Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Does WWE realize how awful their writing is?

Hey Scott,

Just finished Daredevil and am starting Better Call Saul and I got to thinking: Does WWE ever realize how terrible their show is from an artistic standpoint?

I'm not commenting on their booking or star-making capabilities. Purely from a writing standpoint, the show has to be some of the worst storytelling in history. It has no sense of continuity. It's jokes are juvenile and repetitive. Compared to even mediocre TV, it falls short.

Do the writers realize this? Do they care? Is there mindset to basically fill 3 hours and push whoever Vince says to push? Or do they really their cranking out quality TV? More important, does Vince really think, as he once implied, that his shows on a par with Sopranos, ER and their Modern Equivalents?

Thanks

I think the writers are under no such impaired judgment, but according to everyone that’s talked to him, Vince really does feel like his product is somehow competitive with those shows, yes.  He also seems to feel like his ham-fisted attempts at parody (like the Donald v. Rosie “match”) are right up there with the great comedies of this generation. 

But yeah, it’s been said before that if RAW was a TV show on a regular network, it would have been laughed off the air long ago. Characters like Roman Reigns change motivations and personality traits on a week-to-week basis, characters disappear and reappear with no explanation, the Bellas are heel face heel.  Even the worst soap operas have someone to at least make perfunctory attempts to keep track of this crap. 

230 comments:

  1. I'm waiting for them to introduce a blind babyface and a big fat heel to be his nemesis.

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  2. Kevin Owens recasting as Kingpin confirmed

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  3. The fire the writers bit from the Heyman podcast was great.

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  4. Its a tad unfair to compare a show that has to produce at least 6 hours of content on the fly every week to shows that have a full year to produce 8 hours of content once a year.

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  5. ROH or someone similar should try something like a 13-episode self-contained "prestige" wrestling mini-series, where all the storylines pay off in the last couple of episodes and every single segment or match has a well thought-out reason for existing and motivations reveal themselves gradually but consistently.

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  6. Yeah, when you compare a wrestling show that has multiple hours of weekly content to the best-written dramas on TV that have about 10 yearly hours of content, it's gonna fall a bit short by comparison.
    What a dumb e-mail.

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  7. It's not like Smackdown or Main Event really have any sort of tangible stories to them

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  8. Lucha Underground takes that approach. It's unbelievably fulfilling.

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  9. I haven't gotten a chance to see that yet. What's the most legitimate way that a person without cable tv could watch lucha underground?

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  10. Seriously, though. The WWE has as much hours of content to fill in two weeks as a show like Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad has in an entire year. It's such an absurd comparison for too many reasons to really even bother with.

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  11. Fine. Just Raw, then. That's still roughly 10-15 times as much yearly content produced a year as the prestige dramas.

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  12. Theberzerker, #1 HUSS CHOMPIONJune 3, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Ego, fueled by paranoid insecurity, is a powerful, powerful thing. It's not GOOD, but it's powerful.

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  13. True, but there are little things they can do to improve it (though they will never be at the caliber of the shows mentioned). Continuity alone would make for a better overal product.

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  14. Why produce so much content then? If the producers of Big Bang Theory or Breaking Bad tried to do 4 episodes a week every year and the quality suffered, wouldn't the answer just be to cut down on the number of episodes?
    Similarly, if JK Rowling wrote 100 Harry Potter books and responded to criticism saying 'I can't help it if they're not very good, I have to write 10 books a year for you guys' - would you not just suggest that she write fewer books?

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  15. Absolutely agree. It doesn't make the comparison any less absurd. It's an entirely different thing.

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  16. As I mention below, suppose Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad did 3 episodes per week all year and the quality suffered (as it inevitably would). Would the sensible answer not just be to reduce the amount of content rather than ruining the show?

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  17. I'm pretty sure the professional writers could create some compelling stuff if Vince would just stay out of the way.

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  18. Sure. Some jerk even wrote about that topic awhile back.

    http://placetobenation.com/pro-wrestlings-disease-of-more/

    But you can't put that cat back in the bag. It is what it is at this point. My solution is to just never watch Smackdown, personally.

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  19. They have shown Vince such out of touch on DVDs with stuff like the "McMahon" set when everyone (including HHH) rails on Katie Vick but Vince insists it was funny as hell. Ditto for the whole "fighting God" thing with him going "God has to have a sense of humor" and such.
    Then again, Aaron Sorkin still insists that the show-within-a-show stuff on Studio 60 with Gilbert & Sullivan routines and such was high comedy so folks can be poor judges of their own material.

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  20. The best example of this is Ryback. His babyface promo he cut about his broken leg, his dreams, sitting in his apartment unable to sleep because of a temperature, more surgeries, reading some inspirational book and how he kept fighting and fighting. It was awesome because it was all true. Fans connected with it, he brings it up in his promos but there are just large swath of weeks where nobody talks about it. Its a key part of his character that is real and relatable, that he tries to talk about ... but just goes nowhere in the show.

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  21. Oh definitely. Very silly to compare a scripted, filmed-in-advance drama that at most is maybe 16 hours per calendar year and compare it to a live TV show with unplanned injuries and the like that runs 6 or so hours per week.

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  22. In fairness, Ryback is still fucking terrible and no one should care.

