If you’re a wrestling fan, the WWE Network is a must have. In the two years since its inception, the Network has done a magnificent job at giving fans hours of content. As mentioned, the online streaming service is only two years old, meaning they have a long way to go until reach their goal. They have yet to figure out the full potential of the Network, but they have gotten off to a good start.
I’m sure there’s a group of fans out there that wish they wouldn’t break kayfabe so often, however I think this has been the network’s strongest suit. After watching the Big Show’s interview with Steve Austin on Monday night, I realized that the WWE has found another way to get certain stars over. This way is through the use of real life. What was once an unconventional method, has now become a strong tool .For this week’s Wednesday Wrap Around, I’d like to go through examples of how the non-kayfabe shows on the Network have gotten superstars over.
Big Show – Stone Cold Podcast
I’ve already mentioned how Big Show was my inspiration for writing this piece, so I figured it would be best to go in depth with Monday night’s interview. Like most wrestlers that are showcased on the network, we’re given a chance to hear about their life before the professional wrestling. As a fan, I knew nothing about the Big Show’s life prior to him getting involved with WCW. It was heart breaking to hear about his dark times early on. However, it brought a smile to my face when he spoke about getting out of his rut .Of course I knew he must have worked hard in order to remain relevant, although he made me appreciate his spot on the WWE roster. Did anybody else know that he cares more about locker room respect than going over all the time? That just proved to me why he loves wrestling, and doesn’t want to retire anytime soon. Also, he carried the swagger of a locker room leader, which is something I never noticed before .Once I got the sense of how genuine this man is, I found myself wanting to cheer for him.
Mojo Rawley – Breaking Ground
Quite often NXT fans criticize Mojo Rawley as a competitor. Fans have the right to criticize him, because he needs to improve. Otherwise he’ll get lost in the shuffle. While he has a long way to go before making the leap to the next level, Breaking Ground did an excellent job at getting me to root for him. In terms of his booking on the show, the writers have done a decent job at making me care for his character. Yes, on Breaking Ground he comes across as a party animal that may not take life seriously, but I took away something else. There was an episode that showcased his comradery with a young fan which truly caught my eye. Rawley managed to motivate this child to improve his .As low to mid card wrestler, I’m sure he doesn’t have to create a close relationship with that fan, since it won’t get him that much publicity. However, he chooses to make that connection, because he knows it can make a difference. Ever since then, Mojo has gotten over with me.
The Usos – WWE 24
Some call them the tag team version of John Cena, because their characters have become stale and geared towards children. I don’t see anything wrong with how they are, as it works for them. Also, if they’re received very well from a certain age group, why change it? Regardless of my opinion and reasoning, other fans will still stick to their opinion (as they are entitled). Before their WWE 24 special, I didn’t care much for the tag team. To me they were just there to fill up space and cater to children. However, I wasn’t calling for their heads like some people I know. My view completely changed once we were given a glimpse into their journey to the WWE. The duo has strong family ties to the business, but it was never their first choice. Football was always the dream. I gained a ton of respect once I saw how committed they were to making it in professional wrestling. We got the chance to see how much Umaga meant to them, and how much of their careers they dedicate to their late uncle. From that documentary alone, I bought into the Usos. Ever since then, I can’t see how I could cheer against them.
Even though the fans will continue to dislike the characters mentioned above, the WWE has now given them reasons to cheer for the actual person. Documenting their lives and history on the Network only gives the wrestlers more dimensions. I’m 100% sure that a portion of the audience now has a reason to like someone such as the Big Show. I know I do. Eventually people will begin to notice how strong this tool is for putting over most competitors. There’s nothing more relatable than the person behind the character .These were just three examples, and the Network has many more.