What's up everybody! Just a quick message. We will be relaunching AllHipHop.com with the goal of keeping the community front and center. I have worked with Jamal and select moderators, to make sure The Illl Community's needs are being addressed as we evolve. We are encouraging you to use the new platform.

We will NOT be closing the current community, but we will be porting user data over to the new system over time, so please get used to using the new community!

We will be working on it every single day until it's exactly what you want!

Please feel free to join now, test, as we are in beta:

https://www.allhiphop.com

How stupid storylines are killing wrestling (LONG)

the_gechethe_geche Posts: 14
edited May 2011 in Off The Turn Buckle
Here is an especially insightful editorial on the wrestling business as a whole from the Observer's Brian Alvarez in today's Figure Four Weekly that I wanted to pass along...

So I was reading the Wrestling Observer this week and I had a revelation.

Every year there is a TVN study of sports fans over the age of 12, basically asking what people's favorite sports are, their age, education level, family income and the like. Pro wrestling did pretty horribly, Dave Meltzer noted. "Overall numbers showed a 5 percent decline among those who considered themselves avid fans and a 3.3 percent decline among those who considered themselves casual fans. Of those who considered themselves casual fans, the percentage was identical (8.6 percent) who said they were somewhat interested, the percentage of those who said they were a little bit interested was down 7.8 percent and those who said they had no interest at all were up 1 percent. The 79.2 percent who said they had no interest in pro wrestling was the highest total in the history of the survey, breaking the previous record of non-interest of 78.7 percent set in 2005. Men being avid fans declined 8.0 percent from the prior year from 8.8 percent of sports fans to 8.1 percent. Those who labeled themselves as less than avid fans declined a whopping 18 percent year-to-year from 20.0 percent to 17.4 percent. Broken down even more among casual fans, those who labeled themselves as casual fans, and said they were somewhat interested in wrestling declined 7.9 percent, those who said they were a little bit interested declined 17.6 percent and those who said they had no interest at all in pro wrestling increased 4.6 percent from 71.2 percent to 74.5 percent. The percentage of those who said they had no interest in wrestling was the second highest in the history of the annual survey, behind only 72.1 percent in 2005."

That all sucks and everything, but the thing that stuck out to me most, even more than the overall decline in interest, was the massive change in interest level in terms of economic and educational status. As compared to last year, avid fans who were high school dropouts increased 9.1 percent. Those who made less than $20,000 per year (who often, but not always, are those with the least amount of schooling) increased 19.7 percent. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, those making more than $150,000 per year (who, on average, generally have the strongest educational backgrounds) decreased a whopping 43.3 percent, by far the biggest drop of anything in the entire survey.

To me, these numbers tell a story, that being that pro-wrestling today is more anti-intellectual than it has probably ever been before in its history, and that is causing a disturbing shift in the audience.

When I was growing up I was never embarrassed to be a wrestling fan. Sure, I wasn't going to wear a Hulk Hogan t-shirt to school or anything like that, but to me, the way I looked at it was that I thought wrestling was really cool and I accepted that a lot of the people at my school weren't going to share that view. I didn't care, though. I liked it, and if they liked something else, great. But the key is that it was never something that when I watched it, I felt stupid. That all started to change in the late ’90s, and it's gotten progressively worse with each passing year.

Rip Rogers broke into wrestling before I was born, worked all over the world, and went on to become perhaps the most bombastic trainer of all time, most notably for Ohio Valley Wrestling when they were part of the WWE developmental system. When Buddy Wayne broke into wrestling in the mid-’80s, Rip took him under his wing and mentored him. A decade or so later, Buddy did the same thing for me. This was one of the great blessings of my lifetime. But it was also a curse.

Anyone who has trained with Rip Rogers will have stories about him. Some people might not like his personality or how he trains people, but I don't think you will ever find anyone who would try to claim he doesn't have an incredible mind for wrestling. And one of the things that I'm sure countless people have heard him say, and I know this because Buddy used to say it to me all the time and I know he got it from Rip, is, "Now why the fuck would you do that?"

Now why the fuck would you do that? That right there is my curse. It was pounded into my head over and over on countless road trips for years that, and I quote, "This shit has to make sense." Despite the pervasive use of derogatory terms like "marks" and the constant desire to work people, the fact of the matter is that for most of pro-wrestling's history, up until probably ten years ago, the workers actually gave the so-called marks significantly more credit than they do today.

