Once upon a time (actually in 44 B.C.) Gaius Iulius Caesar used to get through with his correspondence while attending the circus or some other amusement in ancient Rome. And the audience was cheering on him because he didn’t join in the excitement, he didn’t participate and he just didn’t care what was going on in the arena.
Same goes for the WWE. They listen to the audience – the so-called WWE universe – they basically know what they want but they just don’t care. In contrary they do quite the opposite from what the majority of the audience wish for. The interesting part about is that the audience still appears for every other show anyway. When WWE is in town you need to go because that is your opportunity to make your feelings heard or seen. Maybe you are disappointed afterwards because your favourite wrestler didn’t win or had to suffer too much but at least you had your handwritten poster in one of the twenty cameras for a second or maybe two and you got one blurry picture from your favourite wrestler or cheered for him and he might have given you a glimpse. That made your day and you have just forgotten how mad you are at the WWE generally.
Tomorrow the WWE is in another town and the same goes on… and on… and on. Basically the audience could stay away from arenas all over the world as some kind of a statement, a protest. That would work and only that. If fans don’t attend the arenas anymore, don’t buy the merchandise, don’t watch on the telly, don’t write about in blogs, don’t express their thoughts on podcasts – then the WWE maybe would think about changes. But people will still express their thoughts, write in blogs, watch every RAW and Smackdown and certainly the PPV, they’ll definitely buy the merch and will for sure attend the arenas because there is this tiny glimmer of hope that the WWE at least does something right. This hope appears at the end of basically every second show. Sometimes there are some great cliffhangers and you get the idea that this could be the time that at the next show you could be really pleased. Just for the WWE creatives to turn your mood in a second again. It happens that often that you think to yourself: no, I’ll refuse to watch the next RAW because I know that I’ll be heavily disappointed again. Then, three days went by, you find yourself in front of the telly, watching RAW again – and getting disappointed again.
It’s that tiny hope for possibilities – that crazy little game the WWE gets their audience in masses with. It’s like in a totalitarian kingdom: the monarch stretches the amount of annoyance from one embarrassing level to another to notice how far he can go for the audience to go riot.
This year’s Royal Rumble match was decent, almost good and definitely funny at times, full of great scenes and moves. But there were two main things that made the whole event almost awful and a pain to watch: 1) the entry and later win of Batista; 2) the audience having a go on every match with YES! and ‘Daniel Bryan’ chants.
1) Personally I don’t have anything against Batista. He also – like any other wrestler in the ring – only does what he is said he should do. But I look at pictures from him one year ago when he still looked like a human being and now his head looks like the one of Milton Krest from James Bond: Licence to Kill just before it exploded. It terrifies me really because when I realized the similarities I now fear that it could do like that every other second. One year ago Batista still looked like a human being. Now he looks like – something else. He comes back just one week ago and already wins the Rumble and gets the Main Event at Wrestlemania?
Give me a break!
What message is that for all the hard workers in the WWE? That with all these fans behind you because you’re doing great in the ring not because of a huge body but with great facial expressions, with storytelling in the ring and outside the ring, yet you aren’t given a title shot or a big event / win at a PPV or considered a big star for the WWE? That you need to use some illegal remedies to pump your body, to give yourself an ugly enough face to be that super-human guy the WWE desperately wishes for?
When the audience in Pittsburgh cheered for Daniel Bryan almost constantly maybe there were some people who actually wanted to see Daniel Bryan. When Rey Mysterio appeared as the 30th and last Rumble participant the audience knew that there wouldn’t be Daniel Bryan anymore. So they turned on Rey Mysterio, cheered on him and even cheered for Seth Rollins when he eliminated Rey shortly after his entrance. That was quite ridiculous because the last person who could have an influence on Daniel Bryan’s appearance at the Rumble was Rey Mysterio. Besides this Daniel Bryan already had his match against Bray Wyatt. That was quite a good fight but with the wrong winner – according to the audience. So, Daniel Bryan lost and every other wrestler being in the ring from now on had to suffer for it. Especially Randy Orton vs. Super Cena was ridiculous to listen to. It wasn’t a good match, that’s for sure because at the end the both of them just repeated themselves with their finishing moves. When Punk hits the GTS on an opponent everyone knows that Punk will win the match in a second. When anyone hits his finishing move on Super Cena everyone knows that he will stay alive. And this time again Orton could only win with cheating / distraction by the Wyatt Family. A cliffhanger I don’t really care about. Maybe Super Cena now gets a feud with the Wyatt’s while Orton has to deal with Batista. How exciting, WWE, how amazing!
But then the Daniel Bryan chants didn’t halt. And I think that he is now used as a symbol: everything the audience doesn’t like gets Daniel Bryan and YES! chants like the WWE creatives once used Daniel Bryan for: as the lonely fighter against The Authority. Unfortunately Daniel Bryan hasn’t got the aura, the charisma and the sharp tongue of CM Punk so that lone ranger role didn’t suit Bryan. So he was stuck in this feud with the Wyatt’s. First together with Punk and then alone. The YES! chants very fast separated themselves from Daniel Bryan and where fast quite like a protest chant by the audience towards The Authority and the WWE in general. Now they are back with Bryan but Bryan himself became some sort of a symbol. And when he isn’t there it works even more.
As much as I can understand the audience I am also heavily annoyed by the YES! and Daniel Bryan chants. It’s not only ridiculous but also a slap into the faces of the wrestlers in the ring who have to suffer by these chants. Boos and cheers at the end towards Batista was very much justified: Roman Reigns set a new record with twelve eliminations during one Royal Rumble while Batista got just four. He also entered very late as no.28 (and you can’t tell me that this was chosen by draw!) when most of the elimination work was already done.
There were still some great moments as I mentioned before: Punk in his Gracie Jiu-Jitsu hoodie once again, Dean Ambrose making his entrance through the ramp, Sheamus coming back, Dean Ambrose turning on Roman Reigns and last but not least: Punk’s slapstick number with El Torito. Like Dean Ambrose said today in one of his 392 interviews he had to do with Seth Rollins: as long as the WWE sells merch by The Shield the three guys won’t break up. So at tonight’s RAW after maybe some heated words they will once again swear unity and Ambrose will have to play the fool / weak link that almost broke up The Shield. Fabulous, WWE, you all are doing so phenomenally wrong.