In what is sure to be a test of literary endurance I am back with my 4th column this week (3rd “Wrestling Rumblings” and also did an installment of “Outside Interference” for Wrestleview VIP members). So after bashing that no good scumbag Ryan Clark, giving you tales of “Mighty Mark” and giving my insights on the recent rumblings of deceased wrestlers family members what more can I give you this week? To tell you the truth I was a bit unsure myself, I mean the guys here at Wrestleview they don’t take any weeks off and well I don’t like to step on their toes or the toes of anyone else out there. It’s been said more than once that I would try my hardest to make this column the most unique column you read all week. So after thinking, and thinking and still thinking even more I kept asking myself “What’s missing?” and then it hit me that this column should be dedicated to what is missing in professional wrestling? You’re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
I just want to preface this by saying there is no way in hell I can sit here and list everything that is wrong or missing with professional wrestling and to be honest I probably shouldn’t even if I could. If I had to criticize the business that much, why watch or take part in any of it? I want to also say it is very easy to tear something down; it is much harder to put things back together. Sometimes what sounds very simple really isn’t and if it was it would have been done a long time ago. Everyone including yours truly is an arm chair quarterback and well it’s easy to see something was done incorrectly after the fact. To any wrestling fan who routinely tells me they think they can write a better wrestling show the truth of the matter is you can’t. Now to the people who will take me on that challenge and try to write one wrestling show, just remember you didn’t have to do it for real, you didn’t have to deal with the egos, politics, injuries and everything else that takes place week in and week out and at the end of the day as hard as it was for you to write one TV show try writing 50+ shows with PPVs and no break. While wrestling can be very simple it can also be very complex and it is best for none of us to forget that. With that being said I still think there are things that can be improved upon and some things that have even been forgotten that need to be remembered again. So if you will just indulge me for a few pages…
What’s missing from wrestling? Kayfabe.
OK so it’s been missing for years and in many ways it can’t be recovered but still shouldn’t we try to get some of that back? You don’t watch a TV show and have to keep reminding yourself that it’s all a work why must we keep doing that with professional wrestling? As previously mentioned in other columns that have been put out this weekend I attended WWE Fatal 4 Way. Of course we had many matches but one of which was a Divas Fatal 4 Way match up consisting of Eve Torres, Alicia Fox, Gail Kim and Maryse. How is it that upon conclusion of the match I personally witnessed Eve and Maryse who are really the only Divas program going on in WWE at the moment walking to the back side by side talking amongst each other? I’m well aware that they probably get along in real life and that the cameras were no longer on them but what about the fans in the arena that paid to see the show live? You don’t see a magician who may have had a plant in the audience leave with the plant and tell him he would call him immediately following the show I shouldn’t see it with blood rival opponents in professional wrestling. It is one thing to see people travel together that much I tolerate and accept. It is a whole other monster to see people who are feuding who just had a match giggling and laughing and walking away together.
What’s missing from wrestling? Believability.
This may sound very ridiculous to some people but it drives me absolutely nuts when I see wrestlers who are not wrestling in matches come and do anything in there ring gear. If you are unaware in storyline that you are having a match and in some cases if your match is not scheduled until the main event than you shouldn’t open the show in your ring gear to just cut a promo. Think about it people am I supposed to believe that Randy Orton walks around all day in his underwear and a Randy Orton T shirt? Why am I using Randy right now? Well if you recall he did cut a promo on Raw, a Raw where he wasn’t scheduled to have a match he came out in gear. Sure he had a run in with the Miz but if we are treating wrestling as if it is real he wouldn’t have been aware that the Miz was going to come out and confront him. Hell even the Miz had the decency to be dressed normal for his interaction with Orton. I try to rationalize these things by joking to myself that wrestlers show up to work in uniform but that’s a real shady excuse but let’s go with it for a moment. For 2 straight weeks we had invasions by the cast of NXT Season 1, the same cast that up until this week didn’t have contracts. If I am supposed to buy this as an invasion shouldn’t they have been in their normal clothes? Think about it, these guys showed up to the arena and where did they get changed? Or did they just travel in their underwear too? A little bit of believability in wrestling goes a long, long way.
What’s missing in wrestling? Importance of titles.
