“Hijack: Illegally seize (an aircraft, ship, or vehicle) in transit and force it to go to a different destination or use it for one’s own purposes.”
This is precisely what the WWE Chicago fans of professional wrestling were set out to accomplish this past Monday 3/3/14.
The vehicle: WWE’s live Monday Night RAW show at the All State Arena.
- Embarrass the Brass
- Daniel Bryan in the Wrestlemania 30 title match
- Prove that CM Punk is a Wrestlemania main event Talent
- Elevate Mid Carders
Ultimately, most have deemed the events of this past Monday as a failure on behalf of the Chicago Raw Crowd’s “HiJackRAW” movement. I actually found it quite entertaining and admirable. Thanks to the fans that actually went, it made for some decently entertaining Monday night television. In fact, by the very definition of “HiJack,” the crowd was successful in this regard. They did however fall short on their above manifesto. Nonetheless, let’s review what they did accomplish:
- The crowd was lively during the good matches and segments
- Booed subpar performers, performances, and segments they didn’t want to see
- Chanted “CM Punk” or bellowed “BOOS” to the point where you could hardly hear “The Authority” speak.
- Because the WWE had prior knowledge to the Chicago Raw Crowds pending revolt, this also prompted them to change the program card of matches for the evening. A big change was The Rosemont, Illinois crowd saw fan favorites ‘The Usos’ win their first WWE Tag Team Championships from ‘The New Age Outlaws; cronies of ‘The Authority.’
- Daniel Bryan receieved the main event spot on Raw
- The Shield vs The Wyatt family was an all-out knuckle dragging event. The Crowd was into this brawl of factions 100%. That part alone almost made me wish I went.
- I’d say the biggest impact the WWE Chicago Raw Crowd made was getting home town favorite CM Punk mentioned at the opening of the show. Punk abruptly departed from the company in reality 1/27/14 after his Royal Rumble appearance, due to reasons unknown. The fact that the movement was able to coerce the company into playing Punk’s music and mention his name is huge. Usually when things go south with a WWE Superstar, or any on air personality, outside of story lines, the individual is never mentioned.
So for the folks that put the HiJackRAW movement in motion, thanks for taking it public. If the WWE had never caught wind of the upcoming ruckus you all had planned, who know what kind of show they would have put on. Then again, we already know the answer to that question. As far as I’m concerned it made for a noticeable difference and it appeared the WWE superstars had a lot of fun doing it.
On a related note, I think this makes for a remarkable social experiment. What I like most about this “HiJack Raw” movement is what no one else is talking about which is its stark contrast to our current media and political reality. Please bear in mind my fellow Chicagoans and professional wrestling fans, I admire the passion you are showing for wanting to change things within the WWE by way of protest. Nonetheless while your passion for this cause is admirable, there are far more important things in this world to protest. That being said, I see the HiJack Raw movement as both a formidable protest as well as an interesting social experiment.
On the 27th of June 2011 during a live airing of RAW, WWE Superstar CM Punk ignited the flames of rebellion within the confines of the WWE not seen since the WWE Attitude Era. The promo Punk cut on the microphone that night was brilliantly done as it was made to feel authentic. While Hulk Hogan was under contract for another wrestling promotion, WWE never spoke his name on television, but Punk did. He went on to
criticize John Cena and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for being “a** kissers” to the WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon. The WWE locker room knows to stay away from criticizing top guy John Cena in the media, when not in story line. Doing so may halt one’s WWE career aspirations. For Punk to also criticize The Rock who is a major cash cow for the WWE during the attitude era and amid his part-time return to the business was a huge kick in the gut to the WWE brass. To top it off, Punk went on to heavily criticize back office management, and the McMahon family as a whole. Punk’s contract was set to expire the following month, so the timing for airing his grievances against the WWE establishment [McMahon Family] was perfect. Unfortunately CM Punk abruptly left the company with several months left under his new contract 1/27/14. Punk felt as though he, along with several others, had been disenfranchised and overlooked by WWE’s political establishment. For whatever reason truly behind their actions, the WWE has artificially pushed the John Cena character onto the fans as the most beloved and respected wrestling superstar of this era for nearly a decade.
