Start/Stop, Push/Pull

Corbin Macklin


Many fans and observers of professional wrestling have speculated for years that Vince McMahon doesn't want any wrestler to reach the level stars like Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan did. I personally feel that would be dumb so I do not believe it. I can see the logic. You can see the effect having big names has on business. You can see even moreso the effect not having big stars has on business. These days no one really feels special or all that different from the others.

The other day I was thinking about how Rusev, Braun Strowman, Ryback and Roman Reigns are the best examples of WWE actively throwing water on stars while they're heating up.

I'll start with my favorite, THE BIG DOG. In 2014, fans wanted Daniel Bryan to win the Rumble but he wasn't even in the match. They KNEW Batista was going to win and turned on him. They cheered for Roman who set a record for eliminations in one Rumble at that time. Then a year later WWE brought Bryan back right before another Rumble they weren't going to have him win. Instead of having Roman be dominant and break his record from the previous year, they booked the Rumble to be Big Show and Kane beating up and eliminating all the fan favorites. It was really bad booking. Roman was going to get booed no matter what he did. The booking did him no favors, as many remember that Rumble for him "taking a nap in the corner". Vince knew from the fan reactions he needed to squirt some water on Roman so the backlash wouldn't be too bad. What none of us knew then was that Roman would have to cut a promo about having cancer to stop getting booed 3 years later. In that time, Vince had him lose to Brock Lesnar multiple times and fail to win many big matches. The logic was flawed. The people who were hating on Roman were never going to sympathize with him not getting pushed the way fans knew WWE wanted to. All they succeeded in doing was making the guy everyone knows is their guy the poster child for 50/50 booking when top stars need to rarely ever lose so fans believe in them.

I was never a big fan of the Rusev Day thing, but have always been a fan of the character. Not because of any character development of course. I just always liked him. Now he never gets on TV. A few years ago he hadn't lost by pinfall or submission, then they fed him to Cena three times in a row for no reason. WWE could have kept him strong as a top heel character even after he wasn't as dominant. He went from a top act to being barely above jobber level. I don't want to hear about how he and his wife always have heat backstage. They're too talented to not be used at all.

Ryback is a funny case because he was undefeated for a long time, then WWE had him lose to CM Punk because Cena got hurt. Losing a couple of matches doesn't kill your heat. WWE had that dude not win any ppv matches for a year. That... was retarded.

Braun Strowman does not feel like a top star. WWE refuses to let him beat Brock Lesnar or win the belt under any circumstances. Not saying I think you need the belt to be a top star. The belt can never make you important, you make the belt important. He's another guy who got built up and fed to someone, and though he has not been on any losing streak, he also has not won any big matches. They gave him the Money In The Bank case and he lost. WWE has made it so clear they don't want us to believe in him. It's sad.

SummerSlam will be an important PPV in WWE history. If Kofi Kingston loses to the first legit opponent he's had since he won the belt from Daniel Bryan, that's not a good look. If Seth Rollins does not beat Brock Lesnar clean as a sheet, as I have said before, that demonstrates that WWE does not believe in him as a top babyface. Belief is everything in WRESTLING.

WWE needs to stop stopping and pulling its top stars after they start pushing them.

Unless they do the dummy and push Jinder Mahal then they should stop again.