Ask a wrestling fan about their personal history as a WWE fan and they'll either give you an ungodly figure counting the years in which they've clung to the product in spite of themselves, or refer to "going dark" at a particular point where other things got in the way or priority, and the product, changed.
It's something WWE have accepted with cyclical familiarity, and why older heads insist to this day that the business' natural course is an intentionally irregular one. So the theory goes, there requires something of a bust to create a boom, a dark age to see the light, as it were. It's why, following WCW's 2001 collapse, Vince McMahon began shrewdly began hoovering up video libraries - he was thinking way beyond how to look after his company today, when there was an entire Network to think about tomorrow.
Fans don't - and shouldn't - have those concerns. They're permitted to switch off even if Vince McMahon can't. On screen, this failure to cope often results in a gimmick gear shift that completely excludes a longer-term fan. Unconvincing turns are a cringeworthy side effect of a business in decline - a visual representation of creative or commercial desperation in an effort to try and capture what has already been lost. Especially when a once-hated heel attempts to take a transparent short-cut into the wallets and hearts of he audience...
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.