Being a WWE fan these days isn't easy. That's not to say that it's all bad, because it isn't, but we're not the only ones feeling this way: Raw ratings have dropped fairly consistently since at least September. Yes, sometimes the numbers have rebounded, but this tends to last only for a week or two and is also often associated with a big return or event. As soon as that passes, viewership sinks back to its new normal.
Many fans largely feel that WWE isn't trying anymore. It has its millions of fans all around the world and it doesn't have any serious competition (TNA is out, ROH isn't on the same scale by far, and even with a TV deal, NJPW isn't trying for the same kinds of viewers), so why bother? The writers seem content churning out the same tired content on a regular basis, stretching out feuds for months and stifling the careers of mid-carders who should be on the main event.
It doesn't seem to matter if we're missing John Cena or Seth Rollins, or even Roman Reigns. As much as NXT is a goldmine for talent, the stars that migrate over to the main roster haven't really made a dent. There are Superstars with tons of promise like The New Day and Dean Ambrose who have their moments sometimes and make Raw and SmackDown somewhat more bearable. Overall though, morale is low for the fans. That probably has a lot to do with these 10 moments that heavily dragged down 2015.
10 The Rusev Drama
In very rare instances (like Rusev and Bray Wyatt), former NXT stars become major fixtures on the main roster. Once a barefoot barbarian who broke wood and went by the name of Alexander Rusev, the brute cut his first name and had some nationality crises (seriously, is he Russian or is he Bulgarian?) as he climbed the career ladder. However, by his side that whole time was Lana, his beautiful blonde manager. The cracks in their on-screen relationship began forming slowly over time, and soon enough Lana was Fandangoing (remember that?) and dumping Rusev for Dolph Ziggler. The Bulgarian retaliated and began dating Summer Rae.
9 The Undertaker's Pointless Match at WrestleMania 31
WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans last year actually wasn't half bad. Overshadowing all of the other interesting matches of that night was The Undertaker's loss to Brock Lesnar, curtailing The Deadman's streak at 21-1. If you saw it live, you'll never forget it. Even if you happened to miss that WrestleMania, you'll still probably never forget it. People gaped. People cried. People left. It was one of the last pure moments that WWE has to offer.
8 John Cena's Absence
Since his debut in 2002, John Cena has been a practically permanent part of the WWE roster. Yes, he's taken a few months off here and there (and never really any more than six) for injuries, but as the face of WWE and a hero to millions of young kids the world over, the dude's got a huge responsibility, and part of that responsibility entails him being on TV each and every single week. Well, except SmackDown. Maybe Cena doesn't know SmackDown exists, because he's never on.
7 NXT Talent Goes Absolutely Nowhere
If you've ever watched NXT, especially in the last two years, then undoubtedly, you're probably hooked. If you haven't ever watched NXT, do yourself a favor and stop reading now, go turn on the WWE Network, and do it. Really. Although it's hard to remember considering that the level of talent and showmanship regularly outdoes WWE programming like Raw and SmackDown, NXT is a developmental territory. The main goal for each and every man and woman on that roster is to get signed to WWE. Right?...Right?
6 The Re-re-re-return of Fan Faves
With a lot of main event talent injured and a huge mid-card swarming with unused or misused Superstars (we can't tell which is worse), somebody has to fill in the gaps, right? Why not rely on the same old stars of the Attitude Era, the same men who heralded wrestling's biggest era of popularity and prosperity? It doesn't matter that 90% of those Superstars are retired or out of the business. It doesn't matter that guys like The Undertaker look old and move like they're even older. Him and names like Sting, Brock Lesnar, and Kane will get people watching.
5 The Burials of Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, and More
Let's return back to that huge mid-card swarming with unused or misused talent for a minute. This is WWE's biggest portion of the roster by far, only because the main event scene is such an exclusive club that only two people can ever really get in for months at a time, and one of them has to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. In the middle are guys like Kevin Owens, Barrett, Neville, Dolph Ziggler, Stardust, Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family, Rusev, the Miz, Ryback, etc. etc. The list goes on. It's a hell of a lot of people.
4 Daniel Bryan's Bad Prognosis
Neck injuries, unless you're Stone Cold Steve Austin, are likely career-enders. Just look at what happened to Edge. His damage was so extreme that he had to retire hastily in his 30s. It was heartbreaking when Daniel Bryan told us in May 2014 that he needed neck surgery. Fans had pushed for Bryan so hard for so long with such a loud voice that even WWE writers had had no choice but to push the guy. Even worse, at the time of his surgery, he had just won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He had to let it go to heal and get better.
3 Seth Rollins' Injury
Speaking of WrestleMania 31, even though it was a lackluster event overall, you couldn't help but have that pins and needles feeling watching Brock Lesnar defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Roman Reigns. Sure, Reigns was being tossed around like a ragdoll, but this was also when WWE was pushing him really hard down everyone's throats ala Cena, and you couldn't help but have a feeling in the pit of your gut that he would come away victorious.
2 The Divas Revolution
Nikki Bella didn't start the Divas Revolution. Charlotte didn't start the Divas Revolution. It all began at the first NXT TakeOver in February 2014 when Paige wrestled Emma. That started the Divas' Revolution. Yes, women like Charlotte, Paige, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks are now the flag-bearers, but even they must cringe when they hear the term Divas' Revolution because of all it's become. It went from an interesting concept to a meaningless tagline. Just what is the revolution? What are they revolting against? What do each of the teams want? Why can't they unify together?
1 Roman Reigns' Rollercoaster Push
Even The Rock couldn't prevent the backlash that Philadelphia doled out on Roman Reigns when he won this year's Royal Rumble. He seemed primed for greatness because WWE had selected him as the guy, and that was that. However, though he had many opportunities to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the writers hesitated. Perhaps they realized that with one hard push, Reigns could force fans to finally turn off Raw for good and stop watching a product that grew staler by the week.
However, his earning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was going to happen eventually. It was delayed somewhat at Survivor Series when Sheamus cashed in his Money in the Bank to yank the gold away from Reigns, but on a random episode of Raw in December, Reigns got what he deserved. The kicker? WWE was in Philadelphia. That's right. The same crowd that nearly 12 months ago hated Reigns' guts had either been brainwashed into liking him, appreciated this rare moment of the title changing hands at a non-PPV event, or simply didn't care enough to show disapproval. It goes to show that if WWE wants someone to be the guy, they will be the guy come hell or high water no matter how good they are (or aren't) for the company long-term.
Sources: Wrestling News World, WWE
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