About two weeks ago, I sat in a movie theater and watched Avengers: Endgame. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in a theater and the crowd reaction when ******* ******* ****** up ******** and ***** with ** was as loud as anything I’ve ever heard at a wrestling event. It was the end of a saga that started ten years ago and when the movie was over, everything felt complete.
Then earlier this week, a trailer was released for Spiderman: Far From Home. It’s the first Marvel movie after Avengers: Endgame and opens the door to a brand new world in the Marvel Universe. The movie was made after Avengers: Endgame and continues the story while taking it in a new direction. It’s the next step in a story that may never actually be complete.
You can think of Avengers: Endgame like WrestleMania. Everything has been building to this one moment and then it’s all blown off for the big happy ending, with stories coming to an end and wrapping everything up nice and tight. In theory, WWE should be ready to build off what they had, start new stories while still tying back into the older ones and move forward in a fresh direction.
That’s what they did…kind of. A little over a week after WrestleMania, WWE ran its annual Superstar Shakeup, which sent wrestlers to different shows to see what kind of stories they could tell and set up a few new rivalries. That’s all well and good, but as the next few weeks went by, it was clear that WWE wasn’t exactly sure what they were doing. Wrestlers kept moving to and from shows anyway, making it seem like the Superstar Shakeup was just a big waste of time. What’s the point in putting these people on different shows if they’re just going to come back to the same shows week in and week out?
So here’s how the first change went:
But hang on again as a mere three weeks after the Superstar Shakeup, WWE changed everything AGAIN, this time with the Wild Card Rule? What is the Wild Card Rule you ask? Well that depends on which part of Monday Night Raw you were watching. The idea is that three superstars can appear on both shows a week without any kind of penalty. Later on in the night though, it was up to six superstars from SmackDown Live making appearances so Vince McMahon changed the rule to four instead of three.
Got all that? I doubt WWE does as they seemed to either be making the rules up as they went or that they didn’t know what they were doing and adjusting the overall story to whatever other ideas they presented throughout the night. That’s not a good sign when you’re on the third system in less than a month’s time and continues the overarching problem that seems to be plaguing WWE.
It really feels like they have no idea what they’re going to be doing week to week. At times, mainly this week on Monday Night Raw, it comes off like the big ideas were thrown together and then crafted to fit around whatever things they decide to present on the week to week shows. How can I get into an idea when they change it so many times in a three hour period and reset things to fit whatever plot holes they’ve found in it so far that night? It’s already an idea that took a bit of an explanation, and now they’re changing the rules as the show goes on?
It isn’t a good sign when a glare changes the rules:
It’s not even with the big ideas too, as smaller issues week to week don’t make a ton of sense. Two weeks ago, Robert Roode (with that snazzy new mustache) beat Ricochet. I’ll ignore the idea of having Ricochet, one of the most exciting wrestlers in years, lose to a guy because he has new facial hair, and move on to the next week. The following week’s Monday Night Raw opened up with Ricochet being announced as one of the four Monday Night Raw participants in the Men’s Money In The Bank ladder match. Roode didn’t appear on the show.
Wait what? So your reward for losing a match perfectly clean is being put into a match for a future World Title shot while the guy who beat you doesn’t even make the three hour broadcast? Well they seemed to remember because on this week’s show, Ricochet defeated Roode in a match with his Money In The Bank spot on the line to close the loophole and make sense of things once and….well it’s never for all around here but it’s as close as they can get.
Why not just have Ricochet win the second match the previous week so the Roode issue isn’t there in the first place? Well that’s probably because they wanted to announce the participants earlier. Then why have Roode win the first match? I could keep going back on for weeks with this but it continues to be the same problem over and over: a lack of setting anything up long term and then having to twist around to have anything make the slightest bit of sense.
So what can be done about it? The sensible thing would be to map this stuff out in advance so WWE knows what it’s going to do and adjust accordingly on the way there rather than coming up with so much of the show week to week. Maybe even announce these matches in advance so there is a reason for fans to tune in next week rather than making them guess at what they might get on a weekly basis.
Now since this is WWE, you can forget about all that with stories of McMahon ripping up the script at the last minute before Monday Night Raw goes on the air and changing things seemingly at the drop of a hat. That kind of makes long term continuity difficult and a lot of the problems they have aren’t going to go away until the major problems are addressed. So what exactly can be done?
Another change of this magnitude isn’t going to help things:
Nothing, because WWE sees little wrong with what they’re doing. I’m sure they have some kind of long term plan in the end, but it doesn’t help if the steps to get there don’t work or make sense. Again, compare it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yeah Avengers: Endgame was a sweet payoff, but the payoff doesn’t work if the steps taken there didn’t make sense. You can’t have the final movie work if movies #3, #9 and #14-17 don’t make sense or go against the overall story.
In other words, there are good things going on in WWE, but there are far too many things holding them back. The biggest problem of them all is the lack of continuity and planning, which makes things more confusing than anything else. You shouldn’t need that many explanations for something as simple as “wrestlers from this show can appear on this show and vice versa”. That took about three seconds to write out but it took three hours plus a WWE.com article to make sense of it.
WWE and its programming aren’t ruined or disasters. They’re in a bad place right not but it’s the kind of place that can be fixed under the right circumstances. Just plan these things out better and come up with some more inspiring ideas and things will get better. Wrestling fans want to watch and enjoy the shows, but there is only so much that can be done when the viewers are more confused than entertained. May-be WWE should look into fixing that.
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 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 2000 Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Part 1.
Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. We are proud to offer our popular Wrestling Rumors app and encourage you to download it for an optimized user experience. It is available for Android and also on iOS. Thank you for reading!