Edited and promoted to the front page by CagesideSeats.com. Photo credit to WWE.com.
First off, I've viewed this blog from afar and think you guys do a great job at keeping it up. Unbiased, humorous, and don't take yourself too seriously, I dig that.
As for myself, I was born in the early 1980s and grew up in the heart of Hulkamania. Like most kids at that age, I was hooked on wrestling. I had probably stopped watching in about 1993 or so, as the Caesar's Palace WrestleMania was the last event I remember from that era.
I was drawn again to wrestling in January of '98, mainly because of Stone Cold Steve Austin and his various escapades my WWF buddies would tell me about on middle school bus rides.
I stopped watching again around 2001. I don't remember any specific time, though it must of been before WrestleMania, since I don't remember Austin turning heel. I started watching again this past January because I came across WWE videos streaming on Netflix and it made me want to check in on the current product.
The only reason I give you that back drop is just to let you know my observations come from a big wrestling fan, albeit a casual one. Here are just a few things I noticed about the current product:
-- First off, I like the direction things are going after being uncertain of the roster when I watched the first couple of weeks.
-- The Rock vs. John Cena feud was a good thing for a person like me, a casual fan who would still be willing to cheer for an Attitude Era character. I only caught the last three months of it, so perhaps it was a bit drawn out after a year, but I can only comment on what I saw. I think The Rock did a good job at bringing up the flaws most adults find in Cena's character and it was almost as if they made fun of their own creative team. Cena did a good job at being that pestering little kid while still maintaining his face status with the younger crowd.
-- I got a little sick of Undertaker vs. Triple H, as they just kept doing the same promos week after week, reiterating the same points and overusing the "End of an Era" line. That being said, they put on a pretty good match at WrestleMania to somewhat redeem themselves, although I thought the Shawn Michaels being torn by emotion as guest referee angle was a bit much.
-- I don't ever need to see Brodus Clay in this gimmick, or that singlet, ever again.
-- It looks like WWE puts a little more money into their own product now than when I watched previously. Although the constant carny/barker attitude is still there.
-- Kane is still the same exact lame-duck stepping stone character he was when I stopped watching, although I am told he took his mask off and now has it again, woo-hoo. Has he done anything of note while I was gone? Always thought he had potential back in the day.
-- Having two championship belts isn't necessary, nor is it a good thing. This is evidenced by Daniel jobbing to Sheamus in a squash for a major belt at WrestleMania. Having just one belt not only legitimizes the current champion but it also adds weight and significance to the other titles.
-- Smackdown seems vastly inferior to Raw, although I do like Booker T as a commentator.
-- I don't like Jerry Lawler not being a full-blown heel announcer; it just doesn't seem right. Although he does still do a great job, he was just funnier and wittier when he was a heel announcer. Michael Cole is probably playing the character he should've been all along, which is why I suppose they had to move Lawler to face announcer. When did this happen? It took me about three weeks to get over this.
-- Cody Rhodes' slight lisp adds to his heel-ness for some reason.
-- The first three weeks, I was unsure if Lauriniatis was Marty Funkhauser/Super Dave Osbourne. I do like his character and having his team win at WreslteMania was the right move.
-- I miss Vince McMahon showing up on camera. I know, maybe he doesn't want to take center stage anymore, but I was at least hoping to see him at WrestleMania.
-- Divas division continues to be weak. Cleavage is about the only thing that made it work back in '98. The same basic concept applies today.
-- Are there even tag team belts anymore?
-- I noticed Big Show just does a big punch as his finisher now. This would truly be the finisher to do right at the beginning of any match, and for some reason that has been making me laugh.
-- Crowd signs are still generally lame.
-- They could use a couple more high fliers/hardcore type wrestlers in the vein of '99-2000 era Edge/Christian and the Hardy Boyz.
-- I don't fully get why the night after WrestleMania is always the night of surprises. It seems like they should want to give paying customers more surprises than the next night. I guess I can kind of understand that it is like their new season, but it always leaves me a little disappointed.
-- That being said I did "mark" (as you folks call it) when Brock Lesnar came back. I find this to be about the third or fourth time that sensation has happened to me since I started watching again. I had forgot how that felt.
-- CM Punk seems like the best in-ring guy they have now. Although I hear Bryan is good, I haven't seen him in enough full matches to really know.
-- Sheamus is just an annoying character, and I was relieved when I came here to see hardly anyone else likes him either.
It's actually been a lot more fun that I thought coming back to watch WWE. Who knows how long I'll watch on this run, but they definitely have me hooked in at the moment and that is their job, after all. I would say I find more positives than negatives with the current product, which is really all I ask for from any form of entertainment.