When Vince McMahon and his WWE think tank brainstorm the next round of stories to tell in the ring, classic literature can be an additional source for inspiration. Adapted to the world of wrestling, many great works of literature can be reborn.
Literature may not be the first thing fans associate with men in spandex suplexing each other in a ring, but at its core, pro wrestling is theater.
It's a unique storytelling medium that has drawn inspiration from movies, video games and current events. Why not add those books we all read in high school to that list?
When the tale of angry wrestler versus angry wrestler gets tedious, here are some literature-inspired narratives for WWE to tell.
Literary source: TheOdyssey by Homer
In The Odyssey, Odysseus suffers through a long, arduous journey from an island prison back to his home in Ithaca.
While the wrestling version wouldn't include Poseidon wrecking anyone's ship or any murdering of suitors, WWE can borrow from the heart of the story. A struggle to return home and being beset by obstacle after obstacle is perfect for an innovative wrestling angle.
Instead of slapping him in a new costume with a different nickname, perhaps the answer is having him become WWE's Odysseus.
He left the company seeking to find himself. WWE could film vignettes of him wrestling in gyms in front of tiny crowds, training, struggling and suffering.
To replace the Cyclops from Odyssey, Swagger could have to fight Stan Hansen in an eye patch, the two men tussling in some makeshift ring in a derelict building.
Just when Swagger seems to be on the road back to the WWE, he encounters a new conflict.
A car crash could replace Odysseus' ship sinking and a group of alluring seductresses could attempt to derail his return much like the Sirens from the Odyssey.
Literary source: Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Captain Ahab hungers for revenge against the great white whale named Moby Dick. The whale took his leg and Ahab is forced to hobble around on a rudimentary prosthetic.
In pursuit of his obsession, Ahab destroys several ships and eventually drowns himself when he becomes entangled in his harpoon's rope.
PG Era or otherwise, we won't be seeing anyone drowning on WWE TV, but there's a wealth of material to work with here.
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker played out a similar story, but it's worth revisiting, going deeper into the Ahab character's darkness.
What if Zack Ryder served as the WWE equivalent to Ahab? A monstrous, dominant wrestler is needed to play the whale.
The WWE version of the story could begin with said wrestler injuring Ryder's leg.
Wearing a protective boot, Ryder limps around the backstage area and around the ring during his new foe's matches. Ryder's focus narrows and he can only think of exacting revenge.
His demeanor changes over time, going from the life of the party to a morose brooder.
When Ryder does finally get a shot at his enemy, he severely injuries himself when trying to deliver a Rough Ryder. Rather than have him perish in the sea a la Ahab, Ryder could simply be written off WWE TV for a few months.
A Deal with the Devil
Literary source: Faust by Goethe
The Faustian legend has been retold countless times, most notably by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Christopher Marlowe.
Essentially, the story is about a man named Faust longing for knowledge and power. The demon Mephistopheles approaches him with an offer to provide Faust with everything he desires.
The problem, as you may have already guessed, is that this pact corrupts Faust, claiming his soul for eternity.
Playing on this idea of sacrificing morals for what one desires could fit right into the world of WWE.
A corruptible, young Superstar with his eyes on a major championship could be fooled into making a deal with an unsavory member of the roster.
Perhaps Tyson Kidd is tired of never getting a shot at the limelight, at being a WWE bottom feeder. He then enlists the help of an untrustworthy person in a position of power.
Any of the McMahon family members could fill that role wonderfully.
Kidd does get his hands on a championship, but realizes the deal comes with plenty of fine print. His relationship with this sinister character corrupts him. He is no longer liked by fans, which eats at him.
Kidd is disgraced and disgusted with himself.
In Faust, the protagonist seeks aid from angels. Kidd may call upon Natalya and other Divas to get him out of his predicament.