WWE’s Wasted Potential – An Editorial on Goldberg and Wrestlemania

Somebody get Bad News Barrett because I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. I made the decision to go with logic, and in the world of the WWE, that’s just pure foolishness. During the Fast Lane Preview on 9 Deuce.com I said: “ I’m not doing it, I’m not saying it.  It’s not happening.  Spoiler alert, Goldberg is not walking away as the champion tonight.  It just makes zero sense moving forward.  The WWE is dumb, but is it this dumb?  Reputation time.  I will go so far as to say this, IF Goldberg leaves tonight as the champion, I will write a 5 page essay about all the dumb things that WWE has done over the past 14 months.  It will be absolutely insulting, and time consuming, but I will do it if WWE is this fucking stupid.  I’ve laid down the gauntlet.  Kevin Owens deserves to be treated better.”

Well, less than 2 days later, I am here to pay the Piper.  I’m pissed off, and this is not going to be appropriate for children, or anybody.  Let the hate flow.

March 28, 2010, there’s a date to really think about.  Why is it significant?  It was the date of Wrestlemania XXVI or 26 for you dumbasses.  This featured the last great Wrestlemania main event.  It featured Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker in a career vs streak match, and it is one of the 10 best Mania matches.  These guys did everything and delivered.  Since then, 7 years later, we have been treated to such great main events as Miz vs Cena, Rock vs Cena Once in a Lifetime, Rock vs Cena History Repeats itself, Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton vs Batista, Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns vs HHH, and now Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar.  Look at those names and matches.  I had to really think on a few to remember some that were less than memorable, and I love wrestling.  There used to be a time when the young guys got to go against the established stars and helped make new stars, especially in the main event.  Who did they help with any of the aforementioned matches?  The Miz had his only world title run overlooked thanks to Rock and Cena.  Punk was champ and couldn’t even main event.  The fans had to protest to get Daniel Bryan in the main event, but by then, his body had simply taken too much abuse and he was already made in the fan’s eyes.  Roman Reigns…..yeah, years later and people still hate him, or at least the character and his push.  Seth Rollins technically benefitted, but he wasn’t even advertised, so I can’t really count that.

April 6, 2014, there’s another date.  My parent’s generation and probably grandparents generation, they knew the date, February 3, 1959.  That was the infamous “The day the music died”, which was a result of a plane crash that took the lives of some incredibly popular talent at the time.  Well, for wrestling fans, April 6, 2014 is the day Wrestlemania died, and it was the dawn of a New Day, yes it was.  Sure, we got to see Hogan, Austin, and Rock all in the ring together, and that was fucking awesome.  Daniel Bryan finally climbed the mountain and was put over by 3 out of 4 members of Evolution.  It was the dawn of a great run, or it was meant to be, but sadly, Daniel would never be the same, and that robbed fans of one of the greatest technical wrestlers alive.  In January of that year, CM Punk had seen the writing on the wall and said fuck it, and he left.  That was the year that Bray Wyatt was going to put his stamp on WWE with his Wyatt Family, and they were due for one of the most “epic” matches ever against The Shield.  But they gave it away in February.  The Shield would go on to face Kane and the New Age Outlaws and Bray would get buried by Cena.  Oh, and one other thing may have happened that night.  The streat, the most prestigious number in wrestling, in my opinion, the holy grail of accomplishment, well it ended.  Well, fans had accepted this as a possibility, knowing that Undertaker would insist on retiring on a loss and putting somebody over, but it wasn’t his time.  More importantly, he didn’t have an opponent that would benefit from such a rub.  Instead, it went to Brock Lesnar, a guy who has quite a few significant claims to fame in the world of wrestling.  He didn’t need this, but they gave it to him.  

The thing is, since that day, WWE has pulled a Curtis Axel, the chains were off.  Nothing was sacred anymore.  The WWE said fuck the fans that got us here.  They said, we will do whatever we can to get a headline every once in awhile to try to a ratings pop for a night or two, and logic be damned, we will scramble to patch it up after we realize how bad the mistake was.  The streak, it’s gone.  Ric Flair’s record, the other holy grail, it’s tied, soon to be broken.  You get sick of Cena, well then, we are going to job him out so hard to Brock that even that harshest of haters wonder why.  We have entered bizarro land.  The bullies are the faces, and the bullied are the bad guys, but we’re supposed to be a star and rise above hate.  We have a guy in Mustafa Ali, and his whole gimmick is that he’s Muslim, but he’s trying to prove to the fans that he is not a terrorist.  Think about how fucked up that is!  Muhammad Hassan says hello, and hopes that no terrorist attack happens on a Monday or Tuesday or else Mustafa will be canned immediately.  

