Because I sort of needed a pick me up moment and I decided to look at the current WWE product that I don’t follow that closely to see if there was anything about it that is actually appealing. Generally, and admittedly mostly deserved, the feedback for most of the WWE’s programming is negative. However, there are some things that they do better than others. This list will get a bit dicey at the end because it’s hard to come up with five but I tried my best. In order:
Roman Reigns - Roman clearly is the top performer they have. He feels like the biggest star in North American wrestling. Ever since his heel turn he has been booked strong and he has delivered great promos and has a good matches. He is booked much stronger than any AEW talent. You would have to think if he somehow showed up on the AEWTV the fans wouldn’t react negatively and he would likely win the title on his debut. They’ve done an excellent job and making him seem like the biggest star wrestling has, not just in WWE.
Women’s Wrestling - Although the gap is narrowing, the WWE women’s division is much stronger than ARE. Performers like Sasha Banks, Askua, Bailey, and likely Charlotte and Becky are better than anyone AEW has. NXT also has Tony storm and Io. It’s just a pack division with lots of talent, and although it could be booked better in general I look forward to their women’s matches more than AEW although the lights out match was probably near the top women’s match I’ve seen. I expect this gap to keep narrowing though.
Presentation - WWE audience is up from a year ago at this time. That hasn’t happened in years. A major reason is they’ve adapted to their presentation from the performance centre and the Thunderdome actually looks pretty good. On top of that wrestlemania looked good. When you watch other promotions you can see that the level of presentation just isn’t as high. WWE does a good job of trying to make the shows look better now during the pandemic and I think is a reason the ratings haven’t fallen as much as you would have thought. People like seeing things that look nice and it looks nice and better than the competition.
Celebrity involvement - They have done a good job of having celebrities step in and actually deliver good matches. Bad bunny and Pat McAfee both over delivered in their first match. It’s clear that unlike before where they would just throw anyone in there taking the time to use people that are willing to learn a bit of wrestling. AEW did have a reasonable match with Shaq, although the recent stuff with Snoop Dogg wasn’t that good at all. I think in general the WWE celebrity matches have been much better and actually over delivered.
Diversity (announcing) - yes I’m really stretching here. However I wanted to come up with five. WWE tries to incorporate people of colour and women into their various announcing teams. With Adnan, as well as others you can see a clear attempt to try and do this. I’m not saying the announcing is good, nor are these the best people, but the effort is there. AEW seems to generally have only white male hosts, even for their dark and new series where they hired Paul Wight. You don’t see people of colour announcing and you don’t see women. Again this might change and they’re probably just using people they think are good, but it’s different. I do like the AEW’s announcing although I don’t think it’s a great either, but in the future it would be nice if they mixed it up a little if they found the right person.
That’s all I’ve got. Yes it was a struggle at the end
I completely agree with number 3 and 5. In these uncertain times as we’re all in this together to flatten the curve, the Thunderdome is a great idea that’s executed really well. Trying to get through those empty PC shows was getting hard. I’d just like to see more of the virtual audience wearing masks, not only to protect the performers, but maybe shame anyone at home watching to mask up to show respect for the performers.
Diversity is our greatest strength. If anything, we’re closer together and stronger now than we ever were in the past 4 years. I’d like to think the WWE announcing crew has a little to do with that. I’d rather hear a mediocre POC call the action instead of a competent white person. It just seems more fair and I commend WWE for sticking with Booker T announcing for as long as they did, no matter how awful he was. Sure Gordon Solie, Jesse Ventura, Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, Gene Okerlund, Jim Ross, and Tony Schivone were/are great competent announcers, but they all have the same thing in common, and that’s just not fair. Kudos to WWE for finally recognizing that the most qualified doesn’t always deserve the job.
Number 5 was a stretch as I said. I would never say hire an inferior POC or female. But I think giving some of them a chance if they are good isn’t a bad thing. If you don’t start somewhere you will never get anywhere either.
I like AEWs team but JR isn’t great anymore and comes across a little off putting and Paul Wight isn’t even an announcer. There will be be chance to give someone such as a female and visible minority a chance at some point that is qualified.
