What is this? Has C-Nub gone smark? Is C-Nub sinking to the level of the common fourteen year old columnist, is he too stringing up the banner of the Wrestlers Wrestler, is he in some way or another wishing that the WWE would push the smaller, more talented guys over the larger, more impressive looking guys?
No, I am not. In fact, I am going with a completely, polar opposite approach that is going to earn me the scorn and ridicule of some of my so-called colleagues. I am not going to name names, I am not going to level fingers and get petty. I am going to say, flat out, that I think people who are saying that Chris Benoit should still be champion; that Chris Benoit should at least be challenging for the belt on PPV’s… People who think it’s a crime that Benoit is wrestling down the card are idiots. I think these people are arrogant to the point of being worthy of the WWE’s utter hatred. These are the people who, at a fundamental core of their status in the IWC are just bloody dumb.
It isn’t unusual to want to see something, to have a favorite aspect of the program; It becomes a problem, however, when someone assumes that their favorite is the very best for business, that what they would book were they in charge would make the most money.
Vince McMahon is doing what’s best for business; a business that everyone says is cyclical in nature. Wrestling has been around since the late eighteen hundreds, and it flourished during the great depression as a carnival attraction.
And they learned something about people; In those days, a main event super-star would be of interest to a particular crowd got such a degree of time, and no then his popularity would wane. In the days when the business was territorial, a guy would work four to six months in one territory, and move on. If he was good, he’d be a tag-champ or a repeated challenger. If he was a main event level guy, he got a run with the title, and he stayed a little longer, and he drew big money.
And EVEN these guys had to be cycled out of action every now and then to be kept fresh. The Rock and Austin were both in and out with injuries, Ric Flair worked all over the country for years, but when he went national, he was off the air for three and six month periods every year or so.
While, now the business has gone national, and has been for a long time. Vince saw what happened to WCW with Hogan and his power-politics, he saw how having the same thing at the top of the business killed it. But he was now seeing that the was presenting his business as a product, because Vince is evolving as a business man, he’s getting smarter as he mellows. Vince sees that he has to change more than his top attractions now that he’s national, he’s got to change his product. Like Disney has, to remain successful, like Playboy had to as it evolved, like Microsoft has done, like McDonalds is trying to do to start making money again, Vince is reinventing his business.
Well, the interest in that kind of character is fading once again, and Vince may be trying to go to a direction that was worked once before.
I don’t mean to say that I’m sure it will work, I’m not, but I think it warrants a try. The WWE has been in a stable slump for a while now, and only recently, with the re-introduction of simpler, less real characters, has business begun to start to improve. People no longer want to be as stimulated, TV is getting too smart, with shows like CSI, Law and Order, House, ER, Six Feet Under, Dead Like Me, The Sopranos, Twenty Four take people who really want to think, (even the discovery channel), stuff like Survivor, Friends, Scrubs, South Park, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and in Canada the GREAT show Corner Gas take people who want to see something funny, whether it’s funny clever or funny-stupid (believe it or not, South Park is very Clever… Family Guy isn’t, but it’s still funny. Simpsons is both.)
Complicated stuff, I know, and I apologize if I’ve failed to explain something sufficiently. If anyone isn’t completely sure of what I mean, copy the whole paragraph and e-mail it to me, my e-mail address is email@example.com.
With that said, look at how we feel about things, look at JBL, who is at this moment the most hated man in the E-Community.
JBL is making money, yeah, he is. Even better, he’s actually raising the over-all prestige of the WWE Championship, a belt that hasn’t meant much in the minds of many fans for a while now. The World Heavyweight Title means a lot more than the WWE Championship, but JBL is raising the value of that belt.
The business model is changing.
And it’s not like they’re screwing Chris Benoit or Jericho over.
These guys still get lots of air time, they’re on TV, either putting the young guys over in” Upsets”, meaning matches that don’t make them look bad (Benoit didn’t look bad losing to Batista clean, twice in a month), or feuding with some of the increasingly popular heels. Eugene is getting over, he’s being treated with respect by the company, he’s entertaining and fun. John Cena is adult, sure, but he’s still simple fun. Batista is impressive, he’s not a bad worker, he’s got the Charisma, but he’s not a character full of depth and history.
Do you see my point?
Keep in mind, to fans who simply enjoy the smaller, quicker guys, the guys who work longer, more fluid matches, the real workers… There are alternatives. You don’t have to be a computer whiz to find Ring of Honor tapes, it’s out there for you to buy and download. It’s good for business for Ring of Honor if you download their stuff, it gains them exposure, and it makes you more likely to buy one of their tapes. You have to know what Ring of Honor is to go and find it, and giving away their best stuff, that makes them look really good.
So, in the end, my point is this:
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