By Daniel Barker
Slating the WWE has been the current theme for the Esoteric Anomaly recently. Following the predictably unimaginative outcome to Battleground, I’m compelled to dish out a more brash topic before switching attitude for a while.
Throughout history, this promotion has evolved it’s creative practices using different methods which, in turn, have generated both high and low moments. What Battleground offered the audience last night was presentation that could have been easily constructed for free television, not a 3-hour PPV. Why does the company not realize that the customer wants something to show for their hard earned money? It’s fine to prioritize Survivor Series, but shoddy performances beforehand don’t exactly give the fans much confidence.
As the topic suggests, World Wrestling Entertainment – in their infinite wisdom – have completely lost sight on how to book anything meaningful. That statement heavily relates to boosting the stock of superstars as well.
An old practice from many moons ago was to book storylines way in advance, which is hard to accomplish today thanks to all the spoilers leaking out of every crevice. On the other hand, there’s an important detail – being prepared – that doesn’t get used today. Preparation and time mean actual storytelling. Allow me to explain.
Imagine sitting with someone that says they’ve got a story to share with you. Throughout telling you, that person takes long pauses, mutters and stutters while gruesomely stringing two words together. That’s how I view WWE creative booking. Many proven reports state that plans constantly change on a mere whim, which is not how a story operates. A storyline produced for television should explain a story that’s been developed to an audience, not while it’s kept stewing in the development stage.
Creative must establish the key areas to a story which are the beginning, the middle and the end. Not only must there be a structure, but a purpose behind the whole charade. A desired outcome is crucial! If you don’t put any motivation behind your work, then the recipients are not going to give a damn. If WWE want to book a current champion stronger, then a design needs to get drawn up with clear concise information, then add the finishing touches around the plans, and implement little details that go along way to the more informed demographic.
Fans are having too much of an issue getting immersed into the WWE mainly because things change so quickly that you become disinterested. Who wants to watch a feud that’s made up on the spot every week, where the results are based on a change of political heart? We don’t want to get screwed out the experience due to backstage politics and people with influence not being able to make up their minds! We’re here for the story… the climatic ending! Your audience want to travel the journey and feel the aftershocks when it’s finally over. They don’t want to see a character picked up one minute and dropped down the ranks the next. People feel cheated by seeing talent exploited for a mere glimpse of the spotlight.
We can have a lot of gripes in terms of the main-event title picture and that right there is a recipe for complete disaster in the long run. Here’s a quick question: when was the last time you saw a number 1 contender’s match for the WWE or World Championship on PPV? I’m sure you’ll have to think long and hard trying to figure that out! Everything to do with the top tier title situation is so incredibly isolated and dull now. It’s a single-minded approach that’s ineffectual.
WWE need to realize that your highest point is only as strong as the foundation beneath it. The days where the WWE Championship meant the world to the fans was a time where other well-operated divisions existed beneath it. The situation is so bad that I don’t even remotely consider Alberto Del Rio or Curtis Axel as champions. The belts have no appeal to me. Hornswoggle could capture both championships tomorrow and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. The prestige of the titles isn’t the issue. It’s how the contenders are managed.
Making a championship matter means constructing a direct contention between champion & challenger while also having other moving parts in the background that relate to the same division. For instance, while Curtis Axel has a contender to deal with, you could have two or more other hopefuls waging war in the background to get the next title shot from the GM. You’re practically adding a layer of importance to a topic when it’s given more depth. Dedicate a slot on SmackDown to talents that need the motivation and have them gravitate towards the gold. Championships should act as planets, drawing stars towards them.
It’s the same principle with the main-event titles. Not only should a contender be in the picture, but future challengers as well. Fans need to be able to think up multiple scenarios in anticipation of a PPV and picture in their minds who will be the champion and/or future challenger after the event.
There has to be a goal with each feud, and building up characters on TV should benefit those taking part. Talents who get dropped quickly if their gimmick doesn’t get over don’t deserve to sit on the sidelines. It’s not the performer’s fault that WWE creative are too busy trying to come up with quick fix to boost ratings in the short-term. Shows are best when they’re partitioned in specific directions and superstars are divided into group areas of focus. It would allow them to tell stories across WWE’s multiple TV shows, which range from free roaming to brand exclusive. Turn the WWE into a dynamic entity! Let’s not over promote one or two feuds. That takes time away that could be used to feature underutilized performers.
Do I need to see Daniel Bryan twice in the same week? No! No! No! No! No! Sorry couldn’t help myself. Do I need to the Shield twice in the same week? How about Triple H? Randy Orton? The Big Show? I don’t, we don’t, the WWE Universe doesn’t. What’s horrifying is the fact that all of those characters are involved in a single feud, where matches take place and keep dragging along.
A customer who buys a PPV needs to see multiple matches where the results will touch a nerve and they’d also appreciate knowing what they’re buying into up front. Throwing in the Real Americans against Santino Marella and the Great Khali on the day of BattleGround didn’t do the show any favours, in any way, shape or form. Adding matches like that on to a PPV card only makes your product look weak. Make it mean something, tell stories and put some effort into the talent.
A company that demonstrates a limited attention span is quite frankly boring and you can’t blame people for not tuning in or taking their business elsewhere. Ever since the WWE called themselves a “universe”, everything in it has become increasingly insignificant with each passing week. The company has way too much to do so little, and a few backsides need kicking into gear.
Here’s a strong prediction from this critic: WWE are asking for competition to come their way. Too many cracks are appearing and their marketable assets are bleeding selling power.
That’s all for me folks! Until next time take care!
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