I remember Buddy and I would head to a building and he'd ask me what I wanted to do during a match. I'd say, "Whatever you want." He'd tell me to come up with something. So I'd come up with something that I thought was pretty good and he'd suddenly stop me and say, "Now why the fuck would you do that?" And I'd stop for a second and then he'd explain to me that my idea that I thought was so good was actually not very good at all because if you actually thought about it, it made no sense.

"Now why the fuck," he would say for example, "would you hit me with a flying elbow and then lift me back up to hit me with another move? Why wouldn't you go for a cover and try to WIN?"

"I don't know," I would say. Then I would have to think of something else.

Same thing happened when we came up with angles. Tim Flowers when he promoted ICW would come up with angles for all the guys, but he trusted Buddy and would let us come up with our own stuff. We'd make up these programs and, long story short, try to come up with angles that would allow us to continue working with each other, whether it be as opponents or partners. And again, sometimes I would make a suggestion and in the middle of it he would stop me.

"Now," he would say, "why in the FUCK would we do that?" He would point out that my idea did not, in fact, make any sense at all if you really thought about it.

Buddy wasn't doing this to be an asshole. This was just the way that things were done up to that point. Wrestling was fake, but the idea was that you wanted to make the people think it was real, and in order to do that you had to make sure that your matches and storylines and angles made sense and that there was an internal logic to everything. His constant questioning caused me to think more before making suggestions. I would come up with an idea and then I would think about it for a while, trying to run over in my head whether it made any sense, and if not, why it didn't make sense and what I could do to make the idea better.

Replies

  • the_gechethe_geche Posts: 14
    edited May 2011
    The beginning of the end of the glory days of big-time wrestling was the late 90s when Vince Russo took over the book at WCW, leading to the most preposterous television shows that had ever aired on national television up to that point in time. The end of that era, and to me the beginning of the modern age of wrestling, was right around 2001 when WCW died. The last ten years, at least on a major league level between TNA and WWE, have been a progressively-expanding logical disaster, and unfortunately, when your average person thinks of pro-wrestling in 2011, they think of those two companies, not ROH or DGUSA or Chikara or mid-’00s Ohio Valley Wrestling where the bookers still did their best to have their storylines make some sort of sense.

    I use the term "storyline" all the time, but that term is preposterous nowadays when used in reference to pro-wrestling. Unless a guy like Shawn Michaels or Chris Jericho is put in charge of creating their own storylines, storylines don't really exist anymore. A true storyline has a beginning, a middle and an end. I literally cannot think of a single storyline in TNA in the last ten years that really had a beginning, a middle and an end. Often they have a beginning and sometimes a middle. They never have an ending. If there is an ending, there was no beginning or middle. WWE is a little better, but only because nowadays people compare them to TNA. If you compared WWE booking today to the booking of any major promotion prior to about 1997 WWE would look completely inept. But the standards have dropped so far with their "competition" that when only 10 percent of their angles make sense, well, that's still about 10 percent better than TNA is doing. So it's kind of ridiculous to reference a "storyline" on Raw, Smackdown or Impact in 2011. You're better off referencing "shit that happened." A guy turned. Someone beat up someone else. Someone won a belt. A promo was cut. Shit just happened.

    Wrestling used to be considered "mindless entertainment." The funny thing is, when I go to Cauliflower Alley or other get-togethers and I see older, long-time fans, they're some of the smartest people I know. When I think of guys who have been around forever, like Dave Meltzer, Kurt Brown, Steve Sims, Bruce Mitchell, Steve Yohe and so on and so forth, these are smart fucking people. These are not people who would be fans for decades of something where when they watched it, it made no sense and they felt stupid for doing so. But that's exactly what is happening to wrestling.

    TNA can do all the rebranding they want, but it's a lost cause. The storylines make absolutely no sense, the characters act completely illogically, you are never rewarded for thinking during the show, and, in fact, it is actually to your detriment if you try to think about it or make sense of things. Every week I write the Impact report and I'm just blown away by how stupid everything is. If you want to be nice and say some of the matches are good or sometimes you'll get a good promo, that's all fine and dandy, but the complete absence of logic up and down the show is overwhelming. There is literally no hope for this promotion in its current state.

    WWE is not quite as bad, but again, we're grading on a curve in 2011. There is, however, still hope. Every now and then you'll get something resembling a storyline that pays off, although, to be honest, that's usually only during the "WrestleMania season." The rest of the year is a crapshoot, and more often than not angles will be dropped (remember Drew and Kelly? just as a single example of many), plans will be changed, and if you pay any sort of attention you'll get pissed off. But it's not nearly the lost cause that TNA has become, and because WWE is far and away the biggest and most popular wrestling company worldwide they've got a fanbase that will give them more chances than they will anyone else.