For as much as WWE does wrong, I think diversity in 2021 is definitely a strength compared to their North American competitors. Just look at this years mania card, in the top 3 matches (Edge/Bryan/Roman, Sasha/Bianca, Drew/Lashley) you have 4 out of the 7 participants which are POC. In other promotions, you will struggle to find anyone of color in the main event scene.
I actually think outside of NXT the women could be much better than it is. The women’s rosters on the main shows feel incredibly shallow. One either show I only can buy 2-3 performers having a shot at the title right now.
Ya, the woman’s division is very top heavy. They have legit stars in the 4 horsewoman, Asuka, and Bianca, but thats it on the main roster, and all these performers outside of Bianca have had multiple feuds with each other. To keep the division strong you really need to build new stars for these woman to feud with, but I wont give them too much of a hard time because they did just create a star in Bianca, hopefully they keep her momentum going.
I don’t really get what they are doing with Roman Reigns. It is totally against how you traditionally book a heel. Heels usually rely on Heel tactics yet you have the feeling he would beat any face anywhere and anyhow no matter what. He wins as a heel Wrestlemania which does not happen usually. There are no faces he elevates or who you expect to beat him. There is certainly no other heel that would make a turn at some point seem great. Again they booked themselves into a corner. Furthermore they did good by putting Paul E. Dangerously with him because Roman cannot make these scripted promos work if his life depended on it. But still maybe he is the one good strawberry in a box full of really bad looking ones at the moment.
Presentation: I am very annoyed by these cuts they do during the matches to work around bad workers and botches. I feel like I am in a bad action movie seeing that.
Celebrities: WWE was really mad at Snoop Dogg for being at the AEW show so I guess they did something right there.
Diversity: Anthony Ogogo was on commentary alot and Taz is on commentary quite often. Both POC other than that I don’t really get why across the pond this is such a controversial topic. How would commentary get better because you have a variety of ethnicities sitting at the desk? Is there any evidence or data that the product becomes better?
You might bei right. His last name is a little Italian village at least. I bet 100 years ago Italians would have been counted as POC. I don’t really get why Mexicans or South Americans are POC then and Italians aren’t? Hair color and complexion are pretty much the same.
What is wrong with that? Not everything has to be booked the same all the time. Bad guys don’t always have to cheat. They can be bad guys, because they are cocky and talk a lot of shit and you want to see a baby face shut them up.
I don’t know what shows you are watching. Surely not current WWE if you’re calling Heyman by his 90s name, but this is such a bullshit comment and reeks of something that someone would say, who can’t get over how he was booked in the past. “Paul E. Dangerously” hardly even says much in these promos. Roman has been killing it since he’s come back and anyone with an ounce of a brain, can see there has been huge progress and maybe even some acting lessons involved.
I feel like Roman is booked as a strong heel but he does cheat (using Jey USO) to win. He rarely wins outright clean. But he’s usually dominant which is fine and refreshing.
Not every heel has to be booked like the honky-tonk man where they lose 90% of the match and win on a fluke or by cheating. You start to believe they couldn’t beat a jobber. You can have champions that as a heels still do heel things and cheap shots but look very dominant. Think of HHH during his run as well.
Roman reigns became a heel after becoming one of their most dominant face wrestlers. It would make no sense for him to walk in there and start losing and suddenly being unable to wrestle at all. That kind of mindset is dumb - if somebody was winning matches convincingly as a face and turns heel they shouldn’t certainly lose the ability to wrestle. It makes sense what they’re doing in that he still very dominant but he starts to use some heel tactics.
I would challenge you to find anyone else in North American wrestling that feels like a bigger star than Roman reigns right now in terms of exuding star power and an attraction people want to see.
I don’t think you mean it this way, but your post reads like you are saying that the choice is either “competent white person” or “mediocre POC”, which implies there are no competent POC which I disagree with.
On a lower tier show (ie. Superstars, Dark etc.) I think its fine to have mediocre announces if you feel that they can become something and they just need reps to get better, but on the main shows (ie. Raw, SD, Dynamite etc.) I don’t think you should have anyone who is “mediocre” regardless of their skin color. I think having announces who are POC is a good thing, but just put someone in that spot who’s good, there are plenty of options (Samoa Joe, MVP, etc.).