WWE – Moving Forward...
by, 07-14-2013 at 10:54 PM (3809 Views)
It is 3.01pm on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 in Adelaide, South Australia...
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It is I, Ozzy Mandias your Prime Minister of the Wrestling Government, a familiar force returning to claim what is his. It’s been almost two months since my debut, and in terms of views and overall feedback I think I can call my first blog a success. And now I have it again - that fizzing sensation just behind my penis – you guys know the one I’m talking about, the one James May has when he drives an exciting car. Anyways, I have fizzing back-penis for the construction of a second, ridiculously long blog. But first a little house keeping.
I thought my first blog, a blog written in the early hours of the morning before the amazing all-German Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, wasn't bad. I thought I formed some decent arguments and some wily discussion points. But it had some points that were, um how do I put this delicately to not deflate my own delicate ego - excrement. The sheer anticipation of the finale made me lose focus briefly, and now I would like to officially print a retraction. This might be the very first time a user of this site, or any other wrestling site, or even any other internet wrestling fan of the world might do this. Pay attention. This may be a first, and probably a unique occurrence.
You read correctly; I, an adamant internet wrestling fan am admitting that I am wrong. I have always seen myself as a revolutionary – explaining maybe why I like guys like Steve Austin, Paul Heyman, and CM Punk, and was attracted to the Attitude Era, and ECW in the first place. I revel in the possibility of starting something big. Of shaping others, of guiding them to a brighter and better future, and of course instigating change. Call me arrogant for thinking that my way is better than so many other ways but that’s what the great men of (wrestling) history have had to do. I'm off topic (get used to it, I do it a lot).
So I am hoping that this moment right here, a member of the IWC admitting that he is wrong, will start a revolution of others following suit. I love you reader, member of the IWC. But you must admit that admitting you are wrong is not your best quality. We as a community have some great ideas – I love reading your shit. But for as many good ideas, good comments, good booking decisions - there are bad ones. It is not in my authority to point out the terrible calls, it is the duty of OURSELVES to critique and analyse OUR OWN work, to understand where we are going wrong, and where we were right.
One such incident in my first blog (http://www.ewrestlingnews.com/commun...-Title-Picture) featured me claiming that Bobby Roode was forced into a tag-team because of poor booking. This was wrong. That was something silly that I would like to formally apologise for. If you accept my apology please leave mention in the comment section. I am however now very concerned about Bobby Roode. This time last year he was the top heel in the company. He had Hogan campaigning for him to be World Champion in Jeff Hardy’s absence. And now he almost certainly lacks direction. I don’t see him being in the top four of the BFG series, or near the bottom. He might be in danger of being forgotten.
Thanks for taking the time to read that - but it has absolutely nothing to do with this blog entry. I’m all on WWE this time; on their changes. The focus remains on the positives which is important, but also on the obstacles that they are facing with the new, changing movement.
For those of you who are unaware, I am not an avid watcher of Monday night RAW. I like to watch iMPACT Wrestling every week and am more invested in that show to be honest. RAW is often on in the background while I'm writing blogs or when I was doing homework during my studying years. Occasionally I’ll watch NXT too. So while I do watch the flagship, I don’t get overly invested in it. As for Smackdown and the vast array of other programming on offer from WWE, I don’t bother. I prefer the PPVs.
Fans like to criticize RAW for not having enough good wrestling on the show. This week’s offering was decent (Why couldn’t that Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan match kicked off Wrestlemania XXVIII?) but the WWE like to cater to all different kinds of audiences. RAW is ‘family friendly entertainment’, as coined by Vince McMahon himself this week and over the past couple of weeks, and even over the last couple of years. If you are looking for wrestling, then really you have to buy the PPVs, with Wrestlemania being the PPV that has something for everyone – wrestling, entertainment, and mainstream stars. Their last PPV offering was excellent, (save the main event – I can’t begin to explain how over Cena I am. I don’t boo or cheer, I just switch off when he’s on screen) and I am very much looking forward to Money in the Bank, but more on that later. I particularly like when matches and feuds exceed all expectations which is why I particularly enjoyed the Divas Title match. I used the phrase ‘character match’ in my last blog thinking it was self explanatory, but realised that some may not have quite got what I meant (sorry if I sound condescending – now and in the future).
