Random Thoughts from the Office: June 25, 2010

A very interesting week around the Australian offices of Clarence Mason, Attorney at Law this week. A new Prime Minister, the drama of the World Cup....

This is the game that doesn't end
Yes it goes on and on my friend
Some people started playing it not knowing what it was
And they'll continue playing it forever just because

Thanks Vyse

You're probably wondering why I'm bringing all that up and not actually talking about wrestling. To which I'd answer: if you're looking for wrestling on a site about Wrestlecrap Radio you've come to the wrong place, but please stay and have fun. Secondly it does raise a point that got me thinking this week.

Is it me or has a lot of the drama gone from wrestling? I mean, I hate to sound like one of the "Grumpy Old Schoolers" but it seems to me like a lot of wrestling nowadays is very lacking in the drama portion. Not that there haven't been dramatic moments. The NXT invasion, the perfectly done buildup to Undertaker-Shawn Michaels II, even the way TNA used AJ Styles before he won the title at No Surrender last year. There have been moments, but on the whole wrestling just seems to be lacking that one aspect that was so crucial in the mid to late 90's and even before that.

Think back to Wrestlemania III, Hogan vs Andre, the whole ripping off of the cross on Piper's Pit, Andre eliminating Hogan from the Battle Royal on Saturday Night's Main Event, it was all built to make it look and feel like Hulk Hogan didn't have a prayer in the world of beating Andre the Giant. And of course the rest is history, the ultimate case of Booking 101: make a situation where it seems like the babyface has no chance and get the fans behind him and it will make his ultimate victory, because this is wrestling and Good MUST triumph over Evil in the end, all the sweeter.

That's what killed WCW. Yes I know as well Vince Russo's ineptitude but I maintain he merely quickened the demise. The real cause of death started when the nWo angle began and specifically Starrcade 1997. The one chance to get the babyfaces' ultimate payoff, Sting was finally going to defeat Hollywood Hogan and bury the nWo once and for all...but being WCW they blew it. Whether through bad luck or bad booking, there was no big payoff for the fans who'd invested their time and the cracks would soon appear.

A lot of that was due to what the WWE was doing at the time with Austin vs McMahon. The common man, everyday, beer drinking, ass kicking redneck Stone Cold against the epitome of Corporate America Mr. McMahon. It was the story that carried the WWE right through the Attitude Era, a storyline that lasted just as long as the nWo in WCW, if not LONGER. Yet people never really complain about Austin vs McMahon whereas the nWo angle is pointed to as one of the key factors in WCW's Rise AND Fall. Why is that? How can two wrestling angles run side by side for so long and yet have such different opinions of them at the end? Because of Booking 101: Austin got his revenge, he triumphed over the insurmountable odds each and every time, which would infuriate Mr. McMahon and as such he'd make the obstacles higher. And sure, Austin fell a couple of times, lost when everyone believed he would do it again, but that just drew the fans in more.

Compare that to the nWo. Looking back in my memory at least, it's tough to remember one time the babyfaces actually got their revenge on them. The nWo ran roughshod over the whole organization for years and the ONE guy who the fans wanted to see destroy the nWo singlehandedly, their Stone Cold if you will, Goldberg, was pretty much kept away from them in the semi-main event.

It's a key mantra often in the wrestling business: if you can make fans suspend their disbelief and become emotionally involved in a storyline you can laugh all the way to the bank. Look at today by comparison, and for this I'll bring up Michaels-Undertaker again, a rematch of quite possibly the greatest Wrestlemania match ever yes but a rematch nonetheless. There really shouldn't have been such rabid fan interest in the match, but because of the way the WWE built it, the chase of Shawn to get the match, the way Taker played it off when he finally didn't see a choice, the way the WWE made some of the best video packages ever to build it... While most people I'm sure deep down knew that Taker's streak wasn't going to be broken, at the same time they couldn't see Shawn retiring. The result? Suspension of disbelief. Shawn in the eyes suddenly went from no chance to an equal chance. And it made for that pretty much equalled what happened last year, a feat no one believed could happen.

The problem is of course that is but a flash in the pan and most storylines in WWE and TNA are very predictable nowadays, so there's no real chance for attachment. So what's the solution? For WWE I'm not sure there is one, plus they've proven they can still do it when they need to.

TNA on the other hand may have a solution, if the rumors are true. By limiting the number of Pay Per Views and using Impact and 3 hour Spike TV Specials to build storylines into an epic saga, they have a chance to hook a lot of the wrestling audience by building big storylines. They can do it, the Main Event Mafia storyline of last year proves that, and with the minds of Bischoff, Hogan and Russo they have a good chance to actually make it happen. It will take something that Hogan and Bischoff haven't shown a lot of yet though: patience. TNA is not going to become an overnight success, the wrestling world is too far gone for that. However, by setting the groundwork now, in three to five years we may see TNA finally become what everyone deep down wants them to be, a real competitor for the WWE.

I mean if RD and Blade can get people hanging out for the reveal of "John Smith" then it can't be that hard for TNA right?

Clarence "Showstealer" Mason

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