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  23. I don't understand how they don't want to up their game to Breaking Bad/Game of Thrones levels either

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  24. So why aren't none of those hours any good? Poor excuse that makes no sense

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  25. there are a lot of guys who are terrible that got over LOL. Your point is well taken. But what I'm saying is if your investing in a guy, you'd think when something is presented that is working you'd run with it. Nah, just go out and get "feed me more" over.

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  26. Too much TV, things move too fast, leads to nonsense.

    Plus most of the roster doesn't even get a chance to show any piece of themselves. It is entrance, 5 minutes match.

    Bray Wyatt starts a feuding my turning out the lights and then attacking someone.

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  27. Is there any truth to the rumor that WWE hired a Continuity Editor a few years ago, only to fire him weeks later because he was pointing out too many errors in the storytelling?

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  28. Because too much of anything can ruin of all of it, for one thing. For another thing, I think WWE programming has been mostly really good for about six weeks now. I don't agree at all that it's always terrible.

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  29. Well you can't fit his speech on a mini-towel for sale, so fuck him, apparently.

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  30. Because it's the highest-rated show on the networks it runs on and those networks want the content. The bank won't cash checks based on favorable critical reviews. And I work at a bank. I checked.

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  31. Vince must've had an aneurysm during Trump vs Rosie, where the crowd chanted for wrestling/refunds/TNA

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  32. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 3, 2015 at 11:24 AM

    Vince Jordan

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  33. Fenway park confirmed as a location in fallout 4.

    I've never had a desire to go to Boston, but digital nuked Boston is heaven.

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  34. I don't think WWE's problem is that they're giving us too much of a good thing. Agreed they give us something good-great on occasion but surely most would agree that the writing is terrible in general. Feuds start and then finish with nothing interesting happening in the middle, just repeats of run-ins/distractions week after week. Where are the stories? People expect more nowadays

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  35. I don't get why a wrestling company needs writers anyway. Has to be the easiest fucking job in the galaxy.

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  36. I think wrestling writing is usually terrible, especially in comparison to "good" shows on TV. All I ask for is characters to invest in, and they still generally give me enough of those.

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  37. That's the frustrating thing for me though, they've got tons of great characters they could do so much with. An example was Bo Dallas's behaviour during his match with Neville at EC - more of that across the board would be awesome

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  38. It is a dumb comparison, but it's the one Vince chooses.

    The justification for their booking contrary to wrestling logic tradition is that they're telling stories"

    Well, the stories are shit. Wrestling is utter garbage by that standard. When Vince stops pretending wrestling is something it isn't, it can stop being compared to better written TV.

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  39. That segment actually made me quit for a while until my friend got back into wrestling and needed somebody to catch him up to speed.

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  40. The Vince vs. God stuff was funny at times. Shane's facial expressions in those church vignettes were priceless. Katie Vick, of course, was an abomination. Other lowbrow comedy attempts include Big Dick Johnson, Natalya's queefing gimmick, and anytime a superstar was involved with vomit and/or diarrhea. But then again, what do I know? The sight of a grown man being pushed into a pool does nothing for me. Maybe I'm the one out of touch.

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  41. Because the wwe over complicates the shit out of everything.

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  42. I love Sorkin (well, West Wing S1-4) but we should never have seen the sketches on that show and I gave up of The Newsroom after the first season.

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  43. So you're suggesting that Vince go to USA and tell them that instead of the three hours a week that they want, he's going to give them 8 hours a year? THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT IDEA!

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  44. I agree, I'd like to see him squash a couple midcarders to assert he belongs at the top, but for the most part I feel like he's been an awesome champ.

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  45. Make the main writers of WWE TV: Vince Russo, Jim Cornette, Ole Anderson, Pat Patterson, Jim Herd, Bill Watts, Dusty Rhodes and Kevin Sullivan with a drunk Jake Roberts wearing a flamethrower always in the office they use to write the shows.

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  46. The better question is why does WWE hire these TV washout writing crews in the first place. It's wrestling. It will NEVER be on the level of great traditional television shows, and even if it were, nobody outside of wrestling fans would care. Trying to emulate them with terrible writers not only will impede that, but alienate actual wrestling fans on top of that. Just stick to a couple of bookers.

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  47. You shut your mouth! The Big Guy is awesome.

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  48. Even if you DON'T compare it to writing other TV shows, compare the nonsensical TV writing today to the writing from just a few years ago. They've had Raw and Smackdown forever. WWE only has one more hour to fill than they did then, so i don't believe it's just the time filling problems that make the writing suck.

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  49. Because without fancy TV writers, they are a wrestling promotion and god knows they want to be anything but that.

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  50. Because Vince hates 'rasslin and insists that his company is a respected global media giant, despite the fact that all of his other ventures lose money and his primary product, wrestling, is viewed as a carny act at best.

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  51. I miss that guy in charge from 2000 who used to storyboard the shows. Chris something or other.

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  52. The context was different, though - face star vs. heel boss was still new and exciting, and the people playing the roles were arguably much better. People were excited to see where Austin/Vince went, but people are clearly less interested in seeing where Ambrose-Reigns/"Authority" goes.

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  53. How about just Heyman with no input from Vince?

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  54. Because we're not a wresting company, God damn it! We're a global entertainment juggernaut! -VKM

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  55. I think the extremely over roster carried a lot of crap in the early SD days into 2000. I've watched the 99-2000 shows recently and there is loads of filler and especially pointless tag matches.

