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Wrestlers Not Connecting with Audience


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Um, so lets take it back to the Hitman / HBK era in WWE. That was the last time that "lower level talent" had to carry the brand. No, I'm not saying either of those guys were scrubs. I personally hold Hart in high regard. At that point in time, looking at what he'd done up until them, not so much for HBK. At the time though, they were the best of what the WWE had to put out there so they ran with it. They had no choice. Nothing else caught on until WCW forced WWE to go Attitude.

Fast forward to now. So many wrestlers have been given potential shots to rise to that level. There is a long long, LONG list. From MVP, to Kofi, to Miz, etc.

It's ignorant to continue to blame McMahon for not creating stars. At some point, the talent has to make the connection that causes the fans to demand them. There isn't anybody on that roster, (outside of Miz), who has generated enough of a reaction to get that done. That, alone, is why Orton, Cena, Taker, and even Miz have to continue on.

 

No, I didn't forget about CM Punk. I like CM Punk, actually. But right now, he is the HBK / Bret Hart of the pre-attitude era WWE. It's not a bad spot to be in, really, but he isn't "the man" either.

 

Rocky, 15 times a year triples up on the other WWE talent. He's that big. Every single other person on that roster pales on comparison to him with the exception of the Dead Man who is around about as often as Rocky is, so, there you go.

 

It's not Orton's fault or Cena's fault that they've got a connection. It's not Jericho's fault that, even away from the business, his connection is stronger than 95% of the current WWE roster.

 

At some point, the talent has to make that connection using what they have. They haven't done it. McMahon wouldn't crush it, not in the here and now. He NEEDS new major connections - Actually, he needs like 3 guys off the TNA roster. Almost any 3 established, connected TNA stars. Even half of them bring more sizzle than the WWE roster. It's that bare right now.

 

Your thoughts?

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Fast forward to now. So many wrestlers have been given potential shots to rise to that level. There is a long long, LONG list. From MVP, to Kofi, to Miz, etc.

It's ignorant to continue to blame McMahon for not creating stars. At some point, the talent has to make the connection that causes the fans to demand them. There isn't anybody on that roster, (outside of Miz), who has generated enough of a reaction to get that done. That, alone, is why Orton, Cena, Taker, and even Miz have to continue on.

 

Your argument falls apart when you consider that Kofi Kingston was given a chance and he DID make the connection. He 100% did. They put him with Orton in late 2009 and people went NUTS for him. They loved him and were totally ready for a Kofi push...and WWE screwed up the feud, beat him and went straight back to how it was before.

 

Same deal for MVP on Smackdown. He was given a run in 2007 with Matt that got over HUGE, he was the best heel on that show, people were all expecting him to finish with Matt and move straight up into the main event...and WWE decided punishing him was more important, made him a jobber and he never recovered.

 

Same with anyone else. Whenever WWE has actually given guys a decent run they HAVE got over. Then it gets screwed up, back to the midcard, and people stop caring because WWE gives up on them and never follows through. So its doubly hard to get behind a young guy now because WWE has trained people to distrust new pushes since they always inevitably screw it up, so they dont bother investing.

 

The problem is with WWE and Vince a thousand times before its with the talent.

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I had a post all typed up arguing pretty much exactly what Jimmy just said, but then I read the last paragraph of the OP and just about died laughing, so didn't bother posting it. Needless to say, I agree with Jimmy, it's 100% WWE who keep killing guys off with the push/depush/push/depush/Idon'tgivea****abouthimanymorebecauseWWEisnevergoingtodothisrightarethey- cycle.

 

In fact, it's happened so often that WWE kill a push just as the guy is starting to get seriously over, that I don't think it's coincidence anymore. WWE is flatout killing guys deliberately because they actively don't want another Rock or Austin or Hogan or anyone who transcends the WWE brand.

Edited by etz
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I dont think its deliberate. I think its far more incompetence and, in some ways, an unwillingness to believe that they actually have to do that sh*t properly. Sometimes, like Miz for example, it seems to me like they think if they book him like a chump but have Cole say "he's a huge star now!" over and over enough times, that will be enough.