Do you remember how awesome The Nexus was when it formed?  Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Skip Sheffield, Darren Young, Justin Gabriel, David Otunga, Heath Slater, and Michael Tarver.  They were so incredibly over, and they had everything to offer the world.  On June 7, 2010, the Nexus was formed.  2010, we meet again.  They never were allowed to truly get over.  Now when you look at the names, I feel like quoting the great film, A Bronx Tale.  “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”  That quote applies not only to the Nexus, but WWE, and Wrestlemania in general.  Heath Slater is the only active wrestler out of those guys on a WWE roster.  Technically Darren is still around, but always injured, and Otunga is a commentator.  Daniel Bryan is the Smackdown GM.  All of that wasted talent.  I suppose that’s the crux of my issue.  So much talent wasted, never being given the rocket push.

Wrestlemania is a great time to make a new star.  You have that, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, Summerslam, and Money in the Bank.   What event has made the most stars since 2010?  Money in the Bank is the answer.  How fucked up is that?  Mania should always have some old guard vs new blood type of matches to pass the torch.  There are a lot of guys who are nearing the finish line, and are sure fire hall of famers.  So we should keep them built up for Mania and then have them put over the young guys.  It’s not complicated.  Yet, with a combined age of 89, we have Brock vs Goldberg.  

Just look at this shitty shitty card.  Who is going to benefit from these matches?  Brock supposedly does, but he doesn’t ever need this huge of a push because he’s a legitimate bad ass and we know that he is.  Nikki Bella is gonna get a rub before she retires, and giving Cena a win too.  Meanwhile, a guy like the Miz, a guy who should be near the main event at Mania does the shitty job.  The potential Shane vs AJ Styles match, whoever wins doesn’t do them any good.  If AJ wins, well he’s supposed to and he wins nothing.  If he loses, well that would just be fucking stupid.  I’m afraid of that one.  You have Taker vs Roman, at least that’s what we’re led to believe.  Once again, who benefits here?  If it was Taker vs Braun, I’d be cool with Taker putting Braun over if he was so inclined.  By virtue of being in a match with Taker, that would be a big enough rub though.  Roman though, his push can’t get any bigger, so him winning doesn’t help him.  Taker winning doesn’t add much.  It’s a lose lose match.  

Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho is a great story, and WWE did something right with this one, right up until Jericho broke his promise on keeping the belt on KO.  Why would Jericho help him lose his belt when he could challenge for it in a month?  Logically, I get that he’s your enemy, but you also want what is best for you.  Now, KO doesn’t even act like he gives a fuck about the red belt.  He has a rematch clause, so he should use it, but nah, logic be damned!!!  Jericho’s actions didn’t serve him properly, so it was illogical, and it hurts the feud a bit.  Goldberg vs Brock is actually worse off for having a belt at stake.  KO and Jericho could have really benefitted from it’s inclusion.  Jericho putting over KO as a great champ is important.  Now if KO wins, it just won’t feel as important.  Once again, not how you make a fucking star.

The guys are ready to be made.  They have busted their asses and are ready for the opportunity, but you have to offer the opportunity for them to seize it.  Not only that, but you have to vary who you give the opportunities to.  Last year, AJ, Dean, and KO were given opportunities, and all of them owned it and did great, yet come Mania time, WWE fears that, so bump all of them down the card so we can have part timers and The Shield boys occupy the main matches.  Seth vs HHH works in theory, but imagine how much better it would be if Cesaro or Sami was getting that match against HHH.  Seth is made.  It doesn’t help him or get him more over if he beats HHH.  It’s just a feather in his cap to beat a 47 year old dude.  

So let’s look at an example of something that makes sense.  Dean vs Baron.  Dean is a made man, he can eat a loss here and there if it makes sense, especially to get another guy closer to his level to add more variety.  That’s the way that the Shield Boys should be utilized.  On RAW, they take on HHH and Taker.  On Smackdown, they help make a star.  On RAW the title match is 2 old fucks that bring zero to the table and don’t help long term in any way.  On Smackdown, Bray is about to go against Randy at the very least, with AJ and Luke still in the hunt potentially.  Bray is about to be made by another established guy to make Bray and even bigger star.  Wow, what a concept.  

