It’s hard to quantify a WWE superstar’s worth. The company is notoriously opaque about whatever proprietary formula determines who puts asses in seats, and to the extent that its preferences are discernible—“Bring me an army of Dwayne Johnsons!” one can imagine Vince McMahon saying—they’re often at odds with what the most vocal fans root for. And to the extent that “worth” is dictated by the fans—WWE’s nightly test market—there’s sometimes a chasm between the average tuner-in and the diehards who chant on live TV. That makes it awfully hard to second-guess (or hazard a first one regarding) how individual performers are booked from week to week. Not that this stops fans and the commentariat from offering theories and criticism, which in turn only motors round-the-clock interest in the product.
So in an attempt to figure out what’s really going on with these larger-than-life figures—what the real story line that we should be paying attention to is—we’re going to take a deep dive into some of WWE’s top (and bottom) performers, one at a time, in a new semiregular series. Each installment will focus on a particularly compelling superstar’s current essentialness and how their role foreshadows something specific about WWE’s future. Welcome to the Acute Angle.