 

Honestly I think sometimes Vince actually believes he's "beyond" pro wrestling, and thus doesnt have to worry about booking pro wrestling properly, because as a global entertainment icon they dont have to bother with that old sh*t, his stars are stars because he says they are enough times on TV.

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He NEEDS new major connections - Actually, he needs like 3 guys off the TNA roster. Almost any 3 established, connected TNA stars. Even half of them bring more sizzle than the WWE roster. It's that bare right now.

 

Your thoughts?

 

Yeah, I think the key word is "established". WWE just need to keep investing and keep things interesting in the feuds / storylines, with regards to the guys like Sheamus, Del Rio, Barrett. I think all these guys have the potential to become "established" wrestlers, on the level of Cena / Orton. WWE just need to keep pushing and believing in them.

 

Like Jimmy said, guys like MVP, Kofi have had the push, but for one reason or the other, WWE stopped them dead in their tracks.

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Also an interesting reverse point to make, with regards to TNA. While it's great to have have guys like RVD, Angle, Mr Anderson on your roster, there comes a time where you need to, atleast try, and make your own main event wrestlers. I think the fans will invest in someone like that, someone knew coming; through the ranks. Just look at the reaction, Eric Bichoffs son has been getting, for example? Crimson also.
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There is a combination of factors in my opinion here. First off is WWE is making the same mistake WCW was doing when they went under. It seems like all these writers and talent guys that the superstars have are not real wrestling people. They are businesssmen first and foremost. I dont think that what the fans want comes first anymore

 

Secondly is the superstars themselves. The quality just isnt there ryte now. The matches dont have any passion in them, just guys who can go through the motions and moves really well. But there is no real hatred, everybody plays nice and it kills any real hatred that guys have toward each other. Take bret vs. Hbk as example, not only was it 2 great performers with great chemistry, it was there true hatred for each other at the time that made the rivalry more intriguing it captivated fans and they couldnt look away. There isnt that factor anymore.

 

Thirdly, there is no real drama in the matches themselves anymore. U look at guys like undertaker, triple hhh, randy orton, even cena to an extent. there matches told a story from start to finish there rivalries told a story from start to finish. Now its basically im tougher than you oh wait no im tougher than you. No creativity there and when you repeat it over and over it grows stale. Cm punk and maybe miz areprobably the 2 exceptions to that, they choose to think outside the box a bit with there characters and actually make the fans hate or love them. Its why they are more interesting than a kofi or a morrison.

i would love to keep debating this because this is one of the first threads ive responded to on here that reall gets my blood boiling. I miss the days when it was interesting. Are the matches betr now...maybe...but more interesting...definetly not.

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Firstly, the entrances. I like Jack Swagger and his entrance theme, but I've got a feeling it's played a little bit too loud and it's masking something. Swagger is someone who can wrestle, no question, though I question why he was ever given the big belt and now you get the impression the WWE wonder why they did it given their treatment of him, which relates to things said above.

 

Jimmy's right that Kofi was/is over. When he comes out, he gets a great reaction. However, I think if Kofi was a permanent main-eventer, there would be critics and/or he wouldn't be treated seriously there. Kingston's entertaining in the ring by WWE standards, though I think he could only be a supporting actor. Fans sometimes reject over performers when they take the next step (DDP as an example, though turning him heel didn't help matters) and I think Kofi may be a victim of that. Then again, they should have at least tried. He was a contender to be elevated.

 

Spoke about the entrances. Post-match is worse. Everyone stays in the ring too long. When Hogan and Austin did it, it was genuinely because the fans didn't want them to leave. I recently watched a PPV from 09 when Tommy Dreamer won the 6-pack challenge for the ECW title. Not many cared when he entered and fewer were bothered when he stuck around to celebrate his victory. Honestly, get the **** out of the ring! It's a minute point but it annoys me personally and it's a small detail I'd change. Sure, take a little bit of time to stay in there but too many are doing it and they're not getting a reaction.

