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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I ask that not in the hopes of causing a stir. Can a wrestling promotion that has abandoned basic booking principles in favor of instant gratification on a weekly basis still be considered a legitimate wrestling promotion?

1. Who are the two guys fighting?
2. Why are they fighting?
3. What's at stake for both men?

It's not rocket science. You take a wrestler, and then you create a reason why he has to fight another wrestler. Then you manufacture a set of events that's going to intensify the drama and raise the anticipation for their eventual match up. It's called storytelling. What you don't do is anything that might jeopardize the momentum of the climax. Luke Skywalker's confrontation with Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back wouldn't have been as highly anticipated had we already seen Obi-Wan defeat Vader in the first film. We fear Vader because we know what he's capable of and we're not sure if Luke is ready to face him. Had we witnessed Vader getting his ass kicked at a prior point, we would have had no urge to see Luke overcome his trials and triumph. Instead these two character are kept apart for the duration of an entire film and a half... and by the time they finally meet the audience is foaming at the mouth to see what happens next. Furthermore, their fight had actual consequences. They didn't just pick things up the next night on RAW like nothing had ever happened. Luke lost his hand, found out Vader was his father, and had to wait through an entire other film to get his rematch.

I'm not exactly sure when it might have happened, but somewhere along the line it got to the point where it became a requirement for each and every wrestler... ahem, I mean superstar... on the roster had to have their own set of "antics".

For those who are unsure:

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antics (noun): foolish, outrageous, or amusing behavior.

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You know it wasn't always like that. I mean sure, Hulk Hogan may have had his own set of catchphrases and his own set of crowd pandering gestures... but it's not like he went out there and tried to do standup for 15 minutes in front of a live crowd. He'd get interviewed by Mean Gene, he'd cut his promo, and then he went out there and wrestled. It was like that with everyone even, not just the huge stars. Take a guy like Texas Tornado even. He'd talk for a minute or two backstage, and then he went out there and did his thing. That's all that was required of him. And you know what? These guys still got over.

These days superstars are asked to be more than just wrestlers. They're asked to be MC's. Alberto Del Rio - in a past era - might have been able to get over. All he would have to do is play up his arrogant heel persona in a pre-taped interview where he bad mouthed CM Punk, maybe interfere in a match here and there... and before you know it people can't wait to see CM Punk get his hands on him. Now that's not going to happen. Now Del Rio has to go out on live television and not only further a storyline off the cuff, but also hold the attention of a live crowd and a live home viewing audience for several minutes at a time. Alberto Del Rio is not Steve Martin. He's not a MC. He's a wrestler. You wanna know why Robert DeNiro doesn't host the Oscars? Because he'd put people to sleep too.

And what does CM Punk have to do? Simple. All he has to do is rag on his foe and tell jokes. He comes out week after week, no matter the opponent, no matter the situation... and it's his job to make the audience laugh. Forget any real storytelling or any real angles involved, he's gonna try and entertain the live crowd and get them cheering. Same with Cena. He just goes out there, smiles, and starts reeling off one liners. Which brings me back to my original point. At what point does it stop being a wrestling promotion and at what point does it become a glorified variety show? You have your good guys and your bad guys, you have your sing along catchphrases, you have your jokes, you have your recurring cast of characters, your celebrity guest host... and POOF! You have Monday Night Raw.

WWE's modern "booking" method of a title match:

1. Contrive a reason why two superstars need to square off.
2. Have them verbally exchange words week after week, usually involving childish insults.
3. Have them participate in some type of tag match where they're on opposite sides.
4. More jokes.
5. Non-title singles match between the two at the tail end of the first hour of the RAW leading up to the PPV.
6. Match at PPV.
7. Regardless of outcome, verbal exchange the next night on RAW. Possibly even a match.
8. Probable rematch in 3 weeks at next PPV.
9. Repeat steps 2-8.

Nothing is ever at stake. Nothing leads into anything. There's no reason for anything that happens. Even the grand events like Wrestlemania no longer act as grand events, just mere bumps in the road. Instead of it being the biggest night of the year, it turns into the most expensive RAW of the year.

