So, back again so let’s get down to business…
First of all, I want to say that last week I did my radio show (it’s out of Ireland) and we interviewed Steve Corino who is now retired from wrestling and is currently working with “Special Needs” kids.
With all of the negative press around wrestling these days I thought it might be nice to point out that there ARE some decent people in this business and I believe they deserve some recognition as well.
Once his formal foundation is established, I’ll put up a link to it so if anyone wants to help by donating time or cash to such a worthy cause they’ll know where to look and go.
Now, on to the rest.
I guess I’ll begin with WWE and “No Way Out” since that’s probably the most recent “event” on the wrestling calender.
I just finished reading the results and aside from Paul Wight getting his face busted up by Maywether, it seems pretty much business as usual.
Unless you’re VERY easily duped, the results of this show were “by the numbers” and there is good and bad to be said by this.
-Basically, most of these finishes were “fan friendly”, as in it’s either what the fans wanted to see, or was setting up what they wanted to see at WrestleMania.
Too often, promotions (indy ESPECIALLY) will go “left” when the obvious business decision is to go “right”, in the sole purpose of “one-upping” the fans. It makes the bookers feel as though they are smarter than the fans watching. This CAN add a great “HOLY ****” moment to an event when done correctly and is leading somewhere (ie. the 1,2,3 Kid beating Razor Ramon to get his “anything can happen” gimmick over), but can also lead to making babyfaces looking foolish by ALWAYS getting outsmarted (ie. Tito Santana looking SHOCKED when he wasn’t awarded the IC title on a DQ… EVERY NIGHT!).
When Hulk beat Andre at WrestleMania 3, pretty much everyone expected the Hulk to win. It was a challenge for him, but he was “the man” then and crowd support was INCREDIBLE! They could have surprised everyone with an Andre upset, but the right business decision was to put Hulk over, though it was no surprise.
You’ll never go broke giving people what they want.
BAD: The “unpredictability” factor was lost. As a fan, I always liked the idea of being a little unsure of who was going to win. I felt I had to witness this “first hand” before anyone could tell me who was over as I found myself more absorbed in watching the match when the finish was a mystery.
It’s the same reason horror films do great business on the first weekend of release and then quickly fizzle to DVD. You get lost in the story but once you know the finish, the energy is lost.
However, for No Way Out, this format was good as now there is the mystery of “who will win?” between Edge and Taker?
Between Triple H, Cena and Orton?
Who will retire Flair?
And speaking of which, here’s another example of “swerve booking” which could really draw interest.
The idea of Flair getting retired at ‘Mania is a selling point for sure. However, it’s a show with MANY selling points so why not have him slip over? EVERYONE is expecting him to lose at the “grand-daddy of them all”, but that takes a certain amount of steam away from this match.
Especially when Shawn Michaels doesn’t exactly need this angle to “get himself over”.
As arm-chair booker, I’d have Flair win at WM. Have him do it as the “dirtiest player in the game” and look as though he “screwed” Vince out of his precious angle! As long as Vince sold it with shock and disbelief I think it’d be HUGE over.
(As a side note, if he did a promo saying “I didn’t screw Vince… Vince screwed Vince”, I’d be forever in his debt!!)
You’d have a CURRENT Hall of Famer working house shows all over the WWE schedule as well as the idea that EVERY WEEK on TV, someone would STILL be trying to retire him.
You’d never know when it was going to happen!!
So, you’d HAVE to tune in every week to ensure you didn’t miss “history in the making”!
Then, have someone “1,2,3 Kid” him and MAKE A NEW STAR!!!
To me that’s far and away more interesting than an expected loss and heartfelt “thank you” speech that he could do anyway on a RAW, SmackDown, ECW or PPV to follow the loss down the road.
Just a thought.
Now, on to TNA.
It’s no secret that I have a million personal grievances with this company, but I will try and not let this cloud my work here.