When John Cena heads out to the ring, it is more often than not, very polarizing. Half the crowd is either cheering for him, while the other half is passionately booing him. I define the origin of John Cena’s artificial push to the top of the company the moment he made WWE superstar Triple H tap out at Wrestlemania 22, 2006. Incidentally, I haven’t purchased a ticket to a WWE event ever since this disappointing moment. During the bout between Triple H and John Cena for the WWE championship in Chicago, I recall myself and the entire arena starting the trend of yelling “BOO!” when the bad guy [Heel] struck the good guy [Face]. On the opposite of the spectrum, we cheered “YAY!” for the good guy whenever he struck the bad guy. Even though John Cena was booked as the face, I can tell you definitively that about 90-95% of that Chicago crowd backed Triple H, and against John Cena. Nonetheless, the WWE establishment could care less as they feel they know what’s best for us. Triple H was booked as a despicable heel. When we first began to cheer Triple H, I remember him looking out into the crowd with a mild look of surprise. He was amused and appreciated the respect. Quite frankly, I have nothing against John Cena, as I’m sure most fans in that arena didn’t, but the feeling of consensus was that now was not the time to elevate Cena. Oh, and WWE now labels its fans The WWE Universe. Hahaha! You have to love marketing. At any rate fans left disappointed. Triple H and the company not only put Cena over at WM-22, but did so by having Triple H tap out; absolutely bad for business. Far beyond the realm of belief to Chicago wrestling fans, submitting to the idea that pro-wrestling veteran Triple H would not only lose to a sports entertainment novice in John Cena was unfathomable. Really? On the grandest wrestling stage of them all, at Mania? Ever since that turning point, the mediocrity of the WWE product grew like a virus.
Flashing forward to current times, the mediocre WWE virus grew on to infect the quality of in ring and back stage promos, in ring wrestling performances, and the creative story lines in general. Don’t get me wrong. Every once in a while, good things happen to get the fans all revved up, but it’s mainly due to the bar having been set so low for such an extended period of time. John Cena has been booked as the top ‘Face’ in the company since 2006, but even in his hometown he’s booed, despite the Cena PR campaign. Sometimes, I almost feel sorry for the guy because he was propped up by the WWE Establishment but I’m sure he was promised tons of money and fame. Nonetheless, at some point, one has to stand on their principles and be man enough to take a step back, and give the people what they want; especially when those people want what they consider, is a better direction. On that note, Cena and the WWE Establishment refuses to do this, thus Cena grows more and more polarizing.
Now that we have a background on the WWE Establishment, which does include John Cena and Triple H, let’s get to the more entertaining aspect. The contrast between the WWE Establishment & the Political Establishment which governs us. The basic concept of the WWE is the ‘Face’ vs the ‘Heel’ formula. When you are able to compare and contrast the WWE formula to that of reality, I think it’s one of the most genius concepts in entertainment. This concept allows you to tell a straightforward story of good vs bad. The spectator is forced to choose who to cheer on and who to shout down. The catch is, your only choices are what the WWE gives you. In the Political Establishment, the same formula is applied, but rather than choose between individuals, the voter [spectator] is forced to choose which political party to support. Again, the only choices you have are what the Political Establishment puts in front of you. On occasion you’ll see a rebel rise up from the masses who wants real choices. These are the people that are hungry for real choices that bring forth a productive impact! Folks, these are the ones in search of a much needed revolution.
In the fictional world of the WWE, as I mentioned earlier, CM Punk kicked off this revolution when he dropped what is dubbed a ‘Pipe Bomb’ onto the WWE Establishment. After delivering that promo, no one knew how much of what he was saying was scripted and how much was a shoot, off the cuff. In reality, most people were aware of the fact that his contract in reality was set to expire after the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view. He also lashed out about things fans worldwide complained about worldwide via social media, wrestling podcasts, and throughout various arenas over the years. Having added such a multitude of elements of relatable truth and realism, CM Punk successfully blurred the lines of reality. His shoot-promo was so believable that it actually reached shores of several mainstream media news outlets.
In the very real world, the Political Establishment which governs us was able to cheer on Constitutional Champion, and now former Congressman, Ron Paul. Back in 2007, Ron Paul spoke fervently against the Federal Reserve Banking system. One of the things that resonated with many Americans is how the Federal Reserve taxed everyone with an invisible tax called inflation, whether America wanted this tax or not. When you add to the fact that the birth of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 later gave birth to the 16th amendment, the income tax, Americans which includes yours truly, were genuinely inspired by Ron Paul’s message. Much like CM Punk of the WWE, Ron Paul also spoke things that I, as well as others around the country, discussed among family, friends, and acquaintances for years. Issues such as fighting ideological wars like “The War on Terror” with brute force, which is a false equivalence. When President Bush declared a war on terror, I turned to my family and said…”That sounds dumb. How can we fight an idea(s), which is intangible, with physical weapons? Why not just hunt down the bad guys, get our revenge, and be done with it?” Anyhow, Ron Paul also spoke passionately about balanced budgets, exercising “The Golden Rule,” and a plethora of many things I’d already practiced in my own personal life. Ron Paul’s 2008 candidacy for President of the United States became known as “The Ron Paul R3VOLUTION.”
