Wrestling with Bad Writing Blog Post: Unbelievable
Unbelievable. Sometimes the only word that comes to mind when I’m watching wrestling is unbelievable. And that’s probably not the word any writer wants to hear, whether a blogger, a novelist, or someone that writes for professional wrestling. You want fans to suspend belief, not utter the word…unbelievable.
It’s two fold. For one, the obvious, what I’m watching just isn’t believable. Two, what I’m (or reading) has been laid out in such a manner and is so bad that I am flabbergasted that someone would even expect me to suspend belief. But that’s often what happens. Often the writing for wrestling gets stale or isn’t thought out thoroughly. There are two parts that I would consider a necessity. The first is reality, as in believability and the second part is whether the product as a whole or in pieces is being advanced. Often time that means singular investments for an over all advancement of the whole product. For example, in Japan, puroresu, the new aces or top guys are planned out quite in advance. These singular pieces help get the whole product ahead.
Let’s consider WWE’s The Shield. Big things were planned for the trio. After the break up all three members received huge pushes. Of course, some pushes were too hard (Roman Reigns) and some were reluctant (Dean Ambrose). So what happens when a failed mega push doesn’t get over with the fans? Often, people are left sitting on their couches at home, watching a pay-per-view main event, for example the recent Royal Rumble where number thirty was Roman Reigns, and they utter the words…unbelievable.
So the question is how is this fixed? How does a writer move passed this sort of fouled up character? If the character isn’t working out, or perhaps a supporting character is working better, the obvious choice may be to tell the story from the more interesting character. When WWE had Batista win the Royal Rumble years ago the fans damn near rioted. Everyone wanted Daniel Bryan to win. The story demanded it. WWE was quick to fix the issue and place Daniel Bryan in the Wrestlemania main event and save face. But what about the reoccurring character(s) that just won’t go away?
Main characters are a dime a dozen in WWE honestly and WWE could easily swap “views” and let any number of wrestlers take Roman Reign’s spot. A writer’s other choice when the character just won’t cooperate and do what he’s needed to or the story stagnates is…to kill the character off. I know, for those old enough to remember Rocky Maiavia and the Die Rocky Die chants, it’s not the first time this has been suggested. And many writers have said that when you’re stuck kill off an important character, one that advances plot and means something to the readers. Wrestling is notorious for this for all the wrong reaqsons. Often times they’ll take a character that the fans are 100% behind and book them into oblivion and “greener pastures”. A good exmaple is Damian Sandow who was mad over with the fans. WWE dropped the axe with no good reason.
Firing a wrestler isn’t the only way to ‘kill’ them off however. There have been plenty of bad gimmicks that resulted in the wrestler getting a reboot. Sometimes a heavy gimmick change involves several months away from the mainstream media (something hard to do these days). So what would someone like Roman Reign’s need? Maybe it’d be something as subtle as a few months away from the fans and new ring attire. Maybe an entire gimmick reload. It doesn’t neccessarily mean a full switch into something entirely new, but a new attitude, a new style.
Hulk Hogan’s popularity was waning way back in his WWF days, months before he went to WCW. And even after working the red and yellow against new threats there, his popularity just wasn’t the same it’d been decades before. His heel turn wasn’t just in attitude, but in style and gimmick. It was something fresh. When Rocky Maiavia turned heel it was the same thing. So does Reigns need to turn heel? I’m not even sure I’d go that far since the WWE has continually tried to cure his character problems with giving him a bad boy attitude. I’d do the opposite since it hasn’t worked.
Reign’s says he’s not a bad guy, he’s not a good guy, he’s THE guy. I’d disagree. He is a good guy. He’s a family man. And that’s exactly what he should be. Writer’s are often told to write what they know. Not the greatest advice, but what it means to me is that sometimes it’s easier to write something you know thoroughly, or if not, become familiar with it. Reigns’s character should be who he is. He’s not the best actor, but if he’s being himself the fans would probably be more out to accept him. And that wouldn’t really be a bad thing for PG WWE. A wholesome Ricky Steamboat type of wrestler in the upper card could do wonders, especially with fan support.
Another guy that could do well with a killed gimmick is the Miz. The variations of the Hollywood gimmick are long over done. And while the new move stealer stuff is altering that he could use a total reboot. I’d suggest him being placed inside of a tag team, washed clean, face or heel, maybe even a stable. I could easily picture the Miz in a stable with Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder. All three of these guys are stagnant and in need of letting the newbies stretch their legs while they feel out different areas.
In the end, the idea is to keep talented workers and find where they fit in. Listen to the fans, who they like, and work it out from there. If the fans are indifferent then there’s an issue that needs resolution.