 

A little while ago, I was reading comments by people suggesting that Benoit and Eddie were not over with the crowd when they headlined Pay-Per-Views as ratings had decreased from previous years. What about today? Cena's rightfully considered as a big attraction, but is he also responsible for why fewer people watch the WWE today? Rather than blame him, I'd prefer to suggest it's the overall product.

 

Wrestlers aren't getting over.

 

Writers aren't helping them get over.

 

Del Rio's lost a little bit of shine in my book. The Miz has wavered, coming in and out of fashion in 2011 alone and CM Punk, I'm still not sure what happened there! Even if he's still over.

 

I love the R-Truth character and I'm looking forward to see what happens when he returns after suspension. I've got a feeling they might botch that too.

 

In closing, Vince has been an architect of two golden generations wrestling fans talk about (Notice I said 'an.') Nevertheless, the same man no longer trusts his employees, who were allowed to call matches and do promos on the fly in the past and now they're forced to rehearse, even guys who know what they're doing. It's crazy.

 

He's diluted the business so much, going against what made him and his company successful. I looked at the roster during Hogan and Warrior's title reigns and also when the Attitude Era was at its height. Were they more creative then? I think the writers and wrestlers were. Not just one or the other. Both sides are responsible for the point of this thread.

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I would say a big part of the problem is the booking. I don't mind having the personal story lines in there, but what ever happened to "I want your belt and I'm taking it?" It seems like anymore its "I hate you so we're going to fight and you just happen to be holding a title belt so maybe I'll take that if I can too."

 

One other thing with WWE is that I think they are shying away from making characters....as much as they were during the attitude era. You had people like Undertaker, Kane, Mankind, etc back then and now it seems more like they're trying to be more conservative with the characters they write if that makes sense. There's no real creativity there. It's more like generic big/almost as big guy.

 

Finally is the booking. As you guys have said before, it seems like they set guys up and get scared right when they're about to break and smash them. That or they rush guys into something they're not ready for, and are surprised when it doesn't work so the assumption is they guy isn't talented enough and his push is abandoned. While I do concede the talent may not be on the same Austin/Hogan level I still think a number of guys on the current roster could get over. They just have to get a solid and uninterrupted push.

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Look at all the guys they have tried to push the last few years. Most are very dull. Morrison= great matches but no character

Kofi= great matches but too nice of a guy in the ring. When he had the attitude with the orton feud he was on target to be big.

Miz= i really think michael cole is what is hurting miz. Its not even the fact that coles new character is a heel, nobody has ever thought of michael cole as anything and the fact he continues to push a mancrush on miz hurts the miz's legitimacy if you ask me.

Swagger= swagger unfortunately is hurt by the fact he has tried to fill curt angles slot and i dont think thats possible. Angle is one of a kind and should have never left wwe.

Cm punk= he may be the only one that has real character and talent as a balance. He has a character that adults can identify with. The anti establishment persona is always a success because everyone wants to stick it to their boss or company or co workers. Stonecold steve austin ring a bell here.

It really all comes down to the fact that alot of talent isnt 100 percent about the business anymore. They want movies and commercials and other interests that take away from the wrestling. i really think vince will eventually see the product getting stale and bring some attitude back to the in ring activities. After all the guys in the ring now grew up watching the likes of austin, rock, foley and hhh. I really hope the attitude comes back soon.

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Spoke about the entrances. Post-match is worse. Everyone stays in the ring too long. When Hogan and Austin did it, it was genuinely because the fans didn't want them to leave. I recently watched a PPV from 09 when Tommy Dreamer won the 6-pack challenge for the ECW title. Not many cared when he entered and fewer were bothered when he stuck around to celebrate his victory. Honestly, get the **** out of the ring! It's a minute point but it annoys me personally and it's a small detail I'd change. Sure, take a little bit of time to stay in there but too many are doing it and they're not getting a reaction.

The counterweight to this argument is the old TNA joke of "TO THE BACK~!" whenever something big happened. As soon as someone got the three count, TO THE BACK for something completely unrelated so that no one has any idea what has just happened.

 

There needs to be a balance.

