Re: Which Golden Era and Attitude Era stars would be most affected by scripted promos in today's WWE?
WWE going with scripted promos feels like a symptom of the larger issue in the entertainment industry.
Look at major films that come out now. There are varying degrees of quality, but everything feels like a calculated move to make money and not take any kind of risk.
Lets make more Star Wars movies, cause it'll make money. Lets make superhero movies, cause it'll make money, and so on and so forth. It feels like originality has been forsaken so they can factory assemble movies based off of an existing property and cash in on nostalgia and ticking all the right boxes for audiences. That's much easier than taking a chance on a crazy idea that may or may not work. Nowadays, it feels like everyone is just a cog in the machine and if you want real creativity in film, you'd be better off looking at Independent/Small scale films.
The scripted promos reduce the risk of "Wrestlers going into business for themselves" so you won't get any Scott Steiner style shoot in the middle of a live show, Terry Funk calling someone's mom a whore, or having to bleep out excessive swearing. I guess its easier to control as much as possible than it is to let crazy
But it also costs you energy and creativity. Guys like Hogan, Savage, Piper, Flair, Dusty, Jake, Austin, Rock, Foley, and heck, even someone as bonkers as Warrior all thrived on coming up with their own shit. Not everyone could do what they could do and sometimes giving a guy a mic without guidance could create a deer in the headlights situation (Jumping Jeff Farmer anyone?) but letting guys go out there, feel it, do it, and grow from it was more rewarding than just micromanaging the crap out of them. I mean, I've seen Hogan's movies, scripted dialogue is not his forte. Let him wing it on the mic though, and its magic.
Since Mean Gene has recently passed away, this one is fresh on my mind, but look at Savage's "Cream always rises to the top" promo. It is completely insane, and I guarantee that Randy just walked by the coffee station at catering and thought "I got an idea' and just ran with it. The end result was one of the goofiest, hilarious, and most memorable promos of Savage's career.
Also, if what is scripted doesn't work, and it sinks, then the talents are just left out there to flounder. Cena's "Sunday" promo might be the best example of this where he was just left to suffer and die as he had to recite the garbage that they wrote for him. It was painful. In the old days, Cena would have been given some bullet points and told to just go and I guarantee if he had been allowed to do that, it at the very least would have been better than the scripted garbage.
I also found that being allowed to come up with your own stuff allows guys to grow and develop much better overtime and turn into something more natural on the stick. Look at Bret and Shawn in the late 80s. They are downright awful on the mic. Neidhart basically had to carry the Hart Foundation promos and The Rockers kind of got by on good looks and athleticism. Now fast forward to 1997, and I dare say you'd be hard pressed to find two more natural and exciting mic workers than Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, and this is at a time when Austin was coming into his own and Foley being allowed to shine.