Last Monday, WWE once again used their “in case of emergency, break glass.” move in a bid to try and boost their record low ratings. Trying to capitalise on nostalgia and established names, WWE RAW brought out their legends once again. While this concept has worked in the past and was entertaining in its infancy, the latest episode was not well received by viewers. Here is why the retired wrestlers format needs to change.
No new legends.
Most of the legends that were seen on the most recent RAW have been seen in the previous twelve months. Ric Flair frequently is shown on camera when daughter Charlotte is in action, Hulk Hogan appeared via video to voice his opinion on the Goldberg vs The Fiend match at Saudi Arabia back in early 2020. Some have even competed, with The Big Show technically competing in the main event of Wrestlemania night two following Drew Mcintyre’s victory. With this in mind, the returns do not feel as special. There was no sign of some of the biggest names of the attitude era, such as Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H or The Undertaker. There were some names that haven’t been seen on WWE TV for quite a while advertised, such as Carlito. However, there was no sign of him and others on this episode. Varying reports speculate the reasons behind this from travel issues to actually not being booked for the show.
The returns felt pointless
More so now than ever, bringing in extra people for a show should have a significant reason. With most legends being middle aged to elderly, they are at an increased risk of contracting coronavirus. Having everyone sat in close proximity with no masks did not help either. Unfortunately, most of the legends that appeared did not add any value to the show. Most were used in 24/7 title shenanigans. Also, the majority of legends barely spoke. This has happened in previous reunion episodes too, giving fans no reason to tune in. The real consequence of this is to the current superstars. Matches and segments get cut short in time or cut altogether to make room for thirty second interactions with mediocre names. This is the biggest disappointment because most of the non-legends content was actually entertaining.
It’s been done before
The cycle is so frequent that most fans predicted this show happening once the record low ratings were announced. WWE feel that using established names, televising a member of the McMahon family, or just trying something ridiculous (RAW underground, an invasion angle), will make people tune in. While there might be a small increase out of curiosity from lapsed fans, they will not tune in next week. These reunion shows and the way that legends are treated over current talent has frequently been the final straw for some fans and has caused them to stop watching.
The bottom line
The real issue here is that WWE need to keep bringing back old stars because they have not created any new stars. They are afraid that if someone gets too famous, they will leave the company and pursue other ventures less physically demanding and may pay more. Their belief is that fans tune in to see WWE, not a specific superstar. There are only one or two names that draw casual fans in. Once they see what that name is doing and when, they will either tune back in later or simply change the channel. In the years to come, fewer and fewer past names will be available for WWE to use. New stars need to be created, or ratings will drop even more.