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  56. I don't think they entirely go away from "wrestling stories." What Owens/Cena is doing right now is phenomenal and as simple as it gets. Say what you will about the oversaturation of authority figure storylines, but what Rollins/Ambrose/Reigns/Authority is doing isn't far behind. And it's not a specific "story" per se but I love New Day doing the Freebird thing now, too.

    The really stupid stuff is what the fast-forward button is for.

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  57. Vince stopped listening to the fans years before that Rose/Trump match. Who are you kidding?

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  58. Chris Kreski. RIP. And apparently he was mocked endlessly for using storyboards, because you know... he was surrounded by idiots.

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  59. But all the stories made sense and it was all very compelling must see TV.

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  60. Brendan McDonaldJune 3, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    To the people saying you can't compare WWE to other forms of scripted entertainment: Chris Kreski used to meticulously storyboard every show and storyline, and this was when Raw and Smackdown were both ratings powerhouses, plus there was storyline development on Heat and, of course, pay per views every month. And this was during arguably the greatest artistic period in the history of the company, storytelling-wise and wresting-wise.

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  61. I'm not saying the shows were perfect, but from a purely writing standpoint, there was WAY less of the Kane/Big Show/Bella style "heel one week, face the next, no reason given" stuff. I remember when Chyna turned a few times in short order it became a running gag because it just didn't happen that often.


    Also, yes, the roster was way over back then, but part of the reason was BECAUSE they didn't have a writing team producing this garbage for them. Sure there was a booking/creative team, but they didn't have all the completely scripted stuff they do now. I refuse to believe that the guys we have today are somehow less talented than the previous generation, so the creative team HAS to be to blame.

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  62. Stranger In The AlpsJune 3, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    Motivation for a wrestler should be one of three things:


    1. Money
    2. Titles
    3. Hurting people


    Apparently the motivations now are simply to get revenge, That's why there are endless rematches.

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  63. You can track the first steps in the decline in quality (Fall 2000, the botched conclusion to the love triangle angle) to when Kreski was demoted, I'm pretty sure.

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  64. Even if they didn't, at least SOMEONE could say "here's where we were, here's where we are, here's where we're going." Imagining writing all this WITHOUT that seems insane.

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  65. Or wanting to hurt people's egos

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  66. Stranger In The AlpsJune 3, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    Yes. Shaming other wrestlers is also a motivation now.

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  67. There's also STANDING UP TO AUTHORITY.

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  68. I'm still bitter about how Molly Holly was treated on-air. She was an awesome worker, and goddam it she was adorable, too.

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  69. What about the Wrestlemania Moment? Or their legacy?

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  70. 4. To be a cross-platform multimedia "star" of indeterminate function

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  71. True, you can star in a shitty Marine sequel.

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  72. Are they still doing Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

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  73. Multiple hours of weekly content, but how much of that is the writing? Between the meat of the matches, video promos put on by the production staff, and the announcers shilling away, how much of it is really in the hands of their writing staff? They have roughly 30 writers who need to come up with angles/promos that last approximately an hour per week.

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  74. At this point, "The King of Kings" really is The Authority theme, and "The Game" is Triple H's theme.

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  75. Agreed. If you look back at successful bookers, I'm pretty sure we're not looking at a gathering of Mensa.

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  76. 1. Ice cream.
    2. Everything else.

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  77. I always loved "Best Week Ever" summing the whole issue of Studio 60: "The sketches suck and they act like they're comedy geniuses! It's like if every patient on ER died and the doctors gave each other high fives."

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  78. I think money as a motivator for a babyface isn't their top concern unless they're fighting for their family or whatever.

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  79. Except nobody seems to care about wins or losses anymore, so what is there to avenge?

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  80. Depends on your market. I get the Spanish language version on HD-antenna just fine.

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  81. Orton's return was a great example of their writing. His return is pushed back by months while creative comes up with the right story for him, and this is what they come up with - he returns and attacks Rollins, who put him out. Then he rejoined Rollins and the Authority the next night which everyone could see through. He hangs out with them for two weeks before he turns on Rollins, again, which we all knew was going to happen.


    This they spent months working on?

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  82. As a TV writer myself, I'm sure the writers are aware of the nonsensical nature of the show but writers are people, too. Many have to ease their artistic leanings for the paycheck and whims of the executive producer who steers the ship, whether it be Vince Gilligan or Vince McMahon.

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  83. Oh agreed. I mean that people backstage in the WWF mocked him, because nobody had ever used storyboards before.

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  84. And look where that got him - dead.

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  85. This line from his wikipedia entry basically sums up why everything has gone to shit:
    "Kreski's extensive use of storyboards was mocked by many in the WWF during his tenure"

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  86. Brendan McDonaldJune 3, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    Hey, you need to suffer for your art.

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  87. That was dumb.

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  88. I never blame the writers for WWE's stupid storylines. Can some guy on staff go up to Vince and say, "Hey, this makes no sense and maybe we should just simplify things?". Absolutely not, which is why we hear of such high turnover in the job.

    The people to blame are Vince/HHH/Stephanie. When a hit TV show falters, it's the showrunner who gets replaced. But WWE can't replace the idiots leading the show because they own the damn company so that's why there's just this circular storyline bullshit we watch.

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  89. However much you want to cut it down, it's still a fuckton more.

