Watching the WWE product today, it’s quite outstanding to see how much the company has grown on screen and internally behind the scenes. Their global reach is better than ever, and the new WWE Network has gotten the company some huge sponsorship deals with its PG rating in place. With this being said, the new company direction has been met with some serious criticisms which stems from the on-screen product. In today’s modern day WWE, everything just feels so robotic and scripted. As you will see time and time again in this article, fans crave exciting and unpredictable events, something that led the way for more than 10 million fans every Monday Night during the 90s, tuning into Raw and Nitro.
That mentality today is out of the window and the company clearly has a different agenda at the moment. What further angers fans is their inability to address certain issues which should be addressed, whether it be in the ring or concerning a certain wrestler or release. So with this in mind, let’s dive right in; here are 15 things the WWE still keeps quiet about. Enjoy!
15 WWE’s Creative Team
Behind the scenes footage is at an all time high with the WWE’s current culture. The company exposes some backstage shots as a way to entice their fans to jump on board the WWE Network. Shows like Breaking Ground have given us a glimpse of what it’s like to be a WWE Superstar behind the scenes. Throughout various programming, one thing that hasn’t changed is how the company continues to keep their creative staff on the down low. The brains behind NXT, head writer Ryan Ward, is never shown on television, as are the other creative writers. In addition, the company has never let cameras into a creative meeting or anything of the sort, so it seems like there are just some things that the company will keep behind closed doors for a long time.
Today, the creative aspect of the company has changed significantly. During the Attitude Era, Vince, along with his sidekicks Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco, would literally write the entire show on the day of, poolside at a hotel. Oh, how things have changed. Today, the WWE hires numerous writers that work specifically for certain wrestlers, storylines are also planned out months in advance. For the hardcore wrestling fan, this has diminished the product resulting in a scripted and predictable program. It remains to be seen how to company will handle this problem and it will be surely done away from the public’s eye internally.
14 Setting Up A Match Behind The Scenes
Similar to the creative aspect, the company is also quiet when it comes to discussing how a match will play out. Similar to a magician, the company has a “magician never reveals his secrets” type of philosophy when protecting the integrity of a WWE match. As of now, we have never seen any backstage footage of Superstars discussing what will go down during a match or them practicing or rehearsing. The company is very secretive when it comes to this, so much so that at this past WrestleMania the company used a curtain in the ring to protect the integrity of the show.
In terms of setting up a match things are rather basic; the finish is generally pre-determined by the creative heads and Vince, while the match itself is normally decided by the performers with a little insight by the boss at times pertaining to what kind of match he wants style-wise. Normally, veterans like John Cena wing the entire match calling it all in the ring, while younger stars like to go over certain spots before hitting the ring.
13 PG Rating
Since its emergence, the PG Era has been a disappointment (to say the least) among the WWE fanbase. Today’s product is full of restrictions and comes across as cheesy most of the time as of late. This has lead to major criticisms and the inevitability of a fanbase turning the channel because of their displeasures with the product.
Since the change, the company has given its Universe no clear reasoning as to why this was done in the first place. The WWE constantly tells social media outlets that it wants to be more family-friendly, although many believe there is a far greater plan that the company isn’t telling us. According to speculation, some believe this was done in order to increase the WWE’s reach around the world in order to promote the groundbreaking WWE Network. In addition, the new change of rating has opened the door for several new sponsorship deals, adding to the WWE’s overall financial prestige. This all sounds great but with ratings dropping to new lows, it’ll be interesting to see when branding becomes an afterthought and the company executives start focusing on their program product which is lacking at the moment.
12 Company Releases
As we discussed in the previous point, sponsorships deals and hitting a global network is the company’s top priority at the moment. With this in mind, the WWE has gone through a significant change behind the scenes which involves a no nonsense policy with its talent. Professionalism behind the scenes is at an all time high today, and the company wants no drama associated to its brand and wants to remain as clean cut as possible. The implementation of a Wellness Policy and the abrupt retirement of Daniel Bryan showed how much the business has changed. They have more of a threshold on talent health and proved so by protecting Daniel Bryan and using Roman as an example, proving that no one is exempt from the Wellness Test.
Releases are another way the company stays as professional as possible. The company attempts to steer away from controversy and simply states that they wish the released talent the best in their future endeavors. This is why you typically see the talent drop a massive pipe bomb, while the WWE turns the other way and does not acknowledge the comments. Call it cut throat, but the company wants to keep things as consistent and non controversial as possible.
