Monday night after Raw, the WWE Network brought us another episode of The Stone Cold Podcast. I have to admit, I have skipped the last two episodes because I feel like I've pretty much heard everything there is to be said about the greatest in ring performer of all time, Shawn Michaels, and possibly the greatest wrestler of all time, Ric Flair. The Big Show was the guest on this episode, and it kind of peaked my interest. Although, I'm not a huge Big Show fan, I definitely have respect for everything he's accomplished over his 20 year career.
Unfortunately, the past few episodes of The Stone Cold Podcast haven't been that much fun. When you bring in the wrestling legends, you're more than likely just going to hear about "the good old days" of wrestling. The Monday Night Wars were a time when wrestling reached its peak. It seemed like everyone was either tuning in to see the NWO on WCW, or watching The Attitude Era unfold in WWE. I for one am sick and tired of hearing about The Monday Night Wars, but for some reason WWE thinks we can't get enough content on them. It was even the focus of one of the matches from last year's Wrestlemania.
Once again on this episode, The Monday Night Wars was a major topic of conversation. The interview didn't really get interesting until about the last 15 minutes, when Steve Austin begin to ask Big Show about how he feels his career has been handled in WWE. His answer was refreshingly honest, and revealed some issues about why WWE may never have the success they experienced in the late '90s and early 2000s.
It seems that WWE is missing the strong characters that once made it so popular, but why is this? When Austin asked how he felt the WWE has booked his career, he responds by saying "horribly." The key here is that Big Show doesn't blame WWE for this, he blames himself. Wrestling today is missing the talent of Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Bret Hart, Triple H, and I will even throw John Cena in. These guys had a vision for their career. They knew their characters, and when WWE tried to put them in a situation that would make them look bad, they simply said no. Big Show says,
"I’m not like you, or Shawn, or the some of the other guys that [if they would] put your back to a wall, and if something wasn't right, you’d say, 'Hey! Kiss my ass. I'm not doing it.”
The problem with the current product is that WWE is too powerful. There's no longer a WCW out there, where if wrestlers aren't getting treated fairly, they have an alternative. Yes, there are places like Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, New Japan, and TNA, but they're probably not paying like WWE is paying. Big Show says,
"Vince McMahon gives me a whole lot of money, and a hell of a contract. If Vince McMahon asks me to go out, and put on a diaper, and dance [as] baby New Year for some weird commercial. I’ll do it.”
Big Show claims he's just being a team player, and he's definitely a guy that you want on your team. He's a mentor to younger talent, and he can still put on a good match when he needs to. Unfortunately, sometimes money wins out over the art. Then again, maybe it's not even the money. WWE has a roster of talented wrestlers. There's no complaints about the in ring performances of the wrestlers, it's mostly complaints about bad booking and writing. Characters seem to have no direction. Big Show mentions that people like Shawn and Austine had vision. He was never like that, and maybe that's what's missing on the main roster. Wrestlers that have a vision of where they want their career to go. Big Show talks about guys that are able to say no to the bad ideas,
“Guys that are able to make those decisions have a lot of vision in this business.”
WWE is heading into its most popular event of the year. It's a time where casual fans come around and start paying attention. For hardcore fans, we're still looking for signs for any kind of booking going into Wrestlemania, and we're not finding much. We know we're getting Roman Reigns vs Triple H, but we're not happy about it. It seems that WWE has become a product of them telling us what we should like, and battling us against what we do like. Wrestlers on the roster can't rely on a 70 year old man to tell us what we want.
They have to have vision to become the stars that we admired throughout the years. They're the ones that are closer to the age of the average wrestling fan. They're the ones that grew up watching the product and know what works, and what they can improve on. Big Show tells Austin that unlike himself,
"You had the finger on the pulse of what people wanted."
Big Show doesn't say that Vince had the finger on the pulse. Vince saw the money and allowed Austin to be Austin. This is why people like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan became the wrestlers that we wanted to see. They were wrestling's Jim and Pam. We all hoped that one day they would get together and face each other at the grandest stage of them all. Now, we hope to see the same for Kevin Owens and Sami Zayne. They're the ones that have the finger on the pulse now.
Big Show hits the nail on the head when he says,
“In our business, they’re always trying to find their best fix they can, as fast as they can.”
Unfortunately, you can't really find the best when you're rushing. WWE has been battling to keep viewers, and it's because they're trying so hard to patch up a broken product when they really just need to kill off what they have and revive it. Fans will tell you what they want to see. This is why their minor league product, NXT, is becoming the hottest wrestling scene. NXT is doing everything right, while WWE is still trying to figure out how to do it. Big Show made some interesting comments that WWE need to take notice of.
Wrestling fans need wrestlers who have vision, who are willing to say no to keep the integrity of their character, and people who have their finger on the pulse of what the fans want. Until WWE figures it out, I will be over here complaining about how they've mishandled Brock Lesnar this year, and cheering on NXT father, Papa H in hopes that I don't have to watch confetti reign down on Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania.