While watching Beyond The Mat: Steve Austin, I was hit by something that’s hit me a number of times before, but I’ve never actually stepped up and wrote about it. With Bryan’s struggle in the WWE, right now seems the perfect time. In an interview, Triple H said something very poignant about Austin’s neck injury, “We were sharks, and Austin’s injury was like chum in the water.” What Trip said perfectly describes what the sports entertainment industry used to be, but is seriously lacking right now.
I’ve read a number of books by wrestlers, but a couple books stuck out to me about the struggle to become a professional wrestler. When pursuing his dreams, Hulk Hogan was put into the ring with Hiro Matsuta, the man who squashed dreams and broke his leg. Hogan waited for it to heal and went right back for more. He wasn’t going to let that deter him. Jerry Lawler didn’t know what he was doing, but he had trunks and boots, and it didn’t matter that he knocked himself out on his first match, he kept going back to learn more, to follow his dream. Okay, so it wasn’t a couple of books that stuck out to me, it was all of them talking about how they wanted to follow their dreams, and the bumps in the road were not going to stop them. These men put everything into becoming what they wanted to be. They were sharks and did everything they could to get ahead in the industry. That’s not always a good thing, but shows a drive to seize opportunity that made everything that much better every time they got in the ring. It seems to me that the drive that brought those generations to us has been lost somewhere.
Some of our favorite Superstars had a bit of a hand up because they grew up in the industry, following in their paternal footsteps, but that doesn’t mean the climb was any easier for them. They still put in the time, had the passion and the drive, and the fans responded to that. We keep blaming everything bad that’s been happening in the WWE on creative, and lack of competition in the industry, and those are issues, but that’s not the only problem. I see a big part of the problem is that too many of the wrestlers feel they’re entitled to their roles in the WWE, and rather than claw tooth and nail to keep those spots and push further, they whine, cry, and stomp off when things don’t go as they want it to.
All you have to do is look at the fan reactions, and with the WWE Network, it’s so much easier to look back at those times. The fans were wild! We would do whatever it took to get tickets, spent hours on our signs, and cheered and booed with all we had in us – live in the arenas, and at home. We couldn’t get enough of the WWE and the Superstars we both loved, and loved to hate, but now we’re chanting for any odd wrestler or announcer during matches. That, to me, is the epitome of a bored fan. Yes, we want have fun, and we could argue all day about how rude it is to chant like that, but honestly, if we were entertained the way we used to be, it wouldn’t be happening.
Complaints about certain wrestlers not getting the pushes they deserve, while at the same time they’re bashing the WWE in social media, or talking about how they don’t like anyone in the locker room and won’t associate with them, is not the way to get ahead. There’s no way Triple H, HBK, Taker, Savage, The Rock, Austin, Perfect would have thought of doing such a thing when all they wanted was to be the top man in the company. I understand that times change, but where has the drive gone? Where’s the passion that they will do absolutely everything possible for the fans, to get to that top spot, and continue to fight to stay there? Honestly we’ve only seen that from one guy recently, and that’s why Cena is so respected and praised for all he does.
But when Cena was injured, where were the sharks? Bryan is over with the fans, but it’s known that backstage he’s not one to stand up for himself and push for all he’s worked for. If he had some of that shark in him, maybe we would be seeing Bryan in the main event at WrestleMania this year.
Where was Punk when Cena was injured? He was whining and complaining about not getting the matches he thought he deserved. Where was Ziggler? Where was Cesaro? Where was Alberto Del Rio? What about Sandow? Or Swagger? Or even Kofi? They were saying their lines, throwing their moves, doing the same things day in and day out, but they didn’t give anything more to the fans to prove that they are the Superstars that we cannot live without seeing at the top next week. While I understand that they are told their lines, and their moves, and the outcomes of their matches, but that doesn’t mean that they should be resting on their laurels and waiting for that next big move to happen to them. They need to be the sharks of the previous generations and prove that the WWE needs them in the main events, and because of that, we will buy their merchandise.
I have said over and over that this Superstar or that Diva has been phoning it in, but compared to the generations before them, too many of them are phoning it in, and that’s a bigger problem than terrible creative and lack of competition in my book.
Queen of WNW