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To me waiting around after matches isnt a problem, but waiting around after promos is a big one. So many times they do a backstage promo and guys come off looking so f*cking retarded by having the camera left on them for 10 more seconds and having to uncomfortably hold their angry face an unnatural amount of time.
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That's a point. I've noticed that and the interviewers have also been guilty of that, staring at the wrestler after he/she leaves the scene.

 

I say guilty, but the cameraman also has a hand in it.

 

They're probably not the biggest issues but between the above the crowd not responding to you initially after your win, they're not going to cheer for you just because you stay in the ring an extra 2-3 minutes. With Hogan, he was in there and the volume was still loud. With Austin, I saw first-hand at a houseshow in Britain in 1999 how popular he was and how fans wanted him to 'stay' in the ring after winning. I know Austin and Hogan are in an exclusive group. Noted. However, the lower midcarders stay in there (the faces I mean) too long after winning. People don't care.

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Although many of you keep saying that MVP and Kofi Kingston were able to establish a strong connection, that's not entirely true. A strong connection isn't simply getting a good crowd reaction. That's not how it works. You see, their draw ability was practically zero. Also, the merchandise sales were virtually non-existant as well. After the push that Kofi got, WWE expects him to atleast start selling more merchandise, and that did not happen. Many like to blame Orton for his push stopping, but that was not the only thing. Same thing happened to Drew McIntyre; the guy was practically given an endless wasteland of resources and support, but he stiil couldn't do it. That's an instant indication to WWE that they should not be pushing this guy, and that's exactly what happened.

 

A good example of someone who was able to come off very strong from just his first push is The Rock. Right after his first heel turn (which is basically when his real push began), he established a strong connection. That carried him through.

 

A strong connection doesn't just mean getting good crowd reactions. Some wrestlers get good receptions, but have no merchandise or daw ability. You see, there's much more to it.

Edited by Pavitar
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Although many of you keep saying that MVP and Kofi Kingston were able to establish a strong connection, that's not entirely true. A strong connection isn't simply getting a good crowd reaction. That's not how it works. You see, their draw ability was practically zero. Also, the merchandise sales were virtually non-existant as well. After the push that Kofi got, WWE expects him to atleast start selling more merchandise, and that did not happen. Many like to blame Orton for his push stopping, but that was not the only thing. Same thing happened to Drew McIntyre; the guy was practically given an endless wasteland of resources and support, but he stiil couldn't do it. That's an instant indication to WWE that they should not be pushing this guy, and that's exactly what happened.

 

A good example of someone who was able to come off very strong from just his first push is The Rock. Right after his first heel turn (which is basically when his real push began), he established a strong connection. That carried him through.

 

A strong connection doesn't just mean getting good crowd reactions. Some wrestlers get good receptions, but have no merchandise or daw ability. You see, there's much more to it.

 

There's no way you could reasonably expect a guy like Kofi Kingston to become a draw after pushing him properly for, at best, six weeks. Thats insane. They blew his damn push before they got to the first PPV match! In this day and age of jaded fans it takes more than one good month's worth of booking to make people invest in a character, and its harder regardless for anyone to draw anyway. I mean, their established stars are barely even draws, for God sakes, no midcarder is going to become a draw overnight.

 

The first indication that something is working is if someone gets over. And if you realise that people like someone, you're supposed to keep pushing him and giving him stuff, so people can continue to get behind them, hopefully in the form of ratings and buys and merchandise. But its a process and it takes more than a month, and historically whenever someone has completed Step 1 and got over, WWE drop the ball and stop pushing them, as in these cases. To blame Kofi Kingston for not becoming a super draw in the month or so he had with Orton before the rug was pulled, thats flat-out ridiculous.

 

Plus, I mean, you have absolutely no way of knowing how well Kofi's merchandise sold when he was pushed. It might have, for all we know, and more to the point it especially might have if he'd kept moving up and going places, instead of getting the same treatment as everyone else and went back to the midcard doing nothing for people to get behind.

 

MVP was never given the chance to be given up on to begin with. He never went past his midcard run, and he became a jobber because WWE was punishing him for the drug test incident, it had absolutely nothing to do with his overness or drawing power.

