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Mailbag: WWE seems to be going through an identity crisis since Wrestlemania 40

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Damien Priest cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and became champ after cashing in and pinning Drew McIntyre, who had just gone to war with Seth Rollins, but OK, plenty of history behind the ladder match winners cashing in on a wounded new champ.

Meanwhile, Rhea Ripley is out with an injury, and that leaves Priest as the head of the table.

It just seems like The Judgement Day is a poor man’s version of The Bloodline, and a “poor” attempt at that.

Is it safe to assume that WWE has an identity crisis? I mean, their venues are still sold out most weeks, but right now, it just doesn’t seem as fun or engaging.

Bryan Paul

This was my concern for WWE post-Roman Reigns, whenever that was going to be.

Reigns held the undisputed title for more than three years, and as The Bloodline storyline grew in interest, WWE put up consistently good numbers on TV, and over the past year, it has been regularly selling out buildings across the country for its “Raw” and “Smackdown” TV broadcasts, even though little seems to happen at those TV tapings to justify buying a ticket to be part of the live experience.

It was inevitable that, at some point, WWE was going to have to take the undisputed title off Reigns, if nothing else, just to give the former Georgia Tech football star a break.

Cody Rhodes, the big-splash signing from AEW in 2022, was the logical guy to be the next guy after Reigns, though there were questions with Rhodes that I think still need to be answered.

WWE, for the past several years, has been at its best with a heel champ, and babyfaces chasing the champ – think: Rhodes chasing Reigns the past two years, Reigns chasing Brock Lesnar for several years before that.

With Rhodes, as a face, as the champ, now WWE needs a line of top heels to lead the chase.

Back in the early days of the Vince McMahon Jr. WWF, all you had to do was put a guy in Bobby “The Brain” Heenan’s stable, and voila, he had instant cred as a top heel.

Paul Heyman is this WWE generation’s “Brain,” but he’s too closely aligned with The Bloodline to be a factor anywhere else.

We’re only two months past Rhodes beating Reigns at Wrestlemania 40, but it’s starting to feel like my concerns pre-‘Mania, that Rhodes would be left to just float from challenger to challenger, with no cohesive plan going forward, is what we’re going to get.

It feels like we’re just biding time until Reigns returns from his sabbatical, at which point we can get the train rolling back down the tracks.

In the meantime, the lack of cohesive plan at the top runs the risk of going top-down.

This, again, was probably inevitable, because Reigns couldn’t be the champ forever, but the ball is in Paul Levesque’s court in terms of coming up with the next big direction for WWE going forward.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].