So being a wrestling fan, I tend to enjoy watching other promotions beyond the mainstay here in the United States, the WWE. Nothing really against the WWE. I can understand the appeal and I do enjoy watching it on the occasions. But given the chance, I tend to want to watch Lucha Underground, AAA, ROH, NJWP, and so forth. I find Mexican Lucha Libre, Japanese style, and the pure style of Ring of Honor over the family friendly material in the WWE. That is just how I roll as a person. However… What I do have a typical issue with is the idea that the WWE is the pinnacle that every wrestler should achieve to reach. I do understand how WWE made themselves the sole franchise in US wrestling with Vince McMahon’s cut throat tactics. But I refuse to believe that all roads in professional wrestling lead to World Wrestling Entertainment. All things considered, I would even say that WWE could potentially be a detriment to any young up and coming pro wrestling. So with that being said, let me take a crack at one of the biggest industries in the United States. This is the Ten Reasons Why Wrestlers Should Not Sign with WWE!
8. WWE Family Friendly = Cartoonishly Condescending
I’m going to start off this list with one of WWE’s major criticisms. This criticism is directed at the WWE’s decision to cater to more family friendly entertainment. Now typically speaking, this is not a problem. WWE did something similar to this in the mid 90’s before the Attitude Era. Seeing as how pro wrestling attempts to imitate a sport, with the exception of violence, there is really nothing inherently ‘not-family’ about the industry. The problem with the WWE however is that the WAY they sell themselves to families. You see, Vince McMahon has always fashioned himself as the next Walt Disney and has the desire to make wrestlers that are less ‘athletes’ and more ‘cartoon characters’. It is the reason that the WWE push people like John Cena who is basically a walking GI Joe Action Figure. This is also why they push teams like the Usos who are cartoonish versions of Samoan superheroes. It is the reason why most of their shirts are bright and gaudy colors to pander to children. This, once again, isn’t necessarily a problem if it weren’t for the fact that the dialogue and characters are, not only family friendly, they are down right degrading to anyone who isn’t under the age of 10.
It is the reason why their are promos of Roman Reigns talking about climbing a bean stalk, while the Big Show is always seen crying, why Dean Ambrose is the ‘lunatic fringe’ but only in a way that a child will see someone as ‘crazy’ or just as a person doing wacky things and mugging at the camera. While family entertainment is part of the job, any wrestler who does not want to pander to children will find themselves in a whole different level of hell being stuck with a gimmick that may seem adult, but has been PGed to the point where it is no longer threatening and just plain hokey.
7. WWE Hazing
While this is more apart of the culture, the hazing in the WWE seems to be of particular problems. This isn’t even hazing from other locker room performers. As much as I am against the mere concept of indoctrinating someone into a group of people with violence or humiliation, that is a cultural thing that still persists and I can let that slip for now. What I’m talking about is hazing from the business itself as a means of ‘punishing talent’. Now, hazing from another group of wrestlers is one thing, but you would expect better from the people who are in charge of a Fortune 500 company. You expect them not to demean their talent just as a means to make a point. WWE still holds on to these strong antiquated beliefs and not even for gross offenses. They can run the gamet from serious personal flaws to just doing something they didn’t agree with.
If you are and up and coming wrestler and you step one foot out of line, you can find yourself being humiliated on cable television. Perry Saturn back in the day was a little too abusive to an enhancement talent and got saddled with his love for a mop gimmick. A most recent example would be Lana having a disagreement with Paige as well as releasing her and Rusev’s real life engagement on twitter. Because of this, she is now labeled a slut on cable television. During The Rock’s most recent promo, all she could do was stand their and smile while The Great One absolutely buried her. Hazing from the locker room I can understand, but I would expect more from the people running the company and judging from other industries, this is a practice that has been slowly disappearing from the wrestling landscape. The more level headed people that be realize that demeaning a talent in such a way could mean potentially losing all credibility in a money making talent.
6. WWE Booking Ensures You Will only Get Over IF They Say
Vince McMahon and WWE have a very stern system of control in the WWE. They ALWAYS want to say when they push you, when they don’t push you, and if the crowd is cheering otherwise, then they will bury you in order to make sure THEIR plan is the ones that goes through. Now we do see some instances in which this is not the case. Daniel Bryan winning the Championship at Wrestlemania XXX instead of Batista as a means of promoting Guardians of the Galaxy was an act of sheer will by the fans who were tired of dealing with the companies shit. Sadly though, this tends to be the exception and not the rule. We have seen it with people like Zack Ryder as examples of times when a person has gotten over with the crowd and instead of being pushed, the wrestler is buried by the powers that be because he got over without ‘their approval.’
