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JANUARY 2019 WRESTLING DISCUSSION

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44 minutes ago, AxB said:

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.

It's a grimy, grimy bubble, my friend. Would you really want to see in if you were on the outside?

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13 minutes ago, West Newbury Bad Boy said:

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

I’d look forward to them lying about what a 70% marginal tax rate actually is

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Counterpoint: Wrestling is more of a sport, than it isn't. 

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1 hour ago, El Dragon said:

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?

I'm not sure...They were basically taking the shit they watched on the same tapes we were all watching and started using that stuff in actual rings that didn't happen to be in someone's backyard and they did it exceptionally well for kids their age. I think they got smarter as they got older and therefore got better in the ring because what they were doing wasn't stuff ripped off of tapes. That in itself is incredible because I don't know of any veterans pulling those guys aside and guiding them on what they should be doing. It always seemed like they just picked up more and more knowledge as they went along.

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7 hours ago, Thibs said:

The problem is that this new TV network has higher ratings expectations and WWE has not shown an ability to grow a TV audience with the play it safe approach. 

They can grow an audience. The problem is the WWE takes the approach of "fuck what everyone else might want, we'll give them what we want and they'll like it".

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Honestly, the way that that side of Twitter has come from it is the same problem that has gone on since CM Punk:

Smarks may know what they're talking about in wrestling or not...but they truly have no clue THE HEEL IS TALKING ABOUT YOU, TOO.

Daniel Bryan is the best example of this: Yes, he is a lefty,  vegan, antifa type to an audience of pretty liberal people...but the fans are just too dumb to realize "Daniel Bryan being a hippie left-winger is not the reason he's a villain." 

Make no mistake- the New Daniel Bryan would absolutely say to a left-leaning fan "Oh, you're liberal? But you don't do [insert thing that most people cannot possibly do]? You're just as bad as Donald Trump. Hell, you may even be WORSE than Trump. CHANGE IT." Same with the environmentalists- Bryan would go to a level where only the richest people would have a chance to do, and if you can't do that, you're as bad as anyone else.

And if some fan just so happens to point to all of those things and say "Yes, I did all of these things?" Since Bryan also hates consumerism, Bryan would simply say "You're just a blind celebrity worshipper like all the rest of these people. You only did it because I did it first. Impotent. CHANGE IT.", and you're STILL evil in Bryan's eyes.

The only reason Bryan is still defended is not "they agree with him", or even "they accept them being an elitist about it", but rather: "Most smarks truly believe 'I followed this wrestler from the independent scene. I was there from the beginning. This wrestler may be a bad guy, but he can't possibly be talking about ME...I'm a TRUE FAN. He'd love me and we'd be best friends!"

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7 minutes ago, SorceressKnight said:

Honestly, the way that that side of Twitter has come from it is the same problem that has gone on since CM Punk:

Smarks may know what they're talking about in wrestling or not...but they truly have no clue THE HEEL IS TALKING ABOUT YOU, TOO.

Daniel Bryan is the best example of this: Yes, he is a lefty,  vegan, antifa type to an audience of pretty liberal people...but the fans are just too dumb to realize "Daniel Bryan being a hippie left-winger is not the reason he's a villain." 

Make no mistake- the New Daniel Bryan would absolutely say to a left-leaning fan "Oh, you're liberal? But you don't do [insert thing that most people cannot possibly do]? You're just as bad as Donald Trump. Hell, you may even be WORSE than Trump. CHANGE IT." Same with the environmentalists- Bryan would go to a level where only the richest people would have a chance to do, and if you can't do that, you're as bad as anyone else.

And if some fan just so happens to point to all of those things and say "Yes, I did all of these things?" Since Bryan also hates consumerism, Bryan would simply say "You're just a blind celebrity worshipper like all the rest of these people. You only did it because I did it first. Impotent. CHANGE IT.", and you're STILL evil in Bryan's eyes.

The only reason Bryan is still defended is not "they agree with him", or even "they accept them being an elitist about it", but rather: "Most smarks truly believe 'I followed this wrestler from the independent scene. I was there from the beginning. This wrestler may be a bad guy, but he can't possibly be talking about ME...I'm a TRUE FAN. He'd love me and we'd be best friends!"

This is all true, but I think there’s also an element of cheering the performance; and even if a moderately progressive fan base were to know Bryan thinks they’re not good enough, they’re unlikely to rally behind the famous homophobe who thinks the earth’s shape is worth questioning.

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1 minute ago, Beech27 said:

This is all true, but I think there’s also an element of cheering the performance; and even if a moderately progressive fan base were to know Bryan thinks they’re not good enough, they’re unlikely to rally behind the famous homophobe who thinks the earth’s shape is worth questioning.

That's also the problem in a nutshell: It's "cheering the performance" that's why we got to this point in the first place.

Of all the bad things that people blame for the decline of pro wrestling, I think "cheering the performance" is the biggest reason it's declined.

