I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground when I say that WWE has been a bit dull as of late. By as of late, I mean over the last few years, as while there have been some bright spots, there are only a few things that can really make the show more interesting. WWE seems to have gone out of its way to make the show as uninteresting and bland as possible in a lot of ways, and that is going to cause some serious issues. However, they seem to have stumbled into something over the last few days that gave them a boost, at least in the short term.
Over the weekend, WWE presented its annual Survivor Series show. As has been the case for the last few years, the show was built around a series of matches between Monday Night Raw and SmackDown for brand supremacy (which was so important that I don’t believe the winner was even mentioned on Sunday or Monday). That isn’t exactly inspiring stuff, but this show had a bonus, as Vince McMahon himself was here to save the day, albeit with the help of….Cleopatra?
During the Survivor Series Kickoff Show, McMahon arrived, carrying a golden egg, which had the lower part of the roster rather happy. Later in the night, McMahon revealed that it was a Cleopatra’s golden egg, worth $100 million and a gift from the Rock (you can pick which of these is the most interesting). Then it was stolen, as McMahon apparently just left it there. This set up a whodunit for Monday Night Raw, which was solved as Austin Theory brought the egg back to McMahon, saying he took it for the sake of taking a picture with it. McMahon liked his honesty and gave Theory a WWE Title shot, which he ultimately lost.
This story came and went in the span of a little over twenty four hours and isn’t likely to be addressed again. It was also product placement from Netflix for the sake of promoting their new film Red Notice, which stars the Rock and focuses on art thieves. WWE got paid for it, but there was something more that they got out of the story: a feeling that we were seeing something different.
The egg story was not exactly the Higher Power or the Mega Powers, but it was a heck of a lot more entertaining than a lot of what you see on WWE TV these days. The story was unique, gave people something to do, got McMahon back on TV for a pair of shows, and gave Theory a nice little boost as he got to face the WWE Champion in the main event of Monday Night Raw.
What made the story work was that it was different. This wasn’t something about a Battle For Brand Supremacy or building momentum to create separation from the rest of the WWE locker room to earn a future championship opportunity. The egg story was about one specific thing that McMahon brought in, lost and wanted back, with Theory getting a title shot as a result.
Of course it had problems and was kind of dumb and featured obvious product placement being obvious, but it actually felt fresh for a change and that is something WWE has been lacking for such a long time now. It’s the kind of story that WWE needs, as doing the same kind of boring stories over and over is only going to get you so far, and WWE has been falling backwards down that hill for longer than they probably care to remember right now.
The best thing about the whole idea is that I was curious to know where it was going. When is the last time you felt that about something WWE was doing? While part of it was out of fear over how dumb the ending might be, it was a story that offered a few different endings and I wasn’t sure which one they would choose. That’s far too much of a rarity these days and it was nice to have that feeling back again.
Then to make it better, the ending wasn’t even that stupid. No it doesn’t make much sense that Theory came in to get a picture with the egg, said there were too many security guards around, and was able to slip away with the egg without anyone knowing, but at least they had some kind of a satisfying conclusion. How many of you thought that it was going to wind up being some signature WWE comedy idea that somehow featured the Gobbledy Gooker?
As a bonus, the story made the WWE Title seem valuable. There are all kinds of stories and angles going on at once in WWE, but one of the major underlying motives (if not THE major underlying motive) should be to win championships. The WWE Title is about as big as it gets, and that was the carrot dangling in front of the wrestlers if they told what they knew about the stolen egg. In a way, McMahon was saying that being WWE Champion was more valuable than an egg, which he said was worth $100 million. That’s a rather high price tag, but maybe a chance at becoming WWE Champion could make people be willing to part with it.
Finally, it was Theory who got the title shot. Believe it or not, a young, up and coming star was the beneficiary of the whole thing. It wasn’t Dolph Ziggler or Robert Roode or Happy Corbin or one of the other wrestlers you see and instantly roll your eyes while saying “him again?”. WWE has needed to build up a new generation of young stars for a LONG time now and for once, it felt like they actually understood that and used one of their available tools to see what they could do.
All in all, this story was not a brilliant idea. It’s not going to move WWE into a new era or even bring in a lot of money in any way. Instead, it gave us a quickly established and then solved mystery (which didn’t make a lot of of sense but was presented as a big deal) and someone young got a mini rub that could give him a boost. It was a situation where WWE actually did something and it worked, at least in some small doses.
That’s a great thing to see as it shows you that WWE still knows how to do these things. I know it might not exactly be some kind of a turning point, but if they can do this right, maybe they can do something else right. There are so many ways to present an entertaining wrestling product and sometimes going goofy is the right way to do things. It has been so long since WWE presented something silly that actually had a logical path and a point that I had forgotten what it looked like.
Finally, it showed a bit of creativity. Yes they were given a premise because of the movie tie in but they took that and turned it into something. In other words, if you throw a bunch of money at the company and give their brilliant creative team a launchpad to start from, they can turn in a decent wrestling story that serves a few purposes. See how easy the whole thing is?
I know the egg story is going to make some people roll their eyes and that’s understandable. WWE isn’t exactly in a place where they should get the benefit of the doubt, but there was something good in the story. The company got a little bit out of it and it gives me the faintest bit of hope for the future. After so much bad, that’s an eggcellent feeling.
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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