I haven't written anything here since last WrestleMania season. It's no secret my interest in wrestling has dwindled since I launched the site in 2009, but I usually come back for the Rumble - Extreme Rules stretch as it's when WWE kicks it into high gear. But after last night's Royal Rumble, I'm officially closing up shop with our final entry here at Kick-Out!! Wrestling.
#CancelWWENetwork is still trending worldwide after last night's controversial finish, people are unhappy and it's not just because they dislike Roman Reigns. Honestly, I think most people actually like the guy, they just don't think he's WrestleMania main event worthy yet, which is a valid concern considering the guy has had one singles match on PPV in his entire WWE career. And it was against Randy Orton, so you know it wasn't anything special.
A lot of folks are saying "well what did you expect? This has been obvious since July," which is true, but this reaction has been obvious since August. I've never seen a rise so forced, WWE was going to make this happen no matter what and there was nothing that was going to change their mind. It's kinda like how the Republican Party picks a nominee for president, "it's Mitt Romney's turn!" But unlike the GOP, WWE had other options: Bray Wyatt looked like a beast, Dean Ambrose is still red hot despite a string of underwhelming PPV main events, Dolph Ziggler stopped The Authority just two months ago, Rusev is in prime Yokozuna territory right now, and of course, Daniel Bryan.
Bryan has a built-in story, he never lost the WWE Title and he returned just in time for the Rumble, how does he get eliminated unceremoniously after a couple minutes? That's just bad storytelling and you wouldn't stand for it on any other TV show.
Other folks, some might call them "assholes" have been pulling out the mocking HHH gif from last year, "did somebody not get what they want?" to troll those who are miffed. Yes, somebody didn't get what they want, that somebody would be "everybody."
And WWE knew this reaction would happen. Response to Roman has been tepid at best since his return from injury, he's getting a thin skin about it too, lashing out at fans in a radio interview last week with one of the weakest arguments ever, "if you've never been a wrestler you can't criticize me." Bullshit. I've never pitched a Major League Baseball game either, but I know when my team sucks.
So knowing this, WWE trotted out The Rock to put his stamp of approval on his cousin and that went over great for about 2.5 seconds, then fans saw right through that cynical attempt and continued booing. Letting The Rock speak for Reigns isn't going to help either because it's not like The Rock has been gone that long, he's beaten John Cena and CM Punk, they're just going to want to see him face Lesnar instead.
And WWE knowing this, doing it anyway and preparing for it, is why everyone is so angry. It's not really about Roman, it's about how WWE knew this is what their paying customers didn't want and still told them to shut up and like it. Don't get me wrong, I'm the first to say wrestling fans are an entitled bunch of reactionary, angry teenagers, but to pull a stunt like this two years in a row is a flat-out "fuck you" to your audience. It's trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, it's keeping an entire coaching staff and QB on payroll after a 1-15 season, it's so self-punishing, I wonder if Vince McMahon was auditioning for Anastasia Steele.
So here we are again, another year with an unpopular Rumble winner heading into a disaster of a WrestleMania main event. Does WWE scramble to fix it like they did last year? It would actually make more sense than last year's Occupy Raw, all Bryan has to say is he never lost the title and deserves a rematch. Stranger things have happened, like wrestlers signing contracts meant for someone else, yet it's somehow legally binding, so it's certainly a possibility. But I kinda think WWE is really going to try to force this, I can't imagine Vince letting his WrestleMania season get hijacked two years in a row and this is our punishment for forcing his hand last year. I know that sounds petty, but I think the last three years or so have shown just how petty this company can be.
And hey, #CancelWWENetwork might work, it might not, but either way, it's clear this company never learns, so I'm done wasting my time writing about it. I'm not going to swear off WWE forever, I might even keep my Network subscription for on demand access to the good memories, but I just can't devote this much time to it anymore. I've spent tens of thousands of dollars on WWE in my almost 30 years of watching, but it's clear our dollars and our voices don't matter, so why bother talking about it?
And I know there are other options out there. New Japan is getting hot after their recent PPV, people love Lucha Underground, people have been on me to check out Chikara for years, and even NXT kicks ass under WWE's umbrella, but I'm sorry, I'm just a WWE guy. It'd be like telling me to watch The Yankees since The Reds disappoint me, WWE's my team, for better or worse. If I'm not into WWE, I'm just not into wrestling, period. I have other hobbies and interests and watching any other wrestling show would just bum me out about how good WWE could be.
It's not like I expect the show to always be amazing, but I think it's safe to say I've always been a pretty positive fan - my first review here was a glowing one for WrestleMania 25. Yes, a glowing review of WrestleMania 25, so don't tell me I'm just some cynical "IWC fan." But WWE beat that optimism out of me after how horribly they bungled that dreaded walkout storyline in the fall of 2011 and they've never recovered. There have been glimpses of greatness and the door is always open to win me back, but at this point, I have to resign myself to the idea that it's only temporary.
Thanks for reading for the last six years. Find me on Twitter sometime.