    Ironically, the anti-intellectualism that we see with WWE today is probably tied to Vince McMahon's growing anti-wrestling stance. He got rid of wrestling bookers, people who had great minds for wrestling, and brought in writers. Granted, some of the writers in the last decade had good minds for wrestling, but many did not, largely because Vince wanted people who were, essentially, only casual fans. Being a hardcore wrestling fan was actually a DETRIMENT to you if you were trying to get hired to work for WWE, a concept that would be mind-boggling to your average person. "If you know the subject matter," Vince McMahon essentially said, "you are unqualified for the job." So instead of people who understand wrestling writing wrestling, the majority of them don't understand wrestling and so they're creating a product that is quite alien to fans who have followed wrestling for years.

    Vince McMahon never used to be embarrassed to be labeled a wrestling promoter. Sure, he wanted to do other things and be known for more, and he was trying to introduce "sports entertainment" as a term over a decade ago, but it wasn't until fairly recently that he got really weird about all sorts of wrestling-related terms, including the word "wrestling" itself. And what's funny is that the reason the wrestling business is viewed the way it is today, outside of real-life things like wrestlers getting busted for drugs and dying, is not because of the actual in-ring wrestling that happens bell-to-bell, but because of stupid storyline stuff like Trish Stratus barking like a dog, Vince pulling down his pants and having people kiss his ass, heels making fun of dead people, people humping corpses, and terrorist angles the week of a London bombing.

    WWE is never going to be Cirque du Soleil. But you know what Cirque du Soleil is? It's a glorified circus with super high production values. Nobody looks at Cirque as an anti-intellectual endeavor attended only by the dregs of society. It's a pretty fucking big deal, especially in Vegas, they travel all over the world touring, men and women of all ages love it, and it's THE CIRCUS.

    WWE has a lot of similar characteristics outside it's carnival roots. Good-looking bodies, super high production values, colorful characters and athleticism. They also have something Cirque doesn't have, the ability to be more than a touring company. They have national TV, a platform to get people to sit at home every single month if they'd like, get involved in interesting storylines, and pay money to sit at home and watch those storylines play out every month in high-def. When you really sit and think about what WWE has the potential to be, and then you think about what they are today and what the results of that poll tell you about what has happened to their audience over the years, it's actually really sad. And the indications certainly are that it's only going to stray farther away from its own potential ideal, further towards a product that even many of its most hardcore fans don't really like to watch anymore.
  • DOPEdweebzDOPEdweebz What title? www.facebook.com/DOPEdweebzPosts: 29,347 Regulator
    edited May 2011
    This is pretty spot on.

    New AHH Battle Rap Forum
    http://community.allhiphop.com/categories/the-battle-rap-zone
    Karma es verdad.
  • genocide_cuttergenocide_cutter Posts: 7,748 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2011
  • DOPEdweebzDOPEdweebz What title? www.facebook.com/DOPEdweebzPosts: 29,347 Regulator
    edited May 2011
    Once again great article, even though the amount of money you make isn't a real definition of one's intellectual compacity, there is minimal correlation and further more you won't get many comments on this because the title of this didn't have "Cena, Orton, PPV, or TNA" in it. A damn shame.

    New AHH Battle Rap Forum
    http://community.allhiphop.com/categories/the-battle-rap-zone
    Karma es verdad.
  • Mally_GMally_G Posts: 2,927 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2011
    i just read this myself and i feel the same way.

    he's more of an insider than I will ever be, but I share the same mindframe when it comes to storylines, logic outside and inside of the ring, and the direction of TNA and the WWE.

    i wrote yesterday (before I read this article) about the margin of error between the two companies, as the WWE has a wider margin than TNA, due to their longevity and less than intelligent fanbase. He didn't get into what TNA should do to better themselves, but he did touch on their illogical ways of doing their television program.

