The Dos and Don'ts of a "Legends Angle"

Aaron WeissContributor IMarch 24, 2009

In recent years, the WWE has made a habit of trotting out one of their hall-of-famers (or some random old wrestler) and have him get in an angle, or at least an altercation, with a current superstar, always a heel.

It results in feel-good nostalgia for the marks, the old guy gets a boost to his ego, and the young heel can say he worked with the guy he watched growing up. Heck, Rob Conway got his ass beat by no less than 10 hall-of-famers, and he didn't even last two years after the fact!

Recently, Chris Jericho has gotten into an angle involving him beating up some hall-of-famers and relating them to the film "The Wrestler," calling them pathetic and saying they'll never get a chance for a comeback like Mickey Rourke. A match was just announced, involving Chris Jericho taking on Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, and Roddy Piper in a three-on-one match, with Ric Flair in the corner of the legends.

I hope you all realize just how baffling this match is. There's a reason nostalgia is so bittersweet. You get to see the men you idolized growing up, but now they are crippled, old, wrinkled shells of the larger-than-life characters they once were. That being said, you have to treat the angle gently and do it right, so that it's enjoyed by both the smarter fans and the marks.

Do: Have the heel beat on the legends physically, not just verbally. It's important to show the heel's merciless ways, and desire to do anything to destroy these legends, and not treat them as if they're special.

Don't: Have the legend dominate the entire match. They're old, the heel is presumably in healthy shape, in the prime of their career. How can a late-50-to-60-something-year-old beat up on a young man so easily? It's unbelievable, and totally takes the fan out of the match.

Don't: Get Jerry Lawler involved. Listen, I love the King, he used to be a great wrestler, and a great commentator, but the last thing these old men need is another old man defending them, especially in the ring. Jerry can't work great, or even good, matches anymore. They're watchable, mainly because they're short enough so they won't get on your nerves, but he should do himself right to not get involved in the ring too much.

Do: Make a spectacle out of the match. Who are they fooling trying to have a serious athletic contest? It's not happening, it can't happen, it's simply not possible. So take a cue from the matches these guys used to have, and be really big about selling and your offense. Jericho is smart, he'll definitely do some of this stuff, but the question is, will these legends be able to swallow their pride and just have fun with the match?

Presuming the WWE encourages these sort of actions, and Jericho and the Legends do this sort of thing, this angle will turn out alright, and hey, maybe the match won't be so bad after all.

-Aaron Weiss