A few days ago I did my Top 5 Best Things About WWE In 2016 list. Now it’s time to flip that idea on its head and look at the, in my opinion, worst 5 things in the WWE from this past year. ‘Honourable’ mentions go to Dean Ambrose and his ‘hilarious’ and ‘wacky’ antics, as well as his completely lacklustre WWE Title run. I blame creative for his horrible story-line booking but I blame him for his increasingly lame wrestling style. Don’t even get me started on the wacky line clothesline. Other mentions have to go to The New Day and their incredibly stale act as they broke the tag team title record for longest reign. Making what should have been an incredible achievement feel like an utter slog to get through.
Keep in mind, I’m not necessarily just blaming the person, people play characters and they work to a script. They just might happen to be the focal point for some of my frustrations.
5. Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon
Its 2 for the price of 1 to start off this list. 2 terrible authority figures, for 2 different reasons, but both from the Raw brand.
Lets start with Stephanie McMahon, the attention seeking, heating killing mega bitch that she is. Why does she feel the need to emasculate every single living thing on the show? Why does she mock heels, bully faces and never, not once get her comeuppance?
Another issue with Stephanie is that you never know if she’s being a heel or a face, mainly because she will switch multiple times per month. Heck, per week. Hell, per show! Make up your mind woman! Once you do, maybe the stories you try and involve yourself in will actually make sense.
Did we really need to have 2 authority figures on both shows? Why couldn’t she have taken a back seat for a little while? After The Authority storyline with her being on TV nearly constantly this could have been a refreshing change of pace for the show. Triple H has managed to only show up once since Wrestlemania and his return was pretty impactful. I say it about a lot of things in WWE, but less really is more sometimes and that includes Stephanie McMahon.
Moving onto Mick Foley. He’s just been a bit rubbish hasn’t he? He’s actively added nothing but has consistently taken away from the majority of the shows his been involved in.
Let’s start with the fact that when he first became Raw GM he didn’t seem to know any of his lines. In fact he didn’t seem to know what was going on at all, he just have this bewildered look on his face most of the time.
More recently he’s just been used to make a week impassioned speech to someone. Normally either Charlotte and Sasha Banks or Sami Zayn. Which I guess is cool, but being over used and half the time his speeches don’t even make sense. for example, why warn Sasha and Charlotte about the Hell In A Cell match and actively seek to have them opt out of it, when you’re the one who booked it? Madness. As for the Sami Zayn stuff, what are you playing at Mick. Throwing in the towel? For Sami Zayn? SAMI ZAYN?! Why do you only care about Sami and not the hundreds of jobbers you’ve sent to be fed upon by Strowman?
Granted it’s not all his fault. After all, his just doing what creative tell him to do. He’s been made the spokesman of some really dumb decisions and it makes him seen delusions and senile. Plus, why is he being made to be Stephanie’s utter bitch one minute and then her best buddy the next? Consistency people!
Simple put, both creative and Mick himself seem to have completely lost touch with reality. In my honest opinion, Foley lost his relevance to wrestling over a decade ago and bringing him out every week doesn’t help anyone. It’s a quick crowd pop, that in itself will grow tiresome but in the long run his presence is helping no one. In fact, it’s damaging the product.
4. Cruiserweight Division
The Cruiserweight Classic was undoubtably a classic. Set in its own world, telling its own stories in front of a rabid crowd and most importantly the competitors were allowed to wrestle in their own styles. It was perfect.
However the second it was announced that ‘they’ would be moving to Raw post brand split the alarm bells started ringing. I say ‘they’ because I whole host of big names weren’t making the transition over making the whole thing seem a little empty.
One of the many problems that the new Raw Cruiserweights have had was that they instantly had their wings clipped and had to start working the WWE style. Which made them look like everyone else, no individuality. All of the cool ‘flippy shit’ they are allowed to do is the generic WWE approved move set. Hell Kevin Owens does moonsaults and he’s 260 pounds. 90% of the roster seems to do suicide dives these days, including big men like Luke Harper, so why should I be impressed when smaller guys do the exact same thing?
The other problem and perhaps the most important one is the lack of any decent story telling and characters. In the CWC we had individual stories sewn into matches, rounds and the entire show. Upon call up to the main roster we got, 6 man tag team matches for 2 months between heels and faces. It’s like WWE accidentally used the scripts for the Divas Revolution again a year later and didn’t notice. Which would explain why both storylines sucked for the first 6 months.
TJ Perkins is dull, Swann is a walking dance move with a sort of creepy smile, Noam Dar is Scottish and likes Alicia Fox (that’s actually like 5x the amount of character the others have). Brian Kendrick probably had the most back story and character out of everyone for a while but that’s only really because we’ve seen him in WWE before!
Granted Neville has just turned heel and there could be the potential of Austin Aries joining the division too, so things to so maybe it’s not all bad. Oh, Jack Gallagher admittedly is brilliant. So I’ll give you that.
For some reason WWE still feel the need to change the ring ropes and mat logos between matches, which is quite frankly weird. Plus it makes it feel like the Cruiserweights are their own separate part of the show, even though it is still produced like the rest of the show other than that. Why bother? Now we have 205 Live, a weekly show on the network, which you could probably argue is how the division should have always been. In its own universe with its own rules and characters. Although personally I would have just kept it as a yearly network exclusive tournament as that seemed to be its idle scenario.
3. Roman Reigns
Oh Roman Reigns, you’re just so…unlikeable. It’s not all his fault granted, he’s only playing the role he’s told to play. Which seems to be the same smug prick babyface who bullies people such as married couples because its ‘funny’. WWE continue to be stubborn in their ways when they should have turned him heel years ago.
