We no longer live in the Attitude Era. Storyline’s these days seem pushed out at a great velocity with a diverse range of results from reasonable to cringe-worthy – and thats if there’s a story at all.
For those who are wrestling fans, its unlikely you won’t know about the rebranding so to speak of TNA into Impact and whilst it’s certainly nowhere near the size of the beast that is the WWE, it does have one of the best stories currently running in the world of wrestling.
Meet Laurel Van Ness. She is currently working the jilted at the alter angle, and working it very well.
The days of good story telling – ie a logical beginning, middle and end are something of a rarity these days. As she staggers to the ring, complete with filthy wedding dress and smudged makeup, you know exactly her story even if you were not witness to the catalyst. This is great storytelling and a great performance by Laurel.
I think Impact has tapped into something here and this is the way wrestling can return to 8.1 and higher ratings, rather than the 2.0+ ones we find ourselves in at the moment.
Unless you are a hardcore wrestling fan to the point where it’s just two people pretending to fight each other it’s the stories that bring in the viewers and that’s not just wrestling either – hype and promo’s from a multitude of sports on TV use storytelling to a point in order to draw in viewers, its to do with brand recognition. Its to do with viewers caring about and wanting to know the outcome to a drama or situation.
Two soccer teams that nobody has heard of, is hardly going to fill a stadium with supporters and a match that has nothing at stake is not going to bring in as many viewers as a local derby or cup final.
It seems that wrestling is more PG in may cases and this is one of the reasons given for us not having an “attitude era”. Laurel Van Ness and the current storyline that Impact has running show that if the story is great, it doesn’t need to push any of the buttons of Generation Snowflake.
If you are not already a regular viewer of Impact, you should be. Competition is great for the consumer. Right now there are not many people who will disagree that the WWE needs some competition.
Which brings me to my final words regarding storylines, with a message to the WWE.
WWE & the PG House of Horrors.
Dear WWE creative, should you wish to embrace a more PG product, don’t try to push a “House of Horrors” match. It won’t be (and wasn’t) horrific – it should be wrestling promotion 101 to know that a pre-taped short “horror” film with a PG rating will not go down well with a live audience, where unlike TV viewers who can go and make a drink or walk out of the room, they are stuck there in the stadium if they want to get their monies worth and see the other matches.
The House of Horrors was certainly horrific, it was a horrific failure as a pre-taped piece of wrestling storyline and it was horrific failure as an attempt to produce a short film.
I recall Vince McMahon once saying about his wrestling product that they “make movies”. No Vince you do not. You tell stories which are resolved in the ring in a live wrestling match. If people want to watch movies, they have plenty of other choices which do that far better than wrestling does.
Maybe Vince has lost sight of the fact that wrestling fans watch wrestling for wrestling. They want to see simulated but entertaining fighting that resolves the conflict of a well written storyline.
The problem I think is not with the writers, its the person responsible for giving the green light to the material which is being shown on WWE TV.
The viewing figures clearly show that.
Vince Russo needs to return to the WWE and sort the mess out before even the hardcore fans go elsewhere.