Every week, we sing the praises of Smackdown because they strive to create new stars, and if a guy puts over too often, they build them up quickly, like Dolph or Miz, and then have them go back to attempt to make a new star, help them climb the ladder.  They don’t utilize 50/50 fucking booking.  No, AJ owned the Cena feud by and large.  AJ owned Dean.  Dean owned Dolph.  Miz and Dolph took turns but it worked.  Bray got over by adding an established guy to his group.  The fun thing was that you can tell that it revitalized, not only Bray, but also Randy and gave new life to Luke.  Luke is now on the verge of being a star.  By the end of the year, if Baron and Luke stay on Smackdown, they will be made men.  I think Apollo could be too.  Then you suddenly have 10 guys that can all be in the title pictures and yet not hurt by dropping down a bit because there are other guys in a similar position, so it doesn’t look like a weak feud.

Think about this one.  John Cena, AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Luke Harper, Baron Corbin, The Miz, Dolph ZIggler, and Dean Ambrose are all on a similar playing field at the moment.  Add a Bobby Roode or Shinsuke, and that makes 10, or maybe they elevate Apollo or Eric Rowan.  But 9 guys is amazing.  You could put any of those 9 guys in a main event title feud, and it wouldn’t feel odd.  Hell, Heath Slater could be in that conversation if they wanted to go that route with  some initiative.  This is why Smackdown is great, plus how the women go, but I’m saving that.  Now look at RAW.  Who can realistically be in a main event feud and feel believable currently, who isn’t a part timer?  Roman, Seth, KO, Y2J and that’s it.  You could make an argument for Sheamus, Cesaro, Sami, Rusev, or Big Show, that that’s the problem.  You have to strain to make an argument, You have Braun and Samoa Joe as wild cards that can go in the main event.  Joe, yes he could feasibly win the belt, but I don’t think Braun can because he’s such a coward.  Finn Balor will return, and that adds a credible name, but he shouldn’t be a threat.  My point is simple, If Roman or Seth is your champ, how many of the singles guys can you actually see getting a championship win?  It’s more staggered and tiered.  That hurts.  Cesaro, Sheamus, Rusev, and Sami all need feuds with the top guys and they need to start getting some wins.  Right now, Samoa Joe is a priority, and rightfully so, but Braun should be too, and that’s tough with 2 big heels.  Joe vs Roman makes a lot of sense.  KO vs Cesaro makes sense.  Seth vs Braun or Sami makes a lot of sense.  Both all of those guys can win, but at least 2 of them need to win the big matches up to Summerslam, and then those guys that you just made can help out 2 other guys.  Seth and Roman are stars, but they need to lose the feuds this year.  They can still win matches, but they should lose the feuds.  The US Title needs to mean something again.  If you want to relegate guys to midcard, then make that midcard vicious and all wanting that US belt.  Make it feel important.

Vince can claim that guys need to reach for the brass rings, but that’s all just bullshit, and I say that with all due respect to Vince and all of the great things that he has done.  It’s a bullshit thing.  You make the argument that you need the part timers to bring in more fans, but you didn’t need that in the Attitude era.  You needed good matches and storylines that the fans didn’t want to miss.  I think Vince is afraid that a Mania with no part timers would be a huge failure, and he’s right.  Consider making new stars, and by next year, no need for Rock, Brock, Goldberg, Hogan, HHH, or any other old timer to boost the show.  Taker has a lifetime pass and he is the exception. Make the youth movement.  You were successful with the Shield Boys, except Roman who needs a change, and The Wyatts.  You know how to make stars, stop being so stubborn.  Having 20 big stars is better than 10.  It makes the shows less grueling during the year.   How fucking hard is this to grasp?  We know that stables work, soooo we need a new stable, or 2.  It’s really quite simple.  I would like to see the guys who have been overlooked to unite and take down the establishment.  How cool would it be to see Sami, Cesaro and Rusev to just come out during a HHH promo and declare war.  Cesaro could expect Sheamus to join him, but Sheamus stays true to HHH.  HHH makes a big deal about KO and Joe having his back, but they decimate HHH, and KO and Sami are on a side.  HHH makes a deal with Roman, Seth, Big Show, Mark Henry, those guys, and just run with it.  WCW tried this with the New Blood vs the Millionaire’s club, and it was smart initially, but needed better booking.  This would be just the thing to get people into RAW again.  You can bring in a Dolph, Miz, Cena, Dean, Randy, any of those guys.  Turn the Shield heel to help HHH because the fans will be booing the shit out of the old school anyway.  This shit could culminate in the new guys having a leader, and it’s Bray.  So HHH and Bray can go at it.  Bray goes over, and then by next year’s Mania, the old times have one last hope, and it’s The Undertaker to take on Bray, and we get the passing of the torch.  There, I just made wrestling great again on RAW.  That was easy, but the fuck heads that get paid thousands of dollars could never come up with such a simple story.  You listen to the fans and I’m telling you, make Roman a beast as a heel that can’t be beat by the young guys.  That could open up all kinds of good and new feuds with new dynamics.