    And I think when he mentioned Vince and his disdain for the term pro wrestling and it's booking tactics in favor of using Hollywood writers, it could be the reason why Paul Heyman never fit in. He mentions that it could be to your own detriment to think along the lines of a pro wrestling booker instead of a drama writer, and Heyman books his events with the logic that Vince is all against. And since the majority of America who watches wrestling, watches WWE, they grow and become accustomed to the product that Vince puts in front of them, even though it looks like wrestling, but it's being told to them it's something else. So if/when another promotion springs up and goes national, people will compare what they offer to WWE, and even if that new promotion is offering something different than what the WWE is doing, the people as well as the networks will not give the new/original outlook on the sport a chance because it will be compared to WWE standards. So what happens? Like what happened to ECW, they had to buy into higher production values, get some bigger names, and go away from what got them onto a national/cable network in the first place, in favor of looking like the WWE.

    Now, TNA may have the exact problem that ECW had, but from what I think I know, they still may have some sort of control over their image. They don't have to look like a low budget WWE, but for them to save money, they can't have a TV taping in a different city each week. They believe that bringing in WWE/WCW castoffs will bring in viewers, when it hasn't helped their rating at all. All this could be pushed on them by SpikeTV, as SpikeTV has brokered some of the deals and are paying the salaries of the higher priced talents that have come in. TNA can rebrand itself and bring in whatever talent they wish, as long as the booking stinks, they are a failure. And I say they are a failure because people, including myself, see their image as a knockoff of the WWE, so that's a minus already. They use ex WWE/WCW talent in their main event when they have 20-somethings and guys in their early 30's that can "go" in the ring but TNA won't exploit their talents; again, another minus. These things and a few others tarnish their image for a growing company. Take those minus' and the fact that their booking/writing is horrible and as the article says, illogical (either no beginning, middle, or end), TNA will not succeed.

    But as stated earlier, the WWE has it's flaws as well, but their margin of error is so vast, it almost goes unnoticeable. And I do pay attention enough to go "Now why the fuck would he do that?". With TNA, it's just a lost cause right now, because the entire show is fucked because the shit that they do ALL end in ZERO payoff.
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMV_Mally_G
    P³ Entertainment Radio Show: http://www.spreaker.com/user/p3_entertainment
    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mally-g-spreaker/id665779725
    Blogsite: http://p3entertainmentllc.blogspot.com/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PrideProsperityPower

    "You're welcome....YOU'RE ALL WELCOME....enjoy." - Frank White, King of New York
  • DOPEdweebzDOPEdweebz What title? www.facebook.com/DOPEdweebzPosts: 29,347 Regulator
    edited May 2011
    Mally_G wrote: »
    i just read this myself and i feel the same way.

    he's more of an insider than I will ever be, but I share the same mindframe when it comes to storylines, logic outside and inside of the ring, and the direction of TNA and the WWE.

    i wrote yesterday (before I read this article) about the margin of error between the two companies, as the WWE has a wider margin than TNA, due to their longevity and less than intelligent fanbase. He didn't get into what TNA should do to better themselves, but he did touch on their illogical ways of doing their television program.

    And I think when he mentioned Vince and his disdain for the term pro wrestling and it's booking tactics in favor of using Hollywood writers, it could be the reason why Paul Heyman never fit in. He mentions that it could be to your own detriment to think along the lines of a pro wrestling booker instead of a drama writer, and Heyman books his events with the logic that Vince is all against. And since the majority of America who watches wrestling, watches WWE, they grow and become accustomed to the product that Vince puts in front of them, even though it looks like wrestling, but it's being told to them it's something else. So if/when another promotion springs up and goes national, people will compare what they offer to WWE, and even if that new promotion is offering something different than what the WWE is doing, the people as well as the networks will not give the new/original outlook on the sport a chance because it will be compared to WWE standards. So what happens? Like what happened to ECW, they had to buy into higher production values, get some bigger names, and go away from what got them onto a national/cable network in the first place, in favor of looking like the WWE.

    Now, TNA may have the exact problem that ECW had, but from what I think I know, they still may have some sort of control over their image. They don't have to look like a low budget WWE, but for them to save money, they can't have a TV taping in a different city each week. They believe that bringing in WWE/WCW castoffs will bring in viewers, when it hasn't helped their rating at all. All this could be pushed on them by SpikeTV, as SpikeTV has brokered some of the deals and are paying the salaries of the higher priced talents that have come in. TNA can rebrand itself and bring in whatever talent they wish, as long as the booking stinks, they are a failure. And I say they are a failure because people, including myself, see their image as a knockoff of the WWE, so that's a minus already. They use ex WWE/WCW talent in their main event when they have 20-somethings and guys in their early 30's that can "go" in the ring but TNA won't exploit their talents; again, another minus. These things and a few others tarnish their image for a growing company. Take those minus' and the fact that their booking/writing is horrible and as the article says, illogical (either no beginning, middle, or end), TNA will not succeed.