11 Scripted Promos
A reoccurring topic of conversation you’ll see in this article is the WWE’s inability to address certain problems pertaining to the product at the moment. One of its most recent problems stems from a robotic show that feels all too scripted. Wrestling fans live for unpredictability and those jaw-dropping moments, whether it be a crazy match finish or epic promo; as of late however, this is a thing of the past. Storytelling is at an all time low, and when you’re a professional wrestler a main component to your job is telling a story, whether it be during a match or through a promo.
Today, the storytelling is far too predictable and just flat out unoriginal. Giving Superstars a script has only hurt the product and kept it complacent for quite some time now. Back in the day, wrestlers were simply given a topic and elaborated on it in the ring with a personal and unpredictable promo, something that is forgotten today. The company has yet to address this issue and is showing no signs of changing this formula, as the writing team continues to hand wrestlers fully written promos.
10 Booking Of Certain Wrestlers
Labelled as the current “guy” with the WWE, Roman Reigns has caused a massive backlash amongst fans because of his current "chosen one” status with the company. His in-ring work is good, so those “you can’t wrestle” chants are totally irrelevant and strictly out of anger. His promos do need some work but there is in fact a special something in his presence. With all this being said, booking-wise the company dropping the ball with him made his run to the top far too predictable; again, something that angers fans. His rise was a matter of time and the company prematurely rose him to the top of the card.
There is no denying his talent, but the predictability of the situation angered several wrestling enthusiasts. In regards to his booking, the company has not said a word. Sources backstage claim the company believes in him and will stick with him as a main player of the show. Unless a heel turn comes about, it’ll be almost impossible at this point to get Roman over as a baby face.
9 Wrestler Returns
Turning the chapter on a brighter note, as of late the company has done an excellent job in keeping a return a secret. During the last couple of years, the company has gone through some extreme lengths in order to protect the identity of a returning wrestler. In the case of Sting and AJ Styles, the two were kept backstage in a massive trailer. The Superstars got dressed, and just minutes before their return headed towards the gorilla position with a towel over their heads.
Give credit where credit is due, the company has succeeded greatly asides from a minor hiccup here and there when a talent was spotted at the airport. Asides from this minor blemish, the WWE does a great job and has been able to beat various wrestling news outlets to the punch. With a brand extension on the horizon, we can expect some major surprises in the near future. This is a topic we can safely say we don’t mind that the WWE keeps quiet about.
8 Hall Of Fame Credentials
An obvious blemish that the WWE still keeps quiet about is exactly what credentials are needed to get a spot into the Hall of Fame. Most sports have a criteria on exactly what it takes, so the company should impose a clear policy, whether it be from experience or title victories, although at this point it seems far too late and harsh to put such a stipulation.
Hard to believe some of the names that have been inducted with little merit (the list includes Snoop Dog, Drew Carey, Koko B. Ware and even The Bushwackers). Some iconic names have still been left in the dust. One of the most iconic Intercontinental Champions of all time in The Honkey Tonk Man is still waiting for his name to be uttered. Other notable omissions include Chyna, Miss Elizabeth, Paul Heyman and Owen Hart. The company has yet to justify this and probably won’t in the foreseeable future.
7 Wellness Policy
The WWE decided to make a huge statement by announcing the suspension of the company’s megastar Roman Reigns. The decision made headlines around the world and it showed that the WWE is implementing a no nonsense policy with its talent, making it clear that it doesn’t matter if you’re at the top or the bottom, you will suffer consequences for using banned substances.
With the suspension going down, many asked some questions pertaining to the examination. How often is it done? Which substances are banned? And which substances are these wrestlers like Roman getting suspended for? Despite these recent concerns from the public, the company has failed to address any of the matters at hand. They have only stated on their website that all Superstars will be given a random drug test at any time they chose. Everything else is left to our interpretation. An odd decision by the company to be quite frank.
6 The Chris Benoit Incident
This casted one of the darkest shadows in the history of pro wrestling and the WWE for that matter. Props to the company for handling the situation the way they did; in this case, keeping it quiet was the best way to go about the situation. Instead of shedding any possible sort of light on Benoit, the company went mute after it was found out that Chris took the life of his wife, son and later his own.
