Pay-per-views in 2017

I read somewhere that there will be fewer WWE pay-per-views in 2017. While pay-per-views are exciting – due to superstars putting on their best performances, and the possibility of superstar returns – I think this decision is in the company’s best interest. Since the 2016 draft, where the brands were split, and each show was given its own pay-per-views, there has been a pay-per-view event about every 2-4 weeks. Just take a look at the pay-per-view schedule over the past few months:

 

September 11, 2016 Backlash

September 25, 2016 Clash of Champions

October 9, 2016 No Mercy

October 30, 2016 Hell in a Cell

November 20, 2016 Survivor Series

December 4, 2016 TLC

 

Now, just two weeks after TLC, Roadblock will be held (on December 18th). Typically, fans would think “the more pay-per-views the better!” and “at least I’m getting my money’s worth from the WWE Network,” but are more pay-per-views really better? Since there is a very short time frame between pay-per-views, there is not enough time to create new rivalries. Therefore, pay-per-view matches are oftentimes basically the same for two or more events. For example, Charlotte and Sasha have been rivals since July, and they have faced each other at almost every pay-per-view since then.

Just looking back since August, Sasha and Charlotte competed against each other at Summerslam, Clash of Champions (triple threat with Bayley), and Hell in a Cell. That’s three pay-per-views. This rivalry has lasted for five months.

Since the amount of time between pay-per-views is short, matches feel repetitive and old. Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles have been facing each other (with John Cena in the mix at one point) practically since the brand split. WWE needs to limit rivalries to two to three months max. Especially with a three hour show, it is easy for viewers to lose interest.

In my opinion, there aren’t enough superstars on the roster to have such frequent pay-per-views. If they had more superstars, they would be able to show different combinations of matches at pay-per-views. They would be able to have shorter, more diverse story-lines. They should consider hiring back old superstars, AND making the most of the rosters they have now. WWE, you do not need to use every superstar you have on every episode of Raw. Surprise the audience when a superstar appears on Raw for the first time in a few weeks – the way NXT does – in order to up the excitement and give the show an element of surprise. Then nourish a rivalry between them and another superstar for a few weeks. When that fizzles out, repeat with another superstar.

WWE Live

A few weeks ago, on Halloween, I went to Monday Night Raw. This was my second time attending Raw. The first time was six months prior, at the age of 22. We had fantastic seats, in the third row near the superstar entrance/exit curtain. At the end of the show, as the commentators were leaving, we yelled out Byron and Corey’s names, they heard us and waved. It wasn’t ringside, but that’s how close we were.

As a fan, there is no experience that can compare to seeing a WWE event live. It was truly magical. They put on such a great show. There is so much that you don’t see on your television that goes into producing the show. Even sitting there, you don’t see half the effort taking place backstage. Everyone works so hard – in such a short amount of time in between segments – to make everything perfect. For example, the Cruiserweight matches. Half a dozen people cover the ropes in purple tape during the commercial break. They have to be done with this task in about three or four minutes. At the end of the match, they have another three to four minutes to remove the tape.

When you attend a live show, every match is a good match. You don’t want to miss a second of it. Every competition basically has you on the edge of your seat. You cheer and chant for people you don’t even like. You physically feel the excitement, the crowd, the energy, and the movements of the wrestlers. You feel them get knocked down, you feel their momentum. All of your senses are involved.

A noticeable difference between attending a live event and watching one on TV, is the commentary. You cannot hear the commentators at live events. This may seem obvious for some people, but it came as a surprise to me. Commentary is such a huge part of the experience, and I wish that they could somehow incorporate that into live shows.

Attending a WWE event on Halloween night made it extra special. Enzo and Cass faced The Club in a Halloween Street Fight. Pumpkins, skeletons, and other Halloween decorations were placed around the ring for use. The New Day had a Halloween promo video, but didn’t actually show up to the event.

This episode of Raw was also special because members of the Survivor Series teams were announced. This was also Goldberg’s second WWE appearance in the last twelve years, and we got to see him spear Paul Heyman.

