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By Albert Gourrier on 7/28/2017 7:54 AM

I was torn trying to find a subject line for this column...potential clickbait or just telling it like it is. So let's do this. Some of what I am about to write would be things you already know (You're on PWInsider already so of course you know). If this could be an open letter to Bonnie Hammer it would be. As I write this, I might be all over the place so I ask for your grace and indulgence prior.

As I write this, the Mae Young Classic has been announced and the first rounds have been done. Tournaments like this aren't new...Shine, Shimmer, Women Superstars Uncensored, and the like have had them. However, it's the first time that it's been done on a huge scale within WWE. I can not tell you how happy it makes me that it's been done but at the same time, I am terrified of it. I am terrified it's going to get over huge but then become a Cruiserweight Classic turned 205 Live thing. 

The Cruiserweight Classic...that thing that gave a huge spotlight and highlighted some of the best cruiserweights in the business. They were given time outside of a USA Network to shine. Those that saw it gave rave reviews and positive feedback on it. However, once they moved away from it to 205 Live and RAW, what is being spoken about them now?..."Purple ropes, must be cruiserweight time...time to go to the bathroom or get a beer". Why you may ask? Because everything that made them special was stripped away. Times when they were given time, they are now relegated to shorter segments with nothing much given to you make you care about them. I've been given the impression of "We didn't sign these people to actually use them meaningfully, we signed them so they can't be meaningful to anyone else that could make money off of them". me, THE main roster show...a program that; like the Cruiserweight Classic show, gives a huge spotlight and highlights some of the best in the business as well as wonderful up and comers; doesn't feel like it insults your intelligence, everything makes sense, and each show including the legendary Takeover shows make you go away satisfied and make you feel the like the time invested is worth it and excites you at the same time. However, once those start move from there to RAW or Smackdown, RAW more so, things that make them special and unique get stripped many cases going from multifaceted characters with range to just characters with one direction. Aside from Roman Reigns and Charlotte Flair, both of whom got more focus based on familial ties....a vast majority of those that moved from NXT to RAW or Smackdown had most of the things that made them special stripped away. The moved over, got put in a useless comedy segment with the NWO, APA, and the NAO then faded away...Emma and Tyler Breeze got moved over cold without build allowing no one to fully get connected to them faltered due to lack of good creative sense.So many NXT talents got moved over and either forgotten or held back from what they were doing in NXT. How many remember Cesaro in the match on NXT against Steven Regal where it was Regal's last wrestling days? It was emotional and when it was over, you were allowed to feel that emotion on a show that didn't just rush to the next segment. How many remember Sasha Banks vs Bayley at Takeover in the Ironwoman match?...a match that to this day, most in the know still talk about. How many people that only watch RAW and have never seen the network feel that type of connection to Sasha or Bayley now? Bayley was the female version of John Cena in NXT....she's nowhere near that now. 

Coming around full circle, I look at the Mae Young Classic and I'm terrified. Terrified as to what will happen when it gets monster over which I have no doubt it will...terrified about what will happen to most of the talent should they get signed and eventually moved to RAW or Smackdown (though Smackdown seems to handle people a little better)...terrified that whatever investment gets put into the wonderful talent will get frittered away eventually. One should never feel that way especially since the same company banner that presents NXT, CWC, and MYC is the same that presents the other programming. WWE was all #WomensRevolution (we need to trend you know, all about that Twitter) "we're showing how empowered women can be"..."we're going to focus on women and what they can do".....however during the WWE's version of the #WomensRevolution, did we see more women's matches on a show? No, we saw everyone put in groups so that in a time frame that would have been given to a 1-on-1 match, that time was instead given to groups vs individuality, no real stand out, no extra time really given...just something that allows them to trend and have people talk about them for what other feds like Shine, Shimmer, WSU, and others do on a very regular basis. When WWE has a show that has at least 3 or 4 matches regularly with female talent, then I can truly say they can say something.

