Followers of the WWE are among the most understanding sports (entertainment) fans in the world. They get that the pro wrestling they’re watching isn’t as genuine as the UFC or random YouTube fight videos, but they won’t complain so long as Vince McMahon and the creative powers that be heed the call that senseless bullshit will not be tolerated quietly. But the anger certainly came out last night for the annual Royal Rumble, in which the titular match infuriated fans so much that “#CancelWWENetwork” immediately started trending on Twitter, among other disastrous outcomes. Way to go, Vince.
Not only did “#CancelWWENetwork” become a number one trending topic, but it also appeared to be as successful an Internet campaign as there has ever been. According to Time, the cancellation page on the WWE Network website reportedly crashed following the pay-pay-view event due to too many people logging on and excising the channel from their lives. As a company, if you can’t keep your biggest supporters on board to drop ten bucks a month on full access to your goods, that’s an Undertaker’s neck-sized problem.
What had everyone up in arms? The fact that the once-popular and now middling superstar Roman Reigns was allowed to win the Royal Rumble, earning him a shot against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31 for the World Heavyweight Championship. Had Reigns’ career continued as it had when he first broke out, or if the match itself would have been planned differently, this might have not been such a big deal. But when Reigns was left standing after his awful final three opponents – Kane, Big Show and Rusev – had been tossed out, the crowd booed. And then when The Rock, arguably the greatest professional wrestler there’s ever been, came out to raise Reigns’ hand, the crowed continued booing. For a long time. I’m pretty sure The Rock was surprised and uncomfortable, since not even Hercules turned people against him.
It’s totally worth your time to go and check out some of the hilarious tweets that people sent out there with the hashtag. Here’s my favorite.
This is the second year in a row that McMahon has faced the wrath of his empire’s audience after botching the Royal Rumble. Last year, people had huge problems with star Daniel Bryan getting left out of the match – which Batista ended up winning – and what happened this year? Bryan came out in the tenth spot and ended up getting tossed out early. Lesson not learned.
Due to weather issues on the East Coast, the live taping of WWE Raw was canceled and replaced with Royal Rumble matches along with some behind-the-scenes stuff. Will the WWE Network website crash again with renewed anger tonight?