To say the WWE product is a watered-down version of what professional wrestling is in 2019 would be an understatement. This isn’t because the talent is inferior to that of other promotions around the world. In fact, WWE has some of the most talented wrestlers on the planet who have built their way up from all avenues of life.
Whether it’s home-grown talent, independent wrestlers-turned-WWE-Superstars or anything in between, WWE has done wonders at signing the best of the best. It seems strange, then, that WWE has simultaneously put on repetitive matches in what’s been described as a “safe style” that hasn’t entertained fans consistently on the main roster in what feels like decades.
It’s even more bizarre when considering how successful NXT has been and how the very same wrestlers who shine in NXT then seemingly fail at the next level. Part of this comes down to booking and the way talent is utilized – this is partially a byproduct of WWE going out and making such a high volume of high-impact signings. Another legitimate factor is the WWE booking team (and Vince McMahon’s) vision relative to that of the NXT booking team (and Triple H’s) booking.
Above all, however, WWE seems to suffer from a distinct issue of overexposure.
Overexposure Hurting WWE’s Product
WWE has always had a presence in millions of households around the world on a weekly basis. With a constant production of content through Monday Night Raw, Tuesday/Thursday/Friday Night SmackDown, Heat, Velocity, Superstars, Main Event, their brief ECW reboot, NXT, WWE.com and everything in between, WWE has consistently kept fans coming back over the years. This was exponentially enhanced when WWE launched their WWE Network and gave fans access to not only a huge catalog of past shows but also a bevy of exclusive content that was previously never-before-seen.
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On paper, this sounds great. In practice, however, it can leave many feeling overwhelmed.
Interestingly enough, the WWE Network isn’t even the main issue of overexposure in WWE. The issue can actually be dialed back to Raw and SmackDown Live, WWE’s two flagship shows that have been airing weekly for decades and have landed the company two deals worth upwards of $1 billion each from NBC and Fox respectively.
When WWE consistently uses the same performers on television every single week, it waters down their product. From repetitive promos to overused moves, sells, no-sells and actions that occur in each and every match, WWE has lost its “wow” factor. This is especially true with Raw running for three consecutive hours each week and SmackDown Live apparently heading towards the same.
There’s an argument to be made that those in attendance every single week want to see their favorite Superstars perform their full moveset. This is a weird argument, though, as it leaves very little to desire when the same wrestlers then get in the ring the following week, month, year and beyond doing the exact same moves, the exact same fake-out flips, taunts and whatever else they do on a nightly basis.
This not only hurts the product but it also hurts the wrestler in the eyes of the fanbase.
This is where WWE and other companies differ greatly. While companies like Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Impact Wrestling
Beyond just allowing each show and appearance from the wrestlers to feel unique and special, there are added benefits that can be added to the list as well.
Keeping Talent Fresh Has Benefits
While WWE traditionally works a very safe style that theoretically shouldn’t result in many injuries, WWE Superstars seem to suffer more serious injuries than most other promotions. This is weird when considering how surreal some of the moves wrestlers perform in the other promotions happen to be.
While WWE doesn’t often go out of their way to pull out those same kind of moves and frequently bans moves that are considered dangerous, its the lack of recovery time that causes wrestlers injuries to escalate to certain severities more often than not.
Suffering a minor injury is something that every wrestler around the world has to endure. There’s no way around getting hurt when they perform in this line of work.
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While the wrestlers outside of WWE are often given a chance to recover from the injuries and ailments, stopping them in their tracks before they require a prolonged absence, surgery and rehabilitation, WWE doesn’t offer that same type of luxury.
Instead, WWE Superstars often work through these minor injuries and then run the risk of weakening their joints, muscles, ligaments and bones in the process, leaving them susceptible to worse injuries down the line. This is especially true when considering the sheer number of house shows and live events these wrestlers have to deal with as well. There simply isn’t a chance to let their body breathe.
Keeping certain wrestlers off of the show or out of matches on any given week, month or whatever the case may be could potentially hurt the product but it would also leave the fans wanting them even more while also keeping wrestlers healthy.
WWE may not need an offseason, but giving wrestlers their own individual offseasons may not be the worst way about doing things.