    But as stated earlier, the WWE has it's flaws as well, but their margin of error is so vast, it almost goes unnoticeable. And I do pay attention enough to go "Now why the fuck would he do that?". With TNA, it's just a lost cause right now, because the entire show is fucked because the shit that they do ALL end in ZERO payoff.

    First of al TNA has a profit.

    Secondly all you do is focus on the number 2 guy, when you should focus on the LEADING GUY, and what he's doing. Who cares if TNA sucks, if WWE is not trying to kill that company itself?

    Sadly WWE is starting to suffer also in it's own ratings especially on Smackdown, where Impact is slowly closing the gap to the point you can almost start comparing both shows.

    TNA is WWE lite? So what WWF was EC- lite during the Attitude era B4 they beat WCW in the Monday Night Wars (after Goldberg beat Hogan), and you ate it up, but you hate an auto bias towards anything TNA does.

    You know Mally G you're articulate and well spoken but you come off as Bill oreilly focusing on the wrong black rappers when his disdain should be focused on Eminem the whole time, yet he almost purposely never attacks Em, making us thing there is an alterior motive to you disdain, to straight bury a certain competitor while letting one pass.

    If WWE was great product, and TNa is copying, then wouldnt that make TNA better than what it is now? Think about it.

    When we look at the problems of the fast food industry, no normal person is gonna say "well Burger King sucks, and it will be out of business"... there is no logic in that at all of course we are gonna look at what"McDonalds is doing wrong". So you and others just have TNA troll affect, and it shows "skip the other threads and lets go straight into how bad TNA is but blind hatred always backfires in the end if you believe in karma.

    At the end of the day Impact ratings are increasing, The Panda Energy company financing TNA could actually buy out WWE seeing that Panda is a Billion dollar company versus WWE which is no longer a billion dollar company like it was for a short time during the height of the Attitude era and a little after.

    "the_body_jesse_ventura: I love how TNA haters have been saying; TNA is gonna go out of business; every year for the last 10 years and it's still around" <-- random JTV chatter

    Besides this article wasn't about TNA vs WWE, it was more about the current state of US pro-wrestling. Quit making everything TNA vs WWE, cuz it sounds like all you do is whine about TNA.

    I could easily start attacking WWE by comparing it to a cross competitor in the UFC (an audience TNA benefits from), which WWE seems to be slowly mimicing, even straight down to it's policies, and whose PPV buyrates are looking weak against, but I won't make myself look like a full blown WWE hater now....Both products are bad but if you're a fan you will watch both products regardless of quality, like the zombies WE ARE.

    New AHH Battle Rap Forum
    http://community.allhiphop.com/categories/the-battle-rap-zone
    Karma es verdad.
  • @My_nameaintearl@My_nameaintearl Posts: 2,609 ✭✭
    edited May 2011
    KingGivBiz wrote: »
    First of al TNA has a profit.

    Show us the numbers.

    Truth is, they've always been operating at a loss.
  • the_gechethe_geche Posts: 14
    edited May 2011
    Show us the numbers.

    Truth is, they've always been operating at a loss.

    Actually they have been profitable since about 2007 (or even as early as '06 if the official who I am an acquaintance of was telling me the truth-anyways it was after Kurt Angle came in). Their spending went up heavily since Hogan and Co. came in though but they make bank on the international tours (especially England). The company isn't making money hand over fist by any means however and may have dipped a little below the profitability level when they cancled some houseshows for low ticket sales a while back. The fact that TNA itself does not pay the total amounts for the contracts of RVD, Flair, Angle, and Sting helps tremendously as well. They don't pay the Knockouts or the lower to mid-carders shit as well which helps alot. TNA isn't the big money pit that alot of so-called wrestling journalists would like people to believe however (at least not nowadays but prior to the Spike deal it was pretty bad).
  • aneed123aneed123 Posts: 23,763 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2011
    Vince has always been about storylines more than wrestling. In the past there were otehr organizations who provided comp. now he pretty much is a monopoly and he can do what he want. WCW used to have better watches. now its a big soap opera
  • KNiGHTSKNiGHTS Mr. Fifth Letter Your ConsciencePosts: 4,435 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2011
    Wasn't this article written a million times during the Invasion angle? I'm pretty sure everyone with a memory span longer than a goldfish wrote one because the broken storylines were so apparent due to the over saturation.
Sign In or Register to comment.