No ConfidenceBy Drowgoddess · · 2 Comments
I vote “no confidence.”
This vote does not refer to Triple H’s leadership, any particular COO, or any particular superstar. While this opinion may be a minority one, it refers to the WWE in general, and my complete lack of confidence in its ability to entertain me as a wrestling or “sports entertainment” fan. The dominant angle of “the Walk-Out” and the bulk of the lesser stories as they are currently portrayed do nothing for me as a wrestling fan, and without inciting any sort of personal animosity, I would like to explain why.
First of all, let’s make one thing crystal clear. Some people really like “the Walk-Out” angle, and are totally into it. That’s great. I’m genuinely glad that someone is enjoying it. It’s not that I “don’t get it.” I do get it. The visual of even the cameramen laying down their equipment and walking out, leaving JR as the last person to exit, was completely unexpected, and certainly powerful. This is also not an issue of bashing Triple H for hijacking a hot angle from CM Punk and centering it around himself. I’m not a Triple H-hater, nor do I believe that Punk can do no wrong. Sure, Punk entertains me, both on the ring and on the mic, more on his worst day than Triple H on his best, but that’s as may be. That’s purely personal opinion, and is neither right nor wrong. Wrestling used to have options for all personal opinions, and one simply liked what one liked. The issue is bigger than that.
The issue is that, however the story is dressed up, it’s simply a variant of the “struggle for power” angle that has been going on since the first round of Austin/McMahon. Who has the power? Who runs the show? Who is in charge? Who cares??? The story is so overused and worn out that it doesn’t matter. When the “power struggle” story is in play, title belts, established feuds between wrestlers, and the competition in general that should be at the heart of every wrestling promotion’s existence, cease to matter. Why should Wrestler A concern himself with defeating Wrestler B when authority figures with hiring and firing capabilities are at each other’s throats? This is a story that does still have a place, but not right now. Not for a good seven years, really. Once upon a time, a power struggle for control of a wrestling promotion was a huge deal because you rarely saw it. Much like Hell in a Cell matches, it was saved for a truly grand occasion. Now, repetition has rendered it impotent as a storytelling device. Truthfully, who calls the shots in a company is boring when compared to a lengthy title chase for an underdog babyface who is cheated and thwarted at every turn, but ultimately wins his just reward at a ppv.
Speaking of which, another reason for lack of confidence in WWE at the moment is the bizarre face/heel dynamic. All jokes about Vince Russo’s demotion aside, one would swear that the man had jumped ship again to WWE, considering the recent actions of several top babyface wrestlers. Kelly Kelly attacks Beth Phoenix from behind, throwing a screaming tantrum like a spoiled five-year-old, and repeatedly shrieking, “Give me back my belt!” That’s not fire from a wronged babyface, that’s a bratty crybaby. Watching her was even more embarrassing than usual. John Cena enters the cage after Alberto Del Rio pins CM Punk and wins the World title, and beats Del Rio down like he owes him money. The match was a Hell in a Cell match, where anything goes. Did Cena not understand that he hadn’t actually been screwed, just outsmarted? Cena’s assaults of Ricardo Rodriguez have not always been with merit, either. Sure, Rodriguez interferes with matches, and sometimes deserves what he gets. However, when Cena gives a non-wrestler character an Attitude Adjustment or otherwise beats him down with no real provocation (which has happened several times), that’s not babyface behavior. Randy Orton, aside from being boring enough to bring people OUT of comas so that they can change the channel, is cheered for punting people in the head (or at least attempting to) after already soundly defeating them. What Orton did to Cody Rhodes, when he bashed him in the head with the ring bell and caused injuries requiring stitches, was not an Austin-esque move. Despite a few notable exceptions, most of Austin’s worst behavior was against the vilest heels who really deserved it. What has Cody Rhodes really done to deserve possible brain damage? Are paper bags truly that hateful? The point is that while there is always room for experimentation with character, anti-heroes, and something other than the traditional black-and-white division of babyfaces and heels, WWE is asking for too much suspension of disbelief without enough good reason.
Finally, the motivation for “the Walk-Out” lacks any sense of urgency or clarity. Heels like Christian, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, Vickie Guerrero and her stable, and David Otunga SHOULD be obviously lying about an unsafe work environment and chaos. That’s the whole point. The real problem lies with everyone else. No babyface has yet given a coherent reason as to why they voted “no confidence” and walked out. Lawler gave the closest thing to an explanation so far, but made himself look weak and silly by walking out after insisting that it wasn’t Triple H’s fault. No one can explain why they did it. Daniel Bryan didn’t. Air Boom didn’t. The fact that both Mark Henry and the Big Show, not to mention Randy Orton, have done more to create unsafe working environments for everyone, and are never acknowledged as doing so, is pathetic. The concept of “the Walk-Out” isn’t inherently flawed, but the justifications for it certainly are. Is asking for a solid reason for actions so drastic honestly too much?
Many writers from other sites have pointed out that having the entire roster walk out on Triple H was a last-minute Vince McMahon decision. It shows. Keeping the top babyfaces in the back so that fans didn’t boo them along with the mid-card and undercard babyfaces was one of many nonsensical choices made. Why not at least have a brief backstage segment where said top babyfaces were approached by other wrestlers, and then had to make a decision? Whether or not one buys into the assertion made in several camps that Vince’s megalomania demands a televised story that proves once and for all that Triple H is a less effective leader than he is, that “union” members are cowards hiding behind legal counsel, and that only Vince McMahon can save the day, one definitely has to wonder how the pipe bomb promo of the Summer of Punk II transformed into this.
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