Recently I read I little piece regarding one of my favorite heels in the WWE CM Punk and his future with the company. He stated that he may not resign with the WWE because of the grueling schedule, among other grievances. Obviously this sparked a question in my head, along with any other fan that read the article. Should there be an off-season for WWE employees?
Before I go any further, I am well aware that wrestling is “fake” and therefore shouldn’t be compared to “real” sports like football or baseball, however, it’s still a physical gig. Wrestlers are frequently injured, and sometimes, still have to perform. I should also mention that injuries can even be career ending, just like any other physical competition. Edge, for example, was forced to retire recently because of a neck injury that he suffered years ago. That’s not to mention how often WWE puts on shows. Besides airing Raw and Smackdown, the company puts on at least two non-televised house shows a week. So, there could be a superstar wrestling four times week, if not more. That’s also not mentioning the crew that puts the whole shebang together. Oh yeah, they also travel the country, and world, while getting two weeks off a year. That’s insane. Say what you will, but that has to be tolling on a person’s physical, mental and emotional well being.
As a human being, I would say yes to giving these people some time off. As a fan, I may not be so inclined. Unlike any other professional sports organization, you can always count on the WWE being there year around. I assume that’s how they’ve maintained a fan-base all these years because the WWE is a testosterone-filled soap-opera. This means it can’t take time off because there’s always a continuous storyline. Fans could get lost if there was an off-season. Besides, Vince McMahon would certainly lose some cash if there was an off-season from merchandise and ticket sales.
But I’m a rational person and the more I think about it I would have to state that the WWE needs some time off. Giving everyone time off, whether it’s a superstar or the guys sitting up the ring, would be beneficial for the company. It would give these employees time to recharge their batteries. It would also allow the creative team more time to develop quality plot-lines, as opposed to, quantity. I mean how many times a year do I have to watch John Cena and The Miz go at it on a weekly basis? As they say, separation makes the heart grow fonder. I think there are several ways that there could be some sort of off-season that would keep fans and Vince satisfied.
One of the easiest, and less drastic means, is cutting back on live shows. The WWE has done this before, typically in the summer. What they could do is tape two episodes of Raw and Smackdown in a week. For example, if they’re in Chicago on a Monday night they would air a live episode of Raw and record an episode for the following week. So, there may only be two times in a given month where the WWE is live. If they want to do a house show they could at least do a Saturday show in a nearby city, which they usually do. This could mean that wrestlers, and the crew, only have to work on perhaps four nights in a month. If they did this a couple of times a year that would amount to a favorable amount of time off. Employees get to rest up and go home for about two weeks and there’s still episodes of Raw and Smackdown to be shown, not to mention, a couple of live shows to generate more cash into Vince’s account.
Of course there could be an actual off-season during some part of the year. That time of year would make sense following Wrestlemania. Everyone at the WWE works their tails off for Mania, and they deserve a break. Besides, many of the feuds have been settled during the company’s biggest event. Of course the episodes of Raw and Smackdown immediately following Mania would still go on, but after that, give everyone a couple of weeks off. Come back a week before the next pay-per-view to plug that and refresh fans, and make sure guys are in shape, and everyone should be happy. They could of course do that a handful of times a year, like around the bigger pay-per-views like SummerSlam, Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble. I would say twice a year, because that’s not that detrimental for the company or fans. But, it would give fans a break from played out scenarios, and most importantly, it would give employees that much R&R.
These are just my opinions as a fan, and it probably will never happen. I’m sure some fellow fans would agree, while others won’t, but it makes a lot of sense. These people working for the WWE need some more vacation time. And, even if it’s not popular with fans and the company, there may come a day when it comes down to this. If wrestlers keep getting burnt out, which could lead to anything from an injury to getting addicted to pills or alcohol, and fans don’t show up to live events because of tired plots, there may be no other choice but to cut back. Perhaps the WWE should embrace the idea of an off-season before they lose any of their employees and fan-base.
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