The best thing the WWE has done in recent years in relaunching WWE Magazine to better reflect the current culture of the company.
The first year of the new-look mag was exciting, and I looked forward to each new issue if only just for the innovative and tongue-in-cheek covers. The launch summer special issue, featuring Torrie Wilson in a bikini-and-gingham-skirt ensemble squirting mustard into a hotdog, exemplified the “Biggest Party of the Summer” theme for SummerSlam and the summer of 2006 in general. Other memorable covers from that year include Edge with DX-branded duct tape over his mouth, the reuniting of the Hardy Boys since Jeff Hardy rejoined the company in 2006, the atypical shoots featuring the Divas, and the Worst Offenders special issue.
While the magazine is still entertaining, especially in comparison to the downright boring covers of the previous Raw and SmackDown! that looked like they could’ve been designed and produced by high schoolers, it is starting to succumb to the monotony of previous years. Now it seems like every month when I reach for the latest issue it features one of the following six Superstars: John Cena, Triple H, The Undertaker, Batista, Rey Mysterio or Jeff Hardy. The only notable exceptions in the last twelve months are Edge, whom I believe deserves more than one cover considering he was debatably the Superstar of the Year, and those who were part of ensemble covers, like Shawn Michaels, CM Punk and Randy Orton. And even then, those who dominate the group shots are the aforementioned six men. Another difference from the first year of the magazine, where Divas were abundantly shown on the covers every few months; a female hasn’t been on the front of the mag in a main shot in over two years.
What once started as a fresh publication with a much more truthful and insightful look into the real lives of WWE Superstars, WWE Magazine has morphed into the highly controlled and politicised product that fans have come to expect from World Wrestling Entertainment. The Superstars that are featured in the main storylines of that month will inevitably be on the cover of the magazine in the coming months. But it goes deeper than that; it seems like whomever has the final say in the magazine (and we can all guess who that might be) determines which of their favourite employees will represent the company on newsstands. An obvious WWE representative is John Cena, who we have come to learn is a shoe-in for a cover every couple of months because he sells products. Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio have mass appeal in the younger market, so that’s the answer for their abundance of covers.
However, there are other Superstars who’ve made an impact in the past year or two who deserve more cover time. Of course there’re the mid-card performers such as Shelton Benjamin, MVP and John Morrison who are as unlikely to get a cover as they are to become WWE or World Heavyweight Champion in the next few years while the likes of Triple H, Cena, Edge and Orton are vying for the title. Despite how much talent they, and the majority of the WWE roster, have, the reality is that they don’t sell merchandise, and therefore, can’t sell the company in the most profitable way.
But, on the subject of Randy Orton, who has been a main event star in the WWE for years and a World champion on and off since 2004, he has not yet had a WWE Magazine cover since the relaunch.
I can’t imagine I’m the only one frustrated with the monotony of the WWE Magazine covers as of late, because as a consumer and a wrestling fan I like to be surprised and excited when I pick up the magazine. Please, WWE Magazine editors, recreate the excitement the magazine once had and put someone unexpected on the cover.
Category: Columns and Editorials |