Q&A Friday #12: What Happened To Pro-Wrestling?
Question: “What the hell in Vince McMahon thinking. The WWE is in horrible shape, he doesn’t even talk to “The Rock” about renewing his contract. HHH and JBL are the champions, both are the worst champs and heels in a long time. WWE has done away with the high spots that used to draw viewer away from the WCW. Wrestling itself is in horrible shape. What can be done to bring the fans back to Professional Wrestling?” — Cheese187
“Oddly enough, I’m with cheese. What happened to wrestling? It’s lost virtually all status in pop culture, no one is talking about it, and it seems like there’s absolutely no marketing or promotion going on.
I was never much of a fan, but it’s not tough to see that wrestling’s totally fallen off the radar screen. Can someone who knows the industry explain what the heck happened?” — Mike_M
Answer: Believe it or not, back in my Brass Knuckles Webzine days, I used to write a wrestling column. I even did some interviews with people like Steve Corino (remember him in ECW?) and Bobby Heenan who was the biggest jerk I’ve ever interviewed.
Some people would probably tell you that wrestling is down right now because it’s a cyclical business or because they don’t currently have any huge stars like Steve Austin or The Rock who can carry the show. But personally, I think the WWE has just gotten lazy and complacent since they buried and bought out their competition (WCW & ECW). Let me explain:
Although a lot of people who aren’t pro-wrestling fans don’t get it, “wrasslin'” is a soap opera for guys. But instead of romance and somebody’s lost brother dying of an incurable disease before his “big secret” is revealed, wrestling focuses on smack talkin’ and people hitting each other with chairs. So for wrestling to be entertaining, it still requires at least a simplistic plot (What are the plausible reasons why these people want to kill each other?), witty dialogue (“On top of all that, look at this guy? I mean he’s a idiot, he’s 7 feet of pure idiot. You put his brain in a parakeet… zing! It’ll fly backwards.” — The Rock) and a group of wrestlers who do more than walk through their matches. The WWE doesn’t have any of that right now which is why, for the most part, I’ve stopped watching their shows.
But, hey, there’s always TNA Wrestling. They may have 1/3 of the WWE’s talent and 1/10 of their budget, but if you ask me, they put on a better show than the WWE in almost every respect.
*** Update #1 ***: In my original post, I left readers with the impression that Bobby Heenan had passed away. That is not the case. I was thinking of Freddie Blassie when I wrote that. My apologies.