Probably the worst thing about Reigns is that around Survivor Series last year WWE almost started booking him correctly. It only last 2 weeks, yet for a brief moment he was booked as the no-nonsense ass kicker we all loved from The Shield days. Granted he still talked too much which continually revealed his greatest flaw, that he only has one emotion. Smug.
Reigns’ character seems to think that he’s gods gift to the world and that he literally is the best thing since sliced bread. Now as the bad guy, this would probably work wonders however as the top babyface of the company it’s a little off-putting.
WWE then continue to book him as the only person on the roster who matters, making the entire Royal Rumble event about him and him alone. Pissing off thousands in the process and the long inevitable march to Wrestlemania victory begins.
All this while he sits out of half of the Rumble match ‘injured’ only to come back later. Surprise. Then after losing the title Triple H the man who beat him for it gives him the opportunity to win it back. Why? Triple H you’re supposed to be the evil authority figure here, why are you giving your mortal enemy free chances at you? You idiot! And then of course, the Wrestlemania match itself is terrible and Reigns victory is booed by everyone in attendance as the microphones have to be muted so people at home don’t notice.
WWE’s stubborn booking of him only continues to damage him further in my eyes. And yes, a lot of his problems are simply booking but in wrestling the wrestler tends to end up as the focal point of your frustrations it’s that simple. That’s why people didn’t like John Cena for years.
But why would I ever like his character? There is nothing endearing about him. However, I will blame him completely for all of the downright outrageous dickish facial expressions he pulls during his promos and matches. It’s like his trying to piss people off. Which, fyi Roman, isn’t your job because once again you’re supposed to be the good guy!
Oh and finally, the simple fact that WWE have Roman Reigns as US Champion but rarely defends the title, sometimes doesn’t even have it with him and is only interested in the Universal Title. Is also, really, really annoying.
2. Too Much Content
This feels like a weird thing to be complaining about really, but it’s actually a massive problem for the WWE. The market has been flooded with shows and extra network specials in the last year. It’s completed over saturated the product and is continuing to over expose already over exposed stars.
More content should be a good thing right? Well, yes? Back in August 1999 when Smackdown first started that was the case because the then WWF were on fire creatively and could produce the extra 2 hours of awesome content without dropping quality elsewhere. For years now you could argue that WWE has been in a creative funk, so the idea of adding more and more showing is crazy.
At the start of the year, we all knew Raw was an hour to long. While 3 hour Raw’s might make sense from a business perspective bringing in the extra revenue, from the products perspective it’s always been bad. Since the brand split things have only gotten worse really, with Smackdown actually worth watching that’s 5 hours of TV straight away. Then you’ve got NXT, 205 Live and Main Event adding an extra 3 hours per week and this is before we even get to the Network Specials and PPV events! 3 hour exclusive Raw and Smackdown shows coming every couple of weeks and then on top of that, is the extended ‘Big 4’ shows, that are a minimum of 4 hours. That’s a lot of wrestling!
The real problem isn’t that there’s too much, although realistically who has time to watch all these? It’s actually that the shows aren’t very good for the most part. A huge issue is that every show is now miss-able, every single one. You can skip weeks at a time and it will make no difference, including the extra PPVs, which now seem almost pointless. Take the recent Roadblock Raw exclusive show, the main event ended in a DQ and the rematch will be at the Royal Rumble. Why bother watching then? Heck, what did Wrestlemania actually achieve? Nothing much.
I want to feel like I need to watch every show. I want to be desperate not to miss a thing. Instead, I watch when I can be bothered and I’m pretty close to cancelling my network subscription. £9.99 isn’t that much money and yet I’m still feeling mugged off for paying it most of the time. I would rather pay that same £9.99 for one great show a month rather than 55 mediocre wastes of time.
It was billed as the biggest Wrestlemania ever. A huge stadium, a monster crowd and a truly awesome moment for wrestling. Unfortunately, half the roster got injured (John Cena, Seth Rollins, Cesaro to name just a few) so the show was looking ropey from the get go.
You could argue that the WWE put on a pretty decent card with what they had available, the Intercontinental Title ladder match and the Women’s Triple Threat were both fantastic. Jericho verses Styles was good too but the rest of the card was…not so good.
The low points included pretty much everything else however. It was an incredibly long show, that somehow included a 40 minute promo from The Rock, and a lot of what we saw was really boring. And I won’t even get into my rant about the entrance process being completely broken, when more than half the crowd (myself included) couldn’t get into the damn stadium on time and missed the entire pre-show!
The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon, a boring match in which Shane O’Mac actually out wrestled the Deadman. That in itself is ridiculous! Admittedly Shane’s jump from the top of the cell was really cool, but was it worth it? No.
The biggest disappointment of the night had to be Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose is a No Holds Barred Street Fight. Ambrose himself came out on record and laid all the blame at Lesnar’s feet but it doesn’t matter. The fact is the match was short, featured nothing other than chairs and kendo sticks despite being promised the world. And instead of making Dean look strong in defeat so he could move onwards and upwards to the next challenge. He lost to one F5 and that was that. Rubbish.
Finally onto the main event. The continuation of the most forced ‘fuck you’ to wrestling fans in recent memory. Nobody wanted Roman Reigns to even be in the match, let alone win the damn thing. And yet there we were, 100 thousand people booing as he did. We all knew he would and he did, it was like watching an inevitable car crash. Couple that with the fact that it was a needlessly long, slow and boring match (the exact opposite of what every fan needed to get through it) and your off to a really winner. I’m of course saying winner very sarcastically.
For a show that had already gone way too long and been very bland, this sent fans home unhappy to say the least. It actually killed my love of wrestling for about 6 months as well. So good job everyone and that’s why Wrestlemania 32 was the worst thing in WWE for 2016.
What did you think of my list? Do you agree? If not, let me know why I’m a big dumb idiot in the comments.