Out With The Old (or, Stop Pushing Has-Beens)
by Rosie Piper
The WWE works hard to keep its old fans engaged while garnering new ones. While that business scheme seems to be working out well for them, it’s starting to become old-hat. I haven’t been following the WWE for very long, but with the comebacks of RVD and the New Age Outlaws, it became very evident to me that those who are in charge of deciding what’s “best for business” are failing to push the newer guys in order to give the upcoming generation of fans some people to follow for years to come.
I wasn’t watching wrestling when RVD was a big deal. When he came back about a year ago, I was at first intrigued because I was getting to see a big name from before my viewing days. After awhile, though, it was boring to see him pulling wins over guys like Alberto Del Rio. He most recently returned just last month and got a win over Damien Sandow. Why is the WWE continuing to promote RVD when they should be investing in younger (read: newer to the WWE) guys like Sandow? Do they really think people like me or those even younger than me would rather watch a guy who’s nearing 50 take out these 20- and 30-somethings? Don’t get me wrong, RVD’s a blast in the ring, but his age shows. He can’t keep up the high-flying moves much longer. After watching him against Del Rio on Raw this week, it was obvious that RVD just doesn’t have it anymore. He used to be impressive, but now he’s just throwing out the old moves and hoping they’ll still get the crowd all riled up. Unfortunately, he just looks sloppy and lazy, and it makes his opponents look bad when they lose to him. We won’t be seeing Del Rio much longer thanks to the WWE making him lose to guys like RVD.
And don’t even get me started on the New Age Outlaws. They showed up on the scene and the tag team of Cody Rhodes and Goldust was decimated. I loved watching the Rhodes Brothers wrestle, and now you never see much of them. Why were they shoved to the side to let these old school guys win the tag team belts? And why in the world were Billy Gunn and Road Dogg allowed to retain the title at Elimination Chamber only to lose it unceremoniously against the Usos the very next night on Raw?
Another guy I’m lumping in here is John Cena. He’s notorious (to me, at least) for totally halting any forward progression of careers. Anyone remember Damien Sandow? He had some great momentum after Money in the Bank this past summer. He was a fantastic heel, educating the “unwashed masses” (I particularly enjoyed his little spat with Sheamus), and his feud with Cody Rhodes after the break-up of the Rhodes Scholars was just golden. When he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase against John Cena after Cena had just returned after recovering from surgery, it appeared to be time to crown a new champ. That match was just brilliant on Sandow’s part. He looked great! But Cena won. What happened to Sandow after that? Just recently, he walked out on stage in a homemade superhero costume to be ridiculed by Dolph Ziggler and Hugh Jackman. Did Sandow deserve to have the rug pulled out from under him just so John Cena could continue to be the WWE’s golden boy?
Cena certainly gets the WWE a hefty bit of viewership, but there will come a day when he’s not wrestling anymore. Who will be there to fill the void? What will they do when these old school wrestlers just can’t perform anymore? The WWE needs to start pushing these younger guys, or they won’t have anyone for the fans to get behind.