The WWE Establishment is equivalent to the United States Political Establishment. In the WWE, it’s the Face vs the Heel. In the United States, it’s the Democrats vs the Republicans. No matter who wins a WWE match, they work for and are paid by the same boss; WWE CEO Vince McMahon. When it comes to elections, especially for major office, the politicians are typically bought and sold by one boss as well; lobbyists who throw big money into election campaigns, in addition to their public service salaries, in exchange for political favors once elected to office. Often times, adversaries from either of these world are friends behind the scenes, hanging out together. The moral of the story is no matter which side you support, face or heel-republican or democrat, the establishment always wins.
Ron Paul and CM Punk, though from two different worlds, both saw through this sketchy formula and were fed up enough to speak out against these political establishment machines. Paul decided to run for president under a major political party platform as president. This route gave him a national stage allowing him to deliver his message to the masses on how to win back their Liberty. CM Punk, in similar fashion, grabbed a microphone and began speaking his mind in the form of Pipe Bomb after Pipe Bomb while executing great in ring performances in the process. By exposing the WWE Establishment, CM Punk contributed to the change of pace currently seen within the WWE. Though Punk’s changes may not be major, he has made an overall positive impact on the WWE product. When it comes to the Political Establishment, Ron Paul unequivocally has left a lasting impression on the political landscape. Thanks to Paul’s most recent campaigns for President in 2008 and 2012, we are now having more conversations about Liberty, sound money, and fiscal responsibility. Notably, more of the electorate are speaking on the importance of the Constitution itself which is a big victory in my book.
As much as I appreciate both Ron Paul and CM Punk’s contributions to their respective causes, there have been some unintended consequences that came along with their movements. In regards to Punk I’ll just mention that as it currently stands, due to his recent abrupt departure from the company back on 1/27/14, he has now left his peers within the locker room without a strong “voice of the voiceless” behind the scenes outside of the story lines. Because the performers are independent contractors, I imagine they feel as if they were to speak out passionately about something that they would like to see changed within the confines of the WWE, fear of termination brings that to a halt. The locker room has to take a stand and fend for themselves in his absence. When it comes to Ron Paul, you can kind of say the same. After his campaign came to a close, the vast majority from the Liberty movement have reverted back to the Political Establishment’s original “Choice” format. In fact, I’ll actually be doing a separate article on the topic of Ron Paul altogether on a later date.
Moving forward, the wrestling community will want to hear this. At this point, the politically inclined may want to stop reading now because I’m going to give my advice on how the WWE fans can HiJack RAW and not just win the battle, but win the war. I’m not an advocate for putting the WWE out of business which is why I am a strong advocate for wanting the brass to listen to their audience. If they continue down the road of ignoring their base, the free market might put them down. I may not watch as often as I used to, but there are Mondays where I’m in the mood for it.
PLAN A: Attend the WWE Events and Protest- Duration: 1 month
Attend RAW: Cheer on the Solid Mid card wrestlers, big time.
When the Authority enter the ring, don’t react. [Silence is Golden]
Cheer noticeably loud for solid wrestlers you want to see (Ex. D. Bryan Shield, Wyatts, Cesaro)
- Bring signs in support of Wrestlers/Divas you want to see.
- If you already know the main event is undesirable, depart 20-30 minutes early.
- Flood the WWE with emails telling them how you feel
- Use twitter against them by voicing your concerns. #HiJackRAW. Do this in unison
- Do not subscribe to WWE Net Work. Don’t purchase any merchandise.
- As the WWE changes roll in moderately, buy merchandise of performers you support.
- Finally, share the #HiJackRAW manifesto w/Wrestling fans. There is power in numbers.
PLAN B: Keep Your Money- Exercise Free Market Principles: No Pay-Per-Views, Events, or Merchandise
- Lower the Ratings: When RAW comes on, change the Channel. No pay-per-views.
- If you get curious about the product, listen to podcasts or read reviews from blogs/sites
- Regarding step(2), go with independent 3rd parties not affiliated with WWE
- If you’re on twitter, don’t tweet about the WWE or use any of their hashtags
- Attend other quality promotions such as ROH (Ring of Honor) or other indy shows
- Remember: Great fans & great wresters go into creating the quality entertainment
- If you like what you see, support them and buy their merchandise
- Start chatting about them on Social Media, via twitter, Face Book, blogs
Well guys. I hope this Valente Journal entry #HiJackRAW manifesto helps the cause of restoring quality pro-wrestling to your television sets and arenas around the world. If and when the WWE begins to cave and returns to booking quality shows, return to the product in moderation. More importantly, don’t completely abandon the smaller wrestling promotions just because things may get better with WWE. The WWE Establishment having a monopoly is what allowed them to become so complacent to begin with. Now go out there and be the “Best in The World” and support the HiJackRAW movement! Good luck.
A Valente Journal,