A hero is only as good as their rogues' gallery. If the villains aren't compelling, then the hero can't be compelling when they defeat them either. If a hero has great villains, then they become more of a hero for dismissing them, and the story is better. If their villains suck, then the hero is meaningless, and you get a boring guy who wins all the time.

 By cheering the performance, inevitably good heels will be cheered for being so talented, which in the process kills the show in three ways:

1- You make the talented heel look ineffective (how good a heel can they really be if they can't make you hate them?)

2- You put the heels who people boo at a premium and make them look better- which invariably becomes "this guy is inept at his job. BOO!". This comes to "can you hear how much this crowd hates this person? That's a villain we can BUILD AROUND!"

3- Inevitably, the heels are inept at their job, and it makes the top faces look worse...and you get the "boo the top faces" problem WWE has had. 

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I don't know about the idea that Bryan can't be a heel to a liberal crowd. I consider myself fairly liberal and there are tons of people on the left I want to boo every time they open their mouths.

The positive reactions he's getting seem to be more of the "he's so great at this character" variety than the "you can't turn my favorite heel" variety. There's a big difference between this and Daniel Wyatt. 

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A prime example of fans doing harm is when the crowd chanted "You deserve it!" to Kevin Owens after he became Universal Champion. Keep in mind he only won because Triple H pedigreed Reigns, followed by backstabbing Rollins and allowing KO to get the winning pin after a pedigree to Seth.

KO did nothing to deserve the victory. He didn't even cheat on his own to win. The championship was handed to him by the evil Authority figure. But because Owens had worked his way from the indies to ROH to WWE, fans wanted to show their appreciation. And they did so--in the worst way possible. It undermines the entire story and ignores how spineless the KO character was at that point. This happens all the time. And fans keep doing it, then wonder why WWE doesn't concern itself with alignment so much anymore. If we as a collective fanbase don't care, why should they?

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My two cents: It's always a bad look to blame the fans for a drop in popularity, even when it's true.

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Wait, really? Jesus.

And he stays over.

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If they gave Roman his exact push he's had for the last five years, only as a heel corporate champion, he'd be considered the best heel of his generation. 

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6 minutes ago, Brian Fowler said:

Wait, really? Jesus.

From the story

Quote

Rusev has not won on PPV since 2016. He was victorious on the main card of Battleground 2016, as well as the pre-show of Roadblock: End of the Line. The following list includes all of his PPV matches since Battleground 2016 in chronological order, and those two wins will be in bold. Every other match is a loss.

Battleground 2016: Rusev vs. Zack Ryder
Clash of Champions 2016: Rusev vs. Roman Reigns
Hell in a Cell 2016: Roman Reigns vs. Rusev
Roadblock: End of the Line: Big Cass vs. Rusev (pre-show)
Royal Rumble 2017: Randy Orton wins the Royal Rumble Match
Fastlane 2017: Big Show vs. Rusev
Battleground 2017: John Cena vs. Rusev
SummerSlam 2017: Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Hell in a Cell 2017: Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Clash of Champions 2017: The Usos vs. Rusev Day vs. Gable & Benjamin vs. New Day
Royal Rumble 2018: Shinsuke Nakamura wins the Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Fastlane 2018: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev
WrestleMania 34: Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev
Greatest Royal Rumble: Undertaker vs. Rusev
Money in the Bank 2018: Braun Strowman wins the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Extreme Rules 2018: AJ Styles vs. Rusev
SummerSlam 2018: Rusev & Lana vs. Andrade & Zelina Vega (pre-show)
Hell in a Cell 2018: New Day vs. Rusev Day (pre-show)
Crown Jewel: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (pre-show)
Royal Rumble 2019: Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (pre-show)

 

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Daniel Bryan's one of those lefties who hates liberals. There's no winning with him. I'm not shocked to hear the Chappo crowd is into it. 

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29 minutes ago, AxB said:

If they gave Roman his exact push he's had for the last five years, only as a heel corporate champion, he'd be considered the best heel of his generation. 

The gimmick he had in NXT just before being put with The Shield was basically that: a premier athlete born into a great wrestling family who wore tailored suits and waved his big watch in everyone's face while saying "You're on Roman Reigns' time." Once Roman was on the main roster, they took that gimmick, diluted it, and gave it to Baron Corbin with the whole "All I had to do is make one call and got a contract" spiel. 

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The problem is the WWE itself is the heel to a lot of these fans.   They see the WWE as anti-Bryan, so they cheer Bryan.

I think NJPW has a grasp of how to handle it right on the modern era.  There's like a sliding scale of face to heel, and you have to accept that fans are gonna like who they like and you can't manipulate it too much with established guys.  Folks were going to cheer Tana over Omega, but cheer Omega over Okada.   I don't think a strong face-heel dynamic is needed to draw money- you just need to have a compelling reason for feuds- whether it's style, prestige ,or just personal dislike.

 

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1 minute ago, Burgundy LaRue said:

The gimmick he had in NXT just before being put with The Shield was basically that: a premier athlete born into a great wrestling family who wore tailored suits and waved his big watch in everyone's face while saying "You're on Roman Reigns' time." Once Roman was on the main roster, they took that gimmick, diluted it, and gave it to Baron Corbin with the whole "All I had to do is make one call and got a contract" spiel. 

