I’ve been a fan of pro wrestling as long as I can remember. I love the WWE, but I always root for startup wrestling promotions to do well. No one will ever match WWE’s marketshare, but competition breeds creativity. WWE definitely needs to be pushed.
The WWE has pushed a storyline around Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. The duo call themselves ‘The Authority’ and have been running the company with an iron fist. The storyline officially came into fruition on August 18th, 2013, the night of Summerslam. Triple H caused Daniel Bryan to lose the WWE title to Randy Orton.
The storyline lasted 14 months and will historically be seen as a failure…but it wasn’t completely their fault.
‘The Authority’ storyline was meant to be centered around Daniel Bryan. The first four to five months were centered around him, but shortly after winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XXX, he was sidelined with a serious neck issue. They tried to throw John Cena in his spot, but it wasn’t believable.
After realizing no one was buying Cena in that role, they put Roman Reigns in a similar “we’re stacking the odds against you” storyline. He had some nice matches, but then needed an emergency hernia procedure.
‘The Authority’ storyline officially came to a close the night of Survivor Series. Sting appeared and hit a scorpion death drop move on Triple H. He then put Dolph Ziggler on top of Seth Rollins. The Authority lost, thus ending Triple H and Stephanie’s reign of terror.
So, after planning out a storyline that centered around Daniel Bryan, he finished with Sting and Dolph Ziggler ending it? I’m all about a fluid creative process, but no one had them in mind when this all started.
During ‘The Authority’ storyline, the WWE Network was launched. It’s not ideal for a heel stable to be in charge when trying to plug something they want their fans to purchase. They attempted to turn the phrase ‘$9.99’ as this generation’s ‘SUCK IT’, but that didn’t work very well (they even made a $9.99 t-shirt). Subscriber totals aren’t as high as expected and have been hovering around 750,000 since Summerslam.
At the end of the day, what will The Authority storyline be remembered for?
– The ‘YES’ chant went from something ‘smarky’ fans did to having mainstream appeal.
– The Wrestlemania XXX payoff of Daniel Bryan winning the titles.
– Making us realize how much we enjoy Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury
…and that’s about it.
It did help push Seth Rollins to main event level, but the storyline should have ended with Bryan’s injury. Also, we didn’t need to see Big Show cry for the millionth time.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are both really good at their jobs. Natural performers and can really get under people’s skin. It was just a matter of things not lining up perfectly and possibly overkill. Vince McMahon never had to deal with a three-hour RAW and a two-hour Smackdown when he was a bad guy owner.
The stars have to align perfectly for a storyline in pro wrestling to become iconic. You need the correct people on both sides. The timing was clearly not right for ‘The Authority’. In hindsight, maybe Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton weren’t the right guys in their roles. WWE has some great talent making their way through WWE Performance Center. Maybe they can re-do this storyline (not word-for-word) in five years with better success.
Adios, The Authority.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.