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JANUARY 2019 WRESTLING DISCUSSION

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2 hours ago, joseph2112 said:

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one in the world that recognizes that wrestling has always been at it's hottest when the characters and storylines of the program align with current cultural climate/themes.

And it's also not a secret that almost every single person walking today thinks that there are two groups of people in the world and that one side is trying to gaslight the other side (and their own) to gain power.

And somehow this company has a character that is a "cult leader" in Bray Wyatt and they can't figure out how to make that work. And that story doesn't have to be political in the slightest.

Whatever.

Problem with that is that WWE doesn't do nuance, and that kind of thing is required for storylines that reflect current events. 

Exhibit A:

"We're two American-born men of Middle Eastern descent who are fed up with how our people have been portrayed since 9/11!" 

TITLE CARD: Two weeks later...

"Alalalalalala death to American infidels!  Where are my pointy toed boots and kaffiyeh!?  Let's round up some dudes to do some clever gang attacks that look suspiciously like those beheading videos!"

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Holy shit, yes! I saw your first sentence and was coming to post about Muhammad Hassan as the perfect example of WWE's butchering of nuance.  Such a wasted opportunity!

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This is what was said by the WON re: Fox and more sports oriented

Quote

“Regarding FOX, because wrestling is being positioned as part of the sports block, a Thursday through Sunday thing FOX is looking at starting in 2019, especially during football season, FOX wants the SmackDown show to be less comedy and more in a sports direction.”

Oh and here is a quote from FOX's CFO

Quote

FOX CFO John Nallen said, “It’s a 50 to 52-week-a-year sport with no repeats. It’s a new novella every week. For us to have that kind of appointment programming, that audience, every week of the year, is a really unique opportunity for us."

 

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23 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

Problem with that is that WWE doesn't do nuance, and that kind of thing is required for storylines that reflect current events. 

Exhibit A:

"We're two American-born men of Middle Eastern descent who are fed up with how our people have been portrayed since 9/11!" 

TITLE CARD: Two weeks later...

"Alalalalalala death to American infidels!  Where are my pointy toed boots and kaffiyeh!?  Let's round up some dudes to do some clever gang attacks that look suspiciously like those beheading videos!"

The Muhammad Hassan episode of Something to Wrestle was eye opening for how much of a clusterfuck that all was.

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1 hour ago, Technico Support said:

Problem with that is that WWE doesn't do nuance, and that kind of thing is required for storylines that reflect current events. 

Exhibit A:

"We're two American-born men of Middle Eastern descent who are fed up with how our people have been portrayed since 9/11!" 

TITLE CARD: Two weeks later...

"Alalalalalala death to American infidels!  Where are my pointy toed boots and kaffiyeh!?  Let's round up some dudes to do some clever gang attacks that look suspiciously like those beheading videos!"

To be completely fair, this was 15 years ago.   Not that it's gotten much better since, but that would be like judging The Rock's main event push based on what Afa & Sika were given to do. 

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20 hours ago, Technico Support said:

It's obvious Renee's non-answer is because they have no clue how to reconcile a heel character who is IRL married to a babyface announcer, and no interest in dealing with it in any creative way. 

I always figured the best way to handle this was to just flip the script for Dean angles and matches. Just have Renee blindly support and justify everything he does and Corey and Michael question it. I hate the heel/face announcer dynamic anyway but that would make more sense than just having Renee be quiet about what's going on.

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Heel Renee could be really fun.

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Apparently Bryan wants to wrestle Gran Metalik in a hair vs mask match.

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10 minutes ago, Matt D said:

Apparently Bryan wants to wrestle Gran Metalik in a hair vs mask match.

That's one way to get folks to watch 205 Live

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The quote is from a Yahoo interview:

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One of the benefits of his heel turn has been Bryan’s ability to wrestle up-and-coming stars like Mustafa Ali. Bryan’s new persona has clashed well with Ali and allowed the “205 Live” star to become a more well-known name to casual wrestling fans. While it appears as if Bryan is helping to put young talent over, it’s not actually his intention.

“It’s not this selfless thing, it’s actually a selfish thing,” Bryan said. “I want to wrestle the best guys on the planet. Some of those best guys are on ‘205 Live.’ We have Gran Metalik here and he’s one of the best luchadors in the world and he’s on that show. Man, would I love to wrestle that guy in a mask vs. hair match. That’s sometimes where my passion gets ahead of me.”

He also cut a promo a couple weeks ago where he put over Hideo Itami as a CW title challenger, and seemed to be angling for a match with him. (Not happening now, of course.)

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Oh man...Bryan setting out to steal everone's mask and keeping them all as trophies only for El Idolo to step up and put the La Sombra mask AND his beautiful hair on the line against Bryan's title and hair would be amazing.

