The year is 2015. WCW is dead. TNA is running on fumes. The only remnants of ECW left are the chants when Paul Heyman comes to the ring. Vince McMahon has succeeded in becoming the biggest game in town. Wrestling is Vince’s vision. Wrestlers have come to know this well.
When a wrestler comes into the WWE, they will be broken down. They will be retaught, renamed and re-gimmicked. Their history stripped from them. It doesn’t matter if they were the biggest star. Just look at Bubba Ray last night. He was the top heel in TNA. He slimmed down and had the best run of his career.
Then he comes out during the Royal Rumble and he’s Bubba Ray Dudley, midcard tag wrestler. Thrown out in a few minutes. Because if it’s not WWE, it does not exist.
Wrestlers have no leverage. They walk on egg-shells. If they don’t stay in line, they will be punished. Their livelihoods taken away. If they try to grab that brass ring, they risk punishment too. If they aren’t chosen, they’ve done wrong in Vince McMahon’s eyes. They will be punished. Even if it comes at the expense of the company’s profit. Just ask Christian.
In 2005, Christian had found all the pieces. The fans loved his Captain Charisma gimmick. His merchandise was selling out. He was so popular that then golden boys, Batista and John Cena, got booed in segments against him. What was Christian’s reward for connecting with the audience and selling merchandise? He lost every match for nearly a year. He was given a new nickname, Creepy Little Bastard. He was taken off the A-show and shipped to Smackdown, and then later Velocity. He would leave the WWE in frustration by the end of that year.
What crime did he commit to deserve this? He got popular without being chosen and so he was punished. WWE did the same thing to Zack Ryder back in 2011. Zack Ryder became popular using social media. He started to move merchandise. Can’t have that. So they crushed him.
WWE is not a meritocracy. Those who succeed there only do so because Vince wills it. There is only one last challenge to Vince’s vision of professional wrestling.
Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble and was immediately rejected by the fans.Not even the most electrifying man in sports entertainment could protect him from the nuclear heat that the fans in Philadelphia sent his way.
His crowning moment sparked outrage. #CancelWWENetwork started to trend shortly after the PPV ended.
Vince had his idea of who should win the Rumble. The fans had theirs. Their chosen hero was Daniel Bryan.
Vince knew who the fans wanted. To him, they wanted wrong. The fans had to get with the program. This is not a show made for them. This is a show they watch. They should be appreciative to Vince for bringing wrestling to them. They are out-of-touch.
They must submit.
Bruce Mitchell of PWtorch brought this dilemma up during 2013’s atrocious fall season. Vince is trying to fight his own fans. He thinks himself wiser than them. More in-touch with the times than them.
They will cheer the wrestlers he tells them to cheer. They will boo the wrestlers he tells them to boo. They will tweet the hashtags he tells them to tweet. And if they don’t, they too will be punished. They will be mocked.
Who will come out on top in this wrestling war? Vince always wins in the end.
This time will be no different.