By Nick Perkins, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@WesternRebel)
“I am out here to spit some truth. The bottom line is, under your leadership, and I use that term, that word ‘leadership’ very, very loosely- under your leadership, Monday Night Raw has sucked. It has sucked because of you. Because you come out here every single week, you puff your chest out and you make everything about you. You exert your power, you end people’s careers. What you have been doing as Raw General Manager Elect is not okay, it is not right, it is wrong.
That roster, that locker room back there- that is some of the most talented men and women that Monday Night Raw has ever seen. And you’ve got no idea what to do with it. Here’s an example: you’ve got a tag team, an amazing tag team, like The Revival, who should be competing for the Raw Tag Team Titles, and you’ve got them in Lucha House Party Rule matches? And if you fire everybody, what is it gonna be? You, Lashley and McIntyre out here for three hours, just patting each other on the back? Yeah that’s really gonna send ratings through the roof. Or how bout we have more segments with urination in them. Ha ha ha ha ha. So funny. So cutting edge. Every single decision that you’ve made is to mask your insecurities.”
Those were the words spoken by Seth Rollins on the December 10 edition of Monday Night Raw. He said them to Baron Corbin, but they are the words that numerous fans, writers, and pundits have been saying for weeks about Raw. Undoubtedly, Vince McMahon scripted or signed off on Rollins saying all of those things.
The good news is, Rollins’ promo is proof that WWE officials recognize when their show sucks.
The bad news is, they may not actually care. The rest of the show seemed like proof of that.
WWE is going to make money regardless of whether wrestling fans like what they’re seeing or not. That is why, despite years of fan protest, Raw has continued to be three hours long each week. With that extra hour of television, WWE has another hour’s worth more of television revenue. Unfortunately, that’s more important to WWE than, ya know, actual entertaining television.
It’s a quality over quantity thing, but here’s the thing. It’s not the fault of the WWE writers, and they need to know that we, the general public, know that.
That’s the one thing I don’t think people understand. 5 hours of live TV every week. EVERY WEEK. Add in all the extraneous variables that affect the final outcome….and it’s a modern miracle that the shows come together as well as they do.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) December 12, 2018
So, a couple days after telling the audience that “Raw sucked,” Rollins got on his Twitter machine and said he agreed that writing five hours of live television a week is hard. First of all, should audiences believe Rollins the “character” or Rollins the “man?” His character is telling fans that Raw sucks. The man is saying we should appreciate the “miracle” of Raw each week. If Rollins doesn’t even take what he said on Raw seriously, why should fans?
That’s not the point, however. The point, we think, that former WWE creative team member Jimmy Jacobs and current performer Seth Rollins were trying to make is that it’s difficult to write five hours of programming each week, with no break.
It is! The writers of WWE television should be applauded. We know how hard it must be to write that much TV, especially with a mad(Mc)man looking over their shoulders. But therein lies the issue. If it’s so hard to write five hours of television, why does WWE air five hours of television? Nobody is forcing Vince McMahon to produce that much content. He is doing it simply for the sake of money.
I get it. In fact, I relate to it. Take my career, for example. As a freelance journalist, if I want to make any sort of decent living being a writer, I have to produce A LOT of content. We’re talking 50-plus articles a month, simply to pay what few bills I have. Inevitably, some of my work won’t be as high quality as other pieces of work (except for my work for Dot Net. This stuff’s always my A-game). I will fully admit that sometimes I look at my blank computer screen with dread. But I push through, to meet my word limit, in order to collect a paycheck. In a perfect world, I would be able to concentrate all of my time, effort and (immense) talent on a single project, making sure that it is as perfect and entertaining as it possibly could be. But the world is not perfect and sometimes writers are just trying to do their best so they can feed their families or, ya know, their cocaine and hooker habit. Hypothetically.
WWE is producing five-plus hours of programming each week to make money. It’s not because they believe they have a dozen stories worth telling. It’s not because the performers LIKE wrestling that much. It isn’t because Vince McMahon likes you. WWE produces content to make money, period.
We don’t fault WWE for that, but please don’t try to make fans feel guilty for expecting quality programming. Fans have literally begged WWE to cut back on their television hours. When consumers are asking for less content or product, it should be red flag. Sadly, for Vince McMahon, it is not. Evidently, a billion dollars isn’t enough for Vince McMahon. The problem is, no amount of money will ever be enough for someone like Vince McMahon. There are a lot of underlying issues in regards to this, and we will address them in a future article. But the point of this one is to remind WWE personnel that we’re not mad at them, we’re mad at the situation.
Many fans will continue to tune into WWE each week, but the numbers don’t lie. People are tuning out and it is a trend that will continue until something changes. That change isn’t going to come from the writers or the wrestlers. It certainly won’t come from the fans. The only person that can make the changes necessary to WWE is Vince McMahon. We just aren’t sure that will happen. McMahon will continue to make decisions, not made out of creative energy or a desire to please fans, but to make money. Some might even say that every single decision he’s made has been to mask his insecurities…and those aren’t our words. They’re his.
Nick Perkins is a world (okay, state)-renowned writer who dreamt of being a professional wrestler, until he realized that he was a) the opposite of athletically gifted and b) really, really afraid of being hurt. So he became a writer instead, and has been proclaimed (by himself, as well as close friends and relatives) to be a ‘natural.’
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Konnan, who discusses his return to the ring for MLW in Miami on Friday and shares the crazy story of how he started in pro wrestling.