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Posted in: Chair Shots
Chair Shots Presents: Does Size Matter? (or What's Wrong with Bayley?)
By Rob Simmons
Jan 23, 2017 - 2:00:21 PM

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You know that old adage that size doesn’t matter right? I mean I’ve never heard that personally, but I know it’s out there. Most of the time you’ll hear it from a girl who’s trying not to hurt your feelings. Again, no personal experience with that. Just wanted to make that clear! When it comes to professional wrestling, size used to matter a whole heck of a lot. Back in the day, rarely would you see a smaller wrestler pushed to the top over the bigger, stronger, larger than life guys. That’s completely different today, as evidenced by wrestlers like Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn and others. But the size of the person isn’t where I’m headed today.

There’s no arguing that Bayley was one of the most popular athletes in NXT during her run there. Her fan support was really off the charts, with the NXT faithful (and that annoying little girl) cheering her on every time she got in the ring. So what happened? Bayley has come to the Main Roster on Raw and her reception couldn’t be more different. While she’s not getting crickets, she’s certainly not lighting the place on fire either. Nothing’s changed really. She’s still the goofy, star-struck wrestler who preaches “Hug Life.” She still has the wacky inflatable tube-men during her entrance. But when Bayley throws her hands to the crowd now, the pop just isn’t the same as it was at Full Sail University.

So perhaps size DOES matter, and when I speak of size I’m talking about the size of the crowd. Is it possible that some Superstars just work better playing to a smaller audience? When you compare her NXT run to her Main Roster run, the same factors are in play, with the only difference being an exponentially bigger crowd. Since her arrival on Raw, Bayley has seemed more awkward than normal. Her matches have been average at best. Her connection to the crowd has been…..awful. While it appeared we were headed towards a Bayley/Sasha match at Wrestlemania, it’s now being hinted that the WWE is considering a Triple Threat with Bayley, Sasha and Charlotte. I feel like that change has to do with the resounding THUD that is Bayley’s arrival.

But others have run into the same problem. While there’s no denying that the Wyatt Family have had their share of successes in the WWE, they were 1000 times better received in NXT. From the low-key theme song, to the darkly lit promos, Bray Wyatt’s aura was better suited to a smaller room with more ambience. The smaller confines actually made the Wyatt Family SCARIER, because they were right there, in your face. While Bray tells his next victim to run, in NXT there was nowhere to go. You had to face the demons head on or the darkness would overtake you.

On the Main Roster, the Wyatts have become somewhat of a caricature of what they started as. The moody lighting, signaling the coming of the Eater of Worlds has now become so interactive that the Darkness is overpowered by all the fireflies. It’s a lovely visual, but the purpose of the effect is lost. The sometimes cryptic rants of Bray Wyatt, once a sign of things to come are now often met with the chants of “What?” from a crowd that would rather make themselves famous then Fear the Reaper. Bray’s rocking chair, once a perfect accoutrement for a cozy setting seems like a silly prop inside a giant arena, so much so that it’s all but disappeared from his persona. Bray Wyatt, a man who is larger than life, still struggles to capture the lighting that was caught in the bottle that was NXT.

And yes, sometimes size is an issue in multiple ways. When the WWE announced the CWC, the wrestling world was abuzz. Some of the best Cruiserweights from around the world would compete in a tournament at Full Sail University to crown not only a tournament Champion, but also the first ever WWE Cruiserweight Champion of the New Era. The tournament itself was fire, with some incredible matches worthy of MOTY discussions. The Full Sail crowd was 100% invested in the tournament. The viewers were 100% invested in the tournament. Then the tournament ended, and things couldn’t have been more different.

The Cruiserweights came to Raw, and the buzz disappeared. Their first night didn’t even include an appearance by then Champion TJ Perkins. The initial match died on impact. Since then, the Cruiserweights have struggled to find their footing; footing which had presumably already been established in the CWC. Yet things were very different now that they were on Raw. The crowd was bigger. The arena was bigger, but the presentation was still the same, and despite popular opinion, the Superstars themselves just looked too “small” for such a big place. Perhaps it was the way the division has been segregated from the rest of the roster, with little to no intermingling of brands, but almost nothing has worked since their arrival.

It was such a concern that the WWE created 205 Live, a weekly WWE Network show that is held live AFTER Smackdown Live on Tuesday nights. The idea was a good one, but the execution hasn’t exactly been stellar. Yes, the Cruisers are getting more time to develop themselves, and stars like Jack Gallagher and Noam Dar have started to thrive, but the WWE continue to have concerns since the show’s ratings on the Network continue to fall, and live attendance continues to dwindle as fans are leaving after Smackdown Live has concluded.

The solution seems simple enough; take the Cruiserweights back to Full Sail. Don’t run 205 Live BEFORE Smackdown, as you’ll run into the same problems as after. The audience will be just filing in, and unlike when people leave you can’t move fans around to fill seats as eventually someone will be coming in to take theirs. The Cruiserweights already tour with NXT as it is, so take them exclusively to the Network, back in the cozy confines of Full Sail where they flourished in the first place. There’s no shame in admitting that something isn’t working, and in the case of the Cruiserweight Division, smaller is definitely the word of choice.

Let’s face it, even if a Superstar has great success in NXT, they just might not make it up top. There are numerous reasons for that, so I’m not saying that a bigger crowd is a deciding factor. Apollo Crews for example could be a HUGE star on the Main Roster, but the WWE has done nothing to develop his character so people care enough about him to succeed. That’s not a size issue, that’s a Creative issue. But in the instances I mentioned, I do truly feel that SIZE DOES MATTER!

What do you think folks? Hit me up with your questions, comments, thoughts and overall craziness down below. Also, if you’ve not followed me on Twitter, click that link below my name. Stay crispy people!

Until next time,
Rob Out!

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