This style of thought is somewhat illogical. While it makes sense for someone who wants to control every aspect of their business, other industries tend to take advantage of a wrestler being incredibly over with a crowd and use it to make money for their promotion. For any future star, knowing that their are multiple paths to making a name for themselves open to an entire world of possibilities that could include the internet, great matches, and the regular means.
5. If You are not Already a WWE Creation, You Will Have a Rough Time Getting Over
This current influx of indie wrestling talent is something of a new phenomenon. The inclusion of wrestlers like Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan is a pattern that has co-existed with the creation of NXT, AKA WWE’s attempt at collecting the indie talent to watch their programs instead of the actual indie promotions. While this has been the norm recently, WWE has often been shy about putting over wrestlers from the independent promotions instead of their already established talents.
It is the reason why wrestlers like Taka Michinoku and people like Psicosis and Super Crazy were treated as little more than cheesy racist stereotypical gimmicks in the past instead of treated with the prestige that they didn’t earn in other promotions. WWE enjoys putting over their pet projects. People like Batista, Randy Orton, John Cena, Sheamus, Roman Reigns, The Usos, and so forth. These were wrestlers that were hand selected by WWE has big deals. So if you made it big in the indies, you may have a better shot at getting over now with NXT. But still… Odds are they will keep setting up their pet project for bigger and better things.
4. Everything is Ultra Scripted
For any potential wrestlers who are the creative type, I am so sorry if you want to work for the WWE. Because everything the WWE does is scripted down to the last sentence. In a way, it is another form of keeping strong control of their product. They want to know what is said, when it is said, and how it is said. It is the main reason why the commentary team is in such a piss poor shape that it is in right now. If you are saying words on WWE television, odds are you are just reciting the words that some writer came up with earlier that day.
This isn’t the worst thing ever. It is just like theater, you read the script and you work with what you got. However, wrestlers do not necessarily make the best actors and it typically helps if you allow them to ‘retro script’ or in other words, give them a general concept to talk about and let them go. Many promotions use this method and it tends to ensure those who are truly meant to get over, get over. In an effort to cite one of the earlier entries, the ultra scripted model ensures that the WWE gets someone over when they want to get someone over.
3. The Travel Schedule
Simply put, WWE puts a lot of strain on their athletes with their traveling schedule. Within a month, wrestlers can find themselves traveling through several states without a day off. For many, there are two major promotions Monday and Tuesday with RAW and SmackDown as well as various house shows.
Other promotions tend to remain in a fixed location and travel outside of this fixed location sparsely. This is much easier on wrestlers psyche and body. WWE’s intense work schedule means that you will have the psychological strain of driving across the United States and fly around the world for months on end and the consistent matches means that you will probably almost always be on pain meds while you are at it.
2. The Money Isn’t Much Different
While it may seem that the WWE shells out the most money and the paper will support these claims, all things considering you will not be making much more on the long run. Granted, superstars like John Cena make money well into the millions. But the majority of wrestlers only make a six figure annual salary and the other half are only sitting at 5 figures. When you take into account the fact that you will be an ‘independent contractor’, paying for your own medical insurance, which will be exceptionally high due to your high risk line of work, potential injuries, the toll that travel takes (though travel is compensated), you will be spending a lot of money on your own well being.
All things considered, you do make more money in the WWE, but most of that money will go into your own personal well being and less into your retirement fund.
1. It’s “Sports Entertainment”
This has been a criticism that has been thrown at the WWE for some time now. But it is the fact that the WWE does not consider themselves a ‘professional wrestling’ promotion. They consider themselves as dealing in ‘sports entertainment.’ Whether or not this is some ingenious scheme to get past Monopoly claims or if it really is Vince McMahon’s desire to build some sort of entertainment empire akin to Disney. At either rate, for anyone who wants to work in professional wrestling, WWE is strangely a company that claims to be the flagship when it comes to the industry and is the one that is trying to distance itself as far away from the industry as possible. Instead of calling people wrestlers, they are ‘superstars’ and instead of calling female wrestlers… well wrestlers they are called ‘divas.’
I don’t know why a person would want to work for a company that is purposely trying to distance itself from the very industry that it represents. It is completely illogical and it is because of this that it is number one on my list.
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