More Than A-Train and Brock Returned This Week
by, 04-05-2012 at 11:11 AM (7202 Views)
This is my first blog here, so please bear with my inexperience with how this is written.
July 16th, 2001 : This was the night that Stone Cold Steve Austin returned to save the WW(F) from the invading forces of the WCW and ECW. Besides the chaos in and out of the ring, this night also produced arguably the single, hottest live audience in wrestling history.
April 2nd, 2012 : This past Monday's Raw was the big follow-up to WrestleMania. This night marked the returns of both A-Train, and more incredibly, Brock Lesnar. Also, this night marked the return of a really hot and energetic audience. The WWE had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands nearly all night.
My Point ?
When the crowd is absolutely on fire, it makes me feel as energetic and excited as they are.
Example : When Brock Lesnar's music hit, the entire building exploded with cheers. Even though there was a long Lesnar chant during Cena's promo, and everyone seemed to know what was going to happen, the crowd still erupted. So, likewise, I too "marked-out," even though I had been following the story since early Sunday.
In my opinion, this was the true spirit of what professional wrestling was during the "Golden Age" in the eighties to mid-nineties, as well as the true spirit of the "Attitude Era" of the late-nineties to the turn of the millenium. In those days, you rarely got a dead crowd at a wrestling show. Also, people at home were just as excited as the audience in attendance.
However, as great as an energetic crowd is at making me feel compelled to watch, a dead crowd can just as easily make me want to change the channel, or worse yet, begin to make me regret a pay-per-view purchase.
Example : This past Sunday at WrestleMania, CM Punk and Chris Jericho put on a solid match. This was a match that I looked forward to more than any other on the card. However, for whatever reason, the crowd just wasn't that into it, and I, in turn, was not into the match either. Don't get me wrong... For those of you who didn't see, it was a good match from a technical standpoint, as well as told a great story. The crowd, though just didn't have any real interest until the end, and I didn't either.
Moments like the CM Punk/Chris Jericho match should not be happening. WWE proved that they can in fact create a generate an energetic crowd, yet they haven't done that on a consistent basis for far too long. WWE should take an honest look at their extensive library, and re-establish a winning strategy in controlling the crowd, so to speak. Doing this really shouldn't be as hard as they must think it is, either.
Just yesterday, I was watching the 2006 One Night Stand, and the Balls Mahoney/Masato Tanaka match stands out right now. In the match, Balls Mahoney proved that he knew something about the business that CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and so many others seem to know nothing about : involving the crowd.
That match was not a highly-anticipated match. However, the crowd was into it. The reason, in my opinion, is because Balls had them involved. Of course, some may say that ECW crowds are always like that, which they are.
However, allow me to make a related point.
During the build-up between the Rock and Cena, many people (myself included), felt that Cena's promos were better. His promos were about their rivalry, and their big match. So yes, if they were having an actual debate, Cena would have definitely won. However, I would not say that Cena had the more entertaining promos. The Rock's promos were more entertaining. One of the main factors in this is that the Rock actually interacted with and involved the audience. Because the crowd was so into it, I enjoyed it much more than I did Cena.
The live audience also recently played a role in my opinion of the "End of an Era" match.
An Undertaker match at WrestleMania is as predictable as matches come in professional wrestling. Also, with this being the second year in a row, and third time all together that Undertaker and Triple H would square-off with one another, everyone was down on this match before either star made a return. However, during the match, the crowd was WAY into it. No one in the match directly interacted with the audience. Instead, all three men involved in the match told an absolutely amazing, dramatic story. To add to the feel, WWE even had J.R. do the commentary. Everything about this match just felt dramatic, and the audience bought it.
Final Thoughts : WWE has been having an awful blend of confidence and apathy in its product, and the crowds and ratings have proven that fact. The WWE can't just rely on a storyline to generate interest. They can't just have a wrestler give a cookie-cutter promo and work a cookie-cutter match. They can't just hope that the storyline itself will make people buy their pay-per-views.
They can't have a huge star return every week, because the shock and anticipation will wear off. What WWE needs is fan interaction. They need to write promos that get the crowd involved. They need to teach their guys to do more than just wrestle a match, but, to also tell a story. They need to keep generating these hot crowds. If the crowds are constantly and consistently as hot as they were this past Monday, then I can guarantee that ratings will climb. Merchandise sales will climb. Ticket sales will climb. Pay-Per-View buys will climb. The WWE will finally get the money that they want because the fans will be getting a product that they want.
Well, that is the end of my first blog. I hope you guys enjoy it, because I feel it is one of the most underrated aspects of what makes wrestling sell. Sorry if the length is too much, and feel free to comment.
Thank you all for reading