Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Identity theft, WWE style

 They say that if it isn't broken, you don't fix it.

However, if you're WWE CEO-Chairman-head wackjob Vince McMahon, 76, you fix things because you think it's in your best interest to do so, regardless of how your fan base feels about it. Since McMahon tends to ignore his fan base, contrary to what he sometimes will claim on television, the product has stagnated over the course of the last several years.

In September, Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, McMahon's son-in-law, was sidelined after a cardiac event. In the four months since, McMahon has stripped away much of NXT's identity that was built under Levesque. He has since installed creative director Bruce Prichard to oversee all three of WWE's primetime shows, adding NXT to Prichard's workload just a week ago. In McMahon's warped mind, it isn't enough that what is left of NXT's creative inner circle under Levesque now is developing new talent. He's repackaging talents that don't need it.

Take, for example, former NXT UK champion WALTER (Walter Hahn).

Having recently relocated to the US after losing the NXT UK title, WALTER defeated Roderick Strong Tuesday night, but shocked the audience when he identified himself as "Gunther".

Five days earlier, WWE had filed a trademark for "Gunther Stark", which is also the name of a German U-boat commander in World War II who died in 1944. The Austrian born Hahn, then, now will answer to Gunther, but fans are not happy, to the point where, on two sites, people are declaring they'll ignore the name change. 

It's not the first time Chairman Wackjob tried something like this.

In 2004, Japan's Kenzo Suzuki was being brought up to the main roster from developmental, but originally, he was to be given the name of former Japanese emperor Hirohito. There was even a video package to announce the pending debut. Instead, Suzuki and his wife convinced McMahon it wouldn't work, and so Suzuki, under his own name, debuted later that year, only to be let go a couple of years later.

McMahon, Prichard, and another out of touch sycophant, John Laurinaitis, are bent on remolding NXT into something akin to either Smackdown or Monday Night Raw, and they don't care what the audience thinks.

Another development on Tuesday involved Japan's Sarray.

The "Warrior of The Sun" was a prize signing by Levesque last year, and debuted with a lot of fanfare. Unfortunately, after a loss to Scotland's Kay Lee Ray, Sarray went on hiatus, and a video package on Tuesday presented another unwanted reboot. Now, Sarray is being presented as a schoolgirl character with glasses & pigtails, summoning an influence of popular Japanese anime such as Sailor Moon. What this really says is that McMahon and his aides don't think Sarray is a credible enough challenger to current NXT women's champion Mandy Rose, a product of their on-again-off-again Tough Enough program, who herself was repackaged as a cross between actress-singer Lindsay Lohan ("Mean Girls" would describe Rose and her team, Toxic Attraction) and Smackdown women's champion Charlotte Flair, the latter because Rose had, in effect, cut the line ahead of Ray and Sarray to beat Raquel Gonzalez for the NXT women's title in October. McMahon is in no hurry to have his writers explain why Rose jumped the line. Apparently, the returns of Prichard & Laurinaitis also means the return of hiring more women for looks, not athletic ability. Laurinaitis, in particular, is known to have picked some female models out of catalogues.

To that end, it would not be too much of a stretch to consider Laurinaitis and Prichard, or McMahon and director Kevin Dunn, as being the real-life counterparts of these two clowns:

Heaven help North American champion Carmelo Hayes and his wingman, Trick Williams, if they get called up. They could be repackaged as Cryme Tyme 2.0, because of the lack of originality in the creative office.

Keep in mind, all of this is because NXT, under Levesque, couldn't beat AEW's Dynamite in head-to-head ratings from 2019 to April 2021. Then again, AEW benefited from an aggressive marketing campaign, aided by TNT, but you can't explain that to the deranged McMahon. And you wonder where a certain bloviating friend of his got some of his ideas.

I think Levesque may be getting his trusty sledgehammer ready to strike back. Just watch.

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