2008: Same Old, Same Old?
Thursday, December 27th, 2007
As 2007 comes to a close, I continue to hold up hope that one of the four professional wrestling "brands" on weekly television will produce a product that a wrestling fan such as myself can enjoy in the new year.
Raw is Raw. . .hit or miss. . .sometimes some tremendous main events. . .but often time, too much campy comedy or pointless divas that are of no interest in getting 18-34 year old men to spend money on the product.
I usually see Smackdown via video as I'm not home Friday nights. . .in 1998, Sunday Night Heat was more interesting than Smackdown. Love Edge, love Undertaker, Mysterio and a few others, but there's zero talent depth on the show, and it's evident week in and week out.
ECW. . .yikes. . .forget about talent depth, where's the talent?? It's a paint by numbers wrestling show, which wouldn't be a bad thing if they had some guys if interest wrestling in ECW. You have Punk. . .Shelton. . .I think Elijah Burke will turn into a player down the road. . .I liked Johnny Morrison much better as Johnny Nitro. . .other than that, what is there??
TNA. . .this promotion would be a dream come true for Dr. Melfi on The Sopranos. They have an unreal amount of talent on their roster. At one point, they had the best PPV's in the business. But it seems like it's been downhill for the company ever since the fall of 2006. The booking and storylines make no sense and are all over the place. . .nobody is "over" to the point where they can draw TV ratings or PPV buys. . .the X-Division has been flushed down the toilet. AJ Styles, maybe the best wrestler in America, is made out to be an idiot (i.e. won't draw flies to mainstream fans). Abyss shouldn't talk. No need of Samoa Joe acting like he belongs in WCW circa 2000 with all of this "shooting." Thinking positively, they've Black Machismo and LAX have become very popular with the fans. Of late, they've really done a good job getting Motor City Machine Guns, Kaz, and the womens division over strong. Still, TNA seemed to build it's foundation off of being the pro wrestling alternative, but they're now "WWE-lite," the same sports entertainment nonsense that fans have turned off from since 2001 in droves.
I don't write any of this to "shoot" on WWE and TNA, or put them down. No one sits down and says "let's produce bad television and PPV's that no one wants to buy." Both companies seem to be missing the pulse of their target demographics. Look at the success of UFC.
What would I like to see or change?? Long term booking and storylines. No more PPV type matches on free television. Selling (of moves, angles, stories, matches, stipulations, etc.). No more "scripted" promos for wrestlers that come off sounding pathetic. Less comedy. Less women. More focus on drama and the athleticism. More time spent on getting a wider variety of guys over. Expanding the rosters when the organizations are profitable so the fans aren't watching the same matches and wrestlers over and over again. No more weekly use of main event talent on free TV. Make the sport seem special again. Remember the Monday Night Wars?? The rosters were stacked and it was booked as must-see TV each and every week. . .
If almost feel like the anti wrestling fan nowadays, check out WWE 24/7 on-demand. I finally added it to my cable package last week and have enjoyed it a great deal. I'd like to see a little more variety, less "WWE" footage. But overall, it's sure worth the $8 a month or whatever it is they charge. . .
Other than that. . .keep your fingers crossed and try to keep up the faith. . .