. I have one idea completely plotted out, another outlined, and others just brewing around in my head. I won't make that decision until after Crimson Summer has been released, so as not to distract myself, but the thought has still been lingering. There are a lot of choices to be made and the possibilities have me quite excited.

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