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  90. If anything, the roster today blows the Attitude Era out of the water. The fact that Godfather, the New Age Outlaws, Sable, Hardcore Holly, etc. were able to get over to the degrees that they did with little to no talent and/or charisma just shows how easy it would be to get folks like Barrett, Cesaro & Kidd, Paige, Bray Wyatt, etc. over with better writing.

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  91. It would've been an interesting experiment to give the sketch ideas or subject matter to actual comedy writers.

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  92. so...IWC psycho-analysis of a complete stranger

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  93. That, and to ENTERTAIN. One of several reasons why I hate Ziggler--he, the character, seems more concerned with putting on aesthetically pleasing matches than winning or losing.

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  94. His head probably exploded, Scanners-style

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  95. Sure you can! Hustle, loyalty, respect...

    ...wait, shit.

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  96. Studio 60 violated an almost-fundamental rule of writing: you really can't make a story about an indescribably brilliant writer/poet, because you'll eventually have to show their work and since they don't have indescribably brilliant writers on staff, the viewers are going to see through it.


    Then of course they tried to make a big "writer vs. working class parent with other kid in Iraq" story, which might be the most tired showbiz cliche in the history of anything.

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  97. There was also the issue of the show's primary villain never ever getting comeuppance.

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  98. Well, you're also dealing with people who aren't actors, who may or may not be able to give a nuanced or even accurate line reading, not to mention all the other bullshit, politicking, and injuries that can derail an attempted decent storyline. The writing is terrible and immature, yes. Could it be better, fairly easily? Yes. It it as cut and dry as "these writers are bad"? I don't think so.

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  99. Off topic...

    Really enjoying Bret Hart on JR's podcast. I'm admittedly a Bret mark (he's my all-time favorite, in fact), but I think a lot of the haters should listen to him on this and other shows when he talks about modern wrestling. It's interesting that a guy labeled as bitter and egocentric (and sure, there's some truth to both those) comes off like the LEAST out-of-touch old-timer in the business. Instead of harping endlessly on everything the current generation does wrong, he will point out some issues here and there (people need to sell more) but spends most of his time praising the work ethic and wrestling ability of the current roster. Direct quote from the show: "Guys like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan far surpassed anything I ever did or thought of doing. I really admire how innovative they are."

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  100. I'm glad we can all agree that comparing WWE to a one hour drama series with 13 episodes a year is really really stupid.

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  101. Adam "Colorado" CurryJune 3, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    TripleS can ruin any thread.

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  102. Stranger In The AlpsJune 3, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    The "rules" to wrestling apply to the kayfabe story you are seeing in the ring. Putting on a great show is the ultimate goal----behind the scenes. You want the people to return. You provide the fans with a simple story that is easy to follow, while working with your opponent to bring the story to life. "Why is Wrestler A in WWE right now?" - "because this is the best place for prestige and titles, and I want to be the best!" Wrestler B is here because he is a bad dude and he wants to show how bad he is by hurting people on the biggest stage. Then he goes out and stretchers a guy. It's things like this that are missing right now.

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  103. That's exactly who I was thinking of as Kingpin, too.

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  104. Ratings are way down year to year, in the neighborhood of 10%. Again, not Seth's fault, but he's not exactly setting things on fire as champion either.

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  105. So it's stupid on his part, too, but we already knew that. That doesn't mean I need to consume it as such or take the comparison seriously.

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  106. I'm not even sure you can fault the writers. It's Vince.


    He does not care about whether something makes sense. Many people have said Vince thinks his audiences have the attention span of gnats and anyone who confronts him with plotholes is kind of brushed aside.


    Vince himself told Austin on that podcast that these GODDAMN MILLENIALS don't pay attention to anything and they have to actually become more spur of the moment and attention grabbing to appeal to these iPhone toting, tweeting, texting, screen jumping millenial airheads. That's another way of saying he has no interest in deliberate, slow burn storylines that make sense over a long arc.


    The funny thing is Vince is about eight years behind the times on that. He's still thinking in terms of the peak of the reality TV era. The landscape has kind of changed a little, and good, plotted out stories are generally rewarded in today's entertainment landscape.

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  107. Again, though, characters can be motivated by different things. Dolph's entire character is that he's a showman. Shawn used to say the same stuff. There's nothing wrong with that.


    Adhering to strict rules is the only way to assure the industry never evolves. I agree many things are missing from the current product, but nobody ever progressed anything by doing things because that's the way they've always been done.


    I do agree with a lot of what you're saying, but it's just something that comes to my mind a lot when hearing guys like JR, Cornette and even Austin talk about stuff sometimes: everybody's always afraid of change.

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  108. lol Scott himself doesn't seem to disagree.


    I don't see how it's a completely unfair comparison. WWE at their best still have a couple of the worst written shows on television, and that would be true even if they had the same amount of episodes as the standard TV show does. I love wrestling and all, but even at it's very best, it's usually terrible if you compare it to your normal good/great show.

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  109. Look at what they do on NXT.


    How hard is it to apply that to the main roster?

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  110. So you don't think that Raw would be better written if it were 13 1 hour episodes a year that had a year of prep time to produce?

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  111. You're saying that NXT is on par with Game of Thrones?

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  112. Don't forget HAVING FUN!

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  113. It certainly would, but it still wouldn't compare to the vast majority of the shows out there if we're comparing quality. Granted, it's a rather unique genre of entertainment, but still. That was the source of the e-mail.