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2 hours ago, RIPPA said:

This is what was said by the WON re: Fox and more sports oriented

Oh and here is a quote from FOX's CFO

 

Idk that they mean “sport” or “sports presentation” in the context that Meltzer or people on here talk about. I think they just mean live event.

I could be wrong. If they do indeed mean that they want a sports, in ring based presentation then we’ll see how long they’ll put up with the viewership that sort of thing will draw. 

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4 hours ago, Beech27 said:

The problem with running angles that alienate hardcore fans is that the hardcore fans are the only ones left watching--for better and worse--and casuals essentially no longer exist as a market. Also, WWE has gotten a business-shifting TV deal and massive ad revenue compared to their more crash-TV, politically controversial days. Playing it safer has worked.

 

1 hour ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

To be completely fair, this was 15 years ago.   Not that it's gotten much better since, but that would be like judging The Rock's main event push based on what Afa & Sika were given to do. 

The second one ties into the first one, since it hasn't gotten much better since- but the Mustafa Ali discussion does show how Muhammad Hassan would be taken in 2019 (with Ali's gimmick basically being "I am a Pakistani-American and Muslim man who faced discrimination after 9/11..." First match happens in Chicago, fans cheer "Wow. I stand corrected! I am so sorry I doubted the fans in the WWE Universe. I will fight for you guys from now on!") 

However, even with that, the original problem of "everyone believes there are two types of people in the world, and the other side are openly trying to destroy your side to get full power" does tie into the other part of that.

Running angles that will alienate part of the hardcore fans and make them stop watching, is countered by the other side:

Part of "everyone believes there are two types of people in the world, and the other side is destroying your side to get full power" is that it has changed pop cultural discourse to "If you're giving THEIR side any press whatsoever, you're inherently supporting THEM and are, as a result, AGAINST US. Our side is so obviously right, and their side is so obviously wrong, that even simple discourse between the sides is tantamount to saying 'well, yes. 1 plus 1 is 2...but what if 1 plus 1 is really 5? "

Due to that, all discourse has turned into "YAAAAAY! You're saying things I BELIEVE!", and that will change the terrain: If anyone in one specific group firmly believes "okay, WWE is on OUR SIDE", then they'll suddenly watch WWE- even if they dislike wrestling- just to make something on THEIR SIDE a success and, in the process, strike a blow against THEM. 

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Quick thought for you guys: Are Jay and Mark Briscoe the best wrestlers ever in terms of work just before they turned 20? Marks run in RoH till 04 is completely when he was 17-19 and that just boggles the mind.

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Rey was pretty good by 93? Gordy was pretty good before 81? 

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7 minutes ago, Matt D said:

Rey was pretty good by 93? Gordy was pretty good before 81? 

Fuck, I didn’t even figure the Lucha demographic into my thought. That makes it much more likely.

How about making the controversial statement that the Briscoes have had great careers, but they were actually at there best as wrestlers before they turned 20?

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Perro Aguayo Jr was an amazing wrestler literally from his first match when he was still 15.

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6 minutes ago, El Dragon said:

How about making the controversial statement that the Briscoes have had great careers, but they were actually at there best as wrestlers before they turned 20?

If you reasoning for "at their best" is because they were young and stupid than sure

But "at their best" means peak wrestling years - than no

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45 minutes ago, Thibs said:

Idk that they mean “sport” or “sports presentation” in the context that Meltzer or people on here talk about. I think they just mean live event.

He's a TV exec speaking on a conference call--his words are very carefully chosen, and mirror those used in the press release. He said sport because he meant sport; the other execs and Vince said sport because they meant sport; we all basically know what that word means. This isn't a lesson in semiotics; we can fall endlessly down the "ah but what do words really mean?/can anyone ever be perfectly understood?" tunnel, but that's an exercise in futility. Maybe they meant something totally other than what they said--but probably not. And he compared Smackdown to a weekly novella also, so it's not like anyone wants to abandon narrative. Sports broadcasts are built on characters and stories too; this isn't some combative binary choice.

Anyway, regarding ratings, Meltzer (our only source on this) has reported FOX wants 3.3 million viewers for Smackdown, which is doing just over 2 million right now. The expectation is supposedly that the switch to broadcast will mostly result in that increase just by being in far more households, but of course, we will have to wait and see.

40 minutes ago, SorceressKnight said:

Part of "everyone believes there are two types of people in the world, and the other side is destroying your side to get full power" is that it has changed pop cultural discourse to "If you're giving THEIR side any press whatsoever, you're inherently supporting THEM and are, as a result, AGAINST US. Our side is so obviously right, and their side is so obviously wrong, that even simple discourse between the sides is tantamount to saying 'well, yes. 1 plus 1 is 2...but what if 1 plus 1 is really 5? "

Due to that, all discourse has turned into "YAAAAAY! You're saying things I BELIEVE!", and that will change the terrain: If anyone in one specific group firmly believes "okay, WWE is on OUR SIDE", then they'll suddenly watch WWE- even if they dislike wrestling- just to make something on THEIR SIDE a success and, in the process, strike a blow against THEM. 

