Gleed’s Blog: How WWE killed their most intriguing feud in one night
By Haydn Gleed
There has been a lot of talk recently about WWE and their so called shades of grey policy they are going for with their characters. Although the reaction to this by the online community has been negative, I personally felt that although this policy across the board was crazy, you could incorporate shades of grey into a character via a feud.
In fact, I had started to write a piece highlighting this very theory based on the way WWE had been booking John Cena against Bray Wyatt. They had positioned Cena as the ultimate good guy, who was battling demons inside between doing things the right thing, and doing the wrong thing in order to ultimately defeat the dark evil Wyatt.
You had Bray out there getting cheers for his message, whatever that was, and had been gathering steam in his bid to bring "the monster" out of John Cena. He is a stereotypical bad guy, who people had gravitated towards because for whatever reason they felt a connection with him. They had been building this up for months and the story was starting to reach its peak, and even brought the most jaded Cena haters to the point that they were thinking, maybe this will bring a change to the stalest of top babyfaces.
Boy did the WWE manage to screw this up at Extreme Rules.
I really don't know what I was expecting. I know what I was hoping for - a match where Cena and Wyatt were portrayed as equals in the ring, where Wyatt had a slight advantage with his followers on the outside.
I envisioned a point where Cena would snap, and when he had the advantage would look like he was literally tearing Wyatt to shreds by repeatedly bashing Wyatt's head into the cage, or using some weapon he had brought to the ring in his pants with him. Anything to show signs of having to cheat to destroy the evil that is Bray Wyatt.
You would have the announcers play up the story (don't laugh) that Cena had snapped, that this was a different side of Cena, etc. Basically, put more emphasis to the subtle signs that were there at WrestleMania. You could even get to a point that Erick Rowan and Luke Harper were too scared to help Wyatt because they had seen "The Monster inside Cena." The feud would continue. Yes, Wyatt would have to take another loss, but he could play it up to the point where he said he may have lost the battle but he won the war in bringing out the monster.
Instead, you had what they give us. I haven't gone back to watch it so my count may be off slightly, but live on PPV I counted one visual pinfall, three times Cena escaped the cage through the door but didn't win due to interference, and I honest to God lost count of the number of times Cena could have climbed over the cage but didn't succeed due to something other than the man he was facing.
It didn't help that this match sucked. I'll just come out and say that, it was awful. No psychology, the layout of the match was clunky, and the story was simply that Cena was far superior and it was only because of two other men on the outside that he didn't win within a couple of minutes. Even the Sister Abigail finisher that ultimately led to the finish didn't look right.
As for the distraction that led to Sister Abigail, I'll admit I was creeped out. It's there on twitter for everyone to see, so I'm not going to deny it. I get creeped out by kids in horror movies, but that's just me. It didn't help it was 3 a.m. and pitch black outside when I watched it here in the UK, but for me I can watch a slasher movie and not get jumpy or worried at all. You put a kid with a scary voice in front of me and I freak out.
When I woke up this morning, and I was explaining to someone how the match finished, it dawned on me that it was awful. As I was talking, I was realizing the rubbish that was coming out of my mouth.
I watch a lot of 1993 WWF wrestling so I'm used to a good dollop of campiness, but my lord, this was pushing the boundaries even for me.
So where do they go from here? For this viewer, I am no longer intrigued in the slightest, I've tuned out. What exactly can they do to make either character at this point in this feud seem exciting or interesting? Cena has shown on two occasions that given a one on one confrontation with the man who has gotten inside his head more than anyone else ever, he will easily beat him.
You can't have Wyatt say that Cena needs to release the monster, as he has shown that he doesn't need to unleash the monster in order to beat him. So they just keep having matches until Bray goes, "Okay, John, I was wrong, you are just as generic and bland as everyone says. There's nothing more to you than super human recovery and superman ability in the ring?" The only thing they can do is continue doing campy stuff that will no longer feel intriguing as the mystique of the feud has gone.
As I'm writing this I can feel myself getting angry, because I really thought WWE had built this well. There was some wrong turns along the way, but that's to be expected. In one night, they managed to turn me from being highly interested in this program to simply thinking can we move on now?
I really thought WWE was on the way to proving people wrong, myself included, and that they could incorporate shades of grey into the characters and make the product more meaningful, the characters more meaningful, and the wrestling more meaningful in the process.
Instead, we got a demon child to kill the feud for this viewer. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't believe there's anything that WWE can do to make me reinvest in this feud. I suspect that I am far from alone in thinking this.
I'm not always this cranky, so if you want to take your chances, hit me up on Twitter via @haydngleed or drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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