Throughout its 39 year existence, WWE has captivated fans with its high flying athletes, in-depth storylines, and monthly pay per views that keep viewers coming back for more during the weekly episodes of Raw, Smackdown, and NXT. But over the last two years, fans have voiced their displeasure with not only the storylines being presented but also the way wrestlers are being or not being utilized on the WWE Instagram and Youtube pages. After weeding through all the comments and fan-made videos here’s what I found are the most common issues.
Long Term Booking Isn’t Going Over Like It Used To
Back in the days of WCW and ECW fighting for dominance fans were more than happy to see a storyline play out over the course of a year, but a lot has changed since then. WWE now has monthly pay per views that require long term buildup for the main event matches. In the past the format went something like this: Pit two or more wrestlers against each other, have them face each other on weekly shows to get fans invested, announce a match at a pay per view event usually for a title or some kind of match with special stipulations, have a winner, and move on to the next story. This is no longer the format fans are being presented with, most notably with the current King Corbin versus Roman Reigns story. After last week’s Loser Eats Dog Food Match fans thought the feud was finally over when Reigns defeated Corbin and covered him in dog food, but this wasn’t the case. It was announced that Reigns and Corbin would once again be facing off at another pay per view, specifically the Super Showdown in Saudi Arabia. This means this feud will be at least six months long. While there have been feuds that have gone on for over a year fans are no longer invested in seeing these two face off.
Too Many Pay Per Views, Too Long Title Reigns
In the past, the Road to Wrestlemania was the most anticipated time of the year for wrestling fans. But with so many pay per views taking place throughout the year fan excitement has died down when its time for the bigger events. With each event costing more than $60, unless you are subscribed to the WWE Network, fans are not willing to pay monthly for a storyline they may not be satisfied with.
In April 2017 the noted heel Brock Lesnar won the Universal Championship and retained the title for a record 504 days. Wrestling fanatics were not happy with the length of time that Lesnar held the championship, mainly because Lesnar has limited appearances on weekly televised shows and never appears at smaller house shows. But this all seemed to play into Brock being a menace that everyone loves to hate.
Currently, people are voicing their displeasure of Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch holding her title for more than 300 days. But unlike Lesnar, Becky Lynch is widely loved by fans of the women’s division and still has a big enough fan appreciation that it doesn’t look like she will be losing the title anytime soon, at least until Wrestlemania.
Not Enough Variety in Talent
Across the five shows under the WWE umbrella there 207 wrestlers employed by the company. With so many options for matches, fans want to know why they are seeing the same people over and over again? One reason may be that there are just too many people battling it out for storylines. While it is impossible to give all 207 wrestlers the spotlight fans have called for WWE to release those who have been stuck in NXT, the developmental brand for WWE, for years and are not going to make the main roster. But with competing promotions looking to take wrestlers from WWE this doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.
Regardless of NXT, the main shows have plenty of options on who they could showcase especially with the return of superstars like Naomi and Liv Morgan. And yet fans are seeing the same people over and over again each week and each pay per view.
On its Youtube community page, WhatCultureWrestling asked fans who they thought wasn’t being used to their full potential and there were a lot of opinions. Most commonly mentioned for the men were Cesaro, Matt Hardy, and many of the stronger bigger wrestlers that aren’t Brock Lesnar, Drew McIntyre, and Braun Stroman. On the women’s side Naomi, Dana Brooke, and the IIconics were mentioned repeatedly. The lack of defense for the Women’s Tag Team was also mentioned more than once.
Will Wrestlemania Deliver?
With the Road to Wrestlemania underway, fans are hoping they get what they want after the success of the Royal Rumble. Fans are hoping to see the return of Edge lead to a match against former tag partner Randy Orton, but that alone will not win fans over. Several fans expressed their displeasure with Charlotte Flair winning the Women’s Royal Rumble, but the result of the Men’s Royal Rumble has set up Drew McIntyre against Brock Lesnar. This match has been long-awaited by many long term fans.
If the fans get what they want WWE may see an upswing in viewership but it is too early to tell if fans will stay invested for that long. Wrestlemania takes place on April 5, 2020.