I suppose a supporting argument would be that lefty/vegan/antifa twitter has had a lot of fun with Bryan gifs lately. I don't think many are watching necessarily or are more likely to suddenly become wrestling fans; but among those who are, Bryan is absolutely treated as a face.

My guess is WWE wagers Bryan's Straight Veg Society is too fundamentally fringe to be divisive--most people aren't vegans, after all--and they'll try to keep vaguely political angles in that realm, but we'll see. It may also be that they've seen the demographic data suggesting their audience leans pretty heavily liberal, and are thus happy to let people cheer Bryan (because he's right enough in their minds) or boo him (because he's an elitist jerk about it).

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23 minutes ago, SorceressKnight said:

Part of "everyone believes there are two types of people in the world, and the other side is destroying your side to get full power" is that it has changed pop cultural discourse to "If you're giving THEIR side any press whatsoever, you're inherently supporting THEM and are, as a result, AGAINST US. Our side is so obviously right, and their side is so obviously wrong, that even simple discourse between the sides is tantamount to saying 'well, yes. 1 plus 1 is 2...but what if 1 plus 1 is really 5? "

Due to that, all discourse has turned into "YAAAAAY! You're saying things I BELIEVE!", and that will change the terrain: If anyone in one specific group firmly believes "okay, WWE is on OUR SIDE", then they'll suddenly watch WWE- even if they dislike wrestling- just to make something on THEIR SIDE a success and, in the process, strike a blow against THEM. 

I'm not following WWE very closely if at all so maybe this will sound stupid, but I got similar feeling while reading some twitter reactions to Daniel Bryan's heel work.

Now, maybe I'm wrong, but as I understand whole point behind Daniel's heel work is that he is obnoxious far-left activist. And he uses various left-wing talking points, but takes it to the absurd. And well I saw lots of progressive people on twitter basically saying that WWE are stupid for portraying Daniel as a heel because apparently someone who is for equal rights can't be a bad person.

And well, maybe I got whole thing wrong and I'm full of shit, but if not then this is probably good example on why doing political stuff won't really work in current climate.

 

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1 minute ago, RIPPA said:

If you reasoning for "at their best" is because they were young and stupid than sure

But "at their best" means peak wrestling years - than no

I would argue they strongly lost there technical edge when they came back in 06 and never really got it back. They over emphasized the high flying when they came back, which fit the style at the time what with the Dragon Gate style that was becoming prominent, but I don’t think the was really an improvement overall. Hell, I am not sure if there is a match in Marks entire career when he was as good of a seller as he was in Honor Invades Boston and that went down when he was 17.

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So apparently Golf has the Saudi Arabian Open happening this weekend. Lots of Golf fans are not happy about this, and are saying that the big name Golfers should have boycotted the event and refused to go to Saudi(understandably so). But there's been a backlash from within the golf world, saying "Why are you singling us out, when the Italian SuperCopa was held there two weeks ago and nobody had a problem with that? Why single us out, when WWE has run two shows there and nobody complained about them?".

The Wrestling bubble has two sides. You can't see the outside world from inside. But people on the outside can't see in either.

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42 minutes ago, Beech27 said:

He's a TV exec speaking on a conference call--his words are very carefully chosen, and mirror those used in the press release. He said sport because he meant sport;

If he meant sport in the literal sense then he’s a idiot because no matter how much people want to try to blur the lines and draw comparisons, professional wrestling never has been and never will be a sport. 

Using the word sport in the context he did, talking about 52 weeks a year, stood out to me as meaning a “live event” (similar to the way sports are live events) that can be available with no off season. That’s not “something totally other”. But like I said, I could be totally wrong and maybe he meant to define wrestling as the legit sport that it’s not.

Which wouldnt be all that surprising.... Tony Kahn a few weeks ago said that he’d determine salaries based on wins and loses. So the entire world has pretty much lost their minds when it comes to what wrestling is and isn’t. 

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I think one big problem with doing topical stories is this is a company ran by older, relatively conservative people who have seem research that their audience tends more relatively liberal. That becomes a very hard line to walk, so why bother?

Short-term, WWE is making more money than it ever has by an order of magnitude. They got there by trying to be family friendly and non-controversial. We've seen hints lately that they are worried enough about the ratings to slightly push the envelope, but the list thing they want to do is really piss off the advertisers they've finally won over.

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1 minute ago, Brian Fowler said:

I think one big problem with doing topical stories is this is a company ran by older, relatively conservative people who have seem research that their audience tends more relatively liberal. That becomes a very hard line to walk, so why bother?

"And at WrestleMania, I'm going to take a 70% marginal tax out of your ass!"

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