To put it mildly, there is a lot of WWE programming out there. With so many hours of content every week, it can be difficult to keep up with everything that WWE is offering. It doesn’t help that the shows are already pretty long in the first place, meaning that there is quite a bit to see week to week. It can certainly be done, but seeing and remembering everything the company offers is more than a bit tricky. With that being complicated enough, it isn’t made better when WWE decided to make things that much harder.
Over the last few months (if not a lot longer), WWE has seemingly gone out of its way to change a bunch of things at the drop of a hat. This has ranged from major matches already announced to characters to wrestlers’ names, leaving things looking very different for a lot of people almost overnight. While I’m sure there is some twisted Vince McMahon logic behind the whole thing, it can be incredibly frustrating to deal with and that is what we are going to be looking at today.
With WrestleMania Backlash coming up this weekend, WWE needed a major main event and for a while, it seemed like it might be RKBro vs. the Usos in a Tag Team Title unification match. I can get that a Tag Team Title match of most kinds isn’t quite the most interesting thing, but this one would be considered a pretty big deal, but here you have two over teams fighting for a prize that could go either way. It would also be good enough to warrant the spot when there isn’t a major challenger for Roman Reigns at the moment anyway.
That sounded good enough, but then Reigns and Drew McIntyre interrupted the RKBro vs. Usos contract signing. Well ok then. Cool, I guess we’re getting Reigns vs. McIntyre at WrestleMania Backlash instead. Seems a bit soon for that kind of a match but I’ve heard worse ideas. Apparently so had WWE, as instead we’re getting a six man tag between the two sides. Yeah just a six man. No titles on the line, no stakes, nothing more than a match that could headline Monday Night Raw on any given week.
So why bother setting up the match if you are just going to change it to something a lot less interesting just a few weeks later? I was getting into the idea of the title match as the unification was something that needed to be done, but instead we’re just….not doing that. Maybe there was some kind of backlash against the unification idea from USA/FOX and if so then it’s a little better, but this seems like such a ridiculous change of plans from something that could have worked well.
Why would I want to watch a six man tag that is not going to change anything? In theory the goal would be to have McIntyre beat Reigns and set himself up as the next challenger, but do we really need a pay per view main event to accomplish that? It seems like something that could be done in a regular TV match or even without a match at all, as McIntyre laying Reigns out with the Claymore could work well enough. But no, let’s give them 20 or so minutes in a pay per view match that will do nothing other than build momentum for another pay per view match down the line.
In addition to the matches changing, the wrestlers’ names are being changed as well. This has been something WWE has done time after time, but now they are doing it all over again, as McMahon suddenly feels that no one should use their indy names or their real names. As you can expect, this has led to one weird name change after another and odds are we will be seeing even more of them going forward.
That has given us such recent new names as Ciampa, Theory, Butch (more on him later), Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser and Raquel Rodriguez (and that’s not even touching NXT). Some of these are merely different versions of names you probably know, but Butch, Gunther and Kaiser are all brand new, with Rodriguez at least getting to keep her first name. Other than that, you have names being cut down in half, giving us the great sounding “in this corner, THEORY!”
There are more than a few issues with these changes, ranging from people having names that don’t sound good to fans rolling their eyes and saying “really?” over and over. These are changes that only WWE cares about and it isn’t like any of them are major upgrades over what we had been seeing before. That is certainly the case with Gunther, who has to deal with the WALTER chants over and over, because, you know, that is what he has been known by for years.
The big one for me though is how much this could confuse fans. Suppose a fan hadn’t watched WWE in a few weeks and heard that these names were going to be on the show. Do you think they might be a little confused? Maybe to the point of “I don’t know these people so I think I’ll pass this week”? Or how many who watch are going to wonder why the name changes took place in the first place. It’s a case where everything was going fine and the benefits from the name changes are for the company only, with the fans’ potential annoyance or confusion being acceptable consequences.
Then we have what might be the worst of everything, as Butch is now a….I guess feral, maniacal manchild who is literally lost, with Sheamus and Ridge Holland trying to find him. This is where I do not get WWE’s thinking, as they didn’t mind Pete Dunne on NXT UK, NXT, Monday Night Raw or the Survivor Series, but now they need to turn him into something completely different and have him go so over the top that he’s nothing short of ridiculous these days.
It’s another example of making NXT feel that much more of a waste of time, as these wrestlers are building themselves up and becoming something but then get changed around once they get up to the main roster. It isn’t even like WWE does this with everyone, as people like Gonzalez and Gunther are virtually the same people, but that Dunne? One of the most successful people in the history of NXT? We better change him because how could someone that good make it on WWE TV?
At the very least, it shows such a disconnect between the people who run NXT and the people who run the main roster shows. Dunne has been in NXT for years and has been ready for the main roster for a lot of those years. He had a gimmick and character ready to go and then got everything changed into something completely different at the whim of McMahon. Dunne had regularly appeared on national TV, but let’s change it up anyway, throwing away all of the time and money that had been spent on his development, with Dunne likely getting the blame for any problems.
WWE loves to shake things up but this time around, all they’re doing is making changes that makes it harder to watch the show. I’m not sure why McMahon is insisting on all of these moves and odds are not many other people working in WWE does either. The shows aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire at the moment, and maybe that has something to do with the amount of changes that they keep making to the things. Sometimes you need to stick with something to let it build up and that is firmly the case in WWE. They make changes that don’t need to be made and all that leads to is people changing the channel.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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