Other notable events: as we were leaving the arena, on our way to catch our bus, a few famous faces drove by us. Michael Cole was in one car, Sasha Banks was in another, and Titus O’Neill was in the third. Michael Cole and Titus O’Neill waved back to us. Sasha looked pissed (this was the night after she lost the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at Hell in a Cell, and also, she didn’t get any air time on this episode).

Below are some pictures of my boyfriend, his brother, and myself, that I captured from Hulu footage of the event the next day. I’m in the middle, in between the two guys with unicorn horns (my boyfriend and his brother). In the first picture, I’m the one with the blonde hair, with my phone in front of my face, recording Charlotte’s entrance.

Superstars Flaking Out of Matches

I seriously want to know why this is becoming a thing. First, it was Eva Marie, who was obviously not ready to wrestle on the main roster again after being sent back to NXT to train. Eva Marie’s Smackdown Live Debut was postponed not one, not two, but three times. First, she was “injured,” then she was “stuck in traffic,” then she experienced a “wardrobe malfunction.” The quotation marks are meant to show how ridiculous these excuses are. Then, conveniently, it was announced that Eva Marie was given a 30-day suspension (which she still hasn’t returned from even though it became effective on August 19th – exactly two months ago). This also creates suspicions that the high volume of recent suspensions are part of the storyline, rather than punishments for so-called violations of the wellness policy.

Another superstar that has delayed their debut is Curt Hawkins. Hawkins was supposed to debut at No Mercy, but didn’t. He showed up, got into the ring, talked a little bit, then left. It is speculated that time constraints prevented his debut from taking place http://www.sportskeeda.com/wwe/wwe-news-reason-why-curt-hawkins-didnt-make-his-in-ring-debut). Then it was announced that Hawkins would be making his debut on Smackdown Live October 11th. However, the debut did not happen then either. In a backstage interview, Hawkins provided the reason for the delay: “Time waits for no man, except… Curt Hawkins.” Hawkins was supposed to debut again on Smackdown Live last night against Apollo Crews. Hawkins walked out to the ring, talked a little crap, received a hit from Crews, then left the ring. The match never happened. So Hawkins’ debut has been put off 3 times, the same amount as Eva Marie’s debut. Does he also need some extra practice time? One would think not, since he was a WWE superstar before. Is this method supposed to hype up his actual debut? I don’t think it accomplishes that. He isn’t anything special right now, so it’s only annoying and predictable since it was JUST DONE with Eva Marie.

 

SAnitY

Last week, on NXT, a stable called SAnitY debuted. The group’s entrance is unique and promising. Personally, whenever superstars experiment with lighting and smoke effects, I’m intrigued. If you have a cool entrance, or a catchy song (i.e. Bobby Roode) I will automatically like you.

The masks and bandanas SAnitY wears over their faces in their entrance make them mysterious. With wrestling being as predictable as it is, mystery is a good thing. I would have rather had them keep this mystery alive for a few weeks or months. However, two members revealed their identities prior to their tag team match (which I understand, because I assume it’s kind of hard to wrestle with something on your face – you have to worry about it falling off, getting pulled off, etc.) The other two members revealed their identities after the match. While SAnitY kind of looks like an extension of the Wyatt family, one thing clearly sets them apart: (skip to 8:30)

That’s right, there’s a female in the group: Nikki Glencross. While some people probably noticed right away that something was different due to one member of SAnitY being only 5′ 1″, I was genuinely surprised to see Glencross remove her “disguise” and reveal her gender. At the end of the match, Glencross spazzes out, and reminding me of a female Dean Ambrose, although his “lunatic” gimmick could use some improvement. What shocked me the most was the fact that Glencross attacked Dillinger. This suggests that Glencross is an active part of the group, rather than just another valet. I’m not sure if NXT is attempting to break gender barriers by having Glencross compete against men, but I really hope that is the direction they are traveling in. I’m tired of women being considered part of the roster when they don’t have any matches (Maryse, Lana). It doesn’t seem too unlikely that NXT would have inter-gender matches, considering the changing role of women superstars in the WWE. After all, Sasha Banks and Charlotte are competing in Hell in a Cell, which has never been done before, in a little over a week.