Mark My Words

Mark My Words: The Death of the Roster

So, this story was spotted a few hours ago. Rusev injured knee at live show. It’s apparently not serious and he should be back in time for the Royal Rumble, but…. I mean, after Randy Orton confirmed he isn’t as injured as we thought, we know we don’t believe everything Dave Meltzer says, but… ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Seriously, my friend, Sora,​ and I have bets on that Roman and Dean are going to fistbump next week and both just fucking explode. This is RIDICULOUS. When your roster starts dying at a rate of knots, you have to accept that you’re doing something wrong, you’re working them too hard and too often, that your business model is not working out.

cena shoulder
At this point, Cena, not even commitment to your gimmick can save you. Credit: wwe.com

Sure, wrestling is going to have injuries; it’s a physical job that involves landing things well time after time because you don’t just have to worry about your own body, but that of the people in the ring with you, as well as ring furniture and any additions that might be involved such as tables, ladder, chairs, the announce table, the steps…. it’s not exactly the safest profession, because anything that involves you looking like you’re getting hurt has little margin for error. But at this point, EVERYONE IS DYING. Tired people make mistakes, which is how accidents happen, and people who are worked too hard will get injured. The human body can only take so much abuse.

Vince was talking the other week about how he drove the Wild Samoans into the ground, how he ruined their bodies, but the truth is, he’s still doing it. This business is still wrecking knees and shoulders and necks, and it doesn’t seem to be ending. 2015 was the year of the injured superstar – Kidd, Bryan, Rollins, Cesaro, Rusev, Nikki Bella, Rowan, Itami, Jey Uso, Zayn, Sting, Orton, Lana, Sin Cara, Cena…. When there are articles listing ‘the ten most devastating wrestling injuries of 2015’, you know you’ve made a mess of things. When Rollins went down, we were informed that the Raw after his injury was the first he would be missing since he debuted with The Shield. That’s ridiculous.

seth knee
“I haven’t had a day off in two years and now you’re going to film me having surgery. This contract is bullshit.” Credit: wwe.com

Maybe we need to accept that SmackDown becomes the vehicle for smaller storylines – flesh out the mid-card, have the tag teams there, no title defences but interesting and compelling backstory for the wrestlers who normally just show up and everyone goes ‘oh yeah, these guys’. The Social Outcasts could have a story run, for example, the Wyatts could stop losing to everyone and we could find out more about their apocalypse, it would be a gret way for the Bullet Club guys to make their way in, AND it could give us a chance to see NXT stars pop in for a week or so, then go back to NXT for a while, and circle the main roster like sharks. Mauro Ranallo on commentary could at least make the matches seem exciting, even if they were nothing more than plot devices.

Another option that WWE fans are crying out for is taking Raw back down to two hours. The three hour slot is mostly for ad revenue, and they’ve started recapping two weeks of shows in the first ten minutes, and then later showing us footage of things that happened earlier in the same show. We don’t need that, we’ve got an attention span of more than ten minutes. Really. A two hour Raw would also stop what we see more and more of at the moment, which is the same people wrestling or interrupting a match at the start, and doing the same at the end, which necessitates either keeping the muscles warm for three hours, or cooling down and warming up again in a short period of time. That’s just asking for an injury, any sportsperson could tell you.

sting.jpg
I came, I saw, I got injured. Credit: wwe.com

The worrying part of this is that the wrestlers are being pushed harder and harder in pursuit of ratings, which drop when poor storytelling is used – poor storytelling which needs to happen because people who were integral to it get injured. WWE, you need an off season, you need to stop running a 50-52 week year, take some time off air to let your stars recuperate and rest. Even if people don’t make mistakes, or work on a mild injury which later becomes worse, there’s just wear and tear to think about. People are normally 25+ when they make it to the main roster, and once you’re 30+, you’ve got to take more care of your joints, your flexibility can start going, you don’t bounce back as easily from illness and injury.

The company need to take a step back and look at their operating procedures, see where they’re going wrong and how to stop this slew of injuries before there’s no roster left at all, and the Royal Rumble is literally just Roman Reigns fighting himself.

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