    Can you honestly say that even with all these hours of television that they have to produce that they're putting forth their best effort? The lackluster build-up of Wrestlemania 31 says it all.

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  114. It reminds me of the end of basketball games. One team is down by 1 or 2 points with 15 seconds left, they get the ball and call timeout. They come out of the timeout, throw in to one guy who stands there until there is 5 seconds left on the clock, drives in like a crazy person and shoots an off balance 16 foot jump shot. You needed a timeout to come up with that??

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  115. The lackluster build-up of a show that sold multiple tens of thousands of tickets and had millions of people watching it? Pretty sure there aren't a lot of people over at Titan Towers wringing their hands over that show today.
    They have to produce six hours of brand new television. Every single week. With very little prep time. And they have to have back up plans because somebody could get hurt at any time. And they have pretty much no chance for retakes or edits. I don't think you grasp just how difficult that is.

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  116. the Wrestlemania Moment thing got out of hand the last few years.

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  117. That's been Rollins' booking even before the Wrestlemania win. Remember TLC where the interference was just running wild all over the place? (A match that Rollins, of course, lost anyway, because John Cena.)

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  118. This is the fundamental problem. Producing seven hours of Main Roster TV each week is pretty much impossible to make good. And yet, they can't afford to not do that, because their TV rights deals are keeping them afloat because they're so financially compromised by the WWE Network.


    And yet their audience is smaller than at any point in the last 18 years.


    They're stuck.

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  119. NXT is 1 hour a week, the main roster is basically 5. Even if you dismiss all the other shows as filler, Raw still has 3 times as much content.

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  120. You're forgetting "cement their legacy"

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  121. Yeah, because Wrestlemania has a huge brand name (hence why they sold out the vast majority of those tickets months before the first match was even announced) and because wrestling fans in general have shown that they'll easily accept mediocrity.and yet still watch just because A. They have terrible taste, and B. Wrestling as a certain addictive quality to it that makes it unique.


    Stop hiding behind the "They have to produce six hours of new television every week" argument. It's a valid defense up to a certain point, but is otherwise just a convenient excuse for whenever the writing leaves a lot to be desired.

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  122. They're not stuck though. They're fine. They're only stuck if their shows don't perform well compared to other cable shows.

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  123. Its not only a valid defense to a certain point, it completely destroy the initial argument and makes any further discussion a laughable waste of time. The whole assertion is idiotic and wrong-headed.

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  124. Not quite. Wrestling doesn't sell advertising at anywhere near the level of a normal television show.


    Many advertisers put it on their Do Not Advertise list when they make buys on networks. It's what's putting TNA out of business right now despite having probably 15x the ratings of any other show on Destination America, and it was a problem for WWE even when they were drawing 6-7 million for RAW during its peak.


    WWE's value to USA is that USA can sell its entire platform as "The #1 cable network" because of wrestling's audience.


    But USA makes very little direct money from WWE because people don't want to buy ads on wrestling shows.


    There's a reason WWE's biggest partners were shit like 10-10-321 and 1-800 Collect and Stacker 2 and i57 Ignite and all that bullshit when they were peaking. Because Coca Cola, and Lexus, and Miller, and whatever weren't touching them.


    And it's just as bad now.


    There is a point where their audience could evaporate enough to make it no longer worth it to USA, and that point isn't quite as far away as people think. WWE has to be one of the top rated cable shows consistently to have any value to USA. Just pretty decent or mediocre is death for them.

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  125. Various documentaries, shoot interviews, etc. have depicted this exact mentaliy in Vince quite clearly. Nobody is reaching at straws here.

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  126. There are plenty of other shows that are on lots of DNA lists. Do you think that SVU doesn't have advertisers that don't want to be on that show? RuPaul's Drag Race? Walking Dead?

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  127. It does no such thing, but if you wanna pretend so, feel free.


    According to your logic, the quality of writing should therefore be the same in any era going as far back as late '99 since they've had to produce the same amount of hours of television every week (except for the extra hour of Raw since 2012) since then. If that's the case, then explain then why the show continues to have it's up's and down's in terms of whatever things are happening at any given time? It's like me saying that any show that has 13 episodes every season will have the same exact level of quality every season as well due to having the same amount of episodes each season when that's quite obviously not true.

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  128. I've binged watched television show seasons in days. If something is good, I have an attention span for it. When it's stupid, I don't.

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  129. Mr. Perfect (ish)June 3, 2015 at 1:20 PM

    They spent years and years making sure that we understand that the story is more important than the match. So the matches stopped mattering. And the stories are awful, by and large, so what exactly is left for us to latch onto? It's why NXT is so great - everything builds to a no shit WRESTLING MATCH. Raw builds to the next (awful) 20 minute segment.

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  130. WWE is written for an audience of one: Vince. He doesn't think it's awful.


    So no, he doesn't realize it.

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  131. Ratings being down 10 percent year to year is really not a big deal. It's not the late 90s anymore, the week to week of the ratings isn't so important.


    As Bayless said. they've gotten better at retaining viewers and over the past month, it looks like there have been positive rating trends.


    I'm not saying he's setting things on fire, but I think to say he's a huge bomb is a bit hyperbole .