Two guys can go out there and put on a great show – Ring of Honour is a roster built on that concept. UFC is a sport built on this concept. But TNA and WWE use the characters and the narrative around those characters they create to get a crowd into a match, and get a guy/girl over. The most obvious is Cena’s superhero character. The Kaitlyn/AJ match was a great character match and for what it was, the match was simply phenomenal. For that matter, AJ is great. She started to get old when they made her GM, and then once they put her with Cena I was done with her – she had skipped over the proverbial shark. But she moved on to form that alliance with Big E and Ziggler and she got better and more annoying in a good way. She’s a decent heel, and it was great to see WWE showing some faith in her. Her and Kaitlyn’s TV segments are a little hard to bare at times but again I can see a future – her and Langston feuding with Ziggler seems a certainty and I’m excited, in more ways than one, by the possibility of her and Paige (If she's old enough, and if NXT can survive without her) at Wrestlemania XXX.
Despite the tireless complaints by the Internet Fans that the divas division is useless I can see what WWE’s direction may be. They’re going to promote their ring-useless divas into reality TV – and bring up a crop of talented warrior princesses from NXT to form a proper wrestling division. WWE have many facets from which they can entertain, so it makes sense for them to use their female talents in different ways.
I really shouldn't wait so long to write these blogs, because I end up with so many ideas that with a simple blast of caffeine they ejaculate onto a page. But that format is appealing to me- I was inspired by the Coffee Talk blogs around Wrestlemania XXIX, so a change of topic again.
I am beginning to sense that once again ’change is in the air’ within the WWE. The main reason is that we are seeing more and more stars being brought up from developmental, a lot of them with fresh looks or unique gimmicks. This is excellent stuff. I paid homage to The Shield at the start and they are a great example, more because it appears each member has a supernova bright future ahead and beyond The Shield. Also, The Wyatt Family ‘is here’ finally. A unique gimmick if I ever have seen one. Unique is a good word. You can’t be ‘kind of’, or ‘a little’ unique. Unique means one - in a class of its own. That is very powerful. The Shield is all kinds of impressive, but they aren’t really unique, there have been other similar incarnations over time – JBL reminds us all the time. The Wyatt Family is different somehow. Being unique is a very rare and very good thing to have as they go into bat in the competitive world that is the major stage of Pro Wrestling.
So they are moving forward. Good. One of the steps in moving forward is this year’s Money in the Bank PPV. Money in the Bank has become a cornerstone of WWE’s summer program. Still outside of the BIG four, MITB has stamped its mark as the ‘number five’ PPV that WWE puts on. Some have claimed that Money in the Bank is a spent gimmick that not only shouldn't have its own PPV, but should be done away with all together. I disagree obviously. Recent years’ Money in the Bank PPVs has given us some real golden WWE moments. Cena vs. Punk in 2011 was the highlight, and is probably the best match John Cena will EVER have. That year’s Smackdown MITB ladder match won by Daniel Bryan also held up, and let's not forget Kane winning a world level title for the first time in well over a decade was certainly an underrated moment. And the good thing about having a ladder match themed PPV is that the highlight reel can continue to grow each and every year (resign Shelton Benjamin!). So I hope WWE doesn't do away with it. One thing that WWE fails to realise when it discontinues a PPV is that many viewers forget those memories. Backlash used to be a very good Wrestlemania-lite. Extreme Rules is a good PPV, but I certainly preferred Backlash and have a lot of memories from those PPVs. WWE seems to neglect its own history, proof that they indeed do live in their own ‘universe’. Because so many PPVs of old have been discontinued their sense of history is evaporating. They don’t show old footage and great moments from their past PPVs anymore so in result seasoned fans forget, and new fans have no idea. It’s a shame. So in terms of that sort of direction, WWE is losing touch.
An easy way to achieve fresh change is face/heel turns. I focussed a lot on freshness in my last blog, and I believe it to be very important. Fresh is better than new – when you have established stars who are good at what they do with the sane buzz of a new talent, it is better than a new talent that has buzz but still has work on developing their persona and skills. As a youngster watching WWE in the epicentre of the Monday Night War, freshness is what gave both companies the edge – fresh runs for Hogan and Savage in WCW, and The Radicalz, Big Show and Jericho in WWE were key factors. When we begin to tire of the same matches over and over, turning a wrestler can bring the product out of that rut, and that has helped with Miz, Del Rio, and now Ziggler. These heel turns have been minor when you think about it, and WWE have been timid in pulling the trigger on the big ones fans want to pay to see, the main ones being John Cena and Kofi Kingston, but I won’t get into that. What I will get into is the development of new talent and the turns we are witnessing. There have been a lot over the past twelve/twenty four months months – and they seem to follow the same distinct pattern.
