Peaks and valleys define WWE programming now more than ever.
The company's indomitable market position and record-breaking balance sheet mean they can afford to mail it in creatively. There's no competition, no threat, and they already have your Network subscription fee, so why bother taking the time to craft a cutting edge wrestling product? Their massive piles of money have removed all incentive, and it'll likely get worse when that blockbuster new TV deal kicks in.
WWE are thriving financially, but lagging creatively, and this is reflected in their 2018 programming. Though the year started with an awesome Royal Rumble and a tight, cohesive WrestleMania build, the wheels came off soon after. 'The Show Of Shows' was, itself, a storm of inconsistencies, with the highs (Charlotte vs. Asuka, Ronda Rousey) exhilarating, and the lows (Nicholas, Lesnar vs. Reigns) absolutely brutal. Sadly, Raw and SmackDown have followed its patterns ever since.
Following WWE is a balancing act. Learning how to appreciate the good while keeping the bad at arm's length is tricky, but pivotal to enjoying the modern product, particularly now that the company are deeply entrenched in their annual summer slump. Still, now that we're beyond the halfway point, let's run through the good and bad 2018 has brought so far...