Hi! Can I have a moment of your time? I don't really need all of you, so to speak. I need the part of the brain that is nervous and scared. I don't want to talk to the confident side, or the calm side, or the get hyped-stay hyped side. The part of you that's quaking in their boots. Yeah. I'd like a word with it.
How ya doing? So... pretty big wrestling show tonight, right? Nervous? Yeah.
This is a serious question. Are ya nervous?
Well, if you are, you should be.
Quick, when was the last time you were nervous about one wrestling event? I mean legit nervous. As in nervous to the point where you feared for a promotion's future, or for that matter the business as a whole? Probably WrestleMania XXX, right? When you thought in the deepest recesses of your mind, that part of your mind you don't let out in mixed company, that WWE would bone Daniel Bryan just so the movie star could have his big comeback moment, perhaps forever burying OUR BOY D-BRY into the deepest depths of midcard hell (where a battle royal winner and former Paul Heyman guy reside)? Ok, in the end, we know how it worked out, but it may have come with a price, you see? See, Undertaker lost his streak and Daniel Bryan since has lost his father, proper use of his neck for the foreseeable future, the WWE title, and possibly his place as a main eventer (list of order of importance is intentional-not saying Undertaker's streak ending was the most important loss. I'm saying Daniel Bryan's familial loss is the big deal here).
Sorry, I digress.
So if tonight's got you all spooked, you should be spooked. You should be DEATHLY AFRAID. Though there are eight matches on the card, the truth is only one of the eight matches matter, for you see, the outcome of that match will have a direct impact across World Wrestling Entertainment for the immediate and long-term futures.
I, of course, am talking about the lumberjack match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
Seriously: a lumberjack match? WWE's lost over a dozen on-camera employees since their stock took a major tumble earlier this year, so the roster is down to, what, 45, 50 people at best? And over a third of that roster will be involved in something else, and you know the E's not gonna send them out again for fear of having to pay overtime. They can't afford it (yet they can afford to make movies that will never make their budget back, even if it goes straight to DVD. Looking at you, The Marine 4.).
What if this brawl between that traitorfaced dickweed Rollins and the vengeful Ambrose gets so out of control there may not be enough people to keep it within the confines of the ring? What if it spills out into the crowd? Worse, what if it spills into the streets of Los Angeles? What if non-WWE employees get hurt? Just what the company needs, right? One more lawsuit? See, they should have put this in a cage. Or make it hardcore rules. Anything that keeps it within the confines of a wrestling ring and its immediate area. I thought this was safety first in 2014. I mean, Dean deserves this opportunity to get his revenge on that Fredo asshole any way he sees fit. If it means he's gotta shiv Mr. Seth for Business and he bleeds a little from the mouth and is eating from a straw for the next month, so be it. Ambrose, who I'm sure is legit crazy, should not have to worry about hurting innocent people in his moment of depraved violence. His focus should be on one man and one man only: the architect who screwed his brothers worse than Vince McMahon to Bret Hart that one time in Montreal. I pray for the safety of the people of Los Angeles this evening.
I kid, I kid. Maybe.
No, actually, I don't. Seriously, I really do hope the lumberjack match doesn't get out of hand.
I'm really talking about the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between John Cena and Brock Lesnar.
First, the short-term implications: Brock Lesnar wins, and the next time you'll see him is probably right around Royal Rumble time. See, for the unaware, Brock's a part-time performer, meaning he only works a few days a year for a shitload of money. Many weren't too accepting of another certain part time performer that won the WWE Championship a year and a half ago, and he (a) only held the title for two months, and (b) actually showed up every other week. How do you think those people will feel if Brock wins and disappears for FIVE MONTHS? A Lesnar win means the WWE will be up against NFL football with its world champion chilling on a ranch probably making babies with his wife in Minnesota. It also begins Cena's chase for Ric Flair's number. You know the one I'm talking about: 16 recognized world titles.