What happens is WWE brings in a new talent, and feuds them with an established star to get them over. Ziggler/Mysterio. Randy Orton/HBK. Barrett/Cena. Del Rio/Mysterio. Miz/Tommy Dreamer. Shield/Various. Jericho/Fandango. Sheamus/Triple H. This is fantastic for two reasons. First of all, veteran faces get new heels over and quickly, and second of all the talent learns off the star and gets better. But that’s where the problems begin. Fans are getting smarter, we have the internet to thank for that. As the new start gets better in the ring and at entertaining they get better liked. Fans like a guy who can cut an entertaining promo and put on a good match. It’s happened to nearly every new star I mentioned above. And they are turned face. And the face turn works? Well not really.
To illustrate why this doesn’t work I look at The Miz. The Miz exploded in late 2010, all of a sudden he was everywhere, he was champion, and he was the man. It resembled The Rock in late 1998, who was soon turned face and went on to supernova status. The Miz however was buried by Cena and sent back a few years. But still inevitably was turned face. I was all for this. But there’s a problem.
It’s simple – The face Miz of today is not the heel Miz we liked in the first place. The Miz’s character has been changed so that he is basically like every single other face on the roster. Key words of that sentence are ‘character change’. They shouldn't have changed his character. The Miz got over for being a loud, brash, cocky in your face heel – again not unlike an early Rock. The Rock never changed his character when he turned face, and was successful. This Miz is not like the Miz that got over and is suffering because of it. He’s basically popular because of the fact he uses Naich’s old finisher. The Miz should have stayed the same character as before but instead of ripping on faces, he ripped on heels. Del Rio is in a similar boat. He ditched a lot of the things that made him popular in the first place, which is a factor in him turning back into a heel. I remember when Del Rio fought Tensei and was doing all those lucha-libre type hurricinranas and moonsaults to get over as a Latino face. It looked terrible and it, along with the face Del Rio, didn't last long.
I bring this to the attention of everybody now because the problem is currently on the doorstep of one of our favourites. Dolph Ziggler is in danger of landing in the same boat at The Miz. Ziggler got over for being brilliant in the ring, showing off and stealing the show. The new face Dolph Ziggler should still think and tell everyone that he’s better than them. He should still do sit-ups in the ring, and hand stands. That’s the Dolph Ziggler we want to watch. I mean, when Flair turned face after all those years he was still wheeling dealing, kiss stealing and all that jazz. We grew to respect Flair and we didn't want Ric to be something that we didn't cheer for in the first place. CM Punk got over for being an anarchist, and when that started to evaporate he got a little stale and ended up turning heel.
WWE needs to end this dirty hotel room affair with the cookie-cutter heel that appeals to only one sector of the audience. As far as I'm concerned, that sector of the audience will cheer for anybody who is a face - so why not make that face interesting. Another message I'm trying to get across is that some people confuse a change with a turn. They are NOT the same thing. Some wrestlers need a change and some wrestlers need change and some need turns. But some need both. For example, Wade Barrett needs a change. I really think that the stereotypical foreigner who thinks he is better than Americans is kind of overdone. His best heel moments were with The Nexus and that group was over, not Barrett.
Strange as this may sound, Barrett would be better as a face. With the strange all heel money in the bank ladder match coming up, and his little shot to Fandango on RAW the time might be now. Robstar once claimed that Barrett’s appeal is that he looks like a good bloke that you could have a beer with. Maybe this is something WWE can go with – A drinking Brit who likes a fight... or something. I think he would be much better at it than when Sheamus tries to play it. Fighting Irishman was old when Finlay was doing it, but Fighting Brit is a bit fresher. Like one of those guys who would start a fight at a football match, wipe the blood off his face, and go to the pub for a pint.
Rey Mysterio is another that could use a character change. I wouldn’t mind him turning into more of a hero type character and feuding with the shield over the issue of justice. Maybe he could join Kane and The Undertaker for the proposed match at Summerslam? I don’t know, but Mysterio is an asset to the company, and certainly with suspensions and injuries needs a reboot. So there are several positives that WWE are working with in terms of their new stars and angles that can only be better by some reworking of their established stars.
Many complain that the IWC is never happy. But we should all be striving for the for the better. The number one wrestling company in the world should not get complacent. They should always be trying to make what they offer us better. So here's to a better product. And that’s another blog folks. Comments, feedback whatever. Again I'm trying to offer something a little different so take that into consideration.
Much love mine frauline.
... It is 1.16pm on Monday, 15 July 2013 in Adelaide, South Australia...
THE BLOG is leaving, with a path of destruction in their wake.