The WWE’s long track record of repetitive, uninspired, and just plain stupid storytelling prompted Bleacher Report contributor David Levin to declare that “Vince McMahon’s brand has finally gone stale.” That was back in 2012. Fast-forward seven years, and you’ll find Deadspin contributor Luis Paez-Pumar lamenting the wrestling company’s “stale creative” team and Cageside Seats’ Henry Casey deriding “stale” rivalries.
It seems that old habits die hard, and any habit that consistently rakes in dough for a company is destined to live on in zombie-like perpetuity because stale bread is still bread. It’s the same reason that the movie industry creates a parade of formulaic blockbusters and sequels and the internet recycles widely known stories about wrestlers. That brings us to the wrestler formerly known as Dean Ambrose, who wanted to create something fresh.
That's how the cookie-cutter crumbles
Now known as Jon Moxley, the former WWE star jumped ship to join more like-minded wrestlers in the AEW because he couldn’t stomach the same stale, stupid words that the WWE creative team kept putting in his mouth and shoving down fans’ throats. Per ESPN, on an episode of the Talk is Jericho podcast, Moxley said that the WWE creative team made him say “goofy sh*t” and gave him nonsensical story lines. He grew to despise his favorite aspect of the industry: cutting promos. Over time, he began to feel “physically sick” and depressed, and the possibility of a bigger paycheck couldn’t cure what ailed him. As Moxley put it, “I don’t care how many zeroes you want to put on a piece of paper, I am gone.”
Before Moxley left, Vince McMahon asked him to go too far in a promo referencing Roman Reigns, who at the time was fighting a real-life battle with leukemia. Moxley recalled in an interview with the Wrap that McMahon convinced him to say, “We were rotten to the core from the very beginning. And now time has caught up to us, and we’re all gonna pay for it in different ways … I mean, look at Roman. For Roman’s part, for what Roman did in the Shield — he has to answer to the man upstairs.” He found the whole idea of suggesting his real-life friend deserved to die of real-life cancer “very distasteful” and emblematic of the awful creative decisions that were “killing the company.” So one can only imagine that for Moxley, being able to spread his creative wings at AEW must taste like heaven.
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