And now, let's talk RAW and Smackdown. Sometimes they do fire on all cylinders but most times they just struggle to get out the gate and when they fire on all cylinders for a prolonged period, we have been conditioned to ask "So when are they gonna mess it up?" which is sad. Storylines are developed for people with really really short attention spans as you're not expected to remember what happened last week. Logistic storyline narratives are discarded very changing the title from Kevin Owens to Goldberg when the most logical thing would have been to have a returning Finn Balor going after Owens for a title he never lost. Too much attempts at bad comedy also takes the shows down as well especially when doing overly and forced scripted segments, It has been said that they are booking to primarily a kid audience though I don't which decade or century they are booking towards. Kids these days are sophisticated and intelligent having seen well put storylines put together through shows like My Little Pony, Sofia the First, or Ninjago for example purposes. Also if you are booking to a kid audience, you're going to lose a lot of them through things like bedtimes within that third hour. They are those also that say 3 hours is too long. I say three hours is too long when you have bad comedy, more talking than actual wrestling, logic that doesn't make sense, talent that isn't being used because of reliances on old faithfuls or people that aren't really there, and segments that don't feel fun. To me, I always loved 3 hour Nitros because I knew it was going to be fun, segments felt natural, and we actually had wrestling. Also, a major problem is the fearfulness to sustain a gritty storyline. It's rare when they do but some storylines, you just know a silly comedy segment is going to be thrown in that kills any investment in the program had up to that point. 

RAW was at one time "Must see TV" for me. I would go out of my way to watch the whole sections if I had to, because I knew the show was going to be that good. Now, it seems like a Spiderman suit with the Training Wheels Protocol installed on it. They do just enough to get by but they stall themselves. So many opportunities to take things to that next level but they don't for some reason. They prevent a good amount of talent from breaking through and being bonafide must see talent. Somedays it seems like they fear doing it because it might mean they would actually have to come up with something for said talents. Somedays it feels like sabotage their own Smackdown program to benefit RAW as evidenced by the Superstar Shakeup thing in pulling a good amount of strong Smackdown talent over. Sometimes I wonder how it might feel if you work for the USA Network, are a fan of wrestling, and seeing Smackdown (a show that was moved to Tuesdayand live for rating purposes) decimated in many ways because more people started to find it more enjoyable to watch then the proverbial oil that greases the wheel being RAW. It always seem that the biggest threat to RAW isn't football or any other program on other networks. The only threat to RAW is the excellence that is happening on other programs done under the WWE banner. Also, talent should never be punished because they grabbed the proverbial brass ring. That happens way too often that when others say that people need to grab it,  people know already that they're going to get sprayed hard with water because they decided to be the dumb monkey that went for the banana on the top of the pole.

There is a conference call set up when they give their numbers and they've done some cutbacks to improve numbers for the Wall Street folk but the thing is, if you have a product with consistent logic, that doesn't insult the viewer's intelligence,  that is compelling,  that makes people stay on their seat and disregard their remote and other programs, and makes them talk enough to their friends about what they saw  (not for trending purposes), then you'd have money coming in where you don't have to cut back at all. There are people with the company who know how to make it happen,  let them do it,  and step back from it all.  

I love wrestling,  I love WWE, been in it for years but when other feds try to be WWE RAW or Smackdown, but when WWE isn't running on all cylinders,  everyone else doesn't either. Instead of being the racecar that wins race after race,  they're in the pits more times than not. I want to see them be successful and always striving to be the best and then better than that. Right now,  the shows on USA for the most part are on cruise control (because they don't have to do anything other) and too much cookie cutter donuts in play when they really need fritters, turnovers,,and crullers instead. You'll also see that with a couple of instances for info conveyance,  I never mentioned any talent. Why?...because at the end of the day,  it's how all the talent is used that matters. WWE, by the position you've put yourself in,  you've become the benchmark...make yourself untouchable. I know you can do it and thank you for being you! 

My name is Albert Gourrier. If you have any feedback for me,  drop me a line at You can also follow me on Twitter @CatchThePinfall and/or join my Facebook group Catch the Pinfalls.