I still watch Monday Night Raw every week, and I still enjoy it.
It’s difficult to explain to people. I hear it all. People tell me “It’s so fake!” and “You like watching grown men wrestle each other in tights?”
All of that doesn’t affect me, but it doesn’t help that most of the people I spend my time with don’t watch. I have a group of people with whom I can discuss wrestling, but whenever I tell anyone about my viewing of the WWE’s product, it’s always that same reaction.
For me, it is a television show. Last night, after watching Royal Rumble on pay-per-view with other wrestling fans, I tried to explain how it all works to someone unfamiliar with WWE.
I know it’s fake. I don’t watch because of how real it is. I watch it to be entertained. I watch to see how storylines progress and how certain characters are used.
Most of all, I want to be entertained and as frustrated as I sometimes get, I am.
This current brand the WWE has created is not the same as the late ’90s program that everyone watched. The television rating is TV-PG. It’s not as edgy, and it’s not as mature. The target audience has gotten much younger.
That is why shows like the Royal Rumble happen. It was a roller coaster ride. The first two matches were just alright: slow-paced and predictable. Then the Royal Rumble match started – a 30-man battle royal where two men start in the ring and someone new comes in every 90 seconds, give or take 30. The only way to be eliminated is by being thrown over the top rope and having both feet touch the floor.
The Rumble itself started off with a bang, the most memorable moment of the show for me. Chris Jericho, one of the best performers I’ve ever seen, made a shock return. I was one of the five people who went bananas when Jericho’s music hit. The Godfather and Goldust, characters from the ’90s, also returned, and compelling storylines were told throughout the match.
Unfortunately, the end of the Rumble match signaled the end of the night’s fun.
John Cena won the Rumble and earned a championship match at Wrestlemania. Then, in the main event, The Rock beat CM Punk for the WWE Championship, which sets up a rematch between Cena and The Rock from last year’s Wrestlemania – the highest selling pay-per-view event ever.
I know it’s about money, but Punk was champion for 434 days, and he is awesome. He’s great in the ring and on the microphone. But Vince McMahon is not aiming to please 18- to 25-year-old men. Not all of us necessarily want to see The Rock. But everyone else does.
If you’re going to start watching WWE for just a two- or three-month period, start now. The road to Wrestlemania is the best, even if Cena and The Rock are headlining it.
Yes, it is fake – just like any other television show. This part of the show leading up to the WWE’s annual championship is the best. I hope at least some of you join me and give it a chance. It’s just as good as when we were kids.