The WWE, for all its flaws, is generally a company I think of as having a good visual sense when it comes to their product. They aren’t selling iMacs. They’re selling wrestling, and typically their sense of design works in conjunction with that to produce media that is designed to sell their product, which means: make it exciting, make it thrilling, make it epic. This is not a brand that necessarily needs cool, iconic, classy design to sell their product. (One of the things about the “minimalist” trend of design that is so popular on the interwoobs now is that so much of it is so pointless – why do you need a minimalist poster of Wolverine? He is fucking Wolverine. He is a midget with claws who kills people, usually ninjas. Why do you not want a poster of him killing ninjas with his claws instead? But I digress.)
Anyway, my point is this: the new WWE “signature” that starts off their shows now as of the thousandth episode of Raw is just god-awful. (It is all the more awful when you consider that, at about the same time, they replaced the horrible, cheesy Nickelback-sung opening for RAW that they have had for a few years with something much better.)
It is boring. Some non-confrontational minor key piano that could be the intro jingle for any late-night infomercial, a bunch of still photos, a lens flare. Worse than boring, it is incredibly non-specific – I mean, after John Cena and Andre the Giant the photos rapidly become less and less easy to distinguish, because they are being obscured by the WWE logo which is also hard to distinguish, so I’m not sure what the point of that was. Please recall that this is trying to sell an organization whose raison d’etre is “let’s put two guys in a ring and have them try to beat each other unconscious.” (Yes, yes, it’s fake, but that’s not the point. Wolverine is fake too, you know.) How does this signature sell that? It does not sell that. Not at all. Rather than being the visceral image the WWE needs to push its product, it is instead sterile.
But worst of all, it replaced the awesome signature the WWE has been using for the better part of a decade:
That conveys the same sense of history that the new signature seeks to provide (and more comprehensively), but it’s exciting, possibly because it’s not just a stupid series of still images set to elevator music but instead shows actual fighting and wrestlers saying cool things and doing cool things and is set to a simple expanding crescendo that is nonetheless intense. It is a good signature – one of the best they’ve ever done if not the best. Replacing it is not necessarily stupid so long as something better comes along, but the new thing – it is not that thing!