The Rock made yet another appearance on WWE RAW Monday and not everyone is happy. The honeymoon appears to be over as there is more resentment than ever at a part-time WWE champion. Yet a look back at WWE history says that this is actually a great thing.
I tried to understand the criticism but then I reminisced about my childhood as a pro wrestling fan. I grew up with WWF champions Bob Backlund and Hulk Hogan. Those guys were rarely on television. They appeared more for localized promos than they did on the actual show. When they did, it was generally a promo or an angle. As for wrestling, you rarely saw the world champion wrestle back then unless you paid for it.
This tradition continued (with a little more latitude) up until Monday Night RAW. A live WWE show dictated that the WWE champion had to be available and on the show. Somewhere around here it got to be commonplace to see the WWE champion not only appear every week, but wrestle frequently. Now it’s expected and when someone like The Rock doesn’t, everyone is disappointed.
I love the idea of the WWE champion rarely wrestling on television. What is the point of paying to see The Rock wrestle or the champion wrestle when you can watch him for free? This is a debate that old vs. new school fans have had for years. I think one of the biggest reasons business is down for pay per views across the board is that you see the same matches and same wrestlers on TV for free. Finally the WWE is doing something different.
Even if you look back at John Cena when he was WWE champion he didn’t wrestle every week on T V. He’d maybe wrestle once or twice a month in tag team matches, but a WWE championship match was a rarity. Unfortunately for Cena-haters he was always there, but maybe if he was kept off of the shows more, the intrigue would have kept Cena more favorable in the eyes of his critics?
Maybe that is why CM Punk never became a bigger draw? Punk as champion wrestled on television every week against everybody. That’s great for Punk fans but for others, the mystique of the WWE champion is gone. Why pay to see your favorite wrestler when he wrestles on TV for free?
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