I said that I would talk about the women, but that’s 5 pages for another day.  I got more gripes here.  Yes, the tag teams are a mess, but once again, that’s another 5 pages for another day.  I gotta go back to Goldberg, because it was the absolute wrong call.  I can elaborate why by using history, and WWE is all about history.

One of the things that people have long made fun of WCW for, and usually bring up when discussing the fall of WCW was the David Arquette thing.  WCW failed for a number of reasons, ya know, like not making new stars and being content with the same old shit.  But the David Arquette thing was different.  WCW had used plenty of celebrities in the past.  Some were good to great like Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone, and even Jay Leno.  On the other hand, there was Robocop, Kiss, Master P, and so many other horror stories.  David Arquette was different because they actually had him win the WCW World Championship, the same belt that Ric Flair made famous, that belt.  

Now I am a fan of David Arquette.  I like quite a few of his films.  I blogged about Bone Tomahawk this past October, and he even liked it.  I still hated the idea of putting the belt on him, or any non wrestler.  I hate the idea of the belt going on a part timer even.  Brock and Rock, neither should have held it.  It’s a slap in the face to the guys busting their asses by the bookers, in my opinion.  They did the Arquette thing to get a buzz for Ready To Rumble as well as make headlines in various places that would never talk about pro wrestling.  And it worked!  But did it help in any way?  The ratings didn’t skyrocket.  It was acknowledged as a publicity stunt, appropriately.  It didn’t help anybody get more over, from my perspective, as I felt DDP was already incredibly over.  So with no real benefits, they just wanted to get their name out to a bunch of eyes that still wouldn’t give pro wrestling the time of day.  WWE has made fun of that stuff.  Yet, isn’t that exactly what they  just did with Goldberg?  By the way, if WWE can’t get Bob Barker in to the Hall of Fame this year, I say get David Arquette, that would be awesome.  

At least David was a fan, and I think that he genuinely enjoyed his time.  Goldberg is doing this just to show off for his son and stroke his ego. Goldberg has never been a respected wrestler.  He’s never going to be known as one of the all time greats.  He was a presence.  He is probably a very nice guy, so I don’t say this to demerit Bill Goldberg the human being.  I say this, that looking at things objectively, Goldberg never stuck me as a guy who gave back to the industry like most of the greats.  Look at Jericho and Shawn and now HHH and Randy.  They give back.  I feel that Bill is back for a lot of the wrong reasons, and WWE just encouraged this further by offering him incentives.  This is how you create a monster, this is what WCW did.  Yeah, in a month, he will most likely have dropped the belt to Brock, but the damage is done.  You can say that I am taking this way over the top, and to you, I’d tell you to go fuck yourself.  There are rules and ways to make this thing that we call pro wrestling fun to watch, and occasionally meaningful.  You have an opportunity to make a star, instead, you just keep inflating the egos of 2 well past their prime guys who are no longer great, and in Goldberg’s case, he was never great.  He was cool, he was fun, he was a presence, but he was a shit wrestler and doesn’t deserve the accolades while guys like Cesaro get nothing.  Try to convince me that Goldberg has a better personality or better anything over Cesaro, and try doing it with a straight face.  Same goes for Rusev or Braun.  But yeah, let’s put the belt on a 50 year old part timer and kill all momentum for the biggest show of the year.  

Keep pointing at your stupid fucking signs.  Just remember, WWE, the worst thing in life is wasted potential.

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

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