With so many people on the WWE roster these days, it can be hard to find a way to get everyone involved. Given that there are seven hours of main roster television a week, that might be kind of hard to believe, but when you throw in the fact that so many wrestlers either wrestle twice on a single show or have one of the oh so useful talk show segments before their match, it makes the bench warming all the stranger. That strangeness took another hit this week in one of the more annoying stories that has come out of WWE in recent memory.
Earlier this week, WWE announced that they had released Andrade from the company. This was at least a bit surprising as his release had been turned down earlier in the week, only to have him be released just days later. Andrade had not wrestled a match since October 12, 2020 and it had been even longer since he had done anything that mattered. In other words, he was another name on a long list of talented people who were left sitting around and then was forgotten by the brilliant WWE machine.
This is the kind of thing that happens far too often but it keeps taking place, no matter if it makes sense or not. Andrade is someone with some crazy talent (check out his NXT run, including his outstanding feud against Johnny Gargano for the NXT Title) and it would make sense to see why WWE would want to push the heck out of him. That never quite came to pass, despite Andrade winning the United States Title and holding it for about five months. Throw in a rather successful career in CMLL to appeal to an international demographic and this gets all the more puzzling.
The reason for his benching is not entirely clear, but it seems to be a cross between Andrade’s English not being the best, him being one of Paul Heyman’s projects during Heyman’s time as the Executive Director of Monday Night Raw, and the classic creative having nothing for him. Your individual tastes on this may vary, but this comes off as more WWE incompetence and tunnel vision, which are two of the biggest reasons why the company is in the place it is in today.
Ignoring the easy solutions to his English not being great (having Zelina Vega as a manager solved that problem just fine) and being one of Heyman’s guys (oh no, someone wanted to use someone WHO ALREADY WORKED FOR WWE), we are going to take a look at what has to be one of the dumbest and lamest problems that WWE can possibly have, as it really does not make sense when you think about it for more than ten seconds.
Above all else, I cannot grasp the concept of WWE creative having nothing for a wrestler. In a quote I have heard attributed to multiple wrestlers over the years (with Bubba Ray Dudley being the most prominent), why is a wrestler being punished for creative having nothing for them? Shouldn’t it be the creative that is replaced if they cannot do their job of coming up with a story of some kind? Are you really telling me there was NOTHING that a thirty one year old wrestler with seventeen years experience and a pretty stacked resume couldn’t do for the company? A few quick ideas:
Andrade challenges for the US Title. Andrade challenges for the Intercontinental Title. Andrade finds a tag partner and challenges for the Tag Team Titles. Andrade is tired of sitting on the sidelines and jumps a wrestler, starting a feud with them. Andrade gets sick of creative having nothing for him and storms the ring to beat up some low level wrestlers having a match, saying that it is time for some new blood around here.
That took me about fifteen seconds, mainly because I had to correct a few errors. Now where is my check for doing WWE creative’s jobs? There are roughly 132 ways to present a wrestler (ok #56 and #119 are pretty similar) and while Vince McMahon is ultimately the sole power, are you really telling me that the dozens (yes dozens) of writers that the company has on staff cannot come up with ONE THING that he might like?
On the other side, there is always the fear that someone could be let go and be turned into some kind of a big star elsewhere. Ignoring the fact that saying such a thing makes WWE seem rather dumb (“There is no way to present his guy, but he could go somewhere else where they could find something for him in a heartbeat.”), the idea of spending money to have someone sit in catering (because WWE hired him, as they clearly saw him succeed elsewhere but they just aren’t smart enough to make it work) seems pretty counterproductive.
In other words, why is WWE having so many issues figuring out how to make something like this work? Andrade is talented, charismatic and had the kind of success that should make him as much of a layup as you could find. Ignoring the McMahon problem (and to be fair, McMahon making up his mind about someone is about as much of a death sentence as you can get in wrestling), there is quite the problem that is making so many issues for so many wrestlers in WWE today.
Andrade is another great example of WWE having everyone wrestle some version of their style with their one size fits all style. WWE hired Andrade after he made a name for himself in a lucha libre promotion. Aleister Black got hired because of his work in Europe and incredible striking. Ricochet got over without saying much (he might have said ten words during his entire Lucha Underground run) but being able to make people believe in him because he was a charismatic high flier.
All of these people have two things in common: they all learned outside of the WWE style and then they were brought into the company where they received a bit of an initial push and then wound up doing nothing because WWE could not come up with anything else for them. For some reason WWE, the biggest and richest promotion in the world, is incapable of letting these people do what got them hired in the first place, while tweaking it to fit whatever story WWE is trying to tell.
It comes off like the wrestlers are being punished for finding a style that works for them and being successful with it, because they need to be moved into something that suits WWE more. Instead of mixing up the styles to present an interesting product, the idea is to turn everyone into the one WWE style and cut off whatever else the wrestlers can do on their own. I’m sure this is just me not getting WWE’s brilliance, but when you hire a bunch of people and think there is something to them, only to not be able to do something with them over and over, it seems like there is a problem going on and it doesn’t seem like them.
WWE has all kinds of resources available to them and they do an amazing job of presenting the company as the ultimate wrestling promotion. The problem is they are showing just how bad they are at coming up with unique or even interesting ways to present their talent. Instead, it feels like the roster is being punished for being talented and getting signed. Andrade is an incredibly talented wrestler who has been successful in different companies around the world. That seems to be something worth punishing, and it is certainly punishing the fans.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 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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