Six Feet Under: What Lies in Store For the Long-Term Wrestling Program

Sulayman H.Senior Writer IJuly 23, 2009


Both this article and its author are not works of fiction. In fact, the writer is quite alive, living on a remote island and frequently partaking in freak boating accidents.

He is known to have a temperament of an angry criminal and as such carries an empty rifle to gunfights. However, a young lad with an Irish accent named Alan is a figment of this author’s imagination. He calls it his inside voice.


Since the beginning of time, war has been waged between good and evil. To this day, it continues in the world that we live in, be it in fiction or in reality.

Since professional wrestling dips into both of those tasty sauces, it would be unfair to you, me and the wrestlers who break their backs trying to give us our money’s worth to say that it qualifies as either real or fake.

Professional wrestling has given birth to many memorable matches and classic promos between two or more individuals who are fighting for a certain cause, because let’s face it: not everyone can pull a Mike Knox these days and get away with it.

These feuds have either spanned large or short periods of time, depending on whether there is enough interest in a rivalry.

Those who have lasted for over significant periods of time have either found great success and in doing so have cemented some of the greatest performers in the annals of wrestling history as one of the finest, greatest talkers and or grapplers.

The other category doesn’t really find as much success but nonetheless, those feuds continue to develop and carry on for several PPV’s spreading throughout the entire roster like the plague that it has transfigured into.

One example would be the current Orton/HHH/Cena/MVP/Shane/Stephanie/Vince/Flair debacle which has produced more unfit and unsettling television than the entire Katie Vick nonsense.

What was supposed to be Orton’s year to shine in which he did constantly (but that is debatable due to the amount of oil he’s used up so far) ended up turning what was to be a feud of the year, at least to me, into one of the worst wrestling programs executed.

Hit and miss: three words that crossed my mind after watching every single Raw during the build up to Wrestlemania.

The story line has, since, come to span over six months and has had two memorable moments so far, both of which have not occurred in the previous month or even in the one before that.

What could be said about the program is that too much juice was squeezed out of the proverbial fruit and there was not enough to sustain another successful collision between Randal Keith Orton and Paul Levesque.

This would lead to injecting all sorts of shenanigans into the already morbidly obese (with performers) feud, including Batista whom I had failed to mention during the initial name calling.

Now at the brink of extinction, if not already dead, the once intense rivalry between HHH and Orton has another unhealthy dose of attitude adjustment in it where HHH resorts to calling Orton a girl.

I will pray tonight before I go bye bye (baby slang for sleep) and hope that DX doesn’t reunite for at least 10 more years.

What has come to pass is a huge mistake on the part of the creative team and while they may not be the most, how do I put it, ‘creative’ bunch, it is still their duty to ensure that a blockbuster feud has both potential and bottled awesomeness that it survives until a big payoff at the biggest party of the summer which is aptly named Summerslam.

An excellent model of a long term wrestling program is the program between Owen and Bret Hart which is, to this day, considered by critics to be the single greatest feud in all of wrestling history.

I might have exaggerated, but considering that I am the one critic who thinks so, I do deserve a chance to present my case, don’t I?

It all started out a simple misunderstanding between Owen and Bret at Survivor Series in 1993 where Owen felt that his elder brother was responsible for his elimination from the match.

What would unfold would be later described as one of the greatest sibling rivalries as Owen Hart began to shine both on the mic and in the ring. He would claim to be the better wrestler in the Hart family and would blame Bret for holding him back.

It would not be until Wrestlemania X that Owen would get a chance of proving his claim and the feud would escalate to a WWF title match in a steel cage at Summerslam in 1994 where Bret would defeat his brother.

Not only did this feud span over eight months, but it was during that time that one could not help but be glued to the screen to find out which brother would come out on top in every confrontation.

One can argue that this was highly successful because of one factor: the exploitation of the relationship between Bret and Owen.

One would also be mistaken since it was the natural charisma that Owen had hidden from the audience for so long which when came to light became the fuel for the rivalry between the two.

The difference between the two above-stated models is that one had shown promise and failed to capitalize and the other hit the ball out of the park several times.

We have to look at the fact that both these feuds were set in different timelines of wrestling history and had it not been for the hot potato fever that clearly has thousands of fans in its spell, we might have seen a better result on both Orton and Triple H’s report card.

The difference also is that one of them had been exhausted towards its limit before and the other was a fresh ripe fruit ready to be plucked.

Today, with ratings more important than providing quality entertainment and with titles moving around faster than air particles, it’s a little problematic to ensure that a feud of such caliber can find moderate to major success.

Alan: But Sulayman, the Attitude Era had a bald man and an eye-brow popper were swapping titles all the time, and they were interesting!

While that is true, what is also true is that both had the ability to attract fans with their words, as opposed to grunting and continuous facial expressions used by both Orton and HHH quite frequently to express both anger and frustration with one another.

What we’re left is messy, untidy and sloppy work from management and that’s just sad to see that months of booking is done and that’s the best these ‘professionals’ can come up with.

Alan: Get to the point!

Right! Of course, conclusion.

We can conclude with these observations that with the current ratings hunger and apparent whoring out (guest hosting which generates a lot of good publicity for the WWE and also improves the product as a while), the chances of having a solid wrestling program the likes of Edge/Undertaker are slim to none.

One current feud which had the potential to go all the way was the Mysterio/Jericho angle which was going quite well and could have possibly gone on to Summerslam. Then, the quite believable happened.

Chris was thrust into a team with Edge and both won gold together.

The long term wrestling program might still have a chance at survival seeing that stars such as Morrison, Ziggler, Kofi, Punk and Swagger are emerging on the horizon.

These are the potential candidates for the newly revised annals of wrestling history which will sadly contain no reference to Chris Benoit.

When life will give them lemonade, let’s hope they won’t squeeze too much too soon. What we can expect is the new generation rocking the foundation of the same old federation.


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