WWE: Problems with the Product, Part Two
Welcome to part two of this series of articles in which I deliver constructive criticism's of WWE's product.
The series is a completely new approach to addressing problems with WWE's product and you can expect to find certain aspects of the product discussed here which are very rarely discussed by anybody else.
With that said, let's move on.
5. The WWE Creative Team
I shan't spend too much time on this topic, as it has been discussed on many different occasions by various writers on this site.
So, as it has been covered before, I'm going to utilise a different approach—which is the key element to this series of articles.
Before we complain about the Creative Team, it is important to know who is actually a member. So, here are the members of the WWE Creative Team:
- Christopher DeJoseph (aka Big Dick Johnson)
- Joe Francosi
- Ed Kosky
- Michael Seitz/Michael Hayes (Head writer for SmackDown!)
- Brian Gewritz (Head writer for RAW)
- Pat Patterson (Consultant)
- Stephanie McMahon (Creative Supervisor)
As always, though, the final say lies with Vincent Kennedy McMahon, and there are obviously contributions from other employees.
From Parts 1&2, what do you think is the biggest problem facing WWE?
Analyse that list above. From what I know, there are only three members of that team who have any experience with wrestling—Hayes, Patterson, and McMahon.
Now, how can a person like Brian Gewritz, a man who specialises in writing comedy, have more power than a veteran like Pat Patterson?
It's obvious why SmackDown!'s worst show has a good chance of being better than RAW's best offering—wrestling people are in control, not some guy that was hired to fulfill Vince's fetish of ridiculous comedy on what is supposed to be a wrestling show.
With those weaknesses exposed, lets move on to another one.
At the recent Comic-Con in San Diego, Brian Gewritz described the current process for writing shows:
“Friday, we pitch all our ideas to Vince,” he said. “It’s our big ‘Vince meeting’ day. Saturday, we put the show together, and then Sunday we’re usually traveling. Then we take some time to run the ideas by the talent.”
Now, I'm just a guy who lives hundreds of miles away from America and who is relatively unknown to WWE. But even I can see some problems with that process.
- Why wait until Friday to pitch ideas to Vince?
- Why wait until Saturday to formulate the show?
- Why wait until Sunday/Monday to ask the talent if they'd change anything?
That is just a mind-boggling system. It is complete stupidity.
It just adds unwanted and unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation.
Here's the way I would run things:
Wednesday: Pitch the ideas to Vince
Thursday: Script RAW
Friday: Script SmackDown! (for the next Tuesday's taping). RAW crew travels to show's location
Saturday: Vince proofreads both scripts and makes changes if he sees fit. RAW writers show script to talent and ask for input/advice/suggestions for changes. SmackDown! crew have the day off.
Sunday: SmackDown! crew travels to show location. RAW crew has the day off.
Monday: Final preparations for Raw. SmackDown! talent voice their opinion on SmackDown!'s script. RAW goes on the air.
Tuesday: SmackDown!'s final preparations. SmackDown! is taped. RAW has the day off.
The cycle would then begin again.
However, come Monday night, the RAW Creative Team should be doing what I do—reviewing their production and looking for places to improve.
There should be no changes to the script on Monday, except for extreme cases—injuries to wrestlers, etc.
Forget about the Creative Team not producing great storylines.
The team should have a structured and stress-free schedule for writing each show.
Once they have that, the great ideas should come naturally. If not, they shouldn't have been hired in the first place.
Problem severity: 10/10
6. Backstage Politics
Again, many have voiced their opinion on this subject, so, I shan't dwell on this for too long either.
Ken Anderson (Mr. Kennedy in WWE) said the following in an interview shortly after being released from WWE:
"There are two mountains in WWE. Guys like Undertaker, Jericho, Benoit, etc. are on top of one. They lean over the edge and help you to reach the top.
"The other mountain has other guys atop it—guys you 'can't see,' guys who like to play the 'game,' and guys who finish a match by calling home."
To me, those people sound like John Cena, Triple H, and possibly Rey Mysterio.
Anderson went on to say:
"I remember once, I had a match. I went backstage and asked Triple H how it looked. He said, 'Yeah, it was great,' and kept walking.
"Ten minutes later, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, and Undertaker called me over. Taker spoke first, and simply said: 'Your match sucked, here's why.'
"I was then lectured for 10 minutes about why my match sucked and where I needed to improve. I gained a lot of respect for those guys that day—not that I didn't respect them already!"
I feel those two anecdotes highlight the situation better than my words ever could.
It is worth noting that Anderson may have made it all up, but I doubt that.
It's also worth remembering that backstage politics also influence wrestler's pushes and storylines.
This is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed accordingly.
7. Superstar Mismanagement
You know who I'm talking about—Chavo Guerrero, Primo, William Regal, Kozlov, Santino, Goldust, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, and the others like these.
Rarely seen on television, and when seen, it's either as a total jobber or in childish skits.
Here's a novel idea—confine most of them to WWE Superstars.
Resurrect both the European and Cruiserweight Championship. Put all the wasted talent on Superstars and have them fight for the titles.
Then, once a year, hold a King of the Ring tournament exclusive to Superstars.
The winner would receive a guaranteed championship match against either the United States, Intercontinental, or Tag Team champion(s) on whichever show the winner chooses.
However, to avoid infringement on the Money in the Bank gimmick, the winner would have to give the champion at least a two-week notice before the match, and the day and show would have to be named.
Keep everybody happy and use all talent in a sensible capacity.
8. The Lost Arts of Pro-Wrestling
Knife-edged chops, chop-blocks, eye-pokes, low-blows, pulling the tights, and distracting the referee.
When was the last time you saw any of these utilised in WWE?
Believe it or not, there was a time when all of these would be used in at least one match on the card.
Now, it is a rare thing to see one of them used during the entire show.
Think back: When was the last time you saw a low-blow used on WWE TV?
As far as I can remember, it was in January when Vince kicked Bret-and that was a botched kick to the gut!
Since then, some of these moves have been banned because Ric Flair is in TNA, while the others are hardly ever used.
That's it for part two. I hope you enjoyed it.
Be sure to read my review of SmackDown! tomorrow. I actually attended the tapings and have the review written already.
It's a great show with at least three five-star matches and some other good segments.
Thanks again and, as always, please let your opinion be known...
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