 

Comparing these guys to The Rock is moronic. In 1998 WWE actually had a clue what they were doing, Rock is a once-in-a-generation guy, and, most importantly to this conversation, HE WASNT GIVEN UP ON. They didnt turn him heel, give him a good couple weeks or so and then decide he couldnt make it and drop him back down to being a jobber for all eternity. They pushed him, it worked, they kept pushing him, it kept working.

 

Trying to blame the talent for not getting over with sh*tty stop-start pushes by comparing them to a guy who actually had a proper push isnt the best argument.

Edited by Jimmy Redman
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  • 3 weeks later...
There's no way you could reasonably expect a guy like Kofi Kingston to become a draw after pushing him properly for, at best, six weeks. Thats insane. They blew his damn push before they got to the first PPV match! In this day and age of jaded fans it takes more than one good month's worth of booking to make people invest in a character, and its harder regardless for anyone to draw anyway. I mean, their established stars are barely even draws, for God sakes, no midcarder is going to become a draw overnight.

 

The first indication that something is working is if someone gets over. And if you realise that people like someone, you're supposed to keep pushing him and giving him stuff, so people can continue to get behind them, hopefully in the form of ratings and buys and merchandise. But its a process and it takes more than a month, and historically whenever someone has completed Step 1 and got over, WWE drop the ball and stop pushing them, as in these cases. To blame Kofi Kingston for not becoming a super draw in the month or so he had with Orton before the rug was pulled, thats flat-out ridiculous.

 

Plus, I mean, you have absolutely no way of knowing how well Kofi's merchandise sold when he was pushed. It might have, for all we know, and more to the point it especially might have if he'd kept moving up and going places, instead of getting the same treatment as everyone else and went back to the midcard doing nothing for people to get behind.

 

MVP was never given the chance to be given up on to begin with. He never went past his midcard run, and he became a jobber because WWE was punishing him for the drug test incident, it had absolutely nothing to do with his overness or drawing power.

 

Comparing these guys to The Rock is moronic. In 1998 WWE actually had a clue what they were doing, Rock is a once-in-a-generation guy, and, most importantly to this conversation, HE WASNT GIVEN UP ON. They didnt turn him heel, give him a good couple weeks or so and then decide he couldnt make it and drop him back down to being a jobber for all eternity. They pushed him, it worked, they kept pushing him, it kept working.

 

Trying to blame the talent for not getting over with sh*tty stop-start pushes by comparing them to a guy who actually had a proper push isnt the best argument.

 

You took small bits of my post and ran with them.

 

Lets go backwards. But before going backwards, lets make sure that it's known that in the case of MVP, Kofi, and MVP, I supported them and even told everybody that they would get a shot even before they did, and they did. Now to the backwards thing.

 

Miz - Ever since he basically gave birth to Kelly Kelly and that fat slob on ECW... i don't even remember his name now. Anyway...

He wasn't "given" any forced sort of push by WWE. No, that was most of the other talent, (Morrison), Kozlov, etc while he made sure that fans couldn't stand him and while he made sure every program he was given, he brought interest to it. It wasn't a fluke thing with him, he bubbled up slowly and then took off. Funny how the true blueprint for building a main event star worked when they actually let Miz do it.. Now then.

 

You used MVP and Kofi...

 

They turned around and sent Kofi at Randy Orton. That was his audition, not his main event position. Whatever reason you can come up with, the simple fact is that Kofi didn't take that opportunity and explode. That point made crystal clear when almost instantly they started toying with his persona after the Orton program. That was a bad sign right there.

 

MVP was given far more support than Miz was ever given and he was given it over a longer period of time. We were all upset when WWE simply wouldn't put him over the edge and into the main event. He was given the main event treatment even when he wasn't in the main event. He was doing TV shows and interviews outside of the WWE.

 

Then he couldn't stay healthy. Then he tripped over the wellness policy. Then he couldn't even get back to where he was at the top end of the mid card. That, right there, is all on him, not WWE. They gave MVP far more shine than Miz ever got and Miz got it done faster. That says it all right there.

