The brand split has caused discussion for years amongst WWE fans. Some would argue the merits of having two separate talent rosters and the benefit it serves in providing a platform where not only the same names have to remain at the top. Others have said that the fans would lose out on some potential feuds which could not take place with the roster split in half and certain competitors never running into one another. There has been a certain sentiment toward the idea of a single company having two world champions simultaneously. With the brand split an argument could be made that you want a world champion on each show, despite the fact that the titles of WWE have less value now than they ever have before.
This past Monday, WWE COO Triple H came out and made what was to be a blockbuster announcement: from now on RAW would have the rosters of both brands. This did not turn out to be as big of a deal as you’d imagine it could have been. Fans seemed to let out a collective sigh at this idea and even those who had argued against the brand split in the past felt underwhelmed by the announcement. It didn’t feel like a big deal, it didn’t feel like something that could shake up WWE and bring more fascinating storylines to the fans. It seemed like a desperation move to try and save the dwindling ratings on RAW. The problem, however, is that the ratings aren’t falling because of a brand split and they’re not falling because Triple H wasn’t on the show. They are falling because WWE is perpetuating a cycle where mediocre, uninspired, dime a dozen storylines that give us absolutely nothing new and anytime they show us even the slightest glimmer of something better on the horizon they take it away almost as quickly as they teased us with it.
The CM Punk storyline heading into money in the bank is a perfect example. Punk came out and delivered a worked shoot promo which set the world on fire. It didn’t matter that this was all a work, it mattered that finally someone was publicly saying what so many fans had been screaming about for years. Punk truly did become the “Voice of the Voiceless” in that segment. We had this tremendous build up telling us that if Punk won the title at Money in the Bank he’d be leaving the company with it. No one expected him to win and when he did, this news once again set the wrestling world on fire. WWE was giving us something we hadn’t seen before and they were playing it out with intelligence and intrigue. Then, a week later, Punk came walking out on RAW with a newly signed contract and the WWE title while Cena also had a WWE title. Then we got SummerSlam and Kevin Nash and we’re in a place that seems boring, uninspired and uninteresting.
The Kevin Nash angle was interesting at first. Who sent the text and for what reason? We’ve got a decent list of suspects but does anyone really care anymore? Triple H is going to face Punk in a match at Night of Champions. Was there any fanfare, any kind of a big deal moment when this was announced (in the last minute of the show, behind the scenes.) Triple H is making his return to the ring for the first time since Wrestlemania and it feels like it doesn’t matter, like it’s just another match and there is no big deal. Shouldn’t WWE have presented this to us like it matters? This entire thing has been handled poorly. A few flashes of genius ultimately buried beneath an avalanche of stupid mistakes, poor choices and overall poor booking. The ratings are in a freefall and Football hasn’t even kicked in yet. WWE is in for a shock this Fall. Whereas they used to be able to maintain a 3.5 I’d be shocked to see them grabbing anything higher than a 2.5 this year.
WWE doesn’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around the fact that doing this week to week, on the fly booking is hurting them more than anything else. Nothing feels like it is well thought out and everything feels like it could change at any moment. Remember the Anonymous General Manager? If you do then obviously you don’t work for WWE since they’re essentially pretending he doesn’t exist right now. Remember seeing Stephanie McMahon at SummerSlam and RAW the next night but not again? What was the point of that? Was she simply a red herring? I don’t know and right now it doesn’t seem like WWE creative knows either. When was the last time WWE created a storyline, drew it out and executed it in a way that left you feeling satisfied? I can’t remember one. There is a complete lack of consistency and WWE is becoming like the absentee father who always promises things and never delivers. Eventually you stop believing and you find somewhere else to focus your energies.
I love wrestling and I have loved it since I was a child. I was drawn in and kept interested in the early 90s. I lived through the terrible few years after Hogan left and WWE had to build new stars to interest us. I saw the rise of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels and had my dedication rewarded with the sparking of the attitude era. I have been watching wrestling for longer than most John Cena fans have been alive and yet right now, despite my love for this, I am finding it increasingly difficult to watch anymore. WWE is like a spinning compass and they can’t find their footing. They don’t seem to have any real, long term concept of where they want to go and so they fall back on who they always do: John Cena. Cena has worn out his welcome for me, and whether I like him or I don’t doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m tired of him. I’m tired of knowing no matter who the WWE champion is they’re going to feud with Cena. I think Cena is an amazing example of the current state of WWE. Same thing, different day, same outcome. I want something new, I want to feel like this all matters and I want to feel like I used to when I loved tuning into WWE television every week. And I know I’m not the only one.