As I mentioned in my last column, I really believe that TNA has an image problem so severe, that they actually advertise the fact that they don’t believe in their own product.
Not just because of the booking issues.
Not just because they can’t seem to bring ANY consistency to Kurt Angle’s character.
Is he AWESOME?
Is he a clown?
With an athlete and performer as incredible as Kurt (I believe him to be a “once in a lifetime” athlete), I would suggest he be booked as awesome as not only is it TOTALLY believable, but it keeps credibility on those who lose to him. No shame in losing to the best, but losing to a clown…?
Not just because they are RAPING the X Division… the one true positive difference they have from WWE.
I’m sorry, but to have the Dudley’s hold the entire division hostage (as heel’s, no less), kills it. Essentially, the Dudley’s were 2 men against an army and ALMOST WON!! This makes them almost heroic to defy the odds like that to the point of virtual success.
With such great talents as Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Petey Williams (shameless plug time- All my students!!), Christopher Daniels, Sonjay Dutt, and more, you have an entire division worthy of my PPV dollars as a consumer.
Let them wrestle!!
Not just because they KILL OFF their “in house” talent to push guys Vince already “made/ doesn’t want anymore”.
To have a guy like AJ Styles be a lynch-pin of the company since it’s inception. A guy who NEVER has a bad match. A good looking kid who ALWAYS gives the audience it’s money’s worth. A guy you’ve had hold ALL of your titles SEVERAL times each. A guy who is a stand up guy in and out of the ring and a generally good person who is only a boost to your locker room and is always a positive influence to everyone in the building.
To have a guy like this in a turkey suit on your TV now?
Ya GOTTA re-think who’s writing for you!
I could go on about a guy so talented as Jay Lethal having to rip off Savage to get a push and the whole “Stone Cold Shark Boy” thing, but I believe EVERY column has hit these points recently so I’ll acknowledge them but won’t harp on them to keep moving forward.
You have all of these factors working against TNA already, but then you look at their PPV presentations.
When I see a WWE PPV advertised, I normally see a title which makes me believe that THIS is the biggest deal going:
-WrestleMania… Crazy about wrestling
-SummerSlam… Biggest show of the season
-Survivor Series… “Only the strongest survive”
-Royal Rumble… Who will be king?
-No Way Out… No escape from the fight
and on, and on, and on.
When I see a TNA PPV advertised, I see:
-Bound For Glory… Not glorious yet, but soon!
-Lock Down… What happens in prison when they calm everyone down (ie. no excitement).
-Victory Road… Not a victorious destination, but give us time and we’ll get there.
-Destination X… Unless you are a follower of TNA already, an “X” is usually a symbol of something incorrect.
-Turning Point… Whatever we did to get you watching now, we’re changing it.
and on, and on, and on.
Essentially, the way they name their PPV’s seems to me that they’re not certain they have something worth offering. I mean, with all of the great talent on board (Angle, Christian, Booker, Roode, the X Division, etc.), they should come off a little more proud of what they bring to their fans then what they seem.
There are exceptions (Genesis, Sacrifice, etc) which sound worth my money, but they are outweighed by the one’s that scream:
“Just wait till next year!!”
To me, THAT’S an image problem.
In the wrestling business, image really is everything. Look at how Steve Austin was a “mid-card nobody” until the image matched the man. His work didn’t really change much from “Ringmaster” to “Stone Cold”, but it was “Stone Cold” that made him the household name a man of his talents and charisma deserves to be.
Same for Rocky Maivia and “The Rock”.
So, I guess I’ll leave it there for now. Since I’m soon to be a first time father (to twin boys!!), I should probably finish up the baby’s room. Please remember to check out my website for upcoming dates where I’ll be appearing (Ireland, South Africa, Kuwait, Canada, Austria, Germany, Spain and more to be announced in the next few weeks) and keep reading all the columns here on www.wrestlezone.com.
I’ll be back in a few days.
All the best and God Bless.
Joe E Legend