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  132. Still remember how Vince thought DDP was a huge mark and ripped on him openly backstage for having a palm pilot while today Vince probably has his cell on him 24/7

    That's the forward thinking that makes millions... perverted old carny

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  133. And now you're trying to shift the argument. WWE having periods with better or worse writing does absolutely nothing to support your argument that you can compare it to hour long dramas that produce less than 5% of the content with 100 times the prep time.

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  134. Mr. Perfect (ish)June 3, 2015 at 1:24 PM

    NXT would cease being NXT if it had to fill 5 hours a week. You'd want those guys off your screen too.

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  135. I liked the Orton/HHH feud from 2008.


    Orton's toying with the McMahons for the hell of it.
    Orton wins the Royal Rumble to get a title shot.
    Orton continues to feud with the McMahons.
    Triple H wins the Smackdown title a month later.
    Orton lays out Stephanie.
    Triple H wants to face Orton.
    Triple H goads Orton into a title match.
    Orton says it was his plan all along to mess with the McMahons to goad Triple H into a title match, when 1) Triple H didn't have the title when it all started, 2) He won the Royal Rumble, he had a title match anyway, 3) He turned down Triple H's challenge at first.


    It was like the week before Wrestlemania they realized what the story should have been.

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  136. http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/25/why-wwe-might-not-get-the-tv-deal-it-wants.aspx

    WWE popular with viewers, not advertisers

    Unlike the other sports (and we'll pretend pro wrestling is a sport), WWE does not receive a premium for its viewers from advertisers.

    When it comes to collecting premium advertising dollars, however, USA Network earns the lowest CPMs for "Raw" than other programs, sources say. Translation: the ads that air during "Raw" are cheap, wrote Variety's Marc Graser.

    In 2013, it was estimated that "Raw," "Smackdown," any specials "Total Divas" and "Main Event" took in about $170 million in ad revenue (which is all kept by its TV partners), according to Wrestling Observer, the leading newsletter covering the business of pro wrestling.

    The WWE hopes to bring in $280 million or more in TV revenue from the U.S. with the new deal, according to the newsletter.

    "No matter what the ratings, under normal circumstances, it makes no economic sense for NBC Universal to go even to $170 million to keep the deal," the Observer wrote. "The reality is the stations could generate a solid percentage of that revenue in the same time slots even with shows with lower ratings. There are shows they can put on with minimal cost where the profit margin would be higher than for wrestling."

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  137. And that's the thing. people don't even want to have their make goods on RAW. They just don't care.


    The ad money vs. the cost (and producing RAW is extremely expensive) isn't there. The main value of RAW is USA being able to use that audience to say it's the top cable channel. The second that goes away, it's useless even if RAW is still pulling numbers relative to most cable shows.

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  138. Um, you're quoting an article that is quoting The Wrestling Observer as some sort of tv revenue expert.

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  139. Any decent TV writer would never agree to write 5-7 hours of TV a week for 52 weeks. It's an insane schedule, even heavier than a soap opera schedule. Not when you can make more writing for a 13-22 episode series and not have to travel around the country every week (and at least if you're writing a soap opera you don't have to travel). That's one reason why WWE's writing is so awful. The writers are mainly castoffs from the industry who can't hack it in regular TV or film.

    I mean, has there been a single former WWE writer who went on to be a successful TV or film writer? I can't think of one, but if there is that list is VERY short.

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  140. Reigns as the Corporate Champ made too much sense, I guess. I always sort of scratched my head when they spent two years burying Daniel Bryan for being a B+ player due to his size and look, and then they endorse the Alt-punk cruiserweight looking Seth Rollins as the Future of the WWE. If they were going for irony, they sure didn't ever play it up.

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  141. It's correct! WWE got crushed on their TV deal last year. Vince lost 350 million in value in a day.

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  142. right b/c shoot interviews are a great barometer of..anything.

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  143. lol The only one trying to shift the argument is you. You tried to defend their bad writing by saying they have to produce several hours of television, at which point I then explained to you why that's a bad excuse to use in a universal sense since there are sill periods when the writing is (much) better than it is in others.


    Before that, I already admitted that the show would be better with less episodes, but that the writing still wouldn't compare to your normal good/great TV show just because of the very nature of it being wrestling (i.e.bad actors calling one another poo-poo heads and threatening to beat each other up.)

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  144. Oprah NoodlemantraJune 3, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    I'd love it if WWE had continuity editors... their heads would explode like that dude in Scanners on just Kane and Show's history.

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  145. i forget his name but the guy that was credited with the brilliant by pro-wrestling standards Angel/Stef/HHH love triangle left on his own accord after a year (also shortly after HHH vetoed the rest of the story arc so he could look cool) was thought to be legit... he apparently blew everyone's mind by having a flowchart laying out how all the characters were connected which says it all since that's pretty basic

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  146. Oprah NoodlemantraJune 3, 2015 at 1:37 PM

    Kreski would even act out the angles in the production meetings... give it a real good test run.

    Of course, that was all joked about.

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  147. Yeah these writers suck but I agree it's far more difficult to write 6-7 hours worth of progamming plus the pay per views plus injuries or fans changin booking plans than it is for soap operas.

    That said having to script EVERYTHING and not letting the wrestlers do their own thing and having 4 minute matches and 20 minutes of talking on a 3 hour show doesn't help matters.