After the announcement went public, the WWE deleted any to all footage from the Benoit tribute show like it never happened. Later, the WWE deleted Benoit from all archives including the record books. When looking at his title runs, the WWE just has an eerie blank space between the time frames. His content on the WWE Network has also been taken away. When he is in a picture, the company usually blocks him out, like in a recent show that highlighted the effects of the former Radicalz stable. This is one of the only situations on this list that is best kept quiet.
5 Hulk Hogan
Some called it harsh, while others believe it was a step in the right direction for the WWE on a professional standpoint. Hogan found himself in some serious hot waters after making racial slurs which were caught on tape. Once his comments were made public by TMZ, the WWE immediately announced the release of Hulk Hogan who was at the time working as a prominent judge on the WWE’s reality show Tough Enough.
Asides from wishing him luck in his future endeavors, the company has to this day kept very quiet in regards to this situation. His footage does still play on the WWE Network but his other accomplishments have been removed via the company’s website. Some believe it is only temporary and Hulk is just being protected by the WWE. It’ll be interesting to see at what point his name resurfaces in reference to the WWE. As of now, the company remains quiet on the matter.
It took a terrible turn of events for the WWE to finally acknowledge Chyna after more than a decade of not mentioning her name on WWE TV. Following her tragic death, the company played a touching video acknowledging some of her greatest career accomplishments with the WWE.
Prior to this, the company was silent when it came to the trailblazing women’s wrestler. According to the company, her career choices made it hard for them to reach out especially in the midst of a PG-Era which appeals to a younger generation. This caused a fallout between the two sides for years and years till her passing. Since the video tribute, the company still rarely acknowledges her tremendous career which is arguably the greatest of all time amongst females under a WWE banner. Although, fans are very hopeful that the WWE will change this by inducting her into the Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
3 The Next In Line
It’s pretty clear, the Vince McMahon reign at the top is still far from being over with. The man does not age and is still looking in top shape mentally and physically, according to his closest peers. Though with each passing year, the question always comes up: who is the next in line to take over? The WWE has remained silent concerning this matter and according to rumors, the company does have an idea on who will eventually take over.
Triple H and Stephanie are the alleged front runners at this point and rightfully so. Hunter’s work down in NXT and now with the Cruiserweight Classic have been absolutely fantastic and a breath of fresh air for any wrestling fans. The new CWC Tournament has been brilliantly constructed, making it a joy to watch for any modern day wrestling fan. Stephanie has also done a great job behind the scenes. Her title as Chief Branding Officer has been quite successful, especially when you look at what a global reach the company currently has. Yes, the two are wildly unpopular on-screen, but off, they certainly look ready to make the jump when called upon. Shane McMahon and Kevin Dunn are other names in the mix. With this being said, don’t expect the company to address this matter anytime soon.
2 Ratings Decline
It’s obvious, wrestling doesn’t have close to the same reach it once did. Pessimists claim the wrestling industry will be extinct one day, but I, like many other wrestling fans, believe that is a little overboard.
With this being said, it is true that ratings have suffered a terrible drop as of late. Numbers seem to be hitting record lows, and at this point, the rumor mill believes that the draft was meant to boost ratings and add some new excitement to the program. No matter what the real reason is, the company certainly won’t admit to ratings falling and they’ve failed to do so time and time again. They instead love to acknowledge their strengths, like how much of a global reach they have. At some point, they must put that aside and focus on the program which is suffering at the moment. With a new emphasis on great New Era wrestlers, we hope this is the start of something special.
Give the WWE credit, since its early beginnings not only has the company managed to keep contract terms away from the public eye, but the language in the contracts has somehow managed to stay relatively consistent over the last two decades. Some find it bizarre as to why the company doesn’t make their terms public, although some speculate that the company doesn’t want to show biases towards certain individuals. Well, hate to break it to the WWE but the cat's out of the bag and terms are starting to be made public. This caused Ryback to leave the WWE because he felt that it was unfair that certain individuals were making more in a pre-determined sport. He did have a point, but at the end of the day, card and brand value are huge when assessing how much a talent makes. Experience is also a huge factor; laughable to think that the likes of Big Show and Mark Henry make more than Sami Zayn or Kevin Owens. Despite terms being made public, the company still refuses to disclose information in relation to contracts and their worths.
Sources: forbes.com, ibtimes.com, wwe.com
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