2015 has been a strong year overall for WWE as a company. The WWE Network reached the 1 million subscribers mark & the company, overall, has been producing far better in-ring action on a consistent basis. Seems as though every week, WWE Raw has been putting on at least one match that could be a candidate for match of the year, or at least on the Best of Raw 2015 blu-ray set later on at the end of the year.
We have gone just past the halfway mark of 2015 & this is the time where we review the state of WWE, including all of the important aspects of the company, from the weekly television shows to the WWE Network to where we see the future of the business going towards the end of the year & going into Wrestlemania 32 season.
Roman Reigns Was The Wrong Guy To Be The Face of WWE Early On.
Throughout the build-up & demise of the Shield, everyone wondered who was going to be the guy who was truly the main guy on top. The Shield was such an amazing stable during their run dating back to 2012, so much so that many wrestling fans thought that all three guys (Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins) are truly being groomed to be the future of the WWE.
Well, the fans were right in many ways. Seth Rollins is the WWE Champion (touch on that later), Dean Ambrose is getting great opportunities to grow in WWE & is right at the brink of being a main event guy consistently, but the company always thought that Roman Reigns was the main guy who was going to be the next Rock, Austin or even Hogan. Reigns has the look that WWE is looking for, is pretty good in the ring, but the problem was that, unlike Rollins & Ambrose, Reigns had absolutely zero mic skills & couldn’t get over with the fans .
That was very apparent in the weeks & months leading up to the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble. Reigns was preordained to be the guy who won the Rumble & beat Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31. However, when the WWE Universe got a hold of Reigns & got a chance to voice their displeasure in Philadelphia, the fans booed Roman Reigns completely out of the building. Even bringing in the Rock to admit that Reigns was his cousin did very little to help on that night. The fans were not feeling Reigns as the WWE Champion because it didn’t feel like an organic build to the moment.
In comes Wrestlemania 31 & Brock Lesnar & Roman Reigns are going to go against each other for the WWE Championship. Lesnar couldn’t hold the belt because of his limited schedule & Reigns wasn’t going to be accepted by the fans & truly wasn’t ready, which allowed for Seth Rollins to come in, cash in Money In The Bank, & win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, a call that was made at some point during Wrestlemania 31.
The WWE made the right call not giving Roman Reigns the championship at that time, he wasn’t ready & Rollins was & is. Reigns will have his time, but he needs more seasoning in the ring first.
WWE Gave Divas a Chance.
Since the relaunch of NXT in 2014 when the WWE Network first premiered, the entire brand has flourished in ways that no one could have imagined. The matches were (& still are) top quality, the storylines were simple yet entertaining, & new stars continued to be developed but are used with some strong indy stars who have come over to the WWE NXT brand, a brand that is run by Triple H.
A great part of the NXT brand has also been the rise of women’s wrestling. From Sasha Banks to Charlotte to Becky Lynch, the women’s division constantly brings on amazing, main event level matches that can compare to, if not be better than, their male counterparts. The NXT Divas have brought women’s wrestling to a whole new level & with Triple H & Stephanie McMahon behind the Divas & believing they could truly be stars for their work as well as their looks.
However, that mindset wasn’t always going to the main roster as Vince continued to believe that the women are meant to be eye candy & be “bathroom breaks” for the audience while they had maybe 4 minute matches.
At one point, former WWE Diva’s champion A.J. Lee publicly criticized Stephanie about the role of WWE Divas & the fact that they were being disrespected in terms of pay & in-ring time, which began the Twitter hashtag #givedivasachance movement. WWE listened & now the main NXT divas have moved up to the main roster & are already paying huge dividends. The women’s division has become so much better to watch & just this past Monday night on Raw, Paige & Sasha Banks had a match that went almost 20 minutes, something that has been very rare in the WWE history.
While the in-ring action is getting stronger by the day, one of WWE’s flagship shows, Total Divas, has been a strong performer for the E! Network on Tuesday nights. The show comes on at 9:00 p.m., a premium time slot, & has been a launching point for many other shows on the E! Network. The fans still get the reality drama with the divas in the company & other divas who aren’t being used all the time, such as Eva Marie, are getting their time to shine.
Hulk Hogan Is A Racist.
Terry Bollea, otherwise known to wrestling fans as Hulk Hogan, came out on a sex tape filmed 8 years ago that he was a racist & went on a racist & homophobic tirade against Brooke Hogan’s boyfriend at the time.
The tape was released by Gawker, on Friday night, a representative from a media company emailed WWE the audio & pertinent information about the situation & Hogan was fired from the WWE, removed from the WWE Hall of Fame (at least online), removed from WWE Tough Enough & the WWE has even taken some of the Hogan-centric material that was on the WWE Network & had it removed.
This simply can not be tolerated at any time, especially in 2015. Many have come to the defense of Hogan & fans of all races have quickly stepped up & have said that this isn’t the guy that they knew & that Hogan never showed signs of these beliefs & behavior.
Hogan has been very active on Twitter over the last few days since this scandal exploded, retweeting most of the fans support for him, but if he were smart, he would fade out a bit. In wrestling, its never say never & WWE could use him again down the line, but right now, everything is far too fresh & the company did the right thing, as a public company, to just move away from him for a bit.
Later today there will be part 2 of our WWE Mid-Year Review. Enjoy!