Accept it, this is WWE

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Still trying to make sense of what you saw Sunday night?

Pleading for something different at the top of the card?

I mean, for some, watching WWE is a required part of the job. For most of us it isn't.

Originally, I was going to write a post about how displeasing Backlash was. Then I sort of realized that I would be wasting my time. At the end of the day, it's hard to criticize a product when it is clear that the producers of said product don't even know what their own product is.

What? McMahon doesn't have any idea what his behemoth of a billion dollar company actually is?

Of course not. This is either a live event first, television show second; a television show where the live crowd is the equivalent of a studio audience; some shade of gray encompassing both—who really knows anymore?

There was a time that there was some degree of synergy between a business decision and a creative decision. Think the Attitude Era or early in the Ruthless Aggression era. These days, a business decision always takes precedence, creativity be damned.

I've been tuning in since 1999. Ever since the modern era of social media driven Internet wrestling fandom was established—and I would date this back to 2006 when Facebook and MySpace went mainstream—I've seen non-stop complaining of WWE programming.

Sometimes, WWE would get lauded for getting things right. SmackDown, withering away on a Friday night death slow as the then-CW's most watched show during the mid-to-late aughts was critically acclaimed by pro-wrestling enthusiasts. Then of course, when the indie-darlings got a chance to shine.

However, for the past decade, WWE programming has been consistently dissatisfying for a good chunk of the audiences, both live and at home. There's a reason why viewership has consistently declined since 2010 at a rate faster than the drop in cable subscriptions. There's also a reason why WWE, despite the mainstream attention, still has a hard time eclipsing yearly audience totals from the Attitude Era years.

Nevertheless, a lot of us still tune in. Whether because we're bored, invested in some of the performers, or want easily accessible pro wrestling, we're still turning it on in some form. Still watching. Still unhappy. Still bitching. Even if there's bits of gold, such as the work of NXT, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Braun Strowman, and The New Day for the past couple of years.

But surely, after a slew of okay-to-mediocre events in the past few weeks, an annoying main title picture, and a third-wheel of a brand that continues to be the best part of WWE period, we'd come to terms that this is WWE.

Yes...this is WWE.

We can pine for better angles, better this, better that. But folks...this is WWE. Doesn't matter how good it was in 1997-2003. That was 15-20 years ago. Today's WWE is the WWE you're going to get.

And while we should definitely voice our opinion on the product, you kind of have to sit back and wonder—why tune in? You know you're going to get disappointed. You know that the performers you care about the most are going to be given shit material. And no matter how much gold a performer has produced in the past, shit material is shit material and it's going to be reflected in their performances (see: Orton, Randy).

WWE has a bunch of hooks. NXT. A cheap online streaming service (full disclosure: I pay for it). Great performers that are easily accessible to watch. With no readily accessible competition—and I also mean accessibility in terms of comparative style—this is going to be the WWE that you get. This is what happens with there's no other A-tier professional wrestling promotion that's based in the United States.

So as we all scratch our heads and fume about the...bitter tasting show that Backlash was on May 6, 2018, you should ultimately decide if WWE is going to continue to be worth your while. Main roster and NXT differences aside...

...If you're going to tune in and feel like your intelligence has been insulted, that you've been disrespected as a fan, and the content is not meeting your expectations regardless of its potential, why put yourself through it?


A post-script here (added May 8; the original was written the morning of May 7): My main point—and probably hard to decipher considering how much of a ramble this was—is this, WWE clearly has a strategy in its programming in terms of appeal. NXT is tailored to specifically cater to the pro-wrestling enthusiast community. Hence, when a lot of NXT performers go to main roster shows, they either have some degree of success or invariably flop. That's just the reality of WWE.

Raw and SmackDown are designed to appeal to general pro wrestling audiences who may, or may not be, part of the enthusiast community. Granted, McMahon has continued the tradition of letting the mid-card appeal to enthusiasts because, reasonably, the most enthusiastic wrestling fans are going to be the one that care the most about the entire roster up and down the card. WWE currently has issues striking a balance at the top of the card between the desires of the far more vocal enthusiasts against the far more complacent generic / casual wrestling fan.

As such, fans unfortunately have an unrealistic expectation for WWE programming. Really, many of us will have to come to terms to that in some way shape or form, and will eventually have to choose between accepting what you can get out of WWE or being perpetually frustrated by what you're not going to get out of WWE—and making the appropriate buying (or selling) decision from there.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.