Wrestling With Bad Writing: No Commitment
My column over at Inside Pulse deals with wrestling and writing for the most part. Usually, if I’m talking about wrestling and writing it has to do with how bad it is though. More often than not I focus on the bigger names since they have the most airtime and storylines. How the WWE handles Roman Reigns comes up every time. I’m not a Roman hater despite failing to get #DieRomanDie to trend. (Hey, die Rocky die was the chant that started it all for the Rock. More on that in time though.)
Roman Reigns is pushed as the biggest star on the RAW brand. He’s not hated because for some strange X-Pac heat. He’s hated for being on the receiving end of a mega push while the fans were in love with Daniel Bryan. It was at a time when a definite organic movement had begun within the fellowship of the WWE fans. No force was going to change those thoughts except for Daniel Bryan retiring from active competition. Since then Roman Reigns has only gotten better. He was pretty green during that mega push. His promo skills were awful. His in ring skills weren’t the greatest either. But he didn’t buckle under pressure.
A wrestler is only as good as the company portrays him to be. It’s like the cliché “fake it til you make it” except in reverse. When WWE bought out WCW it sat on a lot of talent. They made the WCW wrestlers pay their “dues” to WWE. Booker T and DDP come to mind. It took Booker, a multi-time world champion, years to work his way up the WWE ladder. DDP never made it up that ladder before forced into retirement due to injuries. If talent is portrayed in a certain manner, the fans start to believe it. Then the wrestlers are treated like they can’t get over because they’re booked to lose every week.
For Daniel Bryan (or Bryan Danielson before his WWE career) that was how he was treated. It was the fans constant injection that changed things. The WWE planned for Guardians of the Galaxy famed Batista to win the Rumble and go on to Wrestlemania. The fans quickly turned on the celebrity. Why? The story demanded Daniel Bryan to win. The WWE just didn’t realize the story it was writing.
When Rocky Maiavia started wrestling he was portrayed as a blue chipper, WWF’s 3rd generation wrestler, and a super white meat babyface that made Ricky Steamboat look like a gnarly bear. It was so forced the fans didn’t buy it. They didn’t just turn on Rocky they chanted Die Rocky Die! There were no hashtags back then, but if there were it’d been a number one trending item for weeks. The WWF had no choice but to turn Rocky heel, and thus, The Rock was born after joining a bad guy faction, the Nation of Domination.
The fans sometimes know what they’re talking about. They know what the story demands. After all, they’re not jus fans of wrestling. They’re consumers of storytelling, be it movies or books or television. Even Vince McMahon has ignorantly stated, “we make movies.” If that’s the case you make B movies, Vince, with B movie characters.
The story demands that Roman Reigns turn heel. Having him destroy Strowman in a car wreck demands a complete commitment to a heel turn. Something that wasn’t followed through with on the most recent RAW. It’s bad writing when the guy most bood that committed attempted vehicular manslaughter isn’t pushed as a complete heel. It’s even worse when the face champion acts like an egotistical coward. And it’s beyond bad when the one solid heel shows more backbone and fire than the rest. The WWE Universe is upside down.