John Cena made his long anticipated (by wrestling standards, at least) return to the WWE last night on Smackdown. The 15 time WWE champ brought the fire in his first promo back; stating that despite the rumors, he was not leaving the WWE for Hollywood and that he was ready to once again challenge for the WWE championship.
Cena's best moment came when he uttered the following: “What am I doing here tonight? I’m setting the record straight. I’m not done. I’m not leaving. And I’m sick of this ‘New Era’ BS. It ain’t the ‘New Era,’ it’s the ‘My Time is Now Era.’ Never give up means that when you get knocked down like I did this year you don’t stay down, you get up, you fire up, and you kick ass.”
The 'New Era' began this summer when the WWE split RAW and Smackdown into two seperate brands, giving each their own rosters, writers and on-screen management structure. While the New Era has provided many great moments and opportunities for new talent to shine–such as both Kevin Owens and AJ Styles holding WWE championships–it has also been littered with it's share of, as John Cena put it ... BS!
Here is the 'New Era BS' we could do without.
How many times do we need to see Kevin Owens vs Roman Reigns or Sasha Banks vs Charlotte? For the New Era, there is apparently no answer to that solution, as each week we are given the same matches over and over again.
How are we supposed to get excited for another Owens and Reigns match at the Royal Rumble when we've already seen them wrestle so many times before and know that they will more than likely have another rematch on the RAW following the Rumble.
Credit to these superstars for trying to find ways to make their matches feel new, but they shouldn't have to. Even Goldberg and Lesnar are likely heading for their third rematch. The WWE roster is as deep as it's ever been. Here's a novel idea - let these guys and gals interact with people who aren't directly involved in their storyline every now and then. Make us actually look forward to seeing them settle their differences at a pay per view and help us believe that winning or losing matches actually makes any difference.
I understand that each "brand" needs it's own set of titles in order to be able to operate as a seperate entity, but with each title that is added, another one loses a little prestige.
More frustrating to the beltheads among us is that there is no continuity to the titles. I've spent 30 years calling a wrestling company's top title the World Championship. The WWE World Championship is now the WWE Championship. RAW's top prize is simply the WWE Universal Championship. The "world" terminology has completely taken away from every belt in the company! The mid-card belts, however, still hold their regional designations - US and Intercontinental.
The WWE has announced they will also be adding a UK Championship and it's been rumored they are looking to expand into Asia as well, which would presumably add another belt into the mix.
Before I start, go ahead and get your "You don't have to watch it" comment out of the way. I understand this is true for most people, but not for me. I literally have to watch it. It's my job. Don't get me wrong, I love wrestling. I have loved it since before I loved booze or women. I have loved it since I used to have to wait three months until a brand name superstar would face off with another brand name superstar.
On a normal week, the WWE provides 9 hours of new wrestling content. Throw a pay per view into the mix, which they do at least 2 times a month, and you're looking at 13 hours of wrestling content to watch in a four day span.
The reason too much content is bad is not because I have to watch too much wrestling, it's that it forces the WWE's hand to do the other New Era' BS we are sick of, like filling that content with non-title matches and rematches that overexpose their rising superstars.
Do we really need a cruiserweight show that is basically just rematches from RAW?
The Cruiserweight Classic was amazing. The tournament format, intriguing back story video packages and commentary by Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo was superb. Somehow, all of that has been lost in translation since the cruiserweights came to RAW and 205 Live. Heel Neville has been by far, the most exciting element of the division in the past three months.
My biggest problem with the division is that it paints the wrestlers involved as not able to compete with the "heavyweights." If all wrestlers under 205 lbs would have to compete in the division, Finn Balor at 190lbs would be a cruiserweight. We all know this won't happen, of course, because Balor is too talented to be stuck on 205 Live. So with that distinction in mind, we can't help but subconsiously draw the conclusion that wrestlers like Cedric Alexander and Jack Gallagher are not good enough to chase a larger championship.
For all the knocks on TNA, their naming of the X Division was a far superior and more ambiguous way to label a division of smaller wrestlers. Without the specific weight designation, wrestlers like Samoa Joe were able to drift in and out of the division.
My biggest pet-peeve of the New Era is the number of non-title matches we see on a regular basis. Charlotte lost to Bayley clean in a non-title match. Rich Swann lost to Neville. Kevin Owens lost to Roman Reigns. AJ Styles lost to freaking James Ellsworth! The New Day lost nearly every team they feuded with this year.
The non-title match is a lazy plot device that completely takes away the champion's air of invincibility. When heel champions lose, it makes the audience less eager to see the good guys achieve their goal. Heel champions should make the audience anticipate finally watching them lose.
The worst part about non-title matches is that we almost always know the outcome. When's the last time a champion won their non-title match? Champions should always have to defend their championships. Anything else is just New Era BS!