My thoughts on the tasks that aspiring wrestlers have to go through in this business…
Every year we have the draft and soon following we usually get a group of releases on superstars who do not seem to be making any headway within the company.
Names that people would expect to see this year would be people like Rosa Mendes, The Uso’s, Tyson Kidd, Tyler Reks and David Hart Smith. These are people who have not made any impression on television recently and could quite easily be told there services are no longer required.
So why don’t superstars get more chance to shine? Is it because they are not confident? Is it because of the schedule in today’s market? Or is it because there are too many wrestlers in an industry without many large organisations?
In the past, wrestlers had a lot more time to try and make a connection with the crowd, matches were slower paced, and this gave chances for their personalities to come through between the ropes. Once matches became quicker and shorter the main chance for someone to get their character across would be in a promo. The time that a wrestler has to build up a rivalry has now been greatly reduced due to the fact that PPV’s dominate television and they are much more regular now than in years past. In years gone by you would have only had to worry about 4 main PPV’s and that gave you chance to build certain rivalries up for months, now we can have 14 PPV’s within a year and you normally have less than 3 weeks to build up to a PPV. When you have all these things come together someone is now expected to hit the ground running.
Rarely has a wrestler been able to walk through the door and was able to take the ball and run with it from their debut. WWE has recently attempted this tactic with Sheamus, unfortunately the bubble seems to have burst and now WWE feel the need in dropping Sheamus down the card to try and develop his character more.
The main key to any success is having confidence in your ability and also someone to support you when your question yourself and when you need guidance.
The communication and support is the area I feel the need to question these days. Writers develop characters for television. They tell you who you are going to be, how you are going to do it. If someone cannot relate to that character then it will never be a success.
How many great wrestlers have had to break from the mould set out for them and become an extension of their own personal character? Steve Austin, The Rock , Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Edge and John Cena have all broken off from the characters that they started as and evolved into something they created. Pat Patterson is a great influence to talent back stage and worked considerably with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to help him come up with ideas and way to develop his character to entertain the crowd.
You look at every one of those names and the following becomes standard; Confidence, Desire, Ability and Belief. These men were able to turn round and say to a writer, “No I would have acted like this instead” rather than a writer saying this is what you will do.
I don’t feel that the PG rating helps upcoming superstars gain confidence either. From a pure promo stand point it must be a great pressure to know that you cannot come out of your shell and say what you feel. If something happens to your character and you want to express yourself realistically, you can be stuck with only being able to say “oh darn” and it must be difficult to think of something original to say. Take Steve Austin in ECW, he was given the chance to air his real life issues and that venting alone is what put the wheels in motion for him to rise to the top.
These days I feel that wrestlers should have people to sit down with them as they are coming into the organisation to say “Who are you? Who do you want to be? And how can we achieve this?”
Too often I feel that writers has a batch of different ideas and as soon as someone comes along they just grab one off the pile and expect them to become what’s on that piece of paper. If it doesn’t work out then wrestlers rarely seem to get a second chance. In a world where one chance is all your going to get it’s a shame that support doesn’t seem to be the main concern for these people. If it doesn’t work out with this guy then we can move onto the next one. In any business, if you invest time into your product you gain so much more from it.
Zack Ryder is the perfect example of someone who is trying to do something himself. He has taken advantage of the internet and put something out there that fans can connect with. Because of this, he is gaining cult popularity with the roster and with the fans because he is expressing himself in an entertaining way. I cannot imagine it will be long before WWE are forced to recognise his following and find a way to include him on TV programming.
It seems a shame that the product does not include enough chances to develop more stars and people are forced to look at alternatives such as the internet to put themselves over with the fans. We have 5 hours per week with RAW, Smackdown and NXT and yet logical development hardly ever seems to take place within that time. WWE appears to be more of a revolving door for wrestlers. Look at half of TNA’s roster; they now mostly consist of former WWE stars. Mostly because of an easier schedule but nevertheless they are talent that could still have been used effectively within WWE if time was taken with some of them.
I’m not sure on who’s backstage but if I was wanting to put my character over with someone I’d like to think I’d have chance to sit down with someone like a Pat Patterson to say “Yeah, if this happened I would react like this but I also want to include this as I feel it’s the backbone of my character”
People can achieve anything they dream of if they put their mind to it. Look at what Edge said recently, here is a man who has dreamt of being a WWE superstar and achieved it because he felt his Mum was always there to drive and support him. We all need that influence in life and if it cannot be obtained in private it should be available within the organisation from dedicated staff who wants to see you succeed.
Another example would be Derrick Bateman. The man has eyes that are too close together to trust but he is wacky (in a good comical way!) I can imagine him being a comedic idiot in the locker room. That to me is an extension of his own personal character, if you can nail that aspect of the wrestling industry then it doesn’t always matter how good a technician you are as no matter what you can make a connection with the crowd and that at the end of the day is the thing that will bring fans back for more.
Do you agree with my thoughts or do you think I’m off base. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Twitter at @BeansOnToastUK
I look forward to your thoughts…
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