A Look Back…Has Anything Changed?

Kevin Kelly

Kevin KellyMoving some documents around, I went back and re-read some old columns. Let’s review some of the things I said back then and see how those thoughts apply today.

From May 3, 2010 – “Wrestling With Meatloaf” – I make the comparison with wrestling and a diner, as each should provide comfort food to be successful. Both are formulaic but historically, each performs well, regardless of societal or economic changes. In this column, I also offered this.

“Every wrestling show or “menu” should offer the following…

1. Young, athletic wrestlers who look like they could win every real fight they would be in. Would you pay money for a crummy looking meal? Presentation means something.

2. Issues between those wrestlers that are easy for the fans to understand. The menu has to be easy to read for diners to order and want to come back.

3. Smart, emotionally-driven promos to entice the audience. Before the main course, the stage is set! Promos are pure “comfort food”.

4. A goal… what is the reason for this match to be in the ring? Settle the issue! Like hunger, I better leave fulfilled or I probably won’t be back.

5. Clearly defined roles—Good guys, Bad guys. Opening match content, main event content. In diner terms, this is the first course, this is the second course, and this is the entrée. As much as the salad wants to be steak, a salad should never do what the steak does. He’ll screw it up and make the steak mean less when he comes out for the main event.

6. A reason to come back. If diners weren’t consistently good, the genre would have gone the way of plastic combs in back pockets.

Now, along the way some diners and wrestling promotions have gone out of business because ultimately, those who failed were unable to satisfy the needs of a very easy-to-please core audience.

It’s the old saying… give them what they want and they’ll keep coming back for more.”

My last paragraph… “What wrestling lessons can be learned from this “Diner” analogy”? Keep it simple, serve hot with good portions and proper seasoning. Change the specials but always offer the classics. Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen and pull the plug on the man in charge if things are getting stale.”

Nothing has changed in the 4+ years since I wrote this… I also wrote that WWE continues to stay true to their format, TNA continues to flail away and some ROH matches still give the audience too much and while TV coverage is better, it’s still not available to everyone on TV every week. 

One year later, on May 6th, 2011, I wrote about my love of professional wrestling.

“I love professional wrestling and I hate sports-entertainment. 

Professional wrestling features wrestlers who compete in matches that surround the chase of titles. From there, all of the adversarial relationships related to the title chases create money-drawing matches that fans want to see. Depth through simplicity. Complex emotions boiled down to simple, digestible components. 

Sports entertainment features wrestlers who compete in largely insignificant matches, where the majority of titles have no significance either. Long, in-ring promos, scripted drama and shallow, one-dimensional characters complete the dim picture. But, the music, pyro and atmosphere are audience-pleasing. It’s a two-hour, wildly paced, rock and roll show. But to me, it’s fast food. 

I would love to see CM Punk compete for the ROH World Championship again someday. I’d love to see Robert Roode have the same chance. There are many great wrestlers today who work in sports-entertainment and do very well in it but I would like to see professional wrestlers have a bigger stage on which to compete. 

I love professional wrestling and I always will.”

Nothing has changed about my love of Professional Wrestling. I watch as much Jim Crockett Promotions as I can on YouTube until they take it all away for the WWE Network. Then, I’ll buy the Network. 

Everything I have written about the industry and how it works is still 100% true today. Opinions I have given? Sure, not all have come true. Here on WrestleZone, you may not agree with me or with Mark Madden for our opinions but we both know what is going on in this industry and our logic and reasoning for what works and doesn’t work in Professional Wrestling is 100% correct.

Some of you might say “how can I agree with Mark when he knocks ROH?” Mark’s critiques of the ROH product are mostly accurate, in my opinion. Jim Ross says the same things as Mark and no one kills JR for his opinions but each wants the same thing, for ROH to be successful because it’s the closest thing to Professional Wrestling we have today. 

There are those who speculate that the patient is on life support and we are merely caring for the body. I believe that what is old can be new again, as long as it’s presented in the right way. Professional Wrestling is comfort food and while tastes may change slightly, comfort food never goes out of style.

Thoughts? @RealKevinKelly

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