How WWE Buries Itself

Corbin Macklin


I have been thinking a lot about why wrestling is not as exciting as it was when I was younger and knowing this is not that thing where you think the stuff you liked as a kid was the best... Unlike many people, I think the Attitude Era was the garbage they serve us now with more stars. I am still a mark for colorful era of Hulkamania in its prime. I was a huge fan of young Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar. I'd say 2002 to maybe 2009 I would do anything to watch wrestling. I have many memories of watching SmackDown on Friday nights eating Chinese that my late grandfather bought. I used to plan things on Mondays and Fridays around WWE. Now? You cannot pay me to watch the tv. I was watching a YouTube clip because that is how I stay current on what is happening + I watch the PPVs on the Network when it hit me: wrestling doesn't give us satisfying payoffs anymore.

Let me say this before I say anything else: pro wrestling only works as a story of good overcoming evil. If you have two faces or two heels against each other it can't have anywhere near the impact. At its core, wrestling is giving you one side you want to see win, and the other side you want to see get beat within an inch of their life. And if you give the people too much heat, you burn them out. One of the main reasons WWE storylines suck is because it is usually heat followed by the heel winning followed by more heat, which leads to fans thinking the face cannot overcome. And in most cases they usually don't. Think. When was the last time you saw a babyface repeatedly get one over on the heel, in successive segments on tv. And that babyface wasn't named Stone Cold Steve Austin. Exactly. So, the last 20ish years has been watching heels get so much heat the fans feel burned.

The recent TLC show was trash because of one SIMPLE reason. Heels won up and down that card. Baron Corbin had poured dog food on the locker room leader that no one in the locker room ever comes to help... Then beat him in the match. No one with sense expected The Miz to beat Bray Wyatt who got cheered like a babyface but was the heel. Bobby Lashley beat Rusev in a tables match after months of the storyline that will never end. The heel women's tag champs won in the main event. Forgive me for not really remembering what else happened. I think 2 babyfaces won all night. That affects the energy of the crowd. Remember that Battleground show that had Jinder beat Orton in a Punjabi Prison match? That was a similar show that wasn't terrible from a work standpoint... It was heel heavy. WWE these days likes to have pretty much every champion be heel and they get heat in every other segment. Again... Too much heat burns out the audience.

If all you do is get heat, what even does heat mean?

WWE doesn't balance The Force. After months of Shane claiming to be the best in the world and beating former world champions in matches and not giving them anything he lost one match and left the company. So, they built KO to be his opposition aaaaaand then when he was gone now KO is just another guy with nothing to do because he can't torment someone that's no longer with us. Stephanie spent years cutting people down on the mic and slapping people and no one would say or do SHIT and then maybe she would take one odd table bump or fall in a kiddie pool of mud in a calendar year. This is crazy, because WWE wrote the "babyface overcoming the abusive authority figure" playbook with Austin giving innumerable stunners and wasting gallons of beers on himself and others. It's almost like they don't want babyfaces to get over.

You don't have time for me to complain about every unsatisfying feud ending but highlights are: that time Cena wouldn't put Bray Wyatt over, Roman Reigns the last 5 years, Undertaker retired then came back... I could do this all day. If there are less satisfying payoffs then less money gets paid.

First and foremost I hope everyone reading this is virus free and gainfully employed, getting paid to not go to work. That aside, I have been enjoying the clips of WWE I've seen since they started televising empty arena shows due to the pandemic. With no crowd in the background trying to get itself over and make itself the story, it made me think about the ways in which WWE is killing itself slowly. Most of how WWE buries itself is promos.

I can't talk about promos and burial without bringing up: I have been saying for a long time that John Cena is not good at promos because all he does is bury his opponents. What the ENTIRE fuck was that promo on SmackDown last week!?! The only thing he left out was the part where he was banging JoJo and their child might not really be Bray Wyatt's. Yanno, like the time Kevin Owens beat Cena clean and then Big Match John came out to say KO isn't a man AND his son is a Super Cena fan. So I'd never put that sort of thing past him. Instead of telling a story that makes sense like: "I'm not scared of The Fiend, but at the same time look at how The Fiend has changed everyone he has touched. Finn Balor. Seth Rollins. Daniel Bryan. He wears gloves that say 'hurt' and 'heal' on them. I am someone who likes to be in control. For years, I have heard and seen all the things you all have said about me and a lot of them were related to change. I refuse to change who I am to please anyone. What if Bray Wyatt has some kind of power to force change? I will fight with everything I have to keep him from either hurting me or healing me into something I can't recognize when I look in the mirror."

First, I know that was too well thought out and logical to ever be WWE programming. Second: it's not John Cena if he's not worked shooting on his opponent and saying the worst possible thing he could about them. Saying that THE hottest star in the company selling the most merch is not the future of the company is.... Idk. Telling us he is lazy and a fraud is WOW. Talking about how he never buried anyone by beating them because he also took Ls is an outright lie. The Nexus has entered the chat. There is a difference between losing because it's part of the plan for you to get your win back later and usually for a belt... The Rock and AJ Styles stand up and say wassup... And then there is taking a loss where a win would have meant everything to your career. Like that time when Bray Wyatt was a rising star, but SOMEHOW if John Cena lost at WrestleMania Porn bka XXX it erased his WHOLE legacy. OBVIOUSLY that loss didn't bury Bray, because here he is, a bigger star than before. I am offended at the false equivalency. Cena said the guy made excuses and blah blah blah he disgusts me.

So. Bray Wyatt cannot under any circumstances lose this match or he IS buried.

AJ Styles is hyping a match with Undertaker by... Telling us the truth about him. That he is old and broken down and should have retired years ago. And Taker has physically dominated him and two other men. And will win the match. So what does that say about AJ Styles? WHY are you cutting promos about how old and washed that man is when you should be trying to hide that as much as possible?

WWE has convinced its fanbase you need to be able to cut a promo for 15-20 minutes straight. It does not take that long to say "I have x personal issue with wrestler y and at z show I'm going to beat the brakes off them." That is literally all a promo needs to say and do. Not every promo needs to be the pipebomb. I am against shoot promos in general. Because you're smacking the audience in the face with the reality that you said real life things this time but all the other scripted promos aside from this scripted promo were fake. Wrestling has been fake for many decades. Wrestling and WWE in particular have been telling the audience this shit is fake in ways blatant and subtle for the last 20ish years.

Have you ever seen a Hollywood star do an interview where they told you their new movie was fake but they're gonna tell the truth this time? Nah they just talk about working with certain directors and writers and actors. They tell you to go see the shit. THAT'S HOW YOU DO PROMOTION. The actors don't talk about how geriatric and sickly people are and how they should retire. They don't say SHIT about folk on the set being lazy or not the future of the business.