What really grinds my gears? Episode 15 - Creativity Machine
by, 10-02-2013 at 03:34 PM (4694 Views)
Episode 15 - Creativity Machine
Today, I am writing to all wrestling fans. I have a message for you all.
I would usually begin with a Peter Griffin rant, where I act out Peter Griffins upset over a particular subject for comedy value. However .. my creative process is not flowing like a drunken Peter playing a piano, because I have to address this issue head on with a serious tone.
I hate having a formula. I hate doing the same thing over and over. It doesn't matter what it is, whether it's writing, playing, working, I absolutely hate repetitiveness. So what does this have to do with wrestling??? Well .. the subject I am referring to is the creative process of wrestling companies.
As wrestling has evolved, so has the creative process. The creative process of the big companies normally includes a bunch of writers and the "head guy" who okays everything. They book the matches, write the storylines, build the feuds, turn a wrestler face/heel and so on.The problems with the creative machine of professional wrestling are apparent in the business today.
-Are you tired of rehashed storylines?
-Are you tired of poor feuds that don't amount to anything?
-Are you tired of poking at the logic of specific promos?
-Are you tired of storylines that just end abruptly for no reason?
-Are you tired of Championships, and other, more important matters taking a backseat due to a storyline taking up all the spotlight?
If you said Yes! to any of these questions, you may wonder why this continues to happen.
When sports-entertainment was born (somewhere around the attitude era), the WWF and WCW fought for survival. They needed to draw ratings in any way possible, and this put good old fashioned "Wrasslin" on the backburner.
It was a great time to be a wrestling fan. and it brought in so many fans who remain to be loyal, but what died was the creative engine that kept wrestling going for decades prior.
In the old days, storylines and feuds would occur, but they were simple and you didn't need a storyboard for the next 6-12 months. Also the creative process only came down to one man, the Booker.
The Booker was the key man. He was the machine behind the creative side of the product, and with one mans vision, you knew what you were going to get.
Paul Heyman can be referred to as one of the greatest Bookers ever, because he was the driving force behind ECW. He allowed his wrestlers to be themselves and come up with their own ideas for characters and feuds, and it worked out brilliantly.
Nowadays, the creative machine is restricted. It has too many spare parts (writers) and other cogs and bolts that add things to the pot. When you have a bunch of writers, wrestlers, and higher-ups all contributing ideas into the pot, the identity of the product becomes jaded and confused. Not only that, but you have so many ideas being brought forward, that good, original ideas may be overlooked in favour of something that worked well before.
Rehashed storylines continue to creep back in, they don't want to take a chance on anything original because they don't want to take the risk of it completely bombing with the audience.
With the Attitude Era conjuring up some of the greatest storylines and feuds, we continue to see these rehashed storylines and characters. We make comparisons to the old days, and we miss the old days, and although the creative machine keeps trying to bring the old stuff back, it's never quite the same.
It's not just wrestling, but society in general. Everything has become restricted in terms of original programming, and everything has been done to death.
It is difficult to be original in this century, as the creative geniuses from the last century took advantage when the entertainment industry boomed. There is a lack of excitement and buzz for most things, as we have seen it all before.
It feels like .. at times, the creative machine try too hard. You can tell, whether its WWE or TNA, they are desperate for attention.
For a certain period of time, it felt like the WWE couldn't be bothered at all. They really didn't want to risk anything, and stuck to the same old stuff every single week. Recently though, it has improved, but the lack of consistency is the worrying thing.
They change things around, bring back a rehashed power trip storyline (like we ain't seen a McMahon go crazy with power enough times?) and expect people to jump on board. The WWE does something really cool like an epic CM Punk promo, then they fail to follow it up and keep the momentum going.
TNA is totally different. They always try too hard every single week since 2010. Before 2010 they focused on the wrestling, and the storylines were there, but they focused on the right talent and gave much more time for wrestling. In recent days, it's like .. they don't know what they want to do.
They are desperate to break through the glass ceiling and start reeling in the real money, but they lack the creative process to make the product "cool" again.
I feel sorry for those in the creative machine. How do you sit there every single week and conjure up something totally original and cool? It takes a lot of talent and work to be able to distinguish what the crowd needs, what the crowd wants, and what the crowds would never see coming.
I always see comments after an epic storyline moment where they say "well that was predictable". The problem is that ... people have seen it so many times, they can see the signs. The creative side have to leave some clues in the story so the moment makes sense when it arrives, otherwise the audience will be dumbfounded and fail to understand it.
It hurts my head just thinking about it. It is difficult to please everybody in anything you do, but trying to please all wrestling fans? That is impossible.
Whether the product is too edgy, too generic, or something in-between, people will complain about something. The real reward is getting the initial reaction the creative side wanted.
e.g. Triple H turns heel > "I hate Triple H now! Fire him!"
This works, you need to have a bad guy to make the good guy look even better. The casual fan has bought into the storyline.
e.g. Triple H turns heel > "Yawn" *switches channel*
The hardcore wrestling fan has grown tired of it, they would rather watch something else then sit through this again.
And then we come onto John Cena. Can you imagine if John Cena turned heel?? What would your reaction be? Would it be "Oh my god this is awesome!"
If you say anything positive about a John Cena heel turn, then the creative machine has failed. You are not meant to cheer the bad guy.
This is the biggest issue with a John Cena heel turn, it would effectively keep him as a "babyface" if people got behind his new heel persona.
On the other side of the spectrum, when you have a guy like Daniel Bryan, who gets the crowd going nuts on his entrance, keeps them glued during the match, then has them going nuts after the match, there is a true babyface.
It's difficult to hate Daniel Bryan because he is just that talented, so it would never be easy to book him in a heel role after his recent popularity.
So what can be done about the creative machine? How can wrestling go back to what made it so spectacular? Or should it just continue to evolve?
It all comes down to creating future legends and allowing them the freedom to be natural in their roles. You can tell when a wrestler is forced into a certain persona that doesn't suit them. It doesn't quite click, and the audience can't get behind it either.
CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, AJ styles. These men have one thing in common right now. Freedom. They appear to have more freedom on a microphone then any other wrestler, and it feels natural to hear them "shoot" on the wrestling business, as you know that's who they are, and that wrestling is their passion.
If wrestling could revert back to being more of a sport, with storylines taking a little bit of a backseat (but not so much we cease to care about the characters) then we could see a recovery of the creative machine. There would be less pressure on the creative teams, there would be more pressure on the wrestlers to present their own ideas and see them through, and when you have wrestlers acting natural, you end up with legends like Stone Cold Steve Austin.
You would separate the men from the boys by allowing creative freedoms, instead of restricting talented individuals into silly gimmicks that would never push them to the next level. (That poor Drew McIntyre...)
Of course, freedom can go too far, there is a fine line, but if the wrestlers in the business respect their co-workers and the fans, they will never take that freedom too far.
Is wrestling getting more stale by the week? Can WWE continue to produce men like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan to the next level? Will the creative machine continue to through out rehashed storylines we are tired of seeing?
These questions can only be answered in time. So until next time, I am going to turn my creative machine off. It needs a good rest, and when I can think of anything original to say, I will fire that machine straight up, turn that sum bitch sideways ... and I'm sure you know the rest of that sentence