Storylines don't seem to happen in WWE anymore. Rivalries and stuff happen, and you can occasionally trace them through a set of linear plot points. But it's very rare that it's anything other than a heel attacking a babyface unprovoked followed by a series of matches and rematchs, and even rarer that it entails anything that could be called character development.
The moments where characters do seem to develop seem all to be partly accidental (e.g. the unexpected Face reaction to Becky Lynch turning on Charlotte last year) or at least initially driven by the wrestlers themselves on social media (Drake Maverick and his 24/7 title chase).
More puzzling is that all of this seems to have been an intentional direction taken by the company - in part to help them expand into non-English speaking markets, and also to give fans the feeling that they can dip in and out over any given 12-month cycle and not feel lost. If no one's character ever develops, if nothing more complicated than Heel A attacks Face B ever takes place, then the viewer can keep coming back year on year for Mania season without any barriers to re-entry, the logic seems to go.
Another reason for it, in WWE if not elsewhere, seems to lie in the toxic attitude towards the product held by an apparent majority of the fans who attend the shows; most of whom appear to be hardcores at this point who seem to feel that actually reacting to the intended narrative of the show is akin to the company outsmarting them. And who only get invested in a story when they're convinced that they're supporting an underdog who the company wouldn't push without their vocal intervention - as in the cases of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Becky Lynch and Kofi over the last few(ish) years.
You saw this when the company had Lesnar win the Money in the Bank briefcase. With both world titles held by underdog babyfaces it opens up loads of potential for fresh situations and a complete change to the dynamic of Lesnar's character. But the reaction in places like r/SquaredCircle (which sadly I think is fairly representative of 'proper' wrestling fans in 2019) was close to totally negative and unwilling to engage. And again the only bit that's gotten traction with live crowds is Lesnar adlibbing the Brock Party stuff, I suppose because the fans can feel like their reaction made it happen and they haven't been fooled into following a story by the writers (imagine!).
So do you miss storylines? Do you think they still happen and I'm just not seeing them? Do you have other suggestions for why they're seem to be dying out in WWE? Discuss.