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  148. "But yeah, it’s been said before that if it was a TV show on a regular network, it would have been laughed off the air long ago. Characters change motivations and personality traits on a week-to-week basis, characters disappear and reappear with no explanation, people go from bad to good to bad. Even the worst soap operas have someone to at least make perfunctory attempts to keep track of this crap."


    You're aware, I'm sure, that the same paragraph (I took out the actual names) is a common complaint about "24" even from the first several seasons, which is a show you professed to be a *MASSIVE* fan of? =)


    (And I say that as a big fan of 24...I just think levying this complaint given the abundance of what's on television isn't a fair point. There's a *boatload* of garbage on television that WWE is *at least* competitive with, that still wouldn't hold a candle to something well done.)

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  149. Oprah NoodlemantraJune 3, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    Taking your job seriously!? That's like getting a tattoo of the date you won your title on the back of your neck!

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  150. Bret's book is a great auto biography, let alone good wrestling book


    worst part of the Montreal mess was we missed out on Bret getting a chance to eventually book

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  151. think people would be surprised how many tv writers would laugh about how terrible the shows they write are... it's business

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  152. No. The argument (please take the time to read) is that WWE has bad writing when compared to the best tv ever produced. That argument is dumb. You, on the other hand, are trying to have some other argument.

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  153. Was Stephanie the immediate successor to Kreski or was there a transitional head writer before Stephanie took over?

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  154. So you're saying that they should stop producing Raw.

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  155. This is the fifth time at least that he has been brought up. He's dead.

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  156. And he got laughed at too by people, thereby showing that this company doesn't get it.

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  157. What happened to him?

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  158. Cancer I believe.

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  159. I'd love for Bret to come back on the road as a "coach"/mentor type (since he's said he's not a huge fan of the road agents concept), someone who understands the industry has evolved and can mix in basic fundamental wrestling concepts with new ideas, and who encourages creativity from the wrestlers as opposed to "do this old Steamboat spot."

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  160. Personally I think they should film more stuff of people doing things outside of wrestling that pertain to their characters. 2 years of being on television and we never understood the importance of Sister Abigail. Why not talk about Zigglers comedy shit some? Don't tell me some shit about Ryback meeting a fan SHOW me that. Have Renee Young do the sitdown interview thin but have Rollins in character talking about how it felt to screw his buddy Roman out of his moment. Show King Barrett being a dick at an autograph session. I think part of the reason no one connects with these characters on a personal level.

    I know we all know wrestling is fake but they make it so obvious when Dean Ambrose leaves the arena he becomes John Moxley again. No attempt is made to suggest that maybe this is really some of who this person is or what kind of a life this CHARACTER would have outside of the arena.

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  161. "They have terrible taste."


    All right, time to check out of this discussion.

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  162. Yes they do, but no they don't give a shit at all. WWE is worth more money as meaningless background noise for 3 hours on a Monday than it is as a episodic wresting show, so here we are.

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  163. "All right, Allen, we're just gonna give it to you at half court. Dribble a bunch of times and then throw up a prayer."

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  164. Everything you mentioned is a good idea to not only get the audience more engaged with these characters, but to eat up TV time on a 3 hour show instead of using Triple H and Stephanie in 3 or 4 segments.

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  165. 4. Jealousy over someone else getting a role in a Japanese shampoo commercial.

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  166. Plus, Sorkin using his characters to rail on reality TV and Amanda Peet as a network exec who actually passes on a show she knows will be a hit because she has issues with its quality. But yeah, trying to push the show inside as "cutting edge humor for the masses" and then doing skits off stuff Sorkin thinks are witty really crushed its own reality.

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  167. TNA's ReAction show was great for that very reason. Eric had a ton of bad ideas in TNA, but that was a diamond in the rough. I loved the way it was filmed and the added dimensions it gave to the characters.

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  168. Yes and getting into the HOF or something.

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  169. He can't be completely insulated. On some level, when he hears all his ex-stars are shooting of their mouths about how awful RAW all over these podcasts and in the same breath giving Hunter all this praise over NXT, that has to piss him off to some degree.


    And he has to hear some of it. I know Vince isn't sitting there listening to a podcast, but I'm sure he probably reads the dirt sheet stuff and a lot of that makes it into them. At the very least it's established he used to read that stuff. Maybe he really doesn't care anymore and just lives completely in the bubble.

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  170. He's probably more in the bubble now than he ever was. He has no competition and his program gets solid (though slowly declining) ratings. As long as he maintains the course, he probably thinks he's fine.

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  171. A lot of this could be helped by giving guys more promo time. Too many of the shows are just guys fighting without any conceivable reason. Would it really hurt to give more guys promo time? I'm not asking for 20 minute Cesaro promos, but giving Kidd and Cesaro 3-5 minutes to put themselves over would do wonders. The backstage stuff New Day has been able to do has really enhanced their character. We need more of that (and it would fill their 5+ hours of TV time easily too).

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  172. That stuff could be the preshow for that first hour then Raw itself the normal two.

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  173. Bingo. These guys never get a real chance to connect with the audience. It's always Cole or someone telling us stuff, like we want to listen to anything he says.....

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  174. I think they need a change in philosophy. NXT's fiddled around with it, but Lucha Underground does it very well right now.


    The 20 minute in-ring promos and backstage interviews are just bland. It'd be one thing if they were unscripted and you got a good mix of genuinely weird, interesting, terrible on any show.


