Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The solution

I promised a few posts ago to solve the WWE's problems. Well, since today they announced that John Cena would be out 6-8 months from a pectoral tear, I figure now's as good a time as any to make my suggestions (even though I know nobody from Stamford reads this blog, and none of them would care if they did).

First of all - cut down on the number of chairshots and other high-impact objects. If you must use weapons, go back to the good old days of tin trashcan lids and objects you can cushion with your hands (like Triple H's sledgehammer - it looks nasty but he could whack a kindergardener with it - not mine, though - and not even cause a bump).

Second - more mat wrestling and holds. Yeah, it's not quite as exciting all the time as highspots (and Randall F. Orton uses chinlocks in 3-minute specials), but there's less chance of injury. Fans'll adjust.

Third - every wrestler should take at least two consecutive weeks off the road a minimum of twice per year. Stagger the vacations so as to not completely shut down, but even though WWE "Creative" is riding a horrible streak, they still can manage to handle it in their writing. Two consecutive episodes missed due to vacations will not kill a push if you write around it. And do it every 4-6 months after a feud gets blown off and it flows naturally.

Fourth - besides forced vacations, take the end-of-year holidays off. They pretty much do this anyway, but scale back the USO trip and run some more highlight clips. Nobody watches those two weeks anyways. And by most wrestlers having at least six weeks off during the year you should be able to cut down on a lot of those overuse injuries and the constant grind that puts a lot of the guys on meds to begin with.

Fifth - many of you have forgotten already, I'm sure, but before Dwayne Johnson was the thinking man's action hero and character actor, he was "The Rock" Rocky Maivia. And he was arguably the biggest mainstream superstar the business has ever produced, with two SNL hosting gigs (while still wrestling) and now a very lucrative Hollywood career. The thing is, he was a crappy wrestler. What he actually was (and still is), was a performer who mastered improv, had loads of charisma, and could take a crowd and work it. He didn't work from scripts. Rock had points to get a cross in a promo, and he made it work. In fact, virtually all the big stars were better talkers than workers (Ric Flair and maybe Kurt Angle excepted). They were so good they generally didn't have to bring five-star workrate to the table.

The current method in Stamford is to take performers and script everything they do in the hope of creating stars. What that does, though, is mess up characters and get in the way of a performer's really connecting with the audience. Wrestlers don't get into the business because they are great linereaders. And most of them sound lame enough to make my point. Sure, without scripting some of them might flop completely. But others will take their place.

Finally - save the giants to be special attractions, and lose the muscle freaks. The best of the big guys (Taker, Nash in his prime, Kane - to just name a few) don't have bodybuilder physiques. They don't need them. And except for maybe Triple H, I can't think of any mega-muscled guy (and H has shrunk a lot over the last few years) who was also a really first-rate worker or even that over to begin with. We don't need everybody to look like Spike Dudley, but more realism would be fine by me.

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