YOU GET HIRED TO GET FIRED
One thing the territories had right: If the booking sucked, the booker got replaced. Sometimes change didn’t come quck enough, or wasn’t the solution. But being a wrestling booker was akin to being a baseball manager: You get hired to get fired.
Change is necessary in any creative entity. A singular viewpoint eventually breeds staleness no matter how brilliant the viewpoint starts out. TV series like The Sopranos employed guest writers and guest directors as a means to avoid that end.
But in WWE and Impact, the bookers appear to have a job for life.
In WWE, hey…Vince McMahon owns the promotion. He’s not going to fire himself. But Brian Gewirtz (Raw) and Michael Hayes (Smackdown) have had extended periods as McMahon’s right-hand men (read: obsequious lapdogs). Their respective shows are fading and WWE, as a whole, has not been compelling since Austin and The Rock retired as full-timers. WWE’s success mostly results from being the last man standing. The brand name, viewing by rote – many things have more to do with WWE’s success than Gewirtz and Hayes. Several WWE performers credit Gewirtz with elevating them, so he has a bit more cred. But don’t confuse mere elevation with truly hitting the heights. No full-time performer in WWE is a true star. Not right now.
Vince Russo has been Impact’s head writer since 2006. No man has done a more thorough job of destroying the wrestling business than Russo. He was a major factor in killing WCW. He’s doing no better at Impact.
Yet Russo maintains employment, just like Gewirtz and Hayes. All three are spinning their wheels mightily, and that’s assuming any of them had any traction in the first place. But there is no sign, no notion, that any will be replaced. Both promotions would rather be right than successful.
Impact’s "Wrestling Matters" campaign just underscores the farcical booking. For wrestling to matter, belts have to matter and results have to matter. Anybody see any sign of that? Furthermore, who at Impact knows how to book a WRESTLING promotion? Mike Tenay, but he doesn’t have the balls to speak up. If he did, who would listen?
WrestleMania 27 drew 1.04m buys WITH THE ROCK. How many less buy if The Rock isn’t there? What’s that say about the current interest in WWE? Sure, WM buys were up from last year – by the grace of a movie star who deigned to return. No other reason. Nothing was built. At this point, Undertaker’s annual ‘Mania win sells itself.
Smackdown’s numbers are crap. More proof that "cornerstone" Randy Orton is OVER-RATED (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap). Mediocre talent, period.
Impact gets a lot of criticism, and should. But Smackdown’s recent 1.69 rating hardly overwhelms Impact’s usual 1.1/1.2. If you want proof Smackdown stinks, there it is. Impact is within striking distance of Smackdown.
Witness WCW’s decline. The "B" show is the first to slide. Thunder went down first. WWE, take note.
R-Truth provides interesting debate. He’s an average talent, no better. He’s been around a long time without getting over. I’m not sure WWE’s whitebread audience wants a ghetto superstar, even as a heel. I’m surprised Truth’s thinly-veiled anti-white "the man is keeping me down" shtick isn’t generating more controversy. Truth is the man for the job, though. He’s darker than Wesley Snipes.
PW Torch and the accompanying dot-com has long been a product steeped in laziness, most of its pages filled with "information" people already knew – i.e., a multiple-page summary of Raw? WE ALL SAW IT! – and lengthy interviews with people nobody cares about. QUICK, SOMEBODY SPELL PIERMARINI! But it’s always possible to reach new lows, and PW Torch has done just that by recycling an entire page of wrestlers’ tweets. WHO CARES?
The only thing lazier is me writing about it.
As wrestling continues its descent, its important that the primary media following the business covers things with great detail and accuracy, solid analysis and NO AGENDAS. In general, I can’t say I see that. Which means the decline will be hastened. The basic barometer is: Anytime anyone sees Impact’s big picture as being remotely encouraging in any way, that person has NO CLUE or is trying to prop up wrestling by way of propping up its weakest link.
Mark Madden is on vacation and can’t believe he’s taking the time to do this. Don’t contact him. Leave him alone.