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Darkside Ron Garvin

How to Regain a Loyal Fan - The Art of Story Telling

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

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.

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Updated 05-25-2012 at 04:21 AM by Frank

Thoughts and Opinions , User News


  1. TheWarMachine's Avatar
    Very interesting read. I find it really ironic that the Attitude Era, that everyone raves about, was largely responsible for this proliferation of extended promos and segments to get the talent over rather than in ring work. While I thoroughly enjoyed this period of wrestling, it was also the spring board for a lot of the things most fans complain about these days. Especially from those who have only witnessed this era through videos and Youtube etc.
  2. akbar's Avatar
    I have to say this is your best blog yet...
  3. Dubs's Avatar
    Excellent blog Garvin. I too think story-telling is the most important thing in wrestling. You are totally right when you say story-telling is lacking in today's wrestling.There are a few WWE and TNA wrestlers who have great wrestling psychology but most of WWE and TNA's wrestlers doesn't put much emotion in their matches which makes the fans not care for their match in the first place. Keep up the great work bro.
  4. Darkside Ron Garvin's Avatar
    @ TheWarMachine - I have battled that same logic. The attitude era was filled with the kinds of entertainers that could make their promos just as memorable as their ring work. But these men were also talented enough to make the memories of their matches be the focal point of any feud they were involved in. The talent today can't seem to remember that these veterans became great in the ring before they became great on the mic. That's where we're left when the business isn't doing their job to correct this fatal flaw that only produces "stars" rather than "superstars".

    @ akbar, thanks! I know you've been one person that has read them all so far and I thank you for following me up to this point (I think that last one was 7 out of the 12). I am trying to improve week in and week out with making the content more of an enjoyable "quick" read, rather than the novels I started out with. I just can't seem to find that level yet because
    I am far too descriptive as a person and that comes out GREATLY in my writing.

    @DUBS - I agree totally with what you're saying. I know that it's hard to overcome the demands these guys have live up to in order to "work within the lines" when dealing with networks. However, I feel that if they are able to cut out the foul language and morbid commentary that made their promos so remarkable on the Indy circuit, they should compensate for that with their in-ring abilities... I wouldn't want Kevin Steen to go major unless he is able to compensate in his ring work, but they couldn't give him the time to make his matches worthy of his potential. I feel that Ambrose can overcome this, Aries/Punk/Danielson have been able to... But there are too many stories like Spanky (Kendrick), Sydell (Evan Bourne), Shelton Benjamin (to name a few) that aren't giving the time and creative freedom (
    both inside the ring and on the mic) to allow their characters to evolve past their original inception into said company.

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