This pales in comparison to what happens if John Cena wins (LOL). Yeah, it keeps Cena on 15, but guess what else it does? It pretty much invalidates the only win at WrestleMania XXX that's still worth a damn right now. Remember when The Shield dusted Kane and the Old Age Outlaws in three minutes? The Shield broke up two months later. Remember when AJ beat all the divas in that one match? Probably you don't because of where it was placed, but she lost the belt less than a day later to someone that wasn't even on their payroll in 79 seconds. Remember CESARO? He won the Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal. Know what he's doing tonight? Probably losing to Rob Van Dam. Another part-timer. During the preshow. Remember when Daniel Bryan won two matches...TWO matches...AND the WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP? Know the last guy to do that? Some guy named Randy Savage. 26 years ago. (Edit: some guy named Chris Jericho did it since. Thanks @theallenbrand.) Both he and his moment have largely been forgotten about (case in point, the one hour Mania special on NBC earlier this month barely-if at all-acknowledged Daniel's crowning achievement).
Remember when Paul Heyman's client Brock Lesnar conquered the Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania XXX? Of course you do. Besides it having been drilled into your head in the four months since, it's the only win from that show that still counts for something. And it's a pretty damn significant win. HE BEAT (AND POSSIBLY RETIRED) THE UNDERTAKER, MAN. If John-John wins, that win is pretty much meaningless. I mean, WWE would not be that stupid and dump their most shocking moment of the decade just so the under 10 crowd could sleep easy tonight, would they? Well, this is the same WWE that had Lesnar lose to Cena in his comeback match two years ago.
Long-term, what does it mean? Well, consider this? We're coming up on August 24. That may not mean a lot to most of you, but it does to WWE. See, on that day, it will have been six months since the company began offering the WWE Network. You know the WWE Network, don't you? It's that streaming service they've been begging people to buy in the last month. Hell, you can't get away from $9.99 on their shows. Hell, it's even on their headquarters. It was funny at first, but quite honestly, it's become disturbing. The Network as is now is BLEEDING subscribers. It's now available in most parts of the world, but it may not matter as (a) anyone who's wanted the network before its international rollout on August 12 probably has it by now (through questionable means), or (b) it's still not available in the UK legally, or (c) it's limited in Canada to Rogers subscribers (I'm not a Canadian, but even I admit you dropped the ball on that one, and now most of that fanbase will suffer).
Why is a Cena win bad long-term for Networkers? Consider this. Cena's fanbase is largely the kids. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, but they could care less about the WWE Network or its over its 30+ year video library. Their fanbases is largely made up of people that have no idea what WCW is or was, what ECW is or was, or hell, for that matter, what WWF is or was. But you know who does care about ECW, WCW, and WWF? The older crowd, you know, the crowd that committed $10 a month for the last six months and are looking for any way to either get out of it or keep it going. Tonight's main event (and I'm sorry in advance if this brings up bad feelings for some of you) is like staring down at the paperwork for finalizing a divorce. You're not sure if you wanna sign it and make it final or if you want to give the marriage another shot. A Cena win, and a lot of those people are out. I'm not talking a few. I'm talking thousands. I'm talking about a very noticeable number. As in the number of subscribers that cancelled between WrestleMania XXX and now-doubled. Basically that means lower payouts, which lead to a lower morale in the locker room, which leads to a lower morale amongst fans, which lead to lower television ratings, which lead to more people getting future endeavored.
I could be wrong, of course, but I doubt it. Between budget cuts, aborted pushes, questionable firings, and one man decided retiring at the top of their game was better than collecting a paycheck, a lot of older fans are jaded about the current state of WWE. Fans with money to spend and stuff to do. WWE's immediate future and its message to fans will be decided with two simple characters: F-5. Or F-U.
I'll be pulling for Brock turning Cena into a puddle of blood, urine, and vomit.
You should be nervous about tonight. You have every right to be.