My Take On What's Wrong With WWE
by, 03-10-2012 at 12:40 AM (4285 Views)
Let me preface this by saying that the product now is a little more interesting than where it was a year or two ago. I watch RAW and SmackDown every week. I'm not someone that doesn't watch it and cries that it's PG that's ruining everything.
With that said, here are four things that I think are hurting the product. This is my opinion and it's not intended to reiterate what everyone else is saying unless my opinion happens to be a popular one. I'm likely not going to write another blog post, I just really felt like writing stuff.
#1 - 1 Dimensional Characters/Characters That Don't Evolve/Characters That Have Nothing To Do
I remember a time where almost everyone on the show had something to do, and characters evolved even if they played a very small role on television. The Goldust character, one of many that can be used as an example, was one that changed many times throughout the WWE.
Discounting his current run because he hasn't had much to do at all since his return in 2008, he had 7 years combined in his first and second run. He debuted as a bizarre, flirtatious character. He later revealed himself to be the son of Dusty Rhodes(not a surprise to many people but at least he wasn't 'hiding' the lineage anymore). Not long after, he begun mimicing other wrestlers and celebrities. Next, back to Dustin Runnels as a born-again Bible thumper. Then Goldust comes back. Then he gets an apprentice in Bluedust. Then he leaves, and in his second run becomes a very comedic character in a very memorable tag team with Booker T(my favorite incarnation of Goldust I have to say). Finally, WRESTLEMA-A-AYNIA! The stutter gimmick.
That's a mouthful(pardon the wordage given the character) for seven years of TV. It's not like he was a megastar like Rock or Austin. He wasn't a nobody but he wasn't top-tier either, and yet he got to do so much during his time. Bottom line, he was not a 1 dimensional character. You look at guys like Cena who have had long runs with nothing interesting about them, guys like Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, who haven't really been around that long but feel like they've been around forever without change, and I have to say that there's not enough change going around.
Every once and awhile you'll see somewhat of a change or something that stands out but somehow they seemingly go back to nothing again. Remember when Kofi Kingston got angry? No? Fair enough, that didn't last very long, but it was somewhat cool to see Kofi actually getting angry on TV, like the time he wrecked Randy Orton's NASCAR vehicle(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVds4vwGaKw). Why can't seemingly half the roster do something other than have the occasional meaningless match on TV with no story being told? Guys like Ted DiBiase Jr and Justin Gabriel go so long without having a single thing going on TV.
#2 - Faces and Heels... Forcing Them Upon the Audience, and No Middle Ground
I'm sick of the face and heel dynamic when it comes to 100% portrayal of either-or, in every facet of the character. The face and heel dynamic is not outdated, I don't want to suggest that they do away with it, but I'm tired of characters that go along with things for no other reason other than to be a heel or face on TV. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler... well liked, faces; but when presented with the option of siding with Triple H on the talent walkout months ago or walking out with the other talent, they did not stay. I'm not asking for much but at least make it seem like people have a mind of their own and aren't just cogs in a machine. The SmackDown that just aired... why is Laurinaitis commanding Kane at will? What stake does Kane have in the Teddy Long/Johnny Ace feud, and why is a character like that being commanded in the first place? Just because he's a heel?
The force feeding of faces and heels is getting old as well. I'd like to see fans deciding which way talent sways. Though Cena's been far more interesting as of late, it's very irritating to watch a very large chunk of the audience booing him with no change to anything that's going on... if anything it's met with more force feeding. The reaction to that is called regurgitation.
I also dislike when characters debut and it's very clear which side the audience is supposed to be on right off the bat. It's not organic enough I guess is what I'm trying to get at. The more power you take out of the hands of the fans... the less passionate the fans are, the less they want to participate, and they're going to be less invested into a character because they have no voice. Hogan in his prime could command a crowd like no other, because he "got power" from the Hulksters when he was hulking up. With a dynamic like that, you want to cheer for this guy because you feel like you're helping your guy by showing up and rooting for him.
#3 - The Scripted Promo, and How It Holds Back Talent From Exploding
The reason why many characters within WWE feel the same(besides their looks) is because of the scripted promo. If the writing staff is writing everyone's promos, well that's the same group writing each promo. They have a certain way of writing things, a certain way of reaching a consensus, and everything filters through 1 guy who has 1 mind. Of course things are going to seem the same with a setup like this.
How it holds back talent from exploding? Well that's obvious, you need not look further than CM Punk. He put himself on the map by doing a shoot on TV. If the talent isn't buying into what they're being instructed to perform on TV, how is anybody else supposed to? When the talent is passionate about something and wants to let it out, they believe in it, and in some cases it comes right out of that TV set and totally engages you as a viewer. Again, this is exactly what happened with CM Punk. When Steve Austin went to ECW... same thing, they let him do what he wanted.
#4 - Wasted Commentary/The Lack of Knowing What Makes Wrestlers Tick
There was a time when commentary helped build characters and helped establish who characters were to the viewing audience, especially when the talent didn't have the interview/promo/vignette time to establish that themselves. Every once and awhile you'll hear something relevant like Barrett being a bare-knuckle champion, but it's few and far between.
I don't know about you but for me to care about a match, I want three questions answered(the same three questions Paul Heyman wants answered). Who are these two guys? Why are they fighting? Why should I care? They've done a good job laying the groundwork for Rock vs Cena. I'm sure invested in it. Conversely, why should I care at all about Randy Orton and Kane's current rivalry?
The reason why Rock vs Cena has a level of authenticity to it is because they're airing background information on who these two guys are as individuals, which is something that is fatally lacking in WWE right now. I distinctly remember the video package they had for Justin Gabriel, showing footage of him in South Africa, giving you a look into who he is. Why aren't they doing this with everybody(especially with the newer talent)? How am I supposed to be invested in someone if I have no idea who they are? I know their name and face, but that's not care material. I like the Funkasaurus but I couldn't give a single atom of care for the outcome of any of his matches. There are too many people on the roster that nobody knows anything about.