“Putting smiles on faces”
That’s the old saw that WWE loves to trot out when it defends what it does. And, these days, WWE has to defend itself a lot. During the middle of a quarantine, when we are supposed to be social distancing with 6-foot minimum distances, and wearing face masks ... WWE is not doing that.
This isn’t news to anyone, but let’s talk about how Raw, SmackDown and NXT (and Dynamite, yes, don’t think AEW gets off because they’re not in the headline) all start at 8 p.m. Eastern, one hour exactly from the daily moment where neighbors in many big cities serenade their surroundings with an audible salute to the health workers.
Meanwhile, WWE pro wrestlers, referees and even announcers hit the airwaves, practically never from safe distances. I can’t be the only one to watch these shows and have a hard time putting a smile on my face. We’re in a moment where WWE worked the state of Florida into a shoot, naming pro wrestling as an essential industry — something that is hard to believe.
Entertainment, arguably, will prove especially important, especially if and when Netflix runs out of new original programming because production has shut down. But none of this feels essential, especially when it is utterly forgettable. WWE supposedly does its best to test talent at the doors, but when asymptomatic folks are no joke, and young healthy people are having strokes from COVID-19, none of this close quarters combat makes any more sense than the storyline of a Metal Gear Solid game.
Were it not the background noise for me writing this post, I’d never remember the Mysterio Jr., Crews, Black vs Zelina’s Beefcakes 6-man tag match come tomorrow morning. This Rollins vs McIntyre feud? There was a curb stomp, but aside from that, it’s been a dry fart in an empty church. Braun vs Bray? Just a reminder that Braun is Kickshit McStupidbabyface, saying he’s familiar with Bray’s mind games in one moment, and getting worked by the black sheep mask in the next one.
So, that’s all preamble to the latest episode of The New Day’s Feel The Power podcast, where Xavier Woods, Big E and Kofi Kingston interviewed Tyler Breeze - and how their talk reminded me of something WWE has in their arsenal that could distract me from the depressing world outside my windows and put a smile on my face.
In my opinion, this interview did not spend enough time covering how much everyone loved The Fashion Police. A prime example of wrestlers creating their own success, Breezango’s pre-taped vignettes proved to be both a social media powerhouse and a hit with everyone from the fans in the audience to the wrestlers backstage, who gathered around the monitors and watch each new edition.
You know who could break up the rut of empty arena matches? Fandango and Breeze, solving mysteries — from a social distance — backstage, and around the Performance Center. Breeze and Dango have done more with less, and comedy — unlike pro wrestling — can be done from across the room. It can be performed with camera tricks. Comedy, and humor, work without limits.
Not only would Dango and Breeze’s return be a total surprise that probably sends fans tired of the same old nonsense to their TVs, but they could appear at any time, on any show. Yes, both members of the The Fashion Police rest their badges, chaps and disguises at NXT, but these two are crazy enough to cross all divides. You know that once a USA Network show got a taste of Dango and Breeze, Fox would want some. And vice-versa.
This would also allow WWE to use a couple of guys that are still on the payroll that they aren’t, or can’t, so much else with. Fandango is injured. Breeze has opened a wrestling school. But Fashion Files, like Feel The Power, is something that can happen from anywhere!
So, here we are. WWE programming can often (still) feel monotonous, and just remind folks of how WWE is breaking societal rules we all (hopefully) do our best to obey. My fellow bespectacled friends: we all don’t walk around with stupidly foggy glasses thanks to a face-mask, just to have pro wrestlers break all the rules for our entertainment.
Come on WWE. Put some smiles on our faces, and laughs in our guts, with a tried and true pairing: Fandango and Tyler Breeze as The Fashion Police.