The Reunion Problem

Corbin Macklin


If I told you Shawn Michaels was wrestling AJ Styles in the main event there IS no problem with these Reunion shows WWE puts on periodically. By next year, I will not remember that Seth Rollins was in the ring standing tall with The Kliq and Road Dogg. Because I did not remember that Finn Balor stood with them when they buried The Revival. The problem, in one sentence, is this: More often than not, a bunch of old guys beat up or run off the young talent.

AJ Styles and The Good Brothers are now calling themselves The Original Club. Which is ironic, that on the SAME night they debut their new merch, they back down from the guys they stole the whole Too Sweet gimmick from. SO NOW THEY'RE SO OVER. USA Network pitched the idea of Raw Reunion to help the sagging ratings. Which is like putting a band-aid on a gaping, gushing wound. WWE is hemmorrhaging fan interest BECAUSE they can't get any of the newer talent over like a Hulk Hogan or a Stone Cold Steve Austin. You can only play the nostalgia card so many times. RAW 25 had over 4 million viewers. This latest trip down memory lane only brought in 3 million viewers.

Halfway through that last paragraph I was thinking about how emblematic New Day vs League of Nations at WrestleMania 32 was. First, no one reading this is thinking "Yeah, League of Nations TOTALLY should have won that match." Then, no one with sense watched that and thought "If I was booking, yeah I think three old men should have come out to beat up the winners, then drop the losers too." On that night, HHH entered as WWE Champion. Brock Lesnar beat Ambrose. Jericho beat AJ Styles. Rock squashed Rowan. Rock and Cena ran off three Wyatt's. As aforementioned, Mick Foley, HBK and Stone Cold beat up the winners and losers of a match. That show was a HORRIBLE night of the youth repeatedly getting served.

One of my favorite critiques of WWE these days is that for all their biggest shows they pay a premium for old dudes to come back and take spots from the younger talent. People have been excusing this for years with "they bring more eyeballs to the product" but then when the ratings have dropped year over year for decades, how is that your defense? In the case of dream matches like the aforementioned Shawn Michaels v AJ Styles? I can stomach that. But I still go back to when WWE had CM Punk in the midcard as champion while Cena was in every main event building to him losing to The Rock so CM Punk could also lose to The Rock to Cena could win the belt from The Rock while CM Punk was losing to The Undertaker so Brock could end The Streak the next year. CM Punk would still be in WWE today if, instead, he ended The Streak in the main event of WrestleMania. WWE doesn't bring back the old men to get the younger men over, they smash over the old men who only really put over other old men. Wonder why no one really thinks much of the current talent.