How to Regain a Loyal Fan - The Art of Story Telling
by, 05-25-2012 at 03:07 AM (2846 Views)
When the Connecticut Blueblood faced off against Rocky Maivia during Monday Night Raw in 1997, we saw a match between two future wrestling legends for a belt that had great value. The build for the match wasn’t done through video packages and mic work. The story of the young underdog overcoming the pretty boy heel for his first WWF title was accomplished through story telling wrestling. The next time these two would meet, it was established that they had mic skills above par. This added to their 1998 feud in that The Rock stabbed at HHH with cunning remarks. Trip responded with controversial statements. The build up on Raw (yes Raw used to be the platform to build angles until the climax at the PPVs) was essential with DX v. The Nation throw downs. The pinnacle of the feud were the matches at Fully Loaded (Rock won via time limit, thus carrying the feud further) and SummerSlam. Trip had his previously injured knee (legit) trapped inside a ladder, and the Rock ruthlessly beat it with a chair. This sold the Rock as the HATED heel and gave our face (HHH) so much more emotional investment from the crowd. It was this in ring story telling from these two that made their feud a classic. Not backstage scenes, 10 minute long vignettes, nor 20 minute promos of back and for banter between two men.
There is a lot that could be said when Triple H and The Undertaker are the show stealers of WM28. The Rock/Cena match had a full year build and garnered a national awareness of their match. However, this “End of an Era” match is what made your hard earned money (or time spent searching for a stream) worth every bit. Jericho and Punk had a great story telling match as well, but the two veterans put together a perfect conclusion which is rare to see in today’s wrestling world. Story telling ring work is why Shawn Michaels is in the talks for the greatest of all time. As technically sound as Bret Hart was as a wrestler, the moment he ran full speed, chest first into a turn buckle made the crowd feel his pain. For anyone who has never watched Rowdy Roddy Piper fight (himself and) Bret Hart for the IC title at WM8, then I employ you to hop on youtube or daily motion and find it. You are able to see how a man has an internal struggle over what he has to do in order to win a match. It was amazing to see someone who was able to pull off the aspect of battling against self and is one of MANY reasons why Piper deserves the respect that so many young Superstars give him as a performer.
The superstars of today are lacking this key factor. They work hard to perfect their in ring skills, but mostly stay stagnant with their in ring psychology. Sell the bump til you’re touched, and then forget it ever happened. I’m the heel so I have to kick you in the balls during our match. The heel to face relationship is no longer played out in the ring throughout the match. Honestly, it is mostly accomplished by promos filled with canned or cheap heat, depending on the show you watch. I feel as though these stars are trying to show their acting abilities to secure a role in “Marine 7: Battle Juarez”, rather than show me their ability to SEIZE the current character they are portraying. The generic and bland has become overtly populous in the wrestling business. So much so that Kofi Kingston can be place with any face wrestler, win the tag titles, and it is deemed “acceptable”.
This point blank has two sides to blame. My focus will remain on the business as a whole due to the fact that I feel no one ‘Star’ can bring all wrestling fans back home. However, I must acknowledge the fault that s the complacency of many young talents. This is directed to those who were content with making the E Roster. Once they made it there, they’re creative juices halted and thus character and ring psychology becomes clichéd and predictable. Point – It’s not always creative’s fault.
The business is far from “blameless” in this. It’s hard to put in ring story telling together when you are booked for 6 minutes. I can’t even read my daughters “Pinkaliscious” book in 6 minutes. Add to that the schedule these WWE stare live. Of course it’s hard to build quality and innovative matches when you’re essentially wrestling the same opponent 20 days out of a month until the PPV. I fully believe guys like Ziggler, Rhodes, Sheamus, Orton, and to an extent a few select others… I believe these guys have shown the potential brilliance to give 4 star matches when given time to piece together a compelling match.
My biggest problem with the business in this regard is to the censorship that comes with the E. Yes, Jon Moxley is one of the best stick men currently in the business. Yes, his FCW time has proved Dean Ambrose is ready for the main shows… But the question is can THIS character fully come across in the WWE? I mean with BOTH in ring story telling that he has proven he has the ability to utilize, AND the mic work that sparked the E Universe’s interest in the first place. I feel Moxley has a better chance to adapt to this PG style of characters better than a Sami Callahan, but the censorship just adds to the list of things that Moxley, Rollins, Bray Wyatt must overcome. These guy have proven their abilities to develop interesting characters throughout the indies and developmenal. I hope for their sake that the E allows them guidance in character development, rather than just telling them what to say, what moves they are to perform, and give notice to the fact that exhaustion prevents the creative minds from flourishing. But these guys are young, and after all… Time is on their side.
As always, feel free to comment and I will reply as I can. Have a different opinion? Make your valid points as I always enjoy hearing them. If you feel like you’ve missed the direction of this blog, check out the previous blog archives and catch up a bit on where my opinions are based from(this will also help you understand why I choose the word “loyal”) and what the goal of this series truly is; How to regain loyal fans.