    But if WWE is going to heavily script what everyone says, present more of that stuff in taped segments, filmed segments, and so forth.


    They don't have the advantage of other companies because they run shows live or two days after they're taped, but if they planned ahead, they could film a lot of stuff and insert as necessary.


    Like there's no reason they couldn't have gone to Minnesota and filmed stuff with Brock in the last year.

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  175. Completely agree with this. Characters don't have a chance to be characters. I'm not waxing for the old days as there have been a lot of improvements, but even things like the old WWF Updates and Event Centers that would give promo time to everyone, including the lower card guys. Insert promos during matches was pretty good too. They spend zero time actually investing in the wrestler. Instead they expect them to get over by their entrance.


    Today promo time is given to the top 10% of the roster, while everyone else is lucky to get a chance. With EIGHT hours a week of television you would figure that they could find time for more people.


    Also, they desperately are missing a Mean Gene type, someone that could actually interview wrestlers. Renee Young does it sometimes, but they don't do it enough. Instead everything is a bad skit.

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  176. For real. Just show Brock tossing around jobbers in his basement, giving an F5 to a deer, I dunno. They sent a camera crew to the Hart Dungeon several times in the 1990s! I'm reminded of the HBK/Bret video packages for the Iron Man Match at WM 12.

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  177. Yeah, the interviewers need to be more partisan on the face or heel side like Okerlund and Jesse Ventura used to be. I'm reminded of Okerlund flipping out at Jake Roberts at Tuesday in Texas. "Get the hell out of here!"

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  178. The way I've heard it explained in the past is this:


    They won't put anyone out there without a script save a very select few who they trust who have some limited creative freedom.


    At the same time, Vince doesn't want to waste a lot of time on midcard stuff because he doesn't think it matters in terms of drawing money.


    So they devote most of their brainpower to the top program or two. And it shows. Most midcard matches are very basic with no real story behind them.


    And I'm not sure this is a new thing. The impression I get is this is kind of how he's always thought. The difference is at different times in different eras, he's had people under him who have taken an interest in developing guys all up and down the card like JR, or Cornette, or even Russo (for better or worse).

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  179. Yeah, all of that is sensible. It just seems like even in the 1980s, though, and even the early 1990s you still had midcard storylines even if they got ridiculous (e.g. IRS stealing Tatanka's headdress). It's just a counterproductive strategy because by not building the midcard you don't let the crowd get invested in the next big possible thing. After all, if Brock Lesnar got 50/50 booking back in 2002 or whatever, would people still think highly of the guy?

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  180. The real problem is the format of everything. They are so locked into serving the house show tours, the PPV blowofffs, and the literal format of the 3 hour RAW, that they no longer write truly episodic storylines. To put it simply, whatever they do on RAW has to be able to be reflected in the tour for the next couple weeks. RAW isn't written so much as coordinated with the live tour. The company decides which wrestlers will be on the road, then RAW is booked to utilize those wrestlers. That's why the show is so identical each week for 2, 3 or 4 week stretches. It's also why the PPV isn't so much a blowoff or something built to as it is a marking point for when things simply get shifted around. It's all a big machine now. Only occasionally can they be afforded the opportunity to put in something new or unexpected. And as for RAW itself it's all a matter of laying out segments to coordinate with the breaks and top of the hour ratings pop points. So WWE's "writing" ends up being overly dialogue focused because they need the wrestlers out there talking to shape what the stories are. Just the whole format of multiple writers, road agents to lay out the actual matches, and Vince McMahon hovering and changing things at the last moment... its kind of amazing we see a show at all. They've had to eliminate spontaneity & creativity by necessity.

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  181. I think USA Network might even go for that too (although it'd have to show it could hold its weight in the ratings). If it was all about guys getting hyped to fight, etc., I think it might even draw in new viewers.


    RAW just needs a sizable shakeup in format and at this point I don't care what it is. Back in the 1990s we got like 3-4 different opening video packages in the span of 4 years (original RAW opening, the fight on top of Titan Towers, the warehouse brawl, the unintelligible soy la vie song).

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  182. Part of that too is in the 80s and 90s, guys could pretty much do what they want. They'd just put them on TV, and maybe occasionally say "You're going to do a post-match interview, sell this point" and they'd be pretty much free to develop their character or say what they want.


    WWE doesn't allow that now. And will probably never allow it because they don't want to risk someone going rogue. The stakes are too high for them now.


    A lot of those guys in the 80s and 90s just kind of did what they wanted after being given very basic character ideas and booking notes. Writers only really started to emerge in the late 90s and it was loosely scripted then.


    Then it became heavily scripted in the 00s.

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  183. True. Although someone going rogue might at least get them some attention these days instead of being considered a joke. Wrestling by its very nature is sort of anti-PC and caters to stereotypes, so a sanitized corporate wrestling product is just pretty lame.

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  184. Hey, whatever happened to that guy who did the storyboarding in late 1999 to late 2000 and got made fun of by everyone because he did storyboarding?

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  185. Show guys arriving at the arena. Hell show Owens and Cena getting into a brawl security has to break up before the show have Rollins in a limo telling JJ security to watch out for Dean. Someone watching might think "Gee what are those guys fighting for? Let me see if they have a match tonight."

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  186. Chris Kreski. The stuff they did under him in 2000 was spectacular and, gasp, made sense week to week.

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