When Romans Reigns won the No. 1 contender spot for Brock Lesnar's WWE Universal title at Elimination Chamber, answer this question. Were you surprised? Did you see this coming from a mile away? If you answered 'yes' to the latter, then you know how predictable and boring WWE has become in recent memory.
For nearly a year, Reigns vs. Lesnar has been heavily rumored as being the main event for Wrestlemania 34, with Reigns expected to get another big coronation at the end. It comes with a bit of reason: Vince McMahon is sold on Reigns being the 'top dog' in the company. Granted, Reigns doesn't sound as good on the mic as, say, John Cena or Hulk Hogan. But Reigns has improved in recent memory. However, the WWE Universe--or rather, its 'marks'--have grown tired of having Reigns shoved down their throats.
Ever since the Attitude Era, the WWE has taken a massive nosedive in ratings. Monday Night Raw, WWE's flagship brand, saw its first sub-2.0 rating a couple years ago (its first since 1997). But Vince and company aren't as adamant on the ratings as they are on pushing the WWE Network. Since its advent four years ago, the WWE Network has pushed its product by offering first-month trials along with every pay-per-view on the network at the price of $9.99. WWE Network has worked on adding more vintage programming , which will sit well with some of the marks.
However, that doesn't solve the issue of predictability. In the age of 'dirt sheets' and wrestling websites covering the latest rumors and contract situations of various WWE superstars, it seems that WWE has lost its luster as a product. John Cena just challenged the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 34, which would lead many to think that Cena would be getting the win considering Taker's age and physical condition. Ronda Rousey, WWE's recent marquee signing, has been rumored for a Wrestlemania return in a program with Stephanie McMahon for quite some time as well.
This may be a post that sounds like someone yearning for the glory days. However, Vince hasn't done a good job listening to its fans. Vince did well getting a younger audience to get behind John Cena and it may become true for Reigns one day. However, no one really cares for Reigns at the moment. There isn't a moment that stands out for Reigns in the eyes of pure wrestling fans. 'Marks' will remember Stone Cold giving the McMahon family the finger on top of a zamboni or Hogan bodyslamming Andre the Giant. But those were moments that came out of left field. No one saw those moments coming.
Wrestlemania's set to be one of the most predictable Wrestlemanias to date, with AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura being the only 'main event' match that's too close to call (it's also one of the more anticipated matches for pure wrestling fans). WWE's problems don't just lie with being a predictable product: They also face impending lawsuits from many of its past employees. They also have to worry about many of its current roster members leaving after the success of Cody Rhodes in Ring of Honor, along with rising promotions like ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling (or promotions being discovered by the public). The WWE has many issues to face, but it can start by making the product more exciting.
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