Think about your favorite form of entertainment: movies, music, books, video games, etc. You’re most likely invested in those forms of entertainment due to the layout, the content, or a few particular characters you’re interested in, among other things. If a meaningful character on your favorite television show is written off for no reason, it alters your level of investment. If your favorite music artist stops using a certain technique or style in their music that you’re used to, it can catch you off guard and might take some adjusting to. WWE is doing this now, but at a much more extreme level.
WWE’s recent crop of releases, yet another in the past two years, were said to be due to budget cuts. But the real problem is that a show like The Walking Dead doesn’t write off 15+ characters every quarter. Beyoncé doesn’t change everything about her own music every time she releases a new album. If the legal issues don’t clear up, Marvel won’t act like Wanda Maximoff never existed just months away from her becoming one of the most important characters in their cinematic universe.
What’s the point of buying your favorite wrestler’s WWE t-shirt when there is such a plausible chance that they won’t be with the company in 12 months?
The sheer lack of planning, thought process and logical thinking that goes into WWE’s releases are alarming. Sure, there are some people like Lince Dorado who asked for his release, or Harry Smith, who just weren’t being used. But for people like Aleister Black (who was in the middle of a feud), Keith Lee (who was in the middle of a repackage), Karrion Kross (another who was in the middle of a repackage), B-Fab (in a prominent faction on SmackDown), Bronson Reed (coming off an NXT North American Title reign and was rumored to be moving to the main roster), Franky Monet and Ember Moon (both prominent stars in the NXT women’s division), and Braun Strowman (a prominent singles star)—what’s the point?
As a wrestling fan through and through, I was interested to see what Hit Row’s ceiling on SmackDown was. Now, even after their appearance on last Friday’s episode, the faction doesn’t feel complete, and of course WWE offered no explanation, whatsoever. The same applies to Aleister Black, who seemed he to be headed in a good direction and was going to feud with Big E, then was released only a few weeks into the storyline. Again, no explanation was offered, and Big E was shuffled to the next feud.
Which leads me to ask: What’s the point of investing seven-or-more hours a week into WWE’s three wrestling shows, just to have your favorite wrestler(s) released out of the blue, with no explanation to the fans? What’s the point of buying your favorite wrestler’s WWE t-shirt when there is such a plausible chance that they won’t be with the company in 12 months? What’s the point of getting excited about a high-stakes feud that could result in a good match when there’s a chance that a participating wrestler could be released while the feud is ongoing?
I’ve struggled with this for nearly a year now, and it’s decreased my overall WWE viewing. A high level in-ring product doesn’t mask the failures of terrible creative, the non-existent storylines, the bad commentary, the awful show formats, and the idea that the fans watching and criticizing the show are the problem. These issues combined makes for a difficult watch when it comes to either RAW, SmackDown or WWE NXT 2.0.