Honestly, even in Corbin's case that's less even giving it to Corbin and more NXT determining the gimmicks.

Even guys like Velveteen Dream, who has an incredible, dynamic gimmick on his own, has that as part of his gimmick. It's less a "Corbin got that great gimmick for Reigns" and more NXT deciding "The fans want every wrestler to be someone who came from the indies, so every wrestler who was not a top indy prospect will be a heel with 'I despise the indy scene and everyone who came from it' as their gimmick."

Corbin was more obvious, because he distilled it to "I despise everything that you, personally, like, and want nothing more than to make sure you leave with a widdle frowny face."

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Reigns also wasn’t wearing this on the main roster

d5c13fe034ed6ca97a1edf045de2cb01.jpg

Big Dog indeed

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Roman wasn't about hating the indie scene so much as being entitled and telling everyone "I was literally born for this." A male Charlotte, if you will. Which illustrates SK's point in a sense, but comes across differently, at least in my mind, in large part due to the family dynamics.

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3 minutes ago, alstein said:

The problem is the WWE itself is the heel to a lot of these fans.   They see the WWE as anti-Bryan, so they cheer Bryan.

I think NJPW has a grasp of how to handle it right on the modern era.  There's like a sliding scale of face to heel, and you have to accept that fans are gonna like who they like and you can't manipulate it too much with established guys.  Folks were going to cheer Tana over Omega, but cheer Omega over Okada.   I don't think a strong face-heel dynamic is needed to draw money- you just need to have a compelling reason for feuds- whether it's style, prestige ,or just personal dislike.

 

Honestly, even with NJPW there's a difference where there's still a sliding scale, they still accept fans are gonna like who they like- but if NJPW, itself, is the face, they'll accept what they give them (and even if they do a "WTF?"booking decision- like Naito not winning at WK last year-  they say "Well, that sucked- but I trust one day Naito's time is going to come.") 

With WWE, it's basically a post-kayfabe system where it's "nope. My favorite was time tested on the indy scene, so I don't care about their disposition- to ME, they're the hero"...but also "Kayfabe is for marks. Any storyline you make on TV, any match you make on TV? It doesn't matter. I reject your reality and substitute my own, and my reality is 'the story of this top indy superstar who's got to navigate the backstage politics of WWE on his or her way to win the World Title in the main event of Wrestlemania." 

It even causes problems in storyline for it to make sense -like right now: Becky Lynch wins the Royal Rumble  and finally has her chance at Ronda Rousey. SHE WON. On paper, it makes sense- she's no longer the underdog, she's come into her own, and now she's able to fight the final boss head on and be her equal.

But in the post-kayfabe world, they have to shoehorn Charlotte still having a problem and fighting it- because the fans decided their storyline is "Vince McMahonbearpig  and his evil sidekick Boogeyman Beaver  is giving Charlotte Flair the world because she's a Flair and Vince has a fetish for blondes, so he's holding back m'Becky Lynch even though she's so TALENTED because he hates us and doesn't want us to be happy!"...so even if the story makes sense for Becky to get a one-on-one match with Rousey, the fans' kayfabe ALSO keeps Charlotte in the match, EVEN THOUGH BECKY DISPATCHED HER.

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11 minutes ago, alstein said:

The problem is the WWE itself is the heel to a lot of these fans.   They see the WWE as anti-Bryan, so they cheer Bryan.

 

Because the WWE has spent 20 years training its fans to see it as the heel, with the unending succession of Evil Authority Figures perpetuating the Austin/McMahon paradigm years past its expiration date.

A generational turnover has come and gone with the only constant being "oh, the company itself is the bad guy.  We're supposed to boo the Office's Choice for top guy because they're the evil corporate champ who's stealing the spot from the anti-establishment anti-corporate hero guy we really like)  In historical context it's odd for a wrestling promotion to book itself as the heel, but it's not necessarily doomed to not work [for a while, in fact, it worked extremely well, which is why the WWE is still in this rut of trying to do it.  And, when Daniel Bryan was the "Yes Movement" babyface, it was working really well again.]

You, as the promoter, just have to remember to adjust for for how you've reversed the polarity.  That's been the curse afflicting Roman Reigns.  They've tried to sell him as the anti-authority anti-establishment rebel babyface, but unfortunately the internet-savvy audience already knew he was "The Office Choice" off-camera.  So the audience did what they've been trained over 20 years to do:  Boo Who The Heel Promoter Tells Them To Cheer.

The problem comes when Vince stubbornly tries to push someone with the old Face Promoter rubric instead of accepting (and giggling to himself about how he's worked the dumb marks again) that he has to, but easily can, work backwards.

Tell the fans they're supposed to hate Cena, or Roman, (or Becky Lynch), and they'll fall in love with them.

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(There, I think I changed enough words for that to not just be plagarizing every Lance Storm essay/podcast interview from the last 5 years on this topic :D)

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