Familiarity breeds contempt. Change is the only constant. Adapt or die.
These are all clichés rooted in fundamental truth. The relentless thrust of progress renders the past untenable for the future, and merely instructive at best as we doggedly carve a path forward in all we do. Boldness is rewarded, staid consistency left to wither and die. Sometimes this change is forced upon us and we have to course correct suddenly, sometimes uncomfortably. Sometimes we initiate change actively, and it’s the world that will catch up with us. What we know is that continued breaks past new barriers is all that will keep us vital.
What the fuck am I talking about, right? We’ll get there. But first, indulge me in a slight digression to the WWE and UFC.
Much to my chagrin, the WWE has once again sunk its talons into me and I find myself watching Raw most Monday nights. All other things being equal, this would be fine on its own, but this behavior has now also claimed my wife as an unwitting victim, and she watches right alongside me. The storytelling isn’t even particularly good right now, which makes my renewed fandom all the more perplexing.
As a case in point, the Royal Rumble, which is traditionally among the WWE’s four largest pay-per-view events of the year, will be headlined by Randy Orton VS John Cena for the WWE Championship. This match happened at last month’s pay-per-view, and is roughly Part 9,000 in their storied (read: boring as shit) 6+ year rivalry. John Cena and Randy Orton might as well be the Ross and Rachel of the WWE, where by now we’ve all grown tired of their monkeyshines and wish they’d just fuck and get married (in some order) and get the hell off our TV already.
What was so promising earlier this year – and what largely inspired me to write this and chant YES! at the Pepsi Center – was that the WWE seemed on the precipice of trying something different with Daniel Bryan. An evolution, a sprint forward, a change in thinking, a casting off of the tired and familiar and a charge toward the unknown with the little goat-faced hipster dude.
Instead what we got was panic from the higher-ups at the WWE for no good reason, Daniel Bryan getting shunted back down the card and working with the hokey hillbilly cult known as the Wyatt Family while John Cena re-emerged from triceps surgery (playing the exact same character he’s played for over A FUCKING DECADE at this point) to re-heat his endless rivalry with Randy Orton.
Stephanie McMahon proclaimed last Monday on Raw that she wouldn’t change a thing about 2013. In the words of the estimable Scott Keith, “Really? Even the shitty buyrates to end the year and terrible PPV cards?”
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you can look forward to more of that in 2014 as well.
Meanwhile over in the UFC, things continue to barrel ahead whether everyone’s ready or not. Georges St. Pierre, the long reigning Welterweight Champion, took the beating of his career at the hands of Johny Hendricks, still somehow managed to retain his title, and then vacated the belt and left. Anderson Silva, former long reigning Middleweight Champion, attempted to kick new Champion Chris Weidman in the leg, Weidman checked the kick with his knee, and Anderson Silva’s shin basically snapped in half. I saw it, and it was fucking horrible. Silva’s out for at least a year, if not forever.
With Brock Lesnar back in the WWE, and now two of UFC’s other biggest draws gone for the foreseeable future, some wonder if the UFC can continue to grow without its established stars throughout 2014. Dave Doyle, an excellent MMA columnist for Yahoo! Sports remembers the last time people fretted over the very same thing.
You might remember some guys named Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz. When they were forced to hang up their gloves, everyone wondered how the UFC would survive. Yet, persevere it did, and the likes of Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and now Jonny BONES Jones and Jose Aldo have taken their spots. Just as the previous crisis passed, so too shall this. How? The UFC will “return to simply pushing the sport of mixed martial arts on its merits,” according to Doyle.
Talent will rise, stars will emerge, and the uncertainty will reveal the future as it always does. Unlike the WWE, which had a chance to force the issue and evolve in an intentional way, the UFC has had its evolution forced upon itself. I have all the confidence in the world it will be up to the task, and as a fan, I’m excited to see who’s standing on top a year from now.
So what the fuck am I talking about, right?
I love to write these little essays. I’ve written in this basic format now for the last 6 years. And while I’ve gone where my heart and your interest has dictated in writing more personally about the major life undertakings that have occurred over the last year, I feel like there’s more I can do. It’s time to evolve. Expand. Grow. I want to drive the change I know is possible in something I love (like the WWE could have done), instead of having it forced upon me (in the way the UFC is now facing).
That’s why I’m proud to announce that launching in early 2014 will be an Eks Axis Podcast.
I’m not yet in a place to divulge the full details about what this will be, but here are a few key tidbits:
- The podcast will not be the same format, or, really, subject matter, as the essays you see on EksAxis.com
- The podcast will be interview focused.
- It will be hosted here.
- New episodes will debut weekly.
- I will still continue to write articles like the ones you’ve grown to love for EksAxis.com
It’s time to try something new. I love the podcast as a format. And every time I talk about this project, I get more and more excited about it. I promise to reveal more details soon, but for now know that I’m currently working my ass off to get this thing built. And I can’t wait to bring it to you.
Here’s to 2014.
See (and hear) you soon.