Look I get it its 2010 and not 1980 and in a Cable TV world where something more entertaining is a channel click away fans attention spans are not quite what they used to be, still even with me saying that aren’t titles the storyline reason that all wrestlers are in whatever company they are in anyway? I heard Vito DeNucci on “Between the Ropes” this week reference how important the NWA title seemed when Ric Flair was on top in the mid 1980’s because all storylines in the NWA revolved around the title regardless of who held it, Flair made that his number one goal. When was the last time you ever really felt that way about any title in wrestling? These days’ world champions lose non title matches on TV weekly and it is almost an afterthought because of other petty issues. I understand that wrestling is “Sports Entertainment” but the key word “Sports” is still in there and every athlete who has ever competed, competes to win championships not to solve petty squanders. I once had a conversation with a wrestling fan who mentioned how there were too many titles to be important in wrestling and well I highly disagree with that as the NWA had a ton back in the day and they all were revered and meant a lot to fans and I would like to think even the wrestlers. John Cena lost the world title at Fatal 4 Way and cut a promo that made losing the belt seem like a minor inconvenience. Titles should represent your status in the company and wrestlers should feel and react as if they lost their identity upon being separated from them.
What’s missing from wrestling? Meaningful matches.
Everything is rehashed and done to death in today’s world of professional wrestling and it is not even recycled in a way that makes fans want to see the product. It seems the hip thing in WWE is to just come up with gimmick PPV’s and shove people in gimmick PPV matches, TNA isn’t that far behind and while ROH has gotten tons better in terms of promoting feuds they at times still just throw things against the wall to do see what sticks (Christopher Daniels vs. Kenny Omega at the IPPV?). Look first and foremost everything should always be about the titles and for the most part feuds should stem from things related to you wanting to be the champion. It could be something simple as “Wrestler A cost Wrestler B a title shot” or “Wrestler C wants to move up the rankings so he challenges “Wrestler D”. However you can get into the hokier stuff I don’t really have a problem with that. I miss the days of wrestling when every match on the card was an issue you somewhat cared about. Whether it was Jake Roberts being blinded by Rick Martel so he came back for revenge, to the early Sting vs. Ric Flair feud where Sting eventually became World Champion for the first time. As much as everyone praised the Shawn Micheals vs. Undertaker build up at Wrestlemania I just want to point out that it wasn’t just because those guys were two tremendous workers that you looked forward to the match but because creatively speaking WWE made that match mean more than anything else and made you care. Look at something really simple like Chris Jericho vs. Evan Bourne. They have a regular match which Bourne wins on a DQ and Jericho is frustrated by his inability to beat Bourne so Jericho rematches him on the PPV because he wants to show he can beat the guy, he wants to regain his swagger (no pun intended) and he loses, now they wrestle again because Jericho is intent on beating the guy and he finally does and now who knows where you can go with it? Don’t misunderstand me Jericho vs. Bourne could have meant more if they A) promoted it on the PPV and B) spread it out over time but it just goes to show everyone how you can make the simplest of conflicts into something that is entertaining that fans will want to see.
What is missing for wrestling? Enhancement talent.
There is only so much I can give away on TV so why give anything away at all? If you can make things meaningful and slow things down I think there are fans who just want to see wrestling who will forgive an occasional squash match. I remember being so happy as a child when Hulk Hogan would compete on Superstars or Wrestling Challenge in a squash match just because I was so excited to see Hulk Hogan. I don’t know if we can ever get back to that but I really think we should try. How many times can you see top guys in TNA and WWE wrestle each other on free TV and then want to invest money to watch them wrestle on PPV? House show attendance used to be spectacular and I think that was the main reason, if you wanted to see stars wrestle you knew that you either went to a house show or ordered the PPV, these days you have quality guys wrestling each other for free all the time and well why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? (Sorry I just always wanted to use that line in a column) Wrestling in my opinion works so much better when it operates under the less is more theory.
What is missing from wrestling? Managers.
Am I the only one who misses them? There are so many guys out there that every time I see them all I can think of are how much better they would be if they had someone who could talk for them or get heat for them. Hell I remember a WWE where the managers were the most important heels in the company and it really didn’t matter who they were managing as long as that particular manager was there you took their charges seriously. As much as fans like to point out Brock Lesnar can you imagine how successful he would’ve been if he didn’t have Paul Heyman early on as a manager? What about Andre the Giant as a heel? Sure he was a likeable face but you think Andre could have gotten the heat necessary to fill a 90,000 seat arena as a heel when he warbled his speech? I’m sorry Bobby Heenan and Hulk Hogan talked those fans into the seats that show. TNA is sort of trying it with Ric Flair but they are getting it wrong because they still have Flair competing. Your managers should be chickenshit and they should do their best to accentuate the guy they are managing and add to him not subtract from him. The best part is you don’t have to pay them as much as wrestlers and you don’t need all that many of them. Think of how much further this NXT faction could go if they had the right manager behind them. How much further a lot of guys could go, possibilities are endless.
OK I think that does it for this week, no more columns this week. I might even take a week off…OK; OK I probably won’t and will be back next week. Of course you all can still email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have really enjoyed the feedback I have been given on the variety of topics I have touched upon this weekend and am always looking for more. That’s it until next week, I’ll try to do better than ,and until then I am out.