THE CASUAL SHEEP – 02.28.2020: Here Lies the WWE Network

By Goose Mahler, Associate Editor

Mark Mahler

Well, here we go again. Another WWE Saudi broadcast, and another round of angry fans.

Trust me, there is a lot to be angry with the WWE. You get sick of hearing the same crap from the same people. We get Triple H, Bruce Prichard, Paul Heyman and others justify this bullshit booking and how Vince is still a wrestling genius and a genius at running his business. 

Stop reading here if you don’t want to face reality because I’m going to lay the smackdown the WWE doesn’t want you to believe. 

Vince doesn’t give a shit. If you don’t believe me, look at all the rumors, listen to the conference calls and avoidance of straight questions with honest answers, look at the disgruntled talent, and watch the ratings drop, along with the stock. This all points to a company struggling to have or find its own identity. 

Don’t sit there and tell me AEW, NWA, NJPW, Impact, ROH, and other promotions don’t scare Vince and his other wrestling colleagues in the WWE. They have made bad choice after bad decision going on months and years now. They have misused the hell out of talent and the talent can only stand so much. And the biggest problem…they can’t get out of the past long enough to see what they have in front of them. 

WWE Universal Champion Goldberg

Here in lines the danger of running a promotion claiming to have three unique brands. 

Has Raw acted like a top promotion over NXT? NO

Has Smackdown surged on Fox the way the WWE wanted? NO

Was putting NXT head to head with AEW a smart move? NO

Was firing his co-Presidents a smart move? NO

Is rumoring a change to the WWE network a good business decision? Maybe, but at the sake of alienating your own fan base, this is a big ole HELL NO. To me, it is nothing more than a money grab because of said bad decision making upfront. 

Fortune 500 companies do not have this much uncertainty, regardless of the product they sell. When something starts to stink to holy high heaven, changes are made. Maybe not at the right level, but changes are made. However, changes normally benefit the consumers, not hinder them and in this case, the WWE is not only hindering their fan base, they are outright taking a big stinking steaming dump on them. 

Within 5 months from Hell in a Cell to this Super Show Down card the WWE has effectively killed the Fiend without reason. They absolutely destroyed Seth Rollins as a face, 5 months before, because he was booked as a heel against a heel that fans started to like more. What do you do, have him drop the belt turn into a legitimate heel and have the other heel continue to go his way on a different show? It doesn’t make any damn sense. 

RAW Tag-Team Champions Seth Rollins and MurphyYes, people like Rollins as a heel, but guess what, those same fans are tired of Rollins talking, this dude needs a damn mouthpiece worse than the Iron Sheik, and hiding behind his new faction and seeing the same matches week after week after week. 

Guess what, fans are already done with Rollins and his stable and KO and his make-shift teams losing every week. This indicates that Rollins character is not equal to his talent in the ring. He’s not over and either is their Straight Edge Society rip off. 

Going back to the Fiend. Daniel Bryan was used as a filler to get Goldberg the title? What in the actual fuck? Does anyone else out there see how backwards assed this is. Another part time champ because you know Lesnar as a part time champ has so much of the fan’s attention, which judging by the ratings is NONE AT ALL. Another brilliant move by the WWE. 

The Fiend was over, heel or otherwise. It’s a bit morbid, but it is a fact. This begs the question of why they felt the need to remove the belt from him? If he didn’t need the belt, then they shouldn’t have murdered Seth Rollins face character with him getting challenged by the Fiend right away. 

This goes back to bad booking and stinks of a desperate measure. If the Fiend was supposed to be an attraction, then there is no need to put a belt on him. Let him eliminate players and have the Firefly Fun House and taunt his opponents from a distance without the belt. It would have worked, trust me. 

Instead, this is what we have now. Cena vs The Friend on the books for WrestleMania without a belt. Reigns vs Goldberg for a belt. The only thing that keeps going on in my mind is fans were turning on Reigns, now they can turn on Goldberg, which means two heel champs and no face of the company, and Vince has forced fans into hoping Reigns wins as a face. Rinse and Repeat with Roman…new segment coming to Smackdown soon. 

Let’s move on from that crap to another big issue fans are having. The WWE Network. This is where I honestly think we are being duped and screwed by the WWE and they won’t even leave a mint on the pillow afterwards. 

The fans get mad, they drop the network, Vince moves to ESPN Plus and charges $69.99 for PPV’s like WrestleMania. Now, he has just justified to his board members why the change needs to be made. They keep losing network subscribers and the only way to make that up is to partner up with a streaming service that can charge for the PPV. 

Brilliant! Wrong! 

WWE NetworkThe WWE since the Network came out was sold on three months free, and free PPV’s. You have already trained your loyal fan base that your product is worth $9.99 a month, not $69.99 a month. What better way to justify it then piss off the base and try like hell to usher in new fans while screwing the base that stayed loyal?

If this sounds familiar to old school fans, this is the same garbage that killed territories. It’s a chess match with Vince and his money. To spend money to keep disgruntled employees around, you must have money to spend. Buy, buy, buy and then watch the competition go down. In this case, that is not what is going to happen as AEW is backed by an asset that is just as rich as Vince if not more. 

To the naked eye or casual fan, I’m going to drop my subscription is great sounding when you are mad. But in all actuality should the WWE get their shit together, they have you at their mercy to spend and make more money. My advice is, if you are mad and are going to drop the subscription, stick to your guns. Because as sick as this sounds the way this has played out with the rumors and firings and booking, it’s like the WWE is enjoying murdering their own product. 

If this is a true case of them not knowing how to fix their lack of star power. Here’s my suggestion and NXT is going to suffer for this. Either start showcasing NXT, your most popular brand, in other televised arenas or shift that talent to the bigger shows. 

I might be in the minority here, but Adam Cole is so over in NXT that he is possibly the closest thing to the next big thing for the WWE. Move him to Raw or Smackdown, have him ascend as quickly and real as possible and get him to be the face of the company. At this time there is nothing more to lose and I’d bet on Adam Cole 24-7 and twice on Sundays to be able to carry the company if booked correctly. 

The WWE has issues and we all know it. Ratings and stocks are dropping and polls are run to vote and to judge the show showing 90-95 percent negative reviews. That means you are not the top company in the business. Far from it. 

Until someone under the WWE realizes there is a problem, their shows will continue to struggle along with their revenue. No one will take the blame, but forensic evidence all points to this bastardization of the WWE being a Vince McMahon driven car. Vince is not as smart as his own circle wants you to think. 

Until next week, remember: “Quality is not an act, it is a habit” – Aristotle. 



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