WWE, wrestling show or sitcom?
 

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Apparently WWE likes to say they're the last great variety show and include that line on their job offers.

The reason WWE was able to turn itself in such a big company was they were able to mix all those aspects together and basically create a sitcom or soap-opera that's wrestling based. Everybody knows that. If that's what has to happen in order to a wrestling company to succeed then I have nothing against it.
 

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While I try to respect others opinions your seem a little outdated. Wrestling hasn't handled feuds the way you describe in decades. I'm not even talking PG era, the Ruthless aggression and Attitude Era, also changed how they handled wrestling and story telling. American pro wrestling in general and the WWE in particular don't tell the story of two guys fighting with only interviews in-between to sell matches. The way they do things has changed. You mentioned how ADR would hae gotten over in past eras if he didn't need to cut the in ring promos and could work from pretapped interviews. Maybe but that wouldn't make for compelling TV certainly not now. If a wrestler can't get heat because he is to stiff on the mic then too bad for him he either needs to find a comfort zone or a new line of work.

Now you do have a point that the WWE has a tendency to keep feuds going too long and lacking stakes, but this is more of an issue of roster depth and talent. They seemed to have changed their recruitment and training policy though so I expect in 2-5 years they will have much more talent who have a greater ability to tell a story.
 

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I think it all honesty it is probably more of a traveling variety show at this point than a traditional wrestling promotion.

The whole guest host thing, really solidified this IMO. Not saying there isn't times when it resembles what it was, but more times than not it does come across as the USA Network Monday version of Saturday Night Live. Just with less funny jokes, and less famous celebrities hosting.
 

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well the main focus is still wrestling, they can call it whatever they want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
While I try to respect others opinions your seem a little outdated. Wrestling hasn't handled feuds the way you describe in decades. I'm not even talking PG era, the Ruthless aggression and Attitude Era, also changed how they handled wrestling and story telling. American pro wrestling in general and the WWE in particular don't tell the story of two guys fighting with only interviews in-between to sell matches. The way they do things has changed.You mentioned how ADR would hae gotten over in past eras if he didn't need to cut the in ring promos and could work from pretapped interviews. Maybe but that wouldn't make for compelling TV certainly not now. If a wrestler can't get heat because he is to stiff on the mic then too bad for him he either needs to find a comfort zone or a new line of work.
They've changed alright, and the results speak for themselves. Things are at an all time low.

The product is over-saturated and the superstars are over-exposed. I believe there's absolutely a place in this day and age for pre-taped segments and one on one interviews. Conversely I'm not saying there isn't a place for in-ring promos either... but they should be used a lot less frequently and they shouldn't be so heavily relied upon. We should not be seeing these guys have the same war of words every single week. It's exhausting. Big Show and Cody Rhodes have been feuding for 3 months now and it's been worn down to the nub. Might as well be 8 months. There's nothing left and it feels like it's been going on forever.

The audience just needs to be re-conditioned into accepting an alternate approach to weekly programming. Punk and Del Rio feuding? Advertize on Smackdown that Del Rio is gonna be live on Raw this week. Give him time to prepare and cut a real promo. Then on Smackdown you air Punk's response. Then you skip a week. Then the following week you announce that both are gonna be live on RAW. Give the fans something they anticipate instead of something they expect and they'll be compelled to follow it.

Now you do have a point that the WWE has a tendency to keep feuds going too long and lacking stakes, but this is more of an issue of roster depth and talent. They seemed to have changed their recruitment and training policy though so I expect in 2-5 years they will have much more talent who have a greater ability to tell a story.
It's on Creative and it's on booking, pure and simple. They have the talent. Put your guys in a position to shine and they will. It's hard to thrive in an environment where it's almost impossible to get over.

I think it all honesty it is probably more of a traveling variety show at this point than a traditional wrestling promotion.

The whole guest host thing, really solidified this IMO. Not saying there isn't times when it resembles what it was, but more times than not it does come across as the USA Network Monday version of Saturday Night Live. Just with less funny jokes, and less famous celebrities hosting.
Well said.
 
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