For years the power of brand expansion and development is supposed to be in the eye of the fans, from a business standpoint its your fanbase that creates your market, develops and cultivates your business and helps that business grow, according to the WWE's Vince Mcmahon its that universe that creates new characters and develops talent so that the future of the company remains intact.
From WWE's resurgence in the late 90's to going national in the 00's it was always the fans that were told that they matter'd and that the next big star would be someone who the WWE universe would get behind. I can tell you right now that that opinion is full of fiction because the WWE is a corporate entity and they beat to a rather singular drum and that drum is Vince Mcmahon.
Vince is the guy that turned a rebellious John Cena into an American Hero, it was Vince that created this drawn out version of the invasion that switched wrestling fans off WCW and it was Vince that didn't believe in cultivating new talent unless they where people who could do two things, give Mcmahon a hard on or be the American dream.
Don't believe me? look at the list of champions, yes, i do know that this is not the full list as WWE has had a ton of world champions but im looking at the company guy, the person who they attempted to make the focal point of the company itself, firstly we had Hulk Hogan the guy who was the main stream focus, the guy who was the main guy and the person that the company helped give that cross over to movies, merchandise including ice cream bars and t shirts, Hogan was given monster after monster to battle against in order to conquer and have the crowd go home happy. now lets fast forward to the new generation movement, the only reason the company transitioned from Hogan to Hart is because they where facing allegations of steroid use, do you think that the company wanted to do this? of course not, they moved with Hart because he was a hard worker and a safe bet to increase the companies revenue due to his strong ties with canada hence Bret was a logical choice, but he wasn't vince's choice.
Move forward to 1993 Lex Lugar was moved into the main event as the company decided to go another way from Hart and see if lightening can strike twice and manufacture Lex lugar into the All American by having him slam Yokozuna on July 4th showing his strength and power and proving that the unstoppable force could go against the unmovable object and win, with his victory over Yokozuna Lex managed to get his chance again at Yokozuna at Wrestlemania having both him and Bret Hart eliminate eachother at once at the royal rumble giving the duo a chance at the champion at wrestlemania but again his push was left unfulfilled with the lackluster results and WWE losing money on promotional gimmicks such as the Lex express the company went another way and went back to Hart who despite being the smaller individual was a bigger draw than Lugar.
Around the same time Vince had his eye on another big man giving Diesel the title with a short victory over Bob Backlund at a local house show, hoping to turn this cool heel into an uber baby face Vince again used the marketing machine in hoping that his reign will equal to another breakout star this however did not happen as Hart again was given the title once more and Nash returned to his heel persona before ultimately leaving the company for greener pastures in WCW.
Hart eventually past the torch to Shawn Michaels who became the company guy for a short time as Michaels rebellious attitude caught him alot of flack with officials and again didn't provide that company with that bankable start that they needed, Michaels again transitioned to a cool heel once another more bankable star came into fruition and kicked off the attitude era, that man's name was stone cold steve austin.
Austin was the ultimate underdog, being anti establishment and the more aggressive champion going against any challenger put in front of him and beating the odds and making the company a ton of cash, with the work of guys like Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley, The Undertaker and of course Triple H the company managed to go national, i'm not downplaying the other main eventers but Austin was clearly the company guy until injuries left him out of action, the rock then took that spot and shared main event status until both men decided to finally hang it up for their respective careers outside of pro wrestling.
Now why does this matter?, we'll isn't it funny that these guys with the exception of Triple H weren't considered conventional company guys? none where clean cut, none where actual babyfaces (both heels) but both faces managed to take the company into the billion dollar corporation that went public On October 19, 1999, without these men and a slew of others the company would never have beaten WCW or even survived past the new generation, i'm not saying that the company needs an edge however they just need to stop trying to shove Vinces idea of what a pro wrestler should be because like any good booker Vince gets it wrong more than he does right, but unlike the attitude era the comapany doesn't have wrestlers pitching their ideas, it all remains with Vince.
Now finally lets fast forward to 2002 a young man makes his way to the roster full of potential, his name was John Cena he debuted in OVW as the prototype and had that WWE definition of a body, he also could capture his audience with his mic work and technical ability, the only problem, Vince didn't like him, cena was on the verge of release until he came up with this persona, agents caught him battle rapping with guys like mysterio in the back as a way to pass time and they decided to repackage him as a heel rapper who was very anti establishment.
This took off and changed Cena's career giving him title victories a plenty but the WWE wasn't happy and neither was Mcmahon, they needed a champion who small kids and adults alike can look up to and be the marketable guy that the company can make into that all out star, even though John Cena brought himself to the dance it was the WWE machine that took full credit and propelled cena into the main stream media.
Now what does this all have to do with reigns? simple, Reigns has not marketed himself, he hasn't gotten over organically with the crowd or had anyone get behind him, the problem here with Reigns is that he's Vince's puppet who will have his career destroyed unless the company does something drastic, this is not a John Cena situation, nor is it the rock, Reigns will be just another Diesel or Lex express unless the company finds a way to get the crowd behind him and quickly, with the news that Lesnar is unhappy with his current situation that company may be out of luck after Wrestlemania 31.
But what do i know right? i'm just a fan its not like i've never worked in the wrestling business before, oh wait i have....
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