The Tears of a Giant and the Blurring of Reality
There is a lot to love about WWE television right now. Whether it is the emergence of an actual tag team division, CM Punk's never ending quest to maim Paul Heyman that now has a Big Guy (with Big Traps) in the way, or Bray Wyatt being the best thing going on a weekly basis, there really is a lot to like. All of the above is mere topping however, mere skin, as the bulk of WWE TV right now is dedicated to the establishment of the Triple H Dictatorship, and the struggles of Daniel Bryan against the new corporation.
If you'd told me ten years ago that Bryan Danielson would be the number one babyface on WWE TV in a major feud against Triple H I'd be pretty damn excited, and as it turns out the real thing is pretty exciting. Bryan is coming across as the biggest star on the show, and sure, his promos have suffered a little bit from 'Top WWE Baby face Sarcasm Syndrome', but in the ring he has been absolutely perfect in the last couple of months. The conveyor belt of opponents for him has also made them look like stars, best showcased with Roman Reigns this past Monday.
Still, I'm a late twenties male writing about wrestling on the internet, so there must be something wrong right? Of course there is. There are many, many things wrong with the emasculation of every babyface on the roster (with the exception of Bryan and Cody). Until the mass run in at the end of this past weeks RAW, the roster looked entirely spineless. Remember, this is a roster that walked out a couple of years back because The Miz and R-Truth interfered in a couple of matches.
It's The Big Show that causes me the most problems however. Now, don't get me wrong here, I've long considered Show to be one of, if not the best actor on the entire roster. This acting ability has been on constant show over the last few weeks, as Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley has made him her personal plaything due to him being broke. Week after week he is brought up and told to knock someone out. He protests, cries a bit, and then with the exception of Daniel Bryan on the Night of Champions go-home-RAW, knocks them out. We can only assume that this is all done to get Big Show sympathy from the crowd, until he snaps and fights back. Either that or he turns heel and it's been a ruse all along.
Well, where to begin? Let's start with why he's subjecting himself to this in the first place. Steph revealed a few weeks back that Big Show had made some bad investments and was completely broke. Therefore he had to do what was asked of him in order to keep his job and keep food on the table of his family. She spoke of his bad investments, his Wall Street issues and a few other things.
This doesn't sit well for a number of reasons, especially if the aim is to garner Big Show some sympathy. First of all, he has been in and around the top of the WWE card for 14 years. Prior to this he had four years at the top of the WCW card, winning the World Heavyweight Title in his début match. That's almost twenty years at the top. How are we supposed to believe he is broke after all that time? Add to that the odd film and TV appearance, and what we can only assume would be two major WrestleMania pay packets for losing to Akebono and Floyd Mayweather.
The only way Big Show can be broke can be through his own poor life choices, and why should a crowd be sympathetic towards that? The Big Show has been a champion 23 times in his career. It just doesn't make any sense. Sure, Ric Flair is broke, but he's had divorce after divorce after divorce, and seemingly been blasted with each one. Big Show has just the single solitary divorce to his name, a whole 14 years ago. I can't buy the story that he's broke, and if he is, it's obviously his own fault.
And why is he so upset anyway? I can understand in the case of Dusty Rhodes that having to knock the guy out to save him from being obliterated by The Shield could be tough to deal with, but Daniel Bryan? The same Daniel Bryan who cashed his Money in the Bank briefcase on Show and then mercilessly taunted him about it for a long time? The same Big Show, who just twelve months prior was essentially a mercenary for John Laurinaitis, knocking people out left right and centre. Why the sudden overload of emotion at doing your job?
It's important not to get too carried away with all this analysis though. WWE TV is fictional television, storytelling told through the art of professional wrestling. The Big Show isn't broke, he's just broke for the purpose of the story. He isn't really an emotional wreck, he's just conveying the hopelessness the roster is supposed to be feeling. It's all a story, and it will build up to a wonderful climax, of this I am sure.
So if we're dealing in a fictional world, why is Dusty Rhodes coming out and saying he's there as Virgil Runnels? You're there representing your son WWE superstar Cody Rhodes, who recently lost his job. As far as the WWE Universe is concerned, your name is Dusty Rhodes. (Whilst we're on the subject, you can't pay anyone to cut your lawn? The Common Man, who works hard with his hands, has gone upmarket it would seem).
Why is Triple H talking about how Edge 'never drew a dime'? What does this even mean to the general fan in the crowd? Edge was a ten time world champion, a guy who retired and went straight into the Hall of Fame. In the eyes of the WWE Universe, he is a superstar, exactly as he has always been portrayed. Why blur the lines now? The references to Triple H sleeping his way to the top as well, it's all just unnecessary. Hunter Hearst Helmsley was already doing pretty well pre-Steph, and I'd say the friends he made was more important than the marriage.
It's important to avoid getting carried with this as well. One of the great parts of modern day WWE is that yes, it's storyline drive television, but there are moments where the 'real' world bleeds into it, and a story grudge can give the impression of being a very real personal one. When CM Punk sat cross legged on the top of the ramp and aired his very real grievances, we loved every second of it. That grey area between fiction and reality is what makes professional wrestling the joy that it is.
Right now though, it seems that WWE is a little confused with who their audience is. It is almost a case of trying to please too many people at the same time, when in fact one of the groups they are trying to please want the same thing as the biggest group. The story aspects of this totalitarianism are great. You've the all powering bad guys, the perfect modern hero, and a group of good guys fighting hopelessness. It's great. But when WWE try to make it real, when they cater to the fans who read up on the product more than the average fan, it loses its way.
The truth is, I just want Big Show to stop crying. When he inevitably turns heel in a few months, I won't be able to take him seriously as the monster they will attempt to portray, because all I will see is a blubbering wreck. Sure, he's good at it, and convincing right now, but it isn't working with regards to getting him sympathy. I may end up being wrong, but I just hear groans in the future.
That'll do for now. Despite these worries, I'm enjoying the story being told. How about you? Are you tired of Big Show blubbering on a weekly basis? Do you pay someone to cut your lawn? How much reality is too much reality in WWE television? Leave a comment in the lonely comment box below, and we'll have a chit chat. Failing that, find me on twitter (@pingvinorkestra), depending on whether the internet decides to work in Wales at all.