 

Also, in WWE terms, Kofi is not better than Miz. He's a better athlete, but he's not a better WWE performer than Miz. You can make a case that MVP was, but again, he didn't get himself across the line and Miz did.

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Miz - Ever since he basically gave birth to Kelly Kelly and that fat slob on ECW... i don't even remember his name now. Anyway...

He wasn't "given" any forced sort of push by WWE. No, that was most of the other talent, (Morrison), Kozlov, etc while he made sure that fans couldn't stand him and while he made sure every program he was given, he brought interest to it. It wasn't a fluke thing with him, he bubbled up slowly and then took off. Funny how the true blueprint for building a main event star worked when they actually let Miz do it.. Now then.

 

I have absolutely no idea what your point is regarding Miz, but in any case, look at Miz now. The "blueprint" they used worked so well that his title reign was a flop and he went straight back to the midcard when it ended. He might never become a legitimate main eventer. Bad example.

 

They turned around and sent Kofi at Randy Orton. That was his audition, not his main event position. Whatever reason you can come up with, the simple fact is that Kofi didn't take that opportunity and explode. That point made crystal clear when almost instantly they started toying with his persona after the Orton program. That was a bad sign right there.

 

He DID explode! Are you crazy? When they put him with Orton people went INSANE. He was crazy over and everything was working perfectly. You're watching a different show if you honestly think otherwise. What happened with Kofi is that WWE dropped the ball. They screwed up the Orton feud by overbooking it, running the match multiple times before they got to the PPV, and then when they got there, they beat him clean. They screwed up. Kofi didnt. .

 

They didnt tinker with his character because it wasnt working, they dropped the Orton feud and he went straight back to being the happy dancing Kofi that he was before, not because he sucked but because they decided to drop it and pretend it never happened. They screwed it up. You're mad if you think Kofi wasnt working up until that point.

 

MVP was given far more support than Miz was ever given and he was given it over a longer period of time. We were all upset when WWE simply wouldn't put him over the edge and into the main event. He was given the main event treatment even when he wasn't in the main event. He was doing TV shows and interviews outside of the WWE.

 

Then he couldn't stay healthy. Then he tripped over the wellness policy. Then he couldn't even get back to where he was at the top end of the mid card. That, right there, is all on him, not WWE. They gave MVP far more shine than Miz ever got and Miz got it done faster. That says it all right there.

 

MVP was booked well for a long time, you're right, but we're talking about main event pushes and MVP never got that chance. Ever. Media appearances are irrelevant, he was never given that push on TV. When the Matt feud was over he was treading water in the midcard for a minute before the Wellness incident happened and they decided to punish him by jobbing him out forever. It had nothing to do with his talent, or overness, or health. He was disciplined, and he was never given the chance to recover from that point on.

 

I mean, I remember when he was drafted to Raw and worked with Orton for a week. It worked so well, people loved it, and so...nothing happened ever again and he was a midcarder forever. Again, there is just no evidence of failure on his part, the failure was on WWE for choosing their weird internal discipline logic over actually pushing someone who was over with all the tools.

 

Also, on the Miz comparison, 2008 and 2010, in terms of main event pushes, are practically different eras. The Miz in 2008 would NEVER have got a main event push or a title run like he did this year. Never. Jeff Hardy almost didnt get his and he was the biggest star in the universe. Its apples and oranges to compare their rises since WWE is far more lax with who they give world titles to now than they were then.

 

Also, in WWE terms, Kofi is not better than Miz. He's a better athlete, but he's not a better WWE performer than Miz. You can make a case that MVP was, but again, he didn't get himself across the line and Miz did.

 

Again, not sure when Miz became the measuring stick since he was a failure as a main eventer, but I'm not arguing about ability or whatever else. I'm arguing about overness and success in a role. Kofi had that at the time. So did MVP. WWE screwed both of those guys up. The Miz did better than they did in the sense that he got a WWE Title run out of it, but he's not some rip-roaring success because he's so much better than them. The only difference between them is that WWE gave Miz the title at a time when they are willing to give guys on his level titles, when they werent before.

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