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What really grinds my gears? Episode 15 - Creativity Machine

Rating: 8 votes, 4.13 average.
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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.

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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

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Updated 11-03-2013 at 06:04 AM by kylos

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Comments

  1. walldo 3:16's Avatar
    Iv said for a long long time that 2 many cooks spoil the broth .. I stopped watching wrestling from 2006 to 2012 and tbh I don't think I missed to much everything I have seen on youtube jst didn't feel the same except wrestlemania witch always amazes me ... But the raws and especially the smackdown felt like pantomine style shows .. Its a sad day when someone needs bulletpoints to do a promo I could do a 20 min promo on cheese and make it sound real .. And you're point about characters getting roles they find hard one name sheamus his jokes and promos as a face are horrendous .. Keep up the gd work on the blogs ma man
  2. rhyno535's Avatar
    I agree on the freedom. Thats something i think many of these wrestlers lack of, but 1 thing you should remember is that you cant have freedom without showing WWE that you are able to use that freedom in a good way.

    Both Triple H and Vince has said it many times "We give you the ball, you are going to run with it". I think that many of these wrestlers lack that "special" drive in them. My opinion is that without this desire to be the absolute top player in the WWE you shouldnt be there. Z

    Its all about to prove something. Sure the creative is far more than lazy, they are sleeping, but you have to go for it even if your chance is not right now.

    I would like to see the creative being divided into different roles. Main event writers, mid card writers, diva writers, tag team writers. Thats how i feel it should be done. Because right now the only main focus is on 2 storylines, WWE championship and the best storyline on the program this year Heyman vs CM Punk.
  3. DK Wrestling Savior's Avatar
    I think there are just so many problems. I see your point on the "Creative Machine", but society, and it's politicking to be overly sensitive, coupled with the fact that with Twitter and Facebook, everyone seems to be an activist anymore, has completely damaged entertainment. Here comes my conspiracy rant.

    There is no doubt in my mind that if WWE could go back and do a new Attitude Era, or at the very least, a new Ruthless Aggression Era, they would in a heart beat. You'd see major spots in hardcore style matches, blood, etc. The fact is, I think the "Creative Machine" is restricted by this new society. Now, I'm not saying society is soley to blame, but you have to remember. USA Network controls WWE and what they can and can't do. Too much controversy, too much blood, too much edge to the product, and too much crossing of the language barriers, can spark some bored, no-life housewife of a mother who has no social life except for the one that exists on her Facebook account, to start an online petition against WWE that someone was too mean and someone bled. (very similar to that one lady who petitioned against Macy's for selling the Donald Trump brand tie after he spoke bad about Obama) Then USA comes down on them because they might lose sponsors and ad revenue, etc.

    Then there's the kid issue. I think somewhere along the lines after the novelty of Stone Cold wore off and he couldn't wrestle anymore, and The Rock running off to Hollywood, the fanbase started to filter out. Those who loved the NWO and The Attitude Era, started to just lose interest. The teens became old enough to go out and drink on Thursday and Friday Nights and appreciate Monday Night Football over fake wrestling. They took an interest in the fairer sex and it was no longer a priority to keep Mondays and Thursdays reserved for WWF/E. So the new fans are the kids. And WWE came to a realization. With kids, comes parents who will spoil their kids and buy them the newest John Cena shirt and hat combo with wrist bands on WWEShop as soon as it comes out. With kids, comes parents who will stop their kids from whining and crying because they want the new Hornswaggle Pillow Pet and the Sheamus wrestling doll. With kids, comes parents who will use any form of electronic as a babysitter so they'll drop $70 on the newest Playstation 3 or X-Box 360 WWE game, and drop $50/mo on a PPV.

    It grinds my gears too, man. You wrote a great blog here. But not just creative is to blame. It's everything around that controls creative. The Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era, was not for kids. And low and behold, WWF was pulling 3-3.5 rating each week, and getting smoked by WCW's 5-5.5 in the process. Look at how many millions of viewers that was for wrestling once upon a time. Creative had so much more control, and in turn, the interest was there. The wrestling industry was a $500 million per year industry in the mid-nineties. That was an insane amount for that time, and even today, with things costing so much more, it doesn't even touch those numbers.

    Okay, my rant is done. I probably should have just posted my own blog on this. Great job, man. I love reading these from you.
  4. Kajmere's Avatar
    Good blog. I think the majority of the frustrations you mentioned are coming from the IWC, rather than the entire wrestling community as a whole. It's easy for someone on this website to get tired of lack of creativity or predictable storylines when we are reading spoilers (both short and long term) on a daily basis. Hearing that "so & so is backstage at Raw" and what have you is going to obviously take a lot of surprise out of the show. Knowing that Kane is leaving to film a movie after Summerslam makes his match super predictable. The first step towards enjoying programming more would probably be to lay off spoilers and news. I've personally been veering away from those, and focusing more on blogs, and certain non-spoiler forum posts.
  5. Mr. Right's Avatar
    Nice blog man. DK Wrestling Savior I would have to agree with probably everything your comment suggests, how right you are. Make it a post my man haha.

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